Observation 4: False economy

I’ll be darned if I can find it but quite a while back I wrote about my thoughts regarding the economy here. It was along the lines of believing that there is a definite false economy at work in this country. People living off credit cards to meet their monthly bills, while still using them heavily to buy a whole heap of junk they don’t need, in turn racking up more debt.

This morning I was watching an AM show that was talking just about this. Basically with the economic slow down happening here they are starting to look further past the housing prices (which just weren’t realistic). They seem to realise now that the average Brit has been struggling for a long time to keep their head above water. Doh, seriously where do these economists have their heads? I can tell you it is somewhere between their knees and their belly.

Another thought – I was listening to Star FM and they are doing a “greatest hits from the Thatcher years” day. Occasionally they put in memorable Thatcher quotes. Now I can’t say a lot about this lady’s politics but she had it going on when she said “It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake.”

Cold toes

I am looking at the weather widget I have on my desktop. It currently reads 0 degrees, with the wind chill factored in it is -6. I suppose this is not unlikely as it is nearly midnight. I am inside sitting next to the radiator and my toes are still frozen. You know its cold when you contemplate how long you can hold for before bursting in order to avoid leaving the radiator for the bathroom. I am looking at the weather for the next 5 days, rain and lows of 0. Now, I don’t mind the cold so much as you can always rug up and get warm (obviously this point has past me by seeing as my toes could do with some more socks), but I do have an issue with rain AND cold. That’s just plain mean. Cold is one thing, miserably wet and cold just really sucks. What’s the pay off? There is none. Bring on the snow and stop mucking around!

Magical Ambleside

We woke up this morning to a blanket of white snow covering everything. It was up quickly, washed, dressed and out the door for some “photoling” (Kerryn M will remember our discover of the word photoling while holidaying in Provence).

As I look outside now it is already starting to melt away but it was incredibly magical first thing this morning. Hopefully the roads will be OK by the time we head back to Bristol. Cheerio pip pip for now.

Kendal – The Lake District

The Lake District, home to Beatrix Potter. Kendal, the home of the Kendal Mint Cake used by Sir Edmund Hillary and the team as they climbed Everest. A deliciously evil sweet made of pure sugar and peppermint oil. Smells great, tastes amazing and is a great shot of energy that is lightweight to carry in your pack. Disappointingly the Kendal Mint Cake is still made here but they don’t do factory tours.

The real reason we came to Kendal however was the Kendal Mountain Film Festival. Four days of extreme mountaineering, aerial, climbing and cultural movies. After 1.5 days and 9 hours of film later we are all “movied” out. With a great selection of movies, lectures, workshops and general outdoor vibe it has been a good 2 days so far. We have found however that the age groups represented here are a lot older than we are used to at similar Australian festivals and the vibe isn’t as laid back and friendly.

We are staying in Ambleside which is about a 20 minute drive from Kendal as all accommodation had been taken in town. After watching some more movies this morning we did a walk around Kendal township, bought some mint cake, had some breakfast/lunch and then took off back to Ambleside.

This evening we have been very fortunate as the annual lantern parade was on. A whole parade of people with paper laterns lit with candles. Topped off by a fireworks display. It has been freezing all day and we are expecting a bit of a snow shower tonight. Hopefully it will be OK for tomorrows trip home.

Movie: Pride and Glory

It was a toss up tonight between Max Payne, W or Pride and Glory. My choice won out this evening and I’m kind of regretting it. M and Steve have already stated that I am NOT choosing the movie next time.

Edward Norton, Jon Voight, Noah Emmerich and Colin Firth are a family of active and retired NY city police. After 4 cops are shot dead, Ray Tierney (Edward Norton) is convinced by his father, a retired cop (John Voight) to join the task force to find out what happened. As the viewer we find out early in the piece that Jimmy Egan (Colin Firth), brother in law to Ray, is involved. What we don’t know is whether the other members of the family are also in the know.

At times this movie was a bit slow. We see quite a lot of interaction with their wives and children of which it doesn’t seem to add any relevance to the story at all. We also spend a lot of time wondering what haunts Edward Norton’s character and is this the reason why his face is scarred.

In all it seemed to miss some really good opportunities to tell not just a good story but a great story. It did leave me feeling rather depressed though as even though at the end the right thing is done, you still get the feeling that the dirty cops won. I guess in many ways it scares me to think that as a society we continue to grow in our distrust of those that are meant to protect us and this movie doesn’t help to diminish that momentum. 2.5 out of 5.

Movie: Warren Miller’s Children of Winter – Never Grow Old

Being the 59th Warren Miller movie to date next year should be a cracker of a celebration.

Narrated by Jonny Moseley (US winter Olympics gold medalist) he does a good job but nothing beats Warren’s voice, humour and timing.

As nice as it was to see this movie it didn’t leave me impressed by the cinematography or music tracks. Normally I would be left totally excited and pumped from the music ready to get out there and give it a burl on the slopes. I did enjoy the street skiing as they were towed behind horses but other than this it was rather lack lustre. Here’s hoping that the 60th movie will step it up a few notches. 2.5 out of 5.

Check out the difference between before and after Warren then you decide which one rocks more!

2008 – Children of Winter

2003 – Journey

Westonbirt Arboretum

This weekend I had my eye balls burned by too much colour! We took a drive to Westonbirt Arboretum which is basically a huge tree reserve that looks like a wild forest but was in fact all designed and planted to look wild and unruly. Again an example of everything here being groomed within an inch of its life.

We clearly had missed the most spectacular show of colour coming into Autumn but there were enough leaves still on the trees and ground to do some serious retina damage. The yellows, browns and oranges were just ridiculously fluro bright. Just fabulous, I can only imagine what they would have looked like a couple of weeks back. I’m quite partial to maple trees and they looked magnificent at Westonbirt.

In a couple of weekends time they are starting the evening walks where the trees will be lit up, carol singing, mulled hot cider and roasted chestnuts so we will bring you some more news and pictures on that in the coming weeks.

On the way home we did a bit of a detour to a Roman Villa that was advertised on the road side near Tetbury. We never did make it inside the villa (a cost of 7 pound each to see holes in the ground – ouch, no thanks) but we did see an incredible number of pheasants in the area. I’m talking at least 30 in one field alone. Pheasants always remind me of the Roald Dahl book – Danny the Champion of the World and the stuffed pheasant mum and grandad have back home. They have quite amazing colours and can run like heck (which we found out trying to get photos of the cheeky things).

Book review: The Bookseller of Kabul

It has been a while since I finished a book in full. I have started many and have them stacked next to my bed to complete one day. For some reason I find many other things to do besides read which is rather tragic as I enjoy a good book.

Someone from work loaned this book to me. Written by Asne Seierstad it is set in Kabul where she was lucky enough to live with an Afghan family for a few months. If what I read is correct there has been a fair bit of fall out from this book since.

Asne lived with the family for several months where she has focused on portraying the family life. The book tells the story of Sultan Khan (not his real name) a bookseller in Kabul and his family. The business has managed to survive through book burnings, censorship and much more as the country’s political regime continued to change throughout the years. The book also tells the story of the Khan family – mother, wives, sisters and children that live under Sultan’s roof. We see the struggle that Sultan has undertaken to keep his business and the struggle that his family have against his power over them and that of the social and political aspects that they must also comply with to in order to get through each day. We also see the changes occurring in Afghanistan with the departure of the Taliban.

I am still mulling over what I take away from this book besides the obvious thankfulness for the choices I have as a woman in the western world. I also take away a tiny bit more of an understanding of the Islamic faith. It has made me curious to read some more of her work though.

Movie: James Bond – Quantum of Solace

I gather that I must have liked this movie seeing as I have actually paid twice to see it. Granted the second time around there was nothing else worth watching on so that did narrow the choice.

The opening sound track was a bit disappointing more so as it featured Alicia Keys. I’m sorry but Alicia Keys and the piano rock but what’s with Jack White? Honestly he sounds like he’s singing karaoke in mum and dad’s garage. For the first duet Bond track ever done I think they should have dropped Jack.

Opening scenes of Daniel Craig, grey Aston Martin DBS, Italian mountain motorway, bad guys on the chase, you just know someones going to get hurt.

The story picks up a few hours after Vesper died having betrayed Bond in Casino Royale. Bond is now on a mission to find out who stole the money and what it is being used for. In his search he comes across a woman, Camille, who leads to Dominic Greene a supposed environmentalist who leads a group called Quantum. Camille has her own revenge agenda and teams with Bond to help him in his mission as well.

Fab action, great scenery, getting used to Daniel Craig now as well. 3.5 out of 5.