Bringing hope wherever she goes

I was 14 when Star Wars: A New Hope came out and it was the first film I’d seen that gave me a female role model.  It gave me a woman who was smart, sassy, sexy, competent, canny, uncompromising, more than capable of rescuing herself, not in the least damsel like, who flirted with all the boys, and knew her way around both a spaceship and a gun.

Between 1977/8 and 1980 (when Empire came out) I saw A New Hope over 20 times…then I stopped counting. 🙂

It took me a while to realise that though Princess Leia was a rockingly cool chick Carrie Fisher was the true definition of epic.

When The Force Awakens came out and there was General Organa – a women who’d lost her friends and family, brother AWOL, lover missing, son turned away – and she was unbowed and unbroken and still putting her big girl pants on every day to fight the good fight I teared up in the cinema.  Someone referred to the pic above as Carrie/Leia’s “done listening to men”face 🙂

Leia Organa may have been a role model for my generation and the ones who came after but Carrie Fisher was indomitable – in her openness and willingness to talk about her mental health, the way she shut down idiotic interviewers who asked her about beauty and weight issues rather than talk about more important things and her continuous epic smackdown of social media bullies.  My Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram feeds this evening have shown an astonishing outpouring of love and respect.

Despite what the reports are saying I choose to believe she “drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.”

I’ve just rewatched A New Hope, am about to dive into Empire Strikes Back and save Return of the Jedi and Force Awakens for tomorrow.  Then I’ll see Rogue One again at the cinema.

There’s a suggestion making the rounds on social media that one way to honour Carrie would be to:

  • normalize discussions about mental illness and its treatment
  • take life a little less seriously
  • destroy a fascist regime

I’m so onboard with that idea.

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Five things Friday

Technically it’s just tripped over into Saturday but we’ll ignore that!

  1. It’s the weekend. HUZZAH!  My team were off stick today and I hope they’ve not infected me with their various lurgies! I had a couple of days out of the office last week for a training course on integral coaching (taught by the lovely people at thirdspace coaching) – which I eyed with a degree of scepticism.  However it turned out to be incredibly beneficial – the framework presented, taking part in the demo coaching session on the second morning and practice coaching sessions with colleagues meant I came away with a lot of things to think about in terms of reframing my approach to several aspects of my life.
  2. I have a GIANT personal ‘To do’ list – which for once does not fill me with horror! If the weather holds I plan to spend some time down on the allotments/out in the garden over the next two days.  If it rains or gets too cold there will be nesting – I have spectacular amounts of laundry and ironing to do and I’d really like to get some order into my flat before Christmas – including making sure I have enough floorspace to be able to do some daily stretching sessions effectively at home. I also aim begin a giant clear up before the New Year which will hopefully propel me into 2017 with a desire to simplify.
  3. My lovely personal trainer (PPTP) is still killing me with gym sessions and boxing.  We’re lifting heavy at the moment and it is exhausting and resulting in the kinds of (good!) muscle ache I’ve not had for months – we’e both figured he’d been letting me coast for a while. Now I stagger home, feed myself and then have a nap *before* bedtime on training days.  Boxing this evening was awesome with lots of long cobination punches interspersed with power and speed work.  I’m due back on Saturday night for a much-needed mobilisation and stretching session. Also I can leg press 200kgs  BOOO YAH! My chest press still needs a lot of work though.
  4. I’m ridiculously excited that we got three free mulberry trees from Morus Londinium for our allotments!  They arrived yesterday – luckily are in pots not bare-rooted. Hopefully we can get them in the ground next weekend and d make a bit of a National Tree Week event of the planting and do out bit for repopulating London with mulberries.
  5. I seem to have fallen down the rabbithole of BuJo’s. A pal mentioned them a few weeks back, I read up a bit and figured they might work for me.  Tried a modified version at work which has helped enormously with keeping me on track.  Now planning to have a BuJo for the allotments and one for personal stuff. Yes I know having three is a bit of a contradiction of the concept but I like to compartmentalise bits of my life.

Still fuelled by the rage I’ve felt since 23rd June which was only increased on 9 November.  But rage is powerful and translates to positive actions and activism so there’s a plus side.

Posted in Allotment, Decluttering, Health & Fitness, Life changes, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dreadful day

So America has spoken and have elected a misogynistic, proven liar who:

  • is embroiled in class-action suit against his fraudulent Trump University
  • but who also has a pre-trial date in December for: “rape, sexual misconduct, criminal sexual acts, sexual abuse, forcible touching, assault, battery, intentional and reckless infliction of emotional distress, duress, false imprisonment, and defamation” of a 13-year-old girl.

His victory is the result of a campaign conducted by a bully using the language of hate and incitement to violence.

I have a feeling future historians are going to look back on 2016 and demand why we were so wilfully blind, why we could not see the parallels between the 1930’s and 2010’s, why our memories were so short, and how we could leave the door open for atrocities which we said would never be repeated to happen again.

For once I find myself grateful that my mum, dad and step pa are not around to see what a mighty cock-up we have made of their sacrifices and legacy.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.  Will we shut up and look the other way or will we stand up and say something?

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Musclefood order

I’d intended to finishing eating last few items in my small freezer before stocking up but the lovely people at Musclefood had another great offer. I’d been dubious about buying meat this way before I placed my first order (this one was my fourth) but have been very pleasantly surprised not only by the quality of their meat but also by the fantastic customer service. (Not a sponsored post – just sharing the joy)!

I had a minor issue with my first and second orders – and the customer service team were absolutely brilliant – quick response, really friendly, replacement products and/or equivalent value vouchers offered.  Musclefood obviously empower their customer service staff to solve problems and it shows. (The only company I’ve had a similar pain free and excellent customer service experience with was Abel and Cole).

So this is what a month’s worth of evening meals looks like – I may have gone a bit heavy on the burger ordering this time but their burgers are delicious (and were on offer) and just what I need with a giant salad or heap of veggies as a post gym meal on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

  • 4 x chicken breast fillets
  • 4 x mature free range rump steaks
  • 4 x venison burgers
  • 2 x mature free range sirloin steaks
  • 2 x free range hache steaks
  • 2 x dragon’s fire hache steaks
  • 2 x free range rump steak burgers
  • 2 x wild boar and apple burgers
  • 2 x buffalo, tomato and basil burgers
  • 2 x Waygu steak burgers
  • 2 x matured free range minute steaks
  • 2 x extra lean steak burgers
  • 6 x low fat pork sausages
  • 6 x low fat Cumberland sausages

All of that will make me between 36-40 meals (since their giant chicken breast fillets easily stretch to two or more meals) and the burgers are so filling one with a lot of veg is more than enough for me.

I paid £42.90 which included delivery to my door. Subtract the delivery cost and it’s going to work out about £0.97 per meal plus veg.  Which strikes a happy balance for me in terms of cost, quality (always excellent) and environmental factors.

Add in the veg (supplied by Riverford) and you’re probably looking at around £1.20-£1.50 a meal. The Riverford weekly boxes feed me for both evening meals and lunch (with some added extras like cheese or fish).  More about that in future posts.

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BFI London Film Festival

bfi-long

This year’s London Film Festival ends today but my viewing ended on Thursday. I had a much more scaled back experience this year and only saw 4 films, compared to last years 22 in 10 days.

A Monster Calls  was the first film- beautifully written, shot and acted – though Sigourney Weaver’s English accent was a tad mobile nipping in to various bits of the country from scene to scene. Ostensibly a film about how a young boy deals with his mother’s terminal illness by ‘imagining’ a tree monster (played by Liam Neesom) it was a story within a story. The three educational tales told by the tree monster were all beautifully illustrated cartoons. For me it hit the right balance without ever tipping over into mawkish sentimentality or maudlin manipulation. Also devastatingly good performance from the young lead who was amazing.

Second film was Arrival which was the stand out of the festival and hands down the best film I’ve seen in years. I’d steered clear of reading any reviews – all I knew was it was a tale of first contact. It brought together all the things that fascinate me about good story telling – really intriguing narrative structure, a truly alien civilisation, and a whole set of sub themes about culture, language, perception, thought and science. I’d definitely recommend seeing it when it gets a wider release, and seeing it on the big screen if possible. Again the cinematography was gorgeous and Amy Adams central performance was stunning.

Third film was Brimstone a western with Guy Pearce and Dakota Fanning both giving great performances. Also another with an interesting narrative structure and beautifully shot but I would avoid it like the plague. I suspect Martin Koolhaven thinks he’s made a art house movie about the horrendous effects of violence against women whereas what he’s actually made is little more than just under three hours of glorious and lovingly (and not in any sense a good kind of lovingly) shot torture porn. The moral of the tale seemed not be that all men are evil or ineffectual and regard women as property and that no matter how hard you try and escape to build a new life you can never get away. I was out of my seat and out of the door with a gazelle like speed the minute the credits rolled. There was no way I could have stayed for the Q&A session that followed because I seriously question what is going on inside writer/director Koolhoven’s head. I came out wanting both a stiff drink and a hot shower.

The final film (45 mins after Brimstone) was The Autopsy of Jane Doe – which was a great palette cleanser after Brimstone. Autopsy is a whodunnit horror mystery. It’s creepy and scary and original. Father and son coroner team (Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch) are asked by the town sherriff to conduct an autopsy on Jane Doe, (a perfectly preserved body found in the basement of a house where a several people have been found apparently murdered. Cue the start of the mystery – how did Jane die, why are there no marks on her body? It says something that in Autopsy the main female protagonist is a naked corpse on a table yet she has more agency than the living female protagonist in Brimstone! The nudity and the autopsy process in Autopsy are not in any way shape or form shot in a way which is titillating or exploitative – it’s all about the scientific process and solving the (terrifying!) mystery that is Jane. I’m generally not a horror fan but I really enjoyed this.

So there you go – of my limited selection of 4 films this year I’d definitely recommend Arrival as the stand out not-to-be-missed film for everyone to go and see. It should be getting a major release around early to mid November so should be in a multiplex near you soon.

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Best summary of the last 10 days…

This is the funniest summary of the last 10 days I’ve read and I’ve been directing friends from outside the UK to it, to explain where we are right now.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/lukebailey/the-crisis-explained-maybe?utm_term=.dm2OYYl1bY#.qvwb335Jy3

It ends with:

In conclusion: the UK voted to leave the EU. The economy kind of melted. Nobody has a plan for what to do and everybody wants someone else to take responsibility – but the governing party are too busy stabbing each other in the back, while the opposition party is too busy being at war with itself. The UK might split up entirely. And we might have to vote on all this again in a few months time.

We are all so tired and so confused. Please help us. Please.

 

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

AWOL and allotmenting

For various reasons I’ve been reading but not posting the last couple of weeks.

My allotments are still surviving.

The smaller Rose Avenue plot has

  • delivered a fine crop of red currants
  • the potatoes are ready to start harvesting
  • the oca is really establishing well,
  • the rhubarb has finally started growing
  • the large daisy’s have given an amazing showing
  • finally dug brambles out of 3/4 of the last bit (and may finish it this weekend)
  • the herbs are doing inredibly well
  • strimmed the paths around the plot

The larger plot on Tamworth Farm is starting to shape up too:

  • a short pallet fence has been erected along the boundary between my plot and the lovely Polish neighbours
  • I spent a weekend putting in fence posts for the fence on the right hand side of the plot and then breaking down and painting pallets to make the uprights
  • I’ve bought an painted a whole lot of wood to mark out some raised beds
  • I’m afraid I’ve tackled the bindweed with a couple of liberal doses of weedkiller (I learned my lesson from the Rose Ave plot!)

There’ll be pictures sometime next week when I have chance to download them from my phone!

However this Saturday is out allotment picnic – so fun times first!

 

 

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