A Horror of a Film


Elsewhere in blogland people have been talking about stepping out of their comfort zones and that is what I did last week. My little darling (17) convinced me that I should buy her a DVD about drugtaking. When I expressed concern that she should want to watch such a film she pulled the old “it will be good background for……[insert any appropriate school/college subject” card. Once they’ve played their ace you have no chance and so I found myself in Borders on Friday lunchtime being warned by the nice young man that it “isn’t a “pleasant film”.

Middle child had a half-day off work on Friday and so popped his head into the office on his way home. I was pleased to see him and eagerly thrust a cauliflower, a bag of fruit and the DVD into his hands. When I arrived home later that day he and his sister were watching the final seconds of the film and both were eager to sing its praises to me. I remained somewhat concerned about the subject matter. I prefer to read and watch more pleasant things and watch murder and detective films and programmes for the mise-en-scene rather than the bloodiness and cadaver quota.

Saturday began much earlier than usual as we were expecting the return of Big Daddy after his stint of more than a month in the lone-star state. It took me a while to clear his desk where I had been camping out during his absence and the kitchen table needed some serious surgery to allow more than three to dine at it. So with my brief housewiferly duties accomplished I was persuaded to sit down with with the offspring and experience “Requiem for a Dream”, directed by Darren Aronofsky.

The reason that my little darling wanted this film in the first place was because she had been to a gig, on Tuesday night, to see “30 Seconds To Mars”. The lead singer, Jared Leto. is also an actor and back in 2000 had been one of the main characters in the film. Out there in cyberspace he had been extolling the virtues of the film, urging everyone to view it. Consequently I was expected to observe the first few frames of the film and remark upon how gorgeous JL is. Apparently he had to lose quite a bit of weight for the role of Harry Goldfarb and therefore was a picture of slim slightly-goth youthfulness.

I am partial to films that look good and present me with interesting shapes and Aronofsky certainly does this in “Requiem for a Dream”. If I was better kine-educated there would would a multitude of filmic references on which to pick up. At the very least there are nods to de Sica and Busby Berkely. Like the films of Robert Bresson almost every frame is a work of art and the storyline is almost irrelevent, except of course that is what the whole film is about. My two companions were viewing for a second time and so could pick up on more and were able to absorb all elements of the split screens that occurred whenever drug-taking was involved.

There are brilliant comedic moments in this film and at times some of the protagonists are portrayed as caricatures rather than rounded personalities. Don’t allow this to let you think that the subject matter is not serious. Think of a Punch and Judy performance and you will have some idea of the effect.

I didn’t want to watch this film. I don’t enjoy “nasty” subjects and yet I couldn’t help myself. Just as the people in the movie were drawn into and down by what they started I couldn’t leave the room. The film is divided into acts and by the time we were moving from “Fall” to “Winter” Little Darling was saying, “I don’t want to watch this now, I don’t like this part.” Just like the addictions portrayed, the film has its hold on you and there is no escape. You don’t want to do it but you are there for the duration, whatever the consequences. It’s too late, you no longer have any free will.


Devine covers


No it’s not a typo or a spelling mistake just a nod in the direction of my inspiration for today’s post.

As usual I fell out of bed and turned the computer on before I even boiled the kettle. I used to have just one addiction but my self control is rapidly disappearing. You all know I can’t live without DGR but now my eyes and mind crave Stuck-in-a-book for his charmingly amusing and highly personal cartoons and Harriet Devine for well, I suppose just having the knack of posting about things that will appeal to me.

I popped over to Harriet’s this morning and she presented me with a Barbara Pym book cover in my favourite citrusy colours. You can see it top left in the picture above. Does it really matter what is inside a book when it looks like that? Instead of planning the remainder of my weekend I set off on a treasure hunt to see if I could find any more delightful Pym covers and just look what I found. I WANT THEM! There’s not a glimmer of foiled bling or an embossed aperture a la “Airport Books” in sight. There is no chance of these being mistaken for chicklit or even henlit which is a term I think I heard a certain MF utter on BBC Radio 4. I suppose they may verge on Bluestockinglit or perhaps even “OurVicar’sWifelit” (nod in the direction of SiaB) but I have a penchant for this sort of reading and I’m proud of it. It’s all a bit shabby-chic before it became chic.

There’s something comforting about worn loose covers and flowers from the garden and shopping lists. Its not a life I have ever experienced and I don’t have the relevant housewiferly inclinations but its one of the places I enjoy inhabiting when I allow myself to be wafted away by a good read.


And what about these beauties? Wouldn’t you be content if you had these on a slim bookcase in your study? Tall and slim with a slight Arts & Crafts feel or a touch of Bloomsbury?

Guest Blogger – OUT IN THE STICKS: The Hatching of Tiny Tim



He is mostly a black leghorn bantam, but being hatched and reared by a big hen. We aren’t precious about letting the pure black leghorn bantam cockerels mix the blood a bit….makes them stronger, a bit like mongrel dogs.

We set the eggs under a broody hen so that they will hatch on a waxing moon, a few days before full is good. There is less mortality and better hatch rates then. The hen sits 21 days, maybe a day or two less if the weather is warm, or maybe a day or two later if not. We open her broody coop up each morning so that she can get out, stretch her legs and get some dew on her breast feathers – this is important towards the end of the hatch so that the eggs get moistened and the chicks can chip out easily. I ‘feel’ the eggs once or twice through the hatch while she is off the clutch, and if they ‘slop’ remove them, because they were either infertile, or havent started to develop…being careful to return the good ones in the same place, and without turning them. The hen does that, twice a day with her beak and feet…never a full rotation, or the cord inside gets twisted, just forward and back again – how brilliant is nature! This little chap had gone four days over, but the egg felt warm and ‘firm’ inside – she had shoved it out, because there were 12 other chicks running around. So I removed it, and you can see the rest. However, I had to be careful not to intervene too much because each little beak has a sharp upward pointing ‘pipping’ bit on the end. By pecking away at the shell from inside a muscle is strengthened in the neck. If I help him out too much, he comes out with a floppy neck and can’t feed. Thin line……anyway, he made it.

Any eggs that are laid by hens that have a cockerel (rooster) running with them, can potentially be hatched under a hen, or in an incubator. The cockerels are usually ‘attentive’ once a day, so that the next egg to be laid is fertile. The males have the usual equipment required, except the testicles are tucked up high inside the body cavity, and are only discovered when preparing it for the oven. Size for size, the nuts would be the equivalent of a human having two full Tesco shopping bags in their trousers – impressive huh!

Tomorrow – a guest blogger: Weaver from the Sticks

I have persuaded a virtual friend of mine to do a guest spot on this blog. I live within the M25 (London’s orbital motorway), she lives “out in the sticks” and weaves. No mention of weaving in her guest appearance tomorrow though. Watch this space.

What did we do before t’internet?

sleuth.jpgI finished my working day feeling extremely proud of myself. For a while I’d been aware of a gap in our coverage of the world. Well actually several large holes but as with everything in life you can’t eat the whole elephant at once and you have to nibble away at little bits. So, gap identified and a possible filler, alias a photographer in the right area, identified. It sounds simple enough but sometimes trying to find the contact details for someone is harder than finding a needle in a haystack. Try googling your own name and see what happens. Did you find the real you at the top of the list? If your name is unusual and you are Famous, with a capital “F” then possibly you really are top of the heap. With lesser mortals and those with more common names this is not usually the case. Usually you will find a reference to someone who plays some strange team sport out in the mid-west of the US or the runner who came 3rd in a marathon in the north-east of England. Another amazing fact is that of you search for a slightly “foreign” name you will stumble across a fire-fighter of that name. I’m not making this up, I promise.

My target had a short biblical first name and a surname that he shared with a character played by Robin Williams. There was even my proverbial firefighter staring at me from my computer screen. I found plenty of references to his work, several of them on Amazon: photography Fred Bloggs (name changed for privacy). What I couldn’t track down was his webpage or email address or anything that would actually lead me to him. It was time to bring in reinforcements so I decided to approach people who had had their places photographed by him, one was an architect, the other a small music centre. My money was on the architect but I placed my bet too soon and my email bounced back to me “refused”. Obviously the recipient could tell I was an unsavoury character without even accepting my message. I wasn’t going to be thwarted and I typed up my email, don’t you love copy and paste, and faxed it immediately to the practice that had refused my communication. Then I resigned myself to never finding my prey.

Just before I left work I had an email from the outsider in this race, a lovely reply from that musical place laying out all the contact details I could ever wish for.

God bless t’internet and all who surf in her!

Yesterday’s haul


Don’t you just love those charity shops that still have some items at charity shop prices? This from my local Geranium Shop for the Blind. 30p per paperback. Admittedly most of the books were not to my liking but just as well really or I would have needed to buy a wheelbarrow or shopping trolley to take my purchases home.


Do you recognise any of the above? Any recommendations for which to read first?




That’s my boy!


No. 2 son has been published! (Actually so has No.1 son but I have yet to see the article.) I was quietly working yesterday making sure that publishers and magazines who need pictures were kept happy when an email with the subject header “I’m famous” landed in my in box. It was from No.2 son and contained a link to HIS article in The New Statesman! If I haven’t already bored you by emailing you personally about his moment of glory then pop over and read all about it.

The photo above shows the whole junior tribe quite a few years ago when a strange arrangement of time caused all three children to start a new school, one infant, one junior and one secondary. Jamie looks eager, Greg uncooperative and poor little Celia decidedly apprehensive. Do you see the potential there? World-famous football coach, national journalist & video star!

We’re going to have a full house this weekend, the other half returns from his second 6-week stint in Houston, Texas and as Hampton are playing this weekend we get to see No.1 son as we are the most reasonably-priced doss-house in the proximity of Hampton & Richmond Borough FC’s home ground.

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