Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Living Room Office

 Good evening in college, very productive .
Lots of work done 
Came home and am happy at me moving my desk into the living room earlier.
It looks cool

Rather wintery outside 

Editing History and a Zombie Gay fairytale

 All of us rewrite history 

Ask my ex mother in law that one, she was a friggin expert on the subject..anyway
Yesterday I went to see The Fabelmans which has been hailed as Spielberg’s oh so personal homage to cinema and his upbringing.
I enjoyed it , with reservations 
The reservations came from Spielberg’s need to re-edit and if not re write, reshoot those vital and cinematic moments that punctuate all of our lives when growing up.
As a small child we see Sam ( Steve) recreate the famous train crash from The Greatest Show On Earth as we are introduced to his Elf like mother Mitzi ( Michelle Williams) a former concert pianist who still protects her hands by not washing up a dish, and who chases a tornado with her children in the car. 
She is this ethereal character who despite being incredibly selfish, and at times depressed is shown, in a rather affectionate spotlight and centre stage. Sam’s father (Paul Dano) is benign and sweet as the man who finally accepts that his best friend Uncle Benny ( a restrained Seth Rogen) is the true love of Mitzi’s life.
It is clear that Spielberg’s childhood was unconventional to say the least, so it would be forgivable for the audience to accept how his love of cinema helped rewrite and certainly re-edit reality .

Labelle ( right)

The trouble with the whole film is that certain parts are simply not true. I listened to Lauren Lavern’s detailed interview with Spielberg on Desert Island Discs last year, where Spielberg admitted that he didn’t speak to his father for many years, a fact not even eluded to in the movie.
When a film makes the point of re-editing reality, does not the final version feel all a bit sanitised ? 
Perhaps that is what Spielberg was wanting to get across? 
It’s overlong by 30 minutes too 🥲
Having said all this Gabriel Labelle gave a gentle and intelligent performance as the 16 year old Spielberg  and Michele Williams was incredibly moving and restrained as the rather lost Mitzi.

Bill and Frank in The Last Of Us

The Last Of Us is now on episode three on Sky Atlantic 
This is a big budget, rather sprawling re working of a popular video game set in the zombie apocalypse where the undead sport feather like growths on their faces and where Joel ( Pedro Pascal) has to protect teenage Ellie ( Bella Ramsey) who is immune to the infection and who may be humanity’s only salvation .
It’s a bleak watch to be sure and until episode 3 ( shown last night) I wasn’t really happy with how things were going.
Last night the tables turned and we were introduced to two new characters Bill and Frank.( Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlet) 
Bill, is a survivalist, the only character to remain in his tiny town of just a few streets. He had amassed a stockpile of weapons, gasoline, food and know how to fortify his home but after years of solitude is lonely as he enjoys the finer things in life which he can’t share. In one of his traps he captures the middle aged, garrulous Frank, the only survivor from a group from the city and suddenly the bleak zombie drama takes a severe right hand turn into a gentle and thoughtful character study about the love affair between two middle aged men.
It was quite, quite charming and wonderfully played by both actors who really made you believe that such an unlikely pair could make a go of things.
Wonderful and incredibly moving television 

Monday, 30 January 2023


 “ He has been with me for all of my life, so far, I’ve had no one as loyal or as long-standing in my life “ 

So did a patient describe her brother to me the other day. 
It was a quote that lingered in my mind like a YouTube song 
And is one that has a resonance for I got the quote as soon as it left the patient’s mouth.

I’ve mentioned it here on Going Gently a few times, that my childhood wasn’t a particularly happy one. Like many sixties and seventies kids , we were a product of our age…..emotionally absent parents but well looked after children, we had siblings and grandparents to nurture us, so we were the lucky ones.
But inside our own four walls things were often somewhat sad.

My patient shared a memory of her brother with me and told me of it’s significance. And over sixty years I  thought of what one memory I could share that summed up my sisters’ and me.
I found one easily,  perched happily in a cerebral cul de sac of childhood memories in 1972 or there abouts. Janet and I were around 10.
My sister Ann’s house  One Saturday afternoon 
I think we were making Christmas cards 
Ann was singing badly. Singing the theme tune to a popular children’s magazine show at the time
And all I remember was laughter
Pure, unchecked, silly, belly laugh, laughter

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Saturday, 28 January 2023


My sister has been working in the garden and on the patio this morning. We’ve chatted in between jobs.
It’s nice to have someone around the cottage.
The sound of someone else pottering has been somewhat comforting.
Roger has adored the new company and has galloped good heartedly when the leaf blower was unleashed.
He’s watched Janet carefully, enjoying the novelty of a fresh face.
He hugged her before she left, as Welsh Terriers do

Eirlys called round with some free range eggs. You may remember I took her a beef stew the other day.
Not one for sentiment she told me that there was a letter for me in the egg box, thanking me for the thought. She held my eyes for a second longer than usual which was her way of hugging me.
I nodded that I understood.
She would have done the same for me.

I’m working tonight and tomorrow. I’m going to see Spielberg’s The Fabelmans on Monday afternoon. I’d planned to see it today but it’s a long film and needs a clear afternoon.
Spielberg’s upbringing was interesting and his family dynamic complicated.
I suspect the film was his therapy in a way……

I will leave you with this little ballet video…..enjoy your Saturday 


Friday, 27 January 2023

Quiet Time

 Sometimes it’s nice to be away from the dogs.
Life is like a permanent kindergarten visit when they are always about.
Constant neediness, noise, motion and squabbles.
And of course, those are the very reasons I have them,
But just occasionally they can be exhausting and occasionally you have the need for silence 
Total silence without burbs, farts, itches and barks.

And I went to sit in the churchyard for a while
Where it was cold and quiet with only the chirp of hedge sparrows for company.
I wrote this blog in my head as I sat there. 
I’m having a grown up day today, which means that I’m going out to dinner with my friend Colin. 
It was his birthday a few days ago and he was fed up  at being alone on a work night, so I’m taking him out to dinner in Chester and will wear something ironed.

For the past few weeks have been exploring the knotty subject of self awareness in college and have been using the concept of the Johari Window in the look at self which is an interesting  if not a bit clumsy psychological  romp in itself. It’s always interesting to see yourself as others see you, especially when there is a real  I see moment to be had.
I’m not good in asking for things I want off people 
It’s a fear of rejection that takes precedence 
But I’m getting better at it
We are all a work in progress 

Thursday, 26 January 2023

A Snooze in the Afternoon

This is the simple jug I bought from Sainsbury’s yesterday . It’s robust and pleasing and suits the daffodils which I’ve now filled it. Tulips will look good in it too. 
I took the dogs to Colwyn Bay Promenade first thing and bought daffodils from a little florist in the town before meeting a friend for brunch. 
I think brunch is the go to eating event popular with people now. I love it much more that a late dinner out , not that I’m invited out late much anymore . 
I popped in Eirlys’ beef casserole, wrote up some college notes and that’s it for the day.
A recent blood test showed I’m a bit anaemic so a crafty little snooze-Ette  is the order of the late afternoon 
It’s cool , but I cover me and the dogs in a throw and soon all of us will be asleep on the trendy couch .
Organic hot water bottles for each other
I will light the fire later.
Ps fire roaring , curried fish soup for supper, 2 hour chat with friend Nige on the phone 
Now settling down to watch crap tv

Wednesday, 25 January 2023


 In my book and in my family Food can often be a metaphor for affection
I’m meeting my friend Colin on Friday and he’s a been a bit low as of late. 
We are going out for supper.
Today I cooked a huge beef stew thickened with left over mash potato.
I left it cooking on low for hours, so tonight the meat fell apart as it should for the best comfort food.
I’ve plated a bowl up and wrapped it in foil . 
I will take it around to Eirlys tomorrow morning. I can’t believe it’s been eight weeks since her husbands funeral. Food is always a good gift when grief is involved .

I skimmed a small bowl of gravy from the casserole and let it cool on the garden wall  before taking it up to Albert who has been under the weather today .

He finished the lot 

I was going out to a forensic talk on serial killers in llandudno tonight but couldn’t justify the 30 quid ticket cost ! Having said that I bought a pair of wellies and a reduced priced jug from Sainsbury’s this afternoon. 
The jug is perfect for daffodils 



Last night, as I was driving home after college I listened to a little gem of a radio programme on radio 4

Set in a northern city school File On Four learning to survive , was a gentle, but honest look of how an inner city school deals with a population ravaged by the financial crisis .
One sequence, had me geared up at Bluebell’s wheel 
It was the moment the school organised a “day in pyjamas” 
The children and staff all turned up in nightware, which was not just a bit of fun , but a crafty way for the senior teacher to see which children needed a proper fitting set of pyjamas later in the year.
Of course we provide the new Pj’s “ she added “;but only after they won them in a raffle” 
And it was that lie that really broke my heart just a little.
What a wonderful head teacher
What a fantastic bit of documentary radio and
What a lesson learned 

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

He Used To Be Mine -

Planting Out


I took the iris and lilies my sister donated to the TCA down to the pond this morning and submerged them in a space I found beyond the little jetty. 
I checked with Nick who was one of the TCA that spearheaded the pond if I had done ok then came back home to shower all of the dogs, all of whom had acquired a real doggy pong.
Not surprisingly it was taking a neighbour to Dyserth for a doctor appointment that sealed their showers, the neighbour opened the passenger door window and poked a nose through when they thought I wasn’t looking.
I’ve been washing bedding and throws all morning.
Tuesdays , I’m in college 6pm until 9 but will get the library early to catch up on my workbooks and journal.
I’m tired, as my rhythms  are all out after nights