Posted in Photography, Weekend Chat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest

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The Berlin Marathon, I’m sure, is the story of many thousands of personal quests. From Kenenisa Bekele who (according to the press) was aiming for the world record (which he missed by 6 seconds), to so many stories most of us will never hear. Some might be so personal that they’ll never be shared, others will be told and retold to family and friends.

Whatever their quest might have been – “You’re all heroes!”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest

Posted in Weekend Chat

Weekend Chat 7 July 2013

215561_10150156966756445_7044587_nGrab a cup of coffee, find a comfy seat and discover some of my favourite blog posts, films, etc from this past week.

Things to watch

“Wild Shepherdess” with Kate Humble.  If, like me, you love discovering how people live around the world, then do watch the first 2 episodes of this!  Kate Humble visits herding families in Afghanistan and Peru, taking part in their everyday lives (in a TV sort of way).  Absolutely fascinating!  Episode 3 takes her to Australia and focusses more on the actual sheep farming side of things.  Not as interesting (to me, anyway).

Things to read

brainAside from the fact that it is somewhat depressing that a book about the “middle-aged brain” seems relevant at all, this is fascinating stuff.  New research into how our brains change and develop as we get older (make that “more mature” 😉 ).  There are things that get harder, definitely, but there are also things that we get better at.  At times, it all gets a bit too scientific for me but overall very very interesting – and encouraging!

Things to listen to

CC Extra: Damascus Diary 24 June 2013

A very moving and personal account by BBC correspondent Lina Sinjab of how the Syrian war has changed both her home city, Damascus, and herself.

Posted in Culture, Weekend Chat

Weekend Chat 30 June 2013

215561_10150156966756445_7044587_nGrab a cup of coffee, find a comfy seat and discover some my favourite blog posts, films, etc from this past week.

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Things to watch

THEAUDIENCE585x363If you get a chance to see The Audience with Helen Mirren – go!!!  It is phenomal!  I saw the live broadcast from London at a cinema in Berlin and was blown away!

Here is a short synopsis (from their website):”For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace – a meeting like no other in British public life – it is private. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said. Not even to their spouses.

The Audience breaks this contract of silence – and imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister has used these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional – sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive.

From young mother to grandmother, these private audiences chart the arc of the second Elizabethan Age. Politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, while she remains constant, waiting to welcome her next Prime Minister.”

The play does not follow chronological order, meaning Mirren in one scene plays a 30 year old Queen and in the next scene a 70 year old.  The costume changes mostly happen on stage (and I have no idea how they do it) but even more impressive is how Helen Mirren adapts the way she moves and stands according the Quenn’s age.  Amazing!

Speaking of this wonderful actress, the BBC just had an interesting programme, charting her career: The Many Faces of … Dame Helen Mirren.

Things to read

6a00d8341d299153ef0168eba1b07a970c-800wiEssentially a fascinating and very well written (Greek) family saga.  Eugenides traces one family from what is now Turkey, through terrible persecution and on to the US.  In places, the writing is exceptional – his description of the monotony of working on a production line is phenomenal!  I also very much appreciated the way he develops the characters and particularly the relationships.  He is very compassionate and seems to like his characters, while also describing so well the subtle and undramatic changes in relationships that step by step lead to them being completely transformed.

 

Posted in Weekend Chat

Weekend Chat 9 June 2013

215561_10150156966756445_7044587_nGrab a cup of coffee, find a comfy seat and discover some my favourite blog posts, films, etc from this past week.

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Things to read

EuropeansThe Europeans” by Henry James.  Fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable tale of two cultures colliding.  Not dramatically or with fireworks, but in lots and lots of smaller ways.  We’re in mid-19th century New England, and a brother and sister come to stay with their cousins.  Both sides appear to be somewhat in awe of the other, and so have lots of expectations that go unfulfilled.  And so unfold all manner of relational complications.  A good read!

Things to watch

The Most Dangerous Man in Tudor England“.  Amazing documentary on BBC2 about the life of William Tyndale, the first person to translate the Bible into English.  So convinced was he of the importance of his endeavour, that he was willing to live in exile for many years, and in the end gave his life.  Melvyn Bragg (unsurprisingly) does a wonderful job bringing to life the man and the times.  Well worth watching!

Posted in Weekend Chat

Weekend Chat 2 June 2013

215561_10150156966756445_7044587_nGrab a cup of coffee, find a comfy seat and discover some my favourite blog posts, films, etc from this past week.

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Things to watch

I think it was some time back in February that I first started checking when Springwatch might be back 🙂  So you can imagine that I am a tad excited the time has finally come!  For someone who is not normally very interested in nature and science, I have come to really love this programme.  Following the nesting birds in particular is absolutely fascinating!  The characters, the drama – better than any soap opera!  And yet very informative at the same time.  I have learned a lot and have certainly found myself paying a lot more attention to wildlife around me.

Things to read

the-observationsBrilliant book!  Set in Scotland in the 1860s, it’s the story of Bessy, a girl from the slums of Dublin and Glasgow, who ends up working as a maid in a big country house.  Her mistress occasionally gives her some slightly odd tasks.  Slowly, layer by layer, Bessy uncovers what is really going on.  In the process, we also learn something about her own, pretty tragic,  life story.  For all that, the book is not depressing at all, rather there is a lot of warmth and humour.

 

Posted in Weekend Chat

Weekend Chat 26 May 2013

215561_10150156966756445_7044587_nGrab a cup of coffee, find a comfy seat and discover some my favourite blog posts, films, etc from this past week.

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Things to watch

If you missed the the final part of the latest series of Dr Who – watch it!  It was amazing!  Now for a long wait until 23 November…

“This House” by James Graham.  Wonderful play, set in the two Whip’s offices during the 1974-1979 parliament.  Great behind-the-scenes look at the workings of parliament.  Interesting as well to have an interview with Ann Taylor (who features in the play) during the interval.

 

Posted in Weekend Chat

Weekend Chat 28 April 2013

215561_10150156966756445_7044587_nGrab a cup of coffee, find a comfy seat and discover some my favourite blog posts, films, etc from this past week.

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Things to watch

I have only just discoveredThe Villageon the BBC, the story of 20th Century England played out through a family in a Derbyshire village.  Definitely not rose-tinted and thus quite tough to watch in places, but so far absolutely worth it!

Things to read

Earthquake Expert – a moving account of the recent earthquake in China from an almost-eye-witness.  Coupled with a very amusing story, illustrating the perils of language.  Expert and expat – so close and yet so far…Read for yourself!

“Lu Lingzi was living the dream of practically every student that every English teacher in China has had in his or her class. We know them well: the young man who wants to earn an MBA and make his millions; the young woman who wants to become a scientist and discover the cure for cancer.” Very interesting reflection on the dream that brought Lu Lingzi, who died in the Boston Marathon bombings, to the US.

Things to listen to

Very interesting programme on “Crossing Continents” on BBC Radio 4, talking to staff and students at a Belarussian university in exile in Lithuania.