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Sunday, 31 January 2016


We drove into York for the midday showing at Cityscreen. A fine film, a little worthy perhaps and not much action (no gun firing or car chases) but both of us were gripped by this very interesting storyline and some strong performances, particularly Stanley Tucci, the two hours passed rater quickly.

The film watching was preceded by the purchasing of new jeans in the January sales, so no more shopping for me in 2016, hooray. The film was followed by a good lunch at Carluccio's. Excellent.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Mud everywhere

During the last two weeks, the rain has relented and the rivers and streams have returned to more usual flows, but fields and paths are still waterlogged and deep in mud - not much fun walking the countryside at the moment. Still, the parish church has some new (and very green) lawnmowers.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

"The Revenant"

Trip to the Cityscreen cinema in York yesterday, on my own as B did not wish to see this film, but I did meet a friend there, unplanned, so that was good.

The film - both of us said - this is a magnificent film. The performances, the story, the locations, the camerawork, wow. It is also bloody and violent, men are not shown in their best light, so it is not a film for everyone but on a Tuesday afternoon the theatre was more than half-full and I think the audience was rapt, captured, not a sound or a cough was heard. This is storytelling at its best.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

"Catches win matches" and test series

The England Cricket Team are playing a four match Test series against South Africa, currently the number one Test cricket side, in South Africa.

There is an old saying in cricket "catches win matches". Yesterday was  Day 3 of the third match. The catching of England was outstanding. Couple this with outstanding bowling, particularly from Stuart Broad, the result is match winning and series winning.

Well done boys, a great win.

Thanks to the ECB for these photos.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

U3A and Marechal Joffre

Good afternoon and a belated happy new year to you. I really hope you are all very well, not suffering from the winter and have lost any post-Christmas blues.

This morning I travelled into the beautiful City of York to attend the U3A York Military History Group talk on the bombing of York in 1942, part of the German bombing offencive known as the Baedeker Blitz. This was an excellent talk. Malcolm the author of the talk, had spent many hours and much effort going through many archives and official documents and reports. However, this does mean that as I am delivering the February talk, I have four weeks to prepare and rehearse my talk on the Battle of Verdun. Oh boy.

I have been looking for pictures and photos to illustrate the talk. I came across this magnificent portrait of Papa Joffre, painted by Henri Jacquier.

The original is in the Musée de l'Armée in Paris. I think it was painted just after the Great War; he has a very fine collection of medals, including the Commemorative Medal for the War of 1870 - 71 and the Madagascar Medal. The large star on his left chest is his Order of the Bath.

I have finished the research for the talk and written half of it, I believe I am on schedule to finish in time.