Monthly Archives: January 2014

The world was made for him, and us

Goodbye, Pete Seeger. I was sorry to hear Pete has died, but so very grateful that we had him for as long as we did.

This is what I blogged when he was 90 and that still stands. I’m amazed Pete was able to go on performing for another four and a half years.

We desperately need people like him, but I’m not sure if, and where, we can hope to find that sort of person any longer. Someone with a message. Someone who will just keep at it, no matter what.

Thank you for all you did, Pete!


Borås Girl and I needed to go out for afternoon tea. We don’t do it often, but it happens. I chose the week when ‘everyone else’ had gone away and I’d be all alone, needing someone to chat to.

And then I tried to justify it by telling myself it would be the reward for all my hard work 25 years ago. I live too far away from Son to pop over for a slice of birthday cake on the day. So what could be better than going to the Midland Hotel for some ‘replacement’ cake?

The Midland Hotel

What it really is, though, is pampering. While tasty enough, the tea and all the stuff it comes with, I could do better at home. But it is great not having to make sandwiches or scones or cake. Even when you know how to.

Going out is nice. Sitting for two or three hours (yes, really) in a pleasant hotel, while someone polite brings all the food, and replenishes your tea and the hot water and the milk, even when not needed, is very nice.

So just like you can have a bath at home; you might occasionally want to splash (sorry) out on a visit to a spa. You can wash your own hair, and comb it. But you go to the hairdresser, anyway.

Besides, an unexpected side effect of motherhood is that on that day every blooming year I’d be working like crazy to provide a party for children of various ages. When you’re the child that seems obvious, and nice. Seen from the other side, you just want to flop down and demand to be pampered.

So, that’s what I did, once those lovely galumphing teenagers stopped distributing mud over my formerly cream coloured rug every January.

And BG and I managed to cover a wide assortment of topics to chat about.

The Musketeers

I was a bit shocked, to be honest. Had I not read a preview of The Musketeers, I’d have been far more confused as well. For someone with a poor memory, I do remember what the beginning of The Three Musketeers is like, even after all these years.

And this was not it. But then, it did say ‘based on the characters of’ and it was that. Very 21st century musketeering.

I know we are meant to enjoy looking at all those delicious young men, but I am so old that I had only that ghastly Richelieu to look at. The musketeers did nothing for me. OK, their boss, Captain Treville, looked reasonable, I suppose. And was the King meant to be so young?

I did enjoy the landlady, now that I think about it.

Might try it one more week before I give up.


At least I didn’t have to miss an episode of M*A*S*H.

25 years ago today I was watching M*A*S*H and experiencing twinges of something. The Resident IT Consultant was out, having first asked my permission. Unusual, but his wife was about to have a baby, after all.

Some hours after watching my favourite show, I decided I wasn’t going to put up with this any more, so we went off to the hospital. Had the baby (no, it wasn’t as easy as it seems), stayed in the hospital for six days, and went home.

One of the first things I did was plant myself and Son (who at that time really did not actually have a name) in front of the television, and we watched M*A*S*H together.

Good use of time, if I say so myself.


The art in the cupboard

In the end it was easier than I thought it would be. I know I said I’d find it impossible to get rid of Mother-of-witch’s paintings. But once you’ve hardened your soul, you find that a fair bit can go.

After all, the best stuff is already on the walls. Not everything in my cupboards has gone. Yet. But a lot went. Makes me feel nice and ‘light.’

Art by Anna-Stina

Over Christmas Offspring were here and they needed to take a look and agree to what I was about to do. Son had asked for a few pictures to put on his walls. Preferably beachy things with boats. As it turned out, he has a shortlist, but Dodo is to have final say, and no decision has been made. Except she can’t abide the seagull he’d set his heart on. Seems that Daughter and the Resident IT Consultant are with her on that. It’s creepy, as well as large.

Oh, well.

Speaking of Christmas, we had prepared the paintings and taken them all out in advance to be looked at. Then one day Daughter and I were searching for something else entirely, and I found to my horror that the cupboard we opened contained, not what we were after, but more bl**dy paintings. That came as a surprise, I have to admit.

Later we had a day when we even braved the unframed art and looked through every last folder of absolutely everything. (Bar the sketchbooks. I still have them to leaf through.) A lot of it has gone. It was OK, but I will never have enough walls to display more of anything.

At the very end of her Christmas holidays, Daughter went through the things in her room. There were all the works of art she produced throughout her GCSE and AS-level Art… I quickly realised I will need to build walls going up and down every room in order to hang all the pictures I want.

GCSE Art 1

We got rid of some, but most of it stayed. That’s Art 1 – Witch 0. Well, I suppose it is flat and will take up less space than the books.

My new dream home is an industrial space with masses of large walls. So if anyone knows of a disused factory in central Stirling, going cheap and with a nice garden; let me know.

The Railway Man

How can a family of railway lovers not go and see The Railway Man? Even after being warned off by people that the torture scenes are so horrific as to make it unbearable.

The Railway Man

We were charmed by Colin Firth’s wooing of Nicole Kidman (I had feared she’d be too glamourous for the part, but she was fine) at the beginning of the film, in spite of the stations and railway lines and the rolling stock being ‘a bit wrong.’ It was all done in good faith. (But the bit with the guard saying Colin was on the wrong train was too much 21st century. They didn’t go in for that kind of thing back then.)

Somewhere in the middle, when it was – mentally – dark, and slow and very depressing, with little hope for improvement, I wondered what we were doing. The scenes showing Jeremy Irvine as the young Lomax during the war, as a Japanese prisoner, told me why we were there. It was good. Not fast paced action, nor enjoyable. But good. Stuff you need to see.

The torture was bad. But it was expected and it was once done for real, and it was nowhere near as awful as you get in some of those fun action films people don’t mind watching.

The Railway Man

Despite knowing the outcome, having read about Eric Lomax, it almost came as a surprise. Low key and quietly unassuming, this was an excellent film. And for all its awfulness, we found ourselves surprisingly cheery as we compared notes afterwards. That’s probably why you should see The Railway Man.

NCIS – Kill Chain

Oh, Delilah! It is to be continued, so fingers crossed.

No sooner had I thought the thought that I’m tired of every case involving someone in the team or someone connected to them, than I retracted it on seeing Hollis Mann again. Yay! And soon after, I became worried they will be doing a Paula Cassidy on her. I hope not!


Where to start? Well, I still don’t feel Bishop is right, but I suppose Agent Lee was also rather different, and not too handy with a gun. She’s in the main credits now, which is as much proof that she’s here to stay as anything. And at the end she’s down on the floor, where she does her best work.


It’s good to have characters return after such a long time that not only do you not expect it, but people like Vance need to be filled in. Like, is Gibbs sure Hollis isn’t an ex-wife? I preferred her in uniform, because it made her different from all the other women around Gibbs.

Abby was busy taking her foot out of her mouth, while also making sure McGee knew what was important.


Talking about ex-wives, they did a good introduction for the forgetful and any newcomers who needed to understand about Hollis. But eight years ago Diane was the second ex-wife, not the first. Picky, I know. But why not get it right?

Bishop, DiNozzo and McGee

The case I can’t say much about. It’s more politics than Navy affairs. Rather like most things in life. We’ll see. And fingers crossed for Delilah.

(Photos © CBS)

Pregnant in LA

OK, I was a little wrong. We don’t lose Kensi. Or at least, they plan to keep her working for as long as they can. (It might have been too much for both NCISs to need new female agents at the same time.)

It’s quite clever, really. Have Kensi and Deeks ‘go too far’ and send Kensi away and dress her up in wintry clothes to hide the bump a little longer. And I’m guessing they will soon – if they haven’t already – show Kensi scenes that ‘they made earlier’ for when Daniela Ruah is too pregnant.

I like the way they are prepared to work round that ever present problem of what happens to the private lives of actresses of a certain age. But none of them can know how the birth of the baby will affect the show. All the determination in the world won’t change the needs of mother and baby, but I hope Daniela’s experience is one of the best and that she will be ready to act soon again.

Can they let Kensi and Deeks stay together once she’s back from Afghanistan? Hetty might seem hard, but she’s soft too, as the Christmas gift of phones proved. ‘Bearded vulture’ doesn’t feel very Christmassy, however. I’m not sure it’s even healthy to eat vulture, but it added some festive fun, out in what must feel like the middle of nowhere. (We are wondering if the headless corpse will be related to the bodyless head.)

Good to see them using Nell as an agent (which also saves on getting another woman in…), even if Eric is jealous. Granger is being put to good use, grouching away in Afghanistan.

Deeks and Kensi - Merry Evasion

I liked Merry Evasion, the Christmas episode with a heart. Although why do they mention Holiday cards, and then wish people Merry Christmas? And you just knew the dog would be all right this close to Christmas.

(Photo © CBS)

The Sign of Three

OK, as wedding speeches go, it was very longwinded. If I’d been there for real, I’d have gone out for some fresh air, or something. But watching The Sign of Three on television was reasonably entertaining.

Many fans seem to have been disappointed. I could be wrong, but comparing Benedict Cumberbatch’s modern Sherlock with the ‘original’ is surely a mistake? It’s not meant to be the same product. And Sherlock Holmes is – nearly – always an insufferable man who thinks too highly of himself.

The stag night was fun. I was impressed that Sherlock even knew he had to organise one, and roughly what it had to be about. I’m simple enough to enjoy lines like ‘he’s clueing for looks’ and I’m quite ready for more.

The Sign of Three

Last week I harboured some doubts on the tube incident which I didn’t share. Just as well. There are others who do that kind of thing so much better. I was going to say that scriptwriters never seem to get things like it right. But maybe they get it wrong on purpose? Although that would take a lot of specialist knowledge. I was merely surprised the Resident IT Consultant didn’t interrupt the viewing by pointing out how wrong they were.

So how did he not die, then?

Surprise! Sherlock didn’t actually die!

It was good to see him again, even for those of us who are not John Watson. But I can’t claim to have grasped too much of what happened in last night’s Sherlock. Partly the plot was somewhat weird, and partly I felt that dear Benedict mumbled an awful lot. It wasn’t the volume; it was lack of clarity. I wanted subtitles.

Sherlock - The Empty Hearse

But it was exciting, and reasonably well written by Mycroft. At first we didn’t take to Mary, but she improved as the evening progressed. It’s an odd in-joke to have Benedict’s mother play Sherlock’s mother, but I suppose someone has to. Dr Watson is about to marry his real life partner. Again, weird, but why not?

Looking forward to seeing what they will do with this. (The Americans will remove eight minutes. I really don’t believe there were any spare minutes to remove.)