Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Eurovision 2016

This weekend it is another year on for the Eurovision Song Contest. This year's host is Sweden. I usually instantly forget what the winning song was from the previous year and this is no exception. I haven't heard what the entry is from Great Britain but I bet it will be utter crap as usual.
That won't stop me from supporting it though. I do expect nil points and anything better than that will be regarded as a bonus!


BHS (British Home Stores)

I was sad to hear that the high street store chain BHS were in administration. As a chain it hasn't done as well as others and I have wondered how come they have lasted so long when other long standing chains have collapsed. The truth is that they not done so well really, which is why they are now looking for buyers. With the pension problems as well, it is the staff who I feel sorry for.
I have bought clothes from the store, the clothes seem reasonably priced and pretty good quality, they do seem a little out of step with modern trends though. I think the chain needs a brand overhaul. Similar to what M&S went through.


Sunday, May 08, 2016

EU Referendum

The important date is Thursday 23rd June 2016. This is the date that the people of the UK get to decide their fate in Europe. We get to choose whether we want to stay in the European Union or to leave it and go our way as a country.
Everyone seems to want a say in this, including president Barack Obama. I respect Barack Obama. He made a stir in the UK by suggesting that if the UK did leave the EU, it would mean a step backwards in terms of trade affairs - he made use of the unfortunate phrase "back of the queue", which seems to have stirred up some feelings.
Personally, I don't side with David Cameron on many things but on the subject of Europe, I think the arguments for staying within the EU are sound. I'm not arguing we can't do everything we do now, in many ways we will continue to be able to do them and it might help in some areas if we did leave the EU. But I believe we have to look at the long game. We also have to consider our security and how we protect our country by the sharing of intelligence information across borders with other national security agencies.
There is still time to read more and consider the arguments from all sides. I shall be doing this and urge everyone whether undecided or not to do this.


Nelly the elephant. Trump trump trump

Well, it looks like Donald Trump is going to be the Republican candidate in the running for the White House and presidency of the US of A. Although if he does, win I doubt he will bring much unity to America. He seems to divide opinion wherever he goes and whenever he opens his mouth.
I have to say, after reading various articles about the man that he seems to be thoroughly unlikeable human being. In that context and in as much as it matters to me personally, I hope he does not beat Hilary Clinton to become the next president. The thought of someone apparently so vindictive and small minded with that amount of power worries me greatly.


Fine weather with Hay Faver

The last couple of weeks have seen temperatures rise where I live. This weekend, it has actually been dry enough and warm enough to sit outside. I have actually been able to get out my bistro table and chairs. I am sitting outside and working on this blog post even now, just wearing my shorts and T shirt. The temperature is into the twenties, I think however that next weekend will be a different matter.
As the weather has been getting better I have unfortunately been suffering. I thought at first it was a cold but my eyes have been so irritated that I know now it is Hay Fever. I haven't suffered a lot from Hay Fever in my life but some years have been worse than others. This year, for whatever reason, it seems quite bad. So I started taking daily allergy tablets yesterday.


Captain America: Civil War

Last weekend was a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK, officially known as the May Day Bank Holiday even though the 1st of the month was last Sunday. So all public sector workers and a good many private sector ones got a free holiday day on Monday. It was so good to get an extra weekend day. So good infact, that I didn't even spend my time blogging about it!
On Sunday last week I took my son over to sunny Milton Keynes Cineworld cinema to go and see Marvel's latest picture called Captain America: Civil War. A tale about Captain America's obsession to help his friend and wartime buddy Bucky Barnes but also about internal divisions within the team of Avengers about oversight and who is best positioned to protect the human population of Earth from the Avengers themselves. During the film, we are introduced to a new Marvel character called the Black Panther and to the baddie Baron Zemo (although I'm not sure he's a baron within the film universe. There is more to say about the film, a lot goes on which is really good. The film is well-paced and has a lot of action and some drama as well as comedy moments. It's very well made all-in-all.


Friday, April 22, 2016

A wet end to the week

Friday evening is here and the weekend begins. I am extremely tired though. So I probably won't be enjoying my evening very much. Also, it is raining so I can't even go out in the garden to enjoy that. Makes me wish we had a conservatory.
In other news, the death of the pop/rock artist Prince has upset my wife who is a big fan of his. She has seen him in concert twice. I like a few of his songs but have never been a big fan really. 1999 was probably the song I enjoyed the most of his. It takes me back to my school years that song.
I see that the Star Wars film The Force Awakens is out on DVD, I'd like to buy that.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Brie cheese

I bought this yesterday and tried it today. It is lovely, I like the creamy texture of it. I had a simple lunch of several pieces of French toast, sliced Pink Lady apple, 5 red grapes, two pickled onions and some of this brie.



Under Siege

I picked up a DVD copy of this film several weeks ago. It's such a clich├ęd movie but there is something about it that I still like. It might be the awful bad guy characters Tommy Lee Jones or Gary Busey or possibly the brief appearance of the wonderfully perfect breasts of Erika Eleniak. It is worth a watch if you have never seen but if you have seen Die Hard, imagine something similar on a US Navy warship and you are there.


Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Garden time

Last weekend I celebrated my 17th anniversary with my wife. As an anniversary present we were bought a bistro table and chairs set by my mother in-law, a thoughtful gift as I have mentioned that one would be good in the past. It was ordered through a shop I've not been to before called The Original Factory Shop and it was delivered as promised. All very easy. Looks good, even better in real life than in the brochure (below), it has a light in it so will be good for the summer nights.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bargain keyrings

I looked in the shop called Game while in York and although I was predominantly looking at the games, I also spied a few sale items in the accessory department. I always like to get game franchise related merchandise at bargain prices, this time it was Watchdogs and Call of Duty Ghosts. See what I picked up below and I think you'll agree, they were bargains.



New trainers

My feet got very wet whilst we were in York. I wore a pair of brown leather shoes with me, they have some suede on the top but in the past have been fine in the rain. However, this week they finally gave up and my foot got very wet. It's not nice to trudge around in a wet shoe with a wet sock. So I found the nearest sports shop, which was JD Sports, and took a look at the trainers in there. There was a wall of trainers but the ones I ended up buying were on the rack near the door, the reduced rail - planted at the opening of the shop to entice people in. The trainers I bought are made by Fila, a brand I haven't bought before, the good thing was they were less than half price. A bargain! Here they are, they are known as Fila Energized.


Holiday in York

After the Easter period we travelled up to the North to have a couple of days in York, staying overnight in a hotel. York is an interesting place geographically and historically. The streets are narrow and cobbled and the city castle walls make you feel like time has stood still. Obviously, the shops are modern and trading in goods that are born of the 21st century. However it is the buildings themselves that are original, The Shambles area is very much like Diagon Alley from out of the Harry Potter books. We had a great time in York and we visited a couple of antique shops we hadn't been to before. Here are some photographs I took of the place.






Sunday, March 27, 2016

Divergent

I bought this DVD a few weeks ago from a charity shop and watched it last night. The premise is that in the future the world has all but destroyed itself through war and the remnants of society have formed into 5 factions to retain order and keep everlasting peace. The idea being if everyone knows their place, everyone will be happy. These five factions are specialisations by broad human personality type. Each person has to choose a type and are supposed to be assisted by taking a test but free choice still exists, the test is to supposed to help the person choose by revealing some unconscious information. The story centres around a girl coming of age who is called Beatrice (played by Shailene Woodley). Her test reveals that she has infact equal propensity across several factions, a very rare test results and one that means she is what is known as Divergent. Needless to say that Divergent person are a threat to the order of society that the factions have been set up to deliver.
The 5 factions

I haven't read the Young Adult books by Veronica Roth on which the film is based but I think I'd like to based on the film. The premise is good but the film probably dumbs down the story a bit. However, the casting of the film is good but I don't think Kate Winslett makes the best baddie. For me she didn't convey the threat she needed to.
Shailene Woodley plays her character well and she looks amazing throughout the film, particularly as she transforms into the Dauntless faction under the oppressive tutelage of the trainers. There are some unexplained things in the story I would like to understand better. However, the books are probably the way to get those things.