Saturday, September 15, 2018

Post 313. PROUD PARENTS.

AND GRADUATE.
Jess Daisy White. 
Daryl, Jess and Roz left here for Hatfield on the ten in the morning ferry and got there in time for lunch.
The big day was a happy but very long one.
Graduation ceremony did not start until five in the afternoon and in excess of a couple of hundred awards were then conferred. By the time the following get-togethers and farewells were done it was a long, late, drive back to the Island.
They managed to board the midnight ferry.
Roz was shattered for a few days - she had not really been fit to travel at all - but has since made a good recovery.
More chemotherapy next week: she appreciates the necessity but is not looking forward to it.
HOME.
Let's all be affronted.
They are at it again. If it's not unwell wishers niggling  about the oft inane utterances of expensively educated politicians (and I have some sympathy), it's the more readily offended of the fiddler on the roof clan (an otherwise lovely people without whom there would be no show business) demanding apology for perceived slights to their homeland/race/religion. 
Tell you what. Let's all be affronted.
Let's be internationally affronted enough to bring about the replacement of anyone in power who proves to be so far up themself that they become a danger to the entire world.
Wouldn't that be wonderful?
TELEVISION.
Stan Lee's Lucky Man starring James Nesbitt finished on Sky1. It was comic book stuff and nobody ended up having much luck.
Bodyguard on BBC1 continues apace.
 I don't have a Twitter account so knew nothing of the 'spoilers' story that followed the explosive ending to episode 4. Suffice it to say I am too old a viewer to believe Jed Mercurio has killed off Keeley Hawes (above), one of the two stars, when only two thirds of the way through the series.
I feel sure MI5 headed by Stuart Bowman, who has seamlessly slipped in from Versailles (complete with his two stock expressions - disapproval and pursed lip disapproval), has to be involved.
Otherwise I am convinced of nothing except that had any of the Special Branch officers I knew acted in the way DS David Budd (Richard Madden) does, he would have been quietly removed by his colleagues and put to pasture in a bungalow on Hayling Island.
A Discovery of Witches which has just started in the UK on Sky1, stars Teresa Palmer as Diana Bishop, an academic and reluctant witch.
Matthew Goode plays her vampire professor sidekick and the city of Oxford is as charming as ever. It all looks pretty good.
Until next time, hey presto!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Post 312. LOOKING FOR INTERNATIONALISM?

YOU WON'T FIND IT HERE.
In Personal Corner.

Where it's our family news: starting with Jess Daisy White who is currently back on the Island and living with mother Roz and brother Ellis.
Last Monday she and her mum went to Southampton to buy her graduation dress and in the above picture she can be seen wearing it. Gran (who took the photo) and Popsy (who has her permission to reproduce it here) are proud, fond and slightly in awe of her. She has done commendably well at the University of Hertfordshire, obtaining - alongside a MPharm - an award for best clinical student of her year. Right now she is working her pre reg. year at Lloyd's pharmacy in East Cowes and continuing her studies, simultaneously proving to be a sympathetic, and much appreciated, applier of Roz's weekly inoculation. Roz, despite an unpleasant forty eight hours of bone pain and the departure in tufts of her remaining hair (she has now just about completely shaven it off), continues to radiate positivity.
Yesterday she went for her second chemo.
Next Tuesday she and Jess's dad, Daryl, will drive up to Hatfield with Jess for the graduation ceremony.
Back here in Ventnor our daughter-in-law, Pauline, and some of her artist friends put on their annual Inspired By Wight exhibition at the Botanical Gardens.
It was a delightful collection, well attended, and we enjoyed every minute of our visit to it.
My Leader and I plod along our disparate paths, she doing anything she can for family, friends, anybody; me currently concluding the revision of my book for children aged 9 to 99 (first undertaken in the 1970s) by adding more chapters relevant to the 21st century. Title is still The Badgers of Deep Wood: Mo likes it.
Well, it stops me joining a moped gang.
Oh, we were visited last week by Mo's nephew Phil and his wife, Julie, who came from Gosport early one morning and spent the day with us. Phil, who is making a slow but sure recovery from cancer (thank the gods and modern medicine), also brought me a present from his brother, Steve, of a little book called Beecham Stories, which I much enjoyed.
I always liked 'Tommy' Beecham (pictured) and thought of him as a musical version of my roguish Uncle Charlie.
They don't make 'em like that anymore.
TELEVISION. 
Sky Arts. We have recently been 'discovering' those fine actors Ernest Borgnine, Gene Hackman, Leslie Howard, Lee Marvin and Richard Widmark again with this sympathetic biographical series. There are more that I must watch out for. Four of the above five started their film lives as 'baddies' and went on to become popular 'goodies.' That's acting.
The BBC Proms, modern music notwithstanding, was mostly good again this year. I particularly enjoyed the Budapest Festival Orchestra conducted by Ivan Fischer: their Hungarian 'gypsy' night had me feeling happily Brahms and Liszt (sorry).
I was initially less certain about the Grieg Piano Concerto, played with impressive hair by French-Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, but it too was a resounding success. The Estonian Festival Orchestra, conducted by Paavo Jarvi, also performed Sibelius's Symphony No.5 in E Flat. Bit out of my zone.
Picnic At Hanging Rock on BBC2 was not to my taste either. 
I've never liked al fresco dining.
Bodyguard on BBC1 looks good so far. (SPOILER) Keeley Hawes plays ambitious Home Secretary Julie Montague and Richard Madden plays war torn DS David Budd, her protection officer.
Episode 2 has just gone by and already they are at it like knives.
In reality I have only known one Special Branch policeman good looking enough to be a television-type protection officer. He had (still has) a pretty little wife and far more sense than to have ever become involved in an impossible relationship with a female politician.
No, this is just excellently acted television twaddle.
I shall, of course, watch every episode right until the (doubtless bitter) end.
Enough now. Mind how you go.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Post 311. HERE WE ARE AGAIN.

HOME.
Roz Barnden.
Current news of our Roz is that the lump in her breast was found to be a collection of small lumps for which a mastectomy will be required; armpit lymph nodes have also been effected.
Tests on her liver showed it to be clear.
She has been for her first session of chemotherapy and afterwards reported having her best night's sleep for weeks. To date she has experienced no adverse side effects that she has cared to mention, but she is now prone to bouts of tiredness.
She is determinedly upbeat.
We would expect nothing else. That is her.
We remain hopefully positive.
Our friends Ian and Jean - who have never met her - have told us she will be in their prayers, and other kind and reassuring words have come from kith and kin. People really can be nice.
I am at a loss to do more than proffer sincere thanks to all those who have so sincerely expressed concern: their goodwill does wonders.
Mo Barnden.
No picture of my Leader who right now has a shiner of a black eye and would welcome being pictured even less than usual.
How did it happen?
Well I wasn't responsible for it.
Proof of that denial is simple: I have not lately been treated at A&E or admitted to Casualty.
No, my dear girl (out of the goodness of her heart as usual) declined taking our Roz's dog-hair-infested car to a car wash as requested and, instead, brought it home to clean.
She made an impeccable job of it, too.
Then came the sponge too far.
When she had vacuum-cleaned it through she decided to wash the upholstery. She got a bucket of water, washed the front seats, turned to tackle the seat at the back, fell over the bucket and landed head first on the stony car park.
I was indoors making her a cup of tea and heard not a sound through the double glazing.
Derek next door became aware of her distress and came round to help.
Thank the lord for neighbours like that.
Fortunately she was not concussed (grazed temple) and suffered no damage to her eyes, but she does now have the pop star look when she goes out, even on overcast days, in dark sunglasses.
Enough said I think.
TELEVISION.
The Repair Shop (BBC2).
People take their ill-used/neglected/recently unearthed furniture/luggage/clocks etc. to a band of superb craftsmen who reassemble them for the people to come back and say “Wow!” about them.
It's an eye-opener and great fun.
Celebrity Eggheads (BBC2).
The holiday season off-piste quiz show where the hardest thing to answer is 'who are these celebrities?'
Proms Extra 2018 (BBC2).
Lovely Katie Derham is back to talk Proms with a weekly line-up of musical talent and to introduce a fascinating Chord of the Week session by piano maestro David Owen Norris.
Violinist Pekka Kuusisto is here again this year too (hurray!), has been on the programme, and on August 17th premieres a new violin concerto by Philip Venables. It will have to be bloody brilliant to match his rendering of the Tchaikovsky in 2016 or the hilarious encore. Now that's a hard act to follow.
The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco (ITV).
Those clever codebreaker women from Bletchley Park have been relocated to America, presumably in an attempt to resell the series over there. They're all good actors, but it is a bit formulaic, like those afternoon B pictures they show on Channel 5.
What?
Oh, it will probably run forever now.
They usually do if I knock 'em.
Cheers.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Post 310. FURTHER NEWS AND VIEWS.

HOME.
Our Roz.
 

Roz Barnden has been to Southampton for an MRI scan to determine the extent of her cancer.
Results awaited.
In a week or so she will start on chemotherapy treatment over here. Apropos that treatment, she concluded that she was not prepared to wait for the possibility that her hair might fall out, but would have it cropped and, in the process, raise money for the Earl Mountbatten Hospice.
The original plan was that her hair be sheared at Medina College, where she is a LSA, but that idea became another weird victim of Insurance or something (yeah, beats me too) so last Friday she had it expertly cropped by professional hairdresser Hannah Fairhead (pictured behind her) at Pin Ups Hair and Beauty Salon in Newport. To date she has raised close on £500 for the charity.
I shall be writing more when we know more.
It's holiday time.
Were you one of the heatwave whiners?
('It's too close indoors.' 'It's too hot to go out.' 'The grass will never grow again.' 'I can't sleep at night.' 'There'll be a national hosepipe ban.' 'The cost of farm produce will soar.' etc. etc.)
My less than empathetic response has tended to be:  'Look, before July is over the school holidays will start. The bloody weather will change then. Bet on it.'
I rest my case, m'lud.
Trump's gone.
He met the Queen, who looked about as happy as she did on her grandson Harry's wedding day, he talked crap and he buggered off. What's new?
TELEVISION.
The Wright Stuff: Since it underwent a much publicised change of studio venue, and let the sometimes dislikeable Matthew Wright go, this daily Channel 5 chat show has become so increasingly self-congratulatory, politically correct, holier-than-thou and change-for-the-sake-of-change, that it would be better called The Wrong Stuff. Nowadays I only watch it for Kevin O'Sullivan's tele on Fridays or if I chance to find out that Yasmin A-B is going to be on. She'll complain again and again and, probably, again. But she'll be classy with it. So I like her. Doesn't mean I always agree with her.* Word is the programme will be given another name when Jeremy Vine takes over as host this coming September. I assume it will then become A Vine Time or some such brain taxing title. He'll not improve it any more than he ever has
Eggheads on BBC2 from which, presumably, he will depart. Way back in this blog I complained that The Eggs was dumbing down and, considering how the producers had weighted the format to favour the challengers (nobody, given the choice - which challengers have - would ever opt for the second set of questions) it wouldn't be long before any pub quiz team in the country could beat them. Sad to say, any pub quiz team in the country now does beat them - frequently.
I don't call that good tele, I call it rigged rubbish.
Were it not for Brexit I'd rather watch the news.
Perhaps I have just become disenchanted with television in general. The modern picture is so much better, but the content often is not and I fear the box (a few nice people excepted) may be becoming what radio mostly was when I was a boy: just a noise in the corner.
*One person about whom Yasmin and I disagree is the late Enoch Powell. From all I can gather she regards him as a racist monster who is probably pontificating in Hades.
I was a NHS employee for thirty two years and hold no brief for the Tories, who sought to diminish it from the outset, but of all the Ministers of Health (from whatever party) who became our lord and master over my time in the service, old Enoch was far and away the best.
He fought for, not against, us.
Popular or not, I'm afraid that's the truth.
I liked him.
NOTE TO END THE MONTH
Also seems to me.In this PC age: half the populace is sharply protesting its rights and the other half is frightened to be blunt. To the latter I would say

All being well, I will again next month

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Post 309. THE MID-MONTH NEWS.

FIRST THE GOOD.
Rescue of Thai youngsters.
Best news of the year so far was that all twelve of the Thai boy footballers (aged 11 to 17) and their coach (aged only 25), had escaped from the flooded Tham Luang cave complex where they had been trapped for seventeen days and that the international team of rescuers involved, including many Thai navy seals, were (with the exception of one brave seal who lost his life early on) equally fortunate.
A handful of the lads, who were stateless, may now be given statehood too.
Still hope for humanity, isn't there.
THEN THE WORRYING.
Our daughter Roz. (In the only picture I could find of her - at The Warner Bros. Studio Tour in 2012 - half blocked out by her father's left arm.)
The younger of our two daughters, Roz, has been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. She has undergone a variety of tests - the results of which the hospital seems to be taking an inordinately long time to release, let alone act upon - and has prepared herself with a thoroughness that has been one of her more positive traits ever since she came of age.
At present we are feeling very old and sadly aware that we have nothing to offer but concern and love.
That's it for the moment.
For chrissake get moving, St. Mary's.
THEN THE BAD:
The World Cup.
FOOTBALL'S STAYING ABROAD
It's staying abroad
It's staying abroad 
Now for chrissake shut up about it. 
THEN THE REALITY.
Trump's here.
Aaah, he can wait until next time.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Post 308. FOOTBALL FOOTBALL AND MORE FOOTBALL.

TIME AGAIN FOR.
A plethora of professional cheating.
I am running into the penalty box. I am almost in control of the ball: It jiggles about and I can't get set for a shot. There is somebody running alongside me! Please let them try to dispossess me! Please let them put a hand - an arm - a leg - a foot near me! Please let them touch me!
They have! I'm down! I'm poleaxed! I'm rolling about! I'm writhing! I've adopted the 'in agonies' expression! I'm looking to the referee - assistant referee - the public - the cameras to record my Oscar deserving performance - I am looking for a penalty kick!
I think I may have got one!
What? Oh, sod sportsmanship, it's professional cheating and I'm a master of it. Refs love playing God and seldom trust cameras.
I'll be a hero back home.
Next season I'll be in a top club in the English Premier League. There's a fortune to be picked up there. When I retire they'll call me an icon.
Silly bastards!
Footnote 
FOR THAT NICE AMERICAN READER.
1. For football read soccer.
2. A Video Assisted Referee (VAR) currently videos international matches and acts as arbiter if a refereeing decision appears to require questioning.
This may rapidly fall out of favour now that the use of it has seen World Cup holders Germany knocked out of the 2018 tournament by South Korea. (Cue for uncontrollable English glee.)
Well there's not been much in football for us to smile about since the nineteen sixties.
TELEVISION.
NEXT WEEK IT'S WIMBLEDON.
So more repeat repeats.
Yep, the BBC will go into sports overdrive again for the next fortnight while every loud grunt or shrill scream that nowadays accompanies the striking of a small ball with a tennis racquet for a lot of money supersedes every other television programme previously listed for the delectation of the viewing public.
It would be a little more tolerable if the repeats drafted in to replace cancelled shows were not so often repeat repeats.
Over the years of Wimbledon tournaments I've watched some features so many times I could pass for one of the cast. 
By the same token, I've now taken in so much Scandi noir I hardly need look at the subtitles.
The Bridge has seen me (and lord alone knows how many millions more) caught up (apparently for the last time) in the weird and wonderful world of detective Saga Norén (Sofia Helin), a vintage Porsche driving mix-up of forthright femininity and investigative genius.
Truth is, I took in what was said more than I ever understood what the plot was about.
Enjoyed Saga though.
Great character: beautifully acted.
Enough now.
Enjoy the heat wave.
Watch some more footie.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Post 307. FATHER'S DAY 2018.


LOST ANOTHER DAY OF SCRIBBLING.
It just vanished.
A short while ago the computer lifeboat captain made a fine job of fixing my draft blog post page and it worked a treat for post 306. Dunno what I did to annoy it last Saturday, but on the Sunday, Father's Day, I switched on and found myself faced with a blank page. Every bloggin' thing I had written was gone. What? Oh, I think I saved it – just don't know where it went.
That's me and technology.
Ah well.
Back to page one, which I think started with: WHATEVER HAPPENED
TO SPEAKING YOUR MIND?
The PC Brigade GB has effortlessly become the Corps of Political Correctness and, with the addition of the Fairness to Foreigners Division, is fast transforming into PC National Command.
Whatever happened to speaking your mind?
Time was when expressions like tell the truth and shame the devil were commonplace and the privilege of publicly expressing one's opinion was accepted without question.
Not now.
Now I am reminded again and again that when, back in 2015 - Post 2(32) - I wrote Honesty is not always the best policy. (Ask Gerald Ratner. Ask Brian True-May) I was merely putting forward a token objection to the way in which an individual's entire life could be realigned (even ruined) by the negative input of unwell-wishers. Little did I foresee the army of professional objectors who would gradually take over the UK with all the ruthlessness of ducking parties on archaic witch hunts.
During the past week the author Lionel Shriver has been dropped as a literary judge after she criticised the latest diversity and inclusion policies proposed by Penguin Random House. It seems Ms. Shriver, writing in The Spectator, dared to suggest that Penguin was “drunk on virtue.” 
The editorial director of the magazine Mslexia duly removed her from the judging panel of their annual short story competition for, it would seem, the sin of speaking her mind.
I shan't elaborate. It's all on Google. If you're interested, look it up.
I do despair though.
Know nothing of Lionel Shriver and hold no brief for the magazine that carried her views, but whatever has happened to freedom of speech? And how long before we hang the people who exercise it?
This has become an age of mad intolerance.
TELEVISION.
The Wright Stuff (Chanel 5) But not anymore.
Last Thursday Matthew Wright made his final appearance as presenter of this morning chat show. 
He had been in the chair for the better part of eighteen years and said he wanted to spend more time with his wife. Good for him. I hope she was with him on the evening of the same day when he was welcomed at Cardiff for David Dimbleby's Question Time on BBC 1 despite having bitched about the Beeb throughout his entire tenure on The Wright Stuff.
Clearly not everybody is opposed to freedom of speech, though in this case I think it more likely that nobody from Broadcasting House has even glanced at Chanel 5 for the past eighteen years.
Good luck, Matthew.
That's all, folks.