Thursday, 27 March 2014

It's Been a Long Time Since

The 4th of November 2012... it's been 508 days, to be exact, since that Sunday morning in early November when I was busy watching my child as he ran up the steps and down the slide over and over, careful all the time to avoid an accident - little did I know how soon I would be confronted with that ugly word.

My mobile phone rang and an awful premonition set in. It was an old friend from college who in jerky phrases announced that our mutual friend had just died in a car crash. Followed by another two phone-calls, from my mother-in-law and then my brother, both thinking they would break the news to me.
I remember when my grandma died I had felt sadness and a discomfort at being close to the coffin during the funeral. I missed her and for a while couldn't believe she was gone. But that had been someone older, someone in hospital, someone who had aged to the point of going almost blind and barely able to walk at all. This was different.

I spent quite a few days in a daze, in denial, wearing black at times even, which I had not done for my grandma other than to attend her funeral. I kept on replaying the last words we'd ever spoken to each other and flooded my Facebook with ambiguous statuses about losing a friend (so much so that another friend private-messaged me to see if everything was right between me and my husband, thinking he was the 'lost friend' I was talking of).
The funeral service, so crowded that I stood outside and watched it on the big-screen, was the most dismal hour I remember standing through, looking at that coffin on screen and willing myself to believe that my friend really was in there. That precious friend who had phoned me up when I was in the hospital, the one who had admired and encouraged me as my relationship with my husband grew in our teenage years when everyone else thought we were too young to really make it work. The one friend I thought of whenever I was feeling confused, and in whom I imagined confiding my problems. I never did get around to messaging him with my problems as I always thought he'd be disappointed if he saw the real adult me. Only now that he's gone do I talk to him and tell him 'This is the mess I am in, the craziness that is my life, these are the things I keep doing the wrong way, failing over and over to get them right.'
It took long months to lay the ghost to rest, long months during which I still wanted to private message his facebook and will him to reply. I still looked at the photos of the crash and the funeral, both of which had made it into the newspapers, whilst snapshots from our college days kept recurring in my mind. I remembered especially well the sound of his voice and  the particular way he had of pronouncing his 'R's. I recalled him making resolutions, his zest for life and most importantly his unwavering smile. No wonder the newspapers called him 'The Priest With The Smile'. May you rest in peace my beloved friend, never to be forgotten and always in my heart still, I shed more tears as I think of you yet again.
Here is a link to related articles from some of the papers:

Monday, 24 March 2014

The Best From The Movie World

Has anyone else noticed that films nowadays are not as interesting as those of yesteryear? Or is it just that I'm growing older and more cynical? I must admit I do not really watch recent films very often, but that is probably cause I tend to choose what films to watch depending on a) actor b) reviews c) my likes and dislikes d) trailer of film (this ties in very much with c) and few of the currently fashionable genres interest me at all.

On the other hand, I can mention a whole list of absolutely fantastic films that I have watched and rewatched over and over from the 1990 - 2010 era. Here are my favourites below, in no particular order:

- 2003 Love Actually (this one has been at times criticized big-time, but everyone I know who's seen the film is smitten by it)

- 2004 The Day After Tomorrow (a very good 'what-if' film)

- 2002 Catch Me If You Can (about what should be a villain but actually makes you side with him, thanks to the stellar performance by Leonardo diCaprio)

- 1999 Notting Hill (as Spike in the film would say, "An absolute classic")

- 1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral (did you think I would leave this one out?!)

- 1999 Mickey Blue Eyes (quite a good production for what was a 'new' production company at the time (Simian Films) and Hugh Grant in a starring role quite helps the rating ;-) )

- 2001 Bridget Jones' Diary (swoon... Daniel Cleaver just has to be the most gorgeous and smooth cad in history and in Bridget's shoes I would have chosen him over Mr Darcy any time)

Granted most of the films mentioned above are treats for Granters, I chose my list based on just how much I enjoyed the films regardless of this 1.8metre tall blue-eyed factor, and did include some non-Hugh films too in the process.

Does anyone here like the same films I do? Or hate them, for that matter? Please feel free to comment.

New Prime Minister (played by Hugh Grant) moves to 10 Downing Street in 'Love Actually'

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Dreams... 'the children of an idle mind'

I woke up in the night from some weird dream but which can't have been too unpleasant as can remember thinking of it fondly. Still with a groggy mind I thought how cool it would be if my son could be having my same dreams (I think my reasoning at that moment was then he wouldn't keep waking me up from my dreams!) As I said, I was still pretty much not thinking straight so my befuddled mind suggested we could train to do that. Train our brains to duet our dreams... I really am nuts! Anyways, a few seconds later I thought not only how bizarrely scary that would be (not to mention my dreams do have adult content) but also how I didn't want to share my dreams with anyone... It's the one thing in the world I am allowed to keep to myself.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Congratulations, you made it to my bookshelf

Many a times I browse through bargain bins for books on sale, hoping to stock up on books at the ratio of some six for the normal retail price of one. In such instances I base my choice on the synopsis at the back of the book. And more times than not, my judgement fails me and I buy books that I a) leave on a bookshelf for ages before forcing myself to read or b) books that turn out to be such a bad choice I never make it through to the last page!

Another way I choose to buy/borrow books is by author. I have a better reading-to-the-end success rate for these ones but must still admit to being disappointed at times either because a second book does not live up to the previous one by same author's standard or else due to the fact that whilst one book might be an un-put-downable read, the next one by the same writer might be as boring as it can get. So here is a list of a few books that have actually passed my test and another of books that I have given up on in an attempt to be merciful to myself. Please note that the sequence in which they've been put is merely random.

The Good Ones

The Blue Hour (Kate Thompson)
The Righteous Men (Sam Bourne)
Us (Richard Mason)
Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier)
And Justice There Is None (Deborah Crombie)
Winner (Maureen O'Donoghue)
At Bertram's Hotel (Agatha Christie)

The So-Bad Ones

Fortune House (Kirsty Scott)
The Last Testament (Sam Bourne)
Passenger to Frankfurt (Agatha Christie)

Oh my, when a book is bad, bad enough to make me stop reading it, I actually even forget it's name! Hence why it is that there are so few books in my 'Hate' list.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

A Winner Is Born

NB - All facts listed below come from third party sites including an interview found on YouTube which features one of the actors. Picture below is a screenshot from the film.

Once upon a time, twenty years ago, there was a group of actors who spent a torturous few weeks filming a low budget English film whilst the director of said film kept whining about how he couldn't do it. Money was so short that Rowan Atkinson had to appear in two unrelated scenes as adding another actor would have been too much of a luxury for the film's accounts. Meanwhile handsome charmer Hugh Grant had to make do with a pay that would scarcely have bought him my maisonette in shell form let alone his digs in London. American leading lady Andie MacDowell forgo getting a pay at all and accepted instead to be paid in percentage points. Fast forward to the film's release and lo and behold, this 2.7 million budget film went on to take 150 million pounds at the box office, even topping the US box office charts.

I am talking about none other than Four Weddings and a Funeral, aptly called so rather than 'Charles and Chums' or 'Toffs on Heat', which I learnt were two more of the name options available. It is a film to love or hate, depending mostly I should think on personal taste. Even now, twenty years on, it shows a rebellious streak in the gay couple's true commitment, Carrie's string of one-night-stands and Charles' ultimate proposal to not get married. The script is fabulously original, the acting brilliant, the humour typically English and subtle most of the time. In fact, it is only Charles' Bermudas and Carrie's whole wardrobe that don't seem to have aged well. That said, Hugh Grant is eye-candy in whatever trousers he chooses to don.



Friday, 14 March 2014

Musings

So I wrote down a whole list of things I should blog about, then started on an empty page with just one idea - I didn't want to blog about any of those things today! So here instead is a list of sorts... Of stupid little things that I am thinking about:

Favourite items in the home right now: a vintage clock and vintage tin bread bin, both from England, both new imitations rather than truly old stuff.

What a cool selfie my almost-four-year-old son took whilst his mum has yet to take one good photo of herself!

How cold it has turned yet again, after an unusually mild February.

The excitement of doing up just that little bit more in our maisonette, even though it is only a vanity unit and a living room wall.

Cushions... I seem to have fallen out of love with them.

The kitchen... How on earth does one manage to keep it clean?! Come to think of it, how can you keep a clean house if you're living in it?

And that's all for today, please feel free to comment and give me some advise on this last one, oh how badly I need it!


Thursday, 13 March 2014

And here I am once again starting a blog. I seem to have a love/hate relationship with these things. So why give it yet another go, you may be asking yourself right now. Well, thing is, I cannot live without writing in my life. And, more than that, I can't live without the English language in my life. So seeing as now that I am in the working world rather than college (been ten years now!) I find my only place to speak English is home and being (hopefully temporarily) out of touch with writing for publications/articles online for third party sites, I found I could not live without voicing myself somewhere.

Which led to my very usual problem with finding a name for my new venture. Being the rash person that I am, I could not allow myself the time to go through the task of finding a name before actually pressing on the 'new blog' button. So it is by sheer luck that I came up with a name I love. Back in college (more usually referred to as Sixth Form here in Malta), I remember my teacher of English poetry taking us out of class and into the school grounds, then asking us to reflect upon and come up with a poem about the fact that we were about to finish off that school chapter in our life. As I scribbled my notes I realized I associated the different chapters and situations in my life with different colours and those few points turned into 'The Colours of Life' and what must be my best ever poem to this day. So it came as no surprise that the first words to come to my mind as I stared at the Blogger screen were Hues and also Variations, this last most definitely the word that best describes my character. And so ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my blog. Sit yourself down, have a cup of tea and read my two-cents' worth (wish I could say pennies but I live in a Euro zone).