Bruges, Boats and Beer

We are cautious people here in this house of happiness. Well I am. The wife, on the other hand, likes nothing better than to regale me with the adventures of her youth – climbing Everest, digging around the pyramids of Egypt, trekking up the west coast of Australia, navigating the upper reaches of the Amazon (only one of these is true but there are no prizes for guessing which one).

On the other hand there is me. Steady. Sure. Not prone to impulsive actions. Age has mellowed my wanderlust (which only extended to the local pub when I was younger anyway). I have no real wish to mix with local cultures, explore strange, new worlds, to boldy go where no one has….sorry I’ve been watching too much Star Trek on Amazon Film Instant.

So we decided that we would check out cruising. Not on the local streets looking for homies to abuse, you understand. No, the water-based kind. Of course with typical practicality we didn’t just go jumping in at the deep end. No two month trip round the Cape of Good Hope for us.

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Leonardo and Kate were looking forward to a beer

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Back to the Future King Style

Do you read as much as you used to? When I was younger (i.e. 15 rather than the 30, sorry 40, that I am now) I was a vociferous reader and my favourite author was Stephen King. This was back in the 1980s – I had a nice back catalogue waiting for me – Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot, The Shining – to get through first, and then I read them as he published them – Christine Cujo, Pet Sematary, etc.

Then he published ‘It’ and it started going wrong. I mean 1100 pages and the bad guy is a giant spider? Come on! So my interest waned and off I went to University and forgot all about Mr King.

In fact the last thing I read of his for the next 20 plus years was Misery. Fast forward to the end of 2011 and I opened this Christmas gift:

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Don’t Get Your Knickers in a Twist

I’ve worked with several Americans over the years. One of the best things about that is the language differences. It’s there for all to see on these blog postings. People like to try and use phrases they think will resonate with those on the other side of the pond, right?

There – I just did it! Saying ‘right?’ at the end of a sentence is a classic Americanism. It’s a kind of passive-aggressive way of saying ‘challenge me or tell me I’m wrong’. But if you have an English accent it just sounds weird! Believe me I’ve tried.

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Tintin – Spielberg Pulls it Off!

A new film is out (in the UK at least) made by two of the most successful directors of all time  – Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ is a motion-capture, 3-D film based on the timeless cartoon creation of Belgian comic-book artist Herge. And naturally, for a film that has brought to the silver screen something that has been read and loved by generations of kids (and adults), controversy has been aroused. So…is it any good?

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A German Soldier’s Memoir of the Eastern Front

Anyone who likes history, and in particular military history, knows there is a seemingly inifinite supply of books on WWII. Mostly written by worthy academic types, these often huge tomes strive to analyse, understand and ultimately explain something which is, as time goes by, increasingly inexplicable. This book, however, is different. ‘In Deadly Combat’ is a memoir of a German Officer who spent most of the War on the Eastern Front. And he survived.

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