Star Wars – The Last Jedi

Star Wars – The Last Jedi is the latest instalment in the franchise and was an absolute joy to watch.

I was completely spellbound throughout the film and thought it was better than the previous one – The Force Awakens.

Although it was just over 2 1/2 hours long, it didn’t feel like that.  The action swept you along and before you knew it, the credits were rolling and you were feeling sad as you realised that it was probably the last time you would see Carrie Fisher as General Leia (with the exception of anything digital).

Everything about this film was well executed from the story to the music to the background actors – all added to the magic that is Star Wars.  A spectacular film and certainly worth a repeat watch when the DVD is released.

Let me know in the comments what you thought of the film if you’ve seen it.

Rik Mayall Day

Today would have been Rik Mayall’s 60th birthday and it got me thinking about his career and all the various characters he has played over the years.

So in honour of Rik and in no particular order my favourites are:-

Richard “Richie” Richard

Starring with Adrian Edmondson as Edward Elizabeth “Eddie” Hitler, Rik played Richie in Bottom.  Bottom ran for three series from 17th September 1991 to 10th April 1995 and also produced five stage-show tours between 1993 and 2003.  Not forgetting the feature film Guest House Paradiso in 1999.

Bottom is about two bachelors who live together in south London and spend most of their time trying to get women to sleep with them.  Despite neither of them having a job, they are always dressed in a suit and tie even though they look awful!

I think that the stage shows are my favourite as they often go off script.  In the second live tour, the guys end up in prison and Rik forgets to put his watch on.

Richie – “You know my great watch gag?” 
Eddie – “Yes”
Richie – “I forgot to put my watch on!” 

Cue laughter from the audience who appreciate this mistake, although it is funnier on-screen than I’ve described here.

There are a couple more of these lapses in character and, rather than spoiling the show, they add to them.  Not everyone’s cup of tea, but it always made me laugh!

Also,  may I say that’s a smashing blouse you have on.

Lord Flashheart

 

Appearing in the first episode of the second series of Blackadder, Rik is Lord Flashheart.  He is a cad, a bounder and all the ladies find him attractive.  The men all admire him.  What else is there to say?  Woof!

 

Drop Dead Fred

Fred is the imaginary childhood friend of Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth starts to have troubles in her adult life, Fred reappears.  He makes her realise that she is worth something.  Rik is brilliant in this film and it made me want him as my imaginary friend.  His comic timing is spot on he also shows his sensitive side (well for a few seconds anyway), and he adds a certain magic to this film.

He has played several memorable characters over the years, but these are my favourites.  I was too young when The Young Ones was first broadcast and The New Statesman didn’t appeal to me.  Whatever character he played, he always seemed to give his all and he is much missed.

Who are your favourite Rik Mayall characters?  Let me know in the comments.

Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle is a follow-up to the original film which starred the late Robin Williams.  I hadn’t seen the original but you don’t need to have – all you really need to know that the original Jumanji was a board game whereas in this reincarnation, it is a computer game and is set in 1996, about a year after the events of the first film.

Having been given a detention during which they were supposed to be cleaning the school basement, the teenagers Spencer, Bethany, “Fridge” and Martha (played by Alex Wolff, Madison Iseman, Ser’Darius Blain, and Morgan Turner) find the Jumanji computer game.  Deciding that this is far more interesting than the task they had been given, they set about choosing their avatars.

Avatars chosen, Spencer hits start and they are pulled into the game.  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Karen Gillian, Jack Black and Kevin Hart star as the computer game characters that the young students choose.

They find themselves in a jungle and quickly see they are the avatars that they chose.  They also work out that to get back to the real world, they have to complete the game.  Working as a team, they have to deal with obstacles that are put in their way, including the realisation that when they lose all three of their lives, they will die, not only in the game, but also back in the real world.  This adds a sense of danger to the film.

Overall a really enjoyable film and one I would thoroughly recommend.  If you’ve seen this version of the film, what did you think?  Let me know in the comments.

Tea Loaf Recipe

Nom Nom NomThis is by far the easiest tea loaf recipe I have found – you just need to remember to soak the fruit overnight.  I have made it several times and I’ve even given the recipe to my mother-in-law who has also passed it on.

I am not a fan of raisins or currants so I use 225g of sultanas and rather than adding nutmeg, I just put a bit more cinnamon in.  I also do not think it needs the butter or jam – it’s delicious on its own.

Preparation Time: overnight
Cooking Time: 1-2 hours
Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 75g/2 ¾ oz raisins
  • 75g/2 ¾ oz sultanas
  • 75g/2 ¾ oz currants
  • 300 ml/½ pint tepid Earl Grey Tea
  • 250g/9oz self-raising flour
  • 200g/7oz soft light brown sugar
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Butter for greasing
  • Unsalted butter and apricot jam to serve

Method

  1. Place the dried fruit and tea into a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave to soak overnight.
  2. The next day, preheat the oven to 175°C /325°F/Gas 3.
  3. Add the flour, sugar (make sure there are no lumps), beaten egg and spices to the soaked fruit and mix well.
  4. Grease a 22cm x 10cm/9in x 5in loaf tin – I use greaseproof paper to line the tin – easier to get the cake out.  Spoon the mixture into the tin.
  5. Transfer to the oven and bake for one and a quarter hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  6. Serve slices of the tea loaf spread with unsalted butter and jam.

It will should last a few days in an airtight container.  Let me know if you make it and if you do – enjoy!

*originally made on BBC 2 show “Something for the Weekend” by Simon Rimmer.

The time that:- I won first prize in a competition

           I’m at the front on the left in the picture above – how cute am I!?

When I was five, I won first prize in a competition.

I had to lay a mat (I think it was a beer mat) nearest to where I thought a parachutist would land.  The prize?  A tour of Bedfordshire in the air in a single engine air craft in late summer 1979.

The jump was arranged by a group called Save Sandy Now Action Group which was opposed to the road improvements that were being proposed for the A1.  The chairman Ken Lynch had arranged the event to raise awareness before the public enquiry.

 

In the picture on the left, I’m posing in front of the aircraft!  Oh dear!  I can only assume I was told to pose like that (at least I hope I was told to pose like that).   Maybe I should have gone into catalogue modelling.