I’m still doing an end-of-the-month review (a trifle late this month) but as you can see it is no longer called Lockdown Diaries, as it’s now just a roundup of events, happenings, clothes I might have bought that I haven’t shown you, films and television that I have watched and books I have read.
Before I start though, I’d like to extend a very warm welcome to those of you who signed up to this blog after watching TeaTime with Tricia last Tuesday. Thank you so much for your interest in this blog and I appreciate every one of you. If you haven’t seen the interview – here’s a link to it.
As I said on Tuesday, just as Tricia does not write exclusively about makeup, I also don’t always write about fashion. It’s great to show you my latest charity shop purchases but I often write about other subjects and one that I will tackle soon is, really, should I even be buying as much as I do? The consumption of us consumers is something that needs to radically alter if we are going to tackle climate change, and I include in this my own searching for a bargain in charity shops, which is not quite on the same level as those who queued to get into certain stores in Brighton when it was allowed earlier in April (!), but even so should I be buying so much? We consumers of fashion and the industry that produces our clothes, both have to change – more about that in another post.
Anyway, what an exciting month it’s been. From 12th April all non-essential retail was opened up – huzzah! However, I haven’t gone into the centre of Brighton for the stores, instead, I thoroughly enjoyed going back to my two local charity shops and made some very successful purchases.
I put this photo up last week but did you notice the black trench? That was a very recent buy from my local charity shop and very reasonable too at £10, and exactly what I was looking for as it’s waterproof and lined so it’s warm enough for the cold sea breezes we’re still getting.
Here’s another photo, which was taken more for the hair than anything else.
I was beaming from ear to ear there because I was so happy with my new haircut!
Anyway I continued to visit the opticians for my new glasses, and a very big cheer from me at this point, as I went to the beauticians twice: once for a facial which was lovely; and once for electrolysis, and, oh my word, that visit was so essential, I needed 20 minutes instead of my usual 10 as I was getting quite furry on my face what with a whole year’s growth! I will be going back again for another 20 minute session this week. Plus we visited both our grandchildren several times for garden visits – brrrr! The weather is unseasonably cold here in the UK and we are still getting overnight frosts. In Scotland I believe snow is expected.
However, although these appointments and visits are exciting, one cannot say that this pandemic is over. Here in the UK we are very fortunate with our numbers of Covid cases at a record low, and all due to our nationwide vaccination programme working well and motoring along with the 40-45yr-olds now being vaccinated plus, of course, there was the very strict lockdown we’ve had. But we know that there are shocking numbers of cases in India and in other poorer 3rd world countries. We also know that at the moment countries around the world are sending emergency supplies to India but I hope the G7 Summit gets its head around being prepared and ready for pandemics now and in the future. It’s 100 years since the last devastating pandemic but this one is not yet over and there may well be others that come along especially now that we are encroaching into areas that were previously uninhabited and frequented only by animals. Can we learn from the mistakes that have been made by various governments? I hope so.
Anyway, in the UK we are beginning to have a slightly more normal life with the prospect of even more normality after 17 May. Here’s what’s happening:
- Two households or 6 people can mix indoors (Wonderful)
- Indoor cinemas, theatres, museums and art galleries are open (Hurrah)
- Hotels and overnight stays are allowed
- Indoor gym classes to open
- Large capacity events 1000 people (shudders)
- Outdoor events from 4000-10,000 allowed if seated (same)
I am so looking forward to the Victoria & Albert museum opening – the bag exhibition beckons 🙂 but I think I’ll still avoid the cinema, which is such a shame as I love watching films on the big screen. The last time I went to a cinema was November 2019!
Btw, before I start this section, new followers may wonder who am I to award stars to films! The thing is we ran a film society for five years in another town near Brighton and were pretty much responsible for the type of films we showed, and we watched shed loads of films before any got to the film society screen. I feel I can recognise a really ace film when I see one! And same with the turkeys! Anyway here’s what I have been watching in the month of April.
I’ve just counted up the number of films we watched in April and I think it’s a record at eight films! Two were rubbish and that includes a dire and miserable film starring Arnie Schwarzenegger, plus a very feeble Wonder Woman 84, which was disappointing as the first Wonder Woman wasn’t bad at all. However, we did watch two 4* films and one 5* film. One of the 4* films was Concrete Cowboy (Netflix) a fictional account of some real-life dudes who keep horses in deepest urban Philadelphia. In fact rather like Nomadland (no, not seen that yet) the film has some characters in it who are from that particular group of people. Starring Idris Elba (The Wire) it tells the story of prejudice, poverty and the tough human spirit needed to fight encroaching gentrification. I loved it as it was different, and actually quite uplifting and nice to watch. The other 4* film was Sound of Metal (Amazon Prime) starring Riz Ahmed. This tells the story of a musician who becomes deaf, but as he’s the drummer in a very loud Heavy Metal duo that was to be expected. Riz Ahmed was nominated for an Oscar in the best actor category, which is totally deserved as he is excellent in this role and you are totally with him as he moves towards accepting his condition.
And finally the film I’ve awarded 5* to is The Mauritanian (Netflix) which I think is beyond outstanding, although I see that some reviews have been a bit sniffy about the film, not sure why. The film tells the tale of Mohamedou Ould Salahi (Tahar Ramin) and his 14-year stay in Guantanamo Bay detention centre. We see him captured and sent to Guantanamo and we learn how he withstood the early years when he was interrogated. We also learn about his lawyer Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and see how she built the case that there was no case, mainly because there was no evidence of any guilt. I was mesmerised throughout the whole film and it left me feeling strangely uplifted that Salahi survived, but I also felt it was a salutry warning that we must never forget that when capturing people, who we believe have done wrong, we must prove their guilt using due process rather than coercion. At the end of the film it was good to see the real people during the credits.
Very much related to The Mauritanian was a Guardian short, My Brother’s Keeper, which is about the reunion of Salahi and Steve Wood who was one of his Guantanamo guards. Oh. My. Word. I cried. If you want some reassurance that the human spirit prevails, that friendship can arise between the most unlikeliest of people, and that good people do exist, then watch this. It’s so very lovely to watch and up-lifting too. Another Guardian short to watch, where I dare you not to cry, is Colette. It is the tale of a 90-yr-old woman teaming up with a young researcher to visit the concentration camp where her brother died 75 years ago. And this, dear readers, won the Oscar for best documentary short. I’m not surprised, it is very good.
Well, who’s watched that last episode of Line of Duty (BBCiPlayer)? A bit of damp squib, no? What did you think? And for those of you who haven’t watched it I can’t even begin to describe the plot as you have to have watched from Series 1 to catch all the references to double dealing and bent coppers. So will there be Series 7? I’ve got nothing but questions about that ending, and I just hope that the writer doesn’t come out and say, ‘No comment’!
We’ve also finished watching Bridgerton (Netflix) and I surprised myself by loving it as usually I don’t like dressy-up costume dramas, but with this one I did. And as for that luscious Duke of Hastings (Rege-Jean Page), honestly, my chest positively heaved every time he was on the screen – could he be the next James Bond? What do you think?
Enough of that! Another series we’ve finished was Deutschland 89 (All4), which has been excellent all the way through from Deutschland 83 and Deutschland 86. A tale of spies and spying in East Germany, the characters are well developed and the story arc compelling, do give it a try if you haven’t touched it before.
We’re going slowly (as in not binging) through Call My Agent(Netflix) and have one more series to watch and the same goes for Schitts Creek (Netflix) with two more series to go. After that last episode of Line of Duty there were several articles commenting on its less than satisfactory ending, with one saying the series that aced its ending was Schitts Creek, which ended so perfectly you cry at the loss of this absolutely delightful show, and that’s why I’m going slowly with the Rose family’s life.
We’ve begun watching Mare of Easttown (Nowtv) and are very pleased with this gritty tale of small town America. Kate Winslet has never been better.
Finally, we are watching the delightful The Great British Sewing Bee (BBCiPlayer) which has to be watched if you want to be both delighted and enthralled at some of the contestants’ skill whilst holding your breath at the disasters of others. Altogether a lovely watch.
I’ve got several non-fiction books on the go, but the only novel I’ve read in April is another Helen Dunmore book, House of Orphans. I discovered Dunmore a couple of months ago, and can’t get enough of her. She writes so well, and is obviously incredibly knowledgeable about Russian and Eastern European history and yet it is just there in the background, which means she’s one of those authors who ‘show’ and imply, rather than ‘tell’. This story is set in Finland in the early 1900s and tells the tale of a young girl who loses her last parent and is sent to orphanage. We see her grow and survive and move on first to domestic service and then back to her home town, and all of this amidst the policy of Russification when Finland was being forced into closer integration with Russia. As the blurb says it’s a brilliant story of love, history and change and I found it gripping and unputdownable!
But do tell me what you’ve been watching and reading – I’m always keen to watch and read something good 🙂
Finally, a shot of the sea front which has been quite chilly these last few days.
With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper