Pensioners and the Art Deco Exhibition in Melbourne

I have always been fascinated by Art Deco and Art Nouveau and so when we moved to Melbourne I decided that I would go to the National Gallery of Victoria to see the special exhibition there. You have to credit the NGV with an amazing publicity campaign. Everyone I met had asked me if I’d been to the exhibition yet. Continue reading

“Welcome to the Sticks”– A recommendation

You know how you go along to see a movie without knowing anything about it except that it has no gratuitous violence or special effects?

Well, that’s how we chose this little treasure of a movie. “Welcome to the Sticks” is absolutely captivating. It’s witty, heart-warming and brilliantly produced.

In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, Mark Antony says he came to bury Caesar, not to praise him. I find that it’s so much easier to criticise or bury something than to sing its praises. One can be acerbic. laconic, acidic, mean and nasty and that takes little effort, on my part, anyway. But try to say you liked a film very, very, very, much and if you go on it begins to sound a bit cloying.

‘Welcome to the Sticks” is such fun and yet touching. Its actors are faultless. The script is fluent and logical and I’m so glad we went to see it.

So what is it about? Well, it involves a post office manager who is transferred to the Northern region of France as a punishment for misrepresenting himself as disabled. He doesn’t want to go, they speak ‘funny’ there and the weather is too cold.

When he arrives, he finds that their dialect is practically incomprehensible, owing to the proximity to Belgium and Holland. So starts what could have been pretty pathetic had it not been handled by a director with finesse.

So how do you convey a dialect in subtitles? We have all been to film where the subtitles are so bad that they aren’t any help at all.

These ones, however, are brilliant. It’s the first time that I’ve ever been blown over by the excellence of subtitles and there should be an award at film festivals for that category, in my opinion. Even the title of the film in English is a play on words on the patois of the region. Words beginning with “S are pronounced “SH” hence the French title “Ch’tis” and then we have the double entendre of “Sticks” as a place where you don’t want to have a vacation. Yes , there is a message in the movie about myths and stereotypes and prejudice, but it’s gently done and with much good humour.

Had some American producer made this movie with Adam Sandler or someone like him it would have been a disaster. Everything would have been explained ad infinitum, but in the hands of director and actor, Dany Boon, who originally comes for that ‘tragic’ region “Welcome to the Sticks” has been a runaway success which broke all box office records in France.

Lawson’s bread is coming!

In one of my previous blogs I raved on about the most wonderful bread I had ever tasted. It was called Mackenzie’s High Country Bread and it could only be bought in New Zealand. One of the readers of my blog informed me that what I was describing sounded like Lawson’s bread which had only recently come to N.S.W.

I bought some of that bread while passing through N.S.W and it was indeed just like Mackenzie’s, same taste, same packaging. The only difference was the name which was meant to appeal to Aussies.

Today, I learned that Lawson’s is coming to Victoria in two weeks time. Great news!

Problems with toaster again

What is it with me and purchases? I always have to keep the docket because I’ll have to go back to the store to exchange the ruddy thing. Whether it’s an electrical appliance or an item of clothing, my shopping will always involve at least two trips.

Last time I had a moan about this problem it involved a toaster whose thermostat had died and a thermal spencer which grew and grew until it became a thermal dress.

The replacement toaster seemed okay for a while and then yesterday it decided that it would have only one setting which was ‘Burn the bread to a crisp”. So now we have packed the toaster once again (we now keep the packaging) and will have to make our pilgrimage to the mall next week.

I could philosophise about the disposable society and all that stuff, but I don’t feel like doing that because I’m convinced that my purchases are jinxed. Even my Miele vacuum cleaner of two weeks had to have some electrical adjustment because “some of the cleaners have been found to have a minor electrical problem,” which led to its conking out, I was told by an apologetic salesman. Not that I’m paranoid, but I reckon that if I bought a Rolls Royce car (as if) it would stall in the middle of traffic.

I had a Rolex watch, not the phony one that I fell for on a whim a few years ago, but a genuine Rolex Datejust which slowed down every month to the point that I complained to the Rolex agent. He said that it is normal for Rolexes to slow down and that one minute a month was usual. Have you ever tried to reset a Rolex? It’s hard work!

The least the Rolex company can do is make a watch that keeps the correct time. Makes one wonder how accurate the timing was at the Beijing Olympics lol. What’s one minute between friendly competitors?

I got rid of the Rolex and bought a watch that tells the time.

My plea is as follows. It’s great that now we have a 12 months replacement warranty on small appliances, but I wish that it wouldn’t be so necessary. I would like to buy an appliance that will do what it’s supposed to do for a legitimate period of time. I find it annoying that I should have to file all my receipts for the inevitable trek back to the store. We are filling up the world with useless appliances when we should be discarding much less.

I know that electrical appliances are much cheaper now than they used to be, but the waste bothers me extremely. If expensive products like the Miele vacuum cleaner and the Rolex watch can let you down then that argument of “it costs too much to have quality control” doesn’t gel, does it?

Have gun will marry. Sarah Palin to be a granny!

I have just heard that the Governor of Alaska’s unmarried daughter is pregnant. We have been reassured, however, that young Miss Palin will be getting married to the father. What a relief! This has really got to be the perfect shotgun wedding with Sarah Palin being a fully-fledged gun-totin’ member of the NRA.

Not quite sure how this will go down with the religious right in the U.S who favour chastity before marriage. I know that John McCain wanted to appeal to the common denominator when he selected Palin as his running mate, but has he gone too far? Could Sarah turn out to be a Calamity Jane?

You think Obama is too young? Well, we can offer you one even younger and female as well. So there!