Movie: American Hustle

February 14, 2014

Our wedding anniversary gave us the opportunity and impetus to go to the cinema for the first time in many months.  We went to see American Hustle at the Odeon, Braehead, and even though it was Orange Wednesday the theater was almost empty.  Because we have to wait till Lewis is settled we missed the early showings so didn’t get in till after 9, with adverts, trailers, and a movie that was too long for its own good we didn’t get in till nearly midnight – which in the past wouldn’t have been worth commenting on but now with sleep interrupted most nights it is much more of a challenge.

movie poster

movie trailer

So, the film?  Irving Rosenfeld (played by Christian Bale and a lot of makeup) is a conman who partners and falls in love with Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams).  They get caught by Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) an FBI agent who offers them a deal of working for him rather than going to jail.  The deal is that they will con (or entrap) corrupt politicians by offering them bribes.  But while the crime caper story is engaging, at times funny and provides the main narrative this film is all about the central characters and the fantastic performances that make them so captivating.  I read a review somewhere that this was a 3 star film with 5 star performances, I would rate the film higher than 3 starts but the it is true that the individual performances are much more memorable than the overall story.  Particularly given that, according to press interviews, much of the performance was improvised.  There are certainly a number of intense scenes that look unscripted and that the actors were reacting rather than acting.

Another massive feature of this movie is the look and sound of New York in the late 70s, the costumes, hair-styles (every review seems to mention the hair, but it really is an integral part of the movie from the very opening scene), and above all the superb mix tape from the 70s soundtrack which brings the era to life. -long black road-

Like many films IMHO this could have been shorter, it was a little self indulgent, lingered and lost pace towards the end, but other than that a great movie.

Review of 2013

January 17, 2014

Previously: review of 200920102011, 2012, here is the summary of my blog posts 2013… as ever please note this is only to help me remember things I really don’t know why anyone else would be interested:

MOVIES (cinema)

RESTAURANTS, blogged about (I don’t blog about every restaurant anymore)…

BOOKS read this year….


  • June: Isle of Lewis
  • November: Crieff Hydro

Other Highlights:

  • April: Son
  • July: Started Cycling to Work
  • Sept: Lewis Dedication

Running Totals:

  • 2009 – 23 books – 6 Movies – 4 gigs
  • 2010 – 33 books – 13 Movies – 10 gigs – 6 restaurants – 4 holidays
  • 2011 – 18 books – 2 Movies – 3 gigs – 1 restaurants – 3 holidays
  • 2012 – 16 books – 7 Movies – 3 gigs – 3 restaurants – 4 holidays
  • 2013 – 8 books – 2 Movies – 0 gigs – 1 restaurant – 2 holidays – Plus 1 son who is wonderful!

Books: Peter May “The Blackhouse”

January 4, 2014

Still trying to catch up on stuff I should have posted last year, I read this around August / September time.  My reading habits have changed a lot with the birth of Lewis.  The times when I used to read have been taken over by other more important things meaning for now I just wont be getting through as many as I used to.

bookThat said I picked up this murder mystery for the obvious reason that it was set on the Island of Lewis a place I have a lot of connection with and have some knowledge of.  The story opens with a murder in a small village on the island, and the Police computers assign the case to DS Fin MacLeod currently in Edinburgh but originally from this village (coincidence?) because the murder resembles a case in Edinburgh he is already working on.

So Fin finds himself back on the island he left 20 years before and had never intended to return to.  The book then starts to switch between the present day investigation and Fin’s past growing up on Lewis with the two stories gradually coming together with many twists and surprises along the way.

I really enjoyed this story and the characters involved.  Peter May’s description of the scenery and the ways of life on the island ring true with me and brought the place itself to life as an integral part of the plot.  This is the first book in a trilogy of this character and I look forward to reading the others.

Catch up (part 3)

January 1, 2014

Lewis attended his first book signing…

Julia Donaldson book signing

Julia Donaldson book signing

children’s books have become a big part of our life – usually reading 4 books to Lewis each night.  Toddle Waddle is always the last book and Lewis seems to take it in like it is some kind of religious creed which is so important to his future that he must strive to understand it and take it all in.

It wasn’t till we went to this signing by Julia Donaldson that I actually realised how many of the books we read to Lewis and look forward to reading to him all come form this one author.  I had heard of the The Gruffalo before Lewis came along but never had cause to read it – its a really nice wee story.  And the first time I read the snail and the whale I totally choked up.

I look forward to reading these same books for the next few years as there will always be something in the story or illustrations to talk to Lewis about.  Whether he ever appreciates a few of them being signed by the author, only time will tell.

Catch up (part 2)

January 1, 2014

November 18-22nd

We went for a short break to Crieff Hydro, our first time there and wont be our last.

crieff hydro

crieff hydro

High Tea at crieff hydro

High Tea at crieff hydro

crieff hydro

crieff hydro

Lewis in a ball pool

Lewis in a ball pool

crieff hydro

crieff hydro

Lewis underwatter at Crieff Hydro

Lewis underwatter at Crieff Hydro


Catch up (part 1)

January 1, 2014

No excuses, I’ve simply not got around to blogging much but there might just be time to catchup before the end of the year….

In July  (9th – 16th)  we took young Lewis to the Isle of Lewis

lewis-plane Lewis’s first filght
lewis-dog Lewis Meets a Dog – Ben
lewis-beach Lewis visits one of the many beaches on Lewis.

Also, in July – partly due to the great weather and partly because my Aunt started nagging me about cholesterol and heart disease – I started Cycling to work.  At first only  three days a week but it didn’t take long to get up to 5 days. It did get hard when the clocks change and it got colder but still going and really enjoying it.

September (8th) we Dedicated Lewis to God during a service at St Silas, asking Ali and Alison (we didn’t deliberately choose them because they had similar names)…

lewis-dedication1 Lewis’s dedication
lewis-dedication2 family
lewis-dedication3 cake.

November 3rd  Lewis’s first fancy dress (Halloween) party..


Also in November Danar and I celebrated a significant decimal anniversary – 1000 days married!  We went to one of our favourite restaurants, the wonderful Bibi’s Cantina.


more to come…

Lewis Girls on the boats

August 8, 2013

This article, I think from 1961, is under the title “As the World’s Press Sees Us” looks like a reprinting in the local paper of a story from the Glasgow Herald.  My mother, Catherin Macleod, was from the village of North Tolsta and according to this she was 18 with her sister Anna working on the boats on the Clyde. . .


“Lewis Girls Have Graceful Carriage,” Says Alison Downie In The “Glasgow Herald.”

Four Lewis girls who are stewardesses on the “Glen Sannox” are highly praised by Alison Downie of the Glasgow Herald in an article on “The Girls Who Serve on the Clyde Ships.”

“On board the Glen Sanox. the largest and most modern of the motor vessel fleet, which goes to and from Ardrosan, or Fairlie, and Arran.  I recently met the stewardesses for whom this is the busiest time of the year,” she writes.

“I had always vaguely supposed that all the Clyde ships were entirely staffed by day workers, who arrived on board each morning, and returned home when the shops docked each evening.  This, however, is not true of the Glen Sannox.  The girls who work on board live on board, too.  Furthermore, they are attached to the ship all the year round, except for six weeks or so in mid-winter, when she goes into dry-dock.

All From Lewis

“The four permanent stewardesses all come from the Island of Lewis – another surprise to me, since I thought the staffs for the Clyde shops would come mainly, if not exclusively, from the towns around the CLyde coast.

“Christine Murray, the senior stewardess, is a good-looking young woman of 25, with the beautiful colouring and graceful carriage with which so many island girls are endowed.  Why had she chosen life at sea?

“‘Perhaps it’s because my five brothers are all in the Merchant Navy,’  Christine suggested.  Her home is in North Tolsta, and before joining the “Glen Sannox” early last year she had tried various jobs, from bus conductress in Stornoway to hotel work in Oban, Strathpeffer and Helensburg.

“She much prefers her present job to any of the others – ‘It’s hard work, but it’s a happy life,’ was how she put it.

Two of the assistant stewardesses are sisters: Anna [left in photo] and Catherin Macleod [my mum - second from left in photo], also of Tolsta.  Anne, aged 23, started at the same time as Christine, and this year brought along her 18-year-old sister.  Their three brothers, too, are at sea.  The fourth member of this all-Hebridean team is Catherine Graham of Borve.

news-article-photo“All four girls have the soft, lilting voices of the Gaelic speaker, and one English tourist is said to have spent two entire days of his holidays sailing to and from Arran just for the pleasure of listening to them.  Difficult to check up on this tale perhaps, but it makes a good story.

“The girls are all good sailors (though Anna admitted to having felt a bit queer for the first few days).

“The stewardesses are on duty from 6am, helping to prepare and serve the breakfast on the first trip of the day, until the ship ties up at Fairlie pier about 8.30pm.

“The “Glen Sannox” sails to and from Arran four times per day in the summer season, and with a dining room which holds 70 and a tea-bar which seats many more, there is plenty to be done in the way of serving meals, setting tables, and washing up.

“When the ship is carrying the maximum number of passengers – 1,100 – during the peak holiday periods, then life on board is hectic, and the girls lose all count of the numbers of cups of tea served and the quantities scones and cakes scoffed by their customers.

“But in the autumn and winter life is less of a rush, and there is more time to chat to the regular travelers, and to explore Arran when the ship lies there over the weekends – a very different Arran from the ones seen by the summer crowds.”


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