Holiday watchlist

By Vita Forest

Last week on holildays in Kiama, we took some DVDs to watch each night.  Here is what we chose…  A bit of nostalgia, a bit of fun, a few classics…  All recommended!

  • The Hundred Foot Journey (2014 ) Lasse Hallstrom’s feel-good film about what happens when a family of Indian immigrants buys a run-down restaurant across the road from a Michelin-star winning restaurant in a picturesque French village.  Rivalry, racism, love and food!
  • The Goonies (1985) A bunch of kids set out on an adventure in a last ditch attempt to save their town from unscrupulous developers.  Treasure maps, pirates, legends, and lots of screaming.  Features some familiar faces from the 1980s.
  • Rosalie Blum (2015) – An alligator, a peeing thief, and a dog masquerading as a lion… all appear in this French film about three lonely people whose lives intersect in unexpected, hilarious and heart-warming ways.
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) – a thirteen year old boy who’s a ‘real bad egg’ and a surly loner  go on the run from the authorities in the New Zealand bush.  Taika Waititi’s classic.
  • Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) – an animated film directed by Hayao Miyazaki and based on the novel by Diana Wynne Jones.  As always from Studio Ghibli, it features superb animation, complex characters who are never truly good or evil and mouth-watering scenes of food.
  • Strictly Ballroom (1992) – Baz Luhrman and his team’s first film and my favourite of all of them!  The battle between the new and the old set in the world of ballroom dancing – and featuring some familiar Sydney locations.  A magic  blend of music, humour and visual delights.  The perfect pick me up when you’re feeling down.
  • Singin’ in the Rain (1952) – the classic Hollywood musical set in the 1920s with fabulous songs, dancing and a winning story.  Just heaven!

We also picked up a couple of other titles while browsing op shops etc.  These were

  • The Sound of Music
  • The Matrix

What have you been watching?

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From the balcony

By Vita Forest

In the early morning

There are joggers and cyclists

Dark silhouettes against the pearly sky

And the band of bootcampers

Swinging bells and balls

As they squat and straighten

On the soft green grass

 

I sit sipping tea

As they walk beneath the balcony

We’ve come to show you their hair,

the mother says to the white-haired neighbour watching the sea

And the girls turn obligingly to show

the twisted plaits

That start at their temples

And ring their skulls

Like crowns

 

The father in the singlet shepherds his kids across the carpark

She, riding a tiny white horse

Rolling on plastic wheels that grind on the asphalt

He, a blue grown-up scooter that

glides smooth with every press of his foot

while a car waits and lets them pass

engine idling

 

The black-clad teenager pulls in below

beneath the long flickering fingers of the pine

Sits a moment

Not yet time to start his shift

At the restaurant across the way

Just time enough to listen to one more song

As the engine ticks and cools

 

Happy New Year and Recommended Reads

By Vita Forest

Happy New Year everyone!  I thought I’d start the year with a list of new books I read last year and would recommend.  Some are not so very new but I discovered them in 2018.  As always, these were interspersed with lots of rereading of old favourites.  Happy Reading!

  • Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman (you will laugh and you will cry at this warm-hearted book).
  • Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave (a sensational story set during WW2).
  • His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (I know, it’s not new at all, but how fantastic to be able to read it voraciously all the way through and not have to wait for the next  book in the series.  A fantasy classic).
  • Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (another gem from one of my absolute favourite authors.  Another WW2 story, this seemed to be a bit of a theme this year).
  • The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore (my daughter Lucy put me on to this YA tale of forbidden love.  One of her friends put her onto it, comparing it to Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus… enough said).
  • Tom Appleby: Convict Boy by Jackie French (we read this excellent book at school.  The kids loved it and so did I).
  • The Dry by Jane Harper (Australian Bush noir with a killer prologue).
  • Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman (amongst all the gloom comes this guidebook to create a better world.  One of the few non-fiction books on my list).
  • We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (expertly written with a major twist that changes everything).
  • Nevermoor: the trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (another book my class enjoyed.  It promised to be a successor to Harry Potter and guess what?  It is!)
  • Men explain things to me by Rebecca Solnit (beautifully written, passionate feminism).
  • A year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman (how great to discover this wonderful author.  Another novel with a WW2 setting).

What did you enjoy reading last year?