Film: Churchill

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five star
We haven’t been to the local Odeon for months, so it was good to break the habit today! We saw the afternoon matinee of Jonathan Teplitzky’s production of Churchill.

With so many ‘big’ films today being dependent on an over-use of CGI, it was good to actually watch something that relied solely on quality acting – and there was plenty of it going around! Brian Cox was simply mesmerising in the lead-role, whilst Miranda Richardson and John Slattery were both superb in their supporting roles.

Whatever your views about Churchill and his part in this country’s history, you won’t fail to be impressed by this latest portrayal.

Fantastic! Simply the best film we’ve seen in ages!

Laptop Coaching: Recap – ‘Photos’ App

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Continuing our recap lessons, today, we re-looked at the Windows 10 ‘Photos’ app.

Laptop Coaching: What is Windows 10 (Pt 1)

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Today, we ran an introductory session about the features and benefits of ‘Windows 10’.

Doctor Who – Series 10, Episode 11: “World Enough and Time”

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Weird title though!

Well, that was a good one! With so much going on, it was difficult to keep up – and if the pre-titles scene didn’t have Whovians everywhere reaching for their Twitter account, I don’t know what would have!!

This was the penultimate episode for Peter Capaldi in the title role and also Steven Moffat as show-runner & script-writer-in-chief – culminating in their final episode collaboration next Saturday. With so many key people ‘moving-on’, it’s difficult impossible to get any sense of what the show will be like even under the very capable stewardship of Chris Chibnall.

What about tonight’s episode? Above all, it was really creepy… really really creepy. In fact, I can’t recall another episode like this in recent times – and it was pretty bleak too! By the end credits, I was left feeling really quite sad (and doubly-so, when I heard what had been discussed in the Facebook Live event directly after the show).
Fans have the regeneration scene to cope with next week and no doubt that’ll break the Internet for a few days! Peter Capaldi has commented: “Certainly it’s not straightforward. It’s more complicated than recent ones…”.

With the title of next week’s episode being: ‘The Doctor Falls’, it looks like ‘bleak’ is here to stay!

At the time of writing, no-one is really sure who the ‘new’ Doctor will be – and I’m sure the BBC wants to keep it that way, but I for one will be reminding myself of the short-list in the coming week and keeping an even keener eye on the inter-web.

Canada and Alaska – Part 3, Day 5: Bye-bye Vancouver!

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Weather permitting, it’s Queen Elizabeth Park (directions HERE) and Vancouver’s Botanical Gardens (directions HERE) before we close the suitcases on Canada for good this time round, and fly home.

As things turned out the weather was much better than the forecast above showed – perfect for our last day here!

It was a short SkyTrain journey from the YVR Airport to Oakridge and 41st followed by a brisk 15 minute walk to the highest point in Vancouver (152 metres above sea-level if you’re counting) – and our first stop: Queen Elizabeth Park.

What a view of the city!

After admiring the view, our next stop was the nearby Bloedel Conservatory….

…and to our surprise, it was packed with birds of all shapes, sizes and colours – and not a cage in sight!!

..and they seemed perfectly relaxed with us humans getting in really close for photographs

What a treat!

Nothing was going to top the Conservatory for visual impact and beauty, so on leaving we had a quick look at the other main attraction -the ornamental fountain, before descending…

…into the Botanical Gardens…

…fantastic views…

…more fantastic views…

…even more fantastic views…

…all tended to with love, care and extreme precision!
Even the traditionally shy wildlife was out enjoying the view!

Wow! what an experience! This is definitely worth a visit – even if you’re not a gardener of a bird-watcher. Both places took our breath away.

We still had a bit of time to kill, so we jumped on the Skytrain at King Edward and headed down to the Waterfront for one last time. We grabbed an ice-cream at McD’s soaked up some rays before boarding the SkyTrain one last time to take us back to the Airport.

Back in Blighty by tea-time tomorrow! – Bye-bye Vancouver, see you again soon!

Canada and Alaska – Part 3, Day 4: Last Full Day in Vancouver

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A lazy start to the day – we couldn’t even be bothered to walk downstairs for brekky!

An excellent spread! Earl Grey Tea, Coffee, Waffles, Banana Pancakes – all with extra berries (and fat-free too!)…. Maybe!

The weather looks a lot better today, so we’re off south to the town of Steveston using a mixture of the (now very familiar) SkyTrain and Bus.

Steveston was originally a small town founded William Herbert Steves in 1880 and it has since been absorbed into the city of Richmond, British Columbia. Today it’s a heritage town with a modern fishing fleet but still maintains the character of a quaint, historic fishing village – together with over 600 fishing boats. It has often been used as a location for various films and TV series including: The X-Files, Stargate SG1, Once Upon A Time and many others.

After a longish journey (of about an hour) we arrived in Steveston where it was already very busy with quite a few people wandering around soaking up the surroundings. Our first stop was a general look around the Harbour before…

…heading for The Gulf of Georgia Cannery.
It’s now a Museum that charts the history of canning salmon here from the early 1900s until its closure in the 70s.
The Museum looked fascinating and we were just in time for the 45-minute guided tour!
Plenty to see, especially the old machinery….
…and you could even weight yourself and get your value based on the salmon type and weight.
The employees worked in hideous conditions – 16 hour days for very little money!
The ‘best’ jobs went to those who were friends or relations of the management…
…and if you happened to be Chinese, you automatically got the worst and lowest paid jobs in the Cannery!
Yep, that about sums it up!
Time for lunch and we spotted a suitable spot in the shape of Britannia’s just up the road from the Cannery Museum. By now, the temperature was hotting-up and in the end, we had to move tables for a bit of shade. After a quick look at the menu it was Salmon for Ann and homemade Meatballs in a creamy sauce on a Pasta Bed for me. Oh, and a couple of pints of a local Cider – which went down a treat in this gorgeous weather.
Then it was off down the road in search of the popular Britannia Shipyard. This is a massive converted area next to the water, where the Canneries used to be. Now it had been tastefully restored as the National Shipyards Historic Site…
DSCN2219 DSCN2228
…with quality apartments for sale or rent set back from the water…
…with great views…
…and more great views, tastefully restoring the area and making it a tourist attraction in its own right…
…a nice view to wake up to!
About halfway along the path, the new apartments gave way to some of the original canning buildings and structures – it was like stepping-back in time 100 years!
At its height, this area was home to 16 Canneries…
Tastefully, they had even restored some of the accommodation… (Most weren’t as plush as the one above – this was a manager’s home)
…as well as the factories themselves. Overall, we were left with a feeling that if you were Chinese or Japanese at the height of the Canneries success here, it wasn’t much of a life. For example, wives came to work with their kids strapped to their back, whilst they tolerated atrocious hours (by anyone’s standards). It was overt racism which got even worse after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Now Japanese-Canadians were also on the list as ‘non-desirables’ and had all their possessions seized (including their boats) and were then bundled off to internment camps.

There was an awful lot to see and soak-up. Clearly there’s some history here that in less enlightened times might have been airbrushed out. The developers have done a fantastic job in re-invigorating the area whilst reminding all visitors that there’s a ‘darker’ local history to consider. To us, it all looked very tasteful with the very new and the very old co-existing whilst acting as a very visible reminder of days-gone-by.

This area is definitely worth a visit!

Wow! What a great day! I feel very educated about an area I knew nothing about. Additionally, the weather perked-up and the walk along the waterfront was gorgeous!

Then it was back to reality and we headed back to the Hotel. We’d spent almost five hours just wandering around Steveston and has been a great way to spend our last full day here in Vancouver.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, it’s Vancouver’s Botanical Gardens and Queen Elizabeth Park before we close the suitcases on Canada this time round and we fly home.

Canada and Alaska – Part 3, Day 3: Return to Vancouver

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Well, the weather is certainly better than yesterday, but apparently nowhere near as hot as home – Kettering is up in the the high 20s/low 30s at the moment!!

What to do? Fly home early? Maybe not!

Actually, as things turned out, neither of us felt ‘100%’ today and we didn’t get much sleep. We therefore decided to take it easy and stay local. it was therefore an ideal oportunity to visit the Shopping Village that we’d seen from the SkyTrain a few days back – and it was only a couple of stops down the line too at ‘Templeton’.

Well, it certainly is large…

…with plans to be even larger…

…it really did feel like a small English village…

…but there was a distinct lack of eateries…

…and even fewer bargains! In fact, comparing prices, even with the regular ‘80% off’ deals (and allowing for the poor ‘£’ currently), it was still cheaper back in the UK! After a quick bite to eat, we headed back to the SkyTrain and the Hotel. Overall, we’re a bit disappointed, but it proves that size isn’t everything, and it’s what you do with it that counts!

Last full day here tomorrow, as we’re flying home on Wednesday!