Monday, 16 April 2012

Fear of Flying

That is probably a misleading title because I don't actually have a fear of flying, I just dislike it intensely. Something about being confined in that small space (ironic given I had no problem with the small spaces in the caves), all the other people and the fact that it all feels out of my control... which I think is the real problem as I know I have issues with control! With any other form of transport I feel at least I have the option of stopping and getting off if I want. (Although the reality might be something else... it might not be that easy to stop a speeding train!). So given that I was going to be airborn for 7 hours to Dubai, then another 14 hours to Australia and finally 3 hours to New Zealand not to mention the 24 hours coming home too, I decided to turn my journey into something of a film and literary festival! In total I saw six films and read almost four books.

The Descendants... was okay and fairly entertaining given I was a captive audience, although I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it.

My Week With Marilyn...  was excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed this and thought that Michelle Williams was superb as Marilyn Monroe.

The Help... was also excellent. I had read the book a couple of months ago, which I also thoroughly enjoyed, and I think it was probably a good thing as the Jackson, Mississippi accents weren't easy to understand against the background of airplane noise. But this one I would like to see again.

The Artist... was delightful. I had my doubts after all the hype and the oscars but it didn't disappoint. It was original, charming and funny. And the little dog was an absolute star!

The Iron Lady... I didn't really fancy this being no great Thatcher fan but I was pleasantly surprised and actually found it enjoyable but quite sad, although think she lost the plot long before the onset of dementia.

War Horse... this was another film I didn't really fancy but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. It was over romanticised, sentimental and far fetched but still a great story and a real epic of a film that totally absorbed me.

As well as watching films I also managed a fair bit of reading.
The Fine Colour of Rust by P. A. O'Reilly - Nancy very kindly passed this on to me and it arrived the morning I left. I read it cover to cover on the flight out and loved it. A really delightful feel good story set in rural Australia and laugh out loud funny in places too. My Mum is reading it at the moment but when she is finished I'll pass this on if anyone else fancies it.

Unless by Carol Sheilds... this was another excellent read although quite a thought provoking story looking at complex issues within a family. I read this for this for my book club this month so think I might have to be more eloquent in my review by the time we meet!

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes... I really enjoyed this story looking at memory and how our memories can be quite selective and how difficult it can be to discern what is actual truth and what we believe to be truth. Then when I got to the end I didn't understand what had happened at all and I wasn't sure whether this was deliberate or not. The main character is always being told "He doesn't get it" and I'm not sure I do either. As it's so short I'm reading it again in case I missed something!

And finally Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell... which I'm still reading, finding a bit strange and yet also quite compelling. It is six separate yet intertwined stories written in different styles or genres so quite unusual.

Now I'm back home I'll probably revert back to my usual 2 or 3 films a year and one book a month!


  1. I haven't flown many times so it is still a bit of a novelty for me, and I'm not much of a film buff but would happily read the hours away. Thanks for the reviews and I'll look out for those titles.

  2. Wow! That is a hugely impressive list.

    Out of all of it, I have only seen The Help, which I loved too.

    I'd love to go to New Zealand or Australia but that journey is so incredibly daunting.

  3. Gina, I do know what you mean about that airborne captured feeling. I usually just try to forget about it for the duration.

    It's funny but I actually think that I preferred having The Film projected on to that little screen at the front of our particular part of the plane. I just don't much like watching films on a mini mini screen with iffy earphones.

    Think that the last film I actually enjoyed seeing on board was Last Orders (and I had loved the book.)

    On my recent trip, I just gave up on the in flight entertainment, sleeping on the way over to the UK and reading the lovely Spitalsfield Life book on the way back.

    Still...I do think that I would have enjoyed seeing The Artist on a plane as I did in a NYC cinema.

    Your choice of books also interested me. I really enjoyed the Julian Barnes novel with its exploration of how we ("one") choose what to remember. I definitely remember meeting J Barnes years ago.

    I wonder if I would ever be able to take a long, long journey to NZ without having a bit of a stop over somewhere along the way. Ahhh, Gina, if we had all the time and all the funding, we could easily sort out all travel.


  4. Gina, one more thing...I am a huge fan of David Mitchell and would recommend to you any of his novels that you've not yet read. xo

  5. I have exactly the same problem with flying and it does boil down to the out of control thing.
    What a good idea but I'd have been way behind you on the books, I'm a very slow reader.
    Your previous post was amazing, you're incredibly brave, there's no way I'd have done the potholing!se

  6. thanks for the recommended reading and film lists, i have a couple of the books on my shelf.
    I have just had a lovely few minutes readiung your other posts, what a fabulous time you have had I am so jealous, but I must save up to do a similar trip, thanks for your lovely pictures and explanations

  7. So impressed with your film and literary fest. My only problem with the accents in The Help was I started lapsing back into one after watching it!

    K x

  8. Thank you for weeding out the films to not bother with! We hardly ever make time to sit down and watch something, so we need to get it right when we do. I would love to have the chance to read and read for hours - I've got about 5 library books on the go at the moment, and I'm not getting anywhere with them!

  9. Just read all three of your blogs - welcome back. Sounds as though you had an amazing time, you look so happy and what a good looking young man - takes after his Mum! Lots and lots of wonderful memories and photos to look at. Back down to earth soon and back to work - how lovely to come home to lots of flowers how thoughtful.

  10. I have just finished reading Chasing Angels by Meg Richardson , I really did enjoy this book . I fancy reading The Colour of Rust , I'll order it at the library
    Lots of lovely memories about your holiday for you to ponder on

  11. Gina,
    I know what you mean about War Horse. It had a touch of 'sentimentality' overdose about it but I loved it and as for the Artist.... when we came out of the cinema I was dancing down the street with Roy tugging my coat telling me to calm down. I would see it again but would have to go with another dancer! I have a copy of The Help via Oxfam but have not started it yet as I'm reading Sightlines by Kathleen Jamie which is travel writing so beautiful it makes me want to read it twice. What about that book you were reading when you went to the Hockney? What did that turn out like? Didn't it have moths or secrets or something in the title?

  12. I've missed reading your blog, and I have a lot of catching up to do....I don't think I've been to a film in over a year, but I do an awful lot of reading. My daughter is trying to talk me into going to see The Hunger Games...I think I'm the only one who hasn't read it. I just finished reading "Never Let Me Go"....I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  13. thanks for the book & film reviews. I have not seen/read any of them so it was interesting to read about them.

  14. ooh i never thought of it as a control thing but I think you may hve hit the nail on the head. I am not scared for flying but do get anxious on the run up to a flight - fab idea to have distractions ready for it - hhmm must think of some for my next flight x


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