I love it when a plan comes together…

I bet you knew that quote…

I bet you know who says it and can even picture the scene…

Yep! It’s good ol’ Hannibal Smith of The A Team, smoking his cigar and smiling after another victory against the ‘bad guys’!

This weekend I found a re-run of this TV series and thought to myself ‘ah I’ve a few minutes go while away I’ll watch an episode’…yep, you guessed it…I’m totally hooked again!

I love it! Lots of “crash, bang, wallops”, car chases, shoot outs and explosions but there’s no gore, no one gets killed and the good guys always win!

Yes it’s cheesy, yes it’s simplistic, yes it’s not always the best acted and oh boy it’s dated! BUT I love it’s innocence, it’s glee at poking fun at itself and most of all I love it’s pure joy at celebrating the love that we call friendship.

The basis of The A-Team is the absolute rock solid friendship formed between four very different characters but for whom honour, loyalty and trust are fundamental truths at their core. A most simple and obvious example is the way Howling Mad Murdock (I mean come on…who isn’t gonna like a show with a main character called that??!!) drives B.A. Baracus crazy – irritates the pants off him most of the time, they’re always at loggerheads; but their friendship is akin to that of a sibling relationship where actually when push comes to shove they’d lay down themselves for each other without hesitation.

The heroes have their flaws as all people do: Smith is all too often smug, Face can be a bit smarmy, B.A. is cantankerous and Murdock…ahh Murdock is looney tunes! But it’s these imperfections which make us identify with and warm to the A Team all just that little bit more, it makes them more real.

There’s no attempt to place hidden meanings in their interactions, the only misdirection is sometimes to keep us guessing about what action will come next, it’s never to make us worry about their friendship; there’s no hidden agenda in the writing, at least not one that I can see (although I’ve been known to be a bit naively oblivious to undertones in movies and shows in the past according to others, so forgive me if I missed something!) To me, its all about the underdogs winning with the help of wronged heroes who fight for the good whilst cracking jokes, having fun and in spite of everything remaining positive – in other words it’s fun!

The ultimate reason for loving this show though has got to be that opening monologue and the theme tune…genius!!

This takes me back to my childhood and the days of innocent fun…I hope maybe it will bring you small cheer too – enjoy xx

https://youtu.be/_MVonyVSQoM

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Reading challenge Blog 2…

I confess, I failed at the first hurdle! I couldn’t get to grips with The Silkworm – it just didn’t grab me and I found myself not reading at all rather than read it…not good! So I’ve popped it back on the shelf and will try it again another day.

BUT I will not be defeated!! I’ve got up, dusted off my bruised knees and came up with a cunning plan (…luckily of my own design and not one of Baldricks)

To get myself back in the reading mood I found a book I’ve read before but couldn’t remember – ‘Confessional‘ by Jack Higgins.

Hmmm, I have mixed feelings. It was easy to read, a simple storyline that whizzed along and which had just enough element of a cat and mouse chase to keep me interested. However, it didn’t set my world alight, I didn’t really like many of the characters and it didn’t really increase my pulse or leave me wanting to learn more. It’s not a book I’ll read again – but it did give me the push I needed to get reading again and I appreciate that!

So, being on a roll I headed over to leap a second hurdle and picked a new author and a book that had been sat on my bookshelf for several years without being opened (I know, terrible isn’t it? Worse still there’s more just like it…oh the shame!)

The book I chose was Gatekeeper by Philip Shelby. Described on the jacket as: “An international assassin is brought out of retirement for one last lethal commission…his name is the Handyman”

I had reasonable expectations that this would be a page turner for me as I love a good thriller and I was pleased to discover it was ‘not half bad’ as my nan would say. Admittedly I guessed several of the plot twists and the outcome was kinda obvious but actually I didn’t mind; It wasn’t a challenging read and to be honest I wasn’t in the mood for one of those so this was good! And I found myself becoming intrigued as to how the characters would be developed, even the slightly more minor ones, and it is often this aspect of a book that will get me hooked on a story…take Harry Potter for example; obviously the main characters are interesting etc etc but I found myself time and again coming back to the more minor characters and hoping they’d develop (and they did – hurrah!) so I could understand them better and work out what made them tick: Luna’s perceptiveness, Umbridge’s dastardly vindictive evilness (can you tell I REALLY dislike her?because I do…intensely), Neville’s honesty and bravery – they all intrigued me and hooked me into the storylines (to be honest Neville was always my favourite character from HP & The Philosophers Stone onwards and many of my favourite moments throughout the whole series are where he’s making his gentle but significant contribution).

ANYWAYS back to THIS book…this story is left wide open for a sequel or two – which I usually groan at, but in this instance I quite liked that the author didn’t just try to tie everything up neatly in a bow in one book…instead I’m left wondering what will happen next?how the ‘good guys’ will end up working together again? what will bring them to face the Handyman once more?…yeah I quite liked this book 😉

All in all I’m happy to have read a new author that’s easy to read and I’ve found another one of his books to pop on my reading list which is great!

I’m now off to read a new book but by favourite author, “Jack Reacher: The Complete Collected Short Stories…No Middle Name” by Lee Child.

Happy Reading everyone xx

A tale of two matches…

I’m mad about rugby, it’s true…it seems I’m getting more obsessed as I get older but I always think we should find at least one true passion in life and follow it with gusto…and so I’m embracing the madness and, as they say, ‘Bring It On!’

I’ve not played a full on competitive rugby match in a long time and this week I experienced two very different matches.

I’ve played for a VERY good team who uncompromisingly smashed the opposition 65-0 and I’ve played for a development (beginner) side who lost to an experienced opposition 67-27.

I’ve played Second Row which is my usual position and although I didn’t think I had my best game I must’ve done something right as I got ‘Forward of the Match’ (yes I’m very happy about that!!)

Then I’ve played Inside Centre…which my coach seems to think should be my position…it certainly took me out of my comfort zone, but hey that’s kinda what we have to do to improve I suppose!

Both teams I played for are full of amazing, talented, fierce and fabulous women – the positivity of each, the teamwork ethos of both sides was a joy to experience.

I’ve realised that regardless of the level of game, regardless of my position and no matter what the result ends up being, what I’ve missed is the game itself and playing with such positive people.

I’ve missed the thrill of running out onto the pitch with my team, the tight ball of fear in my stomach that I’m going to cock up and trying to unravel that with the confidence training brings knowing I just have to play how I train (I’m always better in training!!).

I’ve missed picking & driving, smashing the maul, making those valuable metres! I’ve missed passing the ball out wide and watching my teams speedy backs sprint off (although the down side to that is that means I have to follow and I’m usually knackered by then with legs like lumps of lead! – but I’ve missed that too!!) There’s nothing quite like the grunt of the scrum and the rush of adrenaline when you smash the tackle (and yes having that momentary flicker of relief that it worked!!)

I’ve missed seeing my teammates all powered up and ready to rock; feeling that sense of pride in them and in being part of that team.

Ahh man I’ve loved this week!!

I hope you have found your passion and even more so that your week has been filled with the joy of it xx

When Daddy Fell Into The Pond…

Undoubtedly one of my favourite books as a child was the Ladybird book of Bedtime Rhymes…full of fun little dittys which made me chuckle, wonder and above all else happy.

My favourite was ‘When Daddy Fell Into The Pond” by Alfred Noyes

I defy anyone to read this or have it read to them and not break out into at least a small smile…

For me it gives delight in several ways. Firstly, it depicts so accurately those wintry weekend days when as a child I would be all like ‘there’s NOTHING to do…I’m BORED!!’ (Despite having a mountain of toys and a zillion books which of course at that particular time were just not enough for a 7yr old!) It brings a certain nostalgia as I remember that feeling of ‘oh would something exciting please happen’ and then my parents doing something to break the monotony – never quite as dramatic as falling in a pond but usually more along the lines of saying let’s play a board game, let’s go for a walk & hunt for conkers, or my mum saying let’s bake a cake – yes she did let me lick the bowl out! Happy days…

This brings me to the second reason why I like this poem – It doesn’t say that ‘Daddy’ fell in the pond deliberately and as a child this thought would never have occurred to me but reading it now as an adult I do think it’s certainly something which could be inferred…as parents we do all do daft stuff to keep our children happy…slapstick humour works wonders with kids, I’ve lost count of the number of times I pretended to befall some crazy harmless misfortune for my boys entertainment… so as a child I loved it coz of that childish delight in seeing a parent fall for something silly and as an adult it brings a new twist of knowing that perhaps the joy was deliberately engineered and what a great Daddy this daddy is!

Finally this poem shows the genuine infectiousness of laughter – of how having a giggle, being a good sport (coz let’s face it the Daddy could’ve gone bananas and had a total sense of humour failure but he didn’t) and seeing the brighter side of all things can make the world around us, even just for that moment, a better place.

It brings me to another favourite poem – I’m not quite sure who wrote it as there have been multiple authors attributed in the past, but I first heard of it when I was reading up on Spike Milligan. Whoever did write it they were insightfully spot on about the power of a smile 😁

I leave you with these words and my smile…

Under Pressure…

“Love’s such an old fashioned word and love dares you to care for the people of the edge of the night, and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves…”

David Bowie & Queen 1982

I do so like it when songs are insightful and this is up there with the best of them… love does indeed make us look at everything and everyone differently. It changes how we think, how we feel and how we act. I like to believe that if we listen to our hearts, if we acknowledge the good which comes from love it changes us for the better xx

Finally got my hands dirty again…

Hurrah!! The sun managed to shine this arvo and I managed to actually be at home so I could get out in my garden and make the most of it!

The lawn still needs mowing, I just couldn’t quite muster the energy (it’s been a long week…but that’s another story!) although on the plus side it looks a lush green at the mo. so I’m not too worried (ask me next week tho I’m bound to be stressed out by it by then!) but I did manage to trim back the ceanothus, tidy up the flower bed with a modicum of weeding and then…drum roll please…… I planted!!

Now, yes I grant you that it doesn’t sound a massively outstanding achievement to be planting when I’m gardening, but the context is that I’ve had two plants and 4 packs of bulbs sat on my kitchen side for, oooh about 3 weeks, and due to a variety of reasons I’d not got them out there into my garden and I think they were probably losing the will to live…

So now they are nicely tucked up in the ground, surrounded by a little compost and rather a lot of worms…I found about 6 today whilst digging…oooh I love a wiggly worm!!! This confuses my fella – he doesn’t understand this as I’m petrified of snakes and they’re just as wiggly- but as I’ve pointed out worms improve the quality of the soil and therefore are beneficial to my garden and also don’t have teeth or eyes to scare me with – whilst snakes do not help my garden and do scare me MASSIVELY!!

Annnnnyhoot, back to planting….and here lie the bulbs and plants…

I know this patch of earth doesn’t look like much at the mo but from March is should be a mass of colour with blue Irises, white Crocuses, mixed yellows of Daffodils and the lush purple of Aliums…I’m testing my patience once more and crossing my fingers that those worms do their job right!!

In the meantime, the fennel is looking good, the Cosmos has grown, the Dahlias are still stunning and the mint is growing out of its pot!!

Happy, happy days 😊

If you’re feeling a bit low, or tired or in need of a pick me up I recommend getting your hands dirty…it cheers the soul xx

Bonkers about Conkers…

I remember when I was very young an Autumn craze was to ‘play conkers’ – we’d string them up and use whatever tricks we could to harden them and then we’d swing our conkers at each other’s to crack and break them apart. On and on it would go until only one remained – oh how the winner would swagger and swank about!!

Now I collect them but, instead of battles, they face a gentler life in a bowl! It’s possibly not as exciting for them but they remind me of a time of innocence and give me pleasure.

What simple things give you happy memories?