Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Life and Loves of a He Devil - Graham Norton

Graham Nortons show is one I usually sit down to watch over the weekend.  He has a constant supply of interesting celebrities on his shows, although the American ones often look slightly puzzled as they fail to get the joke or understand the humour.

It was a cracking little read this book, and I think as a comedian he bought a great amount of balance to this memoir.  It was funny without being silly and I like that he broke up the book into a series of stories on a subject, talking about his dogs, Ireland, work and his sex life.

Entertaining and funny and it gave me a big long smile reading it.  4/5

Monday, February 16, 2015

Heavenly Hirani's School of Laughing Yoga - Sarah-Kate Lynch

You know the drill, a slightly depressed housewife agrees to travel with her businessman husband to India to escape her life.  With kids that ignore her, a mother who recently died and a missing dog Annie Jordan finds herself experiencing it all, new tastes and smells and experiences.

Sarah-Kate Lynch makes this slightly formulaic book turn into something magical, as she gives Annie a real heart and makes you want to keep turning the pages.  Or maybe buy a ticket to India.  Not me though, as I don't have the funds to stay anywhere near where the Jordans were and a packbacking Indian journey is not for me.  4/5

Sunday, February 15, 2015


It is crazy that we are already experiencing cooler days and evenings in Mid February, the middle of our summer.  After a long grey winter, we really need a few nicer weeks before autumn arrives.  Looking at our friends in the  Northern Hemisphere, we know that we must seem petty, as perched on our little islands we have quite mild weather with little in the way of extreme cold or searing hot,  but the grey skies can get a girl down.

So it was a perfect chilly afternoon yesterday, the long pants were pulled out and the sandals put away, closed in shoes worn and a scarf topped off my outfit.  As it was valentines, me and a bestie chose to avoid the evening sessions, and instead had a late lunch and then went to see Wild at the cinema.  As it was valentines Day, I shouted my bestie an ice cream - for that is the kind of friend I am.

I had read the book, but my friend had not.  She really enjoyed the movie, and I thought they did a great job of interrupting the story.  If you don't know - Wild is the true story about Cheryl Strayed who after a divorce, heroin addiction and the death of her mother decides to hike the Pacific Coast Trail from Mexico to Canada.  Months alone in the desert and hills force her to face her demons and I guess find herself and is a story that has resonated with lots of people.

Reese Witherspoon does an awesome job, and is the perfect actress for this role, in a role unlike her other cutsie characters.   I think I like her in this more serious persona far more than any other movie I have seen her in.

Just a warning - there is some sex and drug scenes in this movie, so not one for the youngsters.  4/5

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Until Further Notice I am Alive - Tom Lubbock

This small journal is written by author and art critic Tom Lubbock, who in 2008 was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  With a wife and young son, he writes for the following two years about his journey, his medical and surgical experiences, his sense of loss and concern for his young family.  

I had earlier read the memoir written by his wife Marion Coutts - The Iceberg, and was touched by the poetic beauty of her writing, how in such a stressful time she was still able to be eloquent and graceful.  How even though they were struggling as Toms battle with brain cancer was continuing, they were so open and welcoming to friends and family.

It is humbling to read such memoirs, putting our petty worries in perspective.  3/5

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Complications - Atul Gawande

Dear Dr Gawande,

I am becoming a super fan of yours.  Much as I think this is not as important a book as Being Mortal, for many I am sure it will be somewhat of an eye opener.  In the twenty five years I have been in the medical field, much has changed, the technology available, the skills surgeons such as yourself now have due to the tools and eduction available and most importantly I think there has been a huge shift in patient expectation.  Patients and their families expect diagnoses and answers that sometimes cannot be answered.

You do a fine job of explaining that surgery is an imperfect science.  You can have a hundred patients with the same symptoms and diagnosis, but not everybody will respond to surgery or treatment in the same way, and there can be a variety of outcomes that cannot be predicted.

Thank you for being a voice of reason, and for presenting to the public, what we in the medical fiend understand about medicine.  4/5

Monday, February 02, 2015

Music Monday - Yellow Flicker Beat

Listening to this one most days while walking to work.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

The Imitation Game

A grey spitty weekend day gave me permission to venture inside and watch a movie, something I have avoided over the sunny summer we have been having.  I had been wanting to see The Imitation Game for some time, so was glad to see it at the cinema before it disappeared.  

Arrested in the 50s for being a homosexual, Alan Turing is questioned about what he did in the war, and through this we learn about his part in breaking the Enigma code at Betchely Park, an important turning point that enabled the British and the Allies to bring World War Two to an end.

Such an engaging and interesting film, all held together by the amazing Benedict Cumberbatch.  I could listen to his voice for hours, it is truly mesmerising.  His performance was restrained and brilliant, and I hope he wins the Oscar.  It would be well deserved.