Sunday, November 25, 2007

Squirty Squirty Sick Sick

No pictures on this one - just words.

I've had the screaming lurgie, the shits, the technicolour yawns. Apparently it's an epidemic at the moment. Our local hospital is on emergency standby - they've had to close down a load of wards. I can't believe people actually go to A&E (the emergency room if your from the USA and reading this) with this affliction.

First my wife had it. I thought I might escape it. I was proudly telling someone at work earlier in the week I couldn't remember the last time I was off sick. The next day I felt slightly fragile when I pulled myself out of bed. I had burnt toast - one slice with margarine and low sugar jam for breakfast. I had a mug of hot sweet tea. I delivered my wife to her place of work and then still feeling slightly grotty delivered myself to mine.

I went to the loo for a number two. I nearly took off like a Saturn 5 rocket. As I walked down the corridor to my office I kind of knew staying at work was not an option. I walked into the main work area and told the girls (all women actually, but I like "girls" - its more casual and I think they like it too) I was going home. They replied that I ought to as I was turning blue. After a quick message to my boss' voice mail, I just about managed to crawl home in my trusty Subaru. I say "just about" because there was a huge great plume of smoke on the horizon which was spreading out over the countryside and into my delicate lungs. I don't know what was burning - but it was terrible. Also, there were traffic jams all over the place, as usual, so I had to divert taking twice as long to get home. Just what you need when you are about to explode!

As soon as I got home I let Sally out into her run to relieve herself (Sally is our lovable Boxer dog), and then went to bed, completed my last will and testament and promptly died. I resurrected shortly after midday to a feeling of nauseating waves going through my abdomen and the knowledge that I had to get my head down the toilet immediately if not sooner. This I did, and with a kind of wailing shouting scream sent jets of what had formerly been my food shooting from both ends - lovely!

I drank lots of water and took no medicines apart from some headache tablets as my eyeballs felt like someone was trying to push them into the back of my head. Apart from coming down - and lying down - in my dressing gown that evening, I had more or less total bed rest until around 9.00 the following morning when I dragged myself out of my coffin, had a shower, got dressed and attempted to do a few things around the house. It was about another 24 hours before I was back to eating anything that resembled a meal.

This morning I thought I would test my recovery by going to the gym. I ran for half an hour on the tread mill, accelerating in stages throughout, until I reached 15 kilometers an hour at the end. I was very happy with this. I now declare myself fully recovered and can't wait to get back to work tomorrow - not.

If you are worried about picking up this sickness, don't be. You only feel as if you are going to die, but probably won't actually die. If you do die, it will probably be because you are a man and as everyone knows men suffer far more than women - whatever the illness. Good luck!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Film Review - Unhistorical Elizabeth.

I went to the cinema the other evening to watch "Elizabeth: The Golden Age." I really like Cate Blanchett; I think she is a great actress. The problem I had was did she realise she was being brought in to star in such a comedic film? I enjoyed the film, but probably for the wrong (or maybe the right) reasons.

First off, I nearly fell out of my seat laughing when they showed what was supposed to be Fotheringhay Castle where Mary Queen of Scots was incarcerated and beheaded. Now I have been to the site of this castle as Fotheringhay is no more than fifteen or so miles up the road from where I live. It seems that since 1685, the countryside immediately to the west of Peterborough has gone through a massive geological transformation which only a collision with an asteroid could have accomplished! What we saw in the film was a very dramatic looking castle set on a loch with mountains in the background. Actually, it looked suspiciously like Eilean Donnan Castle on Loch Duich near the Kyle of Lochalsh - if I'm not mistaken. The actual site of Fotheringhay Castle is atop a mound - the castle is no longer there; only a stone remnant with a plaque on it remains. There are no mountains, no loch - only the gently flowing River Nene to one side which is often populated with people fishing in the season. Although I found this massive inaccuracy amusing, it did rather spoil the film for me in that I knew from that point on the rest of the film was going to be a travesty.

Apart from the Queen herself (Elizabeth I that is), the other main character was Sir Walter Raleigh. His relationship with Elizabeth throughout the film seemed to me far too close, unreal, and made up. Also, he never changed his clothes from the start to the finish of the film, and what role did he really play in defeating the Spanish Armada - if any?

Much was made of the battle with the Armada. Little was made of Sir Francis Drake, apart from him hatching his plan to attack the Spanish galleons with fire ships. Despite the dramatic battle scenes we see in the film, and the overdone but cinematically engaging view of the Armada ablaze while our heroic Queen looked on from a cliff top, the main thing historically, which actually did for the Armada was the rough seas, the winds being in the wrong direction, and the storms which caused much foundering amongst the fleet. The remnants limped around the top of Scotland before heading back towards Spain. When Drake sent in the fire ships, the Armada was anchored - taking shelter - off the French coast. Judging from the view Elizabeth had from her cliff-top, the French coast had suddenly moved an awful lot closer to England as the blazing ships appeared to be only a few hundred yards out to sea! It must have been that pesky asteroid again!

I would say, however in conclusion, that if you like a good costume romp with lots of special effects, then don't be put off from seeing this film. Although a little slow in places, it is quite enjoyable, but don't take it too seriously.