All About Eve

21F7E2F9-BAB4-46D5-960A-5498EE186C1CIf you’re trawling through the schedules, at a loss what to watch tonight, then search for Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s masterpiece, All About Eve.

Released in 1951, to critical acclaim (15 Academy Award nominations and winner in 6 categories, including Best Picture and Best Director), the film charts the rise and rise of an ambitious would be actress, who skilfully inserts herself into the life of a theatrical diva, then moves on, using, and abusing, relationships to get to the big time.

Anne Baxter plays the Machiavellian upstart, Eve, but the show belongs to Bette Davis, who is pitch perfect as the aging theatrical superstar, Margo Channing.  In her hands, the script’s cracking dialogue is smart, sassy and fun.

Marilyn Monroe debuts as Miss Casswell, but she hardly registers in the face of Davis’ assured, wise-cracking, rapid fire line delivery.

“Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night”  

… for viewers, maybe.  But for Miss Davis, it’s a walk in the park.

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Wanted: Scorpion Expert

CB229941-E24E-4042-BFD0-616BA10DC078Whilst its always good to interact with birds, animals and people whilst on vacation, some interactions are better than others.  This little fellow was having a doze in a shirt that had been left outside on our patio.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t found until the shirt was on and he was rudely woken up, at which point he took his revenge on the wearer in the usual way.

Having spent an hour googling various combinations of “… Dominican Republic, scorpians, stings, treatment, symptoms, go to hospital??…” we got precisely nowhere in either identifying the miscreant or in deciding if we should be heading for the nearest medical facility.

Fortunately, my husband has not suffered from foaming at the mouth any more than ususal, so we have assumed all is well…and the scorpion?  He remains anonymous.


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The Holiday Diary of a Brit Abroad


In 1892, George and Weedon Grossmith picked up pen and paper and crafted a masterpiece: the fictitious diary of Charles Pooter, a City clerk.  The journal is packed with hilarious anecdotes, vignettes and goings on (or should that be ‘gowing’s on’?) from the daily life of lower middle class surburbia, which is laid bare in all it’s glory, including the Pooter family’s holiday trip to ‘good old Broadstairs’.

So, in the spirit of holiday diary keeping, here’s my diary for Thursday, 23rd August 2018.  Location? A hotel in The Dominican Republic.

6am.  Awake early, as usual.  Doesn’t my body clock remember it’s supposed to be on holiday?

7.30am.  Oh bugger, still awake.  Everyone else is still asleep.

8.00am.  OK, I’m getting up.  I need café descafeinado (mucho). And breakfast.

[Off to hotel restaurant.  Pulls on grubby shorts and other assorted clothes from bottom of wardrobe, first, obviously].

8.10am.  Breakfast.  Why is it that restaurants make you feel like an epic loser if you have a meal on your own? All the other place settings are ripped away from your table because you are a sad loner with no friends or family.  Quick breakfast required after that welcome.  Speedy exit. 

8.30am.  Off to coffee shop. Massive queue.  Fortunately, staff are now used to me ordering 3 large coffees and don’t baulk at my order any more.

8.45am.  Back to room.

Boil on patio, reading and drinking coffee stash.  It’s hot, hot, hot.  No sign of movement from rest of Family Unit.

10.00am. Finally! The Offspring staggers out of bed and wants breakfast.

10.30am. Back to restaurant again for second breakfast.  Better now, as I have people with me, so am not in ‘losers corner’.

11.00am Coffee shop again for second epic coffee order.

11.15am. Back to room.  Me, to carry on reading.  Family Unit, to do whatever they do with iPads, while I read from my book pile, do cryptic crosswords and peruse edifying information on USA Today.

1.30pm.  Family Unit now sufficiently together to start getting ready to go to beach.  Temperature outside? Enough to melt rocks, but mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun, so let’s get to it.

2.30pm.  Finally, leaving the room for the beach.  How can it take so long to fill a small bag with suncream and a few bits and bobs?

2.40pm.  Beach, sea, swim. At last.

6pm. Return to room.  Have a rest.  Today’s been exhausting.

6.30pm.  Get ready to go out for dinner.  Will be eating at a restaurant on the beach, so put on shorts, rather than nice dress.  Spend time bickering with family.  

7.30pm.  Finally leave room, for the 200m walk to restaurant.  No time for pre-dinner ‘relaxing’ drink, as everyone is ‘starving’, in spite of hot dogs/nachos eaten whilst on beach.

7.45pm.  Dinner.  More random bickering that passes for conversation in our household.

10.15pm.  Finally back at the room, in a totally British state of tutting annoyance following a Fawlty Towers like dinner that left us sitting waiting for our order to be taken for about 1.5 hours.  Waiting staff didn’t even ask us if we wanted to see dessert menu.  In fact they seemed to just disappear, so we left. Very disappointing, but Family Unit fun as always.

10.45pm. Am sitting in bed.

So that ends my diary for the day, which has not been without Pooter-like annoyances.  However, unlike Mr. Pooter, my child hasn’t made funny comments about my holiday clothes, so I should consider myself lucky.

Me voy a dormir. ¡Buenas noches!

[I’m going to sleep. Good night!]

Diary ends.

Want to find out more?

The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith

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Holiday Reading


What makes the perfect holiday read?

In days gone by, weight was often an issue and any vacationing bibliophile was forced to choose between books or clothes. But with the happy advent of the internet and the kindle, all this is in the past, leaving keen readers with a vast array of choice.

Fact or fiction?

New reads or old?

Different genre?

Throw away or keeper?

My list always includes two key items: Crime and Jane Austen.  This happy combination helps keep my mind off my crippling fear of flying.  After this, everything else is bonus, so I’ll be tackling a mixed bag of Homer and Journalism to keep the old brain cells going.

My crime choice, was the excellent Another One Goes Tonight, a recent addition to Peter Lovesey’s Peter Diamond series.  Hat’s off to Mr. Lovesey, as I thought I’d spotted the clue to the killer near the start of the book, but this turned out to be (in my mind) a small Checkov’s gun and the actual killer was a genuine surprise.  Trains, vintage dresses and a murder maybe, all neatly and unexpectedly tied together.

Try it and see.

Actually, now I come to think of it, I like the sound of Crime and Jane Austen.  Maybe next year, I’ll be reading my own efforts.

Want to find out more?


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Dominican Republic

D1F69084-DFF8-46B6-9583-FC4781AA99D5This week sees the Family Unit basking in the hot, hot sunshine of the Dominican Republic (DR).  With a flight time of 8-9 hours from the UK, the DR’s so called “Coconut Coast” is fairly accessible.

As far as I can see from the map, our hotel is based on the Playa Bayahibe.  For some strange reason, we don’t seem to have done much research on our destination (unusual for us) in spite of having stayed here some years ago, so all data courtesy of that great font of factual knowledge, Wikipedia:

“… Bayahíbe is a town in the Dominican Republic, located about 10 miles (16 km) east of La Romana on the shore of the Caribbean Sea. Founded as a fishing village in 1874 by Juan Brito and his family, who came from Puerto Rico, the town is now a tourist destination.

Bayahíbe is an indigenous word. Its meaning is not known for sure, but there are many names that include the Tainos word “Baya.” “Baya” is the name given to a bivalve mollusk, like clams that are glued to the rocks or roots of mangrove trees.  “Jib” (or “hib”) is the name of a sieve manufactured from sticks used to sift cassava flour….”

So far, no sign of bivalve molluscs or mangroves, but then I haven’t been looking too hard.

Bayahibe is relatively undeveloped, so if you’re after a wild night life a la Cancun, you probably won’t find it here.  However, the beach is lovely and there are no signs of the “plastic pollution” problem that’s been highlighted in the media in the UK, in recent weeks. If you like diving, the water’s clear.

Thankfully, mosquitos aren’t much in evidence.

The hotel’s pretty good and the food’s plentiful and of high quality.  The staff seem more “tip-orientated” than I remember and there’s definitely a relationship between the dollar left on the table and a coffee at breakfast (or not), which is a shame, but not surprising.

Overall? Recommended.

Hasta luega.

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The Second World War

I’m quite interested in military history, as I find understanding the conflicts of the past helps unlock the motivations of the present. Add to this, a love of maps and strategy and I’ve suddenly turned into an armchair general.  The ultimate focus of these lines of inquiry are the 20th century’s major conflicts and specifically,  the Second World War, with Winston Churchill’s writings on this subject being the start point.

Churchill published an acclaimed history of the World War II, in six volumes. The Second World War is an abridged version of these books.

This work rightly stands out as a scholarly, strategic record of the key events of the war, written by the man who directed Britain’s foreign policy, home defence and ultimately led the country to victory.

A difficult topic to summarise within a thousand pages, but Churchill does this with ease, making the complex subject matter digestible to the casual reader, explaining decisions, political manoeuvring and military actions, succinctly. However, the most compelling aspect of the book is the man himself. Calm, authoritative and a superlative leader.

A massive, but rewarding history lesson from the man in the eye of the storm.

In these dark days, reading of his unfailing belief in the people of “the Island” and is infectious and inspiring.

A recommended read.


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Fabulous Falmouth

This week Team DG are in Falmouth. As usual, the rain’s coming down, but frankly, who cares? It’s good to be here.

Two months on from a (hopefully) successful heart operation and about to start a new job, there’s a faint whiff of optimism wafting through the DG household.

First stop in town, the National Maritime Museum. Always good value for money, with it’s beautifully designed interior exhibition space, informative displays and for the more venal, it’s A1 gift shop, packed with all sorts of gorgeous nautical knick-knacks and other dust collectors. Current headline exhibitions include the much touted Tatoo: British Tatoo Art Revealed and Captain Bligh: Myth, Man and Mutiny.  Not something I expected to see, but as I learnt something from both of them, then it’s all to the good.

Having a good lunch is also an essential part of learning, so whilst the freaky racks of tattooed arms from the museum exhibition left me feeling slightly less hungry than I’d expected, the bustling, warm welcome from Rick Stein’s posh, family-friendly restaurant across the other side of Discovery Quay soon changed my mind. An understandably popular foody destination, Mr. Stein’s savvy kitchen have wisely included some non-fish dishes in their offering. Good for us, as our party included the notoriously fickle Offspring who announced that “… the smell of fish makes me sick …”, as we walked through the door.

One excellent fish curry later, we’re back in the car, climbing the road up to Pendennis Castle. The viewing points around here are great, especially, if like me you enjoy a) staring at the large ships in port, or b) watching the weather coming in over the extensive sea-sky horizon.

Back at the cottage, time to eat chocolate, before getting the wellies on for an evening stroll on beautiful Maenporth Beach.


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