Nature’s Force!

A couple of days ago, my family and I were walking along the local cycle path when we were greeted with the above!

We’d actually walked from the other end only the day before but this would’ve firmly stopped us in our tracks early, had we set off from that end this time. At least on this occasion we walked from the other end, so clocked up 6k there and back.

We’d been warned about the tree which is why we walked on further than normal. Like I say, we were there the day before and this really could’ve been lethal. I’m assuming that it wasn’t (!) and that it went down overnight. The sun is set to shine for a while now, the frosty mornings and snow seemingly over but there are plenty of strong winds in Yorkshire at the moment.

It was possible to negate the tree but not with a pushchair! It’s a pleasant walk and has been vital for one of our daughters who uses a walking frame, and for us adults to get some exercise. You do have to be on your guard for cyclists though!

Anyway, this fallen tree was a reminder of nature’s immense force!

Five Space Films to Watch During Lockdown

Welcome to another selection of films to watch. This time we’re going out of this world!

Interstellar (2014)

A visually stunning and heartbreaking epic that sees Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway lead the search for a new habitable planet to accommodate Earth’s remaining population.

Matt Damon and Michael Caine co-star in this fantastic film that sees the crew (Cast!) go through a wormhole to identify which possible planet could be fit for purpose.

The film entwines impressive visuals and human emotion well. It’s a 169-minute outside the box film that has grossed in excess of $700 million! No, I can’t explain everything about it (Kind of like Donnie Darko!) but that doesn’t stop me enjoying it for what it is, an original and stunning film.

The Martian (2015)

Matt Damon couldn’t ‘t get enough of space so he went to Mars too!

I won’t lie, I kind of wish that I’d read the book of this film first. Damon is left for dead when a mission to Mars goes wrong… but he’s not dead… so needs to keep himself not being dead!

Will anybody rescue him?

Solaris (2002)

It’s a while since I watched this film and at the time, I wasn’t aware that it was a remake.

Psychologist George Clooney heads into space to investigate the goings on aboard a space station that is orbiting the planet Solaris. But he himself is not immune to the strange goings on in space!

Natasha McElhone co-stars in a film that sadly failed so sparkle at the box office.

The Red Planet (2000)

An out of this world cast including Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss, Tom Sizemore, Benjamin Bratt, Simon Baker and Terence Stamp star in this 2000 released 2050 set Mars based (Obviously!) film.

With Earth on its knees and Mars the only route out, the crew are sent to investigate what went wrong with a terraforming project. They get more than they bargained for!

Another Earth (2011)

William Mapother and Brit Marling are the faces at the front of this sensitive and unique film.

Their worlds collide at an intersection, creating tragedy but later a shot at redemption.

Like many space related films, this one might leave some questions unanswered (Or maybe it doesn’t and I’m really not very good at understanding films!).

So there you have it. Another selection of five films to tackle whilst stuck at home, though maybe you’re not but hopefully there’s still time in your life to sit back, relax and enjoy a good film!

Who Will be England’s Goalkeeper at Euro 2020? The Results

The results are in…

Burnley’s Nick Pope is the undisputed people’s selection for the England number one spot.

I don’t think that Gareth Southgate can possibly turn his nose up at a poll where six (Yes 6) people voted!

In hindsight, I should’ve invited anyone selecting ‘Other’ to advise who in the comments section. Do they want Fraser Forster, Scott Carson, David James… who knows!

In reality, Jordan Pickford probably remains in possession but a lot can happen between now and even during Euro 2020!

Many thanks for participating in my poll and look out for another one next week.

Lockdown Cricketers

Hi guys

During Lockdown, I’ve watched my fair share of cricket highlights on YouTube.

There are a few players that have come to my attention whilst I’ve been binging on the Big Bash, West Indies Super50 and even succumbing to the Abu Dhabi T10. That’s not to say that I hadn’t heard of any of these cricketers. Some I was at least semi-aware of but their performances recently have peaked my interest.

We’ll start with…

Larry Edward

Edward is a 26-year-old slow-left-armer who plays for Windward Volcanoes. He’s looked particularly good when bowling around the wicket to right-handed batsmen. He seems to bowl quite full with a side on action but gets bounce and has a habit of getting the thinnest of edges.

I’m not sure what standard of T20 is available in the West Indies beyond the CPL because Edward has only played First Class and List A cricket at professional level. He looks like he’d make a decent T20 bowler but with only six teams in the CPL, it isn’t an easy gig to get, particularly when you don’t have a history in that form of the game.

Also, it does seem unclear whether his name is actually Edward or Edwards. It varies on different sources. I like his style though. He’s enjoyable to watch.

Next up is Sohail Akhtar

34-year-old right-handed middle order batsmen Akhtar has some First Class/List A experience but as the years have gone by, he’s thrived in T20 cricket.

The Pakistani player isn’t all about muscle. Yes he can clear the ropes but he’s a stylish player, particularly when flicking onto the leg-side. He’s a little different and was the leading run-scorer in the Abu Dhabi T10.

Maybe he’s bloomed a little late for international recognition but compatriot Misbah-ul-Haq went on into his forties so who knows?

Now for… Tim David

24-year-old former Perth Scorcher David turned out for Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash this year and is a fully fledged Singapore international.

He can bowl off-spin but it’s his powerful batting that caught my eye. He tends to come to the crease in the middle/lower order but packs a punch and can really raise his team’s total. With so many players moving to the top of the order in T20, having players that can do the job later on in an innings, aren’t always easy to find.

David, who was supposed to play in Nepal’s T20 competition but for COVID, is a strong asset to the Hurricanes’ batting line up. To date, he’s never played First Class cricket.

Back to the Abu Dhabi T10 and another player that stood out was… Jamie Overton

Long thought of as England material, injuries have hindered his cause whilst his twin Craig has won full international honours.

Overton was mightily effective with the ball at the Abu Dhabi T10.

He also performed better with the bat than many of the batsmen in the competition!

If England were selecting a T10 team then the 26-year-old would merit inclusion. Can he earn recognition in longer formats with the likes of Archer, Stone and Wood competing for places? He’ll have to stay fit at new county Surrey to stand a chance.

Who Should be England’s Goalkeeper at Euro 2020?

Should Euro 2020 (Or ’21 if you prefer) go ahead, then who should don the gloves, appear between the sticks, play in goal for England?

Everton’s Jordan Pickford is in possession but his form at domestic level is consistently erratic. Nick Pope rarely puts a foot wrong at Burnley but remains inexperienced in competitive internationals. Dean Henderson performed well for Sheffield United but is currently only a cup keeper at Old Trafford.

Incumbent Sheffield United shot stopper (Or not!) Aaron Ramsdale, destined to be relegated two seasons in a row, Karl Darlow, finally getting regular game time at Newcastle United or Southampton’s Alex McCarthy amongst others are left field options.

Many thanks for participating and look out for the results on Thursday.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that voting is only open for 24 hours!

Song of the Week #005

Hi guys

Welcome to Song of the Week #005. Ignoring the political reason for this song’s return to attention (Because I’ll talk about many things on this blog but will avoid politics!), please have a listen to… You Get What You Give by the New Radicals.

This band and song are the very definition of a one hit wonder. That said, there’s a few more than decent tracks on their album. Either you’ll remember this song and likely be glad to hear it prick your ears again or it’ll be new to you. Either way… enjoy!

Last week’s selection (Oh, sorry! We skipped a week for a one month blog update) can be found here…

Homemade Flapjack

Hi guys

My nutoka topped flapjack consists of 250g of porridge (Thus convincing me that it’s semi-healthy/energy providing!), 100g of butter, 50g of brown sugar and a generous amount of Golden Syrup, plus the chocolate obviously… so not very healthy then!

Does it look okay in the photo above? It’ll likely crumble to pieces when I slice it but can be swept up with a spoon.

It’s a handy snack when on a hike but like I say, I usually either end up with crumbs… or a jaw breaker!

Oh, about twenty minutes at 180.

Fold Drybag

Hi guys

I’ve had this fold drybag for a good few years now and it’s really handy when hiking.

The one pictured above is classed as XXS and allows me to put my keys, phone and wallet inside to prevent them from getting wet. I put the drybag in my rucksack where I also have a much bigger drybag that can keep a spare fleece for example as well as my lunch box dry.

It’s not nice when your wallet gets wet and maybe your phone could lose functionality if it gets soaked. I know that there’s the option to buy a plastic cover to go over the rucksack but I’ve always found my drybags to work perfectly for me.

Whether you’re able to do some hikes at the moment or in the near future… enjoy!

Malan King!

It’s great to see that England batsman Dawid Malan has been snapped up by Punjab Kings for the 2021 IPL season.

Left-hander Malan currently sits at the peak of the T20I rankings but is by no means assured of a place in the England XI. Representing Hobart Hurricanes at the Big Bash, the adopted Yorkshireman did okay, despite being in quarantine for the early stages. Such is the competition for top order places in England’s XI though, that he can’t allow his standards to drop.

The T20I World Cup will be held in India so the opportunity to gain experience and perform in that environment will be welcome… as will the salary! Malan didn’t set a ridiculous base price (Around £150k) and Punjab Kings aren’t historically the most successful IPL team but that’s not the point. Malan just needs to knuckle down against a variety of opposition, whether it be international stars or homegrown unknown spinners… and score runs!

It’s a great shame that Malan let his place in the Test side slip away (Literally as he kept dropping slip catches!) but he remains a high class player. Despite his advancing years, this is a great opportunity to further his horizons.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

As promised, here are my thoughts on The Amazing Spider-Man 2. You can find my write-up on the first film here…

I touched upon some of the similarities and differences to the Raimi/Maguire trilogy in my first post. When I started watching the second one, my wife asked, “Is he still a photographer?”, to which the answer is “Yes” but it’s not really something that features heavily in the Marc Webb/Andrew Garfield films. It’s used as a tool but we’re never introduced to a Mr Jameson character or visit the Daily Bugle.

I was slightly flummoxed by the introduction of senior Oscorp characters in this film. It seemed a strange continuity thing to me that they weren’t in the first films. Also, a couple of American actors play Eastern Europeans with fake accents. That’s fine (Contrary to what some people think!) but if it sounds like a cheesy fake accent then that’s what it is… and that’s not good acting!

Spoiler Alert! This film features the death of a significant character. Now obviously characters die in Spider-Man and I don’t know if this one is true to the comics but I found it very unHollywood that this character died… which is good! It made it a better film.

The film has the whole Spider-Man not being Spider-Man phase but I find Aunt May’s possible knowledge of Peter Parker being Spider-Man a little inconsistent throughout both films. There are multiple hints that she knows but then she also displays complete ignorance. That said, I do think Sally Field excels in a smallish but vital role.

Jamie Fox (Electron) and Dane DeHaan (Harry Osborn) star as villains and I like them both, though again on the continuity front, we have reference to Parker and Osborn’s previous friendship. To be fair, it was seemingly before their teenage years which is the film’s main focus, time period wise.

I’ve just remembered the plane crash scene (Sorry, another spoiler!) and it’s ridiculous that somebody managed to download a computer file whilst spiralling to Earth!

I’ve always enjoyed the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire and co. trilogy and this was a decent reimagining. Also, I belatedly realised that the director’s name… Marc WEBB, is extremely appropriate!

If you have seen the films or intend to then I hope that you enjoy them too.