Tuesday, 28 March 2017

A Musical To Remember - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at St Monica School, Birkirkara

I don't often go out in the weekends, unless you count errands, but last Sunday was an exception. Every year, in March or April, St Monica School in Birkirkara, Malta, put up a spectacular show for three nights and for many years I've had the pleasure of attending. This year a musical was chosen and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was not only re-enacted in its wonderful colourful entirety but also brought to life, literally, as the star of the show - the car itself - was lovingly handcrafted and built to move and 'fly', thanks to the mechanism and hydraulic system that were added to it. Speaking of which the car was not the only amazing prop, though definitely the show-stealer, as Caractacus Potts' toot-sweet maker and the children's bunk-beds were also sturdy functioning props, as was the turning windmill and beautiful toy-maker's house. Meanwhile the scenery was just as awesome in its detail.

As always, I was intrigued by the technical details that made up the background to the scenes being acted out. However I should really be mentioning all the actors' brilliant singing voices, amazing memories at learning all those lines and their dancing skills too. As I said, I've been attending the show for so long I have lost track of just how many performances I have seen and whilst I am sure that time dims memories, I think I am not incorrect in saying this year's probably beats the rest in its marvellous interpretation of a well-loved classic. Suffice to say, the actress playing the inventor Potts, the children's father, had me hanging onto her every word, even though I usually can't help my mind drifting to clips from the films being acted out if I am familiar with said film's actor. Meanwhile Grandpa Potts too was played by a teenage girl of immeasurable talent, making us laugh our way through the scenes in which the character appears.

If the original Grandpa Potts was given a run for his money, so was Sally Ann Howes' Truly Scrumptious and the children Jemima and Jeremy's alter egos, who were played by two little girls that were impressive for their young age. I could go on and on till I mentioned all the cast, as everyone from the Childcatcher to the spies, the old captive inventors to the dancers, were undisputedly of a professional level, certainly also thanks to their director Rita Vassallo, the drama teacher of the school. So as I close this year's chapter of my experience with a photo of myself with the gorgeous car itself, I look forward already to whatever next year's production will promise as it can only promise something worth watching for children and adults alike.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang made by Manuel Gauci

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

New Films Worth Watching

The start of this year promised me yet many more new films worth watching and I reviewed three upcoming films in the link below, which will lead you to one of my articles published on eve.com.mt

Here it is, mentioning a remake, a sequel and a totally new film that are well worth watching:

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

In Sickness... My Relationship with The Environment

As of a little while ago I've been following some Zero Waste groups, originally because I know I would love to do my part in saving the environment so any ideas I can easily translate into my life I am willing to take on. I said 'originally' because I then found a second purpose to the idea of following and trying out Zero Waste (or rather Reduced Waste in my case), which is to blog about the results.

I am not enough into the project to have any material results to disclose but up to now I have noted that when it comes to Zero Waste, oh boy these people do mean zero, literally. I saw one pic of a member's triumphant garbage bag for a month... yes just the one bag and actually the total volume of the garbage must have been less than a hundred cubic centimetres! So unlike with Minimalism where I am well on board with it and it suits my character perfectly, this is one way of life I am so not ready to embrace entirely.

But enough about that and on to the real reason behind this post. I've been ill. Very ill. I am not used to getting a fever even when I do get a throat infection or anything else at all, but this past Winter has taught me otherwise. And as I lay in bed this morning finally coherent enough to register anything other than that the pills on my bedside table were bound to make me feel a little less miserable than I was, I noted their packaging. And that is where it hit me. I've been so attuned to looking at all packaging and how to reduce it through the Zero Waste research I've been doing that as I handled the blister pack and popped out the first pill I thought, what would a Zero Waste embracer do? Given they sacrifice toilet paper rolls in favour of reusable wipes and refuse to eat meat because of the waste it apparently creates, I would not be surprised that some of them would rather keep the fever than throw a blister pack into recycling. You read that right. Recycling takes resources, energy, time to happen. So even recycling is the very very last option for a ZW lifestyle.

Lesson of the day: We must choose our battles and in this case, that foil and plastic wrapping meant the world to me since it contained the medicine that was making me lucid enough to notice it was even there. ZW, I'll be there for you when I can, but extremity is never good and the repercussions in this case pretty hot (excuse this feverish pun).

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Azure Window: A Day To Take Stock

I've lost track of the number of storms and gale-force winds that hit our islands since last September and 'inevitably', as the newspapers would say, our islands suffer the consequences. I would argue on most days that it is the inevitability of our infrastructure to cater for storms that leads to the chaos immediately following it practically every time. However a number of natural disasters also happen which we could never stop, and whilst many a time it was the flooding of the valley area of my hometown and uprooted trees and fallen rubble walls that would grab our attention, this time it is a much more serious consequence that this country is facing.

The Azure Window in Gozo, which was the personality of many a postcard and numerous tourist photos as well as a backdrop to wedding and honeymoon pictures of locals and visitors alike, has this morning collapsed in its entirety, something which has left me in awe as, despite the constant reminder from the media that this photogenic attraction would soon be gone, I never imagined that its stack would also disappear.

Photo courtesy of Muriel Photography at https://www.facebook.com/MurielCaruanaPhotography/?fref=nf

It was the winds and waves that ultimately claimed this Gozitan gem, yet I cannot help but point out one thing. Repeatedly, newspapers warned against its rapid decay whilst sign posts were erected asking people not to step on it in order not to aggravate the situation. And yet just this week I saw new photos that showed that people were still trampling around on this much-coveted treasure like heritage was only second to today's enjoyment. So truly, I think we brought this on ourselves? When will we learn that playing with fire can only lead to getting burnt, and when will humans realise they are a part of a whole, one that we should be caring for rather than destroying in a million different ways? Today it was the Azure Window, which many would say would have anyway collapsed at one point or another. However tomorrow, it might be the air we breathe, the land we live on, the fields we live off, that we destroy. So take this not only as a day to mourn a loss, but also as the chance to care for what remains.

Friday, 3 March 2017

My 'Behind-The-Scenes'

So as I sit here past my imposed bedtime feeling guilty about it being March and my not yet having reviewed that last episode of White Heat which I promised would come in February, I think of what it would make most sense to talk about today. I have one cool review in the pipeline, sponsored by Agenda Bookshop and which will appear on www.eve.com.mt this month that I can promise to link here, as well as the brainwave for a second vlog post. Now the problem with vlog posts is that they take a lot of time to make and to be honest time is the thing I never have enough of and wish I could stretch! So whilst determined that I will eventually film and put it together and show it off here, it too must wait for another day.

So for today I would like instead to update you with what's happening in my behind-the-scenes so to speak. I mentioned more than once the works that are currently being carried out in our home and I must say, it was a practical example of how a smaller home can be a nuisance when you do need some space. Picture hauling furniture/old fittings out of a room in order to refurbish it, only to have to leave them in a narrow corridor and all over the living area that you still need to use. Multiple times I found myself unable to get something out of a drawer or cupboard simply because there was other stuff 'temporarily' dumped in front of it.

On the other hand I thank Minimalism wholeheartedly as it did help with the refurbishment in more ways than one. To start off, I had less things to pack up from the rooms we were doing up than if I'd not already stopped the impulse buys (ok so I still do impulse buy on a lesser scale, only to later feel deep regret most of the time). Same goes for keeping only what you love - it resulted in needing to box up less books than I would have previously. That said, it was a wonder just how many small boxes I filled up with my husband's books and my own. As most of the books are not mine, I don't get much of a say in purging yet more of them. A second positive side to being a Minimalist whilst carrying out a refurbishment is that, having already filtered your personal items and family items down to the well-loved minimum, it is easier to keep on top of things whilst surrounded by the unavoidable chaos that becomes your life when you are doing up your home whilst living in it.

Meanwhile, the general upheaval did nothing to dampen my spirits about trying out Zero-Waste ideas that are, in fact, the topic of my next vlog post. I say Zero-Waste but truly it would be better called 'Waste Reduction' as that is, in fact, what I am really doing. I have joined Facebook pages and groups that deal with this subject but have found most of the posts and comments within them quite extreme. I'll keep using disposable toilet paper thank you very much.

I could go on and on, mentioning the books I am currently reading/have just finished or the film that I watched recently that was a real disappointment. However each of the things I would mention could more easily have a post dedicated to it and so that's it for today. Enjoy the weekend and keep safe.