One of the discoveries during lockdown for me has been the Zoom app. I know of people able to get to writing events via Zoom who would not have been able to attend that same event if held “physically” due to the distance involved for them.
I would also like to see “standard” events perhaps end up having Zoom sessions as a side line to what they normally do as a way of engaging those who, for whatever reason, would find getting to the main event difficult. So Zoom has been a good thing then.
Missing seeing friends and family has been the worst element over the last few months (though that is easing of course now). Zoom has helped compensate a bit here though it cannot be the same as getting together with your loved ones.
A Chance to Re-Evaluate
But this whole strange period in our lives has led many of us to re-evaluate what is important and what we hold most dear. Last week I relished having my hair cut for the first time in months and oh the bliss of that! (And yes you should’ve seen what was left behind on the floor – enough for at least one decent wig I’d have thought!). Most of us, I’m sure, have always had a great appreciation for the NHS, the dustbin people, shop workers etc., and I want to see that keep going too.
But re-evaluating what matters has also led to a greater appreciation of favourite things and I’m going to share some of mine in various categories. Then you can send yours in!
Five Favourite Films
The Lord of the Rings – will count as one film since it is based on one huge book (okay there are three books in it but I have this in one edition and I love the film so it is going in, so there!).
Going Postal – an adaptation of the Terry Pratchett Discworld novel and well done I thought.
The Italian Job – Michael Caine and the Mini at their best. Ultimate cliffhanger ending too.
The Ladykillers – wonderful Ealing comedy starring Alec Guinness. Dark comedy too.
Skyfall – my favourite Bond film. I liked Spectre too but that needed Skyfall to happen to work.
Could’ve easily included The Great Escape, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and many others here.
Five Favourite Carry On Films
I’ve always had a soft spot for these and the earlier ones especially had good storylines to them.
Carry on Sergeant – the first and William Hartnell, later of Doctor Who fame, was excellent in this (as was a young Bob Monkhouse).
Carry on Screaming – Fenella Fielding plays the perfect vamp! “Frying tonight” – anyone?
Carry on Spying – This is a really good Bond spoof. And Barbara Windsor plays a good role in this. Definitely not dumb blonde.
Don’t Lose Your Head – Based on the French revolution and one where Sid James gets to be a hero. Now there’s a thing.
Carry on, Teacher – the second in the series and it has a wonderful storyline. Stars Ted Ray.
Constable, Regardless, and Cabbie are also great.
Five Favourite Classical Composers
Ralph Vaughan Williams (especially for his Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis).
John Williams (for Schindler’s List, Star Wars, the Indiana Jones theme and so many others).
Beethoven (for his 5th and 7th symphonies and the Moonlight Sonata)
Gustav Holst for The Planet Suite, Jupiter is my favourite from this.
Mozart for Lacrimosa, Piano Concerto 21 and many others.
This was a hard one to categorise as I could have included Bach and Saint-Saens in here too but have deliberately wanted to only choose five for each section. I know! I make my life difficult at times.
Five Favourite TV Themes
Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) – fab theme. Loved the show too.
Thunderbirds March. Just brilliant and evocative.
Black Beauty. This gets played on Classic FM every so often and I’m instantly taken back to memories of Sunday teatime and Southern TV!
The Pink Panther theme. Basing this on the film rather than the cartoon though I love both. If you’re not humming this or internally hearing this tune on reading the words, I’d be surprised. There are only a few tunes where just the mention of the words is enough to make me start humming along. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is the other classic here in every sense!
Five Book Genres
I’ve listed some of my favourite books before so I thought I would look at the genres instead for this piece.
Fantasy (and across the age ranges too).
Flash Fiction/Short stories (no surprises there!).
Five Favourite Hymns
We’ve been able to join in with church services via Zoom but just before “going” and just after “leaving”, we link to a Youtube link to the hymns of the week. About a week ago, we were singing along to the fastest version of The Lord of the Dance I’ve ever come across. We came in last! (And laughed!).
I Vow To Thee My Country. Love the words. Love the music by Holst of course. And Tony Benn chose this when he was on an ITV programme years ago about favourite hymns. Interesting choice for him I thought.
Abide With Me.
O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
The Servant King
Will You Follow Me?
Five Favourite Carols
Yes, I know, it’s nowhere near the right time but I thought it would follow on nicely from the above!
In the Bleak Midwinter
Love Came Down at Christmas
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
Oh Come All Ye Faithful
Five Favourite Chameleon Theatre productions
All My Sons
They Came From Mars…
A Bunch of Amateurs
Murdered to Death
I’ve enjoyed all of The Chameleon Theatre Group productions but have a very soft spot for the comedies/parodies. (If they could bring back their version of The Ladykillers, which I missed first go round, I wouldn’t be sorry!). And many thanks to The Chameleons for the great shows and photos.
Five Favourite Drinks
Options Hot chocolate especially the orange flavour
Bailey’s Irish Cream Whisky (I discovered the salted caramel flavour at last year’s family Christmas do and boy does that seem so long ago now! Anyway, gorgeous drink, much enjoyed by yours truly).
A decent squash. (For me this is Vimto).
Five Favourite Meals
Fish and chips
Roast dinner (especially chicken).
Frittata (I like to think of it as a posh omelette)
Potato skins with cheese and a good salad accompaniment.
Chicken and bacon risotto (with peppers) – wonderful and a great Slimming World recipe too.
Five Favourite Fairytales
The Snow Queen (even from a young age, I loved the fact the girl was the hero in this one, not the boy).
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
The Little Match Girl (social commentary by Hans Christen Andersen).
A Christmas Carol (I would argue Dickens’ wonderful work is a cross between a ghost story and a fairy tale but I’ve always been fond of cross-genre tales so that to my mind makes it even better).
Five Favourite Dog Breeds
Border Collie (well, you wouldn’t expect anything else, would you? This covers Lady and my last dog, Mabel).
Bearded Collie (this covers my first dog, Gracie, who was a cross between a Beardie and a Border. Had the classic bearded coat but was the size of a border. Beardies are stockier than the standard collie).
Staffordshire Bull Terrier (they’re lovely, just want to play and have an undeserved reputation due to careless irresponsible owners).
I suppose the time we’ve all had at home has been a period of introspection. That can be useful if it makes you appreciate what you have and make you strive to make the most out of life.
If it goes on for too long and you turn in on yourself, then there’s the risk of becoming too insular and not wanting to try anything new. (That’s another good thing about writing. You have to stretch yourself every time you write a story or a post like this one. You can’t rest on past laurels. The challenge is to come up with something new every time).
Okay then over to you. What are your five favourites in any or all of the categories above?
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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