As You Write It

I am writing this post at 6:58am. I usually try to do a little creative work early in the morning but thought I would turn to the blog today as I need to catch-up again.

Well, a few things have happened since my last post on 3rd May.

Last week, one of my aunts died. She had been suffering from dementia and latterly had moved to a care home. I don’t know the cause of her death although in the current context one might hazard a guess. I wasn’t close to her – I hadn’t met her since the 90s – but one of her sons is an occasional visitor to our house and I keep up with his and some of his family’s life on Facebook so I feel for them.

A few days ago, my brother’s mother-in-law died – I believe of natural causes; she had been very ill for sometime. I never met her at all but I am sad for my brother’s wife.

A couple of days ago, I was just about to start my daily exercise when an e-mail notification flashed up on my screen: my parish had started livestreaming a Mass. Very unusual as it was 2:22pm. Afternoon Masses are not usually until much later, and then at the top of the hour.

I read the text accompanying the notificaiton: RIP Derek Vitali. This cut me to the quick. Derek and his wife were regular attendees to the 8am Sunday Mass – the one at which I altar serve. Derek himself was a reader. He had an amazing voice – deep, clear, and authoritative. It was always a pleasure listening to him. We often spoke ‘back stage’ before or after the Mass as well. He was a very kind and happy person; full of good humour. As with my aunt, I don’t know the circumstances of his death but I will miss him very much.

Requiescant in Pace.

My parents and I remain well. I continue my social media work, exercise, reading and preparation for creative writing.

Howards End (9/10)
After watching The Martian, I turned to this Merchant Ivory classic. Leonard Bast’s death remains incredibly sad and frustrating. If only the Wilcox family had had an ounce of compassion it need never have happened. It’s worse because I can identify with Bast – I am not as poor as he is but without the help of others I probably would be. I appreciate his love of literature and nature, his day dreaminess as well. I try not to think about how it is not just the Wilcox’s but society itself that brings him down because then I might have to ask questions about my own society – not so much or only in connection with me but in regards all of us.

K-19: The Widowmaker (8/10)
My second Russian submarine disaster film. This one is set in the early 60s. The K-19 is the USSR’s latest super-sub. It has also been badly constructed. It should remain in port but the Soviet Navy chiefs want it at sea to conduct missile tests so off it goes. Predictably, disaster follows: Piping in the nuclear reactor breaks. Water coolant can no longer get through to the reactor itself. As a result, its temperature rises to catastrophic levels. The crew undertake a race against time to repair the piping before the high temperatures cause a nuclear explosion that could in turn lead to nuclear war – rather unhelpfully, the sub’ is close by an American spy station.

K-19 is a solid action-drama. Harrison Ford acts against type as Captain Alexei Vostrikov who seems to care more about the Party than his crew. Liam Neeson’s Mikhail Polenin is the noble submarine commander who does his best to defend his crew’s interests against the captain.

In the end, Vostrikov comes good: he puts the men first. If I have one criticism of the film it is that it didn’t develop Vostrikov’s character enough. We know that despite his party loyalty he has a suspect background but in the film he goes from being cruel to kind in fairly short order.

John Wick 3: Parabellum (8.5/10)
I finished watching this yesterday. John Wick 3 is very stylish, and violent. It has a very interesting internal mythology that raises the film above being just about the violence though I don’t know by how much. I think I need to watch the first two films in the series.

Happy Birthday Formula 1!
Formula 1 turned seventy years old, yesterday (13th May). The first ever F1 Grand Prix took place at Silverstone in the presence of King George VI. There was big news to go with the birthday, of course, with the announcement from Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel that he would be leaving the team at the end of the year. Let’s hope we can go racing and he can get a win (after Hamilton has won his seventh title, preferably) before the year’s end.

Subs and Shopping

Corona Chronicles III

Home
I started work early yesterday so that I could do most of it before going shopping with my father. My job entails doing the social media for a newly set up film production company. The job is fun but challenging in that I always have to be careful about how I speak and what I speak about. This is all the more the case now in light of the corona virus. I want to speak optimistically but not in a way that annoys or grates. How do I do this? It’s a judgement call and, yes, a process of trial and error.

I completed the last of my exercises yesterday. Today, I’m taking a rest from physio before resuming tomorrow. The physiotherapist called me; unfortunately, I was at Sainsbury’s at the time so couldn’t take the call. When I called the NHS line later, I was told to ring back in a couple of weeks. The person to whom I spoke sounded brusque. I imagine they were tired from a busy day of dealing with calls like mine.

I finished watching Kursk: The Last Mission. It is a good, suspenseful drama. If you know the story of the Kursk, you know what will happen but because the characters in the film are so strongly written that didn’t matter. I rate it 8/10.

If Kursk: The Last Mission has any accuracy, the Russian government was criminally negligent in how it (under)funded the Navy, which directly led to the failure of the rescue attempts when the Kursk went down, and in how it refused foreign help when it became clear that the Navy was unable to rescue its sailors. In fact, if you read the Wikipedia article on what happened (here), it is clear that the Russian government and Navy were both negligent. I should add, though, that the film is not a completely accurate portrayal of what happened. For example, it suggests that the sailors who survived the initial explosion that sunk the Kursk lived for much longer than they did in real life. After finishing Kursk: The Last Mission, I moved on to a drama-comedy: The Terminal.

Abroad
Further to yesterday’s post – I accompanied my father on his weekly shopping trip. Sainsbury’s was very calm. There were quite a few people wearing face masks but very few had gloves on, which seemed to rather defeat the purpose of the face mask. Of course, if the corona virus can live on clothing for any amount of time then even wearing gloves is a waste of time. Just wash your hands and try not to touch your face!

As for Sainsbury’s, demand continues to outstrip supply. We saw many empty shelves and came away without many of the items on our list. The Sainsbury’s that we went to is a very large store and, I suspect, the go-to place for a lot of people roundabout. I say this because the Sainsbury’s that I go to on Fridays is a bit smaller and this time last week was much better stocked. Maybe, though, it’s unfair to compare last week with this week. I will find out later today what shape it is in now.

A.O.B.
– In yesterday’s press conference, Boris Johnson said that he thinks the tide can be turned in three months. Let’s hope so.
– The F.A. has suspended all professional football until 30th April and has suggested that the league season can go on ‘indefinitely’. I’ll be reading more about this because I can’t see how it can. Not unless they want to potentially shorten or abandon the 2020/21 season. Otherwise, at some point in the summer they’ll have to say enough’s enough and either call the 2019/20 season null and void or declare the current league positions as the final ones. As a Manchester United fan I have no interest in seeing Liverpool win the league but if the season can’t be finished it would be a huge injustice to the Merseysiders if they were not awarded the title. Especially since they have played quite magnificently this season.
– Formula 1 is hoping to get going again in June. Well, let’s see.