Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Laptop Coaching: eMail (Part 1)

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Today, we began looking at eMail ‘best practice’ in the first of two lessons covering this essential computer-related activity.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Laptop Coaching: Secrets of Google Search

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Today, we took the group through the essentials of using Google as a Search Engine. In part two, we revealed a number of ‘lesser-known’ Google-search-methods designed to help them find their answers more quickly.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

A Birthday Surprise for Trish

What a nice thought! Rosi arranged a surprise afternoon get-together for Trish who recently celebrated a ‘significant’ birthday.

A cunning plan was hatched! We were all to arrive around 3pm, with Trish and John arriving at 3.30, thinking they were just popping-in for a post-birthday cuppa and a nibble!
It all went perfectly to plan and the look on Trish’s face when we all appeared was priceless! Plenty of good food, drink and conversation followed, courtesy of Chef Rosi…

Rosi even managed to FaceTime Trish’s ‘besties’ Tom and Julie in Tenerife…

..and to complete the surprise, Rosi even made Trish a birthday cake!

It was another great evening with the neighbours. Even though we don’t need a reason to get together, another of Trish’s birthday celebrations gave us the perfect excuse to do so! And to prove it, we’re all getting together again on the 20th! Happy days! (again!)
Smile Thumbs up Smile Thumbs up

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Twelfth on Twelfth at 12!

More by happy accident than perfect timing, we headed off to Stratford-upon-Avon today with Chris and Gill to see the RSC’s matinee performance of Twelfth Nightactually on twelfth night! Continuing the ‘12’ theme, we sat down for lunch just before Noon! What are the chances ehh?

I remember studying this Play at school – it was my first formal encounter with Shakespeare – and what a horrible experience it turned out to be! All I remember was being bored, very bored and even more bored by the final act! (The only thing that stuck was that strange word ‘Hobnob’ being used!! For McVitie’s fans, that’s a full 18 years before the biscuit made its appearance in 1987). Talk about a wasted Grammar School education!!!

So, it’ll be interesting to see how much of the biscuit plot I remember!

1.15 and curtain up to a simple looking stage (that actually turned out to be anything but! Superb and elaborate sets that transitioned very smoothly when the time came).

The place was packed (a good sign!) and we all settled back for this 140 minute production. I don’t recall there being much (any?) music in it when I studied it at School in the late 60s, and it seemed to work really well – and there was more to come. They had also re-located the timeline to the Victorian age, and that worked well too! Gosh! where was this production when I was at School? Within the first 20 minutes, I was already hooked!
Cast-wise, the production included some well-known faces including Kara Tointon, Adrian Edmondson and Michael Cochrane. A great start for this TV/Film addict! This group of stars who, between them, have appeared in: EastEnders, Jonathan Creek, Bottom, The Crown, Downton Abbey, The Musketeers, Peep Show and Skyfall certainly got my vote – and they all acted their socks off.

Adrian Edmondson as Malvolio was clearly the highlight (and easily having the time of his life!), where the script gave him loads of opportunities to ‘do’ serious, with a touch of singing and more than a soupçon of manic behaviour.

John Hodgkinson (Sir Toby Belch) and Michael Cochrane (Sir Andrew Aguecheek) together ‘ticked the three Ps’ for me – a Perfect Pair of Pi**- heads - and were clearly relishing every staggering moment! It was also the first time I recall Sir Toby belching from his lower orifice too! Talk about life imitating fart!

Kara Tointon easily demonstrated what a versatile actress she is, assuming the role of Olivia with a commanding voice and a very natural stage presence. It felt like perfect casting in my book! (like I’m a Shakespeare expert all of a sudden!)

I’ve probably not done the rest of the cast justice, but suffice to say, everyone, without exception, played their part on this world stage.

More short musical pieces continued throughout and they seemed to blend in really well, complementing the on-stage action – just enough to not get in the way of the Bard’s work. “If music be the food of love…” and all that!

Well, the two hours and twenty minutes passed really quickly (and I’ve never said that about a Shakespeare Play before!). There was a twenty-minute interval, but apart for the need of a leg-stretch and a visit to the little room, we probably could have survived without a break.

By the final curtain, just before 4pm, we all agreed that it had been nothing short of a superb production. The enthusiasm of the audience’s applause at the end, seemed to agree with us too!

Am I a Shakespeare convert? Only if I see more productions like this! Superb!!! Thanks Will!

We headed back to the car and were soon competing for a place on the M1 (Boy, it was busy! Where are all these people going?). Back in Wootton, we had a quick cuppa and a natter before saying our goodbyes to Chris and Gill - then headed straight back to ours.

7pm: Home! Another great day out ending with feet-up at ours for the rest of the evening.

Friday, January 05, 2018

George and the Flame Thrower

The Oak Room
and Ann met us at ours today.

We had a long-standing date to take them out for a slap-up lunch at The George Hotel in Stamford in celebration of their birthdays last year.

It’s always more than just a meal at The George, and today was no exception…

…superb food, fantastic service resulting in a great atmosphere for a posh lunch at 12.30.

We kicked-off with a glass of bubbly each and with my thirst quenched, I opted for the Chicken followed by my absolute favourite – Sherry Trifle!

Still, enough of me; the celebrations ended just before 2pm with a surprise ‘candle’ (more like a flame thrower!) carefully placed on a small cake, courtesy of the Restaurant. It surprised us too, and we think the Waiter heard us mentioning the ‘double birthday’ when we first arrived - and exercised his initiative!
Nice touch!!

We headed back to ours for a cuppa and a bit more chat before the Birthdayees said their goodbyes and headed home.

A super day, and good to catch-up with our good friends.
Thumbs up

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Film: Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour Poster
five star

Well that’s a first! Thanks to Sky and their newly launched VIP Programme, we were offered two free tickets to see Darkest Hour A WHOLE WEEK AHEAD of its general release.
Smile Thumbs up
The only slight downside was that we had to drive all the way over to Cineworld in Milton Keynes to see it, but it was a small compromise to have to make for this freebie!

The cinema was packed with other Sky VIP customers – around 200 in all. Perhaps the best part was that there were no adverts promoting other films, just straight into the main event on the stroke of 6.30, as listed.

The event attracted all sorts – I think our age made us the minority though! I think a lot of younger people were there simply because it was free! Perhaps, including the young girl next to me who asked: what was the film about? and was it a true story?
Confused smile
Ah bless!

Gary Oldman - 2016  Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill  The Main Man...
Gary Oldman may not be visually the most obvious choice for the role of Churchill, but apparently, three hours daily in makeup using significant prosthetics, thanks to the expertise of Kazuhiro Tsuji, meant the likeness was uncanny.

Well, what did we think of the film? In a word, ‘SUPERB’. Not only did Gary Oldman LOOK the part, he SOUNDED very ‘Churchillian’ too – a true testament to his acting ability. As usual, I won’t reveal the details of the story here, but suffice to say, it was a very convincing re-creation of a pivotal period in Churchill’s political career. Perhaps the only scene that I think was invented to help with the narrative, was the Tube journey made by Churchill in the penultimate act. That aside, all-in-all, two hours of superb entertainment!

If you’re even only slightly interested in Churchill as the politician, this is a must-see film as it focuses on his UNpopularity – not something that’s often tackled on-screen.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Laptop Coaching: New Year Recap

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After the Christmas and new year break, we used the first half of the lesson to ‘blow away the cobwebs’ by way of a Quiz recapping on the main features of Windows 10.

In the second part of the lesson, we helped Pat, Dave and Charles convert their Windows 10 Local Account to a Microsoft Account.