The Penultimate Leg parts 2, 3 and 4.

One film, a meal and two hours in. I’m sticking with the French films, and coincidentally this one is set in Provence as well, just up the road from Marseille at Aix. Retour Chez Ma Mère was great. For starters, and this is almost all you need to know as a recommendation, it stars Josiane Balasko. Two of Marseille‘s actors were also in it, so it is telling me I am behind with French cinema’s current actors. Patou, if you are reading this, I’d happily see this film again on the big screen.

I should probably try for a snooze before I embark on my second film.


I started on a second French film, title already forgotten, but it included the word diable, and it quickly became apparent it was pretty hellish sexist crap. So, abandoned that and watched About a Boy. My snooze had not been very successful, and I hadn’t great expectations of this Nick Hornby offering starring Hugh Grant. Maybe I should just go the whole hog for the next few months and only see films starring Hugh Grant, because actually yet again, I really enjoyed it. Now fairly determined to wear myself out to the point where sleep was the only option, I continued my cinematic journey with Love and Friendship, and just for a change, starring Kate Beckinsdale rather than Hugh Grant. I seem to remember this bombed at the cinema. I can see why, though I should quickly clarify that having stuck with it, I did enjoy it. Beautifully filmed, it starts rather slowly, there are sumptuous exteriors and interiors, and the humour is subtle. At times it feels like it is being a bit too clever, and the assemblage of characters at the start with subtitled explanations of when they were, rather overwhelming.


I have steadfastly sat with my eyes closed under the eye mask, a fleece blanket wrapped round my knees, my headphones in place and dozed for around three hours. There may have been a few minutes of actual sleep in there somewhere, but not many. I should like someone to invent the following: an inflatable footstool that packs to a tiny size that I could put my feet on so that they are at about the same level as my hips; an airline seat in Economy class that allows one to sleep on one’s side without anything digging in. I did the long leg on my outward journey at night, and I think that helped me to sleep. I am fairly resigned now to feeling pretty ghastly by the time I land. Still, I am popping the Jet Zones every two hours in the hope of warding off the worst of jet lag, so fingers crossed.

Continue reading

Airborne Reflections

The ‘plane home is full to capacity. Behind me as we complete boarding, and passengers wedge their hefty hand luggage into the overhead lockers, a father is explaining to his small daughter the card she has found titled ‘Safety On Board’ in the seat pocket .

The cabin crew are walking up and down, checking our seatbelts are fastened, and the captain has explained that the reason for our twenty minute delay is due to hold ups on the return trip to Barcelona the plane has made earlier in the day.

I wonder idly if the next duo of flights will also involve a destination beginning with the letter B. Brussels. Perhaps. Or Bordeaux, Birmingham or Bilbao.

Or maybe they will move along the alphabet; graduate to Cairo, Cadiz or Cologne.


Continue reading