Tag Archive: island

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

In this day and age one of the things that fascinates me is how you can watch movie streaming. I am amazed by the movies that produced by companies such as Amazon and Netflix and Hulu.

I have talked about other programs that I have watched but I was able to find DVD formats for those movies.

Guernsey Literary and Potato peel pie society largeposterThis time around, I watched a movie through Netflix because I wanted to see this movie while it was still freshly out.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was published in 2008 and became a book club darling immediately.

The story is told through letters as a British writer that is trying to find her way at the end of WWII and a return to whatever is normal.

It is what some might call a gentle read even as it deals with the occupation of the island of Guernsey during WWII.

When I saw there was a movie version, I was quite excited. I really enjoyed the book despite my vow to stop reading stories about WWII. It was quick moving tale while telling a compelling story about survival during the pain of war.

I was not disappointed.

The movie opens with four people coming home after a night of eating and drinking. They are walking home and know they are beyond the curfew hour. German soldiers are out, demanding papers. They want to know why the group is out and, suddenly, they come up with a name.

In creating a literary society, the group realizes they need reading material and so need reading material are found. That is how they get started and connect with Juliet, our London-based writer.

Guernsey mtg with SidneyJuliet is in the middle of a book tour regarding her light-hearted columns printed during the war. And she is still in shock from losing her apartment during the blitzkrieg. But she also must write another book for her publisher and is intrigued by the island’s story of survival during the occupation. So she decides to go there and learn more.

I enjoyed the movie for both its simplicities and intricateness. The movie is beautifully shot and Lily James as Juliet is always lovely from simple sweaters and dresses to her gorgeous evening wear. But we are also telling a tale of the occupation and what happens to those people. How lines are crossed for love or collaboration or the birthing of calves.

This movie does not include car chases or gunfire. There isn’t any swearing or sexuality. Instead, there is the terror of always having to act in a certain way or face dire consequences. That to me is more insidious, more frightening.

guernsey-dance-scene.jpgGood movies don’t happen because of one person. James is supported wonderfully by Michael Huisman as Dulsey, Tom Courtney as Eben, Katherine Parkinson as Isola, Penolope Wilton as Amelia, Glen Powell as rich American Mark Reynolds, and Jessica Brown Findlay as the mysterious Elizabeth. Each takes on his or hers various quirks to make the story interesting and the characters familiar to us.

We know these people. We learn of their struggles and slowly come to understand them in the way that Juliet does. It is a movie you can watch with girlfriends or the husband. If the kids happen to walk in, you won’t have to shield their eye. That’s always a plus.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.



So what does a woman do when she is out of work?

In my case, nothing it appears. I have been out of work for nearly three months, which I never expected to be out of work this long, and I have not done a single damn thing beyond look for another job.

Special projects for organizations – not done.

Closets – not cleaned out.

Piles of papers – not organized.

Piles of outgrown children’s clothing on my bedroom chair – still there.

In the last few weeks I have decided to take the bull by the horns and find one spot at  a time to clear out. The first one was the over-flowing bill drawer that the bill payer never makes a point of organizing. Next spot was my crafting area. After that was an area between a bookcase and a couch.

These are all hard jobs, requiring at least an hour of attention and a trash can ready to receive bills from six years ago. That is when one must throw in a necessary but easy job.

Recovering the kitchen table/island.

Cute but in need of replacement

Cute but in need of replacement.


While the cloth is bright and attractive in most areas, family life is ripping it at the edges. All of the fuzzy stuff is showing and that is not good. That is when you bring our the tools for a new covering.


A new cloth and the staple gun

A new cloth and the staple gun


Sometimes, you have to be mean. Sometimes, you have to rip off what used to work in order for something new to take over.

The old cloth gone

The old cloth gone


Now I know what you are thinking. “That table top doesn’t look so bad.” Look closely and you will see the peeling veneer, the stains that are not identifiable. This desk came with the house and at first we kept it on the side. But the needs of more counter space and a good work area brought the desk to the middle of the floor. The atrocious top has me searching for oil cloth. But until I find that, I will keep using inexpensive vinyl table cloths I can staple into place.


The finished product

The finished product


What I do, after making sure the cloth is reasonably centered on the table, is start at one corner, pleat the corners for a smooth edge and staple them in. I go to the opposite corner, tighten up the cloth and repeat the pleats before stapling. I do the same thing with the other corners. Then I move to the sides, tighten the cloth and staple until all sides are completed.

Is this what I want for my dream kitchen? Not really. If I had my way and a wad of cash, my dream would be to have a box top butcher block counter top on the desk and six-inch lifts on each leg. Maybe it would look like one of those dream islands in the magazines.

Other projects would include replacing the cabinets and other counter tops  as well. New working appliances would grace my kitchen. Finally, my laundry center would be moved to the basement.

Until then, I will have to stick with my solution that involves a $4.50 vinyl table-cloth, a staple gun, and 15 minutes of time. And a look that leans more towards the French Country style I am aiming for.

What quick and easy projects are you doing around the house?




This is the week  everyone will be wearing green in the spirit of the Irish. Those who are not better be good at avoiding the dreaded pinch.

I cannot claim any Irish in my heritage. While the rosacea on my face claims differently, all I am aware of is a strong English bent. When your great-great grandfather is named Proctor, it is pretty certain you have English blood.

In recent years though, Irish cinema has really made some breakthroughs. This past Oscar season saw The Secret of the Kells make it into the Best Animation category. The story is about a young boy who discovers the magic an illuminator can have when it comes to the written word back in the middle ages. The knowledge he carries through the forest is threatened by the barbarians who are chasing him.

With Brendan Gleeson doing voice work as the stern abbot, it is a fantastical story with wonderful animation. At this time the movie is back in the theaters and is scheduled to be released on DVD sometime in August.

Another Irish movie that was given Oscar acclaim is Once (2006). It stars virtual unknowns Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova as two musicians who meet, write music together, record a CD and fall in love in one week’s time. The constant movement of the camera might make you a little queasy but it is worth it for the fully realized soundtrack. Plus these are characters you want to get to know.  It is better suited for adults than kids under the age of 13.

One of my favorite Irish movies of all time is The Secret of Roan Inish (1994). Directed by John Sayles, this is the story of a girl who lives with her grandparents after the death of her mother and loss of her brother. The family had to move off of their island and 10-year-old Fiona wants to know more. Slowly she finds out the history of their family and why her brother might have been taken, not simply lost at sea. This is a family friendly movie that can be slow moving but worth the outcome.

One movie that many people associate with Ireland is The Quiet Man (1952) starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. It tells the story of an American boxer who moves back to his family hometown in Ireland. He meets Maureen and they fall in love. But her brother gets into a snoot fit and will not release her dowry money.

The last 15 minutes of the movie features an epic fight between Wayne and Victor McLagen as they go across the countryside and make stops in the pubs for a pint or two.  Is it family friendly? Yes, it is. And then the family can go explore Wayne, O’Hara and director John Ford on the internet.

My last suggestion is another family friendly flick call Into the West (1992).  This movie stars Gabriel Byrne as a widower with two boys to raise. They are travelers who live in the slums of Dublin. Byrne is more interested in drinking to forget his late wife. But then the boys’ grandfather finds a white stallion who can only seem to be controlled by the younger boy and they keep the horse in their apartment.

All sorts of things that can go wrong do, including the police and a wealthy industrialist colluding to get the magnificent beast. The boys end up stealing their horse back and traveling across the country. It is a grand adventure as the dad tries to get back to his boys while they manage to hide from the police. For those people who cry easily, this movie will get you going.

I know there are others that people like but I might have missed.  Write in the comment section what is a great movie, set and made in Ireland, that I did not write about.

Until next week, see you in the movie aisle.

Let the world, or at least St. Anne, know your family’s recent selection by dropping a line to momgoestothemovies@sbcglobal.net. You can also ‘friend’ me on Facebook.