Darkest Hour

This film, now showing in cinemas around the UK, tells the story of Winston Churchill’s opening months as Leader of the House in the Second World War. It tells a familiar tale, but also raises other issues – Churchill’s support for Edward VIII’s marriage to Wallis Simpson for one.

It reminds us that Churchill was not the steady pair of hands we have learned to regard him as with hindsight, but a risky bet at a time when the stakes could not be higher. History is played with, facts are ignored or contradicted as happens when the film maker wants to make a good story.

But on the whole, the facts do survive fairly intact. Churchill’s alcohol consumption, which is pretty prodigious, is addressed in the opening frames. His unorthodox orthodoxy, the contradictions and contrariety of his character become abundantly clear. Continue reading

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Day Trip from London

I bow to no one in my belief that London is one of the greatest cities in the world. I never intended to stay here. I came meaning to leave after four years. That was long ago. How do you leave a city that is endlessly fascinating, that is the definition of multicultural, where there is so much to do, to see?
This weekend we have been enjoying Lumière London organised by the amazing Artichoke, it gets people onto the streets in the coldest part of the year to enjoy wondrous illuminations. It’s free, so a great leveller. Old and young, monied and hard up can all enjoy the fun.

With events like these I fall in love with London all over again. Not that it stops me visiting ng other parts of the UK. Belfast is a favourite destination, and I am lucky that as my mother came from Co Derry I have family and friends in Northern Ireland it is a second home.

However, I wouldn’t do a day trip to Belfast from London. I’ll leave that fro the business travellers. But there are many other wonderful places you can visit from London. This year i have enjoyed two day trips. The first was to Leigh-on-Sea on the Essex coast. I have been there before and really enjoyed it. This visit confirmed my impressions.

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