A Happy Musical Christmas

You may have noticed my post on Instagram recently where I had bought this years Christmas Radio Times. We don’t generally buy TV listings magazines, and nor do we buy the weekend newspapers that usually contain their own variety so it’s not often we plan ahead what we watch on TV. In fact, for over a year now we’ve predominantly consumed our TV viewing on Amazon Prime and Netflix via our Amazon FireTV stick so we’re no longer following a TV listing anyway.

But, at this time of year which lots of visual TV delights to choose from it’s nice to peruse the Radio Times to see what’s to come. I particularly like the specials films section, even though with the above mentioned streaming services with thousands of films to choose from it’s nice to see what’s coming to terrestrial TV. With that, I like that the genre of film is also listed and being a family of musicals lovers I have mapped out a Christmas musical journey for us – here’s where we are going.

Christmas Eve

Bugsy Malone (ITV3 11:35am)
Who doesn’t love a bit of Bugsy? This is a great film for all the family and my foot is tapping already to Fat Sam’s Grand Slam.



Oklahoma (Channel 5 1:35pm)
A Wild West cowboy love story – what’s not to love about that?!




Guys and Dolls (BBC2 3:20pm)
I’ve never actually seen this one so it’s another one to tick off for me!



Christmas Day

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Channel 5 11:05am)
The premise of this film is a hard sell for me and in modern day terms is a tad sexist but still an enjoyable movie all the same.



Singing in the Rain (Channel 5 1:05pm)
It’s Signing in the Rain for goodness sake – it needs no introduction from me!



Oliver! (Channel 5 3:10pm)
“Please sie, can I have some more?”. Love this film, but o that Bill Sykes is a nasty piece of work!

Boxing Day

A Hard Day’s Night (BBC2 11.55am)
I’m not exactly a Beatles fan and I’ve never seen this so I’ll give it a go with an open mind.




The Little Mermaid (Channel 4 4:20pm)
Delilah’s favourite movie and one we shall definitely be watching!

Crimbo Limbo

Sunshine on Leith (Channel4 27th December 1:15pm)
I have to admit I’d never heard of this film until I caught the back end of it one night on Channel 4. I do love a good Proclaimers song so if you do do then this is one to watch.

New Years Eve

Into the Woods (BBC2 8pm)
This was such a promising movie with an awesome cast. We’re still not sure about it though if I’m honest. But, the waterfall see with these two signing Agony is worth it!




What to watch on TV this Christmas

I remember as a boy that my Mum would always buy both the Radio Times  and the TV Times Christmas editions. It always made me giggle with excitement as this event meant Christmas was not very far away and I would spend a good long while pouring over both books ensuring I knew exactly which films to watch and when the Only Fools and Horses Christmas specials were on. Back in those days we only had 4 TV channels (yes, I come from a time before Channel 5) and my parents didn’t see the point in having Sky TV so TV life was pretty simple for us. It wasn’t until 1990 that my parents dragged themselves into the technological worlds and purchased out first VCR! So, with these memories making me smile and it being my last working day of the year (I’ll be at my works Christmas party when this post goes live) I thought I would share what we will be watching this Christmas.

Admittedly, in this day and age with terrestrial TV, Sky+, Amazon Prime and Netflix to choose from in our house the schedule is a bit different as we are no bound by the schedule the TV broadcaster set. So, I’ll list what we’ll be watching by service.


  • Elf: The Musical – Live on Stage (23rd December 5pm, Channel 5)
  • It’s Christmas Live From The Royal Albert Hall (23rd December 8pm, Sky 1)
  • All Star Musicals (24th December 6:40pm, ITV1)
  • Michael McIntyre’s Big Show (24th December 8:30pm, BBC1)
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (25th December 9:25am, ITV1)
  • Toy Story 3 (25th December 1:20pm, BBC1)
  • Call The Midwife Christmas Special (25th December 7:40pm BBC)
  • Strictly Christmas Special (25th 6:30pm BBC)
  • ET the Extra-Terestrial (26th December 3:30pmm ITV1)
  • Little Women (Starts 26th December 8pm BBC)
  • Grandpa’s Great Escape (New Year’s Day 6:55pm BBC)
  • Christmas Bake Off Special (25th December & 1st January 7:40pm Ch4)
  • Miranda Does Christmas (27th December 9pm Ch4)

Amazon Prime

  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (just in case I miss it on Christmas Days on ITV1)
    Possibly my favourite Christmas film. I’ve loved it since I was a kid and still laugh at the ridiculousness of it every time and I’m hoping that my love for the film will spread to the girls. But, there is also an important message in there (somewhere).
  • Nativity 3 Dude, Where’s my Donkey?!
    I know what you’re thinking – what about the first two Nativity films? Well we’ve watched them already in December and now I’m happy to see that Nativity 3 is included with Prime.

  • Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’
  • Elf
  • The Holiday
  • Love Actually
    We’ve watched this already because we love it. It’s a great film and I am sure will be a classic in time (if not already).
  • Arthur Christmas
    I won’t lie, again we’ve watched this already in December. It’s a great movie and we’ll definitely watch it again before festive season is over.

Cultural Appreciation

Earlier this week I saw Tweet by the well know TV broadcaster, photographer and naturalist Chris Packham.

Happy Christmas @VisitFaroe @TheFaroeIslands @Tinganes I hope Santa visits this child and brings her some compassion , a respect for life , an awareness of conservation and the desire to grow up and drag your community into the 21st Century RT pic.twitter.com/znZbQBaLfZ

Within this tweet was the following photograph…

At first glance I think you would agree that it’s a horrible photo – I certainly think so. If I apply my thoughts and cultural background on it I think it’s deplorable. But, is Packham right to attack the child in the photo?

Here are a selection of the replies he got to the tweet.

Jeez Chris, this is pretty low. She’s a kid, take it down.

That is sickening. What a horrible child, and parents for that matter

This has been the norm for centuries in the Faroes. It’s very easy for us to be sanctimonious and forget there are still cultures who don’t see wildlife as we do. We can try change this, but not by insults.

A child stood atop a dead animal is questionable & is subsequently deemed “horrible”. It would be just as abhorrent, if this was a livestock animal. Any human glorifying death, particularly in the way the image depicts, is horrible. Plus, not all children condone their parents.

Having spoken with Faroese fishermen last year, I was told that grind participation had been dwindling each year, until a group who the Faroese people saw as foreign extremists went up protesting against the grind. All the protests did was to ignite a passion in a new generation

Let me be clear – I am not here defending what they are doing – it’s pretty barbaric and uncalled for. However, there’s is a different culture to ours in the UK and other countries. Much the same and Chinese culture is different to the UK or even that of culture in the USA. But many people seem to gloss over that for their own professionally offended purposes.

I don’t much like the thought of eating dog. But dog meat it eaten in many counties and cultures around the world. In fact, it’s not limited to the Far East as many people think – dog is eaten in Switzerland too! But I don’t see this being lambasted on Twitter by attention grabbing celebrities trying to keep their profile up until the next series of Springwatch.

The fact is that there are many, many practices that occur in many, many cultures around this world that people from different cultures find odd, weird, cruel and downright disgusting. But that’s the beauty of our planet – we are all these cultures on one tiny rock in the infinitum of the galaxy. Should we be trying to alter other cultures so that eventually all of them become the same homogeneous blend? Of course not. It’s okay to be offended, to not like something, to find it abhorrent and it’s okay to protest about it. But please do so with the understanding that in other cultures they see nothing wrong with what they are doing because they don’t view the world in the same way that you do.

Keep it simple – keep it fun

Last night the two youngest girls we at their pantomime rehearsals for a few hours so we were left alone with the teenagers. Rather than skulking off to their rooms (as teenagers, I have learnt, seem to like to do) they actually showed an interest in hanging around us. So, Helen suggested we play a very simple game that we used to play with her family all the time – FISH ANIMAL BIRD.

If you’ve never heard of this game then here are the very simple instructions. You have a list of categories starting with fish, animal, bird on a piece of paper for each player. Our categories were:

  • fish
  • animal
  • bird
  • boys name
  • girls name
  • town/city
  • country
  • river/sea
  • flower
  • vegtable
  • tree
  • fruit
  • sweet
  • sport
  • colour

Kick it off with one of the players picking a letter, then each person has to come up with a word beginning with that letter for each category. You can set a time limit if you want but we don’t bother and we soon know when we’ve had enough. Scoring works like this:

  • 2 points for a unique answer
  • 1 point if you have the same answer as somebody else

Add up your score and the winner picks the next letter….repeat.

You can add your own categories to make it more fun  – the more obscure the better.

We spent two hours playing this with 14 and 13 year old girls. Not phones, tablets, TV, radio – nothing. The only time MY phone came out was to ask Google to check someones answer (usually mine!).

It was so much fun and I know the girls will come home tonight wanting to play again. And why not?

When was the last time you played such a simple, basic game with kids and realised they loved it?

I Won A Synology DS418play

For the second year running I have won a competition via the internet with a prize worth hundreds of pounds. I feel pretty lucky.

Last year it was a GoPro 4 with accessories from an Instagram contest run by @ChellengeSophie and today I took delivery of this Synology DS418play courtesy of a giveaway on MakeUseOf.com.

I’m not really a serial competition entrant (I know some people make a career of it) but I do randomly enter the dd giveaway and then completely forget about it. I suppose we all do it now again again then question whether anybody actually ever wins. Well i can tell you that as a two time winner they most certainly do.

For those of you interested (and geeky enough) to want to know what a Synology DS418play is then here goes…

It is a 4-bay NAS (network attached storage) designed for ultra-high definition multimedia enthusiasts. Store files, movies, photos, anything you want in a fault tolerant adaptable disk array. I suppose the only downside to this win is that it doesn’t come with any disks – but then again they are pretty cheap nowadays anyway. Follow this link for the the full run down – https://www.synology.com/en-us/products/DS418play.

I’m not going to let this win change me (ha!) but it does encourage me to enter a few more of these types of competitions and giveaways. So long as you’re careful and run a few checks on the site/person running it then you don’t really have anything to lose.

I really miss running when I take days off due to illness. When I take days off due to injury that feels different, like I am taking the time off with a purpose to come back better. I suppose I should think of illness in a similar way – but I don’t. I see days of no running due to illness as wasted somehow and this frustrates me immensely. I’m not a competitive athlete, it’s not like I am training for the world championships or anything like that, I simply run because I love it and I enjoy it.
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