Random Thoughts 2024

Thursday June 20th

Top 10 movies of all time

What are the top 10 movies of all time? What you would choose and what I would choose are completely different of course, but I am willing to bet there are some core elements that are the same. I love movies; they are a pure escapism from normal life, the ability to switch off and just revel in the plot. But how do we define the best ones? Character? Plot? The actors you love that are in it? Let’s look at my top 10 and I’ll try and answer that for you. In no particular order (simply because they’re all good and it’s impossible to choose a number.

Top Gun (Maverick) – Now I’ve always been a Tom Cruise fan and ever since my brother introduced me to Top Gun it’s been a favourite. When Top Gun Maverick was released, it quite literally upped the game. The mould was broken for these movies, they achieved something special for the screen, effects never before done. Top Gun Maverick

A Few Good Men– I had never seen this at the cinema. It had been & gone before I met my late husband who was responsible for introducing me to this movie. He had seen it on stage and loved it. So, when it arrived on TV, there I was ready to watch. It has an amazing cast in Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollak and the incomparable Jack Nicholson. The story is real and best of all….no romance!! – A Few Good Men Review

Saving Private Ryan – I have a passion for World War 2 movies and history. This movies opening 20 minutes sets the scene and is incredibly realistic. My late husband complimented this movie down to the sound of bullets whizzing past your head (he was ex-army). Saving Private Ryan Review

The Shawshank Redemption – Underrated at the time but now considered a cult classic. Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins share the screen with a raft of actors in an adaption of a Stephen King novella. The Shawshank Redemption Review

Star Wars Episode IV – This was my first ever cinema trip. I was 6 years old and can remember that we went to Barkingside Odeon for a friend’s birthday party. It’s an old favourite simply for that reason. Of course, the feisty Carrie Fisher was great too; a heroine that all young girls related to. 

One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Jack Nicholson again makes my top 10. A classic from the 70s that examines a mental health hospital and a criminal trying to evade punishment. Nurse Ratched, a sadistic nurse tried to break him. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest Review

Interstellar – There was just something about this film that ticked all the boxes for me. Great cast in Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Matt Damon, Mackenzie Foy, Sir Michael Caine and John Lithgow. Incredible plot, complex in nature. At the heart of the film was the indomitable human spirit that was seen through the complexities of the father/daughter relationship and in the victory of love through the entirety of time and space.

Back to the Future – I can remember seeing this when it was released. I went with my brother. The soundtrack, the story, the cast all combine for what is in the end a feel-good movie. The story is a simple one, but the time travel complexities make for a great twist.

The Departed A stellar cast is present in this fantastic movie. Set in Boston, we find Leo DiCaprio, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Ray Winstone, Matt Damon, Alec Baldwin and Jack Nicholson, as a mixture of cops and mafia. Who is the cop infiltrating the mafia and who is the mafia infiltrating the cops? This phenomenal cast take an amazing story and under the direction of Martin Scorsese bring you something that you cannot tear your eyes away from.  

Gladiator – Everyone can relate the infamous “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridias, commander of the armies of the north, general of the Felix legions, loyal servant to the true emperor Marcus Aurelius, father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife, and I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next”. It’s these speeches and their delivery of them that makes this film something special.

A bonus film: Ghostbusters (1984 original)

“Who ya gonna call?” – In 1984 we were on a family holiday and needed something to do one afternoon thanks to the British weather. We headed to the cinema, the one time I remember us all going as a family of 4. Ghostbusters was on and we loved it. My brother and I frequently quote lines when talking. But this year it’s back at the cinema for its 40th anniversary so yes, I’m going.

There you have it! That`s my list. Now what’s yours?

Saturday June 8th

One Tray Dinner

I have recently learned the appeal of ‘one tray dinners.’ Some of you master chefs will know exactly what I mean but for those that don’t, I’m talking, grab your ingredients and throw it all in a roasting tin…quite literally. 

My mum used to do ‘one tray dinners’ and I decided that it was my turn. My friends, I can hear you all yelling….yes we know about you and cooking and how Mark did all of it. Fear not….this gal loves her kitchen and cooking!

Here’s what I use for my one tray bake.

Chicken – I’ve taken a liking to Thai chicken satay marinade! Mushrooms, Peppers , Onions, Potatoes, Peas and carrots. (Use anything you like really – it`s your preference)

Oil the roasting tin. Lay the chicken and potatoes in. Chop all your veg to preference. Throw that in the roasting tin, drizzle some oil over it and put in a pre-heated oven. 1 hour at 180 degrees. It’s that simple and trust me when I say…. it’s that delicious!

Saturday June 1st

Breweries

There are so many craft breweries out in the world. How do you decide which ones to visit? Answer: start at the ones closest to home. Back in 2021, I told my dad about a little brewery that I’d found. We headed off to visit Sunshine Brewery. What’s to like? Gorgeous ales, food trucks, great staff & the environment. If I said it was basically like an old shed, you’d wonder what was so good about it. I’d say that it’s a combination of everything, alongside all the pictures and odds and ends on display. Everything on display has been curated by the owners on their travels.

We also found another one about the same distance from home in the other direction. We’d seen the sign for this one as we drove down Kawana Way. It was one of those “we really should try that one day” places until one day, we searched it out. Your Mate’s brewery is found on an industrial estate surrounded by businesses. With ample parking, great environment, ales and beer to choose from, good food all week and great staff…. it’s another brewery with that special something.

Now you want me to tell you what I mean by special something. Well, that something special is personality. The staff in both breweries get to know their clients to the point that when we walk into the Sunshine Brewery, they ask us if we want the usual. The staff know us by name. When I walked into Your Mates with a friend, I was asked by the barman ‘what have you done with your dad? Where is he?’ it’s not just service, it’s quality service. It’s not just quality service, it’s a friendship.

Sunday May 26th 

Living with parents – after the age of 45….

Here’s the thing: Over the years, I’ve heard so many people complain—not about bad service or experiences, but about their parents. To anyone who has ever had a bad word to say about their parents, remember this: no one is perfect. It’s your parents’ first try at life and parenting too, so how can they be expected to get everything right? Answer: They can’t.

Through my life, my parents have always been incredibly supportive. When I started my nursing career, they were there for me. When I got engaged just six weeks after meeting my husband, they fully supported me. I’ve shared countless meals, nights in, shopping trips, cinema outings, concerts, holidays, and days out with my mum and dad, savouring every moment. But there is something special I want to share. 

When my mum fell ill, she needed one-on-one care, and I was in a position to provide it. I moved back home and spent 14 months caring for her. You’re probably thinking that someone being ill shouldn’t really be defined  as ‘special’, but bear with me, and I’ll tell you why it was.

We shared many precious moments, like watching rugby on her iPad, cleaning out her wardrobe and laughing at all the clothes with tags still on, and having deep conversations that led me to interview her for my website. These were truly quality times and memories that I’ll always have; memories that are just mine. Thats the ‘special’.

My relationship with my dad was always good. He worked hard his entire life, starting as a bus driver and eventually becoming the Operations Director of the company. Not bad at all! He retired at 57 and settled into a new rhythm of life. Over the last few years, my relationship with my dad has evolved into something truly special. Parent and child we may be, but we are also great friends. I feel comfortable asking him anything and have heard him tell many stories about his life and life with mum; stories that I didn’t know. (Yes Lee, I have written them down for you.)

Several times a year, we take short trips together, just the two of us. We enjoy going to the cinema, dining out, and spending days exploring new places. We also attend concerts and visit friends. But the time we spend at home is equally fulfilling, just enjoying each other’s company. We can sit together all night without saying a word, because words aren’t always necessary. Staying with Dad after mum enabled me to build new memories with him.

The moral of my story is this: love and appreciate your parents as much as you can. Build your relationships into something special. Ask questions about the time before you were born. Learn about their life and your history. You get one chance to have these relationships. No regrets.

Tuesday 21 May

Every so often I trail through other websites to see what people do. Will I like it? Does it suit me? Will it work with everything else I write about, because let’s face it, I write a lot. ‘Too many ideas and not enough time’ – I should have that on a T-shirt!! Today I looked at a site that had random blog posts about anything and everything. There you have it. The ‘Random Thoughts’ page was born.

Here we are on a Tuesday in May. You’re wondering why I mentioned that aren’t you? You’re thinking, what’s the significance of that? I’ll tell you. Every day seems to blur into the next lately and the week passes in what seems like a click of the fingers. Far too fast. When you’re younger, time slows down and you’re in the frame of mind that you’ll be here forever. As you age that changes. Here I am in my early 50s watching the weeks and months fly past at a frightening pace. 

But I digress….Welcome to Random Thoughts. This page will be exactly that, random quotes and thoughts at random times!