Films: Retro Recommendations (1)

Thinking of films that get overlooked today, I decided to offer a list of recommendations of a variety of films that I thought were great. I have reviewed some of these, but not all. I am only going to supply IMDB links, and/or trailers where I can find them, but I believe they are all worth your viewing time. I only chosen English-Language films with no subtitles on this occasion.

The Last Seduction. (1994, not the remake.)

The House of Games. (1987)

The Grifters. (1990)

Dead Man’s Shoes. (2004)

Sling Blade. (1996)

Blood Simple. (1984)

Blue Steel. (1990)

The Crying Game. (1992)

The Butcher Boy. (1997) (Trailer is poor quality)

Angela’s Ashes. (1999)

There are the first 10 for your consideration. More to follow in this series.

Some unusual films

I am reblogging this film post from 2013. Only Eddy and Sophie seem to have ever seen it, and it really does contain some great film recommendations.


I use the term ‘unusual’ to define subject, plot, or treatment. This is subjective of course, and you may not agree. Most of these films will be familiar to avid film watchers, or those who might be called ‘film buffs’. They are not mainstream though, far from it, and at least four of them could justify the tag ‘Independent film’, with all that this implies. As always, I will stand by any film that I recommend, and suggest that you try something a little different. I have a long list of these, so more to come later.

The Friends of Eddie Coyle. This downbeat crime drama features screen tough guy Robert Mitchum, in one of his later starring roles. Made in 1973, when Hollywood was turning out much glossier fare, here we see a different side of America. The seedy heart of Boston, dilapidated buildings, run-down housing, and small-time crooks…

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Literary inspirations

At a time when I am finding it impossible to finish reading a book, and also experiencing a slow-down in my desire to write, I thought I would reblog this 2015 post about my love of books, and some recommendations of those I have read in the past. Some of you (Jude, Sue, Cindy, David) have already read it. But since 2015, I have welcomed many new followers.


I have never written about books on this blog. Considering the amount of words I have written about so many other things, this fact has just struck me. It has been a glaring omission, and one I will attempt to rectify with this post. It will not be a series, so don’t worry.

Many blogs on the Internet are about books and literature. Some recommend good new reads, most promote the work of the blogger themselves. Others quote from classical literature, or delve into its origins and meanings. I won’t be doing any of that. Do I write because I used to read, or did I read because I wanted to write? The answer is probably neither of those options. I started writing at school like most of us do, as it is compulsory. But I didn’t read for that reason, I did it for enjoyment, education, and a desire…

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Product Recommendations

***I get nothing for recommending the following items, and they were all bought with my own money.***

As a diversion from writing fiction, and moaning about the weather, I thought I would mention some products that I use, and recommend.
Not something I do very often here, I know.
In fact, You are more likely to find me complaining about things that don’t work, I appreciate that.

(I have mentioned the weed puller and steam generator iron before, but decided to include them as that was a long time ago.)

With apologies to my readers outside the UK, as I don’t know if these things are available where you live.

Santoku knife.
You can pay anything from £10 to £400 for one of these knives. Mine was about £25 I think, and has lasted me for eight years now. I do use a knife sharpener to keep the edge sharp, but it is such a versatile kitchen tool. The flat heavy blade crushes garlic cloves, and then you can chop them into tiny pieces with the same knife. It cuts through fresh pizza with no need for a wheel, and of course it slices onions, and any other vegetables you want to prepare. It also glides through thick joints of meat, and will cut a chicken in half with no effort. If you like fish, it will take the skin off a salmon fillet, and open up a larger fish with ease.
Almost a ‘one-knife’ cook’s dream. The only thing I don’t use it for is slicing bread.

G-Tech K-9 Vacuum.
Most of you know that I have a dog. His fur gets everywhere, even though he is a short-haired breed. Normal vacuum cleaners struggle with dog hair, even those that claim to be able to cope with it. This model from G-Tech just powers it up. The re-chargeable battery means no annoying lead, and the lightweight construction makes it easy to carry around anywhere. The collected dust and fur is stored in a cylinder, so no need for disposable bags. Just open the end of the cylinder, and slide the contents into any bin.
This device is so powerful, it ‘drives itself’ along, so requires no push/pull effort. It also has a system of headlights, to show up all the dirt, fluff, or fur.
Not cheap, but incredibly effective.

Fiskars weed puller.
I am an unenthusiastic gardener, and the lawn is home to legions of dandelions. Not wanting to use chemicals with a pet dog around, I got one of these. Simple to use, with little or no effort, and the weed is pulled right out, including the root. Tough construction, and nothing to go wrong, this could last a lifetime.
It really is as easy as it looks on the video.

Steam Generator Iron.
I have written about these before. Since buying one over 15 years ago, I could never go back to a normal iron again. The lightweight handset attached to a huge boiler and large water tank makes such easy work of the most difficult ironing, you will wonder how you ever used a conventional iron. I have tried various brands, but recently returned to Tefal again. They seem to have it sorted, and offer the most powerful devices too.

Skechers Memory Foam casual shoes.
These are the lightest and most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. They feel like you have nothing on your feet, and I can walk all day in them without any pain in my legs and feet. Sometimes, bold claims are actually true. This is definitely the case with this great footwear.

Tefal griddle pan.
A good solid non-stick griddle pan is a must-have in any kitchen. Whether searing meat before oven cooking, browning sausages, cooking bacon and burgers, or getting a steak ‘just right’, this type of pan is simply indispensable. I currently use a Tefal model, but many others are available. Get the best you can afford, and you won’t regret it.

So, six recommendations for everyday items that will make your life easier, or more comfortable.

Recommended Blogs: Real Lives

Every so often, I like to recommend other blogs, in the hope of expanding our community. Many of the blogs I follow are about niche subjects like films, literature, photography, or politics. But I also follow some blogs where nice people just write about their everyday lives. Their hopes and dreams, their families, and what surrounds them. They sometimes express their fears, share their worries, or just post a photo of something nice, maybe a place they have visited.

So I am going to recommend a few like that. A different look on life from another part of the world, or a few hours up the road from Beetley.
We can all learn from each other, and make genuine contact using something as simple as a blog post.

But the biggest lesson we can learn is that although we may live oceans apart, and lead very different lives, we are all essentially the same inside.
Maggie is American, and lives in one of those hot and humid Southern states. She is writing a 365/one post a day blog. Family, life experiences, nature, and recollections.
Real stuff, from a genuine lady. Please encourage her to keep going after that year is up.
Wilma is originally from the Philippines, and has settled near Chicago, USA.
Her blog is about her work, her daily life, and her cherished family. Some travel, a love of the nature surrounding her, and the peaceful Mallard Lake.
Sometimes, such pleasant things are all you need to make a great blog.
Trips out with his kids, life in central England, poetry, musings, and short stories.
Policeman Rich Lakin has it all going on, and the nostalgia is great too.
Retired teacher Elizabeth lives in the US. Her blog is packed with fascinating recollections, interesting memories, and some great writing too.
She also tells us about her life now, her trips to places, and her take on the modern world.
From a picturesque part of Scotland, Mary documents her trips with photos, writes about her family, and shares interesting memories of her working life in far-flung foreign lands.

There you have five blogs to check out, and hopefully find someone new to read or follow.

If you would like to suggest any blogs you admire, please leave a link in the comments.

Netflix: A request

For many years now, I have read countless reviews of films and series available on Netflix. I have heard how much you like them, and often been envious that I did not have this very popular platform. I know it is not that expensive, but us pensioners have to be careful not too spend too much! However, as of today, I now have access to this much-admired streaming service.

So, Netflix lovers, I am asking you for suggestions. Films that can only be seen on Netflix, TV series (not comedy) that are only available there, and any other recommendations that you can think of, based on knowing the sort of things that I enjoy watching.

Thanks in anticipation, and best wishes to all. Pete.

Other Blogs: Part Three

I am continuing this series of recommendations of other blogs that I currently follow. If you do not know any of them, then perhaps consider visiting, and reading a post or two. It all helps to support and encourage our fellow bloggers in this great community.

Cindy Bruchman is a lovely American lady. A full-time teacher, published novelist, and a seasoned traveller too. Her blog is full of interesting things, including film and cinema, literature, great photos, travel experiences, and life in Arizona. One of my great blogging friends, and we have collaborated on articles too.

Fraggle has many blogs, and they are mostly about photography. She travels around the north-east of England finding amazing places to photograph, and provides fascinating informative history about them too. On occasion, she goes further afield, and uses her extensive armoury of cameras to capture some great results. A good sense of humour, home life, craft projects, and much more.

GP Cox writes a wonderful blog about a very niche subject, The Pacific Theatre of combat, in WW2. Personal memoirs of his paratrooper father, interesting background articles, and poignant individual stories of those who served in that terrible conflict, on all sides.

Abbi Osbiston is a South African, now living in Essex with her English husband, and young son. Her blog is a joyful mix of Film and TV reviews, Literature, being a young mum, and eating unusual foods from around the world. She throws in a candid look at her own outfits, and her busy job.

John Rieber lives in California, and works in the entertainment industry. He loves films and music, and is exceptionally well-travelled. His blog is full of unusual food, amazing places, great photos of his travels, and bacon. Always bacon. A really engaged blogger, and a pleasure to follow.

Vinnie is not his real name. I know what his real name is, but I am keeping his secret. He lives in the north-west of England, and loves to review films and TV series. He knows his stuff, and provides a real mix of film genres on his blog. Friendly, and always a loyal follower, he knows what blogging is all about.

Six more to check out, from the sites that I follow. More to come soon.

Other Blogs: Part Two

This continues my recommendation of other blogs that I follow. If any of them sound like something you would enjoy, then please follow a link and read a couple of posts. I know that some of you will already be followers, so this is mainly intended for my most recent followers and readers.

For some insight into world-wide politics from an American perspective. An intelligent and well-balanced look at many hot topics, from a retired educator in Mississippi.
Chuq, at

Travels around some of the most scenic parts of America, as well as the Pacific North West on her doorstep. Lovingly documented and photographed by cat-lover Susanne.

A Greek perspective on Europe; Art, History, Sculpture, Watercolour paintings, and photos to make you wish you were on holiday. Marina’s blog is always diverse, and fascinating too.

Someone who doesn’t mind roughing it, on her world-wide travels with ‘Poor John’. Great photos from Peggy, and always something unusual too.
Where to next?

Another view of America and Canada from a committed lady with Native American Heritage. Art, Folklore, Racism, Injustice, and much, much more.
Lara Trace Hentz.

Trailer Park life in the raw, from retired police officer Ron. Always hilarious, often downright worrying. The world of the ‘good old boys’.
Ron’s Country Musings.

A nice mix of six for you to explore. More to come soon!