2 points: Batsford Botanical Gardens
Barbara: I’ve been to botanical gardens before but not like these. You know there must be a higher being when you sit in a place like this and just look at what exists in nature. My favorite was the handkerchief tree, which had white leaves that hung down like hankies.
2 points– Brahms concert in St. James Church.
Barbara: Lucked out. There was a chamber music festival in Chipping Campden so we got to hear a lovely viola and piano duet of music by Brahms. A great end to a breathtaking day.
BACK AT HOME BASE
While Barbara is bustling about the English countryside, Laura has been busy with more sedate B activities.
1 point: movie theme: BULLYING
Laura: A Girl Like Her takes a hard look at a suicide attempt and the bullying that led to it. The film plays out as a faux documentary about two girls, Jessica (the victim) and Avery (the bully). You would have to be completely clueless if you didn’t have somewhat of an understanding of how prevalent bullying among teenagers has become and how unbearable the pain is to the one being bullied. This film took a different approach in that it also focused on the viewpoint of the bully as well as the victim. Two things stood out for me. First was how Jessica’s parents, while shown as caring, kind people who had a loving relationship with their daughter, apparently had no idea their daughter was suffering. It is both sad and frightening that kids go to such lengths to hide things from the ones who love them and their parents don’t always see past the facade. Second, the film went to great lengths to show us how the bully wouldn’t be a bully unless she too were also a victim. “Hurt people hurt people.” The ending focused on Avery finally admitting what she had done and showing remorse, while the interviewer championed Avery for coming clean and embracing her feelings. However, this scene rang false. As Justin Chang, film critic for Variety, stated so aptly: “For a movie that’s trying to teach the teenagers of America that their actions can have tragic repercussions, there’s something borderline irresponsible about the idea that a simple show of remorse is all it takes to make everything OK.”
1 point: “B” Author: Jonathan BLOOM
Laura: With my recent refocus on reducing the amount of food waste happening in my kitchen, I benefited by reading American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and what we can do about it) by Jonathan Bloom. Although there was a lot of repetition in this book, it was full of eye-opening information. Most of what Bloom wrote about was the nation’s food system as a whole, but he did offer some concrete suggestions on reducing the waste that’s going on in your home. The chapter, “Home Is Where the Waste Is” was worth the time invested to read it and has made me even more committed to this cause. In fact, instead of having an “eat from your pantry” night, I decided it’s better to have an “eat from your refrigerator night.” That can of beans is doing fine sitting on the third shelf for another few weeks (or months), but that two-day old rice isn’t getting any fresher.