Movie Review: Sully

Although it’s not out in the UK until December, I saw an advanced screening of Sully while I was in New Zealand and am now happy to rave about it back home.

Sully’s central drama is the 2009 emergency water landing on the Hudson River of US Airways Flight 1549 by pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and the subsequent investigation into the event.


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My summer reading – part two

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

the-lovers-dictionaryIf you’re looking for something different, I’ve certainly never experienced anything quite like The Lover’s Dictionary which tells a real and at times fraught love story using dictionary definitions. What’s more, the story is ordered alphabetically rather than chronologically, but segments are always placed thoughtfully and often poignantly in sequence.

Nothing can explain this unusual idea quite like simply picking up the book and seeing for yourself – but I guarantee it will then be difficult to put down. The short definitions – rarely over a page long each – mean it’s spectacularly easy to just keep reading ‘one more’.

But what actually makes this book so special is its beautiful use of language and constantly exquisite yet realistic descriptions of relationships.

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My summer reading – part one

11.22.63 by Stephen King

518yqsjxtblI’m a big Stephen King fan and after the terrific James Franco adaptation of this book earlier this year, I finally got round to reading it.

Although its 750 odd pages were initially daunting, I’ve read other long King books (such as IT, a personal favourite) and once you’ve started they are always richer and more engrossing for their length.

11.22.63 initially sounds totally different to King’s usual thing – more rooted in history, though with an obvious element of the supernatural with the intrinsic time travel, it follows Jake Epping as he accepts a dying man’s challenge to travel back and attempt to save JFK from assassination. They hope it will improve the world for the better if JFK lives – but these are high stakes.

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New Zealand day 13: Auckland (again)

My plane home left Auckland Airport at 7.30pm so we decided to drive into the city in the morning and see a bit more of the city during the day.

First stop was Auckland War Memorial Museum, in a grand building atop a lush green area overlooking the harbour. We were initially a little miffed at the entry price for international visitors of $25 – but after spending three whole hours there with more still to see, I didn’t mind anymore.

The view from the front of the museum


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New Zealand day 12: Te Puia Thermal Reserve, Rotorua

For my last full day in New Zealand I decided to go back to Rotorua to one of the geothermal parks, as it’s an aspect of the country which is quite unusual and therefore a must-do on my list.

After researching the different geothermal parks around Rotorua I went for Te Puia as, although it’s more expensive than some others ($51 instead of around $35), it has Pohutu Geyser which is the biggest active geyser in the southern hemisphere and also more reliable than many – erupting around once an hour on average. It has lots of other attractions too and I ended up staying there for three hours.

A partial view over Te Puia

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New Zealand day 10 & 11: Mount Maunganui & Hakarimata Scenic Reserve

Turns out I consistently overestimate how fit I am/how easy it is to walk uphill and I made this mistake two days in a row! They were both still fantastic walks though.

The first was 232 metres up Mount Maunganui, which occupies a peninsula near Tauranga and, as such, has fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean and back over the city centre from the summit.

Mount Maunganui

There are routes of varying difficulty, slopes and steps and the route we took up made its way around almost the entire mountain’s circumference.

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New Zealand day 9: All Blacks v Argentina

We were pretty tired out by Saturday, so had a chilled out day ahead of the big Rugby Championship New Zealand v Argentina game in Hamilton. That’s right, the All Blacks were actually playing in Hamilton during my two weeks here – how lucky is that!

Loads of Frazer’s fellow trainee pilots were also going, and many of us stopped off at the Good George Brewery on the way where I tried a delicious plum cider. There was the obligatory acoustic singer bashing out hits such as Oasis’ Wonderwall and Foo Fighters’ Times Like These and it had a great vibe ahead of the game, with the big screen showing the pre-match stuff. I’d definitely go back, but of course we had to rush off to the stadium a 15 minute walk away.


I live near Twickenham Stadium and have been to one Army/Navy rugby game there, and watched a fair amount of recent Six Nations and World Cup games. But seeing the mighty All Blacks play was just awesome – and to see them doing the haka too.

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