Saturday, September 16, 2023


Starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger, Shadowlands is an intimate portrait of an unlikely couple, lifelong batchelor C.S. Lewis, best known for his Narnia series of children's books but also the author of many more fiction and non-fiction tomes, and Joy Davidman, herself a literary prodigy who won several poetry awards.

Shadowlands is one of those movies for which the term Britishness seems to have been invented, as it offers many glimpses into a bygone era of stiff upper lip and frequently saying sorry England. The story is set in the 50s, when Lewis was an Oxford, and later, Cambridge don. One of the most memorable scenes is when Davidman, of US stock, enters the bar of the hotel where she has a rendez-vous with Lewis for the first time and, upon finding no one willing to point her to the famous writer, calls out loud 'Anybody called Lewis here??!' Priceless, the clash between hypothermic British mores and American flamboyance!

Shadowlands is delicate, it is elegant, and it will make you ponder the fragility of human happiness, because the time together allotted to Jack and Joy was limited, she dying of cancer in 1960 already, barely eight years after they had met, and four years after they married. Notice, also, a young Joseph Mazzello as Davidman's son Douglas - years later he played Eugene Sledge in the HBO miniseries The Pacific.


Friday, September 15, 2023


Those few (I suppose) who follow DowneastBlog from the very beginning know that Mr Dewinter, MP for Vlaams Belang in the Flemish AND the national (Belgian) parliament, has been warning against the dangers of islamization, multiculturalism, unchecked immigration and Omvolking for decades...

And as we speak, over the past week the drug wars, mainly in the hands of 'Belgian' Moroccans are getting totally out of hand with a.o. 31 yo drug operative Khalid gunned down in Anderlecht with 17 rounds from an AK47 and yet another heavy bomb explosion in Antwerp, muslim parents have tried to set fire to at least SIX schools in Charleroi and Liège because they reject sex education as defined by the Walloon Ministry of Education's EVRAS programme (Education à la vie relationelle, affective et sexuelle), and the chairman of the youth chapter of the Flemish Liberal party OVLD, openly gay Jef Druyts (22) was knocked into hospital in Kortrijk with a fractured skull because he had the misfortune to come across 'youths' (Newspeak for mostly Moroccan or Turkish adolescents AND children) who did not approve of Mr Druyts' lifestyle.

What do all these lovely anecdotes of life in the New, Improved Belgium have in common?




Wednesday, September 13, 2023


As if Napier's Sabre of WW2 fame wasn't complex enough, the Acton/West London based British engineering company post-war produced the fascinating Napier Nomad, essentially a combination of a piston engine and a turbine. There were actually two versions, rather vastly differing: the Nomad 1 and 2. The Nomads were brilliant feats of engineering - and yet they lost to the turboprop in the mid-fifties. This is their story:

The Nomad was so immensely powerful that it could hold a modified Avro Lincoln (with the compound engine mounted in the nose) aloft when all four piston engines were shut down and their props feathered:

Detailed info here.