George reviews Flash for Freedom

Flashman Book 3. Dirty work.


Flashman books can upset a lot of people.

The language. The subject matter. The character himself.!?wprov=sfti1

George McDonald Fraser does another thoroughly researched turn through some of history’s memorable moments and the 3rd Flashman is quite a divisive one.

Bottom line, this book is about slavery. It’s written in the style of a turn of the century (last century – not this) empire subject. And British at that.

Flash himself gets into some bother, as ever, and has to disappear for a bit and gets semi-pressed onto a ship bound for Africa to collect slaves bound for the Americas.

As usual, the well laid plans go awry and Flash is fighting/running/hiding for his life ending up as a slave plantation worker.

Unusually for Flash, it keeps getting worse. You get used to his ‘skin of his teeth’ escapades but this ones a little different when he ends up being seized as an actual slave.

Poetic justice you think but does put an interesting spin on the story, going from slaver to slave and, eventually coming out the other end – after being saved by Abraham Lincoln.

The account given by Flash of the slave trade and what happened in and around it is all based on fact and makes grim reading.

Don’t take this book the wrong way. It is not glorifying the business but, if it’s not too wrong, bring a lighthearted view to things at times.

George reviews Fight Club

Itโ€™s all in your head…..

Ah. Fight Club.

Loved this movie.

It initially felt like a masculine blood rush, similar to watching a Rocky film but then turned into something far cleverer.

The book is a slightly different kettle of fish.

Chuck Palahniuk writes a story of mental illness manifesting is an individual bringing down society.

The film replicates much of this, indeed matching a lot of the narration (which makes more sense in the book) of the film and expanding on it.

The main character, whose name you never know, starts of by taking us through the drudgery of his life, the rut of existence he has fallen into and how depressing it all is.

You will likely see a lot of parallels in this character to your own life and this may well have you take a second look at what you deem important from now on.

Struggling with insomnia, the main character ‘Cornelius’ ( a name badge the main character wears at a support group in the movie) meets a male, Tyler Durden, who shows him a different life. A life free of all things he finds of value at this time. Tyler shows Cornelius a new life that makes him better, stronger, freer and one where he knows himself.

Things spiral out of control fairly quickly and the introduction of Marla Fisher, another support group follower, makes things tougher.

Tyler has Cornelius involved is many subversive actions staged to fight back against all that is wrong in the world and, at first, Cornelius is a willing participant being show a world away from his dull life. But soon,ย Cornelius finds Tyler taking over his life and when he realises the scale to which this has taken place, it is almost too late.

Trying to wrestle back control whilst trying to avert disaster elsewhere, the story sets up a grandstand finish.

This ending is told slightly differently in the movie to the book but, ultimately, brings up the same points.

I would say i preferred the movie to the book. Not that the book is poor, far from it, but the movie, the visual spectacle of everything taking place, is just better.

This may having something to do with the actors in the film giving a great show but, reading the book afterwards, i put the same actor in the same role and it just doesn’t play out as well for me.

A good story, a great film.

George reviews Royal Flash

Flashy mixing with the regal set.

Royal Flash is the second book in the Flashman Papers by writer George McDonald Fraser.

Set in the fictional Duchy of Strackenz in 1848, the story jumps across a number years and involves Falshmans interactions with Otto Von Bismarck and Lola Montez and the Schleswig-Holstein question.

Royal Flash has Harry Flashman penchant for cash and women being exploited to his misfortune when he ends up being used to replace the intended husband in a royal wedding and how he comes out the other end.

Well written and drawing on historical fact to support the story, it is different to many Flashman books in that the story is broken in to multiple parts rather than one long story.

This doesn’t damage the story but, once you’ve read more of the stories, you fill in the gaps in the intervening years. Not a massive problem other than this depth of knowledge of the character isn’t, at this point, reflected by the authors writing (he’s on book 2, I’ve read the lot).

The story is very familiar to anyone who is aware of the Prisoner of Zenda. There are a lot of similarities – apart from the character I guess. And the mask.

The film was made into a movie, likely off the success of the books (which was massive) but the film is very much of its time and feels like a bit of a cheap comedy. I wouldn’t recommend the film but I would recommend the book.

I love the Flashman Papers and, although this is one of my least favourite of the series, it’s still good.

George the Collie Vs Training Pt.5

How size matters more than you may have thought….

Size matters. Apparently.

I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone else but one of the biggest training problems I experience is retaining the attention of the dog.

One of the contributors to this lack of attention could be the size of the treats and treat size vs dog size.

George would probably be classed as a medium sized dog when fully grown but, at 6 months old, he is some way off his maximum.

As a result, the size of the treats being used is quite important when it comes to getting and keeping him engaged.

When he does something right he is given a treat to re-inforce the good behaviour but if the treat has been too large, he takes time to eat it. As well as that, George likes to take his time over larger items and eat them away from others. This breaks up the flow of the training.

I have taken to using the smallest treat I can find for training. It’s easier as it’s a very quick treat and it reduces the break of attention.

The longer the training goes on, the more this seems to work.

It’s just something to consider – your dog will want the biggest treat they can snaffle off you but it may not be the best things for the learning.

George the Collie and the #DogBlog

Keep on posting, keep on writing and keeping the faith.

Over the years, I’ve had a dabble at writing a blog a couple of times but never really got it to stick. It might be motivation that was the issue but the whole ‘dog’ thing is a nice hobby, a good distraction from the downsides of general life.

Third time lucky maybe as I am managing to publish posts with some regularity. 

I know most of it is dog related and this probably helps with the posts as George is a fairly regular source of inspiration for content.

I do a lot of posting on social media and that does alright for contacts and it’s nice having that interaction with so many people. It would be nice to have that level of contact via this blog too.

I know that, for some people, this is their job, their life and they have made a business out of it – I certainly don’t have time for that – but that is not this blog. You see some people tailor their content to suit the current issues of the day and, again, that’s not this blog. 

There will be some ‘current’ stuff being posted but, mainly, its dog related and maybe that’s why blogging is so punishing to the writer. A post on social media can garner a lot of attention and validation for the poster but, on this platform, that’s not how it works.

I am still finding my feet. 

This is sometimes me just emptying my head in the guise of a pooch and now and again I’ll get some feedback which I really appreciate.

It’s just odd sometimes. 

A friend of mine joined Twitter some years back. They were on Facebook and, for some reason, presumed it worked the same. They started following a few friends and celebrities and made a few posts but then complained that he wasn’t getting any interactions with anyone.

His posts were like ‘Wow, big night. BIG head this morning’. Harmless enough but he had no #hashtags and , most importantly, no followers. I explained to him this was the equivalent of sitting at home alone talking to the TV ๐Ÿ“บ but I don’t think he understood. 

But, writing these posts, I can help but think if I am doing something similar – almost. As I said, it’s nice getting comments and chatting with viewers but it can be disheartening. 

I will carry on though. If anything, it’s cathartic – almost confessional at times – and good to get things out of my head rather than have them fester.

So, to those that do view my posts, to those that take time to comment and give me feedback, I thank you. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

A short, behind the scenes interview with a young Border Collie dog about his preference in toys.


Just a short interview with a dog.

George the Collie Vs Dogs in Advertising.

As much as George wants to eat it all, don’t believe the hype.

I’ve noticed recently (I’m only 5 1/2 months) that there is a lot of advertising for dog food.

LOTS of advertising. Nearly as much for pet food as there is for human food.

It’s not that I don’t get to see much of THAT food, it’s the animals in them. It’s like the Border Collie mafia have control of advertising.

I know we are easily trained and have expressive faces but we are everywhere .

Now, Collies are beautiful and there are lots of us so using this breed may give you a good market share but the side track, the sub story to these adverts is the hook.

Farm dog, inferred farm produce = ‘Got to be better’ 

The same as human food. Stick it in a box marked ‘farm’ somewhere and people hoover it up even though it’s probably never been rural since it was slaughtered. I’M more farm than that and left my farm at 10 weeks old!

I just think that, like with human food, people are getting mugged off with an idea that something is more natural than it actually is.

I am not saying don’t buy it, just don’t believe the hype. ๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿป