A round up of some of the things that have caught my eyes and ears over the last seven days.
I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen about this five part radio series. Each episode sees the BBC’s Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet meet a woman who has shaped history.
From Africa’s first elected female head of state, to the woman who fought for female representation in forming the Good Friday Agreement, the stories are both moving and inspiring.
In spite of relentless war, disapproving families and institutional misogyny, these women have helped improve the world for everyone.
You can listen to the episodes in any order, but I found the account of Afghan politician and diplomat Shukria Barakzai to be particularly moving.
As someone who has shelves groaning under the weight of travel books, I’m slightly embarrassed that I haven’t got around to reading Murphy’s legendary account of cycling from Ireland to India in Full Tilt. That didn’t stop me enjoying Philip Watson’s account of meeting her at home in County Waterford. Now 86 years old, Murphy has stopped writing books due to ill health, but she speaks as frankly as she writes, sharing her opinions on how mobile phones, mass tourism and even pornography have changed the way people travel.
This week I also stumbled across this blog post by Amsterdam-based blogger Andra Stefan, who wrote about the healing properties of going to the cinema with a broken heart.
I finally got around to going to see Paddington 2 last weekend, and it was worth the wait.
I’d actually tried to go the weekend before, but it had sold out (!) by the time we got to the front of the queue and we had to go and see Darkest Hour instead (which is also v good, Kristen Scott Thomas should’ve got an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actress, but I digress).
Don’t let the fact that P2 is about a talking bear make you think that this is a film for children. It’s a charming story of friendship and not giving up in the face of adversity, and is every bit as good as the first film. Hugh Grant plays an excellent baddy, and deserves his Bafta nomination.
It’s still on in some cinemas, so grab a ticket while you can. It’s been said to make grown men sob, so you might want to take a hanky too, because it even melted my stony heart a little.