Sunday, October 26, 2008

Catch-up on the last week or so

Sorry about my delay in posting this, but I’ve given two talks on
computer-related topics this week (one on researching your ancestors
online, which I ended up giving twice), the other on showing beginners
how to surf the internet and what a ULR was all about. Scintillating
news for you.

The other highlights of the past week or so include seeing two films:
Burn After Reading with George Clooney and John Malkovich ~ a black
comedy which I found funny in parts but shocking in others. I have to
admit that I fell asleep for 10 minutes or so a short while into the
film, so I spent the rest of the time trying to work out who was
bedding whom. I don’t think I could have been a professional film
reviewer: “Sorry folks, but I found it so dull that I slept through
10 minutes of it”. So, sorry to the Coen brothers, but I give the
film 6 out of 10. I wouldn’t pay to see it again.

The other big film Mrs C and I watched was Brideshead Revisited ~
absolutely fabulous ~ brilliant acting, especially Emma Thompson
as the manipulative and steely-hearted matriarch of the posh family,
and utterly gorgeous scenery ...Oxford, the River Thames,
Castle Howard in Yorkshire, Venice and Marrakech.

The lead actor, Matthew Goode (who played Charles) sounded just like
the actor, Jeremy Irons, who was in the 1981 BBC dramatisation. The
Times Book Group columnist, Alyson Rudd, didn’t like the film though:
“The film is so starved of dialogue that you need to have the book to
hand to understand the characters” and she thought the production
wasn’t good in other respects too. Sebastian wasn’t sexy enough for

I haven’t read the book, but I would pay to see this film again, to see
it on the big screen ~ I give it 10 out of 10.

Last weekend, on a cold, cloudy and windy day (the sort of day
when you’d prefer to stay at home and keep warm), Mrs C and I went
to one of our local historic houses, Calke Abbey, which is run by
the National Trust.

I would place it as number 3 on my list of favourite places to see
in the Midlands, after Chatsworth and Hardwick Hall. It was owned
by the Harpur-Crewe family who owned 30,000 acres of land around
the big house. However after paying 3 lots of death duty within
25 years, the estate shrank to 3,000 acres and the owner had to
give it over to the National Trust (in lieu of IHT). The HCs were
keen collectors and the house is full of stuff – too many stuffed
animals for me, but all the original furniture is there ~ and on
the second floor, all the original junk. The National Trust has
left this floor in the state they found it, back in 1984, so the
rooms and corridors look dull and dingy, with peeling wallpaper
and cracked plasterwork.

After walking around the top floor, room after room of junk mainly,
you then enter a small room at the far end of the house containing
an absolutely stunning four poster state bed. It’s sealed within a
plate glass partition and it’s well lit. The fabric draped over
this, is a fabulous dark blue Chinese silk covered in embroidered
peacocks, flowers and oriental figures. It's thought to be a wedding
gift from the Royal family back in 1734, which was boxed up and which
has not seen the light of day until 1984 – it’s in pristine condition,
as if it’s just been bought from Liberty’s in London. This photo is
a pale copy of it.

Some of you may have been following the TV series called Lost. We
watched a bit of the first episode and we didn’t think it was our
cup of tea. However some young relatives persuaded us to give it a
go (and loaned us two boxed sets of DVDs). Well we were hooked,
often watching 2-3 episodes at a time, and now we’re just finished
the second series (apart from seeing the out-takes / take-outs).
Never a dull moment. It a bit like reading a brilliant novel like
Pride and Prejudice ~ you never want it to end.

I’ve just been looking at this Wikipedia article on Lost, and I
think we’ve reached the end of Series 3, where something dreadful
happens to Charlie. I won’t say any more, in case you’re catching
up too. I’m feeling a bit lost as regards where we are.

We saw two of our little grandchildren mid-week, when R came over
to see us ~ it was lovely to see them all as ever. Little J’s face
is changing, as baby faces do ~ well he’s on full cream breast milk,
so he will fill out a bit. Little A’s speech is coming on very well,
and her phone conversation is becoming more meaningful ~ it’s very
touching when she says: Bye-bye, Gr-Ma (or Gr-Ga), on the phone,
as if she’s really missing us. But perhaps it’s us who are really
missing her?

To end on, here is a photo of one of our cats, Miss D, cuddling up
to our teddy bears (mine is the one on your left, which I've had
since the age of 5).


Anonymous lom said...

Your teddy is in better nick than mine, whats his name?

5:44 AM  
Blogger justin said...

Hi LOM -- I chose an original name for it when I was a kid ~ Ted/Edward. :)

10:20 PM  

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