Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Looking At Options In St Andrews

We've been on a bit of a hunt with Sarah today. After going down the road to Rufflets hotel for a lunchtime snack (above) we went a little further to the Craigtoun Meadows Holiday Park to have a look around.

Why were we looking around a caravan park? You might ask. Well, we're looking for solutions to facilitate visiting Sarah and Duncan and the baby without having to impose on them. We know what it's like to have a new addition to the family and it's hard enough without guests under your feet so we're considering alternatives. A holiday cottage would be ideal but comes along with significant headaches like keeping on top of the garden and the worry of leaving it empty (even without taking the hefty cost into consideration). St Andrews' hotels are lovely but they aren't exactly a home from home and you've got to get out of the room and go out to eat.

So a holiday caravan is not such a bad idea.  The five star site was beautifully maintained and the latest caravans are pretty well fitted out and might be a sensible compromise. Unlike cottages, they depreciate so at the end of the fourteen year life span you are left with nothing but at the same time the money saved on the initial outlay should earn some interest. We reckon it all boils down to how often we  (and our friends and family) would use it. If we got over twelve weeks' use per year it might make sense. Any less and we would be better off renting cottages (subject to availability). A bit of a dilemma for us but we've plenty of time to talk about it.

Tonight we're off to Nahm Jim the Thai restaurant in St Andrews that reached the semi final of Ramsay's Best Restaurant and was voted the best Thai restaurant in the UK out of over 2,000. We've been before and it's a very pleasant place with an interesting menu and we'll see if it still lives up to expectations or , as recent Trip Advisor reviews suggest, is resting a bit on its laurels.

It was good to see some old friends from the past dangling amongst Sarah's washing. Chicaboo and Ted are almost as old as she is but have just had a spin in the washing machine and don't look a day older than the day we bought them.

A big thank you to son Paul who somehow managed to find our appearance on Treasure Hunt on YouTube. Were we really once this young?

Monday, 27 June 2011

Bugaboo. Baby Talk Time

We've travelled up to St Andrews for a couple of days to see our daughter Sarah before the baby (due on 13 July) arrives. We took a car full of all things baby related and we've had great fun assembling the Bugaboo Chameleon pram, a contraption apparently so complex that it comes with its own instruction manual on DVD. I'm not the greatest when it comes to DIY and the like so, after a couple of valiant attempts, Marion and Sarah took over and had it all put together in no time at all. Despite the initial impression of complexity, it's actually an excellent piece of design and everything seems to be thought through to make using it simple for young mums. Sarah chose a striking colourway with an orange base and either a blue or pink top depending on the sex so there's little worry about getting it mixed up with any others when it's parked.

A car seat was also included in the package being offered by our local dealer Formby Prams. It's nice to see an independent retailer still thriving in these days of multinational chains and we found the shop extremely helpful in assisting Sarah to make her choice. Sarah is looking very well.She has left her job for now and is taking her maternity leave. She managed to  work right up to last Friday which was within three weeks of the due date. This means that she will be able to spend almost a year with the baby before having to head back to school.

I enjoyed Fake or Fortune on BBC1 last night. It's a cross between Sherlock Holmes and the Antiques Road Show with art expert Philip Mould delving into the past of a painting and trying to prove it is genuine. This week's edition covered a watercolour that a bloke had found in a skip in Ireland. Having given it to his daughter who took it to Mould at the Antiques Roadshow, the finder discovered that it was by Winslow Homer a famous American artist whose work can fetch millions. Some excellent sleuthing by Mould and his colleagues led him to the Bahamas where he discovered a newspaper record of a fancy dress party which described exactly the outfits of three children in the painting. The story took a further twist when the finder's daughter travelled to New York to watch it being auctioned (estimate US $150,000) only for the original owner to turn up only hours before the sale to stake a claim. Had it been fiction you might have accused the writers of stretching credulity but it made compelling viewing and was a lot more entertaining than the Roadshow. Fiona Bruce accompanied Mould in his investigation but   I'm sure that the show would have worked equally well without her.

We also enjoyed Jonathan Ross's show Penn & Teller Fool Us where magicians are challenged to perform a trick that the two experts can't fathom with a prize of taking the trick to the Penn & Teller show in Las Vegas. This is a programme that stands or falls by the quality of magic on offer and I have to say that I was impressed. All of the acts were watchable and entertaining and there was a good variety on show. Well done ITV -it meant missing In It To Win It with the irrepressible  Dale Winton.

Despite being less than bowled over by the trailer for Bridesmaids last week, we're off to see it for this week's cinema visit. The critics all seemed to love it so we'll give it a try.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

A Triumph Of Spectacle Over Substance

We haven't watched a great deal on the 3D TV since we got it. There's still only one channel and the limited choice on offer is repeated day in day out. But we saw the ads for the Kylie Minogue Aphrodite Tour and thought that we'd give it a go. It was certainly spectacular and the 3D was stunning - the troupe of muscular dancers seemed to reach out into the room.  There were so many abs, pecs and gleaming torsos on show it felt like we'd inadvertently stumbled upon a gay porn channel. The set was amazing, the costumes dazzling and the dance routines perfectly choreographed. At times it looked like the borrowers had set up home on our TV cabinet with their mobile phones aloft recording the show. But for all that visual spectacle, within about twenty minutes we both had the same thought. 'This is boring' we almost said it in unison. So I'm afraid we switched off and deleted it. It doesn't matter how good a concert looks if the music is dull.

Dull is the last word that you would use to describe "A Bout Portant" - "Point Blank" the French thriller that we went to see at FACT in Liverpool on Tuesday. Starring Eric Cantona lookalike Gilles Lellouche as a trainee nurse who somehow finds himself involved in a violent underworld, the film opens with a chase and from then on the action is non stop right to the finish. The plot pushes the limits of credulity but that doesn't take away the excitement as the action traverses Paris with plenty of twists and turns along the way. It's only 84 minutes long and feels like 60. Try and catch it. You won't be disappointed.

I was a little disappointed with "Potiche" which we saw a couple of hours later. It's possibly because of the hype that left me anticipating a riotous evening of laughter. Instead it was more a case of a few hearty chuckles. The wonderful Catherine Deneuve plays a potiche or trophy wife who, faced with her husband's sudden illness, has to take the reins at the family business - an umbrella factory. Here she puts her husband's draconian form of capitalism to shame and brings the factory into the 20th century (the film is set in the late 1970's). Her new position brings her into contact with old flame Gerard Depardieu (looking increasingly like a barrel on legs with every new film) who still holds a torch for her. Will they get back together? I will leave you to find out. I did like this film. It shows great insight into the French attitude to infidelity compared to our prim English position and I loved the performances of Deneuve and  Karin Viard as the long suffering secretary and bosses' bit on the side. It was just a bit too long and wasn't as great as I had hoped.

There are plenty of new releases for next week although we couldn't find anything at VUE yesterday for our regular Orange Wednesday trip. "Life in a day" the film made up of Youtube contributions looks interesting for next week. I've heard good things about "Bridesmaids" too although they seem to have missed all of them from the trailer we saw on Tuesday which made it look like one of those boorish Adam Sandler films but with the parts played by women instead of men.

It seems like only yesterday that we got this photo and the news that we were expecting our first grandchild but it's less than three weeks now to the big event and the excitement and anticipation is starting to get to us. We're off to see Sarah in St Andrews on Monday for a couple of days. We're taking the pram and a "few" other bits and pieces that we've got and we really can't wait for the baby (nicknamed Pip by Sarah and Duncan) to arrive. I'm sure that we'll have no nails left by 13th July and we just hope that everything runs smoothly and Sarah is blessed with a baby that's as good as she and her brother were. I'll keep you posted.

Apart from being a superb cinema, FACT in Liverpool also participates in showing Virgin Media Shorts - small films of under three minutes that showcase the talents of up and coming new film makers. There's a great one running at the moment that's not yet available on YouTube but here's a recent favourite. How do they cram so much in such a short time? Hollywood take note.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

No Time To Blog

This retirement lark is not all sitting around in carpet slippers twiddling your thumbs and waiting for the grim reaper you know. In fact this last couple of days has been so hectic I haven't had time to write this  blog and keep up my writing practice. It started with Fathers' Day on Sunday (great cards thanks kids) when we had a trip with friends to Hoghton Tower for the monthly Farmers' Market. Though billed as the largest in the North West it was not exactly enormous although what it lacked in quantity was more than made up for in quality with some outstanding local produce on display. Despite our healthy food regime the temptation of fine organic cheeses and home made macaroons was too much and we left with a bag full of goodies. 

We then went on to the super Freemasons at Wiswell and enjoyed a very fine lunch before driving to the excellent Whalley Wine Shop in Whalley (where else) and stocking up with a couple of super wines. It's great to see an independent specialist retailer thriving like this against stiff competition but you can't beat top quality and expertise.

Before we left home on Sunday I opened the fridge to find these. Oops. Marion had been to a party on Saturday night and she promised to provide some cakes and pastries which she duly did. Unfortunately these were hidden behind some eggs and got left behind so I hope the guests didn't think she'd been a bit stingy with just three boxes. We aren't eating too many calories at the moment so we returned to the hosts and, as they still had a full house, they were happy to take them off our hands.

It's farewell to Paul's season ticket today. Mine has already gone out on loan to a friend and another friend has put me in touch with someone who wants to take this one for the season. So no more trips to Anfield. No traffic jams. No worrying if the car will be in one piece when I get back to it. No standing up throughout the game. No crappy sausage rolls. No overpriced programmes. No having my ears bludgeoned with foul mouthed abuse. No kick offs at 5.15 p.m on Saturday for the benefit of TV. No sulky players who don't give a toss. God I'll really miss it.

Bit of a disaster on the metal detecting front this week. I went on Monday with a really nice bloke that I met on the internet (don't get the wrong idea). We drove an hour or so and got out of the car in the middle of nowhere with all the gear only for Fred (not his real name) to discover that he had forgotten the battery for his detector. Groan. However he did have with him an emergency battery pack. Hooray. But the batteries in it were flat. Groan again. Oh well there was a garage about five miles down the road so we were able to pack the car back up and go and buy some. Unfortunately to no avail as, apart from a few nice buttons and the usual shotgun cartridge cases and bits of junk, this coin was the only find of any interest. It's a Roman sestertius from around the first century but in such lousy condition that there's little hope of identifying it. It means that I can't write up the day's detecting and blog on it which is a real pity as I've increased the blog readership by hundreds when I've had something of interest to report. Oh well there's always next week.

Went to FACT in Liverpool yesterday but I've written enough today and I'll blog on the films (Point Blank and Potiche) tomorrow.

Here's a taster.


Friday, 17 June 2011

A Flying Visit To The Capital

We left home at around 1p.m yesterday and were back just after midnight. We went down to London to a summer reception being held by the people who manage our finances. It was held at The Foundling Museum near Russell Square and we had the opportunity to take a guided tour. The museum celebrates the charitable work carried out by retired seaman Thomas Coram who built a hospital for foundlings and illegitimate children and funded it by getting the most renowned artists and musicians of the time to donate artworks and arrange performances. The public flocked to the hospital which was Britain's first ever public art gallery. The most famous patrons were Handel (who performed an annual concert there) and Hogarth. The museum displays several of his works in a beautiful building built on the site of the original hospital. The room above, a reconstruction of one of the hospital's rooms, has ceiling, fireplace and panels from the original. Most touching for us were the trinkets left by mothers who abandoned their children as a means of identifying their offspring should they ever try to reclaim them (the children were all given new names). These included thimbles and small items of jewellery and, in one case, a metal bottle label bearing the word "BEER".

We had an hour or two to kill before the party and this flew by in St Pancras station (above and below).

We were commenting as we left Preston on how run down and dreary that station looked. St Pancras, in contrast, is bright and has almost as good a choice of shopping and places to eat and drink as we've got here in Southport. It was quite easy for us to sit outside one of the cafes and just watch the world go by. If we had stayed longer we could have watched a group perform as there is a live music festival being held on the concourse every day until mid July.

 We've just been planning next week's cinema visit. We're off to FACT again on Tuesday for a helping of French films with the thriller Point Blank at lunchtime followed by Potiche in the evening. To make it a French day all round we'll have to go for a bite to eat at Bistro Franc in between showings. We might try and see Bridesmaids on Wednesday as well, as the Twittersphere has been making positive noises about it and we're going to a wedding soon.

And talking of the Twittersphere, the news has been full of social media related stories this week from the woman juror who stupidly contacted a defendant on Facebook, to the Ministry of Defence and their security videos on YouTube with a soldier's mum taking tea with a terrorist and a couple of sailors checking into a nightclub on their phones. Here's a funny little film that will really make you think about what you're doing online.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Powerful Stuff

We went to see Senna at FACT in Liverpool this afternoon - phew. Its a quite remarkable documentary made up entirely from archive footage of motor racing, home videos, television news and interviews brilliantly edited together to create a compelling drama. Although the audience is completely aware of what the ultimate outcome will be, the film is like an action movie and you can't help wishing it might change. For a slow driver like me, the cockpit shots are genuinely terrifying and I found myself gripping my armrest as Ayrton approached bends at unimaginable speeds ...... in the rain. Even if, like us, you are not a F1 fan, this is a movie that is well worth seeing. Let's hope it gets a wider release.

Before the film we treated ourselves to a bite to eat at Salt House Tapas in Liverpool One. They serve a great lunch menu offering three tapas plus sourdough bread and dipping oil for £8.95. We both chose this option which gave us six tasty little dishes between us. The portions are a nice and manageable size and freshly cooked and the restaurant is bright with a pleasant atmosphere. Service was warm, friendly and efficient and we will certainly give it another try when we make another Orange Wednesday trip to FACT.

We've a bit of a day out tomorrow. Our financial advisers, Cumberland Place, have invited us to their summer party at The Foundling Museum in London. It's only a couple of hours on the train so we're catching the 13.59 from Preston and coming back on the 2100 from Euston. We're looking forward to this as we will get the chance to have a look around the museum which celebrates the philanthropists such as Hogarth and Handel who dedicated themselves to London's foundlings and orphans. Should be an enjoyable event.

And on Sunday we're going with a couple of friends to have a look at the monthly Farmers' market at Hoghton Tower between Preston and Blackburn. It's reported to be the biggest and best in the area so it should be interesting. If it's not we've got the fallback of lunch at the Freemasons in Wiswell which was introduced to us by friends Mark and Nita from Workhouse Marketing.

Amongst lots of other things, Workhouse produce great advertising. I always enjoy original advertising and loved this new film for Virgin Media that was on before today's film.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Getting Hammered

Whilst those readers who have been directed here from a link on one of the metal detecting forums will know what my headline alludes to, I must assure regular blog readers that this is not a reference to my embarrassing performance at last year's summer retirement party. No, it refers to what are known as hammered coins, so called as they were made by hammering a piece of metal (usually silver or gold) between two dies thus stamping them on both sides. They are something of a holy grail amongst detectorists and some even have a pet name for them (hammies) and we proudly proclaim how many we have found alongside our signatures in our forum posts -( or not in my case - until today that is).

It's been a fair few years since I found one of these elusive coins but equipped with my new XP Deus metal detector that has recently turned up twelve Roman coins and two brooches in fields that we had considered worked out, I was hopeful of breaking that duck. With my favourite fields either full of cows or with the grass too long I had to literally seek pastures new today and I headed to North Lancashire to a farm I had not visited before. It's a bit remote but there is a Roman road running through the middle of the fields that I had permission to search and I figured that a couple of Roman navvies might have lost something while they were on their break or maybe something had fallen from a chariot or cart into the fields.

Sadly there was no trace of the Romans and almost all I had to show for my labour was this motley collection of buttons, buckles, shotgun cartridge cases, horseshoes and a few old copper coins that were worn beyond recognition but probably Victorian. Apart from the coins and buckles the signals were not ones that I would normally dig but, as they were few and far between I dug whenever the machine beeped unless iron was an absolute certainty. But all was not lost. Halfway through the day, just as I was anticipating my ham buttty and a packet of crisps, the machine gave a delightful high pitched signal that was definitely not a cartridge case. I dug down to hit a huge rock. The pinpointing probe indicated that the item was beneath the rock which was good news and suggested something pretty old. After widening the hole sufficiently to be able to prize the mini boulder out and dig another small spade full of soil, there was the unmistakeable glint of silver. I saw the coat of arms and knew immediately that it was a hammered coin - at last.

It's a shilling from the reign of Charles I as far as I can tell. It would have been in great condition if somebody hadn't clipped it around the edges and a bit of a loss for the finder having the spending power of about a fiver today according to the National Archives currency convertor. It's not worth much in this condition but a nice addition to my display. I set out with the aim of just one displayable item per trip so it was a case of mission accomplished.

So I've found a hammered coin for the first time since retiring and I hope that it's a foretaste of things to come. I need to decide where to go next week now. There's half a mile of fields available on this farm but it wasn't a huge return from the day, although in beautiful weather and with superb views I think I may be tempted to give the fields another go.

Bad news for this lamb that I came across today. It hadn't been dead long and hadn't been killed by a fox or other animal as it's body was untouched. As it was at the foot of a telegraph pole I wonder if it was struck by lightning. There were some almighty downpours in the area over the weekend but I don't know if there was any thunder. 

Orange Wednesday tomorrow and, yet again, our film of choice is not showing at the local multiplex so, in order to see Senna, it's another visit to FACT in Liverpool . Not that I mind. I enjoy going to FACT it's a great little indie cinema, comfortable, friendly and with a decent cafe and bar.

Here's a taster. Wonder if Lewis Hamilton was watching this before his performance at the weekend.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Playing Catch Up

Far be it for me to complain about the luxury of being able to take a three week holiday but one thing that has been difficult has been catching up with everything that's on the Sky hard drive. Before we left we set series links on all sorts, The Good Wife,  The Shadow Line, Modern Family, Spiral and a lot more and now we have to decide wether to watch or to delete.

I'm certainly glad that we didn't delete The Shadow Line. We've almost caught up now and I have to say that this is a TV cop show that's a cut above the rest with beautiful cinematic direction an excellent soundtrack and an abundance of outstanding performances from a first class cast. The "baddies" played by Stephen Rea, Rafe Spall and Anthony Sher are as sinister bunch as you would ever imagine and terrify me even in the safety of my armchair. It's rare to find TV drama that is the equal of a cinema visit but this one must be in line for a bagful of awards.

We've also been catching up on The Hotel, the fly on the wall documentary about The Damson Dene Hotel in Cumbria. I had to watch this as my dad and I stayed there forty years ago and had a few days fishing in the Lakes. For the eighteen year old me it was the height of luxury although luxury would not be the word of choice for most reviewers today. The documentary has certainly been entertaining and we have grown to love the cast of eccentric characters from the hard working Welsh general manager and the moustachioed chef to the united nations of Eastern European staff. The show comes up with some classics. For me the highlight was the customer who complained to the receptionist that the toilet seat was "literally the most worrying thing I've ever seen". Now I don't know about you but if I had got to my mid fifties and the most worrying thing I'd ever seen was a wooden toilet seat with a couple of rough splinters then I'd think I'd had a pretty cushy life. Another wonderful sequence showed a shrewish woman who had brought her daughter on a last minute break (£50 for one night dinner bed and breakfast  - for 2!) complaining about anything and everything. For fifty quid you'd be lucky to get a three course meal for two never mind a room and use of the spa as well.

I don't know wether to love or hate the iPhone weather app. Without it we would have gone to Gresgarth Hall today and seen the wonderful gardens which open to the public just once a month. But we would have got soaked as the app seems to be uncannily accurate most of the time and it seems that it's p*****g down today at Gresgarth as predicted. Great pity as we can't go in July and may not be able get there in August either. The app is certainly a great aide to planning but does it spoil life's unpredictability?

Two weeks on from the cycling holiday we're missing the bikes. There aren't too many interesting cycle routes around here but there is a BMX park. Perhaps we should try this.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Desert Island Disappointment

We were up and dressed bright and early this morning to make sure that breakfast was over with and cleared away before the much anticipated special edition of Desert Island Discs featuring the listeners' choices came on. We had both been to the website and input eight pieces of music that were close to us and to our lives and many thousands of others had done the same. Indeed Kirsty opened the show by informing us that over 250,000 tracks had been listed.

I wasn't expecting any of my selection including The Pogues,UB40, Bob Marley, Annie Lennox, Steve Harley, Pulp and Run DMC to feature in the top ten although I did think that some of Marion's more melodious suggestions like James Taylor might sneak in. But what we got was a list of eight mainly classical pieces which, though beautiful, could hardly be representative of the general public or even the typical Radio 4 listener. I couldn't help thinking as the show progressed that the public vote had been heavily advertised on Radio 3 or Classic FM as we went through Holst, Beethoven and Elgar with the only nod to "pop" being "Bohemian Rhapsody"(produced over thirty six years ago)and Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb"(a newcomer at 32 years old). This implies that over the past thirty two years at least there has been no music of the moment that has captured the imaginations and stayed in the minds of the great British public.

Being avid Radio 4 listeners who tune in to DID every week we felt that the public vote did not reflect the typical castaway interviewed by Kirsty. OK there are some people in the operatic and classical worlds who choose eight pieces of Beethoven and his ilk but generally speaking the mix is far more eclectic and interesting. In fact the most interesting thing about this week's show was the list from a member of the public who recalled the influx of West Indians into the East End of London and chose some of the Ska music that she had heard at their parties plus other pop pieces that had accompanied her life.

I had to smile at the publics' choice of Handel's Messiah as this had been on my list of potentials not only as it had been popular with my mum and dad when I was a kid but because I can still see my son Paul skipping into the room in his little green dressing gown and singing at the top of his voice "Come For Tea" (Comfort Ye) - (and that was when he was twenty one) - just kidding son. So all in all a bit of a let down from Radio 4 listeners who appear to be a lot less interesting than I had hoped.

There's very little that Marion and I don't see eye to eye on but I do tend to upset her when we go shopping. I tend to chuck everything in the trolley whilst she is very methodical and we arrive at the till with everything neatly segregated into logical places for ease of packing. So I felt a bit like a naughty schoolchild yesterday as I went alone to Tesco and was able to indulge myself and bung it all in willy nilly. And we didn't suffer so much as a squashed loaf - well we did but I managed to squeeze it back into shape.

I'll finish today with proof that the Great British Public was wrong.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Chalk And Cheese

Our two visits to the cinema this week were to see films that were as different as chalk and cheese. Johnny Depp's pirate blockbuster was all special effects and corny jokes whereas "Win Win" was a beautifully observed family drama. The latest of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise had a entertaining story to tell and Depp did his usual comic turn as Jack Sparrow but I felt that the film suffered from being over long and too dark (in terms of screen brightness). I know that this is a criticism often levelled at 3D films but so many sequences took place either at night or in gloomy places that I was yearning a dash of colour which only really surfaced at the very end of the film.

The swashbuckler is a bit of fun but there was really no need for 2 hours 16 minutes of it and Tom McCarthy admirably demonstrated how to direct more sparingly in "Win Win" which, at 1 hour 46 minutes, flies by. This is a tale of human nature starring Paul Giamatti as an unsuccessful lawyer who lets his financial worries cloud his judgement and get the better of his morals. I won't spoil the story for you by going into detail but the love of his life (apart from his happy family) is wrestling. He coaches the local high school team and when Kyle ,a hugely talented kid with a difficult past, turns up in town, things look up for the team. Giamatti is perfect in the role as too is newcomer Alex Shaffer as Kyle and with the strong supporting cast of Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor and Burt Young, McCarthy has put together a wonderful group of actors who make this a poignant, funny and highly enjoyable movie which is well worth making a journey to see as, yet again, it's not very likely to hit any but the biggest of the multiplexes.

Another reader responded to my call for those old black and white photo booth snaps that were so popular with young couples in the sixties and seventies. Here is young Peter Eglin together with his sweetheart Christine in 1970. Like me, they used to work in the catering equipment industry. The couple married but tragically Christine died far too young leaving Peter unable to send me an updated snap of them together today. It's stories like Peter's  that make me appreciate how lucky we are to be sharing our retirement and it's a spur to make sure that we make the very most of every day.

Whilst on our way to FACT in Liverpool yesterday we walked past The Playhouse which reminded us about the production of The Ladykillers that is being staged there in November. I am a big fan of Graham Linehan who is adapting the classic Ealing comedy and it should be great fun. So we popped in and bought a couple of tickets. Tickets only went on sale on Monday and the box office staff told us that it is their fastest selling production ever. We managed to get some decent seats but it's highly likely that the sold out signs will be going up on this one in the very near future.

Advertising a stage production of a completely different nature we came across this enormous statue in Liverpool One yesterday. We were arguing about who it was supposed to be from seeing it in the distance up to the point of reaching it when it became obvious (as there was a sign advertising the Queen musical We Will Rock You). Without that hint we would never have guessed it was Freddie Mercury  as, apart from the stance, the statue looks nothing like him or is it a statue of the actor who plays him perhaps?

With films at the top of today's blog, I'll leave you with a funny and well made little movie about temptation.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

3D or Not 3D That Is The Question

It's Orange Wednesday and a chance for us to get back into the swing of our regular film going after four weeks absence from the silver screen. There's not a great deal that appeals at the local Vue but we decided to go and see "Pirates of the Caribbean 4" as we had read that, although the film was not up to much, the 3D was good. So I duly booked for the 6.20 p.m showing and we turned up on time. As I handed in the tickets I waited for the 3D glasses only to be told that I had booked a 2D performance (I was unaware that it was showing in anything other than 3D). Fortunately, possibly down to our being regulars, the manager agreed to a swap for the 8.30 3D showing so there's time for a quick blog and then back to Vue. 

We would have gone to the cinema in Ile De Re but sadly it had closed recently so we were unable to experience the no doubt fascinating delights that this picture house had to offer.

It's been a busy day with us both spending an hour at the gym this morning and then taking Marion's mum Flo to the local National Trust property Rufford Old Hall along with friends Enid and Joyce before heading to the cinema (and back). The property is an interesting old place with a fabulous timber framed great hall and a very rare carved screen as shown below. Flo didn't seem particularly impressed but we all enjoyed a high tea at the cafe. This was a quite significant spread and we fortunately ordered four between five of us and still had to ask for a couple of doggie bags for Flo, Enid and Joyce who should tonight be enjoying a scone, a cheese sandwich and cupcake with their cup of tea. 

Part of the ancient carved screen at Rufford Old Hall

As we're not expecting a great deal from the Johnny Depp extravaganza tonight we've also booked to see "Win Win" at FACT in Liverpool tomorrow. I don't know a great deal about this film other than it was a success at Sundance in 2011 and we have enjoyed most of the hits from that festival that we have seen. It was also directed by Thomas McCarthy who made the brilliant "The Station Agent" which is in itself sufficient incentive to see it. Apart from that I am also pretty sure that it won't turn up at Vue in Southport so a trip to Liverpool One and a bit of shopping before the 6.15 screening should make for a pleasant day.

We've not a lot on then until Sunday when we are off to the fabulous Gresgarth Hall Gardens near Caton on the edge of the Trough of Bowland which open to the public on a few Sundays throughout the year. This is a gardener's paradise - a quite stunning setting. Let's hope that the weather doesn't ruin it as the forecast is not looking too good.

I'll let you know how we found "Pirates" and "Win Win" on the next blog.