If you've dipped into this blog any time over the last six months you will probably be of the impression that our life has revolved around little more than an endless stream of home improvements and the world's longest ever landscape gardening project. And you would be forgiven if that is the impression you've gained as, in all honesty, it has been something of a preoccupation. But there has been life away from the project and we've been taking in a fair bit of what's on offer locally during the past week.
We've seen two very different films at two very different venues. It was Cineworld Ipswich first. The Place Beyond The Pines is an excellent film about family values and morality. Ryan Gosling is a bit of a drifter -a stunt motorcyle rider whose life changes when he discovers that he has a son. Bradley Cooper is a young ambitious cop whose life changes when his path crosses with Gosling's. It's finely acted by all the cast and is very much a film of two halves - half action movie and half moral drama. The two halves make a very fine whole.
Last night we went to the totally different Ipswich Film Theatre Trust - a small community based independent cinema. It's an extremely friendly place and it shows a great choice of films many of which are unlikely to ever turn up at the multiplex. We saw Love Is All You Need which stars Pierce Brosnan as a sort of Man From Del Monte who owns a lemon grove in Italy. His son is marrying Trine Dyrholm's character's daughter and the action takes place over the long weekend of the wedding celebrations. In a mix of both English and Danish, the film is subtitled in part and has a mostly Scandinavian cast. It's a very warm and gentle movie and mixes comedy, romance and a little drama together to make a thoroughly entertaining couple of hours.
We've also been to have a look at Sutton Hoo - very interesting and well worth a visit even if just to get a sense of what it was like to haul that ship all the way up from the river way down in the distance. We've been to the local book club and had an interesting discussion on Gone Girl and on Friday we had a great meal and very enjoyable time at the jazz night hosted by The Lemon Tree Bistro here in Framlingham
We've been reading plenty. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson was fascinating and I enjoyed Dave Eggers' A Hologram For The King. At the moment I'm reading Karen Campbell's This Is Where I Am the story of a Somali refugee in Glasgow who is mentored by a recently bereaved volunteer - powerful stuff.
And today we went to the Alde Valley Festival. This is a celebration of art and nature held just down the road from Framlingham at Great Glemham. It runs over a few weeks in April and May. There is an exhibition of painting, sculpture and ceramics by some outstanding artists (including Maggie Hambling) together with a varied programme of events. We took in a walk led by artist and farmer Jason Gathorne-Hardy. Jason showed us a huge variety of local trees and explained how to interpret their placing in the landscape. Some magnificent oaks were up to 800 years old. A fascinating couple of hours in a lovely setting ended with some great tea and cake in the old farmhouse. At the weekend there's a big picnic at an enormous 100 yard long picnic table. Highly recommended.