It's all over. What has been something of a Christmas tradition for us for the last ten years or so has finally reached its conclusion and we can no longer await Michael Jackson's next CGI fest in eager anticipation. It certainly finished with a bang and not a whimper and The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies was a visual treat on the Cineworld Ipswich IMAX screen. It wasn't all about the CGI (although it does make up 90% of the film) and Richard Armitage's performance as Thorin Oakenshield was a superb portrayal of inner turmoil and conflict and Ryan Gage added a nice comedic touch as the weaselly coward Alfrid. Martin Freeman was Tim from The Office with big hairy feet and the Orc leader King Azog was a hugely scary and monstrous opponent for the band of dwarves. Presumably bowing to the aim of a PG classification, the film is not particularly violent with much of the fighting and battle scenes assuming a near Tom And Jerry style (e.g Billy Connoly head butting iron helmeted warriors). If you get the chance to see it with the full IMAX experience you will get the most out of of the film but I'm sure that even if you watch it in 2D on the telly when the DVD comes out you will enjoy it.
Another of those traditions is my annual bet on X Factor and I'm delighted that my winning streak has continued. Last year I won £200 on Sam and this year I managed to double that with Ben Haenow's win. I was a bit of a chicken really as, when the final weekend arrived, I stood to win £796 on Ben but lose £170 if Fleur won. So I hedged the bets and watched in comfort with the assurance that whoever won I would be £400 better off. I was convinced that Ben would win but, in honesty, I thought that Fleur was the better performer over the weekend. Perhaps our local Framlingham hero Ed Sheeran swung it for him.
At midnight on Saturday I went outside to look for the meteor shower. It was a fabulous cold and crisp night with a million stars and I saw five meteors in quick succession. The iPhone isn't really the best thing to use to photograph them.