Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Walter Mitty is a dull sort of guy with a dull sort of job. To compensate for it, he fantasises about a world in which he is the hero - whether just being the guy to come up with the funny put-down or a full-blown comic-book super-hero. But his world is about to change... his job at Life magazine is under threat following a takeover and when he mislays an important photograph, intended to be the cover shot of the last-ever edition, he decides to take real action. Tracking down the photographer in the hope of recovering the negative leads Mitty on a hazardous journey to Greenland, Iceland and Afghanistan. It's the stuff that his dreams have been made of, but can he really become the sort of guy he's always longed to be?
I vaguely remember, long ago at school, reading the original short story, and it didn't seem half as much fun as this version directed and starring Ben Stiller. The tag-line really says it all - "Stop dreaming, Start living" - and that's what Walter Mitty does. He's always taken the sensible but boring course through life and now he has the chance to re-invent himself. He goes from sitting behind a desk all day to jumping from a helicopter, skate-boarding down Icelandic hills, fleeing from an erupting volcano, trekking through snowy mountains and catching a glimpse of the rare snow leopard; a message to us all about not giving up on our dreams.
I'm not a huge fan of Ben Stiller and his humour but I really enjoyed this. It's not trying to be as laugh-a-minute as some of his other work - and, for me, is all the better for that.
I saw this at a free early evening screening and was surprised that there weren't more kids in the audience - it's PG rated and with a lot of thrilling but not violent action I'd expect it to appeal to younger viewers.


Sunday, 22 December 2013

Winter wood

This last week we've had some lovely mornings for the daily dog-walk with the sun slanting through the trees.


 It's nearly Christmas but the weather seems remarkably mild. Although the holly bushes are looking appropriately seasonal, I found plenty of hazel catkins already showing

and even an oak still holding on to its leaves.

Almost four seasons in one day.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

 Well, it's December so time to be getting into the mood for Christmas (even if I haven't started present shopping yet)

Time to put up the Advent tree..

 ..and head off to Chatsworth House, to see the Christmas decorations

 This year the house has been transformed into Narnia.
Following the signs which read  'Evacuees this way'  we entered through a frosted tunnel..

 ..and discovered the homes of Mr Tumnus and the Beavers

..then past the wild wolves

and the evil White Witch
 to find Aslan being freed by mice

Although the grounds weren't snow-covered this year, it was still a great way to start the run up to Christmas. Hopefully we'll have time for a return trip.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Golden leaves and blue skies

In between today's hail and rain there was a glorious period of sunshine - just in time for this morning's dog-walk.

 I had to take the camera along again, as I can't get enough of this autumn's glorious colours

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Branches and trunks

As the leaves fall, branches come into their own......
the bare bones of the trees showing through

Monday, 18 November 2013

The woods are lovely ..... sunlit and golden

 I could spend all day at this time of year strolling round the Wood trying to take in all the combinations of yellow, russet and gold - and, of course, taking endless photos. Here are just a few of those I took last week...

 There's always something slightly mysterious about woods but especially so with sunlight shining through the leaves.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Y Gwyll/Hinterland

 The winter nights are drawing in so it's time to settle down with the latest foreign language crime thriller on TV.
Well, not quite on TV this time and not quite 'foreign' language either because although Y Gwyll has the bleak landscapes, brooding skies, and Volvo-driving detectives it isn't the latest in a long line of Nordic Noir imports but a new Welsh-language production from S4C. This is where the 'not quite on TV' aspect comes in, as I can't get S4C on my Midlands-based Freeview, but was intrigued enough by the word I'd heard on Twitter to catch it on S4C clic  with the English subtitles option.
Did it live up to the hype?  Well, I must admit I was a little surprised when within the first hour, the investigating team of detectives seemed to be well on their way to solving the case. I had, for some reason, being expecting a long drawn out story arc such as seen in  Broadchurch or The Killing, but I'd got it wrong. The first case - the murder of an elderly woman formerly in charge of a children's home - filled two hour-long episodes, and I assume this is the format to be followed in future weeks. So far, it's gritty 'real crime', with a lot of blood but no stomach-churning violence.
It's set in and around the seaside town of Aberystwyth with the wintry countryside showing a dark and barren aspect. For emptiness and bleakness, it definitely rivals anything Scandinavian.
I'm a bit disappointed that the BBC haven't picked it up to show in their 'foreign crime' slot but presumably they think there's more audience for Scandinavian or French drama. Hopefully, the word about it will spread and we'll see Y Gwyll on mainstream TV in future.  I for one will be watching again some time this coming week - probably after the next two episodes have been released on line, so I can see them together.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Weekend away - part 4 Seaside at last!


At last we reached the Norfolk coast - well, almost, as Wells next the Sea isn't quite on the coast but has a proper fishing village feel with boats, people trying to catch crabs on the quay and shops selling buckets and spades.

Away from the quay is a network of streets where it's possible to imagine Wells as it was before tourists.

Then one last stop - Hunstanton, to watch the sun set into the Wash before we headed home