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.