Monday, 31 August 2009

Bank Holiday Films

As Dori mentioned in her post earlier, it is a Bank Holiday here today. It is the last Bank Holiday until Christmas here, and marks the end of the summer. It doesn’t seem like five minutes ago when we were making plans to go to Trooping the Colour, or to the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, but here we are fast heading towards Autumn.

We have had a lazy day today as it is also the last day of my time off from work. For much of this afternoon we had the TV on in the background showing a countdown of the “100 Best Family Movies”. How they decided on this list I have no idea - it has seemed very arbitrary at times. I mean, how can “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” not be in the top 10, when "Pirates of the Caribbean" is? For the record, the Top 10 Best Family Films, as suggested by this programme, are:

10 – Wizard of Oz
9 – Star Wars
8 – Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
7 – Back to the Future
6 – The Lion King
5 – Toy Story
4 – Pirates of the Caribbean
3 – Mary Poppins
2 – Shrek
1 – ET:The Extra-Terrestrial

A lot of the films that were mentioned brought back a lot of memories for one or both of us, such as “The Amazing Mr Blunden” which used to be shown here almost every Christmas but which I haven’t seen for years now. But what this show really made us think about was why don’t they actually show these films anymore rather than just having interminable countdown lists about them?!

Anyhoo, what are your thoughts about the final list? What would your favourite family film be?

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

A Time Travelling Tuesday

This week is my last bit of vacation time for a few months. As seems usual for the times when I am off work, the weather has been a bit dodgy all week. In fact we are “enjoying” the last remnants of Hurricane Bill as I write this – nothing too extreme, it’s just been a bit windy with constant drizzle all day long. So, as a consequence we have been spending most of our time pottering about the Yellow House rather than going on days out.

Yesterday, however, we did venture out a little, and decided to go to the movies. We went to see “The Time Traveler’s Wife”, the film based on a novel by Audrey Niffenegger. Dori had read the book a couple of years back, and was keen to see how they would adapt it for the movies. The premise of the story is of a man who suffers from a genetic disorder which causes him to involuntarily travel through time. He has no forewarning of when this will happen, and no way of controlling it – he just disappears from one time period and appears in another. The focus of the story though is, as the title would suggest, the wife of this time traveller and the effect that his random disappearances have on their relationship.

This is certainly not a sci-fi film - it is a romance story and an examination of how this unusual “illness” affects the life of those around Henry (the time traveler). Starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, it is a wonderful picture that I enjoyed thoroughly. This could have been a real mess of a movie, with all the different timelines involved, but director Robert Schwentke has done a superb job in keeping the audience aware of when they are and the pacing of the plot is absolutely perfect.

I won’t go into any more detail regarding the storyline, as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anybody who has yet to see the film – or read the book. I will, however, highly recommend this movie if you fancy going to see a grown-up love story that will have you searching for your tissues by the end. As I mentioned earlier, Dori had read the book previously, which can sometimes colour your perception of the movie when it comes out. But she tells me that she was in no way disappointed with the film version. And as for me, I enjoyed it so much that I have already lined the book up as my next read!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Sunday Snaps 5 - Natural History Museum

Earlier this week, Dori and I went up to London for a day-trip. We decided that we would go to the Natural History Museum in Kensington. The museum is housed inside one of the most beautiful buildings in the whole of London. We took a few photos while we were up there, and so I thought that I would share them with you today. The first two pics show the outside of the museum. When we arrived there were long queues to go into both entrances - we had forgotten that the schools were still out for the summer! Anyhoo, we joined the shorter of the two lines and were inside soon enough.

There are some great exhibits in the NHM, a lot of which are interactive. We were a little reluctant to try too many of the interactive elements though, due to the current Swine Flu outbreak. You never know what germs the person before you may have!! The main entrance to the museum opens up into the Central Hall, which is overlooked by a statue of Charles Darwin. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth.

We didn't have time to see everything in the museum, especially as the queue for the dinosaur exhibit was over 45 minutes long, so we have already decided to go back another day - when all the kids are back at school. But we enjoyed our day out. Have a look at this little quirky video that Dori filmed during our day. It shows a bit of our train journey there and back, as well as some views of the museum itself. It is the latest in Dori's new Mini Cam Moments Series. I hope you like it.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Sunday Snaps - 4

This weekend saw the start of the football season here in England. The Premier League teams don't play until next week, but the Football League kicked off with one match on Friday, and then everyone else playing yesterday.

My team are Swindon Town, and their first match was away at Gillingham. And what a disaster it was! The Town were on the end of a 5-0 drubbing - their worst start to a season in living memory. It means they are already in the relegation zone of League One, and they've got some tough matches coming up too. It is looking like it may be a long season ahead :-/

Anyhoo, in honour of the new season, here are a few pics of the County Ground, home of the not-so-mighty Swindon Town.

The season can only get better from here (says he hopefully).

Friday, 7 August 2009

Summer Memories

It has been a relaxing week here at the Yellow House. I am enjoying my summer break from work for a couple of weeks and I can hardly believe that we are already half-way through that time. We are saving our pennies right now, with the hope that we may be able to get away later in the year, so the week has been spent doing a few of those jobs that always get put to the side to complete “when I have the time”. We also took a trip to the movies to see the remake of “The Taking of Pelham 123” on Wednesday, which was an entertaining way to spend a wet weekday afternoon.

This morning Dori had some school work to complete, so I left her in peace to do that and headed outside to wash the car. It was the first opportunity I have had all week to do that as the weather has been typical of the English summer – i.e. raining! :-) When I have finished this post I will be heading back out to vacuum the inside of the car too. It will be like having a whole new vehicle!

As I said, it is amazing how quickly the time passes when you are away from work and it reminded me of how different it felt as a kid in the summer when you had weeks and weeks in front of you that seemed to last forever. The weather seemed better back then too :-/ And the days seemed longer as well. We would watch some TV in the early morning, then head outside and play for the rest of the day until it was time to eat, before heading back out for a while before it got dark.

One of the shows that we used to watch on summer mornings back in the ‘70s was “The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe”. This was a slightly badly dubbed French black & white version of the old classic, and I know the thought of it will bring back lots of happy memories to anyone of a certain age. Apparently the series was shown here in 13 episodes, but it seemed to go on forever back then. The part of the show that is probably best remembered is the theme tune, and the incidental music. For me, that theme tune is THE tune of summer holidays. Whenever I hear it, it always evokes thoughts of long, lazy summer days when all you had to think about was who was going to be the “cops” and who the “robbers”, or where you had left the Swingball racquets, or how could you convince the ladybirds to race round the Olympic track you had just created on the back of a piece of wood (yes, we really did).

Here is a clip that I found on YouTube that will give you a flavour of the show, and the music.

Aah, memories.
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