Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rear Window

I am taking a few moments out to enjoy one of my favourite films on TV, Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, staring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. I have been a big fan of James Stewart since I was little and you can't not love Grace Kelly, she is so beautiful, natural and charming.

Anyway, I would not say I was a huge Hitchcock fan; I have seen several of his movies and have my favourites, but there is something about Rear Window.

For those of you who have not seen it it is about a foreign correspondent journalist (James Stewart) who as the result of a broken leg is forced to stay at home and spends his time looking out of his living room window and observing the residents of the opposite block of flats. Through their living room windows we get a glimpse of their lives, their loves and their traumas.

There is the beautiful young blond who has many gentlemen callers, the lonely middle aged woman who fantasises about the perfect date, the old lady with a dog which she lowers to the shared garden in a small basket every day, and many other people just going about their lives while we glimpse snippets of their existence.

While this is going on his would be partner, Grace Kelly, visits to keep him company and try and convince him to take a job at home so that they can be together.

One evening James Stewart's character observes some suspicious behaviour from one of the flats opposite and believes that a murder has been committed. Given his restricted movements he is only able to continue to observe the suspect as he tries to piece together the puzzle.

Well that's all you're getting out of me so as not to spoil it! I cannot tell you why I love this film but there is something about it, the style, the setting, the characters (and certainly actors) and the involvement in the intimate moments of so many peoples lives.

I have watched it many times, and many times recently as it has been on Freeview loads in recent months!

I did however watch it one time several years back when I could not sleep. I went downstairs at about 3am and it was on the TV. I watched up to a particularly tense point where Grace Kelly decides to go over to the flat where the suspect lives and look for clues, and he arrives back sooner than expected, and the atmosphere of that moment in the film combined with the hour of day made me really anxious and I had to turn it off!

I find this quite amusing as it never has that effect on me when I watch it normally and I actually take a lot of comfort from the film.

Anyway, if you have not seen it I highly recommend it, whether you consider yourself a Hitchcock fan or not. This last image shows Hitchcock's cameo appearance in the film, winding the clock in the song writer's apartment.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Its Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

Sorry but it is! Hey at least I did not say the actual word! I am feeling so ******massy its untrue! It is cold here today, cold but fresh and sunny and I have started doing my you know what shopping! Also, me and Mr Dancin have a cottage booked in Scotland for you know when which is very exciting and we cannot wait for December to arrive!

Ok, I will stop now but I just had to get that out!

Humble Beginnings

I got a visit from a blogger yesterday, Honfleur Then and Now, on my recent post about my historical readings, My Latest King, which has lead me off on a trail this morning to Falaise, Normandy and the birth place and home of William the Conqueror, Chateau Guillaume le Conquerant.

One thing I have found since I have been history hooked is that you pick up a small thread of information to find out one thing and before you know it you are travelling along a wide web spanning time in all directions and hours have past!

Anyway, I recommend a visit to Honfleur Then and Now to find out more about Williams origins and will leave you with this image, courtesy of Chateau Guillaume le Conquerant, which shows how the fortress would have looked in Williams time.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Holiday Snaps

Last month we had our summer holiday planned for Wales and got the tent and camping kit out for our trip. Unfortunately on arrival in Wales one of the pups became unwell and we had to return home. (She is fine now, just an old lady.) So we put our efforts into planning events for our 'staycation' so that we still felt the benefits of a good break and didn't get caught up in home chores and I have to say I think we did a very good job of it!

The following photos summarise the holiday and most of our activities.






The pups enjoying a play on a beach between Beaumaris and Puffin Island on Anglesey. 

















Battle re-enactment at Rockingham Castle, Vikings vs Saxons, as performed by the Vikings of Middle England









Biplane Flyby at Rockingham


Mr Dancin at Rockingham



















Warwick Castle Ballista (Large crossbow!)












Warwick Castle Jousting


Warwick Castle (River Avon)


 Warwick Castle Trebuchet (from which they fired a flaming projectile!)

In addition to the activities seen here we also went to Salcey Forest and Alton Towers (do not queue up for Nemesis Sub Terra, its pants!). All in all we had a great holiday, and the pups got lots of lovely walks and what they, or rather what Roxy needed, her home comforts and her couch to lie on!

My Latest King

At the beginning of this year I became interested in the Kings of England and started off by reading about Edward I (AKA Longshanks) as I have a particular interest in medieval history. During the year I have moved forward reading about: Edward II (son of Edward I), Roger Mortimer (1st Earl of March), who along with Isabella of France, wife of Edward II, forced the abdication of Edward II, and Edward III (son of Edward II).

I then went backwards to read about William the Conqueror, his succeeding sons, William II and Henry I, and the period known as The Anarchy which covers King Stephen (nephew of Henry I) and leads to the coronation of Henry II (grandson of Henry I).

It has been a fascinating time for me and I have found that I have little patience for fiction and an insatiable thirst for more historical knowledge!

It does make for complicated reading and I find it hard to retain as much detail as I would like, which has lead me to ask Mr Dancin if I can start drawing a huge, royal family tree on our bedroom wall to help me keep track of all related people of importance, and the lines of succession!

Anyway, I have now moved forward in time to the beginning of the War of the Roses which leaves a gap between Henry II and Edward I where King Richard, King John and Henry III reign (this period to be revisited) but a recent trip to Warwick Castle has inspired me to get to the bottom of the aforementioned civil war and find out whether I am a Lancastrian or Yorkist!

What I have found out so far is that the War of the Roses spans a greater period of time than I first thought and involves several Kings of England. I am at the beginning with King Henry IV, pictured here. (Image Credit: Medieval Life and Times)

In my present reading Henry is not yet King. That title is currently held by Richard II, grandson of Edward III and son of The Black Prince (Edward of Woodstock, eldest son of Edward III).

Richard is at present making a bit of a mess of things although he has earned some sympathies from me given his sheltered upbringing, predominantly in France. He is however already being compared to Edward II, a man who in my opinion should never have been King, or at least not without considerably more guidance at an earlier age.

Through my reading I am learning what it means or meant to be King. In medieval times the role carried considerably more power than I believe it does today and the responsibility was immense. The men who I have read about who appeared to excel in their roles seem almost super human and I cannot help but sympathise for men of lesser or different character who fail at this monumental task.

Henry on the other hand seems well suited for his future role and I look forward to reading about what happens next!

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