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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

"Hidden Figures" and "Hell or High Water"

Its Oscars time again. Last week I saw these two films, both of which are in the Best Film category.

We went to Cityscreen in York yesterday (Sunday) to see "Hidden Figures". It is based on a true story of three African American women who challenged the racial segregation that was rampant in the USA during the fifties and sixties. All three women worked for NASA and participated in the design work for the sixtes' space programme. A good story with great performances.

On Blu-ray I watched "Hell or High Water". I loved this film. I have been a fan of Jeff Bridges since the early seventies; he continues to provide performances that are awesome (in the sense that I am awestruck). A great story, really well directed, such an atmospheric feel with stunning photography and locations. Marvellous.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Vapnartak 2017

No cinema trips this weekend as B was competing (dressage) plus Sunday was Vapnartak  at York Racecourse. Vapnartak is a viking word which, some say, means a gathering of the swords. It is the largest wargaming fair in Northern England.

I spent a very good three hours there, did some buying and some chatting and some checking out of different products.

My purchases. I am continuing with assembling an Ottoman force, a slowly but definitely growing collection.

From Dixon Miniatures.

Some janissaries and some infantry

A few sipahis

From Irregular Miniatures

Last year I bought some Old Glory artillery and crews, these are the limbers for them plus a camel waggon

A unit of Wallachian irregulars, eight figures for twelve pounds.

Also, I thought I should have a commander for my force.

From Warlord, Suleyman the Magnificent, the Lawgiver

During the last eighteen months I have been reducing my metal mountain, so I restrict my spending at shows. This time I took 100 pounds as my budget and I spent 84 pounds. Success, plus the infantry and the limbers will help me to finish some units I have started.

So I had a good day at Vapnartak. I bought some good figures, stayed within budget, had some nice chats and, being over 60, I got free admission. What more could a man want?

The tughra or seal of Suleyman the Maginificent purchased on one of our holidays in Turkey

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

"T2:Trainspotting" and "Denial"

Two trips to Cityscreen in York with B.



The best of British  cinema at the moment. Both really good films, full of excellent acting, good story telling.

The language in T2 was very ripe but I think the film captured the inner-city juxtapositions of decay and hopelessness against development and gentrification. I know it is fiction but it felt very real - where do individuals go when they cannot keep up. Good throwbacks to the original film without being sentimental.

"Denial" - totally different. A courtroom drama, so much of it was claustrophobic and contained but it had a really steady, but quickening dramatic pace that pushed me to the edge of my seat. Brilliant acting, particularly Tim Spall.

Two very different films but I recommend both.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

George III

From BBC Breakfast News this morning. The Royal Archive in Windsor has been working for sometime to place on line thousands of George III's documents. He is Britain's longest reigning king and was acknowledged as being very hard working, earning and liking the nickname Farmer George. He was the last king of North America and the first king of Australia and survived the upheaval of the French Revolution.

The BBC has been filming the work of the Royal Archive staff for a documentary to be broadcast on Monday evening (30th Jan) at 21:00hrs on BBC2.  This includes sight of a draft abdication letter written by George during the American War of Independence, drafted but not used. This should be a fascinating programme.

Remembering John Hurt

Sad news overnight. John Hurt has died. Without a doubt - one of the finest screen actors I have seen.

The first role I remember - Kane in the film "Alien"

Monday, 23 January 2017

"Manchester by the Sea"

The first trip of 2017 to CityScreen in York. This time I was flying solo as this is not to B's taste.

I thought it was a really good film, very well acted, particularly by Casey Affleck as the young man struggling under the burden of grief. Also great location work.  I recommend this film, the subject is not to everyone's taste, it's nothing flash, just a good family drama and great performances.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Boroughbridge's Devil's Arrows.

Here in North Yorkshire there are numerous medieval sights, castles, houses, ruined abbeys. Less obvious is the number of prehistoric sights and sites.

Recently we drove over to Boroughbridge, a small market town about ten miles away. We found the town plan and saw "The Devil's Arrows", a series of three prehistoric megaliths in a field just outside the town.

Looking from the smallest to the largest of the megaliths in the trees (photo from Google Images)

We could not get very close as the farmer has planted a crop in the field and we did not want to walk over it, so this photo below is taken on the I-Phone at a distance of 200 metres.

This megalith is surrounded by trees that have greatly reduced the available light.

The tallest of the blocks is just under seven metres in height, around 21 feet. They are millstone grit and were dragged from a quarry about seven miles away around the year 3000 BC. Why they were put there, for what purpose, is unknown. They are not in a straight line.

We were awed by these and also bewildered. We don't know why they are there but I think we are very lucky to have such monumernts.