Follow by Email

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

U3A York Silent Film Group "Napoleon"

Yesterday - what a day. Around a dozen of us gathered in York to watch Abel Gance's silent film of "Napoleon"

In the mid-twenties, Abel Gance filmed part one (of a proposed six part) biography of Napoleon Bonaparte. He spent several years in writing and filming and it was released in 1927. Part one is around six hours long and only covers Napoleon's schooldays in Brienne, the Revolution, his marriage to Josephine and Napoleon's campaign in Italy, up to 1797. Gance had spent approximately 70% of the budget and so did not proceed with parts two to six. We watched the British Film Institutes's restored version on four DVDs which has an excellent orchestral score by Carl Davis and Beethoven.

We started at 09:30 and finished at 16:40, with around 60 minutes for breaks and lunch. I think we were all captivated by this visually stunning film.

Albert Dieudonné as Napoleon

Three camera/screen shot of Napoleon on left looking over the camp of the Army of Italy

Oops - wrong Napoleon

Abel Gance had a role as Saint-Just

Dieudonné on set

Camera team keeping up with the cavalry

Monday, 28 May 2018

Visit to Conisbrough Castle

Yesterday we had a day trip to Conisbrough Castle, a small castle in South Yorkshire.

The Normans built a castle here to control the River Don and its crossings

Originally a motte and bailey castle, it was rebuilt in stone during 1180 - 90

The defences included a barbican

It was a poor site choice with a lot of subsidence

A collapsed wall on the outer ring

This shape of donjon is unique in England with six large buttresses. It is 28 metres (92 feet) high, 19metres in diameter.

Curtain wall. Henry VIII's surveyors noted a lot of disrepair in the 1530's.

The location of the Great Hall.

Up the modern steps to the donjon's main entrance.

Restored medieval fireplace.

Steps between floors

Built-in basin

From the top, a view of the inner bailey

Looking west over the town

Looking north

Stone detail in the family's private chapel

A walk around the outside

The castle was in such poor condition, it was not subject to further slighting by Parliamentary forces in the ECW

The renovations of the 1980's and 90's were very well done

The local Medieval Society was holding an event below the castle.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Middle East Buildings

Recently I posted a photo of a ruin I had bought on EBay.

It is listed in the Magister Militum catalogue as an Indian/Arabic Partly Ruined Wall. I have finished painting it - it now looks like this

I have tried to give it a little grandeur with the painted arches and pillars and a more sandy colour for the brick infilled arches. All then finished with a few coats of Citadel Agrax wash.

Onto the next building, another EBay purchase, a house with a courtyard.

This promises to be interesting. It is a little too pristine for my tastes so I will do a little work on the outside then try to make the courtyard more domestic.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Blossom tree

I am not a gardener, I don't see the appeal of flower growing or grass cutting, I just don't get it, B is the house gardener. Occasionally I help out when height or a bit of muscle is required. Last summer was one such occasion.

In the back garden there is a blossom tree. For the last two springs it has been very subdued, not much blossom at all. It was almost submerged by next-door's laurel trees. So last summer we decided to spend a few hours cutting back the laurels where they were over the fence and over our garden. Then, two months ago our neighbour hired tree surgeons to reduce the height of the laurels. This spring has seen a very different tree.

I have to confess to feeling very pleased that our joint gardening effort has encouraged this lovely blossom. This triumph has enthused me to sort out the fence with my other neighbour, that fence being covered with ivy. The last photo also includes our pheasant cock who has returned to us for another spring, this time with a coterie of two hens. We also have a pair of bullfinches, one of the loveliest looking birds of these islands.