Friday, 30 January 2015

london christmas

In bed before midnight on Christmas Eve, and heard Big Ben strike midnight. Then on Christmas Day we walked to St Paul's Cathedral for the 11am service. None more London. (The Christmas Eve service at St Paul's is very busy, and they put screens up outside for those who can't get in, but no trouble getting in on the Day, primarily because of no public transport I guess, as well as people having other plans.)

sherlock holmes exhibition

On Saturday 27 December we all went to the Museum of London's Sherlock Holmes exhibition. We enjoyed it, at different speeds, though a lot of it was simply period photos or paintings of locations.

One of the things it reminded me was that although we think of him as 19th century and Victorian, more of the stories are Edwardian/'Georgian' and written in the twentieth century.

even in the best families

On Tuesday 23 December I finished another Nero Wolfe novel by Rex Stout, Even In The Best Families. It was a good one, though I always enjoy them. I think I'll have to make more positive efforts to find them, not just picking them up by chance. I like the wit, period, character, plots and writing.


On Boxing Day we all went to see Paddington at Cineworld West India Quay, and all enjoyed it a lot - I despite the fact that I always find characters like Paddington very annoying, characters who cause mayhem, however accidental or well-meaning. I'm always thinking of the consequences, and my sympathies are always with those made cross by it. Still, a good film, if you didn't think about it too closely.

little women

On Christmas Eve we all watched, and enjoyed, the Sarandon/Ryder version of Little Women - I had certainly seen it before, I'm pretty sure actually in the cinema on release.

it's a wonderful life

We watched It's A Wonderful Life in a couple of sittings before Christmas. The first viewing in many years for me, though I've seen it a few times, and I was pleased to see it was still as great as I remembered it; the younger generation wasn't that impressed, however.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

the treasure of the sierra madre

On Friday 19 December I finished The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by B Traven, in an old paperback edition which I'd picked up secondhand. The film is a classic - I saw it years ago and remember being really impressed with it - and, I have discovered, much better than the book, which was not a lost classic. Only in the final third did it really hold my attention; the first half in particular was very slow and unengaging, and with a lot of material that I don't remember from the film and suspect wasn't in there. My main memory of the film is the paranoid interplay of the three prospectors, but it takes the book a long time to get there.

(A look at the Wikipedia entries for the book and the film suggest that in fact the film was quite faithful to the book. The film must tell it better.)

Monday, 26 January 2015

berkhamsted castle

On Saturday 13 December we had a train day trip to Berkhamsted and I finally visited the castle I'd seen from the train for two years while commuting from Euston to Bletchley - the substantial remains of a big old early Norman motte and bailey, now in the care of English Heritage (it also has a surprisingly detailed entry on Wikipedia). It was nice to visit it eventually, and possibly the highlight of my day in Berkhamsted. There was a Christmas tree festival in a local church which we also went to, but that wasn't much cop. The chips from the chip shop near the station were good, though.