Thursday, 23 June 2011

Cut Off

So, dear readers, it's been a while since my last post. One was scheduled for last weekend but the powers that be (in this case virgin media) prevented me from posting anything and indeed watching anything. No TV and no internet all weekend? I asked in utter shock. The man at the end of virgin's support line apologised profusely (poor guy, it wasn't his fault) as well as light-heartedly suggesting I buy and read a book.

Being cut off when you're away from home - fine. There's things to do and new places to explore (see previous post). Being cut off with the prospect of another fairly empty weekend in Surbiton yawning before you (I'm broke and impatiently waiting for payday) - not cool, not cool at all. So what did I do? I enjoyed a (relatively) cheap weekend in Surbiton.

Saturday morning/afternoon was spent in the Crafty Cafe painting a ceramic teapot (one of Mitch's birthday presents). They charge just a fiver for the paint and varnish + the cost of the item (they have a range of stuff to paint too, from egg cups to piggy banks). The two and a half hours spent painting was fun and very relaxing. I love making and painting things and now I'm older I find I rarely have the time...

Taking place that very same afternoon was the Surbiton dog show. I only caught the contestants from the 'Waggiest Tale' category. I never thought I'd be a potential dog owner but...they are beginning to grow on me and to be fair, they were cute - jumping around, wagging their tales, gazing lovingly at their owners. Definitely cuter than the attention-seeking child who had chosen to climb a nearby tree and yelled out it's progress at 20 second intervals. "Mummy, I'm climbing the tree"; "I'm very high mummy"; "Mummy I won't go any higher, I think I might need a harness" (eugh).

The rest of the afternoon reminded me very much of my Uni days - watching a lot of Futurama in bed. Thankfully my flat-mates returned in the evening to pull me from my uni regression.

Sunday I went to the gym, which isn't free but I've already paid for this month. Followed by a game of giant Hungry Hungry Hippos. Yes, that's right, remember that game when you were young? Well the awesome people at a local pub made a giant version in their garden. Sadly I was just a spectator (like a lot of other people) but it was hilarious to watch the contestants (mostly grown men) furiously working their hippos to eat the most balls. Loved it. And all the proceeds went to charity.

Lastly, as Sunday was father's day, dinner was had in Richmond. The Jamaican burger at GBK should definitely be tried, delish. By the time we returned Virgin had got their act together and our connection to the world had been restored. However, at the risk of sounding corney, I probably wouldn't have done half the things I had done this weekend had everything been working as was a lucky time to get cut off.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Beside the Beautiful Sea

As you may or may not know, my Summer is jam-packed with weddings, the first of which took place on Wednesday by the coast not far from Plymouth. The happy couple: my cousin and her long-term boyfriend (they met at Hull Uni over a decade ago). That's right, my cousin, making it my first family wedding (I can't count my auntie's, although I was a flower girl being only three I don't remember much and probably fell asleep before the party started).

After a slightly cramped 4 hour drive we arrived in Kingsand, our home for two nights. The village of Kingsand (and it's close neighbour Cawsand), is full of colourful and unique buildings each with it's own name, winding narrow streets and plenty of steep hills leading up from the stoney and sandy beaches to the numerous forts dotted around the coast line. Our own cottage, we had one to ourselves, was called Margery Hill Cottage which boasted two sitting areas, a spacious kitchen and of course beautiful views of the sea.

The wedding ceremony itself took place in a tiny little church on top of a hill, and, aside from the vicar being a bit of a grumpy sort, it went very smoothly. But it was the location of the reception afterwards which made the day. Polhawn Fort. Originally built during the 1860s to form part of the coastal defence against Napoleon's invasion, however, the fort never saw any action. It's an awesome stone structure with walls several feet thick, a roof garden, turreted stairs leading to an open plan floor and several bedrooms beneath. The interiors create a sense of occasion but upon going outside you see why it's become a bit of a hotspot for weddings, the views from the  expansive garden are stunning. We were a little exposed to the elements (my hair resembled straw by the time I went inside) but it was worth it for glorious sunshine, champagne and canapes on the lawn, sitting amongst the pretty wild flowers and taking the overgrown and rugged path down to the beach - the definition of picturesque.

After v.good food, three types of pudding (win!), a few peach bellinis and quite a lot of wine it was time to dance the night away. The newly weds also, as the party continued into the morning, presented us guests with a brilliant surprise - a silent disco (this was not in concern for the neighbours, the fort is pretty much isolated, rather for the very young guests and those who'd passed out early) - genius.

Beard also in attendance.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

First Class

Wednesday, or more specifically Orange Wednesday, I went to the cinema. Film of choice: the new x-men movie. Verdict: Awesome and very well balanced in the sense that there was enough back-story to each of the characters so you don't think 'this is all about the action sequences', and the special effects are large scale and a quite a thing to behold incase you do perhaps get a little tired of the all the teary-eyed bits (but there aren't many - fear not). The cast is superb and full of faces you'll recognize. The highlights for me were Michael Fassbender as Erik (might have developed some sort of crush there, also I'm a little intrigued as to how he will fare as Rochester in the new Jane Eyre remake...); Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique (she's an oscar nominee, she's been in an x-men movie and she's not even 21 yet - sigh); James McAvoy who brings out a more charming (and slightly drunken) side to young Professor X which we don't really get to see in the previous films; and finally Kevin Bacon. I, because I'm terribly unobservant, failed to notice the Bacon in any of the posters or trailers so when he appeared on screen as the twisted Sebastian Shaw, I was shocked and delighted - he really is a great baddie. I was a little confused at Take That providing the theme song but hey ho it's a crazy world.

Also this week I attended the Visions Festival at Hertfordshire University. Why, you ask. Well, my sister has just completed her degree in Film and TV Production and her film was put forward, along with the other top 12 films in her year, for the mini festival. The students' finished work was screened for all to see and from these 13 short pieces 4 were picked to receive specific awards for being the best in the different categories. It was an interesting afternoon and an epic treat to see my sister's film on the big screen. And the day got even better, turns out that Space Detective ticked all the right the boxes for those on the judging panel and my sister was awarded the Stanley Kubrick Award for Fiction. So very proud.
And here she is being presented with her award by Jan Harlan (a producer on a number of Kubrick's films). 

Beard Status: At present there's a slight unbalance in the hair to beard ratio. Personally I'm not a huge fan but I guess it works if you're playing a bad guy in a movie. The three below are all sporting the two extremes (very beardy and completely baldie). As much as I love Jeff and Bruce (not you though John) they are not looking at their best.
Mitch however seems to be working it. Beard most certainly approved.

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