Monday, 23 May 2016

Merry Month of May Movie Meme

While participating in the A to Z blogging challenge I stumbled across the genealogy blogging community. One of these bloggers, Pauline of Family History Across the Seas, has posted a Merry Month of May Movie Meme and I thought would be fun to join in ...

What's the earliest movie you can remember? The first movie I remember seeing at the cinema was Mary Poppins. I just checked and it was released in 1964, just before my fourth birthday. I don't know whether I saw it when it was first released or a year or two later. Of course, in the UK in the 1960s they were called films, not movies!

Where did you go to the movies? As a child I used to go to the old Odeon Cinema in Aylesbury (Buckinghamshire). At that time it was a single screen cinema, but I think it was subsequently divided into one large and two small screens. It closed in 1999 and was replaced by a modern multi-screen cinema in a different location. The old Odeon fell into disrepair and is now being demolished to be replaced with retirement apartments. 

Did you buy movie programs? I don't remember there being such a thing!

Did you take in food and drink (and what did you like)? Not that I can remember. We always used to get ice creams during the intermission, in the days when there was such a thing. I have to admit that I am a popcorn lover and a trip to the cinema just isn't the same without a hefty portion of salted popcorn (has to be salted, not sweet). I know it is ridiculously overpriced for something that is mostly air, but I can't resist. 

Movies of your teenage years: Star Wars (the original movie, which I saw four times), Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Towering Inferno (for which I mostly hid on the floor as I don't like fire - no idea why I went!).

Do you remember how old you were when you went unsupervised? No, but probably early teens. 

Mischief you got up to in the movies: As teenagers a group of us once smuggled in a bottle of whisky. I doubt I drank much as I loathe the stuff!

Did you watch movies at home? Yes. I remember sobbing through Love Story on TV, going through a phase of watching late night horror movies (the old fashioned type) when I had to sleep on a put-up bed in the sitting room at my grandmother's, and another phase of watching westerns as a teen. And of course we always took part in the pre-VCR British family ritual of watching the big blockbuster films shown on TV at Christmas.

What was your favourite movie to watch at home? During my childhood it was only possible to watch what happened to be on TV. No VCRs or DVDs.

Do you prefer to watch movies at home or at the cinema? Definitely at the cinema. So much more engrossing on the big screen with surround sound than it is at home, and it makes a movie into an event. 

Does your family have a special movie memory? Not one particular memory. The Harry Potter movies were a big thing with my two older daughters, and each new release was a cause of much excitement. We sometimes went on the first day, but never to the midnight premiere. With hindsight I wish we had done as it would have made that special memory.

Movies you fell in love to/with? I really didn't! Movies and romance never coincided for me. 

Favourite romantic movie theme music: I'm not a fan of romantic music and would find it much easier to pick a most disliked romantic theme - My Heart Will Go On from Titanic wins that title. I get to play a lot of movie theme music with brass and concert bands and if I had to pick a favourite it would be either Jurassic Park or Pirates of the Caribbean. Much more fun than the romantic stuff, both to play and to listen to!

Favourite musical movie: For some reason I always loved Calamity Jane.

Which movies made you want to dance/sing?  I'm a hopeless non-dancer, but for singing along it has to be The Sound of Music and Mamma Mia.   

Do you watch re-runs or DVDs of old movies? Not as much as I would like to. Most of the DVDs we own are newer, although we have some classic children's movies. We have a Netflix subscription and I keep meaning to watch some of the old classics but somehow never get round to it. 

Do your children/family enjoy the same movies? There are a few children's movies which all three of my daughters have loved, but there has rarely been a movie that all five of us would watch. In fact, I don't think we have ever all been to the cinema together. Partly this is due to the age gap (eleven years between eldest and youngest daughters) and partly because if all three daughters like something it is almost certainly too girly to appeal to their dad. 

What's your favourite movie genre now? I am not sure I could pick one single genre. I enjoy human interest dramas, British comedy (American not so much), some science fiction/fantasy, some rom-coms. It really depends on my mood. 

Did you read the book before or after the movie? Usually I prefer to read the book before the movie. 

Which did you enjoy more, the book or the movie? More often the book, although not always. I loved The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel as a movie, but did not enjoy the book at all. Some movie adaptations are just awful - the American movie version of the children's book The Borrowers was particularly atrocious.

What's the silliest movie you've seen (silly funny or silly annoying)? I'll go with silly funny and pick Rowan Atkinson's Mr Bean movie. 

Pet hate in movies: Bad sound and / or mumbling actors making it hard to follow dialogue. 

A movie that captures family history for you: Interesting question! I am going to go for All Creatures Great and Small, the movie based on James Herriot's vet books (yes, there was a movie, made a few years before the better known TV series). It is set in rural North Yorkshire, where my mother's family come from, and I have farmers and farm labourers on both sides of my family. No vets though! 

If you could only play 5 movies for the rest of your life, what would they be? 
(1) Lord of the Rings. Love the books, love the film version. Can I count the trilogy as a single movie?
(2) Star Wars IV (THE Star Wars!). The big movie of my teens and part of me has never outgrown it.
(3) Truly, Madly, Deeply. A wonderful low budget British romantic movie starring Juliet Stephenson and the late, great Alan Rickman as the ghost of her dead partner. Poignant and funny by turns, and beautifully acted.
(4) The Railway Children. There has to be a family movie in there. Matilda nearly won this slot - one daughter loved it so much that we can still quote chunks of the script, and Pam Ferris's Miss Trunchbull was superbly awful. Another daughter watches Elf multiple times every Christmas, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc are big favourites, but The Railway Children just squeaks it. I loved it as a child, and even as an adult I can't help but shed a tear when Bobby spots her father through the steam of the train at the end. 
(5) Billy Elliot. This was the hardest to choose as there are a number of other films I like but none that stood out above the others. Billy Elliot, in which a young boy from a tough mining town in Northern England fights poverty, political upheaval (it is set against the background of the 1980s miners' strike), and prejudice to become a ballet dancer, is one that grabs me each time I watch it.

Favourite movie stars:
 Alan Rickman, Harrison Ford, Robin Williams, Benedict Cumberbatch, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Those Boots Were Made For Walking ...

At the beginning of the year M bought a pair of walking boots - his first since a teenage trip to Israel - with the intention that we would get out and walk more. I told him that before the end of the year he would be doing 10 mile walks. He was not convinced!

The boots have turned out to be a great buy. They were reduced in the post-Christmas sales to less than half price, so were quite a bargain. M finds them very comfortable and they have made a huge difference to his attitude to walking - I hadn't realised quite how much the wrong shoes were holding him back, making him reluctant to go anywhere that might be muddy, and generally making walking less comfortable. We try to go out for at least one reasonable (3 miles or more) walk every week, and are gradually increasing distance. 

We have just got back from a long weekend in Cumbria, where we were able to introduce the boots to both the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. We went for a walk everyday, working up to a seven mile circular walk around Wensleydale on Sunday. That 10 mile target is in sight! Both the Lakes and the Dales are extraordinarily beautiful, in different ways, and spending so much time out of doors in the fresh air enjoying the scenery was a joy. We both felt it was one of the most enjoyable short breaks we have ever had, and M is now most definitely a walking enthusiast. Pictures to follow once they have uploaded themselves to iCloud!

Challenge Completed!

I may not have been writing here for the past few weeks but I have been writing on my history blog, where I managed to make it through the entire A to Z Challenge and finished my A to Z of Archives, talking about all sorts of archive related things from catalogues to knickers (if you want to know, you will have to read the entry for K!).