Sunday, 4 October 2020

Post number 1000: Visions of Cornwall


I know... post number 1000? Who woulda thought it? 

I thought I'd celebrate this blogging millstone, er milestone, with some photos of our beloved Cornwall. With 2020 obviously being a living nightmare in many ways, we really didn't think we'd be able to get away to Cornwall this year but somehow we did. We had a week away in July and another in August, being extremely careful where we went and what we did, and it was lovely to recharge the ol' batteries and see some beautiful countryside. We know many places down there where you can get away from the crowds, the one below being a perfect example:

Here's Sarah soaking up some rays and the view from the top of Rosewall Hill. This is just a beautiful spot, just a couple of miles out of St Ives, a rugged landscape of gorse bushes, huge blocks of stone, old mine workings and spectacular views. In fact, this is one of the few places in Cornwall where you can see both the North and South coasts because the land is so narrow at this point. In this photo you can just glimpse St Michael's Mount rising from Mount's Bay in the South.

And above is the view to the North, more perfectly blue sea and sky...

And, if we're in Cornwall, there have to be photos of beaches:

Here we are with the iconic St Michael's Mount behind us... plus loads of herring gulls.

And the next few are from Perranporth, near to where we were staying in St Agnes, and where our daughter Sophie is currently living and working as a dancer.

Lighthouses are also a major draw for us in Cornwall, like this beauty at Godrevy:

We took Sophie for a walk around Godrevy and we were lucky enough to see some seals out in the water. Didn't manage to get any photos of them but these two were happy to pose for me instead.

Near to where we were staying was Wheal Kitty, site of a former 19th century tin and copper mine, now abandoned to the elements... and the graffiti artists. Here's James getting some artistic inspiration or maybe planning some parkour moves. We discovered this site on our July trip, when it was just me and Sarah, and knew James would love the whole area so we took him there in August.

The concrete remains of the mine's processing rooms are being reclaimed by vegetation and it gives the surroundings a very Ballardian feel, like a ruined temple choked by the jungle.

Even Rigatoni Rat came along for the visit...

As well as the beaches, countryside and abandoned architecture, we also found time for some art...

These photos are from the Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, nestled in a verdant valley near Penzance, overlooking Mount's Bay. Stunning sculptures by top contemporary artists in an absolutely beautiful setting.

( We're going to move to Cornwall and live in a Lego house... )

This piece is by one of James' favourite artists, David Nash, so he was very happy to find it here.

Rigatoni Rat turned up here as well...

Just down the road from Tremenheere we stumbled across the National Dahlia Collection at Varfell and had a wander around the fields, looking at their multitude of dahlias, a riot of colour.

Unfortunately, literally as I've been writing this post, I've Googled the Collection and found it has since shut down, presumably another victim of the damage caused to the economy by the pandemic. A real shame. 

The main reason for our second trip to Cornwall in August was to see Sophie for her 25th (!) birthday. Although conditions weren't ideal and we couldn't do all the things we'd usually do, we were so glad to be able to visit her and see her dance  -  in a socially-distanced way, of course.

So, that's it for my Cornish memories. As I said previously, we were so lucky to get away, considering a few months back we were still in lockdown and couldn't really go anywhere. To be honest, travelling to Cornwall and trying to deal with crowds of holiday-makers was quite daunting in these times, but we managed it and the break away was very welcome. Here's hoping we can safely do the same next year.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

30-Day Film Challenge Week 4

At long last, as we feebly stagger up the last remaining steps of this seemingly interminable journey, the clouds part and we finally see the last installment of this flamin' film challenge. Yep, it's Week 4 and it's  -

Day Twenty-Two
A film that made you angry

Not many films have done this ( no, not even Suicide Squad ) but I'm going with Michael Moore's
Bowling For Columbine ( 2002 ), a frankly frightening look into America's obsession with guns. It can be argued ( mostly by the NRA ) that this movie is a polemic, one-sided and biased  -  and well, obviously it is  -  but that's to hammer home its message and for me ( and probably any other non-gun-toting goon ) it works. By the way, if anyone objects to my choice of this movie, feel free to not comment, I'll only delete it. ( See... still angry. )
"Thanks for not shooting me."

Moving on...
Day Twenty-Three
A film by a director that is dead ( Not for the first time  -  who writes this stuff? )

I Know Where I'm Going ( dir. Michael Powell 1945 )
Known more for his colourful epics ( in collaboration with Emeric Pressburger, of course ) such as The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus, this is a lovely little black and white film from the legendary Powell, full of heart, humour and subtle magic. Wendy Hiller, as the headstrong, brittle Joan, and Roger Livesy, as Scottish laird Torquill (?) MacNeil are both wonderful as the mismatched couple who seem to be thrown together by the very elements of the Hebrides. There may well be another Michael Powell movie later in this challenge. Okay, maybe at the bottom of this very page...

Day Twenty-Four
A film you wish you saw in theatres ( or "at the cinema" as we might say here in Blighty )

Alien ( 1979 )
I was desperate to see this film at the cinema but, as it was an "X" certificate ( that's an 18 for you young 'uns ) and I was only 12 at the time, it didn't happen. Of course, I've seen it many, many times since then. We re-watched it a few weeks back, during lockdown, and I was happy to see it had lost none of its power. Our daughter Sophie had never seen it before and even she was impressed with this 41-year old "haunted house in space" movie. Ridley Scott's finest film? I think so.

Day Twenty-Five
A film you like that isn't set in the current era

David Eggers' seriously creepy, Puritan-era Folk Horror Movie
The Witch ( 2015 )
Featuring Black Philip, the scariest goat in movie history...

"Would'st thou like to live deliciously?"

Day Twenty-Six
A film you like that is adapted from somewhere

Released 10 years ago (!) last week, Edgar Wright's dazzling, underrated adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novels  -  Scott Pilgrim vs The World ( 2010 )
You can read my original review of this movie here, should you want to of course. I still can't believe I took James to see this film when he was only 10. Sadly a flop on release, Scott Pilgrim's reputation has grown over the last decade and it's now regarded as a cult classic  -  although some of us knew that from the start...

Day Twenty-Seven
A film that is visually striking to you

So many films I've already posted would fit this category ( the one above being a prime example ) but I'm going with the wuxia epic Hero ( 2002 ) by Zhang Yimou
Every shot in this movie is just gorgeous

Day Twenty-Eight
A film that made you feel uncomfortable

Pan's Labyrinth ( 2006 )
I'm in a minority here but I really don't like this movie. For a fantasy I found it totally lacking in a sense of wonder and I hated the "real-world" scenes of violence and torture. I've got nothing against Guillermo Del Toro  -  he always comes across as a very affable, intelligent film-maker who is a tireless exponent of horror and fantasy movies  -  I just don't like his films very much.

Day Twenty-Nine
A film that makes you want to fall in love

Midnight In Paris ( 2011 )
Owen Wilson and Marion Cotillard fall for each other and for Paris in Woody Allen's charming, witty time-travel romance

And finally, Esther...
Day Thirty
A film with your favourite ending

I could pick many, many great endings ( Some Like It Hot, The Truman Show, Don't Look Now, Inception, Planet Of The Apes,Casablanca, The Godfather, Withnail & I etc etc ) but it had to be
A Matter Of Life And Death ( 1946 )
Powell & Pressburger's remarkable romantic fantasy ends with David Niven's character being saved by Kim Hunter's love. It's arguably corny and sentimental but it's actually just perfect

And that's it for the film challenge. Thanks to anyone who stopped by and a special shout out to Paul McScotty and Sean for leaving comments and giving me ideas for more films to watch.

"Stay classy... Planet Earth"


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