Saturday, 29 December 2012

Book Review - Beware Spoilers

Property of a Lady by Sarah Rayne

As I've mentioned before this author has been one of my favourite discoveries of late and as I'm on holiday for a couple of weeks I quickly got my head stuck into one of her books and again couldn't stop until I'd finished it!!  As soon as I started reading this I kept thinking this is really the quality of a Henry James (?), Women in Black or other similar ghost story and that is what this book is a really brilliant ghost story.

A proper ghost story with an old house, hidden pages from diaries in old abandoned furniture, similar events which span over 150 years - missing children and young widows all connected to the mysterious house.  An American couple inherit an old derelict house and ask a friend from Oxford to keep an eye on the renovations.  A young widow and her daughter are putting their lives back together and through her antiques business is finding the original furniture from the house to return to the house. 

It is through the connection to the house that Michael, the Oxford Don and Nell the antiques dealer meet and experience a variety of phenomena related to the house.  Is it the mysterious owner who disappeared William Lee, could it be connected to a previous owner who also disappeared, or the psychic investigator called in to check the place out in the 1960's.  This book has all that is required of a traditional ghost story, from the local folk legends, old pubs and cellars to the budding romance between the two main characters. 

This was a really great read and I've just found out the first in a series of books with these characters so am now off to download the next one!!



The Hobbit

Spoiler Warning

Jamie and I headed off to see The Hobbit late afternoon with some excitement.  I was really looking forward to seeing this one and looking forward to Richard Armitage as a dwarf - he is actually quite a tall chap!  Jamie had given me hints from reviews he had read, so I was expecting the start to be quite slow but it was cracking good fun from the start.

We start with the very familiar, we are back in The Shire, back in Bilbo Baggins house, he is old and preparing for a party - so we began on very familiar ground and I hadn't expected to see Frodo so that was a pleasant surprise.

Jamie said in a review he had seen the start was quite slow and it all took some time to get going but I thought it hit the ground running giving us a taste of what we know and were comfortable with before moving off into the new adventure.

Martin Freeman was great as Bilbo Baggins, quite easily believed as the younger version of the Bilbo that we know.  We were of course playing spot the actor behind the beards and there were lots of very familiar voices which revealed themselves in the credits among them Ken Stott and James Nesbitt (who was recognisable).    The story moved along at a good pace and kept us both interested and entertained with a couple of jumps out of our seats at a couple of points. 

The ending well - I won't spoil that but I may well have been heard to mutter something quietly - just to say I am very much looking forward to the next film now!!  Overall a good film and even though a long film it did fly past so always an indication of a very good film.



Currently reading War and Peace

Christmas Eve Panto - Cinderella

As is our usual tradition we headed into the city and to the Panto, with a stop at TGI for a cocktail or two before the fun began.  TGI's was not too busy and we worked our way through one or two of the cocktails on offer.  Egging each other on Mike began with a Bananamint Baileys  and I had a Strawberry Diaquari - both large of course, the Diaquari was lovely as always, Jamie stuck to chocolate milkshakes but was eyeing the Diaquari!!.  We then moved onto a Banana Sandwich (Mike) and a Royaltini (me) and finished off with a Red Army (me) and a Paradise Punch for Mike.  We should of course by that point of been on the floor but we were both pretty ok thankfully.

We headed off to the theatre and got our selves another couple of drinks and headed into the auditorium.  I have to confess I had left it very late to organise tickets as I had not been expecting great things and was not sure I wanted to endure an evening of Louis Spence but it was much better than I had anticipated and much better than the last couple of years.

Of course it was all there the booing at the baddie, the ugly sisters (and they were), the ghost, ghostbusters song  (we'll have to do it again then!!), the it's behind you, the beautiful frocks, the shetland ponies, the guy gets the girl.  But the peformances were pretty good Denise Pearson (the one from 5Star) was good and sang very well, Cinderella was good and had some stage presence, the comedien (despite his very inappropriate name) was funny as Buttons and Louie Spence was pretty good too and not quite as irritating as he might have been!  So overall a much better Panto than the past couple of years, but it still needs a big name to give it that extra special fizz!!



Currently reading War and Peace (about 4% so far!)
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