Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Green is the Colour.

So another week or more has passed by in a flurry of pasta and wine, films and purchases. 

I have eaten out 3 times, all of which involved garlic bread and I’m out again tonight to Ask Italian. Now I’m no Mystic Meg, but I predict garlic bread in my immediate future too. My excuse, (should I need one) is Himself is battling a cold and the garlic helps me fight his germs.

As some of you may know last week Wednesday was ‘Back to the Future Day’ and Himself and I met in town to do a double bill at Odeon of parts one and two. (Himself was not a happy bunny that his beloved Cineworld were not partaking in the event!) I have to say much as I do love the first film, I’m not a huge fan of Back to the Future 2, but I did thoroughly enjoy wallowing in nostalgia and seeing both films back on the big screen.
We also went to see Spectre on Monday. I enjoyed it, as a bog standard Bond film it did exactly what it says on the tin. It was nowhere near in the league of Skyfall but I did enjoy it, though there were a few things I found irritating, mostly the woman sat next to us who did yap through a lot of the film.

I managed to spectacularly cock up at the weekend and double booked myself which meant I couldn’t drop by and see Vix and Jon when they were in Oxford for a vintage fair, what a muppet!

Instead I felt I had to honour my other agreement to help my Ma out at a charity sale. Talking of which she was in the local paper last week for her latest charity sewing endeavour (sock cats) made to raise money for a new mini bus for Dad’s care home.
The reporter rang her out of the blue at home and ‘interviewed’ her over the phone so she was in a complete panic that she had said something daft bless her. They also visited the care home to take some pictures.

As it goes it was a pretty standard ‘local paper’ story ending with a pithy and oh so typical quote from my Dad, I could hear his voice as I read it and roared with laughter. A few other people who know him also said they could just hear him say it. Best of all it raised £300 in donations just from the story appearing, so well done Mum.

I’ve done yet more clothes purchasing of late and when I brought it all together last night for a hasty picture I realised it was 99% green. 
Now I admit green is one of my favourite colours, and one I wear a lot but it’s unusual for me to buy in just one colour on this kind of scale! 
Lumped together in this photo are a cardigan, a shirt, a tunic, a dress, a glittery jumper and a black sequin cat.

I also added 2 more Hell Bunny dresses to my now very large collection, both bargains off Ebay. 

There is a story to the spotty one, I had an email to say it had been dispatched. Over a week passed and it didn’t arrive so I emailed the seller to ask for details. She provided the tracking number which showed according to the Post Office website at least that a delivery had been attempted and as no one was home they had 'left a card'.

Well obviously, and sadly not for the first time, they hadn’t left a card.

I complained and got a generic grovelling email back saying they would ‘pass my concerns on to the manager of my local sorting office so that any future deliveries would be managed smoothly’

Not much help to me and my undelivered parcel as you can’t collect a parcel or arrange a re-delivery at our sorting office without the number from your card.
I printed a screen shot of the tracking details and took that. When I got there, before I could even explain the woman behind the counter went “What am I meant to do with that?” her customer service skills did not improve from there.
At one point she actually asked me, and I quote,
 “Are you quite sure you don’t have a doggy who might have eaten the card” with admirable restraint I just said “Thank you yes, I am quite sure we have never owned a dog”!

I did eventually get my parcel.  

I also finally got around to sorting out this velvet pinstripe jacket that I bought for a £1 in a charity shop a while ago. I have always loved a velvet jacket, and indeed had a black pinstripe one I wore so much it's pile wore away and it went bald!   
Well this one had weird patchwork floral elbow pads and hideous buttons. I unpicked the elbow patches, which was a pain in the arse if I'm honest, and replaced the buttons with three random vintage ones I had in my button tin.
I'm very happy with the end result.

Finally as you can see I have added another pair of brogues to the collection, to be fair I actually sold a pair that I only wore once because they wrecked my feet, so really my collection hasn’t actually increased at all.  

Friday, 16 October 2015

Films, More Films and a Play.

So what else have I been doing apart from shopping? Well I’ve been to the cinema just a little too. 

I’ve mentioned here before that Himself writes a film blog, which is kind of his excuse to pretty much live at the cinema. Luckily for us our local is not only 10 minute walk from our house, but also a Cineworld. 
Cineworld have a scheme where you pay about £17 a month for an ‘unlimited’ card which does exactly what it says on the tin, lets you into the cinema as many times as you want within that month.  This basically means I am effectively a Cineworld widow, whenever a new release is out he’s there, doesn’t matter what it is or how good it is, he’s there.
 I, on the other hand, am more selective with my cinematic viewing and only go to see things I think I will enjoy.
Which this month have included Macbeth starring Michael Fassbender (*swoon* even despite the beard)

I thoroughly enjoyed the film and not just because Mr. Fassbender was standing bare chested in a lake at one point.
 Weirdly thought I never studied Macbeth at school or anything, I found myself able to quote chunks of the text (in my head and not out loud of course) which did surprise me, I wasn’t aware I had taken it in on reading or watching the play in the past. 
Anyway the cinematography was stunning and it was superbly acted, though Himself found it highly amusing that none of the lead actors were Scottish and neither was it filmed in Scotland!

I also insisted on seeing Suffragette as soon as it came out which meant the novelty of going to the cinema on a Monday night. 

Again I thoroughly enjoyed the film and would definitely recommend it. 
As a subject I have read quite a bit about, I felt it was handled brilliantly, thankfully it wasn’t made as  a self-congratulatory nostalgia piece where we all live happily ever after, but rather raised the moral issue of the more controversial way the suffrage movement went about it’s campaigning, alongside the ferocious treatment meted out by the authorities trying to crush the rebellion as they saw it. 

As the final credits rolled you were presented with a timeline of women’s rights and it was interesting to hear a couple of audible gasps from the audience at just how recent some of those dates were.

A couple of weeks ago we also had an all expenses paid trip to Milton Keynes thanks to Cineworld.
Himself has been working with them for the last few months on a ‘Superfans’  campaign and I got to tag along as his ‘plus one’ 
We had to be in Milton Keynes for 11am for a special screening which we wouldn’t find out what it was until we arrived. It meant getting up like it was a usual work day on a Saturday (boo) as we had to go in and out of London due to engineering work on the trains.

The event was to experience ‘4DX’ which is being advertised as the ‘Future of film’ The marketing blurb says;

"4DX is a motion picture technology owned and developed by South Korean company CJ 4DPLEX, a part of the CJ Group. 4DX allows a motion picture presentation to be augmented with environmental effects such as seat motion, wind, rain, fog, lights, and scents along with the standard video and audio"

I have to say I wasn’t sold but more of that later!

We arrived and were presented with the best bit of the day, a wristband that gave us free access to all the sweet and drink concessions! 

I don’t usually eat at the cinema because it is so expensive and I’m a tightwad, but in this instance I did, I mean it would have been rude not too. 
I had a delightfully huge tub of Baskin' Robins ice cream and some posh salted caramel popcorn.
As it goes this was a good job too, because the lunch that was provided was a buffet style greasefest at Frankie and Benny’s and not my cup of tea at all. So other than a small slice of pizza I didn’t bother with it.
We were told that the 4DX film we were viewing and reviewing was the second maze runner film The Scorch Trials. 

Luckily they screened the first film in 2D before lunch so those of us who hadn’t seen it would have a bit of a clue what was going on. 
I have to say I did enjoy both films, and liked the second film better despite the best efforts of 4DX.

After lunch we were given a behind the scenes tour of the cinema and the 4DX equipment which was absolutely fascinating. Cinemas are HUGH behind the scenes! Who knew?

From there we were given a few minutes to stock up on more snacks before being escorted into the film………….and so to the whole 4DX experience.

The future of cinema? Er, that would be a resounding NO from me, and I suspect from most other people. A one off, or occasional experience yes, the price ticket of £15 per head would limit the number of times most people choose it if nothing else.
If you have ever been on some of the rides at Disney or Universal Studios then the effects used in 4DX will be very familiar to you.

The bits that I thought worked were the seat motion, this was very effective and as the characters on screen were bumping across the desert in the back of a truck so were we. I loved that. 
The other thing I liked was the wind effect , on screen a helicopter flew in and landed and at the same time our hair was being blown about,again very effective.

The less successful ones were the ‘fog’ which turned out to be two dry ice machines, one each side of the bottom of the screen. The main issue was whenever they were deployed, they issued the fog/dry ice with an intrusively loud HISS-SSSSS, which not only blocked out the dialogue but instantly attracted your attention to them and not the action on the screen. 
The other effect that didn’t gel and was the major bugbear of Himself (in fact he called it unpardonable!) was the lighting.
Every time there was lightning, or a floodlight in the film the auditorium lights went up. Not only did this white out the screen so you couldn’t see the film properly, it instantly plunged you back into reality and reminded you that you were actually sitting in a cinema full of other people with a huge cineworld logo on the wall!  

The smells were hard to notice and the manager did explain on our backstage tour that a lot of people say they just can’t smell them at all. I did get a whiff of a couple but not really enough to make it noticeable. We didn’t get to experience the water with this film and this is the one effect you can switch off at the seat if you want too apparently.

The final effect was my major bugbear. A thing that actually made me swear when asked about it after the film with a vehemence that would have had any sailors present blushing. What was it you may ask? the air jets. 

It was just so damn annoying, it nearly ruined my enjoyment of the film. 

The chairs are fitted with air jets on the headrests and behind the legs. The idea being that apparently you get to experience the action when there is gunfire on the screen as they are supposedly meant to feel like bullets zipping past your head.
Firstly, like the dry ice machines they also go off with a loud HISS, so as Himself pointed out it makes it seem like everyone is fighting with Nerf guns rather than dangerous weapons. 
Secondly, and to be fair this may be to do with the fact that I am tall and therefore the jets were hitting me in the wrong place? 
They were puffing fierce jets of air on my neck rather than past my head which was really, really, REALLY,  IRRITATING!!!!
I ended up spending most of the film leaning as far forward as I could whilst hunched over to try and avoid the sensation, I heartily wish that was one effect I could have turned off!

Other than that it was a great day out, well apart from the fact we found out we were going to be filmed all day and as everyone else said that was fine I felt I couldn't really say no thanks. 
Thus I did spend the whole time clamming up and backing determinedly out of view every time the camera came near me, I'd almost like to see the final result as with hindsight I'm imagining it looked quite funny.
I did join in the group picture at the end of the day though.

Finally the theatre. 

Which was actually the theatre at the cinema as it goes, because it was one of those National Theatre Live screenings. 
We have had the tickets since May because as soon as I heard about it I wanted to go. 

David Suchet in The Importance of Being Ernest in drag as Lady Bracknell. What's not to like?

I have to say it was a little stilted at first and I wonder if this was due to the actors being aware they were being live filmed. Thankfully it soon found it’s pace and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Himself has never seen it before and was blown away by the fact that the play was written in 1895, it seems so very modern in it’s vicious wit and sarcasm.  

So there you go it's not all spend, spend, spend.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Greenwich and The Holy Grail.

Last weekend the summer seemed to be having a final fling so Himself and I took ourselves off to London for the day. We finally made our trip to Greenwich, we postponed it in May and yes it's taken us until October to get round to rescheduling!

Typically the one place I really wanted to see (The Queen's House) was shut for refurbishment until June next year *SIGH* We nearly postponed again, but in the end the siren call of a beautiful day and being on the guest list for a gig that night, had us up and out and on the train to London.
It was a bit of a faff to get to Greenwich from Paddington but so very worth it.
First stop was The Cutty Sark
which we didn't go on because we were being tightwads, one of the themes of the day.
We messed around trying on hats in the museum there and exclaiming over the high tourist prices in the gift shop (another theme of the day.)

Next was The Old Royal Naval College or Thor Gardens as Himself refers to it
Looking remarkably well restored after Christopher Ecclestone crashed his space craft into it and Thor hit the ground with his hammer as you can see.

The Thames was out so I decided to risk life and limb on the slippery steps and have a wander on London Beach. One girl did go for a burton on the steps and that was her jeans covered in I dread to think what for the rest of the day. Bless her she even went to the waters edge to rinse her hands clean, I'm not entirely sure whether that would actually have made them worse or not. As you can tell I have no great faith in the cleanliness of the Thames!
I can conclude London Beach smells and looks like any other beach, except it has the most extraordinary, and rather chillingly large, amount of bones washed up on it's shoreline that I have every seen in my life 

There were literally bones everywhere under foot, here's hoping all animal!

I have to share this zoomed in picture with you purely because it is exactly the kind of (infantile) thing I would do if I worked there. Kudos from me to the member of staff at the college who decided this would be a funny thing to do. I love to think how many tourist photos on closer inspection had a vampire minion in them. Heheheh   

Next up was a skim around the National Maritime Museum, home of the largest ship in a bottle and possibly the biggest kettle/teapot in the world as well.

More exclaiming in the gift shop and a quick comfort break later we headed up through the park with a huge crowd of other visitors to the Royal Observatory
Fabulous views from the top and the observatory is beautiful but again we were tightwads and didn't pay to go in, so no pictures with one foot each side of the meridian I'm afraid.

Next up was a desperately needed cup of tea from a very cool converted airstream caravan, served by a huge, very musclebound and extremely grumpy man, another theme of the day as it goes.
Once my tea was inhaled we decided to visit Greenwich Market which was great fun even if sadly it was half shut for renovation, amazingly I didn't buy anything.

We ambled about Greenwich High Street from there and spotted a sign for the Greenwich Vintage Market.
With a gimlet look in my eye I turned to Himself and informed him firmly we were going there next, he sighed and said he hadn't doubted that for a minute.

Well dear readers it took us about 15 minutes to get around and I can recommend it as a novelty experience only. As far as vintage goes it was absolutely shit!
It was in fact more like stepping back into the Saturday or Sunday morning market every self respecting town used to have in the 80s or 90s. Full of tables of cheap, nasty plastic and nylon tat.
It has probably had the same tables with the same nasty items unsold on them since they were new in the 80s and since the 80s & 90s is now classed as 'vintage' someone has just altered the sign!

After that we decided some kind of food was in order but as it was 4pm and a gorgeous afternoon instead of sitting in somewhere we just grabbed some chips, which were served to us by a huge, very musclebound and extremely grumpy man.
Clearly in Greenwich you can only serve food if first show your weight lifting credentials!

We finally bid Greenwich goodbye and headed back into London on the docklands light railway where I got to indulge in my favourite sport of people watching. We were heading to a pub just around the corner from the Barbican for a gig by a guy called Luke Tuchscherer who Himself had helped crowd fund.

The weird thing was how everything was shut on a Saturday night. I know it's part of the business/finance district of London so probably isn't that busy at weekends, but there was something rather horror film-esque and weird about walking past restaurants and pubs that were all shut tight. We had a great night but had to scoot early to catch a train home, not wanting to risk the very last one due to some rugby match or another that was on.....

And so to The Holy Grail.

You may be wondering to which Holy Grail I refer? Well for me there is only one and OF COURSE it is a handbag.

Ever since I started collecting vintage handbags and my passion for them grew and grew I have only ever wanted to find one bag. It's not a well known make as you might assume but a colour.

My Holy Grail was to find the perfect green handbag, preferably 1940's, but it had to be green, which, as it goes is a pretty rare colour to find from that era. Over the years there have been a few examples that have eluded me, usually because the price was just way beyond my budget but I never gave up hope.
One rainy day at work I was browsing Ebay in my lunch hour, where first up I spotted this 'project'
It was filthy dirty, the insides had seen much better days and the handle needed fixing. However the price was good and I could see potential. I have to say until it arrived I thought it was a very dirty black handbag.
However now it's outside has been cleaned it is actually grey! It's not finished yet, I just cleaned the inside this morning and once that is thoroughly dry I will glue then stitch the handle back together.

But what of the Holy Grail?
Well I came across this and my heart skipped a beat.
From the picture it seemed to be in fabulous condition, really quite wonderful and made of real leather.
I started watching it, convinced the price would just sky rocket like every one before had. As it goes the bag was set to end at a very random time on a Monday afternoon and I very naughtily logged on to Ebay when I should have been working and bid.
I really didn't want to risk putting in my bid too early and it paid off. I won and for just under £20.
I couldn't quite believe it, and of course I could shriek or jump about like a loon because I was meant to be working!

What can I say? It arrived in the week and the pictures did not lie, it's just beautiful. If anything the colour is a much richer vibrant forest green than it looked in the pictures and it is the softest, supplest leather you can imagine. I am thrilled to my core.

Thus the dilemma. Now I have found my Holy Grail does the search have to end? Is my collection complete? (lord knows I am running out of room to store and display them) Or do I simply decide on another Holy Grail? Is that too shallow?

I mean once a collector always a collector and I have always liked the idea of finding the perfect purple vintage bag...........