Archive for July, 2009

Looking back at (a sunny) July 2008

I seem to have lost my blogging mojo so I thought I’d post some photos from last year, back when the sun was something warm, comforting and familiar, not a distant memory like it has been this July!

Midge - 1 July 2008

Midge - 1 July 2008

Bailey and Queenie - 4 July 2008

Bailey and Queenie - 4 July 2008

Brini - 20 July 2008

Brini - 20 July 2008

Captain Flint and pals - 20 July 2008

Captain Flint and pals - 20 July 2008

Harold and family - 21 July 2008

Harold and family - 21 July 2008

Scrumpy, Tia, Stella and Brusco - 22 July 2008

Scrumpy, Tia, Stella and Brusco - 22 July 2008

Snipe, Midge and Teal - 29 July 2008

Snipe, Midge and Teal - 29 July 2008

The view from Mum's front gate - 29 July 2008

The view from Mum's front gate - 29 July 2008

Maybe August will see the sun return – and with it, my blogging inspiration!

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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Last night, B, Jennie, GG (Jen’s hubby) and I went to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, courtesy of Orange Wednesdays, which now also lets you have 2 for 1 pizza at Pizza Express, as well as 2 for 1 cinema tickets.

Ron, Hermione and Harry

Ron, Hermione and Harry

And boy, am I glad that our tickets only cost us £4 each instead of £8 because there’s no way that film was worth a penny more.

I’m gutted, as I really thought that they would do something special with this film, but the way I see it, they completely missed the boat.

It was always going to be tricky as the book is essentially exposition, setting the scene for the next and final book. But that doesn’t explain the thinking behind the film.

HBP is about the Horcruxes: what they are, how they work, why and how Voldemort made them, what objects he used and speculation about what those objects are and where he hid them. Intertwined with this are the themes of love, loyalty and trust.

So why on earth did they decide to turn HP6 into a teenage romance?

And what’s with the decision to cut out certain scenes (such as the DA/OotP vs DE battle at the end of the book, Dumbledore’s attempts to get Harry to understand the importance of love and how that makes him different to Voldemort, not to mention the rather important hint that one of the Horcruxes was under Harry’s nose the whole time) and instead make up new scenes, such as the destruction of The Burrow?!

I completely understand why they cut scenes and characters, but I really really REALLY hate it when script writers and directors make up new scenes, especially when their inventions fail to add anything to the plot. I can honestly say that had they dropped the nonsense about destroying the Weasley home and instead followed the book so that the film closed with a battle between the Death Eaters and Dumbledore’s Army and the Order of the Phoenix, the film would have been so much better.

What’s frustrating is that the bits they did well were outstanding. The cave sequence, for example, was exactly as I imagined it when I first read the book, from the eerie darkness to the shock at seeing Dumbledore so weak and frail. It was perfect, a true example of the book brought to life.

But the rest of it … oh dear.

And that makes me worry about the final two films.

I’m going to refrain from drawing up a list of the things I didn’t like, on the grounds that such activities would make me extremely sad and suggest that I have nothing better to do, but that won’t stop me thinking about them as I return to hacking away at Himalayan Balsam now that it’s stopped raining…

The woes and lows of a first-time vegetable gardener

This is my first attempt at growing vegetables, and it sure ain’t easy! Not that I thought it would be, but I’m starting to understand why there are so many books and magazines on the subject. I’m also convinced that without human intervention, left to their own devices, vegetables would swiftly become extinct.

In the spring, with vast amounts of help from Jennie, I planted courgettes, cucumbers, carrots, parsnips, garlic, swede, peas, beans, potatoes, pumpkins, gourds, leeks, broccoli, sprouts, spinach and sweetcorn.

Success!

  • The potatoes seem to be doing well, as do the peas, beans and garlic.

Failure 😦

  • The leeks failed, and each and every pumpkin seedling was eaten. Oh, and don’t ask about the corn…

Hit and miss

  • Only one cucumber plant seems to be trying to make it, and it’s so small and undeveloped that I doubt it even knows it’s a cucumber.
  • I planted 12 courgette seeds. 9 germinated, 6 were completely eaten, 2 only partially. One is going great guns, and its surviving companions are giving it a good go.
  • The only surviving gourd plant is looking to take over the whole garden.
  • The broccoli and sprout plants are still being eaten alive, even though they’re massive. Oh – only two of each actually survived the slugs and snails.
  • A couple of spinach plants are putting on a good show but the rest just sit there.
  • The first lot of carrot seedlings literally vanished overnight, though the second lot of seeds I planted seem to be doing better.
  • Sadly, my swede army is also vanishing before my very eyes – blink and another one runs away.
  • Finally, the parsnips are hanging in there… all four of them!

So, all in all, I can safely say that my first year has been a bit of a disaster. Looking back at all the effort that went into digging, I want to cry! On the other hand, I’ve harvested some potatoes, and they’re absolutely delicious, which is a massive relief.

Ah well, better luck next year!