Fangirling & family time

So, I am on a family holiday in the middle of England now with my husband and two teenage kids and already feeling very cheeful about it all! Every day brings new fangirl & family moments.

Leaving The Netherlands wasn’t too fangirly but it was family-time. We waited at the ferry that was to take us from The Netherlands to England, but we didn’t have to wait very long to board.

We had our own cabin for the 7 hour ferry trip and the kids reminisced about Titanic on board (although they refused to re-enact any Titanic scenes for me).

Once in England we had to drive on the wrong side of the road (yep, driving on the left feels wrong…)

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We camped just outside Colchester for our first night in England and did a little sightseeing there the next morning (yep, that’s me in the bottom picture)…

In Colchester I had my first real fangirl moment: we passed by a sweet shop called Darcy (of Pride and Prejudice fame)! Of course, this probably has nothing to do with P&P, but it made me smile!

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We also had our first scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam in Colchester… yumm!

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We then drove on to our current campsite, not far from Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire) and set up our camp for the one and a half weeks we’re staying here for. My 16 year old son gets his own little tent to sleep in.

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When I went to the bathroom here at the campsite, I unexpectedly had my second fangirl moment. See for yourself what brand the washbasins are…

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How lovely to have the thought of Richard Armitage with me every day when I visit the bathroom!

We went to dinner at a pub in a village called Perry, which made me think of our fellow RA blogger Perry over on Armitage Agonistes

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… and when we got back, in the tree right next to our camping spot, there was an owl hooting away! We never see owls in the wild where we live, it was quite an experience for us.

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After a day of lazing away, we passed through the town of Stamford, which gave me my next fangirling moment. Stamford was used as the town of Merryton in 2005’s Pride and Prejudice (the one with Keira Knightley… yeah, not my fave P&P adaptation, but I have seen it often enough nonetheless!)…

After a little walk through Stamford, which is quite pretty with all it’s old sandstone buildings, we went on to visit Burghley House, which was used as Rosings in that same P&P adaptation (the one picture here below is mine, the other is from the movie)!

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We visited inside the huge ‘house’ and the moment I walked into the kitchen, I was reminded of my favourite childhood film The Slipper and the Rose; there was a very similar kitchen in that movie with shiny brass pot and pans!

We saw some of the interior rooms…

…and when we exited we came across a lovely tree with a wooden seat surrounding the trunk and lots of lavender around it; it’s something I would love to have in my own garden, if only my own garden were large enough!

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There were some very pretty flowers/plants in the gardens there…

There was also an ‘adventure garden’ with fountains and a mirror maze.

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After we had all passed to and fro through a gate with a very fine spray of water that hardly got anyone wet…

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… I challenged my kids to jump through the ‘Exit curtain’ fountain (my husband and I walked around it) and the little sods actually did!

It took them a little while to get dry, they took their time in the sun for that…

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The current last picture on my camera is one my son took while playing around with said camera in the car. I quite like it…

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Our holiday has only just started, but already it’s goooood!

My ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ report

Finally getting around to writing this up! It’s been busy…

So, a few nights ago I went to see Bridget Jones’s Baby. I was very suspicious of a new Bridget Jones movie but I can’t resist Colin Firth as a Mr. Darcy character (I can not resist Colin Firth – period) so no matter what, I was always going to go see this.

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Before I say anymore I have to say that I regret seeing so many clips of this movie beforehand because it took away from some of the jokes once they came up – they weren’t all new to me, I had already seen some of the funny ones! Also, when we went to see the movie, it was shown in one of the largest theatres of the cinema we were at and it was sold out! That meant, quite some raucousness during the very funny scenes, which sadly also drowned out some of the funny dialogue. In writing this up,  I am aware that they colour my first impression of the movie.

So, I have said in the past how I didn’t much like the ‘who’s the baby daddy concept’ when I read about it beforehand. To my surprise, however, it was handled very nicely and it gave great friction for the two male characters, Mark Darcy (my Colin) and Jack Qwant (Patrick Dempsey)! Mark is still not good with emotions, somewhat repressed and a workaholic. Jack is the way I think many Europeans see many American men – touchy-feely with wide smiles, health-conscious, open charm and a go-getter. Bridget, once again, finds herself torn between two very different men, with both men vying to be with her. I thanked the stars above that there was no fight scene in this movie (I hated that the second movie had rehashed that from the first movie) but there was more than enough covert rivalry between these two men to make the situation even funnier. I found that especially Colin excelled in those situations, but then I may be biased…

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About Bridget – while she does still bumble around quite a lot she has also matured. She is quite competent in her job (even though she does still muck things up) and she is still single, with her friend seemingly more obsessed by her finding a partner than she is. She is still not the best public speaker around but she tries and succeeds alright and she still knows how to enjoy herself at a party! Her mother is still ridiculous and her friends are still around, now with families of their own. She has also made new friends, like the delightful Miranda (Sarah Solemani), her colleague. So, yeah, Bridget is back but with a little more wisdom.

About Mark Darcy – he still is emotionally uptight but there is also a sadness to him. I find the explanation as to why he isn’t with Bridget somehow lacking. Why he would even have felt the need to marry someone else, whom he is already divorcing at the beginning of the movie, is beyond me. The explanation of why he and Bridget broke up (they are just too different) would have been divisive enough, I didn’t see the need for the ex-wife. Sure, it gave him an extra air of tragedy which really made you feel for him, but that could also have been achieved in other ways. I would have been happier if more of a deal had been made about those differences and I don’t think Darcy could have married anyone else after loving Bridget. Bridget never married, I don’t see why he would have done so. In my view, I believe he just would have emotionally shut himself down even more and have drowned himself in work, instead of getting another wife and then divorcing her again. But that’s just the romantic in me… how could Mark Darcy ever love or marry anyone else than Bridget?

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So, the ex-wife storyline annoyed me, as did knowing some of the best jokes beforehand and the loudness of the crowd in the theatre but other than that: I truly enjoyed this movie and it had everything to do with stellar performances!

I really liked this Bridget, more mature, aware of her past mistakes and yet still the same bumbling person with her heart in the right place. I’m not a huge Renee Zellweger fan but she pulled this off beautifully! She truly is a great Bridget.

Of course Colin Firth was brilliant! The sadness he portrayed was heartbreaking, the way Bridget still touches him was sweet but what I think I loved most were his deadpan looks, especially in the scenes with Patrick Dempsey. Dempsey was alright, he’s a nice guy and a seriously good suitor for Bridget, but Colin outshone him in every way and really made me laugh in the rivalry scenes. I won’t go into the scenes specifically, I don’t want to spoil them, but pay attention to the looks Colin throws. The man acts beautifully with just facial expressions and eyes. Also, the magic between him and Bridget is still there… My bias, I guess, but boy, did I love Colin in this movie!

And then there was Emma Thompson as the gynaecologist Dr. Rawlings… She is all about the business she’s in, very experienced and matter-of-fact. She throws little lines of wisdom and some priceless one-liners out there that are truly funny. A few days later I’m still laughing out loud at the thought of some of them. I read that Emma pretty much wrote her own role and boy did she do it well! She was brilliant, she really stole the movie in the scenes she was in.

There was great humor in this movie – from the explanation as to why Daniel Cleaver isn’t around anymore, to the scenes of Bridget at work and the Jack Qwant interviewing section, to the Darcy-Qwant rivalry and more. I know the getting to hospital bit was a little over the top, but boy, did I laugh! Oh, and the whole labour and birthing section was truly hilarious. There were some sweet and sad scenes too, but mostly this really was a romantic comedy.

Final verdict from me? Bridget Jones’s Baby is not as great as the first Bridget movie (nothing can top that) but it is way way better than the second one. The story was generally good, as were the characterizations, and the acting was great. I’m not just talking about the lead roles here, the supporting roles were acted superbly as well! The movie did have a few annoyances for me but still it is thumbs up from me for this one, I quite loved it! Yes, I need to go see it again, even if only for Colin Firth’s deadpan looks and Emma Thompson’s dry remarks…

Blog FAQ… sorta…

As those of you blogging on WordPress may know, you can see what search terms were used by people who have found your site. Most terms are not recorded due to privacy issues, but some searches do make it ‘on record’. The latest one I saw on my stats list today is “audrey hepburn showing middle finger” in Russian (I had to google-translate it)! Oh, that made me laugh!

Many of the search terms used are general ones about Richard Armitage or Colin Firth or Simon Baker and The Mentalist but some search terms are just downright intriguing, interesting or funny! I find myself reacting to some of these searches as if they were frequently asked questions posed to me. It’s a nice little game to play.

So, here goes, the “FAQ’s” that lead to my blog! Well, not really… sorta… (most of these questions are only mentioned once on my list). 🙂

audrey hepburn showing middle finger – Hahaha! Now that I’d like to see… When googling it I find this manipulated photo/gif, apparently it’s a thing!

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images eddie redmayne socks – What is special about Eddie Redmayne’s socks? I can’t seem to figure it out but I’d love to know. So, if anyone can elaborate, please feel free to do so. Maybe his socks are very colourful, just like Richard Armitage’s seem to be?

 

richard armitage beautiful man – Well, yeah, can’t argue against that! If you read this blog, you will know that that is a fact of life for me.

RA Woof

 

james cromwell in a fairy film – Apparently when you type that into google, my site is the first one to come up! I guess the search must have been for the movie Babe. Yeah, I blogged about that once. Lovely film!

JC fairy film search

 

i absolutely love colin firth – Me too! He features regularly on my blog!

 

is alistair appleton married? – I confess that I don’t know. He occasionally presents Escape to the Country on the BBC, he’s a Buddhist, he’s a psychotherapist and gives workshops, it says on wikipedia that he’s ‘openly gay’, he has his own site and blog! Every time I look at him I am filled with warm feelings. It’s something in his eyes and a kindness in his face.

 

richard spandex – Ah, yes! Looks like that could become a thing maybe? Sadly it looks like we will never get to see Richard Armitage in spandex now that he won’t be in the Mid Life Crisis movie anymore (not that spandex was guaranteed in that movie by any means). The closest thing to an image of Richard in spandex (that I know of) is the picture of him in that dragon suit for Hannibal.

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Of course, this question may have nothing to do with Armitage at all but could be about any Richard out there… This is what my ‘richard spandex’ search came up with in the first few images displayed (be warned when clicking on them, there’s at least one quite graphic image amongst these 😉 ):

 

richard armitage bare chest AND richard armitage crucible naked – He wasn’t actually naked in The Crucible but yes, he definitely was bare chested in it for a little bit! Wish I had been sitting on the front row in the theatre for that, but luckily it can all be viewed beautifully again and again on Digital Theatre.

armitage proctor @washbasin

 

wet mr darcy – Yes, please.

In fact, the post I once did on wet shirts and bare chests is still quite well read… 😉

andy serkis shirtless – I see a search theme emerging here… I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Andy Serkis shirtless! I have seen him in spandex, or whatever that tight stuff is that he has to wear for his CGI work.

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michael palin the hobbit – Alas, no, Michael Palin wasn’t in The Hobbit. More’s the pity…

daughter is in jail – Well, she’s only 12. I suppose juvenile detention could be an option but no, I have not seen real criminal tendencies in my daughter yet.

how do you say, “happy belated birthday”, in czech? – Even though I have been to the Czech Republic (and the next visit is coming right up, this time to the East right near Poland), I have not learned to speak Czech yet. Google Translate says that “belated happy birthday” translates as”opožděné přání k narozeninám“. Not at all sure how you pronounce that and of course I can not vouch for the correctness of the translation.

is the book of esther a comedy – No, can’t say that it is. Not this one and not the Bible one either. Although maybe some parts could be funny-ish.

was the book of esther about love – This Book of Esther blog is about things that I love and care about, so in that sense, yes. The Book of Esther in the Bible (incidentally, I was named after that Esther) is about love too. The Persian king loves Esther, Esther loves her people and saves them from persecution. I can’t quite remember whether Esther actually falls in love with King Ahasverus herself, but yeah, lots of things are done in the name of love in that Bible book.

 

boys sexy 3 piece suits – Oh, yes please! I’ve blogged about that too.

esther rose thomas lovely deaf signer – For a moment I thought it said ‘singer’ but it says ‘signer’. I’ve never heard of her, but she sounds and looks lovely!

jisbon fun photo – Which one? I hope you found it! (For those not in the know: Jisbon is the ‘shipper’ name for Patrick Jane and Theresa Lisbon from The Mentalist). I get quite a lot of searches about The Mentalist, Simon Baker and about his wife Rebecca Rigg. They truly are a gorgeous couple worth searching for.

 

call the midwife mark strong – Nope, Mark Strong was never in Call the Midwife. I do get quite a lot of Mark Strong searches, but alas, I haven’t blogged about him that much. I do like him, though!

marta dusseldorp nose – Ah, the lead actress in A Place to Call Home! Yes, her nose does have quite a distinctive shape (click on images to enlarge). I love distinctive noses. In fact, her co-star Brett Climo has a distinctive one as well! Just like some other people I know.

 

chris armitage brother of richard armitage – This is the most used search term in my list, which surprises me because I don’t think I have ever blogged about Richard’s family! I know nothing about them except for their names (except for Richard’s sister-in-law’s name) and that they come from Leicester.

have a beautiful day my love – Thank you!! You too!

Wet shirts and bare chests

Oh wow, Armitage world erupts again, because of these…

armitage proctor @washbasin

A whole controversy has emerged over whether it is OK to ogle these, whether it doesn’t objectify Richard Armitage/John Proctor. Well, these are public pictures, everyone involved in the production must know the effect such images can have and it takes nothing away from the absolutely electrifying performance by Mr. Armitage. In fact, it adds to it! A state of undress like that may seem sexy (and believe me, I like to look) but it also shows a vulnerability and that’s what these images convey to me as well – a strong, sexy man at a very vulnerable stage in his life.

As soon as I saw these pics of a bare chested Armitage at the washbasin it made me think of this:

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Darcy wet shirt 0In 1995 Mr. Darcy emerged in a wet shirt from a lake, with nipples showing and everything, and the world went gaga… He too, at that moment, was at a very vulnerable point in the story and the “less formally attired” look added to his desperation. What makes these pictures so sexy? I don’t believe it’s just the look that makes it sexy, it’s the context in which this scene is placed as well and the character of the person! Of course, things get taken out of context, and that has happened with the Darcy wet shirt. It has become a legendary, stand-alone image. But Colin’s name is attached to that, so that’s not bad PR… you can have a worse image than being considered sexy.

So, was Colin Firth/Mr. Darcy objectified for this scene? Er… yes, I think so! And even now, almost 20 years on, this may be the most famous scene from the whole 1995 Pride and Prejudice production. So much so that it has passed into legend and is referenced endlessly. For instance:

In a time travel romantic comedy adaptation of Pride and Prejudice called “Lost in Austen” (things work out quite differently than in the book – loved it! Oh, and check out the Mr. Darcy and Tinky Winky scene), the actor Elliot Cowan was specifically asked to step into the lake, to recreate the Darcy-wet-shirt look:

wet-shirt Lost in AustenLizzie Bennet appreciates Darcy in a wet shirt just as Amanda appreciates it in Lost in Austen:

Lizzie w Darcy in wet shirtAmanda w Darcy in wet shirt

There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to Darcy’s wet shirt: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mr-Darcys-Wet-Shirt-Appreciation-Society/150114028390072

In 2013 a statue was made of Mr. Darcy in a wet shirt and it was placed in a lake in London, it even toured England!

Colin Firth wet shirt statue

More recently I came across this:

benedict-cumberbatch-colin-firth-460x272Even Benedict Cumberbatch gets in on the wet shirt action! http://www.unrealitytv.co.uk/showbiz/colin-firth-vs-benedict-cumberbatch-wet-shirt-competition/

Colin Firth answers questions about it in interviews and has a good laugh with it. He has recently even said he should have been naked in the scene! My, what a fuss that would have caused! http://www.express.co.uk/news/showbiz/553741/Colin-Firth-wet-shirt-Pride-and-Prejudice

And in the extras of the second Bridget Jones film, Bridget Jones interviews Colin Firth, the actor (so not in character as Mr. Darcy), about the wet shirt – this interview cracks me up and Colin plays along so brilliantly!

I follow all this with great amusement and yes, I ogle as well. So, are we objectifying? I guess we are to a certain extent. But is that always wrong? I don’t think so. Believe me, there are times when I very much objectify my husband and in those moments I am really not thinking of his other wonderful characteristics and all the wonderful things he does… It’s OK to zoom in on certain attractive aspects of a person, doesn’t mean that is the only thing you care about.

So… if anyone ever decides to do a statue of Richard Armitage with his bare chest so that he too can pass into sexy-man legend, then I hope they choose this image, it’s my favorite one:

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