Esther in Leicester

I kinda like the alliteration of that. 🙂

So, yesterday was Leicester(shire) day with the family and I can tell you Leicester really is all about Richard III. For me personally, it was all about Richard Armitage as well of course.

Leicester is a little over an hour away from our campsite. We were late getting away in the morning and then got lost on the way in Kettering, looking for a gas station and then for a place to use the bathroom (the gas station didn’t have that, they said), so by the time we finally got to Bosworth it was after 1 pm! Bosworth is the place where Richard III was killed on August 22nd, 1485 in battle against Henry Tudor. There’s a museum but we didn’t take time to visit that, we just traipsed over the battlefield site and monument…

By the way, even the bathrooms at the Bosworth site are Armitage Shanks. 🙂 I also very much liked a chain mail necklace I saw, but as I don’t wear militaria (and to what occasion would I even wear such a necklace?) I decided against buying it.

After Bosworth we drove to Leicester but before we got there, we made sure we passed through the village of Huncote first. It is well-known to Richard Armitage fans that he grew up there, so naturally, as we were near anyhow, I thought it might be fun to drive through it. We didn’t get out or anything, just drove through and got a very quick and fleeting impression of the village.

There’s a pub…

… and a church and a village green…

… and I saw a sign to the primary school but was too late to photograph it (we didn’t have the time to drive to it either). So, the impression was fleeting but it looked like a lovely village in the middle of a very green countryside. You can hardly imagine that it’s so near to a big city. Within five minutes, however, you find yourself driving into the outskirts of Leicester, which is a very busy city…

At the request of my son we drove by Leicester City football stadium…

IMG_5956

The parts of the city that we drove through didn’t look great until we got to the city center. After we parked, we walked into the center and this was the first part we saw…

IMG_5963

One of the buildings is the Radio BBC Leicester building, which immediately made me think of Richard Armitage again as he has been interviewed for Radio BBC Leicester before.

In fact, over on Richard Armitage Central there is a link to an interview where Richard speaks about Richard III on BBC Radio Leicester! Very fitting with our visit there yesterday!

We of course also visited the cathedral which is where Richard III is now buried. The black embroidered cover was used during his reburial procession and ceremony.

Some more impressions of the very nice looking center of Leicester…

We also went shopping there, it’s a very good place for shopping. There’s a huge mall right there in the center, good for year-round all-season shopping. It also had this store:

IMG_5986

In Colchester I had come across Mr. Darcy, here in Richard-Armitage-city I fittingly came across Mr. Thornton. 🙂 Is it a coincidence that both are sweets / chocolate shops?

For all its Richard-ness (the Third and Armitage), Leicester was also the city where Mr Esther and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary yesterday! For that alone, it will remain a bit of an extra special place. My son took a few pictures of us and the four of us had dinner in an old bank building that is now a grill restaurant with a very nice ambiance.

Yes, Esther very much enjoyed being in Leicester!

Men & DIY

My kids were ready for a little redecoration of their rooms and my daughter wanted a new bed, which we thought was a good idea. The kids have been having a two-week holiday and my husband had more time off than me, so he has started the task at hand. My daughter wanted a light grey on her walls (my husband spent the past two days painting), she has white furniture and now she also has a new white bed. The bed needs to be assembled and that is quite a job, which is still ongoing…

20170505_201816

I looked in on my husband just now and suddenly I found myself giggling, thinking of a certain song! This may only be interesting to German readers out there, but there’s this German folk singer called Reinhard Mey. I think his most famous song is Über den Wolken, a song I very much like (this video also has English subtitles):

A while ago I found this other song of his on YouTube called Männer im Baumarkt. He combines his signature style serious folk tune (at the end even using his famous Über den Wolken tune) with a very comical text of men who go to DIY stores…

I wish non-German speakers could understand the lyrics as well, many universal truths in there! Seeing my husband at work, and he’s been to the DIY store a few times already this week, made me think of this song! Yep, I just laughed! Inwardly till now, that may change when my husband gets around to reading this post. 🙂

Won’t you be my Valentine, Richard?

Guylty has set a Valentine’s Day Richard Armitage challenge, it even has it’s own hashtag (#CelebRAteLove), and I just had to heed the call. Even though I am not really big on the V-day holiday – I prefer to love my loved ones all year round – I do like a very occasional blogging challenge. So, here goes…

The first thing that came to mind when I thought of Valentine’s Day and Richard Armitage was this video that I really love, made 5 years ago by Bccmee …

When I look at this video, it makes me feel happy and makes me appreciate yet again that I do still really love Richard Armitage.  It’s been pretty much 11 years since I first saw him in North & South and I was hooked…

Even now, 11 years later, I still love this and my heart still totally soars and melts at the train station scenes..

Valentine’s Day and Richard also makes me think of the Love Poems that were read by him and released on Valentine’s Day 2 years ago. I first thought I’d use the ‘How Do I Love Thee’ poem as a thread throughout this post as I really love that poem and really like hearing it in Richard’s voice…

For this challenge I was going to use each line of the poem, transfer the meaning to Richard and then write about that. However, when I listen to the words of the poem, I find that they become meaningful to me in relation to my husband and have nothing to do with Richard anymore! The depth of love in that poem and even the domesticity of it (I love thee to the level of everyday’s most quiet need, by sun and candle-light) pretty much exactly describes how I feel about my husband. It is so heartwarming that something my favourite actor has done puts into words so perfectly what I feel for my favourite man! It also puts into perspective for me how I love both my husband and Richard but how I love each of them in very different ways. My favourite man once took a picture of me with my favourite actor…

12cfb-img_23452blighter

… and I feel blessed that I can share this Richard-thing with him! I have a very special husband who, with a twinkle in the eye, supports me in all of my fangirling. He even reads all my blog posts and sometimes lovely talks spring from that (we had a very nice Lucas Bryant conversation after dinner on Sunday night, for instance). There are very many forms of loving and I find that loving both my husband and Richard goes together well. One is a real, all-encompassing and tangible love, the other is a love from afar and is also a gateway to worlds other than my own.

This post is supposed to be about Richard Armitage and not my husband. So, instead of using the ‘How Do I Love Thee’ poem literally as a thread as I had first intended to, let me instead use it as an inspiration. I don’t love Richard in the same way as in that poem but let me examine how I do love thee, Richard… I can’t really love thee as a brother or a lover or a friend because I don’t know thee personally. I only know the glimpses we are allowed into thine heart and soul through work and interviews and appearances and tweets.

So, how do I love Richard? Let me count the ways:

  • I find that there is a soulfulness in Richard’s work that reaches out to me and makes me feel connected to the stories and the characters he portrays (even though there are many characters I don’t necessarily like).
  • I find that he is a pleasure to look at. Granted, tall dark handsome really is my type, but something makes him stick out for me, even more than say Pierce Brosnan or Hugh Jackman or latest squeeze Lucas Bryant (yes, even with my current level of obsession with Lucas) or even Colin Firth… I blame the intensity in his eyes and the expression on his face that exudes something… extra… hidden depths, maybe…an intelligence… a strength of feelings…
  • I find that his deep warm hot chocolate voice strikes a real chord with me, combine that with the accent and yes, I am done for. My phone ringtone is Richard singing “Far over the misty mountains cold…”, for obvious reasons.
  • I find that I feel connected through things I find important that seem to be important to Richard as well. For instance, people seem important to him and he feels like a humanitarian to me, he seems to be leaning in the same political direction as I am, he likes chocolate and red wine like I do and need I mention yet again my glee at him liking Muse? Love is about feeling connected and I feel connected with him on many fronts.
  • I find that, just like with people in my real life, I can love him and still be frustrated with him sometimes.
  • I find that, just like with people in my real life, he can like things I don’t like (skiing, for instance) and I can still love him.
  • I find that he has been ‘with me’ for so long that intensity of feeling sometimes ebbs a bit because there is no way that intensity can always burn that bright. Yet he is always there in an undercurrent of my consciousness and every scrap of news about him always pulls me right back in again.
  • I find that I can use the image I have of him or of characters he has portrayed and become creative with them in the occasional writing I still try to do now and again.
  • I find that he attracts some very lovely fans to interact with, which in recent years has also deepened the fan experience for me (this challenge is one such example).

In the end, I find I can love Richard in all sorts of ways and to a certain degree he almost becomes real to me: as a lover in a story I may write, or as a brother when I think he could use a little guidance, or as a friend when we share Muse songs, or as an artist who can show me all sorts of facets of the human experience. I tell my husband I love him every day and on this one day, Valentine’s Day, I’m adding an ‘I love you’ to Richard as well in the form of this post.

So, Richard Armitage, today you are my Valentine and maybe I – along with all your other fans – can in a way be your Valentine(s) too!

richard-valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day one and all!

Snow day!

Except for a few cold days here and there, it has been a mild winter so far. This morning, however, has felt like the first real winter day – we woke up to a white world, covered in a layer of snow. Not that deep but it’s there!

img-20170211-wa0004

Apparently it will all be gone again tomorrow, so my husband and I took the chance to take a walk in the snow through our neighbourhood…

I also saw this Hugh Jackman Instagram post this morning…

hugh-jackman-snow

… and know exactly how he feels. 🙂

Tall dark handsome men…

Warning: tall dark handsome men pictures overkill ahead! I may be overcompensating for the depressing times we live in… a girl has got to do something to cheer herself up!

So, I have a very definitive type of man I always fall for. It’s an Oedipus thing – the first man I loved was my dad. He wasn’t particularly tall but he was dark and handsome and smart and caring…

Then I discovered Roman Holiday in my early teens and Gregory Peck…

I adored Peck (and still do), in hindsight he was big time daddy-issue material. Dark and handsome and smart and caring… and tall. I even wrote him a fan letter once! I received a reply about 2 years later with an autographed picture. Apparently a mail bag had been misplaced and found again and I got my reply after all. I have been searching for that autographed picture ever since I discovered not too long ago that it isn’t in the drawer that I thought it would be in…

I also had a soft spot for Richard Chamberlain in those years…

… but I was never as obsessed with him as I was with Gregory Peck.

After Gregory Peck and Richard Chamberlain I fell in love with a real life tall, dark, handsome, smart and caring man (and luckily he fell in love with me) and I’ve very happily hung onto him for the past 25 years

At the end of 1995 I discovered Colin Firth! He walked out of a lake in Pride and Prejudice and straight into my heart…

… and as regular readers here know I still love the man and blog about him!

I’ve had a little flirtation with Pierce Brosnan (even saw him up close and personal two and a half years ago!)…

… and have made a few fan videos with him in them.

I’ve also had a little flirtation with Keanu Reeves (including a fan video I made of an interview he did on Graham Norton and I loved him in that)…

Since 2006 the actor of my heart has been Richard Armitage, of course – the actor I blog about most on here!

And now, since a few weeks, there’s Lucas… No, not this one…

… I was never a huge Lucas North fan (or Spooks fan, for that matter), even if he was portrayed brilliantly by Richard Armitage. No, the Lucas I have discovered is named Lucas Bryant!

I have been watching Hallmark movies and I continue to watch them and Lucas Bryant was in two of them that I actually quite liked. I had seen them before a few months back and I had noticed him then as well. He was instantly on my “oh oh, there you go again!”-radar, but, as I often do when I discover someone new, I try to resist them. If I don’t resist, then I binge-watch and who has the time and energy to binge-watch?

Anyway, I don’t quite remember how, but I happened upon a Syfy channel series called Haven (based on an original story by Stephen King) that aired for 5 seasons but is finished now. And who should be in that but Lucas Bryant, the guy I’ve been trying to ignore?  The series is not quite my kind of thing – supernatural powers that often lead to deaths take over people in a small town. These ‘troubles’ as they are called have to be brought under control by two agents, Audrey Parker (who is somehow weirdly connected to the ‘troubles’) and Nathan Wuornos. His trouble isn’t that dangerous to others, only dangerous to himself: he has lost the sense of touch, he can’t feel anything, and is eventually shocked to find that when Audrey touches him he can feel her! Audrey, in turn, is immune to the ‘troubles’.

I watched a few episodes of Haven and while the stories of these ‘troubles’ didn’t always grab me, the story of Audrey and Nathan did. And so I have been binge-watching and skipping through 5 seasons of Haven episodes (each season has 13 episodes, 5th season has 26).  In the first series it’s still a bit of a baby-Nathan, the actor Lucas Bryant looks so young!

What attracted me in this first series is how Nathan deals with not being able to feel anything. I love how Lucas acts those Nathan moments when he suddenly realizes he can feel a touch from someone for the first time in years. He first feels something when Audrey gives him a brief kiss on the cheek.

He keeps it to himself at first (he confesses it to her later in the series) and especially in one episode he seeks out these touches (skip the first 1 minute and 15 seconds of this following video if you like, it’s not really essential). I like baby-Nathan in those scenes!

But as the series progresses (and also becomes more weird, especially regarding Audrey) he matures and yes, as the lines deepen a bit in his face, he becomes sexier to look at! Here, some pics of Nathan at the end of the series…

I don’t know what it is about him. He’s a bit too GQ handsome (just like Pierce Brosnan was in younger years) but there’s this boyish, almost shy, charm about him and a bit of goofiness and, of course, hidden heartache and then there are the forehead crinkles and the eyes and the hesitant smiles that light up his face… I think what finally tipped me over the edge into new obsession mode was this little love scene in season 4 that makes me grin widely each time; it happens soon after they have finally been able to become intimate in a previous episode. Nathan wants to kiss her, Audrey keeps on talking ‘troubles’ and he makes use of her ‘troubles’ obsession to persuade her to think of other things…

So, after Haven I re-watched those two Hallmark movies and I liked him even better in those than before. There is Tulips in Spring about an interior designer who must halt her work on a big project in order to return home and assist her injured father at her family’s tulip farm in rural Washington state. When she gets there she meets a handsome and kind flower broker (yep, that’s my Lucas)…

And there is Summer Love about a widowed mom who gets a summer internship at a tech company and draws the attention of two very different executives while learning about accounting, app designs and finding love. Lucas plays the accountant and is of course the true love.

Men who look that smooth aren’t normally my thing, they seem vacuous to me, but as he matures Lucas becomes even more mesmerizing to look at. There is just something about him and it’s not just the looks…  I think it’s in the eyes and in the smile, they seem to suggest something more to me. Here are some more pics, the woman in the one picture is his real life wife, an Australian actress and personal trainer called Kirsty Hinchcliffe who also had a small supporting role as a police officer in later episodes of Haven.

Lucas Bryant is Canadian-American, born in 1978, he and his wife have a daughter born in 2008 (all according to Wikipedia). He is still quite unknown, I think, and there is yet more to research and more roles to find… I’m not sure if he’s more than a temporary infatuation (I may be projecting a wish onto him that he can stop the troubled person who is sitting in the White House now) but I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I am having fun and can happily distract myself when the need arises. 🙂