Downton on the Silver Screen

I went to see Downton Abbey at the cinema in Salisbury yesterday. A day late – had trouble making sure my daughter’s cat was inside the day before, my own fault.

It was quite funny when I got to the cinema. “Where do you want to sit? Is this seat OK?” On the till was a 3-4″ screen, complete with a floor plan on the cinema, and my seat allegedly highlighted. “Er……yes, thanks. Which way is the cinema?”. Just to let the girl know we were probably talking to each other at different levels! And the popcorn. When you visit the cinema as rarely as me, popcorn is OK.

The receipt is printed out, I forget to read it. The cinema door opens outwards. One-handed, the first challenge is getting in whilst holding a carton of popcorn. Dark inside. What seat was it? Darn it, I can’t see the ticket in the dark. I needn’t have worried – as my eyes grew accustomed to the darkness I’m in a small, 100-seat cinema, with about 3 other people in there. I sit anywhere, figuring that I can always move myself if someone else discovers I’m in their seat. Nobody else even came into the cinema, as far as I know.

The film starts. No spoilers. If you liked the TV series, you’ll like the film. In fact, not too dissimilar to a couple of the “specials” they made for the TV show, maybe a bit longer. The TV series is fresh in my mind – it finished on mainstream TV in 2015, but I watched the lot on DVD just three or four months ago. Bits of the series were unbelievable (i.e. the storyline could not be believed), but watching how this completely alien world of the British upper class functions was interesting. The lord of the manor is a good guy, in his world. But it’s not the real world.

The film is the same. Extreme opulence, only fleeting reference to the event of the time, the General Strike. A different world.

I noticed some beautiful shots of Downton Abbey/Highclere Castle, presumably taken by drone. I’d like one of those!

The timing of things raises eyebrows. One day, this couple meet. The next day, they’re playing tonsil tennis! So don’t analyse it too closely. But this is also the Feinian who saves the king! That kind-of sums up the film – 2 hours of harmless entertainment, but it’s not going to change the world.

Holiday Time

My WordPress friend Fandango ( has this excellent idea of each Friday, reposting something from this date in a previous year, just to let readers have a glimpse of our past.

So I chose this week to include a post from two years ago, my first (and so far, my only) holiday/vacation since the stroke. These posts are especially significant for me, as they remind me how far I have come, which was the reason I started this blog. Note that the date is not exact – I tend not to post every day, so I aim for as near as possible. Enjoy (the photos especially), and I hope I’ve done the pingback feature properly.

Stroke Survivor

I went away on holiday with my wife last week, my first time away from home since the stroke.

We stayed in a “normal” room, i.e. not one for disabled people. Deliberately so on my part. The holiday, however, was an organised coach trip to Scarborough, and was clearly aimed at more senior people. A lot of my criticisms of the package are based purely on this age difference. For example, the hotel was without internet, and what they said *did* work, *didn’t*. Nobody seemed bothered, except for my wife and I.

Getting onto and off the coach was dependent on the actual terrain on which we were parked, but was generally do-able. There were plenty of things to hold on to, to give myself leverage. So too was manouvring about the coach. I did find that my bad leg was prone just to “relaxing” out of the seat into…

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