Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 4


SPOILER ALERT! This post is intended for those who have already seen Downton Abbey Series 5 Episode 4

The young people's love lives are a disaster and the elderly are Romancing the Abbey! Here is Lady Mary who has been cruelly toying with as many bachelors as she can keep dangling and now she ditches Tony. Well we could see this one coming before the "sketching trip".

I did like the use of some London filming locations like the Peter Pan statue at Kensington Gardens. And the CGI of Anna at Piccadilly Circus was unprecedented for Downton Abbey! If only she didn't have a creepy man following her. Will this Mr. Green sub plot NEVER die?


Poor Lady Edith is finally going to hear what happened to her newspaper man and is now stalking Marigold and the farmer's wife. Egads! At least she is still writing her column...about how the world is changing...actually I would love to read it!


Mr. Bricker aka Richard E Can't, is still sniffing around Cora. Let's hope Robert will soon toss him out in a manner similar to his Miss Bunting blowup in the dining room. I actually rather enjoyed that scene. It sure caused a stir below stairs! Entertainment for Granny and the servants!


And what in heaven's name is going on with Thomas? Is he doing drugs in the attic? The saintly Baxter will find out. And why is Shrimpy back on the scene? We haven't seen him since two Christmas episodes ago, so does what does this mean for Rose? Surely he is not just back to find the wife of Violet's old beau! Extreme foreshadowing of romance for Rose, the blank cheque thing. And that Prince Kuragin is kind of greasy (in a strangely attractive way) but he has livened up the Dowager lately. She is "Imperious. Magnificent." You bet your sweet bippy she is Kuragin!


Lord Merton is my new fave character, since there was no delicious Spratt in this episode. Even matter of fact Isobel Crawley is moved by Lord Merton's heartfelt declaration of love. So she will...think about it. Good grief Isobel! He is adorable, rich and he looooooves you! What the heck?


Isis! More Isis! Look at that adorable face. And wonder of wonders, Lord Grantham finally said something sensible in this episode, wanting to build quality, attractive houses on Pip's Corner. It's about time Robert started talking sense.


The fashion show was kind of fun (or "yummy" as Mary called it). But what is with that hat on Rosamund? And could Julian Fellowes possibly cram more characters into this episode? We have the return of Charles Blake and even Tony's jilted fiancée Mabel Lane Fox. I smell trouble!

Then we have Mrs. Patmore's impassioned plea to Lord Grantham about her shell shocked nephew. Bravo Mrs. Patmore and shame on Carson!

As usual, we can't wait for next week. Cheers!

Best Lines of the Week:

Countess Violet:  Hope is a tease, designed to prevent us from accepting reality.
Isobel:  You only say that to sound clever.
Countess Violet:  I know...you should try it!

Prince Kuragin: Now you are the great lady. Imperious! Magnificent!

Mrs. Patmore (re: Daisy): Mathematics is one thing. She's studying to be a revolutionary now.

Lord Merton: I state freely and proudly Isobel, that I've fallen in love with you. And I want to spend what remains of my life in your company. I believe I could make you happy. I should very much like to try. (Best Downton Abbey line in as long as I can remember!)

Charles Blake: I wish I could work you out.
Lady Mary: I wish I could work me out.

Lord Gillingham: Am I a bad lover? Is that what you are trying to tell me? (Yes Tony, that is exactly what she is trying to tell you!)


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 3

SPOILER ALERT! This post is intended for those who have already seen Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 3

Well, Lady Mary is on the cutting edge of morality yet again. She seems to have enjoyed the roll in the hay with Tony Gillingham and yet doesn't seem impressed enough to get hitched again. Matthew must be a hard act to follow. I think Mary wants more of a challenge than Tony. He's just too eager!

The Lady Edith and Marigold saga is finally starting to bubble. The poor farmer's wife thought she had abducted Marigold, and I have to admit I was rather thinking that myself. Something is going to give with Lady Edith. I only hope she stays sane.


And good grief! Will we never hear the end of this Mr. Green the rapist valet story? Why can't we have a happy story with the Bates's? Maybe a mini Bates? Never mind...keep going stringing this mystery out of who flung the bastard under the bus, Lord Fellowes. It could have been any number of women in London I would think!

I wonder where Thomas is really going in London? Certainly not to visit his sick father if we know Thomas...and we certainly know Thomas.


Lord Grantham's surprise visit to London backfired big time. And Mr. Bricker is getting pretty cozy with Cora, who seems to be giddy as a school girl with the brazen flattery. But she doesn't seem to have any desire to take it past a flirtation as His Lordship should now be aware!


Daisy is turning into a well educated feminist thanks to the horrid Miss Bunting. By the way, how many times can Miss B come upstairs and make trouble before Lord Grantham sics Isis on her???  I was a little shocked that Daisy had to leave school at age 11 and that she thought education to age 14 would be wonderful. Gosh!

It's lovely that Mrs. Hughes and Carson still seem to be thick as thieves. But even she couldn't change Carson's mind about Mrs. Patmore's nephew. More friction downstairs!


I looooove the appearance of Prince Kuragin, the Russian flirtation of Violet's in the glorious Victorian era. And Lady Mary's sly dig at Granny was perfection! Hurrah! And any guesses whether the Fabergé eggs they were weeping over were real? They look pretty wonderful!

And now Baxter can stay (will the nasty man who forced her to steal show up in a later episode?) and there are plans under consideration to build ugly housing on "Pip's Corner" but Lord Grantham seems horrified even though it would free up some cash for the estate.

"Significant Looks Award" of the week goes to Spratt, Violet's butler and my new favourite character at Downton. Lady Mary's escapades just about popped his eyeballs out. By the way, I just re-watched Julian Fellowes's other masterpiece Gosford Park this weekend and you will find Spratt, Dowager Countess Violet and Mr. Bricker from Downton amongst many other familiar faces from various Period Dramas. I left the closed captioning on this time and caught a few lines I had missed on other viewings. :)

Best Lines of the Week:

Tony Gillingham: I want to acclimate myself with the routines and rituals that will govern the rest of my life. (Ewwwwww! Creepy!)

Lady Mary: I've been tarnished once and I won't be tarnished again.

Isobel: Servants are human beings too.
Violet:  Preferably only on their days off.

Isobel: Hopeless lovers wandering over a desolate moor. If it wasn't Emily Bronte it could be Tolstoy or Gogol.

Countess Violet (to Spratt): What were you imagining? Nothing vulgar, I hope. Nothing beneath the dignity of a butler of this household.

Mrs. Patmore: Sympathy butters no parsnips.

Mrs Hughes: My advice Daisy is to go as far in life as God and luck allow.

Countess Violet: In my day, a lady was incapable of feeling physical attraction before she was instructed to do so by her mama.

Lord Grantham: That an art expert would find your observations on the work of Piero della Francesca impossible to resist, yes, it is hard to believe. (Ouch. You're going to regret that one Robert!)

Lady Mary: Granny has a past!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 2

SPOILER ALERT! This post is intended for those who have already seen Season 5 Episode 2

Well, off goes Jimmy into the big world beyond Downton Abbey. I can't help but think it might be a good thing for him. He seems more of a London boy to me. But will Lady Anstruther (Anna Chancellor) return down the road? I certainly hope so. In the meantime, the unlikely friendship between Thomas and Jimmy (Barrow and James) will have to continue through the post.

And the "Significant Looks Award" goes to Anna and Mrs. Hughes for the discovery of the baby photo under Lady Edith's pillow. It reminded me of the Red Nose Day Spoof of Uptown Downstairs Abbey from years ago. And of course there is more of the Lady Edith/Marigold story line. One wonders why Mr. Farmer/Fireman doesn't just tell his wife that Edith is Marigold's mum. Better than having her thinking that there is something between her husband and Edith, surely????


I do like the addition of the Simon Bricker character (played to slimy perfection by Richard E. Grant) who flirts outrageously in front of the ever dense Lord Grantham. Cora deserves a bit of fun now and then and there is much humour in Lord Grantham's jealousy of Mr. Bricker's attention to Isis!

As an aside, apparently Dame Maggie Smith has had an ongoing 20 year long feud with Richard E. Can't as she calls him, which started when they were in a 6 month long stage production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Apparently she lit into him for nodding off during one of the dinner scenes saying "If I can stay awake, you should be able to too". There is more than a bit of the Dowager in Maggie Smith apparently.


Lord Fellowes is definitely setting up a story line for Daisy taking over the farm with her newly found mathematical ability now that the horrid Miss Bunting is teaching her. Go Daisy!!! And said Miss Bunting is so abrasive that she still seems to be driving Branson back upstairs even as she tries to remind him of his revolutionary roots. She is certainly no Lady Sybil. At least she didn't help herself to dinner and then bitch about privilege again. Run Branson, run!!!


The whole war memorial plot is dragging on. Just build the darn memorial on the square already. Sigh. But the sparks are noticeable between Carson and Mrs. Hughes. All of this elder romance is lovely!


Lord Grantham's ongoing cluelessness is highly entertaining. Now it is the wireless that he refuses to embrace. Hugh Bonneville is now getting more comic lines that Dame Maggie! Perhaps Lord G is now finally morphing into his mother?


Lady Mary in Liverpool doing the try before you buy thing with Tony Gillingham seems fairly promising. But I somehow doubt there will be enough fireworks for Mary to commit. If not, she still has Charles Blake from Foyle's War dangling around. I have to say Anna at the chemist was a real hoot. The poor dear couldn't get more embarrassed. But if they don't stop flogging the Mr. Bates investigation I may...well...go on twitter during the program?

Lord Merton's wooing of Isobel (with romantic talk of quarantine and a visit to his lovely home) continues happily, to the Dowager's consternation. Poor Dr. Death looks ever more uncomfortable with the rich dude trying to steal his beloved medical partner.

Lady Rose is going to help the Russian refugee aristos in York. That sounds promising!

And Molesley is still falling for Baxter, despite her known criminal past. Hurrah!

Best Lines of the Week

Anna (to Lady Mary): Honestly my lady, you'd better hope I never write my memoirs!

Mr. Molesley: Do I take it that I am now first footman?
Carson: You are the only footman. You are first, second, third and last. Make what you will of it.

Lord Grantham: I find the whole idea a kind of thief of life, that people should waste hours huddled around a wooden box listening to someone talking at them. It's a fad...it won't last.

Countess Violet: Mrs. Crawley is never happier than when she has a chance to use her guiding hand.

Lord Grantham: I'm not very good at abroad.

Charles Blake: I love Rose's definition of ordinary life. Dancing and shopping and seeing one's friends.

Charles Blake: Plantagenets are as susceptible as housemaids when it comes to sex.

Lord Grantham: I'm not having Sybil's only child snatched from everyone she loves to be brought up by some harpie in an American sewer.

Lord Grantham: Tell your friend Bricker to stop flirting with Isis. There is nothing more ill bred than trying to steal the affections of someone else's dog. (Really Lord G? Nothing?)

Daisy: Why is it called a wireless when it has so many wires?

Cheers until next week! And again for anyone who hasn't yet seen it, the Text Santa Downton spoof with George Clooney aka Lord George Ocean Gravity, the Marquis of Hollywood. Guffaw!
Part 1
Part 2

Congrats to Joanna Froggatt for her Golden Globe win! Very classy speech!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 1


SPOILER ALERT! This post is intended for those who have already seen Season 5 Episode 1

Downton Abbey is back! Much as I dislike the fact that we have to wait 4 months later than the Brits for our Downton fix, it does help to brighten the cold dark winter months doesn't it? I keep asking myself why I enjoy this miniseries so much and all I come up with is that the eye candy and the humour keep me going. That and the fact that Julian Fellowes has us truly attached to these characters after all these years and event.


I mean Lady Mary is going all slutty-Season-1 again for us (hurrah!), Thomas (I still can't get used to calling him Barrow) is still doing his evil even without O'Brien egging him on. And the tenderness between good old Molesley and Cora's new ladies maid with the secret is adorable. I just love Molesley! The hair dye thing was a hoot!



Many thanks to Lord Fellowes for writing Anna Chancellor a wonderfully cougarish part as Lady Anstruther, who has to come sniffing around for Jimmy when he doesn't reply to her letters. Bravo!


And Lady Edith's frustration with the whole Michael Gregson/lost to the Nazis/Marigold being raised by the farmer-come-fireman, conveniently gave us the mini-fire plot mover. Edith chucks the book in the fire, Thomas Barrow is saved again and off goes Jimmy to London!


But the whole Miss Sarah Bunting thing is really getting to me I am afraid. What a horrible character. She is enough to keep Branson as toffee-nosed as Lord Grantham would want for the moment. Ugh!

So with Daisy learning Algebra, the tedious war memorial plot, Lord Merton sniffing around Isabel to Dowager Violet's chagrin and Baby Sybbie calling her grandfather Donk, we have a promising start to the new Downton Abbey year!

Now let's just get Lady Rose married off, or at least Lady Mary or Lady Edith. We need a real wedding for a change!

Best Lines of the Week:

Lord Grantham: I couldn't care less if he was the son of Foo Manchu!

Countess Violet: There's nothing simpler than avoiding people you don't like. Avoiding one's friends, that's the real test!

Countess Violet to Lord Grantham: Your father always told the village what they wanted.

Sarah Bunting: The rule of the gong. It sounds like life in a religious order.

Lady Shackleton: A single peer with a good estate won't be lonely long, if he doesn't want to be.
Countess Violet: You sound like Mrs. Bennett!

Lord Grantham: Do people think we're a public house on the great road north?

Lord Grantham: Molesley, you look very Latin all of a sudden. Do you have Italian blood?

Lady Ansthruther: Look at your parents, thirty-four years. I'd never manage it. That's the advantage of an older husband. One gets an early release.

Countess Violet: Principles are like prayers. Noble of course, but awkward at a party.

Happy 2015 and for an extra treat, here is a link to the George Clooney Downton Abbey spoof which was an ITV fundraiser for Text Santa. It's a hoot, especially Maggie Smith literally rolling on the floor laughing after having her hand kissed by George Ocean Gravity, The Marquis of Hollywood!

Lord Hollywood Part 1

Lord Hollywood Part 2


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Call the Midwife Christmas Day 2014!


Call the Midwife is back on Christmas Day at 8pm on PBS for a Holiday Special, so set your PVRs! It is a fabulous episode (lucky me being able to preview it!). I highly recommend it for feel-good viewing over the holidays.


The actress who plays Jenny Lee has left the show, but we get to see Vanessa Redgrave as the mature Jenny instead of just having her as narrator. Wonderful!


And we have no nonsense midwife Patsy back (played by the gloriously named Emerald Fennell) and I am so digging Trixie's new shorter hair. And her gorgeous vicar beau for that matter!


Chummy is given a big part to play in this episode as is our sweet little Cynthia who has a big decision to make with Sister Julienne's help.


So make sure if you miss it on the telly, you go to PBS.org to watch it online after Christmas day. You will not be disappointed. And remember, Season 4 of Call the Midwife starts March 29th 2015 (after Downton Abbey ends).

Yippee! I do love these ladies.

Cheers!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cozy Classics board books for Toddlers!


Cozy Classics "Emma"

My heart melted when I saw these amazing board books for toddlers. The brainchild of two brothers from Vancouver who were tired of reading boring books to their little ones, Cozy Classics distill classic novels down to 12 words and illustrates them with needle felted characters in realistic settings.

Cozy Classics- "It was badly done indeed, Emma!"

How a classic novel can be distilled down into 12 toddler friendly words is beyond me but these creative twin brothers have done it.

Cozy Classics Emma reads as...lady, man, goodbye, hello, why? surprise! carry, thanks, laugh, angry, sorry, happy.

I think the facial expressions and the body language are what bring these tales to life for little ones.

Cozy Classics- Emma and Mr. Knightley

I mean, not only does Emma look very sorry for her treatment of Miss Bates, but Mr. Knightley is looking pretty darned sexy. In felt!

Cozy Classics "Pride and Prejudice"

Here is our beloved Lizzy with her muddy hem and her eyes "brightened by the exercise". You can even see the wind blowing her shawl and her bonnet ribbons. Brilliant!

Mr. Bingley is so happy and Mr. Darcy is...well...Mr. Darcy!

Cozy Classics Pride and Prejudice distills down to...friends, sisters, dance, mean, sick, muddy, yes? no! write, read, walk, marry.

Yup that's it. P&P in 12 well chosen words. But look at those little faces!

"You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you"

So if you have little ones to buy for this Christmas (well, any occasion would do to justify these books!) you are all sorted! And don't think they are just for girls. There is a Cozy Classics version of War and Peace, Les Miserables, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist and Moby Dick. And Great Expectations is coming out soon. There is a photo of Miss Havisham looking a little burnt on the Wang brothers' twitter feed. They realistically use real fire to the occasional detriment of the felt figures!

And if there is a Star Wars geek in  your family, the Wang brothers are doing a "Star Wars: Epic Yarns" book to be released next year. Stay tuned for that and hopefully the rest of the Jane Austen novels. Please?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride

As You Wish: The Perfect Christmas Present from Cary Elwes!

If you are looking for a great Christmas gift this year for someone you love (or for someone to give to you), look no further. I am going to take a wild guess that The Princess Bride is one of your favourite films of all time. So you will definitely want to read As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From The Making of The Princess Bride.

Grandfather: That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying "As you wish" what he meant was "I love you". And even more amazing was the day she discovered that she truly loved him back.

"As you wish"

This film is extra special for me as I saw it in the movie theatre (not many people did!) and it was the first movie date I had with my now husband of 25 years. We have watched it many times since, especially with our 2 now grown sons who love it as much as I do.

Vizzini: HE DIDN'T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE!
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

"Inconceivable!"

This is a wonderful little book. You will wish it were longer, however there are lots of great stories about what a magical time it was making it. And how much fun they had. And lots of great pictures!

Inigo Montoya: Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

Vizzini: No more rhymes now, I mean it!
Fezzik: Anybody want a peanut?

"You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles!"

Miracle Max: Have fun stormin' da castle!
Valerie: Think it'll work?
Miracle Max: It would take a miracle.

So when you have read the book, and watched the DVD again with all of the extras (if you don't have a copy with the extras, that would make another great Christmas present!) then you are ready for William Goldman's book. Yes, the book that the film was made from, The Princess Bride- S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure-The "good parts" version- Abridged by William Goldman. There is a wonderful story in Cary's book about how many people in Hollywood had wanted to turn it into a film and failed (or failed to convince Goldman who was very jaded by 1987). But Rob Reiner loved William Goldman's book. By the way, there is no S. Morgenstern...it is all Goldman and I think as a screen writer, he could see how he wanted it made all along. And so of course he wrote the screenplay himself.

So there. Christmas is sorted for you all!

"When I was your age, television was called books!"

The Grandson: Grandpa, maybe you could come over and read it to me again tomorrow.
Grandpa: As you wish.

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