Festive wishes everyone from Carl at MilnersBlog
What started out as a beautiful sunny Saturday trip to the Yorkshire Coast via the picturesque Scenic Route soon had a sting in its tail. As with most of our trips out over the last few years, they always involve us stopping off at some quaint place we usually just drive on through to explore its hidden beauty with ‘Trusty’ the camera, today’s place was Wold Newton, a small Yorkshire Wolds village and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire with a tiny population of circa 337.
As you turn the bend in the village your welcomed by the quintessential English village pond full of ducks and geese and lovely duck hut in the middle, including a wooden arched footbridge leading to the most well-kept ‘English’ red phone box I’ve seen in years. We parked up and ventured into the village, which didn’t have a soul in sight, our first call was the parish church of All Saints an 11th century Grade II* listed building, although a small church, it was no less in beauty, as with most of these village church’s it was unlocked and empty, so we paid our respects and sighed the visitors book, plus I took a few snaps of the magical stained windows in the summer sun.
Next stop was the village pond, where a lone boy was feeding a full loaf of bread to the ducks, we slowly walked aground taking pictures and admiring the view, it was while we was there that Paula felt as small bite on her foot, thinking nothing of it we carried on. Our next stop was to find the Wold Newton Meteorite Monument, erected to honour the largest meteorite observed to fall in Britain, which fell near to Wold Cottage farm in 1795, sadly we couldn’t find it, which was good for Paula has her foot had started to itch.
We arrived at Humanby first and enjoyed Fish & Chips from our favourite east coast chippy ‘The Captains Table’ we even watched a lovely wedding party depart from the village church with the bride and groom going off in shiny 1957 Chryslers New Yorker. Our next stop was Hunmanby Gap to enjoy the scenic views across Filey bay, and a few hours on the beach, which allowed Wifey to sooth her foot in the cooling North Sea, evening soon came and homeward bound to Leeds beckoned.
Once home we noticed a few tiny bite marks on her foot, but what evolved over the next few days after visiting the doctors a few times and eventually getting sent to the A&E and quickly admitted to the hospital ward was nothing short of shocking, it turns out the tiny bite turned into Cellulitus (Blood Poisoning) with other complications including heart palpitations. Thankfully after 3 days on an intravenous drip of strong antibiotics and lots of other meds, she finally came round around and started to fight back against back against such an evil venomous insect bite.
Thankfully she’s was soon on the mend and looking forward to some R&R in the Spanish sun and sea to help the healing process, only to bitten again by a mosquito on the leg which started to swell, luckily a friends tip from Mexico of rubbing it with a raw garlic glove helped it heal very quickly…phew!!
I’ve finally stepped back into MilnersBlog after over 4 months of not posting absolutely anything at all on the blog, at first I couldn’t seem to think why not, but last night I finally realised why I hadn’t, you see my last post was the colourful Leeds Carnival, and not long after I posted that ❤Wifey and I set off on our first solo vacation without the girlie’s in over 20 years, this was to one of our friends stunning Villa in Southern Spain in the ‘Tapas’ province of Murcia. Whilst there we had such an amazing time, dining and relaxing in a place where we hardly came into contact with anyone other than the heart-warming friendly Spanish locals, the area was also ‘Spain’s Greenhouse’ and the fresh produce we bought from the local markets was the best I’ve ever seen and tasted, none of this EU ‘perfect vacuum packed’ crap you got back home. I even made my signature dish… Spanish Paella using local seafood and ingredients whilst there… Wifey said it was the best one I’ve ever cooked. I even took lots of photography out there, some of which I was so proud of and couldn’t wait to share them on my return, especially a lightning storm over the bay as we took shelter with the locals in the beach shack bar. We returned fully rejuvenated from the stresses of family and work life and was so looking forward to the coming autumn…
Now for the ‘Why no Blogs’… we arrived back on the Friday and quickly got into the usual unpacking and relentless washing, as well as seeing the lovely Girlies and our Happy (excited) Dog. Sunday quickly came round and also a visit from my lovely Mum, who dropped a bombshell which rocked me to the core, you see, whilst I was away she had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, she hadn’t even finished talking before the tears where rolling down my face, I felt like god had given me this most amazing holiday with one hand and was trying to take something eternally precious to me away with the other hand… I felt cheated.
The few weeks later I met her with my Dad for the her first meeting with Surgeon, but due to traffic and parking I arrived slightly late to witness them both looking so utterly shell-shocked, I went cold with fear, I thought had they already seen him and got some horrendous news, but thankfully not, instead some foreign driver had driven into their car on the way to the hospital trying to get out-of-the-way from of a speeding ambulance, of all the days to have a car accident, thankfully they were able to carry on their journey to the breast clinic. First thing I said was “cars can be always be repaired and replaced” …unlike my mum. But the surgeon that day was so confident that my mum was repairable.
The day of the surgery soon came, and it was a day that I’ve never seen her so terrified of the unknown, and the what if’s! …I’m glad I was there for them both that morning, because soon after we kissed her goodbye, before she was wheeled away to theatre, my dad who is normally a strong and proud ‘Yorkshire’ man, broke down that early morning in way I don’t even mum had ever seen, he was so worried that something would go wrong or they would find something else, I’m not sure how long it took for him to let go of my hand which was now turning purple, but when he did, we sat there for a few hours talking about his love of pigeons, it was my ❤Wifey’s tip to take his mind off the moment, and it did thankfully. A few hours later the back-up troops arrived before mum returned from theatre…my two sisters.
When she returned, the Surgeon was confident that it all went well, and everything (the cancer) was safely removed (or Betty as we now called now it) …we all breathed a sigh of relieve and later that day made our way home in the torrential rain.
One of my lasting memories of that day at the hospital was the ‘all female’ surgical team, from the porter to the nurse, anaesthetist, surgeon and after care, which for me was an amazing touch by the Leeds NHS Breast Cancer unit to make their patients feel relaxed.
The drama of that day wasn’t going to end there, you see MilnersBlog was a finalist for the Best City and Neighbourhood Blog in the North of England at the BlogNorth awards in Manchester that night, I ‘SO’ wanted to attend the event, even though in my heart-of-hearts I had no hope of winning, but I was emotionally drained from the day and weeks earlier, instead I stayed at home with the comfort of ❤Wifey and followed the event on social media… When they announced I was the winner, my emotions started with joy and soon turned to tears, I think having a day at both ends of the emotional scale was too much for me to cope with, Wifey even tweeted my thanks on my behalf.
Four months down the line, mum has now had the all-clear, although she’s still going through radio therapy, which will last into the New Year, but her and the surgeon feel ‘Betty’ is finally Beaten.
Last week Mum finally got her Mojo back and started enjoying her passion for baking again…just in time for making her marvellous Christmas Cakes. It seems to have released me back to my passion as well …MilnersBlog.
Sunday the 24th of June 2012 was the day the Olympic torch finally arrived in Leeds, something we in the Milner family had been really looking forward to seeing. Luckily for us Leeds had been chosen as one-of-the-four cities to host a Celebration Concert to witness the Olympic Torches arrival. Thankfully we’d managed to get passes to this ‘ticket-only’ event which was held at our favourite place for walking the dog ‘Temple Newsam’ …but instead of the tranquil peace that usual greats us when we arrive, we were greeted to the grounds filled with 25-30,000 screaming people.
The uniqueness of this event was not the all the free Coca Cola, beat pads, inflatables and ribbons to express ourselves at the entertainment from the event sponsors, for me it was the majestic Golden Olympic Caldron set on the stage in pride of place.
We were subjected to a few bands neither me or the Girlie’s had heard of, the likes of Tribes, Friendly Fires and Little Comets, it was only when Britain’s Got Talents TV-made stars Pump & Grind and Diversity arrived on stage that we recognised anyone: How Sad..
Thankfully on this unexpectedly sun-drenched day, 13-year-old Aaron Bell a 7th Dan Black Belt finally brought the iconic flaming Olympic Torch from Temple Newsam House to a specially erected stage and ignited the cauldron.
The following day I witnessed the Olympic Torch Relay again, this time outside the Studio in Wakefield, it was only because Olympic Sponsors Coca Cola’s main bottling plant was just around the corner that it came this way, but this time I got to see all the floats go passing by. Yet again it was quite a party atmosphere, which was quite unusual at the side of the road. There was a few ‘bar-humbug’ types from the office, but looking past all the political stuff and whats it’s costing us taxpayers, I thoroughly enjoyed both events and are quite looking forward now to the actual Main Event.
A lot of weight rests on the shoulders of Sir Ridley Scott after 30 years hiding behind historical pursuits he’s back to show us kids how it’s done. Known for rewriting the science fiction rule book alongside Lucas and Kubrick, Scott has expectations to meet with his latest film Prometheus.
Before the viral campaign and even before the teaser trailer of the teaser trailer came out we were presented with the tag line: “They went looking for our beginning. What they found could be our end.” translation: An Alien prequel on creation. It seemed an interesting but barely touched subject in film, and with Ridley at the helm an exciting concept. It’s been a long while since a sci-fi film has a budget to match its ideas. Over the years surviving off early 90’s copycats and obvious Scott inspired pieces such as Moon, Pandorum (2009) and Sunshine (2007) we were in desperate need of our knighted director and here is back in his most successful arena…
Prometheus opens up with naturalist cinematography; panoramic shots of evolving terrain feed our appetite for spectacle making us reminisce on the Blade runner cityscapes. The grandeur score composed by Gladiator’s Marc Streitenfeld is woven flawlessly into the landscapes and works well to draw the audience in for that all important first scene. It doesn’t take long to foresee that this is no Alien, without having to wait for John Hurt to cough up his super noodles just minutes in we get our extraterrestrial, killing all hope for tension. Designed as a Titan Michael Angelo the humanoid (or engineer) is one of the films early surprises appearing briefly alongside the familiar fade-in credits. It is plain to see the film lacks the suspense of its classic origins opting out of the horror sub-genre and edging more towards thriller. Within the film we are presented with themes of humanity religion and the classic stables gender, pregnancy, nature and comradeship, parallels that can be drawn out clearly from its predecessors.
The design of the film is hard to flaw with the super visual effects company Weta digital seducing us frame by frame we can see this is going to be a treat for the eyes. Scott has more freedom technically and financially to mould his vision this time round and ultimately more power. Known for being a world-builder Riley’s Roman empires and dystopian cities have left permanent imprints in our minds. He now seeks to unveil a world that Alien could never have dreamt of, the spine-tingling claustrophobic atmospheres created three decades ago have been replaced by vivid open almost staged areas. The beloved space jockey set has been enlarged no longer needing Ridley’s kids as stand-ins as the mysterious control room is now double in size. The leading lady herself Prometheus reflects a perfect representation of the elusive Weyland company too uptight to show her bare wires a professional through and through. The eerie narrow corridors of the derelict ship have been Widened and de-fogged, improved with a few new H.R. Giger’s murals put in place for the diehard fans.
The spaciously designed sets though beautifully sculpted unfortunately kill the tone of the film; having so much to play with this time round it seems riley’s design ideas are basically Alien with hairspray losing a lot of its inherited charm. A promising department is in the costume design, Oscar-winning designer Janty Yates will defiantly be up for some more nominations next year with her sharp intricate designs shaping characters such as the elusive Meredith Vickers. Merit should also be granted to the creature design team the not yet evolved viper-like beings (though slightly ruined by Spall belittling the alien like it’s some common Jack Russell) have us drooling in anticipation for the DVD extras.
Tragically the main let down of the film is its dire screenplay written by Damon Lindelof a TV writer (Lost) who seems to have all of the major studios eating out of his predictable palm whipped us up a script both marketable and patronising. The no bullshit crew of the Nostromo have been downgraded to a laid back accordion playing captain and his betting lackeys; playing trivial one-liner types. The dialog seems to have lost all seriousness in pursuit of gaining a mass audience. Rafe Spall (the comedic spawn of actor Timothy Spall) alongside Sean Harris are pushed aside early on in the film cowardly separating from the group like cartoon duo Shaggy and Scooby making the expedition appear like some immature field trip.
The robotic ice queen Meredith Vickers played flawlessly by Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron (monster) is another let down, her hidden agendas giving us hope for a weyland-yutani company backstory instead progress to a mini family soap opera. But on a lighter note providing the film’s most shocking moment is our would be protagonist Elizabeth Shaw, The Ripley reincarnate played by iconic Swedish actress Noopi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) is a god fearing scientist with a love for do-it-yourself surgery giving an on-screen c-section that us girls won’t be forgetting for a long time! The ballsy female though lacking Ripley’s butchness is one to watch. Another act that really stands out is Irish-German born actor Michael Fassbender his catalytic performance as the ‘I’m-a-real-boy’ David certainly attempts to hold the film together, the android Pinocchio models himself off Peter O’Toole’s performance in Laurence of Arabia; the character famously known for his struggles with personal identity and his divided allegiance makes a perfect preface for David’s character and themes to come.
Prometheus is certainly not a bad film the ideas and intent are clearly there; to critically shun the film on all sides would be ignorant. Were the film downgrades in story it beautifully upgrades in design deserving to be appreciated on the best platform possible: IMAX. The incomplete feelings were left with at the end of the film is muted by the arguably studio prompted sequel bait. The unanswered questions are packed away with post surgery Shaw as she is whisked away in the derelict ships twin. If the studio hits it target then Pandora’s box will hopefully be opened in years to come, so buy your cinema tickets and wait in anticipation.
VERDICT: We have jumped from a tension built Hitchcock to a shock horror Wes Craven. A design monument of the moment, certainly no classic.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS: “With science-fiction you have the opportunity of being able to do anything you want, with the digital assistance, and it’s up to you to not do anything foolish or silly or daft, or non-credible” Ridely Scott.