the stick o’ fire passes through congleton

I just want to draw everyone’s attention to the fact that the Olympic torch, also known as the stick o’ fire, passed through Congleton this morning. As luck would have it, I was up early, remembered, and was able to watch it live over the ‘net. To be honest it wasn’t that interesting, but it was good to see the town where I was born and grew up become part of such an epic event; indeed, the route ran not that far from my parents’ home, and I got a bit nostalgic for the old place.

Right now, the website is showing the drive from Congleton to Macclesfield. I suppose they must drive between towns rather than walk the whole way, the lazy buggers. Whatever your feelings about the Olympics, at least his torch relay lets us see bit more of the country.


We decided to do some gardening today – one of the bushes in our back garden has become fairly overgrown. I thought I’d have a go. Needless to say, it’s harder than it looks, but at least the lift mechanism on my chair came in handy.

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Dad will be proud!

a ”collected rabble of mad-people”

It hasn’t been a bad day at all. I spent much of it reading, From Hobbits to Hollywood continuing to fascinate, but the guys next door put some music on – loud, urban music of the boom boom boom variety – so I decided to go for a stroll. On my walk I began to ponder the history of charlton, as I often do. Despite being in the middle of one of the world’s largest and most populous cities, Charlton still feels like a village. I wondered when it became consumed by london, and when was it last a village proper – ie, surrounded by fields. Strangely, it still feels like it is. What were the boundaries of the original village.

When I came home I naturally did a little googling, but then I stumbled upon the following quote from daniel defoe, too good not to share, simply as it is a great, if slightly tongue-in-cheek, description of the village today.

[quote=”Daniel Defoe – a tour through britain”]a village famous, or rather infamous for the yearly collected rabble of mad-people, at Horn-Fair; the rudeness of which I cannot but think, is such as ought to be suppressed, and indeed in a civiliz’d well govern’d nation, it may well be said to be unsufferable. The mob indeed at that time take all kinds of liberties, and the women are especially impudent for that day; as if it was a day that justify’d the giving themselves a loose to all manner of indecency and immodesty, without any reproach, or without suffering the censure which such behaviour would deserve at another time. [/quote]

The horn fair has long since been abolished, sadly, but I can assure you the spirit behind it still lives on in the locals, and is not just confined to one day a year. A

‘collected rabble of mad-people” indeed; let me just say I have a tale or two I can tell, but would be wise not to share on a public blog. Well, good to see the place hasn’t changed since 1727; perhaps this uniqueness explains why Charlton still feels like a place unto itself, and why I have grown so fond of it.

some timely advice

Short of anything much better to blog about at present, and given that I appear to be turning a nice shade of red, I think I better just advise you to go here. I’m not sure how long this hot spell will last, but while it does, I intend to enjoy it; I’m going back into the garden.

the third glorious Saturday in a row

Oe thing that makes a meal great, allowing you to compile a list like this, are the days that go with them, and today must be recorded as just such a wonderful day. Although I am afraid to say we lost the cricket today – and by we, I should say I mean Blackheath, who currently play in charlton park – I was there for the full match, apart from a short trip home to get my straw and take a pee. It was glorious out there again today; I had the pleasure of sitting out there in the sun for the entire afternoon. I have seldom had a more wonderful afternoon, despite the team I was supporting – and now think I’ll take as ‘my team’ – losing. Sitting there, out in the park, sipping beer and watching a run chase, I was at a loss to think of anything finer or more perfect; the only thing missing was lyn at my side, but she finds cricket dull. Oh well, you can’t have everything, although it means I have something even more wondrous to return home to.

thoughts on the scouring of the shire

Staying with my filmic/artistic mood, today I think I’ll direct you here. I’m currently reading a book on the Lord of the Rings films called From Hobbits to

Hollywood: basically a collection of essays about the film. Thusfar I must say I’m enjoying it, although some of the collection are better than others. This essay is on a similar theme, and although shorter and not quite as academic, it is no less interesting. It is an argument that the Scouring of the Shire should not have been dropped from Jackson’s films; I had never thought about it, but, now that I have, I must admit I’m quite convinced. the scouring is an important lesson in the books, showing that nowhere is safe, not even the idyllic Shire. It also shows, as the writer points out, the character progression of Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin. In the other hand, the films are often criticized for having too many endings already, so I can see why Jackson left it out.

You know, its funny. As a teenager I was obsessed with tolkien; growing up it was often all I could think of. But then, one day, I grew out of it and moved on to other texts; even my love for books morphed into my love for film. Sitting on the sofa yesterday, reading, it suddenly occured to me that thins had come back to Tolkien somehow, that my old obsession had somehow merged with my current academic pursuits. There is something rather ironic in that, and I can’t decide whether t’s a good or bad thing.

Never judge a Bond by its trailer?

I finally got round to watching the trailer for Skyfall today. How it has eluded me before now I’m not sure, but it did. Now that I have watched it, though, I’m not sure what to make of it: it didn’t quite send me into the fits of squeals such things usually do. Bond’t quite seem bond in it: he seems a different character, somehow, from the last two films. That could, of course, just mean they’re taking Bond in a new direction again, which I suppose must be seen as a good thing given that originality must always be welcomed. It could also mean, I suppose, that I’m becoming more critical and discerning, but we’ll have to see about that one. Mind you, I was interested by the fact that. in one of the trailers I saw, someone had rather clumsily tagged on an ad for the video game too, This irritated me, to be honest: films and games are different cultural artifacts, and should be treated as separate cultural entities, yet they have somehow been conflated in popular culture; they form the same audiovisual nexus – the same Lacanian Symbolic, in a way – so that one medium is seen to blur into another and anther, turning texts into commodities perfect for depriving people of their cash. That has been noted before, but what irritates me is that the ‘gamers’ have reached the point where, to them,film and game are the same thing: they enter into the dupe. All I am saying though, is that I want a film to be a film again, an artistic text, and not a video game, happy meal, or whatever. At the same time, it is interesting to observe how such art forms are evolving and merging, especially online.

Gandalf vs vader? no contest

Lyn’s birthday went without a hitch, although I will just say that I must remember to organise a better meal for her next year.

On a completely unrelated topic, I stumbled across this yesterday, which seemed too stupid for me not to flag up. I mean, I know I should be above such things, but in a fight between darh vader and Gandalf, Gandalf will always win. As for my reasoning, I can only point to the fact that gandalf is a 5,000 year old demi-god, and vader is the creation of a hollywood hack with as much talent and originality as my little finger. End of story. Mind you, this film does seem rather well made it must be noted, and ties in too to the musings I made in this entry.

hbd dad and lyn, again

I find myself simply anting to repeat my blog entry of a year ago, as nothing has changed. Today is my dad’s birthday, and he is still absolutely the best father anyone could wish for. And tomorrow, of course, is Lyn’s birthday, who remains the love of my life. Both these people I love dearly, and I count myself very lucky indeed that they are both part of my life. I hope they both have amazing days!

Another glorious day

Today is fast turning out to be another glorious day. Lyn and I had a late breakfast in a local cafe, then, while she headed home, I went to watch a bit of the cricket in the park again, after which I decided a short walk was in order. ‘Short’ turned out to be a misnomer, however: after a meander through the park, I decided to go take a look at the river. Not far from here, there is a lane called Anchor and Hope Lane, which runs alongside the Thames; it has beautiful views across the mighty river, forming, as it does, a part of the river walk. I think they have renovated it slightly recently ahead of the Olympics.

London and her river looked serene today. Interestingly, while I was up there I had my first look at the new cable car. I had thought that was still in the planning stage, but it now looks like it is almost ready. Indeed, while I was there they started to test it: it looked quite fast. No doubt it ill be slower when carrying passengers, but even so I can’t wait to have a ride on it with Lyn.

After that I took a brief look at what was happening at the dome, and then wended my way home. Not such a short walk, but I find such strolls useful for clearing my head, thinking, and getting to know a city I now love even more intimately.