One of my most favourite places.

After completing the Pennine Way with my Dad last year (visit his site for the full write up), it took a while for the urge to go walking to resurface. When it did, it was a fairly safe bet that I’d end up here sooner or later.

After a couple of weeks had passed since the worst of the snow had disappeared from the Midlands where I live, I dared venture further north and onto the smaller roads that would take me into the heart of the Peak District. It was still pretty cold up there – the ground was frozen which, on the plus side meant no sinking in bogs (yay!)

On the way up Icy! TreeThe rest of the pics can be found here… One of those rare, perfect walking days when even a short January day is beautiful


Weekend Away

A recent weekend trip to visit a friend was blessed by beautiful weather. I left my house early so that I could squeeze in a quick visit to Nine Ladies on the way and was treated with a stunning cloud inversion…

Cloud Inversion from Stanton MoorThe rest of the photos from that weekend can be seen here, the morning cloud inversion ones were taken at Nine Ladies, foggy ones taken at Chatsworth, moorland ones at Longshaw/Higger Tor and Carl Wark and watery ones taken at Damflask Reservoir!

Change is afoot!

I’ve been neglecting the site for a bit but… I need to do something with the photos from mine and my Dad’s Pennine Way walk last year, before we go for this year’s trip, and there are a few other adventures in the pipeline, which will no doubt result in loads of photos.


I was planning on a re-vamp of the site to make it more photo-journal friendly, but I couldn’t find a theme that I liked and did what I wanted… so the site will stay looking like it does…

But there will be lots of new photos posted soon!

Things I have learned about the future from films…

Returning readers may have noticed by now that I’m a big fan of self-explanatory titles…

Anyway… I went to see the new Total Recall re-make last night, and despite the many reviews to the contrary, really enjoyed it. I haven’t seen the original so I wasn’t precious about it, and frankly, Colin Farrell wins hands-down acting wise (and looks-wise) over Arnie any day.

Some of the detractors have moaned about how the world seems to have been created using a “generic futuristic dystopia” template, and whilst I can see what they mean, it got me thinking as to what else I could maybe infer about the future as filtered through the oracle of film.

(Disclaimer: I’m sure there are many more futuristic films out there than I’ll reference here – if you think there are any I should see please get in touch!)

1. Machines/technology/science will rise up and take over – see Terminator, Battlestar Galactica (TV Series I know), I, Robot, Blade Runner, even Minority Report I suppose

2. Don’t be so naive as to hope for a utopia – the future is going to be grim – see Total Recall, Equilibrium, 1984, The Matrix, Minority Report, Dark City, Blade Runner, In Time, Dredd (this is just an assumption from first looks and impressions received from the trailer)

3. It will also rain a lot – see Total Recall, Minority Report, Equilibrium, Blade Runner

4. Concrete and neon will be the archetecture of choice – In Time, Equilibrium

5. Industrial/rave clothing/lifestyles will become the norm – The Matrix, Dredd (see earlier note), Equilibrium

6. All of the whizzy gadgets and cool, super-advanced technology in the world doesn’t change the problems that people face – see every single film set in the future


Deja vu

A lot of time seems to have slid past without my noticing it… I feel like this is a familiar thought…

Not too much has happened since I was here last… more storytelling, more work, more films and a festival thrown in there – Shropshire’s Festival at the Edge – which was brilliant and reminded me how great camping in the sunshine can be!

Not optimistic enough to expect any mercy from the wettest April – July on record, I packed only wellies, and so stomped around the baked dry grounds with sweltering feet for three days – but hey! Rather that than sink in flip flops!

Oh and lest I forget – it does seem like ages ago – it was the Summer Solsitice. My partner and I went up to Nine Ladies Stone Circle on Stanton Moor in Derbyshire for the night and were once again lucky with the weather. Click here for a few pictures. The skies might have held back on the rain but there was enough cloud about to mostly hide the sun setting and rising – but at least we could stand and soak up the atmosphere without getting literally soaked ourselves! The atmosphere was actually much better than at Stonehenge – the celebration was a much smaller affair and seemed like mostly local people rather than tourists from all over the country. Stonehenge – whilst it is brilliant that they remove the fences and let celebrants in amongst the stones for the Solstice – seemed a little stifled by all the rules – no tents, no sleeping bags, no naked flames and the huge gantries of floodlights which blazed all night so that it never truly got dark and what would, I imagine, have been an amazing display of stars on the clear night that we were blessed with, was hidden by the glare. At Nine Ladies, people camped in the woods around the stones, lit camp fires and sang and danced and generally had a much less structured, but much more natural good time. I’d definitely rather go there again than to Stonehenge.

On the nature of time…

In the sense of “where on Earth does it go?” How can a whole half a year have slid past already – I still feel as though I’m just settling in and getting set up for 2012. Surprise! It’s already half-gone.

Since my last post I have… walked the Pennine Way (more on that soon), worked a lot, been to the cinema a lot, told stories at Derby’s Flying Donkeys club, experienced Center Parcs for the first time, and generally let life carry on without managing to report on it here (for shame).

Normal life seems to be reasserting itself once more, so I shall endeavour to put more regular content up here for anyone who cares to read it… and as for posting photos – I took 1400+ over the three weeks of Pennine Way walking so I expect a few will find their way up here. Keep checking back!

In Training

So the Pennine Way is looming larger every day now, since we passed into March, and I realised that it’s high time I took some longer walks with my pack – just to get into the spirit of things.

A not-rainy Thursday off saw me head over to Bradgate Park in Leics for a 10 mile loop taking in Beacon Hill and passing the ruins of Ulverscroft Priory along the way. For once, weather, mood and scenery merged to compliment one another perfectly, and the walk was brilliant – varied and beautiful – very much through English countryside.

For anyone who’s interested – my pack on this excursion weighed about 12kgs, and I completed the 10 miles  just under 4hrs. This was faster than I would have liked, but the Bradgate Park carpark at Newton Linford closed at dusk and, as I didn’t get there until 12.30 – I was worried that their interpretation of dusk would be different to mine and my car would get locked in – so I hurried rather! But I survived, and surprisingly wasn’t too dead and broken at the end, or even the next day, which filled me with hope for the actual Event.

Here are some pics from the walk – just a few – I was hurrying so only took about 80 photos instead of the more usual 100+ ;-) This is just a select few…

The Woman in Black

This review won’t be very detailed… as I think I only saw about half the film actually in focus through my glasses. The rest of it was spent with my gaze fixed on the bottom of the screen so that I could still see what was going on (over the top of my glasses and so as a vague blur, even four rows from the front) enough to follow the story – but not enough to be scared out of my chair by the sudden, rotting appearances of said Woman in Black.

I wanted to see this film primarily because I wanted to see Daniel Radcliffe not being Harry Potter, and also because sometimes I get these urges to go against type and watch scary films, even though as soon as I sit down I remember that I don’t enjoy being made to jump every five seconds. The Woman in Black wasn’t actually too bad in this respect – it did make you jump but not just for the sake of it, and when it did it was actually terrifying, unlike Drag Me To Hell, which was just disappointing (and exhausting!).

The Woman in Black did reinforce one suspicion that I’ve had for a long time – children are creepy. On a ghost walk in York none of the stories that the guide told were quite so chilling as the one involving disembodied children’s laughter, and small, cold hands slipping into yours as you walked along. Wet, dead children are even creepier, and there were certainly a lot of those in this film. There’s a reason why I didn’t go and see The Ring, and I was reminded of it almost every scene throughout The Woman in Black!

Radcliffe was impressive as grieving, haunted lawyer Arthur Kipps, and Ciaran Hinds a strong supporter as firmly grounded Tom Daily. The real star – if that’s the right word – of the film was the Woman in Black, an unquestionably malevolent spirit on a very effective quest for revenge. The split second views of her are the most hard-hitting, glimpses in reflections, through a zoetrope and just before the camera switches angles. The tension is built and built, in almost every scene there’s an unescapable sense of threat that has you jumping at bottles being opened, or water coming out of taps as you frantically search the edges of the screen for whatever is unquestionably lurking just out of sight.

The film is uncompromisingly bleak, even the ending, which attempts at least a little redemption for all involved, is hardly happy, and I stumbled out of the cinema in serious need of some bright lights and laughter. For scares and chills perfectly balanced against jumps and shocks, The Woman in Black excels. Genuinely frightening, this film for the most part manages to avoid descending into cliche and convention, giving a satisfying and enjoyable – in a dark sort of way! – experience.

Man on a Ledge

This film caught my eye by it’s brilliantly imaginative title – but it is at least accurate. Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks and Ed Harris and Jamie Bell star in this thriller/heist flick.

There is indeed a man on a ledge for most of this film, although it’s clear even from the trailer that something more than a suicide threat is going on. The tension is ramped up nicely in the bank heist, and some of the methods Joey (Bell) and Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) use are truly brilliant (skateboard, anyone?!). There’s just enough tension, thrills and subtle laughs to get the pitch just right, and this film is hugely enjoyable. Worthington can be a little wooden, although in this, as in The Debt, he displays convincing depths.

Man on a Ledge, similarly to Haywire, is a film that reveals its story as it goes along. This film however, strikes it right, and you are drawn in, mostly by the fact that it’s never really clear, until the film is at least two-thirds of the way through, whether Nick (Worthington) is guilty or innocent, or at first, even what he did. The twists are small but manage to be surprising, and the ending is, if cheesy, then definitely happy and satisfying.

A surprisingly enjoyable and good film, one that is well worth watching.