Decay and Renew – Day 5

Autumn is finally hitting – although the temperature is still quite warm.  Leaves are falling and seeds and berries are out in abundance.  In all of this decay there are the seeds of renewal.

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Catch up – Day 4

After an intense outburst of creativity today I am trying to catch up with images that I missed on my first run through.

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What’s the Story? – Day 3

As I was walking through the mist this morning I came across a bull sitting under a tree.   We greeted each other with a wary look and as I walked on I became aware of a wet thwap sound.  Thwap. Thwap. Thwap.  I looked around and saw the bull having its first dump of the day.  Morning glory indeed.

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Damp – Day 2

A wonderful day photographing the decline and decay associated with autumn at Hidcote Manor.   The only downside was that I had to keep telling the staff that the weather wasn’t bad it was just what I needed….they tended to look at me as if I was talking in tongues.

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Sign of the times – Day 1

I read somewhere that there are more horses in Britain now than there ever was.  Whether this is true or not they certainly are a big part of people’s lives.   These two rascals were showing me a great deal of attention this afternoon and I couldn’t quite understand why?   I thought they kept looking for something to eat, perhaps an apple?   I then started to talk to the woman who looks after these two horses and I discovered that this was the time of day when she gave them their treat – at this time of year a bucket of apples from the orchard.  Perhaps that explains a lot.

As the sun started to set I was passed by two young girls, the eldest probably in her early teens, taking their horse and pony out for their evening exercise – nothing unusual there as this is horse country.  However the eldest girl was riding along watching the latest pop video on her smartphone.   I am pretty sure that this isn’t the correct procedure to follow when riding your horse on the road but I got the impression that the horse and pony knew where to go and where in fact slowly walking home on their own accord – such is life.

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Duck Soup

The last days of summer autumn are upon us…soon we will start to feel the thrill of the northern winds.

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Death of Stalin….

There is real horror behind the laughter

Mark Kermode


Yesterday I saw The Death of Stalin and I found it one of the most powerful movies I have seen in a very long time.   The story, and this isn’t a spoiler,  is centred around the power struggles  to replace  Stalin who died in 1953.   The trailer would suggest that this is a out and out comedy but it really isn’t anything of the sort.  In my view it is perhaps one of the most horrific movies around at the moment.  Not because it is in any sense a classic horror movie but rather the horror it portrays was suffered by millions of real people.  Forget IT this film deals with the horror of people suffering and dying on an almost industrial scale.

There is one scene in the film that sums this horror up.   After Stalin’s death Beria, who was played by Simon Russell Beale – and should get an Oscar nomination for this performance, stops the deportations and executions that Beria himself had organised in an attempt to boost his chances of replacing Stalin.   In the film there are six people lined up against the wall to be shot one by one.   The executioner kills the first three and then word is received about the suspension of the shootings and so the last three are just left standing in the yard against the wall.

The comedy is there  but the overall darkness makes it more acidic than comedic.   The cast is simply wonderful with everyone giving of their best and perhaps the most overtly comedic creation if Marshall Zukov played by Jason Isaacs.  I have no idea whether Zukov was as outrageous as portrayed by Isaacs but nonetheless it is a master performance.   However, I was disappointed by Isaacs rather boorish performance towards Andrea Riseborough on a promo video for the film.  She is perhaps a much better actor than Isaacs who, in my view, didn’t enhance his reputation one little bit.

Overall this is a masterful film and one I would recommend anyone to go and see.  However, don’t be fooled by the trailers because it really isn’t that kind of comedy.



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