WordPress’s weekly challenge this week is Yellow. I haven’t participated in a few weeks because I didn’t really have anything good to submit but I think this week will work out just fine! I love bright colours and yellows always stand out.
This is a period piece, based on a Henry James novel, it takes place in Edwardian England, 1910. Helena Bonham Carter plays a poor relation, Kate, who has been taken in by her well to-do aunt after her mother dies. Her father is an alcoholic and drug addict. Kate’s in love with a radical and political journalist, Merton, played by Linus Roache but now that she’s the ward of her rich aunt, he will never do as a husband. Meanwhile, her aunt is trying to arrange a marriage for her with a rich man, Lord Mark, rather than let her make the same mistake her mother did, marrying a lower class man. Aunt Maud puts her foot down and forbids Kate and Merton to see each other.
Kate meets a young American heiress, Milly, who is alone in the world aside from a companion, played by Elizabeth McGovern (currently known as Lady Grantham on Downton Abbey). Milly is very, very rich and finds herself attracted to Merton. Lord Mark, though, he does love Kate, needs to marry Milly because he needs her money after she dies. It turns out she is tragically and fatally ill. Kate persuades Merton to make a play for the heiress, let her fall in love with him in order to inherit her millions so that they can be together after Milly’s death. As you might expect, things don’t go according to plan.
The scene moves from London to Venice when Milly decides to go traveling. Kate goes with her and Merton is persuaded to go llater and meet up with them there. Kate soon leaves them, thus all the better to get Milly to fall for him but she is jealous and paranoid, suspecting Merton is developing feelings for Milly as well.
There are good location shots in various London parks and streets and in the underground, fitted up with an old train rather than the new ones. The joy really comes when the location moves to Venice. There are beautiful shots of the bridges, piazzas, canals and buildings, with wonderful early morning and evening light much of the time. There is a costume party on a street at night, there are romantic midnight rides in gondolas, there are sunrises and sunsets over the wonderful Venetian skylines. We see Venice in all types of weather and it makes me want to walk the narrow streets myself.
This was a quick snap as I walked past downtown Halifax’s Dominion Public Building, a lovely Art Deco era sandstone and granite structure. You can’t see in this photo but there’s a little dome on top, too. There are some nice deco touches as well. It was originally the central Post Office and later was used for various government offices. It was the tallest building in the city for quite some time. Read more about it here.
So far, London is my favourite city. It’s probably obvious considering that I’ve been there over a dozen times. With my fiance living in Manchester, we often take the opportunity to go “down south” to London or stop over on the way back from somewhere else. Even before I met him, I had been to this world class capitol city a handful of times. As I blogged the other day, I’ve not been in London during the Christmas season too often, just a couple of times.
One of these years, that’s going to change. Currently, I get a monthly newsletter from the official London tourist website, Londontown.com and this month, it’s about fab things to do in London over the holidays, as you would expect, and there really are a lot of things to do, many of them free.
Skating in London has always been popular. There’s always been outdoord skating at Somerset House on the Thames/Strand but did you know there are also outdoor rinks at Alexandra Palace, Hampton Court, Canary Wharf and beneat the London Eye, just to name a few?
There are Christmas markets, which would certainly be a draw for me! There are the big ones in Covent Garden and on the Southbank Centre and Hyde Park has a huge Winter Wonderland with markets, skating and events. But you know, sometimes the smaller ones are even better. I see there’s one in the Chelsea Physic Garden and I bet that would be really special.
There are special West End shows and I’d also be taking in one or two of them! It’s not all family friendly, though. I see something called Grotto Outre which looks to be a club or some kind of week long event party for adults only. I have a feeling I’m probably a bit long in the tooth for that! It would definitely be different! I think probably Alice in Wonderland would be more my speed after all but there’s a huge list of theatre, dance and other shows.
Back to traditions, though. The cathedrals and churches have choirs and carol singing. The shops and streets of London are decorated and lit up. Shopping, oh yes, the shopping is epic if you can handle the crowds. Smaller shops and neighbourhoods might be a better bet than Oxford Street or King’s Row and you’ve got a better chance of getting something made locally or something unique.
Does all this sound like a tourist advertisement? Yeah, pretty much. But, loving London as much as I do, I could spend hours on the Londontown Christmas website making lists of things I’d love to do if I had the chance to spend a week in London in December and one day, I am determined to do it.
Actually, I haven’t traveled around this time of year very often. It’s usually expensive and the weather is unpredictable. Ten years ago, I arranged to fly to Manchester a couple of days after Christmas and a snowstorm cancelled the flight. I couldn’t get out for two more days but at least I got there a day or two before New Year’s Eve.
I’ve also done a bit of traveling in November now and then. Sometimes I’m lucky enough that the Christmas decorations have started to go up though normally, I think that’s just a bit too early for it! Still, I thought I’d post a few photos that I do have from my few sojourns, mostly from November visits.
The Manchester town hall always has an oversized Santa. This is a newish one that they put up a few years ago. Locals were dismayed that the old style Santa was gone and don’t really like this new, stylized version. He lights up with glitter after dark. From Mid November on the city centre has a few blocks chock full of the Christmas Markets
Halifax’s Christmas tree, in the Grand Parade square.
One of my top 5 things that I did this year was fly to Montreal to see my Bucket List band, Queen (+ Adam Lambert). It was a speed-trip, in on Sunday and out on Tuesday but Montreal in July didn’t disappoint and the concert was the best thing ever!
How do we remember someone or something? Memorials, monuments, gravestones, candles, statues, the written word, film, photography. Family stories and cultural folklore, told and retold to ensure the past is not forgotten.
Cave paintings, and inukshuks remind us. There was a television ad in Canada that showed an Inuit woman building an inukshuk out of stone and she told the onlooker “Now the people will know we were here”. Gone. But not forgotten.