1. The Great Escape

    The Great Escape

    You might remember a film from about 10 years ago made by one of my favourite directors ever, Peter Weir, it was called The Way Back and starred Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Saoirse Ronan and Colin Farrell. It was supposedly from a real life story, but doubts about the veracity of this surfaced after the film premiere and this affected the box office it taking only $24 million worldwide. (Though it did get a single Oscar nomination for best make up.) As it was by one of my heroes I decided I must interview him and the cast, so I went to one of the dog and pony shows that film makers are required to attend. Sturgess didn’t show so I had to make do with Weir, Harris, Ronan and Weir. I was thrilled, I totally enjoyed Colin Farrell in everything he had done to date and I was convinced that once people learned to how to pronounce Saoirse’s name she would be one of the greatest actors of the age. I mean that: Really, show biz is funny, like art. If everyone had known easily how to pronounce the name of great artist Cy Twombly think how much more famous he must have been.  But Saoirse has proved me right and we can all say her name properly and she has had 4 Oscar nominations. And yes she was fabulous in Little Women last year,  I know it’s soppy, but I loved it! Sniff!

    Nothing to Sniff At

    We watched the movie in a special screening and then we got to meet the cast. I was slightly in awe of Peter Weir and also a bit put off by Mr Farrell who had obviously just got off a plane and quite frankly hummed a bit, but I got everything I needed. My adoration of director Weir was undiminished as he was natural and charm itself. If you get a chance catch the film, it will wear well I guarantee. The story line is about an escape from the Stalinist Soviet Union during WW2 as a bunch of prisoners plus Ronan run away from a gulag, that’s a prison in the wilderness, and head off to far China and the Himalayas. It is beautifully shot and the scenery is breathtaking.

    As we are in ESCAPE mode in our heads I have found an escape cocktail


    50 ml gin

    15 ml passion fruit purée

    Coriander leaves, not dried from the far recesses of the cupboard

    ¼  of a fresh vanilla pod

    Few strawberries, they can have been frozen

    15 ml sugar syrup

    Take a cocktail shaker, crush the strawberries throw in the rest of the ingredients.

    Then shake the potion, serve in a chilled glass, garnish with strawberries, vanilla and coriander leaves, don’t use dried coriander from the kitchen, please.

    Now Save a Bundle

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  2. True Story – Hobbits and the NHS

    True Story – Hobbits and the NHS

    As this is a fairly recent blog readers won’t know I used to have a job that was sheer hardship. I interviewed actors about their latest films. If you’ve ever seen the monster mega hit Notting Hill you’ll know that film reviewers are ushered through on a conveyor belt; although I never wrote for Horse and Hound, as Hugh Grant purported to work for in that film. And I’ve never met Hugh Grant although I did think he was great in Paddington 2 and lived just down the road at one point. But one that I did meet was the lovely Andy Serkis who played Gollum in the Lord of the Rings.

    Soho’s Planet of the Apes Moment

    It was the usual deal in a Soho hotel strewn with flowers and Andy was playing Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, you might remember it. He was great! The film I felt a bit cooler on. I was blown away by the niceness of the man in the flesh and he gave freely of his time and didn’t rush or look down his nose in any way at all. With some of the people I met I wanted to have a daughter so I could forbid her from marrying them. Andy was the polar opposite. I’d love him in the family.


    All of that was proven this week when Mr Serkis read the Tolkein children’s master work The Hobbit all in one go to benefit the NHS Charities and do it all non-stop in under 12 hours in his living room. Apart from loo breaks the actor paused on Fridayat 11:00 BST to observe a two-minute silence for VE Day.  I told you guy is magic. The idea raised about £350,000 and was listened to all over the world. Thanks to you Andy.

    To Curl Those Hairy Feet

    So in tribute I have found two Hobbit related cocktails, one with gin and one without.

    Both of them should near drown in cracked ice.

    First is the Killi, for your inner dwarf.                         And The Hobbit to curl your hairy feet

    Your Favourite Gin       50ml                                               A big Slug of Vodka 50ml

    Apricot Brandy              25ml                                              25ml Elderflower Liqueur

    Three Fingers of lemonade                                                25ml Lemon Juice

                                                                                                One Teaspoon of Apricot Preserves.

    For both stir very well, or shake if you must, and for the Hobbit strain it into an iced glass

    Hobbit in a Barrel- There’s a Thought!

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