I almost feel nostalgic for writing this; why? Well, I will tell you at the bottom of the page. Today saw an above average early start for me - I was up at 06:30 but fully rested. We set the coordinates for Home Farm and set off on the 36 route to Ripon. It suddenly struck me, as we pulled out of Harrogate and went on to Killinghall, how beautiful the landscape looked dressed in it’s winter sunlight. There was a clear, icy light beating down - illuminating pasture and moorland alike. We trundled through Honey-pot villages and were picked up by Dad in Ripon.
It was great to see Mum, Dad, Alison, Paddy (dog, old) & Jess (cat, very old). Alison had the look in her eye of a veteran who has seen too much action - she was drained of Xmas cheer but plucky and resilient to whatever the day will throw at her. Kathryn and me got straight down to business and opened the presents that had eluded us on the 25th.
My brother and his family bought for me a Sun Ra CD Boxset! It was “Sun Ra - The Complete 45’s” and I hope to give it a listen over the next few days. Kathryn received a sausage dog door stop and a book about dog walking - sort of a memoir thing more than an instruction manual - she is more than confident when it comes to handling furry critters.
After a slap up, traditional meal (Turkey and Ham Pie) we all sat down as a family to watch the Steven Spielberg version of the BFG. Now then, the animated version of this film holds tremendous emotional clout for any of the Backhouse cousins. The is the first film we collectively (and individually for some) have any recollection of watching (may have been the Jungle Book - but, I will state here the first film I have any memory of watching is the animated version of the BFG). I think I was seven or eight when the original made-for-television version came out.
Whenever we had a meet-up as a family, the grandchildren would be plonked in-front of a Ferguson Cathode Ray Tube and the BFG was inserted as a VHS - complete with commercial breaks. Granny & Grandpa sold the house around six years later (Fieldgate - that was it’s name) but I have a strong connection to that house. As readers of the blog may know, my G’s are otherwise occupied at present so cannot comment. But the film was a heavy hitter and there were times where I was drifting off at the recollection of clouds of pipe smoke bellowing out of Grandpa and of Granny the beaming matriarch.
We quickly had tea and went to the Curzon in Ripon - this was the first time I had been to the cinema in 2016 - a long wait in any cinema goers book. The reason: Star Wars Rogue One. Yes, the CGI was patchy and there could be moral qualms about using deceased actors in new reboots, however: this was a film with a vape score of ZERO. As in, I was so giddy with excitement that I did not even bother vaping whilst the film showed - around three hours without my bong. Longest since …
In the car on the way home, Kathryn was checking her FB and broke it to us that Carrie Fisher had passed after a dip in health due to complications on a flight. It was a somber moment after watching the latest installment of a film that defined my childhood and an actress that defined my adolescent peccadilloes. This news flash made me realise I had probably seen my dog for the last time. Paddy is so old a strong gust of wind will knock him to the ground - he is so unstable on his back legs that dad has repeatedly told himself that he will have to take him to the vet on his last journey. However, he keeps on fighting back. As they say in Rogue One: what is a rebellion without hope. I am glad I got to plant a kiss on my dog’s head as I left.