Tag Archives: Alan Rickman

Friday in Five: City of Gardens

16 Sep

Still in Paris. Not really, but I think this time perhaps I really did leave my heart there. One last Paris post, and next week I’ll try and return to my Writer’s Life.

But first: Paris gardens.

I do love the formality, order and scale of Paris’s beautiful big gardens. Take a wrong turn near Place des Vosges (perhaps my favourite Paris garden), and you can stumble through a doorway and into this:

My kind of backyard: Centre des Monuments National

My kind of backyard: Centre des Monuments National

 

But perhaps some of the most charming Paris gardens are the ones that break with the symmetry, the rigid lines and hedges clipped within an inch of their lives, that typify the French landscaping style made famous by King Louis XIV’s favourite gardener, André Le Nôtre. (If you’ve not yet seen A Little Chaos, I recommend it with all my heart. Enchanting. Alan Rickman. Kate Winslet. Matthias Schoenaerts. Stanley Tucci. Gardens. Music. Romance. Drama. What’s not to love?!)

Here are a selection of the Paris gardens that charmed me without resorting to all that restrained and stylish magnificence!

At the Institut du Monde Arabe, an exhibition of eastern landscaping traditions is accompanied by this garden purpose-built on the hard Paris pavements. Roses, olives, citrus, herbs - and at its heart, water. Always water.

At the Institut du Monde Arabe, an exhibition of eastern landscaping traditions is accompanied by this garden purpose-built on the hard Paris pavements. Roses, olives, citrus, herbs – and at its heart, water. Always water.

 

When space is an issue, pretty flowering shrubs in pots outside stately doors made vibrant with blue are about as beautiful a garden as you need!

On a busy Paris street, pretty flowering shrubs in pots outside stately doors made vibrant with blue are simply beautiful!

Another style of street garden - and these lovely plants you can take away with you, if you can bear to disturb the display!

Another style of street garden – and these lovely plants you can take away with you, if you can bear to disturb the display!

Tucked away behind Grande Mosquée de Paris is this charming little courtyard garden. The hot mint tea is fresh and sweet, and the sunshine's free.

Tucked away behind Grande Mosquée de Paris is this charming little courtyard garden. The hot mint tea is fresh and sweet, and the sunshine’s free.

Not a lot of ground for a home garden? Not a problem!

Not a lot of ground for a home garden? Not a problem!

 

 

The Gothic/Renaissance glory of Hôtel de Sens is offset perfectly by its tidy but carefree jardin.

The Gothic/Renaissance glory of Hôtel de Sens is offset perfectly by its tidy but carefree jardin.

For a snooze with a view, nowhere beats Jardin du Luxembourg, especially when the season is just starting to turn.

For a snooze with a view, nowhere beats Jardin du Luxembourg, especially when the season is just starting to turn.

This Parisian passage is part hanging garden, part jungle, and all gorgeous!

This Parisian passage is part hanging garden, part jungle, and all gorgeous!

Of course, gardens don't have to be just pretty. They can be productive as well. I can't think of anything much more productive than Renoir's Paris garden, with its row up on row of lush vineyards!

Of course, gardens don’t have to be just pretty. They can be productive as well. I can’t think of anything much more productive than Renoir’s Paris garden, with its row up on row of lush vineyards!

And finally, when you're done tramping the streets and parks and gardens and metros of Paris, it's delicious to come home to an apartment balcony with your own little plot of paradise!

And finally, when you’re done tramping the streets and parks and gardens and metros of Paris, it’s delicious to come home to an apartment balcony with your own little plot of paradise!

 

I live by the seaside now, and no longer have a garden, or at least, not one that needs any contribution by me! Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I so love Paris, and miss its garden finery.

Time to stop pining! My little part of the world has its own splendour!

‘Til next week,

Gracie x

And the winners are…

22 Jul

PackshotA huge drumroll, please, for the winners of the “Eye in the Sky” DVD competition!

Congratulations to:

Judith Maunders
Mardi Chapman
Stella McLeod

Congratulations! You should already have an email from me with details of how to collect your prize.

To those who didn’t win, my commiserations – and also my encouragement! This is such a great movie, well worth the investment, and available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital. Don’t miss the chance to see it!

Thanks for reading, following and entering, and have a glorious weekend. I’ll be back next week with more Friday in Five!

Gracie x

Win “Eye in the Sky” – just need to reply!

15 Jul

PackshotSorry for the cheesy headline: I couldn’t help myself!

I’m so excited to be able to offer you the chance to win your very own copy of this year’s sleeper-thriller flick, Eye in the Sky. I have three DVD copies available to Australian readers, and all you have to do is enter a reply in the comments below.

Winners will be selected at random. I’ll keep comments private for now in case of spambots but I’ll publish the respectable comments, along with winners’ names, here on this blog next Friday, 22 July. So let your movie-loving friends know, too, because you and they have a week to enter!

Now, what’s all the fuss about?

You might recall I blogged about this little beauty a few weeks back.

Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) in a scene from EYE IN THE SKY, directed by Gavin Hood. In cinemas 24 March 2016. An Entertainment One Films release. For more information contact Claire Fromm: cfromm@entonegroup.com

Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) in a scene from EYE IN THE SKY, directed by Gavin Hood. In cinemas 24 March 2016. An Entertainment One Films release. For more information contact Claire Fromm: cfromm@entonegroup.com

Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) leads a secret drone mission to capture a terrorist group living in a safehouse in Nairobi, Kenya. When Powell learns that the group plans to carry out a suicide attack, her objective is changed to kill the terrorists. Drone pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) targets the safehouse for destruction but reports a nine-year-old girl entering the kill zone. Powell contacts politicians and lawyers to determine whether or not to take action.

This simple synopsis doesn’t begin to convey the complexity, intrigue and edge-of-your-seat tension packed into 100-odd minutes of fantastic filmmaking. Helen Mirren‘s taut, ruthless, edgy performance is balanced by a finely-nuanced and brilliantly restrained performance from Alan Rickman, in one of his last movies.

Lieutenant General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman) in a scene from EYE IN THE SKY, directed by Gavin Hood. In cinemas 24 March 2016. An Entertainment One Films release. For more information contact Claire Fromm: cfromm@entonegroup.com

Lieutenant General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman) in a scene from EYE IN THE SKY, directed by Gavin Hood. In cinemas 24 March 2016. An Entertainment One Films release. For more information contact Claire Fromm: cfromm@entonegroup.com

Iain Glen produces a terrific departure from his Game of Thrones character, in a scene providing one of the few lighter-hearted moments of this gripping tale of ethics, politics, risk and courage. The cast is rounded out by Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad).

It’s a movie that had me talking for days afterwards, with my son, with my father, with my friends and colleagues, about the choices we’re lucky never to have to make – and how we judge those who do.

EYE IN THE SKY is available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from July 20. Or you can reply in the comments below for your chance to win one of three copies for Australian readers. Get to it! And pop back here next Friday to see if you’ve won!

Gracie x

Friday in Five

29 Apr

Got five minutes? Here are some of the things I loved this week.

Person of the week

The Natural way of thingsThe Stella Prize celebrates Australian women’s contribution to literature, and in its three short years has already significantly improved the profile of women’s writing (and reading) in this country. This year, the Stella was won by Charlotte Wood for her novel, The Natural Way of Things. It’s a powerful book, but equally powerful as her book, I think, is her passionate plea for an arts renaissance, dressed up as her acceptance speech for the Stella.

 

Flick of the week

alanrickmanI was relieved to discover I HADN’T missed Eye in the Sky, which had appeared briefly in our cinemas some weeks ago and quickly disappeared. It’s back again, and it’s brilliant. For the first time in as long as I can remember, the audience sat utterly still and silent through the end credits. Then BoyWonder and I talked about it all the way home… and for some time after that… and I’m still talking about it with friends. It’s a quiet film, with none of the Hollywood brashness that would probably guarantee better box-office takings here. I hope it’s a sleeper. It deserves to be seen.

Pic of the week

How beautiful is our world? Hubble nails it again.
Our beautiful earth through Hubble telescope

 Play of the week

4000milesOur little coastal community was spoilt for dramatic choice this week, with playwright Willy Russell’s Educating Rita playing at one end of the coast and Amy Herzog’s 4000 Miles at the other. I plumped for the Herzog, and was reminded yet again what a wealth of talent we have in our Australian arts scene (refer above for the arguments why it matters!), and how lucky we are that independent theatre companies bring their work to small communities. American Herzog possesses an uncanny gift for writing poignant, funny, profound and contradictory characters who, in this case, were so familiar to me it was like watching a home movie. The cast was brilliant, the performances finely nuanced, and for not a moment did I recognise I was watching this wonderful story play out in a community hall more commonly used for school prize nights and fitness classes. Wonderful!

Song of the week

Katie-Noon-Brodsky-Quartet-900_GalleryI’m not a huge fan of Katie Noonan’s, but my goodness, this collaboration with the Brodsky Quartet sounds amazing! Judith Wright is my favourite Australian poet, and to hear her words so hauntingly delivered in song is magic. Enjoy!

 

I’d love to hear what you’ve loved this week! Drop me a line?

Gracie x

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