Entertainment Favourites

January is a good time to think about entertainment - there is nothing more satisfying than cosying up with a great book or film on these wild and dark nights (well it is wild and dark here anyway!). Regular readers to this blog may actually be able to guess in advance my answers to these, I am pretty consistent with what I like entertainment wise.


 Here goes:

1.Books you have read multiple times
Did you have any books at school that you seemed to read for, well forever? Or a book that you still seem to know by heart, it was so imprinted upon you? Ask anyone from my alma mater and they will give you the same answer - Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. 'It is a truth universally acknowledged....' That and A Midsummer Night's Dream. We all chuckle about it now but both of those books shaped me.

These days, I only retain on my bookshelf the most beautiful books I know I will read and re-read again. My several thousand academic books, which I did once pour over multiple times, accrued over many years of over-education have all been given away. I didn't fancy lining my shelves with books about political violence, Russian politics, Latin American revolutions and so on.

Which brings me to these:

2. Favourite book / author of all time
Those above - Laurie Lee, Thomas Hardy, Flora Thompson, George Orwell. I love authors who wrote during times of upheaval and political change, particularly those that focused on rural life or travel. With Thomas Hardy I feel I can escape to a rural Dorset I can almost imagine, having lived there as a child, but with his descriptions of a Victorian rural idyll that make me float away somewhere. Flora Thompson the same - she captured village life in the late Victorian era before everything changed, and as it changed. You grow to love the characters. I love books about travels on foot or on horse - two books featured above are by Georgian and early Victorian writers William Cobbett and John Byng, who charted their travels by horse the length and breadth of the country - capturing what a historian never could. I love their descriptions of the inns and pubs they stayed in and reading about the vast amounts of bacon, beer and port they consumed and feeling quite jealous. I have said many times I am a soul trapped in the wrong era - perhaps I wish that I too were living in a Dorset village pre WWI or travelling the country on my horse or 'walking out one midsummer's day' as Laurie Lee did with a few bob in his pocket and his violin on his back, and walking to Spain.

3. Favourite TV Show to binge
Lark Rise to Candleford (TV series based on Flora Thompson's novels):

And of course, yes, you guessed it, Downton Abbey, which Caspar and I watch nearly every day. We have just watched all the series and are about to re-watch when the DVDs arise (those blighters at Amazon have made each episode £2.49):

I would like Lady Mary's tweed jacket and hat - yes please.

Plus of course Poirot - my favourite character being Hastings. I could listen to him speak all day and wish we all still spoke like that today:

Hastings - impeccable manners and wardrobe. They don't make them like that any more. I love him.

As well as Parks and VEEP (which tends to make you suck air through your clenched teeth a lot it is so cringey borderline offensive but I can't not watch):

4. Favourite newish TV show
Apart from Poldark:

Would you marry Ross? That is the question? Is he liveable with or would he drive you to drink? Or do you think you could tame him? (hahahah!)

Current favourite has to be Vikings (currently watching with jaw dropped most of the time). Are any of you watching this as well? Ivar has gone Anakin on us and definitely headed to the dark side. The characters are all off doing their own thing and I hope that Ube's venture colonising East Anglia goes well for him. Also hoping Hvisturk leaves Ivar and ventures off for new pastures. Magnus is just annoying and I want to slap him. I hope Lagartha is found, she has been through a lot and God knows how she never ages, or gets any battle scars. Thoughts on this season anyone?

The final season will air in 2019-20, with the cable network and creator Michael Hirst are discussing a "continuation" of the show's world.

I also think I will be hyperactively excited when the new and final GOT season arrives.

There is a tiny teaser  for the new series on a HBO advert that shows this scene above, with Sansa handing Winterfell over to Daenerys. Who incidentally looks about 12.

5. Favourite film of all time?
Of course it is the adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd:

The gloriously heaving farmhouse table.

Farmer Oak: swoon.

I also love Mona Lisa Smile:

Gentle films. C and I watched Brideshead re-visited last night and he loved it but was a bit perturbed at the end that there wasn't a happy ending. I think it is good for him to watch films like this but I generally prefer a happy ending, do you?

We watched The Holiday this Christmas and loved it!

I related to Cameron Diaz' character hopping around a freezing cold stone floored cottage dressed like this :)

6. Film you are most looking forward to watching?
Guess? The Downton Abbey Movie  of course! C and I will got to the midnight showing. I love the fact he loves it as much as me and actually talks about the characters a lot when he isn't watching it. He has started absent mindedly using some of the 1920s phraseology in regular conversation, it is very amusing.

An actual still from the upcoming film!

And Top Gun 2:

7. First concert you attended
London Symphony Orchestra and then when a little older (Americans, you may not have a clue who this band are) - Bros. Yes. At the Bournemouth International Centre. I was crazy excited and screamed a lot. After that it was Take That. They were beyond a phenomenon in this country for teenagers. I still have the programme.

8. Ultimate Concert
It is possibly not a concert but I would love to see the Opera in Verona - Verdi. A little different from my earlier musical tastes above hahah!

Shan has prompted me in her TBB link up post to P.S include this:

I would love one day to return here (I was last here in 1998 watching Lynard Skynard) - not specifically for them, as I didn't quite know who they were, but after a year in Texas I was a true Country convert. I love Chris Stapleton - Tennessee Whiskey is perhaps my fave Spotify play, love Luke Bryan as well.

I'd love to see Chris Stapleton in Tennessee!

I wish too that some of the old dance hall venues were still open in College Station Texas - Shadow Canyon, Texas hall of Fame - I had some of the BEST nights two stepping there.

9. Favourite music, band, artist
No idea now, but I've loved listening to vintage Americana Christmas music this passed month - Bing Crosby et al. I love some country artists, I love classical, opera, early Jazz (Billie Holiday). I dislike most modern music. I listen to radio 4 a lot. I am so middle aged.

10. How do you listen?
I got into Spotify last year but don't pay for membership. They have started to drive me crazy with adds and constant cajoling to try and make me upgrade it makes me what to delete the app. I am fancying buying a record player and getting into vinyl. My parents have a great system from the 80s we got in London. They also have various gramophones, which is a step too far, even for me! Do fancy going scratchy old school though. Maybe that will be a secret goal for 2019.

I would love to hear all of your answers to the questions above!

Also linking up with Narci et al:
Friday Favorites-3


So many great shows you watch and I love that Casper joins in with you. Some classic Christmas music is always a beautiful thing. I love that you listen on a record player. We have one that we use as decoration in our house from Eric's grandfather that I would love to get up and running. Sierra Beautifully Candid
Bri Runde said…
I have so many friends that just LOVE Downton Abbey, so it is actually quite surprising that I haven't checked it out yet. I need to, don't you think? I would love to go to the country artists concert with you. :)
Have you ever read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn"? An American classic, and a really great book. One I re-read over and over. I don't listen to music as much as I used to--it's become yet one more thing for my children to scream over, and competing noise drives me CRAZY--but one of my favorites is Adrienne Young. She's not exactly country, more bluegrass, and definitely not played on mainstream radio, but I love her.
Shannon said…
Ahh!!! What a great artist to see though at the Rodeo!!! It's not too late to book a flight for a quick trip! I love your collection of books. I'm a sucker for the authentic covers. I love Hastings and Poirot- my favorites!! I'm glad you were able to watch The Holiday. I would love to stay in a little cottage like that with my blankets and books. I still need to see Mona Lisa Smile. Love Julia Roberts!
I have a record player that I need to get set up. I got a couple new records for Christmas, so I'm excited!

You won't believe this but I'm pretty sure Bros opened for Debbie Gibson at my first concert that I saw in 1989!!
Ascott said…
I didn’t know there was a downton abbey movie - so yes to this and top gun 2. If you decide to do the Tennessee trip you also have a place to visit in Kentucky! Fun link up - I couldn’t get it together to join this time!
Oh The Holiday is a lovely movie. That is also a movie that Running Daddy and I watch every time it is on tv.

LMW said…
I cannot wait for the Downton Abbey movie. Oh come back to Texas and we can Rodeo Houston together!!
Loved reading your answers to these questions -- such a great mix of classic and contemporary! I'm glad you enjoyed some American Christmas music this holiday. Bing Crosby is like comfort food in music form. :)
Britt Hensley said…
I’m d-y-i-n-g to see Downton Abbey #TeamMatthew #BringBackSybill I was totally invested in the show as it aired, and I will be in the theatres when the movie comes out!! It was perfection!!
You have the BEST taste!! Such a great selection here. And it seems like all the shows and movies you love have great fashion too!
And No! I could not marry Ross. I would kill him!! Haha!
Melissa said…
I'm with you on ALL of this, J!!! I cannot wait until the Downton Abbey film comes out on TV. I swear I'll be nursing the babe and binging it over and over and over. That show simultaneously broke my heart and mended it a hundred times over. Have you ever watched Outlander? I've heard I need to watch that one, but I've yet to try it! And yes to Jane Austen and Pride & Prejudice. I'll never read it too many times :)
Europafox said…
Sierra it is a great milestone when your son 'transitions' to some adult TV and really appreciates and 'gets' it - it is fun to have something new to share, especially as I don't play fortnite haha! You are lucky to have an old record player - if you do get it up and running it would be great to see it - or hear it on an instastory! Big hugs - J xx
Europafox said…
I love to hear that Downton was popular in the US Bri - it is probably why it is 'coming back' with a film, so I am so grateful for that! You MUST give it a try, and hopefully you will love it too. Please let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Hey - the country concert would be a fab idea. I'd love to organise a blogger meet up in the States for 2020 - maybe a concert would be a good on the itinerary haha! Seriously! I would love to go to one - you would be a fab person to go with, I'd love that! J xx
Europafox said…
THANK YOU Kristin for the tip about the 'a Tree grows in Brooklyn' novel. I have just read a bit of background about it now and it sounds both interesting (I love reading about people working their way up from nothing and esp in a historical setting) - I read it was so successful they made it into an armed services edition to fit in service persons pockets - what an endorsement! I know it will be good it you re-read it so many times. I have just searched Adrienne Young on spotify and I am listening to it now as I write - LOVE it! I also feel super proud of myself for knowing what Bluegrass is now too haha! ALL the best - J xx
Europafox said…
I think I dream, Shannon, about getting a 'quick flight to TX', seriously. We are talking about forgoing our summer hol in Europe (it is cheaper to go to the States, the pound is so weak against the Euro) and booking for the US 2020 (there is a t-shirt right there 'Europafox US 2020' hahahah! I love old book covers too - I rip off the dust jackets to reveal the cloth or hardback. LOVE the fact you watch Poirot in Texas - I always feel so thick though at the end ' why didn't I spot that!!' etc. I had to watch the holiday after so many of you said how good it was - it was so near teary happy, loved it. I will house swap with you and you can experience the pile of throws, village and books :) I will go and sun myself at yours with your two dogs and you can look after our mad fur trio. :) Let me know what you think of Mona Lisa Smile - it is AWESOME. J xx
Europafox said…
Oooh too cool that you have a record player and some new vinyl. My parents have an original 'White Christmas' would you believe - got to borrow it for next Xmas when I get my own player. Isn't it so much more exciting than electronic? Hope you come back to the site again! Joanne xx
Europafox said…
I think you are right!! I am sure that I have heard / read that. Gosh Debbie Gibson, so popular - I can picture her as she was then as clear as day. I do get her mixed up sometimes with 'Tiffany' though. I still have her single 'I think we're alone now' on VINYL haha! Thank you so much for visiting Dara! Joanne x
Europafox said…
Oh my gosh Amy I am so glad you now know about the film - July apparently is the release. I am literally going to google how I can wangle tickets to a premiere somewhere. Until then, it will be fun speculating on who will be in it and what might happen don't you think? Amy I'd love to do a ROAD TRIP (or train trip) to the States. Kentucky would be awesome as I have no idea what to expect! It certainly looks as if there is a lot to offer culture wise. I'd love to do the Derby. Either that or I would love to organise a blogger meet up somewhere - would you be up for that? Somewhere everyone would be happy as a central or accessible venue. Let me know! J xx
Europafox said…
It is a great film Patty - and I know why everyone else loves it so much. I think it will be once of those movies I'll want to watch every Christmas now. Jude Law isn't my 'type' but so adorable - how could you resist those eyes and that charm! J xx
Europafox said…
GOT TO DO THE RODEO AGAIN. It can't be put off much longer. Would you be up for a blogger meet up in 2020 with other bloggers? If so, any ideas on a good venue / location for it? Would be cool to actually meet everyone! J xx
Europafox said…
You are soooo right about Bing Jen - his voice is like brandy chocolate. You have done the BEST (and only) decent Christmas music really! J xx
Europafox said…
Britt - you can be #teammatthew / #teamsybil. I will have to be #teamanthonystrallan hahaha! Seriously, poor man - Caspar asks about him all of the time. J xx or P.S. #teamthedeceasedturkishdiplomat - what a fox! Tragic but a fox nevertheless.
Europafox said…
Kristen the best films for me are definitely those I can disappear into - with laughter or just sheer escapist beauty - films you feel so much better for watching! I have to be careful though - I've already decided to get a sun parasol for this summer after being prompted by Downton. Agree with you re Ross - what a recipe for disaster / a Valium addiction. J xx
Europafox said…
What a GREAT idea - Downton is perfect binge watching material while nursing your new baby - it doesn't make too much noise either, all of those soothing voices. I DID watch Outlander and loved it but went off it for some reason - I think I couldn't bear to be watching the Culloden scenes and see everyone setting themselves up for disaster. I need to re-start it again though. Let me know what you think - some of the acting is a bit hammy but it is good late night entertainment! Jane will forever be a favourite - did you love the film with Colin Firth as well? J xx
Thanks for the recommendation of "Lark..." I never heard of it but found that I can watch it.
I put it on my watch list. Holiday is my all-time favorite. Have a wonderful week!
I loved Mona Lisa Smiles. I haven't seen it in forever, but it was a good one. I LOVE Parks and Rec, but never got into Veep. My husband did. I need to check out some of the tv shows you recommended!
Europafox said…
Let me know what you think of Lark Rise - it really draws you in with the characters and there is lots of gentle drama and chuckles along the way. I hope you have had a fantastic New Year so far! Joanne xx
Europafox said…
It is a great film - I need to watch it again soon. It is definitely a watch alone film though in this house - the boys aren't really fans! We do need a good girly film from time to time though don't you think? VEEP can be pretty aggressively shocking in its humour - offensive even, but it makes me laugh because I am so uptight half the time I kind of like the fact it is so outside of what I'm used to. Plus I LOVE watching people get into messes and basically muddle through them - it's why Ozark was so good. J xx
Thank you for sharing so many beautiful books that I need to add to my list! Now for a confession - would you believe that I've NEVER watched Downton Abbey? SO many people love it and my Mother-in-law always tells me to watch it and I just never have!
Also - I'm with you on your music favs - love the older classics!
Europafox said…
Jessi you of all people - shame on you!! Haha - you MUST watch it - you will love it. Lots of country house design inspiration of course. Well, quite frankly every scene is inspiring! If you try and episode let me know what you think! J xx

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