Archive for the 'Family' Category

House of Sand and Fog

House of Sand and Fog Poster

I joined the Cheltenham Film Society a couple of weeks back. I went along with some friends of mine and was surprised to meet a few other people I knew there, including my aunt and uncle Helen and Stephen. Its a small world isn’t it?

Anyway, tonight’s film was House of Sand and Fog, starring Jennifer Connelly (who always surprises me by actually being a good actress) and Ben Kingsley.

It was very clever, in that throughout the film, you never quite decide where your sympathies lie. A large part of me wanted Behrani [Kingsley] and his family to win out, yet I didn’t want Kathy [Connelly] to lose out at all (even if she did bring her downfall upon herself somewhat). The only person that you really end up disliking is Lester [Ron Eldard], who starts out as the friendly policeman but ends up being a bit of a psycho nut job.

Its a fantastic film, but its really not the most light-hearted in the world. In fact it verges on being downright depressing. I got to the end and thought “What the hell is she going to do with her life now?”

Myself and Ben [not Kingsley] were discussing it on the way home — is it even possible to make a really good happy film? Its just that the really good films always seem to be gritty, intense psychological dramas (or that seems to be the way at this film society). Is it even possible to portray shiny happy intense gritty realism?

Ah, Glentress and Gethin

It seems that I’m not the only one who’s been enjoying the wonders of Glentress this summer – Leon and co have been up there having fun too. Is it really a 500 mile round trip from Manchester though!? We mush have gone miles further when we went there from Gloucestershire then…


Leon’s exploits reminded me of one particular bit of trail we did back in the summer. It was the last descent of the morning – whether it was actually Deliverance or not I can’t remember. Anyway, partway down it splits into two trails – one way was Red, the other Black – ski-style gradings you see. I stopped where the trail split in two, thought for a second and took the black route. This may have been a silly move because it then proceeded to scare the crap out of me – two gert big step-downs and a huge tabletop greeted me before the two trails came back together. I reached the first one in a cloud of screeching brakes before going back to get a better run at it.

Gethin Woodland Park

I did exactly the same thing on a much smaller drop at Gethin, South Wales yesterday too. I don’t know why but as I approached it it just phased me completely. Perhaps it was the big rooty bits sticking out, who knows? Either way I had to take about five run-ups before I launched off it – and in the event it was really easy. Typical.

Not so easy was the rock garden. Ever since a few friends of mine raced the Dragon DH at that course a couple of months back they haven’t stopped going on about it. Its become a minor legend in its own right. About fifty yards long, its basically a “path” down the hill consisting of a load of very big rocks. Rocks that move about underneath your tyres. My advice would be drop off the middle, go down the left until it gets really tricky, and then move to the right before carving into the corner.

The course reminded me of the Fort William course up in Scotland. That kind of gritty, rocky, all weather surface thats ridable just about all year. Well, unless it snows all winter or something. Its amazing just how much grip your tyres can get on gert big wet rocky slabs really isn’t it?

The Ewok Village

Back in Glentress again, the ‘shore style stuff was ace fun. First of all there was all the messing around in the Ewok Village, and then there was the black run after it – big step downs, log rides and that massive swooping ‘shore-style roller-coaster descent. Acetastic. I’ll be heading back next year, you can almost probably count on that!

Me riding part of the Ewok Village at Glentress - Photo by Rich Wood