purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)






11 miles + a 3.5 mile detour to Vindolanda. The feet are much better, though our legs are becoming increasingly stiff. In the above B. can be seen admiring the latrines at Housesteads (particularly impressed by the rainwater sluicing mechanism) and approaching Sycamore Gap star (or so the Internet informs us) of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves though neither of us recalls the film clearly enough to be certain - I'm certainly not certain it starred in the infamous Dover to Nottingham via Hadrian's Wall scene.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)






18 miles. Rained in the morning. We discovered the above stretch of visible Vallum (EDIT: Or possibly the defensive ditch to the north judging by the position of the Military Road in that picture) just as the sun came out - hence B's umbrella. Sunny in the afternoon. Staying at an extremely nice B&B near the Mithraeum at Carrawbrough.

Blisters improved but I still hobble whenever I start walking after a rest.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)








17 miles today, some nice bits but an awful lot of urban cycleway through the suburbs of Newcastle, which is nice enough for a while but becomes a bit dull after six or seven miles. I have also acquired blisters which is a bit of a blow and made particularly annoying by the fact that I've had these boots for years and not had trouble before. I blame my new socks.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)




Staying in a Guest House at Whitley Bay which appears to be mostly under construction (Whitley Bay, not the Guest House). Spanish City (of Dire Straits, Tunnel of Love fame) seems to be mostly gone but it looks like regeneration is in progress. We had a nice locally brewed beer before dinner in an excellent restaurant.

Tomorrow we get the Metro to Wallsend and then the walking starts...
purplecat: Twelfth Doctor and the number 12 (Who:Twelve)
World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls must form one of the best season finales in NuWho. In general I've been pretty unimpressed by these finales, feeling they had a tendency to over-emphasize spectacle at the expense of any real coherence. I thought Heaven Sent/Hell Bent were a marked improvement on previous attempts but thought this was even better - possibly because I was never that invested in Clara as a companion where I really did like this Tardis team and am genuninely sorry to see it to an end. Actually, just as I feel I couldn't really critically view The Eater of Light because it was such a nostalgia fest for me, I suspect I can't view this as critically as it might deserve given how invested I was in this Tardis team by this point.

More under the Cut )

So yes I liked this. I liked this mostly for the Cybermen in World Enough and Time and Bill's story throughout. Despite the fact there were a number of flaws (particularly in the logic of the situation) I thought it stood up pretty well in general, especially in comparison to other season finales.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
I wasn't really sure what to expect from The Myth Makers going into it. I have a fairly low tolerance threshold for so-so comedy and, while it has a good reputation, it is also Doctor Who attempting comedy in the 1960s and I had not been overly impressed by The Romans.

Actually it is surprisingly good )

I would genuinely love to see what The Myth Makers actually looked like. Doctor Who so rarely whole-heartedly tries to do comedy and this has some great dialogue and comic moments. I would have liked to see the actors faces as the lines were delivered. Watching telesnap reconstructions of old Doctor Who is definitely a fans-only past time, but if you feel up to the effort then I would say that The Myth Makers is more rewarding than many.
purplecat: Twelfth Doctor and the number 12 (Who:Twelve)
Three formative things from my childhood/teenage years: The books of Rosemary Sutcliff, the folk-music inspired output of Clannad, holidays spent in Scotland.

To be honest, I also rate Survival pretty highly, so The Eater of Light would have had to try pretty hard for me not to love it. I'm not sure I can even remotely claim to be looking over this story with an unbiased eye. I loved it a lot. It does reassure me that The Teenager also loved it however, despite considerable sceptism about Rosemary Sutcliff (occasionally I give her the books, she tactfully ignores the gesture), and no memories of Scotland (or Survival).

She does like Clannad though, but I'd argue that the music here, while definitely folk-inspired, is not particularly Clannad-ish.

Spoilers under the Cut )

I loved this. It hit me in all my nostalgia weak points and handled this particular TARDIS team, which I already liked, perfectly enough to convert me from well-disposed to a fan. The Teenager said she thought it might be her favourite Doctor Who story. I'm not sure I'd necessarily go that far (this is no Blink!) and I'm almost frightened to see how it would stand up to a rewatch because I'm very aware that external factors were effecting my ability to think critically about this. But on a single viewing, I'd say it was my favourite Twelfth Doctor, Bill and Nardole story.
purplecat: A pile of hardback books (General:Books)
Reading: Still Crime and Punishment. I have reached part 2. I'm finding Raskolnikov, the protagonist, somewhat irritating though, unlike Anna Karenina, I assume this is deliberate and much of the book is intended to be a study of poor decision making, its causes and effects.

Listening: I've come late to The Ood Cast, currently in a fore-shortened form as "The Ood One Out". It is a little self-satisfied, but it is interesting to hear a fan podcast where most of the participants are professionals and so mingle skits and songs with episode discussion. I don't think I shall go back and listen to the back catalog, as I have with some other podcasts, but I've been happy enough to listen along to the Oods reactions to the latest season.

Watching: B. is away again and G. and I do not currently have a watching project. So there hasn't been a lot of watching this week.
purplecat: (Lego Robots)
From a display at the Robot Exhibition at the Science Museum.



purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
This was our second venture into Season 7 and another impressive story.

Stretched over 7 episodes, it is another story that is much better than it has any right to be given its length - and I'm writing that so frequently that I'm beginning to wonder if Doctor Who actually works better when trying to fill 3 hours or more than when it is aiming for around 2 1/2 hours or whether it is the simple novelty of having so many episodes to fill that makes writers think more broadly. I mean it still has the basic structure of set-up - solve incidental problems - resolution but the incidental problems seem to work better as discreet chunks that are interesting in their own right.

The episodes which deal with the Silurian's attempts to start a worldwide pandemic are particularly effective, and a sequence I recall vividly from the novelisation. This is several years before Survivors but seems to be tapping into the same zeitgeist. That said, tame layman had a number of uncomplimentary things to say about quarantine procedures and one can't help feeling the whole thing hinges on several people in authority behaving very foolishly at critical moments.

Fulton Mackay's turn as the weasely Dr. Quinn is also impressive. The audience perception of him naturally progresses from the idea that he is one of the more reasonable members of the research centre hierarchy to the realisation that he is essentially ambitiously self-serving and covering this up with an air of geniality.

On the downside the idea that people are overcome by the race memory of Silurians, which is potentially powerful and atmospheric is more or less abandoned after the first couple of episodes. It is used to justify the presence of UNIT but not really pursued thereafter. I recall more being made of it in the novelisation.

Caroline John continues to make Liz an impressive companion. She demonstrates how a scientist-companion can be used as a person to whom work and responsibility can be delegated by the Doctor. I'm increasingly bemused by the idea that the powers-that-be thought she was not a success as a companion since the script doesn't seem to have any trouble with giving her stuff to do while maintaining the Doctor's overall authority.

Doctor Who would be a very different thing if it had continued down the path set out in season 7. I think you would need to be a much better analyst of media trends than I am to predict whether it could have had the longevity it has enjoyed with this more serious and adult-oriented format but, by its own lights, I would say it was a resounding success.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)




It is difficult to explain how incredibly amazing this book was when I first randomly purchased it from The Children's Book Shop on Oxford's Broad Street circa 1980. The truly incredible part about it was that it contained summaries of every Doctor Who story up to Sarah's departure in The Hand of Fear. I spent hours pouring over those summaries which were the only real access one had to information about those episodes though the book recommends to the reader, at the end, the range of Target novelisations of which there were "27 in print and more in preparation".
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
People compare Mark Gatiss who stories to the Pertwee era surprisingly often to my mind. I think he's on record as saying it's his favourite era of the show and it's true his stories tend to have a straight up monster or villain but the Pertwee era is typified, I would say, by the presence of overtly political themes (absent from Gatiss') work and a fairly sparse and functional approach to setting where Gatiss' (possibly because of his interest in Victoriana) tends towards the Gothic. In fact, apart from the fact Gatiss doesn't borrow from Horror tropes, I would have said that the Hinchcliffe era was a better point of comparison.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that, no matter what the rest of the Internet might think, I can't really imagine Empress of Mars in the Pertwee era.

More under the cut )

This is, I get the impression, the episode that Gatiss has always wanted to write and I think it shows. It is having a lot of fun, telling a ripping yarn, and manages to feel both like a Doctor Who story and like a Scientific Romance.
purplecat: (dinosaur)
We were supposed to be going to Bristol Comic Con but they cancelled the con. So instead we were let loose on the unsuspecting Bristol countryside.





More pictures under the cut )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Reading: Still Crime and Punishment which should be no surprise. However I had anticipated being further in than Chapter 5 by this point.

Listening: Stuff you Missed in History Class on William Moulton Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman. So far he's invented a lie detector and is investigating women's emotional responses to bondage - suddenly Wonder Woman's lasso takes on a whole new dimension. He appears to have been both a feminist of sorts* and a polygamist. The former of which is, I gather, very evident in the early Wonder Woman comics (particularly his belief that the world would be a better place if run by women) the latter somewhat less so.

Watching: We have discovered Stanger Things. Very reminiscent of E.T. (it opens with a D&D game, is set in the 1980s and much of it is short from a child height viewpoint (a characteristic of E.T. according to B.))

*neither of his partners got suitable credit for their, in some cases considerable, input into his work.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
While I was in Texas an old friend and his wife took me out for the day including a trip around Texas' Capitol





Piccies Under the Cut )
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
Large Image under the Cut )

Answer: No.

From the early days of the hiatus/wilderness years/whatever you want to call them...
purplecat: (arthuriana)
It was the end of my first year at university. I went on holiday in a ramshackle minibus with an assorted bunch of Arthurians. The sun shone. We went south.



Lizard Point, Cornwall

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