October 10, 2005

Weekend Report

The Weekend at (slightly more than) a glance.

Saturday: Wallace and Gromit
Sunday: Apple Picking
Monday: Pie and Sea Tales

Details below the “fold.”


Julie met with us to see Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

If you’re familiar with Wallace and Gromit, you already know whether or not you will like this film. And the case is, most probably, that you know you will like it.

The Aardman studios characters — a cheese-loving British goofy inventor and his emotive yet silently clever dog — are a refreshing change from most of the vacuous available children’s entertainment. It’s encouraging to see the moviegoing public embracing good quality animation. Nick Park’s characters have a warm quality about them that even the best of the latest CGI films are missing. They radiate a timeless charm.

It’s hard to believe that it was over 10 years ago that we were watching “The Wrong Trousers” at the Avon in Providence (remember, Bri?)

The film is accompanied by a short, featuring the penguins from the DreamWorks film “Madagascar.” The short was full of slapstick antics and a few decent groaners, but ran a tad long.

This film is structured much like previous W&G features, including an outrageous action/chase sequence at the end. While nothing, in my mind, can match that first time I saw Wallace and Gromit give it their all to apprehend that crooked penguin while riding a model train, Were-Rabbit has its own share of surprises in store. Fun for the whole family.

We hit the nearest Wings to Go on the way home for an early dinner, and introduced Julie to the BBC version of Jeeves and Wooster on DVD back at the ranch.


We were lucky enough to join up with Sara for some apple picking. They weren’t ideal fall conditions, but intrepid pickers we are. We located a nearby PYO farm (the C.N. Smith farms in East Bridgewater) and headed out.

There were a surprising number of undaunted folks at the orchard. We were attired for the rain that dogged us all day, perfectly resigned to getting a decent soaking. C.N. Smith Orchard is bursting with varieties of apples. The Macs were already picked out, but we drowned our sorrows in Cortland, Mutsu, Fuji, Braeburn, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Macoun, Spencer, and Granny Smith.

We made our way down the rows, sometimes slowed by huddled groups of umbrella-wielding apple-seekers. One wondered how one was supposed to enjoy apple-picking if you had to hold both a bag and an umbrella. And these groups seemed to lumber about in clogs, with always the danger of the dreaded eye-poke form a wayward umbrella rib. Me without my swim goggles.

Some of us, instead, embraced the weather. That is, if you can call slickers and duck boots any sort of embrace. We stopped far short of cavorting among the branches au natural. I believe that proper rain gear is a happy medium.

As rain dripped from our arms, so did it run off the apples themselves, giving to them a dark, wine-like quality. The Cortlands, familiar to me usually as a red-to-green variety, were astonishingly plum-colored, drawing numerous remarks as we twisted them off and stared for a moment before dropping them into the girls’ bags.

Having such a variety available was a treat, because here was a first opportunity to compare. The girls were clearly excited to have apple choices for the first time in an orchard like this. Most of the good apples were fairly high up, but there was decent picking somewhere for even the shortest of our party.

We parted company with Sara after returning home, and spend the dinner hour at my parents’ house, catching up after the last couple of weeks.


Little of interest happened today. The day itself was spent running a shopping errand or two. Back home it was reading time while the girls played.

Maggie expressed an interest in apple pie, and she obliged in reading to me from The Mauritius Command as I peeled the apples and prepared the pie shell. The fourth book of the Aubrey/Maturin series is where, we think, I left off the last time I was reading O’Brian’s wonderful fiction. Or perhaps not, as the book seems extremely familiar. It’s not important, though, as it’s a lot of fun to be able to enjoy the book by sharing it with Maggie, who has read all of them and more.

The pie came out quite passable. Improved with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The pie crust could have been a lot less crumbly. But the variety of apples used gave the pie some definite character. Every pie is an adventure. An adventure in calories, to be sure, but you never know exactly what you’re going to get. Mixing up apples, you definitely get something greater than the sum total of parts.

Posted by James at October 10, 2005 11:57 PM
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I have a coworker who thought the W&G movie was *boring*!!

I think I liked Jeeves & Wooster better than either of you, though I could be wrong.

Posted by: Julie at October 11, 2005 9:56 AM

I love Jeeves&Wooster. It's hard to watch something with somebody when you're not sure if they're going to like it. You have all kinds of doubts.

Posted by: Maggie at October 11, 2005 10:16 AM

The wife and I saw W&G on Saturday too, and loved it. I can easily see us buying it when it comes out on DVD.

Posted by: soxfan at October 11, 2005 12:05 PM

I really enjoyed it, but as Maggie says, you get worried that you're makign someone watch somethign that they're not really enjoying.

I'm glad you really liked it. I'll watch Jeeves and Wooster any time.

Time ot rent the next DVD.

Posted by: James at October 11, 2005 12:05 PM

Okay, I misunderstood. You seemed hesitant, so I thought you weren't enjoying it.

Posted by: Julie at October 11, 2005 12:07 PM

To clarify, somewhere in my poor typing above, I was talking about Jeeves and Wooster.

As for Wallace and Gromit, I agree with soxfan. We're definitely going to want to see that one again on DVD.

Posted by: James at October 11, 2005 12:08 PM

We were hesitant to subject you to the second episode because the first one had so little Jeeves in it.

Still, I love the bit about the white jacket. Jeeves looked so affronted when he finds that Bertie has snuck the jacket in the second wardrobe.

Oh, Bertie, you're such a rascal!

Posted by: James at October 11, 2005 12:13 PM

Julie: Tell your co-worker to dial down the crystal meth when watching claymation. Or just get new co-workers. Maggie: I had the same trepidation before showing "Blackadder" to The Cute Redhead. I worried for naught. AND: Jeeves & Wooster is in the NetFlix queue. Again. What ho!

Posted by: ThirdMate at October 11, 2005 12:16 PM

I couldn't talk my cautious roommate into viewing Wallace and Gromit so I finally went on my own today and loved it. There were many similarities to "A Close Shave" but those rabbits were cute enough to overlook them.

Posted by: Mike L. at October 21, 2005 10:56 PM

Of course, the Were-Rabbit was quite frightening.

Posted by: James at October 21, 2005 10:59 PM

The bunnies in the big glass thing was... well, look, I could have just sat there and watched that for two hours. Like a lava lamp full of cute little bunnies. How does a person come up with stuff like that? He must eat a lot before he goes to bed.

Posted by: Julie at October 22, 2005 2:16 PM

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