Despite the weather forecast, it was really sunny, which was good, because jo_blogs came down for a visit. I thought I'd be late to meet her due to the bus being late. (I don't know why they bothered putting in that electronic display in, it's not accurate, it kept saying 11 or 10 minutes late, then the bus came round the corner!) Fortunately, I got to the station just as the train was pulling in. Dogstar had never been to Salisbury before, so I had the opportunity to show it off a little bit. I took her to the Haunch of Venison first, which is one of our oldest pubs and very atmospheric. (The story from the Haunch is that, during renovations, a mummified hand was discovered bricked up in a wall: the hand belonged to someone who'd cheated at cards and been caught.) I was her pilot interviewee for her thesis, which was great, as it meant me waffling on lots about writing and reading to a willing audience. Then we went to the Lemon Tree, which is a small but very popular restaurant near to the high street. It's usually packed, but when we arrived, it wasn't busy at all. I don't know if it was because of the bank holiday or we came late (though half-past one isn't really that late), but we were able to choose a shady table in the garden and have a thorough talk. As usual, the food was delicious - I had "tipsy chicken": chicken in a white wine and cream sauce with leeks and button mushrooms, plus sautée potatoes and a mixed salad - and Dogstar enjoyed it, which was my main worry. Then there was just time to show her the cathedral close and the cathedral itself before walking back to the station. Then I met Mum for a coffee after work before walking to Sainsbury and shopping with her and Dad. Such a lovely day!
I just watched this last night for free due to the magic of the internet. And all I can say is, I'm so glad I didn't pay for this film. What a load of tosh. I'm not a big fan of the book, as those from Dotmoon.net probably know by now, but it was at least an enjoyable read and didn't mess around with the main historical events. And you all know that I'm not a big fan of The Tudors, either. That's also tosh, but it's entertaining tosh. It doesn't try to be serious history, it goes for the blood and the sex. That's fine, I can accept that. But when a film tries to be serious and weighty and messes up a story this badly? It wasn't even faithful to the book, let alone actual historical events! Anne getting sent to France as a punishment? She grew up there! Why on Earth did Anne and Mary's mother get upset about Mary becoming the King's mistress and complain at the way her daughters were treated? You can't just shoehorn feminism in like that! Becoming the King's mistress was an excellent way to improve your family's standing, everyone thought it was a good thing. Henry raping Anne was utterly ridiculous and Mary adopting Elizabeth at the end was pure fantasy! Elizabeth's life would probably have been much happier if Mary had been able to adopt her but it didn't happen. And I was doubly annoyed at the waste of talent: when you have Eric Bana, Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman all in the same movie, it ought to be fantastic! Eric Bana wasn't given enough to do; Scarlett was stuck portraying an innocent with no character development (I'd have loved to see her play the real Mary Boleyn, the good-time girl who slept with the King of France)); and poor Natalie had to try and make Anne more than just a scheming bitch. I have to say that the scene where she wakes up and discovers her miscarriage genuinely upset me. (Though what's more upsetting is that this is the first time I can remember seeing this issue actually addressed in a film.) Apart from that, I just felt sheer amazement at how they'd managed to ruin such a good story.