Sunday, 29 July 2012

Here's Lookin' at You, Kid

It's summer time, which means the outdoor cinema is back in town. It's lovely because they use beautiful locations which are usually English Heritage sites, so you get to look around and a film at the same time! Bargain!

St. Augustine's Abbey

Last night, M and I went to St. Augustine's Abbey for a picnic and film screening  of Casablanca under the stars.  The film started at 9pm although doors opened at 8pm so people had a chance to eat, chat and look around before the film started.  They were even giving out bags of popcorn! We grabbed a couple of chairs and put my scarf on the grass as a makeshift picnic blanket and ate our nibbles (potato salad and quinoa and vegtable salad, and some snacks from Grazesince you ask) and drank our tea (out of a flask, of course. It's traditional). I had a good old look at what other people had brought and it was amazing: some people had proper hampers and picnic baskets.  Others had tartan picnic blankets littered with goodies.  One group had proper crockery and a soup tureen and everything.  It made me feel like buying a picnic blanket immediately (one of those ones that roll up small and are waterproof on one side because it is Britain after all) and maybe a basket as well.  I think crockery might be a stretch, but I did bring a couple of spoons, if that counts. 

Since it had been pretty warm during the day and there was cloud cover, I assumed that bringing an extra top, a hoodie and a big scarf (aka picnic blanket) would see me through. As usual, I ended up being inappropriately dressed.  M had even worn shorts under his motorbike trousers (now known as 'the shorts of hope') but the weather started getting a bit chilly. Do not underestimate the night-time weather! Other people seemed to know this and had worn coats, scarves and blankets, while the people in front of us were wrapped in a duvet (and drinking champers - talk about style). I have made a note of this for next time. Oh yes. At least it didn't rain.  Hooray.

Of all the gin joints in all the world......

Being outdoors was lovely. There was plenty of space, the sound echoed a bit off the stones of the Abbey at the back, you could see (and hear) some seagulls happily flying about for a bit of the film (and a few drunken shouts and cheers - it was a Saturday night, after all). The atmosphere was very friendly and jovial, there were quite a few people I recognised from around town.  Casablanca itself is a gem of a film - intriguing, political, humourous and romantic. I love all the old school glamour - the men in suits and the ladies in dresses - and all the historical context, not just of the story but of the film itself. The acting is superb.  And I'd forgotten the comic timing and the one-liners. Spot on. I was so happy that the Luna Cinema were showing it, especially in such a splendid setting.

All in all, we had a wonderful time.  I hope to catch one of the other events that they are hosting and I can only hope that the film and the atmosphere (and the weather) are just as great.  And next time, I'll be sure to have a few more layers on.

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