The pantry’s damn near empty, the dishwasher is claiming overtime pay and all that pere noel so kindly delivered has been opened, played with and spread around every corner of the house. The dogs have been walked endlessly, dead stuff in the garden chopped down, horses moved to a drier field and a hundred hours of tv repeats absorbed. So as the new school term looms large, it’s time for a rare trip au cinema.
The ‘what’s on’ list is unstuck from the fridge door and, whilst there’s half a dozen movies showing, it’s soon apparent that virtually all are the French versions – Skyfall included. Naturellement, your perfectly bi lingual kids aren’t bothered and remind you that your linguistically challenged needs shouldn’t be pandered to anyway. In truth though, the prospect of watching a dubbed 007 has all the attraction of kissing your mother. So instead you alight on the Hobbit - tick, VO, tick, decapitated orks, bloodthirsty dwarfs and the opportunity to relive a childhood story.
Reading on though, the flaws in your plan appear. First, the bean counters at the studio have stretched a slim novel to 3 films – the first one of which seems to involve lots of chat and not much axe wielding. Second, the thing goes on for over three hours – which is fine if you’re on some tedious trans- Atlantic flight, less so when you need to get home before the animals have a collective paddy and the fox eats the hens. And as the place is going to be crammed and nothing starts – kids movies included - before 9.00pm (or nearly 10.00pm in reality once the projectionist has remembered to turn up, the trailers run and the mandatory ice cream tray done the rounds) – your enthusiasm wanes. So you enter into protracted negotiations with the children and chocolate and popcorn based bribes are established – as is the promise of watching the DVD when it’s out. Finally, with the listings pamphlet quietly buried in the bin, it’s time to put your feet up and slippers on. Result. Bilbo would approve.