Thursday 16 June 2016

Carlos V.

I have just finished watching Carlos Rey Emperador. It has taken me two months to do so, but at my rate of watching stuff, that is quite good. This Spanish TV series of 2015 has 17 episodes, each of 75-80 minutes.
With a production style similar to that of modern soap operas, it is, nevertheless, very well made. The costumes and settings are particularly good, as is the acting. However, the episodes can become somewhat boring, as each scene inevitably portrays yet another domestic, studio-produced conversation between historical characters. Nonetheless, the vast career of this series grew on me as I watched. My favourite scene was at the end of Episode 16 when the Emperor retires to the Monastery of Yuste. The actual monastery was used, to great effect, in the filming of this scene.
Somewhat typically for historical dramas, history is manipulated. This production contained exceptionally good, and exceptionally bad parts. The worst, I think, was the portrayal of young Philip II just before his first marriage, and on the night of his first marriage. This portrayal marred badly the overall production.  
The actor, Alvaro Cervantes, who played the part of Carlos V, did so extremely well; in fact he was superb in the part. What particularly impressed me was the way in which he  aged as the series continued. It is hard to make a young man look like an old man, even with all the make-up. But the way that this actor portrayed the role, as the character became older, was remarkable. Carlos V is, after all, the most powerful ruler that the West has known.
I also felt that the viewer did need to have a fairly good understanding of history. Famous characters routinely appeared in scenes without any introduction. Once I realised this, I kept my mobile phone close by, and found Wikipedia to be an invaluable aid for identifying them and thus better appreciating the scenes in this epic production. 

Monday 13 June 2016

Renovation 12.

On 25th April this year, with the evening sun picking out some colour, I took this photo. The renovation work is essentially complete, and I await the establishing of a new equilibrium in the ecology of the pond, through the use of the filter and the growth of plants in the water.

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Renovation 11.

I took this photo on 20th April this year. The pond looks really well finished off with the Marsh Marigold in glorious bloom. You can see the gill nets which Rob and I fitted over much of the surface of the pond. Unfortunately these are a necessity; I haven't seen a heron near the garden since the nets were set in place.
The pond has the original five goldfish, together with five new ones. The frogs spawned profusely in March and by the time this photo was taken, the pond was 'newt city'!

Saturday 4 June 2016

Renovation 10.

This photo was taken on 2nd April 2016. You can see the work Rob and I had done to finish off the edge of the pond with stones. This work involved a careful assessment of the water level round the entire circumference, so as to create a neat and level edge. We achieved this by creating an overflow in the bottom corner of the pond - which is out of picture. I'll endeavour to take a picture of this for a future post.
You can also see the small waterfall at the head of the pond, which is a lovely feature in both the movement and the sound it creates. I have a 2200 pump which feeds water into a large bio-filter, positioned behind the bamboo leaves (in the photo), and then, by gravity, to the simple water fall. I'll take a picture of this too.
BTW, the pond has a volume of 30,000 lts. It's quite a big one!