Harry Potter and the crowded glen

Image caption Potter enthusiasts at Glenfinnan

Harry Potter fans are arriving in their hundreds at a Highlands location for two of the films adapted from JK Rowling’s books about the boy wizard.

Filming of 2002’s Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, released in 2004, took place at Glenfinnan.

Here, fans gather on a hillside near the Glenfinnan Viaduct to catch a glimpse of the “Hogwarts Express”.

In real-life, the Express is the Jacobite steam train.

The steam train crosses the railway viaduct on its journeys along the West Highland Line.

Hundreds of railway enthusiasts and tourists on holiday in the Highlands also visit the site each year to witness the spectacle.

Image copyright BBC/Tom Hayward
Image caption JK Rolwing’s creation continues to draw large crowds to Glenfinnan
Image caption Some fans are prepared to wait hours for the “Hogwarts Express”
Image caption The viaduct is a hotspot for the taking of selfies and group photographs

The train and the viaduct appear in a famous scene featuring Harry Potter, friend Ron Weasley and a flying car.

So many Potter enthusiasts are now turning up in Glenfinnan, home to a village of the same name, that the local community is seeking funding for a new car park to cater for the visitors.

There are just 50 parking spaces available at the moment, and people are parking on side roads and along the verges of the busy A830.

Image caption Hundreds of people gather almost daily in the glen
Image caption Excitement mounts as the steam train comes into view

Some of the many visitors have been arriving to wait four hours to catch a glimpse of the Hogwarts Express.

Fiona Gibson, of Glenfinnan Community Council, told BBC Scotland: “It’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt.

“Kids are walking on the road and, because people are on their holidays, they are not really thinking about which side of the road they should be walking on.”

She added: “We’ve had bumps and scrapes, but fortunately no fatalities.”

The community hopes its planned new car park will be a wizard solution to the current parking problems.

Image caption The “Hogwarts Express” in all its glory

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-45359275

7 Baby Shower Gifts Your Pregnant Friends Will Love Betches

Blessed be the fruit. Honestly, we’re a little shocked that we’re having to put up posts about baby gifts, but here we are. Unfortunately for all of us, at some point we’ll have to attend a baby shower and watch a v pregnant almost-mom open gift after gift of everything from oversized stuffed animals to nipple balm. It’s a thing, and it’s terrifying.

Anyway, if you want to be the real VIP MVP of the baby shower circuit, make sure your gifts are on point. Whether you shower the parents-to-be with amazingly hilar onesies or gift cards to the best area restaurants ensuring them a night out, don’t fall into the trap of getting boring, loud, or weird baby gifts.

Hilarious Onesies From Shop Betches

Shop Betches Cool Mom Baby Onesie 

I’m not going to NOT plug our own merch, which is like, rly cute. You may as well buy about 100 onesies for any new child, since they’re likely to go through anywhere from five to 500 in any given day. They may as well look cute while they throw up on themselves. Babies, they’re just like us.

Something For Mama

Nektek Foot Massager Kneading Siatsu Therapy Plantar Massage

Mama is going to get a sh*tload of stuff for baby, i.e. toys, diapers, more diapers, onesies, baby food puree systems, tiny shoes and socks, etc. Get something for the new mom to enjoy, like, a day trip to a really nice spa complete with an offer of babysitting (I KNOW), several bottles of wine that age well considering she won’t be able to drink it until she’s done breastfeeding (unless she pumps and dumps), or a foot massage system that she can sit in while ordering her SO to actually change a diaper for once.

Baby Food Puree Systems

BEABA Babycook 4 in 1 Steam Cooker and Blender

If mom is already the owner of something like a Vitamix or Ninja blender system, she’s probably going to love the Baby Bullet (kinda off on the name, there, marketing people) or a similar product. It allows mom to make her own concoctions of baby food. That means she doesn’t have to run to the store and buy 1,000 glass jars.

Quiet Distractions For Bae

Melissa & Doug Soft Activity Baby Book

You know what new parents don’t want? Any kind of toy/distraction device that sings a song or makes any kind of sound. They’re getting enough sounds every three hours, morning, noon, and night. Find a toy that makes no noise but will keep bae distracted so mom can, like, pour a glass of wine for herself. Try items made from fabric, like soft baby books, foam blocks, and other soft, soothing, items.

Tiffany’s Things

Love Feeding Spoon by Tiffany’s 

Call it bougie, and it is, but if this is mama’s first baby, you can’t go wrong by buying the classic silver baby spoon from Tiffany’s. This isn’t really something that serves a true purpose–it’s a keepsake. Tiffany’s also has baby brushes, rattles, and other silver things that, at the price of around $300+, will definitely get you into the good graces of the parents … hopefully, so much so, that they’ll never ask you to babysit. It’s a win-win for everyone, fam.


Pampers Baby-Dry Disposable Diapers

This is neither classy nor cute, but the parents-to-be will be singing your praises. If there’s one thing that babies go through a lot of, it’s diapers. Duh. Build a diaper pyramid with about 15 packages of Pampers or Huggies or whatever, and the parents will be forever grateful. You’re essentially saving them a screaming argument at 3am about whose turn it is to do a diaper run. Praise be.

Baby Monitor

Babysense Video Baby Monitor 

Hey, you know what’s awesome? Being able to tune into baby in the crib without leaving the comfort of the couch. These days, there are tons of systems that include full sound AND video, so mom or dad can watch bae sleep (not in a creepy way) and decide whether or not the fussing is worth getting up for.

Images: Nynne Schrøder /Unsplash; Amazon; Shop Betches; Tiffany’s

Read more: https://betches.com/?p=34351

Meet Vinni Pukh, Soviet Russias Bizarre Take on Winnie the Pooh

This week, everyones favorite cartoon bear goes full Ted with a live action Disney movie starring Ewan McGregor as an adult Christopher Robin, all boring and unimaginative now that hes grown up. If the movie, creatively titled Christopher Robin, feels a little like Winnie the Pooh deja vu, youre not totally wrong; Hollywood last borrowed from the beloved story less than a year ago with Goodbye Christopher Robin, the Domhnall Gleeson-starring biopic of tortured storybook author A. A. Milne. Its safe to say Winnies having a moment.

But amid this mini-renaissance, theres one rendering thatat least among Americanshas been largely forgotten: the adventures of Vinni Pukh, the peculiar Pooh of Soviet Russia.

A simpler, stranger, funnier take on the childrens story, the three animated shorts that make up Vinni Pukhs brief run were released between 1969 and 1972 by a Moscow-based studio called Soyuzmultfilm. Directed by Fyodor Khitruk, the series presents Vinni as a deadpan oddball bopping about his 2-D world with a pared-down crew of the usual suspects: Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore. (Christopher Robin and Tigger are missing, but who needs them.)

Where Winnie is dopey and cozy, Vinni is droll and crafty, dunking himself in a pond to disguise himself as a raincloud (hes hiding from bees) or paying a visit to Rabbit to score a free snack (When we enter, the main thing is to pretend that we dont want anything, he instructs Piglet). Like the natural-born comedian that he is, Vinni will often break the fourth wall to shoot the audience a look with wide, mock-innocent eyes whenever he screws up or is hit with something unexpected. By comparison, Winnies reaction in such cases is simply, Oh, bother.

The animation itself is cruder than the American cartoon, set in a two-dimensional world of muted color and fuzzy shapeslike a George Braque painting or a first-graders refrigerator art. Unlike the yellow, crop top-wearing American teddy bear, Vinni is brown and rotund, with wide raccoon eyes and black paws that tend to detach from his body as he plods along. While Winnie seems like a fully-grown bear with a belly, Vinni looks more like a chubby cub. Russian Piglet is even more adorable than his American counterpart, blue-eyed and petite with plaid pants hiked up to his armpits.

Like the Disney version, the Russian storylines are drawn from A. A. Milnes celebrated books, including classic scenarios like Vinnis efforts to cheer Eeyore up on his birthday, or Vinni getting himself stuck in a hole and needing his friends help to dislodge. The three films' combined runtimes only total around 40 minutes, but even in that brief span, Vinni comes to life vividly.

Perhaps the weirdest (and most hilarious) part of the series are the songs. Pairing basic xylophone melodies with loud, atonal chants, the Russian tunes tie the episodes together with a sporadic, dissonant soundscape and absurdist bent. The lyrics have that rare quality of being so frenzied and bizarre as to feel almost profound: If Im scratching my head it doesnt matter / There is sawdust in my head, yes, yes, yes, Vinni chants in the opening lines of the first short. In another, he belts tunelessly, Heres an empty jar, its a simple object / It wont get anywhere / and thats why empty jar is much more valuable. Making it even weirder is Vinnis inexplicable vocal fry, as if hes been ripping Soviet cigs for the extent of his short life.

According to The Moscow Times, director Khitruk had never seen the Disney cartoon version when he set out to adapt Milnes story. Maybe, if Id seen it, I wouldnt have done my own. Whats the point in doing it over? he said in 2005. But I should tell you that Im not really satisfied with the Disney version. And now, in hindsight, I can tell you what the director of the second American film, Wolfgang Reitherman, told me. He also wasnt happy with his version. In the interview, Khitruk also addressed the absence of Christopher Robin, explaining that, by leaving the boy out, Khitruk sought to dispel the notion that Vinni, Piglet, and the rest of the gang were toys brought to life by a humans imagination. For us, it was all one world, he said.

Its a nice sentiment, elevating Vinni and those in his orbit out of the realm of the make-believe and into something much more real. And they deserve it: Vinni and his crew are a straight-up joy, and its truly a crime that his series hasnt yet reached cult-level popularity in the West. We can only hope that, as Winnie the Pooh fans gear up to watch Christopher Robin all grown up in London, some of them will stumble onand precede to immediately fall in love witha bizarre, early 70s Russian cartoon in the meantime.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/meet-vinni-pukh-soviet-russias-bizarre-take-on-winnie-the-pooh