Sunday, August 12, 2012

'The King's Thief' and an Invasion of Yellow Jackets

Talk about an exciting week. I mean, things have really kept us on our toes. For the past month or two, we've noticed an occasional bee (turns out that they were actually German Yellow Jackets) coming from behind the books in the corner of the TV room. Elizabeth could actually hear buzzing behind the wall, on occasion. Well, they reached an all-time, unacceptable high this week. For three evenings we couldn't even watch through a whole movie, because we had to keep getting up to swat bees. They are entering through the siding outside of our bedroom window, so Dad sprayed the entrance twice, and that always sent a ton of them flying inside. Dad figures that he killed fifty or so the other night alone!

Yesterday, being Saturday, Dad and I went up to the TV room (armed with two fly-swatters, a flashlight and a tube of dark brown caulking), closed the door and got to work eliminating the bees' secret passage. Elizabeth and I had found the biggest bee I've ever seen (other than the fuzzy bumble bees that flit around outside) in the morning, and we're pretty sure it was the Queen. That was promising, anyway. So, Dad and I began by emptying ten or twelve shelves of books (that's hundreds of them, if not a thousand) and moving all the furniture to the other side of the room. We found a couple of spots where the pests were coming in. In the 1970s, when the TV room was added to our house, the builders just nailed the paneling on (no drywall underneath, either!) a little crooked. This caused tiny gaps between the wall and the ceiling. Dad used some small strips of wood and caulking to seal all the spots! What a handy man. :)

It doesn't take as long to explain these actions in a blog post as it takes in real life. Once all the caulking was finished, we had to put the books back on the shelves and rearrange the furniture. Not a small task, I assure you! We weren't finished until about 3:30pm.

Mom and Elizabeth had been up at the Keultjes' house all day helping them sort through books. Turns out that they had sorted a bunch out (to be specific: fourteen full banana boxes!) that we're going to list on eBay, so Dad and I met them up there with the pick-up truck. Couldn't go to the Keultjes' house without visiting, so we stayed until about seven o'clock. They are the best!

Now, about the other half of the title of this post: The King's Thief. This is a 1955 film, starring Edmund Purdom and Ann Blyth. We'd never heard of it, but Elizabeth came across it and managed to get a very old video tape from the library. This is a swashbuckling tale set in London during the reign of Charles II (played by George Sanders). It was filmed in widescreen and vivid technicolor, but we won't comment on that. (The VHS tape is old, so the widescreen has been modified to fullscreen with "pan and zoom" effect and the color is faded to about 50% saturation.) David Niven plays the crooked Duke of Brampton, trusted adviser to the King.

It falls to Edmund Purdom and Ann Blyth to prove the treachery of the Duke to King Charles. Easier said than done. Poor Mr. Purdom. He was really put through the ropes on this one, and appears to have been very game when it came to physical stunts. This movie has everything! Sword fights, horse chases, a spectacular prison break (including a bell tower scene that is absolutely nerve wracking!), romance (nothing mushy), and a thrilling finale in the Tower of London! Elizabeth and I were so nervous that our stomachs were all tied up in knots. This has definitely become one of our favorites. Let's hope that a restored DVD comes out soon!

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