Waking in my own bed, in my own house, after coming back home from Christmas at my parents’, I had to remind myself that it’s still December and that this is a pit stop in my holiday. I have a leisurely potter in my house, sorting out odds and ends, settling the cats back into their home, and resurrecting my computer from its Christmastide woes.

Then I head down to Emma’s, laughing out loud to the New Year’s edition of The Now Show as I go – religion and war: they are like Ant & Dec; you can have one without the other but what would be the point! 😉

In the afternoon we go exploring. Emma is starting at a new practice in Wokingham on Monday, and as it is a pretty little place, we go there and check out the market town – a very nice, friendly dry cleaners; just the right number of shops and a Waitrose. Then we go in search of Halfords for new number plates. It takes us on a merry trip round Wokingham, Reading and finally in a figure of eight type of loop to Bracknell. We don’t like Bracknell; nothing, and I mean, nothing but roundabouts and the wrong retail parks.

Home for pizza, before we head out to the Odeon at Maidenhead to see The Golden Compass (its not a compass its an alethiometer!). It’s a really interesting film to go and see. Having read Northern Lights ten or eleven years ago and thus a bit hazy on the exact plot, I really enjoyed the intelligent adaptation (if you discount the overly-Hollywoodised fighting polar bear scene. Emma though, having read it really recently, found all the rearrangements and omissions disconcerting, and as she detailed them, so did I. Particularly notable was the way that the film ends with Lyra leaving Bolvanger, and not with the final denouement with Lord Asriel, the Northern Lights and Roger.

Even so, it’s a well-done, well-acted and intelligent film – Lyra, in particular, seems to be extremely well cast and I’m not surprised that Philip Pullman is quoted as saying he approves. There has been much said in the media about the omission of religion-storyline from the film, but for me I don’t find this a problem. For one, this element of the story does not really get going in a major way until the third book; and secondly, if you replace ‘God’ where ‘Authority’ is mentioned, and ‘Religion’ or ‘Church’ for the word ‘Magisterium’, then its all there.