Sunday, April 26, 2009

" A First Time For Everything.."

What on Earth connects Judith Kerr's brilliant 40 year old " The Tiger Who Came To Tea" with my husband's favourite: Matthew Kneale's Whitbread Prize winner "English Passengers"... ???
Any idea??
I've discovered this week that Kerr/Kneale are mother/son.
So that's another talented dynasty to think about ..
This week saw us at Theatr Clwyd again.
And in great company...we took our 3 year old grandson for his 1st visit to the theatre.
A stage version of " The Tiger Who Came To Tea" seemed appropriate: he likes the book, we like the book, his folks like the book...
And yes, we loved this stage version. David Wood adapted it from the book, keeping faithfully to both story, words and pictures ( the set was perfect) and adding songs and lyrics with which the mini audience joined in ( and stood up!) lustily...
And YES, most important of all: the Tiger...a huge ( 6ft 6ins??) gingery black one in fabulous costume...was both lovable and scary and ( as the 3 Bears said in another book!) JUST RIGHT!
Hopefully a good introduction to theatre for a very impressionable 3 year old..

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"PC From Slovenia"

2 weeks ago we spent 5 days in Slovenia. Our Coniston friends have a house in a village about an hour from Ljubliana.
This snap shows the route we took on our last walk. We travelled westwards round the mt from the village ( see its rooftops...just a few... peeping at very front of snap) to Lake Bohinj ( in distance) and back.
The snap was taken from the lookout point above the village looking towards the lake.
This was my 2nd visit to Slovenia and I'd love a 3rd!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"World Premiere At Keswick"

Years ago, I met Melvyn Bragg in my local Town Hall.
Lord Bragg was there to talk about his novel:" A Time To Dance".
This seductive story about an unusual love affair caused quite a stir. If you didn't read it, you may have seen the TV adaptation, starring wonderful Derva Kirwan ( even before her arrival in " Ballykissangel".) I think all this was in 1992.
After Lord Bragg's talk, I bought the book. I joined the queue for his signature and on reaching his table, Lord Bragg glanced up, beamed and said:"Ah, it's you!"
My heart ( almost) fluttered. My book shivered in my fingers. So I waited. And he continued:
" Yes, I noticed you!"
My heart (almost) stopped. So I waited. And my book trembled. It actually trembled. Lord Bragg coughed.
Lord Bragg continued: " Yes, I've been watching you, all through my talk."
My heart stopped, it really did, but still he continued: " And do you know, my dear, I've got to tell you: I've never (ever) seen anyone look so...BORED!"

Hmm. I hadn't been bored, I really and truly hadn't. So I was stunned. SO I grinned at Lord Bragg inanely...until my lips probably hung round my ears.
And he smiled and said he hoped I'd enjoy his book...

But once home, in the privacy of my bathroom, I stared in the mirror and I grimaced and grinned and leered and pouted and still I wondered...

The w/end before last, we visited The Theatre On The Lake again, at Keswick. See
We were there for a showing of the world premiere of Bragg's novel " The Maid of Buttermere" published 1987 by Sceptre and now adapted for stage by Lisa Evans.
This story, set in 1802/03 and based on fact, tells the tale of a Buttermere Beauty called Mary Robinson. She marries an impostor, a bigamist, a rogue... who causes hearts to break and tragedy to unfold. Lisa Evans herself describes the book as " men behaving badly in the nineteenth century"...
It was an interesting production: There's a superb revolving set of mts and hillocks and lakes. There's a backcloth of Buttermere, where light changes magically with the seasons, with night and day. There's lots of live music, provided by piano, clarinet and flute, and there's singing and dancing and laughter too...amid the sorrow of Mary's sad tale.
Particularly special is the Company's use of its local Keswick people...some very talented folk too. Included was a Guest House owner, a Gap Year student, a Language teacher, a local architect, lots of school children...the list goes on.
AND in my view, THAT's a lovely part of what theatre is about...the gathering of community onto stage, the heady mix of professionals with Those Who Want To Be and Those Who Might Have Been.
Giving everyone opportunities, which is GREAT!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

"And Now: Vogue Treats!"

Occassionally I go a bit mad and treat m'self to a lustrous copy of "Vogue".
"In a Recession?" I hear you snort: " You'd be better off with 'Hello!'"
"NO, it's got to be 'Vogue'!" I say... and why not?

SO I put my feet up on the sofa with cats/chocolate/cushions in attendance, and off I go, hobnobbing ( sorry, that's a biscuit, isn't it) but hob-nobbing nevertheless with Those In Vogue: with double-barrelled Charlottes and probably Georgianas and the odd Lady Caroline (often a painter, writer, interior designer, wife of Banker AND mother of at least 24 heavenly children ) AND there's of course a gorgeous slinky Hon. Hector in satin waistcoat ( swinging out of The Ivy) and a Mayfair Gallery Owner called Venetia or maybe Louis Du Lapin-Sinclair ( weeelll, something like!) ..and there's usually Princesses Beatrice/Eugenie (micro minis, round faces, tons of hair) and there's always Fashionistas... ( What IS a "Fashionista"?) in black tuxedos and Manolo Blahnik shoes and and ...I could go on but I've got M+S jeans on and a men's V-neck ( special offer £9:50 M+S) and am feeling a little badly dressed...

BUT this month "Vogue" burgeons. It burgeons like the sudden appearence of Spring. It burgeons with frugal tips for being frugal. And I've read, marked and learned them:
I SHOULD use old denim to make deckchair covers.
I should don Prada jimjams and make a baked spud supper topped with truffle shavings.
And when folk come for dinner, I must explain away my empty art-less walls by telling folk I've lent all my paintings to MOmA...
And should I be weary and wintery-pale ( yes!) and desparately need a break, it's a good plan to chat up a mate with a Stately Home...
BUT BEST of all: when going to a film, ( and YES, I DO want to see Bill Nighy and co bopping on "The Boat That Rocks") I should make my own popcorn and put it in grocery bags and scoff it in the cinema..( And I don't even LIKE popcorn!)

OK, Vogue has her beautiful TongueIn Her Cheek and it's all A Bit Of Fun, but I can't help wondering what my mother's/grandmother's tips would be as we all supposedly tighten our ( M+S) belts......