Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"When The Horses Went North"

Another P.S. before m'Break!:
Do you remember the summer when Royal Ascot had to canter over the Pennines to York Race course??
When Southerners ventured North and more Northerners than ever before hit this emergency "Ascot" ......and the Queen (as always) adjusted her hat, smiled benignly at the antics of the world and calmly giddy-upped her horses???
Real Royal Ascot was having major improvements so York became host to one of the UK's major summer events....
AND THIS clearly inspired playwright Amanda Whittingham to write her comedy "Ladies Day"....featured a few wks ago at Chester Theatre Club....AND I'm not alone in thinking this was one of The Little Theatre's Very Bests....
The play tells the tale of 4 women fishpackers from the NE who, on a whim, dress in their best and head for York...so unleashing stories and memories, situations and characters...plus comedy and pathos in equal measure.
This play was a delight... thanks to both writer AND actors... and hopefully there'll be more Amanda Whittingham ( and more of these actors!) before long.

SEE CTC website ( http://www.chestertheatreclub.co.uk/contact.htm ) for joining details AND info re 2009/10 Season.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"The Finest Of Streets"

OK, I'm having a blogbreak...but I've just watched another episode of Jimmy McGovern's drama "The Street". And I was enthralled again.
the story, dialogue, settings, acting, the filming....were moving (VERY), were strong (VERY), .... and quite often, they were utterly gorgeously beautiful.

McGovern (who views his world with his clearest of eyes ) conveys a struggling humanity with a 21st century realism. His words can be brutal, his stories can terrify...but his words can reflect love in the loveliest of ways.

McGovern's straight-talking dramas tell harsh stories... but his words light sparks in our thoughts as we listen....and some episodes have shimmered with an almost-poetry ....so that while lazing on our comfy sofas, we look once... look twice.... look three times again... at some gruff guy in a cobbled M/Chester street, at some woman whose got faith in a seemingly hopeless man...

AND SO as we stare from our sofas, we realise we're seeing people at their best and people at their bravest...as well as people at their worst and people at their saddes...
AND we're also being priveleged to watch modern drama at its very best.

SO PLEASE BBC TV please can we have more??

Sunday, August 09, 2009

"An august August Interlude..."

A Blog Break beckons. See you in September. May everyone have sunshine and I look forward to hearing from you soon...
AND NB to "Sahara"' ( alias Sophie's) Mum: I haven't forgotten the brilliant play at the end of June...and am just waiting for snaps!! I was pleased you liked the blog!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

" A Star Spa: Discovering Ilkley"

WHAT have the following folk in common: Jilly Cooper, Charles Darwin, Colin Montgomerie, Alan Titchmarsh, Richard Whiteley and Ricky Wilson??
(I've seen one of them in the flesh....Ricky, of Kaiser Chiefs fame, when playing L'pool McCartney gig last year...)

DO you give up?? They're a motley( but talented) crew, are they not??
But the answer is: all have been resident some point in their life in Ilkley, Yorkshire....a lovely Spa town in Wharfedale on the southern edge of the Dales, which I visited for the 1st time ever yesterday. Friends are moving there ....so we went to inspect this new territory. And the verdict was wholehearted approval!

AND NOW I'm remembering: Until she married, my mother lived on the borders of Yorks/ Lancs. And she often talked about trips to Ilkley with its wide streets (almost "promenades") its Victorian architecture......and my mother described her walks on the moors, the delight of rather juicy shops, even Ilkley's famous teashop: "Betty's", ( there for decades!) .......
AND BELIEVE ME, IF you've never scoffed a Fat Rascal from "Betty's" ( when it's slathered in butter, jam AND cream!)....THEN YOU'VE SERIOUSLY MISSED OUT....
THE SNAP: A Bandstand ( beyond the flower market) where yesterday South American musicians played fabulous music from the Andes....while we sipped Polish beer and chattered in the sun..

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

"Suffolk Nuptials"

On Friday we went down to Suffolk for the wedding of J, elder son of Our Friends From The North.
This part of the world was new to us so the w/end proved particularly interesting.

In the snap, our said friends await the arrival in church of E, J's glamorous bride.....and as you see, they're using the time by turning round to check out the congregation!

The service was held at the six century old church of St James in the village of Nayland. This village was built originally in a loop of the river Stour, close to the Essex borders and the name comes from the Saxon "Eilanda" meaning island.

Nayland was a former wool town, made rich in mid 16th Century by Flemish weavers. And amongst a variety of lovely buildings spanning many centuries (including elegant stone, tall Georgian, tiny pastel-painted houses, black and white timber cottages) there are buildings which echo this story...

BUT I SO WISH that the lady vicar had explained more to the visiting congregation about the contents of this very special church!

On entering, we saw its lofty heights, the glitter of its stained glass, its carvings, its numerous statues. And yes, we felt its dignity, saw its ultimate beauty... and we also recognised lots of its timeless history.
BUT not until we left, did we realise how Nayland and its church are central to the paintings of John Constable:

WE didn't realise that over the altar was his 1809 painting: " Christ Blessing The Elements" (one of his only 3 religious paintings.) This was commisioned by Constable's aunt (who lived in Nayland) and his brother, Golding, ...what a great name!....was Constable's model for Christ.

BUT NEEEDLESS TO SAY: the whole wedding day and the fun in the evening was SHEER delight.....the marriage of J, a handsome Northern guy with E, a pretty Southern lady!