Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Treasured Treats"

" AS I advanced, all that I saw or felt was gentleness and peace...."

SO said William Wordsworth... when writing of Morecambe Bay near Conishead Priory, near Ulverston, Cumbria.

AND just last week, we stayed with Our Friends From The North...and as usual, we enjoyed several being a tiny late afternoon stroll on the beach by Conishead.

Hmm: Mountains and Sea and Very Good Friends.......Wordsworth's words were apt...believe me.

" In The Heart Of Lakeland....."

 WHEN I'm in the heart of Lakeland, I'm used to something taking my breath away......the grandeur of mountains, the vast skies, the shape of trees.... the colour of leaves.....BUT last weekend was different....
BECAUSE in the heart of Lakeland is a shimmering surprise: a modern Buddhist the grounds of Conishead Priory, a large Gothic mansion, set in gardens and woods stretching down to the beaches of Morecambe Bay.  
AND the Temple, where visitors take part in courses in Buddhism , Meditation, or pray for World Peace... contains the largest bronze Buddha statue ever cast in the West...AND the Temple itself gives a view into Buddhism which is both precious ..and , to me, extremely novel...( see snap)
Conishead is 2 miles out of Ulverston, only 30 mins from the M6...and visitiors are clearly welcome whenever...See
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" Yum! Yum!"

Posted by PicasaA swift visit on Saturday to Broughton Village Bakery ( see the smiley and welcoming Bakeress above!) where we scoffed delicious scones and teacakes... while sipping our coffees and Hot relaxing cheerful surroundings.
The Bakery ( see: ) took part in ITV's Best British Bakery competition...coming out as Lake District winner and Northern Regional Finalist. And from what we saw, it was so well deserved....
AND Broughton in Furness itself is a quirky intriguing Lakeland village..with a square of higgledy piggledy houses painted in a rainbow colours....needs exploring another weekend...

" Peace On Earth"

A couple of weeks ago, we stayed in the old market town of Kirby Lonsdale.

Kirby Lonsdale is in the south Lakeland part of Cumbria.Once it was classed as in Westmoreland...which I reckon was one of the best of place names....BUT now, like so many other names which were part of our's long gone.

While there, we enjoyed "Ruskin's View" ( above) which John Ruskin, art critic/social thinker, described as " one of the loveliest views in England" .

Turner painted it too.... and countless people over countless years, have gazed across the Lune Valley, finding peace and comfort in its calm and fetching beauty...

Babes At The Zoo...."

Posted by PicasaThree trips since Christmas to Chester Zoo.
 I love going on crisp bright wintery days...and there's been a few of those lately.

 AND several animal babies have been born...and it's good to meet them....BUT aplopogies if I miss out any little ( or big!) new creature....

There's a baby elephant, born  3 weeks ago. And after a voting process involving us public, she was christened " Bala Hi Way" . "Hi way" is a family name...and there are now 4 generations in this family at the zoo.

NEXT: a baby giraffe. She's a pure Rothschild giraffe called Kanzi, born to mother Dagmar. THIS is excellent news as there's now less than 670 Rothschild giraffes left in the wild.

NEXT: a baby Black Rhino. Chester Zoo now houses 8 black rhinos...and these are earmarked as critically endangered species...

NEXT: a baby Sumatran Orangutan. The parents, Emma and Pulah, are part of the European Endangered Species prog. This ties up breeding betwixt zoos to keep up genetic diversity....

Now, when are we going again?......


" Scaramouche Jones Clowning Into Chester"

Posted by PicasaClowns are endlessly fascinating. At least they are to me! They intrigue, amuse, mystify, scare even....and recently, Chester Theatre Club accomodated the excellent **White Cobra Productions Company** for an evening...telling the story of one particular Clown. This superb one man show was written by Justin Butcher, winning several awards and produced in 5 other languages....
Richard Jordan played Scaramouche Jones, ( 1st performed by Pete Postlethwaite at London's Royalty Theatre).....and we witnessed Scaramouche's amazing life story in 90 minutes...listening to his sadnesses, laughing at his happinesses... revelling in his story...
And coincidentally, I read the next day, about the most intriguing of events.Each year, a clowns' service is held at Holy Trinity Church, Dalston, memory of the inventor of the modern clown, Joseph Grimaldi. What a wonderful sight of fantasy that must be....

Other Stuff lately: 2 pantos last month: brilliant " Dick Whittington" at Theatr Clwyd with 7 yr old grandson...and also the equally brill " Cinderella"" by Tiptop Productions, Chester, with my two 4yr old grandbabes. NOW we're all panto-ed out until next year!!

Several films recently: " Quartet" ( Tom Courtenay stole the show....BUT then he always does as far as I'm concerned) plus " Lincoln" ( of the most marvellous actors ever, even in my 'umble view) plus " Les Miserables" ( couldn't get used to R Crowe bursting into song) and last but not least " Skyfall" which kept my old bones on seat ( or sofa ) edge until the very end....  

Saturday, February 02, 2013

" Writing Class: Film Stars For An Afternoon!"

 I mentioned in previous posts ( Oct 3rd, 17th) how my writing class were creating pieces for Grosvenor Museum's landmark Exhibition on Medieval Chester...

SO last week, some of us were filmed reading our stuff in the lecture theatre...beneath massive paintings, beside crimsom walls...and in sight of a bust...looking incredibly like Sir Richard Branson...although I WAS gently informed that it was actually Oliver Cromwell..

We had a super afternoon.
Film maker, Louise,  was SO patient ( eg. pausing, while clutches of schoolchildren rushed about in the entrance hall with a couple of bare-legged Roman soldiers...and also tirelessly searching the Museum for the source of weird whistling noises in the pipes...)

AND, of course, it was good to see Sue again, Director of the Museum, who came last October to talk with us in Hoole ...and gave us lots of thoughts and inspiration.
* The snap shows Carol ( surveyed by Oliver Cromwell) reading her piece for filming.
* The Exhibition takes place a the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, from May 4th until Sept 22nd.
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"The Joys Of Workshopping..."

Joy Winkler was a much enjoyed Cheshire Poet Laureate in 2005 and since then, her work has gone from strength to strength...
This week, she led a writing workshop for 18 Friends of Chester Lit Fest... at the lovely home of a Waverton F(f) riend. Posted by Picasa

WE had 2 hours of pure pleasure...listening to sage advice from Joy, reading poems ( including Carol Ann Duffy's ode to charity shops: " Oxfam"  and a piece from Angela Carter's " Shadow Dance" )
AND of course,  we scribbled our own pieces ...
All this in a wonderful room overlooking lush Cheshire countryside.
Picture shows Joy ( right) with poet Helen Hill beside her.

" Angelic Faces??"

Posted by PicasaHere's the cast in Sam and Bella Spewack's " My Three Angels", directed at Chester Theatre Club recently by the lovely Margaret Bennett.
It's a comedy, set enticingly on Devil's Island, South America.....And it leaves you leaves you persusing about 1st impressions, about differences betwixt Goodies and Baddies....perusing about things we reckon are most important in Life.
Great fun and great cast. This included Tony O'Byrne ( directing Ibsen's " Hedda Gabler" at C.T.C from  May 4th until 11th  inclusive)......  also Jac Wardle and the  irrepressible and super-energised Andy Hutchings as the Angels.....or were they the Criminals??
AND there was strongly able support from Sue Elliott, Ray Bengree, Stacey Warner, Malcolm Gledhill, Tom Bentley and Rebecca Staven...