Monday, June 17, 2013

" A Castle And Garden In Wales......"

Last week, a few days Jolly to Mid Wales, one of our favourite places,which included a visit to Powys Castle.
 This is in the ancient kingdom of Powys:  Montgomeryshire, parts of Denbighshire and Radnorshire and large areas of Shropshire.

The castle itself is magnificent: there are superb State rooms, furniture to marvel at......even a Museum, dedicated to Clive ( of India)...... and in every corner, stories ripple... and much-loved possessions are to be seen, on sideboards, on dressers, on ornate marble mantle pieces.  dignified, all-seeing ancestors watch us from portraits.... by Sir Joshua Reynolds and his ilk.

BUT it's the gardens of Powys which are its true delight. They're said to be " baroque" in character....AND stunningly lovely at all times of the year....but now gorgeous with lush rhododendrons, laburnum, azaleas...and the glorious beginnings of summer flowers.

A Treat Of A Place: a castle with a garden undoubtedly for All Seasons.
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"HEY! We Had A VIsit To Hay!"

While in Wales and a couple of weeks AFTER the world famous Hay Literature Festival, we arrived in town.....OK, we DID know it was over, so stop sniggering please!

There were no writers performing, of course......or selling their just-published books..... OR expounding their plots..... OR revealing their Characters.....OR talking on stages to adoring fans...BUT there were still lots of bookshop, galleries, craft shops, cafes, delis to enjoy.

This snap shows the Richard Booth Lion Street, Hay...the centre of town...., where we spent a good hour pottering and browsing.

This, the largest bookshop in Hay ( and there are many!) has 3 floors crammed with books. : 2nd hand, antiquarian and brand new.

And recently, a killing was made in this enticing the form of " Johnson's Dictionary" ...a 6th edition, published in 1778, selling for £2000.
 And said to be:" Remarkably free of foxing OR browning....."
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" Tina Brings Edith Into Chester Town Hall....."

Jazz singer Tina May was a deliciously haunting visitor to Chester Summer Music Festival recently.

Along with 3 superb female musicians, May performed a host of Edith Piaf songs ( m'favourite French lady!) ...mingling these with anecdotes and tales  about her incredible life.......Piaf's, not her own.....although glimpsing her website, hers has been an exciting and hugely creative one too...

She's got lots of tour dates for 2013, ranging from Chester.... to Chez Papa Jazz Club ( Paris) and Ronnie Scott's ( London)

AND she also sang another all-time favourite of mine: Johnny Mercer's wonderful " Autumn Leaves" French.   

" Cabaret Noir.......Congratulations to Lisa!"

Lisa, a long-time and popular member of Chester Theatre Club, has started a new enterprise.
She's running Cabarets......first class ones, which will hopefully tour around the area......appearing in village halls, various clubs, societies and parties.

A recent Saturday eve was Lisa's inaugural show....and WHAT a show!

Jam-packed with fun and talent and varied entertainment, we had: Magician Simon South, Burlesque dancers Fleur Du Mal and the amazing Suzie Sequin (!) plus musician John Paul, singer Phoebe Dodd, accompanied by pianist Roger Stephens and dancers, Satine Di Monte and Animus!

Fingers X Cabaret Noir returns ASAP to the theatre....Lisa deserves lots of congratulations for serving up such a dish!!
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" Eating Bananas With Gatsby"

OK, I read this book more years ago than I can remember....or EVEN care to remember.....but I SO loved did my know who you are....and then my own family long afterwards.

SO it was with slight trepidation that I went to see the Baz Luhrmann  film recently. I didn't want the bubble to burst....I didn't want all those teenager images of mine.... and those brilliant characters..... chomped away as I scoffed on my banana....( OK! Yes, I KNOW it's a bit weird ALWAYS taking a banana to the cinema....) .

SO as we shuffled into the cinema, I decided to completely divorce the film from the book. AND afterwards, I was very glad I did.

Carey Mulligan is perfect. I liked Leonardo too. The settings are sumptuous. The people are beautiful.
AND the film itself is a sweetly-rich concoction of cream and sugar and cherry pink trifle....luscious to watch, fun to watch...
BUT I missed the wonderful language of Mr. F. Scott Fitzgerald's  book ....I missed HIS WORDS!

2 completely separate entities: film/book!

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"Marvellous Mirren..."

Posted by PicasaLast week, another trip to a National Live Theatre showing at a local cinema.
 This was Peter Morgan's " The Audience", portraying the Queen's weekly meetings with 12 PM's at Buckingham Palace,.
........Fiction, yes, but sometimes it was perilously hard to separate fantasy from reality!!

Mirren WAS marvellous, gracing every decade beautifully: with her expressions, mannerisms, clothes ( WOW!) and her impeccable regal demeanour.

AND my favourite PM was, without doubt, Richard McCabe's Harold Wilson...there was a particularly "cosy" scene when Harold visited Balmoral....we see him in comfy armchair, tartan rug tucked around him....and we  see the Queen solicitously pouring him a G+T!
AND, to me, Edward Fox as Winston was close 2nd, followed by a fine Maggie, by Haydn Gwynne.
ALSO liked the inclusion of Elizabeth as a child: a kind of Chorus, predicting her very own future.

A fabulous production indeed.

" Re-visiting The King and His English Anna!"

I saw " The King And I"  years ( and years) ago... on a hot August afternoon in a little cinema on the Wirral.
With me was my mother, my brother and my Best Friend, Jane-Elizabeth. We'd been picnicking on a beach and our (Clarks) sandals were full of sand..... and our cheeks still glowed from the sun... but Jane-Elizabeth and I were in Heaven. We loved it! We loved it.

AND all the way home, we sang in the car. Then later we sang in the bath ( individually).... the King of Siam was MAGIC, as was the lovely Anna, and so too, the little Siamese children.
Years later, on hols in Thailand, I imagined we saw the same children giggling together in the streets of Bangkok.....

"The King and I" epitomised romance! It was based on a 1944 book by Margaret Landon, called ( evocatively) " Anna and the KIng of Siam" This was a story of unspoken love, that between English governess, Anna Leonowens, who went to Siam to teach the children of King Mongkut in the 1860's.

AND THIS SATURDAY, we visited Theatr Clwyd for a Tiptop ( ) production of Rodgers/Hammerstein's classic 1951 musical: "The King And I"....and the delight was exactly the same.
This was a First class show, with strong voices aligned with strong brilliant colour, spirited dancing, humour and the odd little bits of sadness.... All lots of fun, wrapped up with lots of delicious songs we've heard often over the years...
Look forward to next years Tiptop production at Theatr Clwyd!!