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As promised, here are some of the flowers we saw at Croft Castle:
flowers )
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I've shared my various theatre experiences, plus the beautiful Sky Garden, but I also managed to visit one museum and two galleries.

London )
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This was [personal profile] complicatedlight  second suggestion of something different to do in London.
Sky Garden )


Aug. 21st, 2017 07:08 pm
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A new play at the Almeida Theatre, starring Ben Whishaw, promised so much.  I went to the last preview, opening night being on the Friday.  Which meant I could read and compare the reviews with my own thoughts over the weekend.

For once I agree with the reviewers, which in this case is sad because most of them are lukewarm.  Whishaw was good, but for me the material wasn't.  The plot had some very deep and important points to make, but laboured them badly.  In writing the advice is to show not tell - and there were a lot of words, discussing the theme.  For me, one of the most telling moments was towards the end of the play, when two of the characters who haven't met previously meet up and share an important moment, and the audience finally gets to see how they feel, rather than being told how they feel.

Most of the play is separate scenes, which have little to connect them, rather like illustrations of separate points.  And Whishaw's character has good intentions, and speaks out against violence, but never seems to have anything to lose.

I have friends who are going to see the play, so I shall be interested to read their reactions.  Otherwise, if you're tossing up whether to see this or something else, I would recommend trying the other.
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Two separate productions - I saw the first Wednesday evening and the other Friday evening.

Jesus Christ Superstar )


Ophelia: Madness (in Blue) )
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This is the first of my posts from my trip to London.

I normally go to one musical when I come up to London for my summer break, and having heard Gershwin's music in a concert we went to in February I thought this looked promising.  And it turned out to be the best performance I went to on my trip.

Performed in the Dominion Theatre, it was a traditional West End musical, although in fact it's a new musical, first performed in 2014 and had its UK premiere only a couple of months ago.  The music, of course, was excellent, played by a thirteen piece orchestra.

The staging was brilliant, so many scenes, conjured up apparently effortlessly.  The costumes were wonderful - I was especially taken with the ballet costumes for the show within a show.

I hadn't realised how much ballet there was.  I had expected lots of tap dancing, and there was one memorable number which was tap, but there was lots of ballet - not the very complicated solos and duets found in traditional ballet, but beautifully executed ensemble pieces (which are my preferences anyway).

There is a story, which is straightforward, but has surprising depth.  It is a real feel-good production, in which I was caught up in the action and the dance.  It does exactly what it sets out to do - entertain, but not in a trite way.

The programmes are quite expensive - £8 - so I didn't buy one on the day.  Instead, two days later I was back in the area and went in and bought one as a souvenir, because it's a performance I want to be able to look back on.  So, if this is a genre you like, I thoroughly recommend it.
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Yesterday we went to Chipping Camden, which is a traditional (and rather touristy) small Cotswold town:

Chipping Camden and Court Barn )

More York

May. 29th, 2017 11:29 am
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Many thanks to those of you who liked yesterday's post about our trip to York - but you didn't think you'd escape that lightly did you?  Because there's more ...

More York )


May. 28th, 2017 03:32 pm
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We had an excellent couple of days in York.  There is a very good park and ride system, so we didn't have the hassle of driving into the centre of the city, coping with the one way system and finding anywhere to park.

York )


Nov. 28th, 2016 07:21 pm
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When we visited the Porcelain Museum at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence I took several pictures which I didn't include in my blog post at the time.  However, they were entirely too pretty not to share, so have some more photos.

Porcelain )
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On our last day we felt we'd had enough of the crowds, so we took a bus to the local town of Fiesole.  The town was a Roman settlement and also home to the Lombards, something I only learnt through their museum (finally, a museum telling people about the history).

Fiesole and Farewell )
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We visited the Palazzo on our second full day in Florence.  To get there we crossed the Ponte Vecchio, with the crowds.  So much of Florence was built and put on show to display the wealth and power of its rulers.  It has the same effect on the tourists today, who are equally impressed by what they see.  It is perhaps what made me feel, despite admiring the beauty, that it wasn't my sort of place.  I'm so pleased we went, but it wasn't a city I could relate to particularly.

Palazzo Pitti )


Nov. 5th, 2016 03:28 pm
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I've been wanting to go to Florence for a long time and finally we made it.  It is a beautiful city.  I was delighted to be in the city where the Medici family lived, although surprised at how little there was about them, although it's possible we didn't look in the right places.  The three main spots for tourists to visit are the Uffizi, the Duomo and the Palazzio Pitti.  One out of three isn't bad.

Our first day was a Monday, and only the Duomo was open.  It was also a public holiday (Ogni Santi - All Saints) so the queues for the Duomo were very long.  I have mixed feelings about paying to go into a place of worship, so we decided to wander round the city centre and see what else appealled.

Florence )
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And we were in Florence - hooray!

Birthday )And yes, we were in Florence, and there will be further details to come, but, as a taster, here's the view from the rooftop terrace of our hotel:
Florence )
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One thing which did surprise us was the number of people who wore traditional dress on the Sunday.  This is the hotel proprietor with his wife and daughter:

Final photos )
smallhobbit: (Cat)
One day we went to Bad Ischl, which is where Emperor Franz-Joseph had his summer villa.  It's also where he signed the document which took Austro-Hungary into armed conflict with Serbia and thus began World War 1.  It was interesting seeing a facsimile of the letter he wrote to the Austrian people explaining why he was taking that step.  His bedroom has been preserved next to the study where he wrote the letter and looking at it I wondered whether he would have done the same even if he had realised the catastrophe he was unleashing.  I got the impression he would.

Bad Ischl, Salzburg and Koblenz )
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We were getting ready for dinner one evening when we heard the sound of a band coming down the road.  I went onto our balcony and began to take pictures of the parade:

The parade )
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Firstly, it is not recommended to break a glass when doing the washing up just before leaving to go on holiday.  You will then spend time running round finding plasters five minutes before you are being picked up.  Fortunately the cut was clean and healed rapidly, but we could have done without the drama.

The holiday begins )
smallhobbit: (Reichenbach)
Never have I been so organised with regard to holidays for the year.

Firstly, we are going to an Andre Rieu concert.  In Salzburg.  Yes, it's a coach tour again, so not only do we get to go to the concert, but also get to visit something of Austria.  I probably ought to do some more German.  We're away for a week in the second half of May.

Then I've been sorting out my regular few days break in London.  I normally go mid July, but accommodation was quite expensive, so I had a thought and realised the timing of the other holidays meant I could go later.  And surprisingly it's about two-thirds the price in August.  So with the Waterloo Travelodge booked I'm now waiting to see what's on at the theatres.

And the reason why I can go in August?  We go to Florence at the end of October for my birthday.  Yes, finally we're going there.  Well, the flights are booked, we just need to book the hotel.
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We stayed in Germany in two Maritim hotels, very posh!  The first, in Timmendorfer Strand, was lovely.  It had two salt water swimming pools, one inside and one outside.  SM swam in the outside one every day.  I tried it, but preferred the indoor one - whilst the water in the pool was warm, the air wasn't.  I could definitely get used to wandering downstairs and going for a swim every day.

final thoughts )


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