Thursday, 30 June 2005
Yes, today we fly off to Shanghai for two whole weeks (and, more importantly, 2.5 weeks off work). My parents kindly paid for the flights and accommodation as a wedding present. We're staying in a resort called SunIsland and hour or so west of Shanghai itself.
We can escape the humidity and rain of Surrey and swap it for the, erm, humidity and rain of China.
Not sure if I'll be able to post updates from anywhere over there - the Chinese government is supposedly tough on bloggers...
Tuesday, 28 June 2005
Anyway, as they need to sell LOADS of tickets to make some money on their latest gig in London (at Storm, Leicester Square) I would urge you all to giddyup along there, dawgies.
- The Other Half looked stunning.
- It didn't rain most of the day.
- Bre giving us a framed picture of ourselves, taken after the ceremony, before we even sat down for lunch.
- Mothers and Sisters crying (with happiness, I hope!).
- A fabulous lunch cooked by Graham.
- Being looked after by the lovely staff at Sychnant Pass House.
- Thomas didn't throw-up.
- Bill's sweet poem which he wrote for the occasion.
- Everyone having a marvellous time.
- Our suite was enormous: including a sitting room, where we 10 of us had lunch.
- The lillies which Maryam, James and Karen sent to our room, which gave me the worst hay-fever I've ever had. I got through 2 boxes of tissues during the day.
- It decided to pour with rain when we went for a walk on the mountain. We got soaked.
Monday, 27 June 2005
I've also taken the opportunity to sort out my picture folders and publish some of my favourites from the past few years. Do have a browse and let me know what you think...
Sunday, 26 June 2005
We drove up on Thursday afternoon - I'd hired a larger car (a Vauxhall Zafira) so we could cram in TOH, her sister and parents, plus luggage. Then we set off in convoy, with my parents and my grandmother in Dad's car, following on.
We took the 'scenic route'. And as the M25/M40 junction was closed, due to a major accident, that was even more scenic than previously anticipated. So we got to see the not so pretty environs of Maidenhead and High Wycombe, adding at least an hour to an already long drive.
We ate up the miles. The A5 is not so pretty in England; but when you pass into Wales, it's lovely - passing through Llangollen and up to Betws-y-Coed before turning up the A470 towards Conwy.
And there (or at least, in Sychnant) we spent a lovely 4 days, pampered and looked after by Bre and Graeme and their staff. It really was a great way to get married. All-in-all it's been remarkably stress-free. I'll make more observations later - right now I'm just knackered after the drive back.
Tuesday, 21 June 2005
I'm going to create an artwork by putting birdseed in paint and getting all our little sparrow friends to hop over the paper. Should be worth a grand or two, shouldn't it?
Monday, 20 June 2005
The artist in question was Alan Brain - a friend of my parents and a very nice man. He, and his wife Barbara were very welcoming. I've just Googled his name and discovered his website.
I must say, the WWW doesn't do his paintings justice. My very favourite was called 'Pembroke'. The low-res picture shown here really doesn't show what a vibrant and detailed painting it is. I feel jealous of whoever bought that particular work. If you get a chance to see any of Alan's paintings 'in the flesh', I would encourage you to do so.
LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES
This beautifully written and rather chilling play presented quite a challenge, not only because it has been seen as a much-acclaimed film, but also its subject matter is dominantly sexual. The cast are required to be totally at ease with both dialogue and actions, and they were.
The set design was simple yet imaginative, and with little effort cleverly converted into the various salons and boudoirs, by either changing the position of the pillows or re setting the furniture, all carried out quietly and efficiently by the servants. The furniture and properties were appropriate, (did you really get the chairs from the Salvation Army?) and the overall impression was of understated elegance.
The play was lit superbly by Stewart Mison, the sound was fine and choice of music played was suitable.
Peter Moore was obviously passionate about directing this particular play and I'm sure he was delighted with the results of his hard work. His notes in the programme were very interesting to read too.
In the lead role of the Marquise de Merteuil, Tina Knight gave an impeccable performance, scheming and manipulating the downfall of anyone who should dare to offend her, even in the slightest way, and all for personal gratification. Certainly a woman best avoided! As her partner in the vengeful sexual exploits, and her sometime lover Valmont, Wilf Hashimi also gave a very good performance. He was less vindictive and more intent on satisfying his own unbridled passion, but perhaps as a Viscount he could have been a little grander in his manner.
Lynne Walters made a refined Presidente de Tourvel, who very gradually softened to the advances and rebuffs made by Valmont after she had the misfortune to become a player in the cruel game. It was difficult to decide whether or not Valmont had truly fallen in love with Tourvel, and La Marquise's feelings were plain to see when he confessed to such emotions.
Another victim of the despicable couple was Cecile, and the 'rape' scene was handled confidently by Nicci Brighten. She characterised the well-bred young woman, who under Valmont's tuition became familiar with previously unknown delights.
Alison Byers was suitably cast as the protective mother and Jo Parkins gave a good interpretation of Madame de Rosemonde, who knew only too well her nephew's weakness for the ladies.
A notable performance was from Roy Seal as Azolan. He really made something special of the small role and portrayed skilfully the familiarity of a servant who understands his master needs.
The bedroom scene with Emilie was also effectively staged, and Nicky Breslin appeared quite comfortable and credible as a dalliance for Valmont.
Inevitably, Valmont had to come to a bad end, and Julie Jonklaas had done a fine job with the duel which was most realistically acted.
Martin Gardner was a creditable Le Chevalier Danceny, and Graham Botterill made an aptly obsequious Major-Domo for the spiteful scheming Marquise de Merteuil.
The four household servants acquitted themselves well in their parts.
Your programme is informative and nicely presented and it was good to meet Peter in the interval.Front of House arrangements worked well; thank you for your kind hospitality on the evening and for inviting me to review the play, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Sunday, 19 June 2005
Oh, I know I'm better off than lots of people. A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, so I shouldn't complain. But, hey! Until something worse happens to me, I'm going to moan about this bloody hay fever ruining my summers, every bloody year.
In other news: the paintings were great, but all the ones I really liked were already spoken for. And lunch at The Castle was poor. Gordon Ramsay would not have been impressed at the overcooked, dried-out beefburger which I got. And The Other Half found a hair in her pumpkin & feta fritters...
But the cricket was tres exciting. Well done Kevin Pieterson. Come on - get him in the test match squad!
I spent yesterday doing absolutely bugger-all. Didn't get up until 1pm - blame getting two call-outs for work at 3am and 4am - and so spent the day on the sofa watching 'Spooks' on DVD and 'South Park' & 'Conviction' which were on Sky+ from earlier in the week.
And so my resolution to write something amusing every day has already fallen by the wayside. One, I forgot to write anything yesterday and two, this post doesn't look as if it will turn out to be funny.
We're going to an art exhibition this afternoon - a local artist is showing his work at his house. Then we'll go to The Castle for lunch. Yum. And at some point during the day I need to burn the CD for the wedding music.
Friday, 17 June 2005
I've just finished directing Les Liaisons Dangereuses with Ottershaw Players and I now need to find something else to fill my time (apart from being at work).
The Other Half and I are getting married (here) in, blimey, one week's time so there must be something there to write about...
And I'm going to avoid writing about work; mainly because it's dull, but also because I'm going to make no attempt to hide behind a blogging identity, so I don't want to get sacked, or anything (even if I do hate my job!).
In short, I'm going to post here once-a-day and make an attempt to be amusing, entertaining and informative in the process.
Stand by for disappointment!