Thursday, 30 August 2012

So what else is new?

Been some time since I could get some serious time for blogging and I am way behind with my posts.  I have been busy with trips, relatives visits and also preparing for both a promo for my U3A group and a talk which I am giving, which is a cross between a magic show and a Christmas lecture.
A week or two after our Devon cream tea we went to a wedding of one of The Better Half's (TBH) nieces.   The venue for the wedding was the quite splendid  Ellenborough Park Hotel.  This is a large country hotel adjacent to the world famous racecourse at Cheltenham, the ancient Cotswold town that lends its name to the Gold Cup racecourse.
Some of the buildings that comprise Ellenborough Park Hotel
One of the rooms
The wedding ceremony took place late morning inside the hotel in a small room set aside for such purposes and then we attended the wedding breakfast in the Library, a dining room with a ceiling that regular visitors to my blog will have seen reflected in the spoon puzzle picture that turned out not to be such a puzzle to most of my blog followers...
Growing around the outside of the hotel was this plant, with the largest flowers I have seen for some time.
Anyway the day was dry although a little cloudy and after the meal we were taken outside the hotel so that the married couple and their guests could be posed for a number of pictures along with Noggin the Labradoodle owned by the bride's brother .
Photographing the bride, groom and dog
The getaway car
After the photo shoot, which took up most of the afternoon, we all drove a few miles to the Circus.
Still in her bridal gown and the groom in his wedding suit, we stood out a little from the rest of the crowd and just as the show was about to start, one of the clowns asked the bride if she usually dressed like this or was it a special occasion.  We all responded with a emphatic yes and the show began to a round of applause for the bride and groom.
Giffords’s Circus tours around the Gloucestershire countryside and stays for about a week in several different country venues.   The show we saw is titled ‘The Saturday Book’, which means something to circus people since it is not anything to do with the day of the week.  The performers are all dressed in Edwardian costumes and the band which seems to consist mostly of women were all dressed in various types and amounts of Edwardian underwear, slightly distracting to the male members of the audience.  However, despite this they played very badly, all acting the fool and putting me in mind of the Bonzo dog Do Da band of the 1970s.  Of course, the bad playing was an act and they soon showed they could play very well indeed.  Some members of the band also doubled up as part of the various acts, showing they were multi-talented.
Picture courtesey Gifford's Circus
The following acts ranged through exciting, very clever, funny and brilliant and the whole thing was livened up by a couple of clowns, one dressed as a policeman and the other, a very talented man, who played the fool in several different acts showing he was extremely versatile.  At one point both clowns lost it entirely when they could not stop laughing at their own jokes, something which makes you realise they are really enjoying what they do and of course, makes you laugh along with them.
 As I write the circus is presently at Minchinhampton common, a large open area in the Cotswolds and lies between the small Cotswold towns of Stroud and Nailsworth.  If these names mean nothing to you, then you should most certainly immediately arrange for your next holiday to be touring this picturesque and scenic area.  It is one of those places to visit you should place on your bucket list.
Minchinhampton common, as the title suggests, is common land and local residents have the right to graze cattle on it, so to drive to the common you have to cross over cattle grids set in the road and whilst driving through keep an eye out for animals wandering onto the road.
The views from up on the common are really good, since the hill overlooks a series of valleys with small Cotswold towns nestling in them.  The area is full of small towns built in and around the sides of steep valleys, with streams and rivers running through them which once powered the woollen mills and other local industries.
All around are hills and views and if you travel west, you are able to see the hills of Wales across the River Severn valley.
That is enough of the commercial break.   After the show we returned home whilst most of the bridal party went back to the hotel.   We were by then much closer to our home than the hotel and it was getting late, so we said our farewells and giving the couple our congratulations and best wishes for the future, went home.

A 'look' meme for fun

The idea came via Morning AJ, who got the idea from Beautiful Chaos, whose link does not seem to be working for me.
The idea is to find the first time the word 'look' is used alone in something you are writing to and post the surrounding paragraph.  I have actually taken two paragraphs, as they are storngly linked and also, since I have not yet decided how exactly to order the finished work, this may not eventually be the first 'look'.  So bending the rules a little, here it is in all its warty glory.

Stepping onto the outside floor, which was miraculously level with the bottom sill of the hatch, I was able to walk out into the corridor.  Thankful to be on a steady floor that seemed to be solidly fixed in place I turned and looked behind me. The opening that I had come through looked like any door, with all the appearance that it was meant to be there. It did not look in any way as if it had just landed there by accident.
Could it really be a lift? If it was and I had just experienced its normal operation, it did not say anything good about the person who designed it. That was some rough ride!  Surely it must have fallen into place by accident, or had broken in some way?  No one would design a lift to behave like the thing I had just been in, unless they were completely deranged, but the more I looked the more I saw it was designed to be where it was and I thought dark thoughts about the designer and wondered if I had stepped into some sort of fairground ride. But that was ridiculous! I had been walking along… no, standing on the pavement somewhere in the City near the Old Baily.

This is a small part of a story of someone who gets lost in London and eventually finds their way home after many tribulations and a much much longer journey than they had ever made before, and , of course, meeting and falling for a girl in the process.  As you may have already deduced, it is Science Fiction.

Monday, 13 August 2012

The world according to Snafu - The Olympics

So the big one is over at last and now all the pundits can poke their heads above the parapet and start carping on about how awful it was.
There have already been two on the radio this morning moaning about how the closing ceremony was so dreadful.  I am not sure which closing ceremony they were watching because the one I watched seemed to be entertaining and fun.   There were a few has-beens amongst the host of stars that appeared but they were all significant contributors to the British life and although they hit their peak a while back, oldies like me still recall them with good memories.  The later stars were often not performers of the kind of music I would go out of my way to listen to but were equally valid and I put up with them because they were obviously popular too for their generation and some of them I have embraced too (figuratively speaking) and included them in my music collection.   The one thing I noticed was that whilst we had a good cross section of British music, no theatre was represented and especially nothing from the Lloyd Webber stable which had created musical hits around the world.
All in all it was quite watchable and I was late to bed so as to watch it to the very end, as were the rest of the family who are currently staying with us.
Anyway, it is not over yet.  The Paralympics is soon to follow where some really stupendously brave and determined people will compete, hopefully in front of a similarly enthusiastic audience and I wish them all the best of luck in their coming moment of glory.