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.


  1. What an amazing idea to take the wedding to the circus! Are there family connections? (I'm sort of descended from a branch of Bertram Mills but I don't have any extant links with it.)

  2. What a fancy do! I've never heard of taking the wedding party to a circus -- but we did have a phase over here where the bride wore black.

  3. That was some wedding venue, snafu - the hotel AND the circus. You Do have some adventures, don't you!

  4. Oh, wow. What a stunning venue for a wedding! You must have had an amazing time?

    Where did you have the cream tea in Devon? I'm a Devon girl.