Friday, 29 August 2014

Theatre: Friend or Foe....

Thank you Mercury Theatre. This was one of the best plays I've seen in a long time. The cast were perfectly chosen, the two main boys holding our attention throughout and just three other actors creating 11 other characters. Myself and three friends all raved about the excellent use of the unchanging stage set, how we believed all the places we were taken to. We marvelled at the huge amount of dialogue, all word perfect with good timing and believable accents. And amazing choreography for the river drowning/rescue sequence.


By Michael Morpurgo
Adapted by Daniel Buckroyd
Directed by Matthew Cullum
Designed by Keith Baker
Lighting Designed by Mark Dymock
Sound Designed by Tom Lishman

A thrilling tale of extraordinary friendship from master storyteller Michael Morpurgo (author of War Horse and The Butterfly Lion).

Evacuated from London at the height of the Second World War, David and Tucky can’t help feeling as though the fighting is a long way away from their new lives in the countryside. But then suddenly, one night, the skyline is lit up with gun flashes and the distant sound of bombing shatters their new found peace.
And when a German plane crashes on their farm the boys are plunged into a breathtaking adventure and faced with a life-and-death moral dilemma. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Hit the ground running.....

After being away for two weeks in Wales and all being quite relaxed we got back to sisterS and bilK's house Friday early afternoon. SisterS unpacked and even got some washing and tumble drying done. The plan was to eat out and a table was booked for 7:30pm and taxi booked for 7pm for the ten minute journey so plenty of time to get ready and all very relaxed.

Then we discovered that Twickenham rugby ground (walking distance from their house) was host to the World Wide Jahovah Witness Convention all weekend with about 60,000 people coming and going. So when our taxi was still stuck in traffic at 7:45pm and bilK had made lots of phone calls he cancelled both taxi and restaurant and we walked to the high street for fish and chips. The bonus of this outing was bumping into their son (my nephew of course) and his girlfriend as we waited for our fish they came out of the supermarket opposite, hugs all round :-)

Saturday evening we were off to The British Legion club for bilK's dad's 90th birthday party. That should have been another quick taxi journey but we changed that to a walk to the station then train then walk none of which was far, and the traffic jams and crowds of people waiting to get on the train we'd just got off of proved we'd made the right decision. It was a great party and he is obviously a very popular man judging by the quantity of people, cards and gifts. Buffet was yummy, balloons and banners added party atmosphere and the cake J made looked excellent and tasted great too.

Sunday morning we all headed to the birthday boy's house for a family brunch he loved the surprise of us all turning up and had an audience for card and prezzie opening.

As you've no doubt seen on facebook or other social media there is the #alsicebucketchallenge and three of this family group had been nominated so as it was sunny and they had each other for support the chilly deed was done. Very funny to watch and SisterS and I both breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn't us. I'd donated anyway.

So lovely to eventually arrive home. I really am a homing pigeon and it felt like I'd been away a bit too long. Unpacked, case and bags away and the intention of catching up on some of our recorded programmes but we both ended up needing an early night.  Monday it rained all day so a couple of washes to clothes horse upstairs and then I needed to shorten a new pair of jeans and repaint my nails for another day out.

Tuesday and a day in London to meet up with sisters and cousins as arranged two months ago. Firstly I had the big debate of whether to use mainline train to Liverpool Street or drive to Newbury Park and tube to Liverpool Street?  There are pros and cons for both although a big factor is about £12-£15 to drive and about £40ish for the train plus the hassle of how to buy and/or split the ticket to get the best deal....hubby and I kept changing our minds all evening. Awake to the radio alarm in the morning to hear on the local news about the rail problems so that decided that I was driving.

Us three sisters met at Liverpool Street station and back on the tube to Leicester Square then a quick walk in the rain to the Chinese restaurant. We were early but they were happy for us to take our table and we were served tea. We chatted away and were then aware that the others were quite late and made phone calls that went to voice mail and kept making excuses to the restaurant staff and ordered bottles of sparkling water and a spring roll each to ease our hunger and embarrassment. The three cousins were travelling together and apparently they had got on the wrong train but did arrive safe eventually. We let CousinS and CousinB do all the ordering as they'd been to this restaurant lots and we filled ourselves up on dim sum and crispy duck and it was delicious and the conversation never stopped. Then all too soon it was time to head home with lots of hugs and kisses and promises of doing it again at least once a year if not more.

And today the sun is out so I've cleared three loads of washing and got two dried on the line and the third upstairs while hubby has been seriously tree pruning and catching up on some paperwork. My usual Wednesday night out tonight so guess we're all back to normal :-)

Friday, 22 August 2014

Brecon, Powys, Wales holiday - days 14,15 and nearly home.....

21 August
Hay-on-Wye a very pretty village to wander round on market day, I tried chuckleberry jam for the first time and bought a jar, also bought some chuckleberry muffins for us later, and a stop for tea and cake in a very small side street cafe here too.

This evening was a meal to use up the leftovers....hahaha venison seems very posh leftovers to enjoy with bubble-n-squeak, it was yummy :-)

22 August 
All packed up and on the road home in good time.
Actually not quite home for Hubby and I but back to sisterS and bilK's as we are staying here for two nights as Saturday evening is bilK's dad's 90th birthday party and Sunday morning after a family brunch we'll drive from Twickenham (she told me it's no longer Middlesex but London) to Suffolk and home. Everyone agreed it was a really good holiday. 

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Brecon, Powys, Wales holiday - days 12&13.....

19 August
It's Tuesday and we discovered last week that Tuesday is rubbish day so that was the first job and SisterS has become recycle queen as she's worked out the colour coding of their collection boxes, so we left that to her.

Into Brecon for a mooch round and bit of shopping. No photos as it was raining so we were occupied holding up our hoods!

Next stop was the local riding and climbing centre that boasts the longest zip line in the UK. We of course were there for no such active pursuits, we had gone for the cafe and the view over the lake. The owners of our holiday cottage live in the big house next door, Cora and Graham, and Graham told us about the centre as it's Cora's brother that owns it.

And a really yummy pub meal at The Star pub in Talybont tonight :-)

20 August 
Another place with a difficult to pronounce name...think I need Welsh language lessons! 

This is a great place for young and old (although quite steep in places for those in pushchairs or wheelchairs).

Dinosaurs everywhere and lots of information about them all too. Three caves to explore, with lots of handrails when needed, audio or visual automatic information guides and very clever lighting to highlight the most beautiful of the natural mineral deposits. 

I loved listening to the squeals of excitement of passing children and some very interesting questions they raised too. I heard one very young girl say to her granddad "yes I know about the ups and downs of stalagmites and stalactites but what does the stalag bit mean?" she was sort of fobbed off with no real answer, so I had to look it up when we got back...and couldn't find anything specific, 'define stalag' just refers to German concentration camps :-( 
There were also horses and ponies, lamas, alpacas, goats, children's play barn and cafe of course. 

On our way back we stopped at the farm shop, it's quite local but we've only just discovered it now we are here the last couple of days, typical eh? We bought a venison joint and everything to go with it and bilK cooked up a feast yet again. We gave the men permission to walk down to the pub to play pool and we spent some time reading through what everyone else had put in the visitor's book then added our compliments.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Brecon, Powys, Wales holiday - days 10&11.....

17 August
Highlight today was definitely a full Sunday roast dinner at The Bear Hotel at Crickhowell.

18 August 
A busy day today, first the Brecon Mountain Steam Railway, chugging along past great views...

There was a short stop at the terminus then a longer stop halfway back at Ponsticill where we enjoyed refreshments in the static carriage cafe and a look round the small steam museum (we gave the children's play area a miss, well it was raining a bit).

Then we headed off to the Big Pit coal mine at Blaenafon. Phones, cameras, watches and anything else that you can get a spark from was confiscated and locked away so no photos from mine just these from uptop...

Back to our holiday home and bilK cooked dinner and we had an evening in because he had to be there for the Chelsea match, and Chelsea won so a great day all round. 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Brecon, Powys, Wales holiday - days 7,8&9.....

14 August
Weather was not good and we'd done a lot of walking yesterday so today was another lazy day again. We did need some fuel for both the car and its passengers so we popped out to the garage and then the supermarket at Brecon. After we'd shopped the sun came out so we took advantage of that and meandered through the small streets up to the cathedral. I'm surprised that Brecon is a town not a city and a small town at that, yet has a cathedral!

We heard from a parishoner who was on duty there, that the original cross had been stolen and a local artist had made this one from driftwood!

15 August 
We actually set alarms and got up and out early as we knew our destination was a long drive away. We had to stop the car en route for this beautiful view...

Then to Rossili Bay. The walk down the hill from the carpark to the beach was long and a bit steep and ending with a clamber over rocks (which I chose not to do) but the view was so worth it. A really beautiful beach, and SisterS told me it was voted as top UK beach and 3rd best in Europe and 9th best in the world.

And this is the long long walk back up...

Then onto Aberdulais, as it had been recommended by a friend of bilK.
So a busy wonderful day.

16 August 
So as to alternate our days Hubby said today was going to be a day of not doing much just a walk to the nearby lake here at Llangorse. He had a map and said we should do the shorter round the lake walk and we were all amazed at how much of the walk was the wrong side of trees so the lake was completely out of sight. So glad we did the short walk as we were out for three hours! Ok there was a stop at the bird hide and a sit on a bench and I was walking very slowly because my knee hurt a bit and we couldn't take one of the shortcuts as the field had cows in and SisterS said "I'm not going in there". Thank goodness he didn't want to do the longer walk.

And we spotted this little field mouse, so cute :-)

Back to the car then straight into the cafe as I for one was seriously tea depleted, so we had some lunch there too at about 3pm. Tonight was another yummy pub meal in the very local Castle Inn which specialises in pies and I had the mariners pie mmmmm. I'm gonna sleep well again tonight.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Brecon, Powys, Wales holiday - days 5&6.....

12 August
We woke today to the shocking news of Robin Williams's suicide, RIP Robin.

Cardiff today and the city was full of Spanish and Welsh football supporters, there's a major Real Madrid v Seville game at the Cardiff City ground this evening and they are all going to be very very drunk before the game starts.

We decided to eat in tonight so the men could watch the football on tv. Us girls went for a short late night walk.

13 August 
Another lazy start, we are all so relaxed and not at all bothered that it's raining again. 

We went for a quick trip to Penderyn, as it's the home of the only distillery in Wales and some whisky was bought.

As we left there we spotted a map showing a nearby waterfall, so another short drive into Pontneddfechan and about four miles walking alongside the most beautiful river Neath...

We rounded off our lovely walk with a stop at the pub and sat outside, then rounded off our lovely day with a meal in our local pub in the evening.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Brecon, Powys, Wales holiday - day 4.....

11 August and my birthday. :-)
All up at a reasonable time and card opening from Hubby, sisterS and the ones we'd brought with (a few people sent early knowing we were going on holiday) and prezzies from Hubby and Son of charms for my Pandora bracelet so I added them on and wore it all day. BilK cooked our breakfast. 

Bit of a long drive and we arrived at Pembroke Castle. There was a little bit of re-enactment going on on the green and we had a good look round with only Hubby venturing upwards as the old worn spiral steps were too risky for me. Tea and cake were compulsory of course. 

From there we headed to Tenby for a walk round the shops, a long walk along the wonderful beach and a stop on a bench with the compulsory icecream. Very windy but warm and the showers today each time were while we were in the car, each time we stopped so did the rain and the sun came out :-)

Yes my arms are far too short to take selfies lol.

This evening bilK cooked up the leftovers into yummy bubble-n-squeak with the cold lamb. This saved him doing any more driving today (his company car), so he could have a drink too and also because we all wanted to see the super-moon tonight, but actually it was too cloudy. We rounded off the night with a music memory fun event of stuff from our youth courtesy of Spotify.

A very lovely birthday :-)

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Brecon, Powys, Wales holiday - days 2&3.....

9th August
Started the day by wishing my brother a happy birthday on facebook. Sad to say wifi was one of our requirements for booking this accommodation which is lucky as none of us have phone signals unless we go upstairs and almost hang out of bedroom windows.

Off in the car to Talgarth which is less than five miles away. Amazed to find yet another free car park :-). Had a walk round this pretty village

then on to Pwll-y-wrach Nature Reserve. We had beautiful woods to walk through (gingerly getting round the muddy slippy bits) heading towards the waterfall promised on the leaflet.

Unfortunately just as we were all feeling weary it started raining so we decided to head back before the path got any slippier.

We were all a bit disappointed not to see the waterfall but as we walked back through the village sisterS noticed a cottage called Waterfall Cottage and sure enough the little path beside the house led us to a lovely little stream with its own waterfall :-)

Lunch was definitely needed by now so we stopped at the next cafe we came across and walked straight into a wonderful bookshop with tables and chairs and a very varied menu. It was really interesting looking at the wall-to-wall / floor-to-ceiling bookshelves while eating. We even bought some books each.

The weather had been forcast for a horrid Sunday with hurricane Bertha hitting us, so we decided it would be an at-home relax day and shopped for food to take back.

Dinner in the evening was in The Castle Inn, the only other local pub, and the food was delicious, we all had pies with a variety of fillings as that's what they seemed famous for and we all agreed it was justified fame. We didn't stay late even though they had a rock band starting up and walked back in the rain along the dark lane glad that bilK had a torch and justifying all having packed raincoats although it's still quite warm.

10 August
We were woken early hours to quite loud wind and rain noises, some reported they'd heard thunder but I didn't and mostly all went back to sleep. Lazy start with nothing to rush for as it was still raining quite heavily till about noon. A quick drive out to the supermarket for further provisions then a late lunch.

After our yummy bacon butties the men sat in one room watching football on the laptop, so sisterS put the tv on in the lounge to watch America's got talent then fell asleep, while I'm knitting and catching up on some blogging.

BilK cooked us a yummy lamb roast dinner and we've watched tv with curtains drawn and lamps on and enjoyed letting the wind blow and the rain fall without us.