Saturday, 25 May 2013

Book of May

It's Book of the Month time again! I haven't been reading so much this month as I have been super busy with work and stuff. But I did find a book I really liked (and it's short).

May's book is 'A Month in the Country' by JL Carr. Not to be confused with the Russian play. A film was made of the book, with Colin Firth, but I haven't seen it.

The book is a gently paced story of a man who after fighting in WW1 comes to a small village to restore a medieval church mural. He meets an archaeologist who is searching for a lost grave and falls in love with a married woman. It's beautifully written, sometimes moving, sometimes funny, thoughtful and evocative.

Honorary mention (because I'm trying not to repeat authors) is Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall, a black comedy about an obscure Welsh Boarding School. Evilly hilarious.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

That 10k

So, today we got up extra early ready for the long awaited (and dreaded) Baker Hughes 10k run. (Dreaded because I hadn't been running much since March and had buggered my knee a few weeks ago.)

This run is massive in Aberdeen, the whole beachfront was gridlocked and there were about 3000 runners massed in a rope pen.

The route is very interesting, through the docks, along the seafront and back by the football stadium. It was a good day for running, dry but cool with a haar (Scottish fog) coming off the sea.

It is great running with all the other people, we kept pace with a man in a fluffy dolphin suit. Very friendly and all the passers by cheer you on which is lovely. Alistair kindly trailed along slowly with me and we jogged gently along and along. By the end we were overtaking people who started off more speedily, but were still with dolphin man. My legs and left hip were really sore, but no wheezing so I was good. We finished in good form having taken about 1hr 15mins. Feeling awesome now and about to celebrate with a pub lunch with running friends.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Highland Fling...

I admit it. I am a huge fan of that not-much-liked art form ballet. In fact I have been ever since I was a kid. I turned out to be podgy and uncoordinated but my love of dance continued.

Last night I went to the theatre to see Highland Fling with my friends Lola and Anna. Going to the theatre is always a great treat, as it is wonderfully ornate and gold encrusted inside, with brass rails and red velvet upholstery. There are also attendants with trays of ice-cream, wonderfully traditional. The whole thing is like stepping back in time.

Except for the ballet. Highland Fling has been described as Trainspotting the Ballet. It's brilliant, it's also adult, dark, sinister and weird. The story is a modern day take on La Sylphide, set in Glasgow. A man meets a strange, zombie-like fairy (pictured) at his stag do and, torn between his attraction for her and his new wife, things start to get very messed up. Not for the easily offended, the story features drink, drugs, sex and nudity. It's not your typical tutus and pointe shoes ballet, the dance is athletic, wild and barefoot.

If it comes to your city, go and see it. It will blow you away.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

A Bee for Lola

This is my first go at drawing on the computer. I find it quite difficult as the mouse is massive, like a huge crayon. So no good for my OCD drawings. Good for using bold colours though and a more graphic feel.

The first bees of the year are out I said I'd draw one for my friend Lola. I like bumblebees best.

Some facts:

Bumblebees are a harmless bee that hardly ever stings. The friendly bumblebee lives in a small underground colony of perhaps 100 bees. There are twenty five different kinds of bumblebee in the UK and over two hundred and fifty kinds in the world. The myth that says bumblebees shouldn't be able to fly was based on bad maths. They do fly, we've all seen them.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

A Lost House

This is Eaton Hall in Cheshire. I passed the site of this once, as my grandparents lived nearby. There is a huge, beautiful parkland and garden where this house once stood. It was demolished in 1961. A more modern chateau was recently erected on the site, sadly echoing the original building.

Eaton Hall was built for the Duke of Westminster (Britain's richest man then, and maybe also now) and expanded in 1870. The architect was Alfred Waterhouse who designed the similar and equally outrageous Manchester Town Hall. It cost £600,000 a colossal sum in those days. The Duke was a great Victorian  millionare, philanthropist (but not playboy) and supported charities including the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain Association and the United Committee for the Preventing of Demoralizing of Native Races by the Liquor Traffic(!)

On a more homely note, bells in the giant clock tower played 'Home Sweet Home' whenever the Duke was in residence.

Find out more about Eaton in 'Victorian Country Houses' by Mark Girouard or here.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

My Street Style

So, what would I be wearing if you saw me in the street?

Here is one of my favourite everyday outfits which I was wearing today:

Brown jumbo cord coat by Boden from charity shop in London.
With fabric brooch, gift from Alistair.

Cerise stretch jeans from Monsoon.

Black cardigan embroidered with whales (not seen, sadly) from Afflecks Palace, Manchester.

Black ballet pumps from Clarks.

Black handbag from M&S.