A Weekend Diary

…words and images from England's green and pleasant land…

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

Swinging on Southsea Common…

There was a lot going on in Portsmouth and Southsea this Bank Holiday Weekend

There was a lot going on in Portsmouth and Southsea this Bank Holiday Weekend

The venue, on Southsea Common

The venue, on Southsea Common

The Three Belles, singing 'Beat me Daddy, Eight to the Bar'

The Three Belles, singing ‘Beat me Daddy, Eight to the Bar’

Could almost have been The Andrews Sisters... ;)

Could almost have been The Andrews Sisters… πŸ˜‰

The vocal accompianists to the Pete Weston Swing Band

The vocal accompianists to the Pete Weston Swing Band

Getting into the swing of things... :)

Getting into the swing of things… πŸ™‚

'I want to be a singer when I grow up, Mummy..'...and dig that tattoo... ;)

‘I want to be a singer when I grow up, Mummy..’…and dig that tattoo… πŸ˜‰

"New York, New York"...

“New York, New York”…

Southsea's splendid South Parade Pier...

Southsea’s splendid South Parade Pier…

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A ramble around Kings Worthy

Another post-work ramble, sixteen of us this time, around the village of Kings Worthy, close by Winchester in Hampshire…

An idyllic vista of the River Itchen

An idyllic vista of the River Itchen

One of the many desirable residences we encountered on this circular walk...

One of the many desirable residences we encountered on this circular walk…

A swan contre-jour...

A swan contre-jour…

...and a swan, and a duck, bathed in evening light...

…and a swan, and a duck, bathed in evening light…

Some of my fellow-ramblers (in the distance)...

Some of my fellow-ramblers (in the distance)…

St Swithun's church

St Swithun’s church

Some curious bullocks  just as well they weren't heiffers with young... ;)

Some curious bullocks – just as well they weren’t heiffers with young… πŸ˜‰

A friendly piebald horse...

A friendly piebald horse…

And finally, the pub we retired to after the walk. I settled for a pint of HSB, and an Artichoke and Sun-dried Tomato Pasta….

The King Charles pub, in Kings Worthy

The King Charles pub, in Kings Worthy

Some Fareham Art…

In Fareham Shopping Centre, the Fareham Community Art shop, has an ongoing display of amateur artists’ work, and here are two currently on show, by Charles Chance…

Woman with red hair (and its reflection), Acrylic, Β£80

Woman with red hair (and its reflection), Acrylic, Β£80

Helen (Unfinished), Not for Sale

Helen (Unfinished), Not for Sale

And now for something completely different: the wonderful Anvil Man, by Stephen Lunn, outside the Shopping Centre in West Street…

'Anvil Man' by Stephen Lunn

‘Anvil Man’ by Stephen Lunn

A Trip to the Circus

One of the advantages of having a partner who runs her own shop, is that, in return for some shop-window advertising, she gets complimentary tickets for itinerant acts such as circuses that pitch up on Southsea Common during the summer months. So it was, we found ourselves in the Big Top of Gerry Cottle’s WOW! Circus this week, being entertained by clowns, illusionists, jugglers, trapeze artists and the like, and it was a very enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. Alas, my camera batteries ran out very early on, so there are only a couple of photos from inside the Big Top :(. Never mind, I’ll make sure I’m better prepared next time ;).

First though here, I want to post up a few pictures from the ‘Lions Heart Mural 2007, In memory of Rachel Lyons’, on an electricity substation building on Southsea Common…

Rachel Lyons died in December 2006...

Rachel Lyons died in December 2006…

...unexpectedly at the age of 26...

…unexpectedly at the age of 26…

...and was an amateur artist who helped design this mural, and hence its subsequent dedication to her...

…and was an amateur artist who helped design this mural, and hence its subsequent dedication to her…

And so, on to the Circus…:)

Entry wasn't entirely free for the pair of us; we were obliged to buy a programme each, at three quid a time...

Entry wasn’t entirely free for the pair of us; we were obliged to buy a programme each, at three quid a time…

There were a nominal 50 acts performed in 100 minutes...

There were a nominal 50 acts performed in 100 minutes…

There was a fifteen minute interval, during which my partner nipped off, with a child-like spontaniety, to buy us some candy floss…must have been the influence of all those excited kids around us πŸ˜‰

The final act was the Hegyi Brothers from Hungary, performing stunts on the rotating Wheel of Death...scary stuff...

The final act was the Hegyi Brothers from Hungary, performing stunts on the rotating Wheel of Death…scary stuff…

Yes, we agreed it was a great couple of hours’ entertainment, as we wandered home together beneath the evening’s full moon :).

The Shanghai Ballet Company at The Coliseum – Jane Eyre

I confess straight away that I have no pretensions at all when it comes to an appreciation of ballet, and it’s a very rare event indeed for me to buy a ticket to watch a live performance of it. That said, I was intrigued by the idea of a Chinese ballet company giving an interpretation of an English classic novel. Moreover, I’d never visited The Coliseum before to watch anything, so that is just where I found myself on the second night of this brief four night season.

A newish addition to Gerrard Place, in London's Chinatown

A newish addition to Gerrard Place, in London’s Chinatown

The Coliseum, home of the English National Opera, at the southern end of St Martin's Lane

The Coliseum, home of the English National Opera, at the southern end of St Martin’s Lane

View of the theatre's stage, from the Balcony

View of the theatre’s stage, from the Balcony

And a (mono) view upwards from the Balcony

And a (mono) view upwards from the Balcony

Despite being a bit of a philistine when it comes to an appreciation of ballet, it was a very watchable performance, and I particularly enjoyed Fan Xiaofeng’s portrayal of Bertha Mason, which had an utterly compelling beauty, and was well worth the price of the entry ticket alone (Β£20 for a Balcony seat if you were wondering ;)).

The cast page in the bilingual programme, which cost eight quid, but I was always going to buy one

The Cast page in the bilingual programme, which cost eight quid (but I was always going to buy one)

This rare night at the ballet triggered the memory of a poem that I’ve long loved, Louis MacNeice’s ‘Les Sylphides’, published in 1939…

Life in a day: he took his girl to the ballet;
Being shortsighted himself could hardly see it –
The white skirts in the grey
Glade and the swell of the music
Lifting the white sails.

Calyx upon calyx, Canterbury bells in the breeze
The flowers on the left mirrored to the flowers on the right
And the naked arms above
The powdered faces moving
Like seaweed in a pool.

Now, he thought, we are floating – ageless, oarless –
Now there is no separation, from now on
You will be wearing white
Satin and a red sash
Under the waltzing trees.

But the music stopped, the dancers took their curtain,
The river had come to a lock – a shuffle of programmes –
And we cannot continue down
Stream unless we are ready
To enter the lock and drop.

So they were married – to be the more together –
And found that they were never again so much together,
Divided by the morning tea,
By the evening paper,
The children and the tradesmen’s bills.

Waking at times in the night she found assurance
Due to his regular breathing but wondered whether
It was really worth it and where
The river had flowed away
And where were the white flowers.

The Coliseum, after sundown

The Coliseum, after sundown

After the performance I wandered the short distance to Trafalgar Square, and listened to a reggae busker for a while before heading for home.

The National Gallery, looking north from Trafalgar Square

The National Gallery, looking north from Trafalgar Square

Moon through clouds, near my north London home

Moon through clouds, near my north London home

As so often happens in life, synchronicities manifest themselves at times like this, and on two occasions in the following couple of days, I found Jane Eyre staring out at me from the window display of a charity shop in North Finchley High Road. Yes, I think I owe it to Charlotte to read the original ;).

Some reading to catch up on ;)

Some reading to catch up on πŸ˜‰

A Brief Gosport Interlude

No respecter of reputations this gull, seated atop the statue of Lord Fieldhouse of Gosport, in Falklands Gardens on Gosport waterfront...

No respecter of reputations this gull, seated atop the statue of Lord Fieldhouse of Gosport, in Falklands Gardens on Gosport waterfront…

Some kind of jackdaw (I think!) on rocks on Gosport waterfront

Some kind of jackdaw (I think!) on rocks on Gosport waterfront

And looking across the water, from Gosport to Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower

And looking across the water, from Gosport to Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower

Hambledon rambling…

When the emails come around announcing details of upcoming rambles for our after-work walking group, I’m sometimes indifferent to the offerings on the menu, but I certainly wasn’t indifferent to this one; Hambledon is seminal in the history of cricket, and with the game such an integral part of the English summer, I was always going say a big yes to this particular walk in the Hampshire countryside :).

Getting to the rendez-vous point, however, The Bat and Ball pub in Hyden Farm Lane, proved to be a bit of a magical mystery tour and challenge for the four of us travelling in one car, resulting in a couple of wrong turnings, and finding ourselves stuck behind a horse-box at one point, but eventually we joined the other half-a-dozen fellow-ramblers outside the pub…albeit half an hour late…;)

So here's the pub, and we ordered our food before setting off on the six or so mile route...

So here’s the pub, and we ordered our food before setting off on the six or so mile route…

And the pub sign...

And the pub sign…

Directly opposite the pub is a stone memorial to Hambledon’s place in the history of cricket…

The stone memorial, on Broadhalfpenny Down...

The stone memorial, on Broadhalfpenny Down…

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve watched any live cricket, but it once played a much greater part in my sport-spectating life, and, being a Kentish man, I naturally have some fond memories of Kent cricket matches. Here are two of the most memorable, both from my teenage years…

The first is from a three day County match against Yorkshire, played at the St Lawrence Ground at Canterbury, on August 9th, 10th and 11th, 1967. I was there with my Dad, on Wednesday the 9th, and I’ll never forget the thrill of watching Alan Brown, a Kent fast bowler, hitting Fred Trueman, the legendary Yorkshire and England fast bowler, for 4, 6, 4 and 4 off successive balls! Fred bowled him in the end, after Brown’s spirited knock of 33 runs, and Yorkshire eventually ran out winners of the match on the Friday. The game was also notable for the re-appearance of Godfrey Evans as Kent wicket-keeper, after his retirement eight years previously, since Alan Knott, the regular Kent wicket-keeper at this time, was away on England duty. Anyway, here’s a link to the scorecard for that match…

http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1960S/1967/ENG_LOCAL/CC/KENT_YORKS_CC_09-11AUG1967.html

The other particularly memorable day watching Kent cricket, was from another County match, this time against Hampshire ironically, during that same summer of 1967. It was played a couple of weeks prior to the Yorkshire game, at Mote Park in Maidstone. Kent batted first, and won by an innings on the second day of the three days scheduled, with Hampshire being skittled out for 95 in their first innings, and for 31 in their second. ‘Deadly’ Derek Underwood did most of the damage, and I was there on the second day, Sunday 23rd July, seeing Hampshire collapse from 31-4 in their second innings, to 31 all out! Again, here is the relevant scorecard…

http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/28/28953.html

The wording on the Stone...

The wording on the Stone…

Okay, enough of this verbal rambling, and some images from the walk itself…;)

Sunlight through trees...

Sunlight through trees…

White horse, wearing a fly-mask...

White horse, wearing a fly-mask…

Appropriate somehow, that we encountered a white horse on this ramble, a long time symbol of the county of Kent…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_horse_of_Kent

We also met a very friendly, and I think, elderly, she-cat on the way round...

We also met a very friendly, and I think, elderly, she-cat on the way round…

Another pub sign seen en route...

Another pub sign seen en route…

St Peter and St Paul Church, Hambledon...

St Peter and St Paul Church, Hambledon…

Yes, it was a lovely evening...

Yes, it was a lovely evening…

Some kind of thistle methinks...

Some kind of thistle methinks…

Some sunlit wheat...

Some sunlit wheat…

Nearing the end of the ramble now, and a western sky...

Nearing the end of the ramble now, and a western sky…

And with the sun about to set...

And with the sun about to set…

So, with the walk over, the ten of us retired to The Bat and Ball for an hour and more’s convivial chat over some good food and drink, amidst pictures and paraphenalia on the walls celebrating the history of cricket, and it’d be remiss of me not to end this post with a respectful nod to one of the great legends of the game…from a print on the wall in the pub.

Mr W.G. Grace...

Mr W.G. Grace…

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