A Happy New Year to You All!
Transferring stuff from one year’s diary to the next’s made me think I might make a note here on an event/category from each month of 2011 up to my starting this blogging lark in August. One event with one picture is quite a tough call – especially in the summer months – but I will give it a go.
January 2011 : Landmarking with Milady
The year started well with my usual London Landmarking Trip but this January I was fortunate enough to get a double dose of London Landmarks. I stayed in the 45A Cloth Fair property for 3 nights and visited friends at the Hampton Court Georgian House on one of the days. There is so much to see and do at Hampton Court that we have booked our January 2013 London stay at Fish Court in order to experience more. If you stay there is no extra charge for visiting the Palace. On the other day at Cloth Fair we took tea at the recently totally renovated Savoy Hotel – an out-of-this-world experience from the moment your carriage arrives to the moment you are driven away.
February 2011 : Milady gets culture
An early wet and windy two night excursion to Cambridge led to the wonderful discovery of Kettles Yard. Our trip was planned around a visit to The Scott-Polar Research Institute whose museum had just re-opened after extensive renovation work. But interesting as it was to see the exhibits at the SPRI the highlight of my visit was Kettle’s Yard. We even went there twice. On the Thursday afternoon of our arrival we took a walk from the hotel and ended up at the house that is Kettles Yard. It is like walking into someone’s home – you ring the doorbell and are welcomed, photography is no problem, you may sit and look at the books and the place is crammed full of art and artefacts of what I suppose is called the modern era. It was on this visit that we heard about the Friday Lunchtime Concerts so from the SPRI we headed back to KY and joined a winding queue of keen concert-goers and enjoyed with them a chamber group of student musicians.
March 2011 : Milady gets Culture
Photograph: Robert Workman
At the end of March Out of Joint brought their play “A Dish of Tea with Dr Johnson” to The Carriageworks in Leeds. I’d read quite a bit a bit about Dr Samuel Johnson and visited his house in Gough Square in London so was intrigued to see this well-reviewed piece. I was not disappointed. It is quite short, full of fun but with some pathos and there is also the most wonderful dog actor who must have been standing in for Johnson’s cat, Hodge. I would have loved to have seen the performance actually at Dictionary Johnson’s House but this was the next best thing. Highly recommended although I think the tour is finished now.
April 2011 : Landmarking with Milady
Friday 29th April 2011 must have seen the high point of the year in Britain – The Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton. That very day I had booked (long before the wedding date was announced) to spend the May Day Holiday Weekend in France at Gif-Sur-Yvette the former weekend home of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor just outside Paris and now managed as a holiday let by The Landmark Trust. I was visited there on one of the days by my good friend MN and we spent a literary day visiting Alexandre Dumas’ The Chateau of Monte Cristo at Port-Marly and La Maison Litteraire de Victor Hugo at Bievres, Île de France. It was such a good trip that we’ve booked to go back again next May so I’ll be posting in more detail then.
May 2011 : Milady Visits
Window shopping at Didier Ludot in the Jardin du Palais Royale
On 12th May the Optimist celebrated a special birthday! And on that very day we were booked to travel – in style, I might add – by Eurostar train from Yorkshire to Paris to attend our nephew’s wedding in Vincennes, just outside Paris, on the Saturday. What a fab weekend we had – lovely hotel quiet but right in the centre of Paris, lovely weather, except that it rained on the Sunday as we were leaving, excellent company and good food and wine with some “flanez” and pavement cafes thrown in for good measure.
June 2011 : Milady Reads and Visits
In Spring 2011 Persephone Books published a reprint of Adam Fergusson’s “The Sack of Bath”. On June 16th there was an Afternoon of Walks in Bath led by Caroline Kay, of the Bath Preservation Trust, and Adam Fergusson. We met at The Circus cafe for a lovely two course lunch and were then taken on a walking tour to view the effects of City planning policy on Bath during the 1960s. The walk ended at The Museum of the Building of Bath where we were served tea and cakes. But before all those pleasures I had the great pleasure of spending the morning with my online reading group friend Carol who lives in Bath and took time out to show me all the bookish delights of that city – of which there are very many. It was one of those days where looking back it seems impossible to have fitted so much into a mere 7 hours.
July 2011 : Milady Steps Out
On 30th June I set out with my sister on my first long distance walking trail – Wild Edric’s Way in Shropshire. The ‘holiday’ was organised by a local company with the delightful name of Wheely Wonderful Cycling Holidays which deals mainly in cycling holidays but with some walking tours also on their books. I say ‘holiday’ but at times it was jolly hard work! We walked from the Stiperstones to Ludlow over 3.5 days. Approximately 40 miles was covered in total with 4 overnight stops. For the most part it followed the route of The Shropshire Way which coincided also with The Kerry Ridgeway and Offa’s Dyke National Trail. There were several places of interest on the route – churches at More, Churchtown and Ludlow and castles at Clun, Stokesay and Ludlow. We met other walkers and some lovely B&B owners along the way. I was glad to have done it and it felt like quite an achievement but I was not sure whether I wished to repeat the experience. However, the further away it has become the more I think maybe I would indeed like to do another such walk in the future.