Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Arnold Wesker's Roots at Nottingham Playhouse

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love live theatre - and how little spare cash I have to fund my visits - so you can understand my delight at winning 2 tickets for a Nottingham Playhouse production of Arnold Wesker's Roots via Twitter*.

Now, I read Wesker's Trilogy of plays a long while ago in school and to be honest couldn't remember much about them so when my Teen asked 'What's it about?' I was a bit stumped and had to rather waffle about this girl who lives in London with her boyfriend  and goes back to Norfolk to visit her family and's set in the 1950s ...and ... er.. something or other. Despite this less-than-brilliant introduction she agreed to come, so I bought an extra ticket for her and crossed my fingers that she'd enjoy it.

I needn't have worried! She loved it - well, we all did.

Although Beatie played by Natasha Rickman took centre stage for most of the performance, the whole cast were excellent. I particularly liked the scene where all the family gather round to welcome Beatie's London boyfriend Ronnie - they had that awkward, 'dressed up in Sunday best' behaviour that I remember from family get-togethers of my childhood. Maybe it's an age thing, but I found myself siding with the mother against Beatie and dismissing absent boyfriend Ronnie as a pompous, opinionated fool. Beatie herself seemed a bit young and naive for 22 - rather like a stroppy teenager, ready to pick fault with others and their views but swallowing her boyfriend's ideas hook, line and sinker without thinking things out for herself.
All in all, a brilliant evening's entertainment. Although firmly set in 1950s, Roots with its struggle between old ways and new, and condemnation of the dumbing-down of entertainment, is as valid then as now. There's nothing new in the world - even in 1959 people were complaining about repeats on TV!

* Actually a co-production between Colchester Mercury theatre Company and Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Bluebell woods

 I've at last remembered to take my camera on the regular morning dog-walk round the wood.Skies were blue, under the trees was cool and I was just in time to catch probably the last of the bluebells and the first of the rhododendrons.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Undiscovered Nottingham

St Mary's

 Last weekend we had to visit Nottingham, specifically the Lacemarket, an area of the city I'm not familiar with.

St Mary's

detail of exterior of contemporary art gallery- lace patterned concrete
half-timbered pub

follow the bear!
 I was surprised how quiet and olde worlde it seemed - and there was even a famous bear, now working as a solicitor!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Chatsworth - May Bank Holiday

With a long weekend due to the Bank Holiday, we had two outings this weekend! After Sunday's bluebell walk I wanted something less strenuous, so hoping to dodge the rainclouds we headed off to Chatsworth - and after all, if the heaven's opened, we could always head inside.

Our teenager wanted to visit the adventure playground - one of the few with equipment suitable for older children. We, meanwhile, wandered round the adjacent farmyard - meeting a strange, and rather large, Blue-faced Leicester sheep, 3 day old Old-spot piglets, looking like a row of dalmatian puppies and cute pygmy goats.

Then we pottered off to the gardens..

Lots of rain recently meant that all the fountains were in full flow
Emperor Fountain

a truly 'weeping' willow, sending out jets of water

Canal Pond view - towards the House

Canal Pond view - out over the valley
The flat grassed area around the Canal Pond was the site of a sculpture exhibition, showing work from the long career of Anthony Caro.


Goodwood Steps
Not really my kind of Art, so off we went to the flower garden..

All in all an excellent day - with no rain!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Bank Holiday Bluebell Walk - Lea Bridge to Cromford

Although there are lots of bluebells in our local wood, we like to visit this very special bluebell wood near Lea Bridge at least once during the brief flowering season.

The walk starts by the old workshops at High Peak Junction on the Cromford Canal and goes up the hill through Lea Wood..

  ....winding past apple blossoms..

..and up through the bluebells..

even the path has bluebells growing in it!

...ever onwards and upwards...

..with more bluebells at each turn of the path..

The top of the hill at last and a brief pause before heading down to Cromford

past banks of wild garlic to the old wharf and walking bank along the canal

Last leg of the trip - crossing the Derwent back to the car park.