Friday, January 05, 2018

Wedding Day

It's finally here! Tomorrow is the wedding of Martin's niece, Georgie, to James. Since we arrived here in Southampton on New Years Day evening, and folks have been in various spirals of nervousness, or as I prefer to say, excitement.

I wish the couple all the best in their life together, and offer an endearing historical account for your enjoyment.

Consider 'The Tulip Staircase', the first centrally unsupported stairs in England, copying a Venetian model. The stone treads lock perfectly into each other and the wall, requiring no central structure, and creating the famous upwards view.

The spiral resides beautifully within The Queen's Palace, in Greenwich, England. You see, in 1616, James I of England gave his Queen Anne the land to build a house. It was an apology for swearing at her after she accidentally shot his dog. 

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Watercress in Alresford

Yesterday was our second wonderful day out with Martin's brother Pete. We left Southampton driving through many villages on the southwestern edge of The Downs. We passed through an area known for its watercress fields and made a stop at a small farm to study just how this peppery green was cultivated.

Watercress thrives in clear, slow moving water, and the small watercrest field in my photo sits beside a clear running stream that feeds into the Itchen River. The grower controls and directs the flow of water through the field divisions, a bit like rice paddies.

Next, we headed for Alresford and The Watercress Line Railway. We wanted a look at the old steam train engines, but they were all at another station for the two months that they would be 'on vacation'.

So we walked along the trendy High Street ane came upon The Tiffin Tearoom. We entered in. Pete glanced at the menu and said he knew what he wanted, and when I saw it, I ordered the same. And so it was, I had my first ever egg and watercress sandwich on grainery bread. As you can see, a scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam came with this 'tea for one'. I chose an award winning Honey Himalayan tea to go with it. Yummy, yummy, yummy.


Wow! I've just experienced my first pantomime at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. We attended a matinée performance of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".

It was all great fun, lights, smoke and magic mirror. The Wicked Queen is fantastically played by Craig Revel Horwood who is equipped with a magnificent evil laugh, impressive singing voice, and interesting stage voice. After all, he is a queen playing a queen, wearing glittery over-the-top costumes and majestic headgear! A scene where The Queen attempts to seduce The Handsome Prince into marrying her is more sweet transvestite than wicked queen, with the prince loosing his shirt, piece by piece, until his entire muscular torso is on display.

The pantomime is meant for all ages, and the jokes are on all levels.

The Chuckle Brothes gave frequent and goofy comedy to groan or roll in the aisle laugh at, and involved squirting water, throwing marshmallows and other things into the audience, and the ever popular pie in the face of at least 4 audience members.

Flawless, an 8-man dance troop were amazing.

Snow White was there, the Dwarfs,  played by men moving around on their knees with fake legs hanging down, was nicely done.

Audience participation is encouraged, and I did join in, but I found that I liked the Evil Queen way to much to boo her.

I highly recommend it.

England, January 2018: Winchester wonders #1

You never know what you might find when you're traveling. Sometimes things seem to appear out of nowhere, and are nice oddities on a long journey.

Years ago Martin and I drove down through the West Country and found many references to the legend of King Arthur, the Lady of the Lake, and Uther Pendragon.

Yesterday, we had a morning out in several villages, and an afternoon in the city of Winchester, ending in my brother-in-law's office. On one wall was a large map of the city printed in the 1700's. As the brothers discussed the history of the city, I saw this reference to Arthur, and his round table. We never saw the actual object, but it exists as listed on the map: 18 feet across, divided into sections with the names of all of Arthur's Knights. Again, it makes me smile.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Gift shop St. Denis

Apologies for the missing St. Denis 
photo, which was zapped when the email was saved to a draft.

In a future post I will present a grander version of St. Denis, but for now here is  the humble version available for purchase just inside the entrance of the basilica. I truly did contemplate acquiring this little guy. His myth makes me smile.