Do hope you enjoyed the Easter break, although it sounds as if the difference in weather and temperature was a pretty random thing, depending on which part of the cloud cover you were under!
Luckily for Colin and I we had headed off to Brighton by train, and enjoyed albeit brisk breezes, some clear blue skies and bright sunshine.
We even managed to catch the sun mildly as we sat listening to a one man band – well, one man and a guitar – until we could listen no longer. Not because time had caught up with us, but because the guitarist knew just one collection of chords and after a couple of "you hum it, I'll play it" we knew it wasn't going to improve!
That said, we did then wander down the promenade and spent a very enjoyable half an hour in the Chilli Food Festival. The marinades we purchased from a rather fiery looking woman with a very odd accent were thrown somewhat unceremoniously into a plastic bag, soon to be accompanied by some chilli cashews – necessary, according to Colin to tide him over until we ate a little later!
Which we did in Jamie's Italian – one of Jamie Oliver's incredibly successful restaurants that are dotted around the country – fab food and interesting decor! As you will see, he has somehow managed to procure some of the original flushing toilets.
Please don't ask how I got this photograph (left), just rest assured the next time I am on my knees in front of a toilet bowl with the door slightly ajar and a camera in my hand, I will make sure there are no three year olds around to ask me what I'm doing!!
The Welsh National Opera performing Carmen
That is however a question that Lucy and I asked ourselves a number of times last week whilst we were trying to get our heads around the Welsh National Opera's rendition of The Opera 'Carmen'. You may remember me telling you that Lucy had bought tickets for me at Christmas. What I am about to write I realise may lose me friends – realising as they will, that possibly I am NOT highbrow enough to enjoy the arts! However in my defence….SUBTITLES!!!!! What is this all about?
A fab cast stroll onto the stage with a crescendo of sound from the orchestra and we feel we have arrived! And then suddenly like the bouncing ball at the ABC minors Saturday morning cinema show, the words appear… above the stage…. in a kind of glowing orange colour. Nothing wrong in that you may say, but they appeared to bear no resemblance to the song and antics of those on stage!!
Lucy and I in our defense had read the programme and knew that Carmen was a woman loved by many, but owned by none (strumpet) who couldn't really make her mind up as to who she wanted to spend a significant amount of her life with! Men threw themselves at her in the same way a women might throw her weight behind a door she believed chocolate to be on the other side of….
But unfortunately for the men their attempts were thwarted. Not all were gentlemanly in their approach. At one point the words above the stage read, "That was very impolite of you, but I'll let it go…" Lucy and I squirmed in our seats.
Another high point was when, after at least twenty minutes of being scorned by our heroine, watching her fall into another man's arms, and then tell our hero she never wanted to see him again, he grabbed hold of her skirt and sang in French, words that translated read, 'So you don't love me any more??' To which the young girl sitting behind us said "Der??"
I think if the words had kept up with the singing it would have been easier, but it was difficult when you thought you were in synch and then the words stopped at a crucial point. Some poor soul who was forever chasing around after our hero with messages from his mum, tried to get him to come with her. He refused endlessly and loudly, so as a last ditch attempt she sang, "There is one thing I have to tell you… it's your mother… she wanted me to tell you…" What??
Lucy and I strained forwards in our seats to read the now blank screen! But nothing!! We were frantic. The Welsh National Opera surged forwards and sang in french, words that meant nothing to us. Then suddenly the orange words crackled into life again and we were told that Juan's mother was dying!!
But by then the chorus had moved onto a Spanish street scene, where they were singing in French about the impending bull fight, and before we could come to terms with the severity of the news we were distracted by the most extraordinary crowd scene which included a woman eating an apple in time to the drum rolls!
In short, it was an experience that I completely loved sharing with my daughter and will be forever in her debt for having spent a rather large sum of money on the tickets. However, I think that possibly Michael Buble at the O2 in May could be a tad more my cup of tea.
Before I sign off I thought you might like to see how well the new members of our family are getting on (see photo below) – behold Dexter and Dash, Sam's little treasures – he tells me they have grown! I still have trouble seeing them with the naked eye…
Have a lovely week and I hope the sun will shine for you.
Love Ali xx