Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Category Archives: Dance

Hats off to Bridport

The town where I live, Bridport, is busy trying to reinvent itself and drag itself upmarket and into the 21st century. When a local hotel revamped itself and became a ’boutique’ hotel, there were cries from camps both applauding the move and loathing it. When an old derelict cinema was renovated and opened as an arts venue ‘The Electric Palace’ there was universal approval. However, when a reporter from the Observer newspaper suggested Bridport was becoming ‘Notting Hill on Sea‘ (in theory due to the large number of trendy London folk now visiting the town) there was uproar.

In Bridport, there is a brilliant shop called T Snook. This is their web site. They are a hatter and gentleman’s outfitters and inside it is an Aladdin’s cave full of hat treasure – they sell every kind of hat you can imagine – panama hat, bowler hat, top hat, fedora, fez, deerstalker, beret, bush hat, trilby, boater – the list is endless.  Splendidly, they decided to organise an event which they hope will become an annual tradition – the Bridport Hat Festival.

The sun was shining on Saturday, so I donned my hat (straw – very conservative) and headed into town to see what was going on. It was amazing. It seemed like the whole town was wearing hats, some had made the effort to make a wonderful hat, others were just wearing whatever they had at home but it was an fantastic sight. There were loads of trade stands selling every kind of hat, workshops teaching how to make hats (and their mini relation, the fascinator.) Here are some photos I took on Saturday.

At 12.30 there was a mass hat photograph in the town square (which is called BuckyDoo Square)

Later in the day there was a cocktail party and all the women attending had to wear a fascinator (not my favourite piece of headgear) but I have to say, having got togged up and worn one  I am coming round to the idea of them.

But I knew that it reminded me of something…

Later in the evening there was a poetry cabaret which was also excellent – the highlight was Matt Harvey – an hilarious poet who appears on Radio 4 regularly and who has also been asked to be the official Wimbledon poet in residence. His tennis poem ‘Thwock!’ was hilarious and my favourite. Listen to it here. (possibly UK only…)

These ladies are called the Lyme Bay Lovelies – a branch of the Red Hat Society, founded for ladies who are over 50 but not ready to start acting their age. The society was based on the poem ‘Warning’ by Jenny Joseph.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired

And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

And run my stick along the public railings

And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

And pick flowers in other people’s gardens

And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

And eat three pounds of sausages at a go

Or only bread and pickle for a week

And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

And pay our rent and not swear in the street

And set a good example for the children.

We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph

Today we watched an Argentine Tango Social Dancing display and then later we went to see local singer Jess Upton perform at the final event of the weekend.

The whole thing has been a brilliant success and lets hope the Bridport Hat Festival returns next year.

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Heidi goes to Glastonbury…

You’ll have to excuse my absence. I have been suffering from ‘not enough news’ syndrome and then it has been followed by ‘too much news’ syndrome. I shall gloss over the writers’ block period and rush straight to the ‘Oh my God, I love my life’ bit.

I had a week in Zurich staying with my friends who live in Schindellegi. I visited them in February when everything was covered in a thick layer of snow and Lake Zurich was covered in a thick layer of mist. What a difference 4 months makes. The sun shone, the lake re-appeared and the beautiful mountain scenery was revealed – gorgeous. Heidi country. Think cows with jangling bells around their necks, mountain chalets and impossibly green fields, pine forests and wild flowers, Julie Andrews spinning on a mountain top. Here are some winter/summer images, taken in Rapperswill.

This weekend, I have been at the Glastonbury Festival. My muddy adventures at the usual rain-sodden festival are well documented here. This year was the 40th anniversary of the first festival back in 1970 and for once the weather fairy had waved her magic wand and the sun shone. It was fabulous. The best ever. Lolling about (or dancing away) under clear blue, cloudless skies, glass of wine in hand, singing along to as diverse a set of performers as you will ever come across, people watching, chatting to complete strangers and re-uniting with old friends who I mostly only see once a year at Glastonbury, made for an amazing weekend.

There is something about live music that means you can listen to music you wouldn’t dream of playing at home yet it provokes a response that has you singing and dancing along with complete joy. (Thank you Seasick Steve and even more bizarrely, Slash, from Guns n Roses). Highlights of the weekend are many. Jackson Browne, Scissor Sisters, Shakira, Pet Shop Boys, Ray Davies, Jack Johnson, Faithless and the inimitable Stevie Wonder, who closed the festival last night. The only downside is the number of people who were performing I didn’t get to see. (Click to enlarge!)

To make a change from the muddy Glastonbury photographs, here are a few sunny ones.

I recently heard the phrase an ‘ear worm’ (from the German ‘Ohrwurm’) used to describe a song that gets embedded in your head and replays on a loop constantly in your unconsciousness. This has happened to me with this song to the extent I wake up with it running through my head. It’s by a band called Primary 1 who were performing at Glastonbury but I sadly missed them. This is their new single released on July 5th. Be warned it is SO catchy, you might get ear wormed….

As for the rest of the weekend, Formula 1 -yay for Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, less said about the football the better. At least I can concentrate on Wimbledon now, last week’s epic 11 hour match between Isner and Mahut was astonishing and a tribute to their mental toughness and physical strength. England football team, watch and learn and stop feeling hard done by for having to run about for 90 minutes while being paid a ridiculous amount of money. Dismal showing.

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun?

Well, I have just returned from another trip – this time to Switzerland.  Zurich to be precise. Schindellegi to be even more precise. It’s a small town sitting above Lake Zurich. Very pretty but unfortunately shrouded in fog most of the time I was there. I knew the lake was there but didn’t see it from the town until the last evening when the sun came out and the lake appeared miraculously from the mist. My friend and I visited Rapperswill which was a very beautiful old medieval town on the lake with an avenue of wonderfully weird pollarded chestnut trees along the water’s edge. We also went to see the astonishingly beautiful Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln which is ornately decorated with frescoes and stucco work inside.

We went to Crans Montana for the weekend. On a map it looks as if it is about an hour away until you realise that there is a huge mountain range in the way and the journey actually takes 3 1/2 hours but as always it is well worth the trip. The sun came out and the views from up the mountain across the Rhone Valley are quite breath taking. Here is a slide show of my favourite Swiss images from my Flickr photographs. You are spared the image of me head first in a bank of snow after parting company with my toboggan, as fortunately, no-one had a camera to hand….

Happy blog birthday to me!

While I was away, my blog celebrated its 3rd birthday. Although it is a shadow of its former self (when I started, I blogged every day and continued to do so for about 18 months or so) it soldiers on and I suppose as long as there are enough of you good people prepared to read it (for which I thank you very much indeed), I will continue. It does provide a wonderful excuse to down tools and think back over my week and decide what is worth remembering, noting down and even cherishing. Looking back over this blog I am reminded of music, films, videos, news, cartoons and illustrations that I would have long forgotten about (what with my memory being as shot away as it seems to be) so it functions as a superior ‘aide-memoir’ if nothing else! I do appreciate those of you who take time out to visit and comment on my posts.

On this note, here are a couple of things that have pleased me this week, one is a great track from Blur that perfectly describes how my life seems to be – whizzing past at a rate of knots, (March already?!) with the great danger that I don’t take time to stop and ‘smell the roses’. (Thanks to ‘Papersurfer’ for reminding me of it)

I watched the movie ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ again this weekend and fell in love with Javier Bardem all over again. The man is a god. (He is also the second most popular search term that people use to find my blog so no harm in mentioning him again, is there?) And the answer is – yes. I would be off to Oviedo like a shot….

While I’m at it, I might as well mention THE most popular search term is……*drum roll* …..Sylvie Guillem. She is quite simply stunning. Enough said, see for yourself. Russel Maliphant is pretty amazing too…

Maybe I should just turn this into a ‘celebrity news’ blog and be done with it. Or shall I just talk about George Clooney over and over again? (Cue gratuitous photograph of the man himself…)


Back in the real world, my gorgeous god-daughter visited this weekend to discuss the wedding album I am going to make for her and her husband. We looked through nearly 900 wedding photographs trying to decide which should go into the album – not an easy task. Then we had to choose materials to match her wedding stationery. I am now on a mission to get the website I am working on finished so I can begin her album. So having had my ‘timeout’ for today, I am going to get back to work after a thoroughly self indulgent post…



Let’s dance…

I have been cutting board for the last few days for the 20 books (and matching clam shell boxes). 14 precisely measured pieces of board for each set. 280 pieces altogether. I am having a day off today as my arm is starting to hurt a bit at the wrist and a slight twinge of tennis elbow – which is annoying as I haven’t even had the fun of a game of tennis. In between, I have been tweaking and cropping 90 images (web sized image and a thumbnail for each) for the web site I am working on. I’m starting to feel like a robot. Luckily, my friend who owns the Pierrepoint Gallery has just offered to cut the rest of the board on this amazing all-singing, all dancing glass/board/perspex cutter he has at the gallery. Hurrah!

Talking of all-dancing….(tenuous link alert!) A while back, I did a post about the search engine terms people use to find my web site. Here is the latest all time stats.

stats2

As you will notice, inexplicably ‘strawberry’ is still up there.  I hope the 79 people searching for ‘frumpy’ were disappointed – cheek! Javier Bardem is  climbing the charts – possibly due to the release of ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona’ in the UK (such a good film). There are still a lot of people looking for polar bear jokes but top spot goes to people searching for info on Sylvie Guillem. This is rather good news as I have just bought tickets to go and see Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant (also a genius) in a new ballet ‘Eonnagata’ at Sadler’s Wells in June.

“Eonnagata tells the story of the Chevalier d’Éon, Charles de Beaumont – diplomat, writer, swordsman and a member of the King’s Secret, a network of spies under the control of Louis XV. De Beaumont was perhaps the first spy to use transvestitism in the furtherance of his duties and until the day he died his true gender was a source of constant speculation, even provoking public bets in the late 18th century.”

Wow.

Watch this clip and then you will get a small idea of how excited I am! (Plus it might attract another 1357 Sylvie fans to ‘Much of a muchness’ – which won’t hurt!) I have optimistically bought two tickets for the performance in June and am now holding auditions for the part of ‘ballet enthusiast and date for the night’. Form an orderly queue ;-)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In complete contrast, this is the most hilarious thing I have seen on the TV in ages.  ‘Red Nose Day‘ approaches – a huge charity fund raising day here in the UK organised by Comic Relief. As one of the events this year, a TV show called ‘Let’s Dance’ has lots of celebs and comedians re-creating famous dance routines in a competition which runs over several weeks. The comedian, Robert Webb, (half of  ‘Mitchell and Webb’ of ‘Peep Show’ fame and the UK version of the ‘I’m a Mac, I’m a PC’ ads) performed the famous routine from ‘Flashdance’. Here is Robert as he usually is.

mac-pc

Here he is performing ‘Flashdance’.

I keep watching this and it makes me laugh every time. The rest of the competitors might as well throw in the towel now. It’s in the bag.

Milo news:  I have bored Milo into submission! He was fed up of sitting at my feet while I worked one day so he got up, ran downstairs (a first) and then went through the dog flap all by himself (also a first), came back in through the dog flap, back up the stairs and lay down by my feet again. I knew he could do it and was just being stubborn. Glory be!! It’s a miracle!! Now just need to train him to make me a latte and I’m sorted….

Wedding belles

What a wedding! I am just about recovered from a very hectic weekend indeed. It all began on Friday when I was still dithering about which outfit to wear to the Indian wedding celebration on Saturday. I kept trying the two choices on, asking opinions of anyone who happened by my house, I worried about which shoes to wear with both outfits. I tell you chaps, you have no idea how lucky you are. Suit, shirt, shoes – your only potential problem is the choice of tie. You have no idea of the minefield of fashion dilemmas we ladies face. Anyway here are the choices – two shalwar kameez – tunic, trousers and shawl suits. Click on all images to enlarge.

Both outfits were beautifully made and I suppose my dilemma was that I wanted to wear them both! Here are some details of the embroidery on each shalwar kameez.

Sequins and embroidery

Sleeve detail

I eventually decided on the red suit as I thought that the pink one was a bit too bright, a bit too ‘bling’ and maybe the more classy, subtle colours of the red and cream was more appropriate for a wedding. How wrong I was! I have never seen a more stunningly colourful wedding. It was uplifting and wonderful to see the vibrant rainbow of colourful clothing, both saris and shalwar kameez, worn by all the female guests, Indian and European alike. I have a small slide show at the end to give you a flavour of the proceedings but to be honest, I didn’t take too many photographs as I was too busy enjoying myself and kept forgetting to take them!

Me and my lovely boys

My younger son and my house guests, Garry and Beryl, arrived on Friday,  but my older son who was travelling from Bath, said he would arrive on Saturday morning. He finally pitched up at 1pm (the wedding started at 3pm) and I was relieved that he had made it in time. My joy at seeing him was soon shattered. His first question was ‘My suit and smart shoes are here, aren’t they?’  He hadn’t been able to find his suit at his house in Bath (needless to say he doesn’t wear it much) so he assumed they must be at my house. Wrong! What followed was an hour of panic while he tried on several old suits we had in the wardrobe. As you will see from the photograph, he is very much taller than his brother and all the old suits we had were much too short, so he changed into the shirt and tie he had brought with him, borrowed some shoes off his brother (a size or two too small) and still in his jeans they both shot off into Dorchester to try and buy him a suit. I went off to the wedding very apprehensive that either they would be late or #1 son would be unable to find a suit to fit. I needn’t have worried. They turned up with 30 minutes to spare and as you can see, he found a lovely suit which fitted perfectly.

The afternoon was gloriously sunny and began with afternoon tea where the most delicious canapés were served. We were then asked to cover our heads in preparation for the ceremony. The men were given scarves to tie around their heads and despite making them look a little like pirates, they all looked very dashing. Then, having removed our shoes, we went into the Gurdwara – another marquee which was decorated in shades of fuschia pink and orange – auspicious colours. The wedding ceremony is called the Anand Karaj (Ceremony of Bliss). On entering the Gurdwara, we had to bow to the Guru Granth Sahib, a box containing sacred texts, which was positioned in the centre of a dais where the ceremony takes place. All guests sit cross legged on the floor, females on the left, males on the right.

The bride wore a stunning red sari, heavily embroidered with gold thread and the groom wore a long cream brocade tunic, with a long red scarf, over slim cream trousers and a red turban. During the ceremony, Kirtan (hymns) are sung by the Raagis (musicians)  Ardas (prayers) are recited. The bride’s father places the end of the groom’s scarf in the bride’s hands, this is called Pallae di Rasam – tying the wedding knot. A series of four verses called the Lavaan are recited and for each one , the groom leads the bride around the Guru Granth Sahib, she is assisted by her brothers or close male relatives.

As you can tell, this photograph was taken by my friend Garry, who was sitting on the men’s side of the Gurdwara. The bride and groom are circling the Guru Granth Sahib during the Lavaan.

The First Lavaan is a promise to love each other for ever.

The Second Lavaan is a promise to merge together completely.

The Third Lavaan is a promise to be faithful to each other.

The Fourth Lavaan is the promise to be together in both happiness and adversity.

After the completion of the Lavaan, other hymns and prayers are sung and then a sweet cake called Koraah Parshad is passed to all members of the congregation.

Then we collected our shoes and left the Gurdwara. The ceremony was then followed by a champagne reception, dinner and dancing. I don’t know where to begin telling you about the marquee where we had dinner, it was vast, magnificent, awesome, splendid, gorgeously decorated – I’m running out of superlatives here – outside, the lake had been illuminated with floating lanterns and there were lanterns in the grass around the lake, leading to the surrounding trees which were all lit up – it was quite magical.

After a sumptuous dinner, there was much dancing to a wonderful Indian group playing Bhangra music (I think that is what it was called).  My knees are still feeling the effects – it was so, well, danceable! Later on,  we all chilled out in the stunning relaxation area until it was time to go home.

It was a truly magnificent occasion. My friend Edwina, is now very nervous as her two daughters (the girls in the photographs with my sons) have now got very firm ideas about their perfect wedding – the bar has been set very high indeed. Nick, their father, is keeping a very nervous eye on his wallet! As for me? Well, I’m planning a Bollywood party sometime soon so I get to wear my pink outfit….