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.
When I was first married, we lived in Cardiff and our best friends were a couple, Richard and Glynis, who have remained our friends for over thirty years. I am godmother to their daughter (hence the wedding reading – she is getting married in October) and Richard is the godfather to my #1 son. In 1983, my husband, our 4 month old son and I, went to live in Kuwait for three years and during this time, we kept in touch with our friends back in the UK, sending birthday cards etc. One year, on my birthday in early November, I received the following card from them.
Inside, it said ‘I’ve looked absolutely everywhere for a used birthday card that has flowers on the outside and money on the inside. Maybe next year. OK?‘
I sent it back to Glynis whose birthday is at the end of November, with the message ‘Found the card but still no money’ and thus a tradition was born. The card came back for Gavin’s birthday in April and we sent it back for Richard’s in May and so it has gone on for 26 years, sometimes getting lost, but always turning up again. We lost Gavin and Glynis from the rotation when both couples split up and so Richard and I continue to send the card back and forth. It has had extra sheets attached but remains intact and has just winged it’s way back to Cardiff for Richard’s birthday. Long may it continue!
My #2 son arrived back from his travels safely last week. He arrived in Dorset on Thursday accompanied by his girlfriend. It was so wonderful to see him in one piece I can’t tell you! One of his travelling companions caught dengue fever while in Kuala Lumpur. Luckily, she has recovered but it was very worrying. He was thinner but otherwise healthy and he arrived bearing gifts – a gorgeous leather handbag. I am so thrilled with it that I shan’t object if he wants to go travelling again. As my friend Claire said the other day ‘I think I might have had more children if I’d realized they could one day provide so generously for me’. Quite.We went to my favourite restaurant in these here parts (in fact it’s my favourite restaurant in any parts) The Riverside at West Bay and he insisted on paying for lunch for us all.Love it.
On Saturday, I was invited to go and see an outdoor production of ‘The Barber of Seville’ in Abbotsbury. The plan was to meet up with friends, have a picnic then watch the opera. We managed the picnic but as we sat watching the opera, the heavens opened and we were all good and soaked. It was the first rain we have had for weeks and I felt so sorry for the singer playing Rosina because she was wearing a very flimsy costume and must have been frozen to death, the wind was really cold. They carried on gamely and even incorporated the man who came on at intervals to mop the rain off the stage, into the action. I must confess that during the interval, we took shelter, broke out the picnic again and listened from afar.
I’m amazed that you can’t see the driving rain in this photograph but you can tell by the number of umbrellas belonging to the hardy souls who sat it out, just how wet it was.
Today, I have had news from Jemima. You might remember the wonderful illustrations she did for the book ‘Roverandom’ by J.R.R.Tolkien, (which I helped her bind for her university final project). She has just had a meeting with the Publishing Director of Harper Collins who publish all Tolkien’s work. He loves her illustrations and wants to re-publish Roverandom using her illustrations! She has left the book with them and they are going to show it to Christopher Tolkien who is J.R.R’s son, as they have to have his permission to use them in the book. Even if he doesn’t approve, they want to use her illustrations in future projects. Brilliant news, Jemima!
I’m off again next Sunday. I fly to Corfu for 10 days of sailing with my lovely sister and her husband. The day after I return, it is Glastonbury so I will be there for a weekend of Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Crosby Stills and Nash, Blur, Madness, Status Quo, Lily Allen, Spinal Tap……. (see full line up here)
It was a wonderful weekend. On Friday, I went to Wimbledon with my friend Amanda and we managed to cadge a lift from a friend, John, who was driving up, instead of having to catch the train, so that was a great start to the day. When we arrived, there were security checks and my tiny Swiss Army penknife which is attached to my keyring was confiscated from my handbag. This was so irritating as they only seemed to be searching bags so if the keys had been in my coat pocket, they would not have been noticed. Some security. Note to would-be trouble makers – carry your machete in your coat pocket….
It started to rain just as we arrived but play was only delayed for 90 minutes so we did not have long to wait before watching Roger Federer walk onto a sunny Centre Court. He won his match against the French player, Marc Gicquel, in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, 6-1. We then watched Serena Williams and Amelie Mauresmo play a thrilling first set which Serena narrowly won but in the second set, Amelie seemed to be carrying an injury and played below par and so Serena won easily. So all in all, a very bad day for French tennis players.
We managed to slip out between matches for a little refreshment – my summer favourite, a glass of Pimms!
After an afternoon of tennis, we met up with John and Bob for a Wimbledon tradition, strawberries and cream – caused me no end of problems as I have an aversion to licking wet wood and the strawberries came with a wooden spoon! Still, undaunted, I ate the strawberries with my fingers and drank the cream from the bowl – not very ladylike but needs must… and of course, we had a glass or two of champagne.
The next day, I had to be up early as I was going to Glastonbury Festival with some other friends. #2 son had gone on ahead as he was camping and he sent a message that it had rained on Friday night so not good news. He said that he and his friends had put 10 tents in a circle with a tarpaulin on the floor, a gazebo on top of that and then covered the whole assembly with another tarpaulin so their encampment was snug and watertight! He learned his lesson after last year when they got soaked and never really dried out plus, it was so muddy, they had nowhere to sit down for 4 days.
By the time I arrived on Saturday, the sun had come out and the weather was warm and sunny all day – such a treat. Highlights of the day were Seasick Steve, Crowded House, James Blunt, Manu Chao, The Raconteurs and a shambolic Amy Winehouse who manged to get into a fight with some of her fans….
This is my favourite bit – Crowded House singing ‘Weather with You’ and the wave at the end was fantastic! Did you spot me? In the middle, towards the back :-)
The next day, we saw John Mayer and bizarrely, Neil Diamond, who seemed to struggle to get the crowd going until he sang ‘I’m a Believer’ and then of course ‘Sweet Caroline’ which brought the house down. He should have just come on and sang ‘Sweet Caroline’ half a dozen times and everyone would have been happy. I love the way everyone sang the backing vocals as well as the main tune…
The weather stayed dry all the time I was there so I must thank you for all your kind comments and wishes – they worked! here is a small slide show of photographs from Wimbledon and Glastonbury.
I’m sorry I haven’t been around much and I can’t see things improving over the next few weeks. #2 son is now home from university (he did very well – graduated with a 2.1 so we are well pleased with him!) This means increased laundry (he has SO many clothes, just washed 29 t-shirts) and as for food shopping – no matter how much I buy, we are constantly running out of supplies, he could eat for England. He is very keen on cooking and loves experimenting with new recipes – all good but he is not so good at the clearing up afterwards :-)
And the sun is shining and the garden is growing and it’s Wimbledon fortnight and next weekend it’s Glastonbury (cue the rain)…..OK, lame excuses I know but I’m doing my best – honest!
So, here you have edited highlights of my week.
The sun is shining and it’s Wimbledon – how bizarre! Roger Federer played Dominic Hrbaty yesterday, an easy match for Roger with some very funny moments.
and a miracle shot from Dominic Hrbaty…
I’m going to Wimbledon on Friday so I hope the weather holds up and we get to see some good tennis. I have Centre Court tickets (although they are about as far back as you can get without actually sitting outside the court) but never mind. I shall see tennis, drink champagne and eat strawberries whatever.
Went for a walk on Sunday. The weather was fabulous and I passed through a field that had been seeded with wild flowers. It was very special, my photographs don’t really do it justice (you can enlarge it by clicking on it). Sort of makes up for the poppy disaster….
I took this one on my way home. I was driving along the coast road with the roof down, Coldplay blasting out on the radio and this view. Absolute bliss.
The Arum lilies in my garden are blooming and are quite stunning. I think I am starting to grow green fingers at last.
I have just finished reading the funniest book I have ever read. I cannot recommend this highly enough. This is it.
It’s a run through the last 2000 years of British history but it is is written in a wonderfully funny style. I was reading it on the train a week or so ago and I kept bursting out laughing. I caught the guy next to craning his neck trying to see what I was reading as I was giggling so much. I tell you, I learned more history reading this than I did in years of history lessons at school. I’ve been buying it for all my friends as I want everyone to read it. I bought three in a ‘3 for 2’ offer last week as gifts and the sales assistant said hesitantly ‘ You do know you have bought the same book three times – you don’t have to you know, you can buy 3 different books’. Der!
I’m off to Glastonbury on Saturday morning. I don’t know, Wimbledon on Friday, Glastonbury on Saturday and Sunday. No-one can accuse me of having a boring life. Of course, as the weather is very nice at the moment, I’m sure it will have changed by the weekend, this is an English summer after all, but hopefully it won’t be as bad as the first time I went!
This last photograph always amuses me. If you look closely, you can see the stall selling …… Glastonbury Spring Water. Erm, no thanks!
Apologies if I haven’t dropped round your blog for a while, I intend to try and have a catch up night tonight….see you later.