Friday, 13 June 2008

Exeter Summer Festival ~Part One :The Lammas Fair

Each year,the City of Exeter upholds the tradition of celebrating the Lammas Fair.
The annual ceremony of the Proclamation of the Lammas Fair, dates back more than 900 years!
I went along this morning, to watch this fascinating and colourful piece of tradition.
The Mayor departs from the Civic Centre, in the former Sheriff's coach,with a procession of school children, clad in period costume.They process to the Guildhall (which , incidentally, is one of the oldest in the country).

Leading the procession is the Mace Sergeant is his very important role to carry the Lammas Fair Glove!

The Lammas Fair Glove was a sign of Royal protection of the peace. The glove is a large leather stuffed glove,attached to a long pole and decorated with ribbons and a garland of flowers.

After the declaration which declared the fair open, it was the hoisting of the glove from the verandah of the Guildhall .

There were many onlookers!

I then made my way to the Cathedral Green ;-)

Monday, 9 June 2008

England..a summer tour and a Competition / Giveaway...;-)

This week, because ENGLAND are not represented in Euro 2008, I'm promoting our lovely country on my blog ;-)

When I was about 13 years old, I was taken on a grand tour of England. It was during one summer that we escaped, from Devon !
My dad drove us up one side of England and back down the other, with occasional diversions into the middle, taking in the many beautiful historical sites that our country has to offer.
It was a fantastic opportunity ; probably one which I did not really appreciate at the time.

However, I can say that I have set foot in almost every cathedral...(I love Salisbury for its elegant spire and Lincoln for its presence and beautiful sounding organ... although Exeter will always take top spot! )...and every castle in this country. (I absolutely adored Bamburgh, for the setting...and marvel at the spectacular iron age hill fort of Maiden Castle... )

I've stood on many former battlefields (with my imaginary battle axe and mace!)

and I have trapsed along Hadrians Wall...

I have marked the spot in the New Forest, where William Rufus was killed.
You name it, I have been there and I have probably done it...all when I was 13!
When you are 13, just growing out of your Bunty and Judy annuals (remember them?), discovering football and boys (but not necessarily in that order!) you really aren't too bothered about who shot who and where... or where the Magna Carta was signed (I've been there too!).
You see, growing up as a teenager in the 60s was a 'lorra lorra' fun..all those fashion trends to keep up with (mini skirts and hot pants!) and all those Beatles/Stones lyrics to learn.
And then there was the 1966 World Cup and England went wild! I spent ages making a scrapbook because I found that I could draw World Cup Willie, (the mascot that is!) really well!
However, amidst all of that trivia, my parents had this book to guide us through our fabulous summer tour..not any old book but this book.It's still in their bookcase today. And I love books :

Even at 13, I treasured this book! I learnt all about the counties of our country and so much more (because the book also includes Wales and Scotland ). And, needless to say it was the beautiful colour plates that I found so enchanting. So charming. I would get completely lost in those lovely pictures.Poking about the oast houses and orchards of Kent was my favourite pastime.

I know that my love for my country, England, stems from that fantastic summer holiday trip and this wonderful book.
I would so love to do that trip again, one day.
I don't yearn for holidays sitting on foreign beaches; that would bore me silly. That's just not me. But I do yearn for finding out as much as I can about my own country, England.
And I thank my mum and my dad for those fabulous experiences.... and the memories!
Now to the quiz/giveaway!

Which English counties do you think that each of these pics below represent?
There are ten to work out.
Put your answers on the comments page for this post please.
You've got until Sunday evening!
In the event of a draw, I'll get some unsuspecting person who happens to be with me, to draw the winner.

Details of the prize are at the bottom of this post ;-)
Here goes:










Easy ?! ;-)

Ok..the prize?

I have deliberately avoided mentioning that until the end;-)

That's because I very deliberately have not got the prize.... yet!!
Let me explain!

This Friday sees the beginning of the (drum roll please)..EXETER SUMMER FESTIVAL!

On the Cathedral Green this Friday and Saturday is the.... Exeter Festival Craft Fair!

I can hardly contain myself! LOL
I can't decide which day to go .. so.....;-)

Your prize will be a little hand crafted 'something' from this wonderful event.
Good luck!!

Sunday, 8 June 2008

I saw something nasty in the woodshed!

I was in the middle of reading 'Cold Comfort Farm' this week when I suddenly discovered that this was the production at The Northcott Theatre, which is on the University of Exeter campus. So I finished the book, acquired the tickets and off we went to yesterday's matinee!
What fun!

I really enjoyed this adaptation of Stella Gibbons' novel!
Sue Lawrie, the actress playing Flora Poste, was excellent - and my golly, she had a lot of lines to remember! The other absurd (!) characters were so well cast and Aunt Ada Doom spends most of the play 'upstairs', well above the action on the stage, yet still making her presence very much felt, with the constant, 'I saw something nasty in the woodshed' wailings!!
Flora not only has to act/speak her part but she also guides the audience through the plot in a very clever way. Naturally, this all fits in well with her character...organised and level headed. She weaves order and common sense through the proceedings and then, with her job done successfully, she flies off to goodness knows where, with friend Charles and of course, her book, 'The Higher Common Sense'!

As for what Aunt Ada did see in the woodshed...well this is only revealed in a whisper to Flora. So we are not quite sure and can only put our imaginations to work when Flora replies to the whisper: 'And did the goat die?' Hence the mind boggles!

Clever use of theatrical convention ; sound effects and lighting, which vary the tone and mood very well; props and costumes, which are used to great effect... all helped to make this an excellent adaptation. I particularly liked the presentation of the kitchen 'clock'..a small group of actors who used their arms for the hands and their clicking tongues for the sound. Simple but effective.

With names like, 'Starkadder', 'Doom', 'Howling', not forgetting 'Elfine' the free spirit and a three legged cow, you just know there's going to be a treat in store.

(We were not allowed to take photos, which is a shame as the old fashioned kitchen 'set' was lovely! )

I returned home , itching to read the book again! And feeling very glad that I haven't got a woodshed! ;-)