July is Lion month for me, as I'm a Leo, so I was pleased to find lots of lions in Bath - or rather, the same lion differently adorned. Best I saw was the Lion the Watch and the Wardrobe near Pulteney Bridge; worst, the Peter Blake graffiti lion, scrawled with dreary doodles, in the Victoria Art Gallery.
Here in Frome it's been a week for thinking about the future - twice. At the Merlin, we decided there's a lot that's positive despite the slightly dire state of arts funding. New director Claudia has plenty of plans for programming and ensuring a vibrant community role. Lots of out-of-the-box-office ideas, including Poetry Platter night in October, a one-act play-writing competition with winning scripts given performance, comedy nights, post-play suppers and free tickets for reviewers. So get those reporters notebooks out ready for the new season brochure!
On to the next Focus group, at the Library, where a jury of good men and women considered the case of the missing funding. Proceedings opened with a Vision Statement for Somerset Libraries so visionary it made Xanadu seem under-resourced. We glowed at this picture of busy social spaces promoting happier more fulfilled lives. The vision dimmed as we were chivvied to choose what to delete from the facilities which might enable this paradise. We dug our heels in at replacing staff by volunteers, which seemed to be what the exercise was largely about.
In the Black Swan the festival has already started, with a wonderful Ralph Steadman exhibition full of things that wiggle and wave when you push a button, some cute some rude and some, like the crucified puppy, strangely sad.
And now we're on the Frome Festival countdown - 190 events in streets, pubs, theatres, parks, halls, gardens, and even in the tunnels under the town. Hope to see you at one of them....