Monday, August 23, 2021

Days of wine and rambles...

 Despite living less than 15 miles from Prior Park, on the edge of Bath, I'd always thought this was the property of a posh school and only discovered on a jaunt with friends last week that there's a marvellous landscaped garden here owned by the National Trust. Certainly there is a school there, boasting the motto Deo Duce Deo Luce which sounds quite posh to me, but beyond it lies the landscape garden created in the early 18th Century by Ralph Allen, original owner of the mansion, who took advice from Capability Brown when designing the paths and water features and the crescent vista offering incomparable views across the estate and beyond.

This turned out to be a gorgeous place to wander around at this time of year: the meadows are full of wild flowers with berry-laden brambles alongside the paths up to the summit with its amazing view of Bath stretching from Kelston Round Hill to Bathampton.  Sadly, the system of dams that created Allen's ornamental lakes has fallen into serious disrepair but extensive work to clear & restore them to their original splendour is due to be finished by early next year. 

Big thanks to my friends Eleanor and Gordon for this delightfully varied jaunt, which began with cakes at the Lavender Farm, where sunflowers add golden glamour to the bee-filled purple haze awaiting harvest, and concluded with wine & snacks at The George Inn beside the canal at Bathampton - & thanks also to Ellie for the sunflower field snap, and Gordon for the one of me and Ellie on our circumnavigation of Prior Park.

Back now to Frome, where Theatre is the remarkable organisation which provides dance and theatre classes for all ages, holiday workshops, and regular full productions of popular big-cast musicals and dramas: apart from the obvious enrichment provided by this kind of creative group activity, has launched several young participants into successful performance careers. This week Merlin Theatre staged their version of Lionel Bart's Oliver, a delightful ensemble production with some stand-out performances by the young cast - I especially enjoyed Florrie Walker's Artful Dodger. Here's a production image of Oliver with wicked Fagin and his sassy Dodger chum. And while we're at the Merlin, in a brief departure from this blog's usual retrospection,  do check out Liv Torc's touring show which will arrive here on Wednesday 22nd September: it's the incredible story of Haiflu, a newly adapted version of an ancient poetic form, invented by Liv and now celebrated across the world.  

Regular followers of this blog will know by now that my big literary event of the summer is the publication by Hobnob Press of Déjà Lu, a collection of 37 of my short stories, nearly all of which have been previously published in anthologies & magazines or read on BBC4 - hence the title (pretentious, moi? pas du tout) and my website is now updated to give more details: When I checked that deja lu did really mean 'already read', it turned out there's also an Urban Dictionary meaning for the phrase, viz: somebody telling you something you already know about from reading it on the internet.  So if you order a copy from me after reading this, you will have completely fulfilled the on-trend definition and thus definitely be le dernier cri ...

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