Romeo and Juliet

Went to see an interesting production of Romeo and Juliet at the Leper Chapel in Cambridge, by Mutabilitie. The play was in the round, with an audience of only 30, all wrapped up against the cold! The Leper Chapel is small, so were were right in among the action. Some of the performances were very good and brought the dialogue to life and made it very accessible. The period setting of the second world war made sense and was interesting (I enjoyed the costumes) but didn’t add much to the production and I thought that some dialogue changes would have been required. Overall, the play lacked sparkle, even though the individual elements were good. Michael agreed, and it wasn’t just me being tired after my early start for Oxford.

What was done very well (and the highlight of the night) was the double death scene. The alter end of the chapel had been closed off until that point. The screens were drawn back and the chapel and alter were then a chapel of rest for Juliet, lying in front of the Leper Chapel alter Рspine tingling. The cast and full audience then formed a funeral procession to the alter and we stood watching the end of the play around the action. It was very good!

Romeo and Juliet at the Leper Chapel

From the web site:

This autumn the Leper Chapel on Newmarket Road will serve as the evocative backdrop to a staging of Romeo and Juliet produced by exciting young theatre company Mutabilitie.
Set amidst the devastation of the Blitz this powerful, original adaptation combines the raw violence and youthful energy of Shakespeare’s play with the melancholic music and foreboding atmosphere of 1940s Britain.

S&CA East Coast End of Season Supper

Walked round to Graeme and Bruce’s house for drinks and nibbles, which was a very nice start to the night out. Walked form there as a crowd of about 18 of us down to Morgans Wine Bar & Bistro, where we also had last year’s supper. We had a lovely meal: my haddock and haddock combinations could have been a bit better thought out, but that was my problem! I enjoyed my vodka fruit jelly! The meal was lovely, and the company good fun. Graeme gave a speech, and Michael and I received some S&CA polo shirts from him as thanks for organising the Wherry Weekend, which was a lovely surprise.

S&CE East Coast End of Season Dinner

About 11.30, we headed around the corner to a stylish restaurant/bar called Aqua Eight, where we had a nice nook to enjoy a few more drinks, with Graeme, Bruce, NIck and John. It didn’t strike my until the next morning that we had been able to drink until 1:30 because the clocks went back, so the bar had stayed open a hour longer than normal. As I walked back to the hotel I was regretting the extra drinks, but surprisingly I felt almost fine the next morning.

Sunday was wet and horrid, so we headed back to Cambridge after a rather large breakfast. The breakfast at the Novotel was very good.

Walking round Ipswich

image1934308653.jpgWandered through town, past the lovely ‘ancient house’, home to Lakeland Plastics, and which has fantastic pargetingbincluding a huge painted and gilded Charles II royal crest. From there we headed up to Christchurch Park and had an enjoyable explore through the Tudor mansion there, packed full of paintings and furniture. The park is lovely and dotted with old oak trees with sturdy trunks and not a great deal on top. The tree plantings were good.

Walked along the waterfront, now home to University College Sussex, with a trendy new building. Windy!

Tried to go for a drink in the Lord Nelson, which had been too busy last night, but it was closed this afternoon. Ended up in the Dove Street Inn again, which was by no means dissapointing. Michael had a Mauldon’s Suffolk Pride and I had a Crouch Vale Brewer’s Gold, which were both lovely. Now having a rest back in the Novotel before we head out for the evening.


image887215746.jpgMichael picked me up from work at 4:30 and drove us over to Ipswich for the weekend. We’re staying at the Novotel in the city centre. Our first room had a whistling window and we changed to a second room, next to the grinding lift. We’re on our third room now and all seems fine with this one. We had a bottle of lovely Laurent-Perrier champagne to start the weekend off, and Michael had brought some champagne flute glasses too!

Headed out to Kwan Thai, up the road, for a really good meal. Crispy duck with a coffee sauce (yum!) followed by lovely scallops stuffed with pork in a spicy sauce. Michael had a poached cod in Thai herbs with sticky rice. Wandered down to the Lord Nelson after dinner for a drink but it was noisy party night so headed over to the Dove Pub, winner of many CAMRA awards. I had a ‘Spooky Juice’ from Springhead Brewery and Michael tried a lovely Mauldon’s Black Adder (in wooden barrel) 5.3% half.

Mobile Blogging from here.

Tang Chinese Restaurant

This is the opening week of Tang Chinese Restaurant near the Grafton Centre (what used to be the Ancient Druids and had various other incarnations). The make over for the chinese restaurant is really smart. Tonight was ‘buy one get one free’, so we saved the ¬£13 buffet fee for one of us.

The place was jammed and had a good atmosphere: the food was really good: salt and pepper squid and the sweet and sour pork were good. Ate far too much, too quickly! (Good practice for my trip to China in a week) I didn’t try the peking duck (I had no room) but I did see some generous helpings go past. How do they make money on these buffets?

Tang Restaurant

Christine’s birthday

It was my sister Christine’s birthday today and I drove over to Rugby for the day (Michael was working). We had a good lunch at the Queens Head in Bretford, which Christine and Adam were trying for the first time. The food was good and it seemed that we were lucky to get a table (all the tables were reserved and the manager had to sort one out for us, but more of that later). I had a poached pangasius for lunch, which looked like a large plaice to me. It was really nice (and well cooked). Thanks to the internet, I know know that it’s a catfish and apparently it comes from Thailand/ Vietnam. This is a bit incongruous for a rural pub in Warwickshire, so I’m a bit confused. In any case it was very good.We were offered desert and made the usual ‘no thanks’, then, before we knew it, a birthday cake arrived with candles for Christine! She was so shocked. We managed a very weak ‘Happy Birthday’ more out of shock than lack of enthusiasm. Adam had done a great job of getting the cake there before-hand and colluded with the manager to put us of guard! Amazing. Adam gave Christine a wooden duck for her birthday.

Jessica and Christine with birthday cake

After lunch, Adam took Lewis horse riding while Christine, Jessica and I went to Coombe Abbey for a walk through the Capability Brown gardens. It was a great time to visit with all the autumn colours of the tree plantings. Chilly though, with a brisk wind. We had a good natter and put everything to rights, and Jessica had a play on the high wires, which looked like fun (a smaller, free version of Go Ape which we can take Jessica and Lewis to in a couple of years).

View from the Hide, Coombe Abbey

Beech Glade, Coombe Abbey Coombe Abbey

All too quickly it was 5pm, and time to head back home to experience my first attempt at cooking in a (very cheap) slow cooker: braised oxtail with veg. It tasted lovely but the gravy was too thin (which I had anticipated) and next time I must pre-fry the onion!

Michael Tolliver Lives

Each chapter is a short, self-contained story, which works well. At regular points throughout, the old characters from the first books were reintroduced, which I felt was a bit mechanical, but good for the plot. One of the things that struck me was the contemporary setting updating the 70’s characters, which worked really well. The feeling of time passing came across strongly. Very good fun!

“Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City)” (Armistead Maupin)