Note Number 27…We’re Spending the Kid’s Inheritance…

A little poem followed by what we did for Easter Weekend…

We’re spending the kid’s inheritance
And hoping that they won’t mind,
As we fulfil our dreams and ambitions
Keeping our bodies and minds alive
Because, until we reach the end of the road
And hear that inevitable knock on the door
We’re spending the kid’s inheritance,
And, we’re enjoying it, further more

We’re spending the kid’s inheritance
On doing as much as we’re able
Like, city breaks, beach holidays, classy hotels,
Sunshine, roses, champagne and those
Wonderful visits to London to see
The ballet, or theatre, or an art gallery
We’re spending the kid’s inheritance
We’re retired and at last we are free

Don’t worry, we’re not really selfish
And, there’s something I really should add
Most of our kids are now better off
Than their soon to be skint mum and dad!

Ninette Hartley © February 2017

Last Easter weekend we spent in London…a city break. We stayed at the Royal Overseas League in St. James’s where we are members. It’s a wonderful club, where they had a deal; four nights for the price of two. It’s perfectly situated for central London, shopping, theatres, museums etc., We packed in a lot of stuff…

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The Man Enjoying Window Shopping….(nooooo- not another bike!!) 

1. Friday train from Crewkerne to Waterloo. Lunch at the club. Evening a visit to the Dominion theatre to see An American in Paris. A new show, a stupendous show and well worth a visit. The dancing, mostly balletic, is wonderful, culminating in a fabulous pas de deux with the leading characters, Jerry Mulligan played by Robert Fairchild and Lise Dassin played by Leanne Cope. The Man said it was the best bit of ballet he’d ever watched.

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2. Saturday we went to the Regent Street Cinema to watch an uncut version of Novecento (1900) directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and starring Robert De Niro and Gérard Depardieu. An epic five hours and twenty minutes of film plus a forty-five minute, interval. The story covers 1900 – 1945 showing the situation in Italy between the Socialist party and the Fascists, seen through the eyes of two boys, born on the same day, one a peasant, whose family live and work on the estate belonging to the family of the other. I wasn’t sure I could sit through such an epic but actually it was like reading a good story, settling in and not putting the book down until you had finished the whole thing. I loved it.

regent street cinema
3. Sunday we took ourselves off to the Imperial War Museum but only managed to cover three of the five floors in four hours. We’ll definitely be going back. The Holocaust Exhibition was particularly powerful with images, artefacts, interviews with survivors and a lot more. Disturbing, informative and thought provoking.

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Beautiful Tulips in St James’s Park – We walked to the IWM 

4. Sunday evening we were treated to a musical concert at the club. Not something I would normally choose, a soprano, Sarah-Jane Lewis, and a piano, but I have to say, the singing was beautiful and the pianist, Simon Lepper, accomplished and not bad looking. The songs were short, diverse and Sarah sang in three different languages. We were given the programme with all the words translated so it was easy to follow. A glass of wine after the concert and a chance to thank the artists for their performance, rounded off the evening.

The Steinway….and The Programme

5. Monday, we were to meet a couple of our children for lunch at Dishoom in Carnaby. The Man had bought a couple of pairs of shoes on Saturday morning and I had said in a mad moment, ‘I’ve always wanted a pair of DMs.’ Well, we were early for our appointment so had a walk around and lo and behold there was the original Doc Martin shop in Carnaby Street. Had to be done!

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THE BOOTS…photograph credit Will Hartley 

In the evening we went to see The Wipers Times (so called because the British soldiers pronounced Ypres Wipers) a first world war play written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, at The Arts Theatre. A completely opposite venue to the Dominion it was an intimate theatre, more like a club, and the production was low key but splendid. Based on a true story about the 24th Division of the Sherwood Foresters who found an old printing press in the burned out ruins of Ypres and decided to print a satirical newspaper covering the war. The main men, Captain Fred Roberts and Lieutenant Jack Pearson, co-editors continued to produce the journal throughout the war. It was an instant hit with the troops but not so popular with the top brass. Spoof advertisements, agony aunts, musical hall jokes and routines and always taking a jibe at those higher up. If you can catch this play it’s a must.

The Arts Theatre Bar – loved the light fitting… The Programme for The Wipers Arms

Back home to Dorset on Tuesday we felt we had crammed plenty of culture into our weekend away in London and hope it’s not too long before we can cram in another. In the meantime, we’re attending as many of the 22 films showing over the next five days at the Bridport Film Festival, From Page to Screen. We’ve already seen, In the Heat of the Night and Their Finest, both bloody brilliant and only a hop down the road.

I love being Retired…

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Note Number 1…The Great Fire of London…

“In sixteen-hundred-and-sixty-six, London was burnt like a bundle of sticks”
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Did you learn that rhyme at school?
Today is the 350th anniversary of that great fire and I think it fitting that I should start my new look blog with a mention of this disaster.

I remember being taught that although the fire was a terrible thing, it brought an end to the plague in London. There is an exhibition at the Museum of London see  here  for details and they have also launched an easy to follow website full of interesting facts and figures.

The fire started in a bakery in Pudding Lane and although many buildings and most of the city was burnt down, there is some controversy as to how many people lost their lives. The Guardian Newspaper has written a number of articles on the fire and this one says that only a handful of people died, less than a dozen in fact. However, this comment seems to have fired up a debate with a a reader’s letter suggesting that several thousand may have died.

As I look out of my window right now at the torrential rain, I can’t help thinking that if September 3 1666 had been like this I would not have been writing this blog!

Just for fun (with the help of The Man) I’ve compiled a timeline of interesting things that happened every 50 years since 1066. . .

1066 – William Conquered Harold at the Battle of Hastings – the start of our love/hate relationship with our neighbours across the way?
1116 – The Chinese start printing Books – well stitching the pages together anyway
1166 – Willem the Bad, King of Sicily died – Obviously a good thing for his subjects and Genghis Khan is only 3 years old – not such a good thing perhaps?
1216 – King John lost the Crown Jewels in the mud in the East Anglian fens – careless work John – see me!
1266 – Battle of Benevento. Effectively established the power of the Papacy in Southern Italy (not much else doing in 1266)
1316 – Great European Famine begins because of climate change and lots of rain – 2016 has been a bit like that in Dorset.
1366 – Rumblings of discontent in Southern France about English occupation and taxation lead to the restart of the Hundred Years war between England and France.
1416 – Dutch fishermen started using Drift nets – aren’t they trying to ban them now?
1466 – George Skanderberg from Albania defeats the Ottomans and becomes a Christian Hero – not many of them in Albania these days
1516 – Portuguese Explorers heading towards China from Indonesia
1566 – Chinese Emperor Jaijing accidently poisons himself in a search for an ‘everlasting life’ potion
1616 – Death of William Shakespeare. Dirk Hartog discovers Western Australia by accident.
1666 – Great Fire of London (3rd September)
1716 – The Austrians are drawn into the seemingly everlasting war with the Turkish Ottomans and defeat them at the Battle of Belgrade
1766 – First stirrings of “no taxation without representation” in the American Colonies and look where that led!
1816 – The ‘year without a summer’ because of airborne dust from the Tambora eruption which had occurred in 1815 reached the Northern Hemisphere, causing the worst of the 19th century famines. Krakatoa also erupted in 1816 adding to the problem
1866 – A Russian student tries to assassinate Tzar Alexander II, his government introduces repressive measures and strict control of the universities leading to a loss of respect for the Tsar and the Russian revolution 51 years later
1916 – Battle of the Somme
1966 – England won the World Cup in football…a disaster for Germany – for which they have taken revenge many times since.
2016 – Brexit . . . another love/hate situation? (see 1066)