Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weekend catchup

Well, having just endured one of the most horrible train journeys I've had for a while (jam packed full, standing up in the doorway, boiling hot, far too many bags) and got thoroughly wet walking home from the station, I'm now snuggled up in my chair reflecting on another good weekend. This was the third part of my extended birthday celebration, the one where I got to spend time with my parents and have free food!

Everything started on Friday night when mum picked me up from work and we went for a quick but delicious dinner at Ask (really good wine!) before heading to the Arts Centre to meet dad and Lu for a quite wonderful performance of Mahler 5 by the Halle. The preview in the Metro had said that the critics have recently voted the Halle the best orchestra in Britain at the moment, and I can well believe it. Every time I've seen them they've knocked my socks off, and again this time they were fantastic, with both technical excellence and a really inspirational performance. Mark Elder is a brilliant conductor and you can tell the orchestra were really with him the whole way. Special mention must go to the trumpet and horn sections which were both superb, especially the principal trumpet with all his many solos. I'd love to hear them in a decent acoustic! Another treat was the first half - in an unusual move, this was made up of a talk where Elder explained the structure and history of the piece with the orchestra playing excerpts to illustrate his points. In order to demonstrate the style that should be used for the opening section, he played a recording of a piano reduction that Mahler wrote several years after completing the symphony, and the recording was of Mahler himself playing the piano! The romantic in me was also delighted to hear the story of how Gustav sent Alma the sheet music to the 4th movement as his first love letter to her - he wrote no words on it but she read the music and knew just what he meant. I can’t think of anything more perfect :o)

Anyway, after that rather wonderful evening we went back to Bewdley and I had a fantastic lie-in on Saturday morning until 10am. I spent the rest of the morning pottering about and doing a kakuro puzzle, and we had lunch complete with a tiny chocolate cake and candles. We then headed to Worcester to see The History Boys at the cinema - I wanted to see the play but didn't think about buying tickets until they were all sold out, but mum and dad had seen it and thought it was excellent, so I decided the film would be a good alternative especially as it stars the original National Theatre cast, is directed by Nicholas Hytner and adapted by Alan Bennett. It turned out to be a good choice - an excellent film that I'd definitely recommend, with some brilliant acting from the (rather attractive) young guys playing the students.

Following the film we had a hot chocolate in Cafe Rouge, and then went to Tenbury Wells for dinner. Mum had chosen a pub that we hadn't been to before but is in the Good Pub Guide, and it's definitely somewhere I'd go again, with good food, friendly staff and a cosy atmosphere. I had crostini and partridge and a calypso coffee to finish, and very yummy it was too.

This morning we went to church where I joined in with music group who were doing the communion hymns. I used to be a key member of music group and I loved rehearsing every week and playing the gorgeous piano parts to all the songs, but these days they don't have a pianist and only rehearse on the day of the service and decide on the arrangements as they go along, so it was easy for me to slot in on my tenor recorder. By the time of the service I had lots of lovely alto lines and twiddly bits to play, and we did some beautiful songs which I really enjoyed. In fact I was inspired to get my old folder out in the afternoon and play and sing to myself at home after lunch! I also played my favourite Beethoven sonata and was pleased that it still sits under the fingers well despite a lack of practice. Lunch was my favourite roast chicken a la mum, with a big bowl of bread sauce for me, followed by crumble and cream...another addition to an excellent weekend of food.

As ever, one of the best parts about going away has been the getting home to my own space, where I'm now sitting contemplating another week at work. Final open day of the cycle next Saturday...can't wait until they're over!


Juicy said...

Sounds like absolute bliss Sarah! Glad you had such a great weekend - you've been doing well on the old birthday celebrations so far!! x x

Naomi said...

Ooooh sounds like you've had a great time!!

And second ooooh because I used to live in Tenbury Wells!