Friday, July 20, 2012

Olympic Torch

Tonight the Olympic Torch Relay ran through Guildford to Stoke Park and we watched it hurry by.

There was lots of razzmatazz with bands playing, police on bikes high fiving the crowd and eventually the jamboree of sponsors' coaches, buses with runners and their torches, and at last the main event which hurtled by with hulking bodyguards in grey running suits.

In the middle of it all was Gemma Howell, Team GB Judo medal hopeful in her white track suit, holding the flame aloft and suddenly she was gone and it was all over. But what a great thing to see the flame on its way to the Olympic Stadium for next week's opening ceremony and the rest of the Games.

Olympic Torch Relay 2012
(for as long as it lasts)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

War Horse

We went to see War Horse and it is such a wonderful play. Adapted from Michael Morpurgo's children's book, it is a beautiful story of a horse and it's master who go to war, but not together. They eventually find each other in tragic circumstances, but there is a happier ending than one imagined.

I have copied this image from the official website (see below) as photos are not allowed. Do visit the website for information about when and where the play is being performed as it well worth seeking out.
The horses, and there are several, are all puppets albeit life-sized ones that can support an actor riding them. There is also a very lovely goose with bags of character! Each horse requires three actors (or rather puppeteers) to bring it to life and they do so in an extremely life-like manner. Brilliant!

War Horse

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Polesden Lacey

Main hall with stairs and tapestries on first floor landing

Polesden Lacey was bequeathed to the National Trust on the death of its owner, Dame Margaret Helen Greville, Hon Mrs Greville, in 1942. Described as a society hostess and philanthropist, she came from fairly humble origins, being the illegitimate daughter of the brewing millionaire, William McEwan of Glasgow and Helen Anderson, wife of one of the brewery workers. Mr McEwan married Mrs Anderson when her husband died and the family moved to London when Margaret was about twelve as her father became a member of parliament.

Ensuite bathroom

Margaret married the Hon, Ronald Greville in 1891, aged 28. He was the heir to the Greville Baronetcy and a great friend of Edward VII. They bought Poleden Lacey in 1906 and set about making it a country retreat where they could entertain their rich and influential friends. Sadly, Ronald never really got to enjoy the renovation and extension of the house as he died in 1908. Margaret never remarried and lived there until her death 1942. They had no children.
The Italian Room
 Mrs Greville inherited her father’s wealth in 1913 and continued the family interest on the board of McEwan’s. She also continued to entertain her friends at Polesden Lacey, becoming an close intimate of Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth’s grandmother, as well as other members of the Royal Family. She left jewellery and money to the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret and her will included many bequests to her godchildren and members of her household. One of these was an annuity to her chauffeur who also received her cars.
In the garden

The view through the potting shed window

Enjoying the sweeping view across the grounds

We had a wonderful day visiting Polesden Lacey; enjoying the interior of the house as well as the beautiful gardens. The house once boasted 15 bedrooms, nine of which were ensuite, quite unusual even in the early half of the 20th century; and the gardens are divided into several different areas such as the rose garden hidden away behind walls, the kitchen gardens, the dogs’ cemetery and the lady garden where Mrs. Greville is buried. Her father is buried in the nearby Bookham Churchyard.
We enjoyed refreshments in the newly built visitor area, there is a café in the farm shop as well as a restaurant in the courtyard, all accessible without the need to enter the property.

Polesden Lacey
Mrs Greville's will

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

HCPFS 2012

The doors opened at 10.00am and the visitors poured in despite the grey clouds and cool temperatures. Everyone knew the forecast, so plenty of rain gear, wellies and brollies in the bags. Nevertheless, the Show Gardens, Summer Gardens, Conceptual Gardens and all the other special Gardens looked stunning with many innovative ideas.



There were amazing displays in the Floral Marquee and the RHS Life stand was a gateway to a whole area including Urban Oasis, Growing for Taste Marquee and Great Taste and Artisan Food Marquee. So much to see and who minds the showers when there are plenty of places for sheltering in like the Country Living Pavilion and Roses and Romance Marquee.

Meeting friends for coffee and comparing notes on what we'd seen was great fun, but on the whole, food was not exciting as we did not book lunch in one of the 'posh' places - burgers, BBQ or fish 'n chips, the aroma of which tends to pervade over a wide area. But we stayed late and saw lots of lovely stuff before eventually arriving home, tired but well pleased!

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2012