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Naughty?? Certainly Very Very Nice

I wished I’d had my photographer with me today when – thanks to some friends who invited m to join them on a ‘business’ lunch – I discovered a quite charming place to eat in Bakewell. It is called Naughty and Nice, and is tucked away in King’s Court just off the one and only roundabout in Bakewell. I am glad to tell you about it because it is hidden away quite discreetly – I must have driven past scores of times without realising what delights lay within.

The sun shone, warmly and we sat outside in the sunshine with pink Montana petals floating lazily down around us. We felt we could have been in a little continental square somewhere – obviously, another time one might not be so lucky but apparently it is quite charming inside as well.

The menu looked very interesting and just a bit different – I found it difficult to choose what to have but my ciabatta bacon and brie melt was certainly delicious! There are also all sorts of tempting home made cakes and chocolatey things to be had – it perhaps wouldn’t be the place for a keen dieter to visit but perfect for everyone else.

As well as eating chocolate things, you can also ‘make’ chocolate. Naughty describes itself as ‘cafe bistro and chocolatier’ and their Chocolate Experience event invites you to become a chocolatier for the day which sounds fun and would be a lovely thing to plan, especially if the weather forecast isn’t great (it does happen, occasionally).

So that’s all! I was so impressed i just wanted to share it as soon as possible, while the memory was still fresh. Sorry about no photos – I’ll have to take John with me next time… He’d love it.

Happy 450th Birthday, Shakespeare!

Each weekend for the past month has been a lovely flurry of entertaining friends and family and being entertained by friends and family…

And so it continues. We are in Banbury this weekend for a happy reunion lunch with old friends from South Africa, by way of Stratford where nearly a year ago a group of us had booked to see Henry IV Part 1.

The date was chosen at random, little realising that this weekend Stratford would be given over to celebrating the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare.

Tipped off in time, we all parked and rode which was a wise move as from early in the morning Stratford was very busy, with many streets given over to processions and various jollities, all (fortunately) in the warm sunshine.

There was a lovely atmosphere – happy, relaxed and smiley with everybody enjoying the fun. A man was creating giant soap bubbles which entranced not only the children, as the wonderful shapes floated overhead, reflecting the river and the trees; there were little groups of singers and dancers, and we were privileged to listen to a group of singers from the Birmingham Conservatoire who were singing madrigals, quite beautifully, in the theatre corridor.

The RSC was holding a series of workshops in a marquee and as we waited for our matinee to start John and I briefly attended a workshop on stage fighting (as watchers rather than partakers in case you were wondering…). It certainly gave us an insight into what goes into the stage fighting we were about to witness.

Henry 1V Part 1 (Part 2 for us will be later in the Summer) was the reason we were here at all to enjoy all these scenes and activities.

Apparently according to RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran, Henry IV Parts I and II are two of Shakespeare’s greatest plays but it is not a play we had seen or knew anything much about. I found it surprisingly easy to read beforehand and of course all the scenes with Falstaff (Antony Sher) mean there are as many laughs as ‘tragic’ scenes.

We sat three rows from the stage, at ground level, so almost felt part of the action: we were all gripped from start to finish. Antony Sher as Falstaff was predictably quite superb. Alex Hassell as Prince Henry was good; I wasn’t so sure about Hotspur, played by Trevor White. To me he overdid the ‘hotspurish’ nature to the extent that Hotspur came over as childish and almost manic. This didn’t fit the picture of the brave and heroic man that King Henry compared so favourably to his own disappointing and dissolute son, Prince Hal – who despite his failings came over as the more attractive.

It would be interesting to know what any of you reading this, who have seen this production of Henry 1V think. Perhaps when I listen to the talk by the Artistic Director I will eat my ignorant words and edit this whole section!

Last Minute Opportunity – It’s Been Taken!

The lawn is littered with Cowslips

Cowslip from the garden

Mortified by my silence, I am edging back into the room discreetly with a very short but important announcement that we have had a last minute cancellation for this coming weekend (Friday 25 to Monday 28 April) in Tom’s Barn.

The poor couple that has had to cancel their booking is very disappointed, and fully understand that they will not get their money refunded unless someone else books their reluctantly vacated slot.

In the hopes that it will go quickly, we’re offering the weekend for £305, £80 off the already reduced price for April of £385. A small price to pay for your very own beautifully comfy and well-equipped retreat, peace, quiet and privacy – not easy to come by though we say it ourselves.

And as an added bonus, you will give yourselves some wonderfully happy memories that will last for the rest of your life.

We ought to be charging thousands…!

Less than 24 hours later: the weekend has been booked to everyone’s delight.

Making a Comeback

Feeling a bit like an aged footballer, or boxer, or pop star who suddenly remerges from the shadows of retirement to make a comeback, I shyly peep through the curtain of Saharan dust.

I have been quite silent and apparently absent from the blog front for too long. Retired? Retired as a salary earner but I still class myself as working, just as hard as ever, as a slaray-less but totally happy holiday cottage owner. My problem (as if i only had one!) is that in my mind I am now a lady of leisure, with no office to go to.

Instead of going to the office very day during the past week I have been on two walks with friends, John and I have been at a full day online marketing conference in Nottingham and yesterday I spent all day in Stafford at the Enjoy Staffordshire AGM. We have also had some old as in longstanding friends to stay, AND we went to Stratford last Saturday for a double Hilary Mantel Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies bill…!

Spelling it all like that makes it clear, even to me, that such a programme doesn’t allow much time for writing new websites or even writing a blog post. (And – I admit with some embarrassment – we are off to London tomorrow, as daughter Ruth is singing in a concert on Saturday night.

So, in my mind a lady of leisure, in practice a hopelessly under-functioning blog post writer. I will try to improve – little and often, rather than perfectly crafted pieces that never materialise!

Four healthy lambs born to one ewe

Four Healthy Lamb Quads

Nothing to do with anything other than general excitement, I cannot resist sharing this lovely photo John took a couple of days ago of a young friend, Ben’s ewe and her four healthy lambs that had just been born to her. All four look amazingly healthy and apparently so far are all feeding well, which is unusual as ewes are only equipped to feed two at a time! Often the stronger ones with elbow out a weaker sibling who the farmer will have to try to put with another ewe or feed by bottle.


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