Saturday, 6 March 2010

Family & Culture

I had a call from my sister, to ask whether I would be around on Friday and Saturday, as she & her fiance would be in the general area and would like to pop by. This may have something to do with the fact that it was forecast to be a VERY cold weekend, and at times like this, one can see the appeal of visiting friends and family who have central heating, rather than staying at home on a boat which is sitting in a big heap of cold water. I'd like to think that some of it was because they'd like to see me, tho'!

Anyway, I thought that sounded like a good idea, and so on Friday I left work very promptly in order to come home & start cooking Boeuf Bourginon. (I misread the cooking time at the list-writing stage, and had to skive off a little early in the hope of getting to eat sometime before midnight)

K&C arrived bearing sparkling wine, on the basis that an engagement cannot be celebrated too much, and we had a most convivial evening (and the Boeuf Bourginon turned out to be yummy, although it was a little late by the time we ate it)

On Saturday, after breakfast, K&I girded our loins and set out to look at Wedding Dresses. It seems that just down the road from here is one of Oxfam's bridal centres, and K thought that that would be agood place to start looking to get a feel for different syles etc, without the pressure you get in a 'real' bridal shop. I'm not normally a huge fan of shopping, so I will admit that I had some reservations (I well remember from our teenage years that I tend to reach my 'get-me-out-of-here' point a LOT sooner than K) but she is my sister, and she wants to get married, so, off we went.

It was actually more fun than I expected. It turns out that the bridal department was on the third floor, and so they basically showed us a room full of wedding dresses and let us get on with it. We spent the next 2 hours slotting K in and out of dresses, with my role being to do up zips, buttons and laces, to striaghten skirts, and then undo them all again. (And some of those dresses, you could get lost in...)

Because they are al 2nd hand dresses in a charity shop they are not precious over the designs, so we were able to take lots of photos so K can hone her thoughts about what style she fancies, and how to achieve it, and although she didn't have an 'o god this is so amazing I'm buying it right now' moment, we both got a look more girly and excited than we had expected!

Although I must confess that after 2 hours I was ready for a break, which was fine, as after 2 hours it was time for us to go home and lunch. (C had stayed home, doing his homework and the washing up)

All in all, it was lovely to see them both, and to have some time with my sister. K&C left after lunch to spend some time with C's parents, and I had a few hours to relax before heading back into Bath for another Lit. Fest. event - this one with Michael Frayn, who was there to promote his new book - Travels with a Typewriter which is a collection of articles which he wrote for the Observer (in order to pay the bills) in between novels. My familiarity with Mr Frayn comes from having read his novel Headlong, and from occasional reviews etc on the theatre pages, but I thought the evening might be interesting, and it was.

Mr Frayn was 'in conversation with' Sheena MacDonald, who is a journalist - I found her a little irritating as several times, she interrupted a perfectly good anecdote with an unrelated question.. (she also fidgeted a lot, which when you are seated on stage with lots of spotlights focussed on you, is rather noticable!)

However, despite this, it was an interesting and entertaining event - Mr Frayn started out by saying that he thought all fiction writers ought to spend some time as journalists in order to remind them of the messiness of real life, and then went on to talk about his early experience working for the [Manchester] Guardian, which included telephoning all the local fire stations and police stations every hour during the night to check whether anything had happened... he was an engaging speaker, very entertaining - he learned Russian as part of his National Service (Which has stood him in good stead, as he has translated a number of Russian plays in addition to his own writing. He cliamed that he keeps turning down invitations to go back to Moscow as he doesn't want to expose his poor spoken Russian!

The Q&A included one question from another ex-National Serviceman who had done the same, and started his question with a comment in Russian, although this was not translated for the benefit of the remainder of the audience!

I had been in two minds as to whether to attend, as I have only ever read one of his books, but I'm glad I went, as I enjoyed myself, and will definitely look out for any productions of any of his plays in the future.

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