Sunday, 11 October 2020

Autumn is here

My regular walks have petered out a little, the arrival of a new kitten is very distracting, and makes staying in the house in the evenings much more attractive, and in addition, the nights are drawing in,and there has been a lot of rain, both of which also reduce the opportunities for pleasant walks! 

photo of a grass field with trees and bushes to both sides and in the distance, all under a blue sky with a few small clouds

However, when I get the chance I am still going out. During the week, when it doesn't rain I often take the opportunity to go for a short walk near the office,


photo shows a sun-lit path under green trees. The path is pale coloured sand or gravel, with dappled sunlight and shadows from the trees

There is a community park, which has some scrubland and open space, and various footpaths, so I can take half an hour of my lunch break and get some fresh air, and sometimes sunshine.

photo shows a small toadstool with a white stem, and a red cap with white spots (Fly Agaraic) against a background of bright green moss

I have been spotting different types of mushroom and toadstool, some more dramatic looking than others, and have come across some unexpected sculptures, too (unexcepted not least as this one is off the path and not visible from it, I only found it because I turned up a little muddy gap between trees to get off the path as there were some other people coming and it isn't very wide. Perhaps it is more visible from the path in winter, when the foliage dies back.

Monochrome photo of a  sculpture of a man riding a bicycle. The sculpture is flat, cut from sheet metal, and stands in front of trees and bushes

This Saturday morning, I woke up rather earlier than I consider reasonable for a weekend, and found that there was a rather nice sunrise and a beautiful bright, crisp morning, and contemplated going out for an early(ish) morning walk. However, by the time I had washed my face and cleaned my teeth the sun had gone in, so I went back to bed with a book and a couple of cats for a bit, then went for the walk after breakfast instead.

It was still a nice day. For the first half of my walk the sky remained grey and overcast, and it was definitely chilly,  but enjoyable - there was still heavy dew on the grass, and lots of mud.

photo shows a single brown oak leaf, lying on grass. There are several large drops of water on the leaf

There were also some lovely autumn colours - yellow gorse flowers, and bright red hipsand haws.

photo shows gorse bush with bright yellow flowers, againt a background of bramble bushes with dark green leaves

As I continued, the sun came out, so the second half of my walk was made in bright sunshine, under a brilliant blue sky. 

It wasn't the right time of day for foxes or badgers or deer, but I did see lots of birds, and several cheeky squirrels.

And the sun was still out when I got back home, so I was able to put some washing on the line, and to let Vashti explore the garden a bit. 

Photo shows two black and white cats on a paved path. The larger cat, on the left, is walking away from the photographer, the smaller cat is facing away but slightly turned, so her left side can be seen.

Loki came out too, whether for company, or in a purely supervisory capacity,I am unsure. I don't think Vashti approves of wet grass, although she does enjoy visiting the Outdoors, at least for short periods. I weighed her today and she is now 2.1kg so she should be able to have her op soon - the vets will put her microchip in at the same time, and I shall then be able to start teaching her the Way of The Cat-Flap. 

Two balck and white carts, smaller on the left, facing each other. The smaller cat is on a paved path, the larger standing on grass

The afternoon turned pretty grey, but it was a beautiful morning. 

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Faith Healer - Old Vic in Camera

 For obvious reasons, I have not been to the theatre much this year - and not at all since March. I have been watching many of the productions available online and on TV - I particularly enjoyed seeing some of the NTLive productions, such as Coriolanus, again, and watching some of the RSC shows available on the BBC's 'Culture in Quarantine' stream, but I have been missing live theatre a lot. 

photo shows an open laptop, the screen is balck with the words "Faith Healer" in large white capital letters, below which in smaller type reads 'a play by Brian Friel' To the right of the laptop a black and white kitten is sitting on a blue chaor , the kitten is looking at the laptop screen and it's head obscures one corner of the screen

So, the Old Vic has been doing a short run  'Old Vic In Camera'  of plays performed live on stage to an empty theatre and a bunch of cameras.

I booked a ticket, and duly got my 'Zoom' link to watch live.  It was an interesting experience - I mean, a kitten blocking my view is not something which normally happens at the theatre, but on the other hand, the seating was much more comfortable than most theatres, and the refreshments cheaper! 

The play itself is interesting - it consists of 4 monologues, by Francis Hardy, the titular Faith Healer (played by Michael Sheen) his wife, Grace (played by Indira Varna) and his manager, Teddy, (played by David Threlfall),and then Hardy again,  as they reminisce about events in their life on the road, and we the audience get to gradually  unpick the contradictory stories they tell, and to get drawn into their love and grief and loss.

The intimacy created by the filming, and the power of the actors, made it a very intense, gripping play, and while there were a few issues with the format - some distracting super close-up, zoomed in so you could not see the whole of the actor's face, for instance, and one or two moments when there was interference with clothing brushing against mikes, but over all it worked well, and I did like the feel of watching live rather than a recorded or edited performance. 

I shall keep an eye out for others.

I admit, I would not be willing to pay as much as for a 'real' theatre ticket, but was happy to pay at the lower end of the available range. I would be happy of theatres were to consider similar options even when we are once again able to return to 'normal' live events - there are ,I suspect, a lot of plays productions I wouldn't travel to London and pa £40+ for a ticket for, but would be happy to pay £10-£15 to watch live on the small screen, and no doubt there are a lot of others who can't get to the theatre who would do the same. Perhaps a fixed camera, 'sitting' in the centre of the Royal Circle or equivalent during a live performance,  could become the norm, to widen the range of options for those of us who love live theatre!

I am slow writing up this post - I watched on 19th Sept, and the run was only for  4 days, They will be ding 'A Christmas Carol' at Christmas, however, and while tickets aren't yet on sale, you can register to be updated when they are, and, of course, as the event is online, you can watch from anywhere in the world, although as it's live, your timezone may dictate whether or not it is at a suitable time of the da y or night! (Details on the Old Vic website )