Why Am I Haunted by Venice?

For some reason at the beginning of this week, for at least three nights in a row I dreamt about Venice.  Why?  I just don’t know.  I haven’t watched, read, looked at or otherwise done anything remotely involving Venice.  Yet, here we are.

I should explain my relationship with Venice, such as it is.  Years ago, I think it was when I was in my mid to late teens my maternal Aunt bought me a book called Tregaron’s Daughter by Madeleine Brent.  My Aunt, it should be said was, and is, a fabulous book and trinket supplier :smile:

Tregaron’s Daughter is a mystery story set in Cornwall and Venice.  I don’t know what it was about it exactly, as the book isn’t about to set the world on fire, (though I still love it anyway) but it instilled in me a deep desire to visit Venice myself when I was older.  By the age of 20, I had fulfilled that dream.

I visited museums and galleries, including the Basilica San Marco and the Doge’s Palace, I took boat rides – including one on a gondola – and walked the length and breadth of Venice.  Sadly, I didn’t take very many pictures, and I think they are rubbish, so I won’t include them here!  The fact is, when I left all those years ago, I didn’t feel that I needed to return.

So why now?  No idea, not a clue.  I hunted out my photos (eek), found a couple of guidebooks, and most importantly – remembered my Venetian Palazzi book – which is gorgeous indeed.  Even while writing this I remembered my Venetian mask that I bought (I was enthralled by the mask and costume shops), but it doesn’t seem to be enough.

I suppose time will tell, but I cannot see myself getting to Venice any time soon, time permitting, never mind anything else!  So, I have ordered myself a second hand copy of Tregaron’s Daughter (no idea what I did with the last one) and a DVD of Francesco’s Venice which is supposed to be very good.  All I know is that for now, my subconscious mind will have to be content.

Burns Night

I have a confession to make – I have never eaten Haggis.  No, not even the vegetarian kind (yes, there is one).

Today is Robert Burns’ birthday, and therefore will be Burns Night, where it is traditional to celebrate by eating Haggis, neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes) as a Burns Supper.

Not heard of Burns?  Robert Burns (b 1759) is a Scottish poet, and you will have heard of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ one of his most famous works.  Sadly for Rab, you will also see him on a lot of shortbread packets and tins as he also means a lot to the tourism industry!

So Happy Birthday Rab.  Will I be eating Haggis?  Unlikely as I haven’t bought one yet to cook, but you never know.

Robert Burns


On the subject of anniversaries, the 30 January will see the anniversary of the execution of King Charles I.  If you’re in London during this period, look out for his statue seated on a horse close to Trafalgar Square.  Flowers are laid there every year in his memory.

A Breathless Update

Well it certainly will be…

What’s been happening around here?  Too much frankly.  I have now completed my exams, and am waiting to hear if I have passed them – fingers crossed for that one.

For Philosophy the exam involved writing two essays from the areas of Knowledge, Ethics and Religion, there being two choices from each, and the areas were roughly what we studied in sections throughout.  For History, we studied six different areas throughout the course, to name a couple, Scots in the British Empire and the American War of Independence.  The exam involved writing three essays from a choice of roughly the six areas.

I am now looking ahead to the next part of my course, which will involve me studying English Literature and Modern Art.

In English, I will be looking at the texts of King Lear, Pride and Prejudice, The Garden Party and Other Stories and The Glass Menagerie.  There will also be poetry (gasp) in the form of William Wordsworth and Seamus Heaney.  For Art, all I know at the moment is that is will be the period from 1820 to the present day, so sadly misses out a lot of the art that I like, however I will know more when the course books are sent out to me.

Work at the day job is speeding up, and ploughing on.  Even now a lot of thought and work is going on behind the scenes to ready the castle for the new season starting in April.  To that end, I will be going on another Collections Care course this year to learn more cool things.

Now I have a little time again before study part two begins, I am taking time out to have an early Spring clean – also handy as I will probably be too busy for it when Spring gets here!  I also have a few historic and photographic projects on the go.

Pride and Prejudice at the Theatre

I was lucky enough on Monday to get to see the first night of Pride and Prejudice, which was being performed at His Majesty’s Theatre, and starring Susan Hampshire as Mrs Bennet.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for some time will know that I love P&P, so this was a brilliant opportunity.

The theatre, which looked Victorian (but not sure of age) was lovely, we were only a few rows from the front.  The show was great, true to the story, though obviously squeezed down to two and a half hours, with some very funny and clever use of props, and cast members!  The garden scene with Lady Catherine de Bourgh was particularly memorable.

There was so much to take in, I almost wished that I could see it again, but it was on a limited run, so has now finished here.  I think it is touring the country though…

Note to self – must get to the theatre more often!

Bat For Lashes

Hello everyone – good grief it’s 2010!  I hope you are all ok, especially in the UK with the current exceptional Winter weather.  We have had at least 4ft of snow here, and there isn’t much in the way of gritting happening on paths and roads, so it is quite hazardous at times, and quite arduous getting anywhere.

I am back at work at the day job, have passed (thankfully) all my coursework at Uni, but am now coming up to my exams, so times are a bit busy and frantic here, apologies for the lack of posting.  I have some castle news to share shortly, but this will come after my exams and busyness at work.

I was very sad to see David Tennant go at the tenth Doctor in Doctor Who, only Christmas viewing I really watched, really enjoyed his performance.  I’ve also been experimenting with some new reading and music (relaxation time has officially left the building now).

Here is the music I’m really liking, Bat For Lashes, and Daniel.  Any suggestions for other people/bands appreciated.  Speak soon!

Doctor Who The End of Time

Bat For Lashes: Daniel