dear_prudence: (Default)
all that remains in the great travel log is to fill you in on what we got up to on our last few days in london...

victoria and albert museum )

the next day saj and i went for another jaunt in the city. we went to trafalgar square, saw lord nelson, and concluded that he must have been compensating for something:

then we went to the national portrait gallery

there were so many interesting interpretations of what a portrait actually is, and such a broad representation of how that has evolved through history. it was also interesting to see how the subjects of the paintings changed (from aristocrats and politicians to actors and athletes, with many others in between)

after that adventure we met up with [ profile] daniel_bethany and [ profile] nixwilliams and went to have drinks, CHIPS, and camden-shopping with a friend called lisa (who saj used to work with at acmi, but who now lives in london).
in camden with lisa )

the next day saj went to essex to educate some chavs, and [ profile] daniel_bethany and [ profile] nixwilliams and i went to the museum of natural history.
it was one of the coolest places i have ever been.
botany, ornithology, geekology... )

i was indulged in a trip to harrods after that, and was far too busy looking at the shiny things to take many photos - i couldn't resist this pearler of an opportunity, though:


the next day we went back into the city again. this time the others went to the borough mrkets and did gross things lik eat cheese and brownies and buy teacups. i went to see 'shakespeare's globe' (which, of course, was not shakespeare's actual globe, but a reconstruction). i took a tour, on which i was told very little that i didn't already know, but it was very amusing to be shown around the theatre and to imagine a smelly, bawdy crowd of elizabethan sensation-seekers in place of the reverent american tourists.

and that's where the photos run out. the last day of the trip, while involving a lovely walk at hampstead heath, was a busy one involving packing and organising and planning etc, so i was too distracted to get ye olde pikture-clicker out.

thanks for reading my rants. i hope you had some vicarious fun!
dear_prudence: (Default)
hello from the big bouncing bosoms of ye olde home-and-heart-land. we survived 24 hours in transit and got here at lunchtime.

we were met by a lovely driver (thanks mama ros!) who wore a very smart hat, and only smirked a little bit when we mentioned that we had had to pay excess baggage (burke and wills were lighter travelers than us. for serious.)

my mummy was here when we got home and she made us tea and ushered us into showers, and then served us homemade soup and chickpea pancakes. she had already cleaned the whole house, put fresh sheets on our bed, etc, before we got here. she let us sleep for an hour, then made us go for a walk, came with me to get groceries, and soon it will be a totally legitimate time to go to bed! huzzah!

will post photos of last days in london soon. possibly tonight. possibly tomorrow. we'll see how long i stay conscious!
dear_prudence: (Default)
today was a quiet day. we went to the pump rooms for tea (just like austen heroines).

the pump room chandelier. i was too busy drinking tea and eating gluten free lemon drizzle cake to take any more photos!

then we went to "1 royal crescent", a house that has been decorated in the georgian style. it was very beautifully furnished, and full of interesting artifacts, but photography wasn't permitted (v. annoying as i would have liked to take lots of pics). you'll have to content yourself with the website's virtual tour if you want to see it.

from there it was a short walk to the bath botanic gardens. you all know how much i hate botanic gardens...

+7 under here )

then we came back to the b&b for a nap and it's suddenly quarter past eight. we couldn't find anywhere to go for dinner so i am eating some kind of nut-and-seed bar. slowly.
tomorrow we're off to paris, and i don't know whether we'll be able to get internet access there. if i can update, i will, but if you don't hear from me for a few days don't go calling the embassies or anything.

*big love*
dear_prudence: (Default)
hello from the beautiful city of bath!

a quick catch up on the last couple of days - mostly in photo form (again) :)

we had a lovely last morning in stratford-upon-avon. we visited the beautiful churchyard of the holy trinity church more graves, and some weeping willows )

then it was time for a last stroll through the rsc gardens...

a farewell kiss for mr tennant...

and we drove to bath - we took a stroll around in the evening light and it was really beautiful

today we have been wandering happily around bath - home of jane austen, pretty architecture, and other cool stuff )

i really love this city. it's so old and so majestic, and it's easy to imagine yourself right into a jane austen novel here. am very tired now, though, so i won't ramble any more. big kisses to you all xoxoxoxox
dear_prudence: (Default)
still in stratford!

our gorgeous friend giselle, who is currently living and working in england, came up to stratford to see us while we are here. she's staying at the same b&b as us, so we hung out last night, and then she came over this morning so we could go for a walk together and have some breakfast. we took some food down to the banks of the avon and sat there and ate for a little while, but all the giant geese and swans kind of freaked my shit out, so we ended up leaving pretty soon (but not before giselle got BITTEN BY A GOOSE!).

lady macbeth statue encountered on our walk

sajee patting falstaff's belly

we decided that it would be fun to take a boat ride on the avon, and it turned out to be a very pleasant way to spend half an hour. this town is incredibly busy and crowded, so being on a boat was actually quite relaxing and quiet two photos from the boat )

after that it was time to head back to the courtyard theatre for the matinee of hamlet

i ran into a woman from wardrobe and she told me that david tennant would be making a stage door appearance today, but that most of the time people who haven't actually been to the show line up around the barrier well before the show is over, and that if you come out once the show is finished you'll be too late to get a spot on the barrier where you're likely to get an autograph. i pondered this as i went into the theatre and decided, after much angsting, to duck out at interval and wait at the stage door from then. woudn't have done it if i hadn't seen the play the night before, but this was probably my one chance to meet him in person and wasn't going to miss it! it turned out to be a good plan )

you could see him taking a deep breath and bracing himself before he came out, but while he was out there he was completely gracious and charming. we spoke briefly, and he was very sweet. i marry him now, k?
dear_prudence: (Default)

fucking. hamlet.

i don't actually know where to begin with this...

the overall look was a modern one, and reasonably minimal, which they made work really well (it reminded me of the rsc production of 'a midsummer night's dream' that i saw about 15 years ago where the only props the players had were doors, umbrellas and ribbons). they made amazing use of light - particularly in the first scenes with all the confusion about the ghost - it was all torches and reflective surfaces and it really evoked a sense of fear and charged the scene with a frenetic energy. with the combination of that, and the main set pieces being mirrors and chandeliers, the designers and director found a metaphor in the design for the key themes that run through the play - madness and sanity, good and evil, hope and despair - the play explores these things, and the even more interesting liminal places between them.

hamlet's madness was beautifully interpreted by director gregory doran and by mr tennant. in some productions it's played with a kind of wild abandon that in my opinion diminishes hamlets intelligence and the overall design of his feigned insanity. yes, he has moments of doubt and incredible anxiety, but he never truly runs mad - it's all a show to help him in his purpose avenging his father's murder. tennant played an almost doctor-esque, goofy, funny lunatic, while interspersing moments of perfect lucidity, and that made him so much more believable as a bereft son on a mission that felt he was "cursed... that ever [he] was born to set it right."

by contrast, ophelia's heartbroken insanity was heartbreaking in it's turn. the family scene (act 1, scene 3) where she, laertes, and polonius talk together, sets up their closeness and affection as a trio, and this makes it all the more painful when polonius dies. in some other productions polonius' death is interpreted as comic because of the witty remarks hamlet makes about it in his mad ramblings and evasive responses to enquiries about where he has stowed the body. but polonius' death is what drives ophelia mad - her grief for her father is what pushes her over the edge, and this production made that so elegantly clear. mariah gale played ophelia as a passionate, exuberant young woman at the beginning of the play, and that set up the tragic inversion of her innocent exuberance into a passionate insanity that was perfectly beautiful, and unbelievably sad.
it was interesting to read in the program that in preparation for the part doran and gale went down to the river where a young girl called katherine hamlet drowned when shakespeare was just fifteen. they picked flowers and made garlands, and in the process found some of the flowers and weeds described by gertrude when she reports ophelia's death to the king and laertes. they saw that in order to pick them "her skin would have become muddy, scratched, and red-raw with [nettle] stings." and that's how she appeared on the stage - in a muddy slip, covered in dirt and grime, clutching an armful of bedraggled weeds. it was exquisitely sad.

this company definitely found the humor in the play too. i think that's what i loved most about it - the gravity of the themes, and the genuine pain and turmoil of the characters was conveyed absolutely believably, yet the humour in the text was honoured as well. the two funniest characters ended up being polonius (played by oliver ford davies as a lovable but slightly doddery man who, in is rambles, tended to lose his train of thought) and the grave-digger (played as i think my inexperienced australian ears interpreted as a yorkshireman by mark hadfield), though tennant's sensitive timing and clever inflection made this hamlet a very funny one too.

and from the fangirl part of my brain?
1. barefoot!tennant = hot
2. bleeding!tennant = hot
3. crazy!tennant = hot
4. horatio/hamlet = otp

further thoughts after the second viewing.

in other news, none of the actors made an appearance at the stage door. i waited, with a handful of other fans, and for two and a half hours, but in the end we were too cold and tired, and we figured that he must have left some other way.
having come so far i was pretty disappointed not to get a glimpse of mr tennant 'in real life', but after the harassment he has received from some other fans i can completely understand his reluctance to meet any of us any more.
dear_prudence: (Default)
hello, darlings! you'll be pleased to know that sajee's bag arrived intact, and only put us a little bit behind on our schedule. we arrived in goring a little later than we intended to, but we still got there. the trip involved five different trains, one of which departed from PADDINGTON STATION! i got my mum a bear. we also went via camden, so i made lots of jokes about trousers:

'i got these great trousers at camden'

once in goring we put up at a sweet little b&b called 'north view house'. they had two cats and three dogs and a garden that was so english you wouldn't believe it - climbing roses, hollyhocks, etc. one of their dogs, dorrie, was tiny and hilarious - she would growl at you if you stopped patting her:

dorrie of north view house

we were served a breakfast of eggs and toast, yoghurt with sunflower honey, and fruit salad at a round table in the bay window of a sitting room that looked out over the garden, and then the others started their big walk.
we'd established that oxford wasn't far away, so i decided to take the train up there for a look around. it was utterly, utterly brilliant. i cannot describe how amazing it was. truly. i saw oscar wilde's old college. i saw the places lewis carrol was inspired by when he wrote 'alice in wonderland'. i saw the pub where tolkein, c. s. lewis and the rest of the inklings would sit and read their stories aloud to each other. i saw the place where king charles set up headquarters during the civil war. it was so full of stories and history and culture and beauty. i didn't have time to see everything that i wanted to see (you could spend weeks there exploring the libraries, museums, galleries, chapels, etc. etc. etc.) but i did explore christ church college and trinity college...

christ church college
this is the exterior of (part of) christ church college. it was begun by cardinal wolsey in the reign of henry viii and was going to be called 'cardinal college', but then wolsey died and it just sat there for years and years before king henry decided to finish it. i'm very glad he did, because it is quite magnificent.

more beautiful than i can possibly describe<a href= )

so i was completely overstimulated, and spectacularly excited when i left and met the others in nuffield (after a hilarious taxi ride with an old ex-serviceman who told me i was a tough little lady and would have been a credit to the service. i think that was because i could lift my own suitcase...?) they had had a good day's walk and had lots of stories to tell, and we compared tales over dinner, then wend back to our b&b to sleep. the next day i said goodbye to those insane walkers and took a hair-raising taxi ride through the hedgerows to our next inn. it's part of a miniscule village, resembling dibley in many ways, with lots of thatched cottages. all it had by way of public services was a church and a pub, so i was obliged to take a bus to nearby thame to get some stamps, and have a look around for gluten-free food (which i found - hooray!). when i got back i had a walk around the village and it was very charming:

sydenham cottage
can you imagine living in a little house like this?

the lovely village of sydenham )

i'm back in oxford today. i couldn't stay away - there was so much more to see! i'll tell you more later, but i'm at an internet cafe, and all of oxford is out there!!!!

big love to all of youuuuu xoxoxoxoxoxo
dear_prudence: (Default)
hiiiii! we're in LONDON! hahahaahahah!!!

we're staying with [ profile] daniel_bethany's family, and it is really lovely. we had intended to be on our way to goring by now, where j, d & sj will begin thier walk tomorrow, but saj's bag was lost by the airline and we have to wait for it to be delivered here before we can move on. we are hoping that happens this afternoon. cross your fingers for us!

in the mean time it is very lovely to be here. our hosts have the most beautiful home, and it is very english... look )

yesterday, since we arrived at around 7am we decided that it would be bad for our jet-lag to go to bed, so j & d too us on a little trip to hampstead heath, and i think you'll agree that it is prettier than anything... )

after all that we stopped at a tea house for, surprisingly enough, some tea, and went to see keats' house (yes, the actual keats - i fucking love this country) which was closed, but still there to be gawked at from the outside.

i was convinced i was finwe and that jet lag wasn't going to hit me, but then i curled up on the couch and was pretty much instantly unconscious.
dear_prudence: (Default)
hello from the united arab emirates!

i wish we had time to go and see more of this place. they've made the airport so beautiful that i can only imagine how wonderful the rest of it must be.
when you walk into the central hub, this is what you see:

everything is domed and tiled. it's more than utilitarian. it's just lovely.
muslims are celebrating the holy month of ramadan, so everything is decorated with lamps, moons and stars. it's so pretty. also, i'm glad we've flown in at night because it means we can eat if we want to. the whole nation is fasting during daylight hours and it is forbidden to eat in public places.
in the airport everything is in english as well as arabic, and all the staff speak english so we have had no trouble communicating with people. announcements on the plane were in english and arabic too. arabic sounds so lyrical, and the script is so elegant. i think i'd like to come back here one day and actually go and spend time finding out about this place and its people.

i had an asthma attack on the plane, but they had ventolin so it was fine. i got to go up to the front of the plane and sit in the first class lounge while they found me a puffer in the first aid kit.
apart from that, the flight was reasonably uneventful. i did some sewing, watched 'made of honour' (one of the worst movies i've ever seen), an episode of red dwarf, read a bit and, most importantly, slept. i have no idea how long i slept for, but it was definitely more than half the 14 hour journey.
saj didn't sleep as much as i did, but she watched more movies. i think she's pretty tired now. poor duck.

we board our flight to london pretty soon, so i'm off for now!
dear_prudence: (Default)
i bet you thought you'd have to wait a while to hear from me. hah.

we've flown to sydney where we are now lounging hilariously in the fancy-pplz lounge, as we have fancy-pplz tickets.
we're nomming brie and drinking champagne and baileys.

SAJEE'S BAG WEIGHED MORE THAN MINE! this has never, ever happened. ever! hahahah! (Ed: I would like to point out that my bag has hiking boots and a bulky backpack and a present for M. Tennant and a thermos and MANY OTHER HIKERLY THINGS! I am letting her gloat but I know in my heart that my bag really did weigh less. *shifty eyes*)
rattus! she hacked while i was on the loo!

i know we have only been on the road for half a day but i already have a story to tell you:
on my way through security i was stopped and the security guy said he needed to search through my bag. naturally, i acquiesced, as he explained that i had a large pair of scissors in there. i explained that it was an accident, and he was really nice about it. it turns out i'd chucked my pencil case in there without checking it and they were in there. the moral of the story is that while airport security may be paranoid, they don't necessarily assume you're trying to kill people.
i'd say it helped that i'm a rich young white woman, but i'm just glad not to have been cavity searched.

so, cheers from sydney!


dear_prudence: (Default)

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