Thursday, 3 December 2009


Occasionally there's a season when things come together, a season of fireworks, when I am allowed to scrub up,  dress up, put on the slap and go out on the town instead of dressing down, enveloping myself in the massive and massively heavy family raincoat, trudging around the muddy fields with dog, walking stick and large hat jammed on head.

The past few weeks have been the answer to this blogger's prayers,  not one but three such outings have been granted; I have been wallowing in culture, until I am almost drowning in the unaccustomed riches.

The Mid Wales Opera Company performed Mozart's 'Marriage of Figaro' in Ludlow.This is a company of young players and singers, all of them at the beginning of their careers, but true professionals giving of their best nevertheless.

The next outing was a visit to the theatre to see a performance of Pirandello's surreal masterpiece 'Six Characters In Search Of An Author' by the acclaimed Headlong Theatre Company under Rupert Goold.

Never having seen the play before it was quite a challenge to follow the action;  the play is about six imaginary characters looking for an author to write their play, in which these characters and their roles already exist. The characters themselves act out the play yet to be written.

Six Characters In Search Of An Author is a classic of modernism, a fundamentally subversive moment in the history of modern theatre. Its self-conscious setting, its fragmented narrative, confusing time levels and radical ideas caused an uproar at its first night on 9 May 1921.....

Hard work, yet very enjoyable and just the kind of challenge I like after several months of mud-wrestling and not much else.

And there was yet more! The City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra beckoned with a concert under its conductor Andris Nelsons playing three Romantics, Liadov, Rachmaninov and Dvorak. The fantastic young Pianist Nikolai Lugansky gave an absolutely virtuoso performance of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3, which kept the audience in Symphony Hall on the edge of their seats. One of the men in our company was in tears at the end, I kid you not!

Treats like these make the realization that life in the country is
a permanent fact of life easier to accept. Country life has great advantages;  having to fight my way through the crowds in Birmingham is not something I frequently hanker after, but I will gladly do so in order to experience a world class concert by gifted performers.

Valley's End is a gorgeous place; it is often said that there isn't a house that doesn't enjoy a spectacular view, the people are friendly and kind and the pace of life is quiet and calm. Just occasionally though, this blogger loves to partake of a different life, the life I left behind in the big city, a life of noise, dirt, excitement, traffic, crowded pavements, jostling people and rumbling, packed, trains.

Eh? Who am I kidding? Where would you rather live?


  1. I would fashion my life as you have designed yours: living in the country, but close enough to the city to enjoy cultural and artistic offerings. The best of both worlds, it seems to me.

    When I do venture into Montreal during the daytime, I experience a swelling gratitude to not have to live there. At night the crowds, poverty, grime are less visible (not that Montreal is a dirty city mind you - but no city can compare to country life in that regard).

    Would love to have heard Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto #3 with you.

  2. Sounds like you have the best of both worlds, living in the serene and beautiful countryside but close enough to the cities for an occasional dose of culture.

  3. So glad you've had some great entertainment lately. I wouldn't live anywhere else. As you rightly say we have the best of all worlds. I love live entertainment and do venture into the cities but the best journey of all is always the one home.
    A x

  4. Ah well, you know my answer already! I would not swap my country life but I do know exactly what you mean about the injections of culture, company and city buzz from time to time. I went to visit a friend on the beautiful wild west coast and thought that, fabulous as it was, I am suited by living somewhere which feels very rural but which lets me have access to city life without driving for hours or needing to stay away from home.

  5. I am a country girl with a city heart. I live within an hour of the concerts and museums and some days...usually during the nicer weather I head up that way for some culture.

  6. Country life I think with regular injections of art and music. Shopping too - there's only so much that can be done online and while it's nice to be on first name terms with the lads at the country store one sometimes needs more than hen food, work wear and tractors.

  7. I know the Pirandello play. Great poster, too.

  8. That sounds like a play I want to read or see.

    If you can manage to dig in the dirt one day then go to the opera next, then I think you're doing fine.

    Life in St. Petersburg (Florida) is a bit like that, only with a different climate: one can go to the beach and play outdoors but also have a nice time at the theater.

  9. I certainly enjoyed MY visit today, Dear Friko!

    Aloha, Friend!

    Comfort Spiral

  10. I wouldn't trade my rural home for anything - and I know that I'm lucky to have Victoria just 15 minutes away. It'a not a big city, so once a year I visit my sister in Toronto where I'll see a show every night, shop til I'm done and visit some interesting restaurants. Best of both worlds!

  11. Well I do miss my hometown of Paris, and living between two little towns north of Atlanta is not really being in the country, it is more like being in the “suburbs” or the burbs as they say. But there are good theatres and other shows in Atlanta if one wishes to fight the traffic (the 2nd worst in the whole USA) – the best though about Atlanta is its airport – it is large and you can fly away so easily to another great city like New York or a bit of a new country. But we are very close to the Appalachian Mountains and they are so beautiful.

  12. Pleased you enjoyed your outings, there's nothing like the buzz of live entertainment, is there?
    I'm where I am at the moment by accident rather than careful design - not perfect, but there are a lot worse places! My ideal would be deep in hilly, wooded countryside (Mid-Wales? Devon?) but with easy access to public transport.


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