Monday, 7 May 2012

Opera in Oxford? I am more cultured than penicillin!

Bally marvellous - it has been a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, which means that we get an extra days holiday to add onto the weekend. Which of course gives me valuable time to recover from being a lady of leisure. It's tough trying to juggle all that 'me' time in between my Bolly deliveries and quaffing foie gras.

I had a treat lined up. My chum from university (Sarah) was coming to Oxford from Leeds for the weekend, and she was bringing her bessie mate, Gary. They were due to arrive on Saturday lunchtime, but despite the fact that they had a sat-nav, they still managed to get horribly lost, and arrived quite late.

I opened the front door and greeted them, "you pair of joeys, where've you been?"

"The sat-nav kept taking us the wrong way," Sarah replied, pointing at the offending device. 

I picked it up and following a brief examination the problem became clear, "you have got it set to plan a 'walking' route," I said.

"That'll explain why it kept trying to take us down bridle paths," she exclaimed.

They are both teachers, and sometimes I worry about placing Izzy's future in their hands.

Anyway, there wasn't much time for dilly-dallying because we had planned a busy weekend starting with a night at the opera. Oxford is turning me all cultured and if I don't watch out, I could soon be attending afternoon tea dances and eating cucumber sandwiches.

We all jumped into my bling machine and headed off for some pre-theatre dinner. And because I am kinder than Mother Theresa, except that I don't like eating just rice, I have got some photographs for you.

Pic.No.1 We went for dinner at The Trout in Wolvercote. That is Sarah on the left, and Gary on the right. Sarah was both uncharacteristically shy, and flicked me the v's at the same time

Pic.No.2 I must say that the food is always rather scrumptious in The Trout. Gary had scallops and a pint of lager to start [northerner you see]

Pic.No.3 Then we headed off to the New Theatre in Oxford to see the opera

Pic.No.4 We had tickets to see Madama Butterfly and the acronym UNO stands for Ukranian National Opera

I couldn't take any pictures of the performance because if you are caught with a camera, I've heard that the theatre attendants shoot you in the back of the head.

"So what was it like?" I hear you cry. 

Well, imagine my chagrin to discover that they were all singing in a weird language. 

"What the bloody hell is going on here? They are singing in foreign," I hissed in Gary's ear. 

"That's because Puccini was Italian," he whispered back, before adding, "look over there at that electronic sign - you can read the English subtitles."

That was me sorted. Nice one Gary.  

But what a woeful tale Madama Butterfly was. Basically, this Japanese bird fell in love with a yank. He got her in the family way and then buggered off back to America without realising. Despite being destitute, the Japanese bird (called Butterfly) remained loyal to him and wouldn't marry anyone else. Meanwhile, back in America, evil yank man was boffing another bird the whole time. He eventually married her, and their travels took them back to Japan. They bumped into Butterfly and the betrayal became apparent. She gave them her son, and then promptly topped herself with a dagger. 

All light-hearted family fun. If I was Butterfly I would have got a job shelf-stacking to earn some money. Who knows? She might have even been able to work herself up to be assistant manager.

Sunday 6th May

The bloody sun was out! Holy Mary Mother of God - we dropped to our knees and wept with joy. And then we decided to go into Oxford for a spot of lunch and a wander around.

Pic.No.5 This was Izzy (clutching 'Jingly', her pink bear) inside the Oxford Indoor Market. As you can see, she was delighted to be out and about without her Nintendo DS. She looks like a deprived child from the Eastern Bloc

Pic.No.6 We found a cafe called 'Mortons' inside the indoor market and decided to partake. The food was reasonably priced and freshly cooked, but they botched our order, and my food didn't come out until 10 minutes after everyone elses. I was so mad that I ruthlessly squashed a sachet of butter

Pic.No.7 And now for a bit more of Oxford ..... Gary, Izzy (with Jingly on her head) and Sarah outside the famous Radcliffe Camera building. I don't know why it is called a camera. Proper cameras have suffixes, for example, Radcliffe Camera PT95

Pic.No.8 This is Izzy in the quadrangle of the Bodleian Library. Background info:"If you give me a smile I won't twat your Nintendo with a spade when we get home"

Pic.No.9 Blimey, a moustache and a delicate hand on hip? This deliciously camp fella in the courtyard of the Bodleian Library is the Earl of Pembroke. Apparently he was a Chancellor of the university in the 1600's which was around the time the library was built

Pic.No.10 This was a doorway from one part of the Bodleian Library to another. I have just discovered that there isn't much you can say much about doorways

Pic.No.11 After the Bodleian, we went to Christ Church College with the aim of doing a tour. But the queue was so long, that we gave up and I took this picture of part of the gardens instead. Here you can see black tulips (tres rare dahlink)

Pic.No.12 We decided that wandering around Oxford was thirsty work, so we paid a visit to the famous 13th century 'Turf Tavern' in order to partake in some amber nectar. Recent Oxford students who frequented the Turf Tavern are Bill Clinton, Bob Hawkes, Kylie Minogue and CS Lewis (guess which one I made up)

Pic.No.13 What could be better than a chilled lager on a sunshiney day? After all, you don't want to get too stressed on a bank holiday. And after a lazy day, what is better than going home to a .........

Pic.No.14 Bloody enormous roast dinner ..... cooked by my own fair hands and served up in the kitchen with the woodburner crackling in the background. Followed by ......

Pic.No.15 Watching a couple of DVDs in the living room. Gary and Sarah normally fall asleep by 9.30pm (because they are from up north, they aren't used to daylight) so they did well to keep their eyes open until 11.30pm. I am going to get a t-shirt made for Sarah with "I'm knackered' emblazoned over the front (that's her hiding behind the cushion)

Monday 7th May

All good things must come to an end. And after a big cooked breakfast, Gary and Sarah finally headed home. Because they are teachers, they had lots of homework to mark in readiness for work tomorrow. That's a rubbish part of the job, that is.

I packed them into their car at 11.30am, pointed out the exact direction they needed to head home, and waved goodbye as they haplessly went the opposite way. 

Which left me with a free afternoon .......... to do exactly as I pleased. 

Pic.No. This is me balancing a tub of table salt on my head

So dahlink, how have you spent the weekend and bank holiday? Have you got up to any shenanigans?


  1. Unlike you, I have spent the weekend doing pretty much bugger all.

    Never had you down as a culture vulture. And, from reading this post, I still don't!  :)

    Pic No.2 seems to have something missing from the plate: Quantity.

  2. Hey Annie, the Cirque de Soleil is looking for 'balancing acts' like you!!!
    What a busy weekend you had! I Only saw ONE dish at The Trout......did you all share that scallop dish? lol Masher is right! Did you have Yorkshire Pudding with the roast? Just wondering.
    I think I would LOVE much history. You are so much older than us North Americans/Canadians!

  3. Who's older, Annie or!?

  4. Well we did a car boot sale and then had a HUGE bonfire with all the combustibles that didn't sell.  Exciting stuff here at Hall Towers!!

    Love your balancing time try it with the vinegar and pepper too and you could be a condiment stand in your spare time!

  5. Lovely to see the photos of Oxford...we really must go and visit No 3 son!  Did they have the braziers to keep you warm outside the Turf?

  6. I spent yesterday driving from one PC World to another and eventually came home with his n' hers laptops & a wireless printer which husband is having fun with scaring the cat.
    Saw Miss Saigon once the mod version of Madam B & very good too. Oxford looks fab x

  7. Wow! You've been on a major shopping spree - go girl! What laptops did you get? Miss Saigon is supposed to be brill too isn't it?


  8. Yes that's right - I forgot your son lives here! No, no braziers ..... we had to balls it out!


  9. Oooh! a car boot sale - they are great fun. Did you raise much in the way of finance?

    I think I make a very stylish condiment stand ;-)


  10. LOL you cheeky git!!


  11. We had three dishes on the table at the Trout, but I only photographed Gary's because it looked pretty. I haven't read Masher's comment yet - but I am sure it will be cheeky!!

    You would LOVE Oxford - you wouldn't know what to take a picture of next ;-)


  12. How do you do bugger all in a weekend? I just have this vision of you sitting in an armchair looking at a wall. That's really hard to do on a prolonged basis!

    Yeh, they weren't huge portions, but I prefer that because I find huge platefuls a bit overwhelming!


  13. Love the photos of Oxford. My ex and I lived there once while he attended school. I was a complete loaf and traveled while he studied. It was a charming place...and a lifetime ago. Thanks for the memories. 

  14. No shenanigans here.:(
    I tired to get Evelyn a stripper for her BD but she declined. If you come for a visit I could get you one though.:)

    BTW- It's a little known fact that Mother Teresa actually had a bacon cheeseburger every day. In the privacy of her own room of course.

  15. NickRiches9 May 2012 06:53

    The bestest weather day of the three day weekend had many incomers visit our sleepy town for the flower parade. Even had two groups of men from Morris! Got me own blog on flowers done as well, inspired by your daffodil extravaganza (is that spelt right?).

  16. Toffeeapple9 May 2012 13:09

    Blimey, £40.00 at the New Theatre?  It used to cost less than a tenner to see Elkie Brooks, Don McLean and Don Williams, far more fun than Madame Butterfly.

  17. I know, it was a bloody travesty. That was a bottle and a half of Bolly wasted!


  18. So what is your sleepy town then? And why didn't you include a link to your blog so I could witness first hand your blog on flowers - sounds lovey ;-)

    Quickly paste the link for us all now!!


  19. Blimey, she turned down a stripper! Why?!

    That Mother Theresa was a slippery fish eh? Who knew about the cheeseburger!


  20. Wow, you actually lived here too! Glad you enjoyed the pics - you are so right .... it is a charming place ;-)


  21. I'm always learning something from your blog.
    1.) Penicillin is cultured. Did not know this.2.) UNO on a theatre ticket does not mean 1.3.) Your child is happy just like mine.4.) You cook beautiful meals!!!5.) You can balance a tub of salt on your head, happily.
    You are amazing. Keep up the good work.

  22. Why thank you. I am particularly proud of the salt


  23. NickRiches9 May 2012 20:48

    I'm never clever first thing. Try this......

  24. NickRiches9 May 2012 21:34

     I'm not that clever first thing. Hope this only turns up once, as I tried on me 'Pod earlier and it went a bit silly!

  25. Thanks for that! I shall go and have a nosey post haste!


  26. Nicki Ditch10 May 2012 18:58

    1) With all the outings you post about, I am feeling incredibly lazy!!!  Love the pics!
    2) Thank you for telling me what Madam Butterfly is about in a nutshell!  I have always wanted to know but I am not nearly cultured enough to actually go to the opera and since I have always wanted to be fluent in Italian (I only know how to say "fat ugly whore" in Italian now), it would have only depressed me that I couldn't understand it.
    3) Thank you for the tip on how to get my son to cooperate..."I will twat you in the head with a spade if you dont..."  Oh. said the Nintendo, not the head.  I will have to practice that one alone before putting it into action!


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