Archive for Walking

King Lear at Wandlebury

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I persuaded Greg and Bryan to accompany me to a walkaround performance of King Lear at Wandlebury Country Park.

After a very showery day we were treated to a beautiful midsummer’s evening. The cast of seven made wonderful use of space and all inhabited their roles with convincing and physical madness and tragedy. They took turns to invite us to accompany them to the next setting.

The programme says:
The play will not be performed in anything like its entirety, nor will each role be played by any particular actor. Instead we’ve imagined a group of people who, perhaps as a result of some social or personal trauma, are attempting a reenactment of a tragedy the details of which they can barely remember. It is full of gaps, jumps, repetitions, amnesias and improvisations.

This was very true. Effective up to a point, but I felt there was too little narrative thread left for the audience to hang onto.

None-the-less there were some spine-tingling set pieces making perfect use of various settings in the park. Two stand out: the three women demanding the barrenness of Cordelia whilst slowly walking backwards through the gloomy ring fort ditch; and the ensemble wandering sightlessly through a glade of young birches as they narrate the blinding of Gloucester.

Narrative aside the cumulative effect was a harrowing sense of loss, madness and grief. An evening well – if strangely – spent.

in situ:

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Peaks


We had a super weekend with our friends Danny & Malcolm. They picked us up just before six on Friday and we headed north, stopping at the Ram Jam for dinner. I’ve driven past countless times, but never stopped. It turns out that they do good bistro food with reasonably rapid service, serving up smoked haddock on a bed of spinach with hollandais and pan fried new potatoes, spoiled only by the gallon of melted butter in the bottom of the plate. We found our way through Sheffield and reached The Rambler Inn in Edale by 10pm. The barman was a little sniffy about two male couples booking in to two double rooms, but perhaps he was just being cautious as in his words, he didn’t want us “to kick off when we saw the double beds”. Time for a pint at the Nag’s Head and one back at the Rambler before bed.

Saturday morning was very cold, but with blue skies and frost everywhere, very beautiful and excellent walking weather. We spent the day walking a wonderful 14 mile circuit (see Graham’s fab map):

  • Up Grinds Brook onto Kinder Scout
  • Along the ridge past Crowden Tower and Edale Head
  • A quick diversion (and brief passage on the Pennine Way) to Edale Cross
  • Over Brown Knoll and Horsehill Tor
  • Along Rushup Edge, stopping at Lord’s Seat for lunch with fabulous views over Edale
  • Down into Mam Nick and up Mam Tor, where there were paragliders finding some lift
  • Via Hollins Cross and the lone pine on Back Tor to Lose Hill
  • And finally backtracking to Hollins Cross before descending to Edale

Graham took some wonderful pictures. The only dark cloud, figuratively and literally, was Danny’s encounter with a boghole almost to one hip, which caused him to wrench his other knee. Fortunately he was fine to continue the walk.

The next trick was to combine a well-earned drink with not falling asleep before dinner, managed by taking a quick nap inbetween! Food was plentiful but not startling and rather expensive.

On Sunday morning Danny’s knee was quite sore, so we abandoned plans for a morning walk. Graham and I nipped up the first mile of the Pennine Way while Danny & Malcolm packed, and we drove off via Mam Tor to the Blue John Caverns, arriving at opening time only to be told that ‘electrical problems’ would delay opening for an hour. So onwards via Winnats Pass to Matlock Bath for a trip up the cable car to the Heights of Abraham. Or so we thought. Closed until February. We sought solace in coffee, hot choclate and Bakewell Puddings, and headed gently home.

It was lovely to get out into some real countryside for some real walking, and to revisit my old stomping ground from when I lived in Derby. Many thanks to Malcolm and Danny for organising a great weekend.

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Wey Navigation and North Downs

A weekend with Dad & Dawn in Woking. We arrived to a turkey pasta lunch, and had time for a short walk along the Wey Navigation before the beautiful daylight faded to dusk… We gave and installed an early Christmas present in the form of a DVD player which was very well received. I never mentioned that it only cost £25 in Superdrug, but then part of the present was the installation service and tutorial! Dinner was a gorgeous takeaway from a Thai/Chinese takeaway in West Byfleet, before christening the DVD player with the first half of Saving Private Ryan. I’d forgotten how explicit the opening sequences are in their depiction of the horror of the D-Day landings. Salutary watching in between Armistice Day and Rememberance Sunday.

Today we started with porridge, just in case we were hungry. I helped Dad decide where to hang some pictures and how to have them framed. Another walk, this time to Newlands Corner. The weather wasn’t as clear as yesterday but it was still great to see the hills, something sadly lacking around Cambridge. More food couldn’t be far away: a super casserole prepared by Dad during the week, accompanied by a 1993 Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This was a little cold to show much on the nose but still had lots of spicey depth to it. Time for a short power-nap before starting our train journey back to Cambridge.

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