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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant / Saint David's Day

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant Hapus!
Happy Saint David's Day!

This is the same pot of daffodils that I put here exactly two months ago

Saint David's Day is the feast day of Saint David, the patron Saint of Wales, and falls on 1 March each year, the anniversary of his death in AD 589. It is usually celebrated by Welsh people displaying daffodils and leeks, the National symbols of Wales.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Skywatch Friday

The Duddon Estuary, Cumbria, English Lake District, February 2009
My house is in the village by the mouth of the estuary

Sky Watch Friday

Maalie selects images from his albums of travel pictures for Skywatch

Click here for a complete list
of all the participants
of this week's Sky Watch!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

George Frideric Handel

George Handel is the second of four tributes that I shall make to men whose anniversaries occur this year (the others being Robert Burns, Charles Darwin and Joseph Haydn).

George Frideric Handel

Handel died in 1759 and is probably best known for his choral music, operas, oratorios (especially the Messiah) but also for orchestral music, including concerti grossi and commissioned works like Music for the Royal Fireworks and the Water Music.

In fact, it was music by Handel, the Largo for his opera Xerxes, that was the first piece of classical music that I was conscious of appreciating. My grandmother used to plonk it out on her piano with arthritic fingers and when the family stayed with her on holiday, it was regarded as a treat that I was allowed listen to it before being to put to bed. You can hear the Largo by clicking here:

And for me, Christmas would not be the same without his Messiah playing all afternoon in my kitchen whilst making mince pies and sausage rolls. My favourite number from the oratorio is this (click):

You may indulge yourself by listening to more of Handel's music by clicking on the links below.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Sunset over the River Inn near the Austria - Germany border

Sky Watch Friday

Maalie selects images from his albums of travel pictures for Skywatch

Click here for a complete list
of all the participants
of this week's Sky Watch!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ballet in Buxton

I was recently invited by my sister Lorenzo the Llama and her husband Peter to join them for a performance by the St. Petersburg Ballet Company of Swan Lake in the Buxton Opera House. Buxton is a Roman spa town situated in the beautiful Peak District of England. The Opera House was built in 1903 and designed by Frank Matcham, one of Britain's finest theatre architects. Since that time it has been extensively refurbished, and plays host to a number of annual festivals and to opera and ballet companies on tour.

After an "interesting" drive from Lorenzo's house to Buxton in heavily falling snow (which the next day brought the London area and many airports to a standstill) we arrived in good time to enjoy a pre-performance drink before locating our splendid seats in the centre of the front row of the Circle.

Arrival at the Buxton Opera House in the snow

Welcoming headlights

Tonight's performance: The St Petersburg Ballet Theatre in Swan Lake (after Petipa/Ivanov, music by Tchaikovsky) with Astghik Ogannesyan as Odette/Odile; Dmitry Akulinin as Prince Siegfried and Dymchik Saykeev as the Baron von Rothbart

Grand staircase to the Circle

The magnificent early 20th Century theatre design by architect Frank Matcham

Splendour of the gilt ornamentation of the presidium arch

Detail: with pipes and drums and harps and cymbals, gentle soothing flutes....

Lorenzo the Llama and Peter settle down in superb seats to watch the performance

A scene from the magical fourth act of Swan Lake in the Buxton Opera House

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


April 2009 will present a very rare occasion for my family. Both of my sons will be running in the London Marathon. My older son, Alun, will be running on behalf of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, with which he has a long personal association.

My younger son, Carwyn, will be running on behalf of the Parkinson's Disease Society (PDS). He was obliged to raise a minimum of £1700 to compete in the marathon, and he achieved this aim within around 10 weeks of campaigning. He now hopes to raise well in excess of £2000 for the charity.

Carwyn has chosen to run for the PDS on account of the suffering that his mother-in-law has endured over the last three years, as a result of some of the more extreme symptoms of Parkinson's. In running for the PDS, Carwyn hopes to raise awareness of the condition amongst his friends.

If you are interested, you may sponsor Carwyn HERE . He thanks you for your support.

Carwyn trains in the sand dunes of Burry Port in preparation for his London Marathon run

As part of his campaign, Carwyn has attracted significant business sponsorship. He would like to draw attention to two sponsors in particular:

Pink Kettle

Pink Kettle was founded by Ursula Stevens following her return to her home town of Carlisle. Ursh is a busy mum of two little cherubs and appreciates that life today places time constraints on everyone regardless of their situation. It is her aim to make shopping for gifts a more pleasurable experience from the comfort of your own home. Pink Kettle has pledged to donate £1 for every £10 recieved in sales between tonight and the marathon in April. Just quote "CARWYN" with your order..."

Manila lettings

"We can solve your short term rental needs in the Philippines. If you are looking for a short let apartment in Manila for a few nights, a week, a month or a year, our apartments are a cost-effective alternative to restrictive hotel rooms. Whether relocating, or travelling for business or pleasure, our apartments offer guests every home comfort."