Sunday, 2 November 2014

Battle of Vinegar Hill

A long while ago (so long ago I can't remember which month - I think it was June), I spent a weekend in Ireland at the reenactment of the Battle of Vinegar Hill in Enniscorthy. A whole group of us got the ferry over to Ireland and spent a lovely, if slightly wet weekend in the town.

A view of Enniscorthy

The Castle in town. It is now a very good museum chronicling the history of the the town and its role in Ireland's history. However, it also has a long illustrious history itself, which includes time as a private residence, and a key building in a few battles.

A music recital in a local pub, part of an evening of merriment! :)

The first battle - in the streets of the town

Marching to the centre of town

Drill  (in a carpark!!)

Lining up in front of the memorial to remember those who fought for Ireland's freedom.

Relaxing before the battle

The battle on Vinegar Hill

It was a very interesting weekend. Learnt a bit about Irish history and met some lovely people.

Monday, 25 August 2014

A Long Overdue Update

I have been horrendous at posting recently. Partly because I haven't been to many events, due to me having a job where I have to work on a Saturday, and partly because I have become seriously lazy. It also looks like I will be going to even fewer events as in a week I am moving and starting a new job (one that will probably prevent me from attending most things even the Jane Austen Festival!! :( ). However a new place and a new job should be a good experience and will hopefully all work out.

Anyway enough of that. Here are a few photos from a couple of events that I was able to attend this summer:

Battle of Nations, Hunton Court:

Hunton Court

Marching to the house to be inspcted

Enjoying a small picnic whilst watching the battle

The battle

Promoting the 200 anniversary of Waterloo, at the Tower of London:

Camp - we were only there during the day so it was a very simple camp setup. 

A member of my group mixing modern and napoleonic army uniform!

Me with a Beefeater!! :)

I went to one more event, but will give it its own post. :)

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

John Lewis - 150 Years

John Lewis is a British institution. Before Ikea invaded the country, it was always the place you would go to if you needed anything for your home. Well this year it is celebrating it's 150th year. The flagship store on Oxford Street was opened by John Lewis in 1864 as a drapers. As part of their celebrations, the company has recreated the original shop on the 3rd floor of their Oxford street store. 
Last week I went along to see what it was like.

A reproduction of the original shop front.

Children's clothes in the shop window

Inside the shop

An accounts book from c.1920

After the reproduction of the shop, there was an exhibition about the company's history.

The account book for the shop's first bank account.

A photo of the shop in the early 20th century

One of the first shops that John Lewis bought, when his business started to grow, was a department store called Peter Jones. Today it is still owned by John Lewis, and remains the only department store, that the company has taken over, to keep its original name. Though its name hasn't changed the actual shop has changed beyond recognition.

The original Peter Jones Shop. It had a pub on the ground floor.

The shop today.

When John Lewis died the company was inherited by his son John Sepdan Lewis. John Spedan Lewis was the one who turned the company into a partnership. Through his new scheme every employee owned shares in the company, so shared in its profits. The company is still run this way today.

John Spedan Lewis's desk.

The recreation of the view from a shop window during the 19th century.

This typewriter was on John Spedan Lewis's desk but I am not sure if it was actually his or just one from the same era.

Some of the products which the shop has sold in the past

more products

This is a reproduction of a fabric that was used on some of the furnishings on the Titanic. At one point John Lewis owned the company that made the material.

The supermarket Waitrose is also part of John Lewis.

This is a photo of the original Waitrose before it was bought out buy John Lewis

During WWII the Oxford street shop was bombed. This money tin was found in the wreckage, with the money melted to the bottom!

The rest of the exhibition was about the late 20th Century, today and the future, which didn't interest me as much, so I didn't take any photos :).

The exhibition was very interesting and definitely worth a visit if you are in the vicinity of the Oxford Street shop. 

Friday, 21 March 2014

The New Nelson Gallery - The National Maritime Museum

Last week I spent an afternoon visiting my grandmother, who lives in the beautiful and historic part of London that is Greenwich. Whilst there we went to see the new permanent gallery, at the National Maritime Museum, celebrating all things Admiral Nelson. 

I took a few photos, but most of the artefacts are displayed in glass cabinets making clear photo taking a bit difficult! 

Nelson's writing slope

Nelson's uniform - the coat he was wearing when he was shot at Trafalgar (you can see the bullet hole on his left shoulder).

Nelson's knife/fork - designed for him after he lost his right arm.

A few examples of officers uniforms:

A needle case c. 1805 - made and owned by one of the sailors or officers on board HMS Victory

It still contains original needles and pins!!

A close up of a painting in the gallery. I loved the pink gown so of course only took a photo of it and not the rest of the painting! :)  And I failed to take down any details about the painting!!

There were so many more fascinating artefacts to see but I ran out of time to take photos of them all. I would definitely recommend a visit if you find yourself anywhere near Greenwich.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense

Last night I went to see
The play was based on P.G Wodehouse's 'Code of the Woosters'.

I am a big fan of P.G Wodehouse's novels, and 90s tv series Jeeves and Wooster with Stephan Fry and Hugh Laurie.  As a result, I have always thought of Laurie and Fry as the perfect Wooster and Jeeves, so I have to admit that I went to the theatre fully expecting to be disappointed by the actors. Not a great attitude to have I know but I felt that no one could be as good as Laurie and Fry.

Stephan Fry and Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Bertie in Jeeves and Wooster

However I couldn't have been more wrong. The play was fabulous. I was in fits of laughter all the way through. Matthew Macfadyen was very good as Jeeves but I felt he was just a bit too loud - he seemed to shout everything when he was playing Jeeves (he played a number of roles. There were only 3 members of the cast and several parts!) So for me Stephan Fry is still the best Jeeves. Having said this, I do think that Matthew Macfadyen is an amazing actor and that he played all his parts, throughout the play, brilliantly, he just isn't the perfect Jeeves. However, Hugh Laurie now has serious competition, Stephen Mangan was absolutely wonderful as Bertie. 

There was also a third actor, Mark Hadfield, who mainly played the part of Seppings, Bertie's aunt's butler. I say mainly as he also played Bertie's aunt and another character or two (it was a sort of play within a play. Confusing to explain but it worked perfectly on the stage), he was also wonderful.

And just when I thought the play couldn't get any better, the cast finished off with a display of the Charleston!!! :) 

Frankly I think it is one of the best plays I have ever seen, and I would definitely recommend it, even to non P.G Wodehouse fans. They are having a slight change of cast at the end of this month though, the two main actors are changing.

Jeeves will be played by Mark Heap (period drama fans will recognise him as the postman from Lark Rise to Candleford). Bertie will be played by the comedian Robert Webb. Both are great actors so I am sure the play will continue to be fabulous. :)