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Saturday, January 30, 2016


I arrived at Ickworth in dull grey light

At this point there was a hail storm so I headed to the house

The scone was Lemon Curd and St Clementine's

Mr Quacks fancied getting warm.....

There was a pleasant smell in the corridor.

And this is why!

So I headed off and drove into sun! Some essential supplies!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Saffron Hall - Academy of St Martin's in the Field, Joshua Bell, Steven Isserlis

Last Saturday I went to the Saffron Hall to see the Academy of St Martin's in the Field with their director and solo Violinist Joshua Bell joined by cellist Steven Isserlis. The chance to see two top soloist was not one to pass up!

The programme started with

Dvorak - Silent Woods from the Bohemian Forest, Op 68 No 5
This is a short piece for cello. It is a lovely piece atmospheric and melancholic piece and almost has a chamber feel music to it.

The main piece of the first half was

Beethoven - Symphony No 8 in F Major
This was the only piece that didn't have a soloist to the fore and for some reason I didn't warm to this. If I'm honest this is not one of my favourites of Beethoven's symphonies.

The second half started with

Schumann - Violin Concerto mvII (Codetta by Britten)
Schumann's violin concerto is not a major part of the repetoire but the second movement (arranged here by Britten as an elegy for Dennis Brain) is an evoicative piece. I hadn't expected to see Isserlis for this but he joined the orchestra for the cello part. Amusingly there was a false start as Isserlis cello slipped. Prompting him to mutter "rude words" and the audience to chuckle. It was a lovely piece and this human error and humour and endeared him and it was a lovely piece.

The final piece was

Brahms - Double Concerto in A minor Op 102
It is not a piece I loved but it was played with moments of energy and tenderness and it received a much more rapturous response than the Beethoven and I really enjoyed it.

What was noticeable was how much fun that both soloists Bell and Isserlis as well as the orchestra seemed to be having.

It was yet another excellent evening at Saffron Hall.

Monday, January 25, 2016


It is a curious thing..... when I was contemplating my 2015 holidays the one I most anticipated was the trip to Sorrento and the one I had doubts about was Guernsey.

I mean Sorrento, the bay of Naples! Capri! Italian Sun! Whereas Guernsey was a tiny piece of Britain stuck off of the coast of France. As I think I said at the time, as I flew out I had out to Guernsey I was thinking "what a mistake",  I could have been going to any of the great Cities of Europe.

But here's a funny thing, as I look back on the two holidays the one I enjoyed most was Guernsey. Sorrento was busy, full of people and if I'm honest lacked a bit of charm. Great views and all that and nice hotel but I have no desire to go back.

Whereas Guernsey? Yes I will go back! The islands were quiet and peaceful! Guernsey itself was charming! Yes there was great seafood in Sorrento but there was in Guernsey as well!

Is there anything left to do you say? Well there are bits of Sark to do as I never saw all of it! e.g.
Castle Cornet, The German Military Hospital, The German Occpation Museum, various megalithic tomb. lots of bays to discover! lots of coast to walk!

So I think Guernsey will be back on the agenda sooner than I thought!

Sunday, January 24, 2016


After dinner it was off to Flatford ....

Mr Quacks watching his relations from the bridge.

This was in the lock.... getting thrown about.

Back view of Willie Lott's cottage.

The famous view of Willie Lott's cottage.

Do not feed ducks!! Mischievous!!??


Chocolate, Orange and Marazipan it was a good one!