Friday, September 29, 2006


Well, we've made it to Berlin - we arrived on Monday afternoon and booked into the Art Apartment. It's quite comfortable and very close to most things.

On Tuesday we hit the Musee Insel and did the Pergamon and the nineteenth century collection in the Alte Gallerie. We also dropped in on Alexander Platz and the Berliner Dom. The Dom looked a great deal better than the last time I was inside it - then it was full of scaffolding.

Yesterday we took a train to Potsdam and wandered in the drizzle to Sans Souci - the gardens were beautiful but there were too many people milling around so we decided not to do the tour of the state apartments.

Today it was back to the Musee Insel to see the Egyptian, Greek and Roman collection - there are some incredible pieces there, including the well-known bust of Nefertiti.

Then this afternoon we wandered by Potsdamer Platz and checked out the Musical Instrument Museum. Unfortunately there was no school tour so we didn't actually get to hear anzthing being plazed, except for an impromptu performance of the well-known Liszt "Liebestraum" by another visitor.

Tomorrow it's off to Leipzig and lots of Bach (we hope).

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Music and travel

We've been to a couple of concerts this week: on Thursday to the Wigmore Hall to hear Magdalena Kozena singing Schumann, Dvorak, Mendelssohn and Wolf. It was a packed house and I'm very grateful to AC for the tickets. Then last night it was off to the Barbican to hear Kissin play the Schumann piano concerto with the LSO under Colin Davis. This was followed by the Sibelius first symphony. Great fun.

You may not hear much from me for a while as tomorrow we leave for Germany - I'm not sure how often I'll be able to get to a cyber cafe. I'll try my hardest, I promise.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sunny, warm London

On Monday Tat and I made our way to the Globe, the reconstruction of Shakespeare's theatre. It was fascinating, not only the tour through the theatre, but also the extensive exhibition setting out the history of the idea and its realisation. It would be nice to see a performance but I'm not sure time allows.

After that we went next door to the Tate Modern. Unfortunately the current installation in the turbine hall had been dismantled and they were working on the new one (which no doubt we can catch in October). But we wandered around the top floor of new acquisitions and saw some fascinating pieces. It was packed.

Tuesday Tat went to Bath for the day. I went with her to Victoria bus station then wandered around to the Apollo Theatre where I stood in the queue for tickets to "Wicked". Then I went into the west end to check out the shops (books, CDs, DVDs and music) finding a few things I may have to go back and buy some time.

In the evening I went off to "Wicked" - it's a terrific show, based on the life of the wicked witch of the west and Glinda from "The Wizard of Oz". It ties in the details of the film but manages to put a completely different slant on the events. It also works on a number of levels addressing such issues as abuse of power, control of information and the demonisation of whistleblowers (yes, really). Some fun songs and terrific performances made for a thoroughly enjoyable night.

Yesterday I had lunch with AC at the cafe at the Wallace Collection (I should go back and have a look at the museum). It was lovely to catch up with him; he seems to be enjoying his job at the Wigmore but I don't know where he finds the time to do everything.

The weather here continues amazingly warm - 27 is predicted for today! I'm planning to go to Kew Gardens to have a look around; I haven't been there for thirty years.

Monday, September 18, 2006

More, and more soon

We've finally made it to London - Tat has just worked out that we travelled 150 miles further than she planned for. We did miss out a few things and went on a few unnecessary diversions, so I think she's done an amazing job.

Since my last posting we've been through the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales and then down to Devon and Cornwall where we stayed in the very comfortable Pedn Olva Hotel in St Ives (look it up). The pictures (of which there are many) will just have to wait until we get home.

This afternoon was a total nightmare getting back into London from Battle (you know what to do) - it seems everyone in London had spent the glorious weekend somewhere else and all wanted to return at the same time and on the same road. However we made it to return the car at the Marble Arch branch of Hertz by 8pm (at 7:57!).

I'll write a bit more when I've had time to find some clean clothes and have a good sleep.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Venison and cranberry pie

Right-oh all, get your maps out... now.

Over the last few days we've been along the east coast of Scotland to John O'Groats (not much there, but at least we can say we've been there) and along the top, past the Castle of Mey (the late Queen Mum's Scottish residence - we didn't visit) and eventually to the amazingly situated youth hostel at Achmelvich. There's actually a sandy beach there and Tat went for a swim, if only for a couple of strokes either way as the water was rather cold. Very [Tat].

On the whole the weather over the last couple of days has been splendid - sunny and with little wind; we get quite hot in the car.

Today we left Achmelvich and, after buying some extraordinary pies at the Lochinver Larder (the pie shop) set off the very long way around for Kyle of Lochalsh. B&P MUST visit Lochinver for the pies: salmon, pork, wild boar, venison... delicious!

Today's drive, while over many single-lane roads was well worth it as we saw some amazing scenery, including lots of geology :-) - you can't escape it here and it's arresting.

Tonight, rather than Kyle of Lochalsh, we are staying at Ratagan (check your maps) as it is smaller and quieter (we hope) and in the morning we will set off for Glasgow, via Loch Lomond ("Oh, ye'll tak' the high road and I'll tak' the low road...") and Helensburgh to see the Mackintosh-designed Hill House.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Well, we've visited a number of cathedrals, entire and ruined, and so far the highlights for me have been the extraordinary ruin at Fountains Abbey (look it up) and the magnificent Durham cathedral.

We spent most of yesterday in Edinburgh before driving to Kinross where we spent the night before going on to St Andrews; while I spent some time with Audrey and Robin, Tat went to investigate the ruined cathedral. Then we spent the rest of the day driving to the youth hostel at Carbisdale Castle (again, look it up) which is an outrageous nineteenth-century castle situated beside a loch in the highlands. On the way we passed through some beautiful and amazing countryside.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bonny Scotland

... eventually.

Tat and I landed on Sunday morning and picked up the car from the car-hire people at 6.30. (An automatic Ford Focus.) We set off immediately beginning with a spin around London where we proceeded to get a bit lost. We did manage to drive past both Fysh's and Greg's London abodes.

We then headed for Cambridge doing a quick spin along the backs before setting our sights on Ely. After wandering around the fabulous cathedral (I'm going to run out of superlatives soon -- and money for the web) we went to Peterborough for another cathedral and some provisions.

We arrived at Lincoln just in time to see the door being locked for the night. So we continued on to our first bargain-basement (£10) Travelodge room near Beverley. We both managed to sleep but not for the whole night as our bodies were telling us it was time to be up and about.


Saturday, September 02, 2006


Not even halfway, but the first part of the flight was without event. Boring, in fact. Tat got a window seat as she wanted and I was between her and a pleasant young architect off to Geneva for a conference (lucky him - not).

Free Internet access at Changi airport was too much to resist.

More anon. Let's hope I can actually get some sleep on the next leg.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Last day at work

It's a bit hard to concentrate when you know you're not going to be around for some time. Nevertheless I've managed to gather my wits enough to update some documentation and even clean off my desk (gosh) so that you can even see the surface.

There are still a few little last-minute things I need to do, but they should be taken care of this afternoon before I have a final meal with P&B at the pub around the corner. Nephew R is dropping in to collect the keys and get his final orders as well.

The next posting will be from somewhere else.