On Thursday evening rotwang, DodgyLodger and I went to see an open-air production of Twelfth Night at Cannizaro Park, which was very good indeed. I had been worried that it might be cancelled when the heavens opened at about 3pm -- yet more of that heavy summer rain, but longer-lasting this time, until about 4.30pm. By 7pm or so, when we arrived at the park, there were still occasional puddles underfoot but nothing like the amount of standing water you might expect; most of it had already evaporated to bring the humidity up another couple of notches.
The cast included Wayne Sleep as Feste the clown. I'm not sure that Shakespeare necessarily envisaged a tap-dancing clown (for those of you outside the UK, Wayne Sleep is most famous as a dancer, mostly in ballet), but it certainly worked. We were talking to his agent in the interval (the agent wandered over to ask how we liked the show) and he was saying that Sleep found it very difficult learning the lines; he was much more used to learning dance moves. I wonder if he found it easier to learn the lines if he associated moves with them?
Norman Pace, better-known as half of comedy duo Hale and Pace, played Fabian very well. Also worthy of note were Christopher Robert, a fine Toby Belch, and Anna Delchev, who played Maria, Olivia's woman; I think Maria looks like it would be a much more interesting role to play than Olivia, and probably also more interesting than Viola.
Friday evening saw us sallying forth to Olympia to visit the Great British Beer Festival. Crowded but not impossibly so, we did manage to find somewhere to sit for about the last hour, and prior to that we wandered the hall (seemed bigger than usual) buying beer, food (sausages! inna bun! and also loads of cheese -- this seems to have been a theme for the weekend, see below), and (rather improbably) a fancy sparkly necklace for me. We suspect that the jewellery stall was aiming at the "I'm sorry I'm so late, love, and I might be a bit drunk, but look! I bought you something pretty" market.
We didn't get to try quite as many of the more unusual beers as we usually manage, because by Friday night they are often running a bit low on some stock -- the Wales and West Country bar was more or less sold out, for instance. But those we did have were mostly pleasant.
caffeine_fairy and chomper99's wedding (see below) was to be followed by a picnic. I took this as
I also acquired a haunch of venison (Mid-Devon Fallow sell all sorts of interesting ways to consume deer) and some assorted mushrooms for that night's dinner. When I say "assorted", we're talking really assorted. If I'd thought about it, I'd've taken a picture before cooking them for food_porn. Some of them were pink, some purple, others the rather more normal white or brown (but not such usual shapes). Lightly fried with a bit of butter, with the deliciously tender roasted venison and some boiled potatoes, they were great.
Most of the afternoon, once I'd got back from the market, was taken up with fitting a larger hard drive to the MP3 server (20 minutes, most of which was formatting) and copying all the data across from the old drive (about 2.5 hours...). Oh, and sleep. It was really too hot to do anything energetic; there was a lot of lounging around like particularly apathetic cats.
And now, the highlight of the weekend: the wedding of caffeine_fairy and chomper99. We gathered at the top of St Catherine's Hill, just outside Winchester, with the occasional fairly good-natured mutter about the fact that this was a hill, in fact a mildly steep one (it's about 10 minutes walk to the top for your average not-very-fit person), and outside it was 30 degrees C and humid. Inside the grove of beech trees at the top, thank heavens, it was somewhat cooler, significantly less humid, a breeze was blowing through and we were also protected from the brief rain shower that blew across later on in the day.
The theme for the wedding was, roughly, sparkly. I'd been to Claire's Accessories the previous week on a quest for Sparkly Tat, and had done reasonably well with it; the acquisition of the necklace at the GBBF meant that I didn't have to find anything to lengthen the one from Claire's, which was a bit short (we were planning to use a safety pin). rotwang and DL were outfitted in a couple of stupendously tasteless shirts from the costume bag (bought for a previous silver-themed party).
We made it to the top of the hill by about 12.30; we'd been aiming for noon but it had taken rather longer to pack the
It all went very well indeed, I thought. I managed not to screw up the (short) reading caffeine_fairy had asked me to do; neither she nor Chomper choked up during their vows (at least, not to the extent that they couldn't finish), everyone said "yes!" in the right places, and they are now absolutely, positively, definitely, married. Hurrah!
One of the most amusing moments of the picnic was rotwang opening a bottle of champagne, which decided that it wanted its revenge for being put in the back of a car, carried up a hill, and made to sit around on a warm day for some hours. It went everywhere. And wasps really, really like champagne (for some reason they also really, really like venison pie; can't quite figure out that one).
Some of us went to the pub afterwards, and then we took CF and Chomper back to their palatial hotel... okay, in fact back to their flat prior to them pottering off to SW England for their honeymoon on Tuesday. And there we fade to grey.