Wednesday, 12 November 2008

An eventful weekend I

Thursday, 20 March 2008

IMG_8643 I took a day's leave: after Deb finished her morning teaching we drove down to Cardiff. There was bad traffic and we were a fair bit later than we'd hoped. The car was a bit worrying, not so much at speed but much less trustworthy when stopping and starting. Its very rough low-speed running and tendency to stall made city centre driving a bit more interesting than I really wanted.

We went to hear an excellent concert, from the Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra and Choral Society, at St David's Hall. Wagner Meistersinger Overture, Strauss Four Last Songs, Brahms Requiem. Fantastic soloists, choir and orchestra very good, Tim Taylor in the driving seat with his usual efficiency and good communications. This was a very nice, musical, enjoyable concert and I'm very sorry that, with Lottie finishing at Cardiff soon, it's probably the last such that we'll hear at that particular hall.

I'm not sure if it's bad to have favourites. However, whilst the two big pieces were excellent (and I know that Deb was particularly taken with the Brahms), it was the Strauss that really melted my heart: a stunning performance from the fabulous soprano Gail Pearson, Taylor and his fine band.

We also heard the college song, which is actually quite fun, and an extra work by Alun Hoddinott, the latter inserted as a tribute to the composer, who had died very recently and who was a former head of the Cardiff department.

At the concert we also had the pleasure of Kat's company, she having arrived in Cardiff on Wednesday.

After this terrific evening's music we went our separate ways, the young persons to the post-concert party and Deb and I to our B&B.

IMG_8644 The said B&B was utterly excellent. Billed as "Cardiff's Only Exclusive & Gay Boutique Bed & Breakfast", Ty Rosa is a pleasant house, with Tardis-like properties, in a quiet street. I so wish I'd discovered it years ago as I would never have stayed anywhere else. Hosts Stuart and Paul are really nice people and we appreciated their kind, warm welcome. Oh and their dog Max is a sweetie. He's some kind of rather large black labrador cross and is the perfect chap for amusing and schmoozing the guests, but is also extremely well-behaved and knows when to stay away: I suspect that if you were dog-phobic, and mentioned it, you would probably never see him.

We'd got the impression that our late arrival at the B&B meant we'd only be able to have bar snacks, having not ordered dinner. (We'd hoped to eat earlier with Lottie but had run out of time, just seeing her for a minute before the concert to say hello and to meet Kat.)

However, as soon as we'd arrived, Stuart was offering us pretty much the whole dinner menu and brushing aside our concerns about the lateness. Thus reassured we ordered a sumptuous, delicious dinner: Deb had a slightly-spicy lasagne and I had a beautiful, creamy chicken and tarragon pie, the memory of which is still making me smile right now. Yes indeedy.

Our room, right up at the very top of the house, was as comfortable and cosy as you could wish - oh, and wonderfully quiet too. The house is not on a major road, but it is a bus route, albeit not perhaps a frantically busy one: nevertheless it was very peaceful there, and in particular it was more so than at home. Very nice.


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