Thursday, 26 August 2010

Osterley Park: 'Upstairs...Downstairs' Tour

Quite late in putting this up, but I attended both parts of the 'Upstairs...Downstairs' Tour held at Osterley Park. Before then, I had never gone into House, though when I was younger, my family used to buy a few things from the farmer's market. So, when I heard about this tour, literally two days before the first part of the tour was due to commence, I signed myself up, mainly because the history buff in me was called to the fore. If it's two things I love, it's History and Science...not so much the wars, but more on the lifestyle and civilisation. Also, I thought it would be good research for a project I'm working on.

The tour was broken into two parts - the Upstairs tour was held on 18th April and detailed the life of the Child family and their guests. The Downstairs tour was held on 15th August and covered the life of the servants, who were further separated by a hierarchy based on role. I found the life of the servants to be more interesting than the life of the Childs, though I'm sure this is probably because it's been 3 months since the Upstairs tour - perhaps I should have written about the first half then...

Bulbmania at Kew

This Saturday 28th August, marks the opening of the Bulbmania Exhibition at Kew Gardens. The exhibition celebrates the beauty of bulbs and features a wonderful collection of paintings that are on display at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art - the only gallery in the world dedicated to the subject.

Featured artists include Georg Dionysius Ehret, who was the most highly regarded botanical artist of the 18th century, the prolific botanical artist Lillian Snelling and the contemporary, award-winning, Pandora Sellars.

There will also be works from Dr. Sherwood from her contemporary collection of botanical art illustrating what goes on under the soil. Paintings include Coral Guest’s Lilium regale painted in 2007 to create a pair with the black Iris ‘Superstition’ that she painted in 2005. There will also be an opportunity to see Susannah Blaxhill’s Beetroot which is a favourite of Dr Sherwood and demonstrates how botanical illustration can make a common vegetable look remarkable.

The event has also inspired a "Drop-in Art Workshop" at the gallery on 30/08/2010 from 10:00 to 16:30. Visitors and families are invited by artist, Stuart Simler, to take part in creating a large-scale collaborative art work.

The exhibition runs until 03/01/2011.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Feature: Welsh Guard Military Tattoo

We have quite a musical week in store; starting with tomorrow's Welsh Guard Military Tattoo, the week also plays host to the Hampton Court Palace Beer and Jazz Festival. More information on the latter event can be read here.

The tattoo is in honour of the London Welsh RFC's 125th Anniversary and features performances from the Regimental Band of the Welsh Guards, the Corps of Drums and the London Welsh Rugby Club Choir.

Througout the event, the London Welsh minis are giving demostrations, supported by the London Welsh 1st XV players. There will also be an inflatable assault course and interactive army displays for the kids to try.

With some further forms of entertainment, such as 'Gun Races' (though not with real guns), the event will culminate in a grand finale in which the audience will be asked to join in the singing with the Band and Choir, before a spectacular firework display. There will also be a number of stalls and vendors, giving the event a further Welsh feel, with Glasfryn Farm Shop selling their Welsh Black Beef Burgers, made from farm-raised Welsh Black Beef, and Mootown selling and doing tastings of their Welsh Cheeses and Cakes.

Don't miss out on this great event. All proceeds go to the Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal.

The event starts at 6.30pm and tickets are available at the door at £5.00 for Adults; Children Under 16 go FREE.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Feature: Sunbury and Junior Regatta

Promising to be a fun and action-packed weekend for all, the Sunbury and Junior Regatta takes place on Rivermead Island.

The races for the Sunbury Regatta begin at 9:00am and the day is a mixture of club skiffing and punting, as well as a range of popular local events. To add variety to the day, there are a lot of stalls and side-shows to keep you entertained and for the younger audience, there is face-painting and puppet shows. In the evening the grand event culminates in an open-air concert with performances from local bands and singers, with a spectacular fireworks show to close the day.

After the the intense events of the previous day, the Junior Regatta is held to give children a chance to compete at various levels in different classes. Races commence from 10.30am to 5.30pm; the main events being Singles and Doubles dinghy racing divided into Junior (7-11 years) and Senior (12-15 years) groups.

It may be a bit late to enter the race and the weather doesn't seem to be all that promising, but rain or shine the event promises to go on regardless. Everyone is welcome to watch the race and are encouraged to take part in the festivities, as there is a lot more to the entertainment.

For more information, visit the website.

Sunbury Regatta: Saturday 14th August
Junior Regatta: Sunday 15th August

Feature: England 2010 Special Exhibition

With the 6th Women's Rugby World Cup coming up - kick-off is at the new grounds of the Surrey Sports Park, Guildford - Twickenham Stadium has put in place a special England 2010 Exhibition, which will run from now until next Spring.

The exhibition will profile each of the competing teams, the venues, and tournament structure for England 2010, providing the perfect introduction to the anticpated event. It will detail the history of the Women’s World Cup, since its inaugural championship in 1991, and will examine the roots of the Women’s game - recalling the tale of Emily Valentine, a humble Irish girl who is dubbed the ‘female Webb-Ellis’. Also being covered is the little known sport of 'Barette', a sport that was closely related to Rugby and became popular in 1920s France.

Finally the exhibition will take a look at what is involved in a Rugby World Cup, from the point of view of a player, in the museum's ‘Player’s Experience’ section. A variety of iconic posters, objects, and images from the earliest days of the game, and previous World Cups will be on show, including the IRB World Cup itself, which will be housed within the exhibition until it is presented to the winner on September 5th at the Twickenham Stoop.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

King Henry VIII's Greatest Hits Competition

The stage: Hampton Court Palace; The star: King Henry VIII; The tracks: a range of top tunes, two of which were written by the man himself; The task...

...depends on your preference really - to write your own track or shoot your own video.

Historic Royal Palaces have launched a rather inspired competition to challenge anyones creative juices. They have released a video of the notorious King and perfoming snippets of 5 songs - just who is he imitating? I'm sure it looks familiar...

As highlighted, the competition is to write you own track to the video or shoot your own video for the track; the materials needed (i.e. track and video) are available for download on the competition page. Winners will be picked by the King after the closing date, Friday 1st October 2010. Five lucky names, with up to four friends or family each, will win a visit to Hampton Court Palace and an audience with his Highness.

Good luck to all who enter!
Competition Details: click here
Video: click here

P.S. For any interested parties, tonight is apparently the best opportunity to catch the Perseid Meteor Shower after 22:00 GMT. It's supposed to be clear skies and if you can make out the Moon, look just to the left (though it's supposed to fill the whole sky) or for those who know their astrology, look around the Perseus Constellation.

Yeah...I'm a space-nut.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Feature: Hampton Court Palace Beer and Jazz Festival

A little late with the posting of this, but we have had a bit of a busy time in the office, what with throwing ourselves into polishing our preparations and offers for the upcoming Great River Race.

The existence of this event was brought to my attention by my MD with a simple placing of a colourful leaflet. Needless to say, it was the prospect of getting drunk on the grounds of Hampton Court Palace that caught my imagination first, after's Hampton Court Palace! Then there's Jazz...I don't know enough about Jazz to make an opinion, but what I have heard I getting drunk with Jazz in the background invokes an image of 'moody' delirium if you get my drift...Also, there's Hampton Court Palace again - it'll be like stepping through time and partying with the Monarchs of old - an experience sure to tickle the Palace's memory, considering it played host to a number of parties and celebrations!


Okay, joking aside, this is the 2nd year the event is running and I'm not encouraging getting senselessly drunk - that's a daft thing to do - what I am encouraging is to go to the event, partake of a drink or two - perhaps try a drink you were curious about - and enjoy the music. There's food available to buy and a range of tipples to choose from - if you're not sure if you'll like something, you're free to ask for a small sample to aid in the decision-making. Oh and if I haven't mentioned it already, there's Jazz performed by a selection of top musicians!

The event runs from Friday 27th to Monday 30th August and the line-up for each day is:
  • Size Nine - 27th August (3.30pm-5.00pm)
  • Snowboy - 27th August (6.00pm-7.30pm)
  • James Taylor Quartet - 27th August (8.30pm-10.00pm)
  • Ronnie Scott's All Stars - 28th August (3.30pm-5.00pm)
  • Ruby Turner - 28th August (6.00pm-7.30pm)
  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band - 28th August (8.30pm-10.00pm)
  • James Pierson Trio - 29th August (3.30pm-5.00pm)
  • Mike Lindup (Level 42) & Friends - 29th August (6.00pm-7.30pm)
  • Tony Hadley and his Swing Band - 29th August (8.0pm-10.00pm)
  • The Deep Mo - 30th August (3.30pm-5.00pm)
  • Incognito - 30th August (6.00pm-7.30pm)
  • Brand New Heavies - 30th August (8.30pm-10.00pm)