Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Somerset!

Last weekend, during the start of this blasted heat wave, we explored Wells and Glastonbury. Yes, it was sweaty and exhausting, but the glorious sun certainly made for great photos. (click the pics to enlarge!)

We settled into our Dulcote B&B Thursday night, and the next morning we took the bus to Glastonbury. Seeing as I've been obsessed with Arthurian legends for decades, it was high time to visit this storied area.


First on the agenda was Glastonbury Tor. Quite a steep climb up, but the views from the top were glorious.


Next was Glastonbury Abbey. The ruins, situated amidst 36 beautifully maintained acres, were glorious for wandering.


I got to hold a bird of prey! The lovely lady on my arm is Breeze, a barn owl. She was born in captivity, but her patience with visitors earns funds for Raptor Rescue. After parting with Breeze, we visited the lily pond (full of ginormous carp), learned about badger setts, and gaped at the ruined walls and arches of the abbey.

We spent quite a bit of time in Wells, which was only a 20 minute walk across a pasture from Dulcote. For a cathedral city, it's rather small and cozy (in fact, it's the smallest cathedral city in England), and by the end of our stay Steve and I were both quite smitten. (And as you may already know, Wells made a perfect location for the suspiciously perfect town of Sandford in Hot Fuzz. Hee!)


The cathedral is breathtaking! We went to a performance of Gregorian chants (a sung mass, actually) on Friday night, and for Saturday night Evensong we got to hear the choir of St. Mark's School in Dallas, TX. Small world, eh?

This weekend is Cheltenham and then . . . special visitors! More on that later.

[cross-posted at Livejournal]

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Filming in Cambridge and . . . running away with the Circus!

Last weekend was all work and no play in Cambridge. Of course, it's always uplifting to be in the midst of such gorgeous surroundings, but we are not professional filmmakers by any means, so making a promo video for THE DARK BETWEEN took a lot of patience, creativity, and hard slog.

(And seeing myself on video? Very humbling, if not downright depressing.)


Anyhoo, after a sweaty, crowded train from London, we arrived to a rather frantic and swarming Cambridge. Apparently Open Days were wrapping up. By that evening, however, the streets were pretty calm (as you can see above).


On Saturday we met up with Harry, a PhD candidate at Corpus Christi College, who provided a fabulous insider's view of Cambridge and its history.


My favorite part of the day was revisiting Newnham College, the inspiration for Summerfield in THE DARK BETWEEN. Our past few visits have been during the gloom and rain, but the sun came forth with a vengeance for our filming expedition. Aren't the bright flowers wonderful?

This flurry of filming came to an end with a 3+ hour bus ride back to Oxford that took place at exactly the same time as the Wimbledon showdown between Murray and Djokovic. Alas! But hooray for Blighty!

Now . . . the circus. As far as I can remember, I never went to any sort of circus as a child and, to be honest, I never really wanted to -- clowns have always scared me. Last week when we saw the old timey wagons pulling into University Parks, I was skeptical. But then I read more about Gifford's Circus and learned that its founder, Nell Gifford, read English at Oxford before beginning her circus career. The reviews were positive (here's a fun recap with photos), so we decided to give it a go.

It was FABULOUS! A grand, old fashioned event under a tent with vaudeville comedy and music, magic shows, dressage demonstrations, and gasp-inducing acrobatics. At the end they invited all the kids to dance with the performers, and even after the performers left, the kids were still tumbling about, no doubt dreaming of running away with the circus. It warmed my heart, I tell you.


And really, where else are you going to see a fawn on a tightrope?

Have a great week everybody!

[Cross-posted to Livejournal]

Monday, July 1, 2013

Switzerland photo recap

We are settled in Oxford now, and I'm raring to get back to work, but first I'll share a few favorite photos from Switzerland. For the extended photo recap, check out my Flickr set.


Luzern's Chapel Bridge.


Lovely Löwendenkmal


Bears of Bern!


Alpine flowers


Gorgeous light on the mountainside above Mürren.

Stay tuned . . . next weekend is Cambridge!

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]