Monday, 7 May 2012

A Smashing Time In The Ribble Valley

We went over to Ribchester yesterday to visit friends Mark and Nita Jones. We spent the afternoon watching Manchester City get within touching distance of the Premier League trophy and then went for a very late lunch at The Assheton Arms in nearby Downham. The sun was shining and, being Bank Holiday Sunday, it was no surprise that the pub was packed. Fortunately Mark had the foresight to reserve a table and we enjoyed an excellent meal and wine before heading off to Clitheroe.

Mark and Nita had booked to see Clare Teal who was closing the Clitheroe Jazz Festival at the Grand Theatre. I went with some trepidation as jazz is not my usual cup of tea and I had not heard of Clare Teal before Mark told us about the event. But I needn't have worried; she is a fabulous artiste. Accompanied by a fantastic trio on grand piano, double bass and percussion, Clare performed for two hours mixing a little traditional jazz with a helping of ballads and covers of classics by favourites like Annie Lennox and Snow Patrol. She has the winning combination of a tremendous voice and a sparkling personality and she certainly deserved her rapturous applause from a full house. Her final song Chasing Cars was sung with such feeling that Marion was moved to tears. We enjoyed the concert so much that we bought two CDs in the interval and we very much look forward to seeing Ms Teal perform again. 

I haven't blogged since our Orange Wednesday visit to VUE in Southport when we saw Avengers Assemble 3D. It's probably the best comic book hero movie that we've seen. I know that these films are daft but there's good daft and there's bad daft and this one is very firmly in the good camp. The film is well scripted with plenty of laughs from good one liners and the action is visually stunning; even if it's all done with computers, it's convincing enough for you to sit back and escape into a world of incredible invading aliens from another galaxy. The actors take their roles seriously; Robert Downey Jnr as Iron Man has the same charismatic twinkle in his performance that made him such a likeable Sherlock Holmes and Tom Hiddleston almost steals the show with his wicked Loki. At 142 minutes it's long but it didn't feel like it and that's a credit to Joss Whedon who has made an immensely entertaining film.

With all our plans for renovating the house in Framlingham we're going to make a visit to Excel in London's Docklands one day this week. It's not only an opportunity to get some ideas for the house but it's also our first chance to see Paul and Josephine together since Christmas. Lets hope that when we're in Suffolk we never have to go that long between visits.

Although I've been sounding like Victor Meldrew with my views on football on the blog recently, now and then something good crops up in the sport and even Victor would be hard pressed not to smile at this photo that swept around Twitter like wildfire at the weekend. Seems that Hartlepool fans descended on London en masse for their game with Charlton, dressed as Smurfs. What, with electing a monkey as mayor, it looks like there's no shortage of humour in Hartlepool. 

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