Friday, 27 June 2014

Busy Times Around Framlingham

You would think that after almost three weeks of holiday activity we would wind down a bit this week now that we're back home in Suffolk. But we're hell bent on cramming everything we can into this retirement (you only get one) so Monday night saw us at the Snape Maltings Concert Hall for a piano recital by Pierre-Laurent Aimard about which more later.

On Tuesday we did a bit of catching up around the house before heading to recently opened The Framlingham Wine Shop for an evening of wine tasting. The evening was themed around Italian wines and Richard, the proprietor, had a cracking selection which we enjoyed tasting and, having walked to the shop, enjoyed drinking without spitting too. Everyone who went agreed that it was a great success and we went home with half a dozen bottles to add to the haul that we brought back from France.

Wednesday was relatively peaceful but as we headed into Framlingham yesterday we saw that Market Hill had been transformed into a film set as a crew were setting up to film scenes from Mackenzie Crook's forthcoming comedy series. They had taken over the wonderful Panorama which sells the most eclectic mix of cards and nicknacks and turned it into "Maggie's Shop" for the show. As Crook plays an avid metal detectorist in the programme, and it's being filmed here, he's certain of at least one regular viewer - let's just hope that the town (and my hobby) are shown in favourable light. You never know, if it's a roaring success we could become another Holmfirth whose business owners dined out on the success of Last Of The Summer Wine for years and probably still do.

We were walking through the town early on our way to Framlingham College where we were catching a minibus for a trip to Cambridge organised by Framsoc the excellent society run by the college. Tony Lawrence (far left in the photo) had arranged a marvellous day out for us.

We started with a scenic punt trip along the river behind many of the colleges. The punter handled the boat perfectly and provided a potted history as we glided along sipping glasses of cool prosecco in warm sunshine - a highly recommended experience. Contact The Cambridge Punting Company for more details. After the punting we enjoyed lunch in the old chapel MichaelHouse Cafe a most unusual place which is still in use for religious ceremonies whilst the inner chapel is surrounded by diners enjoying their meals.

We then had a couple of hours to ourselves so Marion and I went to have a look around the lovely Clare College Gardens where we sat and read before heading back up to meet the other FramSoc members for a guided tour of Pembroke College. Pembroke has strong ties with Framlingham and the college as Framlingham's historic philanthropist Sir Robert Hitcham granted lands to Pembroke way back in the 1600's. The Chaplain gave us a fascinating tour before entertaining us with tea and cakes in one of the inner sanctums. It was yet another superb event organised by FramSoc - a society that everyone in the town should consider joining.

We were home in time to get to The Railway for the monthly quiz which was starting up again after Ian, the quizmaster's, brief sabbatical. Our team scored a creditable 67(ish) points which was only seven behind the winners but unfortunately all the other teams scored  a few more so we took the wooden spoon.

We let ourselves down in the quiz with the classical section of the music rounds where we mixed up La Boheme with Carmen and Tosca with La Traviata, which leads me back to that piano recital at Snape. Aimard was absolutely incredible. He gave a truly virtuoso performance that had the audience shouting "bravo" and raising the rafters with applause but, whilst I admired his sheer brilliance and his mastery of the keys, I am afraid that the music (Symphonic Etudes) left me cold and reminded me very much of Eric Morecambe's immortal aside to Andre Previn "I'm playing ALL the right notes - but not necessarily in the right order". We're off to more of the Aldeburgh Festival tomorrow  - it's Brahms and Mozart which may perhaps be easier for a Philistine like me to enjoy.