I’m now back at university, which means that my blogging routine can really take off – it got totally side-tracked in the last couple of weeks whilst I was back home! On the other hand, it’s meant that I’ve plenty to blog about, so here’s a quick run-down not just of the last week, but of my Easter holiday highlights!
In the second week of the holiday I was lucky enough to attend the theatre not once but twice to see the English Touring Opera’s performances of both Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Iphigénie en Tauride by Gluck. Don Giovanni was G’s first opera and we really couldn’t have asked for a better introduction – the cast and orchestra were phenomenal and we were all utterly blown away by the stunning performances all round. Mum and I went to see the Gluck together; it was in French with surtitles and we had no idea what to expect, but what we found was something really quite extraordinary. Mezzo-soprano Catherine Carby was incredible, and the production itself was as shocking and dark as I’ve ever seen a piece of theatre. In short, I’ve completely run out of superlatives to describe the ETO, but go and see them if you can.
Easter weekend at home was wonderful. G and I made the most of the sunny weather on Good Friday and headed to Blickling Hall (along with half the county, or so it seemed) for a picnic and a long walk. On Easter Sunday we held our annual Easter Egg Hunt which is the one time in the year when my sister and I become ultra-competitive – only to carefully and completely equally split up all the goods between us, right down to the colours of mini-egg shells.
The following week, Mum and I took a daytrip out to Pensthorpe. If you’re ever in the area, I can’t recommend this amazing place highly enough. It’s a natural park and conservation project with a focus on birds, including a flock of flamingoes and several species of cranes. There’s miles to walk around and so much to do for children, too – I’ve been going with my family for as long as I can remember, so it was wonderful to revisit and see how it’s changed, and how it hasn’t.
On the way back we stopped off at the nearby North Elmham Church, which was wonderful to see. I was amazed to find they had a manual organ, an electric organ, a pipe organ, a baby grand piano and a harpsichord! I’ve never heard of it being a particularly musical church but I’m hoping to find out more soon – it was such a joy to find a harpsichord just down the road from where we lived.
Outside the church in the graveyard we stumbled upon a group of lambs. I absolutely adore lambs and these guys just made me completely melt; they all had their own personalities and expressions, and just stared at me as I took their picture.
As my birthday neared, Mum and I stuck to tradition and went on a shopping trip in Norwich. She took me to the amazing Country and Eastern at the old skating rink next to the police station by the Forum. I’d never heard of it but fell in love instantly – the range of rugs, clothing and artefacts from all over India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and more was just incredible.
Our trip after that was a little more typical – various clothes shops to pick out some bits for my birthday the following Tuesday. I’ll be blogging this in a lot more detail in the coming days as it was such a wonderful day, but for now here’s how it began (at six-thirty in the morning) and ended (at the same time in the evening).
G took both the Tuesday and the Wednesday off for my birthday, so after a lovely riding lesson in the morning we spent the following day at his setting up my brand-new laptop before going for a golden-hour bike ride.
He also took the Friday off for another special occasion: we, along with my wonderful orchestra friends Billie and Heather, took a road trip down to Cambridge for the day. We had such a perfect time aimlessly wandering around the sunny town, having a meal out and going on a hysterical punt tour on the Cam, where we were lucky enough to spot a kingfisher on the river.
Our main reason for being there, though, was for the Norfolk County Youth Orchestra’s Easter concert that evening at West Road Concert Hall. They were lucky enough to have Peter Donohoe CBE performing with them, playing Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto, along with Sibelius’ Finlandia (one of my all-time favourite works) and Shostakovich’s fifth symphony. It really was such a joy to hear them play so well; it was my first time ever hearing the orchestra without playing in it, and I was so impressed. What’s more, it was just wonderful to catch up with everyone – players and staff alike. I’ve not seen most of them since the end of our tour to Germany last July, and I can’t put into words how glad I was to see everyone again. It was such a perfect day with amazing people.
That pretty much brings us up to now – I spent Saturday at G’s until I had to pack in the evening, and today we’ve driven up to York and I’ve spent the afternoon unpacking everything again. My Fresher’s Diary post on Wednesday will talk a bit more about my feelings towards this term, but for now I need to get some rest.
How’s your week been? What have you been reading, watching and listening to? What are your plans for the coming week?
Let’s have a conversation – comment below!
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