Monday, May 25, 2009

Let it shine...

Current work: Modern Heat
Listening to: John Martyn (DH's car has, um, limited choice - he's currently on a John Martyn fest, so John Martyn it is!)
Reading: next on TBA

We’ve been really lucky with the weather, this bank holiday weekend. I’ve been working (and the book’s flowing nicely at the moment – hope I haven’t jinxed it by saying that!) but also going out and about with the family.

Admittedly some of that’s been work, too – research trips. One was to Hethel, to visit the old thorn (which is also one of the smallest nature reserves in the country); as it was just behind the church, we did a teensy bit of churchcrawling. In this part of the world, a square 11th-century tower is a bit unusual (they’re usually round).

There was also a stunning 17th-century alabaster monument I couldn’t resist. (He's wearing lawyer's robes.)

Sunday was a lazyish day. And I knew the azaleas would be out at one of my favourite places (which happens to be in one of the new nonfics as well, and I really needed a new updated pic).

This is Blickling Hall, the finest Jacobean house in the country. Actually, we didn’t wander through the house yesterday, just the garden. I wanted to go last week, when the bluebells were out, but it was rainy and DH wasn’t in the mood. This week, it was just lovely. The wisteria looked stunning (and oh for a corner of a garden like this, for writing purposes).

The azaleas were out. This is my youngest flower - dreadful pun intended. Eldest had his eyes shut, or he'd be there too.

The sky was so blue that the lake looked fantastic.
(My RNA-shortlisted book, Sold to the Highest Bidder, features a lake that looks remarkably like this.)
Both kids like Blickling as much as DH and I do. Madam summed it up as 'a place that makes you feel all warm inside'. And I have to admit that there’s something magical about the place. Lying on the grass in front of the lake (well, a bit further back, where it’s cleaner and the geese haven’t, um, marked their territory) with DH as a pillow, drowsing in the sun… Now that’s a perfect afternoon.

In the evening, DH insisted on a barbecue. Daughter was desperate to watch Britain's Got Talent afterwards, and as it’s half term we’re allowing her to stay up late and enjoy it. It was good entertainment (well, I had to walk out during Nick Hell's spot - a bit too much for me), until the very end. when I think most parents watching that probably had the same ‘arrgh’ moment as I did.
Poor little Natalie really needed someone with her on stage when the judges cast the final vote. The moment when the presenter asked her how she felt and the camera trained on her as she burst into tears – that was NOT good television, in my view. Just mean. Why on earth didn’t one of them just give her a cuddle and quietly help her off stage without the cameras? For pity’s sake, there were two of them, and she was ten years old, on a huge stage, with millions of people viewing at home, just as her dreams had been burst. A little kindness would’ve gone a long way. She did so well to get that far (and if she'd performed a song that showcased her voice better, she probably would’ve gone in to the semis, which made the result even sadder). I could imagine my own child in that position and it was just heartbreaking.

The three I’d most like to see in the final are singers Susan Boyle and Jamie Pugh, and saxophonist Julian Smith. It'd be so wonderful if the judges could break the rules and give all three of them their moment in front of the Queen. I hope they all get wonderful recording deals. (Sorry, dancers. I know you work incredibly hard and an awful lot goes into choreography; but dance doesn't move me the way music does.)
I certainly wouldn’t have the nerve to get up and sing or play in front of all those people, so hats off to all of them for giving it a go.


Caroline said...

Blickling Hall looks lovely. It's on my "visit list" for sure. I share your sentiment with BGT - poor Natalie - it was heartbreaking to see her on the stage like that. Ant and Dec did go over to her - in the end - but she should have had her mum with her I think. Take care. Caroline x

Kate Hardy said...

Caroline, it's utterly gorgeous. It's ruined me for a lot of other NT places - the library is just stunning! (I also appreciate the dressing up box for the littlies...)

My DH said exactly what you did: they should've let Natalie's mum be with her for that bit. Poor little mite.

Hopefullu they'll be a bit kinder to any other littlies who don't make it to the next round.

Jan Jones said...

Glad you've had a nice bank hol. And I agree that Blickling is fab.

But oh, that 2nd photo down! I just LOVE they way he's lying there with his head propped on his hand.

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks so much for the wisteria, Kate. Utterly beautiful and yes, wouldn't it be a glorious spot to sit and write. Except I wouldn't. I'd just look. I do my best stuff sitting facing a blank wall!

I'm with Jan on the second photograph. Just beautiful.

Kate Hardy said...

Jan - I knew you'd like the monument :o)

Kate Hardy said...

Liz - really? Blank wall? (Mind you, I do lean back in my chair and look at my lovely inspiring pics - Beachcombers and October Mist - but I'm telling myself that's thinking time...)