It’s A Washout

Well, at least there was no hose pipe ban this year.
It was rain, rain and more rain.
But rain has its upside with lawns looking a healthy shade of green, trees and flowers flourishing, but not great for the many outdoor festivities we associates with summer. It stopped and was followed by the hottest summer on record. Which is worse?

This pales into insignificance compared to the earthquake in the remote areas of Morocco and also in the famous and historical MEDINA in Marrakesh. And in the last day or so, reports of fatal flooding in LIBYA. Have we ignored Climate Change for too long? It seems so.

And then a disaster at the famous Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert where torrential rain flooded the Playa (the hardened dry desert land) resulting in mud so deep and the recent flood made it impossible for people to leave the area and the heat was intense.

Glyndebourne is the opera festival which dates back to the 1940s when Sir George Christie opened his home and glorious gardens as a summer opera house. Over the years the festival has been an iconic opera event attracting singers, musicians and conductors from all over the world and a sophisticated audience with many picnic-ing on the manicured lawns. A sight to behold.

picnickers on the lawn on a perfect night at Glyndebourne

TheEye has taken pleasure in walking around during the interval surreptitiously eyeing the picnics and giving them her personal rating which start high with elaborately set tables complete with candelabras, vases of flowers and plateaus of delicacies, down to the frankly awful – carrier bags from Tesco with crisps, the dullest of supermarket dips and other edibles better as a children’s party spread. But if they are happy, it’s not for TheEye to poke a finger.

TheEye has to admit to not being a great opera fan and she has gamely sat though many long hours nodding off.
This year it was a Semele by Handel opera and although sung in English there were subtitles and even then quite difficult to understand. As usual in most operas, the plot is quite implausible. In this opera Semele is carried away by the God Jove disguised as a giant eagle and so it goes on…and on.

Curtain Calls for Semele

Great conductor, lovely singing, but by the tine the curtain went down, TheEye was ready to start the journey to London.

The Carnival, on Bank Holiday weekend, is controversial in the extreme.

Painting one of the protective barricades in Westbourne Grove

Stores and houses barricade themselves in to keep revellers at bay. This is at their own expense. A friend of TheEye went away returning in the early hours of Tuesay morning to find a crowd of threatening young men in front of her doorway covered in grafitti.

The police have a nightmare to deal with as a deputy assistant commissioner commented. “Without disputing the significance of the Carnival on London’s cultural calendar. The overhelming majority of people have a great time, but stabbings and sexual assaults and attacks on officers are increasing.”
This year the violence reached the highest level in seven years, marring the two day spectacle.
Many of the knife crimes, using machetes and ‘zombie knives’ (TheEye has no idea what a zombie knife is, or where individuals buy them). It has been announced that ‘knives with no practical purpose that are designed to look threatening will become illegal.’
It is terrifying to read that knife crime is up 34 per cent on 2010.

TheEye and her family left London for the gentle countryside. The Carnival momentum builds up over the weekend. Saturday is really a ‘setting up’ and rehearsal day largely at The Tabernacle, where last year TheEye spotted the now King and Queen visiting and talking to some Carnival participants, admiring their incredible costumes and watching some of the jugglers and acrobats practicing over tea with the organizers. By Monday when the booze and drugs kick in and troublemakers come from all parts of the city, it all changes for the worse.

There is something rejuvinating about even a short break to revie the spirts and relax the body.
Walks in the countryside, even when the weather is less than perfect. The air is so much better and seeing things grow and blossom. We saw the baby lambs and it seemed idyllic.

All too soon the idyll was over and was back to the real world and a final treat – a visit to the Albert Hall and a concert, part of the BBC Proms of Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ played from memory by the extraordinary Aurora Orchestra.
Written for Diaghelev’s Ballet Russe, it caused a riot when it was premiered in Paris in 1913.
Performed from memory with conductor Nicholas Colon, it’s extrememly challenging. The first part is a ‘dramatic exploration’ to introduce the audience to the origins of the music which is almost a household name thanks to its use in Disney’s Fantasia.

An eventful Bank Holiday! and now it really is ‘life’ as normal as it can be.
See you all soon.



  1. As always a terrific mix of events to remember from Summer 2023 X Flea

  2. Hello Janice, I love your stories!!! I hope you and your family are all well. My best, Carola

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