Monday, May 19, 2008

Millbrookers do culture

Saturday was culture day for emigrés from Millbrook as we mounted an assault on Saltram House to view Cousin Dave's art exhibition in the Old Chapel Gallery. Dong was particularly pleased to be out on licence from his usual habitat of the Mark and the D&C; see how he expressed his delight at the wide open spaces in the shot above. Shazzerooneypoos and Liability Meeson took a more muted approach to their temporary un-Millbrooking.

Frankenkeith was also in the party, nobly acting as chauffeur for Mrs The Millbrooker and me with his fine silver carriage from the Ford factory. Here he is in Saltram gardens as Dong explains all about World War Two tank inspection pits. Or something.

We soon reached the Old Chapel Gallery and the upstairs space has been given over to the "Before They Are Famous" exhibition featuring works by leading young artists from the area, including our very own Cousin Dave (who is not remotely young, but is new on the fine art scene, so he got in on that basis). Here's a shot of some of his work. Remember - buy some now while you can still afford it!
Dong left a short and succinct message in the gallery's visitors' book before we set off for a brief circuit of the garden closest to the house. Liability decided she had to have cake, so in short order we found ourselves in the National Trust cafe downing sweet crumbly things. Unusually, Dong passed on the opportunity for a cold beer and contented himself with a stainless steel pot of tea. His temperature appeared normal, so we decided not to call the ambulance immediately.

There was soon a plan, however, to head to the Barbican for a beer. Needless to say it was Dong's plan. So all was evidently well with him despite the minor aberration in the Saltram cafe.

We found our way to my favourite pub in Plymouth, The Dolphin, which serves a truly excellent pint of Bass; here we are (minus Mrs The Millbrooker who is behind the lens) enjoying a pint of the scrummy stuff. Well, three of us did; the other three, being lager swilling ASBO seekers, missed out on a terrific drinking experience by downing halves of their preferred tipple.

Dinner was taken at La Tasca; we stuffed ourselves stupid with a dazzling array of tapas including the famous Spanish meatballs, some yummy seafood selections and a delicious lamb thingy. All washed down with a couple of bottles of really rather decent Rioja.

This was followed by the day's highlight, and indeed original purpose, a concert in St Andrew's church entitled The Mozart Experience. Richie "comb over" Meeson joined his lovely Liability (and therefore the rest of us as well) at the church having missed out on the rest of the day's activities through labouring away at his chosen trade.

We were treated by the Ten Tors Orchestra and University of Plymouth Choral Society to the Kyrie in D minor, Symphony 34, the overture and three arias from The Marriage of Figaro and finally the Coronation Mass. The church was pretty well packed and the largely amateur performers gave a stunning performance. Dong and Frankenkeith both concentrated on the music during the first pieces by closing their eyes and listening hard (that's what they told us, anyway), but decided to watch the performance as well as listen (and make sleepy snuffling noises) for the latter part of the concert.

We're going to be looking out for more concerts by this lot - they really were spot on; the professional soloists adding a depth to the sound , and the orchestra and chorus offering a delicate, yet powerful interpretation of some of Wolfgang Amadeus' sublime music.

What a great day Mrs The Millbrooker and I had, ending up (oh, quel surprise) at the D&C for a last one before heading back to Millbrooker Towers. Many thanks to Frankenkeith for driving us around.

There's a complete set of the day's photos on the complete photosets link on the right hand side of this blog. I haven't captioned them; I haven't had the time - but they are there for all to see.

Chin chin.

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