Friday, 4 January 2013

Bath, Bands and Baking

The run-up to Christmas is a busy time, even if you're like me and try to avoid as much of the hype as humanly possible.  And then of course there's the recovery period, which takes at least as long!  So here's a quick update of what's been happening since I saw you last:

1.  Bath
For my Mum's birthday we went to the gorgeous city of Bath to explore the Christmas Market.  I'd never been there before, and as well as enjoying all the stalls we got to do visit the Abbey, take in some carol singing, watch fudge being made by hand and see the River Avon busting its banks after a weekend of torrential rainfall.  We stood on Pultney Bridge and could see several canal boats that had been washed up onto the path.  We were a bit concerned about their owners getting back to the bank, but fortunately no one was in them at the time.

The E3 Theatre group were singing carols for charity.  As a musical family we're not easily impressed by performers, but after a quick adjustment to the sound system we ended up hanging around for about half an hour to listen.  It was really professionally put together set, with some very talented and hard-working singers.

I love cathedrals.  This is no secret, so it was great to get a chance to go inside Bath Abbey.  Check out the incredible ceiling on this place!  I don't think I've ever seen stone carving like that on a ceiling before.

 I also got a chance to visit the Roman Baths, which has one of the best museums round it I've been to in a while.  Walking round it made quite an impression on me, so it's getting it's own post later on.  Standing there in the winter cold, watching the steam rise from the hot springs was pretty special.

And the Royal Crescent.  Of course.  We are tourists after all.

We also stopped off at the Fudge Kitchen, just in time to see some hand-made fudge being rolled out on a massive marble table.  It begins life as hot treacle held inside metal bars, and as it cools and solidifies this very witty man folds it into a fudgey column of sugary goodness.

 2. Mumford & Sons
Thanks to a heads up from my sister Emma, I managed to snag a ticket to the Mumford & Sons concert when they visited Birmingham.  The photos here are from Emma's camera, and you can see how close we are to the front.  In an arena of thousands, we're about 20 metres from the stage.  It was a great night, with three warm-up acts including the hilarious Piff the Magic Dragon with his dog Mr Piffles.

Piff takes a bow 

There were also half a dozen consecutive encores, including one where the band left the stage and then suddenly appeared at the back of the arena about 30secs later.  They played an acoustic number and then did the same thing again, re-appearing on stage for a mass encore including all the warm-up acts.  Epic stuff.

There was a LOT of dancing, a little bit of photo-bombing, and a great time was had by all.

3. I won!
Last but not least, I re-entered the mince pie making competition at this year's Festive Folk gig.  Last year I came second to the extremely deserving Mel with her homemade mincemeat.  But this year I had a go at the handmade stuff too, and the Barnett & Russell Cranberry and Ginger Wine mincemeat emerged victorious!

And that's how we roll in this house.  Sadly that mincemeat, which turned out to be my favourite, is all gone now.  I'll just have to make some more next year!

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