Some weeks ago Mavis asked if she could be part of a community opera. There was no fee, however as with all Mavis’s activities it was blooming miles away. Rehearsals lasted 2 – 3 hours, one evening per week.
Fortunately, as I am keen on writing, this period of uninterrupted time would be a bit of a bonus so permission was granted.
Mavis has been rehearsing for several weeks including three full days during the May half term break. As parents of a cast member we were offered complimentary tickets to a dress rehearsal of Mozart’s Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail which we accepted, mainly because we were interested in seeing the venue. As tickets are usually between £120 and £160 it was something of a good deal.
We had such a good time. The opera was wonderful, with sub titles for non German speakers (all of us!). It was funny and beautifully sung, partly in German, partly in English with a smattering of Spanish. The plot is too complicated to explain.
In the auditorium the acoustics seemed faultless to me although I’m no expert. It was a bit chilly because the structure. although covered, was open to the elements in places. The back of the stage opened onto the outside and on a couple of occasions a car was driven onto it.
The setting was spectacular, set in parkland in the Wormsley estate, a home of the Getty family. Modern sculptures adorned the lawns and the view from the reception deck was idyllic. We took wine and nibbles to tide us over the one hour interval but if I were to return I would take a picnic dinner – and a blanket!
We’re a bit strapped at the moment so I have started shopping around for cheaper food. Now I know this goes against all my principles but I’m afraid that ideals go awry when saving money is a priority.
That being said I am still looking for good quality products and so we have returned our custom from Tesco/Aldi to our wonderful farm shop for our eggs and Sunday joints – and bacon when I just can’t resist.
Aldi, though, has won me over. I’d like to commend the following for their cheapness and quality:
Lacura night cream and daytime moisturiser at £1.99 a pot
Lacura hand cream with Urea – sounds disgusting but it’s really good and I’ve been using it on my body too. My elbows are now as soft as the buttocks of a baby! £1.99
Hummus – you can really taste the tahini in it. 65p for 200g
Maris Piper chunky oven chips. £1.69 for 1.5 Kg
Quixo sage and onion stuffing and gravy granuals
Sweet Harvest tinned tomatoes – very tomatoey, not watery at all
Fresh fruit and veg – cheaper for similar quality
Bramwells tomato ketchup. 69p for 563g
Bramwells light mayonnaise. 75p for 500ml
Bramwells mayonnaise. 79p 500ml
Moser Roth chocolate. £1.09 100g
Austin’s Classic Summer Punch (fake Pimms). £5.99 for 75cl (£8 per litre against about £15 per litre for Pimms).
The main aim of Aldi seems to be to get you through the checkout as quickly as possible so don’t go there if you want a long gossip with the till person. While friendly, tellers seem to be targeted with getting as many customers through as they can.
This is how it works:
You fill your trolley
You join a checkout queue
You pile your purchases haphazardly onto the very long conveyor belt
You position your empty trolley the other side of the teller who flings your shopping at you as quickly – or quicker than you can get it back into that trolley.
A few items before the end he/she enquires, ‘Cash or card?’ So that you are ready to pay with as little delay as possible.
You wheel your refilled trolley to a nearby shelf and sort into your own bags (or you can pay for theirs) at your leisure.
I think this could be quite stressful for the elderly or clumsy but I have to say that now I have got used to it I find I have reduced my door to door shopping time by about half an hour.