Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Dickens of a Day

Today was another fantastic day. Martha and I tackled some pancakes *and* some gardening in the morning. All things are better after pancakes and a brisk walk. The weeds were enjoying last week's fine weather and we had a good amount to pull up today. It is almost time to start thinking about spring garden design!

Afterward it was time to go back to the Dickens Festival. The first stop was to see my friends and make sure their hands were not idle! Iwas in time to hear Mr Wilde's lecture on "Art and Handicrafts" which was quite good. Taken from his lecture series in Phildelphia while he was on his American tour, he stressed to us the importance of beauty, good design and quality craftsmanship in everyday items.

I meandered around the fair a bit more, checked out the vendors and appreciated their wares (but none came home with me this year) and admired all the lovely gentlemen, ladies and fine Victorian dress.

I was late for Mr Dickens' talk, but just in time to speak with Ms Keller who presented the history of tea lecture yesterday. We had a lovely long chat about tea, England, the silk road, spinning and how rude it is for people to try and disturb Mr Dickens' lecture. No seating after it has begun!

Of course, I stayed for the tea lecture and it was another fine frolic. Things to remember: Isabella Beeton codified proper tea procedures in her book of household management; Anna Duchess of Bedford began the tradition of "afternoon tea" in home as habit for genteel ladies; the opium wars were about tea; the movement to ease the restrictive clothing of ladies began after a serving girl in a tea room had an "incident"; and it is a good idea to warm two pots when preparing tea - one to steep the tea and another to hold the finished tea without the leaves (pour from one to the other). What a simple idea!

The last item of the day was a production of Barnaby Rudge that was really not what I expected or very good. It was not helped by the hecklers in the first row. Naughty, naughty hecklers. They started to reenact a few scenes from the book when the authors of the show all made an appearance and shared some fine banter onstage.

(Far left, Poe. Center, Barnaby Rudge. To his right, Oscar Wilde and Charles Dickens)

Mr Poe gave a recitation of "The Raven" which thrilled us and Mr Wilde made a witty observation on the state of Mr Rudge's intellect. I also learned that Mr Dickens' first published work was "The Pickwick Papers". Now I know.

After that, all that was left was to run into an old knitting friend and trade email addresses and then help the No Idle Hands pack up for the night. A quick stop to the bank to deposit money and to the store for milk & cat food rounded out the night. Just enough time left for a blog post, a bath and an early bedtime. I forgot to lock up two of the cockatiels this afternoon (thank goodness I closed the door against the cats) and now Mustardseed is snuggling up against my ear, asking for head scratches. A perfect day in every way!

No comments: