Wednesday

A Great British Menu from a Glorious Sussex Manor kitchen garden - Garden tour and seasonal lunch at Gravetye Manor, May 2014



For foodies and lovers of beautiful Sussex countryside (that's me and me) here's a chance to enjoy both.  
~ Taylor Young Photography
Elliptical kitchen garden, Gravetye Manor ~
Set within 1000 acres of rolling Sussex parkland, Gravetye Manor is the quintessential English Country House Hotel with a history stretching back to the Elizabethan era.  Its vast estate and 35 acres of formal gardens - carefully created by revolutionary gardener and botanist William Robinson over a period of 50 years - are considered amongst the most influential in English gardening history.
~ Taylor Young Photography
Gravetye Manor ~
On Monday 5 and 26 of May 2014 there will be complimentary pre- and post- lunch garden tours.

Taylor Young Photography
The meal itself will commence with amuse bouche, before dipping into some seasonal modern British cuisine.  Starters consist of wild garlic soup with goats cheese, potato dauphine and hazelnuts or Gravetye Garden Salad with watercress emulsion, carrot and Chardonnay dressing; followed by a choice of hearty roasts with meats from nearby farms and tasty vegetarian options.  Ending the meal on a sweet note are dishes such as roasted plum and frangipane tart or a white chocolate mousse with kalamansi citrus gel and meringue or for those with a more savoury palate, a selection of artisan cheeses are also available.

Taylor Young Photography
Gravetye Manor kitchen garden
Guests can choose from £45 per person for a four-course lunch and garden tour or extend their stay with classic rooms from £166 per person.  When booking a room a four-course daily dinner menu and full English breakfast the following day are also included.

Gravetye Manor provides 17 bedrooms and suites which have been decorated sensitively following a flora and fauna theme.  Each bedroom is named after a tree species found on the estate with further nods to the florals throughout the d├ęcor, which is teamed with rich fabrics, fine antiques as well as hand-crafted beds.


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Saturday

A church trail in London from St Paul's to Southwark Cathedral with spectacular views of the Shard along route

One of the things I love most about London is the architecture, in particular, the magnificence and beauty of St Paul's stuns me every time. Right beside Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece are remains of other churches embellishing the skyline with intriguing reminders of London's past.

St Paul's Cathedral, London photo by Modern Bric a Brac


This is where the trail begins. Start at the northern end of St Paul's at Christchurch Greyfriars. Now only a tower remains but formerly this church held a very prestigious role and was chosen as the resting place of three medieval Queens.

Marguerite of France, second wife to King Edward I; Isabella, widow of Edward II andit was also where the heart of Eleanor of Provence, wife of Henry III was buried.

After the dissolution of the monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII it became a parish church and then was destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Although rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren it was again destroyed this time by bombing almost three hundred years later during the Second World War and now forms part of a public garden, a fitting resting place for the three Queens.


Christchurch, Greyfriars, near St Paul's Cathedral, London photo by Modern Bric a Brac




Christchurch, Greyfriars

From there head down Rose Street to St Paul's Cathedral, a landmark that has overlooked the city of London in its various guises since 604 AD.  The current building designed by Sir Christopher Wren was built between 1675 - 1710, after becoming another victim of the Great Fire of London.

Inside are countless treasures including a moving sculpture called Mother and Child by Henry Moore and the funeral effigy of John Donne.  Climb the dome to the Whispering Gallery, known because a whisper against its walls can be heard on the opposite side 100 feet away. Or descend into the crypt where Sir Christopher Wren is buried alongside Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington.

St Paul's Cathedral, London photo by Modern Bric a Brac


St Augustine, Watling Street
Outside St Paul's in close proximity is yet another Fire and Blitz casualty, St Augustine of Watling Street.  Again only the tower remains and now forms part of St Paul's Choir School.  There is a lovely story about a cat the church adopted around the time of World War II. Named Faith, the cat became quite well known after the air raid which destroyed St Augustine's in 1941.  Days before the bombing she was seen moving her kitten, Panda, to a basement area.  Despite being brought back several times, Faith insisted on returning Panda to her refuge.  On the morning after the air raid the rector searched through the dangerous ruins for the missing animals and eventually found Faith, surrounded by smouldering rubble and debris but still guarding the kitten in the spot she had selected three days earlier.  The story of her premonition and rescue eventually reached Maria Dickin, founder of the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, and for her courage and devotion Faith was awarded a specially-made silver medal.  Her death in 1948 was reported on four continents.

St Paul's Cathedral, London photo by Modern Bric a Brac



St Mary of Somerset tower, London, photo by modern bric a brac


Cross the road and head towards the Millennium bridge and as you do look to your left and you'll glimpse the remains of St. Mary Somerset. According to John Stow in 1370, this where the Brabant weaving community were ordered to meet by the Mayor of London. To prevent further disputes with Flemish weavers the churchyard of St Mary Somerset was chosen as the location for hiring serving men. Meanwhile the men from Flanders were ordered to meet a safe distance away in the churchyard of St Laurence Pountney.

Destroyed by the Great Fire, it was one of 51 churches rebuilt by the office of Sir Christopher Wren. Located on Upper Thames Street, the rest of the church was demolished in 1871. It has a unique feature that creates an optical illusion of changing heights when viewed from different vantage points. At the top are eight Baroque pinnacles, four on each corner with panelled bases and scrolls and surmounted by vases.  Between each of these are 20 foot obelisks, with ball finials and these play with perspective.

View of St Paul's from the Millennium bridge


As you walk along the Thames in the direction of the Shard you'll pass Cardinal Cap Alley built in the late 16th century. This was possibly used originally as an access route to the Cardinal's Cap public house. Next to it is the oldest building on Cardinal Wharf, which dates from the 18th century.

On the wall is a placard commemorating Sir Christopher Wren having stayed there during the building of St. Paul's Cathedral. Although this turned out to be false, it meant that the building survived demolition like others on this side of the Thames.

Southwark Cathedral, London photo by modern bric a brac


After passing through a pedestrianised area the path opens up to reveal the great Southwark Cathedral.  Founded by St Swithun in 860 AD and known as the Church of St Mary Overie ("Overie" meaning "over the water") in the twelfth century it only gained the status of Cathedral in 1905.

At the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, the church became the property of King Henry VIII who rented it to the congregation and re-named it St Saviour's.  Eventually tired of renting their church for worship, a group of merchants from the congregation, known as 'the Bargainers', bought the church from King James I in 1611 for £800.  By this time the church served across a very colourful area, from merchants and minor courtiers, to actors, foreign craftsmen, and ladies from Bankside brothels.  And It's where John Harvard (the founder of Harvard College in Boston, America) was christened in 1607.

Southwark Cathedral and the shard, London photo by modern bric a brac

The Shard, London photo by modern bric a brac


Bringing the trail right up to date, four minutes away lies The Shard.  Construction began in 2003 and it opened 1 February 2013.  At a height of 306 metres this 87 storey skyscraper illustrates the startlingly new type of architecture to push heavenward.

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Wednesday

Internationally acclaimed LEO lands in TOM, aka The Old Market, Brighton and Hove

Celebrating their 3rd birthday at the beginning of May, TOM aka The Old Market in Hove actually are getting very excited about their largest show ever, LEO a spectacular dance performance starting tomorrow 17 April 2014.

TOM's 3rd birthday




Since 2011 TOM has been run by the creators of ‘Stomp’ Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, who are not surprisingly passionate about great shows.

Initially inspired by Fred Astaire's Ceiling Dance, LEO is the internationally acclaimed and touring gravity-defying one man performance.  Playing only in Brighton UK, it promises stunning visual illusion, skilled acrobatics and high tech video projection with a funny and touching storyline.

LEO has already performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as in New York, Moscow and Hong Kong, where it has garnered praise and awards as jaws have collectively dropped to LEO's “off the wall” antics.

Travelling to the UK specifically for this run at TOM, LEO is the unusual journey of an otherwise ordinary man whose world becomes physically unhinged.  We first discover Leo, alone with his small suitcase, whiling away his time in a simple room.  As time passes we watch as he becomes increasingly aware that all may not be what it seems. As Leo’s reaction to his situation changes from alarm and insecurity to curiosity and eventual playfulness the audience becomes involved in his journey of discovery.

Leo exhausts himself playing within his new reality until he again realizes that he is alone. Then his suitcase offers him a totally unexpected way to make himself comfortable and at home. This path leads Leo to new unexpected adventures through worlds both ephemeral and imaginary until he finds himself, once again, alone. With his confidence now shaken, he begins to accept that he needs to break the bonds of his confinement, this room holding him hostage. In his search for release, Leo not only calls on all that has gone on before but enlists the aide of a most unlikely ally - himself.

Having explored his dreams and desires and exercised his lust for life, Leo’s final odyssey is the most important of all, a quest for freedom.


After this first performance tomorrow night the audience are invited to the launch of TOM's new membership scheme, for ‘TOM’s Friends'.

Those joining TOM’s Friends will receive a range of benefits including: 15% Discount on all ‘TOM’s’ shows and 10% off at TOM’s Bar; free cloakroom when available; and one special ‘TOM’s Friends’ event per year, exclusive to members.  The launch is free to attend and starts at 8:30 pm.  
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