20 July 2014

It’s been a great week and, weather-wise it’s been outstanding. It’s been warm bordering on “hot” for much of the week with (mainly) clear skies and a light breeze. From the Guardian on Thursday:

Heatwave alert as temperatures soar to high of the year in England and Wales

Thursday was, as the Guardian suggested, scorching – temperatures in the 80s (high 20s Celsius) with a bucket-load of humidity. The perfect conditions, in other words, for some whopping great thunderstorms which duly arrived about 3.00 in the morning on Friday. Great sparks of lightening and lashings and lashings of rain and the same again in the early hours of Saturday morning. A vigorous yet cleansing downpour which has left things very pleasantly “fresh”.

I have to confess I did not get out of bed to take photographs of the lightning, but some folks did. This is from a collection on the BBC site:


and the Guardian had another collection.

I had a good bike ride in the scorching heat of Thursday afternoon – a good little outing and you’ll be pleased to hear that I was able to maintain my position towards the top of the leader board in le Tour.

Then, on Thursday evening, Ms Playchute and I enjoyed another one of my marvellous bargain date nights and had dinner and an evening at the theatre at up to 50% off! We went to see the NT Live stream of Skylight with Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan.

We’ve been to a few of the live streams over the past few months and they’ve all been great to outstanding so far. As I’ve written before, the experience is very like attending the theatre in person but with much better seats and viewing angles throughout the play.

The play was terrific and the acting outstanding. From the NT Live web site:

On a bitterly cold London evening, schoolteacher Kyra Hollis (Carey Mulligan) receives an unexpected visit from her former lover, Tom Sergeant (Bill Nighy), a successful and charismatic restaurateur whose wife has recently died. As the evening progresses, the two attempt to rekindle their once passionate relationship only to find themselves locked in a dangerous battle of opposing ideologies and mutual desires.

It was powerful yet there was also much humour particularly with references to his successful and lavish life style and her depressing conditions in a run-down one room council flat with no heating.

We really enjoyed it and, it’s coming to a cinema near you – there will be an international streaming on 23 October.

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Beautifully acted by Bill Nighy, Carey Mulligan and Matthew Beard


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Bill Nighy at full belt on stage is astonishing, unbalancing, unforgettable

Daily Mail

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A terrific performance – powerful and funny.

Befouled Weakly News

The other “big” news, I suppose is that the house is now on the market – you can view the details yourself and make a bid before it’s too late!

I have to say, neither Pen nor I are overly delighted with the brochure and online details the estate agent put together. The photos there don’t do it justice and we are having the photographer come back tomorrow to take some more. Those of you who know the house will realise that there’s no photo of the entrance hall, none of our bedroom and we had to ask them to include the one of the grape arbour.


We also spent Thursday morning in town sorting out the errors and omissions in the first draft of the particulars for the house. I’m not sure I quite understand how this all works? We give the estate agent all the details. We give the guy doing the energy efficiency assessment the same details. We complete questionnaires and then we still need to go in to town to give them all the same details a fourth time so that they can correct their mistakes. Simple stuff, really: oil fired central heating instead of gas, productive grape vine instead of ornamental, open fire place instead of wood-burning stove, mis-spelling of Annexe as Annex (i.e., to take over a country) throughout the floor plans, (that might be an appropriate spelling in the States but this is England!) etc., etc. And, for the privilege of correcting their errors we pay them a sum of money roughly equivalent to the gross domestic product of a small developing country.

Still, we are bracing ourselves for the expected arrival of the hordes of prospective buyers who will be beating a path up our driveway in the next few days clutching and waving large wads of currency begging to be allowed to purchase Penelope’s Playchute Palace.

Finally, Dad sent these photos of “The 20 Most Beautiful Stairs in the World” the other day. Some of these are just stunning. For some reason, though, there are only 18! Wonder which two are missing?

Love to you all,