Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chinese statues

The National Museum in Cardiff has an exhibition of Buddhist statues from Dazu in China, which we went to see this morning - see here

Having missed the terracotta warriors (still sad about that) I was determined to see these.

They are really quite extraordinary because they are so old, and in such good condition. You can see the paint still on some of them, which gives an idea of how bright they must have been when they were new (1000 years ago or so).

The numbers of them in China are extraordinary too.

Here are a couple of photos from another website.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

An attempt to get my 15 minutes

  Because of the weather and the fact that I realised that I had a bit more holiday then I had calculated I decided to take some leave on the week before Christmas. Also because of the weather we didn't wander far from home.  Slipping and sliding into tow n and slipping and sliding home again.  We were home by 4 every evening and infront of the telly. I think  I was beginning to lose touch with the outside world. During this time we became rather addicted to a quiz show called Pointless.  It's quite funny and requires both general knowledge and a little bit of psychology.

 After Xmas my friend Jill came for a visit and we discussed the quiz show and she quite liked it too.  She suggested that she and I apply for it.  As by this time I had existed in a winter wonderland for over a week and the outside world seemed a dim memory so  I agreed.  The application  form was enormous - 5 pages!  Anyway, we sent them off not thinking that we would hear anything further. The snow went and we all went back to work and forgot about it.

However  we received phone calls last week and we got called to an audition yesterday

The production company was in a rather unprepossessing office block in west London.  They had glammed up the reception area.  However when we ventured out of that area into the kitchen we discovered that the it resembled a student flat with dirty dishes piled in the sink!  Still it's not surprising as the employees all seemed to be about 15 years old.  Still not quite the glamour I had imagined.

 While we were waiting in reception Jimmy Carr and Charlie Brooker, who are reasonably famous in the UK.  I showed how I took it in my stride by texting all the family.  At least I didn't take a photo or ask for their autograph.

The audition was in a board room.  There were 7 other couples.  We had to do a tiny little dummy run of the show including making all ooing and aahing noises at appropriate times.  We acquitted ourselves fairly well.  Then we had to wait again in reception to see if they wanted us back for a screen test which they did!  That involved us talking about ourselves infront of the camera.  Not too sure how that went.

Anyway, we shall see in the next few days.  They auditioned 500 people for 150 places so I'm not holding out too much hope.

All in all it was great fun and a good way to cheer up a dull January evening

Monday, January 10, 2011

I do like to be beside the seaside

One thing I'll say about this inclement weather we've been having is that you really appreciate good weather when you get it.  Yesterday we had been planning to have a trip up to London and take in an exhibition but when the sun came up and it was as clear as can be we decided to go to the coast.  It was still a cold day but lovely and sunny.
We went to Walton on the Naze on the Essex Coast.  It is rather a kiss me quick kind of a resort. It actually has some fantastic architecture but it's a little neglected these days.  Here are some of the beach huts.  I love them.   They look a bit like a shanty town but they're bright and cheerful.

 The big attraction of Walton for us however is not the pier and the sticks of rock but the Naze.  It is a peninsula of a about 3 miles that has cliffs and salt marshes.  It is scientifically very important as some of the first fossils ever discovered were from the cliffs and as well it is a fantastic place for bird watching.
Brent geese overwinter there in their thousands.  I suspect they have nothing to do with the London Borough of Brent as when Trev spoke to them in a cockney accent they looked at him with cool disdain.
We were particularly taken by Sanderlings.  They can fly and swim but they choose to run up and down.  They feed from the water's edge and when an extra large wave comes they all run away from it.  Most amusing.
We finished up after our walk having a cup of tea underneath Walton Tower.  Here it is casting huge shadows.  It looks particularly Middle Earthish blocking the sun

Unfortunately the Naze seems to have a desire to become sea.  The cliffs are tumbling away as you can see and there are marshes within  the sea wall so who know what will happen to it.  But for now it is a lovely place to spend a winter's afternoon