Monday, 25 March 2013

A weekend of childhood memories

As Monday appears we all seem to do the same thing – catch up on what everybody did on their two days off and then start the countdown to the next weekend! This week even moreso as we’ve got a bank holiday weekend coming up, meaning only four days of working this week and then the same next week. I for one will be extremely thankful of the break – although not the rushed days before and after it to make up for the lost days of work!

So in true British fashion let me tell you all about my weekend. I’m particularly keen to share this one as it was so nice.

Work is still pretty hectic (seems to have been the case since 2013 began!) so on Friday I was keen to just head home and chill out, which is exactly what I did. Then this weekend my boyfriend wasn’t working due to his rota so we had two days together planned.

Saturday of course had to start with spinning! Even though it was freezing and snowing out off we went and my boyfriend joined me this time – typically he likes to avoid the bikes and hit the gym instead. As always I really enjoyed spinning and afterwards we just enjoyed a relaxed afternoon indoors sorting bits and pieces out. We had an early dinner, and then headed off into London as we’d got tickets to a show.

I’ve probably mentioned them before but I purchased the tickets last year – they are all part of the Michael Grandage season at the Noel Coward Theatre and I got a great deal. If you bought tickets to all 5 plays you paid no booking fee and there were tickets (albeit high up) for just £10 each. A bargain and a fantastic way to try new theatrical experiences (I’ve typically been a musical kind of girl).

We’d already heard the play lasted just 90 minutes and there was no interval and as we braved the cold and sleet outside I must admit a part of me did start to wonder was it worth it traipsing up to London for an hour and a half just to come back again? However, the play does star Judi Dench who I was very excited about seeing and also Ben Whishaw - who my boyfriend was quick to tell me both appeared in the latest James Bond movie.

When we got to the theatre and I saw we were right at the top and right at the back, again I was a little dubious, but I needn’t have worried. I’d realty recommend Peter & Alice not just for the famous cast, but for the story itself. A powerful mix of sad, comical and fantasy storybook scenes. Most people I imagine will have read Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan at some point in their lives and so the tale is easy to relate to for the audience. Dench plays Alice Hargreaves who the fictional character was based on and Wishaw is Peter Llewelyn Davies, again used as the basis for the fictional boy who never grows old.

I won’t go into too much detail in case people want to go experience it for themselves, but the set was cleverly used and the journey the audience are transported on from a meeting at a Lewis Carroll exhibition to the characters’ pasts with references to both childhood tales thrown in is very successful and really hooks you in. The end of the play itself will leave you surprised I suspect too.

Another reason I felt I enjoyed the play so much is that it kept referring back to your childhood and storybook tales and growing up, so it really encouraged you to think back to your childhood, fairytales and events in your own life. I felt like I was being transported back to being a young girl again when watching Alice and Peter on stage and particularly in their storybook sets.

However, the play was not the only time I was to think back on my childhood this weekend.

I’m always trying to vary my exercise routine since I’m still trying to keep my weight down and I don’t want to tire of doing the same things. Realising we hadn’t been swimming for some time now, I’d suggested to my boyfriend should we look at going swimming at our local pool on Sunday morning for a change? Again as we got up on Sunday morning (the ‘swim for all’ session started at 11am – well at the least the first one I’d consider for a Sunday morning did!) the car was covered in a dusting of snow and the wind was fierce out, but I was determined we’d still go swimming.

Whenever I go to the swimming pool both myself and my boyfriend end up feeling nostalgic. I used to go the pool as a schoolchild and it was here I learnt to swim and earnt my ‘stripes’ for achieving different distance swims and the dreaded diving tasks. As soon as I step foot in the building I am transported back every time to my childhood days and of going swimming and then afterwards getting a bag of crisps from the vending machine after as a treat. Every time my boyfriend and I leave feeling peckish and wanting some old childhood meal, so strange after all this time.

I also have memories when we get in the ‘big pool’ of swimming classes gone by and Summer ‘Funsplash’ sessions I’d attend in the school holidays with my friend - jumping off and climbing over the huge inflatable dragon (or maybe it was a dinosaur) in the pool and having lots of fun. When I look up at the seating area I am taken back to my grandparents coming to watch me swim and my Granddad eagerly snapping away and taking pictures of my progress.

This visit I was particularly pleased, it was our first swim this year and I kept pushing and pushing myself until eventually we’d done 90 minutes worth of swimming and I’d swam 54 lengths. I was exhausted after, but felt so good for it and proud I will admit.

After a couple of hours of resting up back at home, we ventured out again to our local cinema to see Oz the great and powerful in 3D. I am not the world’s biggest fan of 3D films I have to admit, but I do love our local cinema. I’ve probably spoken about it before, but it is such good value – on the site of a former Odeon cinema (again where I went as a child so again nostalgia always kicks in when we visit), all tickets are £4 each. If you go to see a 3D film you pay an extra £1 for your 3D glasses, but unlike other chains where you pay each time Premiere say keep your glasses and bring them next time you watch a 3D film and you don’t have to pay the extra £1. They are even offering Orange Wednesday 2-for-1 now and popcorn and sweets are around £2. Much better than the nearby rip off that is Vue.

Anyway again I’ll let you go see Oz for yourselves, but I thought it was great film. I loved the special effects, actually enjoyed the 3D elements for once and found the story magical (and some of the characters - such as Finley the monkey and the river fairies super cute!) As the yellow brick road appeared on screen again I was taken back to my childhood and my old Wizard of Oz video my grandparents bought me.

Flicking through the cinema booklet filled with local ads and offers, my boyfriend also commented how the cinema again was like being back in the childhood – how things used to be and what cinemas used to do and provide for their visitors.

All in all I guess you could say this weekend was a success, it was enjoyable, took my mind off things and brought back lovely memories of being young. What with those memories and the thought of a long weekend (full of chocolate treats and my Mum’s yummy roast dinner) ahead of me, I think I can cope with the fact it’s Monday already don’t you?

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