Sunday, 17 May 2015

What have Hathern Band, LMVC, the BCM, the carillon, ceramics and John Nichols got in common?

This week I am spoilt for choice, and having a difficult time deciding what to share with you!

Since my last post I’ve been lucky enough to listen to the Hathern Band, not once, but twice!! Last week, Hathern Band played in the bandstand in Queen’s Park, directly after the Carillon recital, in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of VE day. This was a lovely performance, with glorious sunshine and a large, appreciative audience.

Last evening, I was lucky enough to find a seat in the Trinity Methodist Church for a joint concert of Hathern Band with the Loughborough Male Voice Choir. Hathern were on top form – especially the trombones, but I am a bit biased!! I particularly loved the rendition of “76 trombones”! The choir did themselves proud too, and their numbers have swelled recently since they had a pseudo recruitment drive earlier this year. I think they’re still on the lookout for new members, so if you’re looking for something to do, check out their webpage.

Yesterday we took a trip to the Black Country Museum in Dudley. Hadn’t been before, but had heard good reports about it, and it didn’t disappoint. Lots of exciting things to see and do, including a ride on a 1948 bus, and a Midland Red double-decker, a tram (but this was closed for maintenance), reconstructed terraced houses, dressed accordingly, and with volunteers making soup over the open fires. And gardeners tending their little plots, and producing beautiful pink sticks of rhubarb which the children dip in sugar. Then there’s the authentically 1940s shops, including a chemist, a greengrocers, ironmongers, confectioners, bakers etc., some of them actually selling things, like the little fish and chip shop. The café was in the Worker’s Institute, and had a wonderful selection of food, and we enjoyed a steak and Stilton pastie with mushy peas and new potatoes coated in yummy salt and pepper.

Lots of remnants of the days when Dudley had iron founders (I think there was a saying about the area, black by day, red by night, which related to the smoke and grime in the daytime and the glow of the iron works in the night). This reminded me of John Jones the iron founder in Loughborough, who owned the Britannia Foundry. I think he lived in that very large house at the junction of Meadow lane and Clarence Street, which now appears to be a health spa (sounds like the beginnings of a future blog post … !). The mine at the Black Country Museum was open, but I’m afraid I couldn’t go down there: The last time I went, or rather tried to go, down a mine, it was a tin mine in Cornwall, but I had to turn back pretty sharpish, when even I had to watch my head! Trips on the canal boats were also available, although they seemed to be doing quite a lot of work on the canal, so we thought we’d leave that till our next visit!! When will I ever find time?!

I’ve also giving up a bit of my spare time in helping out at the Carillon Tower and Museum again this year. This is such good fun, as I get to meet so many interesting people from all over the world, and who all have such interesting tales to tell! I also finally got to learn what the copper boots in the Airborne room were all about, and I get to hear the carillon being played (guessed what day I’m there, yet?). If you fancy helping, the museum is always on the lookout for volunteers so they can keep all floors of the tower open to visitors.

Talking of the carillon, today, I also heard the carillon play as I walked into town to take a peek at the ceramics market. It’s an annual event and I blogged about it last year, so I shan’t say anything about today’s market other than to say there was a lovely variety of pottery, and it’s difficult to go and not spend any money: Well, that’s a few birthday and Christmas presents sorted!!

Now, what have I forgotten? Oh, yes, the banquet in celebration of the bi-centenary of John Nichols’ History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester, an 8-volume work, written by Nichols in 1815. What a glorious event that was, but, I’ve run out of time to tell you about it tonight, so I will save this one for next time!

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