Then Tuesday night was a leaving do for my friend Jon from work. He’s heading back to university in a couple of weeks, so we had a night out. It was a lot of fun, spent drinking cocktails and chatting for the last time as big group for probably a very long time. I have to say although I’ve only known Jon for a few months; it feels very strange at work without him. I’m just so used to sitting at my desk and then seeing Jon rushing in the door a few minutes late, and wondering what coloured shirt and tie (he was the ONLY guy in our office to wear a shirt and tie every day without fail) he had on that day. I’m sure I’ll see him again, but work just seems different now he’s gone.
Then on Thursday night I went to the movies with my friends Sarah and Emma, to see Crash. Yep, it’s only just reached us over here in the UK. But it was incredible! A truly honest film, it was so hard-hitting that when it finished we didn’t really know what to say to each other, but also at times it was very touching, making me cry on more than one occasion! In my personal opinion, some of the acting could have been better, but it didn’t distract from the film’s crucial message. The movie was not really what I was expecting, but it was very clever. I loved the way all the central characters were linked to each other, by one means or another. I urge you to go and see this movie if you haven’t already.
Then on Friday I went down to Letchworth, near London to stay with my older sister and her boyfriend. They have just recently installed surround sound into their living room, to go with their 110" screen and projector. Now for me, the ultimate movie to watch on a big screen with surround sound is Top Gun! It is my favourite movie, and I’ve never been able to watch it in cinema surroundings…but now I have!!! It was the main reason for going to stay with Liz, apart from to spend time with her of course!!! At one point we thought there was a leak in the kitchen, but in actual fact, it was just the sounds of the showers coming through the speakers behind us. I loved it! We spend most of the weekend relaxing, watching movies and the England Cricket games against Australia – which we won by the way! YEY!
Then on Monday I met up with Beck again, and we went to a place called Belvoir Castle (pronounced Beaver!) for a day of jousting! I love anything remotely Medieval, and jousting in particular. When I was about 9, my family went to Las Vegas, and stayed in the Excaliber Hotel. Underneath they had a large stadium where they put on jousting shows, while you eat dinner…with your hands. For a 9-year-old, it was a major treat to eat with your hands, and the show was incredible. It really felt as if we had gone back in time. The same thing happened on Monday. When we first arrived we had a picnic on the grass next to the car, which consisted of olives, hummus, chips, salad and a few sandwiches. Then we headed up to the castle, the present building dates back to the 18th Century, but there has been a castle there for many hundreds of years. The architecture was beautiful, with large gothic windows, turrets and an enormous grand entrance. Again, I love things like that because I have such a vivid imagination I can imagine all the people that would have lived here. Walking up the driveway towards the door I could see all the carriages bring guests to the party being held that night, the horsemen navigating their way through the entrance archway to the front door. I could see the ladies in their gorgeous flowing dresses being helped down by their men dressed smartly in their suits and tails. The tour of the inside was just as vivid. The rooms were so ornate, and spacious, and each had a card mounted so that you could read just what went on in each one. There was a ball room with a high ceiling and wooden floor, perfect for dancing the night away, then next door was the State Dining Room, complete with tables laid up with the finest silver, and candle sticks. My favourite room however, has to be the Kitchen. In almost every stately home/castle I’ve been to, the Kitchen has been the best room for me. I think its because I enjoy cooking so much, and also because it conjures up the most images in my mind. I can feel the heat from the large ovens and fires, smell the delicious meals being created, and see the Head Cook in her white apron running the staff. The kitchen at Belvoir was huge! I think you could have fitted almost my entire house into that one room. There was a large sturdy wooden table at one end with hundreds of dents and marks in it that just showed its age. The walls were lined with copper pots both tiny and giant. Unfortunately we didn’t get to spend as long in there as I would have liked, because we had to make our way outside for the jousting.
We found a spot on the hill, overlooking the tilt. Then just as the excitement was getting too much to bear, in came the knights on their magnificent horses. There were 4 in total, 2 from the Belvoir camp and 2 from the camp of The Black Knight, and these were the ‘bad’ Knights. There was the Black Knight, who rarely played to the rules and liked to make his own up, and his noble right hand man. Then in the Belvoir camp there was the Tournament Champion, and his noble sidekick Sir Frederick – the Drunken Lord! The Tournament consisted of sword fights, with 2 handed swords, 1 ½ handed swords and the regular 1 handed swords, axe fights, and of course the jousting. The crowd was fantastic, especially the children, who would jeer at the Black Knight, and cheer when the Champion won a fight. The whole competition lasted for about an hour, but it just flew by. It was so much fun, even when it started to rain a little bit; no one really battered an eyelid. At the end we were told that the Knights would be available for photos and autographs on the top courtyard, so Beck and I headed up that way and sat for a while looking over at the tremendous view of the valley beyond the expanse of the castle grounds. I had about 3 photos left on my camera, so I decided that I wanted a photo of the Black Knight, so I fought my way through the mass of 7/8 year olds so that I could stand next to the man himself. I did feel a bit silly, being nearly 23 and wanting a photo with a Knight, but I figured, "what’s better than pretending to be a kid again?" So I did it! The whole day was just great, and I’m hoping to go to Nottingham at the end of October to see the Knights in action again!
Well I think that’s about it for right now, I’m sure I’ve got so much to catch up on, but I’m afraid It’ll have to wait!
Take care everyone!