Friday, 4 April 2014

Embarrassing my husband in the paper again

Hot on the heels of Rory's 18th Birthday, another milestone birthday came along for the Burgess family. Yes, Dougie turned 50 last week. I marked the occasion by writing about it in the local paper: cheaper than taking out an announcement. I was given permission to tell the whole world about his big day although many people knew already because his colleagues at work had decorated his room: it was certainly round the village like wildfire.

Here's the link to the online version of the article. As always, I appreciate your support with this new venture of mine, Trish Takes Five.  I'm grateful for any views but feel free to comment (anonymously if you wish) on the website directly.

Beating the 50th birthday blues


Remember when we had a short break in Suffolk, staying at The Ickworth Hotel, part of the Luxury Family Hotels group? To celebrate their silver anniversary, the group have launched a brilliant 80s themed competition to win a night at the Lodge (the part we stayed in) for one person plus their 25 friends and 25 kids! If you're interested, visit their Facebook page for further details. You have until 23 April to enter. 


Tuesday, 1 April 2014


Glasgow vs Edinburgh
2014 is a special year for Scotland. It will welcome the world to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July, The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September and the countrywide Homecoming 2014 celebrations throughout the year.

How perfect for my husband Dougie to have his own Homecoming this Easter thanks to Visit Scotland which has arranged a trip for the Burgess family so we can experience the culture, history and style of Scotland's top cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

We have a book at home, Weegies vs Edinbuggers, which is a tongue-in-cheek look at the differences between the two cities. There is certainly a rivalry between the two and I know which one Dougie prefers, but he's biased. So which is better: Glasgow or Edinburgh? There's only one way to find out....

......visit them!

And visit them we shall: two nights in each. We will do our best to see what each city has to offer. In Glasgow we are going to one of the main stadiums for the Commonwealth Games, Hampden Park, plus the world-famous Burrell Collection, one of the most important collections of art ever created by one person.

In Edinburgh we will be visiting during the International Science Festival and hope to cram in other attractions such as Edinburgh Castle and The Real Mary King's Close.

I'm hoping there'll be time for shopping and am already drooling at some of the suggestions for eateries: the Ubiquitous Chip anyone?

But I don't want to give all of Scotland's secrets away just yet. You'll have to wait until we return, once they've had the thorough 'Mum's Gone To' analysis.

As we're not going just yet, anyone have their own favourite city of the two? Any suggestions of places to visit or restaurants to try?

While you're having a think about that, here's a picture of Dougie in his kilt, for no other reason than I reckon he looks braw.


Friday, 28 March 2014

Friday Update

Just to let you know, this week's column in the Lincolnshire Free Press is all about stand-up comedy and, in particular, Dougie's habit of getting into conversation with comedians. If you would like to have a read, it would be great to get some views on the online version.

Is there a doctor in the house?

It's a while since I've mentioned my other blog, the one where I'm writing up my dad's memoirs. In the latest post, following on from a number about his time at Cambridge, he is now travelling to Scandinavia to visit housing developments appropriate for his architecture degree. I managed to find some albums with his photos from the trip so it has been fascinating to see his snaps of Copenhagen and Stockholm, taken in 1956. This first post covers his time in Denmark. Sweden to follow shortly.

A summer in Scandinavia - Copenhagen


Monday, 24 March 2014

Disposing of the Body - a review.

Cast of Disposing of the Body
St Nicolas Players, Spalding
I'm not entirely sure why I neglected to look at the synopsis for this play before going to the theatre. If I had done, I would have realised that this wasn't a whodunit and the murder I was expecting to occur in the opening scenes wasn't going to happen.

Henry and Angela Preece take early retirement and move from London to the Cotswolds. Feeling bereft as their only son, Ben, is now living in California, it is a fragile time for the pair. Angela is happy to continue in her role as home-maker, but Henry is finding it harder to settle; order and routine being a prerequisite for his contentment. They meet their neighbours, Alexander and Joanna Barley, and the friendship that develops is promising, if a little strained. When Joanna begins to take on secretarial duties for Henry, it’s not long before the two begin an affair which ultimately proves to be the unravelling of Henry. Then Angela disappears.

It’s very refreshing to see an amateur theatre group take on a lesser-known play when we all know it’s far easier to deliver a comedy, a spin-off from a TV show perhaps, which is certain to attract a sizeable audience. But theatre groups are doing their members a disservice if they always take the easy option.

Choosing Disposing of the Body by Hugh Whitemore was a bold move by the St Nicolas Players. It’s not an easy play and reviews of other groups performing it would seem to suggest it isn't universally enjoyed. It could be a powerful piece of theatre but its lack of pace in the first half, on account of the many monologues which pepper the action, asks a lot of the audience. The second half is more arresting, as the characters become more animated and visceral: emotions are heightened by the pain of loss and betrayal.

Jed Laxton, who played Henry, is to be commended for pouring every ounce of emotion into this complex role. His anguish was palpable as his world began to crumble: his clothes, demeanour and mannerisms matched the turmoil in his mind.

Martin Tyrrell has a strong stage presence. Very easy to watch, he always looked comfortable in the role as Alexander, whether it was being the rather pompous teacher at the start or later as the angry and heart-broken husband, having to face his wife’s duplicity.

Arline Evenden explored how rejection can change a warm and generous wife into the dejected, lost soul that Angela sadly became. It was clear that husband-stealer Joanna, played ably by Jules Jones, hadn’t quite anticipated how far-reaching her little fling would be.

A female Inspector Poole was played by Pippa Grover, who delivered her lines with confidence and good diction: someone to watch for the future. The character of Kate (Ann Temple) surprised us all with her own revelations in the second half, as did the prodigal son, Ben (Kevin Palmer) who displayed his own raw emotions because of guilt. And kudos to Rob Nicholls, the hotel manager, for his expert upending of Henry which produced a whoop of delight from the audience.

The set was cleverly designed, using three projection screens to show the interiors and exteriors: without this, set changes would have stifled the pace even more. I would have preferred the typing scenes to have been played further downstage: any sexual tension between Henry and Joanna in the early days of their relationship was lost behind the sofa.

Finally, just a personal opinion, but I do find it awkward to see the cast already in place when I enter the theatre. The main characters were seated, frozen on stage, while members of the audience took their seats, rooted around in bags for sweets, talked to friends or hid behind programmes, anything to lessen their discomfort. I love audience involvement during a performance: the cast can run down the aisles and interact as much as they like. But when house lights are up, the magic, for me, isn’t there.

Likewise, at the end, instead of the actors acknowledging their audience with smiles and bows, they slowly took their positions and held blank expressions. Hence, the applause was short-lived as the audience members didn't quite know how to show their appreciation. I've never seen the South Holland Centre clear so quickly as it dawned on everyone that the cast couldn't go home until we did.

Well done, Nick Fletcher, for tackling this play as Director and getting the very best out of your actors. I am sure they will have found the experience of being involved in such an emotionally-demanding play hugely rewarding. The society will certainly reap the benefit.