Monday, October 8, 2012

All About August!

Honestly, I don't remember much abotu August - so I'm glad I kept a tidy journal and took plenty of photographs! Here goes:

At the start of August, I finally got my hands on the custom tea set that I'd comissioned for my friend Callyn's nuptuals - in 2010. To make up for the extreme delay, I took her out for a wedding tea party at The Urban Tea Merchant. I've really loved their high tea service, and I was glad to share it with a friend. Seeing as it was August and quite warm, we opted for fruity iced teas. Nom.

Trés delicieux!
Later in the week, Mike suggested he take an extra long lunch break in order to meet with his "mental health professional" (me) and to check out a tour of the Orpheum Theatre. Always a theatre-rat, I obliged. I was not disappointed...

Before our guide opened the door, he advised us that what was behind it was prized by the architect, and that we should all come up close to see it. A vampire with strobe lights greeted us and I'm sure I jumped!
I'm up where they keep the spotlights! behind me is the Orpheum's stage.
This dungeon-like doorway was in the theatre's underbelly. the Hallway led from a space underneath the seats (which was used with large fans to propel cool air up and into the auditorium like early air-con) to the bowels of the backstage.
Around Mid-August (the 13th, to be exact), it was time for a little excursion to celebrate our first year off matrimony. It was a Monday, and with Mike working 'normal-people' work-weeks, I was busy trying to figure out something fun an memorable that could be done in an evening. Picnic at the top of the Stawamus Chief? Bottle of Champagne (leftover from the wedding) whilst 'taking the plunge' at wreck beach? What I really wanted to do was take a canoe out somewhere remote and enjoy the bounty that the lower-mainland has to offer...but on a Monday?

Clearly, I've got a man that loves me, because he played hookey for Monday and Tuesday! Our adventure was a two-day trip from Deep Cove, up the Indian Arm and to a campsite about 18km away at Granite Falls.
We met about a dozen seals along the way. On the way in we paddled with the tide, so the 3.5hr paddle went smoothly....It took us a while longer to get home (against the tide, with plenty of waves)

In order to lure Mike to the Dark side (aka, wilderness camping), I ensured that we would have a spectacular 1st anniversary meal: Jamaican chicken jambalaya, wedding cake, and champagne! Delish!
Our campsite at Granite Falls. After wiping off the sweat from the journey, I was thrilled with our location.
I woke up early, but let Mike sleep in the next day while I cooked oatmeal for breakfast.
On the 20th, I hopped on a red-eye flight from Vancouver to Toronto, rented a little convertable Fiat500, and drove to Stratford for a week of thespian bliss. The goal was for 10 plays in 6 days. I was successful, of course - though I have my doubts that many of of friends would have the same stamina, and I'm glad I left them all at home. I love you, friends, but ain't nobody rainin' on my adventure!

Made the requisite stop for lunch at Anna Mae's for a 1/2 sized hot lunch, and a full sized slice-o-pie. Mennonite slice-o-heaven, if you ask me!
I took a Dutch Apple pie home, too. Carried it on the plane on the seat next to me. I had worries they were going to confiscate it at security, but I mused that if they tried to take it, I'd find a fork and eat it right there. There would be no pie wasting today!
Another requisite stop in Millbank was at the Cheese Factory. I loaded up on a few blocks, but made off with 3 or 4 bags of fresh cheese curds. They were so fresh, I saw the lady seal them up for me from this freshly opened batch. mmmm.
But, though I spent time puttering around Stratford, Millbank, and Perth County, the majority of my time was spent inside a theatre. All told, I saw
  1. You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
  2. Cymbeline (Shakespeare, set a few hundred yrs ago in the woods)
  3. The Matchmaker (the precursor to Hello! Dolly)
  4. As You Like It (Shakespeare, set in 1900's colonized South America)
  5. Wanderlust (a musical adaptation of Robert Service's poems)
  6. 42nd Street (a musical about becoming "A Staaar")
  7. The Best Brothers (a new Canadian work. Sad & hilarious)
  8. Henry V (Shakespeare. Reminding us of the discord between English and French speaking Canada)
  9. The Pirates of Penzance (an english Opera, with silly, silly pirates!)
  10. A Word or Two (one-man show written by and starring Christopher Plummer)
I took some covert photos. Don't tell anyone!!
Its name in lights! Where's my name!?
The poor fellow hung at the end of the first half of Henry V was left haning there for 10 minutes into the intermission! Poor guy. They hauled him up into the ceiling, and everyone cheered!
While I was back East, I managed to squeeze in a visit with some old friends (haven't seen them in 13 years!) Much has changed, but plenty is exactly the same - and the brunch table was loud and bustling!

L-R: Isabella, her mum Catherine, Marilyn (Jaimi's babe) and me! Fun fact: Isabella, Catherine and me all have the same birthday!!
The gaggle of gals! (and their little girls) It was a quick brunch, but it was really, really fun to hear their stories.
Another adventure of mine in Stratford was to visit all of the hottest eateries. The Prune is on the "must-go" list. Delicious food, and they wrapped up my leftovers in the shape of a swan!! I ate at a few excellent places - hard to imagine in a town which only boasts an official population of 31 000 people.

The swan was cute, but also great marketing as swans are iconic to the Avon river which runs through Stratford.
Not one to mind eating alone, I found dinnertime to be great for catching up on my travel writing and reviews of each show.

And seeing as how it was the Stratford Festival's 60th Season, I made sure to stop by the special exhibition featuring costumes and memorabilia from the first (and subsequent) seasons)

headdress and reconstruction of the original dressing table from Richard III
I can't even remember what show this is from, but I love this costume.
Last remaining bulk piece of the original theatre tent. The other bits were given away as souveniers (glued a to a special card) upon donation/patronage
I took a tour of the Festival Theatre, too. (I'm wearing my Bard on the Beach Volunteer jacket!)
I was going to be seeing (the very long) Henry V at the same time that Christopher Plummer was scheduled to be signing autographs at another theatre. The gift shop was adament that they were no longer allowed to pass Mr. Plummer pre-purchased books for signing. Apparently he took offence. Shit luck for me, but I still wanted a copy, I fashioned a poster to stick to my hostel-room door lure in a friend to help. (I should mention I stayed at the nurse's residence/hostel at the Stratford General Hospital) The poster reads:

Dear fellow Nurses and Hostellers;
I'm looking for a little help, and in return
I can give you - 
Rheo Thompson
a helping hand means being available on
SATURDAY, at about 3:30pm,
meeting Mr CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, and having
him sign a book for me while I am 
otherwise unavailable.

*I'm offering chocolate, but offers are negotiable (i.e, kinship and beers!)

My poster. Alas,  no takers.
Here are some other bits and bobs from my trip and around town:

the local shops have plenty of Bieber Fever merch.
...I stopped by a favourite toy store of mine, Family and Company, where I found:

"Name That 'Stache Game." This game should be sold in Vancouver for sure. 
An entire display devoted to tea sets!!
Maybe rather than "Bathroom-Neo," this toy should be called "Benny Hangs Himself in the Shower."
Paino's around town. All are painted with "Play me, I'm yours"
Eatin' lunch on the Avon river's man-made island.
A view of the Avon. The Festival theatre is just beyond the trees on the right.
But, alas, my trip had to end sometime. I packed up my fancy dresses (a girl must pack fancy shoes and dresses for a theatre adventure!), bought a delicious sandwich at the York Street Café (I highly reccomend 'The Mennonite'), and headed back home on another red-eye flight. Had to be home quickly - I was scheduled for work the next morning!!

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