Director’s Diary: My Kingdom for a bicycle

Good weather for cycling and building! As part of the London Festival, we hosted a debate on Re-usable Buildings and architect Jerry Tate spoke eloquently about Brunel’s Grand Entrance Hall and other projects. On Thursday Chairman of Trustees Bryn Bird gave a talk about Marc Brunel: the Greater Genius? to a full house already regaled with cocktails in the rooftop garden. Marc’s story is the refugee’s story, and as well as a lesson in resourceful determination and inventive engineering, he showcases revolution, intrigue, danger, bravery, political recklessness, forgery, pioneering, spying, canoeing and architectural awards. Best of all, lovers are re-united and true love conquers all. I predict that one day the father’s story will be better known than the son’s. Better than Shakespeare…

Because the weather was balmy, Handlebards http://www.handlebards.com performed Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream outside under the big tree on the river square, rather than in the underground chamber. It was exciting to see the square full of chairs and people, and lights on the big tree produced a magical effect. This was the ‘boys company’, and Helena cut a figure in red dress with in an unusual décolletage: her plastic T cups were boldly exposed and clearly distracting for other cast members. In September the ‘girls company’ will be here as part of the Thames Festival, performing As You Like It. I wonder what these talented Scottish actors (many of them called Jock), will make of essential Elizabethan male accessories? This time four actors (and game audience members) played all the parts, and Nick Bottom and the rude mechanicals repaired bicycles throughout. Scene changes for the play within the play were bicycle powered: an elegant Pashley was pedalled to advance a sequence of homespun backdrops. Handlebards were celebrating their gala production and everything was done to great effect.

On Friday and Saturday the Midnight Apothecary was sold out, and Open Garden Squares Weekend was a busy, delightful and sun baked affair. For even hotter gardens Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Florida (my earlier blog) and more still https://www.sproutabl.com/gardening/botanical-gardens/ is a huge and helpful guide.

Next week is busy, and details are below: a Choir concert in the Grand Entrance Hall, school visits, Midnight Apothecary and the usual heritage boat trips.

Sunday 18th June 
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
10.40 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks

Monday 19th June
10.40 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks
13.00 Students from New York University looking at urban design and re-use of buildings
Tuesday 20th June
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
Wednesday 21st June 
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
18.15 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks
18.00 Brunel trustees meeting

Thursday 22nd June
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
19.30 Fourth Choir Concert in Grand Entrance Hall

Friday 23rd June
10.00 Bowhill Primary meet ‘Brunel in Person’
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
17.30 Cocktails with Midnight Apothecary

Saturday 24th June
Scandimarket: celebrations for Midsummer in Albion Street
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
13.30 lunch at the Tunnel Club, Mayflower pub upper room
17.30 Cocktails with Midnight Apothecary

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