Monday, 8 March 2010

A Weekend in the Costwolds

Having a day off work and taking my time to drive to Farncombe Estate in the Cotswolds for my singing course proved to be a good idea. It gave me time in the morning to pack, check emails, write a blog post and catch up with google reader before I left.

Another purpose behind leaving early was to stop off at the town/village? of Broadway on the way there. It was indeed a beautiful place as I had been told with all the buildings constructed of the distinctive sandy coloured stone of the area. I took a few photos in the sunshine but they didn't capture the real beauty of the surroundings. The first place I came to when leaving the car park was a cafe and since it was quarter to two and I hadn't had any lunch I popped in and treated myself to a cream tea. It was a pleasant enough cafe but with the air of a canteen which was a bit disappointing. I was, however, fascinated by the two-in-one condiment set on the table (I feel it's important to be fascinated with something when you are sitting in a cafe on your own!!). The top half had a knob to open/close the holes for the salt and the whole thing turned in the middle to grind the pepper from the bottom. A very neat design I thought!

During my browse around the various little shops and boutiques afterwards I was lucky enough to bag a few bargains from the charity shops (I'll post about these again) and made a mental note to come back again and make a day visiting the area with my OH.

Then I came across another cafe....................a more traditional, cosy, quaint cafe....................with mouthwatering homemade cakes in a display counter.....................and as it was AT LEAST an hour and a half since my cream tea AND I had been disappointed with it .......................... Ipoppedinforcarrotcakeandpepeperminttea!!! Did I say that fast enough for you not to notice? Oh well, it was worth it and I was on a sort of holiday!

Farncombe Estate Education Centre consists of various buildings, some old/some new but sympathetically designed to complement the rest, scattered about on a steep hill and connected by a meandering road for vehicles and steps through the trees for people (someone on my course counted the steps to our accommodation - 240 - one way - could have been 220 but my room was on the 1st floor!!!!). At least I was able to get some exercise during the weekend too!

There were 17 other 'students' on my course (ranging in age from 19 to 70s) which was designed for singers of all ages and abilities who wanted to increase their confidence for singing. For the inexperienced the aim was to show them that anyone has a 'voice' (and by the end of the course most of them had found theirs!) and for those who had done some singing, to be more confident in their abilities thereby increasing the quality of their singing. There were many reasons for attending the course - most common was to increase confidence but a few had been bought the weekend as a present and seemed very dubious about the whole thing. The weekend was packed with various 'sessions' interspersed with meals, tea-breaks and sleeping, and covered breathing, confidence, accepting compliments, dealing with criticism and much more including performing.

The feedback session before lunch and departure on the Sunday was very moving. The various ambitions for future aims ranged from singing around the house or in the car to singing the hymns in church to singing at a son's wedding. The youngest member of the group - a young woman of 19 who had very bravely come on her own - moved a couple of us to tears with her comments at the end, saying that she had wondered what she'd come to when she first walked in (an old people's home, someone had remarked - he he) but that she'd thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, believing that she'd achieved more than if it had been a group of people her own age. She had a fantastic voice but no idea what she sounded like. At the Saturday evening singalong someone had recorded her singing and she could hardly believe it was her. She may be one to look out for in the future because the tutor was going to put her in touch with a friend of his in the music business.

My room

They were a fantastic bunch of people and there wasn't one person who didn't fit in. The time seemed to go so quickly yet felt like a week. I didn't realise how tired I was until I got home and sat on the sofa with a welcome cup of tea made by my OH (he'd also bought me some flowers). I think he missed me!!

The view from my accommodation

Bye for now

Teresa x


Little Green Doll said...

What a fantastic weekend!!

wayside wanderer said...

It sounds like you had a delightful weekend! I love the beautiful buildings and the description of your shopping (can't wait to hear about what you bought) and what you ate. I need a new pepper mill so I liked seeing the two-in-one. I am glad you had a good time and it is neat to hear about you pursuing something you are passionate about, too. Welcome home! :)