Posts Tagged ‘The Planets’

A Cheltenham Composer

Our second Friday in England has been nice and relaxing. After running a few errands, Regan and I visited TangBerry’s, a restaurant near Cheltenham town center that advertised “great British food”. Their advertisement did not lie! For my brunch, I got a “half monty” – a smaller version of the classic Full English Breakfast. Even though my portion was not the largest available, it was too much for me to eat!

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(Clockwise, from left: two hashbrowns, an egg, a sausage, a rasher of bacon, a fried tomato, one slice of black pudding, sautéed mushrooms, and baked beans. Not pictured: a slice of toast, and my Assam tea)

Although it was a cholesterol-laden feast, this plate of traditional greasy goodness was certainly appealing. To my surprise, the baked beans were the best part of the meal. They had a sweet freshness that I’ve never tasted in American baked beans, which added a new dimension to the entire meal. I appreciated the novelty of the entrée, and was glad to cross it off of my Britain bucket list…but I don’t think I would eat it again. It was a bit too much meat and grease for my liking.

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Fun fact: TangBerry’s holds a world record for producing the world’s most expensive bacon sandwich. This sandwich, which costs a whopping 150 pounds, includes truffles, an egg, saffron, truffle oil, several types of rare breed bacon, and gold leaf. Though nobody was eating the “Bacon Bling” while we were in the cafe, I did get a glimpse of it’s place on the menu board. Yes indeed, it does exist.

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This afternoon, I went with some other Cedarvillians to the Gustav Holst birthplace and museum. Holst was a composer who lived around the turn of the 20th century, and composed one of my favorite orchestral pieces of music: The Planets suite. (If you listen closely to Mars and Jupiter, you can hear themes which John Williams borrowed for the Star Wars soundtracks.)

The part of the house I most appreciated came in the very first room. The piano Holst kept with him at his London home, on which he composed The Planets, was the centerpiece of the museum’s downstairs parlor. Though the public isn’t allowed to play on this gorgeous instrument, it was still a joy to see the keys from whence those wonderful melodies first echoed.

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Holst bought this piano used. The price? £12.

Holst only lived in this house for the first seven years of his life, but the curators have done an excellent job of preserving its Victorian charm. All four floors of the house are have been maintained to looks just as they did at the turn of the 20th century, and provide an educational experience for all visitors.

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Bells to ring for the servants...just like on Downton Abbey!

Bells to ring for the servants…just like on Downton Abbey!

After a relaxing afternoon, I made a throw-together lentil/pasta/tomato/spices stew thing for our dinner club (which apparently wasn’t too terrible, because we didn’t have any leftovers…). Then, several of us students got together and watched Atlantis: The Lost Empire, to indulge our inner children. ;)

That’s it for today. More adventures tomorrow!

Blessings,

Taylor

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