Wednesday, 30 April 2014

With or Without Lemon

Afternoon tea is one of life's gentle luxuries. No more so than when taken in the company of close friends where lively conversation is matched with delicious scones, sandwiches and cakes beautifully and elegantly served in the most pleasing and attractive of settings. Such was the case recently at Horsted Place, a rather splendid country house hotel set deep in the Sussex countryside.

That the experience was presumptuously dismissed by a young friend, who had been treated to the occasion, as "meaningless" did somewhat draw our breath. That this had formed part of a gift of a birthday  celebration comprising a five day, first visit to the United Kingdom should, we assume, be regarded as irrelevant. That the entire trip should pass with little in the way of a thank you, for such we are told are "empty words", should, we imagine, be a matter of indifference. That we should ourselves feel as an outcome somewhat lacking in value is, surely, a failing on our part. After all, have we not been brought up on the prayer of Saint Ignatius whereby we are extolled "to give and not to count the cost"?

Jane Hattatt ruminates on the standards of politeness in today's world

There was a time, seemingly now in the Dark Ages, when politeness and common courtesy were to be found in abundance. It was, in the way of modern parlance, 'cool' to say thank you, to appear interested in and enthusiastic for whatever was on offer. Put simply, to delight in receiving and to have joy in giving. Flowers appeared in response to a lunch invitation, wine to one for dinner, whilst an overnight stay would, as a matter of course, be followed with the ubiquitous 'bread-and-butter' letter. Sadly today's post box has little to show beyond bills and one looks forlornly for an email or text message.

But perhaps it is we who are out of kilter, to use a deliciously old fashioned phrase? It is we who need to 'get a life'. Indeed, to draw upon a completely unsolicited comment left, but not published, on a recent post of ours by a fellow blogger, previously unknown to us:

"This is one of the most boring blogs that I have ever stumbled upon".

We beg forgiveness. We crave your forbearance. We shall try harder!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Diary Delights!

Those who are aware of the activities of Mrs. Hague as portrayed and outlined in Osbert Sitwell's poem of that name will be conscious that:

"Monday was Washing Day,
Tuesday was Baking Day,
Wednesday h'Alfred 'as 'is dinner h'early,"

Happily, thanks to the excellence and efficiency of our cook/housekeeper, Tímea, our lives are not quite so curtailed with domestic chores.

tickets for a variety of performances attended over the last two weeks

a selection of programmes arranged on the piano in the Morning Room

Indeed, looking back over the previous two weeks we can, in fact, only count on one night 'in', so to speak, the rest having been enjoyed 'out' with a variety of concerts, a Private View, wonderfully delicious dinners in numerous Budapest restaurants, matched only by those served in the homes of friends, contemporary dance, the cinema, not to mention a surprise joint birthday party given for us by The Bright Young Things as well as Anniversary celebrations.

birthday flowers sent by the divine Mad Italian boys, Carlo and Andrea

more birthday flowers, arranged in the Front Hall, to greet visitors

And such fun we have had. Highlights must include in the way of music the most amazing 'Habilitácios Hangversenye' where our extraordinarily gifted and talented friend, Nemes László [Director of the Kodály Institute of Music], conducted a choir to include works by Mendelssohn and Schónberg and which can only be described as outstanding.

at the 'Habilitácios Hangversenye' concert with Madame Kodály [seated left]

On another night we attended a concert performance with the Purcell Choir of Rameau's 'Les Fétes de Polymnie', superb in every respect, whilst most recently, our Polish friend, Magdalena Wajdzik, played the work of the young composer, Baqais Ádám, in a most interesting competition concert. To this must be added a somewhat lack lustre, at least for us, evening with Rufus Wainwright made up for by an exciting evening of modern dance where, in each piece, we could count our friends amongst the dancers.

tickets, and handbag,  for a disappointing evening with Rufus Wainwright

A trip to the cinema, 'A Grand Hotel Budapest', left us with divided opinions but not so dinner out with friends where we were treated to an Italian restaurant, 'Via Luna',  to 'Spinoza', a firm favourite, and to 'M' where we enjoyed a hilarious evening with close friends one of whom is, in all truth, a Princess from China! Next day in the Four Seasons Hotel, for reasons unknown, she so generously showered us with gifts and presented us with the most enormous teddy bear!!

an evening at 'M' restaurant with friends Alexander and Stella - such fun

'The Princess' presenting Lance Hattatt with a teddy bear , Alexander 

Now, at the invitation of The Várfok Gallery, Budapest's longest established private art gallery, we are looking ahead to Wednesday when we shall lead a VIP Tour of the latest exhibition showing the work of two leading Hungarian contemporary artists, Jovánovics Tamás and Keseru Károly.

 invitation for VIP Private Tour prior to the opening of the exhibition

Our work is cut out!! But it beats Washing Day!!