Wednesday 22 April 2015

'Love in Budapest'

Of late we have been doing the round of the Embassies. We are most fortunate to count among our close friends the Ambassador to Hungary of the Republic of Latvia and his wife and, as a result, find ourselves as guests at many of the wonderful concerts and events sponsored by that country.

As recently as last month we were privileged to be asked to attend the Occasion of the 25th. Anniversary of the Day of Restoration of the Independence of Lithuania where a recital, to include works by Bach and Mozart, as well as by contemporary composers such as Dino Saluzzi and Gorka Hermosa, was given by the outstandingly talented accordionist, Martynas Levickis.

Before that we enjoyed the most marvellous evening at the Finnish Embassy and next month we are eagerly anticipating the screening of a new Estonian-Icelandic-Latvian-Lithuanian documentary film.

James Black, Producer/Director, Gulf Atlantic Pictures at the British Embassy

But where, you may well ask, is all of this leading? Well, put simply, only hours ago we found ourselves in the British Embassy for the launch of 'LOVE IN BUDAPEST', a film to be shot entirely on location here in the City.

a flyer to promote the new film 'Love in Budapest' at the British Embassy

the Old Banking Hall of the British Embassy for the launch of 'Love in Budapest'

That in itself is so very exciting. Even more so is the fact that we are both now under contract to appear in this 'non-stop song and dance romantic adventure' in the small part of Miss Dottie, a radio presenter, and the more major role of Robert, the owner of the Dance Theatre, described as 'a much loved haven for talented and aspiring dancers', in which much of the action is set.

Jane Hattatt/Miss Dottie, centre, with Eszter Boyd-Gibbins and Mark Lakatos

Lance Hattatt/Robert, second from left, with Astrida Liegis, Ari Kupsus & Krisztina Kovács

Produced as an Anglo-Hungarian co-operation by Gulf Atlantic Pictures, under the direction of James Black, and to go out to a global audience in 2016 this is, we are confident, a film no-one will wish to miss.

James Black and Marianna Muroczki, Assistant Producer, in the British Embassy

Jane Hattatt in conversation with Richard and Julia Lock in the British Embassy

So for now we are talking 'movies'! Soon 'Speed', 'Rolling', 'Action' and 'Cut' will, we imagine, become part of our everyday world. Until then, lines must be learnt, character developed, lipstick applied and nails painted!!

a flyer for the forthcoming film 'Love in Budapest'

Move over Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt!!

[With the exception of the last, all images in this post are by kind permission of Gyula Sopronyi whose exhibition, 'Floating Aspect', opens in Budapest on the 28th. April 2015]

Thursday 2 April 2015

Zoom, Click, and Add to Basket

It began with groceries from Waitrose. Lured by delicious images, a few clicks of the mouse, no wayward trolleys or aisle miles to worry about and the goodies delivered directly into the kitchen in the capable hands of a friendly driver. We were hooked. The world of online shopping had entered our lives and secured a place in our hearts.

online shopping for groceries a necessary part of our lives when in the UK

Success in the bidding wars of 'ebay' brought silver pepper shakers and Carlton Ware to us via Royal Mail. Navigating the Hungarian online equivalent, 'Vatera', proved both technically and linguistically challenging but, one happy day, four 1950s 'cocktail' chairs were ours. Amazon secured a rare copy of James Lees Milne and 'Gumtree', most recently, furnished us with a 1920s sideboard courtesy of Neville, a man with a van. As we tend not to be overly fond of shops in general how much better this was, we agreed, to buy from the comfort of home and await deliveries at the hall door.

a 1920s sideboard - a purchase made on 'Gumtree' and delivered by the obliging Neville

the sideboard installed in the dining room of the newly acquired Norwich holiday home

And so, when a house was required as an alternative to our Brighton 'rooms', we 'booted up', 'googled', 'searched' and 'surfed' the world wide web to find what in our mind's eye we were looking for. Rightmove, Primelocation and Zoopla became the tools of our trade. Virtual tours of properties from Anglesey to Zennor filled our computer screens from dawn to dusk.

one of the many online property companies of which we made much use

We zoomed in on Google maps, we analysed floor plans, we walked the streets with the aid of 'Street View', we noted crime statistics, the employment status and age profile of our virtual neighbours via 'Street Check', comparing prices and property trends as we clicked merrily along. Geological surveys warned of landslips and Radon Zones, floodplains highlighted areas at risk and a store locator ensured the presence of John Lewis and Waitrose close to hand should we ever feel the need to make a real visit.

Finally, our target was in sight. Emails to our solicitor ensured that our personal presence in the entire purchase process would not be necessary, as indeed it was not. A small but perfectly formed Victorian, artisan terraced house, dating from 1887, complete with original sash windows, picture rails, cornicing, working fireplaces and two very modern bathrooms was to be ours.

detailing around the sash windows at the front of the house makes for interest

a typical Victorian fireplace and surround to be found in the dining room

a bedroom fireplace, the size of which can hardly have been adequate to heat the room

Airline and 'bus tickets, bought on line of course, would take us there.

Did the reality match the dream? We turned the real key in the actual lock.

the inevitable work which comes with every move - some of many boxes awaiting unpacking

Love at first sight. A very modern romance, we thought, about to begin.

the drawing room on our next visit to be decorated in 'Little Greene' French Grey