Sunelia Le Col Vert Camping review 
Friday, August 15, 2008, 08:37 AM
Posted by Administrator
This entry is only really aimed at anyone trying to find reviews of this campsite on the internet - I couldn’t seem to find any ...

This site in the Landes area is very pleasantly situated in a pine forest by the side of a peaceful lake. The clientele is mostly French with a few Germans and a (very) few English. It is very much aimed at families and the facilities are excellent. The atmosphere is lively but not frenetic – everything was pretty quiet after 10pm or so.

There is a good informal restaurant serving traditional local food as well as a slightly simpler cafe and a pleasant terrace bar next to the swimming pool. The restaurant was surprisingly authentic – and good value. We particularly enjoyed the confit de canard, huge bowls of mussels and local wines. If you want a change there’s a good pizzeria just outside the campsite’s main entrance – this sells excellent local honey. Back in the campsite there’s also a useful small supermarket where you can buy freshly baked bread and croissants in the morning – and English newspapers. Although the shop is fine, it’s well worth going to the nearby village of Leon where there is an excellent market selling delicious gateau basque, local cheese, bayonne ham and freshly cooked take away paella.

The swimming pool is perfectly adequate but there are no flumes or slides. Our children liked playing pinball and table football in the small games arcade.

Staff (some of them anyway) speak good English and generally everything was very well organised. We booked directly with the campsite and they dealt efficiently with queries, payment etc.
This was our first camping holiday so we decided to go for the soft option of a chalet rather than just a tent. This – a chalet reve’ - was simple but comfortable and well equipped. You have to pay extra for linen hire.

Overall we really enjoyed our stay – a very relaxing holiday – and would certainly be keen to try other Sunelia resorts.

4 comments ( 57 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink

Holiday Reading: Marks out of Ten 
Wednesday, August 13, 2008, 05:01 PM
Posted by Administrator
We’ve just come back from a pleasantly long and idle holiday in France (and Cornwall). Lots of time to catch up with reading, and here’s my verdict in ascending order of enjoyment/merit.

Reginald Hill A Cure for All Diseases. I have mixed feelings about Hill’s detective stories. The characters and plots are fun but just a bit too whimsical at times. This time the story is loosely based on Jane Austen’s unfinished fragment Sanditon. It was enjoyable but the denouement was rather drawn out and tortuous. 6.5/10

Ella Hepworth Dixon The Story of a Modern Woman. This is the absorbing - if ultimately rather dispiriting - story of Mary, a poor but genteel young woman who attempts to make a living (first as an artist then as a hack writer) in the late nineteenth century. 7/10

Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom Why Truth Matters. I’m sure it does but, as I read this book right at the beginning of the holiday, I can no longer remember precisely why. Sorry.

Seriously, it was pretty good but a bit costive – I read it because I enjoy Ophelia Benson’s Butterflies and Wheels blog. 7.5/10

Frank Furedi Where Have all the Intellectuals Gone? I found myself reading this while drinking Pina Colada and listening to europop in the swimming pool bar of a French campsite. Maybe it wasn’t the most conducive environment, but I didn’t find this quite as compelling as Furedi’s shorter pieces. In particular I thought that he was a bit too ready to dismiss widening participation moves and popular culture more generally. It seems odd, for example, to grumble about an updated version of Hamlet when Shakespeare’s play was itself an updated version of an earlier story – and is full of topical references. 7.5/10

Grant Allen Typewriter Girl. Grant Allen. Cigarette smoking, rational dress wearing Juliet Appleton is a much more lively and cheerful New Woman heroine than Hepworth Dixon’s Mary. The accounts of Juliet’s experiences as a (rather high maintenance) secretary – and (briefly) as a member of an anarchist commune – are particularly entertaining 7.5/10.

Richard Marsh The Beetle Yet another welcome reprint from my favourite publisher, Broadview Press, this is a highly enjoyable late Victorian adventure story – a kind of cross between King Solomon’s Mines and Dracula. 8/10

Patrick O’Brian Desolation Island. Rum, covert homoerotic undertones, and the lash. The fourth in O’Brian’s excellent Aubrey-Maturin series. 8/10

Judith Herrin Byzantium. An excellent (and widely acclaimed) history of Byzantium for the general reader. 8.5/10

Ursula K Le Guin The Lathe of Heaven. Is it possible to improve society or will our efforts always result in some further unforeseen problem? Not as emotionally involving as The Dispossessed or The Left Hand of Darkness, but this cool and cerebral story (it reminded me rather of Philip K. Dick) about a man whose dreams have the power to change reality is a compelling and thought provoking novel.8.5/10

Robert Tressell The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. This Socialist classic tells of a group of painters and decoraters in Edwardian England who have to deal with villainous bosses, hypocritical clergymen, identikit politicians and the constant fear of unemployment, illness and the work house. It’s rambling, crude, repetitive and preachy – but also completely absorbing – difficult to put down. 9/10

2 comments ( 30 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink

SCAENA behind the scenes 
Monday, July 21, 2008, 07:21 AM
Posted by Administrator
As Alex can testify I became increasingly fretful as SCAENA approached. Would the food arrive on time? Would Anglia somehow have double booked all the rooms? Would all the speakers pull out at the last moment?

And would our conference house guest like mess, small children and three legged cats? He seemed fine with these things, luckily, and we soon discovered important shared intellectual interests and spent the first evening of the conference in a local pub with a few other delegates.

I can’t remember much about the pub, but I am grateful to Alex for his mercy dash to Asda very early on Saturday morning to purchase orange juice, coffee and ibuprofen.

Actually I think Alex quite enjoyed his role as conference widower. When I came home briefly on Saturday afternoon for a pre dinner bath he was looking after, not just our own children, but the children of one of my conference colleagues as well. He had done all the laundry too and was radiating smugness.

I really enjoyed the conference dinner at St John’s – a traditional Cambridge affair with four different wines, including a very interesting white wine from Tblisi. And then off to the Eagle! The conference lunches, courtesy of Cotto, were outstanding – I have lots of compliments to pass on to Hans and Ruth, Cotto’s new owners.

2 comments ( 11 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink

SCAENA 2008: Shakespeare and his Contemporaries: Performance and Adaptation 
Monday, July 21, 2008, 06:56 AM
Posted by Administrator
Here at Anglia Ruskin the third SCAENA Conference (Shakespeare and his Contemporaries: Performance and Adaptation) has just come to a close. I think we all found it an immensely stimulating and enjoyable event.
I won’t talk about every paper I managed to hear – though all were excellent – but will just say a little about the keynote talks.

Peter Holland opened the proceedings on Friday evening with an extremely entertaining paper, ‘Passing Through: Shakespeare, Theatre Companies and the Internet’ – this included a very striking Eminem style lego Macbeth. In the evening we heard Judith Buchanan’s excellent paper ‘Orgies of gesticulation’?: Performing Shakespeare on Silent Film’. This revealed the surprising complexity, allusiveness and self deprecating irony of some of the very earliest film versions of the plays.

Then on Saturday morning we all enjoyed Stanley Wells’ elegant and erudite ‘Romeo and Juliet and Sex’, which was followed by Luke McKernan’s very helpful introduction to an excellent project – the British Universities Film and Council’s new international database of Shakespeare on Film, Television and Radio.

Ann Thompson’s ‘Looking before and after: why so many prequels and sequels of Hamlet’ introduced us to some fascinating (and bizarre) responses to the play, including a sequel purportedly dictated to one Lincoln Phifer (in 1916) by the shade of Shakespeare himself. And finally the conference was brought to a fitting close by Catherine Belsey’s ‘William and Geoffrey’ which identified the striking and suggestive similarities between the strategies of self representation deployed by Chaucer and Shakespeare.

2 comments ( 36 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink

Motion 25: Israel and the UCU 
Monday, June 30, 2008, 09:13 PM
Posted by Administrator
Having been advised that a boycott of Israel would not be legal, the UCU has recently adopted Motion 25, which supports action just short of a boycott, advising lecturers to ‘consider the moral and political implications of educational links with Israeli institutions, and to discuss the occupation with individuals and institutions concerned, including Israeli colleagues with whom they are collaborating’.

Michael Yudkin and Denis Noble put the case against Motion 25 very well:

We have noted before (Oxford Magazine, Noughth Week Trinity Term 2008) how, in their obsessive campaign against Israeli academics, some members of UCU are prepared to disregard the views of the majority of the membership, jettison the universally accepted principles of non-discriminatory interchange among scholars, and divert the Union’s resources away from its core functions of protecting members’ salaries and conditions of employment. (It is reported that the legal advice obtained on the 2007 Motion cost the Union a six-figure sum, and we know that the time of branches up and down the country has been taken up in dealing with this one divisive issue rather than attending to the Union’s core business)

It is particularly frustrating that members of the UCU have been denied a simple vote on this issue. Personally I don’t want to support an organisation which singles out one country for obsessive criticism without acknowledging a) the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or b) the iniquities of other regimes. So, for the moment, I’ve resigned.

160 comments ( 2585 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink

<<First <Back | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | Next> Last>>