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Sunday, December 09, 2012

Quintessentially English.

Priscilla Presley at The New Wimbledon Theatre.

It's that time of year when the little ones are wrapped up  in snoods and soft  white mittens and  whisked off to the theatre. They gaze with bright eyed wonder at men in harlots' make up and bounteous foamy false breasts and principal boys who are actually long legged lovely girls. Into this debauched Saturnalia clip clops the  clap-trap cobbled together comedy horse inside which are locked two jobbing actors locked together in a De Sadeaen embrace. Oh no, its not a twisted psycho-drama or even a newly discovered level of Dante's Inferno.

OH NO IT'S NOT! 
(you shout)
OH YES IT IS!

The panto season is upon us, that quintessentially English theatrical  debacle.
Personally I can't bear it,  so here are a few of England's more  noble traditions, one of them will put a sting in your tail.


pic: The Guardian.






Claridge's  Fumoir  pic: Bourbon & Pearls.)


The Pub - rats, shouldn't have cut my hair.





Dunhill's Bourdon House


Corporal punishment.

IFB

Have you ever endured a whole panto?

87 comments:

  1. No have not! But this is quite the collection of images. Is that really what that stick is for! Excellent picture of our Queen, what a terrific smile she has.

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    1. Dani - it was in the olden days, well and in some parts of Soho today.

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  2. why don't you like a panto?

    I'm taking le child to a sort of panto in January. It's a musical about dogs called Hairy McClarey. Or something.

    I think your hair looks good.

    I luff the Queen. x

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    1. I loathe them with every fibre of my being and hated them as a child, I can't bear all that slapstick nonsense, the singing and audience participation.
      Don't get me started on the circus - walked out of that at the age of 8.

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    2. I cannot stand forced participation either -- and worse yet, the audience clapping in time to the rhythm. Yikes.

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    3. My mother thought they were common so we never went as children. Having had to endure one that we were taken to with our children, I am intensely grateful to her. Never again.

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  3. Don't like panto, circuses, or parades. I used to take my daughter to The Nutcracker ballet every Christmas season and she adored it, as did I. Great collection of images and going to google Spotted Dick immediately.

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    1. Oh I'm going to The Nutcracker next week, that's one tradition I'll never give up.

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    2. There are three cultural events I really would like to attend this Holiday Season, here in Houston, TX: the Nutcracker, a performance of Dickens' Christmas Carol, and the Houston Symphony holiday concert. We have tickets for the symphony concert (the Sunday matinee, to be followed by a nice dinner. And wine). Our schedule, not to mention the budget, do not allow us to do all three. We have been going to the Symphony Christmas concert since my kids were babies (now 17 and 19). Unfortunately the 19 year old will not be home from college in time to attend, this year. These last few years, plus the next few, have been/will be very transitional. My parents have died, the kids are going off to school, what will the future be like? I admit I've been a bit weepy so far this holiday season.

      ---Jill Ann

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  4. Nope, and never will :-)

    Love the pictures in this post in particular the one you took at Claridge's.
    Have you seen Inside Claridge's documentary? I am now slightly addicted to it.

    Have a great week.

    Red

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    1. Yes, don't you love the German manager? The only thing is, I feel saddened that they have had to do it, I don't think they should be telling tales out of school like that, guests go there because it is so very private but I'm sure they felt that they had to do it for publicity after The Savoy got a documentary last year.

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    2. So glad someone else loves the German Manager! I do too and have had some weird looks when saying so. Not that I care. I have not been in the Savoy since it has been done up so next time I am in London I will have a peek.
      I quite like pantos but wouldn't want to see one again, hate circuses and love the ballet, you can't beat The Nutcracker in lieu of a panto

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    3. Debra: I want to make him my best friend! The new Savoy is still stunning and I don't think I'll ever tire of the Nutcracker at Christmas.

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    4. I was appalled by the Savoy's expose (ay), and I thought I'd never go there again after all that tittle tattle. The staff came across as a bunch of pantomime dames...au courant. Gay staff are supposed to be discreet, not a bunch of gossiping old queens. Really, dear. Oh yes they are.

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    5. Perhaps I should have termed it expose-gay...

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  5. I've never even heard of a panto! And Priscilla Presley would frighten the children if they saw her up close. But thank you for all of the rest of Britain's Glory here, as we're starting to gear up to plan our trip next year.

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  6. Priscilla Presley as the Evil Queen. Well, I have to say she's holding up rather well. Doesn't look a day over forty-ish. If you have to go that route: cosmetic surgery, at least do it well. But, why does a woman of near seventy want to look like someone half that age? I don't get it... I don't bear the woman any ill will, and I must say she's got gumption and made a miracle out of the mess of her former husband's estate. She's a trouper. Reggie

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    1. Oh, and don't forget the Wolesley. It is a must stop for me when I am (infrequently) in London. Last time I was in Claridges Fumoir Madonna stopped in (near closing time) with her then husband, Guy Ritchie. It was rather fun. Reggie (again)

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  7. Have I heard of a panto.....I spent every Christmas been taken (not force fed in my childhood) from Aladdin,Cinderella,remember Puss in Boots? 'OH YES YOU DO'......Spotted Dick & custard my HB's favourite but the bitch does not allow this on the menu!

    We met friends in Claridges last w/e full of Americans,and don't mention F&M's packed out to the gunwales,still using my sharp elbows managed to pick up a few goodies. Have you ventured up yet? Ida

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    1. Ida - just missed you, going down this week! Or up as you posh folk say!

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    2. Meant to say your Christmas entrance porch is so warm and welcoming,what are those stunning plants on the steps? Have almost lost my eyesight trying to work out what the red flower is,Skimmia Japonica came to mind?Ida

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    3. Ida, yes, that's exactly what they are!

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  8. This is too funny! Having grown up reading Noel Streatfeild and Enid Blyton, I have a wholly sentimental imagination about Pantos!

    Can I live in an alternative universe where I get taken to see one that is actually quite good (perhaps the Book of Mormon) whilst wearing green velvet with a pink taffeta bow and then out for dinner afterwards??? Please oh please? And everyone lives in a storybook cottage, the postman rides a bicycle to deliver my christmas parcels and cards and I buy lovely presents up on the high street?? Oh, and can I also have a bunch of chums at the local pub who are witty and always there for me, but arent' actually alcoholics?????

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    1. WMM- I'd like to live there too - make it happen.

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    2. Well once we move into Dani's shed we are likely to find a secret portal or something! Okay that's my new book: two almost 50 year old women end up in 1940 book england! I'll keep you posted how I make out!

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    3. Can I come too? I too read Noel Streatfeild as a child, plus Rumer Godden, and have been SUCH an Anglophile ever since. AND I bought a green velvet jacket several years ago, because it was fabulous, even though it was too small. I know. But now it fits! So I'm trying to decide how to style it. I could wear it to the pub!

      ---Jill Ann

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  9. I have not ever been to a panto, had to google it..... I am not much of a theatre goer, I get a bit bored no matter how good the event is, so I don't think I would like going to a panto.
    Great iconic images.
    You should have contacted me prior to the hair cutting! I would have told you no! Don't! Do It! I cut mine off and was very saddened, I have since grown it out and I am very happy!
    You hair is gorgeous long!
    Did you post a photo with it shorter? I will have to search backwards to see.
    Xx
    Callie

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    Replies
    1. Callie it's 4 inches shorter but I'm never cutting it again.

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  10. Lovely gallery of photos...Viva le Nobili Tradizioni Inglesi!...tuttavia le Tradizioni sono fatte per essere Cambiate, non crede?...I Suoi capelli sono Meravigliosi...corti o lunghi! Ah, quel Dolce è davvero invitante, fa venire l'acquolina in bocca, credo che sia l'eqivalente del classico dolce natalizio Italiano:il Panettone, è così vero?...Siamo tutti sulla stessa barca! :)
    Un augurio di una felice e calda serata...I guess there's a lot of snow there!
    Ciao

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  11. Not once. I lived and worked in London for 6 months, as a young woman. Worked for Cameron Mackintosh before he was famous. Went to every bit of theater I could manage. And avoided pantos like the plague. They sounded horrid. Now, 25 years later, I hear that they are, in fact. Thank you.

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  12. Yes, I have, when you're an expat, you have to go all the way. I took a whole bunch of little girls from my daughter's school to see Peter Pan, who was played by Lulu (bet she couldn't do that anymore !). The girls were given little golden magic wands at the entrance ; one of the little b...eauties was particularly pesky so I seized her wand to playfully hit her. I must have been a bit heavy-handed because I broke it on her arm (I'm sure the blasted toy must have been made in China). So then she started crying and the first thing she told her mother when I returned her was : "I didn't see the play because Alix's mummy hit me and broke a stick on my arm". Never again !

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  13. I love theatre but like you, I have to refrain from the eye roll when the special roles are given for the audience to participate in.

    I adore the Nutcracker, I saw the ballet for the first time last year and it was spectacular.

    Tabitha, I meant to ask you awhile ago - how was your high school reunion? Cringeworthy or well worth your time?

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    1. LR - it was great. The first person I spoke to has raised a billion and is setting up their own bank!

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    2. Very impressive! Glad it was worthwhile!

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  14. I should whisper this--I hate live theatre. I get so uncomfortable watching people play act whether noble or ridiculous. Dance--I could watch forever! Thanks for the Rule Britannia images!

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    1. Dannie, I love theatre, I find it so intimate but musicals and panto no. Martin Amis also hates the theatre.
      Hope you're well!

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  15. Never been to a formal panto, as I recall. A park I used to frequent with daughter and her school friends had participatory puppet shows which I always insisted they watch one during our outings - tho I don't think any of us truly enjoyed the show - but it gave me 20 minutes of respite plopping them in the front, me in the back. Nutcracker ballet performances were a tradition for years also but have stopped since I give my daughter a choice - ballet with me or sporting event tickets for her and her current bf. I am a bit of an anglophile so love your snippets of life.

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  16. PASS Absolutely no panto or hot custard sauce, but ta for the Claridges' snap. (Against my profession, don't think either The Savoy or C. ought to have let viewers behind quietly closed doors, regardless of competition, rate hikes and publicity. Dulls sense of privacy and top drawer allure. Marble Arch will make an interesting three-quel in a few years tho', at least architecturally, fitting a top list hotel and its baths in.)

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    1. Get Fresh I agree, I'm really enjoying the documentary but it makes my toes curl to hear staff reveal even small things about guests.
      I love custard, haven't had it for years.

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    2. Eggnog is your new substitute remember, and can add bourbon. (Your 12 days of cocktails are just hours away...)

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    3. Get Fresh - I still haven't made it, it's so annoying you can't buy it ready made here.

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  17. No panto here in California, and I'll admit to being a bit envious - looks like fun! But then, no corporal punishment here either, so perhaps it all evens out.

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  18. I love and adore panto with the white hot heat of a thousand suns.

    Explaining it to my US chums here in Florida is always entertaining...the principal boy is a girl, the dame is a man and we call join in stupid songs?

    Heaven.

    He's behind you!

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  19. I loathe mimes. Audience participation of any sort is cringe making. I will just scoot out the side.

    The best spotted dick,ever, was on New Providence island at the restaurant opposite the taxi cab headquarters in the very middle of the island. Dark. Surprises everywhere if one is open to them.

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    1. Michael, I'm with you, scratch off the pretty clothes and I'm a tomboy.

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  20. The Admiral Codrington, now theres a place I've rolled in for a quick glass of lunchtime shampoo only to roll out at bedtime.
    Last Panto, age 6, Cinderella, boy next door opens up a tupperware box and starts to peel an egg, I gag and have never seen a panto since!
    Audience participation and manic hand clapping makes me want to run away really quickly and hide.
    Your hair looks lovely Tabitha dont cut it again, just grow it and tuck it in to your boots.
    Did I cover all bases? xx

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    1. Paul, you get an A+ and a gold star.

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  21. I didn't mind the panto when we were in England as a child and I was taken. Hate the circus though - my Grandmother decided to take 7 of us cousins together. So to cope with the numbers, she attached 5 of us to reins (you know, the dog walking things that were made for children back in the olden days. I'm sure they're banned now, there was no cute PC backpack alternative you can get these days). Needless to say, as I was 8 years old I felt completely humiliated and insulted. As a result, I loath the circus. It seemed very tawdry and grubby to me.

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  22. So is that what Priscilla has been up to now that her beautiful face, sadly, doesn't move so well?

    I've never heard of a panto, could be interesting I suppose since I usually enjoy live performances. However, like you and others, I don't like the circus. I find them sad.

    Nothing wrong with your tresses. It's shorter but still beautiful.

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  23. have no idea what panto is, but loved all of the images. I am sure your hair looks fabulous now, and it will grow.

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  24. Eerrrk! the cane! I learnt the piano by that method - right across the knuckles! Hope that doesn't happen anymore. As a child we went to a few pantos, Cinderella, Aladdin, etc, but I couldn't stand it now. And I hate audience participation, and circuses too... The Nutcracker is Perfect!

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  25. Thank you for the quintessentially British images...my hubs is in London as we speak, on a business trip, and I am horribly jealous. i did mention to him, before he left, that it might be a nice opportunity for him to do a bit of Christmas shopping. I believe I mentioned the word "Liberty". He called me early this morning, having forgotten the time difference, and wanted to know if UK sizes were the same as US. I advised him to find a helpful salesperson and ask her. Hmmmm, wonder what he found?

    ---Jill Ann

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    1. Jill Ann - oh he is going to be very confused, let's hope the best sales assistant in town nabs him and empties his pockets.

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  26. I don't like pantos or musicals - no idea why, they just don't capture my attention. Priscilla Presley is just scary!

    Thanks for the collection of photos - I remember your post about Claridges! The fumoir looks incredibly beautiful.

    Hope your weekend was a good one!

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  27. Priscilla Presley does look scary. She's ridiculous.

    I'm in favor of regular hair trimming, even hair cuts. Tabitha, I'm sure your hair looks great!

    Never heard of, or been to, a panto. I think that might be something I can miss in this lifetime.

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  28. Oh no...I think I'm in agreement with you on Panto especially when I read one of your comment replies that said something about audience participation. Oh, hell no. But I am in favor of Burberry and Barbour and wellies, and landrovers and the list goes on...

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  29. I think it's a Priscilla Presley Impersonator, that's what I think.

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  30. Replies
    1. You, in whole, are beautiful.

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    2. Scaley Worm - you charmer, you.

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  31. Those crazy Sassanaks! Thank goodness for my Irish/Scottish heritage.

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    1. Ann, google the Twankies, then go lie down in a dark room, I apologise ahead for the horror.

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    2. Ermagghherdd! I'll be in therapy for years. I reserve the right to exist in my own creation of the Auld Country as imagined by those who do not reside there. It's all tartan and bagpipes and shortbread.

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    3. Ann - Krankies - I got it wrong!

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  32. Hahaha! Can you please be my neighbor?!!!!

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  33. So that's spotted dick. Who'd have thought?

    Told you not to cut your hair. Lucky you still look gorgeous.

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    1. Ah, it's only 4 inches, it'll be back by March. Old fashioned puds - can't beat them.

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  34. Living in London as a child dressed in fur trimmed deep red velvet coat with matching muff and taken to the Panto. Loved it! I can still remember first being taken to see the Xmas lights and beautiful shop windows.

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  35. Coco , I had that outfit too, wish it was still in my wardrobe, did you have the white fur hat with pom pom ties too?

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    1. Ha yes I did. Such a cute outfit. Gosh we were well dressed little girls weren't we? I forgot to say the spotted dick also brought back memories of school luncheon and of course the yummy treacle pudding. Must make one soon.

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    2. Oh what a great outfit! My Barbie had a red velvet coat & hat, which I would totally wear today, if I lived in a cold climate AND had somewhere fancy to go. You two must have been adorable. Wy don't children dress like that any more?????

      ---Jill Ann

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  36. I had to endure the panto three times for my daughter's class, it was horrible. I had never been to one, seen a little on tv and didn't like it so much and I certainly didn't like it in real life. It was Sleeping Beauty. Never again!! Love your hair...but I'm sure you look gorgeous any ways!! xx

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  37. OK not quite sure what a panto is but from glancing at some of the other comments doesn't sound like my sort of thing! I did however, take my daughter and two of her friends to Wicked on Saturday for her birthday and enjoyed it as much as they did!! Realize I'm a bit behind the curve on this one but better late than never!!

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  38. Maybe it's because we don't have children that's why we don't like panto's Tabs??
    Have you been watching the documentary on Claridges? Thought of you of course ;-) xx

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  39. Vanessa, no I took my friend Sharon's son - still hated it!
    Yes.. heading there this week.

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  40. Never even heard of Panto, had to google it. Growing up in strictly Catholic country, anything Christmas related started (not ended) on Dec 24th. No preparations except for endless cleaning chores. I think I would have much preferred panto, audience participation notwithstanding.

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  41. Not a fan of panto. Once went to a resort on the Sussex coast for a weekend of wine, panto, and sex in a raging Channel storm. Not my thing.

    Ah, the pub. I practically spent decades of my life there in the 1980s. It changed considerably in the early '90s when it was transformed into a gastro-pub or something. Just not the same.

    Hair. It's not too long. But if you must snip it, please keep it handle-length at least.

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  42. And corporal punishment: yes, please do bring it back.

    Civilisational decline in Britain can be traced back to its demise.

    It's a scientifical fact.

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  43. I've actually never even heard of this...sort of glad I hadn't lol

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  44. I didn't realize it was an English tradition to watch a panto during the Christmas season. No wonder the kids at my daughter's school are whisked off to the theater every year the week before Christmas. I was rather baffled why they were forced to watch it! Now I know!

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  45. I have never sat through one. I almost brought my nieces and nephew to one in Dublin once but I couldn't bare it, so I took them to the cinema instead. I don't think they minded.

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  46. Every year to the Kings, unfortunately we missed Stanley Baxter but we did see all of the ones which featured Gerard Kelly. Great fun, its an excuse to act stupid. I used to love the songs that they make the audience sing. I still even remember some of them. I am also glad that my daughter is now at university and my son's whole senior school trip is the pantomine. It lets me off. I personally love your hair. I have been trying to grow mine for ages but the hairdresser is against me and keeps cutting more than asked.

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  47. Erm, had to think about that - don't think I have endured a whole panto.

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  48. I got distracted at the dessert as usual. England looks a lot like Boston to me. Interesting! ox

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  49. tabs thanks for introducing me to the londoner. oh to be so young and fabulous. her blog is a delight. xo

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