Clare In The Cheap Seats

Follow Me Around The World Of Art

2014, The Story So Far

Oh my, I have so much to catch up on. I have been to my first Montreal play, been out and about with my camera and caught the National Ballet via the cinema. In between all the above I’ve managed to pack in lots of films.

I’ll start with my first venture into the world of Montreal theatre. I went to the Segal Theatre to watch The Seagull, a new version based on the play by Anton Chekhov. I found it to be an absolute marvel and for the price ($24) it was a bargain. I have bookmarked the theatre (along with a few others) and will keep an eye on their future productions.

My partner & I went to the local Botanical Gardens back in early March to visit the Butterfly exhibition. Butterflies have always fascinated me ever since I was a child. I find metamorphosis extraordinary and love the colours of all the different butterflies and moths. I have posted a few photos here but check out my Flickr page for the rest.



As I now live in Québec I have decided to learn French. Even with the Liberals regaining power in the Province, French is still an essential tool to living here. I am going to the YMCA and my course starts on 6 May for 7 weeks. Hopefully by the end of June I will have some grasp of the lingo.

As usual, I have been watching lots of films this year. I’ve even managed to catch a few at the cinema in addition to those at home. So far the highlights have been:

Nebraska (cinema)

Her (cinema)

Doctor Zhivago

25th Hour



A Single Man

The Wind Rises (cinema)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (cinema and my first winner from Wes Anderson. Ralph Fiennes is just marvellous)

Black Rain (Japanese title is Kuroi Ame)

I have also rewatched Deliverance & Gladiator, which are both immense films.

But the winner so far this year and the only film to score 10/10 is 12 Years A Slave. Whilst it is hard to watch in places, this film is an absolute “must-see”

Another reason I have been to the cinema was to watch the Ballet, yes the Ballet. Remember when I posted about the Arts being broadcast into cinemas across the world? Well I have been again, this time to watch Sleeping Beauty by the Royal Ballet. I had actually forgot about this performance so I missed the Live broadcast from the Royal Opera House. Thankfully they have an “Encore” screening and it was to this that I went on 13 April. The bonus for this performance was the fact that it did not cost me a cent; it was free! I collect points every time I visit Cineplex so with all films I have watched, the orders placed to buy DVD’s and movie rentals online, I had more than enough points to be able to exchange for a ticket. Hopefully it won’t be long until I have enough points for another free trip.

So what have I got coming up in the next few months?

Well I will be going back to the cinema in May to watch the National Theatre Live performance of King Lear. Later that month we have tickets to the Montréal Symphony Orchestra; details about the concert are here. There are a few films coming up over the next few months that I would like to go and see at the cinema and I have literally around 30 films recorded from the TV. And lets not forget all the Criterions I have to review. Enough to keep me busy and out of mischief 🙂

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Cardiff Castle

On Saturday 6 October I went to Cardiff for the weekend.  I have been to Cardiff I few times but only ever to watch the FA Cup Final at the Millenium Stadium.  Everytime I saw the Castle and thought to myself that “I must visit here one day”.  So I decided to extend my art trip to the Welsh capital.

The entrance price was a little on the expensive side at £11 per Adult.  You can upgrade this to include a 45 minute extended guided tour of the Castle Apartments.  I bought the cheaper ticket.

Included in the price is an Audio Guide which I found very useful in terms of history and insight into the Castle.  Thankfully the weather was nice so I enjoyed my leisurely stroll around the Castle Wall & Keep.  As usual I took photographs for you to enjoy.

For more information about Cardiff Castle visit the Official Website here

The Keep

The Keep & North Gate

The Air Raid Shelter – During WWII the 6th Marquess of Bute had the walls of the Castle converted into public air raid shelters

The Black Tower – The Castle jail which over the years held some important prisoners.  Rawlins White was a Protestant Martyr who was held here before his execution for heresy.  Two Roman Catholic priests were held before being hung, drawn and quartered for High Treason.

The Clock Tower

The ceiling of the Arab Room in the Castle Apartments

The Banqueting Hall in the Castle Apartments

The Castle Library.  The five figures each represent ancient languages of Greek, Hebrew, Assyrian, Hieroglyphics and Runic

A view from the Keep towards the main Castle entrance (Black Tower ahead, Clock Tower to the right)

Inside the Keep
A view of the Castle Apartments from the Keep

The Moat around the Keep with waterlillies

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Monet’s House & Garden In Giverny

I have finally made it to Giverny and the home of Claude Monet.  Entrance fee for the House, Garden and Impressionist Museum was €15.50.

Thankfully the weather was on its best behaviour as rain had been forecast in the days before.  We arrived around 11.30 and the wait to enter the gardens was less than 5 minutes.  With it being later in the season there were not coaches packed with visitors on day trips from Paris etc and we were able to walk around the gardens with plenty of room for all.  There are rows of flowers that stretch from the House all the way down to the boundary of the grounds.  You are able to walk in between most of these rows though so areas are cordoned off.  There are plenty of benches dotted around for you to have a rest and admire the view.

The house itself is very neat and tidy and one room has been decorated with around 60 replica works of Monet.  There are maps available in the room for information.  The upstairs bedrooms give you a lovely overview of the garden and I could imagine the sight that greeted Monet every morning.  The Japanese Garden is accessed via an underpass near the Group Entrance.  This is of course the Water-Lily Pond and the Japanese Bridge that is world famous.  Once again, the sight was beautiful.  I am so glad we visited at this time, whilst there were people around you could easily take photos etc and there was no scrum to get your photos taken on the Bridge.  For me the most impressive part of the garden were the Weeping Willows, they were just so beautiful and for me made the whole Water-Lily Pond more stunning.

As with most places I visit (when allowed) I took plenty of photographs to show you.  As you will see from my Flickr account I do not know the name of some of the flowers.  If you do please leave a comment, either on Flickr or here and I will update the photograph.  I do hope you enjoy viewing my photos and if you can, please visit Giverny and see this beautiful place for yourself.

More photos can be found here: Flickr Account

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