The rest of the week was interesting, too. I have been reading Shakespeare's Kings, a history book by John Julius Norwich written with reference to the history plays, after Chris and I had taken part in a play reading of Richard II the other weekend. For reinforcement, and sheer appreciation of the poetry and the top quality British acting, I have also been re-watching our videos of the first four plays in The Hollow Crown production: Richard II, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, and Henry V.
Last Sunday we cycled to Landowne Park's Horticultural Building to be at one of the Canada-in-the-world events in this year's series. Slovakia was on show, with dancers on the stage and costumed young men and women playing an accompaniment at the side, a colourful and friendly occasion. Outside the hall, two professional ice hockey stars from the Slovak Republic were thrilling a crowd of children by playing street hockey with them on the patio.
That same afternoon Chris and I continued up the bike path along the canal to hear a lecture at Carleton University arranged by the Ottawa Friends of the Canadian Institute in Greece (CIG), the Archaeological Institute of America in Canada, the Canadian Institute for Mediterranean Studies (CIMS), the Parnassos Hellenic Cultural Society and Carleton's College of Humanities. A representative from the Greek Embassy was present too. The subject was The Battle of Marathon,the Athenians versus the Persians. The famous story of the Athenian runner Pheidippedes bringing the news of victory across the mountains from Marathon to Athens before dropping dead, the inspiration for the Olympic Games, is probably just a legend. There is no historical evidence for this feat
Monday evening, I went to the talk about outreach work being done by the National Arts Centre Music Education department, as was described in my previous blogpost.
Tuesday was a day for blood tests, a pneumonia innoculation, gardening and shopping.
I was meant to be at the Mosaicanada garden in Gatineau for a guided tour in a group on Wednesday morning, but I overslept and went to the midday concert at the NAC instead, swimming afterwards. Thursday I cycled to an apartment block standing across the street from Mosaicanada to take part in a German conversation, our topic being the history of seaside holidays --- Urlaub am Strand, and in particular the Strandkörbe (wicker beach chairs) which adorn the Baltic coast of northern Germany. Thomas Mann sat in one to write his novels. That evening, Barbara and I went to the Sibelius concert.
The next day, Friday afternoon, after that girls' choir concert at the NAC mentioned in the last blogpost, I called at the Horticultural Building again to see what China had to offer. It was "Beijing Week" which meant that most of the exhibition featured images and artifacts that I recognised from my happy visits to that city, which made me feel nostalgic. On the podium, a series of Chinese VIPs were holding forth in Chinese about China's Cultural Financing Platform and so on, the audience valiantly trying to follow, but even more valiant to my mind was the girl with a microphone who was giving a simultaneous translation into English. I know her! it was my Chinese tutor Jingnan Xue, wearing a smart black dress with golden necklace that suited her.
I missed seeing the masked Chinese acrobats who were to follow the speakers, warming up outside, because from there, I had to pedal back downtown in order to get to the Westin Hotel where I and my friends from the German conversation group had been invited to part of the World Tulip Summit to see the excellent, hour-long documentary, Tulip: Light of the East, explaining how tulip bulbs had travelled the world and how these flowers had at one time or another have represented invincibility, wealth and In Arabic script, the word Allah looks rather like a tulip and indeed, the Arabic word for tulip (laleh) has the same characters as the word for God. A Turkish-Canadian member of our German group has been on the Canada Tulip Festival committee for the last 25 years. It was she who had invited us to see the film.