It’s feeling a bit fresh outside, not to mention the cascading downpours of rain that edged their way into the ‘summer’ bank holiday. This can mean only one thing: summer is on its way out and autumn is making a comeback. The good news is that Winchester knows how to do autumn. Keats made us famous for it with his Ode ‘To Autumn,’ composed whilst walking in Winchester as documented in a letter to J H Reynolds dated the 22nd of September, 1819: “How beautiful the season is now. How fine the air — a temperate sharpness about it… This struck me so much in my Sunday’s walk that I composed upon it.” ~ Poetical Works of John Keats, ed. H. Buxton Forman, Crowell publ. 1895. You can follow in Keats’ footsteps on this 2-mile walk in what the Telegraph describes as a “win-win stroll”.
There’s plenty going on in September to tempt city-folk out of the post-sunshine blues. Here’s a selection from the Win Guide…
Presumably as a nod to Keats’ ‘seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness,’ Winchester is offering its inaugural Poetry Festival 12th-14th September. Predominantly based at the Discovery Centre, but with events happening at the United Church (Jewry St) and Winchester College, the poetry festival will feature the likes of Patience Agbabi, David Constantine and Brian Patten, among many others. The Wilfred Owen Association is sponsoring a commemorative reading event in Winchester College War Cloister, in which Michael Longley is taking part. Fans of Owen will be delighted to hear they can follow this up by visiting the Theatre Royal for the Blackeyed Theatre tour of Stephen MacDonald’s celebrated ‘Not About Heroes’ 11-14th September.
The Theatre Royal is holding its Centenary Gala on 28th September at 7.30pm with an evening of variety and film. The event is free, courtesy of the generous support of Lady Jennie Bland and the returning performers and creative team who will be offering their time voluntarily. Donations are welcome at the box office. And the National Theatre is coming to the Everyman cinema in Southgate Street on 4th September with the NTlive streaming of Euripides’ Medea, featuring Helen McCrory and directed by Carrie Cracknell. If Greek infanticide tragedy isn’t your thing, NTlive will also be streaming the Young Vic’s fastest-selling production to date ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ later in the month on 16th September featuring Gillian Anderson and directed by Benedict Andrews. Win Guide editor Donald Hutera saw the latter show live in London last month and tells us it’s “a steamy and emotionally stinging sensation”!
To get you in an Americana mood don’t miss the SC4M 2014 Music Festival at the Railway Tavern on Sunday 7th September, 2-11pm. The line-up includes Danny And The Champions Of The World, The Rails, The Travelling Band and Peter Bruntnell, with many more treats in store.
Be sure to catch the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition running at the Discovery Centre until 21st September. And, if you’re inspired to get snapping yourself, the Winchester Photographic Society’s new season commences on the 2nd of September 2014. One of the largest societies in the South, members meet on Tuesday evenings 7:30-10:00pm from September to May at the Performance Hall ( again in the Discovery Centre).
If you’re feeling in a back-to-school mind-set, why not take some French or Spanish classes with Language for Fun? Visit their free taster session in Hyde Parish Hall on 2nd September 8-9pm for a chance to try out a class and meet fellow students over a glass of vino or cup of coffee.
Finally, for those of you who’ve already doused yourselves in iced water and are still craving more action for charity, why not join the Winchester Memory Walk at the North Walls Recreation Ground on September 13th at 10am? The event is in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society, and participants can choose between a one-mile walk around the park or a more challenging six-mile stretch; both are pushchair and wheelchair-friendly. There’s a Zumba warm-up and also post-walk live music, entertainment, homemade cakes, tea, coffee and games. Later in the month get pedaling with Winchester 100, in aid of Action Medical Research for Children. Taking place on 21st September, this event offers an organized opportunity to experience a ride in the New Forest that passes through three counties and a number of stunning hamlets.
Given all of the above, it’s obvious that there’s no dearth of splendid and sometimes blood-stirring activities to keep us busy as we make the gradual transition to cooler weather. Enjoy!