Category Archives: Events in Europe

There are lots of interesting events in Europe on a variety of themes from sport to ceremonies to food, wine and music. We’ve written about some of these European events to give you a flavour of their diversity.

Les Impromptues: A Breath of Fresh Air Outdoor Dance Performance at Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival

The reasons why I visited Dumfries and Galloway, in south west Scotland, during May 2018 was to attend the Spring Fling open art studios event. But one event in the concurrent Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival which caught my eye was the Breath of Fresh Air outdoor dance performance by Les Impromptues.

The first two venues for the performance, Mull of Galloway and Logan Botanic Garden, particularly appealed to me.

I checked directions to the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse on Google ‘Maps. The estimated journey time from Barholm Accommodation was one hour. But I had made the mistake of entering the the nearby village of Drumore as the destination. In fact the /Mull of Galloway Lighthouse is a further 15 minute drive along a single track road.

The performance at the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse was due to start at 11am. I arrived the car park just before 11am and it was a few minutes walk to the lighthouse. When I arrived at the lighthouse I couldn’t see any sign of the dancers. I wondered if I had missed the performance. a Few minutes later, I spotted one of the dancers, recognising the costume from the publicity shots. I asked her and she told me that the performance would start in a few minutes.

Sure enough, a bit later, the three dancers appeared, clutching fishing nets.

I immediately recognised the dance style as being Margaret Morris style. I’ve read a fair bit about Margaret Morris at the Fergusson Gallery in Perth, as the Scottish colourist painter JD Fergusson was Morris’ partner.

It was wonderful to see a live outdoor dance performance.

I left as soon as the performance was finished to ensure that I would be at the next venue,  Logan Botanic Garden, in plenty of time.

Well, given that the performance at the Mull of Galloway had been fantastic, I run out of superlatives to describe Les Impromptues: A Breath of Fresh Air performance at Logan Botanic Garden.

It started off around the fish pond.

Then the dancers moved down to an open grassy space.

Towards the end of the performance, the dancers invited some audience members to participate. I was chosen. Unfortunately, I felt that I couldn’t let myself by totally free. Not because I cared how I looked to the audience. The reasons for my caution were  that the dancer had bare feet, while I had on trekking shoes, so I was afraid that I might stand on her toes. I was also a bit guarded in my arm movements, in case I slapped her in the face.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the Breath of Fresh Air outdoor dance performance by Les Impromptues was one of the best live performances which I have ever seen.

Joana Vasconcelos’ Gateway at Jupiter Artland

I was keen to see the Gateway exhibition by Joana Vasoncelos, a Portugese artist, at Jupiter Artland. The exhibition runs until 30 September 2108 and is part of the Edinburgh Art Festival.

I was really glad that I arrived at Jupiter Artland soon after the opening time of 10am, as I had the ballroom, in which the rotating Red Independent Heart was suspended from the beautiful ceiling, to myself.

In the garden outside the ballroom was a giant sculpture of a high heeled shoe called Carmen Miranda.

It was constructed with stainless steel cooking pans.

There was a collection of ceramic animals, covered in crochet and lace, on the first floor of the Steadings Gallery.

My favourite was the frog.

The wolf’s mouth was so large that it reminded me a crocodile.

I wasn’t so keen on any of three pieces on the ground floor of the Steadings Gallery.

The one below looked like a kitsch take of a Roman fountain.

The blue one was suspended from two large stainless steel shower heads.

The piece below had too many different patterns for my taste.

Perth Riverside Light Nights: Chinese New Year

Perth Riverside Light Nights are part of the Perth Winter Festival in Scotland. Entry is free.

There are various themes during Perth Light Nights. I visited during the Chinese New Year weekend. Other themes included a celebration of Burns (the Scottish poet), Superheroes and Valentine’s Day.

There is a light show every night from 5pm to every evening from late January to mid February.

Light Nights take place on the banks of the River Tay.

I really enjoyed the Perth Riverside Light Nights show. There was a lovely, relaxed atmosphere. The only downside was the biting northerly wind. Despite wearing double trousers and jackets, I was just warm enough.

Royal Scottish Academy Annual Exhibition 2018

The Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) Annual Exhibition in Edinburgh runs until 6 June 2018.

There’s an admission charge of £6 for adults (£4 for concessionary tickets). This price includes a catalogue. However, you can get free entry on Mondays, but you have to pay £3 if you wish to have a catalogue.

Below are some of my favourite pieces from the RSA Annual Exhibition 2018.

I really enjoyed the RSA Annual Exhibition 2018.

Bird-land by Simon Ward at Patriothall Edinburgh

Simon Ward’s Bird-land ceramics exhibition runs until 20 May 2018 at the Patriothall Gallery in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh. Opening times are Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 5pm.

I was looking forward to seeing this exhibition, as I recently completed a ceramics course at the Stirling campus of Forth Valley College. I wasn’t disappointed. I loved Simon’s work.

Edinburgh Lumen

You’d better move fast if you want to see the Edinburgh Lumen display, as it only runs until tomorrow, Sunday 11 March 2018. There is no entry fee.

There are three light installations around Edinburgh city centre. But I only had time to visit two, as I wanted to catch the last train back home to Stirling before the start of the dreaded evening bus replacement service.

The Ocean Of Light on the Mound was beautiful. It is nine metres square, consisting of 12,000 suspended light bulbs and you can walk through it.

The displays start at 5pm and end at 10.30pm.

I’d recommend that you visit after 6.30pm, once it’s dark. I walked past the Ocean of Light around 5.20pm, on my way to the Drawing Room at the RSA. As you can see from the photos below, the display didn’t looked great in the daylight.

The other installation which I saw was Serenity Gardens in St Andrew Square.

Street of Light Edinburgh

The Street of Light performance in George Street in Edinburgh runs every evening at 6pm and 8pm until 24 December 2016.


The event is free to attend, but you need to book tickets in advance. Even if you don’t get a ticket you can see the show from the pavement on either side.

Street of Light Edinburgh

For some reason, I thought that there was live music from a choir at the Street of Light. But it’s a playback of recorded music.


You need to wear warm clothing as George Street can be a bit of a wind tunnel. I had on double trousers, a jacket with fleece lining, gloves and an insulated hat with my hood up and I was just warm enough.


There are also some pretty light projections on buildings on George Street.




‘The Nether’ is One of the Best Plays I’ve Seen

When I was in London last week, I went to see  ‘The Nether‘ at the Duke of York’s theatre in St Martin’s Lane. I paid £11, including all fees and credit card payment charges, for a third price ticket with restricted view, booked on the website.

The Nether ticket

Now the issue with my seat, in the front row of the Upper Circle, wasn’t the restricted view, which was easily remedied by leaning forward, but the restricted leg and foot room.

That discomfort was soon forgotten when the performance started, This is an amazing, gripping, chilling portrayal of virtual reality in 2050, which allows you to act out your desires with (supposedly) no consequences.

the nether1

Now with some plays, you could argue that a TV or movie production might be superior to being limited to a stage. However, with ‘The Nether’ the 3D dreamy sets give an eerie fairytale-like feel to the grotesque tale.

the nether3

I’d recommend that you go to see ‘The Nether’ as its run at the Duke of Yorks is due to finish on 25 April 2015.

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Why You Should Spend New Year’s Eve in Dublin, Ireland

There’s plenty going on for Dublin New Year’s Eve. NYF Dublin is a three day festival running from 30 December 2014 to 1 January 2015.

The Procession of Light starts at Dublin Castle at 6.30pm on 31 January.

procession of light

It then winds its way through Temple Bar with the finale at St Stephen’s Green.


Dublin based rock band Kodaline and Irish singer/songwriter James Vincent McMorrow are the headline acts at the Countdown Concert at College Green on 31 December.


Kodaline by Mary

The NYF Music Trail features gigs such as La Galaxie at Meeting House Square and Dublin Gospel Choir at Christ Church, as well as Pop Up Live Music sessions at various venues.

If you’re feeling peckish, there’s the NYF Food Village at Dublin Castle.

Several of Dublin’s landmarks, including Trinity College and the Sir John Grey Statue, will act as screens for 3D light projections, during the Luminosity event.


The NYF Art Trail offers talks, guided tours and showcases the work of both new and established artists, at venues including the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Green on Red Gallery.

Irish museum of modern art

Irish Museum of Modern Art by William Murphy

You can get special NYF discounts for the attractions along the recently launched Dublin Discovery Trails. You can choose between self guided walking tours, such as ‘The Story of Dublin’ and ‘Rebellion’, which is about the 1916 Easter Uprising (the General Post Office building pictured below was the HQ for the leaders of the Uprising).

Main post office Dublin

On 1 January 2015, you can join in Resolution Day activities. There’s a Fun Run starting from Dublin Castle at 12 noon and exercise classes in parks around the city.

The Borders Book Festival in Melrose

The Borders Book Festival was held in the Harmony Gardens in Melrose from the 12 – 15 June 2014. It was free to enter, but you did have to pay for most of the talks and presentations, with adult tickets costing an average of  £10 – £14.

borders book festival sign

We had a look around the Festival before going for a walk along the River Tweed. The backdrop of Melrose Abbey afforded a unique setting.

borders book festival

Andy Stanton, author of the ‘Mr Gum’ series, was signing his books.

borders book festival andy stanton

There was a good selection of children’s books, including the Scottish favourite ‘Oor Wullie’, a comic strip character from the Sunday Post, who’s usually portrayed sitting on an upside down bucket.

borders book festival book selection

There was some free kid’s entertainment. Free WiFi was advertised, but I didn’t try it.

borders book festival kids entertainment

The beer tent wasn’t doing much trade, but it was before 1pm.

borders book festival beer tent

The portaloos at the Borders Book Festival were the poshest I’ve ever seen.

borders book festival portaloos