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ALL THE LATEST NEWS, VIEWS AND STORIES FROM AROUND YOUR LOCAL AREA:NOVEMBER/DECEMBER


36 St. John’s Street, Keswick, CA12 5AG 017687 72195


General release films till January include


The Aeronauts, The Good Liar, Last Christmas, Star Wars, Frozen, Little Women, 1917, Le Mans '66 and Cats.


Keswick Film Club screens the best of world cinema at 5.00pm every Sunday night, visit www.keswickfilmclub.org


PRESENT LAUGHTER National Theatre Live


7.00pm Thursday 28th November


Noël Coward’s provocative comedy presents star actor Garry Essendine’s colourful life spiralling out of control. A giddy and surprisingly modern reflection on fame, desire and loneliness.


LES MISÉRABLES 6.45pm 2nd December


The longest-running musical of all time finally comes to the silver screen! Starring the sell-out London cast headed by Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Matt Lucas.


THE WINTER’S TALE Garrick Theatre (2015) 7.00pm Wednesday 4th December


One night only in cinemas: another chance to see Kenneth Branagh's award-winning 2015 production of Shakespeare's classic, starring Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh.


COPPÉLIA The Royal Ballet 7.15pm Tuesday 10th December


A classic family Christmas treat returns to The Royal Ballet repertory, with Ninette de Valois’ charming and funny Coppélia – a story of love, mischief and mechanical dolls. The intricate choreography is set to Delibes’ delightful score, Osbert Lancaster’s designs bringing a colourful storybook world to life.


NUTCRACKER The Royal Ballet


7.15pm Tuesday 17th December


Created by Peter Wright in 1984, the production par excellence of an all-time ballet favourite. It is Christmas Eve and magician Herr Drosselmeyer sweeps young Clara away on a fantasy adventure. The family living room becomes a great battlefield and a magical journey takes them through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets. Tchaikovsky's glittering score, the gorgeous festive stage designs, and The Royal Ballet's captivating dancing make this Nutcracker the quintessential Christmas experience.


BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER LIVE New Year’s Eve Concert


4.00pm Tuesday 31st December


This fantastic event, broadcast live from Berlin, will be conducted by Chief Conductor Kirill Petrenko. Take a journey through George Gershwin’s An American in Paris and Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story as well as works from Cole Porter, Carl Loewe and Kurt Weill.


ANDRÉ RIEU 70 YEARS YOUNG 7.30pm Saturday 4th January and 1.00pm Sunday 5th January


Charlotte Hawkins talks to André in his castle in Maastricht about his life and music and takes you on an unbelievable journey around the world to his most amazing concert locations, to celebrate his 70th birthday.


LUCIAN FREUD: A SELF PORTRAIT Exhibition on Screen


8.00pm Tuesday 14th January


The Sleeping Beauty The Royal Ballet


7.15pm Thursday 16th January La Bohème


Royal Opera House


7.45pm Wednesday 29th January KINKY BOOTS THE MUSICAL


7.15pm Tuesday 4th February and 4.00pm Sunday 9th February www.keswickalhambra.co.uk WWW.COCKERMOUTHPOST.CO.UK ISSUE 437 | 21 NOVEMBER 2019 | 33


I'm writing this in the ‘Warm Room’ at Kielder Campsite just before Stella, Jess and I set off home after another Starcamp up here close to the Scottish border, at what we still think is the most beautiful campsite in the UK!


The Starcamp itself runs for three full days but we've been up here for just over a week, a real getaway-from-it-all treat, surrounded by gently-swaying trees turned into artworks of gold and copper by autumn, walking and laughing beneath a sky the kind of pure, icy blue children always show in their paintings. It's been stunning and if you're a regular reader, you'd better sit down before this next bit - we saw stars on five of those seven nights and two of those nights were amongst the darkest and clearest I've ever seen up here.


And I'll be honest, I really needed that.


Astronomy is a fascinating and hugely rewarding hobby. Amateur astronomers are privileged in that we can see sights ‘up there’ that have no equal in any other hobby or pastime. Twitchers get excited by a binocular sighting of a rare goose skidding to a graceful landing on a lake and trainspotters' blood gets pumping, when they see a rare locomotive steaming past, pistons chugging but on a clear night, we can gaze at the wonders of the universe. Through our binoculars, we can see enormous galaxies containing billions of stars, reduced to whirls of mist by their incredible distance. Looking into a telescope eyepiece, we can gaze into the glowing hearts of nebulae, vast clouds of dust and gas where, like stellar nurseries, stars are being born. And without any equipment at all, we can fill our wide eyes with the twinkling light of red, blue and white suns so far away, their light set off hundreds if not thousands of years ago...


LETTER FROM THE


SOUTH...


But it's not an easy hobby and in fact it can be quite soul-destroying. The good thing about astronomy, is that we can plan ahead - well ahead. We know decades in advance, when there will be a lunar or solar eclipse, or when a meteor shower will reach its peak... and on the big day, or night, if it's cloudy, there's not a thing we can do about it. We miss it, simple as that; there's no: “We'll try again tomorrow!” It's Game Over.


And yes, we brush it off, tell each other it's just part of the hobby and that it goes with the territory but trust me, inside we're screaming with frustration. We want to go outside, sink to our knees and shout ‘Nooooo!’ at the sky, like Charlton Heston discovering the crumbling remains of the Statue of Liberty on that beach...


Lately, I seem to have missed so many things - big meteor showers, rare eclipses, huge displays of NLC - that it was an enormous relief to see stars up here. Sunday night, our first night here, I was out literally from dusk until dawn and by the time I went to bed, the grass was thick and brittle with hoarfrost and my telescope tube was covered with ice. The same happened the next night and the night after that. Three mornings in a row, I stumbled back to the caravan, yawning, chilled to the bone, beneath a canopy of stars sparkling like jewels. Glorious!


We're back in March for the Spring Starcamp and of course, I'll have my fingers crossed for clear skies then, hoping to see the Milky Way glowing above the forest and perhaps, the Northern Lights swaying silently too. But if the stars refuse to come out, I'll still be in one of the most beautiful places in the country and I'll think back to this past week, when the universe came out to play at Kielder Campsite. And smile...


Stuart Atkinson


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