Qui s'excuse s'accuse. So let us not dwell on an absence which, most shameful to admit, approaches that of a year. But should reason be required, then let it be said that it has been a year full of friendship, foreign travel [fear of the long haul flight finally overcome], frivolity [such parties], fantasy [the enchanting world of opera and ballet], and delights in abundance - the alliteration now exhausted - beyond all measure.
|Richard Adams, Jane Hattatt and Lance Hattatt on The Grand Canal, Venice|
Revisiting our garden days we spent time with dear friends, Lesley and John Jenkins, whose outstanding gardens surrounding their home, Wollerton Old Hall, enjoy much deserved critical acclaim from both near and far.
|Wollerton Old Hall - view from the dining room window|
Country house visiting remains an untold pleasure for us and the spent year excited with many most interesting discoveries of castles and palaces hidden in the depths of the Hungarian countryside. Alas, as has been remarked upon here before, many are in dire need of restoration and with some, one suspects, it is already too late.
|a fireplace surround within the castle at Tata, Hungary|
At home we have continued to entertain and with it has come the joy of spending time with friends old and new.
|Jane Hattatt surveys the set table in the dining room|
Alongside this we have been so very fortunate to enjoy seasons at the opera and ballet, to have attended musical events from Salon Concerts to full symphony orchestras and, on occasion, to have had the enormous pleasure and thrill of hosting cello and piano recitals within our own Budapest apartment.
|Lance Hattatt - before a country house Salon Concert|
|before a concert to celebrate Latvian Independence Day|
|exterior of Budapest Opera House advertising a new ballet|
Art Market Budapest occupied much of our time throughout 2013 having been invited early in the year to join the planning committee. The Fair, opening in late November, proved to be an enormous success, attracting thousands of visitors, and establishing Budapest at the heart of the Contemporary Art scene.
|Ari Kupsus Gallery, stand at Art Market Budapest 2013|
|newly purchased painting by Orr Máté above sideboard|
Abroad we made such fun forays to Italy [Lucca, Milan and Venice], to Slovénia, a jewel of a country with its ancient villages and towns and breathtakingly beautiful coastal ports, as well as to Germany and the cities of Weimar and Dresden.
|Lance Hattatt, Andrea Franchi and Carlo Claude in Milan|
|table prepared for lunch in the loggia of Villa Massei, Lucca|
|guide books in readiness in a Venetian hotel bedroom|
|wayside Madonna with electrically lit candles in Slovénia|
And then, finally, at the year's end, came The Great South American Adventure where, accompanied by Rafael González Paz, the maddest of Mad Boys, we crossed continents to his home city of Montevideo.
|Rafael González Paz practises in a rehearsal room in Weimar|
But that is a tale yet to be told. More anon!!
|Lance Hattatt in Montevideo, December 2013|