A lifestyle expat travel blog about culture, history, Brexit, the Royal Family, travels around the world, Europe, and being British in Berlin!
Last week was so exciting and was very, very British!
Why, you might ask?
Well, it was the Queen’s birthday as well as being the birth and death of William Shakespeare!
I was invited to participate in a gala show and performance celebrating Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday.
The Queen was 90!
I’ve always found her to be absolutely marvellous and looking equally amazing at 90, as she did at 19!
I remember the letter that she commanded her Lady-in-Waiting to send me, in which I nattered away about my family holiday at the most delicate age of 9, and I never forgot the reply!
I was so proud!
The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual birthday on 21 April, and her official birthday on (usually), the second Saturday in June!
The Queen usually spends her actual birthday privately, but the occasion is marked publicly by gun salutes in central London at midday, a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park, and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London!
On her official birthday, Her Majesty is joined by other members of the Royal Family at the spectacular Trooping the Colour Parade, which moves between Buckingham Palace, The Mall, and Horseguards’ Parade, as well as a public appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
And in case you didn’t know, and of course, you did!
Queen Elizabeth II has ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British history becoming a much-loved, and respected figure, across the globe.
Her extraordinary reign has seen her travel more widely than any other monarch, and undertake many historic overseas visits. Not only is she known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service, but she also carries out all of her duties against the backdrop of a full personal life, which has seen her raise four children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren, to the Royal Family.
Her Majesty has been, and continues to be, an important figurehead for the UK, the Commonwealth, and indeed, the world! At a time of enormous discord and strive, she remains unswayed, and ever solid and constant.
Her birthday celebration was a great day and made me feel proud to be British, and a part of the pomp and pageantry.
Long Live the Queen!
I was invited to honour the Queen and enjoy an exquisite gala evening at the Wintergarten Varieté theatre in Berlin.
The Wintergarten Varieté Berlin is a venue that was considered one of the stage entertainment places to be, between 1887 and 1943.
Today, the Wintergarten Varieté Berlin is a large variety theatre and located in a different part of Berlin known as Schöneberg which is a stylish, leafy suburb with boulevards and open-air markets, just great for lovely Saturday morning walks at a local farmers’ market by day and Berlin’s popular centre of gay life and community, by night!
I’ve written about shows at the Wintergarten Varieté theatre in the past. Here they are below:
On this occasion, it was a black tie affair with a distinct British flair so I invited another member of the British community to accompany me – The Tall Young Gentleman – otherwise known as my tween son!
We had a delightful evening hosted by one of my musical friends and fellow Mancurian – Jack Woodhead – and the internationally acclaimed Australian artist – Sarah Bowden.
We were comfortably seated having arrived early and shown to our table, pretty much at the front of the stage, when the rest of the table (a group of 4) asked if we could swap seats as the rest of their party were on the other table!
Of course, we obliged.
We started with an apertif of prosecco (for me) and orange juice (for the tween), accompanied by a basket of warm bread and creamy-chived butter. And then a camera crew swooped in.
Imagine my annoyance when the TV reporter looked briefly around in some sort of confusion, and then quickly proceeded to interview the pleased but startled middle-aged man, who was seated in the chair that I had just left!
After about a minute, they switched off the camera light, took off the mics, and belted out the left hand stage door!
Hmmmrff! Have I become one of those people..”but don’t you know who I am?!!!”
I hope not. Eeeek!
Jack took us through an artistic-culinary programme bursting with artists and performers, not only from the United Kingdom, but other Commonwealth nations too!
And then we had our starter.
We had a bowl of cream of apple cider soup with fresh chopped chives and butter croutons. Yum!
After that, we had the 40-strong (!) choir – The Embassy Singers – from the British Embassy in Berlin who did a marvellous job of entertaining us.
Next, were more friends of ours, the hilarious comedy duo Carrington-Brown, who came along with their cello – Joe!
Somewhere along those lines thereafter, we had our main course.
We were served roast beef à la Wellington with Cumberland sauce, sautéed green asparagus and mashed potatoes.
Everything was wonderful except for the roast beef. It would have been nice if it had been rare. It was however, well-done, but a bit chewy for my taste.
Ah well, “The Tall Young Gentleman” was pleased, as he had the most important job of polishing it off, while I had his cumberland sauce!
After dinner, the sexy-gracious English aerial artist Emily Kinch gave us a lovely acrobatic performance.
Another of our personal friends also came on – Sanjay Shihora – a talented artist and famous TV comedian from India, as well as being the owner of a well-established comedy club called Kookaburra, which we all used to hang out in, back in the day, before everyone got famous lol!
And soon it was time for dessert.
We had maple syrup-walnut pudding and rhubarb crumble and custard.
I’m allergic to nuts so I had two servings of rhubarb crumble sprinkled with strawberries and cherry compote, while “The Tall Young Gentleman” had two servings of maple syrup-walnut pudding!
After that performance, we had an onslaught of British music from the British / German conductor Rainer Hersch who was just a bellyfull of laughs and very, very funny with his Quartet orchestra and his slap-stick humour!
Not long after, the leader and singer of the Savoy Dance Orchestra from Berlin and former lead singer of the legendary Pasadena Roof Orchestra – Robin Merrill – breezed in, in full jacket and tails as he had rushed over from another performance on German TV!
There was more charming music and a hell of a lot more laughs and towards the end we rounded up with the The Embassy Singers once again, an enthralling black and white video and pictorial archive of selective insights, into the most significant stages, of the life-time of Queen Elizabeth II. As well as a fine reminder of the Last Night of the Proms with pieces such as “We’ll meet again,” and “Land of Hope and Glory.”
It was during the singing of “Rule Britannia” that a gulp came into my throat and a little tear of nostalgia and happiness, that the Queen had made it.
Long may she live!
I had a great time. Thanks very much Wintergarten Varieté!
I love Shakespeare!
Everywhere you go and in my opinion, everywhere you look, there is something influenced by the books and writings of Shakespeare!
As you know, last week was not only the Queen’s birthday but Shakespeare’s birthday too!
On April 23rd.
In fact, that day not only marked William Shakespeare’s birth, but also his death!
2016 was the 400th anniversary of lifetime and all over the world was a live broadcasting showing of Shakespeare Live! From the RSC in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, hosted by David Tennant!
I have to confess that the marketing of Shakespeare in Berlin was so dismal and cruelly inadequate, such that I took up the marketing myself and started blasting my Twitter and Facebook feed, so that my friends and followers would know.
I mean, firstly, there were only two cinemas that were showing the broadcast.
In the whole city!
And secondly, when I went to buy my ticket on April 19th, just 4 days before the showing, only six (6) seats had been sold.
I was amazed and utterly annoyed. So I swung into action and started telling everyone all about it!
Even with all the palaver, I still had a very awesome night.
David Tennant and Catherine Tate were marvellous and even Prince Charles joined in, and made a cameo appearance and was a very good sport!
Let’s just say “To be, or not to be, that is the QUESTION!” or “To be, OR not to be, that is the question!”
It was enormously funny, watch and see for yourself right here lol!
Me thinks there’s a PR job somewhere with my name on it. Hint! Hint!
Shakespeare Lives and Shakespeare 400 is:
It’s also a worldwide celebration of the enduring global impact, relevance and creativity of William Shakespeare – the world’s best known Briton – and the UK’s most successful cultural export ever, on the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016. All over the world are activities and events in more than 140 countries, new creative commissions, partnerships with the UK’s most influential cultural institutions, and a global social media campaign to reach millions of people.
That’s it for now!
This article is not sponsored and even though I received a complimentary invitation, all opinions and the scrumptious rhubarb crumble and custard that I had at the Gala, are my very own!
In the summer I’ll be going to Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and possibly Russia!
In the next few weeks, I’ll be finalising my writing about Spain and focusing on Portugal!
Sometime between now and May 1st, I’ll be visiting the interactive exhibition Discover Mexico or Entdecke Mexiko taking place on Washingtonplatz. It’s free to the public. Go see!
On April 27th, I’ll be attending STRICTLY STAND-UP – The English Comedy Night Show!
On April 29th, the TV interviewed that I did for Deutsche Welle (Germany’s international broadcasting station), about the 5th wedding anniversary of our very own William & Kate, will be broadcast! As soon as I get the exact details, I’ll inform you all via Twitter and Facebook!
On May 5th, I’ll be at a Travel Massive & DNX Mingle so if you’re a blogger or just interested in travel, lifestyle or travel technology, then come and meet us! Registration and attendance is free of charge!
From May 18th – May 22nd, I’ll be at the Berlin Music Video Award ceremony.
April is hopping!
Berlin is going to be so much fun, so if you’re in town, come and join us!
I’ll be there. Will you?
As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!
If you’re not in Berlin in April, you must be bonkers!
Watch this space!
See you in Berlin.
Wow! I was very happy to visit London late March, my host took me everywhere..including Buckingham palace…and we overdosed on everything Bri’ish including watching alot about the Queen on telly. It was so nice for me..I’m Kenyan and we were colonized by Great Britain, so for a very long time, our stamps were of a younger Queen Elizabeth, this was after we got our independence..we ate hot cross buns, sausages and baked beans..our schools, libraries and roads were named after English personalities while I was growing up…my parents often traveled to England for their further studies then hence I felt a lump in my throat, nostalgia perhaps..when I watched the movie of Queen Elizabeth, very young …now aged gracefully. I wish her majesty a Happy 90th!
Ah Shakespeare..great info here..he was a fixture in our literature classes in high school..we studied Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, the taming of the shrew..oh wow, this all the way in Kenya! Nostalgia once again..you’ve brought great memories writing about him! I intend to keep reading his works..:-)
Thanks so much africanagirl! I hope I can keep the British flag flying wherever I am in the world!
p.s Sounds like you guys in Kenya had just as thrilling a time as we did in England, but without the drizzly rain and mist lol! ‘Hope you get beeter soon. 🙂
To be, of course! What a lovely idea for a great evening, girl. The food looks super good and I’m glad you had so much fun! :*
Thanks very much Agness! It was a great night! ‘Loving the Queen and Shakespeare. 🙂
What an amazing way to celebrate the Queen’s birthday! I am drooling over your pudding pic, a good crumble is such a taste of Blighty! Well done for promoting the Shakespeare night too, I definitely think there should be a PR job with your name on it out there too! Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures in Spain and Portugal 🙂
Thanks so much Amy! Anything for the Queen n’ all that! And the dinner and rhubarb crumble was quite delicious. I don’t usually take my son to media invitations as they tend to be evening affairs so he was right chuffed!
As for Shakespeare, it was a brilliant night and I met quite a number of audience members who told me that they attended purely because they saw my FB and Twitter messages about it…! You never know, I might switch to the world of media relations yet! 🙂
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