Thursday, 23 March 2017

What To Do in Bath for Mother’s Day

You’re in Bath, your aim is to give your Mum a fantastic day out to thank her for everything she does, and really, thank her for just for being her.

A highlight of a visit to Bath for many is taking afternoon tea at the famous Pump Rooms. The splendid Georgian décor is a sight to behold, and the live music provided by the Pump Room Trio does wonders for the overall atmosphere. Relax and have a good catch up with your mum over scones, cakes and several cups of tea, or maybe even wine or champagne!

On Mother’s Day, bookings can be made at the Pump Rooms for various packages including
Champagne Teas, a traditional Pump Room tea (expect a cake stand packed to the brim with goodies), a ‘Beau Nash Brunch’ with bubbly, a celebration tea, and a set champagne lunch. Then again, you might prefer to try one of Bath’s other gems such as Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms (6-8 Saville Row next to the Fashion Museum and Assembly Rooms).

You could of course, spend the day shopping and wandering and seeing some of the sights of Bath. But as our Mothering Sunday – a day on which people would visit their “mother” church, and while doing so also see their family, is often now synonymous, at least in terms of emphasis with Mother’s Day - which was a holiday first celebrated in 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia in America, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother, a visit to Bath’s American Museum seems rather appropriate!

Currently the museum has two special exhibitions taking place which are each quite different and well worth seeing while you can.

In ‘1920s Jazz Age: Fashion and Photographs’, over 100 fashion objects including flapper dresses,
evening capes, lame coats, couture and ready-to-wear garments from 1919-1929 document the shifting moral, social and cultural attitudes (and hemlines). The work of photographer James Abbe will also present a commentary on the twentieth-century celebrity and the glamour of Hollywood. Added to this, illustrations by Gordon Conway will show how graphic art and photography promoted the ‘Jazz Age’ look.

The other exhibition to explore is ‘Joyce Petschek: Breaking the Pattern’. Joyce’s work is a culmination of her life-long passion for needlework and colour. If you’re a Kaffe Fasset fan you’ll love Joyce’s work. She uses mainly silk threads and juxtaposes intense colours in her kaleidoscopic work. As well as creating arresting wall hangings, Joyce specialises in reworking antique furniture. Work from different points throughout Joyce’s career will be on display so you can really see how her work has developed and changed over time. 

(The American Museum, we hasten to add, also has the fantastic Orangery café and Terrace to relax in after you’ve taken a tour of the exhibitions (their snickerdoodles are particularly nice!))

Friday, 17 March 2017

Pictures From The Bath Half

We had a great time being the media centre for the Bath Half again this year. 

Here are some of the snaps we got throughout the day! 

Dawn on race day! The Holburne Museum all lit up.

The barriers being put in place.

We were lucky that Dukes was right next to the start and finish line for the Bath Half!

Some of the runners and cheerers on their way. 

Because the media in our media centre needed sustenance too!

James Cracknell with some fans in reception before the race.

Cancer Research UK was the official main charity for the race this year.

And they're off!

Soon the whole of Great Pulteney Street was teaming with runners!

118 118!

The Time is Precious charity team.

A new take on running in Bath...

Batgirl also took part.

And naturally the Bath Half wouldn't have been complete without a storm trooper.

The Half is hard enough as it is, but try running it in with firefighting equipment on as well.

Innocent smoothies ran too!

And the "hunk with a trunk".

Then it was time for the family fun run to line up.

We loved seeing the astronaut in training taking part.

The winner of the Bath Half this year, Ben Fish, talking with the BBC's Laura Rawlings.

And the women's winner, Ruth Barnes.

The view of the Runner's Village after the race.

Chrissie Wellington - all smiles after the race.

Sophie Raworth with her medal after the race! 

 We're already looking forward to next year!!!

Friday, 10 March 2017

The 2017 Battle of the Bands at the Bath Half

It’s not long now until the 36th Bath Half marathon, and a lot of very good music!

On Sunday 12th March 15,000 runners will take to the streets of Bath to run, jog and walk the route for
pleasure and in many cases also for charity. However, it’s not only the runners themselves who’ll be there. As well as the staff and volunteers who help to make the marathon possible by handing out water bottles, directing runners, taking photos, and a vast myriad of other important tasks of which there are simply too many to mention, there are also all of the spectators lining the course and cheering the participants on. It’s an awesome event to be a part of, and the atmosphere for all involved is incredible year after year.

A few years ago the race organisers decided to add to the carnival atmosphere with a Battle of the Bands competition, and this year it’s back once more. At different locations around the route seven very different bands will be playing in the hope of impressing the runners as they pass (twice as it’s a two lap race), as they will be able to vote for their favourite in a runners’ poll after the race. The winning band who gets the most votes will win a £500 cash prize and a chance to play on BBC Radio Bristol.

So, bearing in mind that not everyone likes every genre of music, we’ve been having a look at the bands who’ll be playing and where they’ll be; in case that helps you to decide where you’d like to watch the marathon from. 

Harlem Rhythm Cats at The Victoria Pub and Kitchen on Upper Bristol Road
A Boogie-Woogie and Blues band with a vintage feel and a fantastic female vocalist. Expect the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, and discovering that you have a sudden urge to start dancing. 

Cobolt Collision at Andrews Estate Agent on Newbridge Road
This is a four-piece alternative rock band who focus on producing original material. They blend heavy drums and bass with catchy riffs and powerful vocals. They are currently in the process of recording their debut album, Saints & Sinners at Castle Rock studios in Manchester.
The Rosa Gray Band at Way Ahead Care Centre on Lower Bristol Road
The Rosa Gray Band are local favourites who are all about feel-good upbeat jazzy pop with a soul vibe.  They’ve been together since 2012 and in the past they’ve headlined at Bath’s Party in the City and supported at The Special Olympic’s Opening Ceremony. 
All Out Of Milk at Bath Carer’s Centre on Lower Bristol Road
All Out Of Milk are fourth year students at the University of Bath. The trio play ukulele, acoustic guitar, and electric bass. Expect to hear covers ranging from Frank Sinatra to Ed Sheeran!

The Corporations at Toyota Dealership on Lower Bristol Road
Eclectic is the word for The Corporations. If you’re not sure what you’d like to listen to, this band might be a good one to go for as they play everything from funk and soul, to pop, Motown and modern. Above all they play music that makes you want to dance!
Batala Bristol at Green Park (near Sainsburys)
This is a giant samba band with a big voice! Hardly surprising seeing as how Batala Bristol is an international collective of multiple samba reggae groups. They’ll be bringing the Brazilian carnival atmosphere to Bath with infectious drumming in a style right from the north-eastern Brazilian state of Bahia.

Red River Hogs at Churchill Bridge (near Bath Spa train station)
A four-piece West Country band with hints of 1970s blues rock, and some old school R&B classics. Although, having said that, they also play plenty of their own original material too. A good choice for Rolling Stones fans. 

Friday, 3 March 2017

Bath Half Marathon 2017 – Know Your Facts!

In just over a week’s time, on Sunday 12th March 2017, Bath will be filled with the sound of pounding feet and cheering crowds as the race on Sunday this year will be Bath Half Marathon’s 36th year. It promises to be a fantastic event!

Last year thousands of runners took to the streets of Bath and raised thousands of pounds for all sorts of charities including Macmillan Cancer Support and Bath Rugby Foundation. This year there will be another 15,000 runners (incidentally, all 15,000 tickets sold out in record time this year!), all taking part and enjoying another Battle of the Bands - with seven bands stationed around the course to entertain the runners and those cheering them on. This year the bands includes (among others) a Vintage style Boogie-Woogie and Blues band (Harlem Rhythm Cats), an alternative rock band (Cobolt Collision), and the Rosa Gray Band who specialize in jazzy pop with a strong soul vibe. It’s set to be a great party atmosphere!

Once again, Dukes Hotel is proud to be the VIP and Media Centre for the Bath Half Marathon, and we’ve been keeping a close eye on the preparations for Sunday. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen the road restriction signs going up all over the city, the notices warning residents not to park on certain streets being put into place (though no matter how thorough the signage is every year there are some cars that need moving on the day!), and the excitement around the whole event mounting. Most recently we’ve been watching with interest as the runner’s village in Bath Rugby Ground has been going up; we’ve got a great view from our windows.

So since we’re getting really excited and have been living and breathing Bath Half for the past couple of weeks we wanted to share a few facts about this year’s race.

Time records to break:
Last year Robert Mbithi won the Half in an incredible time of 61 minutes and 45 seconds! Not long after, the first woman over the line was Lenah Jerotich with a time of 72 minutes and 24 seconds. With such fast times, can these records be beaten?

Time tracking:
The start times are staggered (imagine trying to get all 15,000 runners to start at once!) but accurate information on completion times are being monitored by neat SportSystems gadgets called IPICO Sports Tags, which attach to the laces on the runner’s shoes.

Fundraising records to break:
The 2016 Bath Half raised over £2.2m for charity! It’s hoped by all that this is a record that will be beaten this year. With so many runners and all those sponsorship forms it’s certainly possible.

Charities this year:
The lead charity is Cancer Research UK, while Cancer Research UK Teens & Kids is, appropriately, the charity for the Family Fun Run. The official local charity is Dorothy House Hospice Care, which provides quality of life to those with life-limiting illnesses. They support over 550,000 patients and their families across Bath and parts of Somerset and Wiltshire. These are the lead charities, but in total there are 126 official race charities.  

We wish everyone taking part the very best of luck! See you at the finish line!