Of This And That

12 May

http://www.savagechickens.com/images/chickenapologize.jpg

What Should Be An Apology, But Somehow Isn’t

I’ve had a lot going on and no laptop for a while but now everything’s back to normal.  I saved all of your blog posts that came into my inbox – some going back to January – to read when I had more time.  Then  it occurred to me that I never have more time, so I made the decision to delete them all and suddenly I’m six inches taller because the guilt lifted as soon as the emails went into the trash.

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Feeling Yellow

I don’t think I mentioned I was quite ill with renal colic before Easter.  Then the tests came back and it wasn’t renal colic after all – thank goodness, because kidney stones would have followed, the doctor was a little too eager to assure me.  What I had was a severe UTI (I don’t want to say ‘urinary tract infection’ because that’s a wee bit icky).  It had me flat out for a week (the Tramadol might have played a little part in that) and it was several more weeks before I was all better.

Live From Worktown

I had a poem in an anthology published in conjunction with this year’s Bolton Festival.  I went along to the launch event.  45 minutes on the train then another 45 minutes trying to find the Octagon Theatre, which is a five minute walk from the station.  The Hub’s instruction, via Google Maps (printed out with little arrows drawn on to show me which way to walk.  He seems to think I can’t be trusted to find my own way around) was to exit the station, turn left, follow the map arrows.  What could go wrong?  Plenty, it seems.

For starters, the station had two exits.

I checked them both out and went with the one that most resembled the Google Street View image the Hub had shown me (did I mention he thinks I can’t find my way out of a railway station?).  I exited, turned left, walked and walked and walked for much longer than five minutes, not finding any street names matching my map.  I walked back to the station and started again.

I exited the second entrance, turned left, walked and walked but not quite so far this time before I turned around and walked back to the station, then around the station, then inside and around the station, then I bought thinking time by raiding the vending machine.

Idea!  Look at the wall map.  

There was bound to be a wall map.  

There was a wall map.  

Very pretty it was, too, with a helpful YOU ARE HERE arrow.  I could even see the theatre on the map.  What I couldn’t see was any indication as to which of the station’s two exits I should use to get to the theatre, nor in which direction I should go, nor any street names that tallied with my well-worn and now a little sweaty map.  As pretty wall maps go, it was a bit of a let down.

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The chocolate worked its magic and it occurred to me to ask someone – a very helpful news vendor who told me, Turn right [hear that Hub & Google Maps/Right!] out of the exit that doesn’t appear on Google Street View [okay, he didn’t say that last bit but I could tell he was thinking it], up to the clock tower which is the town hall [or courts or something] and the theatre is just behind it. Which it is, if you come at it from the clock tower’s right if you’re heading up from the station, as I discovered once I had walked the long way around the town hall.

The excitement at actually arriving at my destination meant that for me, the anthology launch itself was a bit of an anticlimax, until I was given a free glass of wine.  Everything looks better after free wine, especially on an empty except for a small bar of chocolate tummy.

I chatted to a bewildered Bolton University Creative Writing student, booze making me loquacious and free with all the writing advice she could ever need – Keep a notebook!  Follow the muse!  Get critiqued!  Read my blog!  Email me if you have any questions! – until she was rescued when I spotted a fellow contributor, Julia McGuiness, who once held a writing workshop I attended, and who used a few of my piku in a writing book she wrote [see, BUCWS: listen to me and you too can write long-winded and confused sentences in just such a style].

I took photos on my phone, sure in the knowledge that I could fiddle with the phone charger lead and connect it to my laptop to upload the photos to share with you.  

I did manage to fiddle with the phone charger lead and connect it to my laptop.  

Sorry there are no photos.  It appears that I don’t know what to do once the phone and laptop are connected.

 Julia D. McGuinness Julia on somebody else’s phone.

Spud Acts Again

Over Easter, Spud was at the national Student Drama Festival in Scarborough, sponsored by The Sunday Times, in Joe Bunce’s The Nutcracker [I accidentally typed The Butcracker and I can’t help thinking I’d really like to see that play].  

A committee checks out student productions throughout the year and then invites twelve from around the country to appear at the Festival. The Nutcracker won four awards, including Best Director and The Cameron Macintosh Award.  I suspect Mr Bunce will go far.  I hope Spud is his Facebook friend because it’s often about who you know in the brutal business known as show.  

You can read a little about the festival and The Nutcracker here.  Spud sent me some photos but I can’t upload them.  Is it possible that UTIs can affect your brain?  Mine stopped working about six weeks ago.

The Hub and I are off to see Spud play Mole in The Wind in the Willows.  More of that later in the week, but here’s a teaser:

 

Look What I Did!

18 Apr

 

Somebody went to hospital twenty-five years ago and all they brought back was this lousy mountain man.

DSCF4248

Happy birthday, Hairy Boy.

Love you xx

A Poem To Celebrate NaPoWriMo

15 Apr

It’s National Poetry Writing Month in the States; of course, the whole world is joining in, including me.  I’m writing like mad so I’ve been even more absent than usual.

By way of apology, here’s a poem I wrote eighteen months ago, which made me smile when I came across it in a notebook.  Something the whole family can enjoy.

 

Dog Walk On Bonar Park

Fresh-cut grass!

Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it
Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it
Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it
Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it
Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it
Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it
Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it
Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it

Can we go home now?
I’ve an empty ass.

*

*

Open Casting Call

24 Mar

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If you live in the Greater Manchester area you might be interested in this from The Tree of War website:

Now Casting Actors and Crew

The team behind September 2014’s show once again head up the production of this new, extended show. Composer Oliver Mills will return to Direct and Produce, whilst Writer Rachel Mann will share Production duties.

The show calls for a cast of 18+ performers and a 12-piece orchestra. There are backstage and crew positions in departments including, but not limited to, Art, Design, Set Building, Stage Management, Front of House, Publicity and Tech.

For Casting, there will be a number of Audition dates in the coming weeks. We welcome anyone of any age and experience to audition.

Rehearsals will take place throughout the summer. Involvement in the show may require commitment from April, and will require regular availability during August and September.

*

Check the website for more details.

Of Death, Tin, Trees & Moles

2 Mar

 Photo courtesy of Spud’s friend on Facebook

Tinman TWoOz 24hr Musical 1

Tinman regretted the tiny costume budget…

Spud is rather busy at the moment.  We missed him as Tinman in The Wizard of Oz.  The students do what’s called a 24-hour musical: they turn up one night, are told what the musical is and what part they’ve been cast in; rehearse through the night and next day; and go on that evening.  It’s a lot of fun and raises money for charity.

We did see him as Happy in Death of a Salesman last week.  The whole production was excellent and the young cast brought real maturity to the performance.  Flora Turnbull as Linda Loman was particularly good.  She’s one to watch.

 Photo courtesy of Spud’s friend on Facebook

DoaS

Happy spots his next victim

The play and Spud got two great reviews.  If you’re interested, you can read them here and here; but I’ll give you the edited highlights:

Tom Williams as the conflicted Biff, and Alex Cosgriff as the overlooked Happy, also deliver outstanding performances as Loman’s two wayward sons. Alex’s comedic timing is exceptional

Laura Elliott, Kettlemag.co.uk

[Happy], the excellent Alex Cosgriff

Matthew Drew, ForgetToday.com

*

Click on the image to find out more 

You may remember how I raved about The Tree of War last September; well, this just in: it has been extended, extra songs added, and is to be staged for a week in September in a bigger venue.  Spud has been asked to reprise his role as Bert; as has Sam Gilliatt as Grev.  You can hear their duet on Soundcloud; as well as an ensemble piece.  Spud is the second voice on the first song and first voice on the second song.*

Spud has had three scripts in his head for the past few weeks – there’s no danger of Alzheimer’s in his old age but his head might explode at some point.    Death of a Salesman finished its run on Saturday night. He got to bed at eight a.m. Sunday and then was up for rehearsals at one for one of the two plays he’s appearing in next weekend.  The university runs an event called Platform, which showcases student plays; Spud is in two of them.  After that, it’s straight into rehearsals for The Wind in the Willows.  He’s playing Mole.

He has managed to fit everything in around his studies (his marks show that he is actually studying) but he doesn’t have much of the typical student life.  I’m glad to say.  No heavy boozing for him, unless it’s the after-show party for Death of a Salesman

Ah, the life of an actor.

Why I’ll Never Leave The Hub

20 Feb

I went out to visit a friend this afternoon; I found this hidden in my laptop when I got back:

Photo by Best DSC!

Photo by Best DSC!

It was a song I’d never heard before.  Read the lyrics when you listen:

What woman in her right mind would willingly give up such a romantic?  

Not me, that’s for sure.

Big Brother Is Watching You…Eat

14 Feb

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I download a lot of free books from BookBub.  I strongly recommend it: many – but not all – of the books are self-published and if I’m honest, there’s a lot of dross; but I have discovered some real gems, including the Talented Saga by Sophie Davis, which I absolutely loved.  The first book was free but I bought the next three because I enjoyed it so much.  The whole collection cost me less than £6.50 and I will definitely re-read them; and more than once.

Talented (Talented Saga, #1)

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13466202-talented

Last night I started reading another free download, Gone by Christine Kersey. It’s a YA novel about a teenage girl who runs away from home on a whim; realises her mistake; struggles to get back; and finds herself in a parallel universe, where it is illegal to be fat.  The government sends anyone over the weight limit to F.A.T. camp, forcing them to sell their house to pay for their mandatory treatment.

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It’s an okay book but I thought the premise was a little preposterous.  And then I read Sky News this morning: it appears that fat is now a government issue.  The current incumbents, if re-elected in May, propose to strip benefits from anyone deemed obese who refuses to go on a diet.  

You couldn’t make it up.

Or you could; but the real thing is much more frightening.

Please, take a read of the whole Sky News story and tell me what you think.

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