Friday, 8 January 2010

The rehearsal must go on

The weather has been, as they say, variable. We have been ploughing ahead with our rehearsals for Shakespeare on Location in the Queenstown Gardens regardless. Admittedly, the weather has been better on some days than others.

Much though I admire Billy Connolly, I have to take issue with his assertion, 'There is no such thing as bad weather; just inappropriate clothing'. Singing about the joys of spring and the delights of nature is a bit difficult when you can't hear over the rain drumming on your umbrella.

Here, Juliet begs the night to hurry up and arrive so she can spend time with her lover, Romeo.

My lovely fairies are busy cavorting in grove and green among the cowslips and the dewdrops.

Jaques is nonplussed by Orlando's lovesick attitude:

Gertrude is shocked by Ophelia's descent into madness, 'divided from herself and her fair judgement':

And although Ophelia does eventually drown, I didn't expect it to be during this scene.

A huge thank you to all the cast for continuing to rehearse in such 'inclement weather' - I think that may be the understatement of the season!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Building imaginations

I used to love lego. I loved the bright colours, the shiny plastic smell, and the satisfying click as you pressed the pieces into place. You could buy kits and build things like cars and houses and castles and trains and football stadia and bridges. If you were so inclined you could build entire villages and some people got carried away with 'creative art'.

I used to build lots of neat windowless buildings. Because I never had any of the little lego people (did none of us, I wonder, or did my brother nick them all?) my houses were unpopulated, but they had nice roofs and pretty paths to the front door (it was just windows they lacked for some reason - I'm sure Freud would have a field day).

Sometimes my lego creations were the backdrops to my Pippa doll games (she was smaller than Sindy so you didn't have to use so many lego blocks) but mainly I just liked to tip all of the pieces out of the bucket onto the carpet and start clicking them together.

And Lego is still going strong. A friend came to visit recently and their lad had Lego pirates. The raft was constantly attacked by the kraken and Captain Goldtooth was suitably menacing from his crow's nest. I love the combination of practicality - following instructions and diagrams to build functional projects - and creativity. With lego you can build your own toys which is really quite exciting.

Some of this stuff has been hijacked by the geek market and there are video games and robot wars and all sorts of stuff that should really be confined to your parents' basement once you are over the age of 12, but some Lego spin-offs are still simply irrestible.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

You lucky, lucky...

I have always wanted to be snowed in. It's a sort of ambition of mine. That time at Digbeth Coach Station doesn't count. Nor does the skiiing holiday in Norway - that's sort of expected, really, isn't it?
One New Year's Eve (2005) we went walking with Screy Sis and Mr Smartypants to the Old Lion Inn in Blakely. It was a cold walk (hence we were wrapped up warm).

As we began to thaw out by the fire, even those who don't drink (that would be Scarey Sis then) soon got a glow on.

As for those that do (and the Old Peculier was going down very nicely thank you very much) they were positively Ready Brek!

Sadly, although it was cold, there was no snow that night, and we were home and tucked up in bed snoring soundly by about two minutes past midnight. So I have nothing but envy for those stuck in the Tan Hill Inn (this fabulous atmospheric picture by Richard Quirk) - they got a three-day lock-in! Being snowed in over New Year's Eve in a pub must surely be a dream come true. The only danger is of the beer running out.

It was no surprise to learn that among those 'stranded' were members of DOSS AC - this is the club to which Him Outdoors belongs. They hail from Leeds University and are often to be found running up and down hills, drinking pints in or outside pubs and wearing a particularly virulent shade of yellow. That would doubtless help them be spotted in a blizzard. Whether anyone would then choose to rescue them or not is another matter... Here they are outside another pub; see what I mean!

What a way to usher in 2010 - now there would be a good reason for a sore head. I suppose there is a slight feeling of how can things possibly get better than that? As they say at the Tan Hill Inn; it's all donwhill from here. (Actually, I don't know if they do say that, but they should - highest pub in the country and all that).