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We're back from the cruise! Would we do it again? Probably not it's
not really our style, or at least the Cunard version isn't. We found it too
formal for our taste.
The weather didn't allow us to put into La Coruna, but here are some pics from the places we did visit: Lanzarote, Teneriffe, Madeira & Lisbon.
Dil and I stayed at Lytes Cary (now christened 'Lights Scary' by our group due to electrical problems in the dining room) for most of the week the original 14 (see below) had diminished to the 'magnificent 7' by the time we finally left on Thursday. Now we're concentrating on: Dil being in a production of Flint St Nativity next week; both of us being in the pantomime which goes up on 10th Jan; and in between the two, getting ready to go on a cruise on the Queen Victoria to the Atlantic islands. See where we are. Room 8075. Pics when we get back!
Back at Lytes Cary for our annual 'December House' gathering. We were blessed with wonderful, mild weather. Walks and shopping were the order of the day, and music and merriment the order of the evenings.
See our photo of two years ago! This year's one was taken by me (in bright red shirt) I ran back in the 12 seconds my camera allowed!
I was up at Hindhead on Wednesday morning to meet people from BBC Countryfile who want to film next week. Unfortunately it was a foggy day, so they couldn't see the views, but let's hope for better weather when they come to film if they come to film. I've heard nothing from them since, but I'm growing the beard again in case I have to appear as Sir Robert Hunter. [In the event, I wasn't needed to be filmed and the beard was swiftly removed again!]
Meanwhile Christmas has begun at Headley Village Hall I ran the annual Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday, and Dil masterminded the annual Yuletide in Headley show yesterday. Both were successful in their different ways.
Spent some time this week adding photos from old shows to the Headley Theatre Club website. If you know some cast names that have been missed, do let me know.
Met people from the Buriton Heritage Bank in our archive room and exchanged notes on getting info about what happened in our respective villages during WW2 main difference is that we did it 20 years ago when there were many more people alive to remember.
Talked to the good ladies of Boxgrove WI in the St Blaise Centre, by the ruins of the Priory which I'd never visited before.
Visited the refurbished Deer's Hut at Grigg's Green near Liphook for supper very nice, but I don't think we'll be going back any time soon to pay those prices!
Nearly set the chimney on fire at Deb's birthday party we had put candles in the fireplace, and one fell over and lit the wood there a wax-fuelled fire ensued!
Wen to see 'Music, Ammore & Macaroni' at The Phoenix last night. Three Italians who sang, played and cooked on stage. Dil won a raffle to go on stage and eat a pasta meal they'd prepared, but passed it on to me!! It was very tasty. And we still got home in time for our own supper.
The talk went well the beard is off Sir Robert Hunter's year has officially ended!
4th November 2013
October seemed a really long month for some reason. Now November beckons, with Dil involved in organising the village Christmas Show and in rehearsals for Flint St Nativity at The Phoenix as well as both of us being in the pantomime.
I still have my talk as Sir Robert Hunter to do this Wednesday (then the beard gets shaved off!) and a book on Headley Mill to compose. For the latter, I at least have the painting that I commissioned for the front cover (see right) now I just need to do the book.
We went for a weekend 'glamping' in North Devon.
|We came home a day early to
beat the 'hurricane' predicted for today.
The tent was well secured, but
The second weekend's performances of Fawlty Towers went very well too. See the photos and a review.
My daughter Sarah has just sent me a Youtube link to one of her clarinet performances nice! If you want to book her to play at your event (weddings, etc) see http://members.lastminutemusicians.com/mischief.html Satisfaction guaranteed!
The first weekend's performances of Fawlty Towers went very well. One more weekend to go!
"I've never been in a winning team," said I as we settled down to a Quiz Evening on Saturday. Now I can say it in truth no longer. Dear reader, we won that quiz, and have a magnificent silver cup to cherish and share (between 7 of us!) for a year.
Our team name was 'Witnits'. Aficionados of Fawlty Towers may be able to figure out why.
Just back from a week in Northumberland.
We've been on an 8-nation tour of Europe by car. Here are some highlights (and lowlights!)
Went to see 'As You Like It' open-air at Petworth House. This is the play that George Bernard Shaw stumbled upon, being played by amateurs in a garden in Hindhead around 1899, and wrote such a devastating 1,700-word letter of criticism to the local paper. I've always wanted to see it played open-air ever since!
I have to say I thought it was good but I still wonder what the ghost of GBS might have made of it.
Spent a sunny day in Ramsgate over the weekend. I'd not noticed the Pulhamite stone before but once noticed, it seemed to be everywhere.
On the way back, passing Manston Airport, we noticed the Red Arrows warming their planes up, so we got ourselves onto a grassy knoll to watch them take off, making white smoke as they did so. Sadly, although I took about a dozen shots, my camera only caught the fuzzy image of one plane not worth reproducing here!
Yesterday, I led a group from the Octavia Hill Society over Hindhead Common. They had come by coach from Wisbech to commemorate the centenary of the death of Sir Robert Hunter (co-founder of The National Trust) on his 'home patch'.
The views from Gibbet Hill were magnificent, with the towers of London clearly visible on the horizon. After that, we went down to St Bartholomew's Church in Haslemere to meet the rector and plant a rose tree in his memory. Sir Robert was buried there in the churchyard in November 1913, but nobody is quite sure where perhaps by November we can find out!
Typical week: one Pilates session, one bass-playing session, one long walk,
three meetings and a rehearsal evening.
In-between times, I'm transcribing Headley marriages 1851-1901. As of today, 10 more years to go!
The sun is still with us on occasions, but the long, dry spell ended last week. Let's hope we have more to come next month.
I set up my annual stall (right) at the Rural Life Centre yesterday for their Rustic Sunday. The pink bowl on the right of the picture is for demonstrating paper-making. Visitor numbers were down this year I only sold 5 books and nobody wanted a paper-making demo!
The magnificent weather continues along with another Brit winning the Tour de France (that's two in a row) and England demolishing the Aussies in the second Test. It's becoming a summer to remember!
I've been playing with the idea of developing eBooks (that is, proper Kindle-type eBooks; not PDFs) from my backlist, and downloaded a free program called calibre as an experiment. It seems to work well I now have a version of Heatherley which runs properly on a Kindle but I'm not sure where I go from here, in other words how to sell them. I could sacrifice myself to the dread dragon called Amazon, but I'm not keen on the idea. So watch this space.
Still lovely weather! I had to speak for my lunch at a Probus near Christchurch on Tuesday Dil came along and spent a few sunny hours at the seaside.
We held auditions for Fawlty Towers this week due to be performed in October. You may order tickets now!
On Saturday it was the Headley Theatre Club's Summer Ball my daughter Sarah played in the band, and a very good time was had by all.
Then on Sunday it was Steve & Mel's turn to host the supper club, and they introduced us to miracle berries. Quite amazing!
All quiet this week, in an interregnum between finishing one show and starting rehearsals for the next so nothing to do but enjoy some lovely weather!
I spent much of the week collecting and collating information needed to compile the book on Headley Mill which I've said I'll publish next year. Headley's was the last watermill in Hampshire to grind corn for its living until the business ceased a few years ago. It's still in working condition, however, and it would be good to see it operating again, even if only as a heritage site.
Over the weekend I compered the final of the Headley Factor, which is a local singing competition. During the interval I was encouraged to join Marion and Keri on stage (see right) to lead some community singing. I think we can safely say that we weren't quite in the same league as the winners of the competition!
The weather on Hindhead yesterday was good enough, and we ended the tour of The Broomsquire on a high. We've had positive feedback from audiences throughout, and the cast have enjoyed it too. Job done!
So now I've no excuses I'd better get on with some other projects which I'd been fending off until the run was over.
The first three performances of The Broomsquire went extremely well. See the pictures so far. Still three more venues to cover next weekend, including an open-air performance on Hindhead Common on Sunday afternoon. We're praying for fine weather then!
So what have I been doing in the last fortnight? (except for forgetting to update this log last week!)
We compered a Lions' charity evening in Whitehill, which was a bit 'ad hoc' but did the intended business of raising money. We visited Petworth and Petworth House & Park, which although virtually on our doorstep we had not done before. I spoke about Flora Thompson at the Weald & Downland Museum in Singleton. And we went to Haslemere Museum to hear Phyllida Lloyd, who directed both stage & screen versions of Mama Mia! it was a good evening.
Also we rehearsed The Broomsquire several times, including outdoors on one occasion. See pictures of the cast. At the end of this week we go 'live' at Haslemere Museum and begin the local tour of the show. Wish us luck or, even better, come and see us.
Sunshine for two weekends running! Mind you, the weather in-between has been a bit dire, but let's be thanklful for small mercies.
Some of the cast of Broomsquire walked from Hindhead to Thursley on Saturday, to see the terrain the story is set in; and Luke the Broomsquire managed to lob a small piece of ironstone to lodge on top of Thor's Stone (see right) not easy, as it was surrounded by a bog.
Then on Sunday, in astoundingly good weather, I led another Dramatic Walk, this time round Waggoners Wells see the results.
And today, being a Bank Holiday, I shared a bookstall at South Harting Festival, and surprisingly sold 12 books I say surprisingly because it's way outside my 'local' area for selling local history books.
Despite dire weather forecasts, the sun shone on our Dramatic Walk at Hindhead yesterday. We had about two dozen followers not as many as in other years, but this year there were other attractions going on across the road by the café. Angus followed us around with his trusty camera see the results.
Sorry if you missed me last week we were away in and around Dovedale. Had a couple of beautiful days weatherwise, which we spent walking. Other not-so-beautiful days were spent visiting towns and other places of interest in that part of Derbyshire and Staffs.
Headley Mill was until recently the only water mill in Hampshire able still to mill a bag of flour. Sadly the business has now ceased, although it is still in the ownership of the Ellis family. Next year will be the centenary of the family's ownership of the mill, and I have agreed to work with Richard Ellis on a new book detailing the mill's history for publication at the centenary. Thanks to the Bishops of Winchester and their 'pipe rolls' the history can be traced back to the 1200s, so it should be an interesting project.
To the right is the mill wheel, still in fully working order.
Tomorrow is St George's Day, and also Shakespeare's Day (anniversary of his death and, some say, of his birth), but we got in early with our weekend homage to the Bard. Bard Again! (see cast pic below) went very well, and we re-educated yet more audiences in the subtleties of Shakespeare (not!)
Now we're straight into rehearsals for The Broomsquire. Truly there is no peace for the wicked!!
PS. By the way, don't shout, but Spring seems to have arrived at last.
Today was the first decent day of the year, weather wise, so what did we do? Spent it indoors rehearsaing for Bard Again! Actually, during the interval we got (most of) the cast out onto the adjacent village green & into the sunshine for a photo-shoot. The result is to the right. I'm kneeling in the middle of the front row next to yellow Ollie.
We open on Friday come and enjoy the prospect of a medieval feast amid a polo match in Venice!
It was Bath time this weekend. We stayed at Poppy Cottage in Corsham along with Nick & Erika, and went to see Noises Off at the theatre in Bath on the Saturday evening (for Nick's birthday present). It was an excellent performance, although a bit worrying for someone currently directing a show coming up for its dress rehearsal!
On Sunday we had lunch with Steve, Leeks & Tallulah in the George at Bathampton, and afterwards went for a short walk along the canal (right). Sunny, but the air was chilly. We still feel as if we're waiting for Spring to arrive!
So, we've arrived in April, and there's still no sign on Spring in the air. They say it's been the coldest March since records began. Dil and I both have lingering remnants of coughs and the other day I coughed so hard that I pulled a muscle in my back, so now I'm hobbling too!
A few nice, warm days wouldn't come amiss any chance?
This week I have nothing to offer you but coughs, sweat and smears! Dil and I both caught the wheezy, coughing, chesty bug that's been going round and were pretty much hors de combat for three days each, though not quite simultaneously. I'm still coughing as I type this. The only good thing about it is that we had no engagements over the weekend that couldn't be cancelled, and it gave us a superb excuse not to go out in the cold weather we've all been having. "Oh to get to April, would that Spring be here!"
We threw the first of a series of dinner dates on Saturday. The idea is that different people host an eating event each month, be it a lunch, a picnic, a barbecue, or whatever depending on the season, the weather, the size of their accommodation and their culinary confidence.
Ours was Italian in theme and we now know that we can fit 15 people round a long table in our conservatory just.
Sorry I wasn't here to blog last week we went to Guernsey. To make up for it, here is a montage of memories from the island.
The Shell Shrine in a German bunker see link for story.
So that's Guernsey really. Would we go again? Probably not. There's only so
much you can do on an island of that size, especially out of season. Next time
we'll find somewhere bigger to go to.
PS: Just heard they've had 10cm of snow in Guernsey today so perhaps we didn't do so badly going when we did!
A day in London. Primarily because Deb had promised to take Dil out to "tea at the Ritz" for Mothers Day last year, and had finally got round to organising it! Dil had reciprocated by booking us seats to see The Mousetrap in the evening, performance number 25,114! We are not supposed to snitch on who dunnit but I can tell you it wasn't the butler. In between times we visited: Foyles (where Jo was pleased to see 4 copies of Heatherley on their shelves); and the British Museum, which had not lost its charm.
By the way BT, we still have no phone since the Friday before last. Not even seen a BT man looking interested. Not good. Could do better.
Our phone is on the blink, again (see 25th June last year). It cut out some time on Friday afternoon. This time nothing comes in or goes out, although the broadband is still working go figure. We're waiting for BT to contact us, on our mobile.
Meanwhile, I'm mulling over how to present my talk in November on Sir Robert Hunter, founder of the National Trust. It's due on 6th November, the 100th anniversary of his death, but by that time two National Trust directors will have come to Haslemere to give their own talks about him. Playing to my strengths, I'm edging towards making it a dramatic monologue, presenting myself as Hunter (we are of an age!) in costume and introducing other local characters who I know a bit more about. Early days I'll keep you informed of progress.
"Veined with the gold of late flowering gorse
small slender birches
There are two types of sculpture
On the left is part of one of the
wooden blocks being carved in local schools
On the right is an altogether colder
Jon Edgar at work in situ on the stone. Can you see what it is yet?
A pair of stereo images photographed by Charles Warner if you look at them with unfocussed eyes you should see a 3D effect.
No, I haven't fallen off a cliff just a bit too busy to make an entry this week! I'm immersed in typesetting the annual Headley Report, which is a week behind schedule. Will get back to you when the rush is over.
Up to Hindhead on Saturday for the last opportunity for the schoolkids
to have their input into the stone sculpture which Jon Edgar is creating
there. Right: the group, with me centre-back.
Snow threatend to put a stop to the second weekend of the pantomime Aladdin, but in the end we got the cast there a shame that audience numbers were down though; they missed a good show.
Right: the Village Hall before the Saturday matinée
The plan worked. We now have a beautiful wooden floor thanks to Steve, and we also had a successful first weekend with the pantomime.
Under the A3 bridge in Liphook lurks a local 'Banksy'
This is some of his work.
The year began with a delivery of floor boards! We have given up the unequal struggle of trying to keep the lounge carpet looking half decent, and decided to replace it with new floorboards and rugs. The plan is for Dil's son Steve to do the job for us while we're performing in the village pantomime (oh yes we are!). This year it's Aladdin first night is this Friday, 11th Jan come numerous to see the Emperor and Empress of China in action.