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Home today from Christmas spent in Corsham. I took my camera with me, but since everyone (except me!) seems to be taking pictures on their the mobile phones and uploading straight to Facebook these days, it didn't get used.
|I managed to get both daughters and Rick and all
3 grandsons together!
Here we are outside the Victory Inn at Staplefield after lunch yesterday.
'Twas the night of the annual Christmas Concert on Saturday. See pictures.
Our 'December House' this year was at Chiddingstone Hoath in Kent. Some images for your delectation
It was the Theatre Club treasure hunt yesterday, taking us down lanes we'd never seen before with a stop in Farnham for hot chocolate. Despite all this, our team of 4 won! Our thanks to Jamie & Zoe for an interesting route.
Spent an hour at Chiddingfold School on Tuesday showing the children how to make paper a wonderfully messy experience!
So, once again we learn that telling lies to gain victory works! First in our
EU Referendum, and now with Trump's win in the USA.
And no repercussions from this mis-selling.
What a message to give to our children!!
We're well into rehearsals for our January show now, but unlike in other years it's not going to be a pantomime. Instead I've dramatised Dickens' book 'A Christmas Carol' and retitled it Bah Humbug!
The clocks have gone back. The evenings come too soon. Why can't we be on the same time as the French and the Spanish?
Just back from a few days in Spain. We took a Brittany Ferries package from Portsmouth to Santander on the ferry with car, and 5 nights in a hotel at Santillana del Mar. The weather was kind to us. Here are some photos.
No moans this week! We've just finished a very successful run of The Vicar of Dibley on stage. I played Frank Pickle, and grew a moustache for the part. On Saturday night, after the last show, I got the razor out and shaved it off. Bliss!!
See HTC website for pictures.
I hope the Brexiteers are happy now that the Pound has fallen to near parity
with the Euro! Certainly makes it more expensive for us to 'exit' on holiday,
but that's a trifle compared to the effect the UK's decision to leave is likely
to have on the rest of Europe.
With thoughts turning to the season of Remembrance, I shall be wearing an EU flag in my lapel in support of the living, breathing Memorial to wars past which the EU represents. It's not perfect, it's still work in progress, but it's better than War. And it needs our support. Please.
A mild and pleasant day for my birthday, marred only by the fact that our emails have stopped working today, again! [It then took 3 days to get service restored, and in that period all arriving mails were lost to the ether. Thanks a bunch, Vodafone/Demon and Names.co.uk, for fumbling the ball between you!]
Had an interesting and enjoyable weekend visit to Woodstock, to talk about self-publishing. While there we visited Blenheim Palace, as you do.
19th September 2016
I could keep banging on about woeful technology, but I won't bore you this week.
The highlight of our week was the Village Fete on Saturday. Here's my stall on the village green alongside the Theatre Club's. The weather could have been better, but could have been a whole lot worse, and I think we were satisfied with the number of customers we attracted. And we sold out of tickets for our autumn show 3 weeks before we go up, so we must be doing something right!
Another woeful tale of technology. Tried to order a bus pass on-line: transaction not accepted, because there is another male 'Smith' with the same birth date already on the system. Fancy that! more than one male Smith in Hampshire with the same birth date what a surprise! Apparently the system doesn't take account of address or NI number when making the check. So I have to send my details to them by post. Well I suppose it keeps a postman or two in employment.
Oh joy! Had a message from my ISP (now owned by Vodafone) on Wednesday to say it's stopping running an email service, and I have to migrate to elsewhere. Tried that, and my website became unavailable for 24hrs. Nobody admitting to knowing why. And apparently I've not migrated properly anyway, so that's still to come. Don't you just love technology?
Had the pleasure of doing a barbecue in the garden last night with weather warm enough to sit out till the wee hours in comfort, even though the day itself had been mizzly.
Managed to get the Parish Mag for September off to the new printers on schedule.
Went to the annual 'Meet the Authors' day at Selsey with Jean & Eve the A27 jammed with people going to the Witterings beaches sold 1 book and gave away another, but may have picked up some useful typesetting work in the future.
This weekend we went on the trail of my gt-grandmother, Polly Smith, who was a lace-worker in Nottingham. The old lace-making quarter of the town now seems to be becoming an artisans' quarter quite different, I'm sure, from the times when she lived there in the 1880s & 90s.
Just spent a weekend on the Isle of Wight at a vintage caravan site near Ryde, with Deb, Steve, Leeks and Tallulah. Dil and I slept in 'Roger' (virtually a bed on wheels) I hope he enjoyed it!
then went to the 'fossil beach'
This always seems a pivotal time of the year we've just finished performing a major show, and our main holiday of the year is a distant May memory while others are just starting theirs. So now looking forward, we've begun rehearsing for the October show (two scenes from The Vicar of Dibley in which I have a minor role), and I've written a script (Bah Humbug!) for us to perform in January and I feel I have no remaining excuses to stop me from getting on with a book project which has been a long time in the pipeline (Characters of Headley's Past). So, after a coffee, I'll begin and knowing I have to report back to you on progress weekly should spur me on.
Summer has arrived at last! The weather was so good over the weekend that we were unexpectedly able to perform one of our shows outdoors, on Saturday afternoon in Haslemere Museum's garden.
Now our run of Lark Rise has finished, and we can look back on a very successful tour. Well done to all. See here for photos of the show.
Lark Rise is on the road and running! We've now done 4 successful shows, with 3 more to come next weekend.
4th July 2016
We had the first Dress Rehearsal for Lark Rise yesterday. Almost a catastrophe, as I'd forgotten to book the village hall and it was in use for a ballet exam! but fortunately we were able to perform outside on the Village Green, and it went well. See the cast photo on the right.
Our first live performance is this coming Friday at Liss.
What do I think about the result of the EU Referendum last week? I feel ashamed. Ashamed for my country.
At a time of increased crisis in the middle-east and with Russia beating the military drum again, the thing Europe needs most of all is stability. And instead of getting stuck in with our European partners to help sort things out, this country decides to turn away and gaze at its navel. Appalling.
All I can say to my continental friends is: forgive us, we know not what we do!
PS. England knocked out of Euro 2016 by Iceland tonight, so we're getting used to being a 3rd rate force in Europe already!
I spent half an hour in the dentist's chair this morning having my teeth cleaned and she says I have to go back in 3 months time for another session. I suppose it's necessary, and not just a way for a private practice to make money?!
13th June 2016
Well, we chose the right day for the village to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday: the Saturday rather than the Sunday the weather held for us, the next day would have been a bit wet. I was compering in the tent with the Union Jack on it the Theatre Club had their picnic table (just in view) next to it.
Up to Northumberland for a long weekend to celebrate my aunt's 100th birthday. Glorious weather after the first day.
Sorry about the gap in reports, but we've been away in France. Drove down to near St Raphael on the Cote d'Azur with Jill & Louis, had 7 nights in a 'mobile home' and drove back again. Lovely weather all the time we were there it broke the day we left! Below are some photos from the trip.
And we couldn't pass through Burgundy
without visiting Asterix on his pedestal
well, Vercingetorix actually
We were pleased to play host to Gérard & Elisabeth from Corné over the weekend, part of the Headley Twinning programme. The weather was superb we of course told them that England is always like this! and a good time was had by all.
2nd May 2016
Bank holiday weekend. Yesterday (Sunday) was bright and sunny and I happily led the monthly 'Walk for Health' along the bluebell trail. (see pic)
Today is dull and wet. Can't have everything!
We put on a successful "Bard's Night" in the Village Hall over the weekend. This is our English response to the ever-present Scottish "Burns Nights" which have spread south. Ours is now an annual event, on or around St George's Day (23rd April) and this year, of course, was special in also being the 400th anniversary of Skakespeare's death. Have a look at the website to see pictures from the show.
Just back from a long weekend in Paris. The apartment we'd originally booked on the left bank had heating problems, so we were 'upgraded' to a 7th floor luxury apartment near Montmartre with views over Paris. Not bad! Here are a dozen pics from our stay.
March did what the old wives say: came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. I did two long walks this week in what was fairly ideal walking weather. May it last!
We spent the Easter weekend at home wet and stormy weather on Sat and Sun 14 round for supper on Sunday evening.
I went to the dentist to get my new tooth fitted the one that came out in a French muffin last year, remember? The reason I wanted it was because I was conscious of lisping through the gap when I said my f''s and th's, not for any cosmetic purpose. But when I tried it with its plastic plate, I found my speech was even worse. I also realised that, over time, I'd pretty well managed to compensate for the gap when talking. So I don't think I'll be using the new tooth, and it's probably £400 wasted. C'est la vie!
We managed to get a bit of gardening done over the weekend has Spring finally sprung?
We went to Frome for the weekend to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Nice little town, but cramped accommodation. Beware Room No.4!
Today's that extra day that we get given every four years or so. If you're monthly salaried, you work it for nothing; if you're paid by the hour you're OK.
15th February 2016
We had some strong winds last week, and although the tall pines at the bottom or our garden were swaying they seemed safe enough. Then next morning I looked into the back garden and saw a bit of branch lying on the garden. A bit of branch? When I went down to get a better look at it, it was a bit bigger than I thought, but luckily had missed hitting anything of importance. Here it is (right) where it ended up, perched on the edge of the pond. A few deft saw strokes later and it was firewood!
For first time that I can remember, Headley Theatre Club hasn't got a major production in rehearsal. We're doing a 'Bard's Night' in April, but that's mainly a medieval feast with bits and pieces of entertainment (songs, sketches, etc) thrown in with a nod to Shakespeare and the 400th anniversary of his death. However, we're still meeting, probably twice-weekly, to rehearse these bits, do a bit of housekeeping to our properties in the village hall, and start rehearsing music for 'Lark Rise' in the summer. Never let the grass grow under your feet!
If you ever wanted to see me in a kilt, you've just missed your opportunity! Dil and I were called to chair the local Burns Night in the village hall on Saturday, and she made sure (via Amazon) that I had the appropriate garb. Sorry, I have no photos of the event.
Meanwhile, on the computer front, we completed our cut-over of data to from the XP to the Windows 10 machine and all seems reasonably well so far. Just a few programs left on the old machine which won't run on the new, so it's probably with us for a while yet.
25th January 2016
The panto's over It went well, all in all. Audience numbers were slightly up on last year, and we've received many complimentary comments.
On the Thursday between performances, we showed a DVD of the first Saturday night's performance to members of the cast, which we always find to be a useful exercise. Here's our lounge set up as a cinema for the occasion!
The first weekend of the panto is over, and would you believe that the audience numbers over the three performances were exactly the same as last year! See pictures.
It's a year since I decided to put all my books for sale on CreateSpace, and so far it's been a success. I've received just over £600 from them during 2015. But I have to balance that against a similar drop in sales through Gardners POD it seems that people ordering through Amazon used to receive the books from Gardners, but now receive them from CreateSpace. So am I winning? If not financially, then certainly from a organisational point of view, working with CreateSpace is easier they deposit money in my bank account each month without the hassle of cross-invoicing which Garners insist on, and I can update my books on CreateSpace for free wheareas it costs money to do it through the Gardners route.
New Year and new computer a Lenovo 'all-in-one' loaded with Windows 10. Already I've discovered that some of my old XP sofware will load onto it, and some won't, so right now we're operating with two computers. I wonder how many weeks will pass before I can report that we're fully moved over?