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A Happy Christmas to all my readers!
On the Wednesday before Christmas we went to the Ritz for tea, taking 5-year-old Tallulah with us. It was very successful, and I'm told there are pictures somewhere on Facebook.
The Christmas period itself has been an almost continual succession of local
friends gathering in our house to eat, drink, and be merry playing silly games
just how it should be!
Happy days, and long may they last!!
It's been a busy couple of weeks, and both Dil and I have been feeling a bit under the weather with coughs and sniffles. Somehow we managed to keep our voices sufficiently to organise and perform in the annual Xmas Concert; and yesterday I read the first lesson in church for the candlelit carol service. I hope the Methodist minister of my grandfather came out in me! I was told it went down well, and I almost got applause!!
Back from a week in the 'December House' at Mottistone on the Isle of Wight. There were thirteen of us and a good time had by all, although Dil and I returned with chesty coughs. Here are some memories:
I gave two talks in a week on the subject of 'Canadians in Headley during WW2',
one to the local Scouts, the other to a local history group in Frensham. Strange,
because it's not one of my most called-for talks.
Organised the annual Christmas fair in the village hall on the last Saturday in November, which went well. The weather was kind to us it was a crisp sunny day.
Did some work on more episodes of Jobsworth, my 'radio' plays that we perform on stage.
One of those weeks where nothing exceptional happened. I decided to write some parody lyrics for Beatles songs.
The clocks went back over the weekend, and pantomime rehearsals have begun. Two harbingers of winter. The panto this year is Humpty Dumpty, which I wrote in the 1990s and we last performed back in Jan 1995.
Back from a successful cruise round the Baltic on the good ship Balmoral. Here are some photos to give a flavour:
Sir Robert Hunter walked again over the weekend! I led a swarm of people (and dogs) around Hindhead Common to meet my trusty actors in a variety of locations. Once more we murdered the unfortunate sailor, and once more Sir Arthur Conan Doyle foresaw the future rise in popularity of the automobile. The rain kept off and now my beard is off too, as I only grow it when I have to 'be' Sir Robert!
A quiet week although I have been to talk to two local schools in the past fortnight about local history. A forest of hands wanting to ask questions kept me occupied for the whole period both times, so any 'prepared talk' that I might have had never happened. Probably better that way.
We ran a "Here's Headley" event on Saturday which went well. Over 30 organisations in the Village Hall showing what they do.
11th September 2017
Yesterday seemed to be a Heritage Day all over the country we paid two visits, one to Bordon for an exibition in the army barracks which will be demolished this year, and one to Undershaw at Hindhead to hear a talk on Sherlock Holmes and have a tour of the building, led by the architect who was in charge of the renovation of the house of Conan Doyle and the extension for the Stepping Stones school.
4th September 2017
We went over to Hastings on Friday (via the 'long man' at Wilmington) to see Rufus in a play (he was 'Dick' in David Copperfield), and stayed the night to see Sarah & Emma as mermaids on Bexhill beach on Saturday they helped to beat the Guinness Book of Records for the number of mermaids on a beach, by 25! Luckily the weather was fine.
A hot, sunny August Bank Holidayweekend! The best weather here for 50 years, we're told. We made best use of it with garden parties.
21st August 2017
Went to Chawton House yesterday where they were having a Plant Fair, and were lucky enough to arrive just as the gardener was leading a tour of the gardens, which was fascinating. Chatted to him afterwards, and he showed us the well house where he had restored the pumping mechanism.
Home via Farringdon church, where we stopped to take another photo of Sarah Holdaway's grave (see here for further details). We were lucky with the weather, as it poured with rain soon after we got home.
Had a very wet trip to Selsey and back on Wednesday for the annual "Meet the Authors" gathering. As usual, I wasn't there so much as an author; more as an authority on self-publishing.
Check-up on the pacemaker went OK on Friday battery life of 'at least another 5 years'!
We've been away in Cornwall for a week. Here are some pictures:
The Riot is over, and it was good! See photos. Now we're straight into rehearsals for Hi-De-Hi, our autumn show. Well, I say WE, but in fact Dil and I will be away for the show so we can't be in it but we've said we'll help with rehearsals if needed.
17th July 2017
I've just published a cookery book well, not exactly MY cookery book. It's a copy of the recipe book written in 1907 by the daughter of the then Rector of Headley. Click on the cover picture to read more about the book.
10th July 2017
Dil and I up to the Shelswell History Festival, between Fringford and
Cottisford, on Saturday and stayed the night at Buckingham before returning
for the first Dress Rehearsal of Riot!
The "panel of Flora Thompson experts" at Shelswell History Festival L to R: Carol Knight (gt-niece of John Thompson); Judith Harvey (current owner of Lark Rise Cottage); Martin Greenwood (local historian at Fringford); Christine Bloxham (author of The World of Flora Thompson); John Owen Smith (local historian at Grayshott); and Gillian Lindsay (author of Flora Thompson – The Story of the 'Lark Rise' Writer)
Having looked at the Headley workhouse last weekend (see below), a few of us visited Selborne this weekend, and met the man who now lives in part of the old workhouse there. He thinks he may have information 'in the loft' which might interest us.
Yesterday, in glorious weather, we had the annual Headley Theatre Club barbecue in Neil and Janet's garden. I led a walk round Ludshott Common beforehand, when we tried but failed to find the boundary stone where the parishes of Headley, Grayshott and Bramshott meet. Maybe better luck next time, assuming it actually exists!
We took the cast of Riot to see the old Headley workhouse (aka Headley Grange) on Sunday, and were given a guided tour by the owner which included a visit to the cellars where the workhouse master had kept his wine in 1830, according to our script.
And of course, though nothing to do with our riot, and nothing like it would have been in 1830, we had to have a look at the stairway made famous by Led Zeppelin 140 years later.
I seem to have recovered most things on the computer, thank goodness, although I still keep finding odds and ends which I'd processed during the fatal few days between back-up and crash which need to be done again. But I can't remember how I managed to share files between my three computers, and so far all my efforts to do this have failed. Grrr!
Oh, and we had a general election in the middle of all this, didn't we? What a fiasco that was!
Last weekend we went over to Kent for our friend Sarah's 60th. Dil made three cakes for the occasion, and on one of them we put 60 candles. Don't try this a home! The heat of them set fire to the cake decorations, and after a hurried photo (which I don't yet have) three of us quickly blew it out.
Got back from holiday to find the computer wasn't working. Screwed by a Microsoft update while we were away, or so I'm told. Took it up the road for a rebuild, and of course lost all my data since the last security copy and not only that, but all the local adjustments we'd made to various programs over the months rather frustrating, and kept me occupied through to the end of the week and beyond.
When I've got things on an even keel, I'll post some pics of the holiday! (which went well)
I gave two talks in one day on Wednesday, both on the subject of Flora Thompson, one in Guildford and one in Alresford. It was the day after the 70th anniversary of her death, although the people who had booked be weren't aware of that.
After the world-wide cyber attack which affected the NHS among others, they're asking people going to hospital today to be patient.
We've been away on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Had a good time, and came back looking bronzed, though as much from the wind as the sun. And also I fell in, which may have given me an extra muddy look! Here are some photos, retrieved after a dunking of the camera in the canal.
"Now We Are 65" went very well - see the pictures
On Tuesday I had a visit from Randy Brown of Detroit, over here on a whisrle-stop tour of British pop group sites. Here he saw the outside of Headley Grange, and of Benifold. The weather was kind to us, and we shared a couple of drinks in the Holly Bush garden.
On Sunday (Easter) Dil, Deb and I walked across Ludshott Common to Applegarth (45 minutes) for lunch, and back again. A pleasant stroll.
Today (Easter Monday) during the afternoon we had the first Dress Rehearsal of "Now We Are 65" it didn't go too badly, and we're looking forward to douing the show this weekend coming.
Another sunny weekend, and the first BBQ of the season! at the Whites'
On Thursday I went to give an afternoon talk to a WI in the New Forest, and turning off the main A31 encountered a flock of sheep unattended in the middle of the road, then a couple of ponies, followed by some donkeys before I finally and safely reached Bramshaw village hall. Very bucolic.
The next evening we went to hear Nigel fronting a band (May Contain Nuts) at Fernhurst a contrast to the sheep, etc, far too loud!
Went to the Hampshire Record Office on Saturday for a forum on Archives well organised and well attended, though the venue there (in their cinema) is a bit cramped for such a gathering. I've offered to speak next time.
Lovely sunny weather on Sunday for the monthly walk. Let's hope it's the sign of things to come!
We went to see the stage version of "An American in Paris" over the weekend. Fast and furious, but what interested me most was the way they changed the scenery by moving flats and other items around on casters. Ideas we can perhaps use on our rather smaller stage in the village!
We went to a French conversation session at a local pub this evening. It was free (apart from the drinks!) and while Dil sat it out, Jo got involved in conversations with people who had homes in France and learned about problems with termites and hornets in the Dordogne. The sessions are every fortnight let's see if we're drawn back.
Sent a new book to be printed. Characters of Headley's Past has been 17 years in the making, but finally done!
We went to stay in Steyning for the weekend, and visited Brighton by bus. A bit wet & windy, but we had a relaxing time.
Over to Suffolk for sister Di's 70th this weekend. While we were there we visited
Sutton Hoo, first time for many a year now owned by the NT with an interesting
Home to find diswasher not working, and boiler not working! Luckily the weather is mild a new dishwasher is arriving on Thursday, and a man is coming to see about the boiler on Friday. [Finally fixed on 2nd March!]
Over £200 work done on my teeth last week (ouch!) and more to come tomorrow. Let's hope that's the end of it.
A relatively quiet week. We're working on the programme for Headley Theatre Club's 65 year (sapphire) anniversary celebrations in April. The show has a working title Now We Are 65.
30th January 2017
Dil and I were once again persuaded to preside over Headley Twinning Association's Burns Night. Once again I wore the kilt (clan Amazon!) and this time we did snap a picture of me, looking rather severe, at home before we left for the village hall. [It also shows Dil's new lounge curtains in the background!]
The next day (yesterday) we went up to Ronnie Scott's Club in London to hear Simon Callow declaiming Shakespeare to the jazz backing of Jacquie Dankworth's ensemble. Well worth the trip, even on a wet day. She sings just like her mum Cleo Laine possibly better.
|PS. Must clean the camera lens!!|
Three more good performances of Bah Humbug! over this weekend see here for full set of pictures. The audience particularly liked our use of an 'angelic quartet' to move the story along they also liked the fact that the show was shorter than normal! From start to end it was less than 2 hours. A lesson to be learned perhaps.
16th January 2017
Crossed fingers worked, and we put on three good performances of Bah
Humbug! over the weekend. The photo on the right shows me in the band
along with Jo 'Fingers' Levy on piano and Nick Webb on guitar. I also
acted as prompt, but none was needed.
Rehearsals for Bah Humbug! are proceeding, but various of the cast keep disappearing due to some short-term bug going round. Yesterday we had a dress rehearsal which went well, with only a few absentees. Fingers crossed for the coming weekend!
Today the new Rangemaster oven was delivered to the Village Hall very smart, and installed with no problems despite fears from the committee that the contractors might not be able to get the old one out. Now we await refurbishment of the rest of the kitchen, due to start at the end of the month.
Phew! We survived 2016 when so many others didn't.