smallhobbit: (Default)
I was supposed to see Timon of Athens in Stratford-upon-Avon a couple of weeks ago, but then TD said I could be more usefully employed by going to London with her.  So I rearranged my trip.

Which worked out really well, because [personal profile] debriswoman  was going to see the same performance.  Which meant we could finally meet up - we've seen a number of the same plays, but never at the same time until now.  It was lovely to meet her (and her husband) and we chatted all the way through lunch and then as we walked to the theatre.  And since we had seats quite close to each other, we met up at the interval as well.  A truly lovely lady.

As for the play itself - I'd gone to see it primarily to tick off my list of Shakespeare plays.  I only have two left.  Timon had been gender changed, being played by Kathryn Hunter.  For me the best parts were the set - which was impressive throughout - and the music, which was live, with the musicians being in the gallery almost directly opposite from where I was sitting.  The plot isn't inspiring, and although reading the programme afterwards provided greater depth, it doesn't have that much to say.

From Stratford I drove down to Tewkesbury, where I was going to a concert by Tewkesbury Camerata. [personal profile] vix_spes   is the leader of the orchestra, and I arrived early enough to have a chat with her, which was great.  I enjoyed the concert: Vaughan Williams' English Folk Song Suite and Quick March from the Sea Songs, both of which I know.  I'm not a great fan of Vaughan Williams, but I did enjoy hearing these played live.  There was a piece by Arturo Marquez, Danzon No 3, which I didn't know, plus Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring which I have heard before.  It was just lovely to sit and enjoy the music.

So all in all, a very good day, meeting two fandom friends, hearing some great music, and adding one more to my list of Shakespeare plays wot I have seen.
smallhobbit: (screech owl)
It's been a bit of an odd few weeks at Brownies, for reasons which I shall explain later.  We've continued to work on the new programme.  The girls chose "Express myself" as the theme we shall follow first, and from that we've selected "Communicate" as the Skills builder.  So they've told stories one sentence at a time, and drawn pictures of their days.  The Brownies seem to be enjoying themselves, although we're not particularly convinced by the new programme.

Last week we had Brownies Got Talent.  Two-thirds of them performed gymnastics, singing, dancing, and a puppet play.  The other one-third joined me and we designed costumes for entertainers, using cut out dolls and either felt pens or coloured paper.  They enjoyed this, and were happy to show what they'd created to the rest of the pack.

A number of them have been working towards one of the interest badges which fit the theme, both Performing and Baking.  So for the last two weeks we've had iced buns to try out.

There's a district thinking day service coming up, which I can't get to as we're in London that weekend.  So whilst the service planning was going on with those who will be attending, I took the others and went through the origin of Brownies and then we talked a bit about what they thought was important about a group.  The ideas which came out very strongly was that everyone should be welcome, should enjoy what we're doing, and that it should be inclusive.

This was our last meeting at the school, for which we are all very grateful.  Hopefully being in the sports pavilion will be a lot easier.  And Glitter Owl has said she will finish at Brownies at the end of May.  She's going to help with Rainbows.  It means Doodles and I will then be running the pack between us, with hopefully someone else joining at some point.  Doodles is quite happy about this - we work well together, and tend to complement each other.  After the discussion we had a few weeks ago, she's accepted my thoughts on supporting the quieter members and is keen for me to do that.  I'm happy too - having seriously thought about finishing last Christmas, I now feel I have a proper role within the pack.  Yes, the new programme is going to cause problems, but it's something we'll tackle together.
smallhobbit: (Default)
I've made a few new friends in the last couple of months on LJ and DW, which is great, but may lead to some confusion when I review my annual goals and how I'm getting on with them.  Because I set my goals in April, so a year runs from May to April.  This is partly historical: when I first set my goals it was April and I've kept to the same pattern.  But also I find April a far more realistic time to set goals than in the slightly strange space between Christmas and New Year.  So, without further ado:

Goal No 1 - Write all the things

Since this included 12 Days of Christmas plus One there was easily a wide selection, including Snocks, Rudybago and The Merry Wives of Windsor.  Words wise I'm down since the beginning of the year (I count those in standard years), but I'm signed up for [community profile] 100fandoms , which should guarantee some new and very one-offs, plus [community profile] fan_flashworks  is running a bingo which was irresistible.

Goal No 2 - Continue with the art and craft work

Apart from sketching some of the Alfred Munnings, I'm just not drawing.  I like the idea, but it would mean not doing something else.  The cross stitch however continues to progress, in that I do some most evenings, the area of canvas covered doesn't increase particularly quickly.

Goal No 3 - Do something new each month

December was the Christmas wreath, January I began Hungarian, so there are three months to go, and I have already planned what they will be.

It's also the time for me to start considering what I shall choose as my goals for 2019/20.  Goal No 1 will remain the same, although I'm toying with looking at perhaps adding some specific ideas.  Goal No 2 needs revamping - I'm definitely doing more craft work, or at least needlecraft, but at the moment I don't have time for anything else.  Goal No 3 has if anything (in combination with last year's try 12 new things) been over successful, in that I've found so many new things I can't actually do them all.
smallhobbit: (Default)
Apologies for any confusion which might have been caused by yesterday's post - it was TD (The Daughter) who ran the 10K not her long-suffering mother (me!)

TD had had a similar problem to me in finding something for us to go and see, and in the end chose Violet, which was one at the Charing Cross Theatre.  By strange co-incidence, this was very close to the theatre I'd been to the previous night.

And equally strangely, this was also musical theatre, although this time there were some spoken words, along with the songs.  The music was written by Jeanine Tesori the same composer who wrote the music for Caroline, or Change and the play is set in 1964 on a Greyhound bus going from North Carolina to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

It was another interesting story - Violet is travelling from her home to Tulsa, where she hopes a television preacher will heal her disfiguring facial scar.  Along the way she meets various other travellers and develops a relationship with some of them.

I enjoyed it, but preferred Caroline, or Change, which had a broader plot and the music seemed to flow slightly more naturally.  But both were good.
10K run )Before and after pics of TD on the Sunday.  It was the Cancer Research 10K Winter Run - 18,500 runners through the centre of London.
smallhobbit: (Default)
"I've signed up to do a 10K in London, Mum, and I thought we could meet up on the Saturday night and go to a show before I do the run on the Sunday."  "But I'm .."  "You can re-arrange that!"  Which is how I came to be in London last weekend.  TD came down on the Saturday afternoon, but I decided if I was going up for one day, I might as well do two.

Having booked the accommodation I realised there wasn't anything I particularly wanted to see, but there was a new year ticket offer and looking around I found I could get a £10 ticket for Caroline, or Change at the Playhouse Theatre.  The performance had transferred from the Chichester Festival Theatre, always a good sign, and had Sharon D Clarke in the lead role, so I reasoned for a tenner I could hardly go wrong.

It was excellent.  It was musical theatre, and had originally been written as an opera.  It flowed really well.  Although everything was sung, it never felt as though at any point the songs were holding up the action.  It had a singer representing the washing machine, and another representing the dryer, plus three singers for when the radio was playing.  Which sounds strange, but worked.

Caroline is a black maid in Louisiana in 1963.  The story looks at her relationship with the family (who are Jewish) and her own family and her friend.  It's not at the cutting point of life, but shows what's happening in the background.  I really enjoyed it, and Sharon D Clarke was excellent.

We were staying close to the Tower of London.

On the Saturday I went to the Science Museum.  I wanted to see The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution which was a free exhibition.  It was quite interesting, and I was particularly glad to see some film from the Eastern Front, but I felt there was too much emphasis placed on having sympathy with the Tsar and his family, when his own behaviour and attitudes brought about the catastrophe.

After which I noticed there was a free guided tour of Flight so I thought I'd go along.  The guide was a volunteer and clearly enthusiastic.  I was fascinated with what I saw and learnt.  The subject matter wouldn't be high on my list of things to learn about, but hearing someone who is both knowledgeable and enthusiastic was really good.  I'm glad I did it.
smallhobbit: (Duolingo German)
After the success of German with Duolingo last year, I've started the Hungarian course, since we're planning on going to Budapest in the autumn.  It is not easy and I'm not convinced I'm learning much, but I shall keep going for the moment.  The simple exercise of hearing and seeing Hungarian for a few minutes every day will at least give a certain familiarity.

And on the note of being prepared to try new things, I've signed up for a day workshop in sketching at Nature in Art, which is where I made the Christmas wreath.  It's not until September - they run a selection of workshops throughout the year on different art forms.  It said it was open to everyone who wants to draw, so I thought I'd give it a go.
smallhobbit: (crochet Holmes)
I was given some excellent Christmas presents:

cross stitch )
smallhobbit: (Book pile)
And hard on the heels of the final review for last year comes the first one for this year.

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

This was the second book I selected from the FutureLearn course Literature of the English Country House and was also a quick read, being a short story.  I enjoyed it - the ghost was lovely and very 'human' and despite the light-hearted nature of the story there's some quite deep thoughts behind it.  My first book for Book Bingo under 'Made into a movie'.

Murder on Christmas Eve edited by Cecily Gayford

Another of the Christmas mysteries I enjoy reading at this time of year, courtesy of MIL's book token.  Some great stories there, by writers like Ellis Peters, Michael Innes and G K Chesterton.  I was working shorter days at the beginning of January, taking time off in lieu of work done in November, so what better way of using the time than by reading.  Counts towards one of the substitution categories 'Anthology of short stories'.

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan

Inspector Chopra is a recently retired Mumbai police inspector who continues to investigate crimes.  The inheritance is a baby elephant.  This was recommended by a Twitter friend and I really enjoyed it.  Chopra is my sort of inspector, the elephant is adorable, the descriptions of Mumbai drew me in without being overpowering and the plot was convincing.  Definitely recommened.  And it fills the 'Title at least 6 words long' square.

Talk to the Tail by Tom Cox

One of my friends on Goodreads rated this, and a subsequent book highly.  It has cats who rule the roost - which is what cats do.  So I borrowed it from the library - the local branch had a copy which I reserved Sunday night and collected Monday afternoon.  I didn't take to the author, and his cats don't just rule the roost, they are assisted to do so.  Others may enjoy it.  Counts as my second substitution category 'Animal on the cover'.
smallhobbit: (screech owl)
Brownies started back last week - a week later than many packs, but I had a meeting at work and it was decided to wait until I was around to start the new term.  We've begun explaining to the girls all about the new programme, although I think it's doubtful how much some of them understand.  We also gave out the letters for the forthcoming Brownie pack holiday.  I shall go up on the Saturday, but feel I have done my share of staying - I'll also be home contact for the period when I'm not on site so will have a role to play.

There remain a number of issues with the hall we are currently using, so we may be moving again - Doodles is going to look at the possible alternative on Saturday morning.  I think it would be better if we could move back to using council owned property designed for the community, rather than a school hall in a new school where there isn't the tradition of the building being available for use by the local community, as is the case with many older village schools.

This week we did some more preparation for the new programme, and the Brownies chose the theme they wanted to follow.  This is one of those peculiarities - they are supposed to choose the theme, but we need to cover all six themes over the two-three years a girl is in Brownies, which means at some point the leaders will need to make the decisions.  After which they created mimed postcards in small groups - ie they acted out where they were visiting without using words.  This worked as well as might be expected, some groups doing better than others - I particularly liked the two who were swimming in the sea, then spotted a kangaroo and stopped to take pictures of it.

Next week is Brownies Got Talent.  Because Glitter Owl (leader-in-training) was away this week - emergency dental treatment - I took the opportunity of talking to Doodles about being aware of how not all the girls wanted to be performing, and also mentioned the problems during the Christmas party.  She understood what I was saying, and admits because she's very outgoing it doesn't occur to her.  So she suggested I take the group of girls who weren't keen on individual participation and we do something all together while she checked with the others that they were happy.

I'm glad she accepted what I had to say and after the meeting she said we work well as a team.  We each have our own strengths, I'm very happy to let her get on with the leading, and between us we can encourage all the girls to achieve things.
smallhobbit: (Book glasses)
Where possible I'm linking to the original post, but for some ficlets, written for LJ's comment fic I've no idea where they are, so I'm keeping a record here:
Hawaii Five-O, The Kahuna's Curse )


Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Cat )


Temeraire: Swimming with Dragons )


The Hour: Hallways )


smallhobbit: (Default)
I said I wasn't going to do it, but it pulled and pulled ...


Allelujah! (Alan Bennett): The Beth #011 old
Baby Ganesh Agency: Coming Home #038 welcome
Belinda: Lady Delacour #079 faded
Belleville: Reaching for the Stars #044 fantasy
Berlin Station: Unwanted Player #083 mirror
Caroline, or Change: Not Just A Maid #033 raised
Casablanca: Nothing out of the Ordinary #052 quell
Clarissa: Taken in by Fancy Words #027 fear
Dr Who: Christmas Snockings #072 space
Father Ted: Fairytale Backup Plan #009
Hawaii 5-O: The Kahuna's Curse #020 discover
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Guide: Yuletide #060 bottle
Ink: The Sun #002 edge
Inspector Alleyn Mysteries: Unwanted Discovery #059 rain
Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Cat #026 balm
Merry Wives of Windsor: The Season of Goodwill #098 laughing
Much Ado About Nothing: Claudio's Pride #091
My Dearly Beloved Detective: Tea at the Hotel #061 steal
Swan Lake (Matthew Bourne): The Prince #075 snap
Temeraire: Swimming with Dragons #068 swim
The Crimson Field: Homecoming #056 alive
The Dresser: Pebbles on the Beach #024 waves
The Hour: Hallways #007 key
The Little Drummer Girl: Reunion #005
The Open House (Will Eno):  The Estate Agent #006 home
The Play That Goes Wrong: The Stage is Set #096 oversight
The Rake's Progress: Shadow's Choice #047 bed
The Rover (Aphra Benn): Making Plans #029 mask
The Way of the World (Congreve):  Mirabell's Solution #016 dishonour
The Wind in the Willows: The Segway #034 fall
The Wipers Times: The Wipers Times #065 war
The Woman in Black: The Audience #080 ghost
Troilus & Cressida: The Trumpets #073 silence
Timon of Athens: The Truth? #076 scratch
Vanity Fair: The Approaching Battle #022 fire
Violet: A Different Fix #018 fix
Young Marx: Long Way Back #004 distance

Me Meme

Jan. 22nd, 2019 06:07 pm
smallhobbit: (Ludwig van Loewethoven)
This one seems popular - I've taken it from [personal profile] nagi_schwarz  who got it from [personal profile] brumeier  who got it from elsewhere.  Let's see how I get on.

How old are you? Grandmother with a granddaughter who is two next Monday.

Tattoos? No.

Ever hit a deer? No, although I've been present afterwards.

Ridden in an ambulance? With the daughter when she was transferring from A&E to the children's ward with a broken arm and it was the easiest form of transport.

Sang karaoke? To the relief of most people, no.

Ice skated? In my teens, very many moons ago.

Ridden a motorcycle? No.

Stayed in hospital? Twice. Once for each birth.  And then for two days when daughter was in with the above-mentioned broken arm, before going home.

Skipped school? Not that I remember but it was a long time ago.

Last phone call? The car repair people saying my car was repaired.

Last text from? The daughter instructing me to buy tickets for the Mary Poppins stage show.

Watched someone die? No.

Pepsi or Coke? Yuk!  Err, neither.

Favorite Pie? Mince - as in mince pies at Christmas.

Favorite pizza? Whatever we have in the fridge that I can shove in the oven to eat before Brownies on a Thursday night.

Favorite season? Autumn.

Broken bones? No.

Received a ticket? Bus tickets, train tickets, lots of lovely theatre tickets.

Favorite color? Blue.

Sunset or sunrise? Sunset.  Not a fan of the sunrise directly in my eye line when driving to work this time of year.
smallhobbit: (Default)
Slightly belated, but there it is.

Last year I wrote 171,691 words.  Which is about 13,000 words less than 2017, but I'm quite happy with that.  My goal for the year was 150,000, so I exceeded that quite comfortably, with over a month to spare.  I shall go for the same target this year - it feels happily doable but still requires a certain commitment.

I reached 109 badges for [community profile] fan_flashworks , which meant only 8 new badges.  The impetus fell off for a while, but I'm now working for them again - as well as the lovely new seven year bingo badges.  I did get my four year [community profile] fan_flashworks  badge (the Undauntable) which was good.

Kudos-wise, four of my five most popular are all The Hobbit, with Gandalf's Small Mistake making its way into my top five overall.  It's one of my favourite tropes: being turned into a rabbit.

I wrote three fics over 10,000 words: The Human Element being my Grantchester fic for SmallFandomBigBang and two Lewis fics, Summer Murder in the Rain, which was inspired by the previous year's Lewis Summer Challenge and The Missing Student which I wrote for [community profile] story_works  Casefic challenge, and this time inspired by the year's Summer Challenge.  Both Lewis fics are in my 'Oxford Tales' series.

Looking ahead, I have my Spooks 1920s houseparty AU to complete.  I wrote the first chapter in November, but since then I've written a prequel for the [community profile] story_works  Changes challenge (A Change of Fortune) so it may well need tweaking.  And I've got a couple of other Spooks AUs which I may expand - Sentinel/Guide and Werewolf!Lucas.

There will continue to be regular challenges/exchanges but nothing major has attracted me at the moment.  Time will tell.
smallhobbit: (Harry Potter don't try)

Day 9 - Commit an Act of Kindness.

I left some comments and wrote some doggerel which I dedicated to all challenge participants:

It may be a bit random
But we’re all keen on fandom
Yet each in our own ways.
More rainbow than snowflake
Are the ways we can partake
Refracting the sun’s rays

Day 10 - Create a fanwork.

I wrote Opening the Door for [community profile] holmes_minor 

Day 11 - In your own space, talk about your creative process(es) — anything from the initial inspiration to how you feel after something’s done. Do you struggle with motivation or is it a smooth process? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve to pull out when a fanwork isn’t cooperating? What is your level of planning to pantsing/winging it?

Probably about two-thirds of the time I'll have an idea, maybe even the whole ficlet vaguely sorted.  The rest of the time, and for all longer fics, it's a case of sitting down and writing and seeing what comes out of it.  Which can be interesting when writing casefics.  If it's something long, or gift/exchange I'll pass it via a beta, otherwise I just go for it.

Day 12 - In your own space, create your own challenge.

For this, I'll go with the wording on my icon.

Day 13 - In your own space, set some goals for the coming year. They can be fannish or not, public or private.

Since I set my goals in April I shall simply say I'm going to work for the two bingos I've signed up for [community profile] fan_flashworks and LJ's book bingo

smallhobbit: (Default)
This is a slightly belated final book review for 2018.  I spent a lot of the Christmas break reading, and therefore my Goodreads total ended up at 51.

Crimson Snow (Winter Mysteries) edited by Martin Edwards

I do enjoy a winter mystery at Christmas, and this was a good collection.  There's even a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, with all the trademark Holmes' comments and a young female client called, inevitably, Violet.  Nothing very taxing, but a good Christmas read.

A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh

The first of the Roderick Alleyn novels.  It came in a collection of three, so I have two more to read.  I've been listening to the Alleyn stories on CD in my car during the autumn, so I had to wait until I was having a break, so I didn't get the plot confused.  I wasn't sure whether I'd enjoy reading the story, having listened to so many, but it happily passed the time. 

Utopia by Thomas More

I signed up for the FutureLearn course Literature of the English Country House and they provided a reading list.  It's not compulsary, and I've read some of them, but I thought if there was anything reasonably short I could borrow from the library I would do so.  Utopia was one of those.  It's a slightly odd book, being a description of the people of the island of Utopia as apparently told by a visitor to their land.  It says a lot about More's beliefs in how society could best be ordered, and although some of it was enlightened, there was a significant amount of state control.  Not something I would have read had it not been for the course, but from a historical point of view it was interesting.  I finished it at one hour before midnight, New Year's Eve.

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

I didn't finish this until New Year's Day, but I'm counting it in last year's books.  Unpopular opinion: I didn't enjoy it.  For me J K Rowling continues to write far more than is necessary for the story.  I got very tired of Cormoran Strike's problems with his prosthetic leg and Robin Ellacott's marriage difficulties and could happily have done without both.  And I felt the ending was contrived.  Most people really like the book though.

So, into 2019, with the added bonus of LJ's Book Bingo
smallhobbit: (Book pile)

Day 7 - Stretch yourself a little and try something new. Go play in a new fandom or with a new pairing. Try working in a new medium. Or check out some fanworks that are new to you.

For my LJ Book Bingo post (joined from Day 5) I managed to update the bingo card with the first book I have read, using an online photo editing tool. Book bingo

Day 8
In your own space, post self-recs for at least three fanworks that you created.

My favourite series: Retirement era ACD Holmes and Watson: Sussex Retirement
Described by [personal profile] stonepicnicking_okapi as ACD Holmes and Watson plus Muppets: The Ocelot Tales. Featuring the Ocelot (editor of the Marylebone Monthly Illustrated), the Sloth (sub-editor, and like all sloths a strong swimmer), Mouselet (who is in love with Inspector Hopkins), Aemelia Vole (dressmaker extraordinaire) and the Ferret (super hero, given to snacking, smart waistcoats a real song and dance mustelid).
And an example from my favourite pairing: Lucas North/Adam Carter from Spooks (MI5): The Blast of War

smallhobbit: (Default)

In your own space, create a list of at least three fannish things you'd love to receive, something you've wanted but were afraid to ask for - a fannish wish-list of sorts.

I'd love to receive icons:
1) Harry Potter - in the past year I've started writing HP ficlets, so I need some proper icons (rather than cropped photos of the wording on my pjs!).  Wording, or Hogwarts pics, but no individuals.  I'm Gryffindor, but I do have a lot of friends (and characters) who are Slytherin.

2) I really need a book icon for all my book posts.

3) I already have some lovely Call the Midwife icons, but I'd adore something with some of the cast from the recent series.

smallhobbit: (Holmes Watson deerstalker)
And so we come to the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas (plus One).  And where better to finish the ACD Sherlock Holmes.

For [personal profile] debriswoman  The Message
smallhobbit: (Default)

This year I've decided to just respond to the days which seem relevant to me.

Day 4 - Comment to someone you haven't ever interacted with before or introduce yourself to someone you've interacted with and friend/follow them.

I commented on a few posts on Day 3, which were recs of particular parts of canon.  In particular someone posted about Alias Smith & Jones, which brought back a lot of memories from my teenage years.

Day 5 - In your own space, promote three communities, challenges, blogs, pages, Twitters, Tumblrs or platforms and explain why you love them.

Firstly, as a Sherlock Holmes fan, I'd recommend [community profile] watsons_woes for all forms of Dr Watson and [community profile] holmes_minor for ficlets of 500 words or less for the original Arthur Conan Doyle Holmes.  Different activities and very friendly participants.

Secondly, [community profile] fan_flashworks for all types of fanwork, written, drawn, edible etc.  Challenge prompts every 10 days and there are badges to be earned.  (I like earning badges as can be seen from my profile).   In addition, there are bingo cards to celebrate 7 years of the comm.

Thirdly, as a keen drabble writer (exactly 100 words) I would recommend [community profile] drabble_zone and [community profile] 100words  Multi-fandom and great for trying out a new fandom, or simply writing something for a book/play/film/tv programme you may not write about again.  Prompts every week.

And lastly, [community profile] fandomcalendar is a great source of both multi-fandom and specific fandom exchanges and challenges.


smallhobbit: (Default)

February 2019

3 4 567 89
1011121314 1516


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Feb. 20th, 2019 10:00 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios