Dido, Queen of Carthage

Oct. 21st, 2017 08:46 pm
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Another trip up to Stratford-upon-Avon, to see Christopher Marlowe's play.  Once again we went to the Unwrapped session.  This time it was much more interesting - the assistant director was more engaged with the audience, and the two actors (understudies for Dido and Aeneas) were encouraged to relate to us as well.  Apart from some general background, they acted out one scene three times, each time with a different emphasis and were happy sharing the rehearsal process.

After which SM and I went to the RSC Rooftop Restaurant for lunch.  For my birthday last year the son had given me vouchers for the restaurant, and it seemed like a great opportunity to use them, especially as we go on holiday tomorrow (as an aside - if I don't reply promptly for the next week it's 'cos I ain't here!).  The food was excellent - I had baked goat's cheese, lamb, and autumn fruit compote (and I could taste the calvados in the custard).

The play itself felt rather one-paced, although that may well be the way it was written.  Also, although I'd not seen the play before, I had a good idea of what the outcome would be.  There didn't seem to be much tension.  I'm also not keen on Sandy Grierson, who played Aeneas, which didn't help.  But there were some excellent effects, which enhanced rather than detracted from the production, and it all flowed very well - it just wasn't 'edge of your seat' stuff.

Learning about Brownies

Oct. 20th, 2017 11:18 am
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Normally I do a Brownie post fortnightly, but somehow I've miscalculated, and, as it's the end of the half term, you're getting another post this week!

With only two leaders present (Sparkly Owl had gone to a wedding reception) we decided we'd go for something easy, and continue with learning about Brownies, how the organisation came about, and some of our traditions.

We began by reading the Brownie Story - in which two children visit a wise old owl and learn how they could be helpful brownies.  I adopted the same method as last time, split the girls into twos and allocated each couple a character; when their character does something in the story the girls act it out.  Some of the Brownies remembered doing this from last time, about a year ago, but they all joined in with enthusiasm.  The only slight disappointment was two of our new girls were away, for whatever reason, and missed out.

After which we moved into the large hall for a running quiz.  We were surprised at how little the older Brownies could remember about some of the guiding basics - like when Thinking Day is.  We do try to tell them about such things, because it gives them an idea of how big an organisation they belong to, and that there are Guides and Brownies all over the world.  On the plus side, it's inspired us to celebrate Thinking Day next year - because it falls on a Brownie evening - and we'll then have a go at the World Guiding badge.

Finally we began to talk about the Brownie promise.  We thought this might be quite difficult to discuss 'be true to myself and develop my beliefs', but it led to a really good talk about dealing with bullies, and having faith in yourself.  Even some of the quieter girls joined in, and they all had really sensible things to say - impressive for 7 to 9 year olds.

And now, a question for my flist, because you were all very helpful when I was preparing for the World Traveller badge:
Does anyone (anywhere) have a friend or relative who runs a Brownie/Girl Scout/Guide unit for the 7 to 10 age group, who would be interested in swapping postcards with us.  Obviously everything would be sent to the Leader(s) rather than directly to the girls.
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This was suggested by Okapi as of benefit to some of the things I do in church.  Initially I thought about BSL, but then realised if I was intending to do this properly it would require more than a month, so I decided to learn some Polish instead.  There is a significant Polish contingent in our area, so it seemed logical.

I signed up for Duolingo and began the first lessons.  But after nearly a fortnight I realised I wasn't going anywhere, although I had a large list of vocabulary.  I have nothing to hang the language on, in that there's no similarity to any of the other languages I have a smattering of.  And nothing was going in.  I decided to admit this wasn't working and stop, rather than battling on for another week.  On the plus side, I now have a certain feel for the language when it's spoken.

To the replace this, I've been watching a youtube video with basic BSL greetings, which means I might at least be able to sign 'welcome' which would be welcoming.

I haven't even done much of my sewing.  We were away or out most of the weekend, and this week I've been sorting odds and ends for our holiday and have generally been feeling uninspired.  All I've done is sew one button, which I think helps to pull the appliqué together better for this square:
pics )
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Last week we did the rest of the work for our Crime Prevention Badge.  I had prepared a leaflet, so the Brownies, having hopefully remembered to find out their postcode (for purposes of marking possessions), began by drawing the logos for the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme and Home Watch Scheme.  They then drew some of the favourite things they owned, what these belongings would look like if they were spoiled, and how, because we don't want our things treated badly we mustn't treat others badly.  We then finished by each six acting out a playlet of what they should do if they go out by themselves (not that most of ours are old enough to do so) and what you should do if a stranger asks you to go with them.

Crime prevention

This week, because we have five new girls we suggested they work on their Becoming a Brownie book, with the aid of some of the older Brownies.  We thought this wouldn't occupy them for long before boredom set in, but in fact they were all quite happy finding out each others' names and filling in the details in their books.

And while they were doing that, we, the leaders, were able to discuss arrangements for the Brownie Christmas meal, as well as having a quick look at the programme for the next half term.

Then today, whilst helping with a harvest presentation led by our church, I met one of the Brownies again when her class came to take part in the activities.  She had great fun telling her friends who I was, so I've promised her she can have a point for her six next week.

It's Now Half Way Through The Year

Oct. 10th, 2017 09:46 pm
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Well, it is if the year begins in April, which is when I set my current goals.  So how are they going?

Goal No 1 - Write all the things

Wordage for 2017 is now at 130,000 which remains ahead of both last year, and my target to date.  I wrote less over the last couple of months, but I'm still pleased with where I'm at.  There's been a drop in the things I write regularly, which has partially accounted for the fall in words, but I've taken part in ACDHolmesfest, Stage of Fools, and Spook Me.  (All of which I have to thank Okapi for beta-ing for me).  This year I've signed up for Holmestice, and I've just got my Yuletide assignment, which I'm happy with.

I've also achieved four more Fan Flashworks badges, including my 200 posted works, which can't be bad.

Goal No 2 - Write a monthly pastoral assistant post

This is continuing, although interesting I doubt I will be continuing to post as regularly next year.

Goal No 3 - Try twelve new things

I visited the Sky Garden in London back in August, and last month I began a sewing craft, which is still ongoing.  I've also started something else, of which there will be more next week.  In the meantime here are some more of my craft photos, beginning with the final quilting, to which I added some chain stitch because it seemed to be missing something:

Craft photos )


Oct. 8th, 2017 02:28 pm
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Coriolanus is another of Shakespeare's plays which is rarely performed, and which I hadn't seen, so I booked tickets for the RSC when they included it in their Rome season.  SM enjoyed it, and was very taken with all the mental struggles going on, I was rather less impressed.

As we often do, we went to the Shakespeare Unwrapped session in the morning.  For once this was disappointing.  The session was taken by the assistant director and the understudies for Coriolanus and Volumnia (Coriolanus' mother).  It was interesting to a point, seeing some of the rehearsal process, but at no point were the audience specifically engaged, and unusually there were no questions.  Maybe the wrong actors/director had been chosen to lead this, because it was very much a demonstration.

As for the play - I didn't feel I connected with any of the characters.  I don't need to like a character -  some characters really make an impact however dubious they are - but apart from Coriolanus, who merely proved good military leaders generally make bad political leaders, there was nothing which spoke to me.  I might have gone for Aufidius, but we didn't see enough of him for me to decide.  And I missed the apparent homoerotic relationship between him and Coriolanus.

From the morning session I gathered the play left many questions as to what was right or wrong.  Maybe in trying to keep the ambiguity it lost any dynamism it might have had (or maybe it's not a great play).  When the cast came out for the curtain call at the end everyone was wearing grey, which rather summed up my impression of the play.


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