Mar. 4th, 2010 06:22 pm
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I had a go on an exercise ball for the first time yesterday - which as well as being hilarious is also some kind of stealth exercise. All I did was sit on it and slowly lift first one leg, then the other and today my abs feel like I've done an inordinate number of situps.

Fred Wedlock has died. He was something of a personal hero. I still sing his material when drunk - mostly The Vicar and The Frog. I first met him in the Bishop Stortford Folk Club just before I move down here *cough* number of years ago. He reckoned that Bristol was a very, very fine place and that I needed to watch it because the city captures people and draws them in. I have found that he was quite right and today the world is somewhat poorer.
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Here we are in the studio making some adjustments to a remix. All going well. ION I decided that I'd have to start making my own dreads mainly because there's no way I can afford a new set at the moment. Turns out not to be too difficult but it is seriously time consuming. I've done 12 and I need 50! Could take a while!!

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I went back to the gym yesterday - first time since before Christmas. What with the snow and everything I missed so much that getting back in was really hard.

In fact, I nearly packed it in twice but stuck with it. I gained a shed-load of weight over Christmas and I've not managed to be terribly good this week so I have to do something to shift the excess!

I went to recorders last night too. It was good to be back. Everyone was in a brilliant mood and the whole thing was a laugh. And I played well too. One of those odd things where I seem to have improved by leaving it alone for a while.

Tonight is choir - again for the first time since before Christmas. We're apparently doing the St Luke passion which will be rather good. It's not too difficult a sing but should still be rewarding.

My singing lessons start again on the 25th. I'm working on a chunk of melodrama called 'The Sea Wrack' as a test of dynamic control. One of those tricky pieces that looks very straightforward but isn't.

There is music and embroidery queuing up which will give me something to get my teeth into at the weekend. I have two songs lurking in my head and a wonderful picture of a leaping hare to digitize. There's a magpie too that I want a go at.

Once again to much wonderful stuff to do - too little time to do it.
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My computer has just been attacked by a really nasty piece of work called 'Antivirus Live'. Was a bastard to get off and hijacks the machine completely displaying a load of false error messages and porn sites in an effort to get you to buy their 'antivirus software' so that they can scam your credit card.

BASTARDS. That's a whole eveing I won't get back. I hope they rot.


Jan. 10th, 2010 09:51 pm
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So where was I? Oh yes the aftermath of New Year.

I got everything up to date again (ironing included) and then we all went back to work - some of us later than others. I had to take a day's holiday on Monday to wait in for the BT man as we were deprived of our broadband intermittently from the 30th to the 4th. Still all fixed now.

And then, of course, there was snow. I came home from work early on Tuesday and worked from home for the rest of the week. The blue screen of death that my PC gave me when I tried to log in to work was unwelcome to say the least but I've sorted it out and it was all systems go after that.

We took all the decorations down and the place looked a little bleak afterwards like it always does. I'll have to make new cushion covers though - the cat has thoroughly laid claim to the old ones!

Working from home is something of a mixed blessing in that I find I lack motivation somewhat when sitting in here and I can think of 1000s of other things to do instead of work but I'm managing pretty well.

I need a new project. My mother knitted a Nativity set (yep that's right "knitted" and "Natitivy") but her eyesight is now too poor for her to put it togther. She brought me all the bits and has asked me to finish it. I shall have to get some toy stuffing and have a go. She also brought down a pattern for a set of knitted Dickensian Christmas Mice which are so cute I have had to have a go myself!

There is also music to be written and although I find myself a wee bit prey to January Hibernation Syndrome I shall have to get off my arse and have a go.

Yesterday saw the band at the Glastonbury Occult Conference. We had a great time in spite of the fact that I reckon the weather kept quite a few punters away. Eileen Daly (she of Razor Blade Smile) turns out to be a top lass with a wicked sense of humour and not at all pretentious - a breath of fresh air is that! I had a blast (one unfortunate incident with the promoter not withstanding) and it was nice to see Dave and H who'd made the trip over from Pontypridd - brave souls!

I guess it's back to work tomorrow, although I'm going to leave it late and ring in to see what the roads are like (A46, A433, A417) before setting off. Cirencester was apparently very nasty on Friday and I need to know that it's improved before I leave home.
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I discover that I haven't posted for ages. That seems to be the way of these things though and I often wonder whether I an losing the desire or need to share the minutiae of my life - but anyway...

It's a long 'un... )

Right - that'll do for now. More later.
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A very Merry Christmas to all of you out there.

It's been utterly wonderful so far!! Hope it's as magical for all of you!
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The Nuff-monster is back. Apparently she spent the last few hours registering her displeasure with all the staff at the emergency vets!

Much more her old self. Has wolfed down half a tin of tuna and is generally arsey with the world.


Cat update

Nov. 29th, 2009 12:11 pm
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At 11:30 last night poor old Nuffy took a bit of a turn for the worst after her op. Was sick several times and the last time was bloody so it was off to the emergency vet.

She reckoned that Nuffy had had a bad reaction to her antibiotics and was dehydrated. They kept her in.

We should have been colecting her this morning but they want to see her eat before they let her home and she's still off her food.

Anyone who tells you that pet insurance is a waste of money is an idiot - this little trip to the emergency vet will cost us over £400 and that's on top of the £120 we've already spent.

I really want her back now!
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Here we are then putting in a post from my iPhone. How very technical

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Anyone want to come and hear me sing in The Messiah and Karl Jenkins Stabat Mater on Saturday? Concert starts at 7:00pm and is at St Peter's Church, The Drive, Henleaze, Bristol, BS9 4LD. Doesn't cost anything but you'll have to contribute something to the Childrens Hospice Charity.


Nov. 2nd, 2009 06:21 pm
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I know it's been an bit 'tumbleweeds' in here recently. People who know what's being going on in my head don't need an explaination.

Anyway...Bremen. The band is back from another German triumph. I'm thoroughly stoked. It was the best experience and the comments and compliments have really gioven me a boost. Although comparisons between the 'scene' in Britain and the 'scene' in Germany would honestly depress anyone!!

I was back to mjy very organised self and had everything done and dusted before we left so I was quite chilled. We left from platform 13 at Bristol Temple Meads - obviously a good omen - and everything was going splendidly until we got on the train to Stansted Mountfitchet instead of Stanstead Airport. I had kittens - but fortunately we were able to change at Tottenham Hale and get on the right train. Usual trouble at check in where they wanted to go through the leads bag and the drum pedals left us with very little time and the flight was already showing 'final call' when we cleared check in. So something of a breathless (well I was!!) dash across the airport to make the flight. As a side note I was well impressed with my fitness levels. OK I was out of breath but so was everyone else!! Couldn't have done that a couple of years ago!

All settled down once we were on the plane. Turns out that the daughter is not a comfortable flyer (it was her first flight) - but it was a bit of a rough one and the landing was horrible. Still we made it OK and our hosts Marco and Kira were waiting for us at the airport. Talk about welcoming!! They whisked us off to Marco's flat, gave us tea and coffee and then took us first for pizza and then to a metal bar - the Furchtbar (good pun).

It was pretty damn good. The place is done out with coffins for tables, with bats everywhere and lighted candles (the Germans haven't heard of health and safety and it's great). We had a top evening but German law allows smoking in bars after midnight and I soon realised how much I haven't missed the sore throats and smokey smell! Marco gave me, Dave, Kat and Ant his flat for the night and Rob and Chris stayed with Kira. Passed a very comfortable night indeed.

Breakfast was typical German fare - bread, cheese, meat and (much to Kat's delight) Nutella. Much coffee, much breakfast!

While Marco went off to sort out the gig, Kira took us around Bremen. Think a very much larger, cleaner version of Bristol! Just before going to sleep I had realised that I'd left my foundation at home. Arghh - gig day with no MAC NC15. How would I cope. I needn't have worried. Bremen has Lush!!!! and a very small MAC counter in one of their department stores that has only just opened. I was in heaven (but style black is sold out there too!) and I got foundation for the gig!

Bremen has trams everywhere! They come clanking along streets that in the UK would be purely pedestrianised. I bet it makes shopping in the centre a blast!

There was a market in full swing with loads of the stall holders in medieval dress. We learned the story of the 4 musicians of Bremen and rubbed the donkey's legs for good luck (it's a statue for the less clean minded among you). This caused a deal of hilarity. I tried loads of stuff to eat and drink as usual - including a blue wine called 'Witches Bile' which tasted loads better than it sounds! We went around the beautiful cathedral and the bells where so lovely that I have recorded a piece of inspiration for later use. We also saw the bells which play in the very old part of the city. There are 30 bells hung up high between the buildings which play tunes as part of a revolving tower shows pieces from the cities history. It was all so lovely that I think I've left a bit of me behind. For lunch we had 'Kartoffelpuffe' (potato puff) - which is grated potato fried in batter. Bloody lovely. I also ate a great many sugar roasted almonds!! Once again I was being led around by my stomach!!

I got a bit of a kip in the afternoon and at 4:00 we left for the venue - which is on a huge industrial estate. Amazing place. There was a green room and everything but the really big downside was that everyone was smoking in there. I've still got a sore throat - I guess I'm just not used to it anymore! On the other hand I did discover the medicinal value of Jaegermeister! They had no JD but JM will do just as well!! They even provided me with pineapple juice!

Sound check was really smooth - the sound guy really knows his business - and we settled in for a really long wait. We were due to take the stage at 11:30 so we had time to eat, chill, change, paint etc etc. Chris and Rob did the 'day of the dead' skull look whilst I made a passable attempt to re-create the look the MAC guys did for me. Pretty successful too - and it stayed put all night! The embroidered shirts went down a storm. I was really pleased with the effect.

Then it was time to go and play. Oh Gods, playing in Germany is such a joy. The audience was keen and enthusiastic and danced right from the start. It's so easy to play to a crowd that wants to hear you and I loved every minute. My voice was on form and it was a treat to play for these people. In fact, the whole band rocked. Worked our hearts out for them and it was so worth it.

I acquired a heckler. He said a great many 'amusing' things but when he said I didn't look bad for 68 I told him (good naturedly) that I would rememeber his face and would see him afterwards. After the next song I took a mouthful of pineapple juice. 'Ah', he shouted, 'you swallow'. 'Yep', I said, quick as a flash, 'and you suck!' Brought the house down!!

Afterwards I had so many wonderful comments and compliments - the Germans understand a deeper voice on a woman and were very nice to me! I could stand a great deal of that!!!!

After the gig they made sure that we were so well looked after and we had a most amazing night. I discovered a German LARPer who has invited us over for their next Vampire event! All in all a very wonderful evening. By the time we came to leave the venue at 5:00am to go to the airport the world had taken on that slightly surreal quality you get from being up all night but I was still to 'up' to care! The flight back was unpleasant for Kat and even more unpleasant for poor Ant but we made it back to the UK in one piece. Then bus to Liverpool Street, a bit of a scramble round the tube (most of it was shut for engineering works) to Paddington where Chris treated us to Burger King breakfast. Then onto the train home. Taxi back to base and SLEEEEEEEP!

Today has been catching up, shopping and washing everything that smells of smoke! Tonight I am off to play recorders for the All Souls service at Holy Trininty Kingswood.

I am truely blessed.
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OK the band is playing in Bremen at Halloween. We booked train tickets to correspond to our flights. Then Ryanrair changed our flight times and it was cheaper to book new tickets than pay £160 to change the old ones.

Now the tickets go to Stansted Airport but, of course, you could get off in London and spend the weekend there!

So I have 12 tickets. 6 travelling from Bristol Parkway on 30th October at 14:32 and 6 tickets for the 22:37 train from London Paddington on Sunday November 1st. They cost £13 each. London for £26 at Halloween!!!

Any takers? suATmagehomeDOTcom
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A really big Happy Birthday to my wonderful Husband!!

Love you loads!!
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A great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my friend [ profile] girfan!!

Hope you have a really good time - you deserve it!
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Oh wow!!

I probably had the best birthday ever. Friday saw us in Blists Hill Victorian Village which was quite wonderful. There are Victorian shops, you can change your 21stC money for old coins and they do chips cooked in beef dripping!!!! It was a beautiful day and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. We met up with Mick & Hayley and their children and had a splendid time. The only downside was that all the driving the day before meant that by about 5 I was knackered and we came home instead of hanging around to socialise. Perhaps next time!

Saturday started with a treasure hunt conducted by the bunny. Mr W had bought me all the books on my Amazon wish list plus everything Pterry every wrote plus some DVDs. These were all wrapped in twos and threes and placed all over the house so I had to hunt for them!

I also got a splendid pair of trousers from the daughter and MAC vouchers (both from her and Dave). Amongst the books was a couple by Liz Williams and I'm afraid to say I settled in for a bit of a read.

Mr W reckoned that we ought to have a minor clearup so we put the house to rights - and still I suspected nothing.

At 6:30, though Girfan and J H-R turned up with a huge chocolate birthday cake (which she baked herself!) and more wonderful pressies and they were closely followed by Dave & H, and Chris & Ant (with a huge car full of food) and then Graham and Ben & Eve - also all bearing goodies. I had the most splendid evening with cake and Pimms and I'm afraid I did a lot of squealing - but I was utterly delighted.


...and especially my wonderful, wonderful husband!
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Birthday update in a minute. But first [ profile] auriol gave me 5 words...

Fragrant - I guess having spent a lot of time looking into incense and the materials involved I'm very aware how important the sense of smell is. I never wore perfume until I discovered that cheap perfume always smells like cat pee on me and I either have to use very expensive ones or BPAL! My favourites are Chanel No 5 and Coco and my favourite BPALs are Darkness and Whitechapel.

Folk - I've taken this to mean folk music, which is where I find myself at most events. I love the idea of just making music for the hell of it (rather than in some kind of formal way) and the idea that some of this music represents the thoughts and feelings of ordinary people is fantastic.

Friendship - something I have come to value more and more as the years go by. Learning to tell your true friends from the others is a hard lesson - but once learned the people you do value are very important indeed.

Flesh - aaarrgh! What? Eeeeew! Sensible answers elude me!!!

Fiery - What I'm supposed to be. Born on the middle day of Leo and all that! Actually I'm not at all hot-headed and TBH I've only lost my temper properly 3 or 4 times in my life. However I'm not to be crossed, do not suffer fools at all and am very, very passionate!
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I got home from work yesterday to discover that the daughter had missed her train to Derby. The taxi which she booked for 16:00 to take her to Temple Meads didn't arrive until 16:30 - which isn't enough time to get to the station, get your tickets printed and get on a 17:00 train.

Not only that but her debit card was holding the tickets for the two lads she was travelling with so they missed the train as well. So there was the daughter and her friends with the choice of arriving at Locko at arround 22:30 after changing trains 4 times for and additional £30 each (because otherwise it would have cost them each another £50).

So what does super-parent do?

Drives them to Locko, drops them off, turns round and drives home.

Do I begrudge her that in any way at all - nope, I don't. On the way home I asked Mr W "Are we a soft touch?" "No", he replied, "We're a family!"

In other news, we were due to be going out today - but I've been up all night with the worst IBS for ages so that might be a no-no. I'll see how I feel after a cup of tea.
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Thoughts, definitely not plans!

It started with me wondering how may people are in the same situation as me. I am having singing lessons and in the course of a year I learn many lovely pieces. Now I love singing solo, but in the choirs I sing with, either the soloists are already chosen (and cast in stone, I may add) or I'm consigned to the comedy numbers and my classical efforts never see the light of day.

I've also started to wonder how many other 'adult learners' are in the same boat? Singers consigned to the chorus, 'cellists at the back of the orchestra etc. Or of course, those people who are learning for the sheer hell of it who are missing out an important part of the experience of music - that of performance.

I further wonder if there would be anyone who would be interested in maybe one or two concerts a year, for charity, only for soloists where those of us - instrumentalists and singers - who don't get a chance to perform solo could do so.

It wouldn't take a lot of organising and rehearsals are a personal thing so there wouldn't be a need for rehearsal space or a weekly get-together, except maybe for a couple of run throughs with an accompanist to get people sorted out and check the length of the program.

...and there's the added bonus that with a number of performers bringing friends and family we might end up with a reasonable sized audience.

I'm thinking strictly classical music - so would anyone I know want to pop in and see a friend perform?

Wouldn't even have to be on a weekend - could be a sort of local, mid-week thing.

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