Tuesday 31 December 2013

The Peter Pan Pantomime

My train journey on Friday morning seemed horrendous at the time, but in fact it only took an hour longer than it should have. The worst bit was when the first train terminated unexpectedly at Basingstoke and the one on from there kept being put back and back. I was anxious though, that I might miss my lunch at the pub, or even the pantomime I was looking forward to with Eryn and her friends.

I needn't have worried though. Althugh we had to eat rather fast, Eryn and I were in our panto seats before the curtain went up. Her mum and friend had dropped us off before trying to find a parking space and they came in about 10 minutes late, missing the bit with the nanny dog at the beginning.

In case you don't know the Peter Pan panto story, the Darling children had a dog who looked after them. Not a lot was made of it in this version but the dog did appear in the first scene before the chidren flew off to Never Land with Peter and Tink, the fairy.

We were at the Epsom Playhouse where I believe the players are made up from an amdram society and children from a local stage school. Many of them had to double up on the characters they played and I guess that's why we didn't see the dog again at the end. we only saw the crocodile that was chasing Captain Hook a couple of times as it dashed from one side of the stage to the other on a skateboard.

But it was all brilliant and really good, clean fun. We did a lot of shouting and even had to stand up and do a little dance a few times. Some Australian teenagers were sittng behind us and had never been to a panto before. They were screaming with laughter and I don't think they stopped from beginning to end. we were actually sorry it did have to come to an end, but after the drive to my daughter's, I was really glad to have some chilling out  time.

(You can book tickets at http://www.epsomplayhouse.co.uk, from where I took the photo so I could give them some free PR. The run closes on Sunday though, so you'll have to hurry.)

Thursday 26 December 2013

Christmas Day in Poole

Our Christmas Day was rather quiet this year. Just hubby, Jade and me. We had managed to recover from the anticipatory Christmas celebration we'd had two days earlier with my son and girlfriend who were both taking off for other climes yesterday. I did the marathon three course meal for that, and on the big day we just had our prawn cocktails and a prestuffed turkey breast with lots of leftovers for Jade. We didn't even feel like finishing off the Xmas pudding started on Monday, or any of the mince pies sitting around.

But earlier, after a scrambled egg brunch, we piled into the car and headed for the beach at Sandbanks. A few people were around, not many, most with dogs. In these winter months dogs have the run of the whole long sweep of the beach, whereas in the summer we are limited to about half a mile at the far end near the ferry that crosses the harbour entrance to Studland.

Pic by Chris Downer

It was raining when we left the car in the car park, but miraculously, it stopped for the duration of our walk, about 15 minutes towards Bournemouth, and then back again. The picture I got from Wikimedia Commons is very much what it was like. 

Jade clearly loved it, and had been missing all those sandy beach walks we did last summer. She loves to chase stones I throw for her, and then she digs them into the sand and out again, if she can find them. It's not wise to stand behind her. Sometimes the stone comes flying out along with all the sand she's pushing up. Then she will have a job to find it. I always have to wipe the sand off her nose after a visit to the sandy beach.

We were actually among the lucky people here who were not badly affected by the Christmas weather. On the other side of Bournemouth, the River Stour flooded badly. I've been reading about it on the Huffington Post site. Many other areas have also been badly affected as I expect you have heard. 

Another bad storm is expected tonight. I'm hoping I will be able to get to my daughter's tomorrow and be in my seat for the Epsom Playhouse panto by start time at 3 pm. I have train tickets so will just have to hope the trains are running, and without too much delay. Even if I miss the panto, I'll still try to get there as we have yet to exchange Christmas presents.

Sunday 22 December 2013

Dogs, Weather and Christmas

Just back from a walk along Rockley Beach. The car park was pretty empty when we arrived, rather like in this September photo, but without the blue sky and fishermen on the pier. The only people around seemed to be dog walkers. Most people are snuggled up indoors because the weather is pretty beastly.

Yesterday the rain tipped down all day. Jade opted  out of her afternoon walk. When we got ourselves ready and I got out her raincoat, she remained on the settee and wouldn't even stand up for me to put it on. I reckon she was telling us that we mad humans could go out there if we wanted and she would stay home. In the end we left her and just went to get our shopping. She was still in the same position when we got back, but deigned to accompany me round the block at four o'clock when the rain eased off a bit. Judging by the pile of poo I had to pick up from the grass verge, she had no option then.

Today she was happy to come to the beach after lunch. It wasn't raining when we went out, just very windy, but on the way back to the car we got caught in a downpour, so at home I had to get out the hairdryer to help Jade get dry. At least I did one side of her because the other was tucked into the back of her bed in the office while she lay there basking in the warm air. Her ears are the most difficult bits of her to get dry. Even the hairdryer doesn't help them much, but Jade loves it and lifts her head so that the warmth hits her chest where she's not even wet. 

Tomorrow we're having our first Christmas celebration with my son and his girlfriend as they won't be here on the big day. I finished  putting up the decorations this morning. Everything Christmassy seems to be taking twice as long as usual this year. My age must really be catching up wth me, or perhaps I forget what it's like year after year.

In case I don't manage to post again before the big day

Happy Christmas Everyone 
or whatever it is you celebrate at this time of year.

Monday 16 December 2013

The Christmas Rush

After a 10 day hiatus, here I am again. I've no idea what to write about but thought I'd come in and take a break from everything else for a  few minutes. Here's a pic from last Christmas of two of the lights of my life who make it all worth while.

I have been working really hard on getting my December assignments finished while trying to get ready for Christmas and take care of my dog and all my domestic duties. There has been no time for blogging and little time for sleep. Today I should be at a local WEA committee meeting to conclude planning a programme of courses for 2014-15 starting next September. But they'll have to do it without me. I'll also miss the Christmas lunch we were all going to have afterwards, but I just couldn't get there today.

I  have one more of a series of 11 landing pages to write and then all the drafting I have to do is finished. It's getting harder and harder to find yet another way of saying the same thing on the page, so I've put off the next one until I come in from taking Jade for a walk after lunch and going to the post office. Before I send these drafts off tomorrow, I'll have to go through them with a fine tooth comb, to make sure all the place names are correct as well as picking up typos and making sure all the keywords are there but not sticking out like a sore thumb. Then I just have to find a few ideas to be approved for January and prepare my invoices before I can forget about work till after Christmas.

Never thought I'd still be doing all this after retirement age but that's how life goes these days.

Friday 6 December 2013

Today's Haiku

pic by Martin Addison

Wind makes oak leaves dance,
warm gold in the autumn sun,
yet we still shiver.

pic by David Hawgood

Monday 2 December 2013

Birthday Bash at Cockington

This was supposed to be posted here a week ago, but I just discovered it still in draft. So sorry folks. Anyway I don't think it needs much updating, except to say we had a great meal with family and friends - even saw my nephew who lives in Germany, which doesn't happen often. And we did get back home to Jade the same evening.

Here's what I wrote last week.

I'm excited about tomorrow. My sister is having a big birthday do. We have to drive about  100 miles to get there, so it will be quite early when I drop Jade with the dog minder. She has said we can stay overnight if we want and just ring to let her know, but we plan to come home. I suppose it depends if we are both tempted by the alcohol that will be flowing over lunch. Can't drive home if we're over the limit.

We'll be having lunch at the Drum Inn in Cockington, shown below. We'll be indoors to eat though as it will be too cold to be outside at this time of year.

pic by Paul Anderson

The birthday cake will be saved till later when my 5 year old great nephew can join us at my sister's house. I hope we'll be able to stay for that.

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