Thursday, 30 August 2012

Fun Weekend

This weekend should be fun.

On Friday night I have a ticket to see 'The Tempest' in Bath, Saturday is the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who, and on Sunday Russell Brand is in Bath doing a live show prior to a new tour, which should be fun.

I'm guessing that housework is going to take a back seat again this weekend.

I'm feeling fairly relaxed about that.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

In Which There is an Author

On Saturday morning, while checking Twitter, I saw Garth Nix tweet that he would be in Bath that evening, which sounded as though it might be interesting, so I went along.

I have enjoyed his books for several years now, particularly the 'Old Kingdom' ones, and I enjoyed his talk, too.

He started by talking about his name (not a pseudonym, despite what people may suspect) and about telling stories, and where he gets ideas from (unlike Neil Gaiman and others, not from a little shop in southern England, it would seem) and the process of making stories.

He also read us a little of the most recent books he has out; 'A Confusion of  Princes' and 'Trouble Twisters' and also a short excerpt from what will, probably, be the prologue to a new 'Old Kingdom' book - 'Claribel: The Lost Abhorsen', which sounds as though it's going to be a book I want to read.

He then answered questions before signing books and chatting, which was fun.
I was slightly distracted during the talk by the fact that there was some decorative bunting up, which had clearly been made out of books.. This bothered me a little. I couldn't help but notice that the bunting was made from actual pages, not anything printed as bunting.

(It's OK. I went and asked one of the staff members after the reading; they explained it was made from a damaged proof copy of a book, so it wasn't destroyed specially)

I'm currently about 1/3 of the way through 'A Confusion of Princes' which I'm enjoying.

There are going to be more authors, soon. It's the Bath Kids Lit Fest next month, which should also be fun, and I have a theatre trip or two lined up.

And on an unrelated note, I went to donate blood today. Turns out it was my 50th donation, which means they give me a shiny brooch and a nice pen, and I was surprised at how chuffed I was about it!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

More family stuff

I stayed in Devon for a couple of days after the wedding, hanging out with various family members, which was fun.
 Having poured with rain for the wedding, and on Saturday, the weather improved and Sunday turned out to be sunshiny, almost as if it were properly summer!

I took the opportunity to play more with my new camera, taking pictures of flowers and leaves and baby frogs. And then, of course, on Monday I had to come home (and face a disgruntled cat, who assures me he was starved and mistreated during my absence, although he seemed to be looking very well on it, so I suspect he may have been lying to me.) and on Tuesday it was back to work.

This could have been a bit of a come down, but happily my Aunt S, who lives in the frozen north, had decided to make good use of the fact she'd travelled south for the wedding, and she came to visit for a couple of days, en route to visit other friends over the bank holiday weekend. It's been fun having her here, and having someone to cook and eat with, after work, although as she wasn't here for the weekend, I couldn't go out and play with her!

On Friday, I found that my parents' Local Paper came out, (and that it has a website!) including a story about K's wedding and the ringing afterwards. Which was nice, although I think it's a pity they didn't use a group photo, as the entire band was made up of family members, which they seem to have overlooked..

Sunday, 19 August 2012

In Which There is a Wedding

Proud Dad!
My sister, K, got married on Friday! The weather was atrocious, but everything else was fantastic.

K and C met through sailing, and decided on a nautical theme for their wedding, so the hall was decorated with signal flags, the tables were each named for a different type of yacht, the names for the places setting were boats (crewed by jelly babies) and the theme was blue and white.

And of  course, the cake was in keeping as well. (My mum, C's mum and I each made one tier of the cake, and my mum then made all of the blue icing sails (with strict instructions from the Groom to ensure that they are on the correct tack and sailing in the right direction!)

Almost everything was done by family, or by K and C themselves, so it felt really personal to them.

K was, of course, absolutely beautiful. The ceremony itself was in the village church - one of our aunts played the organ, C's daughter (12), my other sister, E, and I were bridesmaids and my brother R, and C's nephew J were the ushers. My parent's house is very close to the church, and, wearing anything other than a full length dress with a train, it is a 5 minutes walk. However, on this specific occasion it had been decided that a car would be more sensible, so we put some ribbon on my dad's car and he drove us down to the church, where we dodged the drizzle,  and then rearranged shoes and skirts in the church porch before heading up the aisle with suitable solemnity.

All went smoothly, and at the end of the service there was a very brief family ring (all of us learned how to ring, as children, and K decided it would be nice to have a short ring herself so 6 of us (K, me, my parents, C's daughter SmallC, and our cousin M) headed to the back of the church and rang the bells for about 5 minutes before handing over to the local ringers (several of whom have learnt to ring in the last 18 months or so, taught by my parents) rang while we had lots of photos taken.

We had to take the pictures inside the church as it was pouring with rain, but fortunately the plan was to have a fairly small number of pictures anyway. Equally fortunately, the village hall, where the reception was held, is next door to the church, so it wasn't difficult to get everyone there under relays of umbrellas, without too much trouble, and then, with the formal business of the day over, we were able to party!

All of the toasts/speeches were commendably brief - (I may have had a tear in my eye when my Dad gave his!, and the Best Man managed to be entertaining without embarrassing C too much) and after my Dad, C and the best man had all given their toasts, C's daughter, SmallC, also got up to speak, to say, basically, that not all step-mothers are evil, and that either K isn't a wicked step mother, or else she must be the best actress in the world, and hiding he wicked step-motherliness extremely well!) It was a lovely thing for her to do.

The reception ended with a live ceilidh band, so there was lots of dancing for all, (and of course, conversation and wedding cake) then about 2 hour after the reception finished, a group of us went (by invitation!)  to the hotel where K and C (and quite a lot of the guests) were staying, and spent the evening in the bar.

In a surreal finale to the day, it turned out that the owner / barman is something of an entertainer, who has taught himself to play a 'drum' accompaniment to George Formby's 'when I'm cleaning windows' using the bottles behind the bar as a drum kit... (there is a youtube video of him,  here..)

All in all, it was a wonderful day. K & C are a great couple, and the wedding was lovely. I'm really happy I was able to be a part of it.
Brand New Mr and Mrs

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Family, and Fun Things

I arrived in deepest Devon on Tuesday night, to help prepare for my sister's wedding on Friday. The weather is pretty poor, with lots of rain, but other than that, things are good.

My sisters and their respective partners, plus my step-niece-to-be all arrived on Tuesday and by the time I got there, were all busily engaged in making origami flowers. This is the first time my (younger) sister's boyfriend has met us en masse, but he hasn't panicked and run away yet!

On Wednesday, the party was augmented by my brother and his girlfriend, so we now have a VERY full house (my parents are sleeping in their caravan at the bottom of the garden!)

As lots of both extended families live quite a distance away, several of them have come down early and are incorporating the wedding into a summer holiday, and on Wednesday morning my cousin S, with her husband and 2 children arrived at the house to see everyone, and then E and her partner, and I, joined them for a trip to the local zoo, which is very small, but fun, especially if you have the foresight to take a 3 year old child with you!

I also enjoyed playing with my new camera, to take pictures of some of the animals (and of course of the 3 and one year old cousins...)

In the evening we had the rehearsal for the wedding, and discussions about how and where to take pictures if, as seems likely, it pours with rain.

Today has been entirely taken up with preparations - the hall has been decorated (with a nautical theme) tables set up, (much consultation of the plan required) wine and soft drinks ferried to the hall, flowers collected, crockery and cutlery laid out, and many, many other things! My mum finished constructing the cake (which has delicate icing 'sails' all around it)

The ladies of the party had their nails done, in relays, and there was a last minute dash to pick up yje buttonholes, and then the evening was spent making the bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids.

It's been a long day, but I **think**  everything is in hand. (except of course the weather, which is out of our control. We have emergency umbrellas.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Being a Girl

Life can be odd. Yesterday, I paid actual, real money; enough to have bought a paperback book and have enough left over for some beer, to have someone pull out some of my hairs by the roots.

And then spent some more cash on some make up, which it turns out comes really expensive. I don't normally wear make up, partly because I don't have the hand-eye coordination before I have my morning coffee, and and I don't have the time afterwards, and partly because I have very sensitive skin, and it gets old having to throw stuff out a quarter of the way through the tube because I've started to react to it.

Anyway, I think I have now finished all of my shopping and preparation for this bridesmaid gig. Which is just as well, as I have no more time. 2 days more of work then I'm off to Devon to help set stuff up.

Meanwhile, last night I went for a walk at about 11.30 p.m. to see whether I could see any of the Perseids, but when I got far enough from the house to be out of the glare from the street lights it became clear that there was a lot of low cloud, so I couldn't see any perseids - or indeed any stars at all. I'm hoping that maybe later in the week (when I'm down in Devon, with a lot less light pollution) I might get another chance.

How's everyone else's weekend been?

Saturday, 11 August 2012

In Which There is Sport, and Other Stuff

There seems to be a lot of sport on the telly at the moment, for some reason.

I did like Danny Boyle's big Olympic Opening - I hadn't planned to watch, as I'm not very interested in the Olympics, but there was bugger all else on the TV. However, I admit, I'm glad I did watch.(video  here)

I particularly liked the inclusion of the NHS/Children's books, as they are both things which I think the UK can be justifiably proud of, and to remind everyone that this is not just about the sport. I also loved the fact that the flame was lit by young and unknown athletes, and the beautiful dandelion clock effect of the lighting.

And I think it is wonderful that rather than banning participants from taking photos during rehearsals, or asking them to sign non-disclosure agreements, Danny Boyle simply asked everyone to keep things secret - and they did!

I admit I've been less interested in the actual sporting events, although I've seen little bits of the gymnastics, and of the dressage and showjumping, and I gather that the UK has been doing pretty well, which is nice for those who like that sort of thing.

It turns out that Royal Mail is issuing stamps to celebrate each gold medal (which is unusual - normally you have to be either dead or royal to be on a stamp), and they are also painting a pillar box gold in each gold medal winner's home town. Which is a nice idea. And I learned today that one of the gold medal winners, Ed McKeever, lives in Bradford on Avon, about 10 minutes drive from here. I may have to go to see his gold box when they paint it :-)  I'm also a little curious as to how long they will stay gold. I don't know how often post boxes are usually repainted.