Friday, 14 December 2018

Theatre:



Red Rose Chain Christmas Show
The story is traditional Alice cleverly brought to a small stage by just three performers with so much energy. They kept the audience engaged and laughing from start to finish.

With very clever lighting, lots of costume changes, audience participation, song and dance and use of dolls and toys all the characters we expected were brought to the stage, Queen of Hearts, Cheshire Cat, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee not forgetting the White Rabbit or The Mad Hatter.



I'm not surprised almost all performances sold out so quickly.
I went with Daughter and O who had already seen it but were excited to be seeing it again which is recommendation indeed.
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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Theatre: Fenland Screamers.....







A new masterpiece to celebrate this seasonal milestone... After 30 years they still feel as fresh as they did when they were first unveiled in 1988. They are a brilliant alternative to a pantomime and long may they continue. Hilariously life-affirming, but watch out for the Screamers!

EAST ANGLIAN DAILY TIMES

The Fenland Screamers is hilariously funny.... A refreshing change from the usual festive offering in theatres at this time of the year...well worth a watch. A brilliant piece of theatre – We loved it!

IPSWICH24 MAGAZINE

Extremely cleverly written and a laugh a minute. A brilliant evening’s entertainment - a must-see

BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE

They were invited to see out the Old Year – but would they ever see in the New?!

Pat Whymark and Julian Harries bring The Fenland Screamers & Other Boggy Tales to Ipswich, Woodbridge & Peterborough this year!

It is the 30th December, 1930. Young amateur sleuth siblings Sloppy & Sixpence arrive at a remote house in the middle of Clinker Fen, invited by a distant relative to celebrate the New Year. Tempted by the idea of a grand weekend party, they find the place deserted apart from the creepy butler, Tangent. He is expecting them and despite their misgivings, they decide to stay.

Other guests arrive, all strangers to one another, and as the fog descends, cutting them off from the outside world, they pass the time by telling stories. It becomes apparent that they all have a guilty secret, and are unnerved when Tangent tells them the local legend of the Fenland Screamers, avenging spirits who emerge from the bogs to drag the guilty back down into the mire.

When one of the guests mysteriously disappears, they all begin to fear for their lives. Can Sloppy & Sixpence solve the mystery before the Screamers come again and take them all, one by o


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Not much more I can add to this, yes it was over-the-top hilarious and the group I went with all enjoyed it. One of our Christmas traditions 😊🎅
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NHS Fast-tracking........


This is a medical update so you'll be relieved there's no photos 😉

15/11/17 Operation to remove cancer tumour from my lonely left kidney

18/5/18 Six month follow up CT Scan, all clear 😆

16/11/18 One year follow up CT Scan

21/11/18 Phone call from Specialist Urology Nurse Charlotte. Kidney is all fine however the scan showed an abnormal mass in my bladder and they need to have a much deeper look. She will take it to the Multidisciplinary Meeting on Monday and let me know what they decide.

26/11/18 Hospital meeting, Charlotte phoned as promised almost straight after. She explained all the details and options very clearly and is so sympathetically understanding. The decision they came to was surgery by general anesthetic to investigate and remove whatever they find. A full hystology report will be needed to decide if it's cancer and what grade and if any further treatment is needed.

27/11/18 Appointment with consultant Mr Brierly but he was busy so was seen by Patrick O a registrar I think. Nurse Charlotte was also there.

30/11/18 Hospital for pre-op assessment. First nurse took weight and height on a wall measure that was definitely falling off the wall. She spent a lot of time trying to decide if she was taller than me or not and had to ask another nurse to decide, she was a little taller.

3/12/18 Surgery! Was hoping to be a day patient but prepared for an overnight, however, that turned into staying Monday to Friday. I was told hystology report comes back within two weeks and surgery gets repeated all over again in six weeks!
So grateful this was found purely by accident only because of a follow up scan! Just like last time! I was obviously fast-tracked but told I took up a cancellation space but also heard the words aggressive so may have been deliberate. Whatever the reason it gave me less time to worry and now that bit is behind me.

For now I'm home with no after effects and enjoying the Christmas festivities (had to cancel all the fun arranged for last week) and we'll not think about what happens next until we need to.
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Monday, 26 November 2018

Christmas has started......


Yes I know it started about two months ago in shop windows and adverts etc but I try so hard to ignore it until I'm ready, well this weekend I bought all my Christmas cards and wrote them all (I send a lot) but of course I'll not do anything with them until it's December.

Saturday O and I went to our first Christmas Fair and end of term show at Red Rose Chain Theatre Company. We started with a look around the stalls, O had a hot chocolate and cake and he also paid a visit to Santa in his grotto.


If you follow that link you can read that Red Rose do amazing community work by making theatre inclusive for everyone and run groups for disabled and educationally challenged too. All the groups were represented in this show with 60 performers on stage. 


Daughter has been helping out with her Tudor music and teaching a group Tudor dances to add to their version of the Princess and the Pea story.

Another group did a very lively version of The Tinderbox story, but unfortunately I haven't got a photo of them. 


And the Youth Theatre did a great job of showing us what happened to the characters after we saw them in their Dread Zeppelin play, with a few of them doing all the research and writing the scripts. R was part of the script team and that's her playing the accordion, proud Grandma moment☺

There was a preview song by the cast of Alice which is the theatre's Christmas show and then all performers got us singing along to Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer. 
Brilliant!
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Sunday, 18 November 2018

Daughter's Tudor Tavern.......





Emma Mordue and Melford Hys Companie present
A Night at The Red Rose Tavern
Join us for an immersive evening of music, plays, food and dancing from the alehouses of old. From bawdy songs to morality plays the event promises to bring hearty laughter and full bellies, and the true flavour of 16th Century Ipswiche.
Local early musician Emma Mordue performs at music and dance workshops and events up and down the country, and as part of The Kentwell Players, at the Great Tudor Re-creations at Kentwell Hall. Playing a range of historical instruments, she can often be seen at festivals and events portraying a variety of historical and mythical walkabout characters as well as hosting informal renaissance music evenings at both private parties and public events.
Melford Hys Companie have been performing together for 25 years, portraying  a company of travelling entertainers in the Tudor and Medieval periods. In historically accurate dress, with props, instruments and accessories of the time, they portray life on the road through well developed characters with authentic names, histories and speech. At a Melford Hys Companie event you will be entertained with music, dance and plays from the period. Some plays are funny, some more serious, but whilst there may be a moral to the tale you can be sure the actors will tell it with infectious enthusiasm and a good dose of healthy irreverence.
Both Emma and The Melfords have a common aim – to have fun and pass this on to audiences along with accurate historical insight. Participation is positively encouraged, though not obligatory.
We are pleased to have period caterer Gerry Rhodes providing dishes of the era.
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I'm so very proud of Daughter (= Emma Mordue) who undertook for the first time to organise a whole event in a theatre. It was a great success. Almost non-stop entertainment as they only allowed themselves a 15min interval in just over three hours. Musicianship was brilliant and the Mummers' plays were hilarious.

I'd taken friendKK as she's great for getting into the spirit of this sort of thing and it was just like old times when she would come with me when my very talented musician Daughter gave performances as a child/teen with school or consort or solo.

Both Granddaughters were also there, E as a Tudor came out to dance with Daughter and R as always was in her Red Rose Chain sweatshirt working front of house and waiting tables with the other Youth Theatre volunteers.

Yes I'm very proud indeed ☺
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Friday, 16 November 2018

Theatre: The Lovely Bones......




The stage premiere of the world-famous novel.

Susie Salmon is just like any other young girl. She wants to be beautiful, adores her charm bracelet and has a crush on a boy from school. There’s one big difference though – Susie is dead.
Now she can only observe while her family manage their grief in their different ways. Her father, Jack is obsessed with identifying the killer. Her mother, Abigail is desperate to create a brighter future. And her sister, Lindsay is discovering the opposite sex with experiences that Susie will never know. Susie is desperate to help them and there might be a way of reaching them…

Alice Sebold’s novel The Lovely Bones is a unique coming-of-age tale that captured the hearts of readers throughout the world. Award-winning playwright Bryony Lavery has adapted it for this uplifting play about life after loss.

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WOW this was amazing and had me laughing a little and crying too but mostly just wide eyed amazed!

I was totally drawn into the whole story powerfully told.

Some clever simple effects like the salt drawn boundaries, or climbing through a wooden frame to represent going down through the tap door. Not so simple was the set which was actually made up of a huge screen which together with the lighting was mirrors so some of the time we could see through them and some of the time the whole stage was reflected upside down, like heaven looking down on life.

They totally deserved our standing ovation!

Once again R used our spare ticket and she thoroughly enjoyed it too.
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Thursday, 15 November 2018

Spain for an extra birthday........


What a lucky girl I am 😊

BFriendM has an apartment on the Riviera del Sol in Spain and for my August birthday present she bought my flights so we could go together for a five day trip this November.

We travelled out Friday with her picking me up at silly o'clock in the dark and we drove to Southend Airport. I've never used Southend before and so much smaller and calmer than all the other London airports it was a real pleasure.

Lovely and warm over there with very sunny almost hot Saturday and Sunday and cloudy and a bit chilly on Monday. Market in La Cala, local flee market in Mijas, all the shops in Torremolinos, drinks on the beach more than once, finding new bars in Cabo Pino lots of walking and lots and lots of good food.


But the highlight of this trip has to be the Elvis tribute act called Stelvis.
Saturday night at La Plaza and he was brilliant, fantastic effortless voice, all the dance moves but not over cheesy, including the whole audience by working the tables with handshakes and as soon as he saw M was taking photos he obliged while never missing a note. There were a couple of tables of celebrating women quite well hydrated and when the birthday girl was dancing very closely to him he let her have her moment without getting annoyed or discouraging, so very professional and a really nice guy.


We enjoyed the evening so much that when he announced he was playing one of the beach bars Sunday afternoon we followed him there. Hahaha does that make us groupies? 

He didn't disappoint. Again he made a young guy with Downs Syndrome feel special by dancing with him and giving him his silk scarf. Also an older man who had brought along his own little collection of percussion instruments, some of which looked like kids toys, was set up on the stage area and Stelvis happily performed with his extra rhythm section. Great entertainment and lots of laughing. 
Then all too soon it was Tuesday and time to head home.
Thank you so much BFriendM.
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Thursday, 8 November 2018

Theatre: Trial by Laughter.........



Following critical acclaim for The Wipers Times, Ian Hislop and Nick Newman have once again taken inspiration from real life events for their new play Trial by Laughter. 

William Hone, the forgotten hero of free speech, was a bookseller, publisher and satirist. In 1817, he stood trial for ‘impious blasphemy and seditious libel’. The only crime he had committed was to be funny. Worse than that he was funny by parodying religious texts. And worst of all, he was funny about the despotic government and the libidinous monarchy.

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We had tickets for the matinee and one of our four couldn't come but a message to R got her out of bed and a quick shower and food and she came instead. Hubby drove me, R and T to the theatre as parking during the day is tricky and expensive.

First impression was I loved the set, solid and dark wood as I'd imagine a courtroom of the age. Later it revealed some of the panels cleverly pulled out to make various furniture formations, desks, dock etc.

Interesting that this is based on real life people and events. All the actors were great at quick changes into many larger than life characters. The script was fast and very wordy but our main criticism was it was all one level, no highs or lows which unfortunately made it so flat and boring that our other two friends left at the interval and never came back. R and I saw it through to the end. Not the best but plenty to talk about afterwards.

Then Hubby came to collect us and while we were waiting out in the cold and dark I met someone from our babysitting circle days of about 35 years ago! Then home dropping R at her drama group on the way, where they are having final rehearsals for the extra performances of their recent sell out run of Dread Zeppelin. Think this Youth Theatre could teach professionals a thing or two sometimes.
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Wednesday, 31 October 2018

The Long Non-Event.......


Ladies that lunch! This time six of us, three are my first cousins, two are my sisters who of course are also their cousins. We all live so far apart but try to get together once a year usually around springtime however last year life got in the way for a few of us and it never happened and this year it took till October, so I was really looking forward to it.

Ipswich to Liverpool Street by train takes just over an hour, meeting the others in the station 11:45am and the pub we are going to is a very short walk away. I decided the train would be more relaxing than driving to Newbury Park and taking the underground the rest of the way which would take about two hours.

Hubby drove me to Ipswich station at 9:45am and I bought my off-peak return ticket for £42.20. Online it said my train to Liverpool Street was 10:06 on the information board it said "10:09 - expected 10:12" so already running a little late, it actually left at 10:15 but still plenty of time.

First stop Manningtree, second stop Colchester, then it didn't move. We were all asked to leave the train as it was terminating here because someone had been hit by a train a little further up the line. So we all left platform 2 as told next train to London will leave from platform 4. It had turned bitterly cold so I stood inside the now packed coffee shop but with my poor hearing and tannoy announcements being what they are I found it difficult to hear and didn't want to miss something important so instead I walked up and down the platform to keep a bit warmer.

I had WiFi so messaged my sisters to tell them and was just about to message hubby when he phoned me. He'd heard there was a rail problem and was checking on me. Told him I'd wait till 11:30 and if I wasn't on my way by then I'd come home.

No reply from my sisters so did it all again by text. Told them to go on without me and if I can I'll meet them at the pub.

The tannoy was keeping us very well informed and by 11:30 they were saying the London line will remain closed for at least another hour. So I made my way to platform 3 for the next Norwich train stopping at Manningtree then ipswich. They announced this would now be the scheduled 11:47 service. Text my sisters and everyone sent sad regrets and I was sad too. Text hubby who said he'd meet me at Ipswich 12:15. Then the driver announced "change of plan we're leaving in four minutes" so another text to Hubby as this was nearly 10mins earlier and he said he'd be at Ipswich for 12.

Well first stop Manningtree where it sat for a while, then the driver said "Passengers I'm so sorry to say that I've a bit more bad news for you....." turns out a freight train had broken down on the line just ahead of us and we were going nowhere.

Another text to Hubby who by now was at Ipswich station. So checking with station staff that yes indeed this was going to be a long delay I left the train and the station to wait outside for Hubby to come in the car for me.

The latest we were told was no London service for at least another two hours, so I was right to head home and now nothing moving toward Norwich either, glad I was sitting outside waiting for my lift, so when a few cars pulled up outside and a passenger was getting out I rushed forward to warn them before their lift drove away and they were very grateful, one even offered me a lift to anywhere I needed to be, so kind of them, but Hubby was nearly there.

Much later in the day when I  checked the rail situation it was still in chaos,  had I gone I would probably have been struggling to get home again. Then I wrote the sorry story on facebook, later still I thought it odd there had been no comments made, well that was because it wasn't there! ! !

So I wrote....
"Hahaha Well that's typical for today, I wrote a long post which has now disappeared!"
By then I just wrote the shorter to-the-point version 😉

I've claimed my ticket price back on the Delay Repay Claim form online but there's nowhere on the form to ask about compensation for not actually getting to where I wanted to be or if I'd incurred further costs because of it. Automatic emails now saying it's being processed.

OK not the outcome I wanted, two hours away from home getting nowhere, but actually I talked to quite a few lovely people during mutual commiserations. Yes Colchester station was freezing but sitting outside Manningtree waiting for Clive I was on a bench in a suntrap 😎 And walking through Manningtree station to the exit I discovered the tunnels are displaying artwork done by the residents of Acorn Village that I would never have seen otherwise.
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Friday, 26 October 2018

Peak District Holiday with friends........


Going on holiday with friendsN&T is always lovely, this one started on Saturday 13th and Hubby was driving, so they parked their car in our garage and with Hubby's car fully loaded we set off to Derbyshire making a lunch stop en route

We are staying in Granary Cottage, Biggin. Cosy little upside down place where the bedrooms are down and the open plan kitchen/lounge upstairs. With no other properties around us these buildings have been made into six holiday lets but we barely saw any others although a few cars did come and go. Cows and sheep in the fields very near so we didn't get lonely.
Most evenings we walked to the local pub, The Waterloo Inn, about 15 minutes away, and walked back in the dark, needing a torch and a phone light so we could avoid the few pot-holes and any traffic could avoid us. One night we ate then played darts, not sure Hubby was too pleased at me beating him! Thursday night we even joined their quiz night and we didn't win but had great fun and did win a bottle of wine in the after quiz raffle yaay!

We had a real mix of weather with wet days needing indoor activities and dry-sunny-chilly days to enjoy long walks and great scenery, some very misty starts that brightened into the warmest days but coldest evenings. Interesting to see the changes and the start of beautiful autumn colours but weather certainly didn't stop us getting out and about.

Sunday we headed to Sudbury Hall which was closed, T found it very funny that access was denied because they were improving access 😉 Also there and open is the Museum of Childhood and the cafe and a lovely walk around the grounds (don't seem to have any photos).

Monday we went into Bakewell, had a mooch around the shops and market, and had to sample bakewell pudding, but in an Austrian cafe and amusingly one of the customers kept yodelling hahaha

Later we found a Stable Bar


Tuesday was Buxton
and their very little market, art gallery/museum

Anglers Rest pub at Miller's Dale then walk along Monsal Trail which was a disused railway line so nice and flat

We'd had a meal lunchtime and bought snack food for an evening in playing scrabble and I won again!

Wednesday lovely sunny start although still quite a chill in the air. Time for the Blue John mine and I coped with the million wet steps going down but oh boy going back up nearly killed me. So worth doing though as beautiful caves, rocks, flow-stone, mineral deposits of various colours and of course seams of Blue John gems.



From there we drove into Castleton and a pub lunch big enough to see us through for another games night in. We had to have a walk around the shops and friendN bought a necklace with the Blue John stone which also included her other love of horses.

Thursday - now this is where it gets tricky as the whole area has little or no phone reception or 4G reception so we relied on WiFi and of course no time to put notes on the blog when we are out and about and the WiFi at the cottage was so flaky that it was frustrating and by Thursday we'd all pretty much given up with it. Hilarious when one phone pinged we all picked up ours to check if a moment of WiFi brought us any news from the rest of the world 😂

So checking photos..... Thursday was the Heights of Abraham, using the cable car and getting great views.



Friday was keeping it local and another disused railway line turned into a flat cycle/pedestrian path. Fantastic views and we reached the point of coffee/tea/bacon/sausage rolls then walked back again. About six miles total.



And all too soon it was Saturday and heading home. We had a really good run and only one comfort break stop, then almost home it was a late lunch carvery in a new local to us pub to save us cooking tonight and paid for by friendsN&T as it's our 45th wedding anniversary.
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