Sunday, 2 June 2019

Pipped at the post again.......

On Friday this tree was full of cherries still quite white and unripe, today (Sunday) it's only half full of ripe and partly ripe cherries all out of my reach.

The rest you may be able to make out are now just pips on the ground and I sat for a while watching starlings, blackbirds, a jay and a magpie all noisily taking turns to help themselves!

Friday, 31 May 2019

Sometimes I could kill him......

I'm sure you remember my "40 hours in 40 days" where I made extra time and effort to clearing and working in my craft room. It wasn't that long ago so even I remember hahaha. I didn't achieve great tidiness or wonderful organisation but I'd improved the chaos and made enough workable space to inspire more crafting (and get some of the ironing done).

Well.....Hubby said the outside cameras needed replacing!
AND they all feed into the receiver in the craft room! (Because it used to be his office).

So now I can barely get in the door.

One camera already comes into our bedroom and cabled through my wardrobe into the far side of the craft room and you'd think that was easy as the wiring is all in place, but you thought wrong! He also installed an extra camera even further down the outside wall meaning new holes to be drilled in our bedroom and more cables running under carpets and more holes in my wardrobe. Then this corner of the craft room was emptied and the sofa pulled forward so the cable could run behind. This is how he's put it back!

This used to be boxes all stacked underneath the clear desk, but it all had to move for cable laying.

 Then of course all those new cables plug into a new receiver box, a box so improved that the tv in there isn't hi-tec enough for in comes the spare tv from another room and now lots of talk about moving the tv from his office downstairs up to here and the lounge tv into his office which is just an excuse for buying the latest smartest tv for the lounge. I want my sewing machine space back please!

He said he'd put my boxes back but now my most used is tucked right under the corner and there's still all this cable where two boxes should be grrrrrr!

I'll not complain just yet as he's had three days sorting his charity SERV at the Suffolk Show and today he's gone for his first observation bike ride towards his advanced rider qualification, however, he will definitely be dragged back up there to sort it all out with me.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Theatre: Little Miss Sunshine.........

The road to happiness is a bumpy ride.

Based on the Oscar-winning film, Little Miss Sunshine is a new musical comedy from Tony Award winners James Lapine and William Finn.

The Hoover family has more than a few troubles, but young Olive has her heart set on winning the Little Miss Sunshine beauty contest. When an invitation to compete comes out of the blue, the Hoovers must pile in to their rickety yellow camper van. Can it survive the 800-mile trip from New Mexico to California – and more importantly, can they?

This uplifting, modern classic celebrates the quirks of every family, the potholes in every road, and the power of overcoming our differences.

Lapine and Finn’s inventive musical version opens in London in a brand new production directed by Arcola Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen, then takes to the road for a national tour.


Lucky for us the tour brought it to Ipswich.

Firstly, this was a fun production, great acting, fantastic singing voices, very clever very minimum set and most of the cast have tv credits.

Secondly a very special mention has to be given to Sophie Hartley Booth who played Olive. Not sure how old she is,  possibly about 10, a real pocket rocket taking on a huge part of dialogue, song and dance, but not coming across as anything other than cute. There are two other child actresses taking turns to play Olive.

But finally I have to have a moan yet again about calling them musicals, when words are put into such strange untuneful arrangements that you'd never hear it again elsewhere or if you did you wouldn't be singing along saying "oh I know this it comes from......".

Friday, 10 May 2019

Another Sad Goodbye.....

My bilA had been unwell for some time and from the start of this year he had been in and out of hospital and when home living downstairs only with carers coming in each day. Sadly last week he suffered a second heart attack and never recovered. His funeral was yesterday.

He loved his football and since his wife/my sister died often watched nothing else for days. The joys of sky tv and multiple sports channels ☺ His loyalty to Spurs was famous with all that knew him. He had been moaning recently about how badly they had been playing which is why on Wednesday night we knew he'd be looking down and cheering as his team won their semi-final game against Ajax in the Champions League, and amazingly the final will be played on bilA's birthday!

So it was no surprise when his three children and his sister all wore Tottenham Hotspur kit tops to his funeral.

Jewish funeral services, for me, are tedious with lots of prayer readings straight from the book, some in Hebrew and some in English, some spoken and some sung. bilA was far more than a regular at the synagogue, he attended everything, Sabbaths, holy days, social events, taught children at the Hebrew classes and did guided tours and talks to local children on school's visits as well as holding the post of warden for many years. So the Rabbi and congregation members were all good friends and this helped make it a lot more personal especially when the Rabbi did her own personal reading.

His son did a reading too, which was a perfect balance of emotional and humorous and although he was visibly heartbroken he'd written and delivered his final tribute beautifully.

We left the cemetry and drove to his house, odd being there without him, still feels odd after nearly seven years my sisterM not beginning there. M&A had bought that house when they got married 51 years ago, and we have had so many shared memories there, so it's really sad to think that it will be cleared and sold and we may never set foot inside it again.

They had provided so much food, determined not to run short like they'd done once before. There were family and friends and ex spouses and previously estranged family members who were all getting on together and supporting each other. Great to see and proof how loved bilA had been.

Evening prayers when the Rabbi returned at 8pm and the lounge filled again with synagogue members. Most of them left soon after the service ended. We left soon after too and was loaded up with trays of food to take home along with some paperwork that I need to deal with and my paintings of York I'd done as a gift for M&A as York was one of their favourite places. These had been on their wall at the top of the stairs since 1993.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Theatre: Grandma Saves The Day......

It’s Ipswich in the late 1980’s and the Giles family are thrown into confusion when the upwardly mobile Stinkletons move in next door. It takes Grandma Giles to sort it all out with a few swift blows from her brolly and her familiar battle cry – ‘Gertcha!’.

Combining the much loved Giles cartoon characters with classic hit songs from the eighties including Our House, Simply the Best, Wake Me Up Before You Go- Go and many more, all played live by our multi-talented company of actor-musicians, this is a fast-moving, funny and pop filled comic strip for all the family.

Directed by Pete Rowe, and in true New Wolsey style, this show is not to be missed!


Someone should have proof-read the entry above which came directly from the Wolsey website and I'm assuming is the same as the season brochure, because actually we saw the Giles family move in and the Stinkletons who live next door come round with a quiche to welcome them! Not the other way round.

I'm not sure if the Giles cartoons are nationally famous but I first heard of Giles when we moved to Ipswich as there's a large statue of Grandma in the town center.

The cast were all so talented and hilariously funny. I wasn't too amused by some of the insulting personal remarks about the queen or politicians of the time. The script was almost solely there for the purpose of introducing the next song but they were great tap-your-feet sing-along songs and there were so many laugh out loud gags, corny but still very funny. We both enjoyed it immensely. 

Monday, 22 April 2019

I've Lent 40 Hours in 40 Days.......

I don't have any religious connection to Lent but often it's good to have a focus and recently I've had little focus or concentration. I'm not surprised at all as it's winter and the following on from the very busy period of Christmas and New Year and of course recovering from removal and treatments for a third cancer so I've happily allowed myself plenty of down time.

However time for a little kick up the bum! For the past few years Daughter has run a Facebook group where members should devote 40 hours during the 40 days of Lent to something extra they normally don't get round to. She is giving her time to piano practise. So this year I've decided to join in. Posting an update every day will definitely give me focus.

I'm giving my time to being in my craft room, because...
  1. There's a huge pile of ironing in there I keep ignoring
  2. I need to rearrange what's where so I see and use more of my stash
  3. I can't get to any surfaces to keep it clean
  4. So many "ongoing projects" that I need to find and get on with and finish
  5. I need to find all my missing tools (crochet hooks, knitting needles, sewing things which are no doubt hiding with the "ongoing projects")
  6. I need to remind myself it's a nice place to be with great desk, comfy executive office chair, sofa and tv etc
And now, at the end of the challenge, I've a good little list of my achievements!

I took a little of the spare interfacing from deconstructed ties and cut them up for makeup pads to save using cotton wool. I could have made them the traditional round but then all those corners would have only gone into the bin so I left them square. They work really well. Now I need to find a bit of netting to make a bag to collect the used ones in so they can just be thrown into the washing machine.
Couldn't find any suitable netting or loose weave fabric so I played around with lace work knitting and used 2ply cotton yarn and big needles and think it made quite a successful laundry bag. 
I honestly did try to clear some of the clutter on the desk top but failed, will keep trying.

I'd a jumper that was quite thick and a bit too warm for most occasions so very rarely got worn. I decided to brave the scissors and turn it into a jacket. Roll on spring weather so I can test it out.

With our surname Shepherd it seemed ideal to repropose a toy sheep as a doorstop! It used to have a sound box inside that I removed and in the cavity it left I filled with small stones to give it weight and sewed it up very securely. I added a little non-slip rubber under each foot and it works beautifully.

M has found the perfect premises to build his own school, realising his dream. It took months of negotiating, the owner to build toilet and kitchen, the council to approve change of use to an education establishment and M having meetings and presentations to get lots of corporate sponsors on-board. So the day he received the keys was a big deal. I made a card.

Daughter asked me to shorten her new curtains, she did all the measuring, cutting and pinning and I did the machining. With the huge amount cut off I made four cushions and two small table cloths, making the cushion pads from a sheet and duvet both long ago retired.

And while I was still putting those bits away, for myself a small neck cushion. 

While having a little sort I found a large piece of shower curtain fabric and turned it into a huge waterproof tote bag.

I'm also having a go at sashiko/boro stitching, which is the Japanese art of visible mending.

And yes I've done some of the ironing many times during 40 days but it's only done till the next lot of laundry is done!

This has added up to about 44 hours for the 40 hours challenge. And definitely got me crafting enthusiastically again 😉

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Theatre: Kiss Me Quickstep......

 A sequin-studded warm-hearted ballroom drama

Three young couples are striving for glory on the competitive dance circuit - having finally made it to Blackpool's National Amateur Championships, via the motorway hard shoulder. But there's pain and heartbreak beneath the dazzling glitter ball when you're dancing to other people's tunes and hiding secrets. And with the world at your feet, it only takes one false step... 

This bittersweet comedy reveals the backstage stories behind the fabulous frocks, fixed smiles and fake tan, looking at the real lives of those for whom dancing is everything. 

Please note that we have an exciting new seating plan for Kiss Me Quickstep with an additional bank of seats behind the stage. This show will be performed in the round, with actors performing to all sides.


Well as if going to the theatre Tuesday and Thursday this week wasn't enough I also had my ticket for a Wednesday matinee at The New Wolsey Theatre. There always used to be four of us going together, sadly one of our group has died. This time another had double booked and was away on holiday. The other was expected but didn't show (I found out later she had just forgotten) so I went in alone.

As mentioned above the seating had been arranged around the floor level stage and the extra ones were temporary folding seats and not particularly comfortable for sitting on for two hours.

The show itself was really very good. Not a subject I've seen on this stage before so made a nice change. The actors were all very suited to their characters and all were really good dancers too. In fact a woman behind me said "I wish they'd just get on with the dancing and not bother with all this arguing in between" hahaha.

Theatre: Private Lives.....

Directed by Joanna Carrick
At Red Rose Chain Avenue Theatre

Here come the fireworks! And the martini cocktails!

It’s Noël Coward’s best loved and multi-award winning comedy – new and 
re-imagined! Private Lives follows the escapades of former lovers Amanda and Elyot as they suddenly reunite…while on their honeymoons to other people! But is it new love or true love? And can they really live with(out) each other? Featuring popular songs of the era, prepare to see sparks fly in Joanna Carrick’s interpretation of this wickedly funny Spring time comedy.

Our love-struck stars of Much Ado About Nothing – Fizz Waller and Ricky Oakley – reunite this March! Joined by multi-talented newcomer to Red Rose Chain Harriet Leitch alongside Red Rose Chain favourite Ryan Penny (The Elves & The Shoemaker, As You Like It, Treasure Island).

Also introducing Rei Mordue from our youth theatre as Louise the Housemaid.


This was so good Daughter and I saw it twice!
Actually we bought tickets for first night as this is R's debut in her first professional play, then Daughter was invited to press night and I was her guest.

As this is an arena stage or theatre-in-the-round (which is more square than round) we sat on opposite sides of the stage each time and got very different perspectives.
I'll not say too much that might spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet and I hope you do get to see it.

First night on Tuesday was very funny and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. R was brilliant, of course, and made the wonky trolley wheel look like it was meant to be a bother to her. Very proud Grandma 😊
Press night on Thursday was packed with invited guests who are not all press. It started with a reception in the foyer with drinks and nibbles. The actors seemed more relaxed into their characters and the audience were loudly enthusiastic. Another hilarious performance by them all.
After Thursday's we were also given a performance by members of the Youth Theatre called 'Marvellous Moments' based on memories of those living with dementia. The young actors had gathered the information by visiting local care homes and talking to dementia sufferers then writing their own script. R was part of this too. It was very moving. I'm not sure if this is being performed again or when.

More very proud Grandma moments when I read the reviews. Here are links to just two of them and they say lovely things about R 😊
Theatre Cat

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Theatre: My Mother Said I Never Should.....

‘In its revelation of mother-daughter emotions over the years, the play is without rivals. It is a classic.’ The Times 

Set in Manchester, Oldham and London, My Mother Said I Never Should is a poignant, bittersweet story about love, jealousy and the price of freedom. The play details the lives of four women through the immense social changes of the twentieth century. Using a kaleidoscopic time structure, Charlotte Keatley’s story focuses on four generations of one family as they confront the most significant moments of their lives. 

Written in 1985 and first staged at the Contact Theatre, Manchester, Charlotte Keatley’s award-winning play is the most commonly performed work by a female playwright worldwide.


Wow a truly powerful insight into the lives and relationships of five generations of the same family. The earliest generation isn't seen just talked about. And when the fourth generation was a baby in a basket her new born crying was so realistically voiced by an actress on stage.

Four brilliant actresses moving in and out of various points in their lives by a quick costume change starting with them as children playing dark games. The set is like wasteland of old broken toys and furniture like a bomb damaged area, these are broken damaged children.

Circumstance of birth, aspirations of class, perceived demands of society and trying to keep secrets all shaped the women and their relationships with each other.

Fantastic start to our theatre season.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

New year is all medical.......

Starting with an update on me, 14th Jan was the repeat op which thankfully went to plan and although a very long day I did get home at 10:30pm and sleep in my own bed yaay! So I didn't even need the two new nightdresses I bought and let hubby wrap as Christmas presents.  Now it's waiting for the biopsy report, which gets discussed at the big meeting and they will tell me what's next. My surgeon said he's recommending the internal chemo once a week for six weeks which is a strong preventative of new tumours growing. Only side effect of surgery I seem to have been left with is the very tip of my tongue is numb which nobody seems to have an answer for. My theory is it has to be some sort of nerve damage caused by intubation, but I can live with it.

Just now there are so many unwell people that I care and worry about....

AF - has been in hospital since early December, he already has diabetes and blood cancer and then developed lung disease. He's hoping to get home very soon but will need a bed downstairs, home-care help and a permanent supply of oxygen. 😔

This winter had seen so many people with the cold or flu ending with a dreadful cough that is persistent and draining.
ML - is now buying Tena lady because of the horrid cough. 😔

PP - seems to have some sort of IBS problem but is avoiding going to a doctor.  😔

MC - has just had spinal surgery this week, home now but in a lot of pain.  😔

LW - is suffering through another back spasm that is taking far too long to ease up.  😔

RC - had the planned knee replacement-replacement surgery also this week. He has really been poorly since which they think is a combination of the anesthetic and strong pain relief. This also means that PC is really worried, not sleeping or eating properly.  😔

SM - has had a blocked ear since Christmas (recurrent problem) and the olive oil isn't shifting it, so now I'm nudging her to see her gp again.  😔

RA - phoned yesterday for Hubby's help as he has lost the use of his legs, which we hope is temporary but haven't got details. Hubby needs to sort out his access gates or he can't get out with the borrowed mobility scooter. His wife SA has also been really poorly to the point of calling out paramedics. 😔

ET - is still doing dialysis three times a day at home and desperately waiting for a kidney transplant. 😔

AM - is part way through prostate cancer treatment. 😔

So count your blessings every day and don't waste any time you are fit and able to live well and have fun.