Monday, 10 September 2018

Bacon or eggs?*

I went to my first BNI meeting last week. I was invited because the group is seeking a copy-writer. BNI (Business Network International) is a business and professional referral organisation that allows only one representative from each profession to join any of its 'chapters'. The sole purpose of every BNI chapter is to generate more business for its members. It's a sound idea and I know several people who have found it beneficial, but while they made me welcome and sat patiently through my permitted 60-second presentation, I shan't be joining. It's not for me, thanks.

The organisation's stated philosophy is 'Givers Gain'. Again, a sound idea and one that I try to embrace. If I join something I like to get involved. This sometimes leads to me 'doing a Julia', as my son so eloquently puts it. Not only do I join in, but I also have a tendency to try to take over. Once a control freak...

Anyhoo, also last week I answered the rallying cry from one of the music groups I'm involved in for members to step up and help organise our forthcoming concert. Out of a possible pool of 40-plus people, there were 10 of us - and that included the two hosts, one partner who isn't a member but was there to support her man, and another person who isn't going to be in the show.

Is it me, or is that a bit sad?

*When it comes to a cooked breakfast, a pig really commits to the project, while a hen makes a small donation. What do you do? (I bring the vegetarian sausage.)

Monday, 3 September 2018

Fancy winning £500?

Details have been announced of this year's H E Bates short story competition. Submissions of stories of up to 2,000 words are invited by the closing date of 3rd December. Top prize is £500. Further details are on the competition website here, where you will also see that Head Judge is yours truly.

Good luck to everyone who enters.

Friday, 31 August 2018

That which no longer serves

I want to be here
I've been suffering from a touch of post-holiday blues this week. My plan to hit the ground running and be a creative dynamo came to nothing. Let's face it, I've been a bit mardy. There were a couple of incidents that didn't help my mood.

1. I learned that two people who were going to be buying copies of Stripped-back Yoga won't be doing so, because a well-meaning friend has lent them her copy. This I interpreted as 'We didn't think your book was worth buying.'

2. I had someone cover one of my yoga classes last week and of course I asked my students how they got on. 'Oh, it was brilliant; we really enjoyed it,' became 'She was much better than you' in my miserable state of my mind. Honestly, I'm my own worst enemy sometimes.

However, I've rallied (aka pulled myself together) and I'm finishing the working week in relatively good spirits. It's not been all bad, of course. The theme of this week's yoga has been: Breathe in what you need; breathe out anything that is no longer serving you.' I've followed my own advice and unsubscribed from a lot of online dross. I've also decided not to update my other blog, Yoga? Here's what I'm thinking, at least for the time being. I can see from the stats that people are reading it, but rarely is anyone moved to leave a comment. I can only assume they are not served by it.

It's September tomorrow. Time for a fresh start.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Doing the Lambeth Walk (Oi!)

The audience is yet to arrive
Show programmes, then and now
In 1984, my family went to the Leicester Haymarket Theatre to see Me And My Girl. This was the revised production based on Stephen Fry's revision of the original book and ahead of its transfer to the Adelphi in London's glittering West End. It was a wonderful evening and we all came home singing.

As part of our recent trip to Cornwall - well, actually the main reason for the visit - Mr Thorley and I went to the fabulous Minack Theatre (right)  to see The Mitre Players' production of this same musical. It may have lacked the tap-dancing prowess of Robert Lindsay and Emma Thompson who played the leads Bill Snibson and Sally Smith in the Leicester version, but Paul Grace and Megan Brown did a great job in the roles. Once again, we came home singing.

We stayed a few miles inland in St Buryan, home to John Le Carre (which I didn't realise until we got home). It might only have been a week away, but I feel refreshed - and have come back with a notebook full of scribbled ideas for stories.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Here's looking at you, kid.

Not without cause do my family call me Little Miss Clumsy. Having distinguished myself with an inelegant trouser moment last week, I managed to get toothpaste in my eye yesterday. I can't tell you how much this hurt! It's still a bit tender today. We are supposed to be sharing the driving tomorrow; Mr T is understandably nervous, although I must point out that I have never written off a car. I'll say no more.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Oh, I would like to be beside the seaside

You think you're tired?
July was such a busy month, what with workshops and spoken word events and book launches, not to mention day-to-day work stuff. I had hoped August was going to be a bit gentler, but here we are on the 11th already, and I feel I'm still playing catch-up. Not that I'm complaining; I hate it when I haven't got a deadline looming or a target in my sights.

Even so, I could do with a holiday. I've got one coming up soon, so don't feel too sorry for me. I'm trying to get four weeks' work done in three (because freelances never just disappear into the sunset), but at least it's quiet at home at the moment, because Mr Thorley has gone off on his golfing jolly with his chums. This has left me with the dubious honour of caring for the tropical fish and keeping on top of the allotment picking.

All of which means, I have little to report of any interest, except that on Wednesday I distinguished myself at dancetheatre rehearsal by ripping my trousers through over-enthusiasm in the warm-up routine. I tried to keep my back to the wall as much as possible, but in the end I gave up all attempts at modesty. Good job we're close friends.

Did I mention I need a holiday?

Sunday, 29 July 2018

If this is style, you can keep it

I don't why I put myself through it. I mean, I know the Sunday supplements are based on pure fantasy and, as the League of Gentlemen would tell me, 'There's nothing for you here.' The thing is, though, every now and then I have a lazy Sunday in prospect and find myself thinking that what I really need is a copy of The Sunday Times, with a crossword I have no hope of completing, several sections that go straight in the recycling basket (today's gem: The MBA List 2018) and the chance to be patronised by the fashion police.

Today, then, in spite of my better judgement, I browsed the glossy little add-on that is STYLE (note the block caps). Brace yourselves.

Page 7 has the STYLE Barometer, where I read that 'heating up' is Noisy Yoga: 'Forget candles and breathing, the next gen [sic] of yoga classes encourages whooping and vocalisations.'  Forget breathing? Really? My teeth start grinding.

Skipping quickly over the the double-page spread telling me what to wear with a jumpsuit, I arrive at a feature on 'THE NEW FITNESS TRENDS TO TRY NOW'. (More block caps.) The whole article is full of the most pungent BS, but two snippets take me from raised hackle status to full-on spitting with rage mode.
  • Under the subhead STRETCHING (seriously, enough with the caps), is this: 'If you don't get along with yoga, the chances are your muscles are tighter than they should be.'  Now, I'm no expert - oh,wait: yes, I am - but  surely that ought to read: If your muscles are tighter than they should be, you need to try yoga.
  • That is nothing, though, to the abomination that is Ganja Yoga. I kid you not. '... run by hatha yogi Dee Dussault, [Ganja Yoga] delivers a more meditative, less physical practice.' What the ...?  Apparently, you can get a one-to-one Skype session for about £45 an hour. 
 I bet you can.