Friday, 27 March 2015

A quick celebration


I'd like everyone to celebrate the genius of Caitlin and Caz Moran. What do you mean, you're not watching Raised By Wolves: put that right immediately. I've long had a fondness for the phrase 'bifurcated ripple crest' (it's an earth sciences thing - see pic below), but on this week's episode of said comedy we were treated to the glorious expression 'bifurcated arse cheeks'. 
Image result for image bifurcated ripple crest
I have other things to celebrate, of course, not least that it's my Uncle George's 90th birthday.

Must dash. I'm playing with the ukulele orchestra this evening and we have a sound check in a hour's time. Eh, hark at me!

To be part of the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop, all you have to do is put your name on the linky list on Lexa's Blog, and then post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week. 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Lord knows, we love to laugh

I've posted before about the awesome folk at St Andrew's Church here in Kettering who have established a thriving arts centre in the church building. As well as the amazing headline comedians we have seen there (Bridget Christie, Shappi Korshandi, Sean Lock, James Acaster, Mark Thomas, Mark Steel, Jeremy Hardy, Marcus Brigstock, Jack Dee etc etc etc), we have also seen some fabulous musicians (Fairport Convention will be there in a  few weeks' time) and some excellent drama.

Last night we were there for the second Rolling in the Aisles (geddit?) Comedy Club. Three comics for a tenner? Yes please. Local real ale? Don't mind if I do. Add in the glorious Rev Nick Wills as compere and, hey, we got us a show!
Last night's top comic, Nick Doody
Last night was bizarre even by Kettering standards: we had an attempt to set the Kettering record for eating baked beans with a cocktail stick, adjudicated by the ghost of Norris McQuirter; a video of Nick the Vic bidding on curiosities on eBay late at night under the influence of alcohol; and the ritual of the three acts choosing how they wanted to be gunned down by a member of the audience at the end of their performance (you had to be there: trust me, it was hilarious).

I'm hoping the the reputation of our arts centre is growing in the comedy family, and certainly if the quality of the performers is anything to go by I'd say it is. It must be odd, though, to be booked to play in a church. You might reasonably expect to find a disused church that has been turned into a venue, or to be performing to an audience of church-goers. Neither is the case. We are comedy lovers whose club just happens to be a building that on other occasions is used for worship. It's brilliant.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Book 'em, Danno.

Today is the first day of a free online course on 'Forensic Psychology: Witness Investigation' that I'm doing via FutureLearn. This fabulous website offers loads of courses from respected providers on all sorts of subjects. I'm doing the course primarily for fun, because I'm a bit of an armchair detective, but also because I thought it might provide useful background for short stories.

As writers, we are told that we must get our facts right or readers will be quick off the mark to correct us, and nowhere is this idea stronger than in crime writing. Writing Magazine has a regular column called 'Excuse me officer [sic]' through which people can ask a real-life copper questions relating to police procedure. But how much do average readers know? How many inaccuracies would they spot?

My police training (ahem) has been done entirely through TV. I'm pretty sure that if it came to it I could wield an ALS to find fluid-based evidence and decipher a splatter pattern; but after only few hours on my FutureLearn course, I can already see that much of what I thought I knew is wrong. I thought that if the forensic evidence was there, then we had 'im bang to rights, gov'nor, but no: the course material quotes an analysis of cases, such that where wrongful convictions were subsequently proven 23% of them had relied on forensic science. 'It is common for crime dramas to portray forensic science as being completely accurate and reliable, but often the techniques they show owe more to science fiction than they do science fact.' Amazing!

Which leads me to wonder whether writers need to be quite so pernickety in their research. If we're already being led up the garden path, does it really matter if we get the caution wording slightly wrong, or detain someone for questioning in a manner not compliant with PACE? In fiction, isn't the story the most important element?

Friday, 13 March 2015

Let's celebrate the small things

Anyone who works from home, like me, will probably have achieved little today because of Dermot O'Leary's 24-hour dance marathon being shown on the Red Button. Good grief, that man's astonishing. His commitment definitely needs celebrating - and let's wish the Comic Relief team all the best for the TV extravaganza this evening. I shan't see it, because I'm going to see Dylan Moran, but I'm going to wear my Red Nose t-shirt and I'll be ready for when they pass the hat round, as they surely will.

I'm also celebrating two new friends from Phoenix, Janet and Nicole, who stayed with us this week. Nicole is planning to come to England to study, so she and her mum have been checking out the lie of the land and visiting some universities. Janet is a friend of a second cousin whom I haven't seen for a about 20 years, but we keep in touch via Facebook.

Finally, is it too soon to start celebrating the life and times of Terry Pratchett?
Have a great weekend, folks.

To be part of the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop, all you have to do is put your name on the linky list on Lexa's Blog, and then post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week.  

Thursday, 12 March 2015

RIP Sir Terry

We have lost Terry Pratchett. It's sad that he has so soon succumbed to his 'embuggerance'. I feel quite tearful.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Hello, Monday

Well, that was a good weekend. Number Two son Joe has been with us on and off. He had a couple of gigs locally, so stayed over rather than spending money on train fares. Lovely to see him, as always. His brother Sam joined us for Sunday tea and a political rant or two, bless him.

Before that, though, the weather was so grand on Saturday I took myself off for a walk in the morning and then pottered in the garden all afternoon. I had a bit of a tidy round, then sowed the first of the new season's seeds. That allotment won't fill itself!

Don't you think that a corkscrew hazel (see pic) is the most excellent value? In the winter, it has wonderful contorted branches that make amazing shapes, followed by glorious catkins. OK, the summer is a bit so-so, when the leaves adorn it like hankies that need ironing, but they are a lovely colour. Then come the nuts, if you can get there before the squirrels do.

Yesterday morning I went to a yoga session with the lovely Lindsey Watson in Loughborough on the theme of  radiance and bliss, something I'm always looking for! She incorporated a gong into the relaxation session. Who doesn't love a gong?

I watched some of the Comic Relief Danceathon yesterday on the red button. I know of three people who took part and I saw two of them on TV. Amazing, given how many folk were there. I thought it looked great fun and I wish I'd been part of it. Cynical son said it looked like hell on earth, all that jigging about with strangers and self-aggrandising celebrities. Undeterred, I leapt around the living room to show my support.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Let's celebrate

To be part of the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop, all you have to do is put your name on the linky list on Lexa's Blog, and then post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week.  

This week's celebrations are:
  • Lovely yoga students at my workshop on Saturday and all my classes; what an amazing bunch
  • A walk around Stanwick Lakes (it's amazing what you can do with an old gravel pit if you try) and lunch with my friend Will
  • Learning to play Meat Loaf songs on my ukulele
  • The arrival of a 'Save The Date' card for a wedding in September
How about y'all?

Monday, 2 March 2015

Post-workshop reflection

My yoga friend and fellow teacher Penny and I held a workshop afternoon on Saturday on the theme of 'Here Comes Spring!' We did chanting, breathing and posture work with the aim of achieving some measure of rejuvenation and generally getting in touch with our inner child (if you'll excuse the jargon). We had a great time, although I says it as perhaps shouldn't.

We had 18 participants of various ages, shapes and levels of fitness and experience. The great thing about yoga is that everyone can do everything; it's just a matter of finding a way. Can't balance on one leg? Hold on to the wall! Don't want to wrap both legs round in a seated twist? Just wrap one round! Think you can't do a handstand? Think again!

I mention this last posture in particular because we included it on Saturday. What was interesting was that when we asked who fancied having a go, only a couple of people put up their hands, but actually everyone either did it or one of the modified alternatives. It was a joy to watch. There were a couple of less-than-elegant descents, but no one clattered to the floor in a painful heap. Just goes to show what you can do when you try.

Cartwheel, anyone?