Sunday, 31 December 2017


to here -

It will be a work in progress for awhile......

Friday, 29 December 2017

Thursday, 28 December 2017


I've just hauled myself out of the most luxurious lavender bath (courtesy of Neal's sister's Christmas parcel which arrived today and was full of amazing goodies and thoughtful gifts). The clock says it is 630pm on Thursday but to be honest, at this point I'm just taking their word for it. It's the liminal hazy free-for-all days between Christmas and New Years and I think this may be my very favourite time of year.

We met up with some local friends of ours this morning and went on the long route to the Shipwright Arms, along the sea wall through the marsh. It was muddy. Slip-sliding, wipe-out, extra-ten-kilos-of-mud-on-boots muddy. But bright and sunny and just heart-stoppingly beautiful. And, bonus!, all the cows are in for the winter so the paths are ours. We met more friends in the pub (not planned but the beauty of a small town) and it was nearly impossible to drag ourselves away from the roaring fireplaces and the ale, but when we did we were rewarded with the most amazing winter light across the marsh -

Yesterday was much the same but the weather was frightful (sleet - freezing cold windy sleet. Not snow - just sleet. yech). We have a tradition of meeting up with friends in one of our local pubs on the day after boxing day - when all the family stuff is done and everyone can just relax in front of the fire and decompress. It's a good tradition, and this year was no exception. When we left to come home, the storm had passed and the sky was amazing - 

Neal wanted to get home, but I walked out to the rail bridge to see the sky - it was so beautiful - and so cold - the north wind was howling, but I was rewarded with a starling murmuration - you can just about see them here:

I watched until my cheeks went numb - they were dancing and diving and swooping  and coming together and apart - turning so you only saw a sliver of them then whooshing full on and so fast you could hear their wings. It was so beautiful - maybe everything will be OK after all if there is such beauty in the world.

The day before (Boxing Day) it was yet another pub - with these reprobates providing the music - 

Will play for beer indeed :) It was pretty much just locals and everyone brought food to share and there was a lot of what could only euphemistically be called "singing along", (bellowing may be more accurate, and we should probably just apologise to Neil Diamond now for the horrors that were inflicted on Sweet Caroline, among others).

I think tomorrow will be a quiet day - we need to take the car in for its MOT tomorrow morning - always worrisome when your car is almost 20 years old! Fingers crossed she will pass and we will drive another day. The house could use a bit of love (ie hoovering) and I think it is finally time to admit we cannot actually finish all the cheese and freeze some of it for the cheese sauces of the future. 

Happy in-between days to you and yours!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

4 down 4 to go

Panto. Wow. I don't even know where to start. Here?

This is the pit. Technically not a pit, but in the wings. There's no room and there's up to 8 of us squashed back there. We have to file in and out between songs and try not to fall over cables or each other. It's - cosy.

The Arden Theatre is cosy too. It seats 98 and there's not much of a backstage. When we come off we file through the bar (stopping, generally) and wait in the foyer to go back again. Someone has a script and we spend most of the time going "Where are we" and trying to remember to whisper. And drinking. Of course.

We often get a bit carried away...

and we're regularly told off for making too much noise.

Rage Against the Panto Band Photo

Jess came up with the band name from a band name generator she found online and Neal designed and made tshirts. We start off in all black and change into our band shirts in the interval. We are all very very silly. 

Everyone in the band except for me is an extremely accomplished musician. I am definitely the weak link but I am just keeping quiet and hope no one notices. It is so fun to play with musicians this good, and I'm having an absolute blast. The music is lively - it's a rock and roll panto so we play songs like We are the Champions and Rock Around the Clock and Shake Your Tail Feather. 

Panto itself is something else. Neither Neal or I had ever really seen one, not growing up in the UK. They are hilarious. This is Brits like you've never seen them before - audience participation is mandatory and enthusiastically embraced. They shout and boo and hiss and cheer and at one point even allow themselves to be dragged up on stage to do the Shake Your Tailfeather dance. British people. I spend most of the performance laughing my head off.

It's hard work though. Last week we had rehearsals Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the performances Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You can't hear a thing on stage and you really have to listen. The actors range in age from about 6 to 70 and often start songs at what appear to be completely random points. There is one song that we have still not landed the ending even once yet (much to Ben, our leader's disgust - "what is wrong with you lot?" he groaned tonight). We were all tired today. We missed a cue and had to be prompted by one of the actors. We missed an entrance and had to do an undignified rushing in at the last minute. But it's all good fun, and a very good laugh. 

4 more to go. 

Friday, 1 December 2017

wah wah wah wah

So I am playing the trombone in the pit band for the Faversham Arden Theatre's Christmas Pantomime, Little Red Riding Hood. I know, I'm not sure how either. Drinking in local pubs can be dangerous. Let's just leave it at that.

Anyways, they want a "sad trombone" sound for one of the jokes - a "wah wah wah wahhhh". I don't know how to make this noise so I looked it up on youtube. People, did you know that there is an entire world of funny trombone noise videos? I kid you not. I found what I was looking for -
 but then I found this:

and the world is just a little bit brighter now.

Happy December - let the games begin!