Friday, 2 May 2008

Hello Again!

It's been a while (almost a month) since I last blogged. Sometimes the gaps are caused by lack of anything to say but sometimes, as in this instance, by lack of time in which to say it. However I find myself with time to spare. I've finished work for the day, there are two central heating engineers finishing installing our new combi boiler, most of our rooms are piled with stuff moved to make space for them to work, the kitchen's a major thoroughfare, Alan's picking up a couple of pizzas on the way home from work, I have finished the book we are discussing at reading group this evening (Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, in case you are interested), and there's nothing good on the telly. So here goes, while the going's good!

Entertainment: I saw Mike Leigh's latest offering, 'Happy Go Lucky', at the Watershed and haven't laughed so much in a long time. I can't recommend it highly enough. You must see it. For those 'lucky' enough to live in Bristol it runs until 8 May at the Watershed.

Then last weekend I went to hear Kate Rusby at the Colston Hall. It's been few years since I last saw her there, during which time she has grown in fame, as the hall was packed to capacity. However I was glad to see that it has not gone to her head and she is still the archetypal girl next door, albeit with a hauntingly beautiful voice. She sang a few old favourites of mine plus a number of tracks from her new album Awkward Annie.

The following day I heard my elder daughter play Tippett's A Child of our Time with her school orchestra and choir. It's not an easy piece to play, nor to hear. The uncomfortable wooden seating did not help my concentration but I persisted and felt rewarded for my efforts. I was interested in fellow blogger Tracey Wheeler's thoughts on it and hope to read more on Tippett's motivation and the piece's reception. Meanwhile I am, again, full of admiration for my daughter, her fellow musicians and her conductor, for having attempted and pulled off such an ambitious performance.

Tippett's oratorio was preceded by a short piece composed by one of the teachers based on klezmer music. I have heard klezmer music performed by a couple of local bands (the Blue Badgers and Fromage en Feu). It was apparently recently described on Radio 2(?) as being the next rock and roll. It is certainly very catchy and I have made a mental note to seek it out next time I am in Fopp.

Plastic: In my continuing challenge to reduce my plastic consumption I have discovered three alternatives to my normal plastic rich purchases. The first two (Trichomania shampoo and Aromaco deodorant) are from Lush. They are both solid and come wrapped in paper and are completely biodegradable. The third is soap nuts, which I bought in Lakeland in Bath. I remember these from my childhood in India where we used to play with them. I've used them twice and the clothes looked clean enough, but I haven't tried them on anything really dirty yet. The spent nuts can be chucked on the compost heap.
Allotment: We (or rather Alan!) have planted our early potatoes and hope to get the main crop in on Sunday. I planted the onions and garlic. Last year's chard is thriving. At home I am growing tomato plants from seed in a propagator.
Garden: The garden's a mess but we have 6 frogs in our pond. Yeah!!! There are two big ones and at least four small ones, who must have grown from last year's spawn. I was disappointed that we had no spawn this year but the sight of these 'adolescent' frogs has more than made up for it.
Happiness: Steve and I have been attending Bruce Stanley's Happiness for Life course. We're almost half way there. I'd be lying if I said I woke up every morning full of the joys and went around with a permanent grin on my face; but that's not what it's about. I'm slowly but surely gaining a deeper understanding of myself and how to deal with the life I lead, and I am confident that the lessons I learn will stand me in good stead for many years to come. Besides which it has introduced me to the delightful Pierian Centre and a roomful of fascinating individuals.
So, there you have it. I hope it won't be so long before I'm back again.

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