Saturday, 31 July 2010

Rock Around Clock (or even The Castle)

I wouldn't be doing my job as a band manager properly, if I didn't  tell the world about this forthcoming event:-

12.30pm – 7.30pm
Admission £2 voluntary donation supporting the MATT SCALES MUSIC FUND
Hertford Town Council with the help of GRAPHIC NATURE STUDIOS and Kev Saunders present

Get there early and make sure you don’t miss a single crotchet or quaver of 19 terrific acts on two stages
plus our shy and retiring MC, Jim Distortion!



JIM RALPHS (set 2)
JIM RALPHS (set 1)
                     SWEET SISTER  (That's my band!)

Sweet Sister are on first, at 12.45, so get there early if you don't want to miss them.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Diamonds Are Forever

Firstly please allow me to boast a bit - on Saturday I entered two of my City and Guilds pieces in the local horticultural show, in the handicraft sections.  And look what happened..........................

Ok, so it's not a massive show with hundreds of entries - but I was still really pleased.
Then on Sunday we had a party for my parent's Diamond wedding anniversary.   There has been lots of hectic preparation.  Why hectic? - because, as you know,  I leave everything until the last minute.  Obviously, some things HAVE to be left until the last minute - you can't really make sandwiches weeks beforehand, can you (unless you work for one of the budget airlines, I suppose)
So,  all day on Saturday, and again on Sunday morning there was lots of activity:-  from my friend Jill,
from my sister Linda.................
and from my niece Sarah (who incidentally, has just become a newly qualified nurse - Congrats to her!)
I did a few things too, honest, it's just that I had the camera so there's no photographic evidence.  I was, in fact, responsible for a number of things.  Unfortunately this included leaving the lemonade in the boot of my car at home.  Oh, and for forgetting the mint for the Pimms.  But I did produce my signature dish - White Choc and Raspberry muffins. 
Then, finally the food was prepared, the flowers were arranged, the bunting was hung, we got out of our pinnies and into our frocks - and the guests of honour arrived...
Don't our Mum and Dad look fabulous - they certainly don't look old enough to have been married sixty years!  It was a lovely day, everything turned out well, even the weather was good. 
And the beautiful cake made by Steph says it all ....

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Tiers for Souvenirs - and All That Jazz.

Apologies for the short absence (like you even noticed I'd been away) but I've been  away in Norfolk staying with my parents.  It's been an action-packed week - starting with the premiere of The Guilty, an independent  film directed by Brendan Sheppard.  (it's not what you know ......)
That was followed by a picnic at Grafham Water to celebrate my niece's 21st birthday.  For her proper pressie, I'm going to treat her to a trip while we're off travelling together later in the year, but on the day , I gave her a pile of magazines that I bought for her on the day she was born.  See - all you who think I leave everything until the last minute - I AM capable of forward planning sometimes.  Of course, I had to have a little flick through the pages before I wrapped them up, and do you know, back in an interview in July 1989, George Michael was hoping to meet a nice girl, settle down and have a family.  Mmmm, best laid plans, eh George? 

Later in the week, it was  my nephew 's Prom night, with much enthusiastic dancing,  and on Wednesday a trip to Holt, one of my favourite places in Norfolk, for even more enthusiastic  shopping  and lunch with my sis. And yes, of course there was cake.  We browsed in  "Past Caring", a great vintage clothes shop, where I tried on two 1940's jackets, but managed (with great difficulty) to resist both of them, thus saving myself a total of £100.  So, with that £100 burning a hole in my pocket, we had a fruitful tour of the charity shops,

and we also discovered a lovely shop that we hadn't been to before, called Great to Be Green.  It was full of goodies, some vintage, and some made from recycled materials, so we did a bit of ethical shopping.

And then some more.
I suppose, if you're going to be a shopaholic, it's better to be an ethical shopaholic.  (Unless you have a lisp)

And finally to the Pied Piper Shop. I've no excuse for this at all,  - I don't even DO patchwork ...
On Friday night we all went to Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk to see DixieMix, a Trad Jazz band.  Yeah, I know, I know, it's not exactly Glasto,  and it's definitely not my usual sort of music, but my family kidnapped me and there was nothing I could do about it.  The setting was fabulous, with fantastic views and beautiful gardens, which Linda and I explored before the music started.

It was a lovely evening, and the band were really good (high praise, coming from a non-Jazz fan) and very entertaining.  I don't think it can have been proper Jazz, because you could tell what song they were playing, and I suppose it's not their fault that they never learned to play rock  music - I guess it  takes all sorts.  My Mum and Dad (who ARE trad Jazz fans) loved it and I believe they are going to try and see them again soon, so that's a recommendation from them.  
And, they did have a guitarist with long hair, so at least I had something to look at.
It ended up being a typically British evening though (my sister wasn't fed up, I caught her at a bad moment!)
In amongst all that social whirl, with much advice, and a little assistance from my Dad, I've been drilling holes in plates. It was far more successful than I thought, I've not broken any so far - and I've made this, a three tiered cake plate with vintage plates......
Do you think they would sell?  Maybe I could become tiered cake stand supplier to the stars.  (I'll not give up my day job until I hear from you).
I also recovered a couple of chairs, and knitted the back of a jumper.  Can I go back to work now please?

Monday, 5 July 2010

Forever Young - or Knocking on Heaven's Door???

On Saturday I went down to Kent..........
To the Hop Farm Festival, to see (amongst others) the legend that is Bob Dylan.
It was a lovely day, very hot and we wandered around for a while having a look at was else was happening before the music started. 
 There were a few fairground rides (no thanks) - why would anyone want to do this ......

 When you could just sit and listen to the music and do this .....

Anyway, on to the music.  We saw Foy Vance and later Johnny Flynn - neither of whom I'd heard of but they were both worth a listen. The Magic Numbers,  who all looked about half the size they were when I last saw them, but sounded the same.  Laura Marling  - I'm afraid I had to wander off during her set, for fear that I would end up as clinically depressed as she sounded.  Seasick Steve was great, playing all manner of instruments from a guitar with only three strings, a banjo-shaped thing made from two Morris Minor hubcaps; and something he calls a Diddley Bo, which is made from a lump of wood and a piece of string.  I didn't hear much  of Mumford and Sons, as I was either in the queue for a drink, or in the queue for the loo, but was back in time to enjoy Ray Davies, who was really good, but then as you know I can be a bit biased as regards Ray.
 But, the surprising highlight as far as I'm concerned, was Pete Doherty.  We didn't really expect him to turn up, given his previous history, but he was on time, he looked fit and healthy and sober, and appeared to be in complete control.  He was on stage on his own, playing an acoustic set, with the occasional addition of a couple of dainty ballet dancers, for a couple of numbers. 
He sounded great, he was funny, he interacted with the audience, and he looked fab.  Maybe he has finally sorted himself out.  Or maybe we were just lucky on Saturday.
And then Dylan.   Mmmm, I think maybe it's time he considered hanging up his white fedora, and giving up touring, to see out the rest of his days reflecting on past glories.  His voice, described by someone in the crowd as sounding like it'd been run over by a tractor, is totally shot.  Some of the songs were unrecognisable and they all sounded pretty bleak.  I guess I should have seen him years ago.
I'm sorry if I've offended any diehard Dylan fans, but I've not been as rude as the reviewer from the Guardian
Anyway, all in all it was a great day - a lovely festival, a kind of "Glastonbury Lite"

Friday, 2 July 2010

Heart-Shaped Box

It's been a brilliant week - I finished my City and Guilds course, everything submitted, assessed and passed - so no more homework!  The fact that we all stuck with it to the end, is due in no small part to the encouragement,  support and inspiration (not to mention cake), dished out by our lovely tutor Gina (known to you as Fan My Flame)  Here are some photos of the really varied selection of work we produced....

I've got more photos but I am having real trouble loading them, so have a look at Fan My Flame who has more photos of our work.
And, apologies if you've seen these before, but these are three of mine ....

One of the other, many reasons that this has been a good week - is that I had a birthday!  I had some great presents, lots of cards and birthday wishes, and after Pilates, I  went up to the V&A for a little look at the Horace Walpole exhibition - which, to be honest, I found a bit boring - but then , as I'm now a member of the V&A (how grown up is THAT!) I went for coffee and cake in the Member's Room and saw this from a different angle
Then, I met my friend Angie for a drink, before having a wander along Oxford Street - without spending any money, and had a good journey home.  A lovely birthday!

And - it's continued today, with a post-birthday breakfast in Baroosh with my knitting pals, Val and Lucy and more lovely presents.  I'm not putting photos of all of them on here because blogger seems to be experiencing technical problems today (the site, not me) but I did manage to upload this one from Val.
 It's really unusual, can you guess what it is -

It's completely made of glass, and no, it's not a swizzle stick .........

And finally, in case you're wondering what is the significance of this post's song title - it's my slightly lopsided tribute to Kurt Cobain.  My freshly trimmed topiary buxus, otherwise known as a heart-shaped box!