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This LJ blog now contains mostly ramblings on life, the world and everything.  I aim to post five times a fortnight.

My fics can be found here The Small Hobbit on AO3 and currently major on Sherlock (BBC), Sherlock Holmes (ACD canon) and Lewis (TV).  My other popular fandoms include Spooks (MI5) and Robin Hood (BBC).

Flowers in February

Despite the storms yesterday, we have snopdrops and heathers:

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Goal Reflection and Future Possibilities

Ten months into the year and time for another reflection - yes, this is what happens when you set your goals in mid-April.

Goal No 1: Write all the things
Having reached 165,000 words last year I'm mentally hoping I'll do the same this time.  Which is a tad unfortunate, since I'm only at 17,500 this year, which if I contine at the same rate will be less than 150,000 for the year - and I really want to hit that target.  It's not as if there's been anything particular which has got in the way of writing either.

Since my last update I've achieved a further four badges from fan_flashworks (bringing my total to 86) where I've been building on genres I've already written.  The last of the badges, which I've named the 'slice of cake' badge, is one of their two fifth birthday badges.




Goal No 2: Read more and widely
Yet again, I shall write this is ongoing and there will be a report by the end of the month - I'm far enough through my latest book to want to wait to include it.


Goal No 3: Post a purely photographic post each month
I have posted this month's photos of theatres, to go with last month's local pics and December's Christmas summary.


Future Goals
Time to reflect on what my new goals should be.  Yes, I will be keeping goal one, but maybe I should add an additional clause "And in particular xyz".  I'm not sure yet what that could be, all suggestions gratefully received.

Goal two is essentially achieved.  I shall continue reading and posting a bi-monthly book review and recommendations will be acceptable at any time.  But I don't feel I need to include this as a goal anymore.  So a replacement is needed.

And as I said in my last photographic post, whilst I've enjoyed taking the pictures I don't want the obligation to post every month.  I'd say this is another goal I've achieved.  I've even posted an illustrated fic for fan_flashworks and am thinking of doing another.  Since this is something I would never have considered a year ago this goal has certainly worthwhile.

So, flist, where am I going from here?  Should I consider a monthly reflection on being a Pastoral Assistant - which would of necessity be f-locked?  Should I go back to learning German - which would be useful if we do ever get round to booking a holiday to Vienna (or Berlin)?  This will be my fourth year of goal setting; looking back I'm really pleased that doing so has encouraged me to achieve things I very much doubt I'd have managed otherwise, so I am keen to again find the right goals.

Dreamwidth and other Burblings

First up, I'm not all that taken with Dreamwidth, so I'm back posting directly here.  But because I still don't want to lose anything, I'm copying and pasting on DW.  It's a bit of a pain, but easier than trying to host pictures elsewhere, and with most friends on LJ it's easier to include their LJ names here.  (But for those of you reading on DW, I'm still happy to respond to comments here!)

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Secondly, why are people so unreasonable?  The boss has cut back on staff at work, so we now have W in the retail shop and myself and C, who deals with corporate accounts, in an office next door - we've moved downstairs which makes it easier.  W has been off sick for two days, so C and I have been covering for him.

One man brought his granddaughter's iPhone in to have the screen replaced, because her horse had trodden on it.  That was yesterday.  We explained W was ill and it couldn't be mended that day.  The man reappeared today, wanting to know how soon it would be done, because she needed her business contacts which were on her phone, and looking at me as if it was my responsibility to sort it out.  If Your horse treads on Your phone it is hardly my problem.

Also, yesterday someone phoned up asking to speak to W and I took a message and said he would phone once he was back.  The man phoned again today.  I explained W was still sick.  "Why hasn't he phoned me?"  Um, because he's sick and hasn't been in?

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Anyway Happy Valentine's Day to one and all.  It is a time for cards, flowers, chocolates and fluffy fics.  I cannot give you tangible gifts, but have some fluffy fics:
The Hobbit: Nothing Like A Roman God
The Hobbit: Not Really A Bad Hair Day
Spooks (Lucas): Everyone Needs A Hug
ACD Holmes (Broom Cupboard verse): Valentine's Day

A Few of my Favourite Things

I have managed to make a photographic post each month, and so this is the last one.  It's not been as easy as I'd thought, and I don't plan to continue a specifically photographic post, although there will still be photos of things which catch my attention.  And next month I shall do the promised summary of my neighbourhood through the year, and possibly two such posts.

In the meantime, have some pictures of some of my recent theatre trips.  Except for The Play That Went Wrong, because it was dark and wet and cold and we weren't hanging around to take pictures ;)

theatresCollapse )

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More Badge Work

Last week we continued working for our Science Investigator badge.  We looked at how germs are transferred.  The four sixers had the palms of their hands covered in spray cooking oil and then cinnamon was sprinkled on top.  (The instructions suggested sparkles as an alternative, we weren't going to clear that up).  Then each of the four washed their hands in a different fashion: the first didn't wash at all, the second used cold water, the third warm water and the last warm, soapy water.  After which we lined the girls up in their sixes, the sixers shook hands with the first who then shook hands with the next in line and so on.  The Brownies found the results very instructive, as well as being great fun.  A really good way of learning something.

This week we tested the badges the girls had been working on at home.  A couple hadn't done anything, one, rather sadly, because the mother had no wish to.  We have Brownies who get very little support at home (for various reasons) and we manipulate the badge syllabus so they can get something based on what they've done, but in this case the mother seems quite negative, despite to all appearances being a very involved mother.

The range of badges the girls chose was impressive: Cooks (2), Home Skills, Agility, Artist (2), Writer, Designer (2), Friend to Animals, Toymaker and Stargazer.  In the process of testing I realised one of our Brownies is probably on the autistic spectrum (although quite possibly undiagnosed).  "Do you know the primary colours?"  "Yes."  "What are they?"  "Red, yellow and blue."  "Have you done a three colour pattern?"  "Yes."  "Will you show me?"  She showed me a lovely print she'd done.  We moved onto the next section and she took out of her bag the two items which corresponded.  Most girls would take out all the work and just indicate which items were relevant.  It probably explains why she fails to respond to "Put your hand up if you've brought your badgework."  Worth bearing in mind.

Particularly highlights for me (and I didn't see all the badges), apart from the above artist, were the cakes and biscuits brought by the cooks, together with the lovely letter written by one of the cook's aunts to confirm all she'd done, which included the offer to email if we had further questions; the designer, who has limited home support, and yet this time, for the first time, brought in several items which showed how hard she'd worked; the magazine article the writer had done, which I will include in our local magazine next time I submit an entry; and the general enthusiasm the girls had shown in working for their badges.

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Chatting about Writing

Firstly, I'm picking up on Guylty's word press encouraging the RA fandom to share things for Valentine's Day, so if anyone wants a drabble/ficlet starring Guy or Lucas or Thorin, leave me a comment.

Secondly, my smallfandombang Call The Midwife fic is written, and someone has signed up to do the artwork, which is exciting.  However, it does need beta-ing, so if anyone fancies looking at 10K of fic, please let me know.

On a similar vein, I've been having fun this year with the Frodo Flash Fiction Challenge fffc which is a weekly multi-fandom challenge comm, with various different challenges, and I'm delighted okapi1895 had joined me there.  I've written 1,000 words of Guy/Much for the rare pairs challenge and again need a beta.

Other than that fan_flashworks is celebrating five years of existence and there are two new badges for this month only if anyone fancies joining.

It's ushobwri WIP month, so I'm picking up Watson1918 again with the aim of finishing Chapter 4.  After which I'm hoping there'll only be one more chapter.

And lastly I signed up for Gen Bingo on DW, and had the brilliant idea of writing a Bilbo/Thorin AU one chapter for each of the five squares needed for a bingo.  I wonder whether the Ferret would like a plot bunny for a snack?

Jersey Boys

When SM said he planned to drive up to London to go to a Saturday afternoon singing workshop thingy - don't ask me anything about it, all I know was it featured Thomas Tallis - and wondered if I'd like to go too and have an afternoon in London I had a look to see what plays/shows were on.  I'd been thinking of seeing Jersey Boys for a while, having heard good things about it, and when I realised it would be closing soon I decided that's what I would go to.

I have to say it wasn't as good as I'd expected.  The first act seemed very slow.  It wasn't helped by a constant stream of audience members (I was in the upper circle) going out and back in - they were worse than my Brownie pack.  I felt the performance didn't make enough of some of the big numbers and there was no attempt to share them with the audience.

The second act was better and the last two numbers include the band on the platform over the stage.  The band was excellent and I really enjoyed watching them play.  I'm used to the RSC having actual musicians on stage and so when the Four Seasons are played by actors/singers it doesn't really convince.  (In the same way, in a recent episode of Endeavour a shepherd walked away and his walk was all wrong).  Also, on occasions the choreography as the group was singing looked stilted - maybe that was deliberate, to show difficulties within the group, but it just looked awkward.

My overall feeling is that, like Mamma Mia, this is a play with songs fitted into it, rather than having the songs emerge from the action.  So, a pleasant afternoon's entertainment, but not one of the highspots of the year.

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The Play That Goes Wrong

Some time last year I saw TPTGW was coming to Cheltenham, but SM said it didn't appeal.  So when the daughter and I were meeting in London and deciding what to see, I suggested we see it in the West End.  Daughter had a look, said it was coming to Coventry (where she lives) in the new year and would I like to see it as her birthday present to me and I could stay over with her.  We had a plan.

Then, a few weeks ago, the daughter told me her house was too untidy for me to stay, but the hotel/gym complex two minutes down the road from her house (and where she's a gym member) had an excellent offer on rooms for January, including full breakfast, so we were staying there.  Fair enough - too untidy means it's practically impossible to get in the front door.

The play, which is at the start of a seven month tour, was hilarious.  It's very well scripted and acted with great precision (vital at some times) and enthusiasm.  Anything which can go wrong, will go wrong - muddled/forgotten lines, misbehaving props, dodgy scenery, the need for understudies to come on partway through.

But there's never the feeling of second-hand embarrassment when something goes wrong.  The running jokes remain funny, because although the audience knows what's going to happen, so do the actors, so the anticipation is in how they will be coping with whatever it is this time.  And there was never a sense of stupidity - everything was a plausible accident.

So, if you want an evening's entertainment, and are anywhere near a theatre where they are touring, I can thoroughly recommend the play.

We went back to our very comfortable hotel room, and were woken at 8.20 this morning by the daughter's phone buzzing.  It was her brother, whose first words were, "You're an auntie!"

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Science Investigator

What with one thing and another I haven't got round to doing a Brownie post, time to rectify that.

We returned to Brownies to learn a couple more weren't coming back and we had one new girl, which gives us 20.  We can go up to 24, but there are a number on the waiting list who will turn 7 in the next couple of months so we'll keep places ready for them.  Also a group of 20 is easier to work with than 24, especially if we only have two leaders one week.  I learnt this week one of the girls left because 'Brownies is boring' - the Brownie who told me said Brownies wasn't as she continued enthusiastically cutting and sticking.  In the case in question 'boring' means 'didn't do what I wanted to do'.

The first week we discussed plans for this half term and played games.  The plans include working for the Science Investigator badge, so last week they made a colour wheel and spun it in the hope it would turn white.  We are also encouraging each Brownie to work on a badge of their own at home, for testing before half term.  I spent most of the evening going round and discussing badges, making sure the girls knew what could be signed at home by a parent (eg Cook's badge requires washing up) and what needed to be brought in.

This week Sparkly Owl was away, so I prepared an activity which could safely be run by two of us - not a week for running experiments.  One of the badge clauses is to find out about two scientists.  This sounds too much like school work, fine for a Brownie doing the badge at home, but not very exciting as a whole pack activity, so I decided to tweak it a bit.With the help of my Twitter flist I collected the names of several female scientists.  Each six was given 12 scientists with brief details and instructions for a small drawing to draw underneath.  Then the scientists and drawings were cut out and glued on a timeline.

After which we had a quiz.  Based on the information I had provided about the scientists I asked 12 multiple choice questions.  As a six the Brownies had to run to the correct corner for the answer they chose (or if they weren't sure they were allowed to split into two).  Points were awarded for the correct answer, and the winning team were congratulated.  Afterwards, as we stood in our horseshoe, I asked them if anything particular had struck them.  A good number did have something to say, including being amazed some of the scientists were still alive.

So no, Brownies isn't boring!

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