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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).

King Lear

Following our seeing what we now refer to as "The Muppets do King Lear" last year, I had been determined to take SM to see a decent version.  So, when the RSC announced this was to be one of their autumn season I suggested we go.  I was further encouraged by seeing David Troughton would be playing Gloucester.

We again chose the day when we could see Shakespeare Unwrapped in the morning.  This was another introducing some of the ideas behind the choice of direction.  This time we saw part of a scene acted out by Byron Mondahl (Lear's understudy) together with the actresses playing Goneril and Cordelia - Regan was played by an audience member, due to the actress being unwell and very reasonably wishing to conserve her energy for the afternoon performance.  It was extremely interesting seeing how the scene was put together, and both SM and I agreed we would have liked to see Mondahl in the understudy performance.

As for the play itself, Antony Sher is cast as Lear, and to my mind the production has been shaped round him.  Which, for such an ensemble cast, is a bit of a shame.  There was some dramatic staging, serving to emphasise Lear's importance, but I felt it would have been better had the actor done that unassisted.  There was nothing wrong with the production, it just didn't quite grab me in the way I was perhaps expecting, and at times felt a little like Lear by Numbers.

I had already seen quite a number of the cast, both in Hamlet and in Cymberline.  Paapa Essiedu (Hamlet) played Edmund and Natalie Simpson (Ophelia) was Cordelia and both impressed as they had done before.

The scene which worked best for me (and was highlighted in a number of the reviews I have now read) was where Lear, having wandered round in his crown of herbs, comforts the blinded Gloucester.  It felt as if Lear no longer had to impress anyone, but also, to me, that the actor was at this point not feeling threatened by the up-and-coming talent.

An interesting afternoon, but not one of the best Lears I have seen.  Strangely enough, this week's prompt for DW's drabble_zone was 'An Unreasonable Expectation' which gave me the perfect opportunity to write Cornwall Considers.

We broke our journey on the way home in Tewkesbury, so we could go to the Tewkesbury Camerata concert in the evening, and therefore went from King Lear to The Three Bears and Harry Potter.

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Into the Community Centre strode the valiant leaders.

We have a lot of Brownies this term.  There were ten new girls last week.  Last term we were functioning happily with 18 to 20 each week.  Now we have 27 on our books, and have had 22 both weeks (slightly different girls).  Four have moved over from another pack who shut suddenly (we have another 10 on our waiting list who we cannot take at the moment).  Three have moved up from Rainbows, which is expected and natural progression.  And three more are from the general interest in Brownies we also see, and try to encourage.  Ten different girls, all with unknown needs and abilities.  No wonder I came home last night and liberated the wine from the fridge.

Last week we did our customary introduction plus 'this is how we do things here' - important because we will function slightly differently from the other pack and we know our ways work in our situation.  Then we played games as is traditional at the start of term.  It was the usual fine balance of making sure the new ones didn't get out first time (which they tend to do) and keeping our older Brownies happy.  Fortunately when one looked quizzically at me I said, "you didn't expect me not to give them a chance, did you?" and she grinned back, because they're starting to learn there's a need to support each other.

This week we made paper dolls - for those of you who remember doing it, a folded piece of paper has a drawing of a doll on it, which is cut out to produce a line of dolls holding hands.  The idea then was to decorate the dolls in Brownie uniform, and either uniforms from other sections (so the ex-Rainbows could include a Rainbow), or uniforms from previous decades.  This was supposed to be a half hour activity.  It took all evening.  It was complicated!  Most of them hadn't done it before, so it was a new skill.  We did the initial paper folding all together (it's amazing how easy it is to fold a piece of paper the wrong way) and I resorted to getting them to hold up their sheet of folded paper at each stage.  I didn't think they'd want to do this, but they were all enthusiastic.  Then they had to draw the doll - and have it checked before they cut it out, to ensure the dolls would be holding hands once they were cut out.  Again I had thought especially the older ones would complain about this step, but none did.  After which we did various repair jobs, or in extreme cases gave them a new set cut out by Brown Owl.  By the end of the evening some of them had produced some really good dolls.  I was especially pleased because one of our just seven year olds managed a complete set of eight; she hadn't known what to do for the last few, but at my suggestion had included her twin brother in his Beaver uniform (including beautifully drawn necker), plus her older sister when she was a Brownie.

In addition for the next few weeks we are aiming for 100 compliments as part of the Senior Section badge we're working for.  So the girls in each six had to go round their six, each one saying something nice about the person to their left.  We didn't supervise this, but when I checked they had done so as we stood in our horseshoe at the end there were vigorous nods from them all.

Which is why, by the end of the meeting, Brown Owl and I were exhausted!  Because Sparkly Owl had gone out to dinner to celebrate her wedding anniversary.  She's not allowed another anniversary on a Thursday for years.

ETA: I have added the wonderful Lots of Brownies badge from bunn (see comments) to my profile.

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Poetry and other writing

This time on fan_flashworks I earned a badge I'm really pleased about:

which means I've written in total 15 different forms of poetry.
I'm especially pleased because my final form was a sonnet, which I thought I'd never write: Thus Honour Calls

And I now have no excuse not to write this autumn, with the following on the list:Plus, of course, regular drabbles and ficlets for sherlock60 , holmes_minor and fan_flashworks

Now, if only I didn't have to go to work ;)

Signs of Autumn?

With the sunshine out, it still looks like summer:

the season on the turnCollapse )

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Book Review Year 2 No 2

As promised, here is my second book review of the year.  As I mentioned in my last post on my goals, these are all follow up books in one way or another.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I read The Goldfinch by the same author last year, and several people instantly suggested I read this one.  It's a very interesting read and one I got through quicker than I expected, reading more each day than I'd planned.  Which has to be the sign of a good book, when you really should go to sleep, but then it's 'just one more chapter' - fortunately most of the chapters are short.  The characters, although not always attractive, are fascinating.  The plot, although it sounds strange when just stated, makes sense.  Definitely recommended for quite an intense read.


Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik

Fourth in the Temeraire series.  And yes, I am still enjoying these.  This time the book takes us to southern Africa, in the hunt for a cure for a deadly dragon flu.  The characters remain appealling, both human and dragon.  And, yes, the next book in the series has arrived.


Shadows in Bronze by Lindsey Davis

The second in the series of stories about Marcus Didius Falco, the Roman informer.  In some ways a typical detective novel, although set in Ancient Rome, it has a good collection of supporting characters, as well as an air of humour about it.  It took me longer to read than I expected, but that's partly because I've also been reading the vicar's books first and then finishing with Falco.  Enjoyable, and when I went to order the next in the series the Ebay seller had 15% off 4 books, so I ordered the next four (they'll keep).


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling

At times I had to really force myself to keep going.  I have lived through teenage angst and unreasonableness (twice) and I don't need to read about it as well.  And, I did skim read some of the pages.

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This week's meme

Orignally posted by solosundance and then by snailbones and now it's my turn:

The 41 questionsCollapse )

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Checking my goals

Just over two months since my last check, and a third of the way through, so how is everything going?

Goal No 1: Write all the things
I have been slowing down a little later, which is unfortunate, since this year I've decided I will actually go for the 150,000 words in a year.  By the end of July I was just on track, so I thought it's now or never.  And then lost nearly a week this month being away and far too busy to do much writing.  With fan_flashworks Amnesty Challenge happening at the moment, I made myself write a number of ficlets, which helped to improve my total, so I should make 10,000 words for the month, just need to stretch a bit more.

I've signed up for heroinebigbang for their Round Four redux, since Tiny Bang only requires a minimum of 1,500 words - just as well as rough drafts are due in on Sunday.  I wasn't going to do smallfandombang this year, because Lewis no longer qualifies, but it is a good incentive to churn out the words.  I checked with them because Call The Midwife wasn't on the list, and it does qualify, so I can see myself doing it again.  And finally there's a DW com called Genprompt_bingo which looks like fun.  Their next round isn't until December, but they were very helpful when I inquired about whether poetry could be included and the minimum size required, and added my suggestion to their list, so I shall definitely be having a go.  I've wanted to do a bingo card before, but most seem quite restrictive, so I'm quite hopeful.  If nothing else it will mean I'm continuing to 'write all the things'.

I've only earned two new badges over the last couple of months, which is again a sign of concentrating on the things I know:




Goal No 2: Read more and widely
Reading is continuing, although this year I seem to be reading a number of sequels or books by last year's authors.  There are others books waiting to be read, but I don't seem to have got round to them.  And the vicar keeps giving me books to read as well - which I am not adding to the list.  There should be another book review up within the next week.


Goal No 3: Post a purely photographic post each month
Water lilies were posted at the beginning of the week, and next month I'll be looking at the neighbourhood as we head towards autumn.  I shall have to start thinking about what to do after that.

Waterlilies

Earlier in the year SM suggested I could keep a record of the waterlilies in what was the old millpond at Tewkesbury.  We go there about once a month, so it seemed a good idea for my monthly photo post.

Our first visit was in April:

waterliliesCollapse )

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And All The Rest

So, just to fill in the gaps:

I went to my favourite London museum, the Victoria & Albert (V&A).  I only had a couple of hours, so it was important I forced myself to focus on seeing the areas I particularly wanted to see and not get distracted.  Which isn't to say I don't enjoy pottering from one exhibit to the next, but there were items on my list.  Firstly, I went to Curtain Up, a celebration of Theatre in the West End and on Broadway.  It's a fascinating exhibition, highly recommended if you are in London before the end of this month.  It had a combination of productions I'd seen and those I'd not, so was particularly interesting.  (SM saw it on a different day and recommended it to me - I told him I'd already seen it.)

I also saw the illustrations from Beatrix Potter's London, and the Musical Wonders of India display - sadly the latter was only one case of instruments, the museum sometimes has some larger scale exhibitions from India.  And then I went to the recently revamped Europe 1600-1815 exhibition.  It improved slightly when I realised I'd come in from the wrong end.  They have lots of beautiful items, but I think I prefer seeing them more in situ, although it was interesting seeing the sweep of the changes in style in the two hundred years.

In my travels during my trip I frequently passed Edith Cavell:
Edith CavellCollapse )

We spent an hour and a half in the National Portrait Gallery.  I took in the whole of the top floor, which is from Tudor to pre-Victorian times.  By the end I was rather tired at looking at paintings of the great and the good (as they saw themselves).  SM told me about an exhibition of nudes, which I misheard as newts.  The nudes were good, but I was a tad disappointed at the absence of amphibians.  I took a quick glance round the middle floor, but had seen enough tedious men, although there was a portrait of Dame Maud McCarthy who was a nursing sister in WWI and rose to be the British Army Matron-in-Chief.  So I went to the shop and bought a tea towel from their Save the Bees range.
Maud McCarthyCollapse )

And I went on a theatre tour of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.  One of the two oldest theatres in London - longest running that is - the building itself has burnt down several times.  The tour is done by a couple of actors who appear in character to share the history, which is effective rather than awkward.  I already knew quite a lot of what we were told, but seeing everything made it far more interesting.  I would certainly recommend going; it's more expensive than some theatre tours, but I think you get value for money.  And for a visitor to London it also gives a strong sense of the history.

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