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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).

This week's meme

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

The 41 questionsCollapse )


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.


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 )


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.

Ballet and other Musical Offerings

I went to two lunchtime concerts at St Martin-in-the-Fields, although the first wasn't technically a concert.  It's called a service, but basically is just various choral pieces with a religious theme.  This week's Great Sacred Music was based on works by William Blake.  As expected there were versions of The Lamb (Tavener) and The Tyger (Rene Clausen), plus a lovely solo called Dream Valley by Roger Quilter.  The choir, St Martin's Voices, were very good.  In addition there are always two hymns for the congregation to join in with.  The first was fairly unexciting, but, of course, Blake wrote the words to Jerusalem, which Hubert Parry set to music.  The organist let rip, the choir couldn't be heard and we sang along and it was marvellous.

The second concert was by a choir from Gent in Belgium, Vivente Voce.  SM and I went to this together.  He said it quickly became apparent it wasn't going to be my sort of music.  He didn't rate them that highly either, and I can't tell you what they sang, because we gave the sheet to an American lady who sat next to us.  But it was only just over half an hour and the church was relatively cool on a very hot day.

Friday I went to see the Bolshoi Ballet at the Royal Opera House perform Le Corsaire.  My seat was in the Upper Ampitheatre, so a long way up.  Although I had a good view of the stage (I was about in the middle) the dancers were a long way away.  Obviously extremely accomplished, all the dancers were impressive, especially Mikhail Lobukhin (the corsair) and Anna Nikulina (Medora).  I've never been one particularly for soloists, preferring ensemble pieces, which were beautifully executed, especially in the second act.  It was ballet, so not a lot happened over a fairly long time.  There were two long intervals, and the ballet didn't finish until almost eleven, so I decided I'd had my money's worth by the end of Act 2 and left - which probably saved me 15 minutes just getting out of the building at the end.  I met SM and we went for a drink in the Young Vic bar (he had been to see Yerma that evening) and I spent the money I saved by not buying a £12 programme on wine.

The Seagull

And so from a musical in the afternoon to a Chekhov play in the evening.  The Young Chekhov season at the National Theatre has been much touted and since I like the National, and it's close to where I was staying I decided to go.  They're even showing all three plays in the season on certain Saturdays for those who are particularly keen - that wouldn't have been possible for me.

My summary of Chekhov would be everyone's miserable and someone dies.  I've seen a few good performances, but probably more which haven't particularly grabbed me.  I think I've come to the conclusion that I won't bother with his plays unless there's an actor I particularly want to see.

There was nothing essentially wrong with this production, and the actors were good, but the things which particularly stuck with me weren't the play itself, but what might be termed the add-ons.  Before the performance begins Konstantin spends about quarter of an hour fiddling with the staging he will be using for the play he will have performed for friends and family.  There is water on the stage, as the house is set by a lake, so a number of the characters spend time paddling through it.  And the interval was prolonged, because there were problems with a scene change and a door was sticking on a complicated set.

I don't regret seeing the play, but I'm glad I wasn't seeing all three in a day. 


Show Boat

One of the beauties of spending a few days in London is the opportunity to go to all sorts off different things, which was why Thursday afternoon saw me at the musical Show Boat, at the New London Theatre.

It was glorious.  It was everything a musical should be - splendid set, great costumes, all the singing and dancing.  There is a plot and the ending is just right for a feel good afternoon.  It's a great shame they shortened the run because ticket sales weren't as good as predicted.  And I've spent the last few days singing "Fish gotta swim, Birds gotta fly (Can't help lovin' dat man)".

My seat was front row, in the middle - cheaper than the row behind.  Which meant when Captain Andy Hawkes was handing out playbills for the next performance on The Cotton Blossom I got given one.  Yay!

I have nothing deep to say about it, but it made me very happy.



Yesterday I returned from a three night mini-break in London.  So be prepared because over the next few days I shall be blogging about what I saw and did!

First up, Yerma.  (Major spoilers below the cut.)  This was one of the plays I'd been debating about seeing - it stars Billie Piper, who I like and was keen to see on stage.  On the other hand, I knew nothing about the play, other than it's a rewrite of a play by Federico Garcia Lorca.  Then a friend of vix_spes asked if anyone wanted to go, and that tipped the balance into going to see a play I was interested in with friends.

YermaCollapse )



I'd never seen Cymbeline before, so in a spirit of see every Shakespeare play at least once, I was clearly going to go the the RSC to see a performance.  Even better there was a Shakespeare Unwrapped session in the morning (£5 ticket for an hour of introduction into an aspect of the play, including some of the actors - highly recommended.)  On this occasion the assistant director talked about some of the decisions they made when producing what isn't a frequently performed play, with the two actors showing how this applied to their parts - in fact they were both understudies for two of the main roles, so they were illustrating these.  It was very interesting and boded well for the afternoon.

Cymbeline is a very strange play (stop here if you don't want plot spoilers) - a bit like fanfic which has tried to jam all the plots into one fic.  I was quite disappointed at the absence of twins, which I think was the only plot Shakespeare left out.  The Romans landed at Milford Haven, suitable for when the future Henry VII landed in Wales, but not the Romans.  So any production has quite a lot to surmount.

And unfortunately this one didn't seem to manage it.  I found out, reading the programme afterwards, it was set in some dystopian Britain of the relatively near future, which was a surprise, since it appeared to me to be some indistinct past (which would have been fine).  There were a number of gender swaps, which worked - Cymbeline became a queen (think Boudicca), which wasn't a problem, but she didn't come over as either angry or war-like.  Her second husband, the duke, had turned into a pantomime villain at his last appearance.  I'd seen a good number of the cast in Hamlet earlier in the season, but for whatever reason they didn't seem to have the power they'd had in the earlier play.  Best, for me, was Marcus Griffiths, who played Cloten (and even then not particularly convincingly), who was Laertes in Hamlet.

It was another performance where the use of video didn't really work, and in fact was distracting.  Also, for some reason, some of the dialogue was in Italian, French or Latin, with the original words projected onto the side screens, which turned the attention from the actors to the screens.

I'm not sure whether it was the play or the direction which was the problem, probably a bit of both, but either way, not a play to write home about.



the small hobbit

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