Tuesday, 20 April 2021

A Photo Every Hour - Saturday 17th April 2021

Last Saturday, the 17th was the date set for April's photo an hour. It was a lovely sunny day and we spent most of it in the garden, with the radio on for a bit at 3pm to listen to the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral. 

Here's what the day looked like...

This month, 7 lovely people joined in:

Christine from Christine Lucas on Instagram
Josie on Instagram
Hazel from World of Joy on Instagram
And myself on Instagram and this blog post :-) 

May's Photo an Hour date is Saturday 22nd - see you there!

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Our Easter Holiday at Home

I don't really like the word 'staycation'. According to Merriam-Webster the word dates back to the 1940's but I'm sure it always used to mean a holiday spent at home. Nowdays it seems like far too many people, the media, politicians, etc use it as a catch-all for simply having a holiday in the UK. Even the various dictionaries online, Oxford, Cambridge, Collins, all have one definition as holidaying in your own country. Surely if you're leaving your home to go on holiday, regardless of the destination, whether it's Greece or Grimsby, it's still *an actual holiday*. Not a staycation. I don't know, perhaps I'm just remembering wrong. 

Anyway we actually did have a traditional 'staycation' over the Easter holidays - or a 'holiday at home' which I think is a much nicer phrase. 

Normally we'd be in Wales over Easter at a place we've visited every year since 1987. I was only 4 when we first went and the owners of the site we stay at have seen me and my brother grow up, right through to the next generation - Lily- coming along on holiday too. We stay in 2 holiday cottages now though rather than share one with my parents. 

Last year it just felt a bit strange staying home. We weren't yet a month into the first lockdown and we had great weather so just played outside and rebuilt the garden and veg patch. This year for Easter, with the 'stay at home' restrictions lifted, we were able to have some day trips. And although the guidance says 'minimise travel' there's nothing in England's COVID legislation restricting (domestic) travel so we were free to travel wherever we liked for whatever reason, provided we didn't break the 'gathering' bit of the legislation (as an aside, if you're on Twitter, Adam Wagner is an excellent person to follow, he's a human rights barrister who's been keeping track of the changes to COVID legislation since March 2020 (I think over 70 changes so far). He's also brilliant at answering people's questions about law and guidance and explains things in a really easy-to-understand way).

For our holiday at home, we ended up with rather good weather for the whole week really, a bit cold perhaps but at least it wasn't raining. 

We did day trips to:

- Clevedon and Portishead, doing a 2.5 mile walk around the woods in Portishead finishing off with a playground, ice cream and fish & chips.

- the New Forest to see the ponies and tall trees and Southampton to see the huge cruise ships (of course we found a playground there too).

- Teignmouth to meet Andrew's sister, doing a 2.5 mile history walk around the town centre and harbour. We had ice cream, strolled along the prom, visited the playground and had fish & chips for dinner. 

And took picnics:

- to Chew Valley Lake to see the ducks and buy an ice cream. 

- on a 5 mile walk around the local area, crossing fields, going through woods and finding secret footpaths. 

- to Westbury White Horse to see the grandparents where we had ice cream, found geocaches and did a 3.5 mile walk around the hill fort. 

- to Burnham on Sea beach for sandcastle-building and more chips!

- on a 4 mile walk around the local area, following the old railway lines around the area. 

We also had a family Easter lunch outside in the sun complete with Easter egg hunt and a (rather chilly) picnic in the garden later in the week. 

I've written on here before about geocaching (back in 2017); it's quite an interesting and fun thing to do, especially when you're out and about in different places. We found quite a few geocaches while we were out on our day trips. 

I also found an app called ViewRanger which lets you plan walks and see walks other people have created. I'm sure it's one everyone already knows about and I'm late to the party but still, it's quite good. I think the app's possibly going to be retired at some point in the future but it seems to work well at the moment. We used some trails other people had created and also made some of our own. The trail we did in Teignmouth was rather good as it was created by the Royal Geographical Society and had lots of information about the history of the town that you could read or listen to as you followed the route. Anyway, it's an app I'd recommend. 

What did you get up to at Easter? 



Wednesday, 7 April 2021

A Year Without Theatre - My 'Shows I've Seen' Project

So you might have spotted from the photo an hour pictures from last year, I spent a good deal of time sorting, tidying and cleaning. One thing I sorted out was all my theatre programmes, tickets, brochures, leaflets and stuff. 

One of my favourite shows, Kneehigh Theatre's 'Midnight's Pumpkin' at Battersea Arts Centre in December 2012

My mum started taking me to theatre shows when I was quite young. One of the earliest shows I remember was 'The Importance of Being Earnest' at Devizes Wharf Theatre, sitting up high near the top of the tiered seating. In reality it probably wasn't that far up, I was probably just quite small! Another show was 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at the Merlin Theatre in Frome. It seemed like we used to go to the Merlin quite often. If I came home from school and my mum told me to choose some nice clothes, then I knew we were more than likely going out to see a show. 

We used to go to the local panto each year in Bath too at the Theatre Royal and I loved the plushness of the auditorium. I think theatres have a certain smell - the greasepaint maybe or perhaps it's just the sweat of the crowd and performers - whatever it is, it's fairly magical. I love the fact that what you're seeing is live right there in front of you, no second takes or anything. And I love the fact you can see the same show more than once and it can be different each time or you notice little extra bits in the set, movement or script. If I love a show, I try and see it more than once - the shows that take the record for 'most times seen' are Kneehigh's 'Tristan and Yseult' at 14 times (over 14 years) and the musical, 'Rent' at 17 times (over 15 years). 

I know my mum started taking me to the theatre when I was quite young because around 1994/1995 (about 12/13 years old) I started keeping a list of the shows I'd seen and there were some (like 'Earnest' and 'Dream') that I couldn't remember the exact dates for. At first my list was simply keeping all my theatre tickets in a box and writing things on paper but eventually it morphed into a spreadsheet which I still keep updated now. My definition of "show" is theatre, stand up comedy or music gig and my spreadsheet currently tallies 567 times I've been to one. It's probably slightly higher though as there's some late 80's/early 90's shows I don't remember. 

I should have kept a list of all the bands and artists I'd seen at Glastonbury too but I didn't and now I can't remember all of them. I've worked at every Glastonbury Festival since 2004 so there's quite a few! Some of the best performances were Arcade Fire in 2014, Muse in 2010 and Florence & the Machine in 2009. 

When Lily was born in 2016 I added an extra tab to my spreadsheet to keep track of the shows she'd seen. I don't know if she'll actually be interested when she's older but it doesn't take any effort to note them down, just in case. Interestingly, for someone who only turned 5 this year, she's already seen 73 shows, been to 3 Glastonbury Festivals and to 3 Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. 

Anyway, I miss live theatre. And whilst sorting out all my tickets and stuff, I thought it'd be nice to share these memories and anecdotes with other people. One extra thing I'd done with my spreadsheet is as well as simply writing down what show, where and on what date, I'd also kept a log of what days I'd seen them on. I had this silly idea at university which greatly amused me - I wondered if over the years I could see a show on every day of the year? (or almost every day as it's unlikely I'll ever be able to see a show on 25th Dec). So far, the tally is up to 239 days out of a possible 366 - which works out as 65.3% of the year. 

So I wrote an 8 tweet thread on Twitter (here if anyone wants to read it) explaining what I'd done with my spreadsheet for the last 25 years or so and then started a thread of #ShowsIveSeen tagging in the relevant theatres or venues and performers or companies and adding in any anecdotes or pictures. The idea was to add to the thread on each day I'd seen a show, using the information from my spreadsheet. I started on 7th June 2020 and possibly rather optimistically, wondered if life would be back to some kind of normal by the time the whole year had passed. In the first couple of months of 2020, I managed to see 9 shows and the last one I saw live was Mark Thomas at the Merlin Theatre in Frome on 7th March 2020. Even then, it felt a bit weird sitting with everyone else and I remember waiting in the queue for the toilet and watching people *still* not washing their hands. 

My Twitter thread seems to be being appreciated; lots of venues like my tweets and sometimes performers too. As you can see, I've had a few replies as well which is absolutely lovely. I've done 10 months of tweets now and the thread is rather long. I don't know if anyone else is interested really but it's kept me amused over the last year - I've enjoyed remembering the shows I've been to and sharing my pictures.

Anyway there's not really much point to this post except to a) explain what I've been doing on Twitter in case anyone has spotted my tweets and thought "what on earth is this?" and b) show off the celebrity replies I've had :-) 


Friday, 2 April 2021

A Photo Every Hour - January to March 2021

And sliding into 2021, with the first three months spent in another lockdown. Ah well, needs must, there's still things to photograph :-)

16th January 2021 - Was mostly spent tidying up and cooking although Lily did enjoy watching The Snow Queen show from CBeebies and learning about the story. The highlight of the day was collecting our click & collect order from Tesco!

20th February 2021 - We did a mammoth clean up in Lily's bedroom sorting out lots of toys and changing around the furniture (she used to have a floor bed, now she has her own double bed, bedside table and DAB radio to listen to the Fun Kids Radio channel). 

20th March 2021 - The weather was beginning to brighten up and we went out for a walk and bike ride finding minibeasts and fairy doors. Back at home we made a minibeast hotel and in the evening, filled out our census form. 

There's still a little band of lovely people dipping in and out of photo an hour each month on Instagram, Twitter and on blogs. 

Sarah from Sarah Rooftops on Instagram

Naomi from What Naomi Did Next on Instagram

Bev from Confuzzledom on Instagram, Twitter and her blog

Jennifer from Pastry and Purls on Instagram

Jane from Is That You Darling on Instagram

Jennifer on Instagram 

Hazel from World of Joy on Instagram and on her blog

Sharon from Sunshine and Celandines on Instagram

Kezzie from KezzieAG on Instagram

Josie on Instagram

Susie from Second Hand Susie on Instagram

And myself on Instagram and this blog

Give me a shout if you join in and I've missed you! 

If you fancy taking part, here's the rest of the dates for 2021. All you have to do is take a picture every hour on the allotted day and post it somewhere with the hashtag #photoanhour  It's always interesting to see what everyone else is getting up to and how their days are going :-)

Maybe see you on April 17th for the next photo an hour? :-) 

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

A Photo Every Hour - 2020

Well this was a weird year wasn't it? I'm guessing it didn't really go as planned for anyone. But there were still things to take pictures of, even if the majority of them were at home. 

18th January 2020 - Lily had asked for a birthday day trip to see some dinosaurs so we went out to the Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester. We started off with breakfast at a garden centre on the way, had tea and cake for lunch and finished with a stroll on the beach and fish & chips at the seaside. 

15th February 2020 - A day of sorting and tidying (a lot of that went on in 2020!). 

21st March 2020 - A weird day from what I remember, although the lockdown restrictions hadn't started officially it felt like should be staying at home already. Lily watched some online lessons and did lots of playing. 

18th April 2020 - The first photo an hour day officially in lockdown. I made a sling for Lily's toy baby, scanned some old family photos and finished off the last of my Easter chocolate. 

16th May 2020 - I jumped on the 'baking bread' bandwagon and had a go at doing our own (which we still do now when needed). We also repotted some of our plants and seedlings before having dinner in the garden as it was such a lovely sunny day. 

13th June 2020 - More tidying up and playing and in the evening we watched a streaming of some carnival footage from years ago that I'd transferred and sent to a local website. 

18th July 2020 - The most exciting thing that happened that day was the arrival of some dinosaur fabric to make a dress for Lily! A lot of my photos seem to feature rather boring things like washing up or tidying, sorry. 

22nd August 2020 - The start of being able to harvest our vegetables from the veg patch. I scanned some old school photos and put them onto a Facebook group (I'd promised to do that after going to a reunion in 2019) and in the evening we had some home-grown potatoes with our dinner. 

19th September 2020 - This day was mostly spent tidying up the garden and harvesting lots of things from the veggie patch. 

31st October 2020 - Photo an hour fell on Halloween last year and we dressed up and took cake round to my parents house for a mini Halloween party. Lily had great fun doing a spooky chocolate hunt and we had fish & chips for dinner whilst watching the "next slide please" COVID briefing that evening. 

21st November 2020 - Back in lockdown and we started the day with Lily doing an online science lesson. I did a bit of sewing in the afternoon, finishing off a tshirt and dress that I'd started earlier in the week. In the evening we watched the Glastonbury Carnival virtual procession (all the carnivals having been cancelled back in March). 

12th December 2020 - And I didn't realise it at the time, but we ended the year with a photo an hour in the same place as where we started back in January! With a day trip to the south coast, ending up in Weymouth, this time to celebrate my birthday (which was the next day). We had ice cream, fancy hot chocolate and fish & chips by the seaside before venturing into one of the few shops we'd been in all year (armed with a long list of bits for Christmas). 

I'll round up the first few months of 2021 in a few days and then I'll be up to date!


Monday, 29 March 2021

A Photo Every Hour - January 2018

So for some completely unknown reason, back in 2018 I wrote a blog post summarising February's photo an hour but not January's. When I did the 2018 year round-up last week I only started from March, mistakenly thinking I'd already done January (and not actually bothering to check). 

So just to keep things complete, here's 20th January 2018. We did some cleaning, went to a friend's 2nd birthday party and in the evening I did a bit of geocaching planning. 

Right, back to summarising 2020 tomorrow!


Sunday, 28 March 2021

A Photo Every Hour - 2019

Next up in my photo an hour round up, 2019 - the last "normal" year! 

19th January 2019 - Lily had a friend's birthday party to attend north of Bristol so we turned it into a day trip, starting with a Toby Carvery breakfast and taking in the new 'Hey Duggee' movie at the cinema. After the party we did a bit of shopping for Lily's birthday party the following week. 

16th February 2019 - We did some tidying and sorting then went out for a drive to do some geocaching and ended up at a soft play centre for dinner. 

23rd March 2019 - Another day of tidying and sorting out, with a purpose as the next day we were doing a stall at a local baby & children's table top sale. 

27th April 2019 - A day of travelling almost 300 miles home from our Easter holiday break in Anglesey. We stopped off on the way for dinner and a play at Gloucester Servives on the M5 of course. :-) 

19th May 2019 - A Sunday this time and also Andrew's birthday. In the morning I helped at a local baby & children's sale and in the evening, we had birthday pizza before watching a show at the Bath Festival. 

15th June 2019 - Another baby & children's sale, this time the local NCT one where I was volunteering and manning stalls. After the sale me, Lily, my dad and brother headed to the hospital where my mum was (this was the month she was diagnosed with cancer) and then came back to our house for dinner cooked by Andrew. 

20th July 2019 - Was our carnival club's annual fundraising fun day. Andrew took the lorry along as an exhibit, I made lots of cakes and also manned some of the stalls. Lily spent all our money on the stalls winning sweets :-)

24th August 2019 - This day fell on the weekend of Great Dorset Steam Fair and it was a lovely sunny warm day. In the morning me and Lily did our shift in the pay box of a friend's vintage arcade and in the afternoon I did a shift volunteering on the trailer rides around the ring. The evening was spent at the fairground whilst Lily's favourite area of the fair was the freak show (performed by the Circus of Horrors) which was not surprising as we camp directly behind their show and she'd seen all the performers every day. 

21st September 2019 - We went away for the weekend to help run the vintage arcade at Carter's Steam Fair in West Wycombe. It was a lovely autumn day driving there and a mild evening too with fab fireworks to finish. 

12th October 2019 - A day of tidying, cake baking and playing. In the evening we watched a live stream from one of the local carnivals taking place that day. 

16th November 2019 - The last time I performed on a carnival float! (as the processions were cancelled last year for obvious reasons). The morning was spent sorting out my costume and bits from the previous night's procession and then getting ready for that evening's one. 

21st December 2019 - It was our carnival club's Christmas party that day. We had a bit of shopping to do at lunchtime and then I made the cake that'd been requested by a couple of people in the club - a battenberg cake! 

Just one more year - 2020 - to go and then the first few months of 2021 :-) 


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