Monday, 29 November 2010

What a drama...

One afternoon thirty five years ago my sister was visiting my mum in the village of Blackham in East Sussex. My mum was complaining that since the village school had closed and the attendance at the local church had reduced considerably there was no longer a 'heart' to the village. My sister, being an organised and innovative soul, suggested that what the village needed was a Drama Group. I was duly contacted and roped in and as a result the Blackham Country Players was born.

At first the members were an odd assortment of characters from the village or connected to the village in some way. These included people aged from 8 to 80. My great Aunt was the aforementioned Octogenarian who had considerable trouble remembering her lines. So ingeniously we gave her a fox fur collar to wear with her lines written on the inside so that every time she forgot her lines she could adjust it about her shoulders and read the forgotten words. My sister was the Producer/Director, my dad the Stage Manager, my mum and I acted and my brother helped back stage. When we did a pantomime, and we did many over the years, my sons and my nieces and nephews played the parts of an assortment of villagers, fairies, elves, goslings etc. etc. I played Magicians, Dames, Principle Boys and many many comic parts over time. My mother had perfect comedy timing and often stole the show.

When the group started it was all about fun and bringing the village together but as the years went by the standard of acting improved so, as well as a yearly panto, we would put on plays. These were mostly comedies but occasionally we would tackle something of a serious nature.We entered a couple of times for a local drama festival and did extremely well winning Best Set, second in Best Drama and also second in Best Comedy.

We started on a shoe string sewing together old bed sheets and dying them for the backdrops and the stage was absolutely minute. Many hilarious incidents occurred off stage and on over the years. Collapsing scenery, rubber noses dropping off mid sentence, a beanstalk that refused to grow, there was a sixty year old Tinkerbell in Peter Pan played by one of the village eccentrics who later played the part of a wicked witch. She had a bit of a problem with personal hygiene and brought the house down by waving her wand and proclaiming loudly

"...and now my nasty smell has broken"

Sadly my sister went to live in Belgium after about 8 years and my dad died in 1984 but I stayed with the group until my mum died back in 1997.

However I am delighted to say that the group is still going strong and on Saturday evening I went back to watch them perform and they did what they do best, they made people laugh. I am so glad that even after all this time Blackham Country Players is still all about the village and having fun.

And yes, my sister did bring the 'heart' back to the village by starting up this Drama Group. Village communities are dying everywhere but this is one that is very much still alive and kicking.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Two handsome/cool Dudes!

My youngest son Adam and his hoody nephew Joe (my grandson) Both so gorgeous (-:

I was just thinking, I wonder if it will snow tonight? The clouds were pink earlier and it is certainly cold enough. It would be so magical if my grandson's first Christmas was a 'White' one. Of course he will be too young to appreciate it but I'm sure it would make it very special for my eldest son and his wife. I will be visiting them on Christmas day and whatever happens it will be very special for me too, especially after all that they have been through. Poor little Joe is still suffering badly from 'Baby Reflux' and has had three fainting episodes as a result. They have been referred to a specialist and hopefully he/she will get to the bottom of it. If anyone reading this has any experience of this condition I would appreciate your comments.

When I think about how wonderfully caring and loving my son and his wife are with each other and with Joe it makes my next paragraph all the more poignant and all the more important. So please read on.

Talking of things white, today is white ribbon day. A day to recognise and think about those who are victims of 'Domestic Violence'.

Last night brought good news for sufferers of abuse, new legislation will go ahead to remove a perpetrator from the home for up to 4 weeks following an assault or fear of one, see link below :-

If you are a victim of Domestic Abuse, please take heart from this new legislation, it will give you a breathing space and enough time to make plans and to get help. Always remember, there is help out there. See the link on my Home Page to REFUGE. Always ask for help and tell somebody what is happening. Even though 'the abuser' might try to convince you otherwise you do not deserve it!!!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Old friends...

When I was at Grammar School I had two very close friends, we hung around together, borrowed each other's clothes, swapped each other's boyfriends, planned to change the world and swore unending friendship. When we left school we went our separate ways. I stayed in touch with one ( Deb) and lost touch with the other(Gina). Over the years Deb and I learned that Gina has MS and try as we might to find her she proved very elusive. Lo and behold on my birthday this year I got a card with her email address on it via Deb who is the only one of us who has stayed at one address all these years.

I was delighted and we have corresponded ever since. It is wonderful to be in touch again after all this time. She speaks nothing of her illness and I respect that and have not mentioned it either. I have however, told her of my depression, it is part of who I am and as such I think it is important to talk about it. She may think that I have little to be depressed about, in comparison to her health problems I know I should think myself lucky, actually on good days I do think myself lucky. On bad days I don't.

'Despair' by Edvard Munch.

But right now I think myself so very lucky to have found her again. I hope she stays in touch this time.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Trying to be a good nanny...

My week end was a strange one. Because I live quite a long way from my grandson and because times is 'ard, I have to stay with my son and daughter-in-law when I visit. This is both good and bad. It means I get to spend two or three days with gorgeous little Joe but this inevitably puts a strain on a household adjusting to a new baby.

Joe is suffering from both colic and, more problematical, reflux. This means that to lie on his back causes him to get all choked up and is very distressing for both him and his parents. The result is he has to be kept upright. This means that at night he sleeps with one or the other of them and because of fear of smothering him they take it in turns to stay awake.

They are both absolutely shattered. Before Joe was born they lost two babies in a particularly distressing way and this adds to my daughter-in-law's anxiety. My son does most of the night shifts so that his wife can get some sleep. She is breast feeding and this is the only time that Joe sleeps for very long as he cries a lot during the day due to his colic. How my son manages to do his job amazes me. He looks dreadful, he does all the cooking and shopping and makes sure that his wife gets rest at every opportunity. He is such a good husband and father I am in awe. But I worry that something will have to give.

When I stay I try to help as much as I can. I tried doing the night shift but my daughter-in-law was so worried that I would fall asleep she couldn't sleep either so it was a wasted attempt. I did the washing and cooked the evening meals and took Joe out as much as I could to give her a break but I was very aware that having another person in the house was putting a strain on things.

If I were to live nearby I would pop in and out when it suited them, as it is, I will have to stay away for a little while to give them space to work things out by themselves. I will miss Joe and I will worry about them all but at present I think this is the best thing to do.