Wednesday, 25 June 2008


I'm off on holiday at the weekend to here, 179.52 miles away....

While I am there, I aim to visit this place, 33.55 miles away.....

.....and maybe here, 65.28 miles away......

.....and possibly get my industrial history fix 74.5 miles away.

Whatever did we do before online maps and route planners?

Sunday, 22 June 2008

The Sherbet Pips Did Break the Spell a Bit

Siobhan Redmond is currently playing Titania/Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Globe.

The production had some lovely touches. The seemingly obligatory doubling of the roles of Oberon/Theseus and Titania/Hippolyta gave us changes in accent - English vowels as the wedding couple, and Scottish as fairy royalty. As the actors are really Scottish, to me at least, it made the fairy characters seem more genuine than their English accented counterparts.

The staging was nicely done, with a deep blue gauze as a backdrop for the scenes in the forest. As we left the magical forest the fairies removed the backdrop by drawing it across the heads of the groundlings. This was a masterful stroke, literally removing a veil from their eyes. I'm not sure the groundlings were as happy as I was though, as they grabbed at vanishing glasses and caps gone astray, and started straightening mussed up hair.

Redmond was striking on stage, with fantastic hair (good enough for its own credits), crackling with energy* and being suitably regal. Of course she is great at doing regal anyway, using it to great comic effect in The Smoking Room. It's impressive what can be done with a suitably raised eyebrow.

I am also pleased to report that the crinkly packets of sweets are gone and the tubs are back, so no irritating crackles at quiet bits. Yay! Although I did manage to drop my whole tub of sherbet pips on the floor to startling effect. Oops. There may still be scope for more redesign on the whole sweetie packaging concept.

*Redmond, not the hair

Monday, 16 June 2008

You say Bevan, I say Beveridge

GCSE time has been taking its toll in our house.

We had a heated 'debate' this evening over who was really responsible for the introduction of the Welfare State, which actually involved someone stomping off upstairs. Teenagers today eh?

Later, we argued about who had the tv remote, so the smugness didn't last for too long.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Remembrance of Teenage Embarrassment Past

I've been watching The Inbetweeners which ended last week. I missed the first episode, but quickly got addicted to this little trip down memory lane. It follows the adventures of four nerdy, wannabe cool, sixth form boys as they negotiate growing up and losing their virginity. Part of the charm is that this is not Skins, which I got bored with quite quickly. Yes, the plots were a bit obvious, and the reliance on jokes about teenage boys' main sexual activity were a bit tiring, but it really hit the spot for me in evoking those awkward teenage years.

I watched it with my teenage sons which added a whole new dimension, giving me the opportunity to relive that cold sweat of embarrassment from watching Bouquet of Barbed Wire, or anything referring to sex really, with my parents in the room.

Did I mention it is also funny? The horror of holidays with parents, the awkwardness of first sexual encounters and the humiliations available at Thorpe Park were toe-curlingly explored. Also, a special medal should go to Oriane Messina for her tiny but effective role as a predatory Driving Examiner.

An acquired taste probably, but I liked it.... Best watched with parents or children for the full experience.