Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The things you learn...

My Cotswold Way attempt went belly-up after 3 days - my knee decided to cause me excruciating pain and, with much hanging-of-head I had to call my Mum to come and pick me up. My knee is still not better a week later so I do feel vindicated that I wasn't just being a wuss!

I saw some AMAZING views that were well worth the fact that the walk sends you over every hill within sight - seriously - you can look back and see them all, and, though I didn't meet many people, there were same great folks out there. The first was a family on the first afternoon with whom I chatted for a bit, found out some things we had in common, and then, as I was about to head off, said "commune with your God" and "I'm sure he's looking down on you". Now, I'd already decided that this was going to be a major factor of this trek, and I hadn't mentioned any of this, or my faith, to these folks, so it was nice (if not just a little freaky!) to have it confirmed :)

Then spent a lovely few days chilling out in Cov with the sister, B-I-L and niece. Rock Band - Warriors was played (with me on guitar and not drums - there's a reason I always drum, I shall stick to it in future!) Carcassone was enjoyed and we also watched 'The Marigold Hotel' which I loved. But then, with that cast, who couldn't :)

Today I've managed to clear out 4 AVON boxes worth of stuff from my past. This has been stuff that would ordinarily be found in your family loft/garage, but as I no longer have that, it travels around with me. Today I decided enough was enough and it needed slimming down.

So I've been going through stuff from the ages of 4 - 11 and a few other bits and generally being amazed at how evocative the slightest thing could be (the wallpaper covering my initial writing books for example) and how much I had forgotten that seemed so important at the time. I loved the texture of the paper and the purple print of all the worksheets when I was a kid, I could actually recall filling some of them in. I was impressed with my poetry writing back then - boy I was intense! And fond memories of the pictures in the maths books - which I apparently cared more about colouring in than solving the problem. I'm terrified at the amount of stuff from Secondary school that I've forgotten and yet, apparently, enjoyed immensely.

It was good to go through it and remind myself about what made me tick at those ages and which teaching methods worked best for me - although and student would tell you that cut-and-stick is always a winner, my GCSE Chemistry class particularly! I've kept a couple of writing books from when I was little - the honesty make me smile. Apparently I was very annoyed one weekend because feeding the ducks was cut short due to my sister needing the loo. I didn't write that I was angry - but you could tell!

My favourite thing I discovered was a painting that I must have done with my paternal Grandfather. He was an artist but died when I was 6. I remember him clearly, mostly that he taught me how to draw different sorts of trees. I found the painting that I did with him - and you can see his pencil marks under my painting effort :)

Monday, August 06, 2012

Cotswold Way planning

So after the challenge of last week (typing out the script for the school production - and not procrastinating too much!) I am planning my challenge of next week - walking the Cotsold way. I've already bought my shiny new, 1.5kg only, 1-man-tent, and am now indulging in finding out al the fun things to do along the walk.

So far I've found a cool treasure hunt story, I'm planning to place some geo-caches, I'm about to download my start-end finishers card so I get a certificate etc and I've worked out how long each leg will take me with the aid of this fab trail guide.

Next up is finding campsites, working out best food aquisition stops and some treats (pub meal, cream tea!) along the way.

Very much looking forward to the views, the alone/spending time with God space, the people I'll meet along the way, and the opportunity to be out in the fresh air for a week - fab!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Holidays

Hurrah for summer holidays! We broke up last Thursday which, according to my friend who works in the pwer industry, makes us the 1% of school's in the UK who did. I spent Friday & Saturday in there finishing off the set for 'Company' at The Wroughton Theatre next week.

I am determined to let myself lie-in as much as possible so Monday I awoke at very leisurely midday - fabulous! I then proceeded to make 4 To-Do lists and so has begun a, hopefully, productive summer break.

Yesterday proved to be interesting as I had a trip to the Dr's. I've been having blood tests at various points this year, and have been on iron tablets for low-iron stocks (not anemia - which is different, I didn't know that either!) but they were also trying to find out about my weird Thyroid readings. Thryroid issues run in my family so I know the effect they can have.

Turns out I have Graves' Disease. It's an auto-immune disease which means that my immune system is producing anti-bodies which (in my case) are supressing my thyroid and will eventually (in apparently 3-6 months) stop my thyroid from functioning. Normally Graves' has the opposite effect so, as usual, my body can never do anything I have to keep an eye out for symptomns go back for regular blood-tests and when it finally packs up I shall be on Thyroxin for the rest of my life. Oh joy!

I feel like I should have asked more questions whilst I was there but the doctor was great and pointed out that it's fairly common and hopefully the thyroid thing will be the only symptom I get of the disease. I have, of course, Googled it, but most stuff is about when it sends you thyroid Hyper (over) not Hypo (under).

Anyhoo, I've decided that there's not a lot I can do about it really so I'll just plough on. My housemate has been suggesting diet stuff which I'm looking into, the doctor said that cabbage is about the only thing that contains the stuff I need naturally so I have dutifully bought one - this should make for some interesting meals!

In other news I'm going to pick up the new engine for Moffy in a couple of weeks. A family friend from the Morris Minor owners club has offerred me one for an incredibly reasonable price , it would be rude not to. I'm planning on walking the whole of the Costwold Way (103miles) and have bought a new, light, 1-man tent should take me about a week with some wild-ish camping. I also plan to spend a lot of time with my nephew & nieces as I haven't seen them for 6 weeks and they've grown A-LOT!

Now if the sun that finally appeared this morning would just hang around for a few weeks that would be fab :)

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Gardening at Easter

I was aware that this Easter Sunday was going to be spent in Bath as I couldn't figure out if I was need for a get-in today or not. As it turned out - I'm not! So I decided to get the garden at the place I'm living now in order - it's just so lovely having a garden - even if most of it is gravel and paving slabs.

There are 2 raised beds containd by railway sleepers and me and Tate (Housemate) to some extent, have big plans for them. I spent today weeding, getting rid of anything I didn't want, trying to identify the large, red palm-y type thing taking up 1/3 of one of the beds (and then trying to figure out if it's dead...), moving some bulb type plants, re-organising the shed so I can use it as a sort-of-greenhouse (it has a window!) and then planting some new stuff.

Feeling quite chuffed with myself at all I've managed to get done - although only the next few days will tell if the stuff I've moved enjoyed the trip or not. Also want to get hold of some herbs to plant and possibly some beans/soft fruit too.

Not been to focused on the God stuff recently and weirdly doing all this today has really helped with some thinking and focusing :)

I am now going to cook a sort-of-roast for me & Paul (Housemate). Chicken Provencal with Yorkshire puddings, veg and gravy - followed by some Rhubarb crumble. Nom nom!

Aunty x 3

After the excitement of Matty's entrance into the world 1 month early in January and then my step niece Maisy being a week-and-a-half late giving her Mum a 32 hour labour which finally ended with a C-section, one would have hoped that Baby Wilson's (Banana to her friends - well, me) arrival would have been slightly less dramatic.

However she had other ideas...

After the first night of B&I we had retired to James' house for drinks and I was heading home at 1am (some of us had to be in work at 8:20!) my phone rang and it was John, who began the conversation "Hi Bex, how did the show go?" My reaction was fairly typical of anyone being rung at 1am regardless of if it was the 1st night of a show or not!

Banana had decided to be born 2 months early. Jo had had pre-eclampsia for a couple of days and then gone into labour that evening - they had decided not to ring me then and to call me after. I was very touched by this and also relieved, given the subject matter of the majority of the play!

A week and a half on and Banana has only her feeding tube still (although did insist on pulling it out several times and holding aloft in a victorious manner) screams louder than any baby on the intensive OR special care units where she has been and generally shown early signs of world domination - fabulous! :) Jo has had BP trouble but it seems to have been sorted now. They've spent a couple of nights in separate hospitals and been shifted from Cov to B'ham and back again.

I won't get to see her for a few weeks yet - but hopefully soon!

I got to see Matty yesterday when I helped J&V move house from one part of Hertfordshire to another and he is in fine form also, starting to get some proper chubby cheeks now :) Also - he smiles!!!

Blood & Ice - Final Thoughts

Well, the show finished a week ago yesterday - and I can safely say it was one of the best experiences of my life! So far outside my comfort zone and yet being made to feel so safe and professional by the cast, director and crew and, pulling off what I feel to be the best performance I could, made it a wonderful thing to be a part of. I still can't quite believe I was a part of it - or that the emotion and focus flowing through the character was actually me onstage - many fleeting out of body experiences occurred - and not all because of the tightness of the corset I was wearing.
The responses from the people who came to watch was very gratifying and again - quite surreal to have people I have never met coming up to me and enthusing about the play and out performances. But also what was interesting was the other conversations that were started about Mary, Byron, Shelley, their beliefs and society at that time.
I feel I know Mary quite well now, reading her diaries was certainly an eye opener and at times a little too close to home, especially when's she speaks of the emotions she is feeling and yet feels that, logically, she should be able to surpass these. Above all she was a highly intelligent woman who's first commitment was to her children.
Here are some photos for your perusal!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blood & Ice and stuff

Just had the most amazing rehearsal for Blood & Ice.

We did Act 2 which is fairly full on emotionally and switches backwards and forwards more and more frequently. I feel like I'm getting more of a grasp on it now and am starting to feel less like some imposter who's somehow ended up onstage by accident!

This entire process has been a little daunting for me, for a few reasons - not least because I've never had the main part in anything before, and I've certainly never had to do anything this emotional or focussed before. I'm loving it! The director and the rest of the cast have made me feel really comfortable and before every rehearsal I sit myself down (or at least internally monolgue on the walk there!) and tell myself to give it everything I can as I may never get this opportunity again. Every rehearsal it's getting a little easier and I'm understanding the character more and more, even the kissing and seeing the naked Shelley (first time tonight!) haven't really phased me so hopefully when I walk out onstage and can see the audience (bound to happen in the Rondo) it won't throw me either........

Also last noght I became a step-Aunty! The amazing Jodie was in labour for around 36hours and then finally gave birth via c-section to the lovely Maisy Kimberley Bower. 9.5lb. Which makes her 2lb heavier than Matthew is now - who is now 2 months old!

On other news I was diagnosed with various maladies in February (what's new!) one upshot of which is that I'm now on iron tablets - have had no side-effects (yet!) but I am definitely feeling more like myself. I have the energy to get out of bed, and I no longer constantly feel like everythings a struggle, which means my feelings about work have improved drastically - just as well given the workload at the moment - which in turn means I feel like I am actually doing a good job at training the students and keeping on top of everything. I am so glad my Dr was willing to do the blood tests and not just put it down to stress - even if it does look like my thyroid maybe on it's way out!

Came to back to the old blog as I miss it - but also am trying to improve my Bible reading and am starting to Journal (why it's taken me 31 years is a bit of a mystery, but better late then never!) so I'm hoping starting this back-up may help some sort of routine.....we'll see, we'll see......

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A gutsy bottom end

So I had my practise for the audition I may or may not be doing on Thursday, last night. I'm generally not too good in singing auditions - I'm either too relaxed and familiar or so nervous I forget the words, the music and the breathing.

Last night was very chilled due to it just being a practise with the Director and MD, just as well as, having gone to the trouble of writing my words out only to leave them at home! I sang 'I want to go to Hollywood' from Grand Hotel (one of the shows that will be included in the concert) which I didn't know before but having listened to it several times I really like it and have been busily singing away to it in the car for the last 2 weeks :)

For the first time in my life I managed to sing something in front of someone the same way I manage to sing it when I'm on my own, I fluffed some of it but generally I managed to do some good belting. The result of which was being told I have 'a gutsy bottom end'. I shall take this as a compliment, look at the other song that I was told to and then go back on Thursday and see if I can get through it without stopping, hopefully retaining my gutsy-ness!

Tonight is the first blocking rehearsal for Blood & Ice, I've managed to learn the first 6 pages or so, although I'm fairly sure I'll forget all of it as soon as I stand up for blocking!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Line learning - never as easy as you think!

After a hectic week involving my birthday, moving house, 2 weekends in work, the birth of my nephew (4 weeks premature), first read through of Blood & Ice, going to see my tiny nephew and spending the day with him; I am sitting in Coventry waiting for the hour when I must pick up a sofa (and various other objects) from one house and take it and the objects either here of back to Bath - before heading out to a character workshop for B&I.

So I thought in this lull I should do some more studying up and line learning. I managed to put myself into a small state of terror by listening to the read through on my way up here last night - I stopped trying to repeat lines after about 15mins whilst the realisation of just how much I have to learn slowly dawned on me. I think what is worrying me more is that I've NEVER had this many lines to learn (or even half this many!) and it's been at least 5 years since I did any major bit of acting. Still, at this moment, I am still relishing the challenge do have decided to apply myself to the creation of a 2 timelines.

One to help me visualise Mary's life and the happenings there in

And one to help me plan out learning all of the dialogue.... I'll start with the 1 page which I do not speak on, and go from there!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Ahh, the question of titles - but at the end of the day it doesn't matter.

Matthew David Pearse Cliff came into the world yesterday, 4 weeks early but still weighing a healthy 6lb 8oz! Vicky is doing OK but she had pre-eclampsia so they are keeping her in for monitoring etc. Was a worrying time for a bit there.

On top of this it was my Birthday on Saturday , which I'm fairly sure Matthew's will eclipse from now on! (it's fine last years was the last important one for a while!), and I moved house, and was in work all weekend.

Still to get my Birthday presents.

Lovely folks helped me move so only took 4 hours. New house is good, although tgere's an ammonia type smell in my room that comes and goes which is not so good!

Didn't have to call any ambulances for this PST w/end so an improvement on the last one......

BLOG rehearsal tonight was fun - thinking of having a go for a solo, see how that pans out.

Mostly very nervous about 1st Blood& Ice rehearsal tomorrow, so an early night with Frankenstein and Mary's diaries as light reading!
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