Friday, 3 September 2010

Why didn't anyone tell me about Les Miserables? We went to see it last night, I bought the tickets for R's birthday, which was also yesterday, nice touch eh? We were in the rear circle, which is significantly further away than the front of the circle, still could make out the people on the stage. I deliberately hid my mobile in the car, as it is new, I have not found a quick way of putting it on silent so thought I would play safe and leave it about 500m away. I do now have a few friends, but after losing my phone which I had not backed up, Matthew, I really don't have many contacts and rely on people texting or calling me to get their numbers. Still, it's nice to start with a clean sheet and not have some of those people in your list who you don't remember who they are or why you have their number. Anyhow, we had a pleasant and reasonably priced meal in the Slug and Lettuce, and then went to join the aged of Hampshire to watch Les Mis.

Goodness. The singing is amazing, the whole thing is in song, it is a dreadful tragedy with not enough resolution for me. When it finished, I thought they needed to do another act to resolve the huge dangling French revolution that had not been resolved. Still, a tangled love story and a fascinating message about grace, forgiveness and mercy. I was emotionally wrung out after it, exhausting, not a light hearted evening out. It was a bit gloomy on the stage at all times, and didn't really have the song and dance routines that most musicals have. A very different beast to Chicago, for example, watched on my birthday earlier this year. Still, I liked it! Very thought provoking, especially the priest at the start who offers such tangible mercy and gives a man down on his luck a chance to redeem his life. The whole thing is about how our actions affect ourselves and others and how unforgiveness can mess you up.

Other points to note from R's birthday. We went to the Blue Reef aquarium in Southsea. On the way there in the car we saw a sign threatening delays into Portsmouth, so we decided to drive to Gosport, park and get the ferry, which we have never done before and which was a pleasant way to travel. I have been to Gosport a few times, once for a Chinese meal which was excellent. However, I had forgotten how much of a navy impact there is there - the whole place is a naval base, with a few shops inbetween. If I was an international nuclear superpower with a point to make against the UK or NATO or someone I would have a few guns trained on Gosport. People put Gosport down, as an inbred peninsula with no escape. Which might explain why the people look like they don't get out much. the tatooed anchors on the legs told a tale, and that was just the women. That's true. Anyway, the strapline for the Gosport ferry is 'Its shorter by water.' I would have thought 'Portsmouth is over there and marginally nicer' would work just as well.

We walked to the aquarium via Southsea, it was miles and we got the bus back. We really enjoyed the aquarium, it is a really well put together collection and very educational as well as entertaining. If you haven't been, it comes with 4 stars and would be a perfect diversion on a rainy day in Portsmouth.

got to go to work now.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

I tried to give you a link here to my cycling plus blog in case you wanted to look at pictures of me changing a inner tube, but I have failed to, so just type me into google and it's the first thing that comes up. Changing a tyre is a big effort and it was my first one, and it was really hard cos I am not strong enough to get the pump to get up to required 120psi pressure, so R had to bounce up and down on it to comedy effect.

I have done three weeks in a row at Swim club. Despite being in the lowest of 4 lanes, and being the slowest person in it, I am getting stronger and can feel the difference it is making, esp with kicking. Last night I swallowed half the pool, there are a couple of charming but splashy men in my lane, and we were doing back stroke, so got nearly knocked out as well as drowning.

Paultons Park found the car key and R went and got it today. He also got the repaired trampoline for the boat, washed the car, went to Bitterne market for fruit and for the girls to buy him comedy birthday present in the 99p shop, bought and posted a parcel for an 11 year old second cousin, washed the cushion covers on the sofa and cooked tea. And took the library books back.

My plan is for him to look forward to getting back to work for a rest. I spent the day of sunshine indoors, working on school related things all day, plans and so on, and I am going in on Friday to sort the classroom out, with my partner, and both of us bringing two children. It is a complete pigsty because the builders have been replacing the whole heating system, everything is a mess so really looking forward to that. It is clearly back to nrmal life now its September, I had three friends pop round (all for bike related errands, clearly more for R than me). If he went into business now as a bike mechanic he could be run off his feet by next week, he has a constant stream of people wanting things done to their bikes.

Tonight was the bus user group, which I am secretary of, despite being a fraud and never using buses. We had a host of the great and good from the bus world of Southampton, and just me and Trixie representing the bus using community of Thornhill. Come on, step up on the platform and be counted, bus users of Southampton. Next meeting, 1 Dec, 6pm at the Natterbox. Tell your friends. We have been analysed by a phd student from Middlesex, and he came along tonight to interview Trixie and I after the meeting - plus we had a sub meeting to discuss our logo and future of our group. How thrilling, there are only two of us!

It was Dippy's birthday today, I missed the celebrations due to aforementioned BUG, but A had made lemonade using a Victorian recipe found on the BBC website. Dippy is the dinosaur who went on holiday and came back and has a bag and a house and everything he could need for a happy life. He is 3 in dino years, 2 in human years.

Yesterday we came back from Greenbelt, having lived through our fourth festival camping experience, with weather of all varieties to test even the most seasoned campers, rain, wind and frost being the most severe aspects - a double rainbow and sunshine being a bit more cheery. We took a whole heap of people with us this year, and did communal cooking and camped together, an experiment in community living to remind us why we don't all live in one big house in the country. Most of our housegroup were there, plus the delightful Lennard family, who were a big hit with the younger children, as they didn't mind chasing and tickling and listening to awful jokes. The consensus seems to be that Greenbelt was a hit, and the Crandons are booking their place for next year, having missed out this year. R and his band have been asked back, and I have been easily persuaded to rejoin the volunteer team to help make the kidswork better, so I guess we are booked up next August bank holiday. I went along to a few workshop/worship things, a Taize hour which was moving but a bit chilly on the bum, and a great worship session with the Salesians ( Roman Catholic young people on a mission). I found out that I still am an ENFJ personality type, watched a awesome performance from a band who play bass and harmonica at the same time, laughed at the stand up comedy night and tried to persuade the liberal progressive radical chap that he should move to inner city Gloucester. He wasn't persuadable, and I was left wondering what that was all about? R went to watch some bands that I have no interest in, played guitar and sang for lots of children and spent a lot of time lying down with Paul, talking. I and A learned to illustrate a book and decorated sticks.

I snuck off on my bike and did 30 miles on Saturday up and down some hilly hills, to Stroud and back to Cheltenham. More of that on my biking blog, but Stroud is an interesting place - I only got as far as the jazz cafe where I ate organic plum slice and read leaflets about all kinds of alternative healing and so on - it clearly is a hippie hang out which would have some Christians casting demons out of it and shooing them down the main street before you can say Downward Dog. They have a worship service for people of no religion who want to identify with spiritual practice and come together to worship without calling it that. An intriguing place. Nearby is a village called Slad, which I want to live in for the great name.