Riders on the Storm

Our weekend took us to Bristol for a family get to together for my birthday. A lovely time. Clare and I went onto Tintagel for a couple a nights for a further birthday celebration. Have done a few Arthur stories recently it was good to go to the birth of the legend. We were nervous about the forecasts of the storm. Wasn’t too bad – it was through the night in Cornwall. It made the castle very atmospheric with dark brooding clouds and a very blustery wind! Certainly helped give me some ideas for the current story I am writing.

Need to learn an extra part for a story I’m telling next week. Also have a bit of dilemma with my RSPB gig which has now moved to a Saturday in January-a home match!

Dedicated Follower of Fashion

Well I am still wearing my shorts at the end of October possibly not that fashionable! It has been a hard-working week but sitting here writing this listening to the Kinks with a lovely glass of wine.

My last blog till Tuesday/Wednesday. Those who know me well I have a significant birthday on Monday so we have a family get together in Bristol tomorrow and then Clare is taking me off to the land of myths and legends that is Cornwall. Will be at Arthur’s birthplace just in time for the storm on Sunday/Monday! Will try to get some walking in but we have agreed to take plenty of reading material!

I may do some writing if the weather is so awful. I need to adapt a story for performance after half term.

Great Expectations

A busy week for me wearing my voluntary hat. Several visits on HVV business finishing with all day Friday. Tomorrow I am cycling up the long hill to the Parliament Centre.

On Monday afternoon I did my usual bird watching at Wick Court. The children are from the Charles Dickens School London. Despite the wet weather I don’t think I ever met a group of children who were so full of questions in their desire to extend their knowledge. I hardly had time to breath. Their enthusiasm and passion for learning was delightful. I don’t think any of them were called Pip or Estelle!

Big breakthrough on the local front I have managed to get access to the 100 Acre Viewing Platform (great for birds and in the Spring boxing Hares). I’ve now got to raise funding for two kissing gates to make this happen. Any contributions from bird watchers or local walkers welcome!

Hope to blog again Friday or Saturday morning.

Silence of the Lambs

Couldn’t resist the title. Yesterday my team the Mighty Hatters went to Tamworth (nickname The Lambs) and won 4-3. Great game for the neutral but maybe not good for the blood pressure as we were 4-1 up at one stage! A great day out with a dramatic thunderstorm to finish with!

I then went and performed  a story at a Village event raising money for the Community Centre. First time because of the spot lights I couldn’t see the faces of the audience which I found difficult; I like to work an audience and respond to them, eye contact is important!  Still a good experience even if I was a little below my normal performing standards because of the impact of lights-I will know next time!

We enjoyed Rough Justice on Thursday at the Everyman. a provocative play that threw up many questions.

Our Man in Havana

Busy few days writing, doing my sessions at Wick Court and attending a few meetings. One meeting was access to the 100 Acre in Frampton at last there is light at the end of the tunnel. Hopeful that gates can be installed late November/early December. Just have to raise £500 now!

We had our Book Club meeting last night discussing Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana. A wide range of views were expressed but there was agreement on how prescient  Greene was-it was published a year before Castro’s revolution and nearly 50 years before beefed up dossiers on Iraq! Even Snowdon’s revelations could have been said to have chimed with the book.

Off to the theatre later to see Tom Conti in Rough Justice.


Village at War

Well the Literature Festival finishes today. We both have thoroughly enjoyed it, Clare has been to a few more things than me. We finished today by going to a Village at War with two Story Tellers and two musicians. They went through the experiences of a village in the First World War, very moving on several levels.

Returned to Wick Court to bird watch with the children yesterday and off again tomorrow. We had good views of the Little Owl so the children were very excited.

Harriet the Hippo

Had a lovely day at St Matthew’s in Stroud performing. A lovely school and a warm welcome before I started.I kicked off with my story Harriet the Hippo, quite pleased with it and it always surprises me how much I adjust a story because of the reaction of an audience. My throat was feeling it at the end-I maybe over did the Anansi voice!

I’ve pedaled a few miles this week-well over 100 miles. I went a forlorn pedal to see a Wryneck at Berkeley Shore; of course there was no sign, it has been very visible this week!

I’ve decided to give the Hatters a miss tomorrow, mainly because of all the travelling back and forth to the Literature Festival. I hope I don’t jinx them by not going! Another Story Teller tonight doing Morgan Le Fay.

Maginot Waltz

Quick blog before I start re-learning my stories for tomorrow’s gig in Stroud. As I have mentioned before life is quite busy. We had Trustees Meeting for HVV Children’s Centres on Monday night and we have quite a bit on over the next few weeks (don’t we always!) The implications for the Ofsted seem quite daunting and undoubtedly political-not sure that this government have their heart in them but after the report yesterday of adult literacy they should really be invested in.

Yesterday went to a talk at the Festival about Gloucestershire in the First World War, very poignant. Last night saw one of the heroes of my youth Ralph McTell at St Georges in Bristol (lovely venue). He was visibly enjoying himself and had an eclectic mix from his extensive back catalogue. Several songs had the hairs on the back of my neck standing and the eyes were moist! This included Naomi a very old song about growing old. He also sang the Maginot Waltz a song set in 1914 before the war that chimed with the morning’s talk.

King of Lies

Cheltenham Festival update 2!!! saw Clare Murphy performing the King of Lies last night as part of the festival. Breathtaking performance full of energy and was impressed by how she engaged with her audience. A real distinctive style.

Earlier our Old Man’s Peloton with two youngsters joining us (the young meerkats!) cycled 36 miles. A gorgeous day for a ride! Lovely views throughout the ride.

The Old Woman, the Buffalo and the Lion of Manding

Been a bit slow to blog because seem to be fairly busy! First thing the story “Dreams” continues to evolve. Interesting as I had a story that I have revisited and I have even performed but as I rewrite it keeps throwing up new ideas to explore. Sadly may not be able write too much this week.

The Cheltenham Literature festival has started and we went to watch Jan Blake perform (title above) on Friday night along with musicians the Sereba brothers. She is a wonderful Story Teller who engages superbly with her audience. The performance was enhanced with the music of Raymond and Kouame and their enthusiasm. Off again to Cheltenham tonight and various times over the next week. Great!!!!!!

Enquiries for my services coming in since my fliers went out. Performing in Stroud for a whole day this week so need to find time to rehearse! The RSPB also got in touch so I may have to work on those “Avian Tales” I mentioned previously.

Seth Lakeman was brilliant on Tuesday night. He gets better each time I see him and he was enjoying playing in the Cathedral. It is my hero Ralph McTell on Tuesday in Bristol. We went to Oxford on Wednesday; really enjoyed the Bodleian Library.

Finally off on our monthly cycle with the boys in 20 mins but what a game yesterday at Luton. 3-1 down after 25 minutes, 3-3 at half time and then a wonder strike from Alex Wall to snatch the game! Much better than last week’s turgid affair!