Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Tab and a Path

I was delighted this week to give an interview to The Tab, the student paper, for my old university, UEA (there’s a writing competition to go with it, too). One of the questions related to what I studied and how that helped me on ‘my path to success’. Pretty circuitously, was my first thought. 

 Having done some soul-searching at A Level, I’d decided to abandon my first love, English in favour of studying something more career-oriented at university. Or so I thought, thus proving the downside of those head versus heart decisions. The head may give you cool, sensible advice, but without the heart’s commitment and passion some of those decisions can ultimately leave you unfulfilled and wondering about what might have been. All the ‘proper job’ years might have been mentally engaging, but my creative writing ambitions gnawed away at me the whole time.

Coincidentally - and as a ‘brain rinse’ from writing – I read Rachel Hore’s lovely novel, The Dream House this week, which took me to places I know and remember in Norfolk. There’s a reference too, to the mystic, Julian of Norwich, and one of her best known phrases, ‘all shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well’. The path we follow may take us on some interesting diversions, but they make us who we are. And whilst I might not have chosen some of my diversions, hopefully, my own winding path has given me more to write about!

Here’s me then after my Congregation Ceremony with the two people who made it possible, my parents. You wouldn’t know it to look at them, but they’d just had one of the most traumatic years of their life and yet they’re smiling and looking so proud. Mum and Dad went on to triumphantly rebuild their life after a blow which would have flattened most people. And me, I finally followed my heart.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Sleepers Awake!

Those of you who warned me about the stubborn nature of sinus infections were right as I now wade my way through a second course of grim antibiotics. Not much fun, especially in a week which has highlighted the ‘ticking time bomb’ of antibiotic resistance. My daughter, Lily, has sent me some interesting news about an alternative treatment for sinusitis which can only be described – look away if you’re eating – a bogeyectomy. Nice. I shall look forwards to that then.

On a happier and far more aesthetically pleasing note, we made it to see Matthew Bourne’s amazing production of Sleeping Beauty at the Millennium Centre. Just. Wet weather, road works and farm vehicles added an extra frisson to the timings of our journey, but we arrived at the venue with ten minutes to spare. Enough time for a comfort break, certainly – but, quelle surprise - I have to run up to the third floor before I find a queue for the Ladies that doesn’t have ten women in front of me and even then it seems from the deathly silence in each of the three cubicles, that the occupants are there for an extended nap!

More comfortable at last, we join another queue to take our seats only to find an outbreak of major ticket fail. Seat numbers are clearly printed on the tickets, there are plenty of helpful staff to direct you to the correct area and, as a final check, the sections numbers are also marked above each entrance… so how come at least a quarter of the people standing in front of us have to be turned away because they’ve rocked up at completely the wrong place?? Grrr!

Eventually everyone in the packed auditorium was seated and the performance began… Act One – 1890, The Baby Aurora. For the very first minutes, I was engaged but not transported by what to me seemed more theatre rather than dance … and then the fairies arrived to bestow their gifts and from that moment I was utterly mesmerised! The dancing, costumes, makeup and sets were simply breath-taking. How so many dancers leap and land so gracefully without making a sound is beyond me… but then I was one of those little girls who realised very early on in life that I wouldn’t make a ballerina in a million years. The whole production was ravishingly beautiful in every mood from ethereal to darkly sensual and left me speechless with emotion. My only regret is that with so much happening on stage – none of that ‘extras standing around pretending to be having a jolly conversation’ nonsense – I couldn’t follow everything at once and wished I could rewind it very slowly and experience it all over again. Which seems like a very good reason to do it all again one day!

I couldn’t take photos during the performance but this You Tube link to the official promo trailer - brought to my attention by lovely writer, reviewer and blogger, Kathryn Eastman, who also saw it - will give you a small flavour of this exquisite production. And if you get the chance to see it live, you’re in for a real treat.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Tubes, Daffs and Ballet

This week, I’ve been clobbered by another sinus infection which I thought I could beat by myself until The Earache from Hell drove me to the GP. Having consumed more pharmaceutical weapons of mass destruction than you can shake a stick at, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll see some improvement.

On a brighter note, Friday was our wedding anniversary, Tom filled the house with daffodils and sent me a very beautiful card created from one of his epaintings. 

 The weather’s been largely dry and bright, but we only managed a short trip out and about because my ear didn’t enjoy the cold very much.

Next week, though, we’re doing something I’m very much looking forwards to. The girls and their other halves kindly gave us vouchers for the Millennium Centre for Christmas. Earlier in the year, I was keen to see the Welsh National Opera’s new production of Alban Berg’s Lulu, but the more I thought about, the less inclined I was to brave such a depressing story after a long cold winter. Looking at the programme, I didn’t really feel like seeing Madame Butterfly again, as much as I enjoyed it last time, and I’m not really up for more Wagner just yet after the Tristan und Isolde marathon.

Then I spotted this… And thanks to our generous gift, we’re not even sitting in the gods for once! I’ve never been to the ballet before, so I don’t know if it’ll take, but I’m really looking forwards to doing something different.