Thursday, 26 November 2009

Floristry Week 9 and an Assignment Back (aargh!)

Writing this so long behind now, I must catch up, and had to check my note book to see what I did at college this week.

Well the cool room that was promised a long time ago has finally arrived, although it really isn't big enough for the 3 classes that run at the college and we now have to waste further time loading buckets and flowers into and out of the cool room. One of my big disappointments with the course is the lack of organisation of many aspects, the first one is the incoming flowers. Lists must be produced to order the flowers in the first place so why these aren't then used when the flowers come in to organise which flowers go where, the gerbera are for daytime, roses night time year 2, rather than there just being some great big muddle and fuss, it is very frustrating to say the least.

The work this week, well I learnt about grading flowers checking such things as quality, thickness of stem, number of heads to a stem etc. Then it was a hand-tied in a container, gift wrapped. I still don't like hand-tied work (but I guess it is because I particularly like arrangement design work) and as we usually have the same flowers week in and week out the hand tied arrangements are quite boring.

I also did an arrangement in a vase this week which is very similar to a hand tied, but just not tied! An arrangement in a basket which is very similar to a double ended spray (but in a basket) and would be a gift type arrangement.

Wednesday starts with 'Tutorial' which includes a session where the college has dictated we have to cover such issues as alcohol, safety awareness, aids amongst others. Very useful (possibly) for the younger ones, but totally pointless for me. I am there to learn floristry skills and nothing else. There are also opportunities for one to ones should you require one, which I personally feel I would only want if there was something I wanted to discuss. The college is totally geared to the 16 -19 age range, which is all well and good but if they are going to offer places to mature students then they really need to be able to understand their different needs to ensure they too have an enjoyable learning experience. Most mature students who pay their own fees are likely to have a successful experience, they have already made the financial commitment, it focusses the mind.

Wednesday then continues with Working in the Floristry Industry and this time it was skills audits and I got an assignment back. In education now you cannot fail, you get referred and can have another go and another go. I am pleased to say I didn't get a referral and was more than happy with my grade!! So that is one down and onto the next.

After that it is funeral work for the rest of the day, which I am enjoying surprisingly! So another college week down.




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkehaban

And The Rest of the Week

This week was a fairly quiet week for us with not too much stuff going on. Well Mike was busy busy with Friars as the next gig is coming up and so had interviews and stuff to do for that.

Jamie had an interesting experience at school when a singer called Hannah came into the school to perform for them. They all had a thoroughly brilliant time and he was really enthusiastic about it all when he got home. Great fun for the kids and a good marketing tool too, certainly raised her profile in this part of MK! Here's a link to some pictures from her school tour, but can't see any from Jamie's school.

I finally got around to reading the book for the book group I've joined on Facebook. It was started by someone from the scrapbooking crop. I think she has intentions of it becoming a proper reading group eventually, where everyone meets up in person. One on Facebook is good for me at the moment, because of college and all of its time constraints, but once college is over then I will look forward to being part of a meeting up reading group.

So here is my full review of the book - please beware of spoilers before reading this.

The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver

I had intended to read a Jeffery Deaver for some time and had never managed to get around to it and so was pleased when this was chosen as the book for the reading group. Once I had got around my mix up with characters (I thought the Morgan Freeman character from some films was Lincoln Rhyme I think that character may belong to James Patterson) I was on my way and charged through the book at a cracking pace, well for me and reading at the moment!

The central theme of the book is the amount of information which is now available about each and everyone of us out there in the 'computer-internetsphere' (my word) be it from credit cards and store loyalty cards through to travel cards logging us onto the bus or train, not to mention social networking, blogging etc etc. And yes it did make me think about blogging, facebook etc but I feel that we can either choose to live in fear or take a level of precaution and get on and enjoy our lives, so I think its obvious which path I have chosen.

There is a killer who is killing and then framing someone for the murder, he is getting two victims for the price of one, stalking two for the price of one really. And when Rhyme's cousin is set up as the murderer of the latest victim, Rhyme and his team get to work. They find out that the killer has been doing this for some time and has left a great number of people dead and others in prison for the murders. The killer is clever and is privy to information coming from a 'data mining' company. He researches his victims and sets himself up as the perfect person for them to meet, shared interests, favourite places, the information is seemingly out there about us. He researches his patsy, the one the police will find the evidence pointing to their guilt. And then he commits his crime, he is a very clever killer and has become well practised in what he does.

Coming into a series of books well into the run I didn't feel it detracted from the story at all and has encouraged me to add Deaver to my list of crime authors who I regularly dip into. Yes the characters do already have a history but you learn enough to enjoy this book in its own right and never have to read another to fill in the gaps if that was your choice.

What I really admired was the way Deaver told the story with great detail and intricacy, but never to the point of not understanding what was going on. Of course he writes leading us in one particular direction, so we think it may be this character or that and I was surprised when the murderer was revealed, which is something I always welcome. You also feel Rhymes impotence at being stuck in his chair, in his home and not able to be following up leads for himself.

This book is an enjoyable read, well paced and has some interesting characters Rhymes and Sachs being the most obvious. It touches on some interesting areas of modern day life and gives some food for thought. And it is a jolly good crime thriller. Well worth a read.




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver

Floristry Course Week 8

A big week at college this week as two assignments have to be handed in, one was on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. I am pleased to say I got both of mine in on time, although the page count was the best part of 100 pages between the two, which was an awful lot of work, although one covering Colour was about 60 - 65 pages and the other which covered administrative functions in floristry was about 25 or so with references and contents and the like. So now it is a case of wait and see how I have done. It certainly was a slog to get them completed and ready to go.

We did lots of practical Monday and Tuesday as Wednesday was a theory day, the floristry classroom was having a cool room fitted. Monday was conditioning flowers too. There are a few photos of bits done this week below.

Tuesdays at College

Above is an aysemmetrical design which is one of my favourites and I am pretty pleased with this for a first attempt at Floristry level (!) I have done 2 or 3 at flower arranging and for the church so now I have added to my skills on this one I hope. Very pretty colours and liatris the feathery purple one is an interesting looking flower too and particularly useful to use in this arrangement as it is a structural flower. Next year I may start writing about some of the flowers in detail as some of the work I am doing on the course looks at them and it is interesting to explore what they are all about.

On Tuesdays we cover art and design and principles and elements in floristry, so some of the time we are painting, drawing etc. Drawing is not something I would put at the top of my skills list so it is quite a challenge to produce anything remotely like a flower arrangement but I am learning some techniques and may post a couple of pictures at another time, if they are any good!

After that we concentrate on arrangements in foam and or medium which is where the asymmetrical above comes in. This week we also did a based posy in the funeral unit and here are some piccies of my attempt, which I am quite pleased with!

I like the colour scheme of this one .....

and here is a closer view of the complementary spray.

We also did another hand-tied, and I am still not liking them! I am not at all pleased with this one and I will have to have a lot more practice on it before the assessment.

Fingers crossed for the assignments!




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading The Broken Window by Jeffrey Deaver

And For The Rest of the Week

The highlight of the week had to be Jamie's Sharing Assembly. Here he is below in his Victorian outfit, school trousers tucked into his socks, grandad shirt, neck tie and baker boy hat. He was a narrator, hence the clipboard. And he did jolly well, I could hear him really well and we were near the back! It was a really enjoyable assembly and we found out a lot about the differences between school in Victorian days and schools now. The children get such a sense of achievement out of it, and so they should.

Here is Jamie reading one of his bits, he had loads to say and had learnt most of his bits. All his class had parts to play and they all did a brilliant job, they should be very proud of themselves and credit to Mr Morris too for whipping them into shape, though not literally I hope - I don't think they took the re-enactment quite that far.

And here is Jamie posing before setting off for school, shame I hadn't been able to get some boots for him to wear, Next had sold out of everything I wanted to get him, not just the waistcoat for the assembly but boots, trainers, t-shirts, jumpers everything in his size was out of stock (aargh!).

And for the rest of the week .......

I have been busy with college assignments. I have two which are due in next week, one on colour and colour harmonies and the other on administrative functions. I have been very busy with the colour one as it is huge, far too huge really and I am currently working my way through colour harmonies such as analagous, tetradic, monochromatic etc. I am using art to highlight how the colour schemes work, so I hope that is a good tack to take, otherwise I may be in the poo!! I suspect by the time I finish this is going to be in the region of about 60 pages.

I have completed my colour wheel, which I have had to paint and will add in here but can't till I have the project finished, back and marked! Below is an example of one I've used as a template. I have really enjoyed the painting, mixing the paints and getting lots of different colours etc and that is going to be fun to continue with the watercolour painting once I have a life again (ha ha!!)

Below is my example for showing, which colours are which and to show I've learnt something the hue is the 'proper' colour in its essence, a tint is the hue with added white - makes it lighter, brighter and more luminescent, a tone is adding grey which can be a variety of tones depending on the grey and shade is adding black and is the darkest and least luminescent. White, black and grey are the achromatic colours, colours which aren't colours and they are not on the colour wheel. We have a test on this in February so I will have to ensure I remember it all for then!!

Here is the shyest member of the family, getting in my way whilst I am trying to work!! She has poorly eyes and needs them cleaning and looking after regularly but they have never hampered her - ever - she is pretty bossy when she is out and about on the street and keeps the young upstart Simba from next door in his place! I am her favourite person in the house and on a night she will snuggle up with me, on my pillow and can quite often be a pain because she wants to play and will paw at me to play with her, which can be a problem when I am asleep as she is doing it and trying to wake me up. She will normally get pushed off the bed, but it doesn't deter her and she is straight back up doing it again!!

Here she is exploring the desk and all of my books and paperwork, from the other assignment I have due in next week, which is about administrative functions - should really be a doddle for me - so fingers crossed. It requires quite a bit of playing around with images, making posters, banners and labels, so hopefully that one should be ok.

Hooray I've finished my book - beware possible spoilers.

Lovers and Players - Jackie Collins

Well what can you say, Jackie Collins is Jackie Collins and this was all the usual stuff. I had it on my reading list, to get it off the shelf and now it's gone. Perhaps good for a sunny beach, but no longer my cup of tea. Now I've finished it I can start on the one for the Reading Group I joined on Facebook, hopefully it will eventually translate into one that runs in this area. I guess I did enjoy this sort of thing once a long time ago, but horrid people, being horrid to each other and nothing really interesting going on and nothing to test the brain, well ok for total relaxation but nothing else.




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading The Broken Window by Jeffrey Deaver - for a reading group and not one off my reading challenge list.

College - Week 7

I am studying for my Level 2 Diploma in Floristry, which will be the qualification, fingers crossed, I get at the end of the course. The way the course is set up is that by completing units you get a set number of credits, and that by the end of January a student should have accumulated enough credits to have achieved first the Award and then the Certificate and then by the end of June enough credits to get the Diploma.

I guess I have spent so much time moaning about the lack of parking I haven't really explained too much about the course. It is over 3 days and is fairly intensive over those days, we get 2 X 30 minute breaks each day and the days do seem to fly past. We study a couple of units each day and do lots of practical work.

Monday is the shortest day of the week as we are finished by 3, but Monday is also a very busy day as we get our flowers into college in the morning. I guess that is always exciting as we never know what we are getting so it is always interesting to see the colour scheme we are getting for that week and the flowers we are getting. As with most things, it comes down to costs so the flowers we get each week tend to be roughly the same, roses, gerbera, carnations (select and spray), chrysanthemum and usually hard ruscus, leatherleaf and a big favourite amongst all us girls variegated pittosporum (we much prefer the small leaved variety to the larger leaved, tho' the larger leaved does work better in hand tieds I think).

Then we go onto tied arrangements which is everything from a single flower to a huge hand tied. I've included some pictures here of my work box which has to go in everyday too. We were supplied with a tool box and tools at the start of the course (paid for at enrolment, it was extra to the course costs) but that was one that you had to carry and it quickly become evident that with all the books, folders and tools something extra was needed. I had seen what June had used for flower arranging and so thought I might get something like that too. It is a mobile tool box, a tool box on wheels and it is so useful.

The top section holds all my tools and most important bits, scissors, wires, pot tape, sellotape, batteries for my camera and hand cream! Just under the handle you can see my apron and tea-towel which is totally essential.

The top section lifts out and underneath that I keep ribbon, secateurs, stapler, oasis fix, reel wires, and some other bits I've added in such as fir cones, double sided sticky tape, and tissues! I was not the only one in the class who moved onto one of these wheelable tool boxes and now nearly all of us have, of one sort or another. Sadly I never managed to track down the Black and Decker one the lady at the Thame show had - but I will find it or one like it one day and upgrade.

The bottom section is where I keep all of my folders, pencil case, water, lunch box and books and keep my handbag there too during class. It also has my camera - an essential for this course! Here it is empty but this box is so useful, I think they maybe thinking of supplying these as part of the kit for next year as standard. Binnie always has a good look in it when I empty my folders out, here she is post inspection. I think it is her way of checking where I have been! You can spot a couple of my books on the floor waiting to go upstairs.

I don't know what has happened to my photos from this week, but they will be somewhere and eventually make it onto here.




Reading challenge 9/16 - currently reading Lovers and Players by Jackie Collins

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Just A Note

Just wanted to say hello and I will be back by the end of the week with a full update, I am tied up with assignments for college at the moment, but should have a short respite later this week after two deadlines are met (fingers crossed!)




Reading challenge 9/16 - currently reading Lovers and Players by Jackie Collins

Saturday, 7 November 2009

And As For The Rest of the Week

Well it has been a busy week all round this week, lots of assignment work at college has kept me busy.
The most exciting part of the week was Jamie has finally got his place in Cubs and he started this week, yipee. We have been waiting for a place for quite a while now and so we are really pleased. He is going to have such a good time, Mike was in the cubs/scouts and I was a Brownie/Girl Guide so he is continuing the tradition. But anyway it is such a super thing for children to do and I am so looking forward to seeing what badges are available for him to get etc. He could hardly stop talking about it when he got home so I suspect that it was a great success.

His first night at cubs coincided with Flower Group so I had a mad dash away from leaving him off to flower group, collecting my friend June on the way. This month it was a workshop where we were shown how to make Christmas wreaths. Whilst the demo was not the best I have seen, the evening was great fun with us all sat around gossiping and chatting whilst we were making these wreaths. A wonderful evening - but sadly no pictures this month.

This week was also my old pal Macca's birthday, so Happy Birthday you old git. It has been a little while since we've seen him, but we hope to catch up with him some time next year. Oh and by the way he has a new album out so do check it out. I have still to get my copy but am looking forward to listening to it. It has been much much too long since he has had any new material out. But lots of love to you, la.

I also managed to get a piece of Jack O'Patsy this week, a candlestick. I missed out on one of these not so long ago, so was pleased to get my hands on this, despite paying quite a bit for it. I guess at some point I need to catalgue and photograph the lot of it for insurance, but for now I'm just enjoying the new piece.

Had a surprise visit from Lorraine, who I used to work with and who I know reads this and who always makes me smile, she is indefatigable, if you look it up in the dictionary there should be a picture of Lorraine. She arrived with masses of pittosporum so a huge thank-you. I don't miss much from the prison but noisy Wednesdays I do miss!

On Thursday, when Mike got home from work we let a few fireworks off which was superfun and then had jacket potatoes and sausages in buns (which Jamie commented we have every year and I guess we do!) but it is Guy Fawkes night, so it just has to be done.

On Friday, I took Jamie to the Cub bonfire get together, where we again had hot dogs and bits. It was a bit damp but enjoyable, especially for Jamie. He had a go at the doughnut eating competition, but the doughnut was on a piece of string tied between two trees and you could not use your hands, in fact they were held behind the back. Now not surprisingly Jamie did very well and polished off over half a doughnut!

And then on Saturday we had some more fireworks and sparklers as Tesco were doing 2 for 1 and we had ended up with two medium boxes of fireworks so it was jolly good fun all over again!!

And that is the main highlights of the week!




Reading challenge 9/16 - currently reading Lovers and Players by Jackie Collins (I will finish this book, I will!)

Back to College - Week 6

And from now on the serious work has started. I haven't been around much because I have been trying to get on with that work. Assignments have started, course notes need to be kept up with and flower and foliage work needs to be done to learn all the Botanical names and of course the practical work continues apace! The first assignments are now imminent and there appears to be an awful lot of work, perhaps more than there should be!

This week at college I have been mostly doing flower arrangements (sorry that was a joke from The Fast Show). I must tell you about when Mike and I saw it live at Hammy Odeon, and Mike got just a bit too carried away!

This week we have covered stem structure in terms of identification. I do sometimes query the tutor's methods and this week she had us sit down and guess what type of stems flowers had, now I could see no earthly reason in this, as we had no idea what some of them were and guessing just meant we were wasting time potentially getting this wrong. Not sure what she was trying to achieve. As you know I have the PTLLS and if I was teaching that particular class, whilst I may have done some group work, getting the students to work out some of the more familiar flowers and foliage, I would have had some prepared handouts for the rest. This material is after all something we are being tested on later in the course, can't figure it out myself.

I was working out the prices of the flowers etc today and did pretty well, I have done ok so far with the Maths part of it, maths isn't my strongest area! Mike's Dad, the first time I met him, said Oh you have a maths degree don't you, well Mike and I were on the floor laughing and his Dad couldn't work out why. But perhaps my Maths isn't as bad as I have felt it was!!

We have covered aqua packing, costing down, (my way to work out percentages is a bit long winded, but I always get it correct!). We did a front facing symmetrical in a basket and started looking at asymmetricals (which are a particular favourite of mine) and some hand tied work too.




Reading challenge 9/16 - currently reading Lovers and Players by Jackie Collins

Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Best of Times Are Now

Saturday 31st October, La Cage Aux Folles (starring John Barrowman)

I am not sure I have enough superlatives to describe how wonderful this production was, in the man's own words, fantastic fantastic fantastic. In years to come I will be remembering this show and JB's performance, it was all truly magnificent. Quite simply John Barrowman was born to play the part of Albin and boy did he have fun playing it, and we had fun watching him.

We had managed to secure ourselves 2nd row seats for this one and it was so worth the cost. We headed off to London and had planned to park at Stanmore, which is one of our usual stopping places for getting into London, about 45 minutes to drive to Stanmore from home and then about the same on the tube into central London and it works out so much cheaper too. We had a minor hitch in that there were no tubes running from Stanmore, so we headed out of the car park, spotted a sign for Harrow and Wealdstone and followed that, less than 10 minutes later we were parked up at H&W tube station and were on a direct tube line to Charing Cross where we were planning to stop to find a restaurant on The Strand - so we hadn't lost out at all and now have another way to get into London too.

As it was late Saturday afternoon we decided not to mess about too much and headed to Pizza Express, where you can't go wrong really and suprisingly we were seated within 5 minutes. Jamie had dough balls (what else?), I tried the Formaggio Bread, which was yummy and Mike had Bruschetta con Funghi, which was also lovely - Mike and I tend to swap bits and pieces whenever we go out. We also got some cheesy garlic bread, which Jamie also demolished. For mains Jamie had the American (Pepperoni), Mike the Sloppy Giuseppi and I had Lasagne - all of which were good. For pud Mike and I had Tiramasu (what else could you have) and Jamie had the Fudge Cake. Where Jamie puts it all I don't know, but he is going to cost a fortune to feed when he is about 14 (ha ha!!!!!). I had my Pinot Grigio Blush (my usual at PE) and Mike the Perroni, Jamie had apple juice. Considering it was tea-time Saturday the service was excellent our waiter totally charming and we had a lovely enjoyable meal. Plus from PE it was less than 5 minutes walk to the theatre, what more could we have asked for.

The Playhouse Theatre is just near the River Thames, so it was already a pretty magical place, and the theatre itself was lovely, old, opened in 1882 and wonderfully decorated, small and intimate with fantastic views from almost every angle I could see. I love going to a new theatre, especially in London as they have such a wonderful history attached to them and The Playhouse is no different. Sir Alec Guiness made his professional debut there, it played home to the Old Vic Company after WWII when their theatre had been bombed, many of the greats of English theatre have played there Sir Peter Ustinov, Sir Michael Redgrave, Dame Thora Hird amongst many others. In 1950 the BBC took the theatre over and it became a studio for Radio Shows such as Hancock's Half House and The Goon Show and The Beatles and Rolling Stones also performed for radio from there.

After laying dormant for 10 years it reopened in 1985 and as well as playing home to The Peter Hall Company, as well as productions starring Leo McKern, Sir Ian McKellen, Liam Neeson, Juliette Binoche, Jackie Mason and Al Murray, a diverse group indeed. More recently it has seen Kristin Scott Thomas, Val Kilmer, Bob Hoskins and Ian Richardson walk its boards and now its La Cage Aux Folles. So a lovely theatre with an extensive theatrical history.

The story of La Cage Aux Folles, which is set in the south of France, is the story of an unusual but very loving family. Georges and Albin have been a long time partnership and they run a club together where Albin performs as Zaza. Together they have brought up Georges' son Jean-Michel with Albin being his mother in everything but name. But Jean-Michel has fallen in love with the daughter of the bigoted local politician whose aim is to close down all the 'disreputable' clubs of which La Cage is one. Fearing that his unusual upbringing may frighten off his lover Anne and bring the wrath of her father down on them, Jean-Michel asks for Georges to abandon Albin, if only for the duration of the in-laws to visit. Thus the story is set for both the pathos and comedy of the situation.

Yes John Barrowman is an entertainer with a capital E, yes he was born to play this part but more than that, he has something very very special and you cannot take your eyes off him when he is on stage. He filled the stage with real charisma, passion, star quality, x-factor, whatever it is he has it in bucket loads, lorry loads. I am so glad I had the opportunity to see him in this production as it was something very very special, magical.

Albin, is tempremental and very high maintenance and does not take kindly to being cast aside, he does after all love Jean-Michel just as a mother would. He cannot understand and fears the changes and worries about the commitment of his long time partner and their child. But he is also who he is and cannot change that, and that brings on the highlight of the first half, a song which John Barrowman has claimed as his own, "I Am What I Am". I have heard him sing this song many times, several live and yet this time he imbued it with a whole extra layer of pain and passion.

His co-star Australian actor Simon Burke complemented him beautifully and they had a strong rapport on stage, which kept the whole performance this side of pantomime, yet at times, you could see the devilment in Barrowman's eyes. Burke too was superb and had just the touch of sophistication and gentility, the perfect foil for Barrowman as Georges is the perfect foil for Albin.

In the second half Albin pretends to be Jean-Michel's uncle, until Jean-Michel's fickle birth mother lets him down yet again and fails to turn up to meet his fiancee and future in-laws. Albin comes to the rescue and dons his dress again this time to play the perfect mother, in Chanel suit and pearls. Building up to the highlight of the second half with the rousing "The Best of Times", I was singing that song all the way home!! It was truly joyous. I won't spoil the ending but it is of course funny and loving.

The singing and dancing was all brilliant, out of the La Cagelles a mentioned must go to Kristopher Mitchell (I think) who played Mercedes (orange dress) I hope, and the boredom of his character he portrayed brilliantly, also Syrus Lowe Albin's butler/maid who milked his character for all it was worth and everyone else who were wonderful. The ensemble cast was excellent and at times a little naughty. A couple of times I thought has this gone just a bit too far for Jamie, but he loved it all, Mike loved it too so it was a winner all round for the O'Connors. Oh and a bit of gossip, when I went to the loo in the interval I saw Scott who is JB's partner, who is as equally handsome as Barrowman himself. John Barrowman's parents were there too, they have been at a couple of other shows we have seen him in too, what wonderful supportive parents, you can see how proud they are of him.

This show was a truly magical experience and in my top 2 of all time musicals I have seen.

We were on such a high after the show that we had a wander onto the Millenium Bridge and looking out onto the Thames at 10.45 on a Saturday night is wonderful too. The London Eye, the old GLC building and the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben were all light up and looked magnificent. Below is Jamie and I on the bridge ......

Mike and Jamie, Mike doing what every good husband should, holding my coat .....

a look down the length of the bridge, with Mike and Jamie in the foreground, I think this is the bridge which was featured at the very start of Ashes to Ashes. And then we headed for the tube, where I was still singing!!

It was a magical evening and one we will remember for a very long time.




Reading challenge 9/16 - currently reading Lovers and Players by Jackie Collins

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The Hills Are Alive - The Sound of Music - Milton Keynes Theatre

On Tuesday evening, we all went to see the Sound of Music starring Connie Fisher and Michael Praed (from Dynasty!). It was very enjoyable indeed. All the performances were incredibly good and even Mike enjoyed it - he has a habit of falling asleep at the theatre!

Of course all the songs were there Climb Ev'ry Mountain, My Favourite Things, Do-Re-Mi (which Jamie and I sing in the car quite often!) and my favourite Edelweiss.

I was very impressed with the way they portrayed the political events in the story and brought a sense of menace from the Nazi's, and the way the audience became the audience at the music festival. The set worked well and the costumes were colourful and looked spot on.

It was interesting to see Michael Praed, Prince Michael of Moldova from Dynasty (I used to love it!!!!) and I was impressed by his singing , I always used to love him in Robin Hood too. Connie Fisher, well she was good, but not for me outstanding, a very solid and workmanlike performance, but for me she appeared to lack charisma.

The children on the other hand were absolutely wonderful, the stage really did light up when they came on, they were funny, brilliant at their roles and sang wonderfully. For me they were totally magical and were the highlight of the show.

Overall a very enjoyable evening.




Reading challenge 9/16 - currently reading Lovers and Players by Jackie Collins

Spandex Waistcoats or Spandau Ballet

Spandau Ballet at the LG Arena (NEC as was), Birmingham - Sunday25th October

This was our first visit to the NEC since Metallica in March and our first look at the revamped arena, and we were suitably impressed with the arena itself. It has an airport lounge like entrance hall, very spacious and a range of food and drink vendors with everything from fish and chips and pie and mash to champagne, wine and cheese, and almost everything in between, so everyone is catered for. The jacket potatoes at the NEC were always pretty good and I can confirm they are still as good, Mike had a burger which seemed pretty substantial too. Whilst the prices were more than the high street they were not exhorbitant as both came with a drink and we had change from a tenner.

The main problem we found was that as you always expect at the NEC you have to park somewhere over near Coventry and get the bus service to the arena, and pay £8.00 for the priveledge too. The buses used to drop you right outside the arena but now they drop you well away from the arena itself and now you access the arena from the new entrance which is a 10 plus minute walk to and from where the buses drop you. Plus we were not told where the buses would pick us up so after the concert lots of people were looking for the buses. We found this strange as a road runs alongside the arena but that seemed to be solely for taxi's and a new corporate area.

So overall great new entrance and catering, but serious issues with the parking.

Now for the concert, some pictures and the set list below. I have always liked what Spandau did in the 80's so I'm loathed to say really that it didn't travel. It was for me just a little bit too much style over substance, I guess it always was, but these days I am looking for a little more from music and especially live peformances. Tony Hadley sang well, Gary Kemp appeared to have rediscovered his London accent, Steve Norman looked amazing and Martin Kemp was the crowd favourite, probably a few of the many many ladies in the audience were Eastenders fans! I have seen a lot of 80's music this year and this concert was not up with the best of them, but I am pleased to say I have seen Spandau Ballet. Sad but true, so true ....!!

The Photos (pleased with some of these)

Great to hear those early ones from the New Romantic days, like the new single too, bit dull mid set, picked up again with Through the Barricades. Would have liked to have known the DJ pre their set was Rusty Egan before the end of the show!

The Setlist

To Cut A Long Story Short
The Freeze
Highly Strung
Only When You Leave
I'll Fly For You
How Many Lies
She Loved Like Diamond
Once More
Round and Round
Man in Chains
With the Pride
Through the Barricades
Paint Me Down
Chant No1
Fight for Ourselves




Reading challenge 9/16 - currently reading Lovers and Players by Jackie Collins
Jamie's Reading challenge 10/12 - currently reading Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull by James Luceno
SLYMI - 1/52
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