Thursday, 18 November 2010

Bowling for Noodles - A Great Night Out With Friends

We had a really enjoyable night out with friends, heading out for a night of bowling, a noodle bar and then the pub.  It was girls v boys in the bowling and despite Debs getting the first strike of the night the boys beat us, well and truly!!  Even when we were getting extra coaching from the manager and he had given the boys a 30 point handicap - they still beat us.

After bowling we headed all the way next door to Noodle Nation where we had an enjoyable meal, we just managed to get seated and order ahead of a birthday party of about 30 teenagers!!  After that we headed to a couple of pubs in Aylesbury and then settled into the Kings Head where we chatted long into the night.  Very enjoyable, here are some photos of us bowling.

Mike in action

Mike and Stu

Mike checking his score and Debs in action

Rick choosing just the right bowling ball

and again

Judy in action

and yours truly in action - great fun!!



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Time for Church Flowers Again

Suddenly it was time for church flowers again, it seems to come around sooner and sooner every time.  Due to a bereavement of one of the congregation there was a larger budget than usual and there were so many flowers that J and I were very very busy.  We were lucky that we had some extra help too with a couple of the ladies who also do the church flowerscame in to help and they did a lot of clearing away of the last set of arrangements and doing some topping up etc.  One of the ladies was friends with the lady who had died and so she did the pedestal and did a superb job of it.  Here are some of the arrangements - it was a long session and I was really tired by the time I got home!!  Even with the larger budget these arrangements come in at less than £4.00 per arrangement  (materials only) on average - that is pretty amazing for what was produced!!
The lovely pedestal

Some final ones left in a vase - we were starting to flag!!

The Missionary Table

The poor box, top and bottom (one of my favourites below)

The font (this is one of mine!)

One of these either side of the altar and below was on the altar



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Cottesloe Art Installation

Friars has over the last couple of years taken Mike to some interesting places, has presented him with the opportunity to meet some heroes and has now given him the chance to be involved with some artwork which is on permanent display in Friars Square in Aylesbury in a facilitating sort of way (if that makes sense).

Mike was approached by an art teacher from The Cottesloe School in Wing, where some of the students, as part of their GCSE course, wanted to create some artwork with Friars Music Club as the inspiration.  As a result of his help and assistance the amazing art work produced by the students was first displayed at the final Friars gig in the Civic Centre and was then turned into an art installation in the Friars Square Shopping Centre in Aylesbury.

Mike name checked at the bottom!!

The artwork is brilliant and Mike was thrilled to have been able to play his minor role in putting people in touch with one another and supporting the project as and when he was asked to assist.  The students were, quite rightly, very proud of their achievements - and I am looking forward to seeing the larger version although Mike was presented with a framed copy of the design which has now joined a lot of other music memorabilia which adorns our staircase and looks perfectly in place and totally awesome.

Mike with his framed copy being photographed by David Stopps, being filmed by Bucks TV !!

Here are some photos from the unveiling of the artwork by David Stopps, founder of Aylesbury Friars.  More information on this story can be found on Mike Aylesbury Friars website by clicking here.  One game you may like to play is working out which famous Friars bands past and present are featured in the design, a particular favourite of mine is  Gary Numan and of course Freddie, although the Ian Hunter and Siouxie are particularly good.  The whole story even made the BBC news and Bucks TV were there to cover it too check it all out on Mike's Friars site.



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

October Flower Club

How quickly the months seem to fly around and lo and behold it was Flower Club time again!!  It was a man demonstrating this month so very different to norm, perhaps.  The last male demonstrator I had seen I hadn't really enjoyed way too OTT, at the Nafas Annual Show, but this man was much much better.  A very traditional set of arrangements and using some unusual if not very retro containers and accessories.  See what you think - one or two comments from me, of course!!  My first observation was that he was very quick and managed to put his arrangements together doing 7 substantial arrangements and finishing very promptly!!

His first arrangement below was a stunning almost aysmmetrical made using only aqua roses which looked fab (much better than the ones we used at college!!) they were big, long stemmed - really good quality flowers.  He was right when he said they really didn't need anything else just show the roses off to their very best advantage.  For this arrangement he used a child's seat as his base, securing his container onto the seat of the chair, and unusual idea - but shows that really you can use just about anything you want to make an arrangement.
 Next was a two tier arrangement (I am currently trying to type this with a cat sat on my wrists - not easy!! but every time I put her on the floor she jumps back up again!!) using leucodendron to give height and some exotic flavour to the arrangement.  Some simple lines of pink carnations which mirror each other in the top and bottom arrangements. In this sort of arrangement you would always have them at opposite sides on the top and bottom to give movement and contrast between the two.  Movement also comes from the two arrngements flowing into and out of each other which gives an overall oneness to both arrangements.  Personally I may have added something to the base of the foliage area something darker pink or light red to bring the other two elements together.  Still nice to see a different Leucodendron, as more often than not it is Safari Sunset a much darker Leuco that is used.
 The most modern arrangement that he did, and one I like as equally as the roses above, a monochromatic colour scheme, some leaf manipulation, big bold flowers and bold leaves to match, quite simple but very effective.
 The design below is very similar to one from last months flower club (click on the link to see that one), but I feel this one has more impact - the anthurium are the same but this design seems to have more wow with the white carnations than the white chrysanthemum - it is a more expansive design too which  perhaps suits the size of the anthurium - but the anthurium were a lovely quality and such a lovely subtle shade.  I can just imagine these being used in a very simple sheaf style bridal bouquet to suit a sheath style wedding dress.
 The gerbera were a much nicer colour than comes out here, but a nice design, this time a two tier design which doesn't blend into each other but are very separate and distinct from each other.  In a design like this it is very important to ensure all the gerbera are facing in slightly different directions which gives lots of movement to the design.  As the gerbera are quite a flat flower if they all faced in one direction it would be too much of a mass of cololur and shape - but allowing them to almost do what comes naturally means they can add movement and rhythm to the design.
 This design was a very 'fresh from the garden in which the demonstrator used a selection of items he had taken from his own garden and was able to produce a lovely design.  He added in some spectacular alstromeria, which were lemon and pink - lovely.
 I really love the colour scheme he has used in this design with various shades of pink and picking that up in the dark red foliage of the smoke bush.  Really quite simple in one way a bunch of chrysanthemum and a bunch of lisianthus and some garden foliage and there you are.  Well you're on your way, this design would work very well in a church window.  You just may also be able to spy the little gnome in the middle right of the arrangement, very much a retro feel to the container.  And the demonstrator behind the arrangement
 Again a very enjoyable evening, as always and lovely to see a male demonstrator - of which there are a lot at national level - one of which we are off to see in early December - should be fun.



Reading challenge 15/16 - 1 remaining of list but currently reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown not on the list

Monday, 15 November 2010

John Barrowman at New Theatre Oxford

Quite often these days when you buy tickets for a gig or concert you are buying them so far in advance that the event seems to be forever and a day away, and then all of a sudden it is upon you and so it was with seeing John Barrowman at Oxford.  Mike had decided to bow out of this one, I know he secretly likes JB but decided this time to leave it to Jamie and I, who totally love him!!

Jamie and I headed out as soon as he was changed after school, and as it was a Friday it didn't matter too much if it was going to be a really late one - not that Jamie minds a late night!!  The trip to Oxford was horrendous, the weather was not good and the road was so busy, we ended up stuck in several mini-jams.  We were lucky with parking and got a spot in our favourite car park for New Theatre and headed to Pizza Hut for a quick bite to eat. 

Jamie decided he really wanted the cheesy bites pizza but as they only come in large - I was reluctant to let him have a large one, when our waiter suggested we have the half and half so Jamie had his pepperoni and I had my vegetarian and we both had cheesy bits.  Well done to Pizza Hut and our lovely waiter who got us seated, served and out in plenty of time for the show. 

So we headed the short distance to the theatre, grabbed some drinks and took our seats, middle of front row of the balcony (good seats Mike, well done!!)  And we didn't have to wait too long before the band came out.  The show was fantastic of course, totally JB, lots of fun, some great songs, some really cheesy bits, which I think he kept just (but only just) this side of cringe worthy.  He is a great singer, a real pro and in time I am sure a national treasure to be. 

Support came from 'I'd Do Anything' and West End Oliver star Jodie Prenger, which was a total delight as she had been my favourite right through and she clearly works well with JB as they have the same wicked sense of fun.  Highlights of the night - a song of John's last album which I hadn't fully appreciated until I heard it live 'Unusual Way' which is just amazing, Fireflies which delighted Jamie, Don't Cry Out Loud (JB's version is great), The Doctor and I (slightly altered words from the Wicked song) and of course I Am What I Am (which brought back some totally wonderful memories of seeing John in La Cage Aux Folles on Halloween last year - a night to be truly treasured as he was totally brilliant)

The set list was - Let's Get This Party Started, You to Me are Everything, Viva Las Vegas, Don't Cry Out Loud, Unusual Way, Spiderman/Wonderwoman medley, Memory , Cry Me A River (Jodie Prenger), Mambo Italiana (Jodie Prenger), Fireflies, Rain on My Parade, Rhythm of the Beat/Turn the Beat Around, Let Your Love Flow, Man I Fell Like a Woman, Remember When, Proud Mary (Jodie Prenger), Nobody Does It Better (Jodie Prenger), So Close (duet with Jodie Prenger), Copacabana, The Doctor and I,  Rule The World, Let's Get Loud, and for the encore From This Moment On and of course I Am What I Am (a song which could have been written for John).

A great concert.  After a quick trip to the loo, in which poor Jamie had to wait just outside the ladies (where there was a long queue of ladies), then a couple of minutes to the car.  The car park and the centre of Oxford always takes a few minutes to get out of but then once back on the main road it took us hardly any time at all to get home.  I always feel I've got real value for money from a John Barrowman show including the 20 minute interval the show was on for the best part of 3 hours!



Reading challenge 15/16 - currently reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Sunday, 14 November 2010

HoJo at The Stables

Howard Jones at The Stables

Here are a few photos of Howard Jones at The Stables, Mike and I went with Paul and Carole, Mike and Paul have been to see Howard quite a few times, we also met up with some other friends Rick, Judy and Niall and of course David and Joe.  It was good to have a chance to catch up with Carole as she has the same part time job as me but has been doing it for a lot longer (and in a different subject area) but it gave me a chance to pick her brain and get some tips!!  An enjoyable evening was had.  The photos aren't mine but courtesy of one of Mike's FB friends - Glen Kelly. 

There was a little bit of extra entertainment in the form of three very drunk ladies who really ought to have known better, who made quite a show of themselves and one ended up on her rear in the car park, through the drink - oh dear!!

Below Howard Jones support Duncan Shiek.



Reading challenge 14/16 - currently reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
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