Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Day at the Races

Cheltenham Racecourse

Wonderful day down Cheltenham Racecourse catching up with Create Goucestershire, Theatre Gloucestershire and some other familiar faces. All down there awaiting the Olympic Torch. 20,000 people!

The weather's gone crazy!

It is SO completely summer all of a sudden.

Rolled up my jeans. My legs haven't seen sunshine since 1987. Even toyed with a dress - but that was a step too far. Once a year, when forced. Rarer than the annular eclipse.

It was such a nice day. Went with my new volunteers, Siobhan and Marten - they're just the best. After schmoozing, we adjourned to the grassy knoll with free ice-cold coke. Starships has got to be my song of the summer so far. Seems to play everywhere. Just the best song when you're driving along in 28c with the windows down.

It was my first time at the racecourse. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Cheltenham is hideously affluent. Beautiful dresses, beautiful cars - both in obvious excess. Stunning backdrop of the hills.


Didn't stay to watch the torch arrive. Zara Philips rode it in on Toytown, but I'd fulfilled my quota of sun for the afternoon. I have to admit, I'm not really that fussed about the Olympics. I quite like the equestrian rounds, but that's about it. However, the torch relay idea is rather a good one. Reminds me of the pagan Bel-fires across the hilltops. Sucker for a bit of symbolism. Certainly seems to have brought people together. Thousands of people lining the routes, bunting everywhere, more turning up to the evening events. Real sense of 'spirit'.

Olympic build-up this week, Diamond Jubilee next week... my concerns are far more immediate. Friday is opening night at the theatre, and I'm fluctuating between excitement and sheer terror. Thankfully got a good team. Wondering whether Front of House might outnumber the audience, but we were on BBC Gloucestershire this morning for a full fifteen minutes - brilliant interview with the cast. Let's see how things go. 

Got another volunteer, Rob, who's going to start a video diary of our struggle to get off the ground.

All that sun's made me sleepy. I'm going to go and lounge.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


Excellent road trip!

Left Friday, picked up Cathryn and drove for the 8pm ferry. Arrived about half-past midnight in Torhout. Felt like we never left - February was yesterday.

The next morning, we were up and ready to de-dread by 10:30.

I'm used to putting them in, so taking them out was a bit of a shock.

All in a good cause though! We've already raised nearly €200 for the Kinamba Project and there's still time to donate.

The music on the video is Maguru by Holy Jah Doves (lyrics). That was Kassim's band in Rwanda - it was a major anthem from our time there, so a very suitable backing track.

Brings back loads of lovely memories.

Had a few musical moments. Doing the bump down the M20 to MC Hammer's Can't Touch This, air guitar to INXS' Never Tear Us Apart on the way there and the way back (only got one radio station in Belgium - and one track...) and Lana Del Rey's Video Games playing whilst we waited for the ferry at Dunkirk...exactly like last time. Creepy song, creepy coincidence.

Totally proud of what we achieved. My biggest fear was that it would be a lot harder to salvage Lies' hair from the dreadlocks and we'd have to cut it really short. But, thanks to there being two of us, and 'evil comb', we managed to do a really good job in not too long a time.

Survived off caffeine, nicotine and donuts, so been catching up on sleep since I got back last night.

Finally returning to writing. Can see the end of my short story collection. Needs a little fine tuning, but I'm proud of it and looking forward to launching it e-side. Will line up some signings later in the year for the others. 

Time consuming stuff. May need to go on retreat again. Possibly not 1,400 miles away this time. Anyone got a closer suggestion?