Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All Connected...

I never thought I would hear myself say the following words, but "God Bless AOL!" I am back on line! At home, and for the first time since early November I feel I can now properly get in touch with the outside world. Gosh, what must life have been like before the internet and emails? Well, I only have to look back about 10-15 years to see it, but it is almost impossible to imagine now. Can you imagine if the Tudors had had access to emails, the internet and mobile phones? Henry VIIIth constantly checking Catherine Howard's inbox in case one of her many admirers was sending her something she shouldn't see - and I am not talking about on-line adverts for viagra and hair loss therapies. Francis Drake not bothering to circumnavigate the globe as he could see it all on Google Earth and wikipedia, and it looked "gay". Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots exchanging pleasantries via Facebook and text message. "u r not as gr8 as u fink u r" says Elizabeth. "at lst i not a hlf bald virgin - LOL ROFL" from Mary. No wonder she was beheaded. "Elizabeth is now friends with the Earl of Essex". It wouldn't last...
Life has been mad for the previous few weeks - tearing up and down the A303 and M3 between Somerset and Kent, betwixt shows at Dillington House and Leeds Castle. Then a few days yo-yo-ing between Kent and Essex visiting friends and relatives. I was nearly killed on the M20 in Kent one evening going to visit my friends Anne and Ben Lyle at Shoreham - I was happily pootling up the fast lane of the M20 at about 80mph in the dark, to be confronted by some dimwit driving the wrong way down the M20 in the fast lane. How I missed him, I do not know, but suffice to say I was shocked and was nearly biting the buttons off my car seat with my bottom.
I have been blessed with some lovely pressies at Christmas - DVD's of two of my all time favourite films "Rear Window" and "The History of Mr Polly". Sheer delight with both of those. Also some books about the history of London's East End, Alfred the Great and the final book (so far) in Malcolm Pryce's hilarious Aberystwyth series.
Anyway, if I don't get to say it again, Happy New Year to anyone who regularly reads this blog. But dammit, I am in such a good mood I'll even wish to people who don't read this blog. But how will they know...? Answers on a post card.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Merry Christmas!

Well hello, loyal blog readers.  You might just have noticed my distinct lack of updates on this blog of late.  This is something to do with me not adding anything to the blog.  A feeble but, lets face it, water tight excuse.  The reasons for this are many fold but the most obvious one being that I have not had internet access at the new flat since I moved in, then since early December I have been mostly away in Kent doing my Father Christmas thing down at Leeds Castle again.  It's been great fun to be with everyone at the Castle again, especially the lovely Darlene and Helen, but it is also good to see the wonderful Jean, Judy, Carole and others who help out as my "Elves".
I've also been doing a few Henry VIIIth appearances at some schools, and also at Leeds Castle (again!) plus an appearance at Dillington House (as seen in the picture here) for their annual Christmas House Party which was tremendous fun.  
Working as Father Christmas is mentally, if not physically exhausting.  Being nice for all that time!!  It's just not me! The children are just delightful, so many sweet kids, one or two who scream at the first site of Father Christmas and just look terrified of the whole experience, and of course the occasional embarrassed, mortified looking teenager dragged into the grotto by an over enthusiastic parent!  The biggest down side of this work is to sit and constantly listen to the same CD of jolly Christmas music over and over again, seven days a week.  The added point that drives you insane is that the CD player is attached to about 15 different speakers throughout the grotto which splits the stereo sound up into different "areas". Therefore in the central grotto where I sit, the music has been split right down to just a backing track of keyboards, drums, backing vocals and the effects that had been layered on the lead vocals.  This would normally be OK with most music CD's, but we are playing Disney songs in the grotto this year, and few sounds can be more disturbing than to hear a music track of keyboards, drums, backing vocals and the lead effects vocals of Donald Duck, which makes him sound like a normal singer who's had to endure a trachaeotomy.  Scary.  No wonder the kids cry!  All joking aside, it has been a delight as ever to work at Leeds Castle and I shall be there until Christmas Eve.  Maybe see you there!
Merry Christmas, folks...