Saturday, 30 April 2011

Sunny Edinburgh

So, here I sit in Edinburgh doing a little work after a great meal with friends at The Plumed Horse. All too yummy! It's been a funny type of week really - a couple of days back at work, a trip to Edinburgh, a day at the library, a couple of meetings, a faff with our Chinese visas, a visit to Glasgow...oh and a Royal Wedding, of course. Despite the impenetrable sermon we (that does not include D I hasten to add) enjoyed Kate's dress and the balcony kiss. I have no interest in royals or weddings really, but they looked like a happy couple and I hope they enjoy married life. Our highlight of yesterday was traveling through to Glasgow and seeing our good friends, Matthew and Daisy and their gorgeous son, wee Matthew. It was brilliant to see them all.

And, of course, this week saw the return of the first draft of the Book. Despite the abundance of red pen notes, all seems very positive and I'm really looking forward to getting back into it. There is probably another two months of real hard work to be done on it, so the end is in sight. I've really enjoyed this Easter break and have finally stopped dreaming about work. Assessment week coming up so don't expect anything coherent until next weekend. I always enjoy assessment week, but it all looks a little hectic this time. A nice, straight-forward, happy week would suit me just fine. I'll let you know how The Adding Machine goes on Wednesday morning.

Anyways, I'm going to do a little work before D arrives back. I'm watching Sky Sports news at the same time and following the football scores. It's all getting close to the end of the season now and it's a little tense at the bottom of every league. Go mighty Imps!


Monday, 25 April 2011

Norfolk 2011

So, as I sit on the sofa recovering from a) my horrid cold and b) watching Lincoln City lose to Cheltenham this afternoon, I thought I would write a wee post about our holiday. We packed our days, as usual, so I won't bore you with a blow by blow account, but I will give you our Norfolk recommendations...

After a trip to Sandringham and the Norfolk Lavender Centre, we found our way to our first lovely B&B. This was the slightly scary painting on the side our their house...

...we are in the country after all! And this was their friendly horse...

We moved to another lovely B&B two days later. During our trip we visited so many great places, including Norwich...

...where I stood in front of the famous Maddermarket Theatre, an important place in British Theatre History. You didn't think I'd be able to switch off entirely, did you?

Holkham proved to be a big favourite, both the house and the grounds...

...and the beach. Gwyneth Paltrow walked along this stretch of sand at the end of Shakespeare in Love. Here is me 'doing a Gwyneth'. I went one better though and took the plunge into the north sea cheered on by my tough Scottish husband. It was freezing and despite D's protestations that 'it gets better the longer you're in'...I got out! Was suitably proud of myself, however.

We saw a lot of wildlife on our trip, including all the usual farmyard stuff, with some amazing horses, but also a lot of sea life. Here I am with the doggie from our second B&B. This picture makes D laugh as he is super scared of dogs while I am a bit blase! But in this picture it looks as if the dog is going for me :-)

For our final night, D had booked a surprise. As we drove up the drive of Brovey Lair, I had no idea what I had come to. As it turned out this is the home of one terrific chef and her husband, who acted as our personal chef and butler for the night. Despite the fact that it is really a family front room, this place has been voted the best fish restaurant in Britain. And it certainly didn't disappoint. Amazing food, amazing atmosphere, amazing weather, amazing rooms to sleep in, amazing breakfast by the pool.

I could bore you with more photos, but I won't. A good time had by all despite my cold. Norfolk is a pretty part of the world, with lovely villages, beautiful houses and an incredible coastline. And it's only 2 hours from Lincoln.

And so it's back to university tomorrow to sort out a couple of things and then we're off to Edinburgh for the Royal Wedding weekend. Have a great week one and all.


Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter

Evening all! We are back from our jolly holiday in Norfolk just in time to enjoy Easter here in Lincoln. 'He is risen' and it was good to celebrate with our LEC friends.

I'll post a longer holiday debrief tomorrow but here's a picture to wet (literally) your appetite...

...after a week with no rain at all, we arrived back to an incredible thunder storm. D took this picture from our balcony with his iphone! Unbelievable, huh?

More tomorrow folks.

Friday, 15 April 2011

End of term at Eden Hall

So, yesterday the parents came to visit and Mum and I went to Eden Hall Spa. I have never been to a spa before, though I've always quite fancied the idea. A few months ago I received a 'phone call from HR reminding me of a competition I had entered before Christmas. I had won the prize! Two vouchers for Eden Hall. So I decided that Mum deserved a special day and what a day we had! It began with a lovely fruit breakfast. Then I did a quick gym session and we hit the aqua detox rooms, a collection of gorgeous water-themed chill out spaces, including a steam room that smelt of rose turkish delight and a salt room that left our skin feeling all soft. We then found the slumber room, a darkened room with huge sofa bean bags, fish tanks and cosy rugs...and promptly feel asleep. The boys laughed at us for this one! After a delicious lunch we went back to our aqua rooms, pool and hot tubs before embarking on a Tai Chi class. I really loved this class. It was a cross between Bodycombat and yoga, two things I like very much indeed! We arrived back feeling very rested and both of us slept for eight hours straight. Sweet! We will definitely do it again.

Today was the last day before the Easter holidays and, after yesterday's chill out, I had to re-energise myself for tutorials and research. I sent off a couple more projects to various folks and am now waiting on five different responses. Hopefully there'll be some new publications coming up soon! Today was also the last chance to visit our favourite cafe, Cafe Portico, before it closes forever next week. We are so sad to see these guys go. I don't know where I'll work now!

We are now officially on holiday - hoorah! - and are looking forward to some happy days in Norfolk next week. Don't expect any posting until next weekend, though you never know with the power of technology! Enjoy the week folks.


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Visiting my horsey friends

After a lovely Saturday, Sunday was equally sunny so, after morning service, we headed out to Uncle Henry's for lunch. We have passed this place so many times but have never been in. It is a farm shop with a lovely cafe attached. We had a great meal and D even said that the wedges were the best he'd ever eaten...which is saying something. With the sun shining, D took me on a magical mystery tour and we ended up at Bransby Home of Rest for Horses. Now I am quite a horsey girl so this was perfect for me. This place takes in injured or maltreated horses and gives them a quiet place of peace and tranquility. It is just a lovely place. We wandered round and saw all the horses. They also have a few donkeys. D loves donkeys so he was delighted. He's spent today researching out for the day the Wardens buy a bit of land! It was such a lovely Sunday.

Today has been back to university with rehearsals, admin galore, student meetings and the start of the Caryl Churchill festival. All fun and games. And tonight we finally got our internet working properly again (actually D finally got our internet working again along with a nice man from Virgin) so here's hoping it'll stay strong. And to celebrate we did the P90X ab ripper, a hard core exercise routine that we haven't done in a while. It is a total killer but great for your core muscles. I'm looking forward to a half research day and a Creation/Realisation rehearsal tomorrow. The flat is looking progressively tidier and cleaner in preparation for Spring and the arrival of my parents on Wednesday. Can't wait to see you both! I have taken a bona fide day of annual leave this week (what!?) and Mum and I are off to Eden Hall Spa. So excited! Then we have D's aunt, uncle and cousins arriving for the day on Sunday. As we drove about yesterday, D turned to me and said, 'what a lot of things we have to look forward to over the next few months' and he's absolutely right: a few days in Norfolk, family visits, concerts (including Roger Waters, of course), a trip to Edinburgh, the production of The Adding Machine, some exciting research to look forward to (OK, so D is not quite as excited about these last two as I am!), Easter (my absolute favourite time of the year) and, finally at the end of May, our trip to Beijing. Phew! Some life we live :-)

Hope everyone is doing well. I'm off for a snooze.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Weekend sunshine

This morning I cleaned my little kitchen from top to bottom. What a great feeling! We celebrated by buying a picnic from Waitrose and heading out to Hartsholme park for a walk round the lake. I had such a holiday feeling that I even bought some olives! D wore his pink shorts - actually, they are cooler than they sound.

Well, as the week progressed I finally stopped dreaming about work. I finished teaching on Friday and that's it for official classes until September - unbelievable! Fortunately on my research day I had two plays to read which meant I could take a hour or so outside on my balcony. I have a great job! The first play was David Hare's take on the lead up to the Iraq war, Stuff Happens and the second was Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art, a play based on the rather colourful lives of W.H. Auden and Benjamin Britten. Both relatively interesting. I've been exploring a little more contemporary theatre recently as I have felt a little stuck in the early twentieth century. I'm still a confirmed modernist at heart, though.

This week I also started to finalise my summer plans. This is always an exciting time of year. It's a month of planning and organising, of diary-keeping and new stationary...and, of course, a chance to find a good local cafe for those hours when you need to get out of your home office. I'm in a bit of a quandary with this one as our favourite cafe is just about to close (boo hiss!) so I'm on the lookout for somewhere else. All in all, plans are coming along well. I've still got to sort out my reading list though. I like creating summer reading lists and generally work my way through a broad range of texts over the sunny months. I'll keep posting on what I'm reading. It'll probably be a mixture of C17,18,19 plays (in preparation for our Restoration to Melodrama course) and modern British plays (in my attempt to stay 'down with the kids'!).

If you are anywhere near Lincoln this week then come and enjoy our Caryl Churchill festival. Now, I have to admit that Churchill is not my favourite writer. I have tried to like her work but I find it all a little dull and old-fashioned. That said, this week you can enjoy a range of her plays for free at the LPAC. That has to be worth a look.

Anyways, I'm off to think about dinner. Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Lambing Live and a Wrestlemania review - what a combo!

So, the Warden household is currently a little obsessed with BBC 2's Lambing Live. It is a show about farmers and lambing...which doesn't, of course, sound that exciting. But with the wonderful Kate Humble as anchorwoman (I love her!) and so many sweet animals, coupled with the continual sense that these brave folks are battling with the elements to provide good TV, means that this is currently top of our watch list. Tonight, though, football took precedence so we'll catch it on iplayer later on.

I have also spent the week catching up on Sunday night's Wrestlemania. For those of you who don't want to know the scores, look away now... So, I wasn't totally blown away by this year's fayre. Some odd matches, some rushed matches and some weird endings. My highlights were: 1) John Morrison's amazing 'off the ropes' move. He is fast becoming my favourite wrestler (after Shawn, of course, but that goes without saying). 2) The pre-match videos. 3) The Undertaker v HHH match. OK, so I didn't hold out a great deal of hope for this one. It was going to be interesting and exciting (of course, given the high stakes), but I wasn't expecting a good match between two wrestlers who have barely been in the ring in recent months. But, they put on an amazing show, including a couple of truly mad moves, one of which saw the Undertaker nearly taking his own head off as he flew towards the Spanish Announcer's table. Man, these two old guys have still got it. Wasn't convinced by the Cena/Rock/Miz squabble (although some of this was resolved on Monday Night Raw) and Edge has gone down in my estimation after his somewhat pathetic outburst.

Anyone who doesn't care about this sort of populist drivel can resume their reading from here...

And, as for me, I'm glad it's Wednesday night. This is my last mad Wednesday. Before this teaching block, my Wednesday largely consisted of a couple of teaching hours, class prep, a lunchtime yoga class and a departmental meeting or two. This block, however, I have been running around like a mad thing! Today I managed twenty minutes of email checking and sushi as a lunchbreak. No complaints from me, though, as the students have been magnificent all day. The Adding Machine is really coming on. Just occasionally I hear Elmer Rice turning slowly in his grave as we turn the Guide into a lecherous old man, cast two women in the role of Shrdlu or act Lieutenant Charles with humorous asides...but I'm ignoring him! The whole play is really based on the students' ideas and just goes to show that you can really 'act the archive' with imagination and freedom. I'm excited by the precedent this sets.

Anyways, as Lambing Live is yet to appear on iplayer (boo!) so I'm going to have to find something else to do with my time before bed. To be honest, an early night is a jolly prospect as I haven't been sleeping well. Too much dreaming about work!


Monday, 4 April 2011

Lovely weekends, shining sun and victorious Magdalen

Goodness, where has the week gone? Well, Saturday saw us heading up to Yorkshire for a special day with the Luehrmanns. It's great to see our friends so settled and happy. And yesterday, after the service, D and I went back to Whisby nature reserve for a wander round the lakes. In fact we walked and talked for so long that we didn't even bother to go home before the evening service. The weather was beautiful and I got to wear my white jeans and new stripy shirt combo for the first time this Spring.

Today, however, is a different story. Winter has returned and I (boo hiss!) have turned the heat on again just to warm the place through. Man, it is freezing here! But it's been a great day of student meetings and rehashing the book proposal. All looks positive on that front. I have taken to hanging out in the Enterprise cafe. Enterprise is Lincoln's version of a career centre but it is really rather exciting and dynamic...and has the best coffee on campus. It is also quiet with BBC news rolling in the background and lots of space to work peacefully, away from the madness of the LPAC.

Tonight we went to another university lecture. Two BBC reporters were discussing the Wikileaks phenomenon and it was all rather inspiring and exciting, particularly for the undergraduate journalism students present. D asked a question about perceived bias in BBC reporting...which went down a treat, as you can imagine :-) Brilliant! And then it was back home to see Magdalen College, Oxford triumph on University Challenge. What a great team!

Actually, I am quite impressed that I'm still up and about, and writing in sane fashion after watching the first part of Wrestlemania last night. This is the most exciting wrestling event of the year. I wasn't totally blown away by what I saw before I finally drifted off at about 2am. D watched it through to the end and says that things improved. I don't know the final results and am particularly looking forward to watching the Undertaker v HHH later on tonight if I can find it online.

Anyways, this week is relatively calm with teaching, book proposals, play reading and many student meetings. And there is a peaceful weekend coming up. The Masters Golf will probably dominate chez Warden. In fact, it feels as if we are slowly winding down for the term. That is a pleasant but sad feeling as our third years will be flying the nest.

I'm off to find out if Cena beat the Miz (!) and drink another cuppa.