Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Sheffield: city of steel and stellar theatre

So, despite the fact that I have spent the last few days in seminar rooms, in meetings and trying to get my first term admin up to date, actually our standout experience of the week took place last night in the wonderful Sheffield Crucible Theatre. If you have never been to a production at this incredible venue then go...right now! It is fast becoming my second favourite theatre (after the Royal Exchange Manchester which will always have the number one spot). Last night we went to see a truly awe-inspiring version of Othello with the fabulous Wire boys (Clarke Peters and Dominic West) in the lead roles. In typical D fashion we had the best seats in the house on the very front row. In the Crucible this means practically resting your feet on the stage. The performance was a mix of the traditional (cod piece alert!) and the modern. The fast pacing, well lit sparse stage and connection with the audience all signified a contemporary approach. One of the surprising and wonderful things about the Crucible is the age of the audience members. For the first time ever in a theatre (and I do not say this lightly) I felt old! All were impeccably well behaved and the young audience brought a real sense of dynamism and excitement to the whole piece. I came away thoroughly inspired, remembering that this is the artistic world I am part of, albeit in a small way in an East Midlands' outpost. Man, I am one blessed girlie.

So there is my Wednesday night gush. Little else to report; Othello has taken up most of my mind space since last night! Hope everyone reading this has similar moments of inspiration and excitement in their lives right now.


Monday, 26 September 2011

Our trip over the water

So, as promised a post about our trip to the States and Canada. Rather than go through a blow by blow account (two weeks is a long time!) I thought I'd just write a wee list of things we did:

Spent some wonderful time with our friends - Ann, Tim, Jack and Maddy in Seattle and David, Megan and their sweet family in Vancouver
Watched a winning game from the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field
Ate some wonderful fact too much wonderful food!
Did a lot of hiking
Climbed a lot of mountains
Bought clothes at half the price you'd pay at British shops
Revisited Mars Hill
Frightened ourselves silly on zip trek through the Whistler mountains
Went on far too many chair lifts and gondolas for my weak and wussy stomach
Had a special 'Mole' day with a visit to the art gallery and afternoon tea at the Fairmont
Enjoyed a magnificent, intense yoga session in Whistler
Took the train overlooking the Puget Sound
Watched some inspiring dance performances at the Bumbershoot festival
Saw the amazing Alphine flowers at Mount Rainer
Wandered round the beautiful city of Vancouver
Watched the Huskies win against Hawaii
Took a trip to Bainbridge Island to see the poignant exhibition on Japanese-American experience during the War

Phew, that's surely enough for the time being. I'll probably add to the list when D arrives home as he'll remember hundreds of things I've forgotten. Do check out the photographs. D did a great job. And what is my overriding memory of our trip? I think it'd have to be just hanging out for two weeks with D. Having two whole weeks to spend together and enjoy so many exciting experiences was an amazing blessing. And it was made all the more wonderful by our friends. I had just a little cry when we left as I was genuinely sad to leave Seattle and the friends we love. We'll be back as soon as we can.

Anyways, that's your lot. It was the first day of teaching today and I am strangely exhausted! I don't have the energy to post coherently about it right now. Suffice to say, everything went just fine and it was great to have the students back in the LPAC. Off for tea and a snooze.


Friday, 23 September 2011

Sorry...where did that week go?

So much for my empty promises about an in-depth holiday post! That will come next week. I promise to keep my promise this time! So what's been going on chez Warden, I hear you cry. Well, this week has comprised of a couple of interesting theatre performances, lots of teaching prep, some work on the wrestling paper (more of that in later posts), a jolly trip to Manchester (check out my university blog for more about this AHRC/BBC workshop), meeting with friends and the genuine joys of induction week. Lots of new students all raring to go. So, you can see, in consequence, Molemaison has been sadly neglected. In the meantime two special babies have been born - Hello William in Leeds and Eva in Edinburgh.

When I got back from a long day at work tonight D had a Waitrose lobster bisque waiting for me (what a guy!) as preparation for a night of packing. We are off to the wedding of our friend Malky tomorrow and I have to dig out our party frocks. We're staying overnight in a lovely B&B and might try to get to Stonehenge on Sunday before travelling back. I keep going very Spinal Tap whenever I say 'Stonehenge'. Next week is the first week of term. Start at 9 am Monday morning with The Musical - I have my tiara and sequins all ready to go! But other than teaching, next week is a little quieter so I'll get round to that holiday post. As I said last time D's pictures are already up under 'photos' - I think they are amazing.

Have a fab weekend.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Photos are up!

Hey all,
Just to let you know, the photos from our trip are now up on Picasa. Follow the 'photos' link above. Sorry that there aren't the customary little comments or indeed a proper blog post about our travels yet. This week has gone past in a bit of a blur! I will get to this job some time next week in case you're interested.

This week there have been a lot of meetings and chats. It's all been very positive and I'm excited about the new term. We've been particularly glad to welcome three new members of staff all of whom are fabulous additions to the department. I've been trying to get to grips with the new courses I am teaching and can't wait to get back in with the students. It is quite difficult to fully plan classes until you start interacting with students again. I love the university atmosphere-it is so vibrant and exciting! Anyways, I've started the preparation and feel pretty calm about it all.

Today has been spent sleeping, working, doing the washing (I can nearly see the bottom of the laundry pile which is exciting) and visiting friends. It has been just lovely but has gone too fast. Tomorrow we have church lunch (I shamefully admit that I sent D out to buy cake rather than make anything) and then I am off to Stockport. On Monday I am heading into Manchester for a day with the BBC. This comes out of a project earlier this summer called New Generation Thinkers. We get to pitch our ideas for new programmes and learn from some great Beeb folks. It should be really exciting. I don't expect to become the next Prof Brian Cox but it is really useful to have some media training. I'll write about it on my Lincoln blog next week.

Anyways, it is late, I am sleepy and I still have some jobs to do before bed in preparation for my trip. Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend and feeling positive about the oncoming autumn chill.

Rock on friends

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Module handbooks and excited anticipation

Despite the post-holiday sleepy haze, the past two days have been good fun and extremely profitable. Yesterday was our departmental day away, a chance to discuss the future and enjoy some time together: lots of exciting plans most of which included beanbags. It was a very reinvigorating day. And today I've been finally catching up on emails and jobs in the office, attending my yoga class (a little different from the class I took surrounded by the Whistler mountains last week!), preparing material for a meeting tomorrow, writing my new goals list for the autumn term and doing the ironing. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to do a little more teaching prep for the new term. Now we have moved to a ten week term there is a good deal more prep time. This is a great feeling especially with four new courses to get my head round!

I was thinking about how much I love this time of year. September is a brilliant month. It is a perfect time to take stock, start wearing boots again and buy new stationery. I get more of a sense of 'new beginnings' at this time of year than I do in January. I was talking with a friend today about goal-setting. I now have mine sorted for the next month and onwards up to Christmas. I'm hoping to get back into my exercise regime which took a bit of a backseat after getting sick in late Spring. I've got a lovely new Bible study plan and I am quite determined to approach the new term with all calmness and joy. And we have a good many things to look forward to including a wedding next weekend, a trip to Sheffield to see my favourite 'The Wire' guys in 'Othello', a trek back up to Glasgow to see our annual Yes concert and a journey cross-country to see WWE RAW. Somewhere in there is my birthday and hopefully lots of autumnal walks in the countryside, parkin and cosy nights in. I hope your Autumn (sorry American friends, 'fall') goals are going well.

Anyways, I'm off for a cuppa. D is uploading photographs as we speak so in the near future you will have a couple of posts about our America/Canada trip and a heap of pictures to enjoy. Yes is currently providing our music of choice and I'm going to get an early night.

Hope all's well with you all.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Back home

Me enjoying a day at the Bumbershoot Arts Festival in Seattle. Saw some great dance pieces!

Phew, that was a quick couple of weeks. So here we are back in Lincoln. We arrived about an hour ago, after dropping in at my folks for a lunch treat and a little snooze. Their proximity to the airport is proving to be most useful! What a great trip we had! We spent some great times with our friends in Seattle, including boats trips to islands, watching entertaining TV shows about dogs, eating steak and witnessing a Mariners win (baseball). We then headed up to Vancouver and Whistler for a couple of days of sunshine (the weather was incredible for the whole fortnight), hiking and adventures. The photos will tell more of a story than I will be able to here - suffice to say, imagine me standing on a little wooden ledge about to throw myself down a zip wire over a huge ravine. This was my most terrifying moment and we have photos that clearly capture that terror. It was a great trip made possible by our wonderful Seattle friends - thanks guys! Keep popping back to Molemaison if you are interested in stories and (much more importantly) photos a la D.

Tomorrow we are both back to work. I am participating in a departmental away day and am really looking forward to getting back into things. Holidays are fab but I do love inspiring days of research and teaching. Before you ask, there really is no sarcasm in this sentence! I made this term's plans on the long flight back and am ready to dive back in...just as soon as I've had a sleep.