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Enjoying the snow


Woke up this morning to discover we had had 3 inches of snow in the night! Hasn’t snowed like that for at least 6 years – in fact I’m sure our daughter hasn’t seen proper snow where we live (though she did enjoy a wintery New Year with my mum when she lived in Scotland). Snow was so deep that the main road out of our estate was blocked, so I took the morning off work. Gave us time to get the sledge out – an old fashioned traditional wooden one and make a snowman – great stuff, hope it stays around for the weekend!

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Watching the Moscow State Circus


Family outing to The Lowry in Salford Quays tonight – wouldn’t normally go to see the circus in Winter due to it being freezing cold sat in a tent. But sat in the lovely surroundings of The Lowry’s Lyric theatre watching the Moscow State Circus was a throughly enjoyable experience – though the high wire stuff was restricted by the height of the stage. Highlight of the show was some incredible acrobatics involving a seesaw jump using 10ft stilts – how do you practice that?!

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Choosing Rabbits


Although our daughter’s birthday isn’t until March we thought we’d best start eraly with finding rabbits just in case we didn’t find a pair we were all happy with. Having discovered that our nearest animal rescue was North Clwyd Animal Rescue, a few miles away. A bit off the beaten track based in what looks like a farm, very busy with people looking for dogs, but we soon tracked down Pat, the rabbit lady and were immediately introduced to the 2 most adorable bunnies – Anastasia and Peter.

They were part of a family who were dumped in a graden, they aren’t very old but very friendly. Peter is fine (apart from having grass stained feet!) however Anastasia has a poorly eye, so we’ll have to wait a couple of weeks before we can take them home, just as well as I’ve not constructed the hutch and run yet!

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Watching The Wizard of Oz


Went to see a great Panto style show at The Wales Millenium Centre in Cardiff. The building is stunning – clad in a mix of local slate and copper with windows above the entrance in the shape of a quote – letters are about 6ft high. The theatre is big and comfortable, we were there to see The Wizard of Oz – a faithful stage adaptation of the film, with all the well known songs. The set was fantastic, using large screen projection for the storm. A big budget production not spoilt by has been celebs in drag – great stuff!

The Stage Review

The appeal of following that yellow brick road to somewhere over the rainbow remains as strong as ever, as this spectacular production clearly demonstrates. Based on the Lyman Frank Baum story brought to the screen in the 1939 Judy Garland classic, this staging recaptures the delights of young Dorothy s song-packed journey to the Emerald City in search of the Wizard.

Simon Rawlings  well placed handling of the many scenes is breezy and brash, with the colourful sets consistently attractive under the ever-changing lighting designed by Paul Colley. The Hurricane and the high-tech Wizard provide real highlights among the succession of special effects.

Ruthie Stephens is a capable, no-nonsense Dorothy, accompanied by the ahhh  factor of her pet dog, Toto (the professional debut of Angel). Susie Blake provides a rather jolly and not-so Wicked Witch, incapable of scaring even the most timorous of toddlers.

As the Cowardly Lion, Mark Stuart Wood gives a well-rounded portrayal which is both touching and amusing, while Julian Kay projects a lovable well-oiled Tinman and David Corey energetically clowns as the accident prone Scarecrow. Glamorous support is supplied by Janet Greaves as goody Glinda, with Mark Jardine as the Wizard and Chris Brailsford as the guard.

Choreography for the many youthful dancers from local academies is by Emma Turner. The musical director is James Wells.

Production information

Management: Pele Productions


Suzie Blake, Ruthie Stephens, Janet Greaves, Chris Brailsford, Mark Jardine, David Covey, Julian Kay, Mark Stuart Wood, Stephanie McGill, Michelle Cahill

Director: Simon Rawlings

Sound: Ian Hopkinson

Costumes: Frank Kershaw

Musical direction: James Wells

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Feeding the birds (indirectly)


My partner found a beautiful Christmas Wreath in Chester, made from chillis, hazelnuts and a blue berry we couldn’t name – it looked really fresh and will hopefully last all Christmas period (pity it won’t keep to next Christmas). On returning to home today I caught a blackbird eating the berries off the wreath! It was flying from the neighbours roof and dive bombing our front door in order to feed!

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Installing a rise and fall light


This time last year we brought a cool rise and fall light from an interiors shop in Liverpool called Utility. It’s remained in its box since then, put aside as ‘another small job to do’! However as it’s getting close to Christmas I thought I’d install it – the light is going above the dining table. Although the instructions were in Italian the diagrams were clear and I soon had the the fitting up – amzingly the weight (to pull the light up and down) is perfectly balanced – it didn’t work until the shade was on – it’s really cool – lighting up just the table, very intimate dining – why didn’t I put it up earlier?!


Luceplan – Costanza
The suspension version allows a very flexible use of this lamp, because it can be applied to any part of the ceiling even when there is no available mains plug on it. And that goes both for the one with the vertically adjustable shaft and ceiling hook, and for the up-down one directly adjustable by means of its distinctive counterweight.
Costanza, with its light and resistant shade that diffuses a warm and pleasant light and with its unmistakable profile, fits naturally into any setting without posing any restraints on matching styles. Fascinating and inimitable, it can recreate the most traditionally accepted atmospheres as a domestic image and is always in the vanguard due to its refined technology.

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Putting up Christmas lights


As Christmas Day falls on a Sunday this year we worked out there are only 3 weekends until the big day – so this weekend we’re decorating the house – first job was to put up the lights on the outside. A time consuming task as I have to put up the scaffolding tower, but as all the nails were there from last year it didn’t take to long. The lights come with a number of flashing settings but I decided to stick with the ‘glitter’ setting – looks like we’re the first to put up the lights in our close – wonder how long it’ll take before the other blokes heed to the call!

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Playing with ice


Discovered that the two water butts in our garden had frozen over, no surprise considering the 2 frosts we’ve had this week. What was the surprise was the fact the ice was 2 inches thick! So mt daughter and I fished the slabs out and had fun skating around with our fingers (think yellow pages on ice!), my daughter got her barbies out to skate, we carved things into the blocks and finally like all kids do we smashed them up! (which took some doing) Roll on the snow!

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Taking part in a live ebay auction


I’d been looking around on ebay to see what prices Sasha dolls were going for (to see if ours had increased in value), came across an ebay live auction for some – exacallty like an ordinary ebay auction, except it’s live and you have to pay auctioneers commission. So I signed up to the auction (you have to be registered) and logged on to see what happened – you see the lots on screen, and the number and value of bids, all thanks to javascript. The auction contained over 500 lots so they whizzed through them – all the Sasha fetched good prices – a rare one went for £1000! I ended up buying some other dolls – might save them for Christmas presents or flog them on ordinary ebay – they didn’t reach their estimate so hopefully I’ve got a bargain. A fun experience alround!

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Enjoying fireworks


Spent the day with my grandmother, big family gathering with newest and oldest present, at least 85 years in age difference! Raced back to see the local firework display, normally we go to one organized by the fire brigade, the fireworks are great, the fire a little over the top – they make it at least 2 storeys high so that they can practice using their hoses on it! However this year we were to late, so we stopped off in Chester at the race course – big display let down by some bad TV themes being played through a crap tannoy. Shocking to think we’ve probably watched 10 grand go up in smoke!

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