Thursday, 21 August 2014

Edinburgh Fringe

At the beginning of the week I went to Edinburgh with my daughter for the Fringe Festival.
We were just going to go for the day, but a comedian that she wanted to see was on too late in the day for us to catch the last train home.  As we were only planning this a couple of days beforehand I thought that there was no way we would find any accommodation in a city that would be heaving with visitors, but by a stroke of luck my brother was staying with us for the weekend and he has friends in Edinburgh.  A couple of phone calls later and we were all fixed up!

Although there's all kinds of performances at the Fringe - theatre, comedy, music and dance; it was comedy we were after. 
There are so many acts to choose from (The Royal Mile is littered with people giving out flyers), some free and some paid for; and in some very unusual places.
In this place 
we were led up very narrow, darkly lit staircases, through small doors, and more staircases until we reached the venue which was called The Cave.  I forget what the act was called but I'm glad it only cost £2.50 because it didn't live up to my expectations.  The comedienne herself had given us the flyer in the street and was talking to us for quite a while in her lovely West Country accent that had me smiling all the while.  Sadly the act didn't raise any more than a smile.

This small stage on the other hand was where we saw a two man improv group (is two a group?) who were very funny.

We booked in advance for Paul Foot so as not to miss him.  I must admit that although I recognised his picture I didn't recall ever seeing him on TV.
My daughter wanted us to sit on the front row (always a no no in my book, at comedy shows).  I asked her if he was the kind of comedian who would pick on people in the audience and she said she didn't think he did.  (Turns out she'd only ever seen him in panel shows like 8 Out of 10 Cats and Never mind the Buzzcocks, and you don't see the audience in them.  Apart from that time in Buzzcocks when Preston from The Ordinary Boys walked off in a huff and they replaced him with someone from the audience).  
Anyway there's something about him that had me in stitches from the very start, which I think is why he came straight over to me, with his nose touching mine!  Luckily I was laughing so much I didn't have time to be embarrassed.   It was a real good laugh.

We had such a good time and saw lots of funny acts, as well as a couple of duds - in one, apart from a few titters, the biggest laugh was raised by a member of the audience!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

London bound

I've just come back from a few days in London with my daughter.
We briefly thought about going on the London Eye, but instead did 'Up at the O2'.  This is a guided walk up to the top of the O2 (formerly known as the Millennium Dome).  You're all harnessed up and attached to a wire on the suspended walkway, which is made out of a kind of rubber, and is quite bouncy, (I had to really resist the urge to make it bounce more than it already was!).  Several times you think you've got to the top, but then it goes further on until you reach the viewing platform.  You can detach yourself from the wire here and walk about to see the views.

This is looking at the O2 from the river (we got a boat back from there to London Bridge).

and zooming in, you can see a group of people just reaching the top.

We also went to Kew gardens 
where there'd been a bit of yarn bombing going on.

We wanted to go to the theatre while we were there and plumped for Wicked one night, and Ghost Stories the next.   Wicked was brilliant, I'd really recommend it.   I loved the costumes, and scenery, and it had some great songs.  The story was the background to the witches in Wizard of Oz and was very entertaining.

Ghost Stories on the other hand......
As someone who jumps at the slightest thing, I was expecting (and hoping) to be scared witless.   It was not to be; in fact I found myself falling asleep!  Don't go!

We went to the usual touristy places and had some great street food in Borough Market

Talking of food, I'm a dinosaur when it comes to technology but my daughter has all these apps on her phone - ones that show you exactly how to get from A to B, from what buses to catch (even showing you where the bus stop is), to tubes and maps showing where you are; ones that show you recommended eating places in the area where you are; and things to to in the same area.   All really useful and saving a lot of time compared to my way of asking directions then forgetting what was said after "turn left".  
 But guess what?   Her phone battery ran out on the first night and we managed to find a restaurant with fantastic food all by ourselves, and without having to worry how many stars it had been given by reviewers!

We finished off by going to the fabric shops in Goldhawk Road, which I'd read about but never been to.  I was amazed at how many there were - in fact my daughter got fed up half way round and went off to sunbathe in the park!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Trial run

You may remember a (long) while ago that I bought a piece of gorgeous 1950s fabric from the charity shop. It's 36" wide and there's only 1 3/4 yards, so not a lot to play with, and I've been looking for the right pattern for it ever since.  I thought something with a full skirt would suit it and I've since bought a remnant of plain blue fabric to go with.

And now I think I have the pattern - Simplicity 2444 which has been around for quite a while but had passed me by.

My idea is to do this version with the cape collar, and make the bodice and top part of the skirt in plain blue, and the collar and a band at the bottom of the skirt in the flowered fabric.

I didn't want to risk ruining my precious 1950s fabric, so I've had a trial run using an old duvet cover.   As I was really just checking for fit I didn't add the collar.

Note how I've matched up the pattern either side of the zip!

I've fully lined it using an old pink sheet

I had to make a couple of adjustments because the neck was gaping at the front and back so I've put some darts in.   Before I make the next one I'll have to find out how to alter the pattern for a better fit.
After I found this pattern I've seen lots of versions on blogs, like Alex's, Jacquie's and Char's.   
No-one else seems to have trouble with the fronts pleats in the skirt, but I found them very confusing and they've ended up very bulky, so I'll have to fix that.  
Overall though I'm very happy with it (and it's got pockets!).

So that's my trial run.  Do you think my idea for using the other fabric would look ok?   Or have you got any other suggestions for it?