Thursday, 11 February 2010

Pub crawl...

A small idyllic Public House on the corner just before you turn to Ham House; Jennie and I ventured to The Royal Oak after giving details about our event to The New Inn. We were greeted with 3 old men sat at the bar and a few young teens at the back playing darts, which I was all too quick to spot and dream dressed up in the procession. We ordered some homemade soup and a soft drink and asked the welcoming landlady if she would like to hear about our event. Lisa Pegg provided us with some key information tonight, which we were too willing to snap up as a woman who clearly knows a lot about and takes pride in her village.
Our time in Spain, Chris told us that when starting a community project you need to find out the leaders of the village. This is more than often the priests, the publicans and the school teachers. So I am taking my role very seriously as I believe speaking to the owners of all the pubs in the village can make the difference between an average project and a highly successful one. Lisa Pegg, as someone who has been to Ham House on many occasions told that Ham House does not play a significant role in the community of Ham. She feels they do not do enough with the house in the community and people are not aware of the role it could play in their society. Ham House could be used as a highly educational resource which could easily be led with the schools in the Richmond borough, but this isn't the case. They do hold a few outings for schools where they can learn about how through the periods of time they used to live in small rooms, but this could be developed so much more. Lisa told us how she only ever uses the house nowadays when she has visitors from abroad visit. How can this be when she has a beautiful house on her doorstep??
I truly believe that if we use these four months now to tap into the history and life in Ham we can make a true name for this historic building in their own village. Jennie and I later went on to see the landlady of The Fox and Duck, Priti, who has never been to Han House. She is very excited to see the celebrations in with some Thai food on the day. The pub serves Thai food 5 days a week at an excellent price. I am looking forward to having some meetings here with some discounted Thai curries! She seems like a lovely lady who is also keen to have a snooker/darts competition on the day.
I am so excited about this project now as I actually believe it is up and running. We have had so much positive feedback from everyone we've contacted and everyone is pulling their weight. We are still a long way off from secure but we have created such a fantastic team I believe we can make it work. Everyone seems to be given a role suited to them and people are taking it completely in their stride to fulfil it.
Thanks for the read xx

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Keira Knightley

Misanthrope -noun

a hater of humankind.

Briony and I head into central on Tuesday to see Keira Knightley's first stage performance of Misanthrope, at the Comedy Theatre in Piccadilly Circus. I am delighted to report that she only pouted once throughout the whole performance! Playing a bitchy Hollywood startlet, I was slightly weary of the American accent she adopted but I think she held it throughout and it wasn't too whiny.

Having not read this play before I was very impressed. Sat at the very top I paid a pound to get some binoculars and it was quite nice to get a view close up and from far away. Whether it be because I wasn't very observant, but I didn't realise it was rhyme until 20minutes into the performance. After I realised this, I found that I listened so much more to the words and the story. A play poignant to society today Damien Lewis acts along side Knightley and plays the misanthropic Alceste, transforming into a terminally disgruntled playwright in Crimp's adaptation. I throroughly enjoyed this performance and The Comedy Theatre provided another brilliant performance.

The beginning of a month...

Richmond Theatre hold a Primary dance gala every year for all primary school children in and around the area. I held a free ticket to see it as I nanny for a little girl who attends St. John the Baptist school in Hampton Wick. Her parents don't seem to take much interest in her extra curricular activities; I also had the only free ticket to see her production at Christmas which she played an American. The primary schools Christmas shows seem to have changed a lot since I was in them 10 years ago (I sound so old!). They don't have traditional nativities now and the teachers have to make sure they are multi-cultural, hence she was an American. I understand we are a multi-cultural society which has been a big step from previous years, and it is important to learn about other world religions if we are going to be an accepting society, but has too much been taken away from the birth of Christ? I am aware schools can't call it the 'Christmas Holidays' now and they have to call it the 'Winter Break'. We are predominantly a Christian society so how has it come to this?
However, that was not my point of this blog so I shall now return to my story...
So, I was her support for today. I entered the auditorium and find her frantically waving in the crowd of excited children at the front and I am suddenly swamped with this sense of pride. There she is smiling and shouting my name. However, this didn't last long and she returned to her seat as she became too cool for waving to her nanny.
Dramatic Edge (who I later find out provided funding towards last year's Drama in the Community project) organised this event with 8 different primary schools who all came from different year groups. I must say I was very impressed with the standard from all the dancers and the dances were of a very high standard, considering that the majority of them were choreographed by their year teacher.
I must however say that I felt rather strange being in a room full of mums and dads watching their children dance. I did feel proud when I saw her up on stage and I was smiling, but there was something missing that I felt the other parents had, and it wasn't just because I wasn't watching my own child. I cannot describe it well enough.
When it had finished I stayed to say goodbye to her as she was going back to school, as she again felt rather embarrassed, as so did I. I hope that when I become a parent that I am not one that embarrasses their children like that, like Cathy my Mother does on a regular basis!
I think that this was a good event to go to from two perspectives. One because it was run by Dramatic Edge who we can now get in contact with and explain our project to them and maybe recieve some funding for, and two because this is definately something we can approach the schools with and ask if they would like to perform something similar at our performance.
Thank you for reading

Friday, 5 February 2010

The New Inn

Jennie and I, along with Mark and Carolina visited the local Ham public house, The New Inn yesterday evening after the meeting. I think it was an excellent start to getting our faces known and gave me a platform to then start to ask them if they would like to get involved with the 400th birthday, seeing as I conveniently assigned myself to the pubs. We had some lovely food, everyone knows how much I love my food so this was a big thumbs up from me for the pub. I gauged myself with everyones' cheesy chips and left the three of them there to carry on talking, whilst I sped off to Gymnastics. You're now probably wondering how I wasn't too full to throw myself around the hall for 2 hours. Well, I assure you I was. I also suffered a consequence for being so late, sprinting up and down the hall 15 times. I tell you it was not fun after my chicken and bacon ciabatta. However, it slowly churned up inside my stomach and I finished the evening on the trampoline! I told you I could fit it all in! I shall return on Monday to the pubs if anyone cares to join me :)
From reading Ben's blog I agree that the Pub is probably the best place to start to get to know how we are to work in Ham for the next 4 months. It depicts the perfect centre for any community, as it has such a diverse array of individuals who all seem to let down any barriers to come together when in the same room. Our time in Spain represented this entirely. We couldn't speak Spanish much, and they couldn't speak any English. However, both groups felt so at ease to talk to each other. We spoke in our own languages but bizarrely seem to understand each other, and by the end of the night we were teaching a 40 year old woman our national anthem and a clapping game on the table. We were comfortable, they were welcoming, and I do not believe that this would have happened anywhere else but the bar. Whether this be because of the consumption of alcohol, it doesn't matter. It can happen. Social change started to happen that night.
I have also been thinking about the procession. To imagine what I'm imagining please follow the links but please read this as you watch...
I know the music is very dodgy and the pictures are bad quality but look at the completely different groups all that have come together, all different ages and all different costumes.
The same with this one, I feel like I'm in Disneyland, but the colours, the costumes (imagine all made from recycled materials). The dancing, the bicycles, imagine the Police men parading. Of corse we wont have floats but the music from the bands etc.
However parades only work with crowds along the sides :)
Love xxx