Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Birds and Bugs

Easter Sunday was fabulous.

Trevor and I drove down to London's O2 Arena to see the Eagles perform 30 brilliant songs. Around 20,000 people were in the audience... not bad for a bunch of nearly 60-year-olds eh? (the band that is, not the audience, though we did spot quite a lot of silver hair!)

It was not our first Eagles concert as we saw them in June 2006 at the NIA (National Indoor Arena) in Birmingham.

Pure magic.

Trevor at the O2 Arena

The O2 Arena - formerly the Millennium Dome

Before the London trip, in the morning, Trevor and I performed an Easter drama sketch at church. We played 2 Cockney (appropriately, seeing as we went to London later that day) caterpillars and you probably think that we are extremely eccentric! The message was that we were green, fat and ugly but that we were going to shed our skins and transform into something beautiful, ie. be 'born again', which is exactly why Jesus died for us on the cross. It is the essence of Easter and the foundation of the Christian faith.

So, from caterpillars to Eagles, Easter Sunday was a very good day for us.

How was YOUR Easter?

Trevor and Annie as caterpillars

(This pic was taken from a previous performance in 2006)

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Tony Benn: Birmingham Town Hall

Trevor and I attended 'An Evening with Tony Benn' at the Birmingham Town Hall on Thursday.

The retired Labour politician talked about his life in politics and his thoughts on changes in the Labour party.

He held the captivated audience of approximately 900 people for 90 minutes. At the age of almost 83, Tony Benn is a remarkable man.

The evening was spent giving frank responses to questions from the audience and also entertaining us with political anecdotes.

I didn't take a photo on Thursday but below is a picture taken when we saw him at the Birmingham Conservatoire in October 2007.

Trevor meets Tony Benn - October 2007
Going to the Town Hall was also a big wow! for me. It is my first visit since before it's closure more than a decade ago. It has been beautifully and tastefully revamped (at a cost of £35m!) and it re-opened last October.

The Birmingham Town Hall as it is today


Thursday, 20 March 2008

Blog Off!

I'm afraid I haven't got my blogging head on at the moment - I'm spending far too long playing Scrabulous (Scrabble) on Facebook! I will try and post something very soon.

Annie x

Ps. If Steve reads this, I will catch up on your posts in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

To key or not to key: that is the question:

This week started out quite well. On Monday Trevor and I facilitated a "Trust Me I'm A Patient" workshop for 30 NHS managers in Southampton. Despite the wet and windy weather and warnings that we were possibly in the worst part of the UK, we didn't experience anything adverse.

Tuesday was spent delivering a similar workshop in Milton Keynes for 7 frontline staff, including 2 occupational therapists, 2 nurses, a mental health worker, a sexual health worker and a lady who provides an an 'End of Life' service. The latter provides Gold Standard assistance to people who are approaching the end of their lives, due to terminal illness. If the 7 ladies learned anything from us, we learned a dozen times more from them and found them all inspirational. I did my usual riveting performances of various NHS staff and patients during a drama sketch. So far so good; even Shakespeare would have been proud of me! We arrived home to 2 puppies who had not had any 'accidents' or caused any damage, other than a chewed cable, which fortunately was not plugged in. Otherwise, all was going well.

We were due to attend an (Actors) Equity meeting at 8.00 in Coventry but we collected my daughter from college at about 7.20pm and dropped her home first.

I then did something really stupid.

We drive a Renault Megane and the engine is started using a Renault key card. It is also used for locking/unlocking the doors/boot and setting the alarm.

Once the engine is running the key can be removed from the ignition.

Arriving at the house, with the engine still running, I removed the key card, as the house keys were on the same key ring, dashed out and unlocked the front door to let my daughter into the house. At this point Trevor was on the front lawn trying to get dog muck off his shoes. A few minutes later we were back in the car and we journeyed to our meeting arriving just before 8.00pm and Trevor turned off the engine.

No key card in the ignition! I'd only gone and left the keys in the front door of the house. Here we were at the meeting, we couldn't lock the car or start it!

I went in to the meeting while Trevor spent £20 on a taxi to take him home to pick up the keys and attend the meeting. By the time he returned the meeting was over but he bought some raffle tickets. Oh what wondrous joy, we won.... a video (yes VHS video) of a selection of 'Great Performances' from the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Ah well...
"To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks......"

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Coventry Carers Conference

Trevor & I perform at a Coventry Carers Conference on 3rd March

Trevor facilitated a workshop for the Coventry City Council on Monday and I assisted with a couple of drama sketches.
The attendees:
Carers of people with mental health problems
Managers (Social Services)
I played a mother-of-4. Her husband was suicidally depressed, her one child was autistic and another child was ill and needed to see a doctor but she couldn't get through on the telephone. Stress. She phoned her social worker (played by Trevor) who had problems of his own: he was under a lot of stress at work and his wife was diagnosed that morning with terminal cancer.
We performed the sketch twice: the first time the situation was handled rather badly, causing the mother to break down as she was being torn in all directions and just needed a little help. After much discussion and based on the comments of the participants, we acted the sketch again in the afternoon, portraying a better and more positive way for the social worker to help his client.
The conference was certainly an eye-opener, meeting carers and hearing their stories. I just hope that the workshop made some kind of difference.
Trevor and I feel so blessed that the only ties we have in our lives are 2 hairy canines.