Saturday 26 September 2009

Autumn Scene

I saw the photo below in the Daily Mail (which often has wonderful animal photos) the other day, it's Britain's smallest mammal, the harvest mouse. They are quite endangered and this fellow feasting on blackberries is one of a group of harvest mice released by the Secret World animal rescue centre in Somerset. It is hoped they will start to breed and establish a colony in that part of the country.
I thought, beside it being such a cute photo, it was really symbolic of Autumn. Good luck to the harvest mice, they are too gorgeous to lose from our countryside! You can read the full article here

Photo by Richard Austin, taken from the Daily Mail website

No Way!

Well is annoying me once again! I've been checking about presale codes for the 2010 European shows because (as usual with this pathetic site) it's not clear if current subscribers will get another code. It seems that in order to get another code you will have to re-subscribe before the presale date of the particular show you want to see. So, if I wanted to say, go for the presale for Vienna on the 29th September, I would have to re-subscribe now even though my present sub does not expire for over five months!

To my knowledge this is the earliest that tickets have ever gone on sale for a U2 tour, why should we re-subscribe early because of that and fill's coffers If you are a paid up subscriber you should get a presale code, simple. In my eyes this is a blatant money-grabbing venture, which I think is pretty awful considering how difficult times are for ordinary people in the recession at the moment. Fans are being forced into parting with a very expensive fanclub subscription early in irder to get presale codes. The only good thing about it is that the extra subscription is going to be added onto the current sub so you don't lose any months. This is the corporate monster of U2 which I hate, if they weren't so damed brilliant live I'd tell them to feck off! I just renewed my REM subscription for $12, you get a fabulous Christmas package, regular newsletters by post and I even got happy birthday email, a lovely personal touch. Now that's what I call a brilliant fanclub! I hate

Sorry for ranting but I had to get that out of my system!

Friday 25 September 2009

I've Got A Job!

Isn't life strange? I'd just started seriously looking for a job after a year of being retired, then a flyer pops through my letterbox advertising a cleaning job at a village primary school close to where I live. I phoned the contact person and today went for my interview at the school and was offered the job! Of course it is subject to references etc, but I don't think there will be any problems there.

The school is lovely, well looked after, a typical village school. I'll work ten hours a week, just a couple of hours a day and the good thing is during school holidays, though I still have to do my ten hours, I can do them anytime in the week, so could do a couple of days of five hours and have the rest of the week off.

So, in a small way I'm back into the world of the working person!

Thursday 24 September 2009

2010 U2 360 European Tour Dates!

Yikes this caught me unawares, I'm all a-dither! I didn't think the big announcement on would be tour dates for next year. Some of the dates have presales (where are the codes then?) next Tuesday! Good way for the promoters to get lots of interest on our money for tickets bought a year in advance! Still, it is obviously definite that there will be a tour next year and there are a lot of long gaps so more dates will be added. Here are the dates (with presale/public sale dates in brackets):

10 August 2010: Commerzbank Arena, Frankfurt, Germany
12 August 2010: AWD Stadium, Hannover, Germany
15 August 2010: CASA Arena Horsens, Horsens, Denmark (29 September / 3 October)
20 August 2010: Olympic Stadium, Helsinki, Finland (29 September / 5 October)
25 August 2010: Luzhniki, Moscow, Russia
30 August 2010: Ernst Happel Stadium, Vienna, Austria (29 September / 3 October)
3 September 2010: Olympic Stadium, Athens, Greece
6 September 2010: Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey
15 September 2010: Olympic Stadium, Munich, Germany
18 September 2010: Stade De France, Paris, France
29 September 2010: Olympic Stadium, Seville, Spain
2 October 2010: Estádio Cidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

Tuesday 22 September 2009

A Year!

It was my birthday the other day (had a lovely time, thanks to everyone for the cards and gifts) and that meant that I have now been retired for a year! I can hardly believe it, it's flown by. Most of that year has been brilliant, lots of travelling, lots of U2, lots of time to do what I really want to do. I honestly wonder how I fitted everything in and worked as well, but that's what people do don't they?

The hardest thing about stopping work has been to adjust to living on less money, but I am managing. Don't get me wrong, I know I am very lucky to be able to retire at a relatively young age and still get a thrill when my work pension appears in my account and I haven't worked for it! But then, I earned it over 30 years for it really.....

Another thing that was surprisingly hard for me was to stop being a nurse, I hadn't realised just how much nursing had become a part of me. It was a stronger part of my identity than I ever thought. I had to renew my yearly nursing registration just before I retired and that registration ran out at the end of August. Part of me wanted to renew it so I was still, legally, a nurse, yet part of me knew I had to move on and leave that part of my life behind. And that's what I did, so now I cannot practice as a qualified nurse.

After my year off I am ready to find a part time job now. I'm not really bothered what, but I'm ready to move on to something new, so I'm out there looking.....

Saturday 19 September 2009

Canadian Interview With Bono

I can't keep up with all the plethora of interviews, reviews etc about the North American leg of the 360 Tour, though it all seems to be going well. But here's one interview with Bono I did get to read, it's quite short but has a few interesting snippets for fans. Hope he isn't just waxing lyrical about the albums in them, you know what he's like! Also, I think that reporter should be grateful it wasn't Bono driving that SUV! Read the interview here

A Walk in Swineside (It's Nicer Than It Sounds!)

We've been enjoying an Indian Summer, the weather has been sunny and warm and I've been out and about a lot to make the most of it before the winter sets in. The other day I set off for Mungrisdale and Caldbeck Common close to the Lake District (but no where near as crowded!). I'd discovered this area by accident when my friend Dianne was staying with me and we took a shortcut home along a road I had never been on before. It was gorgeous there and we met the friendly little fell ponies that wander over the common for the first time.

My friend Kath had told me about a place very close by called Swineside, so I decided to go there and explore. I turned right in the village of Mosedale and drove along the narrow road into a valley flanked by Carrock on the right and Bowscale Fell on the left. The fledgling River Caldew (the source of which is Skiddaw mountain not far away) ran through the centre of the valley. The fells were just changing into their Autumn colours, the bracken was turning rust red and there was a whisper of lilac as the heather started to bloom - a couple of weeks later and the rust red and lilac would be stunning.

The road gently eased to the left still following the valley, and new mountains came into view -Coomb, Great Calva and the instantly recognisable Blencathra also known as Sabbleback. You can continue along the valley on foot along a very good bridleway. This is exactly what Pepsi, Max and I did. There were a few other people walking too, but not many and it was incredibly peaceful. I'm not a religious person, but I am spiritual, and I always feel a spirituality about places like this - nature to me is better than any church, and there is a permanence about places like this. I find it humbling to walk in such a beautiful place and know that I am following in the footsteps of generations of other people who saw the same river, mountains and fells. Some of these people will not have felt like me, these places were only really opened up and romanticised in the 19th Century, before that they were considered harsh and scary. The mountains can still be harsh and weather unpredictable, but in the modern world that has made places more accessible, we have learned to appreciate the powerful beauty of nature.

It was the perfect day weather-wise, warm and sunny, the Caldew bubbled over its rocky bed close by, otherwise there was no sound, so rare is our hectic world and I loved it! Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to live in an isolated place, but I love visiting them.

Afterwards I drove the short distance to Caldbeck Common as I had some apples for the ponies (last time they had nuzzled our pockets so they are used to being fed!) A few ambled across and let me stroke them and wolfed down the apples. They were very sweet and cute, short and stocky with rough haired coats and manes that hung over their eyes - they'll need that coat to protect them when the weather becomes colder, the common is very open and I'm sure the wind whistles through there at a pace. But those ponies may be little, but they look tough too!

So that was my day at Swineside (wonder how it got that name?). Simple, but very enjoyable, it's always good to discover places near to where you live that you fall in love with and will visit again and again.

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Dog Emergency!

Got up today, and as usual, I was my normal slow grumpy self (I'm not a morning person as people who know me well can attest to!) I was just about to give the dogs their breakfast when I noticed Pepsi had something in his basket. It was a sleeve of eight Paracetamol tablets and one was missing. Somehow Pepsi had opened my handbag and got it out and eaten one tablet. Well Paracetamol is a highly toxic painkiller, people have been known to die after relatively small overdoses and here was my 4.5 kilo dachshund having eaten a whole tablet! He hadn't had anything to eat either so it would get into his system faster. With my nursing experience I knew that you have a window of time when you can remedy the situation by giving an emetic and an antidote. I rang the vets and was told to bring him in as they would have to make him sick. So I flew up there and he was given the emetic.

I sat outside in the sunshine with him whilst he threw up over and over again. I felt so sorry for him, I could see he was distressed and not sure what was happening. Pepsi is always so bright and happy it was sad to see him like this, but it had to be done.

I went off with a dachshund feeling very sorry for himself, the antidote and a lot poorer - why are vets so expensive? Luckily I can get the nasty smelling antidote into Pepsi ok. The vet says because I got him there fast he will be ok, but it just shows you how easily disasters can happen. Needless to say I have taken the Paracetamol out of my handbag!

Wednesday 9 September 2009

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

A Midsummer Night's Dream has long been a favourite Shakespeare play of mine. My friend Kath and I went to the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick to see it a few days ago. On our way we had a lovely meal at the Troutbeck Inn which really made a night of it. Unfortunately it poured with rain all the way to Keswick and all the way back (and all the time inbetween I'm pretty sure!). The theatre is situated close to Derwent Water, such a lovely setting. It is small but comfortable and has had some wonderful productions.

Kath and I had good seats five rows back in the stalls and had a brilliant view. I was pleased to see it was a traditional production (I'm not that into modern adaptations, though they do sometimes work well.) The humans were dressed in Elizabethan-style costumes and the fairies floaty gossamer, flowers with ivy, Oberon and Puck more animal-like and earthy.

The thing I love about this play is it's contrasts, the human/fairy worlds, poles apart, yet drawn together that night. The raucous humour of the amateur actors doing their play for the nobles. Then there is the beautifully poetic language of the fairies, so much in touch with and a part of nature. I thought this production caught all this so well with the costumes and set. The set was simple but adaptable and worked very well. The acting was excellent. The photo in this article is taken from the Theatre by the Lake website, go here for more information.

I especially love some of Puck's lines, the likeable rogue has some of the best lines. Seeing this play made me realise once more what a genius Shakespeare was and how good he was at capturing a spirit that has never aged or become alien to generations. Hundreds of years after the play was written people can still laugh heartily, feel wonder at and love the words he created.

Let Puck finish this review for me:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

Wednesday 2 September 2009


God it's September already, and don't I know it. There a nip of autumn in the air, winter clothes have replaced the tee shirts and sun dresses, the bright colours are muted, Christmas cards and displays are appearing, days are getting shorter.

It's not my favourite time of year but I'm determined not to get too down that winter is approaching, and I've got many projects on the go. The main ones being to look for a part time job and to - maybe - write a book.

The job firstly will be useful to help to pay off the credit card that got a lot of use during U2 360! Plus I need to save for the next round of the tour in 2010. I enjoyed this years gallivanting so much I want to do as much as am able to next year.

The thoughts about writing a book come from a trip I did with my friend Dianne when she was staying with me in August. We went to The Devil's Porridge exhibition not far from where I live. It is about a huge World War One munitions factory that stretched for nine miles and had thousands of workers making cordite. It was dangerous work mainly done by women. It was absolutely fascinating and as we were looking round the exhibition Dianne (who is a writer) said, "Now here's a novel waiting to be written, you should do it." And that got me thinking, maybe I could do it? So at present I'm just doing some research, I'm not sure I could write something as long as a novel, all my writing has been of relatively short articles, but I'll see!

In the meantime you can read a little about The Devil's Porridge exhibition here