Friday, 17 December 2010

Christmas approaches

Is that the time? How many sleeps until Christmas?  Really?

Well, as promised to the recipients of my Christmas cards, here's an online miscellany of a few 'best bits' of 2010.

Wee project For reasons that remain unclear I decided to celebrate my sixtieth birthday by cycling solo from Land's End to John o'Groats (and then on to Kirkwall, Orkney) to raise funds for Falcon Camps, holidays for children and teenagers from tough backgrounds.

Should you feel so inclined, you can follow the course of my 'training' (pedalling around the cafes of Warwickshire, Gloucestershire and Derbyshire) and the ride itself via the Summer Cycling Saga blog, which includes various breathless podcasts recorded more or less in the saddle.

Angus The ride was packed with rare and random moments, mostly involving me being helped, boosted and (occasionally) rescued by kind and generous people. Chief among these very good Samaritans was the admirable Angus, the Cromarty crab man.

Bard news Mr Gnome relished a brief moment of celebrity when he boosted the Royal Shakespeare Theatre's Transformation Project. And I found myself chatting on local radio about Gregory Miller, the inspiring teacher who turned me on to Shakespeare.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Bard intent

Continuing his (frankly unmethodical) attempt to identify 'his' sponsored brick-in-the-wall of the renewed Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Mr Gnome was more than a little thrilled to encounter Malika Booker, the RSC's poet in residence.

Billeted in the Victorian reading room adjacent to the Swan auditorium, Ms Booker invites visitors to recall vivid memories from their experiences of the Stratford theatres: sights, textures, scents, emotions, highs, lows, drama and tedium.

All of which will be grist to her poetic mill over the months ahead.

Of course, this was as Pavlovian Kennomeat to Mr G's human companion who lost no time in reliving his first RST show way back in August 1967: All's Well That Ends Well, with a cast that included the extremely young Helen Mirren.

Wise Ms Booker limited him to the space of a medium-sized PostIt.

Mr Gnome wishes Malika great success.

(Ms Booker was not expecting Mr G's appearance. Consequently he considers her perfect choice of hat colour as particularly auspicious.)