Sunday, 19 February 2012

Contest Day - Take 1

Today is contest day. The band, Silk Brass, has been rehearsing one piece of music, "mountain Views" by Bertrand Moren, since the beginning of the year. The music lasts about 10 minutes or so. We're at the Derby contest today as next weekend sees us in Blackpool for the North West Regional competition - basically the qualifying round for the National Championships. So today is about giving the band a run out on the area test piece to make sure we're match fit. The judge will sit in a box so that he doesn't know which band is playing and he will critique each performance. The band which, in the judges opinion, gives the best performance of the test piece is the winner. Naturally there will only be one band who agree with the judge, with the other bands all being robbed. What is important about the contest is that it is the first contest with musical director, Jim Cant, back at the helm after a period of illness. Wish us luck!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Technological advances

I've had it for a while. It's been sitting on my laptop and I have done nothing with it. I didn't have anyone else to play with, really. Today was different. Today someone said "do you Skype?" I didn't even know that there was a verb "to skype". Then I remembered that an American guy ( I don't remember his name, sorry) once said "there's not a word in the English language that can't be verbed". That is a terrible thing to do to a language. So anyway Deb and I had our first real Skype video conversation with someone. Deb was well impressed.
Lettermo is continuing a pace. Deb managed to get me some of the diamond jubilee Machin stamps in town today. My usual post office didn't have them the other day when I enquired, unless I wanted to buy a presentation pack. C'est la vie.
I decided that Skyping ( is that how you say it?) is good, but it's not up there with a letter. You can't (or maybe you can) re-run a Skype conversation. But you can re-read a letter. I have been asking, recently, for advice about my filing system (sic) for my letters received. Up until recently I have been keeping them in a shoe box. Pikolinos, which is suitably cosmopolitain I thought, which Deb bought in Picardy if my memory serves me correct. Anyway the shoe box was full to bursting and I needed a new system. But I didn't know what to do. Panic! Anyway I resolved it by getting a bigger box. It's not a shoe box anymore, it's just an anonymous white storage box from Ikea. I guess it wil do the job for the time being. What next I know not.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Buying stamps and writing letters

Had a busy day today going to the post office for stamps and then writing letters. In between times I managed to fit in going to work as well. I just about managed to catch up with all my letter writing when Postman Pat came with two letters and the Postcrossing cards. I guess there's no peace for the wicked! The postie also brought my Windsors stamp presentation pack including all five stamps plus the mini sheet. I'm just waiting on the diamond jubilee presentation pack, now, together with the commemorative document.

I also received my British Philatelic Bulletin today. I'm not too excited about the forthcoming comics set but the Scottish locomotive mini sheet and the Britons of Distinction set look rather interesting. I think it's a shame, though, that the Scottish locomotives are only going to be issued as a minisheet as not many are going to be used to send letters. That is a real shame as people won;t get to see and enjoy them. People do enjoy them, I often get comments from overseas pen friends about the Royal Mail commemorative stamps that I usually afix to my outgoing post. We'll wait and see what the Dicken's they have in store for us in June.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Good mail day

Today was a good mail day. Postman Pat brought, apart form the 'phone bill, a letter from Michael in Kentucky and a letter from a brand new penpal in Wales who has kindly included me in her Month of Letters Challenge (henceforth referred to as lettermo). I also received my stationery parcel from Smythson's. Yep that's two from them recently. This time I'm replenishing supplies of the Bond Street blue which seems to be my staple stationery (see what I did there?). I'm running out of ideas for what to do with those nice blue boxes.
As my part of lettermo I sent out a letter today to someone with whom I have not, previously, corresponded. That's two new folks in as many days. I guess tomorrow is going to see me at the post office replenishing my stamp drawer. The trouble is that there are so many different rates for postage. 46p for first class, 68p for Europe (up to 20 grammes) or £1 for over that weight. 76p, £1.10 or £1.65 for the rest of the world depending on weight.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Another new car, snow, fog and cancellations

My alarm went off bright and early at 06:30. I looked out of the window and saw my new AA Driving School Ford Focus arriving half an hour early. So the driver had to wait until I made myself decent. The new car isn't any shade of grey or silver which, in my opinion, in a huge plus. It's white. White cars look pretty smart but I'm not so sure when it has all the decals fitted. I guess it is just a rental car at the end of the day.
The weather here over the weekend has not been fantastic. I was scheduled to take a PDI for his part3 test today but the DSA cancelled it due to the weather. C'est la vie.
My month of letters challenge is shaping up. I wrote to another member of the lettermo forum today and, I hope, have a coupleof others lined up for thos days when I have no regular correspondent to whom I am able to write. Then, of course, there's always Postcrossing.

Friday, 3 February 2012

So far, so good.

But it's only day three of the month of letters challenge. I have been fortunate to receive a letter each day this month, so it means that I have a letter to write in reply. I am concerned that this project might become a little forced if I try to write letters that I wouldn't ordinarily write. By the same token it will, I hope be an opportunity to write those letters that I always wanted to write but never did. We'll see if I actually get around to them before the month is out. For more information about the month of letters challenge the website is .
It looks like winter has arrived in Britain this week. I went out this morning and it was minus 5 celcius at 08:00. I'm glad I didn't have an early start :) Snow is forecast for tomorrow, I believe, so I might get some enforced time off work. C'est la vie. Thankfully the Focus has an electrically heated front windscreen so I didn't need to scrape any ice off it.
Rehearsals are intensifying for the forthcoming North West Regional contest at the end of the month. The test piece is "Mountain Views" which is best described as quite nice. I don;t think that it will stay long in the memory once we get on the coach back from Blackpool. That's going to be a long day. Why do we go contesting? We put hours of rehearsal time in to give one performance lasting just a few minuted to a guy in a box. We sit around all day killing time between rehearsing, performing and hearing the results. I guess there will be five bands who consider it worthwhile despite all the hanging around. The question is will the mighty Fodens maintain the run of success? To be honest I can't see anybody in the north west that is in the same class. Things might be different if they were in Yorkshire, however.........