Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Olympic Torch came to Bexhill!

On Tuesday Bexhill welcomed the Olympic Torch on the 60th day of the Torch relay around the country. Despite horrible weather weeks and days before, Tuesday was dry, warmish and most of the day was sunny. It was also very windy but we cannot expect miracles, as this is Britain after all!

The Museum had a Torch Cafe event going on in the Education Room from 2pm-7pm organised by my bezzie mate There was also a showing of a local oral history film at 4pm which featured interviews and photos with local people involved in sport. This film was part of the Museum's big exhibition for this year on Bexhill Sporting Heritage. The cafe was extremely successful and there were not many cakes and savouries left by the end and more importantly a decent amount of money in the donations box!

At 5.08pm we were told the Torch had arrived in Bexhill at Little Common following its journey from Eastbourne. As we wanted the volunteers to see the Torch go past as well as all our visitors the cafe was going to be shut for a short while when the Torch passed by. However in the end it was kept open by some willing helpers! The Torch was due to go along West Parade and pass by the Clock Tower at approximately 5.25pm. This was perfect for the Museum as it is situated just behind it so was very close by for getting a decent spot to watch the Torch go by without having to queue for hours! We gathered the various people and children together and went and took our spot next to the Clock Tower. This turned out to be a perfect spot to stand and provided an ideal place to watch everything.

Firstly we watched some guys on stilts who were doing jumps and various tricks as well as giving out Lloyds TSB streamers to kids (and some adults!) to wave. Lloyds is one of the official sponsors of the relay. This was then followed by a coach which stopped in front of where we were standing and out came one of the Torch bearers with her Torch in hand! She came and stood where we were standing and began to pose for photos. It turns out she was waiting for the flame to be passed to her so we were actually going to see the change over happening in front of us! While the coach doors were open we also saw the next Torch Bearer waiting to be dropped off who just happened to be Eddie Izzard who is our Museum Patron so that was very exciting and we got a wave from him! The coach then moved off. The poor woman with the Torch started to get a bit swamped by people trying to pose with her for photos and trying to touch the Torch!. She was very good about it all and happily posed for photos with the kids and let them touch the bottom of the Torch.

Then it was time for more official sponsors to parade past, so cue a huge lorry with Samsung emblazoned on it and a huge TV screen on the side blaring out some noisy film or advert. The kids were not impressed and a friend's son even commented it would be better if the screen was playing something decent like Dr Who! I have to agree that would have been very cool! Next was another huge lorry from Coca Cola that had a live band on it and an annoyingly positive person with a microphone who was getting the crowd to cheer things etc. They were also giving out Coca Cola drums to the kids which went down well. Kids do like something to make a noise with! Although confession time I did find myself holding one at one point and couldn't resist making some noise with it, which I think proves what a kid I am! As well as this parade there were also lots of police offers on bikes and in cars who were joining in with the spirit of the day while keeping some order!

Finally the crowd started to get very excited as the Torch had turned the corner onto West Parade and was making its way along to the next Torch Bearer. The atmosphere was fantastic and impossible not to get swept up in it. As predicted the guy stopped in front of us and started to transfer the flame to the next Torch Bearer's torch. This has been called "kissing" by the media so we got to see the Torch kiss! Then when the flame had been passed on the new Torch Bearer raised it proudly into the air receiving almighty cheers from the crowd. After a brief photo pose she was off jogging to the next Torch Bearer who just happened to be Eddie Izzard who had the honour of taking the Torch past the De La Warr Pavilion. Meanwhile the other Torch Bearer was picked up by another coach who was bringing up the rear of the parade.

It was a fantastic experience and I am really pleased I made the effort to go and see it as it really is a historic occasion. It is very unlikely that the Olympics will be in London again in my lifetime and even if it is there is no guarantee the Torch relay will come to Bexhill again. The atmosphere was really buzzing and it was great to share it with friends as well. Superb day!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Hobbycraft, Puppies and Karaoke

While trying to carry on with the ongoing saga that my dissertation is quickly becoming, this week has had some lighter, more enjoyable points!
On Thursday I had a girls day out with my bezzie mate and her aunt. We went to Hobbycraft in Pembury near Tunbridge Wells. We are all crafters so Hobbycraft holds a certain amount of appeal and excitement. I have never been able to go round this shop in under two hours and Thursday was no exception! Sometime after two hours we were finally ready to go to the tills and see what the damage was going to be for feeding our craft habit or indulgences! But lets not dwell on that bit!! My bezzie mate was looking for wool, fabric and quilting stuff, her aunt who is currently visiting from Saudi was looking for scrapbooking stuff to take back with her, and I was looking for card and papercraft stuff mainly indulging in some more decoupage collections. It was immense fun looking at all the lovely stuff, and the all the wonderful colours, patterns and textures of papers, fabrics, wools, ribbons, paints,...............! We also managed to find some party bits for my 30th celebrations.

After we had fed our craft habit, it was time to feed ourselves with a very naughty and unhealthy lunch, but hey it was a day out! Then as we still had some time to spare before we needed to leave we had a look in some other shops; Home Sense and Staples. Home Sense is a gorgeous shop and very reasonably priced. We didn't even scratch the surface of what was in this shop and didn't finish the ground floor let alone go upstairs! Perhaps another time we can go when we have more time and ideally more money to spend - and in my case my own place to put some of these wonderful things. Not too sure my Dad would appreciate me bringing even more stuff into the flat and adding candles and photo frames to an already full home! They had really interesting and unique photo frames, gorgeous vases, beautiful candle holders and some beautiful hard backed note books. Oh yes, they do a posh stationery range which was luckily all reduced! So as you may have guessed as my name suggests I started cooing at the various books and eventually bought two very gorgeous hardback notebooks with thick lovely paper inside. I just can't resist these sorts of things so I am very grateful they were reduced and actually quite cheap! We then went into another of my favourite shops, Staples! (Sad I know, but its a huge stationery shop, what do you expect!). However unusually I didn't spend loads in here even though there were some lovely things, which was lucky as my budget for the day had already been exceeded. All I bought was two nice purple ink pens that were on a special offer of 2 for £3. My friend's aunt however spent slightly more treating herself to a very flash new filofax diary.

With our purses empty we headed for home in my friend's lovely new car. After dropping of her aunt we then went to another of her friend's homes to pick her up and get a cuddle with some very gorgeous little puppies! I have seen the puppies a few times now since they were born and they are just gorgeous. They are long haired chihuahuas. I am not normally a fan of this breed preferring Westies, terriers and the like. However as these are long haired they look nothing like my idea of a chihuahua and are just extremely cute balls of fluff. Their mother Maisie is also a very friendly little dog and there is another chihuahua which is crossed with a Pug called Pippi who is adorable. When I first went to see the puppies as soon as I sat down I had the two adult dogs Maisie and Pippi on my lap looking for a fuss and a cuddle before I had even seen the pups! There are 5 puppies; Pandora, Lestat, and Luna who are all white, and then Shelby who is black and brown (and one of my favourites) and then last but not least the little rascal himself Yoda who is a light brown almost creamy colour with brown tufty ears.  He is my favourite by far. He has the sweetest face and is such a little rascal which makes him very loveable. There was a sixth puppy called Ice however sadly he is now in doggy heaven due to health problems. The puppies are gorgeous and very friendly and seem to love being cuddled and fussed over. I managed to get a cuddle with all 5 before it was nice to leave. We also watched them playing with their Mum Maisie in the back garden. It was lovely to see. It was a lovely end to a fabulous day.

On Friday night it was Karaoke night! Another friend (Kim) who I know through my bezzie mate has this fantastic karaoke machine with 1000s of songs on and had arranged an evening of it at her house. My bezzie mate was going with her two children and I was invited as well. Now normally this is really not my sort of thing. I have never done Karaoke before for good reason. I can't sing. I sound dreadful, and the idea of having this magnified by a microphone and in front of other people fills me with dread. In the past whenever I have been somewhere where there is Karaoke I have usually just sat and watched. However as I was amongst friends and in the safety of  Kim's house I pushed myself to have a go. I am glad I did as after getting over the nerves and embarrassment of the first song I did start to enjoy it and have fun. Now please don't think for a second that when I sang the first song I suddenly discovered my voice wasn't that bad and enjoyed it for that reason. Quite the opposite in fact! It confirmed how terrible and out of tune my singing is! But with the kids having a go as well and some fun songs to sing it was quite a laugh, and fun to try and beat your previous score each time! By the end of the evening I was belting out the karaoke classic I Will Survive loudly, proudly and badly! Immense fun! It's such a shame Kim is moving away in a few weeks time as it would have been great to do this again.

Karaoke was not on the list of things I wanted to do and was trying to do for my 30th year but I am pleased to say I have had a go at karaoke! It's great fun and as long as you don't take it too seriously you can have a laugh with it!