Well all the excitement of the five Oliver shows is now over. People are still taking about them. It was arguably the best amateur drama show that has been put on in Shetland for the last twenty years and these are not my words incidentally but those well qualified to say so. It was a lot of fun to do but also bloody hard work. One thing I discovered was that my singing voice was ok, and I apparently sounded quite good. I quite enjoyed all that but now I had to turn my attention to our ballet schools shows which, although are not on till mid-December, have demanded an awful lot of extra time workwise. Rehearsals are all consuming but my older pupils have been very patient and tolerant of my working practice! "But Mr Lawrence you are changing that again!!" "Yes, I know because it didn't look right"!! "Harumph"!!! Still we are progressing forward at a favourable pace and hopefully everything will be in place for the 10th December Orchestra rehearsal!
I was first aware of the big NZ quake when my phoned pinged at about 0400 in the morning with an unprintable epithet from a Kiwi friend in Wellington saying something about a huge jolt that went on and on and on. I gathered that while she was writing this pm that the quake was still going on! Later accounts from friends online confirmed that was the biggest quake in our lifetime and it was upgraded twice by Geonet to 7.5 and then 7.8. Interestingly there was a 8.3 Richter scale quake in Chile but absolutely nothing on our media at all bar a small comment on fb. Then another biggish quake in Christchurch and this morning one in Japan! Worrying times....
Just sitting here, guess where!? Yes the doctors waiting room for my gent. Met a person whom I hadn't seen for long walked into the waiting room so had a long chat with her catching up on the gossip. Anyway, the radio is on, as usual on BBC2 a station which I can't stand! I am a Radio 3 chap! I don't mind the popular music but it is having to listen to some of the morons on the phone ins! I mean just how stupid can some people be? You couldn't have an intelligent conversation with them and their process of thought and arguments defies all logic? And the news is always so depressing.....
The weather up here on the other hand has been quite cold but now it is sunny though with a chilly wind. The reports of the weather in the rest of the UK though is horrifying! Flooding again, people stuck on a ferry overnight in the Irish sea, which can be horrific at the best of times, because it couldn't dock! Makes you feel quite secure living here though mind you we will have our rough weather when it arrives!
Well today I have had to give my first injection, a subcutaneous one, as part of training in case there is no one else available to be able to give one. I also had to set up a pump and line but watched the needle being put in as that needs a bit more watching to learn the ropes so to speak. It reminded me that I had initially learnt the theory giving a subcutaneous injection when I trained in mountain rescue first aid for my council work. For the sort of weather conditions up here it is handy to know! However, having to physically stick a very sharp needle into someone is a bit of a barrier to go over. Really its doing it over quite a few times to get your technique perfected. The first time is a bit scary though!
Another wet day here in Shetland and just sitting reading the key pointes of the Westminster Government's pre-festive offering to its humble occupants. To be honest apart from some policies stolen from the Opposition, the rest of this Autumn Statement was just the same old shite re gift wrapped in a different wrapper! It makes one wonder how much longer people are going to put up with all this? The latest is that the age limit for the state pension is going to be raised to 70! Utterly ridiculous as I am sure Tory politicians will still retire early leaving an aging work force struggling to carry on working when physically many folk especially those in manual jobs won't be able to handle working when they are that age. It's really not fair on the younger generation either, when they are coming out of school trying to find jobs though mind first they have get through university and sky high fees to cope with!
Ballet school rehearsals have been going strong over the last five weeks with some intensity and a little bit of drama too which is quite normal especially from teenagers! Mind you I am being a little hard on some of my teenagers as they do need bucking up! I would be lost without some of them especially some from the same family as they really enjoy performing and as a brother and sister they work well together. Trying to get some of the other boys to even hold a girlís hand is an ordeal! Itís not like they bite is it? Well sometimes yes they can snap your head off but for the sake of performing on stage surely it wonít hurt to hug a girl if it is required for the part. I have had to put in a lot of extra rehearsals for individuals and small groups as we had lost a bit of time with lots of my pupils working on Oliver but we have made some massive inroads into pieces and reached the top of the mountain so to speak and can see the other side. Just bits to tidy up and finish and some tweaking and we should then be ready for the next big hurdle which is the orchestral rehearsal! This will be so the dancers can see and hear the orchestra and I can hear the tempo and iron out any problems....bound to be a few! Then we go into The Garrison for the Dress Rehearsal! No pressure!
After yesterdayís rehearsals, Saturday, I was going to have the Orchestra manager around for discussion over the show and next yearís BBC Ten Pieces which is for Primary Schools and she wants me to help with that. She was going to come around, she lives around the other side of the hill with her kids and then she messaged me to say she had gotten a puncture so would I come to hers. So I dropped stuff off at home and following her instructions drove around to hers. Now, a bit like NZ, a Shetland mile can either be 50 metres or 2.5 kilometres, in this case it was about 3 miles and when she said the road ends and it goes into a dirt track she wasnít kidding!! With potholes that looked like the shell craters from The Somme, I was really fearing for my Citroenís suspension as I drove very cautiously around potholes as far as I could avoid them! Anyway, our meeting went fine and then I had to drive back over the lunar landscape to get back to my smooth tarmac drive where I live. I couldnít imagine living at the end of that road in a snowy winter and when I asked what she would do to get to work, she said she would just stay at home! Canít blame her though I did point out to her that if the track was the landlordís responsibility then he should at least get the pot holes filled in!
Just heard from my sister saying she had reached terra firma in Angleterre but her luggage had gone on an extended holiday of its own!! She sounded a bit peed off about that!! Not surprised! Hope she does get it all back because my parents bought me some lovely NZ Whittakers chocolate for her to bring back as Christmas presents for me and the children! I saw from FB that just this morning, well NZ evening, they had had a very sharp 5.5. quake that apparently was a bit unpleasant! My sister said that folk were expecting another big quake before New Year which is a bit of a worry as that region has had more than its fair share of quakes over the last few years and now in Wellington they are having to knock down old landmarks because they are unsafe. Frankly I would be more worried about the possibility of a tsunami happening though of course not a very pleasant prospect!
I just popped in to Lerwick to do some Christmas shopping. I stopped off at our local post box to post my UK Christmas cards. If you donít get a card from this year it is because I have asked people to send me their home addresses as when my computer was sorted out I lost my address list despite having thought I had a copy on my portable hard driveÖwrong!! So still time to send me your English address or European address! The first card I received on the 1st December!! Thanks Jill and Mark!! I then headed to Tesco, as they are doing a collection for Shetlandís Food Bank for which 100 families are reliant for food, a sad fact in this relatively well-off county but still true and a disgrace. I filled a shopping trolley with tins and jars and took it up to the collection point. A lot of people do go and buy a collection of different items for the foodbank but I also buy bathroom and toilet items as I figure if folk canít afford to buy decent food for their children what do they do about sanitary items and essentials like soap and toilet paper which are often far more expensive than some food items. I then visited a pop-up shop being run by artist friends of mine and bought my eldest daughter her Christmas present and then went to our local little art stroke knick knack shop and bought some nice cards and my youngest something for her stocking! Popped into the Co-op to get some essentials and top up my saving stamps book for Christmas food shopping. I have been putting a certain amount of money aside every month to buy some stamps which come that manic festive time are very helpful in stopping you feel tempted to use the plastic and say to yourself ĎIíll pay it off laterí which of course you never do! Back home to finish off this and send it out to all you lovely people worldwide. Then cook some dinner I guess.
Well I think this is going to be a short edition as it is well overdue for going out! I havenít had much time really to write things down! I would just like to wish everyone a very happy festive season and hope everyone gets through the month safe and sound. Iíll be thinking of my parents in NZ particularly my Dad who is going to be having an operation very soon so my thoughts will be with him especially.