The door of an underground car-park, stuck 2/3 way down

I’d just been congratulating myself on being such an efficient Little Red Hen: having to move all my stuff from the big house to my new apartment, and pack every box myself, carry it down 3 flights of stairs, load it into my tiny car, and then carry it up 3 flights of stairs in the new place…

To be fair, Jem and Matty have been wonderful, M especially as he can carry the heavy boxes, and also being 6 foot 5 is great for fixing lightshades etc 😉

Anyhoo, went over today after lunch with the penultimate (I hope!) lot of kitchen jars, all the bits and bobs off my desk, and my concertina file of documents. (And my Scrabble dictionary, so all my opponents should make the most of this opportunity!)

The underground car park door opened OK with my remote, I unloaded all the boxes, a passing resident asked if I needed help, I smiled sweetly and accepted his offer with the heavy stuff, and he introduced himself as Tommy, from a flat 2 floors down.

All the boxes safely inside, I set about unpacking and re-arranging. Jem, as I said, has been an absolute star, and donated her iPod base unit to the communal living area, so I slotted in my newly re-found big iPod (the Shuffle lives in my handbag) and the first song it chose was “Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing”.

I sang along as I hammered the feet into Jem’s computer desk, and re-arranged the position of the shoe rack in my bedroom, thanking my lucky stars yet again fro finding such a beautiful and LARGE apartment.

Still singing, I stacked some empty boxes to take back with me, and went back down to teh car park.  The roller door was stuck about 2/3 way down.  I pressed the remote button.  Nothing.  I got out and pressed all the buttons by the side of the door – no response.  Luckliy, I’d recently imported all my contacts into my new iPhone, so I called the owner of the apartment (no reply), and then the letting agent.  They in turn got the maintenance people to ring me, who asked if I’d pressed all the buttons.  Ok, they’d send someone out but it might be an hour before they got to me.

Time passed.

I listened to the radio – Dermot O’Leary was on.  I thought I’d send him a text about my predicament just to pass the time.  He played me a dedication! Paulo Nutini, too <wow>

Time passed.

Tommy re-appeared, leaving out some rubbish.  He tried pressing all the buttons, too, and nothing happened, though we had a nice little chat.

Time passed.

Another resident appeared, and started putting a suitcase into his BMW. I explained that the door was stuck, but he said “Oh it’s done this before, I managed to get it to open” and he proceeded to press all the buttons…and to my amazement, the door opened!  He wasn’t able to tell me what the magic sequence was, sadly, but Freedom!

I’d been planning on taking Max for a last walk together.  It is undoubtedly strange being in this position: tonight is quite possibly the last night I’ll spend in the big house.  And while I’m pretty sure I’ll see Max again, and take him for walkies, we don’t really know what shape the future will be.

Jem is sooo looking forward to leaving the big house, and absolutely adores the new place.  I feel sad that she feels no regrets at leaving the big house – doesn’t want any reason to come back her and doesn’t want to see Roger again. But am so impressed at her positive attitude to moving, fresh start, her helpfulness and cheerfulness.

The owner’s just phoned me as I’m typing this, very apologetic about the inconvenience.  He’d just been round himself and apparently the door is stuck again, so maybe he can put some pressure on to the maintenance crowd to get it sorted.

Meanwhile, I’m off to The Gambia tomorrow, where it’s currently 40 degrees!!!

Still singing “Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing”….

Scary Musical

Jem’s latest production was Scary Musical, an innuendo-laden spoof of High School Musical, with some hilarious pastiches of Fame, Grease, and Saturday Night Fever thrown in along the way.
a flier for scary musical

The lyrics are very clever – I particularly liked “It doesn’t have to be hard if we come together – if we all lend a hand, job done, we can pull it off….”

I’ll leave the choreography and …erm…actions to your imagination!

A very talented cast – I recgonised most of them from other MT4UTH and McMaster shows, and I thought to myself “Ah yes, the usual suspects”. And then I thought, yup, those are NI’s stars of tomorrow. And what a great bunch they all are. Remember my name!

Christmas in London

Just spent the most wonderful weekend in London and am so proud of my little darlings – well, not so little these days!  Harry’s just finished his first term at Central, where he’s one of only 4 students doing theatre sound.  He’s absolutely loving being in London (and what 18 year old boy wouldn’t!), but I was caught unawares by one of his comments about what was so great about life in the capital city: he said, no-one had once made a remark about his appearance.  OK, I know Norn Irn is a bit conservative when it comes to its inhabitants, and sure, people with blue dreadlocks don’t merit a second glance in London.  I just never realised my tough gothy heavy metal loving son was so sensitive about  jibes at his long hair and baggy shorts.

I’m so proud of this young man, who’d previously dropped out of school.  But, inspired partly by our lunch with an astronaut at KSC last year (thank you Storey Musgrave), he decided to follow his dream, and secured himself this rare opportunity by portfolio and references.  He was working with Pink last week.

Jemima had a ball.  Which was just as well, as it was her treat for getting such great feedback from her teachers this year!  I’d asked her “Would you like a puppy? A pony? No? OK how about a weekend in London…” and was bowled over by her exuberant acceptance – literally!

We gave a standing ovation to Legally Blonde, we shopped at Harrods and bought her Christmas pressie of a lovely new red coat, we ate Chinese food in Chinatown, joined in the carol singing at the tree in Trafalgar Square,  ice-skated at the Tower of london, and drank mulled wine watching the street theatre at Covent Garden.

It’s looking likely that the pair of them will be here next year (Jem’s sent off her audition applications to Laine and Bird today), and I just wonder – should I join them?

Guys and Dolls

We’re in the eerie calm after the storm now that the week-long run of Guys and Dolls is over.  Jemima was playing Miss Adelaide, her first time in a principal role, and boy what a great role it was for her!  It completely suited her effervescent personality, and the songs were in a good range for her to sing.  The few weeks leading up to the show were hectic, mind, with me taxi-ing her back and forth.  But I remember the mantra I taught myself when the babes were young – make the most of every phase, and don’t dwell on the less pleasant aspects.  Because they grow up all too soon, and those happy moments will soon only be memories.

Matty and Jemima as Nathan and Adelaide

A letter from Adelaide's mother

So we’re making the most of our car time together.  We listen to a bit of Classic FM, to improve her listening skills which she needs to do for her Music GCSE, and we talk about the future.

Adelaide's Lament

She did her Grade 6 ballet in the same week as the show, and I was talking to her ballet teacher while she was in the exam room.  Previously she had encouraged me to persuade Jem not to go to London next year to dance college, but to stay and go to Belfast Met instead.  But when we were discussing her knock-em dead performance, we both agreed that we might reconsider.  I know like any mother, I will support her to the hilt in whatever is the best option for her future, but boy I’ll miss her when she’s gone.


take back your mink

Sadly, we’ve just discovered that she’s too young to go for Lloyd Webber’s next search, which is for Dorothy.  Basically they can’t interrupt compulsory education.  Shame, cos she’d be the right type for that role, but there’ll be other chances.  She was quite sanguine about this, and is being very industrious about preparing for her GCSEs next year.  She’s also busy filling in application forms for the main dance schools that she’s keen on – Laine, Arts Ed, and Bird.  So no doubt we’ll be over to London a few times in the New Year!

Just Dance

Jemima was lucky enough recently to get through the first stage of auditions for Just Dance, a reality show to be shown on Sky 1 next year.  We flew to Edinburgh for the next round, unsure of what the format was going to be.  Turned out she had to perform in front of a live audience, complete with bright lights and scurrying camera crew, and be interviewed back stage.  The panel certainly had gravitas in the dancing world – Adam Garcia, Kimberly Pussycat Doll, and Ashley “Diversity” Banjo.  And they were being extremely strict – in the 5 or 6 hours we were there I saw them approve one dancer.  And no, it wasn’t our J.  She’d danced her little heart out – all winsome smiles and graceful limbs.  Her face lit up when Ashley asked her about the music, written for her by her boyfriend.  And all the judges’ comments were constructive and believable.  I was bursting with pride (yes again!) at her ability to cope unprepared with this tough ordeal, and to keep her chin up and keep smiling during the feedback.

Apologies for teh watermark on the video – having just upgraded my ‘puter to one using Windows 7, I’m rather disappointed that Movie Maker still doesn’t import mp4 or wav files, and so in order to capture Matty’s stunning music I had to use a free trial download.