Archive for March, 2013

Old News

Monday, March 25th, 2013

After the excitement of Totton Drama Festival, I commented to Purple Fred (whom I will continue to love very much after we’re married) that it was the second time in my life that I’d gone through to the second round of something. Which of course required explanation…

Back in the far-off days of long ago (between 1974 and 1987, if I remember right), I was a cadet member of St John Ambulance. Our division had a team which entered first aid competitions, and our team coach was a man of great vision and imagination called Mike, who was also our Division Superintendent. Mike decided in my first year in St John that rather than entering the best team he could, he’d put together a team of the youngest and least experienced who would do badly in the first year, but would stick together through our time in the cadets and after a few years be the most skilled and experienced team around.

Well the first bit of the plan – the bit where we didn’t do very well to start with – went as expected, but we did start climbing up the rankings. In our area – Hampshire Central -there were two competitions at the start of every year for cadets, the Allen Shield coming first, with the area round of the National competition coming and few weeks later. The competitions were in two parts, an individual round where each team member dealt with a simulated casualty on their own (although the judge would sometimes perform the role of a helpful bystander), and then a team round where we worked as a team of four to deal with a multi-casualty incident.

There was also a uniform inspection with a prize for the best turned out team, but although we did our best we never caused any work for the people handing out the prizes in that one.

Anyway, our last year as a team together arrived: before the next competition year started three of the four of us be too old for the cadets and would have moved up to an adult division. For the last couple of years our division and one of the other Southampton teams had been deadly rivals and the smart money had us coming first and second, although which way round was anyone’s guess. Not only that but their team leader, Philip, and I were in the same position for the Highest Individual Score award.

The day of the area round came, we competed, and the results were eagerly awaited. The uniform trophy was awarded, but not to us: It was time for the Individual award. The room held its breath, as did Philip and I who happened to be standing next to each other at the front of our respective teams.

It was a draw between Philip and me. We shook hands and smiled at each other.

Then it was time for the big one: the overall result, the aggregate of the team score and the four individuals, which would decide which team represented Central Area in the Hampshire round.

It was us…with a margin of seven marks out of three hundred!

So we went to the county competition: the winner here would go on to the South of England regional round, beyond which stood only the National final. Not only did we not win, we were totally outclassed. I’m hoping not to repeat that experience.

More Drama

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Well who’d have thought it – we got through to the next round, the quarter finals of the All-England Drama Festival! Not only that, but Frances, one of our cast, was nominated for ‘Best Supporting Adult Actor’ so joy all round. We didn’t win our heat or anything, we were third or fourth, but the adjudicator puts through the four acts that he thinks will do best in the next round, and we were included in that.

So after the announcement of the results, we had to rush home, fire up the laptops and take the props and furniture off of EBay, before someone bid on them!

So now we’re straight back into rehearsals, working on those areas the adjudicator recommended we work on, and generally polishing our performances. And yes to the comments from last time – when we head up to Shaftesbury for the next round (where the famous Hovis commercial was filmed), we’re planning to get a proper man with a van!


Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Well i suppose I ought to tell you about this drama thing.

As regular readers will know, m’lovely Purple Fred (whom I love very much) is a figure of some importance in the local amateur dramatic community, and through her good offices I have somehow agreed to appear in the group’s entry in Totton Drama Festival, the first round of the All-England Drama Festival.

The play is ‘In Room Five Hundred and Four’, about a young couple in the early years of the second world war, who’ve just got married and have one night for a honeymoon before he goes off to war. ..never to return as it turns out. I play the hotel manager and have a key role to play in setting the scene of a seedy boarding house that thinks it’s a luxury hotel. My Skegness accent has to be heard. ..luckily I only have to maintain it for six lines.

Meanwhile there’s been offstage drama as well. ..I took today off work to be available to move scenery to the theatre (our performance is tonight). I anticipated doing the whole thing in one trip (although to be fair I knew I was pushing my luck to get both halves of the bed in the car at once), leaving me the rest of the day to catch up on some minor jobs and sit around in my dressing gown watching ‘Top Gear’ repeats on Dave. So I loaded up Evie B, (I will need two trips) and set off with my first load.

Before I got to the end of the road. ..’What’s that funny noise? ‘

Oh. I have a puncture.

So I emptied the entire load all over the pavement, dug out my lovely space saver spare wheel and changed it at the roadside. Then I loaded back up and headed on my way, stopping at the first garage on route to sort the tyre pressures.

I’m hiring a van next time

Bumper News Edition

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Well, it’s been so long since I last blogged, and so much has happened!

Most importantly, wedding preparations are well underway: we’ve set the date and booked the church, the reception venue, the photographer, the cake and the hotel for the overnighters. We’ve sent out a lot of the invitations (Gaz and Bel, can you confirm you’ve had yours? ) and settled the menu choices, and as I write this, the future Mrs Gottle is short listing hymns.

In work-related news, I have a new job! Some of you will know that I’ve been looking for a while, and now I’m on my way to being Health, Safety and Environment Manager in a salad factory. So I’m moving from the public sector in the excitement and buzz of the Nation’s Capital, to the private sector in the peace and calm of the Hampshire countryside. I can’t wait!

As well as all that, we’re busy with plans and preparation for the drama group’s entry in Totton Drama Festival (I’ve been promoted from playing a tramp last time to a sleazy hotel manager for this one), looking forward to our forthcoming holiday. We don’t like being bored. .