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18th-Aug-2016 02:23 pm - Voyage Award - Skills
Leaders let loose

For my summer holiday this year I have come to Keele University for the summer school of Sing for Pleasure. Three years ago I came and did the foundation conductor's course, so this time I am taking the next level up; intermediate one.

Each day starts with a vocal warm up after breakfast, then there could be an hour's choral for everyone on the summer school before we break off into our seperate streams. For conductors, that means technique sessions and workshop sessions, when we work on assigned pieces. I thought I had prepared my pieces, but when you stand up and start waving your arms, you know you haven't done nearly enough.

My first piece, a round, went well. That is because I have had lots of practice at leading rounds since the last course, and it's not dis-similar to leading campfire songs. When I got into part songs, it went a bit more haywire, although my beat pattern was clear.

I'm trying to develop my right arm gestures (I'm left handed), so I can do more with dynamics etc. The notes have been learnt on my last piece (I hope), so now I need to get it a bit faster. I am beating in mimins, so the singers seem to be dragging it a bit.

I'm conducting at a concert tomorrow afternoon. It will be live streamed, and I will post the link if you want to listen in.

The photo is of my prep notes for this morning's workshop. I got through most of what I wanted.

11th-Aug-2016 11:42 pm - Voyage Award - last stage of walk
Leaders let loose
Today I completed the ring around my local town. This was a shorter stage and so didn't take as long.

I did see; a solar farm I didn't know we had, the local milk factory, quite a few cows who were interested in me, before ending up back where I started.

In all it took more than my 20 hours, but I still want to write up the notes I made and maybe produce a walk leaflet as there isn't one.

I go off for the week on Saturday for my conductor's course to cover my skills section; then I shall be dusting off my lace bobbins.
10th-Aug-2016 12:52 pm - Voyage Award - third stage
Leaders let loose
I know I said the previous leg was the longest, but I think this one actually was. It took the longest time to walk, but that might also be because of the number of times I needed to get the map out to check the route.

Anyway, yesterday I saw; the local stud stables, lots of corn (creepy if you've watched too much American TV, the closest view of the local wind turbine, some weeping angels (Don't Blink!), and a spectacular view of the town I am walking around.

So today is a rest day, but tomorrow is the final leg to back where I started.
6th-Aug-2016 01:37 pm - Voyage Award - second stage
Leaders let loose
Yesterday I did the next bit of the local Ring walk. I did a bit over the eight miles, but that is because there is no logical pick up point for quite a long stretch. The last bit was across a private estate, so no cars allowed.

Lovely day again, and I had plasters on my blisters, so they were OK. Walked through quite a bit of farmland, so encountered fields with sheep and cows, plus some horses with sunglasses.

Also went along roads, across cornfields, past castle follies, and through woodland.

I also spotted a caterpiller tracked tractor!

So that is the bottom half of the ring done. I shall do the top half next week.
3rd-Aug-2016 11:06 pm - Voyage Award - started
Leaders let loose
After getting my Voyage Award book in June; today I actually started one of the sections. This was the 'Explore my World' section, which is to take 20 hours. My plan is to walk the local 32 mile Ring route around the local town. I have divided the route into four sections, so that is 8 miles each day approximately.

I packed up my rucksack and got my map ready before going to the midweek communion at a local church. This was partly because the route goes right by the church and partly because my mentor for this bit would be there and I wanted to show her my preperations and plans.

My 8 miles today took me 5 hours, but that was because of stopping to take photos and write notes, plus having lunch. I went;
along a canal, across fields, through gates,  and over railway lines.

It was a good walk, even if I have ended up with some blisters. I have to take a rest day tomorrow, but I might do the next bit on Friday.
2nd-Aug-2016 11:30 am - Libby Cat
Ranger Izzy
no titleJust had to take Libby cat to the vets for the final time.

Back in February, we had a while that she wouldn't eat and was constipated. She lost so much weight that there was almost nothing when you picked her up. We got over that with lax, gravy, soup and baby food.

She was never quite right even though she was eating again. Her back legs; always wobbly ever since we got her; just weren't right and she had a wide legged stace after that with her back legs not seeming to be able to be controlled at times. Also, the 'messages' she left us on the carpet were usually small and hard, not her previous smelly ones. We kept her going, but she hadn't passed anything for a week, even though she was gulping down mince. She also wasn't able to clean herself as much, so we finally made the desicion today.

We'll give it a little while, but Mum wants to have two kittens next.

The photo is from a number of years ago.
6th-Jul-2016 01:11 am - Voyage Award
Leaders let loose
One of the things that has bugged me about my Guiding/Scouting career is that I never managed to complete my Queens Guide/Scout.

When I was a Guide, the award was moved from the Guide section to the Senior Section, and the Baden Powell Trefoil was created instead. This came too late for me to complete, although I did look at the syllabus.

I then went to Venture Scouts and although we were aware of the Queen's Scout award, our leaders never activley encouraged us or supported us in working for it.

When I came back to Guiding, I joined as a leader and it wan't until I was 24 that I discovered that I was still elligable to do the Queen's Guide, although I had restricted time. This time I got most of the way through, but because I didn't have a network of Guides my age (and this was pre-internet), I couldn't find anyone to join me on the expedition part (you need four Guides under 26).

A few years back, I heard of the Voyage Award; an adult award in the style of Queen's Guide with three levels and no maximum time limit. The only downside is that you have to be a member of the Trefoil Guild to do it. Well, I have now decided to join the Trefoil solely so I can do this award. The record book has arrived and I am planning what I can do for the five different sections for the Bronze Level.

Skills (20 hours): I have booked myself onto a conducting course this summer, the next level up from the one I took three years ago. This is the main reason why I have decided to start the Voayage Award now.

Myself (40 hours): It suggests to develop a skill or interest you already have, so I think I could dust off my lace bobbins and learn Bucks point lace,as I did mainly Torchon lace when I first learnt over 25 years ago.

Explore my World (20 hours): One of the suggestions is to cover a long distance path, so I thought I might walk the Aylesbury Ring.

Teamwork (10 hours): Don't know yet, but there is time to find an activity to help plan and organise.

Service (40 hours): Unfortunately, because I already run a Brownie Pack, I can't use that for my service. If anyone knows of anywhere I could help (especially if it can be in a school holiday), then let me know. It can be conservation, animal sanctuary, charity, etc.

The hardest part in all this is finding things that I haven't already done. I've gained the highest singing award with the RSCM; developed my sewing skills by creating a victorian outfit with corset; and so on. I have always been challenging myself and trying new things.

I shall try and keep you updated on my progress.
12th-Jun-2016 11:04 pm - Swallows and Amazons film
Pirate Izzy
So, Because I am a member of TARS I got an invite to the cast and crew screening of the new film (due out on 19th August). We were told not to post anything on social media, which is why this is friends locked, but I had to get some thoughts down. (EDIT: post made public on 27th July)

This is not going to be an unbiased reveiw because I am invested far too much in the source material.
Spoilers underneathCollapse )
3rd-Apr-2016 06:38 pm - Spring Horticultral show
Ranger Izzy
It's that time of year again, when gardeners bemoan that the flowers aren't out at the right time. I just have to cook and make things for the spring show.

I went in four classes in the domestic section and got four firsts!
Pictures under here.Collapse )
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