31 July 2011

Crash of the Elysium

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Two weeks ago I went on an amazing adventure! We’d bought tickets for an exhibit about the crash of the Elysium. The Elysium was an 18th century ocean liner that was tragically shipwrecked. A museum curator went through the history of the Elysium, showing us the pictures that run across the top of my collage. He also told us about Valentini’s circus which popped up next to the crash site to entertain visitors. Suddenly sirens sounded and two military officers ran into the room. They quickly had us lined up and running like mad for an unknown destination. Then Captain Solomon and Corporal Albright demanded we put on white dust suits as fast as possible and sent us running down an eerie smoky corridor till we arrive at the base of a crashed space ship.

Part of the Manchester International Festival, Crash of the Elysium is an interactive theatre experience by Punch Drunk. Designed for children between the ages of six and twelve, participants must help save the Doctor (Who) and the Tardis. There are less than twenty people in each group and new performances starts every ten minutes. Three types of show were available, a children only show, family shows where one adult is allowed in per child and special adult showings for those who can’t find children to borrow. It was one of the adult shows we attended.

It was truly brilliant! We solved puzzles, travelled through time and ran from monsters, grown women were screaming and grabbing the hands of any nearby stranger (and that wasn’t just me!) I’m not sure how much it will tour, but if you get an opportunity to see Crash of the Elysium I’d absolutely jump at it! A really unique experience, all it requires is a willingness to suspend your disbelief.

27 July 2011

A Nice Evening Ruined

The plan tonight was to have a quick meal out and then come home to watch a film. The dinner part went fine, but when we arrived home we noticed that every one of our car’s tyres were flat.At first we thought it was just a malicious prank, as the valve caps had been removed, but when Mr G went out with the foot pump he discovered they’d all been slashed.

Our Focus

I took this photo the day we bought the car, and this is where we've parked the car in the 2 years since.

We live on an awkward little paved close, so there are about 16 houses sharing just four ‘parking bays’ (for parking bays, read turning circle – which means it’s a complete nightmare getting out of our street if there’s no space.) Rather than fight with everyone for these spaces we park round the corner on the main road, which means a walk past six houses for us.

A few weeks ago a young woman pops out of the house across the road from where we park. She asks if we can’t park somewhere else, adding some rather weak excuses that don’t quite make sense. We’ve changed where we park a few times now when people gave us good reasons, which means there’s already several place we know won’t work. So we explain and leave the car where it is.

That’s the only conversation we’ve had with a neighbour in months. I certainly hope it’s a coincidence, I’m not sure we can afford it to escalate. As it is, it’s been a very expensive episode for us. It’s a relatively new car and would cost £600 to replace all the tyres with like-for-like.

One the plus-side we’ve had opportunity to speak to one of the newer neighbours. (We’ve only spoken once before when he asked Mr G how I was doing in hospital. He’d seen the EMTs rushing me to the ambulance.) Paul’s very friendly and came out to make sure we’d seen the car tyres. He also offered to watch the car for us if we can park it on our street. So even if we found out how awful some people can be, it also gave us opportunity to meet a really lovely neighbour (though I wouldn't want to get on his bad side!)

UPDATE: We've now found additional damage which does look like someone tried to break into the car. Hopefully this means it was just a random attack.

21 July 2011

Vintage China

vintage teacup

It seems for the last few weeks I’ve been struggling to keep up, but here’s my Gallery entry even if it’s a few days late. This week’s theme is Vintage and I immediately knew what I wanted to photograph: my grandparents Royal Albert china.

I was never especially close to my paternal grandparents as I lived in Canada, but as their only grandchild I inherited the tea set when my grandfather died in 2001. It’s not an especially valuable pattern, just an unnamed Countess Set. It was probably sold as an entry level tea set, intended to be used as a second set for people richer than my family. Based on the back stamps I believe it was issued in about 1919 and then again in 1945. My set is a mix of the two, which suggests that someone in the family was a bit clumsy. Well that and there were only 5 teacups.

I don’t get much opportunity to use the china, as the set only includes small plates, but one of these days I’ll host a pretty party serving posh little sandwiches & delicious cakes.

8 July 2011

Dear So and So....

Dear So and So...

Dear Long-time Friend,

I know to you it seems like all I do is complain about being ill, but you have no idea. Compared to the pain I’m feeling, I hardly mention it. And while I realise to you doctors’ appointments aren’t important, I’ve been averaging one every two weeks the last six months. For a girl that only gets out of the house a couple days a week that’s a hefty portion of my life. For me these hospital appointments are my way of fighting for my dreams, every ounce of strength I’ve had the last few years has been invested in starting a family.

I’d love to be a fun and boisterous person with thrilling tales to entertain you, but that’s not the life I got dealt. I’m happy to listen to anything and everything you’d like to share with me, but it would be nice if you didn’t make me feel guilty for having nothing else to share other than my own experiences, boring though you might find them.

Cheers – AG


Dear lovely consultant at the hospital,

I’m so, so sorry for making your late clinic run even later! But thank-you so much for being proactive and trying to make sure I get the treatment I need. You were only expected to do an ultra-sound, but instead took a short medical history and listen to my frustrations about the horrible appointment I had last time.

Thank you for taking this to the ‘awkward cases’ meeting so we can sort this out before I start the Clomid again in September, and thank-you for saying I should have be seen by the consultant rather than the junior doctor, I now feel more confident about fighting for more appropriate treatment.

You’ve restored my confidence in Merseyside hospitals,

Love ‘The Awkward Case’

4 July 2011

Independence Day

So today is American Independence Day, and for me it has an unusual meaning this year. For in two short weeks I’ll be renouncing my American citizenship.
In no way has this been an easy decision, growing up I was taught that citizenship was the most valuable asset you could hold. It offered you the freedom to live and work in a country, without needing to jump through hundreds of bureaucratic hoops. But the responsibilities of American citizenship weigh heavy, and now that I look to start a family I don’t want to pass those responsibilities on.
It was only when I became pregnant I discovered that our child, if a boy, would have to register with the Selective Service System – which provides names for the US Military Draft. This completely conflicts with my Quaker beliefs. I’ve had people suggest that there will never be another US Draft or that my children can claim conscientious objector status, but this feels like a rationalisation. I do not support war and I cannot sign up to such a process simply because I don’t think it will affect me. Instead I’ll have to make a stand for my beliefs, though others may not understand.
I’m not sure how I missed this facet of American citizenship; I was living in the States when I turned 18. I can only assume that my male friends at the time didn’t think it was important enough to mention. I rang my mother soon after discovering this unpleasant complication and she replied “Oh I know, we’d have never moved to the States if you were a boy.” I breathed a huge sigh of relief; if my mother had these same concerns 20 years ago she’d understand my decision to renounce. I wish I had the same confidence in my friends’ reactions. I strongly suspect there will be a flurry of unfriending on Facebook if it ever comes out.