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Posts Tagged ‘life’

  1. Tis the season…

    December 27, 2010 by Amy Hansford

    …to catch up with people and eat lovely food.

    Yep, I’ve been rubbish at blogging of late. I have all the usual excuses – pick the one you prefer.

    On Christmas Eve, we chauffered our friends Dee and Richard for their wedding. A Christmassy spectaular, with ‘Sleigh Ride’ as part of the service and balloon model reindeer on all the tables. It was a brilliant day, fantastic to see everyone and special to have been able to contibute a favour rather than a traditional wedding gift.

    Speaking of favours and gifts, every reception attendee was met with a goody bag. Lovely Christmassy bits in them, but I won’t spoil the secrets within.

    Another great bit of fun for the tables was the introduction of a ‘pass the parcel’ only with instructions on who should open the next layer rather than relying on music, i.e. the person with the smallest shoe size, the person with the shortest hair etc. I think our table pretty much trampled over everyone’s attempts at doing the loudest animal noise.

    Also, the wedding contained probably the best first dance I have ever seen. You’ve watched the videos of people dancing down the aisle, people re-enacting Dirty Dancing, people slow dancing only to break into Mc Hammer’s ‘You Can’t Touch This’. Rich and Dee not only acted out clips from at least 30 songs, they’d managed to construct it so as to tell the story of how they met. Brilliant.

    Rich and Dee’s first dance

  2. When things go bump in the night II

    June 21, 2010 by Amy Hansford

    I first became aware of the ghost at The Lodge when I was about 15. My parents were at the pub for the night and I was relaxing in the house’s original bath tub. The door was open so I would be able to hear my stereo in the next room (this is 1996, pre iPod), so I was looking out into the hall way. Completely alone in the house, I enjoyed my music as I snuggled in the hot water.

    Without warning, I saw her.
    Baring in mind my position in the bath, I couldn’t see past the waist so I have no way of telling what was going on for that part of the body. But from the top, I saw a figure glide past the doorway facing in my direction. It was black with what seemed like a secton of white on the top, a faceless head with hair pulled back off from it. I say head – it was a blur given the speed it moved. But I felt, given the shape of the torso, that it was a woman.

    That was me getting out of the bath, running downstairs to the telephone and calling my mother. “Mum, please come home, there’s someone in the house!” For all I knew, it was an intruder and was no longer alone. My mother, knowing the history of the house and what it was that had interrupted my bathing, convinced me otherwise and suggested I get back to my relaxing soak. Slightly jittery, I returned to the tub, sunk back down and tried to put it out of my head.

    No sooner had I relaxed, she was back. Once again, she glided past the door. I say glided – there were no footsteps heard nor bobbing motion seen. Purely moving swiftly past the doorway, again going from right to left, once more looking in my direction. I’d had enough – there was someone… or something… in the house with me and I no longer wished to be alone. I rang my mother and begged her to come home. She came straight away, it being odd that the ghost should manifest itself so frequently on one occasion.

    So, who was the vision in black?

    A story for another time…

  3. My beloved Facebook and me

    June 5, 2010 by Amy Hansford

    I am taking a Facebook holiday.

    There’s been a lot of talk lately regarding the privacy of Facebook. I’ve been tempted to follow the suit of others by deleting my account, but I know I wouldn’t be able to go that far. I would miss the interaction, the photos and keeping up with the latest events. Equally, there are people who DM me through Facebook whose emails I do’?t have, so I would lose this communication line.
    While my Facebook account will remain active, I won’t be around so much.
    To a lesser extent, I’ll also be giving my Twitter feed a rest until everything’s out the way too.

    I am busy costuming “Our House” for the Griffin Players. It’s taken up an immense amount of my time – if I’m not working, I’m searching shops or surfing Ebay or (yes, it’s true) actually sewing to make theatre magic happen. I’ve found my emails are building up and my other projects suffering as a result, with my attentions turning to Facebook for relaxation in between crafting sessions. As an aside, it really is a cracking show. The Griffins sound amazing and I’m genuinely impressed at the rehearsals I get to. Definitely worth seeing, especially so if you like cheery musicals (we need them right now, right?)
    It’s on from 16th – 19th June at the Library Theatre in Luton. Friday/Saturday are nearly sold out, so phone the box office 07906 075455 for your tickets. And mine’s an orange and passionfruit J2O afterwards in the bar, thanks.

    Also, I’ve just started my new job! Well, I’ve been doing it as a temp for a couple of months. Having completed the interview process, it’s now official and comes with some extra responsibilities, so I’m finding myself working longer hours than normal. While 9am-6pm isn’t a patch on the old teaching hours of 7.30am-6.30pm, it’s tricky when I’m trying to do everything else at the same time!

    I feel for my poor websites – really needs to be updated with all the great stuff going on with their production of Little Shop Of Horrors; – well, the first update that’s had in a while will be this one; As If By Magic could do with a scrub up and pictures of the divine things we’ve been making recently, plus I’d love to be more active on our Twitter account,

    Don’t worry – I have my Facebook set up so I will still receive your emails and messages, just to my inbox instead. But I may not know if you’re inviting me to an event (hey, occasionally, it happens) so give me a shout.

    * Extra props if you get the title reference

  4. Am I missing something?

    February 9, 2010 by Amy Hansford

    If Will Smith is a Scientologist, and the general understanding of Scientology is that their routes are in alien life forms, why does he spend so many of his films going round and killing them?

  5. Whyyyyyyyy?

    November 14, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    …Probably because this month had a Friday 13th in it. Innit.

    So, why the whyyyy? Here’s whyyyy.
    The innocent act of having a little stretch at my desk heralded a little twang from my lower back. Not thinking anything of this, I was somewhat surprised when, at rehearsals, I was unable to bow and later on, unable to get out of my car looking like anything other than a drunken hunchback.
    I was amused at the need to complete an ‘incident a work’ report form for a little stretch, but less amused at how this effectively eliminated me from attending the Rocky Horror blu ray extra auditions in London. To be fair, I’m not in much of a shape to go fainting here and there or doing floorshow bends (for Janet is a bendy little nymph indeed), but I wish I could have gone to document the experience.

    Of course, this does put a spanner in the works for the panto. With two big pratfalls in the mix, not to mention more dance routines than I have ever done in any show ever, I know I need to rest my back this weekend. So it is off to the Osteopath I go this afternoon. I haven’t seen one before, so I’m not sure exactly what to expect. Fingers cross they’ll press a magic button hidden in my spine somewhere to fix everything, then I can repeat the appointment for the next few Saturdays to get me through the show.

    In the meantime, I guess I have plenty of time to update my websites :o)

  6. October update

    October 18, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    It’s that time again where I realise I’ve not blogged for a month. My bad! So, what’s been going on in my life?

    I’ve been to see a fair few shows: Communicating Doors by Dunstable Rep to see my friend JJ playing a serial killer, The Stripper tto find it was lovely to see Richard O’Brien in something that wasn’t corsetted or gameshow related, and Rocky Horror at Milton Keynes, complete with a backstage tour. I got to see and play with all the props and costumes which was brilliant.

    After her death last summer, I finally put Mum’s house on the market. If anyone’s looking for a gorgeous one bedroom bungalow in Hillingdon in a nice area, do let me know.

    I started rehearsals for Jack and the Beanstalk with the Griffin Players in Luton. I’ve gone from a bratty younger sister to a dumb blonde – I’m very happy with that, although wearing lip gloss will be new for me. I’m pleased as I get a big hand in the comedy scenes. As for the slapstick ones, I think I’ve avoided being on the wrong end of a pie but not sure I’ll make it through the show’s run without ending up bumped and bruised. Another test of my abilities!

  7. Location, location, location

    July 22, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    It’s all been a bit quiet on the Awakey front, or so you would think. I’ve actually moved up from London to Milton Keynes to our new house, which is very exciting! Four days after we moved in, all the boxes are now unpacked and we’re back to normal life, which is lovely. My other half is testing the new route to work – a little different from changing tube stations – while I’m free to job hunt and give a bit more time to the As If By Magic Costumes orders. My colleague Ilona has made some truly beautiful things of late, so I’m looking forward to publishing pictures of the latest pieces soon.

    I’ve also been working on the costumes for the New Expressions production of We Will Rock You. I wouldn’t say it’s been too much of a challenge, just tricky when the cast swear they’re one size when they’re actually another. Such are the stigmas attached to size labels! Much kudos to Maggie for the loan of her amazing purple furry boots.

    Keeping with the amateur dramatics side of things, I’m looking forward to auditioning for Rent with Luton Light this weekend. I’ve not auditioned for what seems like years, and am well aware that my singing peak was back in Anything Goes in 2007, so I’m a little nervous. But excited!

    So, not a huge update. Just a little update to let you know I’m still kicking about.

  8. Buying a house

    May 17, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    Following in the footsteps of a friend? who has done something similar, I’ve decided to keep a basic track of the house buying process. More for my own delight in efficiency and organisation than anything else, but I like to think it’ll be helpful for other first time buyers.

    Do bear in mind that if something took us two weeks, it doesn’t guarantee it’ll only take you two weeks. Every house sale is different, so just see it as a time guideline.

    We started looking around properties in April 2009. We decided to look at non-terraced houses (from a sound point of view) and we knew we wanted a garden, garage and/or driveway, within 3 miles of the train station to allow for commuting and three bedrooms to allow for a guest room and office.

    We saw an upside down house, a multicolour bungalow (twice), a tiny house, a big smelly house and a house on a marina. In all the initial viewings we looked at the space, facilities and general order. We realised we wanted to move in somewhere with no work needed, which led us to see the house on the marina again.

    On the second viewing (mid May – we could only do house stuff on weekends) we thought ahead about what we wanted to lookely more closely at and what questions we wanted to ask the vendor. We looked in more detail: up in the room space, at the state of the wooden balcony (being by the marina made me suspect [correctly] the wood could be damp and rotten), kitchen space issues (we’d need to sacrifice the washine machine for a freezer or visa versa) and vermin issues around marinas (rats, ducks etc).

    The day after the second viewing (Alex advises to not jump on immediately or you look too keen and you won’t get a good deal) we rang the estate agent to make an offer. It was ?12,500 under the asking price as we had to consider the following:
    – replacing the upstairs and downstairs wooden balconies
    – new downstairs toilet and basin
    – purchase of our white goods
    – making an interior door to the garage (needed as we’d be putting the washine machine and dryer in there as per the kitchen space quandry)
    – solicitor fees
    – moving fees
    – survey fees
    We wanted to stay in budget, hence why we factored in all costs. We were also aware that we wanted to stay under the ?175,00 mark – over this and you have to pay 1% tax on the house. However, we also said we’d like to negotiate fixtures and fittings. At the same time, we put in a lower offer than that which we were willing to pay, preparing for the offer to be rebounded and needing to raise it a little.
    This means you can say ‘we’ll also have the curtains, light fixtures and that nice wardrobe for ?xxx’ and it’s counted outside of the purchase price.
    The estate agent came back twenty minutes later, said they understood our offer as it was in keeping under the stamp duty bar and that the vendor would accept ?175,000 on the dot. After a quick chat, we called back to confirm the offer of ?175,000, and thus began the next stage of the buying process: fiddy bits.

    So to review:
    1 month: house viewings (over two weekends)
    1 day: offers made and accepted.

  9. London London London

    April 2, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    A friend visiting London was asking for some advice on places to eat and shops to visit. It’s not the first time, but I always forget what I’ve said. Through sheer laziness of not remembering this nugget of information for every person, I thought I’d put a few notes down here for future reference.


    TREAT: Ping Pong. These do Dim Sum and are cool without being snooty. There’s a few around including one near the National Theatre on the Southbank.
    PUBBY: The Crooked Surgeon. This is just off Leicester Square (not far from The Prince Charles CInema) and does decent pub grub. It’s not a traditional pub – they’re so hard to find these days – but it’s okay value.
    CURRY: Masala Zone. This is off Covent Garden. They, like most places in London, do a pre-theatre deal. You don’t have to be going to the theatre to use the deals! About a tenner for a very tasty three course meal.
    FUN PUB: Ben Crouch’s Tavern. It’s off Oxford Street. Probably the only place I feel at home in London! Again, good menu, great value and it has a horror theme. Don’t tell your family about the screaming/chainsaw sound track playing in the toilets!
    Plus there’s plenty of Wagamamas around and all the usual chains.


    CAMDEN is all there and complete. The smaller market by the canal’s closed, but everything’s there. Sadly, they ditched the hotch potch covered stalls in all the arches for some glass monstrosity that I’ve not looked into – all glassware and t-shirts – but Punkyfish and the New Rock boot shops are all around as are the goth shops.
    OXFORD STREET is still packed with every shop imaginable.
    Check out FORBIDDEN PLANET for amazing sci-fi and film goodness.
    For your musicals, check out DRESS CIRCLE off Covent Garden. It has everything to do with every musical ever made.

  10. Snow Day

    February 2, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    It’s been lovely seeing everyone’s comments and emails on the snow. For those reading this in retrospect, it’s Monday morning and most of Britain has woken up to 5 inches of snow, a rarity.

    I’m planning on posting some of my favourite comments here for posterity and also to allow you to share too, even if you’re not getting your ‘Snow Day’.

    “Cats sleeping apart from Otter, who is calling me to look at the disaster that has happened in the back garden. I tell him it’s ok, and he cries “no it’s not ok, it’s all out the front too, loooooooooook”, and we have to go look at the front. If I dont look he howls.”
    ~ My sister on her cats ~
    “I have one unhappy cat taking a crap in the house. Ack!”
    ~ A friend on her cat’s reaction ~

    “I feel like writing on a big piece of paper, ‘how many survivors?’ and showing it to the office across the street.”
    ~ via Twitter ~

    “Watching the TfL home page is a bit like a view into some sort of civic apocalypse”
    ~ via Twitter ~