Tag Archives: juggling

Weird weekend

OK, so the weekend didn’t start off so weird, apart from the fact that I wasn’t working. Pottered about a bit on Saturday, actually leaving the house at one point to go shopping, but mostly knitting and watching bad TV.

Sunday I gave the lawn a rough cut with the strimmer, hoping that I’d be able to give it a proper cut with the mower later in the week (but that would required for it to stop raining). Went out to the shops again for some seeds for the freshly dug borders (I’m going for a very “natural” look of just scattering them around and hoping for the best). I also got a new mop to tackle the kitchen and bathroom floor. Again.

Here’s where the weirdness began. Happily mopped the floor with whizzy new mop, using a dilute bleach solution (and bleaching mophead in the process). The cat then decided that now would be a fabulous time to go and roll on the damp floor and lick herself clean. It must be something about bleach fumes, but for a while there she had a distinct bleach smell about her (I’m using this as a reason as to why she swiped me for no good reason later in the night).

Cat happily rolling in bleach I went off to juggling (still trying to get used to doing that in the light). A pretty big turnout and at one point we noticed someone in the window of one of the houses that back on to the arts centre. So we did what any pre-teen in a coach would do – we waved. He waved back. The love was shared and back we went to practising. Ten minutes later someone sticks their head around the door of the room we are using and asks for the person in charge. I indicate that would be me and he asks me to step outside and bring someone with me. I grab Guy as back-up and meet this man in the corridor.

He is furious. He goes off on a rant about how he is perfectly within his rights to be looking out of his back window and found it weird that anyone would wave at him. He apparently tried to get in touch with the people who run the Arts Centre (without success, it is Sunday night after all) and said he’d had trouble from people here before. He wouldn’t accept an apology but was livid about the waving, so we “yes, sir, no sir”ed and eventually he left.

It left a sour taste for the rest of the evening at his reaction, and left me wondering whether to contact the people who run the centre to give our side of the story. Weird.

‘Tis the season to be (juggling) spammy

Over the past 24 hours I’ve had three “spam” juggling related e-mails. I call them spam because they were unsolicited and not addressed to me personally.

The first was from someone wanting children who could juggle for a parade in Newbury – fair enough, I figured they got my contact details from the Youth Circus Directory, but the e-mail was obviously a standard one.

The second was from someone organising a meet in Maidstone. Interesting, but again not personalised and I’m not sure where they got my contact details from.

The third was the blessed Sardinian juggling convention. I’ve heard a *lot* about this convention, and really didn’t need/want information e-mailed to me.

I am aware of four ways in which these people could have got my contact details:

from the Youth Circus Directory;

from the Reading Jugglers webpage;

from the Internet Juggling Database entry for Reading Jugglers;

from the Internet Juggling Database entry for my personal membership.

I don’t mind contact from the first 3, but object to it from the fourth. I’ve got in touch with all of them to find out how they got my details (since none of them volunteered that info when contacting me out of the blue). I shall probably have to update that info going forwards as I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be running the Reading jugglers group. 

Happy Bobmas one and all

Yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of the conception of www.ravelry.com. It also coincided with Ravelraiser 08 – a fundraising exercise to buy Ravelry a new server (over 100,000 users means more server power required). The concept was  10 lousy bucks, and for every $10 donation made up until 25 April the donee gets entered into a raffle for a number of rather nice prices. I managed to win a side raffle for some handcream, which is nice, handmade by a fellow raveler.

The original aim to raise $7,000 for a new server was quickly upgraded when the target was easy smashed in the first couple of days. The new target was set at about $30,000 to get Ravelry back in the black (set-up costs are a bitch). A couple of days ago that happened and the total keeps on rising.

Jess and Casey haven’t drawn any salary from running Ravelry yet, though they have given up their jobs to set it up, and it’s still in beta testing. They now have paid-for advertising and pattern sales set up, with a Ravelry store selling merchandise to follow, but donations are still needed to pay for hosting and their first employee – so come on, it’s just 10 lousy bucks.

For Bobmas I bought myself some alpaca and more sock yarn from iKnit (after I finally found their new shop).

BJC is 21

I travelled up to BJC a little later than intended as I actually checked the website beforehand and saw that the site was only supposed to be open at 16:00. By virtue of spending 10 minutes attempting to retrieve the end of the sat-nav charger from the cigarette lighter (no joy), a nice leisurely stop at Donnington Park services (where I forgot to pick up cutlery for my pasta and ended up eating it with a knife), and the sat nav taking me to a golf club (I passed the Dome but was curious as to where it felt like going), I got there about 15:45.

Parked up and had a wander and general bumping into people session, then unloaded the car (it took about 4 trips) and set up base camp. There had been dire warnings of snow, rain, and freezing temperatures so by the time the bedding was all piled up it looked like there was a full size mattress in the tent (and jolly warm it was too – no need for thermal undies).

All of my kit (bar my hat, which for some reason ended up staying in the tent all convention) was transferred into the main hall and promptly abandoned by some comfy seats (pulled out from the stadium seating) with a good view of the underused (whilst I was there) volleyclub net, and I went to buy wellies from Asda (having left mine behind and decided not to turn around after 10 minutes). People were said hello to, games were played, food was eaten, dances were, and so ended the first day (having missed the TeamKD spot in the big top).

Day Two (Thursday) was a big workshop day for me, though I spent all of Ian’s 3-count workshop sitting down as I had done it before and there wasn’t really space. I did get to whistle a lot, though, so that was good. I then spent a couple of hours on registration and managed to send one of the Sharpes back to his hotel room for his pass (well, I didn’t know who he was, and he didn’t play the star card). I then had to practise a bit for the main workshop I was giving, in The Roundabout. It was a hike over to the school and we arrived early for more of a practise only to discover unicycle hockey in process so we just had to wing it. It was still early in the convention so a lot of people hadn’t made it over to the school venue and didn’t budget time accordingly. We started a couple of minutes late with about 15 people, then 10 minutes later another 10 turned up, then another 10, so we got to do the intro 3 times. It seemed to go well, with most people getting the idea, but it’s not something you can learn in an hour, just bits to work on later.

I’d moved my second workshop forward to half five so that I could go dancing in the evening (it had been put as a clash with no-one telling/asking me), and pegged it back to take all of my knitting stuff up to the bar and commandeered a table and some comfy sofas. The original idea was to have a Stitch ‘n’ Bitch style session with people knitting squares for a blanket to be given to charity, but in the end it was teaching how to cast on and do some initial knitting (which I worked out how to do eventually). I then couldn’t be arsed to go dancing and had some food (and laughing at/with Rick) instead, followed by general chilling and Scrambled V-ing. I did make it to Renegade and got a good spot in front of the heater (I even got it moved to a more selfishly enjoyable angle), but didn’t end up staying that long/late. I think Fight Night was Thursday night, though it might have been Wednesday. Whichever it was I watched and enjoyed it.

Friday morning dawned with the porch of the tent having collapsed inwards during the night, so it had to be manhandled back up. I was going to attend some workshops, but went ice-skating instead and thanks to James even got moving backwards (thanks James) even if the skates were blunter than butter knives. Another knitting workshop/Stitch ‘n’ Bitch followed (pushed forwards because BYJOTY was starting at 18:00) with an hour and a half on casting on, knitting, purling, and casting off. With jaffa cakes. There then began the queueing for BYJOTY with the Peats (highly entertaining), and sneaking of a good seat (it really is who you know).

The BYJOTY show was good, and other reviews of each act are out there. Ady was a good high-energy opener, but I’m not a fan of kids jumping up and down. Freddy had the skills but lacked a bit in the presentation for me. Luke was funny and dealt very well with the heckles (very poor form, audience) and table traumas, though the Malibu bottle made me laugh and the act was slow/repetitive in some places (still got my vote). Also of note was diabolo John who was in my final 3 but a bit too droppy. The best trick competition was a bit dull and went on too long, I’d prefer it if each competitor got 3 turns on stage max and that was it.

Tom was due to make good on his Bungay bet at the renegade on Friday, but after Rossy and Ben Cornish had come and gone and there was still no sign of poi in a skirt, I had to call it a day as it was going to be an early start and long day on Saturday. 

Saturday and the tent hadn’t caved in during the night. It would collapse three times during the day, however, but everything got shoved into the middle and nothing got solved. General running around setting up for the British Kendama Championships, including actual running in attempts to find Tom, which is hard to do in wellies. The kid’s renegade had been moved to be in the big top directly before the BKC, but luckily/unluckily finished early and allowed most of the set-up to happen before the arrival of the Japanese judge (and family). The competition went well, I pressed record on various cameras/changed tapes and made mostly appropriately noises and roughly appropriate times, and the right person won.

Sadly the timing of the BKC clashed with the start of the parade (shame), so I missed the opportunity to get soggy and instead had a late lunch and natter before allowing to be volunteered as a ticket checker for the show. Jugglers are an odd bunch. The front of the queue had been there a good hour before doors were scheduled to open, but then people were also wandering up as we were closing the doors (one guy even wanted to go out for a smoke as we were closing them).

The show was the best one I had seen in a long time. Highlights were Senmaru (just being excellent, and funny), Tiff (making siteswap less dull), Donald, The Sharpes. It was good to see Max’s act so polished, though the outfit elicited lots of childish giggling from Duncan and me. I liked the rope act and it was a shame that Erik’s act didn’t go well and he cut a lot of stuff because it just wasn’t working. I liked the extra bits at the end but it was a shame that the organisers weren’t brought up then for public thanks (but hey, their show, their rules). I then got to help pack up the venue, which went really smoothly, but they’d annoyingly locked the seats so there was only cold hard floor to sit on when the hall was reopened. More scrambling of Vs, some sitting around, popped in to have a quick look at renegade then quickly left, lost an hour and went to bed.

Sunday I woke up with a sore throat way too early and couldn’t get back to sleep, so got up and got most things packed up relatively early and I stumbled into a body percussion workshop/jam which was rewarding. Also meant for lazy hazy goodbyes before the drive home, which was navigated safely (and without the aid of electronic devices), with a stop for M&S goodness at Cherwell before both I and Ross fell asleep. Almost made it home without having to put lights on, which is a change that will take some getting used to, unloaded the car into the house, uploaded photos, had bath, watched Torchwood, crashed out.

Good convention. Photos at https://www.fakoriginal.com/fak’s_fotos/BJC_2008/index.html

That Monday Feeling

A bit of a Monday feeling about today, despite the fact that it’s Tuesday.

The Easter weekend was a good break, even if I did have to work on the Friday. I should have worked Saturday, Sunday and Monday too, but the incompetents who pretend to do work for me had done it all wrong, so there was nothing I could do. You’d expect that to be a good thing, except I’m off for the rest of this week at BJC and that means I will effecitevely be a week behind by the time I actually get a chance to look at stuff.

No word from either my solicitor or my old boss, so I have e-mailed the former and left a voicemail for the latter. I could do with some good news, but at the moment would settle for any news that allows me to make plans and not feel stuck in this limbo.

Packing for BJC has got as far as me throwing some clothes on to my bed as I got ready for work this morning. As with moving house or office, it’s not a big deal and I can get it done in about half an hour (provided I can find the important things, like Jungle Jam). 

The forecast for BJC has changed from bright but cold, to rainy and marginally warmer. Not sure which I’d prefer, but there’s nothing I can do about it, so hey ho.

The cat was ecstatic to see me after spending Easter on her own. She’d wolfed all of the food down for her (two pouches and a massive pile of biscuit), but must have filled herself up as she wasn’t too fussed when I put more food down. She was so excited to see me that she had to tell me at 4 this morning by wailing outside my bedroom door, then sitting on my chest, purring. I’ll take it as a sign of affection and not a form of revenge.

A strange start to the week

A bit of an odd start to the week. I woke up at about twenty past five from a bit of a nightmare, with the sound of rain lashing against the back of the house (which took me a good few minutes to work out what it was since I sleep at the front of the house). I eventually got over that post-dream confusion where I thought there was someone in the house and decided my bladder took priority. The year is certainly rushing on as it was light enough not to have to switch any of the lights on, and the weather was certainly making a meal of things.

Speaking of weather, thoughts have turned to the BJC. These things aren’t the most predictable, but at the moment it looks like it’s going to be a cold and wet one (minus 5 at night, minus 5!), so jumpers and wellies at the ready (I think I shall have indoor shoes and outdoor shoes this year) and as many duvets as will fit in the car (mmm, a tent entirely filled with duvets – I’d never leave). But don’t let that put anyone off.

The first part of the divorce goes through today, the court pronouncing the decree nisi. No word on whether the settlement is going to be accepted and the cat and I appear to have the house to ourselves this week, which should be an opportunity to tidy up but is actually going to be an opportunity to go to bed even later than normal and not getting woken up early.

I did take the opportunity to laugh at lots of people with umbrella’s this morning. The storm has been on the news enough that people should know that there are due to be high winds. Umbrellas don’t function well in high winds. Personally, I took my snow jacket which fits to below waist level and a baseball cap. With the hood up over the basebal cap I keep the rain out of my face (and importantly off my glasses), and the top half of me is dry. Unless you’ve got a huge golf umbrella you’re not going to be able to keep your lower half dry anyway, so why bother battling a load of fabric and metal?


Just checked my contract and instead of the usual 12 weeks, my notice period is 13 weeks, which would put it slap in the middle of Bungay. I may have to do a bit of reading up about what happens when you’ve already got holiday booked, but I may have to delay the resignation by a couple of weeks.

Update: checked all the HR policies and stuff, spoken to my partner and it’s been agreed that I can still have the holiday I’ve already booked for Bungay (since I’m entitled to it anyway), so yay. I can start the countdown to both leaving here and going to Bungay (a stunning combination). Throw in a divorce (fingers and toes crossed) and it could be a very good May.

Another weekend, another convention

This weekend was the Ballring convention in Birmingham, put on by the students at the university. A bit of a strange venue (a hall with entirely black walls and blinding sunlight), and full of people I didn’t recognise whilst missing many familiar faces. It was entertaining though, I helped out with a workshop and had a snakeboard around. Saw Ade’s new tooth (which is going to take some getting used to) and ended with a curry.

It was good to spend the time not thinking about my other worries and spending the time amongst friends. Photos up at https://www.fakoriginal.com/fak’s_fotos/Ballring_2008/index.html.

A bit annoyed to come home and have to wait an hour and a half to get into my own bathroom, but at least I managed to catch up on some TV while I waited (though my download wasn’t what it was supposed to be, so time to start again). Tired now.

A long way to go for chocolate

My sat nav arrived on Friday morning, so I made the late decision to go up to Chocfest in York. This meant spending a lot of time on Friday night wrestling with the windows installation disk in order to transfer the maps on to the unit, and also baking a cake for the Chocfest Chocolate Cake Challenge.

Oh, one other thing it involved was getting up really early on Saturday. The plan was to leave at about 7 to allow four or so hours to get up there. I ended up actually leaving at a quarter to eight because it took so long to defrost the car, which was frozen both inside and out. The roads were clear though, and I made it to the site by about a quarter to twelve (having hit the outskirts of York just after eleven and getting stuck in traffic). I had “fun” parking and headed in with the cake to surprise people (since I had been adamant that I wasn’t going).

There then followed the usual things that happen at conventions: lots of catching up with people; sitting around; eating; drinking; eating some more; a bit of juggling (but not too much); I actually went to Ian’s workshop (it was good); a bit more food then the show.

The theme for the show appeared to be black; with all bar one (very bright exception) of the performers dressed in black. Against a black backdrop. I suspect many photos will be of the “spot the head and arms” variety. There was some good stuff in there (The Hit Men, David Leahy, Erik Borgman, Rachel’s hula, Speed Kendama) and some OK stuff which didn’t blow me away. Serious props go to Plumsie for coming back in the second half and getting through it, I don’t think I’d have had the guts. The highlight (other that the high vis clothing) was definitely Erik, not just for the skills, but for the patter and timing. Obviously a well seasoned act, but still fresh and enthusiastic, and above all funny.

My cake didn’t win, but I liked it, so that’s the main thing, and after the show it was back to Anna’s house for the watching of Japanese game shows and eating of more chocolate.

I slept well in a proper bed (yay), but everyone still got up way too early for Sunday lunch, so we went juggling in the cemetery first, had fun with air vents and generally mucked around a bit before heading back to the pub for food.

Dragging myself away for the long drive back was hard, and tiredness did kick in en route (long week), but sugar sustained me back to open up juggling before getting a sugar crash at about half eight. Went home, half unpacked, editing photos and went to bed. The router was playing up yet again, so couldn’t upload photos until this morning, but can now be found here https://www.fakoriginal.com/fak’s_fotos/Chocfest_2008/index.html