Sues Blog

Feb 17 – 21 Half Term Week

Hope everyone’s enjoying it! If you’re a parent and managed to find a week’s worth of indoor activities, hats off to you. I found myself today in a place called Flip Out – wandered in namely out of curiosity – no, name has nothing to do with Pancake Day next week – and found myself in hall full of what must have been a good half of Chandlers Ford youth population. Curiosity sated, made a speedy exit! (Not being one for putting my life at risk of an oversized or any-sized trampoline)

No break for me – when I’m not writing I’m dancing – been a Zumba instructor now for 10 years, after discovering Zumba in the States whilst I lived just outside Boston (3 great years of my life). Running classes all week. And starting two new ones next week – keeps me on my toes, not quite literally!

Writing-wise: made a start on LGBT Assembly today. As LGBT will be a compulsory part of the curriculum from September 2020 it’s another script that needs writing. I will probably work around the theme of ‘unconditional love – acceptance/celebration of diversity’ – as isn’t this what it’s all about? We’ll see – never sure where a script’s going to take me until it’s written!

Feb 15

Peacock Theatre London

Spur of the minute – went to see Message in a Bottle at The Peacock Holborn. Inspirational dance to Sting’s music. Highlight was title track – amazing display of total energy. Packed theatre. Good to see people supporting the Arts – though London prices undoubtedly beyond the means of most of us (I was able to get discount ticket and free lift to London!)

Feb 10th

Just finished last of Dickens’ Xmas novellas – The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain. Of the four (not including Christmas Carol) I found this one the most confusing. I’d be interested to know if any other reader struggled with the different names given to the characters at the beginning; and then the less than obvious link between the ‘unknown figure’ and the chemist’s sister – as its never actually stated. Still, another great story. Wondering which to tackle next – maybe Bleak House as I spent the weekend at Lincolns Inns!

Feb 9

Took a little break from my Dickens reading today to read Dr. Dolittle – the original version as written by Hugh Lofting. Whilst the first copy was published in 1922, this particular copy, as published by Puffin Books in 1967, was reprinted in 1968. I was really shocked by the overt racism I came across in my reading, contrasting the White Man’s World with – wait for it, the following terms – ‘darkies, niggers and coon’. It made for pretty uncomfortable reading – the author sent the stories back from the trenches of the First World War and they were later collected and made into books – bit like Beatrix Potters books were letters in their original form.

I’m going to see the latest Dolittle movie tomorrow – slated by the critics – but hopefully rather different content from that I’ve just read. Bit of an eye opener. Glad I only had to skim it and that we now live in times when this kind of stuff would not be printed.

Feb 8

Photos above taken from walk I took on Feb 8th. Para below.

Afternoon in London, starting Dickens trail. Best way to see hidden gems of London – walk the back streets – amazing what you stumble across. In my case yesterday, the beautiful courts of Lincolns Inn (huge thank you to the guy on the gate who let us in) – how did I not visit these when I was working in Holborn?! And amazing Sir John Soane’s Museum – extremely quirky, long may it stay that way! Also ‘visited’ surely the poshest loo in London – with a statue! Lower floor of Knights Templar pub.

Feb 6

Caught a couple of minutes chat about ‘rhythm of Shakespeare’s writing’ and how drama groups are trying to work with that to make the bard’s work more accessible to children. I think this keeping an interest in past writings may become an increasing problem with future generations as we move steadily faster in our lives and there just doesn’t seem to be the time devoted to reading that there used to be. I devoured books at a young age and tried to get my children to similarly love reading but they all seem to have missed out on the classics – or, as in the case of my youngest, went from loving English at GCSE level to hating it at A’level – and sadly I think this happens when reading falls foul of our education system. I wonder if maybe drama groups can be positively instrumental in keeping classics fun? Hoping I may be part of the process – been in contact with a number of drama and dance groups in the last couple of days with very positive results. We’ll see.

Feb 5th

The Cricket on the Hearth – one of Charles Dickens novellas – just added to website! Bit longer than the others – thinking of making it into a panto for next year – prob bit late for this year. Though panto season still going strong – as I know to my cost – my Zumba class tomorrow night having to relocate to local school hall as local village panto takes precedence! Hrph. Bah Humbug!

Now working on The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain – finding this one a bit more of a challenge.

Got Charles Dickens Walk planned for this weekend – please let it be fine weather!

LGBT History Month was established in 2004. It not only raises awareness of discrimination still faced by the LGBT+ community but also celebrates LGBT+ people and their achievements. February is LGBT History Month and its theme this year was ‘History: Peace, Reconciliation, and Activism’.

Just come across this courtesy of the Historical Association. It has prompted me to add an assembly on this subject, in the near future. I currently have a script in the PSHE section entitled PRIDE – rather misleading as it has nothing to do with LGBT – I wrote it many years ago whilst living in the States and it was then based on the Celtics Basketball team! I think I may now have to change the title to avoid misleading folk – never my intention.

Feb 1st

Feb 3 – 9th is Children’s Mental Health Week, with the theme ‘Find your Brave’ (charity is Place2Be). I think it’s incredibly important to spot ‘issues’ as young as possible and I am really heartened that primary schools are now taking this on board – when I was teaching it was pretty much ‘brushed under the carpet’.

I have written a number of scripts relating to mental health and I am always happy to direct teachers to that most appropriate to their class. You may have seen this month’s ‘special’ – Buy Feeling Sad Assembly and get 2 speaker script free.

I have also just come across this link https://www.actionforhappiness.org/media/846018/february_2020_b_w.pdf which might be a useful resource – an Action Calendar – Friendly February – whic has suggestions for each day. And has lovely quote from Maya Angelou ‘People forget what you said and what you did. But they never forget how you made them feel’.

Jan 31st

And so we leave the EU. Fraid I can’t pretend I’m celebrating. When I’m not writing plays and taking dance classes, I work with TEFL students and to start with the line ‘Welcome to the United Kingdom’ seems something of a misnomer these days. However, we’ll see … as they say.

Another visit to local charity shop today – and, as always, I leave with a bagful of books! Today’s prime choices: H.G. Wells Selected Short Stories – future plays for moi! And The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde – this will have to wait til I’ve finished Dickens!!

Jan 29

Just read reviews for David Copperfield – mainly on Facebook and I seem to be alone in my reservations (not for the first time!)

I genuinely thought I was going to love this movie – I saw the trailers and they made me laugh, and I did enjoy the first part. But I have to be honest –  I found a lot of the movie laboured – maybe it was just too long. There were some very funny bits but not enough to keep me engaged. Another factor maybe is that I’ve been reading the original Dickens texts and they present such a grim picture of Victorian life – with all its social and economic injustices – that I could be guilty of just begrudging this frivolous treatment of what was intended as a very serious message, by Mr Dickens.

I normally welcome a light-hearted take on life and am myself more than happy to produce alternative versions, with ‘baddies’ seen at their very worst but in a comical light. However, this film just didn’t do it for me. (Feel a bit like apologetic Trotty in last Dickens offerings – The Chimes!)

Speaking of which – out today – THE CHIMES. Latest of my particular adaptation of Dickens! These scripts to seem to be getting longer and longer – this one around 40 minutes – but its quite hard cutting back on so much material. There are no abridged versions of these novellas so that does, of course, make a difference – maybe my ‘abridging skills’ need a bit of fine-tuning! But I am enjoying these adaptations – and I hope others will too.

Jan 28th

So, what did you all think of the new David Copperfield movie?

I think for me the ‘problem’ was a bit like the Dark Materials series – ambiguity between ‘for adults or children’? I know it kind of doesn’t matter but when people start talking, like guy on Radio 4 this morning, about how movie highlights homeless problems of the Victorians when the only scenes of homelessness were cheery little sing alongs by the roadside and lots of people ‘whooping it up’ in a single room – hardly suffering – I think there is to be a case for saying ‘Seriously?!’

Grumpy old woman alert! Spect everyone else will love it!

New Website Additions

In the last month, these have been Charles Dickens scripts – including, believe it or not, one on …. you’ve guessed – David Copperfield (mine sticks to the original story!)

They include:

Plus

  • The Battle of Life which is a ‘novella’ – one of a series produced along with A Christmas Carol.

With the birthday of Charles Dickens coming up on Feb 7th I’m hoping these scripts will be ‘flying off the website’ (along with the pigs up there!?!) This dipping into Dickens is a little ‘going off piste’ for me – but I am hoping to do some more writing for upper KS II/lower KS III and tackling the Classics seemed a good place to start!

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