31 March 2011

Eating gopher

My friend, Grace, got in touch recently with news that her professional life is running in tandem with mine:
Isn’t it awful that two such well qualified, nay, dare I say, over-qualified women like us, are languishing to such an extreme in the Land of Rejection? Aren’t you tired of ‘eating gopher’?
Allow me to explain Grace’s strange turn of phrase. 
There is a moment in the film “O, Brother Where Art Thou?” starring gorgeous George Clooney, where the three main protagonists are hiding out in the woods. They lack food and shelter.
The more resourceful member of the team goes foraging for food, and comes back with a few small gophers he has found and killed. He prepares a meager meal over the campfire, turns to George Clooney and offers him “a bit of gopher”. 
Clooney’s response is absolutely hilarious! He says: “No, I thank you, but I’ll pass. Whilst I’m sure that gopher has been well-prepared, I do believe it will only serve to frustrate my appetite, rather than fully relieving it.” 
From this, my delightful friend Grace has created a shorthand code: “eating gopher” - pursuing tasks that do not truly satisfy; or, getting by with whatever happens to be available.
As always, Grace’s missive has been perfectly timed to illustrate our ongoing synchronicity. We’d both received our latest round of rejection letters. Mine came yesterday from a local college turning me down for a part-time, temporary (2 months) post as a Drama Lecturer. Grace’s was even more of a blow, rejected for a post as a temporary, part-time, research fellow/administrator for a Senior Researcher in her field.
“How on earth could they turn me down?” Grace lamented. “I mean, the guy conducting the research has listed one of my books in his bibliography! Obviously, I have something to offer the project.”
And of course, she’s right. She has a great deal to offer. “Why am I not good enough to sharpen this guy’s pencils?” she continued. I could hear her tears through her email. This warranted a phone call.
“Gracie,” I soothed, “don’t give up! Things will get better.” I heard myself saying, not entirely believing my own words. Like me, Gracie has made a major life and career change in favour of following her heart. Also like me, she realizes that she has much in her life for which to be very, very thankful. It is tricky though, after spending decades defining oneself by one’s career to sudden lose that, and attempt to rebuild said career in a different country. 
“These things take time,” I said, trying to sound wise.  “The world has changed, and as such, we need to change, too. What I think is required is a change in approach and perspective. We have to stop playing by the old rules,” I said. Some call it, rather tiresomely, “thinking outside the box.”
One way that I have tried to think differently about work is to think about teaching in a more broad and expansive way. And, I was recently rewarded for my efforts. I have been offered a post as Leader with a top British holiday firm, HF Holidays.
After a rigourous (I kid you not!) assessment weekend, I was selected to lead on their Shakespeare, Theatre and Literary holidays! I’m absolutely thrilled. And today, like a gift from the gods, my official HF Holidays Leader’s fleece has just arrived!
So, I shall be doing what I love, just in a new and exciting way. A darn sight better than sharpening pencils, and certainly better than eating gopher!

30 March 2011

How cute are these?

Less than a month until the Royal Wedding, and good news! 
After morning prayers today, someone offered me some Union Jack napkins and Union Jack bunting for my Royal Wedding Street Party! Hurrah, hurrah!
All I need now are these ...
Aren't they cute?!

Lovely bone china mugs from John Lewis. This one's my favourite!

This one's nice too!

Mere trifles, and a bit of faking

The Marie Curie Cancer Care Swimathon is a mere 8 days and 11 hours away!!
My training is going well, and I have clocked up 2.8k in training so far as a lead up to our big 10k swim, which starts next week. 
I've suffered from awful neck strain, my legs ache, my arms feel like lead, and my hair has turned green, but as much as it hurts, it feels really great to be "doing good".
In addition to swimming as much as I can, I am also doing an Aquafit class for aerobic training to build up my stamina. 
My trainer, Trisha Quinn is quite amazing. As she watches us jumping and gurgling in the pool, she often chirps: "That's it ladies, keep it going! And, if you get weary, just dance!" Hmm, I think there's a rule for life in there somewhere...
We've had a really great response to our Swimathon efforts. Hazel, a lady from from my Aquafit class, has asked to join our team. So now, our overall team Swimming goal has jumped to 15K! 
Our fundraising is going really well, too. Our initial fundraising goal was very modest: £300. I just didn't think I had it in me to fund-raise. But, the support has been really incredible. And, I've caught the fundraising bug! It is amazing how fearless you can become when you really believe in something.
We have solicited support, with a zeal that has surprised even me. (My mother will be so proud that I'm following firmly in her charitable footsteps.) As a result, I have upped our Team goal to £1000! (...Maybe I'm being too ambitious?...)
Feeling generous? 
We'd love your support! 
Here's a link to a the secure donation site: Marie Curie Cancer Care Swimathon
Look us up under "Simply Swim", type in "Alycia".
Not that I needed another challenge, but I decided to have a fundraising Coffee Morning at Barford Church, next Monday. I have NO IDEA how to organise a Coffee Morning, that oh, so British ladies' institution. 
Thankfully, my very generous neighbours have offered help by baking cakes and goodies. Marie Curie head office are sending balloons and decorations, so it should look very nice.
Several local vendors have also been very generous in offering me an array of VERY NICE raffle prizes: including a gorgeous rug from The Polished Floor and Carpet Co. in Leamington Spa, and two extra special massage/pamper packages. So, hopefully, with the £5 donation, and the raffle we will inch closer to our £1000 goal.
All of this is taking much more time and effort than I had expected. (Live and learn!) I am really glad that I have done it, but, my goodness! 
This week, I am working on submitting and application to the RSC for their "Open Stages" project, on behalf of the Barford Drama Group. And, of course, there's the Royal Wedding Street Party to organise and arrange!
With all of this swimming, fundraising, prepping and planning, I lost track of a major obligation I had for this past Saturday. Last Saturday night was the annual WI Quiz. The WI Quiz is one of the hottest tickets of the year in Barford. 
Like a madwoman, I volunteered to make a pudding/dessert for the Quiz Supper. I was so proud of myself for raising my hand to volunteer during the meeting. "I'll make a lovely Chocolate Cake," I thought to myself. 
Just as I was settling into my dreams of chocolate decadence, I was brought swiftly out of my revelry by the following words: "You should all make the same pudding, to keep things consistent. Ladies, please make a Trifle."
My heart sank. 
I have never made a Trifle. I love them, of course, and find them simply divine, but they are  far, far out of my culinary welkin!
And thus, I panicked. And did what any sensible American Girl would do -- I fake it. I bought all the ingredients and asked (begged) someone else to make it for me!
God bless our dear, dear blessed Sally. What a saint she is! On the promise that I will one day allow her to show me how "easy" it is to make a Trifle, Sally, graciously made my WI Trifle for me! Bless her!
I'm not really a coward, I have just been so, so overwhelmed, I just could not do or take on more.  
I will certainly deserve a little break after all this is said and done!
One lovely, well-deserved treat recently: I luxuriated in the indulgence of a gourmet evening at Stratford College with my DEB last Friday. It was, as usual, a fabulous evening of gorgeous food and wine. The next day is always spent in the grips of a marvelous "food hangover".
And certainly felt it in training the next week! Alas, no long-term rest for the wicked! 

20 March 2011

Grab yer wellies, and let the gardening begin!

The DEB and I are getting a jump start on the first day of Spring, working in the garden today. He is re-designing our patio area, removing the buff grey slabs and terracotta edging to make way for some sexy wooden decking. The slabs and edging are in very good shape, just not our style, so the DEB has placed them for sale on Gumtree, but we've had no interest so far.
I spent the day weeding my little 'wild flower patch' where Lucy's ashes are buried. My snowdrops have finally arrived, HURRAH! And the purple anemones are so lovely, they brought tears to my eyes, it was like Lucy saying "Hello!" I miss her terribly, and have to say that in many ways I've amazed myself with how well I have recovered, there were days I thought I would never stop crying.
Last week, I took a walk with our Sally and her pooch, Poppy. Just like the mums on the school-run, the dog-parents gather on the playing field for a morning nutter. I surprised myself, in not feeling bereft among them. "Where's your dog?" Terry asked, forgetting that she's no longer with us. I smiled, and he remembered. They say that time heals all wounds, and I suppose that's true.
Weeding is an endless task, and I'm very thankful that our garden is tiny for that reason. We've been offered 1/3 of an allotment -- allotments in Barford are like gold dust! So it's a real privilege to be asked to have a share in one. I'd love to have a little patch for an apple tree, and some savoy cabbage maybe. But, an allotment is a real commitment. That's your weekends, holidays and evenings spoken for! Upkeep is a must. Here in Barford, if your allotment is left untended and becomes unkempt, someone will come round and have a quiet word. 
The DEB's not so keen on the allotment idea, and today was a clear reminder to me why that view makes a great deal of sense. Especially now that we've rediscovered our love of swimming. There are some super holidays to be had in that regard. There's a super looking new book out called Wild Swimming, that outlines a host of outdoor swimming holes, lakes and rivers across the country.
Right, nearly time to start the tea; and I need to work on my "Street Party" flyers -- hoping to get them out to all the neighbours today. Good feedback so far! Everyone seems really keen to make it happen. Also, need to get my flyers out for my Coffee Morning for Marie Curie Cancer Care. 
...Who am I kidding, to think I could manage an allotment, as well!!

17 March 2011

Touch of the Irish

Off to Sainsbury's to get a bit of lamb for tonight's "Irish Stew" ...

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 200g smoked streaky bacon , preferably in one piece, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 900g stewing lamb , cut into large chunks
  • 5 medium onions , sliced
  • 5 carrots , sliced into chunks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • small bunch thyme
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 850ml lamb stock
  • 6 medium potatoes , cut into chunks
  • small knob of butter
  • spring onions , finely sliced

  1. Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole. Sizzle the bacon for 4 mins until crisp. Turn up the heat, then cook the lamb for 6 mins until brown. Remove the meats with a slotted spoon. Add the onions, carrots and herbs to the pan, then cook for about 5 mins until softened. Return the meat to the pan, stir in the pearl barley, pour over the stock, then bring to a simmer.
  2. Sit the chunks of potato on top of the stew, cover, then braise in the oven, undisturbed, for about 1½ hrs until the potatoes are soft and the meat is tender. The stew can now be chilled and kept in the fridge for 2 days, then reheated in a low oven or on top of the stove. Remove from the oven, dot the potatoes with butter, scatter with the spring onions and serve scooped straight from the dish.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Prayer of St. Patrick
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

From little acorns ...

As usual, I have bitten off more than I can chew...
The DEB and I are participating in the Swimathon for Marie Curie Cancer Care in April. We're completing a 10K swim in our tiny, 9m, leisure club pool.
Well, in an effort to meet our fundraising goal, I decided to have a Coffee Morning at St. Peter's Church on 4 April. Got the approval, permission, etc.

Problem #1: I know NOTHING about arranging/organising Coffee Mornings.

Then, it occurred to me that everyone loves a good Raffle. So, I put out some tentative feelers on raffle prizes, and have had an overwhelmingly positive response. 
I've got a pair of incredible "pamper packages" from two different Beauty establishments; a family ticket to Charlecote Park; a year-long subscription to Warwickshire Life; and a rug from Polished Floor in Leamington Spa.

Problem #2: I know NOTHING about arranging/organising Raffles!

So, now, I am completely panicked, and left to wade through the Gambling Commission's mind-numbing pages and pages of "Rules for Running Raffles, Lotteries and Prize Draws" ...
What have got myself into? 
Did I really need another challenge? 

11 March 2011

Revenge of the Nerds

I limped home from the pool last night, exhausted and exhilarated. First week of training nearly done. The start of the Marie Curie Swimathon is precisely 27 days and 15 hours from today. And, hopefully I’ll be ready.
I’m really looking forward to my massive 10K swim alongside my beloved DEB (who doesn’t need to train).  It’s so nice to be completing this challenge together as a couple. We’ve already started making plans for our next “big swim”. Marie Curie has another challenge in June. Swimming across the Padstow Estuary, down in Cornwall.
 I am utterly petrified at the thought, but it’s one of those things, isn’t it? If I don’t do it, I will only kick myself later, wishing that I had. Life’s a bit like that, wouldn’t you agree? The DEB would love to swim the English Channel, one day – he’ll definitely have to do that one on his own.
I have really fallen in love with swimming. And these challenges, and doing something good for charity are such great incentives. Not bad for a girl once voted “Least Sporty” in school.
Ah, yes, back in those days there was no ‘equal glory, passed round in equal measure’. No, sir! No thought of ‘everyone gets a certificate on Sports Day’. We were not “all winners”. In those days, the ethos was, rightly or wrongly, if you were rubbish at something, you needed to know, accept it and move on to something else.
As no surprise, I was an “arty-farty” sort of girl in school. I excelled at languages and the arts (music, ballet, theatre, etc). I was First Chair Violin in the Orchestra, won book reading contests (a very odd concept, and one I must explore at length at some point) and blue ribbons for French recitation. I acted, and wrote for the school paper. And, I sucked at sports.
I was always, always the last girl to be picked for a side. No matter the game. Once, a girl on crutches, with a broken leg in a cast, was picked before me. For a relay race. And, I don’t even want to recall the agony that was the act of playing “Red Rover.”
While we are on the subject – not that I’m bitter – but, why, oh, why, if you’ve decided that someone’s the weakest link, why would you place them as the last leg of the team? Surely, it would make more sense to have the second, or even first strongest runner in that post? For goodness sake, put the crap person in the middle, where they could do the least amount of damage. I have never, ever understood the rationale of putting a Sad McSaddens at the end of the lineup.
One day, I put down my copy of Nancy Drew, and went along to see the P.E. teacher. “I want to be more sporty,” I declared. He suggested running. And, why did I listen? Like a fool, I joined the Cross-Country Team.  On the day of the team practice, I turned up to the track, and you know the hurdles, those things they jump over? I stood next to one, and it was as high as my shoulder. Not a good sign.
That afternoon, in blinding sunlight, I huffed and puffed around the track, amidst a pack of long-legged gazelles. Quite clearly, this was doing wonders for my self-esteem. (Not!) At the end of the session, the Coach announced a cross-country meet happening that weekend. “Just come along and join us, give it a shot.” He said patting me on the back.
The fateful day came, and there I was, standing at the back of the pack. The whistle blew and off the runners went, like bats being released from hell. And then, there was me. Little me, who’d only “joined the team” that week. I had no idea what I was doing, or where I was going. I just followed, watching the pack stretching farther and farther ahead and away from me.
I didn’t give up, I didn’t turn round and head back. Although, I absolutely wanted to! I struggled on, best I could. By the time I made it back, everyone had gone home. Only my “coach” and my mother were there, sitting in their cars waiting for me. Awful. Absolutely awful. I’ll never forget the look of disappointment on the coach’s face. My mother was just happy I was alive.
“I think I’ll stick to reading books.” I said to my mother as I collapsed on the back seat of the car. My mother was keen sportswoman in her day. Quite surprisingly, given that she is not much taller than me, she played basketball when she was in school, and was apparently quite an ace “guard”, on a championship winning team in the 1940s. “Darling,” she drawled as she drove us home, “You just have to find what you’re good at, and stick with it.”
It was a walk for charity that got me back in my feet. I did a 20 mile walk for MS (Muscular Dystrophy), and felt incredible. I started walking seriously, but it wasn’t until much later in my adult life that I finally made peace with running.
I used to run around Washington Square Park everyday when I lived in New York. One summer, my best chum, Sarah, and I decided to set a simple goal, “Let’s build up to a 4mile run along the Hudson River, just to see if we can.” And, we did. That 4 miles then became 10K, and now Sarah’s running marathons regularly! And, I am so proud of her. For me, I fell in love with the feeling I got from running. I’ll never be keen on doing it competitively … for obvious reasons!
Feeling that I had conquered my running-phobia, I decided in 2005/2006 to conquer Swimming. I’ve always loved the water, and playing around in it, but never took the time or effort to learn how to swim properly. So, I enrolled in an adult swimming class at NYU Gym, and the rest, as they say, is history! There’s no stopping me now!
Not bad, for “The Least Sporty Girl” in school.

10 March 2011

Ashes to Ashes

Sometimes, I wish we could be a bit more Medieval.
Allow me to explain. Witch-hunts, the Crusades, and the plague aside, the Middle Ages were a key time in Christian spiritual development. The Church, held a pivotal place in people’s lives, not only as the central authority, but as the central hub of life.
Every significant moment in a person’s life from birth to the grave was punctuated by ritual -- an outward, public expression of the inward spiritual journey. In addition, the church was also the cultural hub in terms of art, music, literature, education and thought; as well as the epicentre of social and community life. It was where you went to meet people, to seek advice, support, &etc.
We have lost this very ordinary and direct connection to/with ‘the church’. And I believe there is no time that this is more evident and noticeable than Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent.
Tonight’s service at St. Peter’s was beautiful and deeply moving. Heartbreaking it was, though, as there were more people in the Choir, then there were sitting in the congregation. 
Let’s face, apart from the fact that the vestments for Lent are a luscious, regal purple, it’s a pretty dour time.
The readings, collects, prayers, and anthems for Ash Wednesday all centre on themes of repentance, redemption, sin, self-denial, and sacrifice. We are reminded how we have fallen short of the mark, and admonished that we’ve got 40 long days to think about it. 
But, more than this, Ash Wednesday requires us to actively contemplate our own mortality: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
We’d rather skip that part, and cut straight to Easter. How easy to forget that there is no light, without darkness. No resurrection, without death. No glistening Spring, without the chill of Winter.
I was surprised by the “tweet” (yes, I vowed never, ever to join Twitter…) that popped up on my screen: “What are you giving up for Lent?” 
I was surprised to find such a spiritual query in that secular space. I have decided this year to “give up” something very precious to me: my time.
I run in circles everyday looking for more time to complete tasks, meet deadlines, work out, train for the Swimathon, send email, tweet (ugh!) -- never enough hours in a day.  
So, instead of denying myself chocolate, wine or popcorn, I want to ‘hit where it really hurts’ and give time to my community, and find new ways of serving. 
And, just maybe, perhaps, helping St Peter’s become a bit more, well, ... Medieval.

07 March 2011

A step in the right direction

Perhaps the Council is not so "pooey" after all!

With firm resolve, I have pursued the street party issue further. I contacted Streets Alive, and cried on their shoulder via email. And in their reply they encouraged me to dig a bit deeper. 

With good result: 

a.) It turns out that the information I found on the Council website regarding street party policy is most probably out of date. Councils across the country have made the decision to waive the street closure charges for parties and gatherings in honour of the Royal Wedding; 


b.) private events taking place in quiet residential roads or cul de sacs are exempt from the lengthy paperwork larger gatherings require.

I seem to be learning a valuable lesson. Life in Britain is like being sculptor, working in marble or stone. You must chip away at it, slowly, but steadily. 
Tap, tap, tap...

06 March 2011

"No Help Britain"

I have wasted an entire, gorgeous Sunday filling in the paper work from the Council for my intended Royal Wedding Street Party! I say wasted, because it was only AFTER I had waded through pages and pages of mindless nonsense ("Please specify your Grid Reference coordinates and maps","Please indicate if you intend to have any of the following at your event: Donkeys, Ponies, other animals, &etc.") that I was directed to a website which informed me that to close our little end of cul de sac road would cost £250.00!

£250.00 for a 3 hour a street party? In a road that is hardly ever used, even by residents? That is criminal! Clearly, the District Council on intent on making the process to obtain a street closure so abhorrent, that no one will want -- or be able to afford -- to do it!
And, this doesn't include the cost of event insurance. Not surprising, there are a several insurance companies standing at the ready to offer punters "Royal Wedding Street Party Insurance" (I'm not kidding!) to the tone of £51.00 for parties expecting fewer than 100 guests.

I'm absolutely furious! I dutifully wrote the Council last week for instructions and advice on street parties and road closures, and the woman who responded to my query said NOTHING about there being a fee to have the road closed.

In the process, I did discover an amazing organisation called "Streets Alive!" Their goal is to encourage communities to come together in that great British tradition: the street party. 

According to streetparty.org.uk, street parties have a long history and are a British tradition. Street parties are popular residents' events in their own streets, and seem to have started in 1919. They were held in July as 'Peace Teas' as a genuine celebration of the signing earlier in June of the Versailles peace treaty after the First World War. They centred round a special treat for children in those times of hardship and were quite formal sit down affairs.
The earliest living memory of a street party in this tradition is that of a man in Cornwall who clearly remembers having a street party in 1935, held for the Silver Jubilee of King George V.
After then residents continued to organise them on all major national days of celebration such as Coronation of George VI in 1937, VE Day in 1945, Festival of Britain 1951, Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, Silver Jubilee of the Queen in 1977, The Royal Wedding of 1981, marking the Millennium in 2000, and the Golden Jubilee of the Queen in 2002. 
Now street parties are becoming more common and held at any time for their own sake, for everyone in the street and with a more relaxed BBQ and food-to-share arrangement. "Streets Alive" believes that street parties can and should become more widespread and a regular event throughout the country to promote neighbourliness and a sense of community.
It is a real shame that the cost of organising such an event is so prohibitive.Thankfully, we have an alternative space in our communal garden. But, I can only feel incredibly sad for communities that don't have an alternative space into which they may retreat. 
Poopey on the Council!
Still, I shall not be outdone! On to Plan B.
My spirits were lifted immeasurably by the chance discovery of the gorgeous offerings of Crabtree Lane, makers of fine handmade home accessories crafted from vintage and designer fabrics. The source of beautiful bunting!!
We shall have a gorgeous party in spite of the mean-spirited pencil-pushers!!

Luscious! Beautiful, fabric bunting from Crabtree Lane - www.crabtreelane.co.uk

04 March 2011

A Royal visitor

Her Majesty, The Queen's visit to the Royal Shakespeare Company, 
4 March 2011

Schoolchildren awaiting Her Majesty's arrival

Admirers basking in the bright Spring sunshine

A wee royal watcher, on a day she'll always remember

Her Majesty, The Queen, and one very lucky little girl

Isn't she lovely?

Perfect weather, and The Queen was beautiful!!
I was lucky enough to be in a good position to not only get some very decent snaps, but also a personal smile and wave from Her Majesty and Prince Philip.
Fantastic day! 

01 March 2011

All about Kate

Kate Middleton and "the dress" by designer, Daniella Issa Helayel
"...Good, sweet, bonny Kate!..." 

- Shakespeare, Taming of the Shrew

Okay. Love her! And, love her style. Her engagement dress has already be copied by every fashion line in the high street, even supermarket chain Tesco has issued its own version of the "Kate Dress". 

There's something in the name "Kate", isn't there, that exudes style and sophistication: Kate Hepburn, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet...interesting. And, of course, one cannot forget that "Kate" is the name Shakespeare used for his sassiness female character in Taming of the Shrew

The thing I like most about this Kate, and of course, I don't know her personally, but what seems to be her air of graciousness. The Sunday Times revealed this weekend that Kate Middleton sent out a number of wedding invitations to various people in her village to, as one does, express her sense of their importance in her life. These included her local postie (postman), the butcher, and the couple who run the local shop.

Cynics may sneer, but I see this simple, gentle gesture as a helpful and hopeful tonic in a world that is becoming increasing callous, cold and hard-nosed.    

Royal fever

As India Knight wrote in The Sunday Times recently, all attempts to resist "Royal wedding fever" are, in fact, futile. And really, why resist? Love is a beautiful thing, and marriage is an precious gift. I'm absolutely thrilled for William and Kate. What a lovely, gorgeous couple!

And, and why not celebrate? I have just put in my initial request with the Council for the forms and paperwork necessary for "street closures". All things being equal, I'm hoping to host a traditional, English street party in honour of the royal couple on their wedding day, 29 April!

I shall keep you posted, Dear Reader, as I have heard these requests can be quite thorny. And, obviously, I will need to the support and agreement of everyone else who lives along my street. But, honestly, who doesn't like a bit of bubbly?

Prince William and Catherine "Kate" Middleton

Happy and Glorious!

Her Majesty, The Queen

The Queen is coming, the Queen is coming!

Her Majesty will be in Stratford-upon-Avon this Friday to officially open the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre. I'll be there alongside my wonderful editor to cover the story for Warwickshire Life!

Whoo-hoo! I'm so excited I can't stand it! I love the Queen.