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Sunday, 28 August 2016

Summer Music Festival

It was weeks in the planning with plenty of rehearsing and at last the big day had arrived.  The Friendly Company of Dolls came from far and wide to converge at the Festival Grounds on a bright, hot sunny day. They brought their picnic baskets, sunglasses, umbrellas for shade rather than rain and plenty of enthusiasm for the music. The stage was set up in a big top (just in case of rain and to provide shade to the instruments), the programme was printed and everyone was ready.

The Summer Music festival programme
Reuben did all the announcements.
"Welcome to the Summer Music Festival" said Reuben
"Are you sure we'll be okay?" asked Molly of the other three Rosehip Chicks as they prepared for their debut performance.  "Yes, I'm sure we'll be fine" said Madison.
Emily was handing out programmes to Henry and Juno.  It was so warm she needed a sun umbrella to protect her from getting sunstroke.
"Please welcome our first performers - Jakob and Henry will play Fur Elise by Beethoven" said Reuben
Jakob nodded at Henry when he gave him his cue to begin.
Soon Jakob was playing his flute with Henry accompanying him on the grand piano.  They had rehearsed separately so were a little nervous about getting it right.
Laura, Anne-Marie and Edith were quietly listening in the shade and thinking anxiously about their own performances.  Poor Edith had been sick before the music festival began.
"Phew, I'm glad I went first after all" said Jakob to Hamish, "now I can enjoy listening to everyone else and relax".
"Now we have Peggy Sue playing Serenade by Marie Dare.  She is accompanied by Henry" said Reuben.
Peggy Sue played her cello really well without any mistakes as she had been practicing for weeks.
Henry found it easy to accompany Peggy Sue as she really knew her piece.
Soon Anne-Marie came on stage to join Peggy Sue and Henry.  They played a Trio (by anonymous) with Anne Marie transported to another place by her own violin playing.
Gregor hadn't practiced nearly as much as Peggy Sue and was rather anxious as the standard so far had been very high.  He had picked a hard piece - Mozart Violin Sonata K301.
Henry waited for the cue to start from Gregor.  Fortunately Gregor's performance came together better than he had expected considering how little he had practiced.
Meanwhile Anne Marie was continuing to reassure the anxious Edith.
The audience was very appreciative, even the babies were listening without making too much noise.
Some people in the audience were listening intently to the music as they studied their programmes.
The programme of music
"Welcome to Everlee who is new to our Sasha Scene.  She will play Hey Jude" said Reuben
"Hey Jude, don't make it bad, take a sad song and make it better" sang Everlee as she played her guitar.
Next up was Laura with her guitar and a summery flowing dress
She was playing Country Dance by G.D. Aguado and added some words of her own to the music.
Laura enjoyed playing her rainbow classical guitar.
Bobby was very laid back as he played Danza Espanola No. 5 by Enrique Granados
The audience was mesmerized by the Spanish guitar music on a hot summer afternoon.
Soon Bobby was joined by Juno on the Recorder.  They hadn't practiced together before but as they had both worked hard individually on the piece they were easily able to bring it together for the festival.
They played Tambourin for Recorder and Guitar by Rameau.  
Trendon Elliott and Melanie had matching outfits for their performance.
The Easy Duet by Mozart which Trendon Elliott and Melanie had rehearsed went very well even though Trendon Elliott wanted to hide behind the music stand.  Melanie was pleased that they managed to play without a hitch.
The audience were very supportive of the Trumpeter and Violinist as they completed their performance.
Poor Edith had to wait a long time before it was her turn and now it had arrived she was even more nervous.  However Peggy Sue gave her confidence as she sat upright at the piano and gave her a nod and smile.
"Bravo!" called tiny Isabel as Edith and Peggy Sue finished playing Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany's by Henry Mancini
"Henry returns to the stage to play his clarinet this time.  He is playing Aotearoa by Lorraine Tyler" said Reuben
Henry's clarinet playing was beautiful as he gave a good rendition of his mum's composition.
The multi-talented musician Peggy Sue played "Dancing Sax" by Alan Bullard
She gave a fun performance - and used her sunglasses and hat this time to get into the mood of groovy saxophone playing.
At last the Rosehip Chicks came up on stage having waited for the entire concert for their first performance of "Summer Promise" by themselves.  
Peter the drummer gave them a supportive backing as Maddison sang, Sasha and Stevie shook their maracas while Molly played the hand drum.
The babies had maracas too and rattled them enthusiastically in time to the music.
Baby Daisy showed Peggy Sue her rattle, it was almost as good as a maraca.
For the finale all the musicians and crew took to the stage to sing and play for the audience.  
Florence, the local photographer, took some group photos of the Friendly Company of Dolls. 
 Young Edmund was allowed to join them with his guitar, he wasn't quite at performance level yet, however all the dolls wanted to encourage him.
It had been a wonderful summer music festival with weather which exceeded expectations, lovely company and beautiful music.

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Lorraine, Jocelyn, my younger daughter and I came up with this idea between us some months ago.  Sharlyn only recently bought a Sasha Doll and matching guitar (Everlee) and was pleased to be able to join us.  We got lucky with the weather, in fact the sunshine was almost too bright and we could have done with some cloud as doll photography in strong sunshine and deep shadow is quite tricky.  It was such a relief to not have any rain on the chosen day as it rained the day before and the day after!  Lorraine did a wonderful job of the programmes - she made full sized version for each of us to use and tiny doll sized versions for the dolls to use in the festival.  We all brought along props and accessories to set the scene and my girl put the tent up for the staging.

Lorraine's blog posts of the day are at:
Summer Music Festival - the big day arrives
Summer Music Festival - the Event!

Setting up the dolls was time consuming but fun.  These are a couple of 'back stage' shots to show the progress of the photoshoot.

Scene changing after Henry and Peggy Sue perform and just before Gregor takes the stage
My girl helps Laura steady her nerves



Thursday, 25 August 2016

An island adventure

A small sailor and his big sister set off on a summer adventure...

A ferry ride was planned
A beautiful sunny day for the departure from Poole Harbour, however there was fog in the channel
It was foggy in the Channel Islands and patches of fog lingered when they arrived at St Peter Port in Guernsey.  Edmund was glad of his warm coat and beret (he was wearing his full Claudius outfit for the journey).
A few days later Laura and Edmund were excited about another ferry trip - this time to Herm Island across the bay from Guernsey
It was a beautiful bright sunny and warm day as they waited to board the ferry to Herm
Edmund was delighted to see the Guernsey Lifeboat in the harbour
He also liked all the yachts moored in St Peter Port
The crossing to Herm was only 20 minutes which docked in the main harbour as the tide was high
 Soon Laura and Edmund were hiking around Herm to find a beach.
"What is that island beyond the rocks?" said Edmund, pointing from the Herm cliffs
"That is Sark" said Laura "and beyond it is Jersey"
After their hike, they found a lovely sheltered beach in Belvoir bay and decided to build a sandcastle.
It was a lot of hard work to build the sandcastle as the sand in the bay was quite coarse so didn't stick together very well, however Laura persisted as Edmund watched.
Laura dug out the moat around the sandcastle
"This moat digging is hard work" said Laura
"Can I dig too?" asked Edmund. "I think I've finished, so lets look for shells instead" said Laura
They enjoyed looking in a rock pool to see the sea creatures and find shells
Edmund clutched a shell he found, there were thousands of pretty, tiny shells all along the beach
After shell hunting Edmund and Laura rested for a short while in the sun, though Laura was careful to make sure they applied sun cream
 They hiked back to the harbour and got the ferry from the Rossaire steps as the tide was out.
The captain of the Herm ferry was using a real ship's wheel to steer the boat, much to Edmund's delight
As the ferry came into St Peter Port they saw a beautiful two masted sailing schooner approaching the harbour and a large cruise ship preparing to leave.  They made a fascinating contrast.  Edmund wanted a ride on the sailing boat.
Back at the Guernsey farmhouse where they were staying they spread all their shells from Belvoir Bay and Shell Beach on a plate to admire the collection.
 Sadly it was soon time to leave the beautiful Channel Islands.  As they boarded the ferry back to Poole, they saw a car being loaded into a cargo ship.
The cargo ship being loaded in St Peter Port
Edmund, Laura and their new Guernsey cow watched from inside the ferry as the cargo ship was loaded.
"Goodbye beautiful Guernsey" said Laura and Edmund as the ferry set a course for Poole
They saw Castle Cornet which their girl had visited a few days earlier (unfortunately without them which she regretted as they would have enjoyed the castle - the cow was purchased there along with a Guernsey teddy calendar)
"See the lighthouse Edmund" said Laura as they left St Peter Port "it helps to guide ships and sailing yachts safety into the harbour
Fortunately they had a smooth crossing back to England.  It was sad to leave Guernsey and Herm but good to get home again.

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The Bailiwick of Guernsey in the Channel Islands is a very special place for our family as my godparents live there - I have visited many times since I was 9, however I hadn't been to Herm for a while.  I have very happy memories of collecting the tiny shells on Belvoir and Shell beaches when I was 16 and subsequent walks on the island as well as mooring off Shell beach one summer evening in a yacht which belonged to our friends.  Baby Mabel traveled with us to Guernsey last time we visited in 2012.

For the doll visit to Herm they traveled in their girl's rucksack rather than the doll bag as they could be zipped right inside it and protected from the sun which was very bright that day. It was risky taking two precious Sasha dolls on ferries, my girl refused to take them onto the outside decks as she was terrified of tripping and dropping them in the sea. So although the intrepid Edmund wanted the breeze to blow in his hair on board ship, he had to be content with looking at the wonderful views through the windows. And we were very careful with them on the beach too. It was a busy beach, however as the tide was going out we were able to find a sheltered place by the rocks before other people claimed the spot so could do a doll photo shoot in relative privacy. That sandcastle was a challenge to build, the sand is finer on Shell beach but there is less shelter. Unfortunately my only photo of the dolls with the shells is blurred. Some of the shells are very tiny - only a few millimeters across.