Wherein Sue began to blog daily

This is the fifth summary post for this blog.  I had begun to blog each day before the Blog Every Day in November challenge began.

Fear a daily prompt post which resonated with me.

Changing seasons As it was autumn I took a look at memorable dates for the rest of the year.

A statue in a strange land features my social life.

In the style of… …King David – a poem.

Childlike my Twitter verse

Blog Action Day – action for girls and slaves

The results are out for a writing competition I entered.

How to knit a cushion cover a knitting pattern for the cushion mentioned in an earlier post.

Raindrop race results describes the race between my two blogs to pass the next milestone number of followers.

Shakespeare and me (Part 1) I recounted my introduction to the plays of Shakespeare in two posts.

Shakespeare and me (Part 2)

Another string to my bow An explanation of my Twitter handle

Butterflies A post recalling my recent observations of the world about me.

Dawn This was a daily prompt about whether we are larks or owls.

Johari window Queen creative introduced me to another new concept with the prompt for the promptless

UK Blog awards 2014 I entered my blogs.  Regular readers will be aware of the saga!

My first day at school was in a different age!

Halloween treats is what I’d give out to visitors to my blog.

Introductions Blog every Day in November – please see link (in the menu) above for more posts

The first day of December has many associations.

Craft group in the Guinness Book of Records?  Surely not! This was unexpected.

Superpower I wrote the power of being able to appear or disappear at will in literature.

To be continued…

Shakespeare and me (Part 2)

During my teens I was exposed to quite a few of Shakespeare’s plays.  I remember going to the theatre with my mother to see The Tempest, which was preformed with very little in the way of scenery and props.

We went to see several films based on the plays.  I saw the version of Richard III with Sir Laurence Olivier.  It has the famous line:

A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!

We definitely went to see a film of Macbeth as well.  That was the play I had to study for an important exam – GCE O-level English Literature.  When it came to the exam, the question on Macbeth was about the use of rhyme in the play.  I knew I could not begin to write on the subject, although with hindsight the witches used it.  So I disobeyed the teacher, who only taught us for that final year and answered the questions on the unseen poem.  I passed, but not with flying colours.

I have mentioned (in comments on two other blogs) my trip to London to see Zeffirelli’s film version of Romeo and Juliet with very young players in the title roles.

This was the year before the exam.  The film had only just been released and was being shown in central London at that time.  The school trip included a refreshment break in a trendy café at Harrods.  It was the year we had very young Welsh teacher for English.  I suppose the actors were our (the pupils’) near contemporaries!

Apart from this I went to a group once a month with my mother and various other adults to read Shakespeare.  The group was hosted by the Vicar, who was very interested in the arts and an accomplished musician.  We read a whole play in an evening, taking various parts.  I can remember reading The Merchant of Venice, but that was not the only play we looked at.  I have an idea we also read Love’s Labour Lost, Much Ado about Nothing and a few others.

Related blogs The Shakespeare blog, Scribedoll’s Musings and Meanderest

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Shakespeare and me (Part 1)

Many people are put off Shakespeare at school.  I was fortunate to be introduced to his work at primary school.  My last year in the juniors happened to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.  My class, with one or two extra children, put on a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  It was not the complete play, but a shortened version without the scenes involving the lovers.  What was not cut however was the language.  We rehearsed in the school hall.  In those days discipline was not a problem in schools.  Teachers were allowed to inflict corporal punishment.  (I was mortified the day my legs were slapped.)  So those of us who were not rehearsing at any moment sat quietly on the floor, listening to the speeches and watching the young actors and actresses as the play began to take shape.  When I think about these times I recall the Fairy’s speech,

Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire.

I did not have a speaking part in the play, but had to dress up in long flowing clothes and wear my hair up – I had been letting it grow for nearly two years at this time, against my mother’s better judgment.  I was part of the on-stage audience for the play within a play.

I was also involved with the music as a recorder player.  We learned several Shakespearean songs and performed them during the course of the play.  “Daisies Pied”, “Where the bee sucks”, “Come unto these Yellow Sands”, “Blow, blow thou winter’s wind” and “This England” all featured in the entertainment.

Commemorative stamps were issued for the quatercentenary in 1964 as philatelists probably know.  It was an important year in England.  The next important Shakespearean anniversary will be in 2016.  There is a lot planned starting in 2014.

As far as I remember, the play I went to see in Regents Park open-air theatre a few years later was also a Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Watching a play outside was a new experience for me.  This was a school trip.  I think the weather stayed fine for us and not too hot.

The only other time I have watched Shakespeare in the open-air was at an evening performance in a village near where my husband and I used to live.  We arrived early and were asked whether we had brought blankets as the summer night would become chilly before the end of the play.  It had not occurred to us, but we had time to return home for something warm and still be in time for the beginning of the play.

I remember that Falstaff was a character in the play.  My husband is sure it was The Merry Wives of Windsor.  While researching this piece I have discovered that the expression “What the dickens” is used in this play.  So I have some more material for my other blog and can tell my readers that it predates the well-known writer of that name (1812-1870) by over two centuries!