Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Hope for the Houston's

Many of you will know some good friends of ours, Candi and Skeet. They lost their little girl, Avery, two years ago today. Please remember them in your prayers at this hard time.

They have had a number of unsuccessful IVF treatments and are now at the stage where they can't afford any more. Candi's sister has set up a website to give them one last go by raising the money they need. It's been up for a while and I've been meaning to link it here so please go to the Hope for the Houston's site to take a look and donate if you feel able. You can do it by a number of different payment methods including Paypal so it couldn't be easier. Every little bit counts so please give whatever you can.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Theo's second birthday

First of all, sorry it's been such a while since I last posted. It's been a hectic few months but I know that's no excuse!

Today, Clare and I remembered our son Theo. As has become tradition, we went to Southwold and said some prayers for him at the end of the pier. We also released two balloons. The sunset was beautiful again and we really had a strong sense of God's presence with us.

The whole day is probably best described in pictures...

A huge thank you to everyone who was sent us cards, emails, texts and so on. It makes such a difference knowing that people are thinking of us!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Opening Night!

Clare's production of Thoroughly Modern Millie opened last night.

The theatre was packed and the audience was not disappointed with two hours of fun, laughter, dancing and singing! The cast was very strong but Clare shone as the leading lady. Of course, I'm very bias so here's what the East Anglian Daily Times said...

"A strong cast of principals was led by Clare Dungey who was a thoroughly marvellous Millie, especially at full throttle in the showstopper number Gimme Gimme."

The full article can be found here.

You can also check out pictures of the show here.

Friday, 19 June 2009

No real news!

...but I thought I'd post anyway to let people know we're both still alive! Clare and I have been getting into this Facebook thing so we may never re-emerge into the real world!

So no real news from us...Clare is rehearsing hard for her show which is in a few weeks time! Hopefully I might be able to post some pictures soon.

My only real excitement over the last month or so is going to a Third Day concert in London. They're an Christian band from America and pretty rockin'. Definitely check them out if you have a chance.

Well, I'll try to be back soon with something interesting to say!

Monday, 4 May 2009

Weekend in London

Clare and I have just got back from a lovely weekend in London celebrating Clare's birthday. It was a star-studded holiday because after seeing Oliver, we waited at the stage door and met up with Jodie Prenger, winner of the TV talent competition "I'd do anything"!

Then we just happened to bump into Mr Bean himself... Rowan Atkinson!

On the Saturday, we decided to go to the Victoria and Albert museum, pictured below.

This was the view when you looked up from eating your sandwiches in the cafeteria. There was even a concert pianist playing in the background which, considering the price of the food, was the least they could do!

Of course, we checked out the performing arts exhibition and couldn't resist trying on a few costumes...

I personally can't see the difference with this one though!

We also checked out the National History museum, saw some dinosaurs and had a minor altercation with a pushy Italian couple! Don't worry though...no-one was hurt, although they did leave the exhibition (and I suspect the museum) rather quickly!

Determined to prove that we were still rebels at the age of 30, we drank in the middle of Leicester Square.... shame it was only Pink Lemonade!

And finally, Clare decided it was all too much for her and had a quick snooze before going home!

Well, that's some of our holiday snaps! Hope you enjoyed them!

Thursday, 30 April 2009

The Big Three-O

Youthful though she may look, Clare turned 30 on Tuesday! She was initially daunted by the prospect of entering her 4th decade but a series of surprise parties thrown by her school pupils and staff brightened her day considerably.

To celebrate, we're off to the big smoke (London) for the Bank Holiday weekend. Knowing that Clare is a musical lover, I have booked tickets for Wicked and Oliver which should be very good by all accounts. I will try and remember to take some photos and post them when we return!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Rescue at Warwick Castle

Well, I'm long overdue a blog entry so here's a little tale from our recent holiday. We went to Warwickshire for a week staying at a beautiful Mill Cottage in Braunston. We spent the time unwinding after Clare's stressful school inspection and using our National Trust Membership to visit lots of lovely old houses in the area. 

We spent one of the days out visiting Warwick Castle, which is one of Britain's most complete castles. It was built in 1068 by William the Conquerer and has loads to do there including knights fighting and a scary dungeon.

Whilst we were there, we noticed a fire engine and ambulance had arrived in the Courtyard. We later found out that a man had suffered a heart attack climbing the very steep spiral staircase in one of the turrets (Don't panic though....I understand he's ok now!). The Firefighters couldn't quite work out how to get him down safely from the turret so eventually an RAF rescue helicoptor airlifted him off the top of the turret. 

Despite a huge amount of wind and dust blown down by the helicoptor's rotor blades, I managed to capture the rescue on video. It's two minutes long but about halfway through you can see someone being winched up. Towards the end, I pan around so you can get a good view of the castle as well. 

What excitment and they didn't charge us any extra!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Theo's Song

The song I've written in memory of Theo has been finished for a while now but I've only recently got round to uploading it. It's called "The Gift" and can be found here. It's instrumental so there's no lyrics but hopefully the sentiment is clear.

On the same web page is another tune I wrote called "Big Brother" which is slightly more hectic than The Gift but more in line with the kind of music I generally listen to. Please don't feel you have to persevere with this one if it disagrees with your eardrums!

I would appreciate any comments people have both stylistically and in terms of production quality. I'm after constructive stuff so please let me know what you really think!

If you have any problems with playback, let me know.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Life is like a box of chocolates!

I am notoriously difficult to buy presents for. Any CD, DVD, or guitar someone might have thought to buy me will undoubtedly have already crossed my mind and been immediately purchased. This makes Christmas a stressful time for my loved ones!

My top wannabe career (after lead rock guitarist!) has for a long time been "Master Chocolatier". This choice was inspired by the Lindt chocolate advert. I love Lindt chocolate and have long desired to be the fat man with the white hat who scoops up melted chocolate on the end of a giant whisk!

This led Clare to an inspired choice for my Christmas present. A 6 month subscription to the Hotel Chocolat tasting club!! The proof of the pudding is shown below!

Every month I get delivered a box of 36 chocolates that have been hand-made and selected for people in this exclusive club. The box comes complete with its own menu, so you know exactly what each chocolate is and... this is the best bit... you rate each of the chocolates out of 10 and send your answers back. The first step to developing a chocolate palette and becoming a master chocolatier!

A few select people make suggestions for new chocolates that the tasting club could produce and, if these are good enough, they not only make them but also put your name next to the master chocolatier in the chocolate menu.

So this is my next aim...to come up with a chocolate good enough to get selected and produced. Recent examples include Whisky and Sour Cherry and Eton Mess so my choice will have to be pretty special. At the minute, I'm thinking something involving peanuts!

So if you have any inspired thoughts, let me know and I will suggest them too! (Taking all the credit naturally!)

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Tonya's Moved!

For everyone who follows Tonya's blog, it can now be found here. Please update your links!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Remembering Friends!

At some point every year in December/January, we have the "calendar saga". This is not as long and drawn out as the "diary saga" (a story for another day!), but is nevertheless quite arduous. The problem arises because Clare is looking for the "calendar of her dreams" and unsurprisingly 99.9% of shops do not stock this.

Unfortunately, her criteria for a calendar are quite specific in terms of size, layout, content, pictures and so on. This coupled with the fact that she will automatically ignore the first 758 calendars she sees (or the calendars in the first 98 shops she goes into...which ever comes first) tests my normally patient attitude to its full.

Luckily this year, having casually rejected a number of perfectly decent candidates, Clare stumbled upon a brilliant idea....we would make our own! Andy had an initial stab at producing something mediocre in Publisher before deferring to Photobox for a more professional finish.

All we needed now were some photos and it turns out our little America trip produced more than enough suitable ones.

So February is devoted to some of our good friends who we got to know even better whilst in Monroe. Here's the finished article!

(working left to right we have: Tonya and Knoah greeting us upon our arrival; Clare and I with Jennifer, Cat and Owen; and the best of all...Knoah demonstrating "monster baby!")

An excellent way to remember all our good friends and the amazing time we had with them!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Clare's a star!

...well, in the making...

But first, apologies for taking so long to return to the blog world. It's because of excuse* and also because I've been very busy with excuse* and excuse*.

Anyway, last night Clare auditioned for an amateur production of a show called "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and has got the leading role of Millie! The show started life as a frankly horrendous film (in my opinion) starring Julie Andrews but has been recently converted to a much more professional stage version. She will be performing at the New Wolsey Theatre during the first week of July. I'm not sure that they have satellite link-up facilities at the Wolsey but if friends want to come and stay with us so that they can see the show, you are most welcome.

People further afield may not realise Clare's rich stage heritage but this picture is of her playing Sally in "Me and my girl" in 2006.

She got quite a good write up which you can read here. Also you can check out more pictures of her on Appeal Theatre Group's website.

Anyway I'm very proud of her and looking forward to becoming a theatre widower again! It sounds harsh but it means I get to play loads more loud guitar when she's out!

Ok, that's our news done but I promise that I will try and come back more regularly from now on!

* Insert your favourite explanations for why you've not done something when the reality is you're just lazy!