Category Archives: nellie on telly

January by numbers

Tell me three good things about January, my colleague implored me mere hours into our working lives of 2014. I got as far as ‘the days start to get fractionally longer’ and ‘cheap post Christmas chocolate’ before I ran fresh out of ideas.

For one of my Christmas Snowman (family tradition, long story) presents I was given a beautiful Cath Kidston notebook which I have designated ‘The Big Book of All Things 2014’. It means, lucky for you, I can tell you all the brilliant things about January…

Books read: 23 (vg, although 7 of them were by Laura Ingalls Wilder…)
Books bought: 9, ish. I’ve not really kept track of my amazon spending. Ahem.
Ballet classes taken: 16 (good). I was a couple of classes behind schedule owing to a delayed start back because one of my studios is undergoing extensive refurb (it’s JUST like hogwarts at the moment and that is great).
Ballets seen: 5 (excellent). I saw the Royal Ballet in the Nutcracker (now want to drink pink gin cocktails with Laura Morera’s Rose Fairy), Jewels (Morera perfection in Emeralds and Natalia Osipova/Steven McRae/Melissa Hamilton KILLED it in Rubies) and Giselle (oh. My. Holy. Osipova). I also saw ENB’s Le Corsaire (Daria Klimentova = totally darling) and Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake (jolly good fun).
Knitting projects completed: 2 (fail), a stripy slouchy beret and a blanket for my Impending Nephew.
Times I left london: 0. Total fail.
Teevee I loved: Sherlock. Call the Midwife. The Musketeers.
Teevee I continue to have a complex relationship with: Dancing on Ice
Culinary adventures: mostly soup related for lunches but I have instigated ‘Cake of Scientific Inquiry’ at work to try and make us like things in cake that we shouldn’t. So far I have converted at least two people to carrot cake. My next project involves apricots which I claim have no redeeming features…

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Filed under ballet how it should be done, I dance (not by Toyota), knitting on pointe, nellie on telly

What do you mean we need a break from the old routine? Happy 2013!

Somehow 2013 is only ten days old and I swear it already feels like mid-October. I suspect that this is come kind of internal protest against the fact I was back at work on the 2nd and my soul feels a little destroyed as a result. NEVER MIND.

As usual, I am making half-assed resolutions of things I intend to do. Things like… I will get up early and have a little stretch before work. I will stop eating rubbish all the time (aka Operation Be Less Fat). I will learn to crochet (I actually will this year). I will take up running to increase my cardio fitness so I stop wanting to die during allegro (once I’ve been back to podiatry to see if my ridiculous feet can handle it). I will not have giant strops about having to do physio (we’ll see). I will be motivated and do my work properly and not doss about on Sporcle leaving everything until the last minute (erm… we’ll keep working on that). We’ll see how we go, I rather suspect any vague enthusiasm will peter out by the end of the month!

The year is already three ballet classes, four books, half a knitting project and no baked goods old. I find it slightly incredibly weird that this time last year I couldn’t have cared less if I never took another ballet class again. My last class before Christmas in 2012 was completely different: I couldn’t wait to get back to it. I’d finally worked out what I wanted from ballet and I’ve found classes that support me in this – I consider myself to be really quite incredibly lucky. I’d spent 2011 taking it all too seriously – I’m still serious about my ballet but not to the extent that it’s the be all and end all of my life. I spent 2012 walking a fine line with ballet but it’s all good now.

I finished my first book of 2013 at the weekend – Emile Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise, if anyone’s interested (and yes, I watched the looseley based thereon TV series and loved it ;)). Is it just me or is there something so totally satisfying about finishing the first book of a year? It also transpired at the weekend that my mini-me and I are really quite bad influences on each other, to wit (in Waterstones, much to the amusement of the shop assistant): “I’ll get one [Kindle] if you do” “Two of your finest Kindles, please, shopkeeper”. I  paraphrase slightly but that was how it went. So yes, I’ve now joined the 21st century of reading matter although I haven’t actually read anything on it yet owing to my slightly overwhelming ‘to read’ pile (largely borrowed from my mother). And for anyone with concerns, it’s the basic Kindle – none of this touch screen nonsense, if you please! (For reference: touch screens give me the creeps. So do dolls but that’s a different matter entirely.)

I say the year is half a knitting project old, technically it’s two half projects old but I’m not wholly sure how much continuing a carry over from 2012 counts. The half completed project begun in 2013 is a baby hoodie. As with previous adventures in baby knitting, this is mostly about every ten rows me waving it in my housemate’s face and declaring ‘LOOK, ISN’T IT CUTE/WEE/ADORABLE’. Poor housemate. I have some half-assed intentions about knitting for 2013 but I won’t blog too much about them in case my default setting of pathological laziness wins out… or maybe I should then I can be browbeaten into carrying them out. Huh.

Before Christmas I was presented with a make your own gingerbread house kit by a colleague who’d been sent it by some company he uses claiming that it would never get made in his house. It’s been stashed on my bookcase ever since but I think that will be my first proper taking to the kitchen of 2013 (that isn’t for pasta or cereal, maybe I should add ‘sort my diet out properly’ to my list of half-assed resolutions) this weekend. It seems to be a lot of decorating which I freely admit is not my forte… impatience rules!

And in case anyone was missing it (I doubt it), I won’t be liveblogging Dancing on Ice this year. I realised it was killing my enjoyment of the show so no liveblog, also (let’s be honest) I need more knitting hours in my life and a few hours in front of the telly box with something mindless on is idea for that. I’m sure you’ll all survive…

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Filed under baking and mixing and kitchen stuff, I dance (not by Toyota), knitting on pointe, nellie on telly

“We are on the brink of a new era, if only…”

Conversation in my kitchen this evening.

Housemate: What are you having for dinner?

Me: *dishing up* Oh tomato-veg-pasta with chorizo… chorizo…

Housemate: Huh?

Me: FORGOT THE CHORIZO *returns dinner to pan, chops chorizo, adds chorizo, swearing*

The above kind of sums up today which has been a bit of an unday. I haven’t quite been able to get started, surviving in four hour bursts from one dose of painkillers to the next. So I’m writing the rest of it off and curling up in bed with Mr Chaplin, Mrs Swinburne et al. I urge you all to go forth and watch Alan Plater’s Beiderbecke Trilogy (the Affair, the Tapes and the Connection) possibly instantly.

James Bolam & Barbara Flynn in 'The Beiderbecke Trilogy'

Normal service will be resumed soon when I will be back with more successful culinary tales and probably a thing or two about knitting. Woe, it is very much me.

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Point Horror, The Artist, Ballet… there’s a link (honest!)

A couple of years ago I went away on a friend’s hen weekend to a fabulous (but terribly cold) cottage right out in Rural Derbyshire (as in even more rural than where I grew up). We had a brilliant time: plenty of yummy food, lots of knitting, occasional pottering out and wine. A particular highlight, however, involved one of my friends unearthing an aged Point Horror book from one of the shelves and the ensuing dramatic readings aloud from said book – certain of my friends appear to have a flair for reading aloud in capslock. “NO,” she screamed silently. Oh Point Horror…

 There is a point to my rambling, honestly! Last night I went to the old Kino to see The Artist. Essentially I am going to suggest most firmly that you all go to see it too.

 I was mildly worried that it wouldn’t hold my (incredibly short) attention (span) but it did and, oh my, it was amazing. I laughed quite hard at a lot of it, I came incredibly close to crying (only not doing so because I remembered my mascara wasn’t waterproof, honestly self!) and there were moments when my heart was in my mouth. It occurred to me, vaguely, that I’d never actually seen a silent film the whole way through.

 Then I got thinking about it, there’s a lot of similarities between the medium of silent film and ballet (ahh, and there you all were thinking I’d forgotten about blogging about ballet, as if!). They’re both carried by the music and an ability of the performers to get the message across in their body language and facial expressions. Okay, so silent movies occasionally get the lines flashing up on the screen (in “NO,” she screamed silently fashion à la Point Horror) and I can’t help but think that having someone stand on the side of the stage with a card (“NO,” Juliet screamed, clutching Romeo’s still form) would detract a little from it. Anyway, I digress.

 Silent movies, ballet they’re both ways of telling a story without words. I often say words can be surplus to requirements, point taken. There’s a spectacular ‘mad scene’ in The Artist (I won’t say too much, “spoilers!” as River Song would say) which I can’t help but compare with the one in Giselle. It’s that moment of being able to convey so many emotions in such a powerful fashion but without using any words to do so and yet being able to understand perfectly how the characters are feeling.

 Thinking about it, I’d love to see a silent movie-esque ballet with someone standing on the edge of the stage with the ‘speech cards’. Much as I love a good plotless abstract ballet, you can’t beat a proper story ballet with ALL THE DRAMZ. Maybe best not to butcher something existing, I can’t help but feel it would detract from say Rom&Jul or Mayerling. Maybe a specially choreographed piece? Someone should get on that.

 I’d urge you all to see The Artist at your earliest convenience and I defy you not to leave feeling all happy on the inside. The acting is amazing and so is the soundtrack (which I need in my ears pretty much immediately). And on that note, rambling, I shall stop it.

Jeandujardin & Bérénice Bojo in The Artist

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Filed under ballet how it should be done, nellie on telly, random stuff and nonsense