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Christmas pudding time again [Nov. 5th, 2011|06:03 pm]

I've made this year's Christmas pudding mix. Everyobody have a virtual stir and make a wish!
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Oliver! [Jul. 19th, 2011|01:35 pm]
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Prior to the Latitude festival, I was at another cultural event this last week. My older nephew, G, was playing the title role in his school performance of Oliver!
I took the train up, met up with mum, and went to the school. My sister had been roped into taking on the role of stage manager, and was busy making things run as smoothly as possible.
We had front row seats reserved, and after an introduction by the drama teacher (dressed as a Eurovision song contest presenter in full evening wear) the show started.
It was great. the kids were really good in their parts, and G was outstanding both as a singer and in his acting. The girl playing Nancy took her acting inspiration from soap operas, and the Artful Dodger had the right cheekiness for the part. Mr Bumble was played with comic solemnity, there were good performances from the Sowerberry household. I liked the kid playing Fagin - he gave the part a swagger, playing him younger and more of a rogue. Bill Sykes was played by G's friend - a big lad but a gentle giant, who didn't quite have it in him to bring real menace to the part. Apparently, he and G used Call of Duty's ragdoll physics to study how he should fall when shot at the end. Talking of which, executive meddling and limited rehearsal time meant that the end of the show was like Reservoir Dogs, with Sykes randomly shot by a wounded member of Fagin's gang. Very odd.
G did a great job of Where Is Love, which was then followe dby a modern dance sequence to show off the dance talents of one of his classmates. Who Will buy was turned into an ensemble piece, which gave more kids a chance to perform, but I'd have liked to hear G sing it himself.
The inevitable first-night glitches (missing props, misssed cues) didn't detract from the show. The performers took a well-deserved bow and G threw the buttonhole from his coat to his grandma which pretty much made her night.
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Latitude 2011 [Jul. 19th, 2011|12:52 pm]
[music |Braids: Glass Deers]

I got back from Latitude yesterday. Fun as always, but weather was against us this year.
There will be MUD!Collapse )
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Buttheads 0 - 7 Loan Wolves [Jul. 13th, 2011|11:46 am]
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That's a forfeit score. The official score. The real result was Buttheads and Loan Wolves 11 - 11 Loan Wolves.
We're through the looking-glass, peopleCollapse )
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Ticklers 15 - 14 Loan Wolves [Jun. 30th, 2011|02:29 pm]
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Storm WarningCollapse )
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Loan Wolves 2 - 9 Dubstars [Jun. 24th, 2011|07:43 pm]
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A bright and breezy Primrose Hill awaited us for our match with the table-topping Dubstars on the longest day of the year. We didn’t need the late sunset of the Summer solstice though – the game was not a long one. Low scoring matches often aren’t.
Our supporter from last week – the random Caribbean drunk guy who wandered through our team talk and urged us to play well – was not there, but as captain I had support from Michael and now-ex-Wolf Alex.
As away side we took to the field first and ended the Dubstars’ first inning without conceding a run. Sadly, they then did the same for us.
The game was in many ways tighter than the scoreline suggests. We kept the Dubstars from scoring in four of the seven innings, not letting the game get away from us. We missed a few opportunities to take outs and keep runners from advancing, though, and eight of the opposition runs came from two grand slam home runs.
Julian’s pitching was solid all through the game. We suffered from the glare of the Sun in one inning, only for it to go behind a cloud when it was our turn to field. Cool as ever, Julian calmly struck their first batter out. In the shade.
Gary proved to be a real asset in the outfield. New player Kieran hit hard, and was our only runner to score. Sue, who we had met playing for the development side at the weekend’s tournament, was a welcome new recruit. Lucy’s enthusiasm in the outfield was great, and Holly was comfortable as Catcher.
Rob as Third and DJ at Shortstop did a good job, with Gabriele at First and myself shouting from Second to add experience to their youthful enthusiasm. I subbed myself out for the last inning to give Kieran an at-bat and a chance to experience life in the infield.
The greater experience of playing together as a team that the Dubstars showed did give them an advantage, but the newer Loan Wolves players are already playing strongly, and are learning all the while. Each game brings its own lessons – from the confidence that comes with making a successful play to the awareness of how to handle a missed opportunity next time it occurs.
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Redactives 21 - 27 Loan Wolves [Jun. 17th, 2011|06:00 pm]
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My First CommandCollapse )
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Carlton Piranhas 16 – 7 Loan Wolves [Jun. 11th, 2011|11:54 am]
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There have been no match reports for a few weeks, as there were no matches to report on! One game was postponed due to the other team not being able to get a side out, and then we had a couple of fallow weeks in the schedule. The first team, in the other league, have been doing well meanwhile. So we returned to the fray after a bit of a break...

This match was a baptism of fire for many players, not least Doug who had been anticipating a couple of innings’ pitching experience at the end of the game up until ten minutes before start of play. Instead, he had to pitch the whole game, thrown into the deep end against a team prepared to look for walks and a somewhat idiosyncratic umpire.
A Loan Wolves side featuring many players new to the game or in unfamiliar fielding positions produced a performance which that final scoreline doesn’t truly reflect. One bad innings – that perennial nightmare – saw over half the Piranhas’ runs scored, but up until that point we had been in contact throughout the match. Some effective fielding – Deejay’s Third to Second double-play to Luisa springs to mind – showed what the Wolves were capable of, and there was some impressive hitting. Though overall we didn’t quite bat consistently enough to push more runs onto the board.
The lesson I took from it, from my position scowling and shouting from the touchline like a football manager (or a drunken homeless person), was that there was a lot of potential in our players. Some more experience in the different fielding positions, and a little more communication between players, and that game would have been a win.
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Tenacious Tentacles 9 - 27 Loan Wolves [May. 11th, 2011|12:15 pm]
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Our second week of the season, and another double header with both Loan Wolves teams in action. By chance, the fixtures were near each other, so we were able to get the whole club together afterwards.
So obviously, both teams were keen to do well, if only for bragging rights to our fellow Wolves.
Our match was against the Tenacious Tentacles (what is it with the suggestive names in this league?). Same pitch as last week. This time we were prepared for the light, having brought sunglasses.
A shaky batting start across the team didn’t get the match off to the best of starts. We still managed to keep the opposition score down though, and either held or chased a narrow lead through several quick early innings. Special mention to Libs for an almost casual bit of base running which saw her saunter to Third on what should have been a first base hit on an overthrow.
The sunglasses didn’t help - not when the setting Sun came level into your eyes. In consecutive mid-game innings both teams made nothing, but then clouds veiled the Sun, it finally set, and the game came alive.
We were able to put pressure on in the field with some useful outfield catches, and our batting sharpened up. We had built a solid lead by the end of the Sixth, but in the Seventh we really opened it up. Effective base hits set up our big hitters to bat runs in, we went round the order, and set the Tentacles a pretty big ask. They started gamely, putting runs on the board, but we had the luxury of runs in hand and it wasn’t too long before pitcher Paul ended the game with a decisive double-play.
I managed a nice rightfield hit, batting in runners on Two and Three, but had a quiet game in the field – the highpoint of that was spotting a kestrel flying overhead between plays.
After the game, we rendezvoused with our clubmates at the Edinboro Castle, where we celebrated both teams’ victories and also Luisa’s birthday.
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Loan Wolves 23 - 15 Ticklers [May. 5th, 2011|11:21 am]
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Over the Winter, the Loan Wolves decided to expand with the aim of playing teams in two leagues this year. The first team still in the Greater London softball Mixed League (GLSML), and the second in the less competitive Publishers' Softball League (PSL). At our latest AGM, I ended up becoming vice-captain of the PSL, somehow. My hustings speech was based on the fact that though I've never captained a sports team I have done so for quiz teams, and moreover I've seen many sports films in which a ragtag team of misfits and plucky no-hopers wins the championship...
Playing in different leagues rather than different divisions of th esame means that in theory players can turn out for either side depending on numbers available to play etc. Except this week and next. Where the two matches are on the same night. Things were pretty tight, but we managed to get just enough players out for both sides.
I now have a job at Regent's College, which is fortunately not far from Primrose Hill where all the PSL matches are scheduled. So I finished work, changed into softball gear and trekked off to the pitch. Primrose Hill is - unsurprisingly - hilly, with sloping pitches lined up so that the setting sun is full in the batter's eyes. We've played there before occasionally, but we are yet to get used to it as a regular venue. This was the start of our learning experience.
Hill 101Collapse )
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