Pop Up Globe

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Today a friend a I are going to Auckland to see Shakespeare.  A replica of the second Globe Theatre, which was built on the ruins of the first Globe in 1614. Pop-Up Globe replicates exactly the dimensions of Shakespeare’s second Globe Theatre.

The Globe

“This round three-storey building is designed to create a remarkable theatre experience. Wherever in the theatre you sit or stand, you’ll be within 15m of the action on stage and surrounded on all sides by people sharing the same space and experience.

An audience of up to 900 will completely surround the stage. In fact, some of the best seats in the house are located in the Lords’ and Gentlemen’s rooms on the two levels directly behind the stage.

The stage is very large – over 100sqm – and takes up almost half the base of the yard. This expansive space allows the Pop-up Globe Theatre Company an unusually large performance area on which to bring Shakespeare’s work to life, just as Shakespeare’s own cast enjoyed 400 years ago.

Pop-Up Globe is capped with an onion dome, a unique signature design element which will be remarkable feature of the Auckland cityscape, just as it would have been for the Globe on its site by the Thames.

With a steel frame ‘skinned’ in plywood, Pop-Up Globe fuses cutting-edge scaffold technology with 400-year-old design.” So says Auckland Mayor, Len Brown.

We are going to see Romeo and Juliet tomorrow night (Friday) and though I have to return to Wellington on Saturday, my friend will see Twelfth Night on Saturday.

This is a once in a lifetime experience.  Pop-Up Globe artistic director Dr Miles Gregory says Shakespeare’s Globe is one of the most important theatres in history.

“The experience was so remarkable that ever since the late 19th century, actors and academics – and sometimes a mixture of the two – have sought to recreate as much as is possible the ‘original’ staging conditions of Shakespeare’s own theatres,” says Dr Gregory, formerly a Regional Producer for Shakespeare’s Globe London

“Yet Shakespeare’s second Globe Theatre, the theatre he built and in which his work was being performed at the time he died, has never been accurately reconstructed.

“Our aim is to recreate as faithfully as possible this original performance space so Pop-up Globe’s audience can enjoy the remarkable experience of Shakespeare’s own audience 400 years ago.”

After tomorrow night I’ll be able to confirm that they have succeeded in their aim.

For more information about the Globe and the productions click here. 

 

Ain’t Technology Great!

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Kitchener to wellington

I’m so excited.  One of my earliest contacts in the blogosphere was Chris from bridgesburning.  Over the years we have formed a friendship and have sent each other messages via Messenger and also emails.  But today was a Red Letter Day.  Using our iPads I got to speak to my friend for the very first time.  We live 14,038 kms apart (according to our friend Google) and it was as if we were speaking/sitting in the same room.

She sounded exactly as I had thought she would.  Friendly and seemingly as pleased to speak to me as I was to speak to her.

What did we speak about?  Oh, inconsequential things that two women friends discuss.  We didn’t try to put the world right; to stem the flow of heroin or cocaine; to settle the conflicts in various parts of the world.  No.  We talked about families, and how we have each moved back from other places and how we were settling back into our old lives again.

So thank you Mr Technology whoever you are for giving us this opportunity.  This was the first but I’m sure it won’t be the last.  And next time we are going to see how we can make the video work.  Won’t that be fun.

siliconangle.com

Thanks to siliconangle.com for the photo.

 And  couple of years ago while on a visit to London my sister and I met up with Sallyann from PhotographicMemories.  That was a fun filled day in Oxford and great to meet a fellow blogger in person.   I think my sister and Sallyann have met up for lunch since that day.

 “There is no distance too far between friends,
for friendship gives wings to the heart.”
Anonymous

Follow Up on Rant.

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Oh dear me.  I set that last post to be posted today – February 16.  Wordpress decided in its wisdom to post it yesterday.  Ho hum.

And following on the rant – no word from any source about the furniture.  I did call the carriers again today (they were supposed to call ME yesterday) to be told that the furniture was on its way to Wellington.  Hurrah!  But when will t be delivered.  Apparently the driver will call me tonight and tell me when.  Oh really.  Not hanging by my thumbs waiting.

End of follow up rant.

But the sun is still shining and all’s well with the world.  Unless that is, you have been waiting for furniture delivery for weeks.

I have so very little to complain about when I look around me.  Several friends drifting into dementia, some battling life threatening illnesses, one battling and helping her son through depression – and I am fit and well.

End of another post. 

225686-Today-I-Will-Be-Thankful-For-My-Blessings

Today’s Rant

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it’s now time for a rant about Customer Service.

A few weeks ago I wrote about fantastic service I had received.  Today we go to the other end of the scale.  Right to the bottom…

I was so angry that for the first time ever I wrote a review on their webpage.

“I am totally amazed at the lack of customer service offered by this company. I originally ordered two pieces of furniture by phone and first thing next morning I asked to cancel the order and to have the charge reversed on my credit card.

That started a series of phone calls and emails (emails only accepted by Head Office obviously they don’t want to interact with the public).

  • I was told they didn’t accept “returns” on furniture – the furniture hadn’t left their store.
  • I was told they could have sold the two pieces to someone else – the receipt is dated 4.22 pm and they close at 5pm. My first call to them was at 9.10 the next morning. Don’t think that argument stacks up.

They sent me a “Gift Voucher” while we were still having discussions about the furniture. Totally useless as I live in Wellington and they are in Tauranga some 520 kms away. Eventually in despair I agreed to take the furniture to be told that they had sold the couch. Surely they broke the contract with me then.

I was then told that the furniture would be picked up on February 4 and on February 11 after calling the carriers I found it still hadn’t left the shop. I’m never going back to that retailer. It is without doubt the very worst experience I have ever had with a retailer. Customer service – it’s non existent at The Importer”.

And I still haven’t heard from the shop whether or not the furniture has been picked up by the carriers.

Ho hum!  Never going back to that shop.  Surely the owners, directors would prefer to have one happy customer rather than a totally unhappy one who is busy spreading the word.

“Customers may forget what you said but they’ll never forget how you made them feel” – Unknown

The quote works equally well for both sides of the coin.

 

If it seems too good…

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Everyone knows the old adage and many have been stung by its inevitable truth.  If it seems to good to be true then it probably is.

I consider myself quite worldly wise – well one couldn’t have lived through this many years and not learned plenty.  We have all read and probably received scam letters by email, but some time ago I received one that was slightly different to the norm.

Brochure

It  was my birthday and when I opened the envelope containing what I thought was a birthday card, I found instead a catalogue from a travel company.  The company was marking nine years in  business and was offering a variety of prizes to  celebrate.  Inside were two scratch pads and so of course, I scratched them and lo and behold I was the winner of the second prize – $US160,000.  Too good to be true?

Bear in mind that this catalogue came in an envelope addressed to me- not the usual scam email.  I was required to call a number in Malaysia which I did and was told that I had indeed won second prize and would I scan and send the scratch card to their office.  I did this and received a phone call almost immediately telling me that while I held the second prize card they couldn’t find my customer number.  Not surprising as I had never heard of the company.  Apparently a mistake had been made on their part and instead of a minor prize being offered to encourage people to use their company, a major prize that should have only been offered to clients, was included in the mail to me.

However, undaunted the folk in Malaysia said that this shouldn’t preclude my being given the prize and several telephone calls from them ensued.  After a couple of days (and more calls) I was told that the sponsors had reluctantly agreed to pay out the prize but before doing so I was asked to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement.  Apparently this was necessary in case any of the sponsors’ clients found out that it was being paid to a “non-client”.  I did so and then was asked to call them in Hong Kong.  I had already checked out both these companies and to all intents and purposes they are legitimate.  The website of the sponsors in HK showed registration number etc and this checked out.

The conversation with the Operation (sic) Manager of the company went well and it appeared that I was to receive the prize, but wait, there was one small hitch before the money could be sent to my account a Letter of Authorisation was required from the HK Government; this to provide me with proof that the money sent to my account was winnings and not the proceeds from drugs or anything illegal.  To obtain the Letter it was necessary for $7,200 to be lodged with the Government Department and my share of that was $3,600.

I told the man at the other end of the line that while this was all very good I should have to break a deposit to produce $3,600 (US or HK it was not clear) and so I suggested that he send me a letter saying that I was to receive this money and then my bank here in NZ would advance the funds.  He explained that because I had signed the Non Disclosure as had he, he couldn’t do this.  When asked what he would usually do in this situation I was told that the winnings would go into the client’s account.  When I suggested that he open an account for me he demurred saying he couldn’t as all his clients “were holders of substantial funds”.  So my dream of winning an unexpected bonus came to an end.

I did email my man in Malaysia who had been so very helpful and explained what had happened.  I told him that while I was very comfortable dealing with his company I didn’t feel comfortable with this other company.  He assured me that the company in Hong Kong was legitimate and then suggested that I get on a plane to meet the “Operation” Manager in person.  Not going to happen.

A day or so later I received a call from him apologising profusely for the fact that the money could not be sent to me but telling me to look out for a “compensation package” that would be sent from his company and would I let him know when it arrived.  Guess what, nothing has arrived.

So while this now is shown to be a scam it appeared to be legitimate:

  • I had received a brochure by mail
  • I had a ticket showing I was a winner
  • I made one call to the number in Malaysia and all other contact with that company was made by them and by phone – so at their cost
  • The requirement for a Non Disclosure Agreement added a degree of legitimacy to the whole thing
  • The only other call I had to make was collect to Hong Kong.  When I did this they called me back so that the call was at their cost.

And because it was a scam I have no problem in breaking the Non Disclosure Agreement I signed.

‘Perhaps that suspicion of fraud enhances the flavour.”
C S Forester, English Novelist 1899-1966

Shaking Sunday

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We had another idyllic day in Wellington.  Sunshine, warmth and peace.  The morning spent with the geek setting up a friend’s computer and the afternoon at her daughter’s house catching up with her 26 month old son.  Lovely.

But it was a very different  matter in Christchurch.  Once again Christchurch was hit with a huge earthquake – 5.7 on the Richter scale.  Then there was a major earthquake was on 22 February 2011 at 12:51pm when Christchurch was struck by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake. The quake was centred 10km south-east of the city at a depth of 5km. 185 people died, 164 people were seriously injured and there was major, widespread damage.

Quake1

The people of Christchurch are still recovering from the damage caused in that quake.  Major rebuilding has been going on in the city and surrounding areas.  Much progress has been made but much more is still to be done and now this latest earthquake.

Christchurch residents will now have to once again begin putting their homes and property back together after this latest earthquake.  So far there has been no major injuries or serious structural damaged reported.

But there is still plenty of cleaning up to do, with reports of some buildings in South New Brighton being badly damaged, including broken glass and products having fallen off shop shelves and also there has  been some liquefaction in areas of Christchurch. 

Our thoughts are with our southern neighbours as once again they try to recover from nature’s fury.

“Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth
than plagues or earthquakes.”
Voltaire

 

 

Who Said You’re Too Old?

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Following on yesterday’s post when I wished for several things for you, I should like to add this to that list.

Take time to enjoy the moment.

On February 12 2013 I wrote about Matilda Kline who at 94 danced the foxtrot with a young man.

Now today, watch the video as 90 year old Hollywood Swing Dance legend Jean Veloz at FatCat Ballroom in Phoenix, AZ on October 4th, 2014 for the Arizona Swing Jam – a weekend of Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Swing Dancing, and Big Band Music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FffaCtMwIBI

and also

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjCf2O7JsPU

So what will you do on this glorious Saturday? Sing, dance and be happy.  Take note of these oldies and see how they are enjoying themselves.

  • Can’t dance?  Then sing.
  • Can’t sing. Then paint
  • Can’t paint – then read, walk, run whatever makes your heart sing.

“You’re never too old to set a new goal or
dream a new dream”
C S Lewis

And Wikipedia tells us “
Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was a British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer,
and Christian apologist.

Happy Friday

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Happy-Friday

As another working week for those of you who still have to work comes to an end, and we have the weekend to look forward to, what are your plans for the next two days?

I wish you:

  • Time to meet up with friends and family.
  • Leisure to do some of the things you enjoy
  • Motivation to read a new author, take up a new hobby or restart one
  • Opportunity to take a small (or large) risk – to do something different
  • Space to do those things that really make your heart sing
  • Ability to make choices 
  • Chances to make new memories and
  • Peace to give thanks for all you have in your life.

These are the things I wish for all of us.  May your weekend be filled with fun and laughter or peace and solitude, whichever is your choice.

And as you know Mary Oliver is one of my favourite poems, so I give you this for your weekend

“it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.”
Mary Oliver,
Red Bird a collection of poems
published by Beacon Press

Agreements

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Both women were pleased with the way the meeting had gone.  Barbara because she had now eased her conscience somewhat.  She knew she had to thank Sandy for her kindness and understanding and decided she would take a bunch of flowers with her the next time they met.  A small gesture but it all helped with her conscience.

And Sandy?  She was pleased because she had found that this was a decent young woman who had made a ghastly error of judgment and while Barbara would have to live with the outcome of that, Sandy decided that she could forgive her.  And besides, she had learned much about her daughter that afternoon.

As soon as she arrived home she called both Greg and Cathy and invited them to come round.  Of course they were both eager to hear how the meeting had gone.  So, tea served Sandy told them about the meeting.  How they had discussed her daughter and how she was convinced that Barbara was a young, somewhat confused young woman who had acted first and thought about the consequences later.  She told them that she planned to see Barbara again, and that even if they would never be friends, she would like to get to know her more.

“Oh I’m so glad that it worked out well, and so happy you found out some things about your daughter” said Cathy.  “Yes, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with her.”

But Greg wasn’t so sure.  “You cleared the air with her today but does she really understand how much she has hurt you with her little scheme.  Although how she ever thought she could pull it off is beyond me.  Did she really expect to be able to live this charade for ever?” he wondered.  “And what are you going to do about Ian.  He’s pretty angry about the whole thing.  He feels totally left out and thinks he should have been told about the half sister.”

“Well I totally disagree” Sandy hotly rejoined.  “It all happened before he was born and in no way impacted on him or his life.  I propose to tell him that a mistake was made and that Barbara is not his half sister after all.  And as for his being angry, well he’ll just have to get over it.  He has his life now in Vancouver and I have mine here.”

And sharply she added “I hope you wont tell him about the deceit Greg.  I should be very disappointed in you if you did.”

That left Greg speechless.  He could see that his ex-wife had made up her mind.  He didn’t agree with her but it was after all her decision.  She was the only one who had been affected by the charade.  He was only an onlooker.

Cathy had sat quietly sipping her tea while this exchange took place.  She could tell that Greg didn’t agree with Sandy’s decisions either about forgiving and continuing to see Barbara or about her decision regarding Ian.  Ian was his son too.  He felt he should be told the whole truth.  About how this woman and tried to put herself in Sandy’s daughter’s place.  But he accepted that they had to be Sandy’s decisions and he would abide by them.

And Cathy finishing her tea, placed the cup and saucer on the coffee table and said “I’m glad you feel able to forgive, Sandy, even if you will never completely forget.  I think the young woman has been rudderless all her life and if she has an older woman as a friend it will help her.  And you can continue to learn more about your child.  But a word of warning, please don’t become too close to her.  You may well get hurt again.

“And now, if you’ll both excuse me, I have to get going.  There is a young woman at the Centre that I’m helping to find accommodation for.  I promised to meet her and take her to a place I know.  It’s a bit like your situation Sandy.  Nowhere to turn and nobody to go to.

“And by the way, don’t forget that you are to come down to the Centre to discuss the volunteer role you could take up.  So, bye.  I’ll see you on Monday then.” With which she got up and with a brief hug to Sandy,left.

Greg felt he had said all he could.  He knew that he couldn’t change his ex-wife’s mind.  Once she set her mind to something she was very determined.  So he too left after a brief hug promising to be in touch in the next day or so.

So that left Sandy alone with her thoughts.  She decided the first thing to do was to call her son and placate him.  It would be early in the morning in Vancouver but she didn’t want to leave it any longer.

As expected, Ian proved more difficult. He repeated that he thought he should have been told about the adopted girl. He felt left out of the family. When did his father find out – was it before or after they were married?   And on and on.

Sandy let him vent for a time and then stopped him with “But Ian, it’s all a mistake. This girl was not my daughter. They had the same names and the same birth dates but that was all.

“And why would I ever tell you about it? It had nothing to do with you or our family. It happened before I met your father and yes, he did know when we agreed to get married. There were never any secrets between us.

“So though you now know about the existence of a half-sister, you can get on with your life exactly as before. I don’t like it when you are angry with me when and you’re so far away. So let’s kiss and make up please darling”

After a few more grumbles, Ian reluctantly agreed to “kiss and make up”. Although he wasn’t sure that he could forgive his mother for keeping such a secret from him.

The telephone call ended on a happier note and Sandy went off to prepare dinner.

******

Meanwhile, Barbara had gone home. She phoned James and they planned to meet later that evening. She had plenty of time to think about the chaos she had caused in Sandy’s life and felt genuine remorse. She didn’t quite know how she was going to live with this knowledge but she felt better for having faced Sandy with the truth.

And now she had to meet James and tell him what happened. But more importantly she had to think about the bombshell he had thrown her at their last meeting. Did she want him to be more than a friend she asked herself. She liked him, she enjoyed his company, he was witty and charming but was that enough?

Where was the joy in thinking about him, where the excitement of being in his company. And why didn’t her heart flip flop at this voice? She had read about all these things happening to girls in the novels she had read. But perhaps, after all, things were different in real life.

She thought that if he brought it up tonight she would agree to be his girlfriend. That committed her to no long term relationship and if it didn’t work out they could always separate and remain friends, well couldn’t they?

 THE END

Separate Ways

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Sandy was relieved when she received the response from Barbara. She really did want to speak to her and to find out more about her.

They agreed to meet on Saturday at the same café as before, which was the first time that Barbara could be there. So they both had several days to wait before the meeting.

For Sandy it was a time of reflection. She thought about her past and about the child that she had adopted. She thought of all the reasons she had given herself for not following up on that.

She was sure the child was in a good family; the child would be disturbed if she found that her birth mother was looking for her; Ian and Val and the boys lives would be disturbed and if the child was not in a good family, what could she do about it and on and on. Many times over the years she had told herself these reasons for not seeking out her daughter or her whereabouts.

But she knew that the real reason she hadn’t tried to find her daughter was because she was afraid. Afraid that if she did see her, if they did meet she would regret her decision about the adoption.  

She never discussed this with Greg or anyone else. Greg knew about the child but never once had he questioned her about whether she would try to find the child. And now she found that the child had been searching for her.

Now, all the hurts and secrets and questions she had hidden from herself were brought out into the open. And she didn’t know how to cope.

*******

Meantime, Barbara was also reflecting on what she had done and why. She knew that she had envied the other Barbara the life she had. Her own life had not been good, a series of foster homes one after the other and at none of them did she really fit in or feel loved. She left to make her own way as soon as she could.

And now, she had to face up to the hurt she had caused Sandy in opening up the old wounds and bringing her secrets out into the open. How would she convince Sandy that she meant no harm? She just hadn’t considered the ramifications of her actions.

She spent the next few days berating herself for being selfish and thinking only of herself. 

******

So both women were a little apprehensive at the forthcoming meeting.

Barbara was there first and she was sitting waiting when Sandy appeared. She was heartened by the fact that Sandy smiled and waved her hand when she saw her. So, Barbara thought, this isn’t going to be a confrontation.

Sandy came over and sat down at the table with Barbara. They ordered and then each looked at the other to see who was going to start the conversation. Barbara got in first “I’m really sorry for deceiving you Sandy. I didn’t think of the effect it would have on you. So I apologise. And if you tell me to go, I shall just get up and leave.” With which she stood and picked up her bag.

“No, no. Please sit down again. “Said Sandy. “We can talk this through. There has been no real harm done. And probably it was time for the secret about Barbara to come to light. It certainly is something I should have told my son about years ago.

You knew my daughter and I didn’t so we can maybe talk a little about her and her life. But first please tell me about you.”

So Barbara spent some time telling Sandy about the orphanage and the foster homes. She did tell her how unhappy she’d been as a teenager but she didn’t tell her why. Nor did she tell her how many times she had run away and each time she was brought back she was placed in a different foster home.

She told her how she finally left home to make her own life. She had taken a series of jobs working in offices until eventually she had ended up working in the same solicitors’ office as the other Barbara.

She told Sandy how they became friends, initially sharing their lunches and then going places after work together. She told how she had no experience of theatre, music or any of the arts and Barbara had introduced her to these. They had little money so they spent time at the museum or art galleries where entry was free. And on the occasions that they went to the theatre they bought the cheapest seats.

Sandy could tell from the tone and the lightness in her voice that she really loved the other Barbara as a surrogate sister, and had enjoyed the time they spent together. Sandy was pleased that her daughter and this Barbara had each other as friends.

Once Barbara had finished they sat in silence for a few minutes.

“I think I understand why you tried to impersonate Barbara” Sandy said. “And I accept that you didn’t intend any harm. We can get over that. As I said it was probably time for that particular skeleton to come out of the closet. “

She looked thoughtful and then said “I don’t know if you would like this idea but I suggest that we tell the others that you made a mistake. You are not my daughter after all. We can meet from time to time and you can tell me more about Barbara.

I do know that she was tragically killed with her parents in a car crash. Maybe later on, I might want to look up her relatives but not for some time. I have a lot to digest as it is.”

She looked at Barbara who was looking pensive. “Do you really mean that?” she asked. “I would so like to keep in touch with you. But what will you tell Cathy, your husband and your son? How will they react?”

“Well Cathy has met you and Greg found out that you are not my daughter. Greg might take some convincing that it’s all right for us to keep in touch but both he and Cathy are good people who want to see me happy. The only reason they each made enquiries about you is because of that. So I’m sure all will be well.

As far as my son is concerned, well that’s a different matter. He is unhappy that I didn’t tell him about the adoption and I don’t think I can lie to him about you. I think I will tell him the truth. I will follow up the phone call with a letter in which I can put my feelings about you and about why I think we should keep in touch.”

They both thought they had said enough for this time and decided that they would meet again the following Saturday. Sandy was concerned that Barbara was going home to be on her own, but she felt happier when Barbara told her she was meeting a young man later.

So with that, the two women picked up their bags and with a brief hug, went their separate ways.

“Friendship,” said Christopher Robin, “is a very comforting thing to have.”
― A A Milne

To be continued….

 

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