Nativity Plays and Tablet Wars

Walking to the school is always a little different, you see a few familiar faces and the odd new face, bobbing and weaving past each other in order to get to the gates. To be at the front of the queue, to be victorious, to be first to claim their child and run for the hills, cul de sac or terraced home, some may even retire to their bungalows. But the question always remains, who will be first.. as there can be only one!!!

Anyway, this particular day is a little different, parents are flocking to the school at an earlier time. I see a lot of new faces. Some are dressed up, some are casual, some even carry cameras, smartphones and even camcorders… So what’s the occasion?

Well its that that time of year where people tend to be a little merrier, a tad more giving and tend to ooze a whole lot of Christmas spirit , so naturally its time for schools to showcase their creative talents and put on a Christmas play. I do tend to love these plays, each school tends to add a little twist to the whole nativity story, besides its one of the few times to see your little ones dressed up as a camel, donkey or some other object related to Xmas.

Ticket in hand I enter a vacant reception area, the other parents sheepishly standing outside unsure as to where to go. As I stand peering into the reception cubicle looking for some sort of sign or assistance, I hear a distant shout ‘This way…’ looking over I see an assistant gesturing in the direction I need to be moving, I give her a nod, stick my head out the door and call the other parents to follow me in if they’they’ve come to see the play. As we get lead in to the main hall, which isn’t really that big, but has been carefully organized to hold a decent stage and a sufficient amount of chairs.

As instructed I move to the next available chair in order to fill up the rows, now at this stage you always get the odd group or individual that tends to jump over the chairs and sit where they feel most comfortable (surrounded by empty chairs) or you get the odd individual that decides the whole outlay of the chairs is totally wring and decides to do a little reorganizing. I do have to admit it is kind of painful to watch because I know what’s coming… ‘excuse me, can you please fill up the empty chairs and rows… please do not move the chairs as the children will be walking up and around the aisles..’ queue the awkward shuffling as parents do what they are told.

As I try to fit my rear onto a hard plastic chair made for the smallest of children, I cast my eyes over the stage and the various other occupants, the staff, the parents and some of the children. It takes me back to my days in school, we didn’t have a play as such we had more… concerts… Christmas concerts… I think they called them, but I think that was more high school rather than my primary school days. But still, things have changed, fancy props, lighting, projectors, sound system pumping out glorious hymns and carols all in maxing out their 7.1 capacity. Back in my day … all we had was a gramophone a tambourine and a triangle! Okay .. okay I am exaggerating a little.. But I can safely say the younger generations do seem to be being exposed to and are embracing new types of tech which is a good thing!

Anyhoo as all the seats are taken, the audience has settled in… the show begins, the funny thing being as soon as it starts all the parents unpack and raise their recording device of choice. Now for me.. this is when the trouble starts, unfortunately for me the lady sat beside me unpacks a large generic tablet. So when the show does start, she decides to thrust the tablet directly into my face, as I try to manoeuvre myself away from the glaring screen and try to wave at my mentalist. I get the loud clicking the tablet makes when taking pictures in one ear and children singing in the other. So as any person would do I await the lady to take her pictures and settle down (5 minutes later) … still in my face… (10 minutes later) … yep still there. Now, at this point I can do one of a few things, grab her tablet and fling it to the other side of the hall (now this was a very viable option), ask the lady why she is using the tablet when her phone clearly has a better camera (I caught glimpse of the phone while she was taking pictures) and thirdly make her aware shes being utterly annoying to the people sat behind her and to myself).

In the end I kind of went for the third option, I turned my chair and just stared at her for a while as I exaggerated my attempts to look over her screen tutting every so often. Safe to say this did work and avoided any need for bloodshed! The lack of common sense in people is somewhat disturbing, the play itself was enjoyable, seeing my mentalist up there dressed as a star constantly waving to her daddys handsome face rather than a square media tablet. As I watched the mentalist on stage singing her little heart out and constantly waving, smiling and giggling it did make me think how fast she seems to be growing up. Now on the one hand I do realise how lucky I am to have here here with me after a major scare to her health when she was 2 (il save this for another day). On the other I just hate that she’s growing up so fast, I just can’t seem to keep up.

Now the day before the play, the mentalist and i did work on a few secret greetings she would use on stage when she saw me, I did wonder whether she would use these little salutes and waves and to my surprise she did! Now this was quite funny to watch.

The play itself was good, kids showing their love and fear for the spotlight, a lot of smiles, carols and laughter. All wrapped up with a little prayer.

All in all (apart from tablet wars) a good day ! Here’s hoping you enjoy your nativity plays!

This is Mr J signing out


Nativity Plays and Tablet Wars

Nanowrimo – The Aftermath

Well it’s been a bit of a hectic month, as well as doing the usual cycle of odd jobs, raising, feeding, chauffeuring, cleaning and feeding my brats. I decided to take part in National November writing month also know as Nanowrimo.

So what is this thing I hear you shout, enquire, ask, probe even. Well dear bloggers, (most of you will probably know what this is, so il keep it brief)… Nanowrimo is an annual project, allowing yourself to take on the challenge of writing a short novel to the sum of 50,000 words by the end of November.

I initially thought, hmm 50,000 words… Easy! I mean it can’t be that hard, Im sure I have a good story rattling around in my head somewhere or other. So that would be around 1700 words a day ‘pshhhh, you kidding me? Il aim to do 3000 a day, leaving me time to basque in my utter awsomeness and celebrate my victory’

Well that was the belief up until I actually started writing.. And oh my god it was hard! Firstly juggling work, kids, gym and all the other duties and errands that come with being a parent as well as finding the time to sit down and write, it just wasn’t happening.

I either didn’t have the discipline to do so, or something just came up… Family gatherings, some urgent DIY and let me say as the errands started piling up I almost gave up. See the amazing thing about Nanowrimo was the fact that every so often usually at least once a week, you would get a pep talk. A motivational push, a fresh slap of encouragement with a healthy dose of inspiration to get you through that rut, any disillusionment most importantly getting you through that week as a potential Nanowrimo winner!

Another helpful factor was the ability to have a writing buddy (just like a gym buddy .. but… yes for writers.. poor analogy i know ) as well as the availability and access to support networks via online forums, places where you can discuss any problems you may be having or just to brag about how much you’ve written and how you’re the wordsmith of a new generation the likes of which the world has never known!

So … Why? Why take part in national writing month? Why spend long laborious hours trying to write a short 50,000 worded novel? The answer… Why not, you’re a writer.. Why not use this challenge to write that novel that’s been rattling around in that wise and all knowing head of yours.

Besides this may just be the kick start you need in order to start that new novel ( saying that, nanowrimo has ended, but there’s always next year). For me personally this was exactly the challenge I needed, to get me motivated and put pen to paper ( well more fingers to keys, but you know what I mean ).

Anyhoo, as you can imagine I fell very much behind in the writing stakes. It was only until the last week of November I finally knuckled down and wrote and wrote and wrote….and…’ve guessed it …. Wrote!

So did I achieve the ultimate milestone? after much pain, sweat, tears and waaay too much coffee I did! I actually finished a short novel. Now I won’t say it was easy, because for me it was quite hard ( not being the best of writers in the world ) and keeping the pace and letting your words and story flow is quite difficult when you’re keeping an eye on a manic 4 year old vying for your attention every 5 minutes.

So what has it done for me? Well firstly I picked up some lovely goodies (some lovely banners and twitter backgrounds…have a quick peek at my twitter account ) and certificate from the brilliant people at nanowrimo. As well as providing a list of challenges and guidance in what i may want to do with the novel.

On a very personal note, it’s provided me with an overwhelming sense of achievement, the fact that I’ve written a short novel I mean how many people can say that ..right? And it got me out of the rut that I was in, so that’s always a good thing.

So definitely worth taking part, and if i managed to do it, honestly I think all of you definitely have it in you.

Now the next stage…what to do with this short novel…

Publish or not to publish … That is the question …

This is Mr J signing out


Nanowrimo – The Aftermath