Sunday 29 May 2011

What a way to spend a weekend!

Here I am, hiding in the bathroom waiting for Tyke to fall asleep.  He is completely knackered, but doesn't want to miss anything, and if he can see me he won't lie down.  Two floors below me tension is mounting in the speed lego challenge.  I'm not sure who is ahead, but it likely to be a close run thing and may well be decided on penalties.  We have postponed the Panto for an hour because some of the performers are involved in the Lego, and I'm not sure that a Midsummer Nights Dream will be quite the same without Mrs Danvers and the Minotaur!  Oh, wait, maybe it will be... but it won't be entirely in the spirit of the Ffiesta. (Actually Mrs Danvers isn't in the Lego, I think she is off practising her custard pie technique) 

Anybody who gets spattered with custard pie in the Panto needn't worry too much, Lobster Space Invaders starts shortly afterwards and that'll wash it all off!

After that I'm taking a rest before channelling Mother Zenobia for the Gala Dinner/Fancy Dress/Next Factor!

Saturday 28 May 2011

Ffiesta! Fiesta! Fiesta!!

Well, we're here, time to see if all our hard work pays off! 

We held the Publess Quiz last night and it seemed to go down very well, despite a wrangle over the Tour de France.  Don't people listen when I tell them I am always right?  Congratulations to 'Don't hit badgers with spoons', who were, as was pointed out to me many times, 'the largest team in the room'.  Never mind, they still only got six bottles of wine between them and the rest of you  did get Haribo!  To be honest it was a bit of a shame that the teams were so large and that there were so few of them, but that was dictated by the layout of the room.  We should have got the chainsaw out and cut some of those tables in half.  I am sure Mrs Neal will have brought one with her!

Just before the Quiz started we were interviewed by a reporter for the local paper.  Photos were taken of various fforgansiers with lobsters, dodos and George Formby.  Poor chap (reporter, not George Formby) was more than a little bemused.  He held on to the notion of the quiz like a teenager clings to their mobile phone.  Every time we suggested a different prop he asked rather plaintively 'Is it to do with the Quiz?'  I suspect that the photo that shows up will have a one of the jokers (and no, I don't mean Phil!) featured prominently.

Anyway I'm off soon to help set up, and to plant the lobsters about the hotel.

For those of you actually here at the Ffiesta the 'Meet the Fforganiser' posts from this blog will be displayed and you can win a Crusty Card by picking out all the fabrications (and only the fabrications).  And if you are here, come and say hello - I'll see you at registration/the opening ceremony.

Friday 27 May 2011

No more sleeps...

 ..before we set off for Swindon.  I do hope I don't forget anything, but I'm sure we'll just muddle through anyway.

I can't (and probably shouldn't) tell you how close run a thing it has been getting everything ready on time.  Some of this is due to my usual talent for procrastination, but I have had a series of minor domestic disasters, including visits to A&E, which have caused even further delays.  And of course having a dissertation to write in the middle of all the preparation wasn't too helpful either.   I nearly went into a full blown panic last night over the laminator.  My darling daughter put one of the pouches in backwards and I think we can all guess how well that turned out.... one very gummed up and completely borked machine.  I nipped out to buy a new one and it ate the second thing we put through it.  And no, she hadn't put the thing in the wrong way again (I checked).  I did get it exchanged, but it isn't brilliant, lots of things have come out a bit wavy!

Anyway, it's all done now, or if it isn't if probably won't be, unless Mrs Neal can wrestle triumph from disaster and knock up a map of the world from two bits of string, a discarded egg carton and some glitter glue.  She probably could if needs be.  She tells me she has been crocheting strawberry earrings for Lola - who is making a special guest appearance in 'Name that Fruit' and will be spinning that wonky wheel!

I think Laura is bringing the eternal flame on the bus... not sure if that's better or worse than having to transport George Formby.

I now have to drop the dog off at my parents, pack the car and get Ted out of bed on his day off, so I'd better get moving.

We start with the Quiz in what was the Avon Suite tonight and the Ffiesta proper kicks off tomorrow with registration.  Bus tours and other exciting events throughout the day.

Woo hoo!

Monday 23 May 2011


I've had a bit of a stressful day today.  My dad phoned me at quarter to six this morning, to ask me if I'd just phoned him., I didn't, I was asleep.  Of course after that I was wide awake, but instead of doing something useful I frittered away the time before I had to get up. 

This afternoon I took some of my team out for tea, only to discover that I had left my debit card in my other handbag.  'No problem' I thought, 'I'll use a credit card'... Declined!  'Must have keyed in my PIN wrong' I thought.  Nope, declined again.  Then I noticed it had expired at the end of March, though I could have sworn I've used it since.  I had to borrow a tenner from Vindy, in order to buy her a drink.  Let that be a warning to you, if ever I invite you out for a bevvy, decline.  Or bring plenty of money.

When I eventually did get home I felt rather frazzled, so I've been doing some laminating.  I always find it rather soothing, and now I have some nice shiny things for the Ffiesta.  Gill meanwhile has apparently been communing with dodos.

Sunday 22 May 2011

Panic Stations

Not really panicking, but the FFiesta is approaching awfully fast.

Rissa helped me label a lot of the lobsters today, so that's one job pretty well done, and then I tried to print out some of the 'Getting to Know You' game sheets.  For some reason the printer is playing up, and it is glacially slow.  It took almost two hours to print out about forty sheets, so I have given up for now and will try again tomorrow.  The scanner and photocopier bit seems to be working, so at a pinch I can print off one copy of everything I need and then photocopy the rest, but it's a bit of a faff doing it that way.  I've got the Treasure Hunt sheets to do as well, and some things for the quiz - the marathon round and some answer sheets, though the latter are not essential - you can always write the answers on blank bits of paper.

On the bright side I am now the proud owner of a Danvers wig, though on the not-so-bright side it's a bit small (I must have a big head) and you can see my natural hair line at the sides, so it does look a bit... artificial.  Though looking authentic as a Danversclone is not de rigeur.  At least I don't have a full beard.

Actually, I'm surprised I haven't gone naturally grey over night, but that would be taking dedication a step too far!

Saturday 21 May 2011

Quiz Night revisited

I have just got back from a quiz night.  We won (of course ;D) but it was a bit strange - the one at the Ffiesta will be MUCH better.

First off our team was organised by my mate Pete.  If you knew him you would guess that that was a bad idea from the start.  He rang me up the other day and asked if I wanted to go.  I told him not really, as I had loads of things to do (see previous blog posts).  Then he rang up last night to check the arrangements and when I said that I wasn't going he said that that was a shame as he'd bought the tickets and he needed a lift!  So of course, being a mug I ended up going, and taking him.  He had also told me it started at 7:30 when it stated quite clearly on the tickets that it was a 7 pm start.  This didn't faze him at all... he didn't mention the start time 'til we turned up late.  In fact he made me take a detour to the Offie to buy booze.  And then all he said, very vaguely was 'Oh, yes 7 o'clock!'

Well we did get there when they were just starting the second round, only to be told off by the grumpiest quizmaster I have ever come across.  I will be a pleasure in comparison!  Tony, another member of the team (luckily everybody else had got there on time) said that he thought we were going to be sent to sit at the back without any supper.

This chap fair rattled through the questions - you weren't allowed to ask him to repeat them and if it weren't for the supper break then we would have been finished by half eight.  There were only 5 questions to each round, eight rounds but about 70 possible answers to the marathon, so it was very unbalanced.  Also the marathon was all about Christian Aid, which is quite a specialist subject - perhaps I could do a round on Housing Finance after all.

Anyway, despite all that it was good fun, and we did win.... a bottle of wine between 6  of us!  We had a miniature draw to decide who should take it home and Ted won.  Which as he is too young to drink means that it became mine by default!  You will be pleased to learn that there is a bottle of wine each for the members of the winning team at the Ffiesta pub quiz.

All in all I think I learned a few lessons about how not to run as quiz, so I shall count it as useful research.  However it does mean that yet again my Ffiesta prep has been postponed.  I shall be laminating at midnight on Thursday at this rate!

Friday 20 May 2011

Crusty Cards

I am totally smitten with Crusty Cards, even though they are not yet available.They are sort of like collectable Top Trumps, only all about lobsters.  Plus they make me laugh.  What's not to like?

If you are coming to the Ffiesta then there will be one in your Welcome pack and you if you sign up for one of the Gimcrack religions then you will be given another, unique to that religion (not a bribe or anything of course).  There will be other opportunities to win or buy additional cards in the hope that you can get a complete set.  Of course there is nothing to stop you swapping or trading with your ffellow ffans - I can foresee quite a bit of wheeler-dealering going on and I think you may also have to keep an eye out for illegal Card dealers (as well as cheese smugglers and a black market in lobsters)

Go on, you know you want some!


Last time I ordered a pair of shoes by mail order I found a small packet of Haribo tucked in the packaging.  Not that I got to eat any of them because Ted snaffled them straight away, but it all adds to the excitement of receiving a parcel.  It's always fun receiving packages through the post, even when I know they're not really for me.

I had a card through my door last night when I got home from work, telling me that they had tried to deliver a packet but nobody was home.  Instead of leaving it in the wheelie bin or with my rather strange neighbour as they usually do, I have to go and collect it.  I need to take two forms of ID with me including my passport or driving licence and a bank statement, plus the tracking card.  It all seems a bit over the top to me, and I told the chap so when I went to collect it tonight...

' I can't imagine anybody would try to impersonate me' I said quite breezily 'in order to pick up a parcel containing three dozen plastic lobsters'.  He looked at me quite strangely but was very polite. 

Anyway, the package wasn't at the depot because they'd tried to deliver it again today and the driver had got lost because he was a replacement for the regular chap who is off sick.  I could have waited about 45 minutes for him to make it back to base, or I can collect it tomorrow, so tomorrow it is. I'm sure it must be the lobsters, because the plane kits have already arrived and I haven't ordered anything else, but I suppose somebody could have sent me a present..

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Here be dragons

Two blog posts in five minutes, I am spoiling you.  Or spoiling your day.  Anyway, I meant to post this, but didn't, so I'm doing it now.

From the very talented Mrs Neal


Oh dear, I seem to have been neglecting my blog.  Well, neglecting to do anything really.  I do have (several) excuses, but they won't get the parsnips buttered.

I have a long list of things I need to do before the Ffiesta, starting with (1) Finish re-writing a Midsummer Night's Dream and ending with (972) Label lobsters*

Gill and I did meet up at the weekend and prepare the Treasure Hunt.  Some of the hotel staff asked (very politely) what we were doing.  When we said that we were with the Ffiesta they nodded as if all had become clear and said that they remembered the lobsters.

Text of a conversation between me and Ted.

'Let's go into Hobbycraft and look at doll's house furniture'
'What for?'
'I need some miniature garden gnomes for grow your own roundabout kits'
'Mu um... you are SO embarrassing'

Text of a phone conversation between me and Gill
'Guess what I've found...miniature gnomes!'
'Oh, well done... I'm just putting the final touches to the Dodo Whispering'

Do you think we need to get a life?

*Numbering may not be completely accurate

Sunday 8 May 2011

The Next Factor

or, as it is listed in the programme, 'Swindon's Got Talent'

Do you have a talent?  it is one that will amuse and entertain?  is it one that will amuse and entertain and can be seen in public?

In that case it may be that SGT is the show for you!  A panel of internationally known judges (well, apparently I'm on it and I know that this blog is read all across the world, so that qualifies, and Phil once had a French penfriend, and Gill knows somebody in America,  and we all know Laura, and she's from Wales, and she knows us, so no false advertising here.  Oh, and Jasper's on it and he really is known internationally... anyway I digress (big surprise there, eh?)) Frankie Saveloy as compere and your very talented selves.  Should be interesting.

We are looking forward to seeing everybodys' party piece. so polish up your little recitation, practice your scales, learn the words and come and show us what you can do.  I'm looking forward to it and you never know you may be the next Susan Boyle.. Fame awaits!

Going, going on and on...

I know I've neglected this blog lately, but I have had an excuse, honestly.  I've just written twelve and a half thousand words on HRA reform, and that's enough to drive anybody batty.  Just another fifteen hundred to do, so writing drivel about the Ffiesta preparations will come as light relief.  And I'm not going to write lots today, just about lots (ha ha)

Each time we have had the Ffiesta we have run an auction.  At the Ffestival this went on rather longer than we anticipated and it was as well to move every now and then otherwise you were likely to find yourself auctioned off!  There wasn't much that didn't get sold - a small babybel cheese went for 'Two of your english pounds' and some of Jasper's home produced roadsigns (Dodos crossing) caused a bidding war.  We had only intended to defray expenses but in the end we were able to make a substantial donation to charity.

At the first Ffiesta we had some very generous donations including a signed Pratchett (book, not a replica author) and another bidding war for the signed draft chapter of 'Shades of Grey' that Jasper had read earlier.  Research into Alzheimer's is a charity very close to some of our hearts, and particularly given the Pratchett connection, it seemed appropriate to make that our chosen charity for the year.

Last year, among the other lots, we sold off one of the lego Taj Mahals that had been used for the competition,  and a lobster, but I can't remember its name.

This year, in an attempt to keep things from going on too long, we are posting a list of lots, so you will be able to take a note of the things that interest you and be ready to make a bid... I don't know what's in there yet, but I believe that the talented Mrs Neal is making a dragon... anyway, all will be revealed in due course.

Now I'm going, going....gone