Friday, 27 May 2011

Lark Rise* to Cringleford

Cringleford WI hosted their group meeting this Monday and extended a very warm welcome not only to their co-WIs, but also to their speaker, a strange woman who dresses up as Queen Elizabeth I- oh, that's me.

I had a lovely chat with lots of the ladies afterwards, including a lady who voluntees at Oxburgh Hall. She corroborated one of my Oxburgh anecdotes- Phew! Always worried that someone will correct me on some dreadful factual error I've inadvertantly made. My facts always start out right, but sometimes memory or the heat of the moment fails me and there is a possibility I may talk gibberish.

Anyway. Cringleford. Home of possibly the most delicious cherry-topped biscuits I have tasted.

*Lark Rise is genuinely a road in Mulbarton, where I live. And I travelled to Cringleford. It's a TV programme...oh, never mind.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A Touchy Feely Monday Afternoon

I visited the ladies of the Norfolk & Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB) at King's Lynn on Monday, and gave them a 'Touch Tour' of my Queenie dress as part of their reminiscence therapy sessions.

Leading touch tours was a skill I learned whilst working at Norwich Castle Museum a few years ago, and it combines painting a lavish picture with words, using detailed description of size, colour, manufacturing techniques and so on, plus a chance to feel the clothes or objects themselves.

I was pleased at how well it went. It's tricky to describe the look and the feel of what I'm wearing and so on, and still remember the historical context and all the anecdotal touches and appropriate humour, whilst simultaneously adjusting vocabulary for the very variable ability and comprehension levels amongst the audience. Get it right, and everyone enjoys the session and learns something without either feeling 'talked down to' or feeling that it was 'way above their head'. This skill is often overlooked- perhaps that's why Live Interpreters like myself are so poorly paid by museums and county councils. But these skills are the things which make all the difference in my line of work.

The ladies invited me to join in with their tea and cake afterwards- delicious!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Variety Theatre

Queenie has had a very busy week.

On Sunday I completed my latest essay on qualitative v quantitative sociological research methods.

On Monday night I visited Drayton VH to speak to yet another WI of lovely ladies. A few familiar faces were there; mothers of people I went to school with, mainly! There, I was called upon to judge not one but two competitions. 1) Pegdolls, 2) Flower Of The Month.

I felt qualified to judge the pegdolls, after all, is all but up and running thanks to the fabulous work and indeed, patience, of my friend Cassie. But who am I to judge one flower against another?! A pansy, versus a rose, versus an iris?* Luckily this was all after I had done my Talk, so I was able to judge and run.

From an evening of being 16th century royalty on Monday, Tuesday at Gressenhall began two days of being a very 21st century environmentalist, followed by Thursday morning as a 19th century unmarried mother with bad attitude- and a quick burst of jovial Farmer's Wife in the afternoon.

But the pinnacle of my work this week was Gressenhall's contribution to Museums At Night in which I played a Workhouse Madwoman as part of a Victorian Whodunnit.

What a week! But I'd never go back to I working in an office!

*In the end I chose the iris, because it was blue, and that very day I had been disappointed by the irises in my own garden coming out yellow. I'm not particularly against yellow irises, but in my defence, I know nothing of the finer points of flowers, so my rationale had to be rather arbitrary.