Wednesday, 13 June 2007


Well, even with a blog to try to force me to write, it has still been a long while since I stuck something on here (C- must try harder)

Since I last posted, there have been: 3 Dr Who Episodes; 2 Theatre trips; 2 Wedding Rings made; 1 Cinema trip; 1 birthday celebrated (and a partridge in a pear tree...)

Dr Who
"Human Nature / Family of Blood" (Paul Cornell) was the best episode of the season by a long way - rich and believable characters, a story line that had me holding my breath, and an ending that had me blubbing like a baby! Fantastic acting from the leads - I could feel John Smith's terror as he realised what he had to do, and Baines (Harry Lloyd) was just perfect - the staring eyes and twisted lip giving him a complete otherworldy feel. If this doesn't win the Hugo next year, then there is something very wrong with the universe.
"Blink" (Steve Moffat) - a dark and very scary 'non-Dr' episode. I freely admit to a jump (although not a scream, unlike Empty Child...) when the "Angel" appeared in front of Sally. Another lovely offering from Mr M, although I still feel that Paul's story was better - there are too many plot holes in "Blink", and the obvious circular nature and determinist feel to the story doesn't help (she had to survive because otherwise she couldn't give the Dr the information he needed to help her survive...) But the minor pickiness isn't going to stop me shivering next time I look at a statue!

"Cyrano De Bergerac" at the Bristol Old Vic - we saw this in the middle of May - an interesting production - the new translation was good (John felt it was better than the Anthony Burgess script that he performed), and there were some nice performances from the leads - Cyrano settled down after gabbling his first few lines. However, I have no idea why they decided to set it in WW1 period - meaning that the cast who made specific references to 17th C costumes (the swords, lace ruffs etc) ended up wearing them along with their WW1 costumes, and the effect was slightly comical. The theatre itself is very uncomfortable to sit in (it is being refurbished later this year), and John was very cramped (my slightly shorter legs were ok, just).
"Avenue Q" - we stayed with my Uncle in Crouch End over last weekend, and he very kindly took us out to the theatre to see Avenue Q - a fantastic show. Very funny, very blue - definitely not one to take the kids to go and see! But the versatility of the actors, a number of whom were playing more than one character at the same time (the scene where Katie and Lucy are having a dialogue, meaning that the actress had a conversation with herself, was fantastic!) I am so glad to have seen this :-)

"Pirates of the Caribbean III" Very funny, very silly, and a musical score to die for! Loved it (and no, not just because of Jonny Depp...), although the twists and turns in the plot were a little bit confuzzling - I'm glad I took the advice of the Classic FM reviewer who suggested to let it all wash over you, and not to concentrate on what was going on!

The workshop was amazing - we got there at 10 on the button (local church bells chiming the hour), and into a very hot workshop. There were 4 couples doing it, and we each had our own expert to help us (ours, Tom, has been jewellery making for 15 years!). We started off by sitting with him and discussing exactly what we wanted - there were lots of plain bands that we could pick so that we could look to see what different sizes and weights looked like, and we discussed how we could make mine so that it fitted to the engagement ring. Then we got taken over to the workbench, and got given our lumps of metal and a blowtorch. Under the guidance of Tom, we melted down enough each of the metal to make each other's ring, and poured it (quickly - it solidifies really fast!) into a bar mould. Then, after Tom had dipped it in water to cool it down, we squashed the bars through a mill which stretched them out and squashed them into a length that could go round a finger (with a bit extra for overlap. Then, after a reheat (squashing them like that stretches and knots the molecules and makes the bar impossible to manipulate), we got to bend the bars round into a ring shape. Mine was easy - because John's ring was just a straight band (and reasonably thick rather than being delicate), it got put into a vice, and I got to hit it with a mallet until it was roughly bent round! John had a bit more work, as my ring is more delicate, and had to be bent in a specific way to start the shaping process, so he had to bend it with pliers. Then cutting off the overlapping ends with a hacksaw, and using gold solder to seal the ring together. Tom then dunked the rings in diluted sulphuric acid to clean off the oxydised blackness (glad he did that bit - it splashed, and he had to go to wash his arms because they were starting to itch!), and the long process of filing and polishing began! (At this point, Tom said that as the dangerous stuff was finished, did we want our champagne now?) It started off with a filing tool, but quickly went on to differently graded sandpaper, right down to a very fine polishing paper. It was just amazing to see the lump of metal that just happened to be bent into a circle transforming into a ring! And then we got to take them down to the professional polishing machines, where they were buffed to an amazing shine (and Tom buffed up my engagement ring for me as well - he got out the dirt that had been caught under the diamond that I couldn't remove by myself :-) ) We also got to see one of the other couple's white-gold rings being electroplated (I don't really get white gold - why take something that is nice and yellow and make it look like silver?)

They are then sending off the rings to be assayed (i.e. to prove that they used 18 carat gold not brass...) and hallmarked - they will then post them down to us in a couple of weeks' time. So no rings yet, but once I remember to bring the camera in to be developed (they gave us a disposable camera, and Tom took photos of every stage), I'll be able to upload photos.

And I apologise for the variety of fonts and sizes in here. I've tried to edit it, and it keeps on playing silly buggers at me, so I give up...

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