A lot of stuff mushed together in one post

So, I’m getting really good at writing about what I did about a week after I actually did it. So, this post starts off talking about Shakespeare’s birthday celebrations, goes on to talk about my singing, and ends up with me talking about painting stuff for the Castlefest scrapbook. Feel free to skip to bits you’re interested in 😉

All photos are my own…more photos of the Shakespeare birthday celebration can be found on my facebook page and if you are in any and want me to send the file, contact me 🙂



Anyway, on Saturday I went into Stratford-upon-avon, the birth place of Shakespeare, to lurk during the events that were put on surrounding his birthday. Although I didn’t get that many decent photos due to sheer bad luck (even when I was at the front, having been there since 7a.m. people who were part of the parade stood in front of me!) I had a lovely time.

The main part of the celebration took the form of a procession including primary school children, various special guests from the community, and indeed the world, and a giant horse drawn birthday cake.

Within this part of the celebration there were various smaller moments. Flags from countries and supporting organisations were unfurled to fanfare. An actor ‘Shakespeare’  presented a quill to the Head Boy of King Edward VI Grammar School (believed to be the school Shakespeare attended). The quill was then taken through the streets and, I believe given to the funerary monument. Balloons were released in Shakespeare’s colours.

The parade continued, developing into the colourful ‘People’s Pageant’ which was lead by the 20ft, slightly creepy, puppet of Godiva. Local societies, bands, and dancers all took part.

There were also various activities, attractions, and events on all day.Which I can’t possibly go into in full but leads me nicely onto….




As part of the celebrations, the Royal Shakespeare Company put on various workshops surrounding performing arts. There were stage combat workshops, voice workshops, and a singing workshop which I forced myself to go to.

Okay, I nearly ran away before it started because when you’re waiting in a marquee to face one of your oldest and deepest set fears with a group of strangers that’s pretty heavy stuff. Somehow I managed not to run. As the workshop began people introduced themselves and said if they had singing experience. It seemed to me that everyone had been a member of a choir, was a member of a choir, adored singing, and/or performed frequently. When it came to me to say that “Hello, I’m Bethany and I’m in the process of getting over a phobia of singing and you may well find me cowering in the corner later.” I did just that. No use pretending otherwise… I was shaking like mad anyway! After that, it seemed that a few more people were less ‘professional’ and a few more people said that they weren’t sure if they had a good voice or that they sang in the shower which was nice. I guess. Okay, I was completely petrified.

Warm ups were filmed by a television camera which was kind of funny and then we moved onto the singing part. Do you know something? I managed it. Did I enjoy it? Not exactly. That said, from time to time I could hear my voice and think… yeah, that actually sounds good.

It was only a couple of days later when I was talking to Aleks on skype that she joked that to earn money for my move to the Netherlands I should become an overnight sensation singing ‘Let it go’ on youtube. Well, something possessed me to record the first part of the song on my camera despite not really knowing it. It took me about five minutes to be able to press play and listen through the introduction and then when I heard myself sing I actually cried. I’d heard recordings of myself singing before and had found it painful to listen… I sounded awful. This wasn’t awful. It was actually, dare I say it, kinda good. My own brain’s been warping my own perception for so long, and I’ve known that, but my goodness… this was strange. I didn’t send the file to her and I’m still not comfortable singing in front of anyone but it will happen. If these few months of attempting to overcome my fears have led to this then give me a few years and we’ll see what happens.


So, other than having moments of self realisation, I’ve mainly been painting cover pages for this year’s Castlefest scrapbook. As I’ll be moving country straight after the festival this year, I know I won’t have time to scrapbook for quite a while after it. I therefore decided it would be wise to get as much done in advance as possible. In practice, I hope to have the ‘cover pages’ for each of the bands, the main front page of the scrapbook, and odds and ends like the schedule all filled in beforehand. That leaves photo printing and mounting as the main thing to be done afterwards and I can’t do anything about that! I’ll at least have made a start and, for all I usually do quite a lot of painting around the photos, that’s optional so I should be able to fit it in around whatever schedule I have. The other bonus in getting this all done in advance: I don’t have to get scraps of paper signed and then cut them out and stick in… I can get the cover pages signed directly, if I want an autograph from the members of a certain band.

I’m also doing something a bit different with this book, I’m timing every bit of work I do on it. Actually, I didn’t time the first page I painted or the finding and buying of papers but other than that. People have quite often asked me to make them a book if we’ve been to the same event and I’ve had to say no because it’s too time intensive (and expensive but I try not to think about that!). Anyway, so far, I have painted seven cover pages and it’s taken me just shy of 21 hours. So, that’s why I say no 😉


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