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A little about me and mine

My name is Julie and I am currently starting out as a writer. You are joining me at the very beginning of my journey. The screen featured in the image above is the start of my writing journey. My greatest need was a pleasant and undisturbed place in which I could work. Our home is modest in size, with two bedrooms. As is often the case, the second bedroom has become the storage room. ‘Storage’ would be using the term loosely. Cornflakes on offer in Tesco? Buy a couple of boxes and ‘shove them in the spare room’. Nowhere to store all those dance shoes (more about that later) – guess where they are stored? Need I go on?

What I needed most was to hide the junk. So I bought myself this beautiful screen. Some may think it tacky but I call it my ‘Tree of Life’. The start of my life as a writer. Hidden from view, on the other side of this small room is a corner desk, tucked under a set of 1970’s over-bed fitted wardrobes. Instead of a bed, sits my desk and my ergonomically comfortable chair. Also residing there is my laptop, my coursework folder (more to follow) and a selection of stationery.

We don’t own our house so its not really in our best interests to rip out the wardrobes and refit the room at present. Let me hit fame and fortune first, please! Now, don’t get the wrong impression of me. I am very proud of my home and I keep it beautifully decorated and clean. We rent it privately – our landlord lives next door but we rarely see him. We have a beautiful garden (I may have to fill you in later) and are very happy here.

I mentioned ‘we’ which is not the royal ‘we’ but me and my fabulous husband of ten years. We met in later life after both having failed relationships (oh yes, I am sure that will come in later posts). His name is Clive and between us, but not together, we have five great children. Grown up ‘children’ comprising four sons and a daughter. My twin sons and Clive’s eldest son went to school together while my daughter was in the year above and his youngest son was a couple of years below.

Clive and I love to dance. Dancing is our greatest pleasure. We started learning not long after we moved in together (after seeing each other for two months – more later!) and have never looked back. Clive also loves to fly kites and, while I am happy to watch and occasionally fetch and carry the kites that don’t launch, I like to spend my time writing or reading.

Before I tell you my life story and all about my hobbies, let’s just say I will fill in some of the details in later posts which you may or may not wish to link to. The choice is yours but I will try to balance wit and wisdom for your reading pleasure.

Thank you for visiting and I look forward to hearing from you.

Julie

((x)) (Yes, I know we don’t know each other but doesn’t everyone deserve a kiss and a hug?)

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True friends

THE END

💜💜💜

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Ceroc, Dancing

Summer Freestyle – Ceroc Thetford

After a slightly tumultuous day which we won’t waste time and energy focusing on, we decided we would go to the Summer Freestyle which was being held at Carnegie Room, Thetford. We had already danced a few times during the week at venues in  North Walsham, Thetford and Great Yarmouth,  so what harm could one more night do to us when we love dancing so much?

We were so glad we went as it was a truly fabulous freestyle with so many wonderful dancers from near and far. The far included dancers from Gloucester and Brighton and some from just over the border in Ely. Nearer ‘locals’ visited from Attleborough, Bury and Norwich to name only a few.  It was lovely to see many new faces along with the regulars from the area. As I have mentioned in previous posts, we don’t attend freestyles to meet with only one group of friends, instead we go to the freestyles which are convenient to us, to meet up with any number of a huge number of Ceroc friends and have a great time with whoever is there, as is the norm with Ceroc venues across the country.

Anna was putting on the tunes and Kayleigh greeting the dancers on the door. At this stage I have to mention that I really didn’t eat ALL of the sweets on offer on the greeting table. I may have plunged the scoop in a few times as I passed and for this I hold my hand up, guilty as charged. Baiba was extremely busy as always,  behind the bar but, as ever, served everyone with her infectious smile.  Matty kept tabs on the tables of fresh fruit platters which Anna had painstakingly (quite literally) chopped up earlier in the day.  The fruit was a very welcome treat, along with the air conditioned hall, as the temperatures outside had started to climb once more.

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I lost count of the number of people who were complimentary of the music and can only agree, wholeheartedly. When dancers travel from far and wide to be with fellow dancers and friends, the music is always a possible game-changer with the DJ facing the difficult task of keeping everybody happy. With the diverse range of dancers by both age, taste and style, it certainly takes more than a passing thought to get it just right! The mix was  a blend of modern and funky with some old favourites and a cleverly choreographed combination of tempos to suit all styles and energy levels. With approximately a hundred dancers turning out this evening, it was refreshing to see the dance floor full at all times with only just enough space to avoid collision.

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The Carnegie Room is one of my personal favourite venues with its air conditioned hall,  high ceilings and a fresh, new beech wood dance floor but without the friendly staff and dancers, these events would be nothing at all.

Ceroc, Dancing, Places to write, Writer's Blog

Reading, writing and rhythm – all in one weekend!

As the blog title suggests, these are my three great loves – aside from my husband and children which goes without saying. I was lucky enough to have last Friday afternoon off and a whole day yesterday, which constitutes a long weekend.

Suffice to say, when I have booked a long weekend off, the heatwave has long-since disappeared and we are left with drizzle, thunderstorms and heavy rain, the sun having long since chosen to grace us with pleasantly warm rather than heatwave hot rays. I am sure I would be complaining if it had continued to be too hot but a little less of the damp stuff would have been gratefully received.

I was lucky enough, however, to enjoy all of my favourite pastimes during my days off this weekend, beginning with an evening of dancing at Great Yarmouth on Friday night. Quite a few dancers turned out, a bonus of the weather cooling down, for a lesson with Steve, music from DJ Robert and a greeting from Anna on the door. I love our nights at Great Yarmouth because everyone is friendly and welcoming, always asking when Steve and I will be back again. Well, they are in for a treat, if that’s what you would chose to call it, as Steve is covering holidays and will be teaching next week and two weeks after that, with a Beach Party freestyle on the Friday in between. I think they should be sick of us by then!

Dancing, as always on a Friday night, ended at eleven and, with a cheeky stop off for a McDonald’s on the way home, we were home just in time to avoid the car turning into a pumpkin.

Saturday morning was spent visiting my very sick mother who has decided the most important thing in her life right now is to change her lounge curtains. We have ordered various styles from online sources and had to send them back and this week was no different. These ones were chosen by her, were excellent quality – I wouldn’t have even had to get the iron out – and went really well with her room. She didn’t like them. Oh joy! And so begins the process again! She can’t leave the house apart from each time she is admitted to hospital, and we are tied to online viewings and, as such, I think this saga may drag on a while yet…

Saturday afternoon was far better. We had dancing friends over who, for one reason and another, we had not entertained for some time. It was so good to see them and we enjoyed a hearty barbecue, the only appearance of the warm sunshine this weekend, and spent six or seven hours chatting as if there had not been an interlude. One of the best afternoons we have had for some time and we plan to do it again, soon.

Sunday was a day of reading and coursework. I am way ahead in my Creative Writing course as I am loving it so much, but I really wanted to get the TV Drama out of the way as I have never written anything in this format before. I was excited to get an ‘A’ for a radio drama which I sent in for my last assignment. I genuinely did not expect that! Maybe that’s my calling? I say that with every good mark I have had from my tutor so I have lots of ‘callings’ to chose from! Before I settled down to write, we did go out for breakfast with my daughter and her husband at the local garden centre. The rest of the day was dull and damp so I holed up in my writing room and motored through my work.

Monday was quiet. My husband was working in the morning so I wrote some more, submitted a story, or was it two, for publication and signed up to an agency who want writers – they contacted me so I had to read the small print carefully! They had seen examples of my work online and have asked me to submit a couple of specific pieces before making a definite decision but I could have a little freelance number if I play my cards right.

Not sure how writing can make a person feel so tired, but we couldn’t be bothered with dancing last night. I am demoing on Wednesday and Friday nights this week and we have a freestyle on Saturday night which is more than enough for my tired head right now.

 

 

Ceroc, Dancing

Trying out a different venue

I think it has been established now that we love our Ceroc lesson and freestyle nights. Anybody who isn’t aware of this probably hasn’t been following my blog. We had decided to mix things up a little this week and miss our usual Monday night class, instead opting to try out the Tuesday night venue in North Norfolk, namely North Walsham Community Centre.

We had ventured to this hall for a couple of freestyles previously but have never attended a class night there. Our plans to attend this one on a forecast cooler night in the middle of the heatwave backfired when Tuesday was as warm, if not warmer, than Monday night. The drive was a sticky and humid one (we must ensure we opt for a car with air conditioning included next time!) but the newly-opened Northern Distributor Road was useful, a trip along the A47 onto the NDR, straight to North Walsham, avoiding the inner city roads meant we arrived within forty minutes.

There was a change to the usual staff last night which, I hasten to add is not why we chose to go, as Tracey and Steve were having a well deserved break. Sharon greeted us, and all others, at the door, taking our money with the usual friendly, welcoming smile. Steve C, while teaching as he often does at this venue, was also DJ-ing with Steve F taking a break with Tracey.

As the dancers started to filter through the doors, already hot and fanning themselves to cool down, we were greeted with friendly smiles from those who know us already and questions about where we usually dance and whether we were just visiting, from those who we had never met. Everyone was very friendly, which we have come to expect at any of the Ceroc Fusion venues we attend.

Steve and Sharon chatted to us while the dancers arrived, Steve popping in and out of the hall to ensure his background tunes sounded alright, and Sharon, of course, greeting the new arrivals. At this stage it is worth noting that I was tense on the journey to North Walsham and even tenser when we arrived because, even after ten years, I get extremely nervous when visiting somewhere new with expected new faces. Within twenty minutes and a few chats later, I felt welcome and ready to dance which was a good thing because Steve was already playing some great tracks. We had a few dances, I genuinely cannot call them warm-up dances as we were already so hot, and when the beginners class started, Clive headed off to join in while I sat out, cooling down. If there had been a shortage of female partners I would most definitely have stepped in but the numbers were balanced enough so I felt able to sit out.

The venue, staff and dancers were lovely and we fully intend to return, if for nothing else than to prove to Tracey and Steve that we were not avoiding them! We will definitely go back. We were able to chat to a number of dancers who we only ever see on Facebook or at freestyles where we are all too busy dancing to talk much.  With no new beginners last night, the two taxi dancers had a quiet one but were still welcoming and friendly. The dance floor remained full all night, everybody enjoying the variety of music being played.

Not only were we offered coffees towards the end of the evening, but Steve K had bought packs of Fab lollies to share with everyone, Sharon had prepared cooling slices of watermelon and, along with the coffees, Elaine had made some very tasty biscuits.

Steve’s intermediate routine went down well and he decided to name it ‘The Rain Dance’ on the information board. Secretly, we all know he had seen the weather forecast but we indulged him when the droplets started to fall later in the evening. The expected thunderstorm and heavy rain eluded us, with just those few drops falling, so the drive home was still warm, the car reporting temperatures of over 22 degrees at 11:00pm. Some might say we are greedy, having indulged in fresh watermelon, tasty biscuits and Fab lollies but I was so warm, I begged Clive to take me to pick up a Flake McFlurry. Surely its the only way to cool down after an evening of dancing during a heatwave?

Final word – thanks to all of the staff and dancers at North Walsham for making our first class visit a great one. See you all again, soon!

This picture is of a previous class night at this venue:

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Ceroc, Dancing

A change of regular Ceroc venue, coupled with the continuing heatwave

Monday evening has arrived. Monday evening is extremely hot. The heatwave continues with temperatures back to the low thirties once more. We have decided not to go to our regular dance class tonight, instead we plan to go to North Walsham tomorrow night, and a regular class night that we don’t often attend. Our thinking was along the lines of the temperature hitting the low thirties tonight but the forecast being slightly lower for Tuesday evening. However, as often is the case, the forecast has now changed and Tuesday evening is set to be just as warm, possibly even warmer.

Theory one already scrapped by the weather forecast but, having come home to a gloriously warm garden with an invitingly shady corner, I have fixed a generous glass of Pimms (strawberry with a hint of mint, no less) poured over an even more generous portion of ice and lemonade for myself and a cider for my husband, we are in no state to drive to the other side of the city. Also, for some reason this evening, we both look as though we have already completed a full week’s work and its only Monday!

Theory two is now in motion. We planned to go to North Walsham and, therefore, we will go to North Walsham. We are real troopers and we will bear the heat to enjoy a dance. Our very good friend, Steve,  is teaching and DJ-ing tomorrow night, quite the multi-tasker, so it will be great to see him there. We don’t often go to the class at North Walsham and this has nothing to do with the teachers, DJ or regular dancers at the venue and everything to do with the fact that we love our Monday nights’ dancing after the weekend and we always go to Carnegie Room, Thetford class on a Wednesday, where I demo, and we like to enjoy a recovery day in three if we can. Coupled with the class I am helping at on Friday in Great Yarmouth this week, I think three nights will produce more than enough sweat, thank you kindly.

While we are far from reliant on meeting people we know at regular classes, we have so many friends at the various venues that, wherever we go, we are always made to feel welcome. So, having only attended freestyles at this venue, watch this space for news on whether we enjoyed our first actual Ceroc class at North Walsham.

 

Ceroc, Dancing

Ceroc at The Carnegie Room, Thetford

It’s not often I feel the need to write about a standard Ceroc class – I covered the format  of classes in general in earlier posts on my pages dedicated to Ceroc, which you can find here Rhythm – Ceroc

However, while the country has been experiencing a heatwave over the past six to eight weeks, Ceroc in general has been suffering a bit of a drought of its own. Dancing uses up plenty of energy, causes plenty of sweat and increases your overall body temperature – plenty! So, faced with the choice of whether to dance or whether to sit on the patio soaking up the last of the evening’s sun with that second glass of Prosecco, some dancers have naturally opted for the latter. You really can’t blame them for wanting to enjoy the sun. After all, we see so little of it in Great Britain that its a craving we need to satisfy whenever we have the chance.

But fellow Ceroc dancers, and prospective new beginners, I think we have seen enough of those harmful rays now and the excitement of getting an actual suntan without leaving the country has dwindled into normality and it is time for normal service to resume. That is not to say that normal service has not continued. Ceroc Fusion have continued to offer classes to those die-hard dancers who want to sweat it out on the dance floor whatever the weather – yes, they make it to classes through rain, hail, snow, ice and (more recently) heatwaves. Its just that numbers may have been a little lower than usual, combined with the standard holiday season of course.

Many of the Ceroc Fusion venues offer air conditioning, some are only able to offer fans but copious numbers of them are drafted (see what I did there?) in for the warmer evenings, and what better way to actually cool down than to dance in the chill of a welcome air-conditioned venue? Either way, the staff do their utmost to help the dancers to remain cool. Recently, the franchise owner of Ceroc Fusion, Anna, has been offering iced lollies and slices of cooling watermelon after the intermediate class, to refresh the dancers who are heading into the remainder of the evening’s freestyle. Needless to say, there are very few leftovers at the end of the evening.

I digress. I wanted to talk about a particular evening, yesterday evening in fact, at the Carnegie Room in Thetford which is in the county of Norfolk but its expanse of forest straddles the border and into Suffolk. The air conditioning had been switched on early. On entry to the hall we were greeted with a refreshingly cool, albeit gentle, blast of air. Per the above, and the return of the heat after a short thunderous break, nobody knew whether to expect thirty or sixty dancers but all were prepared to enjoy, whatever the turnout.

Thetford hall(1)

Following a recent discussion about the introduction of new members, last night at Thetford introduced the trial of member-led introductory leaflets. Ceroc information and event leaflets are, without fail, on display on the front desks of Ceroc venues but this time, a small white sticker was added to the corner, upon which members were asked to write their membership number before handing a leaflet, or ten, to prospective  new members. Dancers were encouraged to do this because if a new member came along and handed the leaflet to the staff on the door, the dancer who had passed on the leaflet would be entitled to a free night of dancing. This would be added to the system whether or not that dancer was present when the new person joined. This would not impact on new member joining offers either, such as the ever-popular six lessons for the price of three if you sign up on your first night. Plenty of dancers took leaflets and it remains to be seen whether it is successful.

The dancers piled in last night. Tables soon filled and the lesson began as usual. Steve, the dancer teacher, noticed that everyone was bubbly and chatty in the lesson (which is always encouraged as dancers are getting to know other dancers) and there was a general good vibe around the hall. The intermediate lesson was fun, with one slightly challenging move in the middle, but the dancers embraced the challenge and lots of laughter could be heard around the hall as they were determined to master it. There was such a feel-good vibe around the room, it was infectious. The dance floor was kept full throughout the classes and freestyle and Steve played a selection of newer and older tracks to suit all tastes – which is never an easy task. With almost eighty dancers at the venue, it couldn’t have been easy to cater for all but, with dancers in all age ranges in attendance, he pulled it off seamlessly.

As always, he offered to allow intermediates to record us dancing the intermediate lesson moves when the lesson was finished, for their own learning and not to be shared publicly.

With such a happy, enjoyable evening, you just don’t want it to end but its great to know that when it does, there are classes all over our area on various nights of the week so the next night of dancing fun is never far away.