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A wonderful few days

I’ve had a very wonderful few days. On Saturday, after over a year of planning, I married Gary at a magical ceremony and reception at Drayton Manor. Beforehand Gary had been adamant he wasn’t going to cry, but as soon as I came down the aisle he was wiping his eyes – as was I. We’ve been together for nearly nine years and to have a day dedicated to us, shared with so many friends and family, was just perfect.

Wedding group

We had photos in the beautiful hotel grounds and then the two of us were whisked on a buggy into the theme park to pose on the carousel and by the lake as day trippers gave us bemused and friendly waves. After a lot of smiling for the camera and trying not to trip on my dress, we were back to the hotel and a delicious vegetarian three course meal, followed by speeches. I was impressed that our best man, Dan, managed to squeeze two Simpsons references into his speech – Gary and I are both big fans.

For the evening do, Gary’s band Skybald played a set that went down well with our guests, followed by a disco (that one of our guests declared had ‘the best set list ever’) and karaoke. We were fuelled by a pizza buffet and slices of our vegan wedding cake. The day went by so quick, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

It feels weird to think that the wedding is done, after such a long build up. Still, we have our honeymoon to Italy to look forward to, and I’m also very excited about receiving the images from our photographer in a few weeks’ time.

Caroline and Gary

Just four days after the best day of my life came another big event: my graduation. It has taken five years part time to get here, but I now have my MA in the Teaching and Practice of Creative Writing, graduating with a Distinction. Staffordshire University hold their graduation ceremonies in the beautiful Trentham Gardens in Stoke-on-Trent. As it (mostly!) did for the wedding day, the rain held off and I was able to enjoy posing in the gardens in my cap and gown.

So that’s two major life events in less than a week! I’m now thinking ahead to my future – my future with my husband, my future as a writer, and my future academically. I have some ideas as to where I want to be, and I’m excited as I look ahead.

My Writing, Travel, Uncategorized

DadaFest Artist Development Programme and a day in Liverpool

Today I had a wonderful time exploring the city of Liverpool. I was there for a meeting with the disability arts organisation DaDaFest about being supported by their Artist Development Programme.

Blue Coat LiverpoolDadaFest are based at the Bluecoat creative hub in the city centre, in a characterful historic building. It was a really positive chat and I left feeling excited about what’s on offer, in particular setting up mentoring for me with an established writer to further develop my creative practice. I’ve now got some thinking to do around what support in particular I’d like from the programme to help with my writing career. This year I’m making a real push with my writing, and being part of DaDaFest’s Artist Development Programme looks set to be a big help.

My fiancé Gary and I then had a few hours to ourselves in Liverpool. I’ve only been once before, even though it’s not that far from Stoke, so it was good to have an excuse to explore. At Sam from DaDaFest’s recommendation, Gary and I headed to The British Music Experience on the Liverpool Waterfront.

The museum traces the history of British rock and pop from the mid-twentieth century through to the present day and has a whole lot of costumes, instruments and memorabilia, from the inevitable Beatles members’ guitars through to Geri Halliwell’s (in)famous union flag dress. Gary and I both love music and enjoyed exploring its history.

Caroline GuitarThe museum has selection of instruments for visitors to play, so Gary and I had a bit of time trying out various guitars. Gary showed off his shredding and serenaded me with songs from his band, Skybald (who have a gig coming up in Stoke, local music fans!), while I tried to remember the bit of Smashing Pumpkins and Green Day songs I learnt years ago (it’s a while since I picked up a guitar). We’d definitely recommend The British Music Experience if you’re ever in Liverpool.

There were several museums and art galleries that we didn’t get a chance to visit today, but we will definitely be returning to this vibrant city.

 

 

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Unity in the Community Gig

I love music as much as I love literature – they’re both important parts of my life and I’m fortunate that my fiancé is a very talented musician. Gary is a guitarist for the alt-rock / metal band Skybald who performed at the Unity in the Community gig at Bunker 13 in Hanley (Hanley being Stoke-on-Trent’s city centre, for the non-initiated) last Friday. Skybald are currently sans-drummer so they did an acoustic set which worked really well. It was only their second gig and they totally nailed it. I am a proud girlfriend!

The gig was about promoting anti-racist unity in the community in a post-Brexit Britain and it was wonderful to see well over a hundred and fifty people show up for the event, which also saw other local bands perform to a lovely and lively crowd. And yes, I danced!

You can read updates from Skybald on their website, listen to them on Soundcloud (which includes my favourite song of theirs, the Oscar Wilde-inspired “Call Me Dorian”), and give them a Like on Facebook.