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  1. As you were

    August 22, 2017 by Amy Hansford

    I’m torn, reader.

    I don’t have the time to blog. And if I did, I would now worry that what I  say may be read by people who may think my views represent those of my workplace. (They don’t, by the way).

    I don’t want to remove my blog in its entirety – there are a number of posts which are massively useful and, according to the stats, are referred to often around the world.

    So the decision for now is to remove posts that I don’t deem right for the moment, and leave the site dormant until such a time as I feel I can reclaim my piece of the internet in my own right.

    Teachers will understand…!

    Until the next time…

  2. The land of make believe

    January 22, 2017 by Amy Hansford

    We’ve been watching Legend this evening. The pixie one, not the apocalyptic one, or the gangster one.

    Bit dark, isn’t it?

    Not really a kids film, but not really an adult’s film either.

    Cracking prosthetics though, and genuinely frightening moments.


  3. Ooh baby it’s a wild world

    January 20, 2017 by Amy Hansford

    I missed my daily deadline last night due to a very welcome visit from my lovely friend Emma. Before I knew it, I was halfway through a bottle of champagne and, when paired with a naked kebab*, I was no longer able to coherently blog. So instead, we thoroughly enjoyed what I now know to be Spy In The Wild.

    The key USP with this programme is that they have managed to capture very natural (and fascinating) behaviour from the animals by combining cameras and animatronics. Robot meerkats, sloths and orangutans have breen created and discretely placed in the wild where they interact with the ‘real’ animals, filming their behaviour and interacting with them. In one scene, the robo-orangutan saws a piece of wood in half; the real orangutan then copies its behaviour, even showing off and sawing whilst lieing down. It really is brilliant to watch!

    Newsround did a little piece on it too.

    It really is brilliant watching. Our cat Echo agreed too – she was quite intent on catching herself a meerkat. Spoilers: she didn’t.

    Spy In The Wild is on BBC 1 on Thursdays at 8pm. You can also watch it here on iPlayer.

    * A kebab without pitta bread

  4. Flagged Up

    January 18, 2017 by Amy Hansford

    In early December, my colleagues and I were sent on a three day First Aid At Work course run by St John’s Ambulance. It was really, really, really good. I last went on the course back in 2009 which was mainly a woman in a tweed suit talking at us in a warm, dimly lit room for three days where I tried not to fall asleep. This was a whole word away – funny, interactive, loads of hands on stuff, practical applications, scenarios – really good.

    If you are considering going on a first aid course at any level, I highly recommend the St John’s Ambulance team – they have loads on locations all over the UK and are, as I mentioned, really good.

    As a result, I bought two first aid packs – one for each car – and am also the First Aider for my area at work now as well as the Fire Warden. My workplace have a good handle on health and safety generally, so they’ve given me a bumper first aid pack to be kept in my desk and have monthly meetings for all First Aiders (big site, big FA team) to keep us all up to date. Realistically, the most I’ll be doing will be applying plasters and occasionally dealing with minor burns (we do a lot of cooking but I’ve never had any incidents). But it’d good to know stuff, right?

    Imagine my excitement when the Health & Safety Manager walked in to my office this afternoon brandishing my very own First Aider flag. Genuinely! I think it’s brilliant – I’m chuffed that I get to have it on my desk, and I think it’s a great idea that it’s so easy to quite literally flag down a First Aider when you need one.

    Let’s hope no-one needs me!

    Loving my First Aider flag

  5. If I only had a brain/heart

    January 17, 2017 by Amy Hansford

    Towards the end of the run of “Aladdin & The Lost Christmas”, John asked me an important question. Would I, Amy Hansford, officially co-direct the following year’s panto with him?

    A simple question, you might think. But not so. It took some thought.

    My instant thought was ‘yes, of course, yes! I want to direct and be a part of the best little panto in Milton Keynes!’. But I’ve learned over the past year that I have to interview both my heart AND my head when making decisions. So I took some time to think.

    Heart: This is so cool! I’m honoured! I’ve loved doing a bit of directing this year and I want to do more!
    Head: Hold up – this isn’t just saying yes to next year. This is committing further than that. You can’t just jump in, do a bit, then walk away.
    Heart: I know, but I love panto! And I love being in a position to help make it even better!
    Head: Granted. So you’re okay with the extra commitment?
    Heart: …?
    Head: This isn’t just being at every rehearsal. This is joining the production team for the show, making decisions, judgements.
    Heart: Yeah, I want that. I like being able to steer stuff!
    Head: Being on the audition panel.
    Heart: That’s cool!
    Head: Is it? Having to tell some people yes and some people no?
    Heart: Um… not that bit.FIGHT!
    Head: No. Still okay with it?
    Heart: … Yeah. Yeah, I can do that.
    Head: Okay, so what about keeping the cast happy?
    Heart: It’s pantoland, everyone’s happy!
    Head: Not always – you need to listen to everyone. Sometimes you’ll need to make a decision that’s right for the show, but it might put noses out of joint. It’s a tightrope. You’re doing a million things in the background and in your head, people only see what’s happening on the surface.
    Heart: You’re making this less fun.
    Head: I’m being practical.
    Heart: But what about the fun? And spending time with my friends, and being part of something meaningful? And being instrumental in something that is an actual part of the Christmas tradition for families?
    Head: About that – do you really want that pressure?
    Heart: Of having fun?
    Head: Of not ruining Christmas. Of taking on arguably the most successful ‘amateur’ pantomime in Britain.
    Heart: What?
    Head: Sells out in advance, raises large amounts for charity, keeps ticket prices low to ensure everyone has access to family entertainment, keeps subs low to ensure everyone has access to being in panto, amazing costumes and sets and lights and sound, bespoke music…
    Heart: Alright alright alright. Yes, I want all those good things. And yes, I will take on all the bad things.
    Head: What about the year after?
    Head: What. About. The.
    Heart: I heard you. Yes. The year after. And the year after that. I’ll take it. All of it.

    And so I said yes.

    Onwards to Oz…

  6. To my students

    December 26, 2015 by Amy Hansford

    We’re steaming towards 2016, which means it’s nearly 12 years since I started teaching. Alright, admittedly that’s then 8 years since I then stopped teaching, technically, then returning later with that drama programme. But either way, the point is that that some of those 9 & 10 year olds I taught way back when are now old enough to be having their own kids, finding the loves of their lives and well, being adults themselves.

    I generally have a pretty good memory, but when it comes to names I am as useful as a chocolate teapot on a fireplace. For the first term, most children in my class were known as Sweetie or My Lovely. I just could never get a handle on names. A decade on and I haven’t a chance of remembering the names of any of them. But I do remember the funny moments. And it’d be a shame to forget those. Needless to say, all names are made up because I can’t actually remember any of them.

    Sultana (9) asking for the Ooh La song while the year 5 class worked. After she sang it for me, I realised she wanted Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy by Queen.

    Jareth (10) explaining why the £ sign and $ sign reverted to different sides of the cell in Excel with “*sigh* Because Americans just don’t think”.

    Shabana (9) rocking out the wooden cut out saxophone during the sax solo of Merry Christmas Everyone, and my class being the best performance at the Christmas show that year despite me being off with the flu.

    Zoey (10) bringing me back a little necklace from her holiday which I still have and I still wear.

    Mansoor (10) buying me a kingsize Mars Bar for Christmas from his own money; still the most meaningful gift from a student I’ve ever received.

    Oliver (10) cracking out serious dance moves to Banana Phone.

    All of these kids were brilliant in their own unique ways, and I genuinely think about them often with high aspirations of how they have turned out. I can only hope that they are all happy, kind hearted and doing what they want to do, having remembered my life lessons on questioning everything, being open to opinions and using their imaginations. So to all of the kids out there – you may be adults now, but don’t be in a rush to be grown ups. Keep your imaginations burning brightly, and make sure your kids do too one day.

    Miss Wake

  7. We are in

    July 27, 2015 by Amy Hansford

    Hello lovely blog readers!

    It’s been a while, hasn’t it? The result is that I have more things to blog about, so… you know. Less blank spaces. *Sweeps away three months worth of tumbleweed*

    The good news is that we are in our new house and it is lovely. Really lovely. As bizarre as it sounds, it’s like this has always been our house, and that the previous owners were caring for it until we were ready to move in. People have jested that this is a grown-up house. And I’m happy with that – this is the house. This is where we live and are going to live for a very long time. I suspect I will only finally leave this happy home in a box.

    I found the moving day completely stress free, which can only mean that Alex was going through hell. The removal team, WS Removals, were fantastic. A great bunch of lads, very professional but good fun too. And so quick – we were lucky enough to be able to collect the new house keys at 10am, so we were in by lunch.

    unpackingOne of my guilty pleasures is unpacking. If we are ever staying elsewhere overnight, it’s a secret joy for me to find temporary new homes from all that has escaped with us in our bags. And all though I look a bit puffed out, it made my day to find homes for everything in the new kitchen.

    The space – it’s glorious. I have swung my cat in most rooms (in my arms being cuddled rather than by the tail, admittedly).
    Alex has installed all number of cables and wires that do things.
    Everything has a place.
    We have a stunning kitchen table.
    We have a modular sofa from Nabru so we just added an extra bit and changed the covers. Bam – new sofa.
    We have changed the kitchen light fittings to make them a little bit steampunk. Not over the top, just a little bit.
    We have a mortgage (gulp) including pennies for a loft extension.
    I have a creative room. A room specifically for music, sewing and costumes.
    Alex has his own dedicated office space, and will be getting a bigger one soon – half the new top floor.

    gardenI have begun to weed the garden and understand its contents. Going from a little courtyard and patio to have a full on garden is a revelation. The patio door is always open. I have actually befriended spiders. Wasps trapped in the kitchen peacefully walk onto my finger so I can take them into the garden. I am becoming Snow White. I have so little idea of what most things in the garden are, I’m still getting my head around it all. The neighbours all have allotments with huge crops of fruit and veg. We plan on having a little bit of a foody corner in our garden – we’ll keep the allotment offers at bay for another few years yet.

    We still have lots to do – we’re taking out the archway between the kitchen and dining area, redecorating, and of course planning Halloween. It turns out that 31st October is a far bigger deal over in this neck of the woods, and I’m thrilled. I love giggles and families doing something together. To have an entire community getting stuck in is something I’m just not used to, but am more than happy to embrace. According to our neighbours, the previous owners of this house had a pretty decent standard of Halloween decoration and a good reputation for giving out goodies. I’m happy to take that on 🙂

    As for Little L, she now has a HUGE bedroom which doubles up as a playroom. The day she arrived at our new house (TOP TIP: she’s stayed with my parents for the first three days), she wandered blissfully happily into the garden, knelt down to feel the grass, then laid down in it to make a grass angel. It was heartwarming to see that we clearly made the right decision in moving house to somewhere she can play in the garden.

    And as for those original school choices from back at the start of the year, guess what? Little L now has a place in one of the top schools in MK.

    So yes. New starts. In more ways that one – more about that later.



  8. A new year, a new me

    January 23, 2015 by Amy Hansford

    That’s a misleading title really – I’m still me, but I have different priorities this year. I’ve not blogged because I’m too darn busy. And I won’t be blogging regularly (not that I particularly was) because I am excited about other things and other writings.

    I spent Christmas between my lovely, wonderful family and my lovely, wonderful panto famalam (pictured). Panto (Rapunzel) went exceedingly well – full houses every night, many giggles, 72 custard pies received and countless shenanigans both backstage, onstage and at the pub. No post show blues for me this year as I’ve been cracking on with co-writing next year’s panto, which is all jolly exciting.



    Family Christmas was really lovely. As a child, Christmas day was spent at my grandparents. Everyone would cram in, open presents, eat, fall asleep then somehow we would make it home. As a teenager, it was Christmas with Mum then Boxing Day with Dad. And then everything changed. I didn’t have a mum anymore, so I didn’t have somewhere I was meant to be on 25th December. We had Christmas in, Christmas out, Christmas with the sibling-in-laws. Then everything finally came together – Dad and my Step-Mum got married and bought a house together. The grandparents had a house big enough to fit us all in for. 2014 was the first time I’ve spent Christmas Day with my dad since circa 1990. And it was the whole family together, just wonderfully warm and brilliant and happy and relaxed and great and… Christmas. Sharing a bottle of wine with my Step-Mum, Little L harassing my step-brother (she’s 3 foot, he’s about 7 foot, it’s a hilarious pairing), decorating the dinner table. Just wonderful. Same again next year, I think.

    Merry Christmas. (A bit late.)

  9. Top 10 Musicals: Anything Goes

    October 1, 2014 by Amy Hansford

    Continuing on my top 10 musicals, here’s the last one on the list.

    Anything Goes (1934)

    In 1987, I knew the words to Anything Goes. In Mandarin. Sort of. Thanks to Indiana Jones and Temple Of Doom, I wanted to be that sparkly dressed lady singing a catchy tune (another pattern emerging here). In 2007, I was cast as Reno Sweeney in the musical of Anything Goes. I was given the chance, finally, and possibly the only time it will ever happen, to play the lead in a musical. It was incredible.


    We played to 1/3 full houses (the mistake of being a small group hiring a big theatre) but I didn’t care – I was having a ball, I wore sequined dresses, I danced with men (having been consigned to chorus up to this point in my life this had never happened) and I received standing ovations. It was a fantastic experience for me and has stayed with me since. I may not get the chance to be a leading lady again, but I will always have Reno.


  10. Top 10 Musicals: The Producers

    September 30, 2014 by Amy Hansford

    Continuing on my top 10 musicals, here’s the next on the list.

    The Producers (2001)

    You’ll never guess where I saw this. Go on, guess. Yep. NYC. Front row centre. Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. I had seen the film but this was new. Fresh. HILARIOUS. I cried with laughter. We were near enough that Matthew Broderick sang, spat a bit, and it hit me. Yuk, I know, but HELLO – good seats for $20! I loved the spectacle of the show, the slickness of the delivery. I loved the comedy woman at the end of the row of all the beautiful women – seeing myself in a show again. There are so many wonderful moments in the stage show that just don’t feature in the film. Although to be fair, the film is pretty darn close. Tap dancing zimmer frames. Men dressed as women (again, I think the film misses this). And the pigeons, OH the pigeons.

    I realize I’m just spurting out highlights here – you really do need to go and see it. But make sure you get a good Max and Leo; it’ll be a mission to live up to the originals. (And yes I know they weren’t the originals, I love me a bit of Gene Wilder, but they were the originals in this format.) I wanna be a producer…