8th – 10th september 2016   |   7.45PM ACANTEEN   |   NEW LONDON ROAD   |   CHELMSFORD TICKETS £10 What’s the most awkward dinner conversation you’ve had?  For our debut at ACante…

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About Us

Mad Apple Collective was formed in 2013 when Artistic Director Danny Segeth was approached by Chelmsford City Council to produce an event for The Fling Festival. Since then, we’ve been workin…

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Diary of a dog called Beth: Agility.


Equation: One hour at agility with Beth = a lifetime of pure frustration. 

‘You’re supposed to go through the tunnel. Not run along the top.’ Beth looks so pleased with herself. She is in paradise, all these dogs. This is pure playtime. The trainer I call ‘Grandma trainer’ shouts at her collie to stop chasing the long-haired hound round and through the course, totally distracting all the other dogs who want to join in, mayhem rules. I try to control Beth who desperately wants to join them. Once order is restored, we go back to the start of the course and I position Beth to go over the jump and through the tunnel.

She’s got the message, into the tunnel entrance she runs and in ecstasy I rush to the other end. She’s not there. No. Madam is still at the entrance, peering along the tunnel at me with a cheeky look, laughing at me.   Seems my signals still aren’t clear enough. ‘We’re getting there,’ says the grandmotherly trainer kindly.

At last all seems to click into place, the tunnel, yes, run through it. Now over the jump – There is a God, she has – throw her toy over the last jump. She stops, looks at me as if to say, ‘I’m on strike. Where’s my treat.’ So, back we trudge to the start for our nth attempt. ‘Don’t worry,’ says Grandma trainer. I’m not. ‘The others have been coming for a long time,’ she says sympathetically. My focus is Beth not the other dogs and owners. She needs the stimulus and I am in desperate need of the training.

Later, trying to get Beth along the plank, which, requires Beth stopping at the end with her two front paws on the grass and hind legs on the plank end I’m told ‘Your commands. They’re not clear enough. Beth doesn’t understand what you’re signalling, I mean, Beth’s great. She’s trying to understand. Just look at her.’ Miss Unpronounceable Greek name trainer says in a gooey voice. ‘She’s really enjoying herself.’ Basically Miss unpronounceable Greek name is saying ‘Beth’s great, you’re rubbish.’ Which is exactly the reason I am here, to learn how to do it.

Beth loves the seesaw, where the lessons learned on the plank come into their own. She stops like a good girl at the end with both front paws on the grass and hind paws on the plank. ‘Such a good dog,’ coos Miss Unpronounceable Greek name trainer. Beth glows in her glory.

The question is, will I survive? Let’s see what happens next week.

Jim was there to meet us to walk home over the fields. The Swan was en route, which gave me the opportunity to relax and Jim the excuse for a beer. Jim is quite taken with this agility plan. It was dark when we arrived home, with Venus shining brightly in a sky clear of cloud. Good day, tired dog, lovely walk home. Bliss is…… Let’s see what happens next week.

Another dollar, another day

As my mother used to say.  So, this pitching to publishers, or whomsoever?  What’s it all about I might ask?  Seems it depends on not on;y the pitcher’s expertize in expressing an idea in as few words as possible but a way of reading the person pitching to.  Yes.  This is vital.  My latest experience last Saturday was a wonderful view of the different ways a ‘publisher’ reacts to different ‘pitchers’. This was a workshop by a well respected writer/director/etc etc etc – who worked mainly in the field of  television and radio. The day rambled on with interesting discussion about writing for film, TV and radio.  Great, though my chair became increasingly hard.  Some of the others showed their faces and marks.  I did tend to keep quiet.  It was interesting to hear people’s views about programmes I haven’t watched or listened to.  I was there to learn – about what was expected from writers when they pitch a story.  AND this workshop promised an opportunity to practice a pitch to a REAL LIVE Producer of film and script for radio.  REASON I WAS THERE.  The time came – and as I had been told, the producer fired tough questions.  I’d prepared something I wasn’t really wanting to write as a script – just  for the exercise, – and was really interested to see the way he shot my idea down.  Brilliant.  This is what I wanted and need – to learn to overcome the challenges.  Interestingly, because I wasn’t committed to my story idea I wasn’t able to respond to his hard questions, and response that the idea wouldn’t work, wasn’t realistic.  OKAY.  That’s his view from his experience.  Then he surprised me by asking if I had any other ideas.  Well – I had.  Something completely different, that wasn’t even written down.  He asked me to pitch it, which I did from the top of my head.  A subject I knew thoroughly, and was full of funny experiences and situations.  He liked it and asked to see the script – SOMETHING I HADN’T PREPARED OR CONSIDERED SUBMITTING FOR CONSIDERATION.  So – What does this tell me?

Intarsia madness

10686996_10152886352569721_2476805594616312659_nThis, when finished, will be a scarf. All I need to do is repeat the pattern six times.  OK! Well.  Firstly I needed to buy the wool, Rowan’s best – from English sheep, I learned was held in their warehouse in Germany.  This put the project back two months whilst waiting for the wool to be delivered.  OK – Why not keep our wool in Germany? After all, we ARE part of the Common Market.  Rowan HQ by the way, is in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.  Not too far from where I live.  AND the old mill there used to be where the wool was spun and bound into balls, after all Holmfirth is in the middle of Mill country, sheep rearing country, where worsteds were woven through the centuries.  I don’t think the people of Holmfirth were too impressed to find their jobs being transferred to Germany.  But, heck.  We are ALL part of the EU aren’t we?  Mustn’t grumble about our heritage work being transferred to Germany, after all, the mill would have employed mainly women, so it doesn’t matter if they lose their jobs does it?  I mean – I expect the village of Holmfirth will be able to provide employment for those made redundant.

Anyways – once I’d received the wool I found it was 2ply, thin stuff.  Big sigh.  This project is going to end up like my cross stitch patchwork cushion that became a major project in the 1970’s – nearly took the ten years of the 70’s to complete.

Then, of course I have the battle for my space on the sofa to deal with as well.  Beth is laying claim to the sofa.  Whenever I sit down she wants my space.  I then move to let her have the part I have warmed, which she immeiately moves onto, stretching to take up at least two thirds of the seat.


Well.  To be truthful, this is Beth’s designed total takeover of both the sofa and Jim’s chair.  So, being left with a miniscule space to knit I am finding it hard to manipulate the narrow, slim knitting needles.  As soon as I start to knit, and, in particular when I reach a difficult part requiring attaching new wool colours and counting, Beth turns herself and plonks her head on my knee, dmanding 100% attention and love.  So – it is debatable when this scarf will be finished.  Perhaps I ought to leave it to someone in my will.  Any offers?


Not being a chocoholic I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.  OK so chocolate was sent to the troops at the front in WW1, wonderful gesture from the company that made the chocolate, part of its war effort.  It seems that one soldier sent his box back home to his mother.  Was that a kind gesture on his part to celebrate, perhaps her birthday, or as a Christmas present.  He could have eaten it and sent her the tin it was in, which she would have used to keep her precious things, such as silks, cottons, needles etc.  Instead she kept it, didn’t eat it, but kept it and it ended up in a museum display in York.  So – it seems, not everyone is as amoured with chocolate as we are made to believe.

In a previous life I was employed as ‘evening turn down’ chambermaid at The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey, and had to leave a chocolate on the pillow; a part-time job I hasten to say, to supplement my full-time job.  Having said that I loved this job, stepping out my awful day-time job into a glimpse of luxury, before returning to my then absolutely horrendous home life where I was just so tired I’d ignore the hassle given to fall into bed to sleep, blessed sleepDSCN1266[Sorry – Couldn’t find a picture of Chocolates so I thought this photo of Scottish fudge might activate the tastebuds!!!!].

Once, when going on holiday,  I left a scattering of chocolates on my wonderful husband, Jim’s pillow. That same night he went to bed in the dark, and didn’t see them until the morning when he couldn’t understand why his face was covered in chocolate.