Sunday, 31 October 2021

31 Days of Halloween: Day 30

The big weekend is here! And today was a busy day, involving several costume changes and a little bit of performance (and some pumpkin pie!).

Litter-Pick in the Woods

In honour of the spooky season, the monthly Friends of Bailey's Wood litter-pick was a fancy dress this month. I went as an angel, for reasons that might become clear shortly!

Hannah's Bookshelf Halloween Special

The Hannah's Bookshelf Halloween Special was on North Manchester FM. I presented the shortlisted stories for this year's 3 Minute Scares competition and, as is customary, I presented the show in fancy dress (the other half of my two-part costume for the day).

Dinner with my Mother-in-Law

Rob and I were at his mum's tonight for a Halloween dinner tonight. We took the opportunity to show off our Cluedo costumes in person, and also to partake of her very special pumpkin pie. My costume was not the most comfortable, so I did change into a slightly less coherent outfit later in the evening (complete with Halloween headband, Billy the Puppet earrings, and an appropriately spooky dress).

Today's Story

Today's story - the final story (as my book of '31 Horror Stories' turned out to only have 30 in it) - was 'Corabella' by David Fletcher. A creepy-kids story with a great final line. A good way to conclude my Halloween story-a-day.

Today's Tea

Today's tea (the penultimate tea!) was Bram Stoker from The Literary Tea Company, a fruit infusion with morello cherries. It's blood-red, of course, and it tastes delightfully and dramatically of sour cherries.

Saturday, 30 October 2021

31 Days of Halloween: Day 29

My Halloween month is about to go up a gear as we approach the big day. I've got a few things planned for this weekend, but Friday was a pretty busy day as well.

Dracula Film Afternoon plus The Raven

Today was the annual Halloween Afternoon at Castlerea House (the care home where I volunteer on Friday afternoons). I kicked things off with the now-traditional dramatic reading of The Raven, complete with audience participation. And then the big event was the film. This year, the residents voted for their favourite Dracula and Bela Lugosi won! I think there might have been something wrong with my popcorn though.

Fancy Dress Cluedo

Every Friday, me, Rob and my mother-in-law play Cluedo together online. In honour of the spooky season, we played this week's game in fancy dress. We each picked our favourite character and dressed up as them for the night. I think we did pretty well too - my mother-in-law knitted a 7' scarf especially for tonight, and I learnt how to tie a cravat! Rob's mask was truly unsettling, though and I don't know if he should wear it again.

Ten Tales

The second series of Ten Tales, my series of seasonal (and local) ghost stories continued tonight on North Manchester FM. The second tale in this series is called 'Nocturne', and it's set in Crumpsall.

Today's Story

Today's story was 'Not After Midnight' by Daphne du Maurier. By far the longest story in the collection, this one builds up slowly with plenty of intrigue and suggestion. Oh, and a slightly obnoxious narrator.

Today's Tea

Today's tea was We Are the Weirdos, Mister from Tenacious Tea, rooibos with orange, ginger and star anise.

Friday, 29 October 2021

31 Days of Halloween: Day 28

And so... it's my last quiet day before the big weekend. And the last day when I won't be wearing at least one costume!

Today's Story

Today's story was 'The Terrapin' by Patricia Highsmith. This is the one story that I've found unpleasant to read, but then I don't cope well with descriptions of cruelty to animals in horror fiction. This one was a bit grim.

Today's Tea

Today's tea was Hubble Bubble from Rosie Lea Tea, a rooibos tea flavoured with caramel and apple. This is a tasty tea, nicely caramelly. It's got a lovely deep red colour to it as well.

31 Days of Halloween: Day 27

Another day in my month of Halloween... and the big day is getting ever closer. Today, as well as my usual story and tea, we were at the theatre!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Rob and I were at Oldham Coliseum tonight to see The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (by Tilted Wig Productions). We really enjoyed the play. Excellent Halloween fun, and the staging and effects were impressively spectacular!

Today's Story

Today's story was 'The Question' by Stanley Ellin. This is the second Ellin story in the book, and it's an off-beat little piece about an executioner. The 'question' in question is a doozy as well.

Today's Tea

Today's tea was Victorian London Fog from Harney and Sons... one of my favourite names from all the teas this month! It's a rather nice Earl Grey (and I say that as someone who doesn't normally like Earl Grey).

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

31 Days of Halloween: Day 26

Another quiet day on the Halloween front, with just a story and a tea. I'm pacing myself ahead of the big weekend, of course.

Today's Story

Today's story was 'Robert' by Stanley Ellin (the first of two Ellin stories in the book). A creepy kid, a possibly unhinged teacher, and an ending not dissimilar to Eden Lake (imho). All good stuff.

Today's Tea

Today's tea was Is a Bella's Brew? from Mindful Roots Tea - Assam tea with coconut, apple and strawberry (and to make this work, I'm sort of pretending the Bella in question is Bella Swan). This is such a cute tea. It's sweet and coconutty, but also very definitely... tea.

31 Days of Halloween: Day 25

A quiet day in my Halloween month, so just a story and a tea today, but both very enjoyable!

Today's Story

Today's story was 'Pig' by Roald Dahl, a delightfully unpleasant story that I've read before but was pleased (in a macabre way) to read again.

Today's Tea

Today's tea was Bonfire Toffee from Bird and Blend Tea Co., a smoky black tea with caramel and apple flavours. Now that's a tasty tea! The smokiness isn't overpowering, and the caramel flavour is very pleasant.