Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The blog that time forgot!

It is a long time since I wrote on my blog! Since I last wrote lots of things have happened, some good and some bad. We have lost several friends in the last few years and in June 2017 lost our gorgeous Holly, the family Labrador. It has been very hard accepting the new situation. Joan has been quite poorly with rheumatoid arthritis and has recently undergone infusion treatment which we do hope will work out. 
On a positive note we became grandparents for the first time in April with the arrival of Finley Kempster Blyth. Helen and James are hard at work being new parents as well as James moving to a new job with the Ordnance Survey in Southampton. 
Rob has passed his driving test and takes delivery of his car today or in the next few days. We are so glad he is now independent no longer having to rely on friends for lifts all the time and I will not miss the journey to Preston and back! 
I am still busy with magic having been appointed a Regional Representative and Examiner (Theory) for The Magic Circle and continuing as Chairman of The Modern Mystic League (Blackburn & District Society of Magicians) - see my web site www.rogerwoodsmagic.co.uk for more information. I am enjoying giving lots of talks to various groups.  
Joan continues as Brown Owl and is always busy planning or making things for the Brownies to do. Our friends Dale and Jackie have helped us so much in the garden although the weather has been too wet lately - I am still waiting to do the lawns! 
There is so much more I could write but that will do for the time being.
Roger


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Catching up on my blog; The Centenary Year of The Modern Mystic League etc.,

It is surprising when you are busy how keeping up with your blog seems to go to the bottom of the list! I haven't posted for so long but I would like to catch up a bit if I can.

2014 is the Centenary year of The Modern Mystic League (Blackburn & District Society of Magicians) so it has been rather special with lots of events going on. The highlight was undoubtedly the Annual Banquet which took place earlier this month at the Mytton Fold Hotel, Langho near Blackburn. John Pye, Trevor Dawson (Centenary President) and Paul Daniels all spoke and I was pleased to read out messages from the Ledwick and Demaline families and Scott Penrose, new President of The Magic Circle and Shawn Farquhar, International President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Brian Sefton and Paul Daniels starred in the cabaret and it was a splendid evening. Debbie McGee (Mrs Daniels) spoke the following day on stagecraft and being a magician's assistant. She proved she is definitely not 'a dumb blonde' as she claimed but has considerable knowledge of all aspects of these topics having trained to a high level as a ballet dancer with the Royal Ballet School before moving into the world of magician's assistant (and wife!) to Paul Daniels. The advice which Paul and Debbie gave to us all, particularly our Junior members, was priceless based on many years of performing experience. 

Our daughter Helen and son in law James were able to visit us for the weekend and along with our son Rob really enjoyed themselves. Joan was sat next to Paul Daniels on the top table and he was telling stories and jokes and doing tricks all night; she was very impressed. He is genuinely a nice guy. 

Helen and James were married in May in Hampshire and that's another whole story save to say that the day was superb with the weather, Church service and Reception all perfect.

Later in May Joan and I visited the Northern Magic Circle Convention in Harrogate when I passed on the Presidential Chain of Office to my successor John Russell. It was a super weekend and we look forward to returning to Harrogate next April for the 2015 Convention. 
Holly, our Labrador, went on her own holiday that weekend with "Digs For Dogs" and we were very impressed with their services as Holly was placed with a lovely family in Bury. She was fine and we highly recommend "Digs For Dogs" to any dog lovers in our area.

Joan and I went on a City Break to Dublin last month and really enjoyed ourselves. We will have to go again. I had bought Dublin Passes and Leap Cards for transport before we went and they were very worthwhile. We had a great time going on musical pub crawls and seeing a lot of the sights.

I am keeping busy with magic. Having passed the audition at the WI HQ (!) I am now on their speakers list and have got quite a few bookings this year and next. I've also been reading a lot about the First World War it being the Centenary year for the start of this momentous event. I've also been trying to catch up on learning Spanish again and practising my violin. There is a lot more I could say but will leave it at that for now. 




Friday, 3 January 2014

Northern Magic Circle President's Dinner February 15th, 2014

It seems such a long time since I last wrote on my blog as I have been so busy with one thing or another. 2013 just sped by and now at the beginning of 2014 there is a lot going on. My Northern Magic Circle President's Dinner will soon be here in February and the details are as follows: 

The Northern Magic Circle President's Dinner (Dr Roger Woods, President 2013 - 2014) is to be held at the Mytton Fold Hotel, Langho, Blackburn, Lancashire BB6 8AB on Saturday evening 15th February, 2014. Tickets are £32 per person (cheques payable to "The Northern Magic Circle") and are available from Roger Woods (telephone 01706 212570 e-mail woods.roger1953@gmail.com). The top table guest will be Neil Roberts, President of the British Ring of the IBM, and the cabaret artists are Dave Andrews, Shaun McCree and Peter Dean. It will be a superb evening so if you fancy a lovely weekend in the Lancashire countryside with a splendid meal and first class entertainment please order your tickets now! 
Please contact the Hotel direct, telephone 01706 240662 if you require accommodation.The Foxfields Country Hotel is also nearby, telephone 01706 822556. 

I hope all my magic friends will be able to attend as it really will be a good evening. 

The Modern Mystic League (Blackburn & District Society of Magicians) celebrates its Centenary in 2014 so look out for lots of events during the year. A book "The Centenary History of The Modern Mystic League", which I have been working on for some time, will be published towards the end of the year.

Helen and James are getting married in May and shortly after there is the Northern Magic Circle Convention in Harrogate when I pass on the Presidential Chain of Office to my successor, John Russell. In the meantime I have enjoyed being President immensely visiting different events and magic societies throughout the north of England. 

It is also the Centenary year for the Brownies so Joan will be busy organising events for them. She is taking them to PGL this year which will be fun for them. 

Along with magic I have also been practising my violin, researching the family tree and trying to maintain my interests in Spanish, Yoga, my computer, Bible study, Sherlock Holmes - so there are hardly enough hours in the day and I am never bored! 



Monday, 1 July 2013

Flamin' June!

June was a very busy month. On the 6th I gave a lecture "Some of my favourite close up effects" to the Hull Magicians' Circle at the invitation of their President, Professor Eddie Dawes. Luckily I had been doing lots of practice as I showed the same tricks in my talks in May to the Junior sections of the Northern Magic Circle. I had a pleasant evening in Hull where the members are all enthusiastic about magic. 
Sunday 9th June was the Chairman's Day at The Modern Mystic League (Blackburn & District Society of Magicians). The theme this year was birthday magic and I am grateful to all the performers who took part, Donald (compere), Paul (G), Matthew, Trevor (D), Ron, Lorenzo and Brian. It was good to see two of our Junior members having a go as well as some of our experience Senior members. Again a very pleasant afternoon. 
The following week The Modern Mystic League took part in a Victorian charity fun day at Oswaldtwistle Mills. This was interesting as the working conditions at a fair of this type are quite different from the usual dinners and parties. It was hard work but good fun and I got to wear my bowler hat! 
On the 18th June I went to see the brilliant Jan Logemann lecture at the Fylde Mystics' . He is the FISM World Champion of Card Magic. His performing advice was priceless and his effects just mind blowing. Go and see him magicians if you get a chance. 
On my 60th birthday weekend I celebrated 50 years in magic as it all began with a David Nixon magic set when I was 10 years old! I know many magicians who have been involved longer than this but it is still a significant period. 
The Northern Magic Circle President's Day on the 23rd June was a splendid occasion when many friends came from all over the north of England and elsewhere. I gave my lecture on Houdini v Hodgson, The Blackburn Challenge 1902 and after a lovely buffet tea we had a magic show from Brian, Paul and Donald, all members of both the MML and the NMC. Brian was a humorous compere, Paul baffled with some great effects and Donald was just so funny. Paul had a special item which produced my picture (see the photos on my Facebook page).
Then on Thursday 27th the monthly MML Workshop meeting was as enjoyable as ever with lots of discussion and ideas being presented. Paul (Guy) is lecturing at the MML on 14th July and he should be worth watching as he has a great reputation for adapting magic effects in an original way.
Away from magic I am reading about Castles and Dan Brown's latest "Inferno" which I am enjoying as Joan and I visited Florence, Italy a few years ago and spent a week (not long enough!) exploring all the Renaissance sites which are referenced to so much in his book. Incidentally, Dan Brown's birthday is also on the 22nd June! 



Sunday, 26 May 2013

National Health Service - urgent care experience

No wonder NHS Accident and Emergency is said to be in crisis! Our son Robert was taken by ambulance to the Royal Blackburn Hospital urgent care unit yesterday having suffered a series of epileptic fits. We arrived around 3 p.m. and (having left Robert in hospital overnight for observations) finally got home after 11 p.m. after 8 hours with a lot of waiting about. I cannot praise the ambulance, medical and hospital staff enough. They did a thoroughly professional job and Robert has now been allowed home. However, the urgent care unit appeared to be overwhelmed. There seemed to be so many patients who had walked in; they would have a very long wait after emergencies and those brought in by ambulance. But, why were they there at all? Minor injuries should be treated locally either at the local health hub or by general practitioners. 
Unfortunately, it being a particularly busy Saturday night (I suppose they all are), the situation is not helped by those abusing alcohol and drugs who are part of the standard fare I suppose of these units. They put great pressure on the staff, who continue to be patient and professional despite the abuse and bad language, and unnerve other patients who have a genuine need to 
be there.


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Northern Magic Circle

The Northern Magic Circle Council meeting on Sunday was most productive and I am looking forward to an exciting Convention next year. Plans are ongoing and it certainly looks most promising. 
I must spare a thought for my good friend and magic colleague Mo Howarth. He rang yesterday to day he had had a heart attack and had been in the Royal Blackburn Hospital for three days although was now home again. He must rest and will miss lots of magic events in the next few weeks. Get well soon Mo!
I have e-mailed all the Northern Magic Circle members and Modern Mystic League members on e-mail to let me know if they are coming to my President's Day at the Sunnybank Social Club, Helmshore, Rossendale, Lancashire BB4 4LQ on Sunday 23rd June. Commencing at 3 p.m. there is an updated lecture on Houdini v Hodgson, The Blackburn Challenge 1902, by me, followed by a buffet tea and raffle and then entertainment from some good friends at the Modern Mystic League. I am hoping it will be an enjoyable and fun day. For those travelling further there are the Helmshore Textiles Museum, the Musbury Fabrics Mill Shop and the Holden Vale Antiques Centre all nearby with cafes for morning coffee or lunch.
There is a workshop meeting of the Modern Mystic League later this week. These are always enjoyable and you cannot fail to come away without some new ideas and renewed enthusiasm.
I received the new Roberto Giobbi book this week, The Art of Switching Decks. It certainly looks good and another one to add to the list to study! 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Northern Magic Circle Yorkshire Juniors

I visited the Northern Magic Circle Yorkshire Juniors last night (following my visit to the Newcastle section last week) and had a good time showing them some of my favourite close up magic tricks and explaining them. Their enthusiasm is infectious and it is good to see them learning so much about magic. Su Jayne was there again with Stevie B (immediate Past President of the Northern Magic Circle). I am sure the juniors appreciate the time Su Jayne and Stevie give to the Junior Section. The drive over was not great with a traffic jam at the end of the M65 (which I suppose is to be expected on a Friday tea time). I thought the drive home would be easier but ended up following a convoy of fairground lorries and caravans for quite a way! Have now sorted out the tricks ready for my next visit. What a great interest magic is :-)