Thirty years ago today Mr Esther and I kissed for the first time and we have been together ever since.

Thirty years sounds way longer than it feels. At the time when we got together at ages 21 (me) and 20 (him) I already felt quite grown up but in hindsight we were so young! From day one it just felt right to be together and when we got married 7.5 years later it felt right as well; there were no wedding jitters whatsoever, there was just joy. New love has grown into a strong, steady and very meaningful love and yes, I fully realise how lucky I am to have such a smart, handsome, sexy, funny, tolerant, thoughtful partner and father to our children. It’s a lifetime together and I’m glad I get to share it with him. What Mr E and I have is forever and I very much look forward to our next thirty years. ❤️

Sirius Black

Just a quick post as I’ve been engrossed in Harry Potter movies the past few days. I decided to watch the 20th anniversary reunion show and that made me realize I’d forgotten a lot about these movies as it’s been ages since I’ve seen them. So, after watching that show, which I found quite touching despite me not being a hardcore fan, I decided to dive into the movies again. I wanted to refresh my memory on the plot but also for the cast, especially Alan Rickman who was so brilliant as Professor Snape. His entrance just after 1 minute 10 in this really fun party scene from the sixth movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince gives a teeny glimpse into his magnetic and sometimes very amusing performance as Snape.

I also remember really liking Gary Oldman in Harry Potter

Seeing (parts of) the movies again, I was reminded how wonderful Gary actually was as Sirius Black and I’m in love all over again. My heart really beats faster for those little winks alone (ask Mr Esther, I adore winks)…

… but also for his wisdom…

… and for so much more…

I so wish he’d been around much more and much longer in the books and movies. Now all that’s left is to daydream about him, so I will go and do that now…

Romance and success

Yes, it is exciting to see new Richard Armitage interviews appearing as Stay Close marketing starts to kick into gear. There was this video interview in a Hello article that I really liked and Guytly has just unearthed a second Richard interview for Stay Close. I was going to blog about that this evening and take screenshots to share and all but then real life excitement happened and overshadowed it all.

First off, Mr Esther dropped off mini me at school today and I thought it took unusually long for him to return. There were some traffic issues but he had also stopped by a florist on his way home to get me this…

The reason? His card said that he and I had moved in together 25 years, 4 months and 18 days ago and that means that as of now he has been very happily living with me for more than half his life! How absolutely loving and romantic is that? Mr E is not one for sentimentality and overt romantic gestures, his love is usually expressed more subtly, but then he does something completely surprising like this and my heart melts. I really hit the jackpot finding this man as my life partner so many years ago.

Then, at the end of the afternoon, after I had picked up mini me from school and we walked into the house, Junior met us with great news. We already knew that he had passed all his final vocational education exams that he resat in October and now his final assignments he had handed in more than a month ago have finally been approved as well. This means that he has now earned his diploma that he may pick up tomorrow! Junior can now wholly concentrate on his gap year and the choices he still wants to make for his future. We are very proud and happy parents today.

So, yes, fandom news is lovely but nothing beats personal romance and your child’s success.

Delft 22 years later

On Monday, July 26th 1999 this happened in Delft…

… and this evening, exactly 22 years later and also on a Monday, we were in Delft again to celebrate our anniversary…

… with a nice dinner at an Argentinian restaurant together with our kids…

Little celebrations commemorating big celebrations are precious things.

Seven years of The Crucible

Yesterday Richard Armitage tweeted this…

… and I can relate to the feeling old statement. It doesn’t feel like seven years ago that this play was staged at The Old Vic in London and that I went to see it during ‘the summer of love’, a term coined by some Armitage fans at the time due to the outpouring of love for this production and for Richard during that summer run. The Crucible gave me a lot personally as well.

By the time I traveled with my husband to London in July of 2014 to see The Crucible, I had been an Armitage fan for 8 years. I was a solitary fangirl at the time, eagerly slurping up Richard Armitage news and discussions on message boards and on certain blogs, lurking but never jumping in myself. During that summer, Servetus on her blog very helpfully kept a running commentary on all stage door encounters that were shared online, hence making it really feel like a summer of love for me. Check out the archives on her blog for June – September of 2014 if you are curious to see pictures of fans with Richard and read fan reports.

In tandem with this trip I had also been wanting to jump in to blogging on my own blog for a long time. I had started this blog with a single post in 2013 but didn’t know where to go from there as I didn’t want to write a single issue blog, so I stopped again. I was feeling especially inspired by some other Armitage blogs I also read (like Guylty’s blog or Herba’s blog and some other really great blogs that have alas gone silent over time, but popped up again partially during last year’s online blog reunion, see this Twitter hashtag).

Anyway, during this summer of Crucible love I started to feel the pull to also share my Crucible play and stage door experience. I was just a bit iffy about the public attention, i.e. worried that if I did get active, I too would eventually be caught in fandom spats as I had seen happening from the beginning of my fangirling days. I wanted to share but I didn’t want the drama, real life was busy enough. Then in September of 2014 I finally decided to stop over-thinking and over-analyzing, I just jumped in and wrote about my Crucible experience. With that post, really, this blog was born. Richard Armitage in The Crucible and the fans’ enthusiasm had pulled me over the edge and finally got me blogging. I didn’t announce anything about that post anywhere and it wasn’t until a few months later that this blog even started getting any traction but the slow start suited me well.

Not only did The Crucible get me blogging, it also, very importantly, led to my first personal encounter with Richard Armitage whom I had admired from afar for all those years. I can still remember the excitement while meeting him and handing him a little gift and exhanging a few quick words with him. Alas my camera failed that evening (also it was dark outside that stage door) and the pictures are all grainy but I don’t mind so much as the memories are all still there and really do not feel like 7 years ago! I am forever grateful to Mr Esther who helped me get my Crucible booklet and ticket signed and my little North and South poster as well that I had brought from home.

He also took this picture of me with Richard (I look a little manic!), which is now still the lock screen of my phone before I unlock it to reveal Mr Esther and our cats.

What The Crucible also gave me was a renewed admiration for Richard’s acting talents. I’d not been a huge fan of Robin Hood and Spooks and while I did love him in The Hobbit, I longed to see him do a great role without prosthetics. And boy, did I get that with Richard as John Proctor…

Mr E and I were both quite blown away by the production, by the cast and especially by Richard in it. We were mesmerized throughout and feeling quite shaken and drained by the end of it. My husband, who has always been supportive of my fangirling hobbies but always benignly from a distance, was just as much in awe as I was. Richard Armitage on stage is a wonderful thing to behold, he has a big presence there, he feels large and powerful, and when we met him at the stage door after the play he suddenly felt slight and almost shy. He must have felt competely drained.

That Crucible experience stayed with me for a long time (still very much alive in my mind and heart when I finally posted about it a month and a half after I’d seen it) and I was pleased when it was announced that the play would be filmed. When it came to the cinema in early 2015, I took my mother to see it and she too was very impressed. So much so, in fact, that for my birthday two months later she even gave me a watercolour painting she had made of a Crucible scene. It is now hanging above my signed Crucible ticket and poster in our dining area. That painting became my blog header and I also had a phone cover made of it that Richard Armitage even signed a few years later at the Newcastle International Film Festival.

I am glad The Crucible made me able to share some fangirling with my husband and even with my mother and I credit Richard as John Proctor for giving me the push to set me off on this blogging journey that I have really been enjoying these past almost 7 years. The play has been an important catalyst for me and I have loved revisiting it again and again over the years. I still think it is one of the absolute best things Richard has done in his career, he would have really deserved that Olivier Award he was nominated for at the time.

Long story short: happy 7th anniversary to The Old Vic’s The Crucible production, I’m glad you were made.