Thursday, 28 February 2008


Oooh - I've never been tagged before and now I have just gotten myself tagged by Angela!

Here are the rules:

1 Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog
2 Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird
3 Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs
4 Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

Well, I have not done a taggy meme that I have not purposely chosen myself before, so here goes....

Fact One: I can whistle with my ears!! This is a long standing family joke in that I am the only one that can whistle without moving my mouth! Simply put - it only happens because I can cause feedback with my hearing aids by pushing on them and therefore whistle with my ears! ;-)

Fact Two: I can say where I come from in Danish! "Jeg kommer fra Storbritannien" - this is the only phrase I can remember from my three month stay in Denmark as part of a university exchange program years ago!

Fact Three: I love aeroplane take-offs - which is a good job as I am flying to Australia tomorrow and during the next few weeks I have eight take-offs to deal with if I have reckoned it right. I just love that sensation of power and speed and sense of exhilaration (not to mention acceleration!) - always puts a huge grin on my face!

Fact Four: As a very young child I had a Guinea Pig called Pascal - but for some reason I don't seem to remember this poor little Guinea Pig that I probably adored!

Fact Five: I like to sing, when perhaps I really shouldn't sing at all!! (best done in the car when no-one can hear me, even if I might look a bit silly at traffic lights - but then all the people around me might imagine that I am practising for a concert or something!! ha ha! They don't know that I shouldn't sing!)

Fact Six: I love the feel of my cat Phoebe slumping against me last thing at night - she really drops herself down quite forcefully against my leg, back, tummy or wherever she decides to put herself! (it just feels all cuddly and comforting)

Fact Seven: At this very moment I am rather giddily excited due to imminent holiday - a whistlestop tour of Australia with my cousin's wedding in the middle! My colleagues have been laughing at with me all day!

And those are my seven facts - I now have to go and choose who to tag with this one.

And I choose....Laura, Jen, Shauna, Gawpo, Susan, John, and finally, Matt (perhaps he'll do this one - he didn't do the last meme I tagged him with! Tch...brothers!).

New hobby

I love baking but try not to indulge in it too often, unless I can share the goodies, as it is a temptation too far!!

However, I have just discovered how easy is it to make muffins!! So, this is my new hobby! I had some eggs left over from something the other day and so decided to try my hand at muffins - well - it could not be easier!!

If you find all that creaming and mixing that baking usually involves a bit tough on the arms, then try muffins! It's simply a case of mixing the dry ingredients, then mixing the wet ingredients and simply blending the two together in a big bowl - a few seconds! (according to the recipes you shouldn't over-stir anyway as that probably prevents the muffins from rising as much as they would).

It could not be easier could it - I even made some this morning as I woke early and now they will be given to my evening colleagues, who, I am sure, will enjoy them very much! (the people that I mainly work with have already had a batch!)
By the way - did I mention that this morning's batch was my third dozen this week? And I plan to make some more tomorrow so that I can take some on the aeroplane and give some to Dad to take home after he drops me off at the airport!!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008


I love bookcases in all sizes, big, small, quirky, whatever the size or shape, I just adore them. Usually more for the books rather than the shelves themselves, but the Caffeinated Librarian has just alerted me to some rather amazing bookshelves - and these ones I want!!

Can you just imagine that - a set of stairs that double as very effective bookcases! Wow - just - Wow!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008


Well, it is now only a few (okay - three!) days until I fly about ten thousand miles around the world! Not that I am the least bit excited or nervous of course!

I have bought my charity books for the flight (and do you know, it was actually quite difficult to find a few books that I would happily give away later but still be good enough to hold my attention!), bought a puzzle book, sussed out what films are showing on Qantas planes, and even plan to make some chocolate chip muffins to snack on!

The ironing is done, the wedding outfit bought, the visa in order, the money changed (into Australian and Singaporean dollars!) and the packing is not quite finished yet!

I have been waiting for this holiday for so long that it doesn't quite seem real! The planning all began back in October and, baring any mishaps, I fly on Friday! My colleagues have decided that my head is already half way around the world as I decided that I was on desk-duty this morning when I wasn't!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008


Thank goodness for whomever invented subtitles!! I just would not watch any television at all if there were no such thing as subtitles!

In fact, there are now subtitles for programmes that go out live - clearly this is difficult as although there may be a basic script things don't always go to plan, but it does mean that I can follow the news or the live breakfast programmes.

However, it is the live subtitles that are the funniest as they sometimes get it wrong!!

This morning, I was eating my breakfast and watching GMTV when the presenters were talking about events that happened in the past and said "Windsor Castle burned".....the subtitles said "Windsor Castle burped" - well, as you can imagine - that cracked me up!

Friday, 15 February 2008

888 book reviews

I have now read a couple more of my Triple Eight challenge books and they were both very strange!! The first one that I finished was 30 Days in Sydney: the writer and the city by Peter Carey.

The premise of the book is that a Sydneysider returns to Sydney from New York for thirty (!) days and then writes about his experiences. It is a small book so you'd think that I finish it fairly soon, but I started it, put it down, and didn't pick it up again for ages as I just couldn't really get into it!

But then I thought that I had really better finish it since I am off to Sydney soon. Anyway - a strange book, more about Peter Carey's friends and what they got up to rather than about Sydney itself. Despite the fact that there were some interesting bits I didn't think that there was much structure to the book, it just didn't flow or seem to have any clarity! Then again, that's just me, I am sure that other people enjoyed the book, but I very much doubt that I'd try and read it again!

The other book was Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin and although I have put it in the romance section it is not your typical romance, in fact, it is not your typical novel! At first I wondered what I was letting myself in for by the time I had read a few chapters as it is quite a peculiar book with it's own language (much like fantasy books though so I should be used to it!). What was intriguing was the way the author would start a new chapter with new characters and events without making any connection between characters, so the whole books is a bit more like a collection of short stories that in the end all merge to form the one story.

My biggest criticism of Winter's Tale is that the blurb at the back of the book is misleading in that it suggests that the lead character deliberately sets out to travel through time to bring back the woman he loves after she dies. This is not actually the case, Peter Lake does not set out to do this, he does mourn her, but doesn't intend to go back in time to bring her back.

Nevertheless this is an intriguing story that took me a while to get into and even when I closed the book at the end, I was still puzzling over quite what it was all about! I think that the in the end the reader simply has to put his or her own interpretation on the story and what it all means.

And now I am reading the biography of Alistair Cooke - so far so good, it is interesting reading and is thus far well written! I shall be back at some point to tell you about that one!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

OWOH winner

Happy Valentine's Day! And we have a One World One Heart winner!!

It is Mary Ellen from Indiana in the United States - Congratulations!

I have contacted Mary Ellen via her blog and now await her contact details, if I do not hear anything by the end of the weekend then I will draw again. (Now she has been in touch and I have her address, the pack of cards will be winging their way to her very shortly!!)

This whole thing has been such fun, I cannot believe that over 400 people took part, I just hope that I win something!! But the best thing is that I now have a few hundred more blogs to read and browse through - I just love reading and seeing what is going on - my family just tell me that I am just plain nosy!!!

Update: I won something!! As I post out greeting cards to someone, I am getting some more! So, I wont go short on cards for a little while!!

Another update: I am one very lucky girl as I have also won Candy Cane ornaments (perfect for next Christmas), a gorgeous heart pendant, and a lovely singing cat fridge magnet! I am so grateful for the generosity of all those people out there and I look forward to next year's One World One Heart event where I plan to be far more organised and offer a bit more for all those fantastic bloggers out there!

And finally - a huge thank you to Lisa S. Oceandreamer for organising such a wonderful event!

Tuesday, 12 February 2008


I have often regretted breaking something that has sentimental value or simply been annoyed that I have dropped a mug that was part of a set, but as I get older I shrug my shoulders and say that it simply isn't worth getting upset about as long as I have enjoyed the vase/mug/whatever for as long as I had it.

However, none of this compares to a broken Stradivarius!! I wince even thinking about it! And to think that someone has lent him another one!! (worth about 2.5 million pounds!)

Sunday, 10 February 2008

One World One Heart (again!)

If you have read my earlier post about One World One Heart then you will know that I decided against offering anything this year as I felt that I didn't have time.

Well....I joined so many draws for so many nice things yesterday that I began to feel a bit guilty!! So I decided to MAKE some time (i.e get out of bed a bit much earlier than usual on a Sunday morning!) and make some cards!
Find out more about One World One Heart and see all the other lovely goodies on offer, but you don't have long to join in as it finishes on Valentines Day! Anyway - I now have three photos of six cards (they are all blank inside) that I will be giving away as a set to one lucky person! Two of them are older cards and four are fresh made this morning and I am so pleased that I decided to do this as I was getting very much out of the habit of making cards and this will inspire me to keep going!
If you would like these cards please leave a comment and if you don't have a blog please leave an email so that I can contact you if you have won! I will draw on Valentine's Day in the morning and post the winner by the end of the day, if I cannot contact the winner then I will draw again at some point and let you all know what has happened!

Finally - apologies for the so-very-basic photos! The cards look so much better in person I promise!!! I should also say - whether or not you are entering something yourself and you would like my cards anyway - please enter!! (the more the merrier!)

Thank you to everybody who commented on my cards - the draw is now closed. I will post the winner just as soon as they have been selected!

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Glorious Day

Every now and then the British weather bestows a perfect day on us! Today was just such a day, so I tore myself away from the computer and went for a walk.
I drove the car up to Barbury Castle Country Park and did a circular walk from the Castle, which is actually a very old earth fort, round the racecourses, past Ogbourne St. Andrew and Ogbourne St. George and back up the Ridgeway to Barbury Castle.

Nine miles all told and it took me three and a half hours, so I do not feel at all guilty snuggling up with the cat in front of the television all day!
The last three miles back to Barbury Castle were the hardest as I was very tired, and although my feet hurt now, I am happy! (and expect to sleep well tonight!)

ONE World-ONE Heart

Some people simply have the best ideas, and this is one that I found today.

Lisa came up with One World-One Heart as a way of bringing together bloggers that would never otherwise connect with each other. Go and see for yourself!

As the deadline for the giveaway is very very soon, I just don't have time to create something in order to give it away, but I shall be looking out for it next year and hope to be able to make a set of greeting cards just for the event!

Friday, 8 February 2008

Fake Cakes!?

I have recently discovered the joy of foodie blogs and there are quite a lot of them about, although I must say that I actually prefer those that focus more on baking and show me lots of nice pictures (and recipes) of cookies, buns, cakes, bread and all things nice!

A small selection of them are....Culinary in the desert, baking and books (perfect combination!), Table bread, Orangette, Food blogga, and Baking bites. Clearly there are far more than that so do go hunting!

The real reason that I wanted to mention these blogs is that when I was browsing Baking Bites, I came across a post all about fake wedding cakes yes you read that right - fake wedding cakes!

I just could not believe what I was seeing, but it is true, there is a company that will provide a fake wedding cake for you complete with a section at the back that will contain a slice of real cake so that you can feed your bride/husband to be right there and then. Your guests will then get offered a piece of cake that is not so expensive.


If money was the issue, I would get so much more joy in baking my own cake (gotta be chocolate!) and sharing that with everybody.

No, I just don't get it and I have been sat here pondering this. What on earth is the point of doing this...hold on....have just googled the cost of wedding cakes - £360?! £460?!? Good grief! That's it - if I am ever getting married then I shall take enormous delight in making my own. Mind you, I suppose not everyone enjoys baking.


My car is in the garage today for it's 80 thousand mile service plus an MOT, so I had to catch the bus to work!

It was actually quite a pleasant journey just sitting there watching the scenery go by and enjoying the sunshine on my face. The trouble was it took an hour and two buses to get me to work, whereas my car takes me to work in about 20-30 minutes depending on traffic.

If it didn't take quite so long then I think that I would actually consider taking the bus to work as it really was rather nice not to have to think about traffic and to just sit there pondering things as the world went by!

Do you know...I actually saw bits of the town that I hadn't seen before, so that was rather interesting.

I shall get my car back this evening though (not toooo expensive a job fortunately) and will enjoy the freedom of being able to jump in the car and go where I like even if I don't actually do that very often!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Book Meme

I have come across yet another book meme, this time found at The Vampire Librarian and I thought that it was rather fun so I shall give it a go and pass it on to a few more people!

The rules of this particular meme are:

1) Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)

2) Open the book to page 123

3) Find the fifth sentence

4) Post the next three sentences

5) Tag five people

As I was at work when I happened to read the Vampire Librarian's blog (on a break of course!) I had a pile of cataloguing on my desk and the first book that I put my hands on was Pain Management: Practical Applications of the Biopsycosocial Perspective in Clinical and Occupational Settings by Chris Main (2nd Edition, 2008) and the appropriate sentences were....

Tools such as the DRAM, the MPI and OSQP appear to be of assistance and can be used in clinic scheduling and in highlighting patients requiring a more comprehensive assessment. With significant pain problems, this will need to include a clinical assessment by a competent health-care professional and may require further expertise to evaluate and address specific occupational problems. You cannot weigh an elephant on a set of kitchen scales.

That really cracks me up - what a very odd way of ending this particular paragraph!

Anyway, I now tag the following fellow bloggers Alice, Trace, Becca, and the bloggees of booksplease and blogginboutbooks

Monday, 4 February 2008

money, money, money!

I finally got myself some Australian dollars today!! It has been a long time coming, I kept meaning to go to the bank and then forgetting, then on Saturday I decided that enough was enough, I need to get that money!

So I raced to the bank late on Saturday morning only to find that it was one of those self-service banks - no counter service at all, which was really really annoying as you'd think that a major bank on the high street would have a full counter service! (unknown to me there was another one a couple of streets away, but I don't know the town all that well!).

I then dashed to post office, but it closed just as I got there! Of course, now I am beginning to panic as I am worried that I would need to order the money, I mean - are Australian dollars the kind of money that banks and post offices would have lying around like Euros?

Anyway, I finally nipped into the central post office on the way home this evening and got some dollars! Have you ever seen Aussie paper money? Firstly, it is plastic not paper, with a little see-through bit in the corner which, I presume, is an anti-forgery device. I look forward to spending my money!! Not long to go now!

It's bloody Brigadoon!

I love that line in Four Weddings and a Funeral!

However, I have to admit that I did watch Brigadoon last night (yes, I know, how sad am I!) as I do love that film.

Last night was the first time that I'd watched it in simply ages, and it was the first time that a really jarring inconsistency reared it's head.

Yes, I know that it is a daft film and you have to suspend reality anyway as it is about a village that reappears every hundred years, but this particular inconsistency I had never noticed before because I didn't know much about Scottish history.

Let me explain...Brigadoon vanished in the 1750's which means that all the actors are in lovely old fashioned Scottish costume which looks very nice - all those kilts and plaids and gorgeous swirly dresses.

But, and it is very big but, the kilt, plaid and all variations of the tartan were proscribed in 1746 under the Dress Act following the Jacobite risings; and was not repealed until 1782, so how could the people in Brigadoon being wearing all those fantastic kilts!?

I suppose that is just something that you'd have you know about for it to bother you, it's like that scene in one of the Mission Impossible film when Ethan types in "job" into google or some other search engine and only gets a few hundred hits!! To anyone that doesn't use the internet, this wouldn't mean much, but it bugs the heck out of the rest of us!!

There must be bits in many other films that just don't bother me, but annoy other people, so how far do you let it bother you, or do you ignore stuff like that if it doesn't really impinge on the film? The issue of kilts in Brigadoon never used to bother me because I didn't know about it, and annoys me but I can handle it!! ;-)

Sunday, 3 February 2008


Argh! I have now discovered that the shower/bath connection can get stuck in one position!

I decided to have a late bath this morning after a brief bout of exercise! And, as I have done a hundred times before, I turned the tap on and expected the water to come out of the tap.

Did it? Nooooo - it came gushing out of the shower head! I usually have to depress a bit on the tap that makes it come out of the shower instead of the taps, except this time it was stuck!

Cue panic! Fortunately, the floor isn't that wet, I think that I caught most of it!

It's funny though, how there is a moments pause and your brain goes "what do I do, what do I do!?"

Anyway - panic over and the bath is full so I am off to wallow!

Tom and Emily

I have been rummaging around my Christmas photos and finally sent some of them to those that were there (better later than never!) and I found this one of my nephew and niece!
They look so peaceful just sat there on the floor playing with their toys, I think that at one point Tom was playing with Emily's toys and vice versa!

And here is a good photo - this one shows Tom and Emily with the Christmas presents that I gave them - Emily loved her new cardigan and Tom had fun with his new rollerskates (I hope that he hasn't done himself an injury yet!!)

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Ten Pound Poms

I have just finished watching a BBC programme about the Ten Pound Poms - those British men and women that took the opportunity in the 50's and 60's to emigrate to Australia for £10 - a very good deal when compared to the usual fee of something closer to £300 which would have been six months wages for the average person I think.

The catch? They had to stay at least two years or repay the full fare if they wanted to come back to Great Britain.

When I consider that in a less than a months time, I shall be flying to Australia for a three week holiday, it is incredible to think that many of those people travelled all that way by boat - taking a month to get there! Not to mention that some of those emigrants probably thought that they'd never again see those friends and family that they'd left behind.

The BBC interviewed about ten people I think, all with wildly varying experiences and attitudes, there was one woman who was just so determined to hate the place that she didn't seem to have a good word to say about the whole thing (it was quite easy to see why some Australians called the migrants Whinging Poms!).

Others were more pragmatic and integrated themselves far more fully into the local community and so appeared to have a better time of it. There was even one couple that came back to Britain and within a year decided that they'd made a mistake and so went back to Australia!!

I was just thinking...what courage it must have taken to do this, or what despair? Did people want to escape their life as it was or simply try something new and adventurous? I just cannot imagine how they must have felt, today it is so much easier - my cousin, Sarah, now lives out in Australia with her fiancé and yet it is not the same thing - she can fly back to the UK every now and then or her parents can fly out to Australia. Of course, I don't mean to belittle her decision to stay in Australia as it will have been a difficult decision for her; it just doesn't (to my mind) have the same meaning as it would have done in 1950.

In any case, it was an interesting programme and really made it clear just how easy it is travel these days - a three week holiday to Australia in the 1950's was just impossible, in fact, holidays to Spain and Greece were only just becoming available to the average family!