Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas Tour!

I am bit late to the mega party that is the Christmas Tour of Homes as hosted by the Nester!  I mean, for goodness sake, there are almost a thousand other bloggers before me – all showing off their wonderful Christmassy homes!!

So, here is my seasonal offering…

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Of course the tree takes pride of place – I kinda just chuck everything at it and hope that it works well – the trouble is that a Christmas tree in full regalia just never ever seems to photograph very well (as I am sure that you all know already!!)  No flash and it’s too dark, use flash and the lights vanish as you can see in the photograph below…

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I also have this rather funky Father Christmas – I think that he looks great, although he wobbles a great deal if the table is knocked because he has one of the springie things inside him – and he wobbles a LOT!!

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Candles sometimes seem to take over my home, and Christmas time is certainly no exception as I have two tealight holders that, of course, don’t photograph all that brilliantly…

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And I thought that I would have some fun with some baubles and a trio of candles – this takes pride of place on my coffee table and I think that it pulls the whole thing together quite nicely!!

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So, there you go – that is my tour of Christmas in my home!!  I do have a lovely stained glasses (sorta thing) Christmas wreath that I normally hang on the door to the lounge, but I can’t seem to find it – it must be buried in the attic somewhere!!

Anyway, if you would like to see more Christmas decorations and see what other people have hanging in their homes, just click on the banner below!  I promise you’ll have fun – perhaps you’ll even join in!?

CToH125

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Oooh

It looks as though I have been given the honour of “beautiful Blogger” by the lovely Liz over at Liz’s HOH blog.

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Apparently what you have to do is nominate seven other bloggers for this and then tell everybody seven things about yourself.

So here goes!

The nominations are….(I hope you don’t think I sound like someone at the Oscars!)

Sunny in Seattle – a fabulous blogger that I have been following for ages now – is pregnant with twins and needs help naming them!!

Northwest Ladybug – I love this blog – there’s a great photo on it of a dog and cat sharing a beanbag in front of the Christmas tree!

Dispensing Happiness – for doing exactly that and organising things like blogging by mail!

The Literary Feline – for having a lovely blog and occasionally popping up on mine!!  ;-)

The view from the hill – who loves knitting and needs a bit of cheering up!

Liffey’s Blog – now this one is a bit unusual cos Liffey is a Hearing Dog!!

…and, of course, Alice – one of the bloggers that I have been following since I started blogging!

Well, that’s the seven blogs, now I need to think of seven things to say – I assume that’s seven things that I haven’t already said in two and half years of blogging (!!!)

I am sure you know this by now – but I am quite addicted to my laptop and/or iphone!!  I am constantly checking to see what’s going on, who’s emailed me and stuff like that!! (Mum would say that I am just very nosy!)

I hope to begin tap dance classes in January!!  I have made a new friend that plans to start her own classes the village hall – so I will give that a go!!

I am back at the dentist next Wednesday! :-( Yes that saga has not finished yet – I was still in pain (on and off) so they took an x-ray last week and then said to come back and they will redo the filling free of charge!  (will let you know how that one goes as clearly there is something not quite right with the filling.)

I love the song performed by the Salvation Army – Rise up Shepherd – I think that I’ve blasted it out of the speakers in the car at least fifteen times this week!!! (along with the other Christmas music!)

I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping – I clearly need to get a move on!! Three of them arrived in the post this week, so I AM getting there!  ;-)

I am just about to watch the latest Harry Potter release after leaving the DVD on my coffee table for a week cos I was too busy to watch it – that NEVER happens round here!

Finally – I will admit to loving Star Trek!! (that is, all but the original series as I am not so keen on that!!) So most weekdays evenings I can be found watching Voyager at 7pm and Sundays I will settle down to watch Deep Space 9!  (any more closet Trekkies out there ;-)  )

So there you go!  Thank you to Liz for thinking that I deserve this badge!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Classic Christmas music!

I absolutely adore the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah and was really tickled quite pink to find this version!!  (Found it on the lovely Grannymar’s blog!)

Utterly utterly classic!!!!  (just ignore the chap giggling away in the corner!)

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

BBM

….or Blogging By Mail!  A little while ago I signed to take part in BBM as hosted by Dispensing Happiness – the point was to send a parcel of five things that relax you to someone else that had signed up!!

I sent a parcel off to She Devil Delights and it contained some earl grey tea from Tea Pigs, a novel from my favourite author Nora Roberts, some chocolate, some bubblebath and some greeting card kits that I’d made up myself.

But that’s not what you want to know; you want to know what I got in the post today!! Technically I got it in the post yesterday, but all the postman left was a notice to come and collect it from the depot, which closes round about 3pm so I had to wait until this morning to pick it up on the way to work.

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Of course, I couldn’t wait until I got back home to open it, so I opened it at work, had a peep and then resealed it for safe carrying home!  So……it came from the wonderful Gabi in Salt Lake City where you can find the blog The Feast Within (where I had actually previously bookmarked a frangipane pear tart that looked rather fabulous!).

And it contained the following….

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Three lovely books, including one by my absolute favourite author – Nora of course!!   Two bars of chocolate, one of which is all gone now (tee hee!!), several bags of yummy looking tea (including chamomile citrus and organic breakfast), some lovely beauty stuff like a raspberry lipbalm that smells delicious and organic orange bath salts! Not to mention the 2 ounces worth of unsweetened chocolate to be used for chocolate brownies as per the recipe included in the little notecard; which also mentioned that book that you can just about see under that pile of goodies – The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim – is a particular favourite of Gina’s who said “ I’ve enclosed my own much loved copy of The Enchanted April – I read it whenever I need a sunny Italian vacation in a book, ahhh San Salvatore”.

What a lovely thing to say and I feel very privileged to have such a book sent to me – I would find it very hard to part with one of my own favourite books!!  I am so pleased I took part in Blogging By Mail and I would definitely do it again!

Thank you to Stephanie for organising this and thank you to Gina for sending me such a lovely parcel!!!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

SantaThing!

I have been a LibraryThing member for ages.  If you don't know what LibraryThing is, it's a place where you can catalogue your personal book collection and see what other people have (appeals to the nosy in me as well as the librarian!)
 
Two years ago the fabulous LibraryThing people started SantaThing and I joined in the first time around and got an intriguing book.  The second time around I was a bit nervous of what I might get that time because I wasn't all that keen on the book that I had (which was The Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin - a distinctly acquired taste I think!) even though it was quite interesting and I did enjoy it, but I would not choose to read it again if that makes any sense at all.  This year, I thought that I would get stuck in even though I am bit late to the party!!
 
So late in fact that the deadline for SantaThing is today at 4pm EST which actually means 9pm my time, so if you are British you have plenty of time to go and put your name down for SantaThing!!  Simply put, you need to be a member of LibraryThing which is free up to a certain point and then you need to plunk down $25 (£15) to put your name in the hat and then once the names have been distributed (no addresses given out) you can have fun choosing the right book for this other person that you are likely to never ever meet!! And of course you get to have fun opening a suprise parcel - only a surprise in that you won't know what the book is!!
 
You know you want to do it!! ;-)

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Thanksgiving

It would appear that today is Thanksgiving over in the States!  (As if I could possibly have failed to realise it after reading all those blogs giving thanks or telling us what they are going to eat!)  Anyway it is, of course, an apppropriate time to say thanks.....
  • for antibiotics!!  I went to the dentist the other day and it turns out that the newly filled tooth is fine, but I have developed an infection in the injection site!! (the trouble is that mouths are generally not very clean places) So now I am on two lots of antibiotics and two lots of painkillers - I must surely rattle!! Still, I am thankful to whomever invented antibiotics as I will now be on the mend.

  • for subtitles as it means that I can watch the television without having to guess what's going on (I really don't like it when a programme doesn't have subtitles as I do feel quite unable to watch it)

  • for the new friends that I have made on my recent Alpha course!

  • for my job that allows me to buy my craft things!!

  • for my family - I love you all so much!!
What are you thankful for?

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Lazy Days

This Sunday has been a particularly lazy one!  While the tooth appears to be getting better (she says tentatively), I am still feeling all irritable and so have spent today in my pajamas and dressing gown!!  Not the most productive of Sundays although I did manage to clean up the cat's litter tray (it needed it!)

Sometimes though, a day a in pajamas is just what is needed - no obligations, jobs, visitors or anything. Anything of importance can go hang, time is better spent on the sofa in front of the telly with the cat on the lap and the laptop precariously balanced on the knees!  I have spent the day rummaging blogs, chatting with Mum on facebook (and beating Mum at scrabble - but only just!); not to mention making endless cups of tea with the ocassional pill to keep the pain away - Nur0fen seems to work best, but I can only take one more today so I am saving that for just before I go to bed.

So, I refuse to feel any guilt for having an idle day as sometimes we all need one!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Toothy update!

Well, it has been a couple of days since I went to the instrument of torture otherwise known as the dental chair!

Naturally it wasn't an entirely pleasant experience, but I had enough anaesthetic to numb the jaw right the way up to the ear - it is quite a weird feeling to have a hearing aid in a numb ear!  The dentist did her best to clear out the decay and she said that she would put some medication in the tooth before filling it up.

Unfortunately the pain has not yet gone away - if anything - I would say that it has gotten worse!  I suppose I was somewhat naive in thinking that as soon as the anaesthetic had worn off I would be entirely painfree.  But on thinking about it, it makes sense that the nerve would be tender and sore after the drilling and poking around!!

In addition to which, the dentist said that the decay was rather close the nerve and so the nerve itself may be damaged and so if the tooth is still ultra sensitive (aka painful!) in about a months time then I may need a root canal. So I am really rather hoping that this pain is just a result of the "surgery" and not anything else.  In any case, I am popping paracet@mol and ibupr0fen (safely of course!) and it seems to take the edge off.  (I hate those funny symbols in the medical words but I have already had a spammer and I think that this is one way to prevent them from  finding us!)

Monday, 16 November 2009

Stupid Tooth!!

For about a week now I have had a painful tooth and it is bugging the heck out of me!!  Actually, I should be honest and say that it is nothing like a proper toothache as I understand that those are quite utterly unbearable.  Nevertheless, this tooth is achey enough to be a real nuisance and for once I am actually looking forward to the visit to the dentist on Wednesday cos then that means the pain will go away!!

I do wonder how on earth people managed without dentists all those years ago!!?  Yes someone would have eventually volunteered to extract the troublesome teeth, but the sufferers must have put up with a great deal of pain that just could not be managed effectively.  That really does boggle the mind, especially when my pain isn't really that bad - just a constant irritation that doesn't go away unless I manage to successful distract myself (or medicate!!)

So, I just sit here and feel very sorry for myself!!!  Tonight though, I managed to distract myself by going to the first night of a local craft club - read more about that over at my other blog!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Birthdays!

No matter how old you get, birthdays are always good fun!! I certainly had good fun this weekend as I turned *cough* years old!

It was a weekend of fun and laughter as we walked through the woods, played bananagrams, tickled the kids, ate the cake I made – yes, I had to make my own birthday cake!! But it was very nice even if I say so myself.

If there was one moment that really revealed what year it was it was this one…

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…yes that’s four laptops and one iphone you can see there! (even if you can only just about see my laptop!) In fact, it got rather funny at one point when Mum, Matt and I were messaging each other to say go and make a pot of tea!! We eventually all jumped up when one of us agreed to make the tea, the other to clear the coffee table and the other to dig out the bananagrams! A far cry from the old family birthday photos of cheesy grins and dorky jumpers!! ;-)

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Life

Just what is it about life that gets in the way of things!!! I wasn't blogging because I wasn't doing very much and now I am not blogging because I am now doing too much and cannot find the time to sit down and compose a few lines or two!! (of course I am never too busy to do a bit of blog hopping or rummaging around facebook though ;-) )

Anyway, after a busy week I am now at my parents house where I am celebrating another birthday (am 21 again of course!).

Yesterday was great cos I had the day off work and so had coffee with an old school friend that I hadn't seen for years and then in the evening I went to the pub with another friend that I have known since I was about six but we just don't get to see each other very often. It was so nice to catch up on the news and just generally chit chat!!

Will get back to blogging as soon as the weekend is over cos I will be busy talking to family and playing with my nephew and niece!! Have a good weekend everybody!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Crafty Evening!

The end of this busy week saw me visit a new card making friend at her Stampin’ Up Open House. If you have no idea what I am talking about then you need to know that Stampin’ Up is a craft company that works through individual seller (like Avon or Tupperware) to sell stamps, paper, inks and all manner of wonderful things. Anyway I had a great time at Hayley’s place and her blog is over here at All Things Pink and Fluffy.

Hayley is a Stampin’ Up demonstrator that has come back to the fold after a little break and so to get started again she had an open house where you could come along and meet some like-minded crafty people, make some cards, have a cuppa tea and just enjoy a good old natter with friendly people!

I ended up making these three cards…

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I think that the first one below is my favourite, it is a z fold card and I just love that wintry looking Church on the front – you probably can’t see, but there are little bits of glitter strategically dotted about the place! (you need to wiggle the card a bit to see that as the glitter catches the light, but you can't exactly do that online can you!!?)

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This red wreath was the first one I made tonight and I rather like how it has turned out – a clean and simple sort of card that can be made fairly quickly.

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The last one looks a bit flat, but what you really can’t see in the picture is that the two green baubles are popped up on foam stickies, so they stick out from the rest of the card.

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What this one probably needs is a bow or two on the tops of some of the baubles – the cards that Hayley showed us did have bows but I didn’t fancy putting a bow on at the time.

Although they are a bit expensive, the more I use the Stampin’ up stuff the more I love them – I just need to play a bit more! Anyway, thanks for a great evening Hayley, I look forward to many more!! (and if you guys want to see more of my hand made cards, you can see them on my card making blog!!)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Another Pub!

Tonight was another evening spent at the pub!! ;-)

I had a great evening with a couple of friends from the sign language class, however, we had hoped that more from the class would join us, but clearly people had things to do or couldn't find babysitters or had come down with a lurgy of some sort!

Still, it was fun with just the three of us - we certainly weren't short of conversation and stayed two hours! I was actually quite surprised at how busy the pub was, but then isn't Thursday the new Friday - when people go out on Thursday cos they want to stay home on Friday because the pubs are all too busy on Fridays? ha ha!

Anyway - I have to say that I am not very used to being out nearly every night of the week - it takes stamina!!! So, I am off to bed now and hope that I can find something rather more interesting to say tomorrow!

Monday, 26 October 2009

The Five Bells…

….is the name of the pub I went to tonight.  I am sorry to say that there are very few pubs in my village that I have been to, in fact I think that tonight was the first time that I’d been to a pub actually in the village.

I suppose I just don’t want to go to the pub alone as that doesn’t feel right, so when a new friend (from the Alpha course) suggested that we go for a drink I thought why not!?

It’s a lovely pub with cosy rooms, a roaring fire and, if you’re quick enough, a set of soft squishy armchairs – we spent two hours sat on these armchairs nattering away attempting to put the world to rights.  Even if it was a Monday night, it was great to go out and just have a good old chinwag – I must do it more often!

I certainly felt very welcome in the pub, which doesn’t always happen as the atmosphere isn’t always right, but this felt like a typical village pub where all the locals go to and there are no “unsavoury elements”.  I shall certainly go back again – if only I could drink cider without dashing to the loo every half hour!! ;-)

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Quiet

Well, I have certainly been quiet on this old blog this week!! All I can say is that I have been busy and time certainly flies when you’re having fun!

So what have I been doing?  Well, on checking my diary it doesn’t seem as though I have done all that much actually, but somehow it certainly feels as though I have been busy!!  ;-)

In any case what stands out is that I managed not to embarrass myself at sign language class like I did last week when I failed to get full marks on the brief lipreading exercise!! But then again that proved to the hearing folks in the group that lipreading is difficult even for those that have been doing it all their lives.  (it was still embarrassing!! ha ha!)

Saturday evening also stands out as Mum and her friend Debbie popped along from a conference nearby to have dinner with me and help me fix my boiler!!! Yes, that’s right – they had to sing for their supper!  As it turns out it looks as though I may have a pressure leak in the system somewhere so I need to call a plumber this week.

This coming week looks like another busy one where I am somehow going to the pub twice!! (most unusual for me)  On Monday I am off to a pub with two friends that I have met at the local Alpha course,  on Thursday I am off to another pub with my fellow sign language students as it is half term so there is no class but we fancied going out for a drink and maybe even practice a few signs!!  (if you see a bunch of crazy people signing “run rabbit run” in your local….that’s us!)

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Show and Tell

It has been a while since I took part in one of the Stirrup Queen’s Show and Tells, but yesterday I received something in the post that is absolutely perfect for Show and Tell! If you haven’t come across this before, it’s essentially show and tell for the modern world – just take photos and blog about it!!

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Anyway, this gorgeous purple wrap-scarf-thingie was handmade for me by the fabulous Katie who blogs at View from the Hill. It was made for me as part of this pay it forward scheme I have involved myself in. (I did take more photos but they didn’t come out that well.)

Which reminds me, I really had better get on and finish what I have chosen to do for this pay it forward – after all, I only have until the end of the year to finish it!! I don’t doubt that I will finish it, but it might get a bit close to the wire as I seem to have a lot going on at the moment, but hey, it’s not over until it’s over!!

In any case, thank you ever so much Katie for sending me this beautiful lacy wrap, I look forward to wearing it and being the envy of everybody I meet! ;-)

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Questions

I’ve had a few questions asked in my blog comments lately and I never know whether to answer them in the comments or email the commentators back. So, I have decided to gather some of them and answer them here…..

1) Jelly on The Cuteness of Curiosity asked if I knew what kind of Hearing Dog I’d get. The short answer is no. There are many different kind of dogs chosen for Hearing Dogs – it’s not like Guide Dogs for the Blind where the dog has to be big enough to push/lead a person around. Hearing Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and given that my house (and garden) is relatively small, I think that a small-to-medium dog would be just about right for me. I definitely don’t want a dog that is too small – it’s still got to be dog sized!! ;-) But other than that I would be very happy to have any kind of waggy-tailed dog!

2) Jelly also asked whether or not I have someone to practice my sign language with. Again, the short answer to that is no. But I do try to practice what little I have learnt already – I just wonder what other drivers must think of me when they see this odd looking woman practice her signs for colours at the traffic lights!! Hmm…..hands free mobile calling just wouldn’t work for signers would it??!! It would most definitely be hands free driving – ha ha!

3) Literary Feline of Musings of a Bookish Kitty asked me what books I bought over the weekend. Well, as I said before, it was too good a deal to pass up - three books for the price of two. So good that I got four! (yes I know that doesn’t make sense – Mum bought the other two – making six in total.) So…down to the nitty gritty, I bought….

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Although that is not a strictly accurate representation!! The four that I bought at the sale were The Lost Book of Salem, Drood, The Book of Unholy Mischief, and another one not pictured which is Covet by J.R. Ward. The other three books pictured came from different sources – Spies and the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency came from a charity shop on Sunday – perfect for my reading group!! The American Future I bought on Amazon along with The Learning Portfolio (not pictured). While I am not as bad as Alice who has given herself a book buying ban, I have not bought this many books in so short a space of time for quite a while! I certainly am going to enjoy reading all of them! (oh – the Amazon book parcel also included Nora Roberts’ latest book – Black Hills – which has already been devoured!)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Sunday Snippets

Well, I couldn’t exactly say “Sunday Sundries” could I? I think that would have sound rather silly! Anyway, on to the snippets…

  • After I’d tidied the house to spick and span status, I thought that I should make good use of the opportunity and invited Mum to come up for the weekend! Yesterday we spent in Bath once I’d gotten my hair cut and we had a good time – we had dinner in Sally Lunn’s (a super little cafe that I thought was called Aunt Betty’s or something similar!!). We also found one of those three bo0ks for the price of four deals where I usually have trouble finding three books that I want but actually managed to find four this time around!! (So Mum bought two books as well which worked out as a good deal for the both of us)

  • I managed to embarrass myself at my first sign language class on Thursday. The tutor was going round the circle and asking us to sign each letter of the alphabet, i,e A…B…C…D….etc only when he went round the circle at TUVWXYZ I got quite tangled up and simply could not, for the life of me, remember what letter came after V and managed to sign the wrong thing twice!!! It was a good ice breaker even if I did look a bit silly – I should clarify that I DO actually know my ABCs!!

  • Thursday was quite a busy day as I also went back to university for my second year of the part time Masters. The campus was just heaving with new students – it really was quite crowded and I had a few fond thoughts about my first time at university all those years ago!! I also got my last assignment and portfolio back and so I could read the comments that the tutor put on the portfolio that I only just managed pass. Clearly I have a lot to learn about extending reflective learning and actually taking it forwards rather than just reflecting. Fortunately I also had the boost of some excellent comments on the assignment that I’d handed in months ago – let me quote for you (cos I am rather proud of this one!) “a first class assignment with the investigation being explained in a clear and logical manner”. Which is lovely to get and shows that I can actually do this Masters!!

  • Well, this was less a post full of snippets but rather a post full of rather long paragraphs!! ;-) Still sometimes none of it is quite long enough for a full post and I just want to say something rather than nothing!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Yesterday…

…the house was as tidy as I could make it while still living in it.  (by that I mean that there is quilting stuff all over the dining table and a pile of clothes on the chair in the bedroom, not to mention all the craft stuff in the littlest bedroom!)

All this unusual tidiness is because I was getting a visit from Julie from the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity.  I have  mentioned them before – when I was first thinking about it, and when I went to visit them at The Grange.

Anyway – this visit was the next stage of the application process where someone, like Julie, comes to visit me and have a rather long chat about me and my life!  She arrived about 10:30am and left round about 1pm and we chatted about pretty much everything possible when it comes to Hearing Dogs.

She was ever so friendly and put me at ease while we talked – she took plenty of notes!! I can’t actually remember every little snippet of conversation but we covered things like what kind of dog I was hoping for, where I would take it for walks, did I travel on public transport, the fact that I’d have to pay for pet insurance (fair enough), and that Phoebe-cat might have trouble with the dog at first!!  ;-)

The funniest thing to my mind though was that before she left she drew a little plan of the house and even went as far as to ask me what side of the bed I usually slept on!!  Clearly this makes a difference when the dog is trained to jump on the bed or put a paw up to get drag me out of bed.  (by the way – it is that time of year again when I have three different alarm systems going – the shake awake, the lumie, and a timer on the bedside light – not to mention the hungry cat – I really really don’t like dark mornings!!  Or actually I like them too much!! tee hee!)

In any case, this is still just the beginning of the whole process! The next stage is for me to go to The Grange for an overnight visit, probably in the New Year sometime, so that they can assess how I am with dogs in general (also this allows them to see how determined to have a dog people are – I mean – you have to be in order to jump through all those hoops, and besides some people may not realise just how involved having a dog is and so this the time to reassess and change your mind perhaps).  Then…there is a visit at work to get my managers on board and to see where the dog would be working – so it is no short and easy process!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Reading Group

Tonight I attended the first gathering of a new reading group that has been set up in the local public library.  If I ever had any idea that reading was generally not a  male hobby…I had it confirmed this evening – all fourteen people were female.  That’s right – not one man – perhaps they all thought that we’d be blue stocking snobs!

Oh well – we spent an hour and a half talking about how we wanted this group to be organised and telling everybody about our favourite books/authors.  Before the evening we were all told to bring a copy of our favourite book so that we could at least tell everybody about it.

All day I’d been thinking about what book to bring – should I be pretentious and bring something like The Pickwick Papers, should be low brow and bring Harry Potter, should I aim for the middle ground and bring a book by Bryce Courtenay?  (all of which I have enjoyed reading!!)  In the end I decided to go with honesty and bring one of my Nora Roberts books – just because they are romances doesn’t mean that I can’t tell everybody that they are my favourite books despite some people sneering at them.

And…..someone else at the group had also brought along one of her Nora books!!!!  Vindicated!!!!!

Anyway, over the next few months we are going to be reading the following….Small Island by Levy; Spies by Frayn; To kill a mockingbird by Lee; The Island by Hislop; and we start off with the Number One Ladies Detective Agency by McCall.  I have not read any of those so I am looking forward to this.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Saturday Sundries

And it’s another post full of nothing!

  • One of the people at work compiles the regional monthly newsletter and one of the pieces this week was submitted by someone calling themselves a “trainee library”!! Clearly she didn’t mean to say quite that, but I wonder what a trainee library would look like – would it only have little books?!

  • Did you know that today is World Card Making Day!!? No, I didn’t know that too, but then I suppose with all the other “days” out there, I am not surprised that there is a card making one too – so I have been making a few cards today – need to get ready for Christmas. (That said – I simply cannot believe that the shops are stocking their Christmas merchandise already – I am not looking at it on principle!)

  • I collected the new hoover on Tuesday and gave it a spin that same evening – it’s a pretty strong hoover!! I would certainly recommend the Miele Cat and Dog if you have a pet the sheds hairs all over the blooming place! I had to change the first bag pretty quickly cos my last hoover just doesn’t pick up all the finer hairs and when I did I thought that I had broken the hoover already!! I had to pull the bag out with a bit of a tug and the mechanism that holds it in also came out!! You can probably guess that I panicked a bit until I realised that it was meant to do that so it doesn’t get broken when pulling the full bag out!

  • This coming week is going to be interesting – on Monday evening I am joining a new book club at the local library, I have never been to one before so I hope it will be fun! Wednesday I have my interview with the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People – it’s going to be a long day starting at 10:30am and going on for as long as necessary – apparently it can take quite a few hours! Thursday I am back at university to start the second year of my part time Masters, Thursday evening I am off to a local college to relearn sign language and I am hoping that I can pick it all up again!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

October

Well.....I can no longer deny that it is Autumn.  Yes, it's the first of October today and yet; while it is rather damp and gloomy out there I am still wearing my sandals and am hanging on to summer for as long as possible and wringing every ounce of warmth from the sun as I possibly can.
 
Still, I think that Autumn is one of my favourite seasons - the air changes, the leaves turn red, the mist in the morning looks enchanting.  If only the nights didn't get darker, if only the temperature didn't drop, or if only the spiders didn't start emerging (yesterday I found one in a shoe that I hadn't worn for a few months!!), along with those crane flies that dance around the room dangling their legs in your face!!
 
Nevertheless, I still like Autumn and the lingering warmth that makes for some excellent walks (although I really should actually GO on a walk or two!!). I like it when it gets noticeably colder and makes you want to snuggle under the duvet and really tuck yourself in to avoid that cold air, I like it when I can get the candles out as it just doesn't seem right to burn candles in the summer, I like it when I put on a jumper that I haven't worn since March.
 
Simply...despite my occasional whinges, I like Autumn!

 

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Gah!

I've just realised that my blogger profile wasn't showing my blogs!!

That will teach me NOT to mess around with my settings in an attempt to be clever!!

So...I apologise to everyone that tried to track me back through my comments in the last week or two!!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Ladders and Dads….

….don’t always go together!! Dad very kindly agreed to come and paint my upstairs window frames this weekend just gone (he’d painted the downstairs ones sometime in the summer).

Firstly we had to buy a ladder and Dad said that he would do that on Friday morning while I was at work. However….I had a missed call from him round about 10:30am and so I got worried that he’d fallen off the ladder or something. So, I frantically got a colleague to call him back only to find that he wasn’t able to buy the ladder because he’d put the wrong pin number into the card reader thingie! So, I went haring off to the DIY store and paid for the ladder, so I am now the proud owner of a very long ladder.

Anyway – I had not realised it, but Dad is not very good with heights (!) and yet he still managed to do three of the window sets. The fourth one he just could not do because the angle of the ladder was different due to it having to reach the window over the front door overhang and that really gave him the heebie-jeebies.

And that meant this….

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Yes, that’s me up the ladder painting my window frames so that they are ready for the winter!

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I wasn’t certain that I’d be able to do this, which is why I called on my extremely helpful Dad!! (Thanks Dad!!) But now that I have done one window I know that I can do it again if I need to; in addition to which, the next time the guttering goes funny, I will be able to get my ladder out and shimmy up for a look!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Saturday Sundries

I don’t seem to have a single topic or thought today so I think that “sundries” will suit this post right down to the ground.

  • How difficult can it be to find the hoover you need!!? I have been looking for a Miele Cat and Dog that can cope with all the hair the cat seems to shed! First I spend ages trying to decide which hoover is best (there is such a thing as too much research!) and then I can’t find it. But – it has now been ordered from the little independent shop in the high street.

  • I am always surprised by those people that manage to talk without moving their lips!! I attended the first evening of an Alpha group on Wednesday and really struggled to lipread one of the participants – oh well – I shall have to see if he attends next week and whether I may get better at lipreading him or not. (I can see why some deaf folk have lipspeakers!)

  • Dad really really doesn’t like to hear his one and only daughter swear!! ;-) It wasn’t even what you’d call properly blasphemous – it was just a “bo11ocks"!” cos I’d made a mistake with the shoe rack that was I was building. But you should have seen the glare he gave me!!! (tee hee!)

  • It’s definitely getting colder now – I had to go put a jumper on earlier today. It looks as though I will have to start wearing proper shoes soon and I just know that wearing socks/tights is going to feel very very strange!

And I think that that is enough for now – if I can maintain the habit of semi-regular blogging then I should be able to keep going!!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Irked!

You see this book?

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It’s the book that Mum and I have been waiting for for ages and ages (no exaggeration I promise!). It’s the next instalment in the saga of Claire and Jamie written by the fabulous Diana Gabaldon.

It was published today. So why does that irk me….because it was published today in the United States, but is not published here until January 2010. At least it’s not January 2011 I suppose, but still – that is truly rather irksome.

Why on earth do publishers decide to publish in different countries at different times? What could they possibly gain from it? Oh well, I suppose it will have to be an exercise in patience unless I can find a generous American friend - ha ha!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Cycling holiday

A little while ago Mum and I went on a cycling holiday around Suffolk. We chose Suffolk because it is a relatively flat county and as we are not expert cyclists a flat place is what we wanted!!

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It’s not completely flat, there were enough hills to make our thighs groan and us having to get off the bike and walk up. We drove to Needham Market where we left the car for the week as we cycled from B&B to B&B in a circular route back to Needham Market. Of course, this meant having to carry our luggage with us, but we packed as little as possible and let the bikes take the strain!

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Seeing as we have had a rather wet summer, it was a lovely surprise to get a week of hot sunshine with only a smidgen of rain. We cycled from place to place enjoying the views and checking the map as frequently as possible!! (we never did have to turn back on ourselves after making a mistake!)

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Dad even surprised us one day by driving the few hours from home to join us for a days cycling, which was great – not just for the pleasure of his company but also because it meant that we could get a photograph of the two of us cycling down the road!!

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All in all it was a lovely holiday – we visited Aldeburgh (the carnival was on!), Orford Castle, Lavenham and Framlingham Castle.

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and saw many pretty buildings along the way. We mainly stuck to the small roads and managed to avoid getting run over!! We did have one or two near spills though – particularly as we cycled down a few byways that had mostly sand for a surface. This meant that the back wheels had a tendency to slip and slide – neither of us quite went all the way over but it came very close indeed!!!

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Occasionally we ended up collapsed in a little heap as you can see. We did tend to revive after a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast!

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Saturday, 19 September 2009

Filing

I got thinking about paperwork and managing the mounds of paper that we all seem to collect from every part of our life when I read the latest post at Magneto Bold Too.

Even though it's just me and the cat at home it sometimes feels as though paper just accumulates even when I don't give it permission to do so (and I dread to think how much more paper would pile up if there was a whole family living here!) Despite having signed up for a "no junk mail" thing at the Royal Mail, I still get paper I don't want shoved through my door. I've tried cutting down as much as possible by reading bank statements online or paying for most of my bills through direct debit.

However, my biggest issue with the paper that I do collect is the fact that I don't deal with it properly when it comes in to the house. Like many people I have a recycling box and so this is naturally the most appropriate place for my oodles of paper! Do I put it in there though? No is the short answer because what I do when I come in from work is feed the cat and that takes place in the kitchen....which means that all my paper ends up on the kitchen surfaces until I get fed up with it and sort it out!!

The silly thing is that most of it could be dealt with there and then, but once I've put it down I tend to forget about it until it gets in the way! So, it is all about changing the habits of a lifetime and keeping on top of the paper that I pick up from here there and everywhere!! I have to physically remind myself to deal with the paper there and then - I am sure that it would help to have the recycling bin in the kitchen, but there is just no room in the kitchen for anything else. (it does have the shredder in it though!) and so the recycling bin is in the cupboard under the stairs which is not ideal but it is easy to get to.

The other thing that helps with keeping paper is not giving yourself the opportunity to collect it all!! I have a two drawer filing cabinet that up until last weekend was just chock full of paper both new and old. I decided to put it to better use by storing my craft paper as that was piling up too!! ;-) So, I ruthlessly boiled the two drawer cabinet's worth of paper right down to a small concertina folder - because the folder can't hold that much I just cannot keep the levels of paper that I used to. I mean, for goodness sake, I found paperwork relating to my first flatshare which was about 13-15 years ago!!!

Unfortunately it is harder to crack the habit of leaving paper in the kitchen, perhaps I do need to get a small basket where I can just chuck paper and then check that on a weekly basis or something. Anything that is really important like the visa bill that arrived this week along with the car tax demand (!) tends to get stuck to the fridge so that it is in my face every time I get some milk for a cup of tea!! But ultimately I need to be aware of simply handling it all better in the first place - crack that and I've cracked it all.

What do YOU do to keep on top of your paper mountain!?

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Study update!!

I have just realised that my first (possibly only!) post about my study for a Masters was written exactly one year ago today!! Before I even realised the serendipity of today I had decided to tell you about my progress so far as I couldn't think of anything else to blog about - but seeing as I need to work on this blog I thought that I had better write about SOMETHING!!

Anyway....I had two bits of good news the other week; the first, and most important really, was that my employers had agreed to fund my second year of this part time course - clearly they're hoping that by my studying for a course entitled MSc Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care they will end up with a better manager than the one they currently have to put up with!!

The second bit of good news was the information that I had actually passed my first year of study!! It really was quite a relief because of of the four modules that we had taken we still didn't know the results of the last two. In fact, it was becoming rather a long time in between handing in the third assignment and finding out the results - some of my fellow students were getting a bit noisy about having to wait so long!!

The bigger relief though, was the fact that I had actually passed the portfolio part of the course where we had to do a lot of reflective study and I knew that there was a good chance that I might have to re-do the portfolio because I hadn't given it the attention that it deserved. :-( So, scraping by with a 56% result for that particular assignment meant that I was a very happy bunny, even if I didn't deserve it!! (perhaps I should point out that my marks for the other three modules were somewhat better than that!!!)

The second year starts on the 8th October when we all attend the first workshop of the portfolio element of this year - so I am going to have to much better on that this time around!! At least this time I will have a much better idea of what is involved and how I should prepare the portfolio - but I tell you - it really was agony waiting for the results when I knew that I had quite likely failed! However, I know exactly what my problem is. The problem is that I tend to leave things until the last moment and a reflective portfolio just cannot be dealt with that way as it involves having to follow an issue from start to finish and examining each bit for how you approached it, acted on it, moved on from it.

Oh well - like I said - two pieces of good news - funding and a pass!!! That will do for me!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Darkening nights

For some reason I happened to discover today that sunset this weekend is at 7pm – this threw me into a tizzy because it cannot possibly getting dark that soon just yet.

No, autumn has got to be further way that that!!  As much as I like the change of the seasons, they always seem to take me by surprise.  In Spring it seems like the trees will never burst into leaf when all of a sudden everything is green!

Summer (no matter how wet it is sometimes) always promises that there will be more sunshine and more long hot days where I can sit out in the garden.  So when I discover that the nights are drawing in I begin to realise that there will be no more sitting out in the garden in my t-shirt and shorts until next summer.  That is, unless I like to freeze!!)

There is something a bit sad about knowing that things are changing again, but there is also the anticipation of knowing that summer will come back again next year.  Although next year I think that I will go on holiday abroad to get some properly hot sunshiny weather as I don’t think that I could cope with another wet summer!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Blogging

Besides entertaining topics and good writing there is something else that makes certain bloggers famous....regularity! Yes, they blog on a very regular basis, every day even; which is not something that can be said of me!!

Of course, I am not famous, witty or have anything interesting to talk about, but I could at least be consistent!! If I can't be consistent then I don't deserve this blog despite what my little badge way down on my sidebar says about "blogging without obligation" as I think that has more to do with not feeling under pressure to blog every day and less to do with not blogging for weeks on end! ;-)

So, I am going to try again to do my best to blog rather more regularly!! I blame facebook and twitter, not to mention my feedreader - I am so busy chatting on facebook and tweeting and reading the umpteen blogs that I subscribe to that I forget that I have my own blog and then I wonder where all my comments have gone to. Naturally, I am not going to get any comments if I don't blog, so I really must pull my socks up and get on with it!!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Miracle!

A minor miracle happened last night.

I did a bit of shopping, got home, unpacked the cold stuff and because I only had one bag and most of it is for my upcoming cycling holiday I decided to leave the bag on the side and deal with it later.
 
Well, this morning as I was putting the rest of the stuff away, I discovered that I had bought a small bar of Galaxy chocolate and - gasp - completely forgotten all about it!!!
 
A minor miracle indeed - I am not one of those women that can take or leave chocolate - I am still quite surprised that I actually forgot that I had some chocolate in the house.  I have brought it in to work today to eat at my coffee break as you can be sure that I am not going to forget it a second time!!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

stupid stickers

I saw something on the back of a van the other day that made me stop and think.

It was a post office van - one of those red things that you see all over the place - and on the back of it it had a sticker saying that the van was limited to a particular speed. For instance there are lorries that cannot go beyond some odd figure like 56 miles per hour - quite why it's 56mph I don't know but there you go - there are some vehicles that cannot go as fast as the posted speed limit and so they tell you that so as to try and reduce your rage as you trundle along behind them on a country lane.

But I digress....this post office van - the sticker said...."limited to 70 mph".

Which completely baffles me as our national speed limit is 70 miles per hour, which, surely, negates the need for a sticker on a van that says "limited to 70 mph". I still don't understand it, but it is surely a sad reflection on how most drivers seem to ignore the posted speed limits and just go as fast as they feel they can.

So perhaps a sticker warning other drivers that this van cannot go faster than 70mph has some value, but I still say that such a sticker is redundant - NOBODY should be going faster than that anyway!! The thing is that somebody actually thought that this 70mph sticker would be a good idea - why?! I don't think that I am ever going to understand this one!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

dry throat

It's rather amusing how I manage to be calm and collected in the face of Swine Flu and yet every little dry and tickly throat or sneeze sends me into a spiral of thoughts that I must be catching Swine Flu! and what would I do if I did!  I am not ashamed to admit that I have even checked my temperature a couple of times!!
 
Still, it just goes to show just how pervasive this thing is even if I don't know anyone who has been infected (to my knowledge!!) and yet I still believe that, other than good hygiene, there isn't really much we can do to stop the advance of this particular Flu - the antiviral medication just reduces the symptoms and possibly reduces the length of the illness by one day.  It doesn't actually cure it; and the vaccine....?  Not available yet!
 
There has been some talk in this hospital of redeploying staff in the event of a shortage of clinical staff if they all go down with Swine Flu, so...I could find myself on the wards yet if the worse comes to the worse and I am needed to feed patients or make the beds!  This is quite probably an over-reaction on the part of management, but I can still admire their forethought whilst still hoping that it doesn't happen!
At the moment though, I am Flu free and I intend to stay that way!!  ;-)

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

A surfeit of information

is what I had today! I am in the process of applying for a Hearing Dog for the Deaf and as part of that I was invited to an “information day” at the centre in Buckinghamshire.

This was an opportunity for applicants to see what the charity is all about and to see how the dogs behave, where they are trained. And more importantly, I think, to hear what the staff have to say and what a current Hearing Dog owner thinks of having a dog.

The website for the charity doesn’t actually give travel directions – probably to ensure the safety of the dogs - so I had to rely on a map and a rough idea of where it was. So, the closer I got the more worried I was that I had missed it altogether when I suddenly saw a road sign that said “Hearing Dogs” – aha!!

We were given a demonstration of how the dog works for us – including how to tell us that the alarm clock has gone off….

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One of the best bits (and there were many) was probably the talk given by Hearing Dog owner David (dog was called Mitchell) that really opened our eyes to the responsibilities and the joys of owning a Hearing Dog. The funniest thing that he said was that when he first had the dog he was approached by someone who asked what a Hearing Dog did and he was ever so tempted to say that first thing in the morning the dog goes and listens to the radio and then comes and tells me what the news is!!!

Anyway – we certainly had a lot of information to take in and I still had a dozen questions at the end of the whole process!! But at the end of the day I came away feeling that I definitely, positively, absolutely would like to have a Hearing Dog.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Cycling holidays

I can't remember whether or not I've already mentioned this, but in August Mum and I are off on a cycling holiday in Suffolk.

Naturally this has meant a great deal of preparation - making sure that my bike was fit for purpose, doing a few bike rides to get myself prepared and buying some panniers. (after a great deal of research and reading other people's reviews I eventually settled on Arkel - a Canadian firm that sell very robust panniers).

We've also done most of the travel preparation, i.e. booked the Bed and Breakfasts and roughly planned our route; although I still need to do a few more bike rides, but the weather has been putting me off lately!

Anyway, the main purpose of this particular post is to say that we were getting a bit worried that Mum wouldn't even have a bike to ride on! Clearly, the one requirement of a cycling holiday is that you have a bicycle!! Mum had applied to get some money through the bike to work scheme; only it was taking rather longer than expected to arrive.

The voucher finally arrived yesterday and so Mum went and got her bike and after a few hiccups with the saddle and the gears, took it out on a short ride today. Mum's first ride on her lovely new land rover bike (which is purple!) and what does she do? She falls off!! Would you believe that she was stationary too!!! (sorry Mum, this was too good to keep quiet!).

Mum tells me that she overbalanced a little and when she went to put her foot down the ground sloped away a little and so she just missed altogether and fell over! Ending up with a muddy brake lever and a bruised knee - sending kisses your way, but you really shouldn't fall off your bike!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Coming off the fence

I have been quite firmly on the fence a few months now about whether or not I should apply to get a Hearing Dog for the Deaf.  I put in my preliminary application but have been hanging on to the GP letter and Audiology letter that I need to forward on as I just wasn’t sure that this was the right thing for me.

You see, I do reasonably well without a Hearing Dog and although I would love to have a dog, I just wasn’t sure whether this would give me any real benefit.

Well…..today I am off the fence.  I want a Hearing Dog.  Why?  Because I was playing on my laptop whilst still thinking about whether to get up or not, and I had my buzzy alarm thing with me to alert me should the front doorbell go as I was expecting a parcel from Amazon. 

Yes, you’ve guessed it, the postman came and went and my alarm didn’t go off so now I have to wait until Monday to go and get my books from the post office.  I even dashed down the road to see if I could find the postman, but I don’t know which direction he went and I only saw the collection notice about ten minutes after it was posted through my letter box.

So, I shall now begin to push through the application process rather more whole heartedly and see whether the charity will consider me suitable for such a dog. Of course, if they decide that I am not suitable then that is a different matter, but I have now decided that a Hearing Dog could really help me as I wont have to keep one eye on the front door if I am expecting a visitor or miss any more vitally important book parcels.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Unusual sights

I simply could not believe my eyes on the way home from work today!  I don’t suppose I would have even spotted this if traffic hadn’t been heavy and slow moving as I would not have had time to properly look at the car in front of me.

Nevertheless, I had plenty to time to cast my eyes around and I saw this….

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It probably isn’t all that clear as the photo was taken with my lovely new iphone (not to  mention through a rather dirty windscreen!), but if I hadn’t taken the photograph you would not, I mean NOT, have believed me (thank goodness for my new toy, eh!).

If you click on the photograph to embiggen (as several people seem to like saying!) you will see that there are two birds of prey in the car!  Yes, two birds of prey, both with hoods, one facing the back of the car and the other facing forwards.

Really, I had to look three or four times rather than the normal double-take to ensure that I wasn’t imagining things  It was quite amusing really – every time the driver braked a bit hard the birds would overbalance and have to get their wings out to straighten themselves up.

This is most definitely not a sight that you see everyday and I am quite sure that I will never ever see this car again – just pure fate that I happened to be behind this car in stationery traffic so that I had time to rub my eyes and then take a photo!!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

feeding the cat

hmmm, did you know that if you wanted to look completely and utterly spinster-ish, all you have to do is say to someone that you don't mind staying in the library to help them for an extra 15 minutes because "there's only that cat that needs feeding at home".

I truly didn't mind staying to help, in fact, it seems to a particular trait of certain library users that they dash in just as you turn the computer off and they need to borrow a few books or need to find some information on the computer.

But, did I have to sound quite that twee! Surely there were more scintillating things I could have said such as..."no that's fine, the chauffeur can wait" or "yes, I'll help, but I really must go at 5:45 because I have a flight to Paris to catch" - anything, but anything instead of "the cat can wait".

Even now, I laugh and think - what possessed me to say something like that. Oh well, I can ignore that because I make up for it with extra coolness because I have a new phone!! And it's not just any phone of course, I have decided to splurge and get myself an iphone and I am already quite addicted! (ha ha, blogger's spellcheck does not like iphone!)

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Another fat ankle!

The photo below shows a reasonably normal left ankle, in fact, this is the ankle that I wrecked a few months ago attempting to hop over a roadside barrier

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This photograph shows a rather swollen right ankle that I tipped over on Friday.

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It was all rather amusing really, I was wandering around the fields of Chysauster – an ancient settlement – when I was in amongst the grasses when my ankle twisted and I found myself sitting down and going “ow, ow, ow”! Fortunately there was no-one around to see my quick fall from grace although that did worry me slightly when I wondered how I was going to get back up again.

Still, no damage done, only the fact that I drove from Cornwall back up to Wiltshire via a stop at Lanhydrock where I walked around the rooms meant that the ankle ended up rather more swollen than necessary.

The ankle is not nearly so swollen today, I suppose I shouldn’t really have driven four hours just the day after I twisted it but there was nothing to be done seeing as I had to get myself home. It certainly isn’t as bad as the sprain I had on the left ankle a few months ago! Nevertheless, I could do without spraining either of my ankles for a while!! ;-)

Thursday, 18 June 2009

resuscitated laptop

Well...it looks as though I have a working laptop again! Woohoo! Mind you, I have lost some photos and information that I had on the laptop, I am not so bothered about that as I had expected that to happen. (Fortunately my Dubai photos were still on my camera - surprisingly enough!)

The chap was very good and actually managed to find the root of the problem (instead of just wiping everything and reinstalling) and it would appear that I have a faulty memory card which he took out. That will need replacing at some point but at the moment the laptop functions with the remaining memory card so I am ok for the time being.

The fee was cheap so that was good, the only downside being that the laptop and bag came back rather smokey smelling! Clearly the chap is a smoker and while I am surprised by how little time it takes to make something smell of cigarette smoke, I am pleased to have a working laptop that I can overlook that.

Am still on holiday in beautiful Cornwall and am making very good use of my National Trust card and seeing some historic houses. I also managed to avoid getting burnt again although my original sun burn is now peeling - ewgh! (serves me right for not being careful - all I can say to you folk out there - slip, slap, slop - as they apparently say in Australia - slip on a t-short, slap on a hat and slop on some suncream!)

Monday, 15 June 2009

Pink!

I would appear to be rather pink today - whoops! The sun was obviously stronger than I thought yesterday, so I am a bit sore and kicking myself for not putting some suncream on. You can be sure that I have put some on today.

I had a good day yesterday as I walked along the coastal path from Penzance to Marazion, it's not that far and it has a lovely view of the bay with St. Michael's Mount out in the middle. Marazion is a lovely little town with several crafty shops and galleries, all ready to lure the tourists in!!

When it is low tide you can actually walk across the causeway from Marazion to St. Michael's Mount, but the tide was still going out when I got there. There are several boats that ferry people across to the Mount when the causeway is closed, so I hopped on board on of those and was on the island in about ten minutes (if that!) and spent a few hours exploring the house on top of St. Michael's Mount - it's quite an impressive house, my only wish is that I would have liked to have seen it as it was 50, 100 and 150 years ago. If only there was a little window in each room that would allow you look back and see everything exactly as it was.

By the time I had finished looking around, the tide was out and so I was able to walk back along the causeway to Marazion and then walk along the beach back to Penzance. The day ended with me sitting on a bench on the promenade eating sausage and chips - a perfect way to end a perfect day. (although I could have done without the sunburn!)

Friday, 12 June 2009

injured laptop

No sooner do I try and get back into the habit of blogging, my laptop decides to give up the ghost!!
 
It is a seriously ill laptop unfortunately and keeps crashing when I try to reboot and I get some nasty error messages.  As I know next to nothing about the inner workings of my laptop and it is out of warranty now as I have had it for about fifteen months I have to take it to somebody that knows more than me!!
 
That's only half the story too....tomorrow I am off to foreign parts (Cornwall!!) and I still have to finish an essay so I NEED my laptop to be in working order. I really was quite panicked last night until I remembered that pen and paper would do in a pinch until I can type the essay up.
 
Anyway, it turns out that there is a computer engineer that works from home in Penzance and that home just happens to be in the road where my B&B is - fortuitous eh?  What was even more pleasant was that when we phoned him to see if he could see my ailing laptop he said that he'd come to the B&B and pick up the laptop - sounds like good service to me.  So, I am really hoping that he can breath life into my beloved laptop and ensure that I don't fail this course at the same time!!  ;-)
 

 

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Cycling

I seem to be taking this cycling lark rather seriously!  I have now cycled to work (and back of course) four times, although I should admit that this is four days across nearly two weeks - I don't want to wear myself out too soon do I?
 
It's just over nine miles from my back door to the bike sheds at work, so in one day I really do get my quota of exercise by cycling for about two hours and covering eighteen miles.  The journey itself is a mixture of bike paths and major roads.  The worse bit is the first section (or last should I be on the way home!) where the traffic really is quite heavy - cars on their way to work, lorries and buses - so it's not altogether pleasant, but as I am wearing a hi-vis vest I hope I am quite easy to spot; and most drivers do give me a reasonably wide berth, I just get the odd one or two every now and then that seems to think that an inch or two is sufficient space!!
 
The majority of the route, though, is on bike paths or smaller country lanes.  The longest section is probably the old railway line that has been tarmacked and is one of the major Sustrans (bike group) routes and it very leafy and green and pleasant to cycle along.  However, on the way to work this route is ever so slightly uphill - you'd have to be an engineer (or cyclist!) to see the gradient, but as trains generally avoid hills this old route takes a very long way to get uphill so the journey to work is a bit huffy and puffy with my legs aching a bit.  The journey home.....is a different thing altogether.....I whizz down that path keeping an eye out for dog walkers!
 
I cycled into work today and although the weather forecast is for rain it seems to have held off for now, so the trip home tonight should be pleasant - sometimes I see squirrels, but I have yet to see another owl.  I was taking a circular route one evening a few weeks ago when this owl flew over my head carrying some food for it's owlets!!
 
Commuting to work by bike is fun, but it's not all you can do - Mum and I are going on a touring holiday in Suffolk in August - see, I told you I was taking this cycling lark a bit too seriously!!! ;-)

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

whoops

I am about to get arrested for severe neglect of my blog!!!

I don't think that I have ever left it alone for quite so long before; and I can't quite work out why I haven't blogged for nearly a month. I don't think that it was because I had nothing to say, it was probably just a bloggie malaise that just wouldn't go away.

All I can say is that I will have to set myself a regular slot for blogging otherwise I will just forget again and the more you forget the more likely you are to stop blogging because it really does stop being a habit.

So, dear readers, thank you for sticking with me. If indeed, you are still reading!! I hope to will get back to a more normal bloggy routine!!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Jelly legs!

It has been a long long time since I have been out on a bicycle! I have been thinking for quite some time now that I should cycle to work and kill several birds with one stone - health and money mostly.

But...I haven't ridden a bike for at least four years. So when I hauled my bike out from under the tarpaulin I saw that it needed a bit of a service, so I took it to the local bike shop just down the road and he sorted it out for me.

I collected the bike today and decided that I should take it out for a spin. I was only out for about 15 minutes and probably covered just over a mile, but that was enough (plenty enough) for me for a first day out.

Clearly I need to build up a bit of strength before I even think about cycling to work, but at least I know that I can still ride a bike!! Those thigh and knee muscles certainly remembered what to do even if they did complain a bit.

P.S. This fab little website called Mapmyrun actually reveals that I did a fraction over two miles!!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend

me and tents

As you can see, I was lucky enough to be one of those that won the ticket lottery to get two tickets for the Big Weekend as hosted by the BBC at Lydiard Park near where I live.

The big blue tent that you see behind me is the Main Stage tent where the biggest audiences are anticipated. There were also other stages - “In new music we trust”, "”introducing…” and an outdoor stage – all full of performers both familiar and unfamiliar.

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There were 34 acts in total – starting at noon and going all the way to the close of the day at 10pm. As it is only just gone 8pm you can see that I did not stay all day, but I did enjoy what I did see, particularly as this was the first time that I had ever been to something like this.

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So, I saw…Alesha Dixon, Scouting for Girls, Ladyhawke, Chase and Status, Sound of Guns, Marina and the Diamonds and I could have seen a lot more but with so much going on it was difficult to pick and choose what might be good. The headliners of the show appear last and so unless I stayed until the very end I wasn’t going to see them (the Prodigy, Lily Allen and Franz Ferdinand).

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I didn’t mind leaving early as I had had a good day, seen enough, and was tired and needed to walk about 3 miles home while it was still light. Besides, the tickets were free so it didn’t bother me to leave early!!

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As I had two tickets, I invited my cousin from Cardiff to come with me and at the very end of the day she decided to buy a cat hat! (naturally I threatened to walk at least a hundred paces away!)

cat head

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Jumeirah Mosque

Given that Dubai is a Muslim country there is more than one mosque around. However, this particular mosque holds tours several days a week in the hope of fostering greater understanding of cultural differences.

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Naturally we all have to dress more circumspectly before we are allowed inside – long sleeves and trousers/skirts with the women covering their heads.

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We were permitted to take photographs of the inside of the mosque, and it truly is a beautiful place, very ornate and beautifully coloured.

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The tour lasted just over an hour and our guide showed us through the process that Muslims have to go through before they pray – washing three times – one arm and hand and then other, one lower leg and foot and then the other, the face, the hair and then washing out the mouth – all three times each to be absolutely certain that they are clean.

Once inside the mosque (having left our shoes outside) he told us more about the Muslim religion and how they pray – we were encouraged to take photographs and ask questions. I actually asked whether it would be rude of me to ask a Muslim woman to lift their face coverings in order to lip read them (otherwise life could be very difficult!). The reply was that the coverings are worn out of personal choice and not any religious demand and so I could indeed ask without fear of offending anyone.

All in all it was quite fascinating and I am glad I went.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Shopping in Dubai

If you love shopping then Dubai is definitely the place to be! There are several malls of all sizes and they are nothing like the rather plain (aka boring!) shopping centres in the UK.

These are truly palaces dedicated to shopping, they may look fairly ordinary in some places with the usual escalators and shiny floors….. (that's me on the left by the way!)

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but others have some fabulous objects within them such as dhows or elephants…

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Some of them are set up to look like the old souks (markets)

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All of which is very different, beautiful and amazing, but the artwork that truly stunned me was this utterly incredible waterfall with divers. I must have stood in front of it for quite a while, rather transfixed by what I was seeing.

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The funny thing was seeing some of the familiar shops but with names written in Arabic! On the left of this sign it says “Debenhams”!!

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Dubai is definitely a mecca for the serious shopper, the biggest mall has about 1,400 shops – yes you read that right! There are some smaller boutique type malls that feel more personal. However, no matter the size or shape, they are all usually very well air conditioned and end up being the place to be because you can shop without getting caught up in all the heat and sand that makes Dubai what it is.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) Mum and I didn’t buy very much at all, mostly because the import costs of bringing in all the goods means that things cost a bit more in Dubai than they would here in the UK. We did manage to get some souvenirs though, I picked up a couple of scarves and a lovely arabian looking metal bowl and Mum found herself a gorgeous metal coffee set – six tiny cups set around a tall coffee pot on a silvery tray – of course, it now takes pride of place by the fireplace at Mum and Dads!!

Monday, 4 May 2009

Dubai – a bit more!

We were in Dubai for a week, so yesterday’s post just wasn’t going to cover it was it? The Royal Family in Dubai want to make the place attractive to the tourists, only there really isn’t all that much to see in amongst the sand.

So, the Maktoums (Royal Family) decided to build it so that they will come, and boy – did they build it!! In fact, they are still building with what appears to be entire stock of cranes in the whole world – they are building shopping centres, business centres, resorts, amusement parks and so much more – including the tallest building in the world.

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It doesn’t look that tall in this photograph but it really does stand out from everything else in Dubai and is called the Burj Dubai which simply translates as Tower Dubai and is over 800 metres tall – this next photograph really demonstrates how it towers over everything else in Dubai.

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Apparently this building is going to host pretty much everything that is it possible to have in one building – shops, businesses, homes, hotels, swimming pools, and I am sure there are a lot more things but I just can’t think of any right now. (the official website also says that there are 15,000 square feet for fitness – whatever that means!!)

Not only do the Maktoums ask for the tallest building in the world, they also build things like indoor ski slopes. Now you might think that that is nothing unusual after all we have a few in the UK although the ones we have are nothing like the one in Dubai. The ski slope in Dubai actually has real snow! It is so funny to think that in a place that is hot and full of sand you can still go skiing!!

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snow in dubai