Monday, October 29, 2012

Mother nature....

This morning at 5am we were awake and up and checking airlines on t'interwebs. My American nephew has been here visiting and was due to fly out at 8am to New York. As we suspected, the impending storm/hurricane sandy was closing down the Eastern USA and his flight was cancelled, so he will be flying home, hopefully, tomorrow. Either way he remains here in England until he can return safely.
I hope that those people in the path of Mother Nature showing how she rolls, are safe and stay that way.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Home sweet home.......

Every Autumn we are lucky enough to have a trip away for a few days with a small group of friends.
How we decide where we go is dictated by a number of things, as ideally we like to fly from a local airport, on cheap flights (hello Irish airline we hate where you have a bunfight to find a seat and a cold sweat of anxiety as you wonder if the cage for your luggage will be too small for your cabin only case) that fly at times which allow us the maximum number of full days.........classy? us? oh yes.
Over the years we have covered many of the major European cities, spending 2 or 3 days exploring somewhere as tourists, walking and walking and walking and eating and drinking and sharing good times. Some places I liked better than others, some I would consider returning to, while some are interesting to see but not places that could take a second visit. This year we have visited Lithuania.
'Why?' is what a girl at work said, when I answered her query about where we were going this year.
Well it ticks a lot of the 'pre-requisites for one of our trips' boxes and we hoped that perhaps it would be like the Prague we visited many, many years ago. It wasn't ....but we had a good time.
We flew to, and stayed in, Kaunas and also spent a full day in Vilnius which is the Capital.
Our trip included crochet covered trees, funiculars, soup served in an edible bread bowl, a miracle tile, clean and comfortable trains, cheap and tasty food (beautiful creamy hot beetroot soup), and polite english speaking locals. There was also an awful lot of sculpture (which I love, but those pics include friends and I don't feel able to post those here) and many many beautiful Churches, Cathedrals, and evidence of people being enterprising by using very little to make something which would make them money, for instance an old lady collecting lots of the best and large fallen leaves, of which at this time of year there were many, and shaping them into little bouquets to sell.






There was  interesting art here there and everywhere but the little stone statue (pic 7) is the one that stays with me......for some reason once we had seen it we all had to find the nearest loo.................

Lithuania was an experience, and we had a lovely time, but I cannot say that I would visit again. The Country has had a troubled past and was occupied frequently, so there is a strong flavour of greyness....the utilitarian concrete buildings and visual overall reminders of hard times does not make it as appealing as some other places we have been to, although in truth we don't look for chocolate box beauty, and the beauty we did find there was stunning.... particularly, as the men in our group pointed out, the young girls.........well actually they were right, all the young women seemed to be stick thin and long of limb and hair with pretty features.......but as we were four old married couples, the chaps were a bit silly to point that out to us at the beginning of the trip do you not think? will they never learn?........
Now back home and unpacked I am reminded of how much I love my home....big or small where we live cradles us and makes us feel safe..it is familiar and although it could do with some tweaking and tidying up and I will miss that big hotel bathroom, being back is great..........have to start thinking about next years trip now......any ideas?



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Those long winter evenings......

I don't know about you, but these days, once I get in from work, have some dinner and pootle about for a bit, then all I do for the rest of the evening is watch the tele.
I feel that the day is broken up into 'chores' and having been at work for 9 hours my chores are done.
I am not an energetic person.
I am very accomplished at sitting on my backside in a comfy chair in the sitting room with certain objects close to hand that enable me to have a relaxing lovely evening......laptop, cup of tea (or glass of wine), remote control, newspaper, crochet bag, and a view of the Mister across the room who is invariably also on a laptop/ipad...it is the way of the world nowadays.....and suits us just fine...thanks for asking...oh and there is also usually a cat somewhere in the picture moving from here to there to see which of us will give the most fuss to it.
Not for us the going out in the week business that young people get up to - crikey.......Mon to Fri is just for 'head down/go to work/get it done' and then enjoy the weekend.
Last night I decided that eating a snickers bar (a whole one...I Know!) and watching the tele
 was the order of the day.
Which is pretty much the way forward for me most days really.
Nurse Kim Wilde returned  - Jo Brand in Getting on. Such a funny programme.
This opening episode to Series 3 featured an elderly lady, who is a regular visitor to the hospital, who Nurse Wilde quite rightly decided had nothing wrong with her and needed a Psyche evaluation (an americanism there I think?), who has grey hair, and panic attacks, and is perhaps a hypochondriac.
The writers have clearly met my mum.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Up to London.......

What springs to mind if your niece (who lives in London) tells you she is going away for a few weeks? Initially, of course, it is how lovely - have a great time - oh to be young and thin and gorgeous again...long sigh..........................but then you think hold on....a flat in Hampstead all empty? Have'nt been to London for ages........and so a plan is hatched. My sister will travel up from Kent, I will travel from ooop north as she says, and we will have a weekend of girl (oh ok ...middle aged lady) time......shopping, talking, eating, drinking, topping up our culture level (quite a big ask actually..) and generally stepping out of our normal routine.
I give you then, our weekend in pictures................












We started with champagne, we hopped on and off the tube like locals (thanks sis...great navigational skills there), the pub at the end of the road caused us to sigh....not because we were going in or coming out, but because seeing it heralded the start of a long slow climb that our old legs struggled with. Shopping ensued and the images of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (no...it is not my sister....although ...wait...there is a likeness somewhere....) who is currently all over Selfridges like a rash (spots...rash...geddit?) is quite unsettling I think..I'm not sure I like all those little mini me's.....so as darkness fell it was time to visit the National Portrait Gallery (and yes the view from the restaurant upstairs is fabulous) where we both increased our wrinkles by being puzzled by the Anna Wintour portrait.  We finished the day with more fizz and then awoke to beautiful blue skies on Saturday. A quick walk across the Heath, where the circus was in town.....is there a Mr Zippo do you think? and we had another lovely day that included walks in St Johns Wood, Primrose Hill, Hampstead, Camden, with tasty tea and cakes along the way, finishing off with light supper at The Freemason Arms Downshire Hill which is close to our 'home from home' for the weekend.
Our time together did include all the things we wanted it to.......walking/talking/drinking fizz/shopping/seeing some sights/breaking the routine. Not that there is anything wrong with the routines we both have......we are blessed to have family, homes, jobs, but every now and then there is something good about doing something  new or out of the ordinary, and we had a splendid time, but the older I get, just like Dorothy, the more I fully endorse the maxim 'there's no place like home'. Until the next time of course..........

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Time and tide etc.,

Crikey, October already.
Now that I am (supposedly) a grown up I have been indulging in that time honoured tradition of saying 'bloody hell where has the year gone' each time I turn onto a new picture on my calender...because I am old fashioned enough to have a calender pinned to the kitchen door. One that has birthdays and dental appointments and holiday dates on it, and these days, with no kids here anymore, no longer has lots and lots of after school activities and kids parties and sleepovers and sports days and .........oh those days were busy and hectic but so very wonderful.......I want to go back and do them again....
Do you remember when, if you were asked how old you were, you would say 9 and three quarters or 7 and a half? when you were that age those months were important and years seemed so long.
Now, once Halloween and my birthday are out of the way (and no they are not related) we will be on  the run up to Christmas......
I think I must have 'I want to be a grandparent - itis'......I really yearn to cuddle a baby.
Anyhoo as you can probably tell, this post is not really about anything at all, so I shall stop typing.

ps.. I am in the mood for list making though........any suggestions?

Sometimes this is just the right thing to hear......

Gavin Bryars...Jesus' blood never failed me yet.........look it up on youtube. I love Tom Waits and the one time I saw him live in Lon...