Sunday 28 April 2013

Sunday Social (47)

Sunday Social
Linking up with Neely and Ashley again
1. Did you sleepwalk as a child?
Apparently I did. I don't remember (of course) but I do remember my Dad on the landing one morning saying "I met you here last night".

2. Did you ever try to run away or sneak out of your house?
No. I was lucky enough to grow up in a large five bedroomed house; if you wanted to sulk and get away you could go and hide in the spare room or at the end of the garden!

3. Did you have any imaginary friends?
A whole host of them! When I was far too old to still have them too!

4. Did you ever go toilet papering?
I don't think that is a UK thing. We did play knock-down-ginger sometimes... you ring the doorbell and run away.

5. Did you ever sneak TV shows you weren't allowed to watch?
No. My Gran lived with us growing up and my Mum worked part time so the TV was well policed! My parents were quite strict about what we were and weren't allowed to watch; so TV didn't play a big part in our lives - we were more inclined to play games. My cousins spent a lot of time with us so there were four of us to play; whether it was card games, board games or cricket in the garden!

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Happy St Geroge's Day

Great Google Doodle!

"...And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!' "

Shakespeare - Henry V

Sunday 21 April 2013

This is Marathon 2013

It's the end of April and almost St George's Day and a Sunday. That means one thing to most of SE7... stuck in your island as the marathon maroons you. I've been living here for over a decade, and seen most of the marathons (when the weather was fine, anyway).

Never having been a runner I don't know whether it is better to have the vile wet and cold weather of recent weeks or the sudden sunny burst of spring that has burst upon us. It certainly was nice for those of us standing watching to not shelter from the weather!

This is the empty street just after 10am (when they start two miles away on Blackheath).

 A practically cloudless sky (dare we hope Spring is really here) waits for the runners. Probably a bit warm for running; but pleasant for standing on the sidelines cheering.

Lucky I wore an old pair of glasses with the 'reactions' lenses and a baseball cap (to hide my bird's nest hair) which kept the sun off my face and out of my eyes.
 About 15 minutes after the start the first runners begin to pass us. We're on the red route; the majority of which are either from running clubs or running for charity. I've certainly not ever spotted any of the more outlandish costumes, or any celebrities. 

There are three starts to the marathon to space out the huge number of runners across the not very wide streets of South London.
 I noticed the pace setters (maybe they're always there and I've never noticed) they hold a flag telling you how long it'll take you to finish the race and how many minutes a mile you're running. You can see they attract quite a pack!

Apparently Wombles run marathons too! Just a couple of the more imaginative outfits I saw today.

More to come further down the page.
Aerial coverage from one of many helicopters

Beginning to get busy now

Rhino spotted!

One of several supermen and a wheelchair runner

I wonder if that is the tiger that used to live up the road?

Another rhino and a panda

The pack is thinning, the rhinos are still going

Mickey and Minnie - a big hit with the nearby kids!

An Olympic torch no less

Back markers with the security motorbike

Ola Señors! Olé!

The last few runners

The support bus passes the two mile marker

What a glorious sunny day

You'll never see the road so quiet

Every year the street is blocked...

Beautiful spring from one of my neighbours

Reactions still not faded...

There are the runners I saw on the TV!

Slow wander back today, I usually see them round the Cutty Sark

I definitely saw those two girls!

Whilst I watched today I saw young and old, tall and short; I saw several Supermen, Bananaman, Snow White, a panda, a gorilla a chicken, a mole and several rhinos... I saw a smurf, Bagpuss, two Sonic the Hedgehogs and some Wombles. I saw people running from the MS Society and the MS Trust (to whom, as always, I say thanks) and so many other charities I can't remember them all.

90% of the runners today sported a small black ribbon; remembering the tragic events in Boston six days ago. If it wasn't hanging on a wall I'd have borrowed the Better-half's Boston Red Sox cap to show my respect.

Well, apart from the irritating half marathon later in the year (it has only been going a few years, I think it should take itself off to North London and cause chaos there) we are done running until next year.

Marathon 2007
Marathon 2008
Marathon 2009
Marathon 2010
Marathon 2011
Marathon 2012


Sunday Social (46)

Sunday Social
Linking up with Neely and Ashley again

1. What is your shopping weakness?
Handbags and scarves. It used to be shoes; but since I can only wear flats (and boring ones at that) I've lost my shoes fetish. I own way to many handbags, and rather a lot of scarves!
2. What is your food weakness?
When I was younger it was definitely chocolate. As I've got older I've lost a lot of the sweet tooth. I guess now it is take out. Chinese, Indian, Pizza - try to limit it to once a week or less!

3. What is your go to movie to watch when nothing is on?
Any of the old movies; the ones I've seen so often I can almost recite. Whether it is Gene Kelly "Singing in the Rain" or Grace Kelly living "High Society" or Julie Andrews sorting out the nursery as "Mary Poppins".

4. What is your go to breakfast food?
It depends on the time of year, the day of the week and how enthusiastic I'm feeling. Anything from oatcakes (current lazy option), through toast, to porridge or even eggs (fried, boiled or scrambled).

5. Do you drink coffee? If so, how do you take it?
Too much coffee. How I take it depends on where it is coming from. At work we have instant so white. At meetings or dinner when it is coming out of a French Press then black. If I'm in a coffee shop... well anything goes. I love Starbucks specials... I had a Caramel Macchiato  the other day, gorgeous. I also love their pumpkin latte at Halloween.

Monday 15 April 2013

Monday - Things you didn't know about me (1)


When I was 8 years old I started learning the recorder. I hated it. Played well (preferably a wooden instrument) it is beautiful; played badly it is awful. I still have mine (treble and alto) - the treble has a cracked mouthpiece where I threw it at the wall during practice. The alto was even worse - nobody properly explained the clef and how 'c' was now in a different place on the stave and now needed different fingering.

Around the same time I started learning classical guitar. I didn't do well at that either, even with my 7/8 size guitar my fingers didn't have the reach.

At age 11 I happily abandoned the recorder and took up piano; which I would study on our second hand upright for the next five years. My first piano teacher also taught me another use for the guitar; and I learnt to accompany myself whilst singing.

Teaching my dog, Leo, the guiatar

At the same time I started singing lessons and joined the church choir. I had finally found my instrument, voice.

I studied music for GCSE and for A-level; wrestling with Bach's harmony rules and learning to identify the composer of music by working out the period; the style, the instruments. I enjoyed A-level music so much that I spent a year at University doing a Bachelor's degree. Only the thought of what I would do when I graduated threw me off this path.

This means I've always preferred 'classical' music. From medieval through baroque and renaissance through classical to the romantics. I always drew the line at modern (famously swearing alliteratively at an assignment on Bartok).

The nearest I got to popular music was the 1960s until my very late teens; and to the present date my discovery of music has been through TV, friends and the Better-half.

You may or may not have know all that about me... but things you don't know about me; what is on my iPhone right now to listen to:-
Rammstein - Amerika
All Saints - Never Ever
Black Eyed Peas - Boom Boom Pow
Bob Marley and the Wailers - Jamming
The Dresden Dolls - Coin Operated Boy
Status Quo - Pictures of Matchstick Men
The Damned - New Rose
Boyzone - Words
Scala & Kolancy Brothers - The Blowers Daughter
Frank Sinatra - Something Stupid
Carter USM - Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere
Faure's Requiem
Slik - Forever and ever
Debussy's Clair de Lune
Barber's Adagio for Strings
Ima Robot - Greenback Boogie
Brandi Carlile - The Story

...that's a few of the 479 that just came up as I pressed the next button. Eclectic, no?!

Sunday 14 April 2013

Sunday Social (45)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social

We're talking about Twitter, my favourite internet time suck! Somedays I do nothing but sit and spend time with the world's longest conversation! 

1. When did you join twitter?
The handy website "When did you join Twitter?" tells me that it was the 14 May 2008. That sounds about right as it was a year after I joined Facebook (give or take). I wasn't an early adopter of social media!
2. Who is your favorite non-celeb to follow?
Hard question. I like keeping up with what my friends are up to via Twitter. Also that is asking me to choose from nearly 200 people! I have excellent conversations and random musings with some very interesting people though:- @wombat37 for pure random thought; @dochackenbush because he posts cool artwork; @tomroyal because he is a fellow geek and posts pictures of his cats.
3. Who is your favorite celeb to follow?
I don't follow many celebs - I'm not very interested in what most of them have to say; and you practically never have conversations with them! I looked for the blue ticks (verified accounts) and about half were MPs (who I only follow for my armchair activism). I guess it's a close call between @NathanFillion as he tweets very random stuff and @EddieMcClintock as following him meant I bought the coolest Tshirt ever for the Better-Half (and thanks to @JodiBean328) for making that happen!
4. Have you ever had a celeb respond to a tweet?
No, but as I hardly ever bother to tweet them that doesn't surprise me. After all, they are just one person with thousands of followers. If they replied I would suspect that they had an intern running their account!
5. What is your favorite store/brand to follow?
Oddly the only ones I ever have followed are tea related. Strange. I stopped most all as it was drowning out the conversation!

6. Give us three tweeps we should be following.
Well me, obviously! If you like to talk and see picture of cats and rainbows then I'm your girl @nat_mach. Also @CatFoodBreath - interesting (often funny) views of life from a cat. Finally (hard to do this, as I like all the tweets I read) I'll give you @catster - more cat tales and photos.
A percentage of my Tweets aren't me, they are services providing auto-updates; I let them do it as they are sites like Goodreads (what I'm reading), Raptr (what I'm playing), and Instagram and Blipfoto (what my camera is up to) - I hope people find these things interesting. Please do drop by and say hello on Twitter... we'll have a chat!

Saturday 13 April 2013

Friends, family... everyone

Yesterday I went to a funeral.

All funerals a sad. They necessarily involve the loss of someone from your life. Yesterday it was a school-friend. She died very suddenly; no accident, no illness. She leaves behind a heart-broken husband and a beautiful three month old daughter.

I hadn't seen my friend in years, we'd talked about meeting up on Facebook sometimes... but some barrier always prevented things from happening. After a while we stopped trying to sort things out. We stopped, because there is always plenty of time. Next week, next month, next year.

It tuns out though, that there isn't. You don't know how much time you may or may not have. So whilst I mourn the loss of my friend, who once was such a presence in my life; I am determined that I shall make more effort to spend time with friends and family; because you never know when .

I also got to thinking as friends and family stepped up at the funeral to give eulogies; what about my life. Is it all it could be; what would people say about me?

At the funeral a poem was read; I'm not much one for public emotion, but this did make me cry. I remembered enough of the words to find it share it below.

So if I suddenly call you, or write to you... even though it's been a few years. Well, now you know why - I'm not waiting for tomorrow any more.

Sunday 7 April 2013

Sunday Social (44)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social
Unfortunately something has happened to Pinterest which means that it no longer wants to play with my blog. I tried embedding pins and it broke the layout. I think it is because I'm upgraded to the new layout... now everything is javascript and my blog hates that! I wouldn't mind but it has taken two hours to do and undo that mess!
I'll give you the links to the boards for the the questions... and you can take your pick!
1. What is your favourite outfit pin?
 I'm a Marks and Spencer girl, as you can see. Some of these I do actually own!

2. What is your favourite food pin?
Actually don't have any. Very remiss!
3. What is your favorite wedding pin?
You'd think there'd be more as I'm getting married this summer! I like me as Grace Kelly (just for fun - not my wedding dress!)
4. What is your favorite DIY/craft pin? 
 Again don't have any. Not much into DIY/craft due to numb clumsy fingers!
5. What is your favorite quote/verse/lyric pin?
A lot of these are in my photo collage screen saver at work! I love the 'Still and Silent Place' one. 
 6. Share on more random pin you love.
I'd love to have a pendant of Casper's nose print... he'd never stand for it though!

Sorry for the lack of re-pins. Like I said... Pinterest and I have fallen out. I guess this way you get to explore my boards!

Thursday 4 April 2013

It's OK Thursday (6)

Linking up with Neely and Amber for "It's OK Thursday" again

It's OK...

  • that the week is over before it has even started
  • I missed my Water Workout because it was school holidays
  • it's April but my head is still in February
  • my to-do list is getting bigger not smaller
  • I talk to the TV (argue with the TV?)

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Things to do in London (1)

Now that all the small children I know are getting older it is time for days out... and sometimes I am lucky enough to be asked along. I had such a day last Friday when my cousin and her daughter (who for simplicity rather than my first cousin once removed I call my niece) invited me along to the Surrey Docks Farm with them.

I pass nearby most mornings on my way to work, and have lived in this corner of London for over a decade... but I never knew it was there!

It is a real working farm, tucked away in a residential corner of Deptford/Bermondsey/Rotherhithe. You can walk up to the Thames Walk nearby, and from some spots you can even see Canary Wharf!

You can read more about it over at the Occasional Tourist.


Monday 1 April 2013

April Fools

The annual silliness and tom-foolery on the internet is upon us as the calendars turn from March to April.

Emails from various companies and internet sites (led, as always, by Google) are joining in the fun. 

Links are included (but may expire at noon) - click on the images for a full view.

My inbox has been pretty busy already; from floating pets to invisible gifts and scratch and sniff photos:-
The rest of the internet that isn't bothering my inbox has been busy too. The charge is led, as always, by Google.

Do you want to try Google Nose?

Smelling, it would appear, is believing. Google haven't stopped there, perhaps you would like to try Gmail Blue?

Or if this isn't to your taste... perhaps a treasure map would give you something to do on your Bank Holiday?! Just go to Google Maps and click on the 'Treasure' option.

The rest of the internet hasn't been idle by any means. From the BBC to the Guardian and in between strange stories abound. Some of these have been picked up by other sites, so I'm not always sure who started it!

 PC Net reports that if next day delivery isn't fast enough for you Amazon is working on a new project which will instantly deliver your merchandise - Amazon Tube.

YouTube, meanwhile, reports that its 10 year service has been a competition to find the best video and at midnight it will shut down and re-open 10 years from now when the best video is found, showing only that entry.

The BBC reports on a German flea circus. I'm not sure that Professor Heinz Mehlhorn working at Dusseldorf University actually does have a flea circus?

The Metro reports that Mars Curiosity Rover is set to quite Twitter and destroy the earth. Some very creative Photoshop editing has been going on here!

Twitter itself is going to be even harder to understand as it threatens to drop vowels and make all Tweets consonant only.

The best of the rest are shown below, they need no explanations:-

I don't know if Blogger is having technical difficulties or it is their idea of an April Fool but every hyperlink in this post had to manually coded as they all pointed to!

Internet madness from 2008 - 2012 (for some reason nothing from 2011) can be found at the following links:-
April Fools 2008
April Fools 2009
April Fools 2010
April Fools 2012