Sunday 30 March 2014

Sunday Social (95)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely

1. What is your ideal way to relax?
Anything which involves the Sofa of Sloth and a dose of 'Pointless' with Husband is pretty good (currently what we're doing whilst I'm writing this). Alternatively playing the Xbox with K-cat for company; or on a really can't be bothered to sit up day lying in bed reading my Kindle.

Casper 'helping' pay the Xbox

2. Where is your favourite place to be?
At home on the Sofa of Sloth is right up there. Known as the Sofa of Sloth because once you sit down you don't want to get up again.

My end of the sofa
Husband's end of the sofa

If I have to choose somewhere that is not at home then I will go with Maritime Greenwich. Greenwich is a fair sized chunk of London - it ranges from North Greenwich on the peninsula where the Millennium Village is located (almost New Charlton in reality) to East Greenwich (an up and coming area where the old hospital was knocked down and a new community is now being built to the edge of Greenwich (South West?) where the mainline station is located. Maritime Greenwich is the centre; where the Cutty Sark is to be found, the Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) often seen in movies (played parts of Paris in Les Miserables, London in Pirates of the Caribbean and passing moments in such diversity as Gullivers Travels, Thor 2 and Star Trek). It has a wide selection of coffee shops (with Wi-Fi of course) and great places to eat, the park and the river.

Spring near the Maritime Museum
Ship in a Bottle
Inside the Museum - very maritime
Poem by Lemm Sissay on some hoardings
The Cutty Sark seen by one of the many coffee shops
Greenwich Foot-tunnel will take you to the Isle of Dogs
Coffee shop in my favourite branch of Waterstones
3. Who do you consider your biggest role model?
My mother. Without hesitation. She is everything that I hope I am and more. She is genteel, educated, she has great deportment, she is kind and thoughtful, she is a great friend to many and somebody to be relied upon in times of need; she is my friend as well as my mother. I also hope that I get her amazing skin and as my hair is as fine as hers I hope that it stays without grey as long as hers has. (I'm not mean enough to reveal another person's age, but I'm forty next year, so do the math - she looks good on it doesn't she?!).

4. What does your life look like in 3 years?
I sincerely hope pretty much like it does now. I can't think of anything in my life that I would want to change.

5. If you could go back and change one decision, what would it be?
I wouldn't. Look forward, not backwards. Every decision and pathway that I have taken (even the bad ones) have led to where I am now; and where I am now is a pretty great place to be.

6. What is your biggest accomplishment in life thus far?
Dealing with MS. I like to hope that I have risen up and dealt with the challenges it has dealt me in the best way that I can.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Sunday Social (94)

 Linking up with Ashley and Neely.

1. What are the top 3 things you can't go a day without doing?
Frightful really; using Twitter and Facebook... I'll redeem myself with kissing my husband.

2. What are 3 things that scare you the most?
I have largely conquered being scared of things, I was absolutely neurotic when I was younger. Now it is things that life might throw at you; losing anyone I love (Husband, family, Casper K Cat and friends), my MS getting so bad that I can't work any more or my MS getting so bad that I can't walk around any more. Since I started practising mindfulness I have stopped being scared of a lot of things, because it is all about being in the now.

3. What are 3 places you want to see before you kick the bucket?
Rather unrealistic (given that I don't like flying or travel very much): Japan, Washington DC and Venice.

4. What are 3 movies you will always love?
Gone with Wind (my favourite movie of all time), The Sting (beginning of a love of grifters and cons - hence love of TV Show Hustle and Leverage) and Clue (which just came up as a clue on Pointless while I was typing this).

5. What are your 3 favourite current songs?
I'm massively fickle when it comes to favourite songs - it depends what songs are loaded on my phone at any moment. Right now:-

Louis Armstrong "What a Wonderful World" (our first dance at our wedding)

A bonus is the advert the BBC did for David Attenborough's wildlife programmes and it is just stunning.

Jem "They" (I find the lyrics oddly relevant)

Ima Robot "Greenback Boogie" (theme song to the fantastic TV show "Suits")

Sunday 16 March 2014

Sunday Social (93)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely

1. How much time do you spend on Social Media a day? hones
Several hours at least! I get driven to and from work and spend a lot of the time in the car using Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I usually fit in some Facebook at breakfast and lunch and catch up with more Twitter in the evening. I also spend time of LinkedIn at work, so yes - more than a few hours!

2. How long were you reading blogs before you started a blog?
I didn't start reading blogs until after I started writing one. People left comments and I went to visit their blogs and it went on from there.

3. What is your favorite kind of cupcake?
I am not really a massive cupcake fan. I like decorative ones...

My friend got these for me as a gift on my Hen Night - everyone had to get a gift that would make me think of the giver... lots of little memories on top of decorated cupcakes.

4. Do you eat fast food? If so what's your favourite?
I'm not sure quite where the definition of fast food begins and ends?! We're fond of take-out, if that counts as take out? Chinese and Pizza, sometimes Indian. If we're talking restaurants then there are occasional trips to KFC and a Burger King (although the ones near us mostly have closed down so a rare event indeed). McDonalds has been known but only because there is on in the shopping park, neither Husband or I are fans. We do like the (now seemingly quite uniquely South London) Wimpey... although fast is pushing it as you sit down and they serve you your burger and chips!

5. What is the most random thing someone would find in your purse?
Good grief, take your pick. The winter it gets quite normalised - so my rain hat probably, but in the summer there are all sorts of odd things including my folding cutlery set and a wooden fan!

6. What is the weirdest TV show you watch?
That is a very subjective question. One person's weird is normal for somebody else. All times I go straight to Twin Peaks... but that kind of broke the mould. Certainly I don't think any of the comedies or dramas we watch now would count as weird. In fact, anything that remotely borders on being weird these days tends to get itself canned before getting a foothold. There has on occasion been strange, but that isn't quite weird, strange because they were inexplicable in plot or resolution - Persons Unknown and Jericho (if you didn't watch them, don't); Lost (great until it finished); Dead Like Me, Reaper, Pushing Daisies, Six Feet Under, Tru Calling and Joan of Arcadia to name but a few (if you didn't watch them, do).

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Happy Birthday... Internet

Today the Internet celebrates its 25th Birthday. Inexplicably this doesn't merit a Google Doodle!

25 years ago Sir Tim Berners-Lee got networks of computers (which had been around for a while) to talk to each other. The World Wide Web (honestly didn't you ever wonder what 'www' was for?!) was born.

Anybody who was born in the 1990s probably can't imagine life with no internet, it has become so much a part of our everyday life.

I have younger colleagues who can't believe we didn't have computers at school... who don't think of looking anywhere else but Google when they want to find something out. We use it to watch movies, we share our lives and keep in touch with family, friends and strangers we have met and have become friends.

I wonder what the next quarter of a century has in store for the internet?!

Tuesday 11 March 2014

What I found there... (5)

A while ago last Winter I took to wandering around the house on Sunday mornings; looking and really seeing. I've been taking a further wander - to catch the bits I missed before and see some of the changes in rooms I've been wandering before.

Our bedroom of course houses the bed (and as a King Size bed in a not very large room it takes up a lot of room!). There are also a lot of shelves and (slightly oddly) my desk. I work at home on occasion and needed a bigger desk than the one in the living room as I used to measure drawings. Nowdays all I need is room for my laptop and the desk encourages my 'never put anything away' habits.

Large toad was a gift from Husband, the sunglasses he is wearing were a hen-night gift. The watering-can was a gift from my brother- and sister-in-law and the light up frog a gift from my brother. The pot-pourri I bought as table decorations for my grand-mother's 90th birthday party (lavender - very calming). The pink hanging blossoms on the edge of the picture swing round when a candle is lit underneath them rather like angel chimes; birthday gift from my lovely friend who remembered my love of all thing pink!

Clarence on the top of the boxes was our first ever musical decoration for Christmas. He has wings (kept wrapped up safely) so he is called after the angel in "It's a Wonderful Life"; he plays 'Silent Night' on his violin. The big white box he's sitting on holds my wedding dress wrapped in acid free tissue paper. The big black box underneath that holds our wedding photo album, an entity in an of itself!

The beige cushion was an impulse buy from Next when I stopped off at the usually quiet coffee shop (also the only place to get coffee in that area of Bugsby's Way). The red cushion was bought with vouchers we got as a wedding gift.

These boxes hold more wedding memories and also mementoes from my hen night. They are rather tasteful for not terribly expensive nesting boxes from WHSmith. They also prevent the cat from being able to jump onto the top of the shelving unit.

This shelf has my penguin collection. The golden pair on the left were going to be a centre-piece for our wedding table, but they were really too small. The rest have been bought for me by Husband; fuelling my love of penguins and the romantic aspect - the fact that most of them (apart from King and Emperor which are the ones there) mate for life. The puzzled looking frogs are actually condiment holders. The cardboard at the back has a cute sentiment for Mother's Day written by my Husband on behalf of our cat. The ring for tea bell doesn't get used as we have cordless phones which can call each other.

Bagpuss is keeping my book collection company. My brother bought Bagpuss as a Christmas gift for me one year. The books are almost exclusively bought for me by Husband (sometimes Mother). This is the headboard of our bed. Useful to keep things in.

This little black cat is a 'Jelly Bean' product, and his name is actually Casper! Our Casper came first... well in this house anyway.

This print I bought many years ago in Ikea and it has followed me around many house moves, and hung in our bedroom for over a decade!

The canvas prints are of Molly (right) which looks quite like a painting because of the back lighting and the kittens - also looks a bit like a painting as they were lying on the white furry rug.

This lovely Lego set was made for our wedding by a friend's daughter. She bought it with her to the wedding and put it in front of our places at the table. Too cute!

Our living room isn't large, so our wedding photos ended up in the bedroom! The left-hand frame was a free gift from the company who did all the Orders of Service and Table Plans.

My pin-board changes contents with the season. Drawings from my friend's children, thank you notes and underneath some permanent occupants. The arm hanging down in the corner of the shot is a rally-monkey... big in baseball once upon a time!

The pink lei hanging from the desk lamp is from my hen-night. The calendar in the background gives a monthly dose of penguin! The orange bottle holder held a rather nice bottle of champagne, a wedding gift from my colleagues.

Glitter ball. Plugs into a USB and lights up, it has a lava lamp friend somewhere. The photo frame is my lovely dog Jack, sadly crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

My mother has a habit of buying lovely porcelain mugs which I'm far too scared to use so I keep pens in them. The desk hutch is decorated with pictures evoking London. The hand-print in the background is from my cousin's daughter.

London Calling! An amazing gift from my dear friend and bridesmaid. Husband got me the frog (admitting he had no idea where I'd put it) and the three little black cats have been around a very long time... oddly I think they came from Betterware or Kleneze (door-to-door catalogue sales).

The end of the bed rail is scratched as Casper is of the strong opinion it is there for his personal play and exercise needs! This rather chaotic bookshelf holds my complete Stephen Baxter collection and a few other books. The three little girls are my god-daughters.

This CD shelf was rendered obsolete by not having a CD player and therefore not needing regular access to CDs. It is now used for decorations. Here we have our cake topper from the wedding made by my talented friend (also one of my bridesmaids). The snow-globe was bought for me by Husband, a happy reminder of the day at the zoo in our honeymoon.

Crystal bears, a light-up polar bear, a crystal star, a heart-shaped paperweight and a butterfly-shaped box. The definition of knick-knacks.

This snow-globe penguin is actually a Christmas decoration (lots of my snow-globes are) the frog is a pomander!

More snow-globes. The baseball glove is a Yankee snow-globe. The bear with the rose I think was a promotion by the Post Office (many years ago) and you had to collect and send of stamp books. He used to have a friend who got lost in one of the many times I moved house.

More snow-globes... the Psych one isn't actually a Christmas one!!! The balls are magnetic and the frog is a candle. Odds and ends.

The lone duck tile was an end-of-bin type thing at B&Q one day. He's keeping the very Christmas snow-globes company. Santa and Rudolph are musical.

Odder and odder. The nutcracker plays 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy' when opened... the duck was a Christening gift (cleaned up by magic product courtesy of efforts by MiL). The mandala came from Portugal (oddly). The frog is obviously aimed at a much younger market than me, but he is still cute!

Large Yankee baseball. Bought back from New York by friends. The top left is the corner of my certificate that makes me a Freeman of the City of London.

Biscuit tin bought only because of the phone-box element (although from recollection the shortbread was nice). Casper in full 'pose' mode is being joined by some of my duck collection.

Here's that hand-print again, so cute. The photo of Casper and his late brother above is cute as they are both on pigeon watch with almost identical profile poses!

London baby... and a frog - the frog from recollection came from a moving house notice 'new pad' and all?!

This poster is actually an advertising shot from the wonderful Fab. They used to be a bit like Etsy but not community wise but they seem to have stepped back (in Europe at least) and now do furniture rather than gadgets and decor.

Our bedroom doesn't include just me and Husband. It also includes the cat. These are his 'bedroom mice'. He also has teddy and a bedroom brush and comb. Spoiled? My cat?!

Monday 10 March 2014

Phone Box

This is one of the original Post Office K6 telephone boxes. It is one of the most iconic sights for visitors to the UK; there are a group of them on the Whitehall side of Parliament Square. I wonder every time I pass them the last time anyone made a call from them as I only ever see people having their photos taken in them.

Once BT took over running the phone boxes from the Post Office there were a lot of variations in style. Late 20th century examples were glass (or even open sided) they are ugly beyond belief; you still see them around in town centres. A lot of out of town ones were replaced, the one I would've taken a photo of for an example down the road from us was removed at least half a decade ago.

Sunday 9 March 2014

Sunday Social (92)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely.
Happily Pinterest and I managed to stop arguing long enough to complete this post!!

1. What is your favorite outfit pin?
This is my winter coat - that is how much I liked it, so much nicer than the boring blue or black that I normally end up with.

2. What is your favorite food pin?
We celebrate Thanksgiving even though we aren't American. We have a meal which rivals Christmas, in fact, if you like sweet potatoes with marshmallows it probably wins!

3. What is your favorite wedding pin?
I made a lot of posters to decorate the reception venue - this one was my favourite

4. What is your favorite DIY/craft pin?
I don't have any; I'm not into DIY and my rubbish fingers make craft beyond my ability.

5. What is your favorite quote/verse/lyric pin?
I have a bracelet that says this, I think it is a great philosophy

6. Share one more random pin you love.
I have a lot of Pins with cats in them!

Tuesday 4 March 2014

The Brits who Built the Modern World

My Sunday morning viewing has been catching up on the splendid BBC Four show "The Brits who Built the Modern World".

Famous to everybody Richard Rogers and Norman Foster, famous to the better informed and those in construction; Nicholas Grimshaw, Terry Farrell and Michael Hopkins.

You'd be surprised how many of their buildings you've met... famous and less famous. I've picked a few in London; but there are many, many more across the UK and the world.

Norman Foster - amongst others the famous Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe, headquarters of Swiss Re) and  London's shell-like City Hall.

Richard Rogers - amongst others, The O2 Arena (formerly known as the Millennium Dome). Not just a huge space for exhibition and events, but also symbolic. The diameter is 360 degrees (for almost the days in the year); there are 12 uprights (one for each month) - and the yellow pylons reach skywards in celebration. 

The big hole in the Dome is for the only structure (apart from the gasometer) which was on the derelict peninsula.

Terry Farrell - in connection with the above the now listed ventilation shafts from the Blackwall Tunnel making the distinctive hole in the Dome. Perhaps more famously the MI6 building on the north bank of the Thames out towards Vauxhall (sorry, no photo).

Nicholas Grimshaw - in London the now defunct Eurostar terminal at Waterloo Station; built with an amazing glass system to meet the shape and design needs.

Michael Hopkins - most controversially Portcullis House. Providing administrative space for the Houses of Parliament (hence the portcullis the symbol used by Parliament). Controversial as a modern building sandwiched amongst historic buildings. More impressive is the fact that it is built of the extended Westminster underground station, serving the Jubilee Line (one of the deeper lines in the centre of town); the amazing columns and architecture of the extended station are supporting Portcullis House above.

Do visit the BBC link to find out more if you are interested or visit the exhibition currently running at the RIBA in Portland Place (nearest tubes Great Portland Street or Regent's Park).