Sunday 27 April 2014

Sunday Social (99)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely

1. What is your biggest driving pet peeve?
Happily (as I never enjoyed it) I don't drive anymore, so I don't have any. When I did drive I think it was the endless speed bumps used as 'traffic calming' measures in South East London. Most of the streets are full of cars and not wide enough for two way traffic - that means nobody goes that fast as they're constantly having to give way or wait for the right of way! All they did was ruin my shock absorbers so my car failed its MOT!

2. What is your biggest blogging pet peeve?
CATCHPA word verification on comments. I find them very difficult to read (or hear, yes I've tried the accessible method!). Just set comments to require approval; and then be terrible like me and forget to do anything about it!!

3. What is your biggest shopping pet peeve?
EVERYTHING! I hate going shopping unless there is an underlying social aspect. I do 95% of my shopping online. In store there is never the right size, or if there is the right size then it is not available in 'short' (I'm not tall and I have short legs!) or if there is a choice of colour there isn't the right colour. Just don't make me do it (unless there is lunch, coffee and conversation involved).

4. What is your biggest general pet peeve?
Incorrect use of the reflexive pronoun.

Nat Grove's pin on Pinterest.

This is closely followed by use of 'place-holders' in regular speech. When people are speaking instead of pausing whilst their train of thought catches up, the use of "like" and "you know". The latter was always responded to by my late father with "No, I don't know". Maybe this is why they don't teach grammar any more, it turns people into pedants!

5. What is your most irrational fear?
Flying. Statistically the safest way to travel. Doesn't stop me needing a valium (or failing that a glass of wine!) to get on a plane.

Sunday 20 April 2014

Sunday Social (98)

Sunday Social
 Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social - today it's things of 5

1. 5 songs you'll listen to the rest of your life
Songs come, songs go. Five for the rest of my life are mostly from the genre loosely termed classical.
  • What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong (regular readers will know this is because it was the first dance at our wedding)
  • Nessun Dorma (from Puccini's 'Turandot') - "None Shall Sleep" sung by Pavrotti for preference
  • Va, Pensiero (from Verdi's 'Nabucco') - I like to sing along, amusing on the underground!
  • Allegri's Miserere - best listening moment ever flying to Scotland, looking out of the window at an amazing blue sky. Famously (if you studied music) it was only allowed to be performed by the Vatican at certain services and any other performance was punishable by excommunication; a young Mozart transcribed it by hearing it only twice; but rather than being excommunicated the Pope heaped praise on his musical genius.
  • Flower Duet from Delibes' 'Lakme' - This I really can sing along too as my friend and I once performed it at a concert; I couldn't hit those high notes anymore! Anyone in the UK will know it as the British Airways theme.
    The view I had for Allegri's Miserere

2. 5 things on your bucket list
OK, so given the fact that I hate flying and travelling with walking aids is a real pain, most of these are never likely happen (but isn't that the point of a bucket list?!)
  • A trip back to the US East coast, NYC again (see the Yankees play), Boston (see the Red Sox play for Husband's benefit) and Washington DC (which I meant to visit when I went to NYC in '99)
  • Visit Japan, up in the mountains at the right time of year there are amazing colours; go to one of those traditional spa/bath places. My boss was showing me his holiday photos from his trip last year and it really made we want to go.
  • Visit UAE, my company has offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and having seen the photos taken by colleagues there I want to go and see some of the buildings (tragic geek)
  • Run the London Marathon. So not happening as I can't walk about twelve feet without having to stop and take a rest
  • Do a fire walk. There was going to be one for charity last year (it got cancelled in the end) and I wanted to do that so badly - I reckon if you're allowed wooden staffs I'd be able to do that one.
3. 5 celeb you'd love to hang out with for a day
I don't do celebs very much; I am inclined to name actors as they spring to mind.
  • Misha Collins (the lovely Castiel in Supernatural)
  • Eddie McClintock (the fantastic Pete in Warehouse 13)
  • Christian Bale (known by me as 'the lovely Christian Bale')
  • Morgan Freeman (movies are watched on the basis that he is in them)
  • Anthony Stewart Head (most famous in this house for playing Giles in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer')

4. 5 things you always carry in your purse
There are a lot more than five things that I always carry in my handbag (even when I have to downsize!)
  • Cell phone
  • Fingerless gloves
  • A mini 'Tangle-teazer' hairbrush
  • Bus pass/Taxi-card (they live in the same holder)
  • RADAR key (opens disabled toilets)

5. 5 books on your reading list
Again this is a list that contains a lot (a real lot - 97 on GoodReads) more than five items! I'll just pick five at random (scrolled the list stopped randomly)
  • Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) - saw the film last night and most reviews said the book was better!
  • The World Without Us - Alan Wiesman
  • Laughter in the Dark - Vladimir Nabokov
  • Born on a Blue Day - Daniel Tammet
  • The Lake - Banana Yoshimoto
Join me on Goodreads!

6. Share the last 5 pictures on your phone
These aren't the exact last five pictures as I tend to take a lot of Casper K and that would just be a lot of photos of a sleeping cat (not that there is anything wrong with that!) - you'd get more interesting pictures if I hadn't been gardening on Friday or if it had been during the week!

 For more photos follow me on Instagram

Sunday 13 April 2014

This is Marathon 2014

Every year (as long as I'm awake and it isn't raining) I take myself to the end of my road one Sunday in late April to watch as the Marathon passes. It is usually later in April but every time Easter is late April the marathon jumps forward - 2011 and 2008 other recent examples.

This post is dedicated to my oldest god-daughter who is very excited by the marathon.

Empty road waiting for the runners
Don't cross now
Here come the marshalls
First runner to pass
Here comes the pack
Rhino spotted!

A wheelchair competitor, can't imagine the valley coming up
Oddest outfit of the day
There's a womble
Man and his tiger
Sweep up bus
That's the two mile marker up the road there
God-daughter wanted some video, I didn't take any sadly - but thanks to Google's Auot-Awesome function I've got some animated photos!

Prominent in the last shot is the orange vest on the chap running for the MS Society - I'm always very thankful to those orange vests (and the blue vests of the MS Trust) for putting themselves through 26.2 miles of running to raise money that will go to charities researching MS.

Ghosts of marathons past:

Sunday Social (97)

Linking up with Neely and Ashley

1. What was your best birthday?
 Well, I've had 38 of them so that is quite a lot to choose from! I'm not sure I can choose a 'best' I enjoyed my 16th (in the garden of the house where I grew up), my 18th (back in the garden), my 21st with family and friends, my 30th - held a month early, one of my friends (mother of youngest god-daughter and bridesmaid) has her birthday exactly two months before me so we had the party in the middle, and last year on the Wednesday after our wedding!

Sweet 16
Officially an adult
21st Birthday
End of the night - 30th Birthday
First birthday as a married lady

2. What was your best vacation?
1999 a fortnight in New York City. It was the first time I'd been anywhere on my own, and NYC is an amazing place to be. I had friends and family in New Jersey, up-state New York and New York City itself, so I had plenty of help with what to see and where to go. I'd love to go back as this was before I got into fooball and baseball so I didn't visit Yankee Stadium or Meadowlands.

Cold in New York in November

3. What is the best date you've ever been on?
Do you still have dates when you're married? The day after our wedding Husband and I went for a wander in the City of London. Quiet and peaceful on a Sunday we enjoyed Postman's Park, One New Change and a milkshake next to St Mary-le-Bow. It was a bit like London was just there for us, the newly-weds.

Our London

4. What is the best movie (quality) you've seen?
That is a very difficult question. I think I'd choose 'Now You See Me'. We saw it at the cinema last summer, the effects and sound were amazing - it was so well imagined and staged.

5. What is the best TV show ending of all time?
That's a tricky one. Not least because you don't want to spoil the end for people who haven't seen shows yet. A lot of shows have terrible ends because they don't know when they're filming that they're getting canned. The best, therefore, are the ones which have had time to build to their end.

My favourite is Six Feet Under. The end is rounded and satisfying and brings the show to a close, and it is in keeping with the way that the show worked all the way through. The show ended back in 2005; and it is only the last few moments of the show that really put it at number one for me. Clare (the daughter of the funeral home family) drives off to start her new life; and as she does it is cut with flash-forwards showing the death of every character (complete with the fade to white and dates that always accompanied a death); nobody was left out - including finally Clare herself. So we knew what happened to everybody, their stories (their lives) complete. 

Type "best TV Show finale" into Google and you'll find out a lot of people agree with me.

There are several others which deserve an honourable mention: Quantum Leap, you might not like it but it had an answer, Sam never returned home but gave his friend Al the love of his life back; Friends, it wrapped everything up neatly - apart fro Joey (and that character went on to have a spin off show) everyone got their happy ending; Buffy the Vampire Slayer set up for the continuing story (in comic book form as it turned out); Smallville, achieved its mission target and set the story for Superman; Burn Notice, every episode started "My name is Michael Weston and I used to be a spy until..." at the end Michael and Fiona and their son are holed up in a cottage and it turns out that the whole series was Michael telling the story of his life to his young son.

There are a few dishonourable mentions too:- Angel, so not an ending, just another battle going on; Lost, completely didn't answer any of the questions (not some, not most, any) stayed up in the early hours to watch the simulcast with the US (no spoilers allowed) and it was such a total let down.

The poor shows who didn't know the end was coming; The 4400, Jake 2.0 and John Doe three of the most irritatingly prematurely ended.

Let's not forget the shows who don't know when to quit - Jericho, never very good, full of plot holes you could drive a bus through, canned after its first season and resurrected thanks to fan action and allowed to play out the end in a second (even worse) season. They tried to get the same result with The 4400 but to no end. I'd like to think that Jake 2.0 or John Doe (worst cliff hanger ever) would have achieved the same results with fan action, but I don't think the fan base was ever big enough.

Enough TV talk. I think we've established I watch too much TV! See you next Sunday socialites!

Thursday 10 April 2014

On your marks...

...get ready London. This Sunday it is the Virgin Money Marathon. The Royal Borough of Greenwich is already getting ready with its "No entry signs" and cone collection. Crowd control barriers are out. Portaloos and other marathon amenities are fighting for space with the Circus up on Blackheath common (I suspect this is not as much poor planning as possibly the different uses are in the different Boroughs who share the Common?). Be prepared, if you live in the wrong place as we do, to be trapped in your house until Sunday afternoon... so if the weather is fine, why not go out and support the runners as they pass by?!

Advance Warning!

Road closures ahead
Facilities for the start, in the Park
Oh look, there's the circus!
In retrospect, that is why they are flags on The Mall

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Wet afternoon in Charlton

Drive through and it seems an oddly incongruous village nestling on the edge of the Thames and the Southern-most Easter-most edge of London. Charlton is famous (locally at any rate!) for many things... we'll start at Charlton House.

Built during the reign of James I, Charlton House is generally considered to be on of the finest and best preserved Jacobean mansions in London. Now owned by Royal Greenwich Borough Council it houses (amongst other things) Charlton House Library, the Mulberry Tea Rooms and various rooms available for community use (including weddings!).

Charlton House and the free standing arch (no path, no road)

The flowerbed, set out for spring (Valentines maybe?)

The famous Mulberry tree and orangery

Mulberry tree is budding!

Branches of the tree

Tree trunk of the Mulberry tree

Spring is here - Narcissus
Bluebells (not a patch on Bluebell Woods)
White Bluebells, the faeries have been by...

A slightly confused daisy!
Charlton House dates back to the 17th Century, and has the traditional "E" shaped layout with a chapel and a gallery (as every fine home of the time would have).

The arch in front of the house and the orangery (converted to a public convenience but now closed) are enthusiastically attributed to Inigo Jones.

Equally enthusiastic is the claim of the mulberry tree (behind a protective wrought iron fence) to be the first of its kind in England. The story goes that it was planted at the behest of King James I to breed silk worms. Unfortunately this is a black mulberry tree and the silk worms prefer the white mulberry tree (which does less well in European climates).