Monday 28 July 2014

Answer Me This...

1. What’s your favorite thing on YouTube?
I have loved this advert Samuel L Jackson did for Barclays Bank for years. I downloaded it in case it vanished from YouTube, but it is still there! I am not a huge YouTube user; sometimes trailers, occasionally music videos and the odd funny bit here and there.

2. Who taught you to drive?
A combined effort if ever there was one. Sometimes my Dad - he was the chilled laid back option and on occasion fell asleep before we got home (!); also my Mum - she sympathetically braked whenever she was in a car with me, even when I'd been driving for years. Mostly a driving instructor. I was never an enthusiastic driver (I learnt because I grew up in a village where the bus service stopped at 6pm). When I stopped driving for health reasons I didn't (and still don't) miss it.

3. What’s your favorite thing to cook?
I quite like doing my sweet potato curry; it's nice and easy. Peel and dice the potatoes (about one medium sized one per person); but them with a small bit of oil in a large pan and add a teaspoon of madras curry paste. Cook for a few minutes and then add a can of coconut milk. Cover the pan and simmer for fifteen minutes and serve with rice.

4. Are you a hugger or a non-hugger? Why?
I hug friends and family; but I have to have know them a good long time. I'm not terribly comfortable with sharing my personal space with people I don't know well.

5. Where do you pray best?
In church. I'm a lapsed-Anglican and I don't pray very often.

6. When is the last time you saw/spoke to your grandparents?
I saw my grandmother back in about May. She is my only living grandparent. She lives a good way from us down on the South Coast; and as I don't drive and she doesn't much it is special occasions that usually bring us together. I do speak to her a lot though; I aim for once a week.

Granny at my wedding (maternal side) - fabulous at 92

Granny Nita with our dog Lucy (paternal side)

Grandad and me (maternal side) - we had a lot in common

Eugene (paternal grandfather) died when Dad was a baby

Sunday 27 July 2014

Sunday Social (112)

Social Sunday

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social
Today is all about threes.

1. 3 favorite songs right now
That's a tricky one. I don't actually listen to much music much (which my massive music collection  of over 5,000 songs on this laptop would make you doubt).
  • Louis Armstrong "What a Wonderful World" (we've had a holiday celebrating our first wedding anniversary, and that was our first dance).
  • Allegri's Miserere 
  • Anne Murray "Can I Have This Dance"

2. 3 favorite movies that remind you of summer
I'm not sure that I have movies that remind me of summer... Saturday movie night is a big thing in our house so we watch a lot of movies!
  • Now You See Me - superb movie that we watched in the cinema on one of the too hot to handle days last Summer. I got the BluRay for my birthday this year, and it is just as good second time round
  • Lego the Movie - no, you are never too old to unleash your imagination and watch this "awesome" movie - I've been playing the Xbox game so really stamped on this summer.
  • Grease - a very summer movie (it's in the song Summer Loving' - let's face it!)

3. 3 favorite articles of clothing you own

  • Right now my linen trousers, excellent for keeping cool
  • Any of my light cotton shirts, keeping cool without the sunburn!
  • My African dress, one of dresses I own (the very short list includes my wedding dress!)

4. 3 items on your wish list
  • I really want to get a soup maker, my god-mother can't rate hers highly enough and Husband loves my vegetable soup. They also do juices so it's a 'twofer'!
  • A list of books as long as your arm about London; lucky for me my Mum gave me some money for my birthday - so some shopping on Amazon is due!
  • A string of white pearls. I adore my grey pearls that my parents gave me for my 30th birthday, but MiL gave me some beautiful pearl bracelets for my birthday and they need a companion :-)

5. 3 books you would recommend to someone
  • Stronghold by Melanie Rawn; the first of a six book series - dragons and sunrunners in a medieval sort of world. I first read this when I was doing a temporary summer job as a cleaner, and I hung out in the attic kitchen between tasks and devoured this (and the following) books
  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip JosĂ© Farmer - the first of the sprawling Riverworld series... everyone who lived, ever, along the banks of a river which is the entire world - food is provided magically and nobody ever dies...
  • My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell - the story of nature on a greek island, but also the joys (?!) of family life. I wore out my original copy as I used to take it every where I went when I was young... I was scared of staying away from home and this was my comfort blanket!

Sunday 20 July 2014

Occasional Tourist

We've been busy this last week (and will be next week) enjoying the sites and sounds of London - drop by the Occasional Tourist for more details.

Sunday Social (111)

Social Sunday 

Linking up with Ashley and Neely

1. What is the most difficult thing you have been through?
We all have difficult things; at the time they seem insurmountable - but after time, looking back, worse things happen. For me there are two difficult things that stand out; I'll deal with them chronologically.

The first was, in 2002, discovering that I had MS. On one level it was a relief; strange things had been happening with my health for over 4 years and to have a name to put against it (and finish the endless tests) was good. MS, is however, an incurable disease. It is a life sentence that leads a lot of people (not all) to some sort of disability whether it is visual, physical or mental.  You can read about some of my experiences here.

The second, back in 2010, was the death of my beloved father. Although during my teenage years we had a stormy relationship, once I left home and grew older we would speak several times a week on the phone (often on my bus journey home from the tube). I can't say more than I have in the post just after he died; or remembering him; sometimes with photos; or even poems. If it is hard for me, it hurts more to think of my adored mother... half of one of the most perfect marriages I have known.

Sketch - on their wedding day, Mum & Dad

2. What was your best birthday?
Hard to say. Husband makes my birthday special for me every year; gifts ranging from just what I wanted to I love it and didn't know it was out there! Cake for breakfast... lots of fun and love.

Memorable birthdays (not quite the same thing) are obviously the big number ones: 16, 18 and 21... there was also a party that I shared with one of my best friends whose birthday is exactly two months before me.

Sweet 16
Keys to the door
All grown up
3. What has been your favorite thing you’ve done in your own city?
Oh the choices! I love London, and know (parts of) it intimately. Last year Husband and I spent our two weeks honeymoon being tourists in London; we're doing the same again for our first anniversary this year. I think my number one (at the moment) is 'The View from The Shard'. London (and the UK's) tallest building; finally with a viewing platform (take that One Canada Square!). You get to see the whole city from a new perspective. We went on opening day last February and again yesterday. I have a feeling it won't be our last visit either! For other amazing spots in London there are a good few here.

4. What is your idea of the perfect date night?
I like to stay at home; maybe get a take-out rather than cooking; some beer (for Husband) and wine (for me) and some excellent movie fodder (a Marvel comics based film perhaps?). Sat together on the Sofa of Sloth, preferably with the cat on the chair!

5. Have you ever been to a blogging conference? If so which one(s)? If not do you want to?
I haven't. They aren't very big in the UK. I don't think I'd like it much unless someone I knew was definitely going to be there. I've had to go to networking events for work in the past; and I found the painful and not very useful. If there was the right event in the right place the I might go along...!

Thursday 17 July 2014


This week and next we're celebrating our first wedding anniversary - so we're doing Tourists in London again (Honeymoon the Return?!).

Today is a rest day because 1) it's my birthday 2) it's been hot which disagrees with my MS and my Husband and c) walking around lots disagrees with my MS.

I have had a perfect birthday. We started the day with Husband trying to set the house alight by lighting candles on my cake (20 again). This meant chocolate cake for breakfast! Then there were cards and presents. 

Husband spoils me rotten, book by my favourite author; new Lego Xbox games and the film we saw on our honeymoon last year (watching that later!).

I did get a super keychain of (most appropriately) Big Ben and from one of my young friends a Lego one... 

I have been most spoiled today, it must be said! I had lots of kind birthday wishes from my online friends and of course, even Google remembered my Birthday!

Sunday 13 July 2014

Sunday Social (110)

Social Sunday

Linking up with Ashley and Neely

1. Tell us about the family you grew up in, parents, siblings, grandparents.

Granny and Grandad
Mum and Dad
My parents had the most inspirational marriage, they and my grandparents gave me the 'gold standard' against which marriages would be measured.

Bro and me with Dad
I have one younger brother (two years younger) and whilst we had arguments like any siblings we also spent a huge amount of time playing together.

Granny Nita and Lucy

Growing up I had a very extended family. We lived with my paternal grandmother 'Granny Nita' until her death. When we lived in London we saw a reasonable amount of my father's first cousins (and my second cousins).
My second cousin and I

Bro and me with our first cousins
Once we moved to Kent we saw less of them; but my Uncle (Mutti's brother) lived with us for a while so my first cousins became like a second brother and a sister to my brother and me.

Granny and Grandad's Golden Wedding
My maternal grandmother 'Granny Pip' made sure that the family kept in touch. Any family celebration that could be celebrated would be celebrated. Great Aunts and Uncles, first and second cousins. Family to us was everything.

Will and I, all grown up (well, kind of!)

2. Tell us about your husband, fiancé, boyfriend, significant other.
Husband and I were introduced after a football match by a mutual friend. Both being a bit shy a friend of Husband's gave us a little push to get us together! That was over a decade ago... last year after a long engagement we got married. Today is in fact our first wedding anniversary! Because I only work part-time we get to spend an amazing amount of time together... we know each other (perhaps) too well as we will often exclaim the same thing at the same time, and whenever I need to play verbal charades because my brain has frozen Husband can always work it out. We share a lot of interests, which means spending time together is always fun. Husband is my rock, he looks after me when MS incapacitates me and makes sure that everything in life runs smoothly.

First Dance

3. Tell us about your children. If you don’t have children, talk about your fur children.
We don't have any children, but our cat certainly thinks he is a small person in black fur! From conversation with friends he is approximately the equivalent of a three year old; gets up too early demanding food, needs constant attention and amusement and doesn't sleep when he ought to!

I don't have a life without children; I am lucky enough to have three god-daughters, Husband has a niece and nephew and there are lots of other little friends in my life.

4. Tell us about your best friends. How long have you known them? How did you meet?

I am lucky enough to be blessed with many friends in my life; but two of my rocks are the friends I asked to be my bridesmaids.

Thom, on the left, I met about a month after I started my first job, we've known each other fifteen years. Two novices together - they had more staff than desks so the two of us ended up in an an extension together without any senior staff to guide (or supervise) us. We learnt together, had fun together and shared a lot of highs and lows.

Liz, on the right, I met at school, we've known each other twenty five years. We bonded over a love of piano, Twin Peaks and the Beatles. We didn't actually share many classes, but we shared a lot of teenage growing up! Liz is the mother of my youngest god-daughter.

5. Tell us about any other special people in your life.
My Mother-in-Law (who we live with), I'm lucky to have such a great relationship with her. My godparents (who I don't get to see enough of) are amazing people; my god-mother came out of retirement to make my wedding dress (because she made my christening dress and promised then to make my wedding dress). My mum's best friend and her husband are like an honorary Aunt and Uncle because I've known them all my life and they've shared so many family occasions. My Twitter friends, a group of whom I meet up when we can arrange it; I might not have known them for years and years, but because we have similar interests and/or outlooks on life they are also important to me.

I could go on and on, friends and family are massively important to me! I am lucky to have such a great bunch.

First Anniversary!

Today is our first wedding anniversary.


Our Paper Anniversary. It doesn't seem like a year ago we were down at the Valley in the middle of a heatwave making our vows to each other.

You can read all about our wedding here and here. Or some of our honeymoon excursions here.

Sunday 6 July 2014

Cricket Explained to a Foreigner

  • You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. 
  • Each man that’s in the side that’s in the field goes out and when he’s out comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. 
  • When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. 
  • When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out. 
  • Sometimes there are men still in and not out. 
  • There are men called umpires who stay out all the time, and they decide when the men who are in are out. Depending on the weather and the light, the umpires can also send everybody in, no matter whether they’re in or out. 
  • When both sides have been in and all the men are out (including those who are not out), then the game is finished.

(origin unknown)

Sunday Social (109)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social

1. What is your favorite genre of music?
I am happiest with anything from Baroque, through Classical to Romantic (I generally draw the line at modern). I like musicals too (mostly the older ones) - but over the last decade Husband has introduced me to some more modern music.

2. What is your favorite genre of movies?
I suppose it is 'family'. I like easy to watch 'harmless' movies. Musicals, animations, anime, that sort of thing.

3. Do you watch reality TV? If so what was the first show you remember watching?
Absolutely not. I draw the line at it. My position is that if I want to watch people doing boring things I can go and sit in Powis Street on a Friday afternoon. I did once watch an episode of 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' just so I could categorically say I'd tried it and didn't like it. I'm afraid I think they are the scourge of modern TV; cheaper to make as no script or actors or so forth required. I reminisce fondly of proper dramas and comedies... practically never seen on British TV anymore, thank goodness for US TV!

4. Who is an actress you’d want to be BFF’s with?
I'm not sure I would really. I don't think we'd have much in common. My oldest, dearest friends I have know for a long time and have shared many life experiences with. I can't think of any actress that would fit that bill.

5. Who is an actor you’d be happy to be stuck on an island with?
The lovely Christian Bale. He's done a lot of different roles so there would be plenty to talk about!

Wednesday 2 July 2014

"The Sun"

From now until December this sculpture "The Sun" by Dale Chihuly is in Berkeley Square. At night it is illuminated; and probably makes an impressive sight.