Sunday 31 August 2014

Sunday Social (117)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely

1. What is one thing you hate doing?
Tidying up. I am a genetic hoarder and a natural slob. I struggle at work with the clean desk policy (although this has got easier since my conversion to mostly digital work). I spend an unreasonable amount of time tidying my home desk and The Pink Room (our spare room where my clothes and make-up live).

2. What is one thing you hate shopping for?
Everything. I hate shopping. I used to like buying shoes; but since I have had to use walking aids and orthotic devices I can only wear trainers. We get our groceries delivered, I have Amazon Prime and buy nearly everything else from there. Once a month we have to go and buy cat litter and other things that don't come in the grocery delivery. Perhaps that should have been my answer to number one!

3. What is one thing you love doing?
Sitting on the Sofa of Sloth with Husband; watching TV, watching movies or just talking. I am currently sitting on the Sofa of Sloth with the laptop and watching Pointless whilst writing (Husband, as usual, is beating me).

4. What is one place you love going?
London, especially the City (the oldest part of London). I have a pile of books of London, and a huge amount of photos. My fundraising for the MS Society in September #IChallengeMS will see me visiting the City churches. Watch this space for photos and information.

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5. What is your favorite thing to do that you do daily?
There aren't very many things I do every day, and those there are I wouldn't put them up as favourite things. I think kissing my husband goodnight and brushing Casper K are probably the only ones.

Sunday 24 August 2014

Sunday Social (116)

Social Sunday
Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social

1. What are you most looking forward to about Fall?
Cooler weather, autumn colours, NFL games in the UK... all of these and more!

2. What is your favorite sports team?
It depends what sport we're watching here! If we are watching football (soccer) then it is Charlton Athletic; my husband and I met after a football game and we got married at Charlton's ground.

At the Valley
If we're watching football (NFL) then it is the New York Giants (I do also like the Jets) - and the Jacksonville Jaguars (official home team in Wembley UK!). I choose New York teams in US sports as I had an amazing holiday there in 1999. My understanding of American Football (as it gets called in the UK) is better than it might otherwise be as my brother was a huge fan when were kids and made me play his funny little metal with players that you moved around magnetically. After 25 years I still remembered the rules!

College football (NCAA) gets a big outing on UK TV and I like the Florida Gators - just because the first game that ever I saw they were playing and I liked the Gator on their helmets.

Finally if we are watching baseball then it is New York Yankees all the way! Husband introduced me to baseball and after a few games said I should really support a team. I said I'd support a New York team - and was given the option of the Mets or the Yankees with the observation that I couldn't support the Yankees as they were the biggest rivals of the Boston Red Sox, the team he supports... so of course I chose the Yankees!

3. If you could go back to college is there one thing you would change?
No. I enjoyed my time at college, I got grades that were good enough to pass and made some good friends.

4. What was your favorite class you ever took? HS or College
When I was taking my A-levels (the equivalent of High School) I loved music. There were five of us in the class and the only way that it could be scheduled that we were all in the same place at the same time was to use chunks that were given over to other activities (PE and some sort of 'extra credit' type classes or activities) so we spent half a day twice a week doing our music classes. This meant that we got to be quite a little family and we had not only an amazing education in our subject but also really enjoyed our class.

5. Reach into your purse what is the first thing you grab?
My phone. Whether I need to check my messages, or use social media or take a photo - my phone is right there waiting.

Sunday 17 August 2014

#101in1001 - Nr.18

You can read about my Day Zero project on its page here. It is an undertaking to prevent me from idling my time away - so there are some easy items on the list and some real undertakings!

Yesterday I finished my first item from the list Nr. 27 "Read a Stephen King novel". This was one of the many 'suggested' items that you can choose to add to your list. I chose it because (once upon a time) I read a few of  his books and liked them a lot. Oddly the first one I ever read was 'Carrie' when I was on a German Exchange. I ran out of reading and my German was nowhere near good enough to read any of my hosts books so I bought the only book in English I could find. It wasn't a big hit with me and it was a long time before I read another book by Stephen King. The rest of his books that I read belonged to Charlton House Library (or more properly the Borough of Greenwich). I've barely scratched the surface of his bibliography and now I think I will read more.

I chose '11/22/63' as the novel because the premise of it fascinated me since I bought it for Husband (a huge Stephen King fan). I bought my own copy for the Kindle as a) I'm not allowed to read Husband's books as I don't respect books; I crease their spines, fold down page corners when I can't find a bookmark and other crimes also b) great big books take longer to read as my arms get tired holding them up, whereas on the Kindle I don't have to schedule time to read!

I don't want to say too much about the book in case you haven't read it and plan to - but I will say that although I found some bits a bit slow going it was a fantastic read overall and at the end I literally could not put it down to get to the end; forty minutes I should have been getting washed and dressed and things I was racing towards the end of the book! Five stars on Amazon and Goodreads (and anywhere else that cares to ask!).

Sunday Social (115)

Social Sunday

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social

1. What is one item you wish you could splurge on right now

A Soup Maker! We have soup at least once a week, and would have it more often if it was easier to make. The cost of it would soon pay for itself in the soup not being bought!

2. If you had an entire weekend of no plans what would you do?
Most of my weekends have no plans, so that is quite easy to answer! Sit on the Sofa of Sloth and watch a weeks collected episodes of 'Pointless', read some of the books piled up next to the bed and on my Kindle and play Xbox games. Nothing very exciting.

3. What is the next place you are visiting outside of your current city?
I'd like to go to the South West. One of my god-daughters lives down that way, an old school friend and some Twitter friends. It would be most excellent.

4. Are you a neat freak or a clutterbug?
Clutterbug beyond belief. Ask anyone! It's genetic. My parents were clutterbugs too. Every so often I try and tidy things up - but it is generally moving things from one room to another!

5. What is your favorite summer purchase?
Hard to choose. We bought a lot of magnets for our fridge when we were out and about in London, and we bought a rather gorgeous little onyx penguin at the Natural History Museum with the money my Mum gave us for our wedding anniversary.

Thursday 14 August 2014

Little Bits of London

Passing past Westminster this morning there were a few interesting sites.

Horse Guards and the surrounding area have been takien over by the Longines Horse Trials. Horses getting groomed, exercised - and of course Horse Guards itself closed. That does explain the marquees and seating that have been going up in the area!

Meanwhile at  Hyde Park Corner the Hulk (Hulk Angry??) has taken up residence atop the main structure. The banner proclaims Human Worth in support of New Fathers for Justice. I don't suppose it will be long before police/fire brigade are on the scene to remove him from his perch.

I also spotted a bunch of boxes in Parliament Square with a TV crew in residence - no indication on what is going on there yet.

Sunday 10 August 2014

Sunday Social (114)

Social Sunday

Linking up with Neely and Ashley

1. One Show you would love to see on Netflix that isn’t there
I have never used Netflix so I wouldn't have the first idea! We already own most beloved TV shows on DVD anyway so I'd be hard pushed to find something I need to watch but don't already own...

2. One song you wish they would play more on the radio
The only time I listen to the radio is in the car to and from work, and then the drivers choose the station and it is usually LBC (a talk/phone-in station). Sometimes we do have Smooth or Magic on (no, they didn't change their playlist, you just got old and entered their demographic!). Their play lists are pretty static and predictable... I'd like some of the more unusual songs "They" by Jem perhaps?

3. Your favorite song to sing loudly to in the car
I don't drive anymore, but when I did I had two tapes of concerts that my friend and I were in - I liked to sing along to those songs (even if I couldn't hit the high notes anymore).

4. What Movie/TV show do you quote the most?
I'm not sure that I do. My brain is pretty swiss cheesed now (Quantum Leap) so I have trouble remembering stuff. Right now probably the Lego Movie "Everything is awesome..."

5. One silly thing you do daily
I check my Timehop and Memoir apps on my iPad to see what was going on last year, year before last, etc on this day.

Saturday 9 August 2014

World Cat Day

The 8th of August is Word Cat Day (every year!) so in special honour here are some of the felines that I have known and loved.

When I first moved in with my husband there were two cats in residence; Molly and Tillie (always called Gizzie - see below). Molly probably was as old as Casper is now; although she was very like him to look at she was nothing like him in personality. She shared the house with us but wasn't much of a people cat, probably more so with me because she hadn't known me all her life. I'd buy a lot of toys and then play on my own because she'd lose interest. She was quite a mouse chaser but not much of a mouse catcher, several occasions of mice trapped under furniture by the cat after she dropped them! My proudest moment was, when I first met Molly she didn't know how to wash her face, she was taken from her mum before she learnt. I taught her. First I'd wet my finger and wash her face, then I'd wet her paw and wipe it on her face, and eventually she got the idea and washed her own face. Proud cat-mother moment! Molly had a long, and I hope happy, life with us.

Tillie, as she was named, was always called Gizzie due to her slightly unfortunate resemblance to a gremlin. Pure bred Persian she had a lot of problems in life. Properly long haired (not slightly fluffy like Molly and now Casper) she would suffer terribly if she got fleas, or even a bit muddy... not helped by the fact she despised being brushed. Several times things got so bad she had to be completely clipped. She was fairly bad tempered and not a little crazy. At the time an old lady lived in the house that backed on to our garden on the corner, and she would feed Gizzie treats and let her into her house; until Gizzie decided to move to a new home. We never knew what happened to Gizzie as the old lady died... but we never saw Gizzie again. I did once have a wild-goose chase after a random Peersian when I as visiting Lewisham hospital, probably too many years later for it to even be Gizzie!

Molly and Gizzie sharing the window sill

Leo and Plumpkin
Plumpkin (Plumpie for short) and Leo belong to my brother-in-law and his wife. They are brothers (as you can see). I've only really met them once, and not for long as they aren't very fond of strangers! A handsome pair, I'm sure you'll agree.

Pacey and Minnie belong to my cousin. I'd heard a lot of stories about them before I actually met them. Pacey is quite a big boy and Minnie lives up to her name being much daintier. I'm sure that Pacey would like to think that he is in charge, but it is pretty clear that Minnie is the one in charge (as girl cats so often are!).

Pacey loves having visitors come to visit and laps up the extra attention, Minnie pretends that she can take it or leave it - but I think likes the fuss too. Now they have the extra fun of my cousin's two children to play with as well... who are now of an age cats can feel safe from tail pulls and similar!


Cat-5 (aka Merlin) is one of the many neighbourhood cats. He's called Cat-5 as the first thing we knew about him was he lived at Nr 5 down the street. The first time I met Merlin I was sitting on the sofa reading, looked up and found a white cat standing in the lobby staring at me as if he owned the place. He seems to have grown out of visiting other people's houses now! Next door to Merlin lives Betty; she is a fluffy Tuxedo who has a hypnotic effect on Casper when he sees her in the garden (unlike any of the other cats, who, without exception, annoy him). Betty is Merlin's neighbour at Nr 7. The first time we met Betty (the first few times) was when she was very young (Molly was sill with us) and she had a real urge to fish in our pond. I had to keep removing her physically (much to Molly's irritation, how dare I touch another cat!). Happily now a grande-dame of the cat world she too has grown out of such bad habits. Other cats that pass through are nicknamed based on their colouring - Shadow and Tuxedo. I saw them both on Friday. Shadow shot across the main road (I had a conversation through the hedge about how he wasn't to do that please) and Tuxedo came down his front path to see if I was anyone interesting (I had a conversation through the hedge about how it would be best if he stayed in his garden). Talking to cats would have been less crazy if several people hadn't passed me whilst this was happening!

So my boy Tinker (RIP) and Casper. Bought home from the Cat Protection League at twelve weeks old. Perfectly house trained adorable little black brothers. Tinker, heart-breakingly, died after an allergic reaction to a packet of food two years ago.
Sleeping quietly (the only thing that happened quietly!)
Brother in... tails?!
Aviva Insurance competition projecting images on the South Bank
A tribute to Tinker
Casper is adorable, cute, funny, and lord of the house. He is a very spoiled feline - what he wants he usually gets. He is huge fun to be around though. He plays games (from chasing the laser dot to playing fetch with his rubber balls), he sometimes cuddles (Husband more than me) and has a whole range of peccadilloes that make him quite unique. He learned early (his name was Squeak when we adopted him) that talking was a good way to communicate with people. He does it often and usually loudly... we have learned to recognize the different noises and whether they are greetings, rude, polite or demands!

Casper has a Facebook page, a Tumblr account and a Twitter account operated for him by me. Black cats are adopted less than other colours and Casper and I are passionate to get the word out about what a bundle of furry fun a black cat is and to help all his furry kin find their forever homes.

Casper and I hope you enjoyed meeting these cats - if you are cat people (or any pet people!) go tell yours how special they are; because they all are, aren't they?!

Monday 4 August 2014


I love lists..

My latest venture is 101 things in 1001 days (The Day Zero Project)

Here we go - see you 1st May 2017!

Sunday 3 August 2014

Sunday Social (113)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely

1. Gum or mints?
Mints all the way. I have a pathological hatred of gum. The taste goes too fast, it has to be got rid of after you're done... but more than that I hate the noise of it being chewed. It drives me to distraction. Especially when I'm on public transport of similar and someone is sitting near me  - *slurp* *chew* *slurp*

2. Tea or Coffee?
I am a tea connoisseur, I have a huge collection of sachets and loose tea that I can brew in a tea-pot or a diffuser. Even when I have regular tea I prefer Clipper Teas Organic tea.

I do like coffee as well, but I prefer a nice proper brewed coffee (or Nescafe Gold if it is instant).

Tea box and loose brew collection

3. Fruits or Veggies?
Veggies. I like pretty much every vegetable I've ever had (except ochra). All the veggies that nobody else wants to eat - sprouts, courgettes, etc. I'll eat all of them.

4. TV or Movies?
Tough choice. There is a place and time for both. Probably TV edges it for the array of genre and story - also we don't have to rely on LoveFilm having a deal with the distributor of the film we want to see. I find that increasingly the subscription isn't worth the £10 a month it costs as the films I see in the shops I could buy I can't rent.

5. Candles or Diffusers?
Neither. With my cat who likes to climb furniture it would be a recipe for disaster!

Potpourri - interesting...

This unit is taller than I am!

Take a leap and see where it takes you!

Your shelf? My shelf!