Friday, 28 January 2011


Thank you Ciao! a comment means someone out there is reading my blog!

I have just discovered my snowdrops too; Spring is coming! Should I say that in view of last January/February's snow? But I also spy winter jasmine in flower on the back fence. I need my camera....and daylight......then I will come back and maybe add some pictures to my blog.

Talking of gardens did you know I was on the Government leylandii Working Party? I must confess I think leylandii are the most boring, uninspiring of vegetation and I really don't think 'real' gardeners plant them; in fact I think they should be sold under licence!!!! Our garden is so different from the garden we originally bought as we are now darkened by leylandii hedges to the south and west of us. They provide lazy, perimeter hedges which grow out of control of their owners; and so 'unEnglish'. One is only allowed to grow them (& all boundaries to a max -if I remember our legislation rightly- of 2 metres). Even the lady from the Council told us we'd have problems as we had two leylandii to the south of us which were going to block sunshine for us and the Court in the future. I know that one of the neighbours has someone's row of leylandii above her path and is frightened by them. But 'Live and let live' or life would really get to you, wouldn't it?

When I get a minute I'll tell you the tale of the beeches.... more neighbourhood quirkiness!

and again.....

I find myself repeating the same things as I wrote last year! My life must be so repetitive! But do I care if I do the same, enjoyable things each year?

The Pudding Club got a great deal at The George at Chollerford so we braved hoar frosts to walk from Steel Rigg to Housesteads and found ourselves bathed in sunshine up on the Wall. We found the Roman mason's mark( a swastika) on a rock and entertained the rest of the clientele with our outlandish definitions in 'Balderdash'. Sunsets , sunshine , good friends and lots of cups of tea!

I intended to garden but the snow forecast became rain so the leaves from the beech still cover the lawns and borders. Aah- the best laid plans of mice and men aften gang astray..... I think Steinbeck surely borrowed that from Rabbie Burns; 'twas Burns night this week. The birds love the leafy borders as they ferret below the detritus to unfrosted soil and worms.

It is 'Get into Newcastle' and this particular week is 'Restaurant Week'; if I lost 4lbs last week I have put it all back on this week! Certain restaurants (mainly courtesy of chef Terry Laybourne) have offered 2 courses for £10 to encourage people to eat in the city during the doldrums of January. Last night we ate in Cafe 21 in Fenwicks ( lovely due to waitress Em.) and tonight 5 of us ate in 'As you Like it'; I am not sure whether I liked it or not! A dirty knife, fork and glass; a 'no ice please 'coke filled with ice! but excellent onion rings.

I am going to buy balloons to release to mark the beginning of Northumbria RAG week of Raising And Giving.... How far will they fly? Who will find them? Eeeh! I am excited.... and think back to the Silver Jubilee street party H1 and I organised; we released a cloud of red, white and blue to discover some made it to Scotland and one to the fjords of Norway.

I never go to see anything twice but 4 of us went to see 'The King's Speech' tonight- just as good a second time and up for 12 Oscars. I hear it is going down very well in USA

Life is whizzing by... soon it will be Chinese New Year and the Rat will disappear to be replaced by which animal's year? Fair Trade Fortnight is rapidly approaching.... and the tips of bulbs are peeping timidly above the surface of the earth.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

New beginnings

Bits and bobs... none of which are earth shattering.

I knew Colin Firth would/should get an award for 'The King's Speech'; I thought he was brilliant at acting George V1 (even if the use of the F-word was unnecessary & unauthentic).

Winnie the Pooh Day yesterday; I have always loved Pooh-I can identify with a ' bear of little brain'. I remember a relative giving me a medal for Pooh's 50th birthday (gosh! a long time ago!); it had on it 'Because its yours because we love you'. Yeah right!

Eeh! A night on the town with the girls- well Barluga to be exact- was fun but H1 gave a lift back conditional to calling in at the pub where we had a great hour with C&B- but both their friends have lost their jobs in Civil Service and T has lost her position with 'One North East'.... the coalition cuts are just starting to bite. I bet the bankers don't get bitten- they are still going to get huge bonuses and pensions (Lloyds top guy for a kick off).

After a long campaign against Interflora, finally today they sent a replacement bouquet to D2 after the awful, dead bunches they gave her from me (at a cost to me of £38!) last summer. I won't use Interflora again though.

So our beloved Government are thinking of selling Forestry Commission land off into private hands? More of our land we can not walk in. Where will our children/grandchildren see nature, breathe deep, take exercise, enjoy? There is a petition against it- and contact your MP.

I am succumbing to the smell of paint- scenery painting at the weekend and now the kitchen/utility/breakfast room blanches and sparkles under H1's brush; normally I paint but I can't this year. (I am useless glossing anyway)

I couldn't move last week- after much research with GPs and zentherapist massages (wow- felt like liquid heaven at the time but glowed like hell that night) methinks the shoulders ached and fingers impulsed with electric shorts, due to the typing position dictated by the computer station.... so after dismantling and moving, I am trying to wordprocess and cursor (curse!) over gel pads on the desk.

Lunch at the Hearth was taken with M. and H. under the auspices of Bookcrossing.
Perhaps I should not be irritated at not writing but should take comfort and pride in being a reader instead.

On the domestic front- today was the first day the sun allowed washing to be hung outside; I put the porch light back an hour too; both made me feel better!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Happy New Year

This is no good! Bijou raconteur's blog makes me feel so guilty! Why am I not writing? Laziness? No. Lack of time? Yes. Also not prioritising writing high enough? Yes. But mainly lack of confidence in my work so I don't even try any more. 2 childrens' stories which I never showed to any of my class, I did show to someone who wanted to change it- and I realised, maybe I am not good enough or not up to date enough? I need new skills eg in I.T. My brain is becoming addled. My muse has gone.

I think too, I am working hard at 'serving' (read caring/making an effort for) people and it doesn't increase your popularity and inclusion so why bother? Do I say things wrongly? OMG, is this old age creeping in? I remember my mother coming out with ' Now I am 70 years old I intend to say it out as it is' and we all thought 'Has she not been doing that for years?'! Have I come to this state of mind early? I worry about what & how I say things and yet it seems to get me nowhere. So write about emotional turmoil- ooh! there's an idea.

D3 finds us the most exciting things to do! After Enchanted Gardens, the Lord of Misrule mentioned Seaton Delaval Hall 12th Night production and D3 looked it up and booked us in to .......a winding walk lit by lanterns and 17th century servants; up the stairs to hot elderflower wine and all sorts of characters- Joie de Vivre, undertakers, salters, Hercules the horse, Sir Francis de Laval and his mistress (both flamboyant wannabee actors in their time - & hilarious in our time) National Trust admins and volunteer, VanBrugh the architect of the Hall, a gardener and so on;

then after talking to them all- well informed on their role in the life of DeLaval Hall, we sang our way into the Twelfth Night celebrations at a wonderfully laid out table.... china with riddles on, coal and golden walnuts piled Ferrero style, salt etched in maritime designs, a huge Twelfth Night cake,

a King and Queen.... and a drama which was exciting and warm to watch ( wrapped in 'provided' thermal blankets).

Monday, 3 January 2011


The workers are back to work tomorrow; there have been lots of Bank Holidays this Christmas; as Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day were on weekend days, 3 Bank Holidays were given in lieu.
We get an additional Bank Holiday this year for our royal wedding in April.
Is Britain the only country to have public holidays called Bank Holidays?

New Year was my worst in years; in bed bored as H1 did not want to play out.

However the Viennese Gala at the Sage on New Year's Day was even better than last year; as a concert hall, the Sage's Hall 1 is unsurpassed; it is the home of the Northern Sinfonia Orchestra who played so much of the Strauss and Vilja that always played in my childhood home.

'Jack and the Beanstalk' pantomime at the Tyne Theatre (on Westgate Road if you are reading this from afar!) was the best there in years; well done to Brendan Healey producer of a traditional, funpoking, audience-participating panto with Catherine McCabe as a superb Jack. Oh yes she was!

I am listening to so many lines being learned by thespians in this house ....yawn....a walk today with C. and D3 was a blessing and awakening.

The snow has gone so inspite of low temperatures, I need to be out in my garden.....