Thursday, 27 February 2014

I must......

I must improve! I have to get down to writing every day..... but life is so busy- and that is not just me hiding behind excuses.

I could have hit the computer this morning but a clear blue sky and a gap before a birthday lunch with friends meant time was on my side- and the garden is really getting to me; I managed to prune roses -I am trying a new pruning time as I normally snip in November but so many gardening books recommend that northern roses should be cut back in late Feb /beginning of March so I am giving that schedule a go this winter;after that I took out a hydrangea,  resited it and planted a scented sarcococca in the sheltered corner I had freed up.
Even now as I try to focus on the screen - I can see sunlight on nearby brickwork and my resistance is weakening; shall I get changed out of my 'party' clothes and get out there? but it was spitting on a few minutes ago.

Admittedly I have been 'deterred'- I have had a lot of visitors staying ; then one by one we all consecutively went down with a bug and in order to avoid the baby getting this virus, my bucket and I stayed in bed well away from everyone.

Oh, oh white paintwork outside is bright  and beckoning me. I must not look......

Upon recovery I went to a family birthday afternoon tea to Eshott Hall; the Hall is a country house which has been gentrified since we went trekking around Northumbria for the best venue for a family wedding reception. We tested/test via afternoon teas and a browse but often we have been wedding guests too. We walked across from the car park admiring the magnificent drifts of snowdrops and were delighted by the red squirrels scampering  up and down & nibbling on the bird feeders! The 12 of us were sat in a lovely room (we could see other parties sipping tea in  different rooms eg the drawing room/the library etc) around a large circular table.; the gluten free 3 tier plate was brought first then the general tray of sandwiches and another of cakes. We 'inspected' the function suite, toilets, and glimpsed candles being lit in the intimate sized dining room. For a smallish wedding (though the venue said 100day and 120 evening guests- hmm?!) this is a very nice setting. Photos taken on the staircase, with a beautiful large leaded window behind, would be beautiful.

The sky is pure blue, the sun is out, the wind has dropped and I'm off- secateurs in hand to prune a clematis Montana which has got out of hand- and further round the fence a dry, crisp, browny clematis- maybe a jackmanii? needs my attention.......

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Film Review4-August:Osage County

Did I show you the orchids I got courtesy of  'Surprise Surprise'?

January's flowers
Oh what can happen between a family which includes 3 daughters! Three sisters can be so different- and often two can gang up against  the other one. Meryl Streep played a mother drugged on prescription medication and I felt for the eldest daughter who had marital problems of her own let alone that of sorting out her mother. Sometimes distance from the family can be so liberating.

February flowers from Bunches

Now which films to see next? 'Dallas Buyer's Club' is getting good reviews......

I am limited in activities at the moment so to keep myself busy

I thought I would knit- first size and plain- aaaagh! the pattern refers me all over between 4 cardigans-and I am not really a knitter (and too busy to learn at this age/stage) but I am going to look up old patterns on the internet to get a truly simple one.

Mud caked boots drying out

Recently we did do a little exercise... merely walking around Bolam Lake- clarty to say the least but up North we have had nothing like all the flooding the South have had; people always think the North gets bad weather but on the whole our weather is So much better than down south- well.... I better go watch Countryfile and check out what is going to hit us!

I do need some advice.... I have grown hyacinths in pots-a heavenly fragrance pervades right through the house BUT they lollop all over the place; any ideas what I have done wrong that they hang out of the pots- I hear Alan Titchmarsh suggests pushing florists' wire down the stem of each- how much time does he have on his hands? Mine get tied up with ribbons and that is about their lot! After flowering they will get dug into the garden to flower outside next year- well worth their price!

Film Review3 Mandela

I have been reading Nelson Mandela's 'A long walk to freedom' for a while- well it is a tome; I have to keep taking breaks so haven't finished it even yet. There were a lot of criticisms of the film - being too long/how do you condense a long book/how do you condense a lifetime/ make this a television series etc; we thought it was excellent as it was and is relatively true to the book as far as I have read.
It does show how  'One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. It also highlights why de Klerk and Mandela were deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize....

Film Review 2-12years a Slave

The reason  the Northern Yankees and Southern Confederates went to war? To carry out Lincoln's policies including the abolition of slavery?.... This film is based on a true story- like 'The Railway Man' and is harrowing. It shows what can be carried out in the name of economics (how to run a plantation on the cheap) and cruelty administered on the basis of the colour of human skin. The film reminds the audience of how easily freedom can disappear.

The Railway Man-Film Review1

There were some really good films to be seen in January; before I knew it, we were almost into February and we had been too busy to go to the pictures due to the pressures of family, social life, rehearsals and production.  'Nil desperandum- we will go before they all disappear into the archives!' Thus we worked out a schedule between The Gate and Tyneside cinemas to see most of the films we had missed- some of these we saw back to back with a quick slurp of coffee in between- or a meal at the Tyneside Cinema which we both think is great.

The Railway Man      I had read of Northumbrian Eric Lomax some years ago and had wanted to see the film when it came out. Much of it was filmed in Northumberland which, of course, made it more interesting; it is harrowing and combined with two of the other films we saw, it convinced me of how cruel the humans can be to each other. Was the location for the filming of these Burma railway scenes actually to be found in Burma? It looked a beautiful place. I know many of the local people were forced to work on the railway too. I cannot imagine Eric Lomax was easy to live with preoccupied as he was with the horror of what he had seen and endured. Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman disappeared into the characters they played.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Be clear on Cancer Campaign

BCOC Breast70 banner- 1 in 3 women
A national campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer in women over 70 is now running from 3 February to 16 March 2014. The Be Clear on Cancer campaign tells women over 70 that if they see any change to their nipples, skin or shape of their breasts they should see their doctor straightaway.

Recently a friend of mine announced that now she was 70 yrs old she can no longer have routine mammograms; You can! You just need to ask for it! Check it out with your GP. Ask to be referred for a mammogram- when even in just a little doubt do not wait- go see your doctor- and don't take no for an answer.