Tuesday, 30 March 2010

ABC Wednesday - K

Knoll - n - a small hill or mound.

Brent Knoll is a village about 4 miles away from where I live and it surrounds the hill you see in the pictures. The Knoll is a great landmark and it is always a pleasure to finally see it when we return from our travels as it means we are definitely on the home stretch.

This view is taken from our bedroom window.

At Easter the local clergy hold a special service at the top of the hill and three crosses are erected there. They are visible from the main roads and the motorway and will remain there until the weekend after Easter. This event has taken place for the past 15 years. You can read more about it here

Thanks to Mrs Denise Nesbitt and her team who host ABC Wednesday. For more looks at the letter K - please click here.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

The Magnificent McQueen

Dear Blogging Friends

You are going to have to indulge me here today, if you read this post.

Yesterday evening I watched "The Magnificent Seven" on TV for the umpteenth time! I love the film, I love all the characters in it but, mostly, I watch it to see Steve McQueen.

I first saw him in "The War Lover" in the early sixties and was mesmerized by his amazing screen presence from the first moment. It has been that way ever since. That particular film was shot in the UK and apparently, during the time he was over here he visited Bovington Tank Museum which is only a stone's throw from where I lived then (so close)!

As well as the cast in "The Magnificent Seven" I have admired many other "stars" (male and female*), too numerous to mention really but including Cary Grant, Paul Newman, Humphrey Bogart and Gordon McCrae and more recently the very handsome and charming George Clooney and the brilliant Johnny Depp.

This year on 24 March, had he lived, Steve McQueen would have had his 80th birthday (imagine that), but sadly he died of cancer at the tragically young age of 50. I still recall where I was when I heard that news.

"The King of Cool" still remains at the top of my "A" list and for me - on screen - he delivers every time!

So there you have it, my tribute to my favourite Hollywood "Legend".

* I may blog about my favourite female stars soon.

Friday, 26 March 2010

A Sunshine Award

I feel honoured to have been chosen by Chris at Always Smiling for this lovely award and my thanks go to her. She is a very talented and clever stitcher and you can see some of her creations at her blog.

There are rules to go along with the award and these are:-

1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post.

2. Pass the award to 12 bloggers.

3. Link the nominees within your post.

4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.

5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

So, my nominees are -

Denise at An English Girl Rambles

Maggie at Nuts in May

Hildred at Day by Day

Deb at Texas Tumbleweed Travels

Cheshire Wife at Cheshire Wife

Cynthia: World Renowned Author at Cynthia

Joo at Daily Haiku

Cezar and Leia and Luna at We Love Luna

Hadriana at Hadriana's Treasures

Winifred at Stop Procrastinating and Just do It

Pam at Life with our Lads

Jay at The Depp Effect

I know that some of these friends are not in the best of spirits at the moment and if they do not wish to take this up I fully understand. However, all of you mentioned have brightened my day at various times and this is a way of trying to bring sunshine and flowers into yours.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

ABC Wednesday - J

J is for Jam

Not too much thought about this week's subject - with a blog name like mine it had to be Jam

Home made strawberry jam

If anyone is curious as to how I came by my blog name you could read about it here

ABC Wednesday is hosted by Mrs Denise Nesbitt and her team. To take a look at more things beginning with J - please click here.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Our trip to London

We don't make a trip to London very often, preferring the slower pace of life of the little West Country town where we live. However, sometimes our capital city beckons and we make the effort.

At Christmas our daughter gave us theatre tokens (actually Christmas and birthday gifts combined), a lovely surprise and we originally thought of a "London break". We both wanted to see the West End production of "Oliver" and particularly wished to see Jodie Prenger as Nancy. OH and I had watched the TV programme "I'd Do Anything", the series of weekly auditions to find Nancy and Oliver for the new show, and right from the first had felt that Jodie Prenger was the girl for the part. When she won the role we were thrilled and both said we would like to see her playing the part in the show. So, a couple of weeks ago when the subject came up again about the tokens and which show we would like to see we agreed that "Oliver" was our preferred choice. Looking through the Sunday paper OH realised that Jodie Prenger would be finishing on March 27 so we needed to get our tickets booked. That dealt with we then decided to make it a day trip and reserved seats on a coach - the London Flyer - at £8 return each (bargain).

We left home at 7.45 am and were in London (Hammersmith) by 11.20 am, got the tube straight across to Covent Garden and found our way to Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Our first time there and what a lovely theatre it is - old and plush and ornate. Opposite was an Italian restaurant so we went there for lunch before the show and still had time to wander around Covent Garden. It was a lovely sunny day and we spent about half an hour just strolling, watching street theatre and generally soaking up the atmosphere.

The show itself was wonderful. Griff Rhys Jones as Fagin and Jodie Prenger as Nancy were both performing that afternoon. Having only ever seen the film version before (many times), with Ron Moody so marvellous as Fagin, it was strange to see the part being taken by someone different, but Griff Rhys Jones was brilliant as was the young boy who played the Artful Dodger, and, of course, Oliver himself (not sure which boys played these two parts that day as there are 3 of each, alternating. There are 3 "gangs" as well. The whole show was fantastic, the songs, so familiar now, were a delight. And we were not disappointed with "Nancy" - Jodie Prenger was as good as we had expected her to be. She has been in the show since January 2009 and really fits her part. It was all thoroughly enjoyable.

We came out into the London rush hour and immmediately got the tube back to Hammersmith. A slightly different journey this time. On our way out there was plenty of room in the carriages but now, with everyone headed for home, it was more like "sardines". I was unable to hold onto anything so OH hung on to me. Eventually a young woman offered me her seat and I gratefully accepted. Our coach left London at 6.45 pm and we were back indoors by 10 pm. It had been a long but memorable day and has given me the taste for going back for a "city break", maybe later in the year, and really do the sights. And maybe catch another show!

By the way, if anyone is thinking of going to see the film "Invictus" - I mentioned a few days ago that we were going to see it - I can recommend it. I enjoyed it thoroughly and found it very moving.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Skywatch Friday

Saying goodnight to the Moon (or should it be good morning)!

I always think, whenever I see the sun or the moon setting that it is on it's way to my family in Australia. Quite a comforting thought.

For more shots of skies around the world, please click here

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

ABC Wednesday - I

I is for Iris

Didn't have an inkling what to do for this week's I post, no idea at all. Really felt that I would have to use my imagination and then - inspiration - Iris.

These are photos from a former garden, the second photo is of water iris.

ABC Wednesday is hosted by Mrs Denise Nesbitt and her team. For more letter I subjects - click here.

Entertainment this week

Last weekend, as it was Mothering Sunday, my daughter and grand-daughter came to stay. On Saturday afternoon the three of us went to the cinema to see "Alice in Wonderland" in 3D. It was a wonderful film perhaps a little frightening in places for my grand-daughter but she did enjoy it. Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter was outstanding - he really made that character believable, as he always does with any part he takes. It was well worth seeing and I would recommend it. Sunday was a busy but lovely day and we all enjoyed it very much.

This evening OH and I are off to the cinema to see "Invictus". This is the film of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of the South African rugby team, in 1995, in an attempt to unite the country. The film is directed by Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman plays Mandela - it should be good.

Tomorrow, OH and I are off to London to see the West End production of "Oliver". I am so excited and will let you know all about it in a few days.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

ABC Wednesday - H


The little seaside town I live in is situated in the Bristol Channel, at the mouth of the River Parrett and Bridgwater Bay. It has the second highest tidal range in the world, second only to the Bay of Fundy in Eastern Canada. When the tide is out it reveals mudflats which are hazardous to shipping and extremely dangerous to any individual who may venture onto them. There are many warning signs right along the beaches but at times these are ignored and anyone out on the mud may find themselves sinking into it. A fast incoming tide obviously puts anyone at extreme risk. Just such a tragedy occurred in June 2002 when a little 5 year old girl, Lelaina, was trapped and no-one was able to reach her in time to save her.

Everyone was horrified and appalled and with the help of a local newspaper fundraising escalated to enable the purchase of a fully equipped rescue Hovercraft which could be used at such times. BARB, the group formed in 1992 to man and run a hovercraft, were already fundraising to purchase the first rescue craft and boathouse. (We have had a lifeboat here since 1866 but of course that is of little use on mud). The tragedy of the loss of little Lelaina made the purchase much more necessary and urgent. So, after a very successful campaign, we now we have a Hovercraft, The Spirit of Lelaina, which was launched in March 2004 and in its first summer went to the rescue of 50 people and has been put to good use ever since. HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex is a patron of a new hovercraft campaign, begun in order to raise £60,000 for a replacement craft.

The above photographs of our rescue Hovercraft are not mine - I have walked along by the Hovercraft Station many times but it is rarely on view, so the picture is from a local site and you can read more about it here, here and, if you are interested in its specification - here.

This is the Hovercraft station - just along the road from where I live.

These hazard signs are everywhere along the beach and esplanade.

We rarely see the hovercraft, only occasionally, when it is out for training purposes, which is fortunate for all concerned.

Thanks to Mrs Denise Nesbitt and her team who host ABC Wednesday. For more takes on the letter H, please click here.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Time for Bed

I have been thinking about my son quite a bit this week, probably because it was his birthday on Thursday and of course, he is so far away. I thought right back to his young days, what a beautiful baby he was and then on through the various phases of his life up to his decision to emigrate, with his family, to Australia. We keep in close touch and I have been lucky enough to visit them quite frequently during the six years they have been there.

The photo is of him and our cat Susie, taken at around 1976 when he would have been about 8 years old. At that time, Son used to suffer with migraine headaches and I would have to help him to bed, darken his room as much as possible and just let him sleep. He grew out of them after a few years thank goodness. That particular day I had gone to see if he was OK and found that Susie had tucked herself into bed with him. I took the picture to show him later.

A few months ago I suddenly thought about a poem he had learned at school. I could only recall the first line though and wasn't sure who had written it. I remember clearly him telling me that he had learned the poem and he recited it for me, grinning as he got to the end. A very fond memory for me. So, yesterday I "Googled" the rememberd first line - and here it is.

Bedtime by Eleanor Farjeon

Five minutes, five minutes more, please! Let me stay five minutes more!
Can't I just finish the castle I'm building on the floor?
Can't I just finish the story I'm reading here in my book?
Can't I just finish my bead-chain-- it almost is finished, look!
Can't I just finish this game, please? When a game's once begun
It's a pity never to find out whether you've lost or won.
Can't I just stay five minutes? Well, can't I stay just four?
Three minutes, then? Two minutes? Can't I stay one minute more?

I love the poem, hope you do too.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The Icing on the Cake

As promised this is a photo of the birthday cake I have been finishing this week. The cake was made 3 - 4 weeks ago and left to mature a little. I began making the flowers and leaves for the decoration last week, also the little trug for the top of the cake. On Friday I marzipanned the cake and iced it on Sunday morning, finally putting the finishing touches on Tuesday. In the meantime I had telephoned my friend K to let her know when it would be ready for her to collect. She duly arrived yesterday afternoon and was very pleased with it. It is her mum's 75th birthday today.

It is also my son's birthday today and we rang him early this morning to greet him (he is now 42 - the son who lives in Australia). I wish he was close enough that I could make him a birthday cake too. Oh well.

Happy Birthday Son. And Happy Birthday K's mum.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

ABC Wednesday - G


Growing in the McLaren Vale in South Australia. I took these pictures last November.

We called at a few cellar doors and always enjoy a glass of the finished product.

ABC Wednesday is hosted by Mrs Denise Nesbitt and her team. For more letter G subjects - click here.