Wednesday 30 September 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge 30/9/15

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is brought to us courtesy of Joyce at 

Pop over there to see other posts and if you want to join in add your blog post to the Linky List at the end of Joyce's post.

Have fun!

1. Something on your October calendar that makes you smile?
My daughter’s wedding!  Enough said.
2. Food for the soul or music for the soul...which camp are you in? Tell us why?
Food – I’m miserable if I’m hungry and anything chocolate will always perk me up.  I can quite happily be on my own in a quiet house although I do listen to music sometimes.
3. What are two or three things you've learned recently as the result of an online search?  
Can’t remember all the specifics but definitely answers to crossword clues, e.g. I now know that a male castrated sheep is known as a wether.  Now aren’t you glad I played today? lol
4. Share your favorite game day recipe. You can describe it, post the how-to, or add a link to the actual recipe. 
I’m assuming by game day we’re talking about a football game or baseball game that you’d be watching at home.  We’re not big on watching sport at home and especially not with food.
5. What are your five essential steps for creating the perfect morning routine? 

  1. Having had a good night’s sleep the night before.
  2. Waking naturally before the alarm.
  3. A cup of tea in bed (hubby usually supplies that!)
  4. A good breakfast.
  5. None of last night’s mess left to clear up.

6. What small thing have you taken note of today?   
Umm how to cope with an online shop when it comes without bags? 
7. Sum up your September in seven words or less.
Satisfying, sunny (some of the time), enjoyable, tiring, family time, refreshing
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Joyce always makes us think and I’m grateful for that.  As September draws to a close I’m actually looking forward to Christmas for the first time in years.  Mainly because my family are gradually all getting settled, I have plans for the house and I have time.  A precious commodity.

Monday 28 September 2015

A Meander through Mumbles

We had a lovely few days away last week in the Mumbles area of south Wales.  Mumbles is part of the small Gower peninsula just west of Swansea.  It's an area of oustanding natural beauty.  It probably looks better when it's not raining but we did get some sunshine and we managed to get plenty of walking done.

We stayed in the village of Oystermouth which is right on the coast and has its own castle.  (Well the remains of!)

The houses are very close together and the roads are quite hilly!

 Oystermouth has its own pier and lighthouse - on the right hand side of the picture above.

The streets are narrow and houses seem to be almost on top of one another - finding our parking space at the rear of the house we stayed in was a challenge!

The house was just up on the right before the parked cars.  The parking space was accessed by a very narrow lane at the back of the property.

 The rain wasn't going to stop us from getting out and about - we went clothing prepared!
 This is Langland bay which we were able to walk to through the back streets and from there we walked along the coast to Caswell Bay.

Caswell Bay - we got a bus back from here.

 On our last full day we drove to Oxwich Bay.  It was nice enough to have a picnic lunch on the beach but it was quite windy.  We then drove on to Rhosilli bay which is beautiful.

The whole area is lovely and not too commercialised.  We ate in a couple of times but we also found a nice restaurant one night and on our last night we ate in a pub that was holding a quiz night.

The food was typical pub fare but was fine.  The quiz was somewhat different from those we've been to before.  We also suspected that the winners must have been to the Hollywood Walk of Fame as the last round was name 10 of the 15 fictional characters that have a star on it.  Either that or they'd had the question before as they were able to name 10 which earned a 5 point bonus.  Needless to say we didn't win, but we weren't last either.

And then before leaving to come home we went to a shop I'd noticed in the village that was essentially a bridal shop but also had what were definitely "Mother of the Bride" outfits.  Who would have thought I'd have to go all the way to Wales to get my outfit?  Anyway I'm now in possession of a lilac dress and jacket, I just need the accessories to finish it off.  Phew!  A great end to a lovely break away.

Friday Five News 25/9/15

Well this is really late but having searched out the clips and links I thought it was still worth posting.  We had a lovely few days away (more of that in a separate blog) but I only had my Ipad with me not my laptop so posting is a bit of a chore.  

Hopefully normal service will now be resumed.

The International news I picked up on was the VW recalls in respect of diesel emissions.  I'm just surprised it has taken them so long to be found out but at least the CEO has had the sense to resign.  It's going to have a long term detrimental effect on the group of companies, one of which is Skoda.  I wonder when we will hear about a recall?  We bought our car second hand and it happened to be a diesel.  I think our next car might be petrol although hubby keeps asking if we really need a car?  I'm still insisting we do!

In Local news I went for a Welsh story as we were in Wales at the time.  It was reported that spot checks on drivers using mobile phones were to be carried out.  I'm totally against people using mobile phones in cars but because it must be so down the list of priorities for prosecutions it's so easy to get away with.  It was good to see a concerted effort taking place but surely it might be more effective if it wasn't pre-announced? 

The Entertainment item that caught my eye was about the copyright status of the happy birthday song.  It seems there has been a discrepancy over the years as to just who had the rights to what, particularly in the USA.  It could lead to Warner/Chappel having to refund lots of royalties for use of the song during films, TV shows etc.  Sounds a real mess and no doubt a litigation battle that will run and run.

In Sport:  I noticed that at last we have some tennis news to celebrate as Great Britain made it through to the final of the Davis Cup for the first time since 1978.

The Miscellaneous item I picked out was that tests currently carried out on fancy dress costumes are being reviewed with regard to their flammability.  This follows a well publicised incident last year when a celebrity's daughter was badly burned after her costume was ignited by a candle.  It seems there may have been a loophole where costumes are regarded as toys rather than clothing.  I'm all in favour of any measures which make any items of clothing safe.  I was lucky as a child that my dressing gown met safety standards.  A small corner of it melted when I brushed against the fire and I wasn't hurt.  If the material had been more flammable it would have been a very different story.

Well these were my Friday Five.  Of course the news continues to be dominated by the migrant crisis and now in the UK we are in the season of political party conferences.  Oh and there's just the small matter of the rugby world cup taking place here.  Watch this space!

Thursday 24 September 2015

I think I'm wired wrong!

We're away this week in South Wales.  The scenery is beautiful but the weather has been a bit hit and miss.  We've done a fair bit of walking though to make up for eating out and just eating!

Tomorrow we'll be travelling home and then visiting our daughter for dinner so I might not have time to do a news blog.  We haven't been immune to the news this week as we have a TV and we get a newspaper each day.  I like the Times as it's fairly accurate with its reporting and it has a great puzzle section.

Having had two close relatives (my Mum and her sister) succumb and pass away to Alzheimer's I can be forgiven for being a bit paranoid about going the same way. I do a lot of crosswords and puzzles.  I particularly like the killer sudoku in the Times.  There are usually two, one harder than the other and they give a time for completing them.  This week has been frustrating as twice I have messed up on the harder ones.  However yesterday I managed to do both but the easy one was supposed to take 12 minutes and it took me ages.  The harder one was quoted at 54 minutes.  I nearly didn't start it but I love a challenge and I completed that one in much less time.  

Now, should I just bask in the satisfaction of completing them or worry that my brain seems to work differently from the norm?  That's a rhetorical question, no sassy answers required.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge 23/9/15

 Time for the Hodgepodge again - if you want to join in, compose your post then pop over to Joyce's site (click on the picture) and add your link.  Have fun!

1. What have you 'fallen for' recently?
I'm not sure that I have fallen for anything recently.  Since falling over some weeks ago I've been trying to keep my feet firmly on the ground!
2. What's something you're 'squirrelling away' for later?
I have loads of loose change around the house that I need to sort out and change up.
3. How do you like your apples? Sweet? Tart? Crisp? Cooked? Apples are one of the superfoods for often do you eat an apple either plain or as part of a favourite recipe? What's your favourite variety?
I'm really bad at eating fresh fruit.  If I do eat apples they are usually granny smiths - green and crisp.  But I much prefer them cooked either in a pie or crumble.

4. According to Fodor's the ten best fall foliage trips in the US of A are-Aspen Colorado, The Catskills New York, The Berkshires Massachusetts, Columbia River Gorge Oregon, Green Mountain Byway Vermont, Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway New Mexico, Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, Upper Peninsula Michigan, Lake of the Ozarks Missouri, and Glacier National Park Montana. Which would you most like to visit this fall and why?
Probably Green Mountain Byway in Vermont because then I could combine it with a visit to my daughter-in-law's family.
5. The topic of legalising marijuana was raised in the most recent televised political debate so let's wade in too. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalising marijuana in some form. Four states have legalised marijuana for recreational use. Your thoughts?
I'm not sure I'm in favour of legalising it because then it becomes a slippery slope as to what comes next.

6. Are you okay to watch a movie already in progress or do you need to always see it from the beginning? How about jumping into a TV series somewhere in the middle? Is that okay?
Oh no - have to watch everything from the beginning.
7. Thursday (September 24) is National Punctuation Day. What rule of punctuation trips you up most often? What rule of punctuation, when broken by someone else, bugs you the most?
I'm not great with colons and semi colons and I do hate to see bad grammar and misuse of the apostrophe drives me nuts.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
We've managed to get a few days away this week so we're by the sea.  Weather isn't great but we've done quite a bit of walking and it's just nice to be away.

Sunday 20 September 2015

Searching for the elusive 20/9/15

Well at this rate I'll be wearing my LBD for the wedding.  I thought I'd seen some good possibilities for an outfit yesterday so today I took hubby with me to give his opinion.  I wasn't successul.  I did find a dress and jacket that looked good and would fit in with my daughter's colour scheme.  The thing holding me back on it is that the dress in particular was very similar to the dress I had for my son's wedding last year.  If I don't find anything else soon I might have to opt for that but I'd rather not if I can find an alternative but we only have 5 more weeks to go!

One possibility is another dress I saw yesterday that was rather expensive for how it looked but I have the feeling it's one of those dresses that when you put it on it will either be awful or fantastic.

The hunt continues.

Friday 18 September 2015

Little Black Dress 18/9/15

The LBD got another outing yesterday.  One of my nieces had organised a get together for the ladies of the family for my daughter's hen night.  (She also has another get together planned with friends.)

We met up in a cocktail bar near London Bridge and a good time was had by all.  I was relieved to see wine on the menu as I'm not really a cocktail girl.  

We played a few silly games and a good time was had by all.  So much so that I think there were a few sore heads this morning.  Thankfully I didn't have to get up for work but my daughter did.  She was definitely the worse for wear last night.  I deposited her in a cab while the rest of us got trains home so I was glad that yesterday I opted for flats rather than heels. 

Friday Five News, 18/9/15

NEWSFLASH – writing this slightly hungover so apologies for any typos.  A group of us were out for a family hen night for my daughter last night.  Good time had by all so I think we’re all a bit fragile this morning!

I haven’t taken too much notice of the news this week but here’s what I’ve picked out:

In INTERNATIONAL news it’s still hard to get away from the migrant situation in Europe which has intensified this week with several countries imposing border restrictions.

However I did notice that Cuba has appointed an ambassador to the USA for the first time since 1961.  The article also quotes several other initiatives that suggest relations between the two countries are improving.  So at least in one area of the world things seem to be going right. 

In LOCAL news the big story of the week was the election of the new Labour Party leader – Jeremy Corbyn. 

The election race seems to have dragged on for months and Corbyn came through having started as a rank outsider for the role.  He gathered lots of support along the way but I’m not convinced he will be able to unite the Labour party and take it forward so that it can provide a real alternative to the Tory party at the next general election.  He is very left wing and although he has come across well in many of the speeches, interviews etc. he has done leading up to the election, he has little experience of being in the front line of politics – he has only ever been a backbencher in parliament.  Some senior politicians have already refused to serve in his shadow cabinet showing that the rifts in the party are deep.

It will be interesting to see how things pan out but unfortunately I’m not sure that he can turn things around during this parliament which will mean we probably have another 9 years of Conservative rule to look forward to with more austerity measures.  I know we have to balance our books but when all you keep hearing about are cuts to vital services, the police for example, it’s a hard pill to swallow.

Moving on to SPORT: The rugby world cup kicks off today.  Why highlight this?  No I’m not a rugby fan but when your country is the host nation it’s hard to be oblivious to it.  Especially when one of the venues is the Olympic Stadium which is just a couple of miles away from us, which means travel disruption when games are being played.

If our team does well I might be tempted to watch any really important games, i.e. the final if they get there.  No idea if they are capable of that.  In the meantime I’ll just be checking my TFL (Transport for London) e-mails telling me when it’s safe to go shopping!

In ENTERTAINMENT  I noticed this clip from Matthew Weiner, the creator of “Mad Men” which is all about advertising, complaining about TV ads!  Enough said!

And finally MISCELLANEOUS: Well I didn’t know that there were “Ig Nobel” Prizes and for anyone else who was unaware of them they are “spoof Nobels for "improbable research" and are in their 25th year.”

One of the winners this year was a study that showed that most mammals take the same amount of time to urinate.  Now urination is a subject close to my heart, well ok bladder, I do know my anatomy, although actually in my case it’s often more in my head than anywhere else but this study takes things to a new dimension.

“The team behind the urination research, from Georgia Tech, won the physics Ig. Using high-speed video analysis, they modelled the fluid dynamics involved in urination and discovered that all mammals weighing more than 3kg empty their bladders over about 21 seconds.”

Hmm well my hubby weighs over 3kg and when he comes home from a session at the pub I’m sure he can outlast 21 seconds!  Personally I wish I could last 21 seconds because that would mean I wouldn’t have to go as often as I do!

All links are courtesy of the BBC website. Opinions are my own.