Friday 30 October 2015

Friday Five News 30/10/15

Of course the most important news item this week was my daughter’s wedding last Sunday but I’ve already blogged about that so here are the five news articles I’ve picked out for you this week:

In INTERNATIONAL  news I see that China is planning to relax its policy on how many children couples may have.  Well relax is probably an overstatement because it is only moving up to two children and it sounds like there will still be some restrictions in place.  Plus they haven’t actually announced when the changes will take place.  

It must be awful to live under a regime that dictates how many children you can have and to have to suffer through abortions when things go wrong is just horrific.

I was totally blessed with my children.  We decided to start a family and it happened.  Very quickly.  I had 3 children in 4 years.  I wasn’t planning on copying my mother-in-law who’d had 8 children but I’d always thought 4 would be a good number.  Moving from 2 to 3 was a lot harder than I’d anticipated so we stuck there.  It was a long time though before I totally gave up on the idea of a fourth.  But at least the choice was ours.

This LOCAL  news item about Enfield cycle plans caught my eye as it had been mentioned by one of our local councillors in a blog post about a meeting to be held in my area about “Living Streets” which I might attend.  Transport for London and the Mayor are certainly keen to make cycling in London easier and safer for cyclists but of course there is often opposition from car drivers. 

I can see both sides of this.  I drive a car but I do have a bike although I haven’t used it in a VERY long time.  I would like to use it more but cycling can be scary.  Having observed how parking has become a big issue in my road since residential zones were extended nearby, I can see how we perhaps need to move away from always using our cars for journeys and not being so reliant on them.
Since I gave up work our car has been used a lot less but I wouldn’t want to be without it.  I try and walk or use public transport when I can but I do like the security of knowing that if there is an emergency or I need to get somewhere quickly I can just get in the car.

Or maybe not – yesterday I was going to drive to the supermarket only to discover I had a flat tyre.  So I took the bus.

Today I needed to pick up a prescription and it’s quite a walk so the car would have made the journey much quicker but instead I was almost forced into doing something I’ve been promising to do for a long time – I got on my bike! Nearly fell off it at one point too so I will need to do a lot more practising.  Fortunately I can cycle in our nearby cemetery where there are very few cars and a very low speed limit.  Whoever said you never forget how to ride a bike?  They lied!

Moving on to SPORT: Lewis Hamilton won his third Formula 1 World Championship title at the weekend.  Only the second Briton to do so.  I thought this was a really top achievement until I read the article and saw that Michael Schumacher has won it seven times.  So still some catching up to do for Hamilton.  Although why anyone wants to chase around a circuit so many times, in a thin layer of metal, inches above the ground is beyond me.  Each to their own I guess.  I wonder how much he pays for insurance????

In ENTERTAINMENT   Brian May talks about the success of Bohemian Rhapsody which celebrates its 40th Anniversary tomorrow.
How many songs become so ingrained in popular culture that they get their own nickname? Not many - but Bo Rap is one of them.
A sprawling, six-minute rock opera, it has been Christmas number one twice, soundtracked a pivotal scene in Wayne's World, and sold 2.44 million copies in the UK alone.
Not bad for a song the record company said would never be played on the radio.

For anyone who hasn’t heard it (where have you been hiding?) or those who just want to savour it:

And finally MISCELLANEOUS: There are rumours of a Gin shortage because: The juniper berry, which grows in the Highlands and is used to flavour certain gins is under threat from a fungal disease and is said to be in a "critical state".

It’s not as dire as it sounds however so gin drinkers fret not.  Personally I couldn’t care less.  Now if grapes were being threatened it would be a whole other story!

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

Thursday 29 October 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge 28/10/15

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 the link to your Hodgepodge blog post to the Linky List at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.
Have fun!

1. Are you comfortable with silence? If you're home alone, do you like silence or do you need regular background noise? Do you seek out times and places to be silent? What's your favorite place to find silence/be silent?
I’m totally comfortable with silence.  I don’t feel the need for noise when I’m home alone although I will sometimes put the radio on or of course I might be watching TV.  I love (occasionally!) getting up before anyone else and just having my breakfast on my own in the quiet of the kitchen. 
2. October 28th is National Chocolate Day. Can't let that go by without a mention now, can we? Will you celebrate? How? Let's say you can have one of the following right this very minute... a cup of hot chocolate, a strawberry dipped in chocolate, a bowl of plain chocolate ice cream, or a slice of chocolate pie...what's your pleasure? 
You’re asking a chocaholic to choose?!!!!  If I really must it would be chocolate pie especially now that we’ve finished the chocolate wedding cake we brought back from our daughter’s wedding.
3. How do you feel about blue jeans? Favorite thing in the world to wear or nope, don't own a single pair? How often do you wear blue jeans in a typical week? Do you own a blue jean jacket?
I love blue jeans.  I have several pairs plus a black pair.  Wear them all the time now that I’m not working unless an occasion calls for something a bit smarter.  I do own a blue jean jacket but I never wear it so that really should go in the jumble pile.
4. Are you superstitious? If so, in what way?
Not particularly but I don’t like tempting fate. 
5. If you had to come up with a costume using only things you have on hand right now, what could you come up with?
Not sure exactly but there is a storage bag with lots of stuff the kids didn’t take with them when they moved out so I’m sure I could come up with something.
6. What scares you a little? What do you do when you feel scared?
Having said above that I like silence I’m not great with it late at night if I’m home alone and then I hear an unfamiliar noise.  When we were first here I went down to the kitchen one night.  Hubby was out and kids were asleep at the top of the house.  I suddenly heard the sound of a step on the stairs as is someone was approaching the kitchen.  Scared me to death.  I investigated.  No one there.  It took us a while to work out one of the stairs creak not when you step on it, but when the board springs back a few moments later!   
7. Perhaps today will be the day I get back on track after the wedding.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Our daughter got married on Sunday and I’ve done two blogs about it.  Last minute preparations and The Wedding Day.  That’s why I’m late with my Hodgepodge post.

The Wedding Day 25/10/15

As promised the day dawned bright and sunny and in theory we’d had an extra hour’s sleep due to the clocks changing for the end of summer time.  Nick and I had a leisurely breakfast and then the fun began.

You will note from the picture above that this was a same sex marriage with two brides, our daughter Rebecca (on the left) and her fiancĂ© Victoria.  It was a challenge getting two brides ready for their big day.  We had stayed at the venue, Sopwell House, the night before as this gave us two rooms for the brides to get ready with their bridesmaids.  Our room wasn’t that big however and when we discovered that the room allocated to one of our sons for the wedding night was available from first thing we decamped there to prepare.  Victoria also had to move during the preparations to the bridal suite that was allocated to them for their wedding night.

There were two make-up artists plus a hairdresser who alternated between the rooms plus the photographer who kept switching between the rooms too.  With 2 brides, 3 bridesmaids, mother of one bride plus relatives of the other bride it was a bit of a military operation to make sure everyone was suitable groomed and prepared for the big event.  But we did it.  Just!  The champagne might have helped.  It was lovely for me to spend that morning with Rebecca and her two bridesmaids.

We were almost ready when the registrar came to check that Rebecca’s details were still the same and that she hadn’t changed her mind.  Phew, glad to get that over with.

And then it was 3 pm and time to head down to the ceremony room.

The ceremony was beautiful.  The girls looked beautiful as did their attendants.  It was a civil ceremony but they had readings and the registrar was lovely.  Especially when they hit a slight hitch.  No rings!

The registrar asked for the rings from the Man of Honour who looked at her blankly and announced he didn’t have them.  There was an awful moment of silence then he repeated that he didn’t have them.  There had been an oversight and the rings had been left in the bridal suite.  Poor Victoria looked horror struck.  The wedding co-ordinator from the venue was despatched to retrieve them which offers of substitutes came from many of the guests attending.  The registrar wasn’t phased at all and was soon able to continue with the actual rings.

 The picture above shows the girls having just been given their marriage certificates.  The Registrar made a joke about them needed to hand them over to someone for safekeeping as brides didn't usually have anywhere safe to put them.  Rebecca was able to point out that her dress had pockets!

A wish jar - guests wrote notes for the brides.  They will open the jar on their 1st Anniversary.

A keepsake box.
Each table had a picture of places they had been to or will visit during their honeymoon.
Our immediate family plus Nick's Mum.  I'm the one with the hat!

Main course

Chocolate cake!

 The two brides at the front of the cake were crocheted by one of the bridesmaids and were really cute.

 After the ceremony there were photographs taken while guests were provided with drinks and canapes and then we entered the main function room for the wedding breakfast. 


A proud Grandma with 19 of her 23 grandchildren.  Unfortunately the 4 French boys were unable to make the wedding.

Prior to sitting down for the meal the girls were welcomed in a traditional Jewish way, including a dance where the brides were lifted up on chairs while guests all danced in circles.  (Victoria is Jewish.)  

Speeches were given by the Man of Honour, one of Rebecca’s bridesmaids and then the brides themselves.  The Man of Honour had also put together a video of clips family members, including ourselves, had sent him with messages for the happy couple.

Then there was dancing until midnight.  They had a live band who played two sets during the evening and they were really good.

All in all it was a wonderful day.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and the story of the rings will be the anecdote that will no doubt be repeated for many years to come.

And next year we will be doing it all again for this happy couple - my eldest son and his fiance. 

Part one of the wedding blog can be found here.