Thursday 30 June 2022

Are we standing still or going backwards?

6 years ago I wrote a post following the UK's decision (by a referendum) to leave the European Union.  It was quite a lengthy post and some might deem it political.  (If you want to read it go here.)  

At the time we were still in shock and no one really knew how leaving the EU would work or be achieved.  Firstly we had to have a new Prime Minister because David Cameron, who had stated in his previous election campaign that he would offer a referendum on Europe never expected the UK people would vote to leave.  But they did and he chose to fall on his sword and resign.  

His successor, Theresa May, was actually a remainer but she did her best to get Brexit done.  Unfortunately she failed and also subsequently resigned in 2019 which was when Boris Johnson was elected and, in a way, he got Brexit done.

Revisiting my post today when it came up on my Facebook memories I noted that some of the questions I raised at the time still need answers.

We do know who is leading the Conservative Party and who succeeded Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the Labour Party.  (Keir Starmer.) 

I also asked if Scotland would move to have another Independence Referendum in a bid to remain in the EU?  Well now they would be looking to return to the EU and I'm not sure how favourable the terms would be but only this week, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland has announced a new attempt at securing another Independence Referendum to be held in 2023.  The UK Government has to approve the holding of a referendum and Boris Johnson is against it but it seems Sturgeon is prepared to involve the courts in the matter so who knows where it will end.  Having seen the difficulties in separating ourselves from Europe I cannot see how splitting Scotland from the rest of the UK will benefit any of us.

Another sticking point for leaving the EU was the issue with Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and Ireland having a border but neither side wanting it to be a manned border as it were.  The wrangling over how checks on goods moving from the UK to Europe and vice versa will happen goes on despite there being a process in place for how checks are done.  Our Government voted this week (or maybe last) to tear up the agreement reached as part of the Brexit deal and implement our own way of dealing with the issue which will probably be against international law.

This will no doubt reopen issues about the division of Ireland.

The final question I original posed was "How long will it take for Immigrants to feel safe and wanted in this country following some of the awful incidents this week?"  (Immediately after the referendum there were some nasty incidents where Europeans living in the UK were targeted.)

I think, given that people arriving in the UK as illegal refugees are now going to be sent to Rwanda in Africa I think the answer to that question is never.

Yep, we're definitely moving backwards!

Saturday 25 June 2022

Friday's Fave Five 24/6/22's Friday again!  Joining in with Susanne and looking back over my week to find the things I'm grateful for.  Join in here.

1)  Firstly I'm glad to have my laptop working again.  I managed to find a local chap who had good recommendations on Facebook to look at it.  The bad news was that the hard drive had failed but the good news was that he was able to fit a new, more up to date hard drive and service the whole machine and now it's working much faster.  I have lost some files - note to self KEEP THINGS BACKED UP! but nothing that was vital or precious.  (At least I don't think so lol)

2)  Granddaughter Ella has been much better this week.  Still not eating as well or sleeping too well but she hasn't been feverish and poorly like she was last week.

3)  Time with family last weekend - Eldest son and his family were here and we babysat the grandsons while he and his wife went to Harry Potter World.  We also had our youngest son and his family here and (apart from our youngest son) they all stayed overnight Saturday to Sunday.  It was hectic but the grandsons do love seeing one another and Nathan was able to join them for a while on Sunday.  Didn't take many pics but my daughter snapped these two.

Three little monkeys!

"Helping" refill the bird feeders!

4)  I'm grateful for patience and perseverance.  While setting out this post I discovered that the photos on my iphone were not automatically uploading to my laptop.  It took me ages to work out how to get that working again!  Technology can be very challenging at times lol.

5)  A lovely evening walk tonight around the lake.

This is the park area to the East of the forest.

The lake

Hard to see but there are at least 2 baby coots in the nest.

The swan family - the goslings are getting so big!

One of the crossing points across the River Ching which runs to the side of the lake.  There is another crossing further north that has no handrails and until today was missing 2 planks!

My landmark for turning towards home.

Once I spot the fallen tree I know I have to bear left

This is the entrance into the forest.

And looking to the right as you emerge is the road that I live on - takes about 5 minutes to get home.

Phew done!  And only slightly into Saturday!

Have a good weekend all.

Friday 17 June 2022

Friday's Fave Five - 17/6/22

Time to join in with Susanne and friends as we look back on the week and find our favourite things to be grateful for.  Join in here.

1)  Firstly I am grateful that Hubby's laptop is still working.  Mine has got itself stuck in a never ending start up loop so it is not booting up at all.  I will try and get it looked at but it will probably give us the kickstart we need to source new laptops for both of us.  We promised ourselves new ones for our Christmas present but haven't bought them yet.  I can feel a shopping tripping coming on for Monday!  Hopefully we'll get sorted quickly as Hubby uses his laptop a lot so I'm grabbing a chance to use it now while he's gone out.

2)  Summer weather.  We're having a heatwave right now - temps up in the low 30s.  It's not set to last past the weekend and actually it's too warm for me but it definitely is summertime.

3)  Ice in the freezer.  I usually drink a lot of tea but at the moment I'm drinking a lot more water because of the heat so to have ice to add to it is a blessing.

4)  Being free to help out with the grandchildren.  Granddaughter Ella hasn't been well this week so yesterday I got a call asking if I could get Nathan to school and then we also collected him and took him to his tennis lesson.  I know our kids are glad we are retired too!

5)  A visit from one of Hubby's sisters on Wednesday.  Felt like ages since we seen her so it was good to catch up.

And a bonus one - YouTube tutorials - I'm sure there's one for every thing you could possibly think of but I made use of some knitting ones today.

Oh and one more bonus:

I love this photo because Ella can often be a bit cool towards me, especially if her Mummies are around.  She's usually fine with me if I'm on our own looking after her but on Monday, despite Mummy being in the room she actually came to me asking to be picked up and snuggled in.  Thankfully Mummy managed to grab a photo and of course Nathan had to join in too.

Right that's me done.  I hope to catch up with your posts on my phone but leaving comments still seems to be a bit hit and miss with Blogger & Google.  It often tells me to sign in to my account to leave a comment but when I try it says I can't.

Have a lovely weekend all - we'll be busy with family.  

Saturday 11 June 2022

Book Review - One Good Turn - Kate Atkinson

One Good TurnOne Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is summer, it is the Edinburgh Festival. People queuing for a lunchtime show witness a road-rage incident - a near-homicidal attack which changes the lives of everyone involved. Jackson Brodie, ex-army, ex-police, ex-private detective, is also an innocent bystander - until he becomes a murder suspect.

As the body count mounts, each member of the teeming Dickensian cast's story contains a kernel of the next, like a set of nesting Russian dolls. They are all looking for love or money or redemption or escape: but what each actually discovers is their own true self.

I really enjoyed this book. It took a while to get into and at first I found the multiple characters a bit hard to keep track of but gradually I became hooked.

It starts with a road rage incident and then follows the various people involved or affected by this. As the story unfolds connections begin to be made between what appeared initially to be random strangers. And then the body count starts mounting.

I think one of the things that I really liked was the depth given to some of the characters and the amount of imagination shown by the author, particularly when filling in the characters' back stories. Nice twist at the end too.

View all my reviews

Friday 10 June 2022

Friday's Fave Five - 10/6/22

It's Friday already so time to link up with Susanne and other like minded bloggers and list our 5 favourite things we're grateful for this past week.  You can find out more here.

1)  Family time.  Last Saturday we had our youngest son and his family here.  We often have them over at some point at the weekend but this time we suggested they stay over until Sunday which they did.  This meant once the little ones (Rory and Vinny) were in bed we could have some adult time together and we played an interesting board game.  I think it also made their weekend easier with the kids entertained and everyone fed without much effort.

2)  On Sunday after the kids had gone home I managed to grab some down time and watched the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Pageant from the comfort of my sofa.  It was certainly a spectacle.  They featured things from each decade she's been on the throne and, thankfully, although it was very cloudy and grey, the rain held off.  It must have been a nightmare to organise as the parade goes down the Mall and then around the area in front of Buckingham Palace and that cannot be rehearsed in advance but it all seemed to go off really well and to time.  The funniest part though was probably the antics of Prince Louis - Prince William's youngest son.  His attention span was clearly too short for the entire pageant and his behaviour was very typical of a bored, just turned 4 year old.  Of course it's embarrassing for most of us when our toddlers misbehave but imagine doing that in front of an audience of millions!

3)  38 Years married!  Our anniversary was yesterday.  We had a quiet day but went out for a meal in the evening.  We tried out a Turkish restaurant in town and it was ok.  It's a nice venue and the food wasn't bad but it wasn't great if you know what I mean.  We can tick that one off the list of places to try but we definitely wouldn't rush back, especially as there are still other places for us to try.

The bees have landed.  The knitting group I've been going to recently were hanging the bees and bunting yesterday ready for the Highams Park Arts Trail which starts today.  Lots of the knitters have been making bees over the last month or so and then there were requests for bunting which I was able to help with.  The bees are fantastic but I'm not great at making small things like that and as for these:

Definitely works of art.  (They are toppers on a couple of the Post Boxes in the centre of town.)

5)  Sunshine.  We've had a bit of rain on and off this week but today the sun is out and I'm sitting watching the birds feeding on the feeding station and generally contemplating how fortunate I am in so many ways.

Have a good weekend all.

Friday 3 June 2022

Alice is back! 3/6/22

Well I’m glad you woke up from that dream when you did Wendy.  It was a real nightmare.


Well of course it’s me Alice.  Hey wait, you haven’t got another muse while I’ve been taking a break have you?

No of course not Alice.  But where have you been?

I’ve been taking a well-earned break Wendy.  All those A-Z posts exhausted me.

Yes April was a bit intense wasn’t it?  And now we’re into June!  Hey hang on.  You talked about my dream Alice.  Does that mean you’re privy to my dreams Alice?

Unfortunately Wendy I am privy to all your thoughts including your sleeping ones and that dream was horrible.  Where on earth did you come across such a monstrous spider?

Thankfully I haven’t Alice but someone posted a picture of the Huntsman spider as it’s called on Facebook I think and it was obviously tucked away in my mind somewhere.

Hmm yes I remember you reading about how it can swallow its prey whole so doesn’t need a web but thankfully it doesn’t live up to its name and hunt men, or women come to that.

No Alice but it can give you a nasty bite if provoked.  And yes the dream was a bit horrible – coming across one of those that then spurted out lots of little spiders when I tried to hit it.  I dread to think where the nightmare would have gone if the alarm hadn’t gone off and woken me up.

Perhaps you could stick to reading nicer things Wendy and that goes for TV too.  That series Pieces of Her on Netflix was a bit gory at times.

Yes well that was based on a book I’d read so I wanted to see how it compared.


Hard to say.  I couldn’t remember much of the book but it was a good series.  I’m sorry you didn’t like it Alice but hopefully you enjoyed the programmes I’ve been watching about the Queen and her Platinum Jubilee.

Well sort of.  I liked the lighting of the beacons last night and the programme with all her photos and cine recordings was interesting but the Trooping of the Colour had way too many horses and guns on display for my liking.  And so many people in the crowds.  You’d have hated to have been there in person Wendy.

True Alice.  I would have found it very claustrophobic.  But that’s the beauty of television.  You get to see all the best bits and can fast forward through the boring bits.

Well I imagine the Queen would like to be able to fast forward through all the boring bits of her life too.  I mean, 70 years of having to attend openings, ceremonies, investitures etc.  I quite fancy the side of her life where she’s waited on hand and foot and has all those lovely clothes (although not my style obviously) and jewels but she has to do so much boring stuff too.

Well I think she’s wonderful for putting up with all that “boring stuff” as you call it Alice and although she might be waited on there’s a lot more to her life than people give her credit for.

Do you think she’ll make it to 100?

Possibly Alice.  Her Mother did after all.  They obviously have good genes. 

Poor old Charles.  He’ll probably get to be King but I don’t think he’ll be celebrating any jubilees

No but he is gradually doing more and more now that the Queen is getting frail. 

Would you like to get to 100 Wendy?

Not sure Alice.  It would be lovely to be able to see how the Grandchildren’s lives pan out but I’d only want to last that long if all my marbles were intact and I still had you making life interesting!

I think that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me Wendy.

Yes well I’m in a good mood Alice.  Don’t count on it lasting

(For anyone new to my blog find out more about Alice here.)

Friday's Fave Five - 3/6/22

It's Friday again so time to list my blessing of the week and share them over at Susanne's site - Living to Tell the Story.

Here goes:

1) Dinner at our youngest son's place last Sunday.  It was nice to spend some time with both our young grandsons and then after they'd gone to bed we had dessert.  We also played a game of cards with our son and DIL which gave us time to have a good catch up with them without the kids constantly interrupting and wanting attention.  (Nothing wrong with that - just what little kids do but it does make adult conversation tricky.)

2)  Yummy cakes and a catch up with one of Hubby's friends last Friday.  A local residential facility had a cake sale to raise funds - it's just up the road from us so it was easy to walk down to town and stop off to pick up some cake on the way to having lunch with hubby's friends in one of our many coffee shops.

3)  Being retired.  Grandson Nathan hasn't been too well this week so it's been good to be able to visit a couple of times and have them here to make things a bit easier for his Mummies.  We couldn't do that if we were still working.

4)  Another Knit and Natter session this week.  The group have been making bees to make a display for the upcoming Highams Park Arts Trail which starts next week.  I hadn't made any bees as I've only just joined this group but now they're on to knitted bunting to add to the display.  Knitted triangles for bunting I can do!

5)  Our Queen.  This weekend she is celebrating her Platinum Jubilee - 70 years on the throne.  We have an extra bank holiday this week so Thursday and Friday are holidays and there are lots of celebrations taking place over this extended weekend.  Yesterday there was the Trooping of the Colour - the very grand ceremony involving lots of servicemen and women and of course horses.  Normally the Queen would be part of this at Horse Guards parade but yesterday she was represented by her son Charles who was also accompanied by his son William and the Princess Royal (Anne).  There must be something in their genetics - Charles and Anne still riding horses in their 70s and, although the Queen is definitely more frail and having some mobility issues, she is still doing as much as she can at 96!

She was on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch the parade return past the place to their barracks and then there was a flypast of various planes with one group of planes set out to show 70 and then the Red Arrows leaving plumes of red white and blue across the sky, which thankfully was fairly clear of clouds.  We Brits certainly know how to do Pomp and Ceremony and there were lots of spectators lining the route and then filling the space outside Buckingham Palace to see the Royal Family join the Queen on the balcony.

Yesterday evening beacons were lit across the country and there are further events planned over the weekend including street parties although I'm not sure there are any very close to us.

I know not everyone loves the Royal family and there have definitely been some ups and downs, particularly over the last couple of years but the Queen is such a great example to us all.  She became Queen at such a young age with very little time to prepare for the role and yet she has carried out her duty to this country and its people brilliantly. 

Happy Platinum Jubilee Your Majesty!

Picture taken from the BBC website.

Have a good weekend all.

Wednesday 1 June 2022

One Word Wednesday - 1/6/22

Joining up with Susanne and others at Living to Tell the Story

One picture (taken by yourself) - One Word..