Sunday, 21 December 2008
It's been a few years since we went to the pantomime. We saw a few at the Bristol Old Vic when the girls were young. But then the Old Vic switched to staging plays at Christmas. They were very good but didn't generate the same atmosphere as the panto. It's proper family entertainment. Something for everyone and jolly good fun!
So today was a bit of a trip down memory lane.
Saturday, 20 December 2008
We're already working on next year's costume, which will be kept a closely guarded secret until the day.
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
If I tell you that we live in a fairly untidy house packed to the gunnels with stuff that we should have got rid of years ago, you will begin to realise the scale of our predicament. But the sheer horror of it all will only set in when I add that, during the course of these proceedings we have also had to deal with a week's visit from our French exchange student, my younger daughter's exacerbated eczema, the death of my husband's mother, a leaky shower and the flu which laid my younger daughter and me low for most of last week. Happy days!
Still, we're all alive and (relatively) well and the house will look marvellous when it's finished - or at least that's what I keep telling myself. And sometimes I even believe it!
Thursday, 27 November 2008
It's heartbreaking to hear of such acts of violence being committed against foreigners. In all my years in India I never once felt threatened because of who I was. In fact I was always treated with the utmost respect and consideration, even at the hands of complete strangers who had nothing to gain by their kindness. I am sure that these attacks sicken the hearts of the majority of Mumbaites, and Indians, and I hope that this group, whoever it is, is stamped out before it blemishes an otherwise hospitable country.
The dancers are from Madrid's Compania Nacional de Danza and were performing at Bristol's Harbour Festival this summer. It was a lovely sunny day and we spent some time watching them and a couple from the Martha Graham Dance Company before moving on to Queen Square where we sat on the grass eating tartiflette and listening to Beth Rowley and Sheelanagig.
I am now supposed to tag 5 others. However, seeing as I've just tagged 6 bloggers within the last 10 days, I don't want to push my luck. So, if any readers would like to take the challenge please go ahead, and let me know when you do so that I can pop over and see your photos.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Six Interesting Things about Me
- 1. I am a woman with a man's name. My parents named me after one of King Arthur's knights of the round table. This has led to some amusing misunderstandings but has also enabled me to pass every foreign language aural I have ever sat, on the basis that I knew the first question the examiner would ask me!
- I was born in Pune (formerly Poona) in western India and spent the first eighteen years of my life there.
- I used to rub drains, which is the same as rubbing brasses in churches except that you do it on pavements/streets at night to avoid pedestrians. This led to some very interesting conversations with drunks on their way home from the pub!
- I once won the mothers' potato and spoon race at my daughters' school's sports day. I was up against a few serious runners who ran too fast and dropped their potatoes. A textbook illustration of the old adage '(very) slow and steady wins the race'.
- I have ridden through the jungle on the back of an elephant - a truly unforgettable experience, including the time the elephant broke wind!
- I have sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and through the Suez Canal - not personally, as in a yacht, but as a passenger on a liner. I have also, obviously, crossed the equator when Neptune rose from the sea and decreed that I be given an egg shampoo and thrown into the swimming pool.
Sunday, 16 November 2008
I popped in to the church on my way home from the shops, bought a few cakes and biscuits (mainly my own!) and had a cup of tea and a hot dog. There wasn't anything else on offer to tempt me.
If we are going to continue to hold these sales, the challenge is (and I include myself in this) to provide goods and services that are consistent with what we believe in. It's not good enough to be just another retail outlet no matter how charitable.
Do I sound like a grumpy old woman? Should churches hold bazaars? If so what should they be like?
There is a proposal that we meet once a month to make things to sell at the next bazaar. I think this is an excellent idea. It will bring people together, which is exactly what church should be about. Now we just have to decide what to make. Any ideas?
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
There were a good number of women present, most of them in their thirties. I went with a friend and her daughter and recognised a handful of others. The meeting was very informal: an icebreaker game, a short introduction, a chance for suggestions for future meetings and the opportunity to sign up - which I did. It seems to me to be a great way to get to know other local women, have fun and make a difference to our neighbourhood - and, of course, eat cake!
It wasn't long after we moved to Bristol that I had our first daughter. The National Childbirth Trust, with its local coffee mornings and amazing secondhand clothes sales, saved me from going stir crazy, and some of the mums I met at that time are still good friends. But life's moved on and so have I, and it's time to look for new friends and new challenges, and I think the WI might be the answer.
Anyway the next meeting is at 8 pm on Wednesday 10 December at Ebeneezer Church on British Road and will have a Christmas theme.
Oh and I voted that we sing Jerusalem at our meetings!
Sunday, 9 November 2008
Saturday, 8 November 2008
- Has a consistent record of achieving high environmental standards
- Is committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development
- Can act as a role model to inspire other cities and promote best practices to all other European cities
According to the council website they have already made progress in the Green Capital Action Plan they launched in 2007 including:
- the expansion of the cycling network, resulting in Bristol being chosen as the UK’s first Cycling City earlier this year, winning £11.4m of government funding with South Gloucestershire Council
- the implementation of two ‘showcase’ bus routes and the expansion of the Park and Ride schemes
- the introduction of a Parks and Green Spaces Strategy, which aims to improve accessibility for all as well as improving the quality of the green space. In recognition of the quality of their work, Bristol Parks this year won the Civic Trust National Green Flag Award for Blaise Castle Estate, the Downs, Queen Square and Trooper’s Hill Nature Reserve
- the formation of the Biodiversity Action Partnership (due to be launched next week), which sets out an ambitious blueprint for the future of Bristol’s wildlife and identifies practical ways to protect and promote local flora and fauna
- the adoption of the West of England Joint Waste Management Strategy, which will deliver significant reductions in the amount of waste being sent to landfill sites, maximise the efficient recovery of resources, and maintain a long-term commitment to increase waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting
- a planning application submitted for two wind turbines at Avonmouth to supply up to 20% of the council’s energy needs
So well done Bristol!
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
In September 2000, 191 of the member countries of the UN set themselves 8 goals aimed at the eradication of poverty and inequality. They are:
- to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- to achieve universal primary education
- to promote gender equality and empower women
- to reduce child mortality
- to improve maternal health
- to combat HIV/AIDs, malaria and other diseases
- to ensure environmental sustainability
- to develop a global partnership for development
Last year, over 43 million people Stood Up to demand that world leaders keep their promises to the world's poor. This year's aim is to break that record and send an even louder message to our governments.
So wherever you are and whatever you are doing this weekend stand up and be counted!
For details of how to register and add your numbers to the count click here.
Wednesday, 1 October 2008
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Friday, 19 September 2008
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
- Listening to a talk by the West Country's very own Self Sufficientish duo where, amongst other things, I learned how to make an insect house using a plastic bottle and corrugated cardboard. They were so reassuringly down to earth and unpretentious.
- Watching a cookery demonstration by Sophie Grigson, she of the amazing ear rings. On Saturday she was wearing ones that looked as if they had been made from a tin of pilchards. She prepared a selection of 'white' dishes - a chowder, a Thai soup and junket.
- Being given samples of organic recyclable female sanitary products and discovering that I can buy them locally
- Watching another cookery demonstration by Xanthe Clay, whom I had never heard of, but who created several dishes from one duck including confit, which my daughters loved during their recent exchange visit to south west France, and which I would like to recreate for them at home.
- Discovering Dove Farm's Ezekiel Bread Mix and picking up two packs for £1 each. It's a savoury loaf which apparently goes very well with cheese.
PS If the mention of Sophie and Xanthe's dishes has tickled your taste buds then you will, hopefully soon, be able to access the recipes on Bordeaux Quay's website. However you'll have to wait as they are not there yet.
Monday, 8 September 2008
Thursday, 4 September 2008
One of the 'conditions' of accepting the award is that I nominate 7 other bloggers to receive the same award. Being a relative newcomer I have not yet built up a lengthy blogroll. However these are a few blogs I read regularly, all of which are worthy of this honour:
bigdaddystevieb - Steve Broadway's the man to blame for my sporadic offerings, as it was his blog that inspired me to start my own. I love reading his views on a wide variety of topics, from football, to football, to football ..... (sorry Steve, I couldn't resist!) ..... to music, to cinema, to education et al. And then there are the captivating photographs that accompany each blog.
Diakonia - Ellen Loudon's refreshingly frank account of life as a newly ordained curate in inner city Liverpool. A follow on from an equally insightful earlier blog about life as a theology student. Plus music and video clips.
3191 A Year of Evenings - No words - just beautifully evocative photos. Another follow on, from (you guessed it) 3191 A Year of Mornings.
Shouting at the Radio - Susan Harwood's pithy one-liners never fail to elicit some form of response.
Stuff & Nonsense - Blue Hands doesn't blog as often as I would like to read her, but when she does her posts are unique expressions of her life and work.
embody - A few months ago I attended an 8-week Happiness for Life Course, run by Bruce Stanley, which gave me a greater understanding of what it means to be happy and how I can achieve this in my own life. This is his blog, packed with loads of interesting stuff. And if anyone would like to enrol on his next course, starting on 8 October, then this is where to look for further details. I would highly recommend it.
Musings from a Stonehead - The tagline (the trials and tribulations of a modern day crofter) make it sound heavy going, but it does him an injustice, as there are plenty of posts to lift the spirit. Observant Observer readers will recognise him as one of the smallholder featured in today's magazine.
I'm now off to notify you of your rewards after which you are free to pass it on to others.
The 'rules', should you chose to follow them, are:
1) Put the logo on your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded you (ie me!).
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4) Add links to those blogs on yours.
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.
Thank you for your blogs and thanks again Mrs Almost Average.
Monday, 1 September 2008
- I will cancel any newspapers or magazines that I no longer read
- I will offer one unwanted item on Freecycle
- I will use washable cloths instead of disposable ones
- I will make and send a recycled card instead of a shop bought one
- I will start keeping and reusing old envelopes and packaging
Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
We've just returned from a fortnight in St Ives. The weather was disappointing. There were only two days when it did not rain at all and only one (our last day) which could accurately be described as warm and sunny. However we did not let this prevent us from having a wonderful time. In fact, our inability to spend whole days on the beach lead to our doing things we might not otherwise have done. Highlights included:
- visiting the Penlee and Exchange Art Galleries in Penzance and the Leach Pottery in St Ives (the first two were worth a visit including the cafe at the Penlee, but I wouldn't rush back to the Pottery)
- shopping at the recently introduced farmers' market (where we bought delicious locally produced cheese, sausages, cake, curry sauce and chocolate)
- attending a concert in St Ia's church given by the Cologne New Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra which was an absolutely brilliant performance by musicians who clearly love their music
- walking from Zennor to Gurnard's head and back in the mud and rain
- rising early most mornings to walk along the beach before anyone else got there
- reading three books (I highly recommend 'if nobody speaks of remarkable things' by Jon McGregor and 'the private parts of women' by Lesley Glaister)
- watching the Olympics
- drinking cups of tea and playing Uno and Scrabble
- attending services at St Ia's church and saying goodbye to Andrew Couch, who has been the vicar ever since we started holidaying in St Ives and who retires in just a few weeks
I could go on and mention sandcastles, mini golf, Cornish pasties, clotted cream ... but I will stop there before I lose you.As you may gather from the above I positively adore St Ives and can't wait until our next holiday there.
The photo is the view along St Ia Street from our cottage in Burrow Road.
Monday, 25 August 2008
Sunday, 3 August 2008
Saturday, 2 August 2008
It has been described as 'the artistic crime of the 20th century', Petit talks about it as a 'performance' and that is what it is, a ballet dance more than 1,300 feet above ground. Perched on that wire high above our heads, his face lit up with the sheer exhilaration of his achievement, he looked like an angel.
Although the film made no reference to the fate of the towers 27 years later, viewing footage of them under construction so soon after having seen them destroyed, was very moving.
For Steve's review see his man on wire.
PS In addition to being thoroughly entertained I did also add another word to my French vocabulary. 'Funambule' is the French for 'tightrope walker'.
Friday, 1 August 2008
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Any items that do not fit through the round opening in the bank as these damage our machinery.
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
I'm starting with the corner cupboard. Top left is a list of Riverford organic fruit and vegetable boxes, out of date as they now offer many more than the three boxes featured. They have an excellent website from which I order online. A couple of weeks ago we ordered our first meat box. Some of it's still in the freezer but what we've eaten so far has been excellent, the porchetta being particularly delicious.
Immediately below is a Corn Street Market postcard which I will deal with later.
Bottom left is our refuse collection schedule. Bristol's making serious attempts to reduce the amount of refuse that ends up in its landfill sites. We have a weekly kerbside collection (paper, cardboard, glass, cans, kitchen foil, battery, shoes, rags) and a kitchen waste collection. All other rubbish is collected fortnightly. Christmas trees are collected in January. Plastic bottles have to be taken to collection points in supermarket car parks (why do they make it so difficult for pedestrian recyclers who have to take their lives in their hands to reach the bins?). A recent development is the tetrapak recyling point in the Asda car park. The recycling website is reasonably helpful.
Bottom right is a flyer for St Nicholas Market. This is a vibrant shopping centre in the heart of Bristol. Running right through the centre is a row of stalls selling the most tempting food from around the world - pasta from Italy, olives from the Mediterranean, pies from Bristol, Jamaican curries, fresh soup and salads, wheat grass juices, North African couscous, local sausages, Portuguese stews and Welsh cheese. Oh and round the corner there are more curries, this time from India, and a whole food cafe. I sometimes pop in for lunch on Wednesday and am spoilt for choice.
On the open cupboard door is a picture of Nelson Mandela, one of my heroes, about whom I blogged on his recent 90th birthday. What more can I say? The man is truly a legend. I keep his picture here to remind me to continue to strive to be one of that great generation.
The two postcards below were picked up at Bristol's recent Ethical Expo. They advertise Fig1 a shop in Totterdown which sells fairly traded goods. I'm very rarely in that part of town so I can't claim to have shopped there but I liked the artwork and the messages they illustrate.
So there it is. Part 1 of my collection. Part 2 to follow.
Monday, 28 July 2008
Sunday, 27 July 2008
But now I have one of my own again - a Nikon Coolpix P50 - which is small enough to fit in my handbag and which takes good enough photos for my purposes ie to illustrate this blog. I took a few photos on the way home including this one of the window in the Arnolfini bookshop.
Monday, 21 July 2008
PS There would be photos of all of the above but our camera's broken and the girls' one is in Wales. However, Alan is going to buy me one for my birthday. He just hasn't decided which one yet.
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Saturday, 12 July 2008
Hang on a minute. A party to celebrate the end of a livelihood? Yes indeed. Instead of just walking away our postmaster threw a party to acknowledge the support he had received from the local community. It was a bring and share event in the church across the road, with food and wine, music and singing. We arrived some time after it had started, not knowing what to expect, and were surprised by the attendance - over a hundred people of all ages and backgrounds, from an elderly man in a wheelchair to a babe in arms. Despite the sadness of the occasion this was a community come together to show appreciation for an institution and a person who have served us well over the years.
I wish him well whatever happens next.
Sunday, 6 July 2008
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Saturday, 28 June 2008
There was a challenge to the revolving programme of modern art in the form of a campaign to put a statue of RAF hero Sir Keith Park in Trafalgar Square. It had the backing of the new Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. However it appears that a compromise has now been reached by which Sir Keith Park's statue will temporarily occupy the plinth in 2010, the 70th anniversary of the Batle of Britian, before being moved to another permanent location nearby.
I've nothing personal against Sir Keith Park but there are enough statues of men in Trafalgar Square already (the other three being George IV, Henry Havelock and Sir Charles James Napier) and two of them were generals. It's time to do something new, something that looks to the future, rather than harking back to the past, something that challenges our preconceptions and encourages us to look at the world from a different angle.
Anyway Gormley's entry won't be on display until 2009. I'll let you know when to look out for me!
Friday, 27 June 2008
23 years ago I took part in a demo in Hyde Park when we called, once again, for his release and the end of the apartheid regime. I can't remember whether I dared hope at the time that anyone would pay any attention to us, or to the millions of others across the world who were doing likewise. However five years later he walked out of jail and I saw him at Wembley - a small figure on the large stage, but with that now famous smile and a wave of his hand. I watched him at his birthday concert on the telly tonight, suddenly looking much older but still smiling and waving.
I listened to an interview with Stephen Fry who was refreshingly frank about the great man, saying that if, when he dies, as will surely happen sooner rather than later, our hope for the future dies with him, then it will be a tragedy. But he is just a man, like the rest of us, and if he can live for what he believes in then so can we.
In the words of the man himself: 'Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation.'
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Monday, 23 June 2008
Monday, 16 June 2008
This could be a very interesting exercise as I'm one of those annoying people who doesn't always label the containers I put into the freezer. I'm always confident that I'll be able to recognise the contents by their appearance and smell. I've still not learnt that the process of freezing often alters both beyond recognition. I well remember defrosting what I thought was a juicy stew to go with a bowl of pasta, only to discover that it was stewed apples! Not a good combination.
Still, so far so good. Last night I defrosted a chicken breast which I roasted with olive oil and tarragon to go with the girls' couscous salad in their lunch boxes. This evening Alan and I had a puy lentil and vegetable risotto type dish. The girls had a curry. It was unlabelled. I thought it was chicken but it turned out to be beef in a aromatic coconut sauce, which was fine.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
The reason my fridge/freezer is so full is that I rarely throw anything away. Portions of leftover stew, sauces, roast meat etc are packed into containers, labelled (if they're lucky) and buried in the freezer. Smaller amounts find their way to the fridge, ingredients for the next pan of soup, sandwich or stir fry. Alan is an expert at concocting a delicious meal from a combination of most unpromising scraps. His stir frys are legendary. My dad was good with leftovers too. Could it be a man thing? Or maybe it has to do with them both being Scottish?
I've discovered a very helpful website called Love Food Hate Waste. Sponsored by WRAP its aim is to help us shop and cook efficiently and advice on how to use up anything that does get left over. Apparently we throw away about a third of all the food we buy which is a criminal waste, especially in a world where we can no longer expect to have quite as much as we are used to.
Sunday, 15 June 2008
Still, it's no good wallowing in self criticism, which is what I'm often inclined to do. I have learnt from experience that that does not get me anywhere, except wanting to throw in the towel. Instead I donned my gloves, armed myself with a pair of secateurs and set to clearing a path through the undergrowth. We spent an hour putting it to rights and by the time we left, although it would not have won any prizes for the best kept allotment, it was at least looking more like one. We do have a decent bed of potatoes (thanks to Alan!) and the onions are looking up, so it's not a total disaster. In fact we took home a handful of leaves from our bolted chard and a dozen or more strawberries which provided lunch. My daughter made a smoothie with the strawberries and I sauteed the chard with garlic and capers and ate it with toast.
I've promised myself I'll return in the week to hack back the nettles and brambles and prepare the ground for the possibility of some runner beans. Meanwhile I'll have to investigate what else I can plant at this late stage. Any ideas anyone?
And now that I've put it in print I'll have to do it!
Monday, 9 June 2008
However, on looking back over my scores, I discovered that I could 'easily' reduce my score by 17 points by switching to green energy (13 points), reducing my consumption of meat (2 points) and installing a water butt in our back garden (2 points).
Funnily enough these are all things I was planning to do - at some stage! In fact I have been meaning to change to a green energy supplier since the Organic Food Festival in 2006 (or was it 2005!) It's just that I haven't done it ... yet!
Reducing my score to less than 60 would make my existence sustainable, which is definitely worth the renewed effort.
Watch this space for my progress!
Monday, 2 June 2008
Friday, 30 May 2008
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Monday, 26 May 2008
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Sunday, 11 May 2008
Th expo was perhaps not as big as I expected and there wasn't nearly enough food for me, but it was nonetheless very interesting and informative. Well done to the organisers. One useful piece of information that I did pick up at the council's composting stand, is that in a few weeks' time there will be one of five new Bristol Tetra Pak recycling collection points at Asda Bedminster. I have started washing out and collecting juice and milk cartons, which a friend of mine was going to take to an out of town site. Now I will be able to recycle them myself. Well done Bristol.
Monday, 5 May 2008
We have a compost bin in our back garden which is coming along quite nicely, and another on our allotment which is also home to a frog. I've always fancied a wormery but, not having space to bring it indoors during the winter, I'm afraid of the worms dying of cold. Bokashi bins sound fun, but again I wouldn't know where to put one.
Fortunately our council operates a weekly food waste collection, which has greatly reduced the amount of rubbish we send to the landfill site.
Friday, 2 May 2008
Garden: The garden's a mess but we have 6 frogs in our pond. Yeah!!! There are two big ones and at least four small ones, who must have grown from last year's spawn. I was disappointed that we had no spawn this year but the sight of these 'adolescent' frogs has more than made up for it.
Happiness: Steve and I have been attending Bruce Stanley's Happiness for Life course. We're almost half way there. I'd be lying if I said I woke up every morning full of the joys and went around with a permanent grin on my face; but that's not what it's about. I'm slowly but surely gaining a deeper understanding of myself and how to deal with the life I lead, and I am confident that the lessons I learn will stand me in good stead for many years to come. Besides which it has introduced me to the delightful Pierian Centre and a roomful of fascinating individuals.
So, there you have it. I hope it won't be so long before I'm back again.
Monday, 7 April 2008
Saturday, 5 April 2008
I was determined that this year would be different. It may yet be but we have not made a very good start. Still, this morning we popped in to the Riverside Garden Centre to buy some seed potatoes and onion sets, and this afternoon we went down to the farm to tidy up our patch and draw up some plans for the year ahead.
Happily the allotment is in fairly good shape. The chard is thriving, as is the rhubarb. We've decided where to plant the potatoes and onions. Now we have to work out what else we would like to grow. I fancy some spinach and leeks. Alan would like to grow some sweetcorn. And we are both agreed on a few giant sunflowers by the compost bin.
Oh and we found a frog in the compost bin which was a pleasant surprise.
Monday, 31 March 2008
Anyway I hope I remember to post my response in time and that it helps keep our post office open.
Sunday, 30 March 2008
Saturday, 29 March 2008
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Monday, 24 March 2008
Sunday, 23 March 2008
The eggs were decorated Ukrainian style (known as pysanky) by my younger daughter and myself at a friend's house a fortnight ago. It's a method not unrelated to batik, and involves tracing patterns on the shell with melted wax before dipping them in a series of coloured dyes. There were a dozen of so of us (all ages and both sexes) seated round the dining room table working away while drinking tea, eating cake and chatting. It was one of the most relaxing and yet most productive Sunday afternoons I have spent in a long time. I'd like more of them. The friend is American and I get the impression, from films such as Witness (one of my all time favourites*), that Americans are traditionally better at communal artistic activity than we are. There's nothing like a bit of manual work to help people relax and communicate with one another.
* due in large part to a memorable scene in which Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis 'dance' round a broken down car to Wonderful World by Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert and Lou Adler.