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Friday, 21st June 2019

Friday Five on Friday!

1. How do you beat the summer heat?
Not a problem, i'm an expert on cooling methods, witrh open windows and fans - Tip: REALLY hot wind, soak a net curtain in cold water and hang in the doorway.

2. Do you have air conditioning?
No, Council don't run to such luxury! I just have a fan in lounge and big one in bedroom. Just make sure you have a full length net-curtain for any outside doors for nighttime, to keep out the bugs and let any breezes in.

3. What’s your idea of the perfect summer day?
Lots of sunlight, but cool weather and a nice breeze

4. What’s one thing you always seem to do every summer whether you want to or not?
Sweat?? Keep mozzy repellant on hand!

5. Are you ready for the summer?
Sure, not that there's been much of one yet. It's Summer solstice today with very early sunrises and equally late sunsets. i've had to keep one of my winter coats out with some of the cool days and nights, and surprisingly, i've had my little heater on some nights.  Maybe we'll have an Indian summer?

Have a good weekend!

Sunday, 16th June 2019, Part 2

On request, I've been given three subjects in the new meme, all intrigueing

Horse Riding
i learnt to ride while i was still at school, mainly because my sister wanted to and i went along.  We both learned quickly and became proficiant; i never fell off, even when one horse stepped in a hole and went to it's knees - i was a swimmer and had strong legs!  It was quite good fun but restricted mainly to the polo field, though we did have the occasional foray out under escort, around the salt pits and down Khormaksar beach. i learned horses love the sea but didn't have a lot of brain!  i only rode in England once and it was quite the difference to the sand i was used to in Aden.

The Colour Red
So many shades of red to choose from but i am partial to the crimson and darker reds. Scarlet can be too orangey for me.  i don't really like Orange, or Pink for that matter (except occasionally the very pale pinks). Funny don't you think that when the colour Red is mentioned, a lot of people think of Roses? My favourite roses, however, are yellow and white, scented of course!

i do like chocolate a lot, but prefer dark or 'bitter' chocolate. The purer the better up to about 80% cocoa solids.  However, i love the chocolate orange or hazelnut mixtures and rose, orange or strawberry cremes. i'm not fond of Quality Street but do like Roses - who doesn't?!  Sadly, the onset of diabetes has put a severe crimp in my consumption.  *sad face*

That was fun.  Hadn't thought about the horses for such a long time, what a flood of memories this unlocked.
Most of the horses that we rode were stabled at the Golf Club (where they also played polo) and some belonged to the Sultan of Lehej, on loan.  Looking back, i don't suppose they were very suitable for us to learn on as they were super responsive, due to being used for polo.  There was one we were not allowed on, as he was badly treated as a youngster, tempremental and would only willingly take women riders. He had to be blindfolded for a man to get up on him and very few were game.  i remember some of the horses names even now - the half brothers Mabruk and Mubarak, Shamsan one of the biggest and very uncomfortable seat, unless you could get him to canter; big black and powerful Prince who had the thickest neck i've ever seen and little nervous Mahboob or Mahmood, i think he was called. These were Arabs and danced rings around the longer-faced Army horses.  Mabruk the grey was my favourite and had a really comfortable seat, loved him.  i heard later he'd died, having got colic and they couldn't keep him on his feet. Sadly, he managed to lay down and ruptured himself.  i often wondered what happened to the rest. The Sultan's would go back to him of course.
i nearly had a nasty accident once, riding Shamsan.  We came back one trip via a short road culvert and as i was about to go through, a large 3-tonne lorry caught up with us and didn't slow down. The roar of engine noise made Shamsan panic and he backed out into the road. There was nothing i could do to make him straighten up (he couldn't hear me) - short of dismounting and dragging him forward, far too dangerous.  The lorry didn't even swerve (i was told later) and hit him on the flank, knocking us to the side of the road.  It never stopped and roared off.  Bastards. How i stayed on him, i have no idea or how Shamsan stayed upright. We both survived but the muscle on his flank was caved in and left scars.  You couldn't take him near tarmac roads after that.  Now where did that early-sixties memory come from? Amazing how clear it was.
Well, i must go wash-up - the kitchen is reproaching me!  And it's dinner time - how did that happen?

Sunday, 16th June 2019

Weather is dominating our 'other' news. We get better weather on the East side of England and so far haven't had the hammering the West has and is still getting periodically.  We have a weather warning for Tuesday/Wednesday of thunderstorms, lots of rain and even hail and strong possibility of flooding. Luckily Cambridgeshire is pretty flat and it would need apocalyptic weather for it to really affect us.
My bones are giving me shit at present but it's a petty problem when you consider what it could be. On the other hand, the diabetes is numbing my feet as the circulation slowly gets worse but i'm having more arthritic pain in my hands, which get really sore, and cold oddly enough.  But less of that!  i'll do the Friday Five.

1. What was your favorite childhood vacation?
We didn't have those sort of holidays but went on leave (about a week per month of service). We could choose where we went but it was usually back to UK, except for the time we went to New Zealand. My folks were looking at places for retirement, i think.

2. What is your dream vacation?
I'd like to go to Japan on a guided tour, as i'd need a lot of help and a translator

3. If you could take a trip around the world, what locations would you be sure to include?
i'd start off with the Scandanavian countries, Norway etc and Denmark. Work my way down with Portugal & Spain before Greece and a return visit to lovely Venice. i'd like to see Pachu Pichu and Iguasu (sp?) and the Pantanal.  Then visit Antartica, and on to Far Eastern countries, Thailand and re-visit Malaysia/Singapore before moving on to Japan.  i'd like to visit bits of Australia i never got to and New Zealand's South Island.

4. Do you prefer vacations to new destinations, to familiar destinations, or a mix?
Definitely new

5. What activities would you plan for a two week staycation?
See as much of the country as possible and include any famous museums and touristy bits - can i take Mark with me?.

That gave me itchy feet!  Travelling is such a complicated business now, as i can't walk far and need help with my mobility scooter.
Well, i must away and get on with a spot of cleaning up in the kitchen. Have a great week!

Saturday, 1st June 2019

Finally doing the Friday Five on the right day!  It's often late or i don't catch up for a couple of days. Before i start, today would have been my Dad's 99th birthday. i frequently muse on how he would have handled old age, on his birthday. Being born in 1920 is a mind-bender for me; impossible to imagine what it was like to live in those days.

1. Do you make any kind of art or craft? Please share.
Not any more. i used to do a fair bit of crochet (self taught) and sold a few shawls back in the day.  Recreational skills were very limited at school and i only did drawing and watercolours, with reasonable success but was more interested in swimming as a teenager.  Otherwise not nearly good enough with my hands to make things, but there wasn't any room or time to learn sculpture or any handycrafts, though i think there was a woodworking class for young boys at St Saviour's. You'd have had to go to the Technical College later and pay extra for the privillage, though i don't think they took girls.  The nuns didn't have those skills (or time) and anyway the thought was embroidery was 'for girls' - we'd have been better off learning dress making.  i did get fairly proficient with crossstitch, making table settings & tea-cloths.  Hardly earth-shaking though!

2. Would you rather make art (paint, sing, play an instrument) or observe someone else’s art? Why?
Make art - paint and sing (can't play an instrument). Watching someone paint would be pretty boring.  i would have liked to take the singing further but no opportunity, and the same with instruments.  Only learning the piano was open at school, after hours and my hands didn't have enough 'reach' apparently.  i do like to hear and watch singing, orchestras etc

3. If you could be really good at any creative endeavor, which would you choose to be really good at?
Painting i guess, though i'd like to try sculpture.

4. Do you prefer recorded performances or live performances? Why?
i prefer live performances as you really only get the full effect in person, if you can get close enough to see as well.  However, i do like to watch ballet, ice skating & gymnastics on film as you have a much better view. You don't need to be really close for music performances, but the sound for full effect - you need to hear Katherine Jenkins in full throttle to get the total beauty of her voice, for example.

5. Did you get any kind of art education in school?
See Question 1 - pretty much just the basics.  i have a very early memory of some child eating plastacine, so i guess we had some play stuff at some point; kindergarten maybe?  Drawing and painting came later.

That was a trip down memory lane, wasn't it?  But that's all for now. Have a great weekend and a better week.

Sunday, 19th May 2019

Ah, the Friday Five - haven't been in here much, except for a quick read of Friends Feed.  i'll do this first.

1. Has your house been renovated?
i'm in a Council flat, so rarely do much to same structurely, but as it was the Council's will that i move (going to renovate my old one), they complied with my request for white walls.  i was so sick of the inevitable old 'marigold'.

2. Have you ever painted a room?
i've painted many rooms in my lifetime of renting, in New Zealand & Australia, but not here in England.

3. Have you ever put in a new floor in a house?
i haven't, no, but the Council removed the dingy grey carpet before i moved in here and i was able to choose a simulated wood-floor covering for the hall, bedroom and lounge; a darker one for the last room.  Which all look very nice - pity there's no underlay (or underfloor heating), but that's the El Cheapo Council for you!  i have various sized rugs and small carpets here as the floor can get quite cold in winter. The floor tiles in the kitchen were okay and although the weird bumpy-concrete flooring in the bathroom is SO ugly and i hated it, it wasn't going to be replaced anytime soon. All my other flats had floor coverings from vinyl (never can spell it!), parquet and carpets of course.

4. Have you ever worked with wallpaper?
i've never done wallpapering but have on occasion painted over it.

5. Have you ever choosen new colors for your flat or house?
Yes, quite a lot. And done small DIY, like shelving units and so on, like you do!

It's been a music-themed couple of weeks, what with Art Garfunkel, Ian Mckellan (not musical but it got me out of the house!), Katherine Jenkins last week and the Russian Philharmonic of Novosibirsk this coming Tuesday. The RPN are playing Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances and some Glinka - not unnaturally!  i do like the Russian composers and relish the idea of real Russians playing the music. McKellen's memory is amazing and Katherine exceeded expectations, which was nice and she has a great voice.  i like her singing opera best and have a couple of CDs - you do need to hear her in person to get the best experience, but turn up the sound and you can come close.  That's it until October when Aled Jones and Russell Watson do a concert together.

i decided to buy a small strimmer to keep the front garden under control and have started on it, a bit at a time as it's very overgrown now. It cuts well and is easy to use and clean,but i still need to rake and pick up the cut bits and put them in the green bin.  i have to limit my time or it really creases me.  My back & hips complain loudly if i do too much, but onwards and upwards!

i need to get out of the house more, i'm becoming something of a recluse. It doesn't really bother me but after a fall in the garden (some time back), i started wondering how long it would take for someone to come to my aid, if i need some.  i do have the ElderCare alarm (and a key in the keysafe at the front door), but what if i can't get to it? How long would it take for anyone to miss me? If i died, it could take awhile.  The postman might wonder where i was but i don't have a huge amount of mail and very few bits to sign for. The Tesco drivers wouldn't as they only come to my order, so unless i had one booked and they couldn't raise me, they'd just be cross and take the groceries away. Dunno what Tesco would do, email me? i guess only the Diabetic Nurse would be concerned if i missed an appointment. i've one booked for July but i could have been dead for quite a while before anyone missed me.  My friends on Facebook might miss me eventually but how to raise the alarm?  Again, it would take a while. So what to do, if anything.  Food for thought, and it's time i updated my will.  i may need to change my executor as i haven't spoken to relatives for some years now, literally.  Mark is closer than they - and knows me better!
Sorry to be gloomy, i write as i think and speak.
More later in the week, when i've done anything!

Monday, 13th May 2019

My ceanothis (sp?) bush is totally covered in blossom and alive with bees, hoverflies and little insects.  Such a pleasure to see, which i do every morning as it is right outside my bedroom window.  Everything blooming or about to. The little rose bush has one fully opened rose and another coming out with buds all over it. Should be a good display. Read more...Collapse )

Wednesday, 10th April 2019

I went to see Art Garfunkel last night. i'd never been able to see him before and wish that it hadn't taken so very long, i think it's advisable to see the people you like when you can as so much can change in that long time.  i didn't even think about how old AG would be but it turns out he is six years older than me, making him 79 this year. Considering that, his performance was quite good and given a lot of his voice has gone, he was smart enough to stick to the easier songs that he could still manage. He said he loved performing and having an audience.
His son, Arthur Jnr was with him and has a really lovely voice. He gave us a couple of songs and dueted on a couple of Everly Bros with is dad. Art was beaming with pride and was obviously delighted with him.  Jnr is putting out an album shortly AG said but hasn't heard it yet. Jnr at 28 wasn't in any hurry apparently but i will keep an eye out for it.  AG didn't sing for long and we were out (with a 15 minute interval) at about 9.30pm-ish.
It is always sad to see an artist in their waning years. Especially singers who rarely keep their voices intact, more so i think with opera singers than the more 'popular' ones.  One has to wonder why they put themselves in the often humiliating position when they are no longer capable of giving the performance they fans want to hear.  Do they need the money or long for the audience adulation? And if that audience is willing to part with top prices for the sometimes less than stellar perfornances?  AG certainly brought in the fans and the Hall was packed.  i came late and had to buy a top-price ground floor seat rather than the disabled section (i had forgotten the bars across the seat in front of me, with great problems for legs but luckily i was able to change my seat).  Was it worth the £60 i paid?  Short story long, for me as a first-time-viewer as it were, not really.

Monday, 25th March 2019

And it's Monday again!  i remind myself to be grateful to see each morning, what with lots of people my age dropping like flies!
i must make sure i don't owe any money before i pop off!  It may take me a while, given my current spending on my mobility scooters, what with new motor and new rear wheels on the Colt - mucho deniro! i do have some saved up for that but will be able to pay in installments. The mechanic has just come to pick up the Colt to fit the new £403 motor and has promised it back tomorrow.  i have things to do on Wednesday and a ticket for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the evening, so make sure it gets back for then.
Talking of tickets, i went to see the sublime Tommy Emmanuel last night at the Corn Exchange and i have to admit i do rave about him somewhat, but he's not just one of the most talented men around, he's an experience.  i could literally listen to him all night.  Hearing his music on CD and YouTube does give you a good idea of how good he is, but to hear him in person allows you to see, and hear, the complete picture. Tommy is so totally into his music and has such a good time playing it, that he almost dances around the stage.  He would be remarkable for such talent but for someone my age, the vitality he brings to a performance has to be seen to be believed.
Most of these concerts start around 7.30pm, with support acts etc first and the star of the evening coming on around 8.30pm.  J D Simo was on first last night and came back on when Tommy called him in to play blues with him, and very good he was too.
The Royal Philharmonic will be playing Beethoven, Mozart and Vaughn Williams, so a mixed night. Pinchas Zuckerman is both conductor and soloist on violin. Sounds good. From the sublime to the ridiculous, Julian Clary is up next Thursday and he's a hoot.  Later this week, the auction is on again and another Peter Nuttall is up for sale, Falconer on a Horse. This will also be an unframed piece.  The last one i bought was too, a Knight on a Horse. That one was £100, not sure of the size of this one; i hope too see it on Wednesday pre-sale!  i can't afford it, of course, but we shall see what i can do.  Depending on whether or not i get it as to having a grocery delivery on Friday - it may be the following Monday! *Pension pay-in day*
There's a free Home & Garden show also at the Guild Hall over the weekend, which could be nice. to round out what for me is a busy week.  i can relax next week with only Julian to see but the following week Art Garfunkel is in town. i shall feel like i live there by then!  i've never seen Art in person, so that will be a new experience. Hope the lovely voice is up-to aging.

And on to the Friday Five shortly.

Saturday, 16th March 2019

i haven't got an icon for wind, so i've gone for umbrellas instead.  It's hellova windy today and very grey skies, although i believe some rain is forecast but not sure when.  Only the edges of these storms reach us down here usually but i think we're in for some of the nasties this time. i don't have to be anywhere this coming week, until next Sunday, when i have a ticket to see Tommy Emmanuel.
Friday Five on time again
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Friday, 8th March 2019

Lots of ramdom things happening.  Latest diabetes check-up resulted in slightly more overnight insulin, but on the good side, i'm down to 104kg, two less than last weigh-in.  Must lose some more. i've got the mobility servicing on Tuesday next.Read more...Collapse )
Isn't he beautiful?