Saturday 28 April 2012
Saturday 21 April 2012
I loved the recent series of Call the Midwife on BBC based on the book by the same name by Jennifer Worth.
I’ve just read her final book, In the Midst of Life. It is, as you would imagine, about death and I have to say it is one of the most courageous and honest books I have ever read.
We are programmed to believe these days that death is somehow not part of life and needs to be avoided at all costs. Perhaps that is putting it too simply, but I think you probably understand what I mean.
When I was four, a neighbour saw me heading up the garden with my beach spade. He asked what I was doing and I said I was going to dig my dog, Zulu, up because my dad and grandad had buried him while he was asleep. He rushed round to alert my parents. Because of this, I have always been careful with my children and grandchildren to never use the words “Put to sleep” when explaining the death of a pet.
When my children lost pets – hamsters mainly, I always encouraged them to say goodbye, to gently stroke the little body before we had the burial. It really helped. There is something about the sight of death that is reassuring. You really can see that the life has gone and it is a much different state to sleep.
The first person I saw it in was my dad. He looked so different in death, so peaceful and regal. We went to the Chapel of Rest to see him and my mum held his hand and said that all the anguish and worry had gone from him and he was at peace. It was true.
To get back to the book, I can only say that reading it has been an exercise in reality and reassurance. I thoroughly recommend it. It is not like Jenny Worth’s other books, but it is a very good read.
Monday 16 April 2012
This is something from my childhood which sits on the chest of drawers in my bedroom. I use it to store empty pens, useless emery boards, old eye shadow brushes, dead batteries, a broken door stop… not to mention a cushion of dust and fluff in the bottom.
Hm, well it occurred to me that I shouldn’t use it just as a dumping vessel for stuff. I used to have my bedtime drink in it when I was very small and despite it being glued back together after an earlier accident, the whistle still works – I know because Isabel tried it.
It isn’t the classiest of things, but I am extremely fond of it. It is full of happy memories – I can still hear my grandad urging me to drink my milk and whistle! I’m going to stop storing junk in it forthwith and start treating it with the respect it deserves.
It used to encourage me to drink milk – which I hated. When they gave out free milk at school, I always declined. When we went on a school trip round Lord Raleigh’s farm he handed out milk to everyone (well I think it was him - I was only 9 at the time) and I told him I didn’t like milk, so he went off and found me a carton of orange juice. Cartons were a peculiar shape in those days. I didn’t like orange juice either, but I appreciated the gesture, thanked him and drank it.
Of course my mum got milk into me in other ways, in puddings, tea and on cereal. But for many years I haven’t had milk. Finding out I was lactose intolerant gave me the push I needed to switch to soya, but I think it’s a step I would have taken anyway, given what has to happen to put milk on our cereal and now you can buy lactose free cow’s milk – no thanks, I’ll stick to soya.
Sorry – didn’t mean to get on my soapbox there, but while I’m up here, I can’t imagine that anyone isn’t appalled by the deaths at the Grand National. Not just this year, but every year. There’s a petition on the government website to ban it – I know that isn’t likely to happen, but if enough people sign it, things might change. The link is here if you’d like to sign.
There is another petition here on the petition site which seems to be doing rather better and it includes a few facts about the racing industry that may surprise you.
And finally a brilliant piece by Brian May on his Save Me page on Facebook. He says it all so much better than I could. You can read it here.
Saturday 14 April 2012
For a long time my favourite Disney film was Beauty and the Beast. Not really sure why because I don’t think much of the bloke that the Beast turns into, but while he’s the beast I think there’s something sweet and vulnerable about him.
And I like Belle too and it always helps if you warm to the heroine.
But now I have a new favourite.
I watched it twice over Easter – ahem – well what I mean to say is my granddaughters watched it twice over Easter and of course I had to sit with them didn’t I? And when they went off to play with something else – well I carried on watching.
I absolutely loved the character of Rapunzel. She was feisty without being annoyingly argumentative, sweet without being sickly and she was just so pretty! As for Flynn – well he was nicely flawed, but not too flawed.
And on the subject of romance, someone this week got The Call and anyone in the business of romance will know exactly what that means. Here is a link if you’d like to read how it happened to Maya. Reading it put a big smile on my face. Congratulations, Maya.
Anyway what’s your favourite Disney – if you have one? My youngest son’s favourite was Robin Hood and he watched it so much he used to recite great chunks of the dialogue off by heart. Not sure what that says about my parenting skills…
Wednesday 11 April 2012
On Easter Monday we took my 4 year old granddaughter home after a few days stay with us, a journey that normally takes less than two hours but this time took closer to three.
Anyone would have thought it was a bank holiday or something – okay, a SUNNY bank holiday! In truth it was raining and everyone seemed to be heading away from the coast.
We had to queue to get on the A12 where we joined a slow moving stream of traffic. We then had to queue to get on the A120, but the going was good until we reached Braintree when we joined another queue. But once past Braintree it was plain sailing all the way to the M11.
The M11 was great until we reached the queue to join the M25. Now these queues might be bearable if you didn’t get so many people whizzing along and cutting in. Why is their time more important than anyone else’s? They save themselves 15 minutes or so, but at a cost to everyone behind them who just see their own wait getting longer and longer. What if everyone decided not to bother queuing and just to push in instead?
Apart from being slow through the roadworks, the M25 wasn't too bad and thankfully the rest of the journey went as planned.
We had Brian Blessed (otherwise known as Granpy Rabbit) on the sat nav – which was fun! If I go anywhere alone in the car, I take John Cleese along – he sounds so assured and calm and I always feel safe with him.
On the subject of roads, there is an accident blackspot near here and the solution to this has been to turn the section of dual carriageway into a single carriageway (when actually what is needed is a roundabout). Since these “safety measures” were carried out, there have been two accidents in ten days! Sigh.
Friday 6 April 2012
A while ago I read a young adult fantasy novel, Tangi’s Teardrops, by Liz Grace Davis and enjoyed it very much. When I’d read it, my first thought was that I wished she wrote for adults as I loved her style of writing – well she has done just that!
Chocolate Aftertaste (isn’t that a wonderful title?) is released today and I am looking forward very much to reading it.
At her pre-wedding dinner, Nora Darkin, the daughter of a wealthy entrepreneur, discovers her fiancé is not the man she thought he was. As her father hoists his glass to toast them, she makes an announcement: there will be no wedding to her father's right-hand man.
Due to the fresh rift driven between her and her father, Nora escapes to the quaint town of Dreara. Determined to live her life her own way, she makes new friends and pursues her lifelong desire of becoming a chef. Ethan, a neighbour with his own broken heart, helps soothe hers.
Just as Nora discovers what it means to be happy, and she begins to fall in love with Ethan, a woman from his past re-enters his life...
Liz Grace Davis is a Namibian author. She grew up in Angola, Namibia, South Africa and Germany. She now lives with her husband in Vienna, Austria. Growing up, Liz spent most of her days in school libraries, diving into the world of books. In her spare time she loves to travel as well as creating jewellery and digital scrapbooks. She's in her element when she is doing anything that requires creativity.
Good luck with Chocolate Aftertaste, Liz - I can't wait to read it!
Sunday 1 April 2012
Found this competition to win a Kindle and there are no strings!
We used to call these woods Primrose woods – but you’d be hard pressed to find a primrose there these days. However the ground is absolutely covered with wood anemones. From a distance, it almost looks as if there’s been a dusting of snow.
And what is the message on the dashboard about Blogger getting a new look in April? Upgrade now it says. All I can say is – eek!