Thursday, 16 October 2014

A Brilliant Remake!

The BBC have produced a remake of one of my all time favourite songs, The Beach Boys masterpiece "God Only Knows". Although Brian Wilson is in it, plus Bengal tiger, it's not quite as we remember it!



It's visually stunning with a diverse range of singers & musicians. It took a year to make & was produced to launch the new BBC Music site. 

They couldn't have picked a better song. Apparently it's a global collection of singers I just wish I knew who half of them are! Shows I'm getting old.

I wondered about whether to add the original & after Granny Annies comment I have. So here's the original. Enjoy!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Bardarbunga!

I know it sounds more like something from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but I have to say that word is striking fear into the hearts of my grandchildren.

It's the volcano in Iceland which is showing heavy seismic activity with magma swelling near the surface & a string of earthquakes.

The risk to flights & other aircrafts has been raised to orange, the second highest level. If it erupts there could be tons of volcanic ash created and an exclusion zone in place of hundreds of miles to prevent the dust from destroying aeroplane engines. I remember the disruption that caused in Northern Europe four years ago.

Now why is this news affecting my grandchildren? Because they're due to fly to Disney World, Florida in 10 days!

I feel a cruise coming on!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Edinburgh

Princes Street Gardens

My Scottish Tour started & finished in Edinburgh. It's years since I was there & I'd forgotten how lovely a place it is. 

To be honest when I've been there before I've been with friends & family who just wanted to shop & eat so I didn't see much of the city. This time I was on my own so could wander about to my heart's content & the weather was perfect for it.



I love Princes' Street Gardens. It's hard to believe that when you're walking along in these beautiful gardens the main street & all the city's traffic is running along parallel to it. 

The first thing I did was to find the floral clock. I remember being fascinated by this when I was little. I found it but sadly it wasn't working, think I was too early. The design had been laid out but there were no pointers on it. 


Floral clock - minus pointers!





An authentic Scottish thistle!

There seem to be dozens of monuments in Edinburgh wherever I went I came across them.



Sir Walter Scott Monument

The Call 1914 - The Scots American War Memorial 
A tribute to Scottish soldiers who died during WW1

The week we arrived in Edinburgh they had a new tram system!



It looked rather good even though it had caused a lot of problems with the escalating costs!


Looking Down Princes Street

However I have to say that the power lines & poles have made a bit of a mess of the lovely view along Princes Street.

I suppose most cities look good on a lovely sunny day. 


I loved this little cafe which was next to the hotel we were staying in. I had to laugh at the sign they had put up. I've enlarged it below.


Now just in case you don't know, it's taking a pop at Starbucks. They're the ones who don't pay their taxes in the UK! Have to admit I wouldn't drink Starbucks anyway as I just don't like their coffee, I prefer Costa or M&S.

This is the hotel in Waterloo Place (at the end of Prices Street) where we stayed the first night. It has a great history which I managed to get a leaflet about. Apparently it was Edinburgh's first purpose built hotel opened in 1819 for the visit of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. He was in the first carriage to travel down Waterloo Place. 
Around it were other great historical buildings. Shame about the wheelie bins!


Further along from our hotel I saw a monument which interested me so on our final day I found time to wander along to find out about it. It turned out to be on Calton Hill & was one of a number of monuments up there & the views were fantastic.

Calton Hill


I hadn't heard of him but this was a monument to the Scottish philosopher, Dugald Stewart. From here you can see right across the city.
Unfinished National Memorial of Scotland, Calton Hill

I found it really sad to see this memorial to the soldiers & sailors who died in the Napoleonic Wars which was never finished. It was started in 1826 & was modelled on the Parthenon. Unfortunately they ran out of cash & they never completed it. 

They did manage to finish this one just near. It is the monument to Admiral Lord Nelson, that great Scottish nay, English sailor who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The Trafalgar Signal " England expects that every man will do his duty" is still flown on Trafalgar Day (21 October) weather permitting.

                          

It looks like a huge stone telescope & contains a time ball which is dropped at 1 o'clock daily. From here you get a fantastic view of the city & across to the sea. 

Here are some random photographs.

                                         



This was the room where we had our Scottish meal on our final night. It was a beautiful room & we had a piper, a lovely Scottish highland dancer & haggis, neeps & tatties! A great finish to our tour.







Friday, 25 July 2014

Food Crochet & Granny Squares


My granddaughter Lauren has just started to crochet. She's left handed but knits right handed. However when I started to teach to crochet her she couldn't use the hook in her right hand, she had to use her left hand. My problem was that although I can knit left handed, I just couldn't crochet with my left hand. So I just had to explain to her how the crochet hook worked and made new loops! She seemed to be able to use it in her own way.

We started off a few weeks ago with just a simple chain & then stitching it in rounds to make a coaster. Then she crochet a chain with two contrasting colours, her idea not mine! We weren't sure what to do with the long chain she made but I suggested she crocheted a chain from it. It turned out really nice & chunky & she used it for to tie her hair.

She wanted to progress so we moved on to double chain, I think that's single chain in USA. Her first attempt with about 20 double chains. It got narrower as she progressed as she was missing out a stitch on each row. It wasn't a problem. I made another matching piece & stitched them together, made a chain to tie it & she had a skirt for Barbie!

I made some crochet food last year which Lauren loved. So we looked at some foodie patterns on the Garnstudio site & she decided she wanted to make a carrot! It was a bit out of her league just yet with all the increasing so I made it for her. Then I made a clementine.

She's certainly got me interested in crocheting again. So much so that I've spent hours looking at some absolutely gorgeous stuff on people's blogs & not just crocheting!

I love Lucy's Blog Attic 24. She has such a great eye for colour & some really beautiful designs. She also gives us an insight into her home and her lifestyle.

Another blog I love is Bunny Mummy Jacquie. Like Lucy she gives us an insight to her daily life with gorgeous photos and colourful designs and tutorial. They are both wonderful at producing tutorials on how to make their designs. Brilliant!

Zjizjipke (I have no idea what this means) is a Dutch site with an English translation, lots of lovely crafty ideas & designs along with some lovely cat photos. This crochet blanket is absolutely beautiful & I would love to have a try at it. However think I'd pop my clogs long before it was finished. She has a tutorial for the squares on the site which I might have a go at to make cushions! I have to be realistic.

Another site I absolutely love is Jenny of elefantz. She has some gorgeous sewing ideas and lots of wonderful free crafty stuff. Her photos and tutorials are fabulous.

Then I went to the Garnstudio website. I buy lots of the DROPS wool at very reasonable prices. Their knitting patterns are wonderful designs but they are not well written if you're used to Patons & Sirdar style patterns. They have some beautiful crochet shawl & blanket patterns. Not sure how well the crochet ones are written as I've only made the food which was OK.

Here's my favourite blanket, Latte Macchiato!

It's not the gorgeous bright colours of some of the ones I've been looking at but I love the muted shades and the different designs of the squares. It could be easily adapted to brighter shades.




Friday, 20 June 2014

First Trip to the Isle of Man


Like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland it's hard to know where to start.

`Begin at the beginning,' the King said gravely, `and go on till you come to the end: then stop". However if I do that it would be like War & Peace so I'll just give the highlights.

I couldn't take many photographs when I was working, looks like I'm on holiday. So My photos were taken in my free time, which wasn't a lot until the Sunday which was the passengers' free day & mine!

We had a great smooth crossing on a glorious warm & sunny day, from Heysham Port on the North West Coast. The crossing to Douglas was very smooth, just as well because we were on the boat for over 4 hours.

Our hotel was on the promenade in Douglas which seems to stretch for miles. It has lovely little areas of gardens with seats which were set down sheltering you from the breezes. Lots of the people on the tour used to walk the full length of the promenade in the evening after dinner.

The buildings along the promenade are lovely old terraces many of which were used to house the forces during World War 11. There were palm trees too! They don't get severe winter weather here.
                           

                           


                            

Further along the promenade from our hotel was a lovely park, shopping & cafe area called the Villa Marina. 



The Isle of Man has a wonderful transport network. There's an excellent bus service but there are also steam trains, electric trams, a mountain railway & here below is the amazing horse drawn tram service. The trammers as the horses are known pull the carriages along the full length of the promenade from the Ferry Terminal at one end to Derby Castle, the Electric Train Terminal.




I think this one was Robert. The horses are wonderful and they are well cared for unlike the ones we see in other parts of the world. They do a limited number of runs or rather trots the length of the promenade, I think it was four & then they swap the horses over. The horse sheds are at the side of the promenade.

They retire after about 15 years and they are well cared for at the rest home for old horses, ponies & donkeys. You can visit them too at Bulrhenny.

I'll stop now. There's more to come!