Thursday, 9 April 2009

What’s Your Favourite Website?

BBC Home Page

I have lots of sites I like to look at but I have to say I have the BBC website as my homepage and I use it lots.

Now when you look at it, it may look different to the screen dump above. I can't post the whole front page on the screen dump and also I’ve customised it to have the topics displayed that suit me. You can add a range of features such as sport, food, science, blogs, business and money etc. In addition you can change the colour to suit what you prefer or you have the option I have chosen to have it rotate colours.

Really useful features of the site are that you can not only customise it, you can localise it too. So you can have your local weather and news at the click of the mouse.

Another feature I like is that it keeps changing. A few minutes after I had moved off the home page I went back and the page colour had changed to a purple shade and with Kylie Minoghue featuring on video.

BBC Home Page

The children’s section is great especially CBeebies. My granddaughter absolutely loves it. All her favourite programmes are there with lots of different activities like painting, making things, singing, dancing, games, poetry etc.

What I like about it is the educational aspect but they make it fun.
Lauren’s current favourite is a new programme called Poetry Pie. Her favourite poem and song?
This one:

The Potty Song

Never put your potty on the table.

Never put your potty on a chair.

Never put your potty on the telly.
Never put your potty on the stair.
Never put your potty in pyjamas.
Never put your potty in your bed.
And never, never, never, never,
Never, never, never - ever!
Never put your potty on your head!

Don’t they always like toilet humour!

Another brilliant part of the site is the Education and Learning section. It covers all kinds of topics and there’s stuff there for adults, parents, teachers and students. The language section is particularly good, there’s audio and video courses in 36 languages. Amazing!

I know I sound like I’m advertising the BBC site and in case you’re wondering, no, I’m not on commission. I just love this site. A work colleague told me a few years ago that her friend worked on the BBC website team and it cost an absolute fortune to maintain and develop. Well if it did then, goodness only knows what it costs now, but it’s worth it.

I've barely touched on the vast range of topics and features. For one thing I haven't mentioned BBC Radio. I'll save that for another day!

To finish with, my favourite feature on the site is iPlayer. You can catch up on all your favourite programmes that you’ve missed. I don’t have any kind of service or technology to record telly programmes so I find this fantastic. You don’t need to worry about remembering to set the recorder or store it, it’s all there. Not sure if this works outside the UK.

BBC iPlayer

Now in their wisdom, nay stupidity, ITV have now scheduled Lewis at the same time as BBC air No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. I’m no expert on viewing figures or the ins and outs of TV scheduling but, I would have thought that to keep up your viewing figures, you don’t schedule a programme you want high figures for with the opposition’s prime new drama programme. That’s just dippy!

My husband prefers to watch Lewis so I missed Sunday night's episode of The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, so I’m off to catch up on it now.

Bye for now!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

The Carpenters

This Carpenters CD is one I love and play a lot. I loved their music in the seventies and I still love it just as much today. Eat your heart out Pop Idols, you’ll never be as good as this.

I find it hard to pick my favourite record from the Carpenters. Yesterday Once More, Rainy Days and Mondays and Superstar are all wonderful.

However, if I had to pick one, I think this would be it, I Need to Be In Love. It just makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The arrangement is superb, the lyrics are sheer poetry and the voice is exquisite. Just wonderful!
Here is a live version of the song and unlike many singers, Karen Carpenter was superb live. The musical arrangement on the CD is a lot better than this version but it’s just great to see them again here. She was lovely.
Sadly the lyrics just about summed up Karen Carpenter's situation. Take a look at her wry smile at the end if the video.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Only the Shoplifters Wear Coats!

About ten years ago, or maybe even longer, I noticed a strange phenomenon one day whilst travelling on the bus. It was the middle of winter, in fact, I remember there was a blizzard. A young chap got onto the bus wearing one of those short sleeved polyester football shirts, a Sunderland FC one in this case but he wasn’t wearing a coat. He must be just going to someone’s house I thought but no, he got off at the football stadium and was obviously going to the match as it was a Saturday lunchtime. In case you're wondering exactly what he was wearing you can take a look at it here. Well this is the latest retro shirt.

Now I used to go to the matches in Sunderland in my youth but I remember being absolutely frozen even though I was well wrapped up with hat, scarf, thick winter coat, gloves and boots. The lad was going to get hypothermia if he wasn’t careful. I wondered whether he had learning difficulties or something as it seemed really daft to go out dressed like that.

However as time passed, I saw more and more young people who didn’t wear coats. I realised that most young people in the North East, especially girls just don’t wear coats or jackets if they are going out somewhere and it doesn't matter what the weather is.

You see them walking the streets winter and summer, rain, hail or shine with no coats, just strappy summer tops and mini skirts, the girls that is. They line up for clubs and pubs, skimpily clad in only their “glad rags” which are totally inappropriate for the frigid Northeast elements. I asked my daughter why they don’t wear coats and she said “Well where would you put your coat”? Mmmm carry them when you get in to a pub or restaurant maybe? No! Apparently you’d look a right prat carrying a coat!

I checked out whether it happens in other countries and apparently lots of youngsters in the USA don’t like to wear coats either. However it’s mainly because they go to school in the car or bus and are only outside for a short while. They do wear light jackets and hoodies apparently. Well they don’t seem to do that here. I see them walking to school in the pouring rain most are just wearing thin cotton shirts. Some have lightweight school blazers but most don’t wear jumpers. They must sit in soaking wet clothes all day. As far as I can tell it doesn’t seem to happen in other parts of the country, just here for some reason.

A few years ago the BBC TV drama series 55 Degrees North told the story of a police detective, Nicky Cole who was relocated from London to Newcastle after blowing the whistle on police corruption. (It was a great series and a pity they didn't continue it.) He found adjusting to life in the North a bit difficult and I found one of his comments about local people and the lack of outer clothing most memorable,

“Only the shoplifters in Newcastle wear coats!”

Well, is there a possible genetic reason for this bravery or is it simply because they like to show off their finery on a night out? Well now scientists want to discover if Geordies feel the cold or have extra thick skin to cope with low temperatures. A survey is to be carried out by staff at the Centre of Life in Newcastle to see how they are able to wear so little.

The online questions include:

'What would persuade you to wear a coat on a night out?'

(The likely answer to that is Nowt!)

The investigation is part of the Newcastle ScienceFest, which will feature a 10-day programme of events to celebrate creativity and innovation. Have to say I don’t believe this for one minute. I think it’s a generation thing. You never see people over forty without winter coats!

Also given that young people seem to drink quite a lot on nights out, maybe that’s why they don’t feel the cold.

For more information check out the BBC website

My Singer 338!

Well here it is my very first sewing machine, the one I got for my 21st birthday in 1966! I know it cost my Mam  a lot to buy it for me...