Thursday, 22 December 2011

I am so special!!?

I know this is the season of goodwill to all, BUT. Did I miss the memo that said, if you have been Christmas shopping all day and have a pushchair full of child and shopping and are late for 'your' train, that it is OK to run down the platform pushing people out of the way and yelling at them to 'Mind out!' in order to get on to, not a carriage where there is space for you and yours, but the fullest carriage you can find, where it would be a squeeze to get just Mum in, and then proceed to push said pushchair into innocent bystanders' shins and demand that they find room for you, that clearly is not there.

Sorry, but that is just rude and self centred.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Lights Are On

The lights in the trees outside our offices are on and twinkling in the dark of a crisp Winter's morning. The Christmas festivities have started. Christmas Lunch will be available in the staff restaurant next week for those who want as many Turkey dinners as they can get. I will not be there to partake. I will be the other side of the pond, visiting our offices in the Big Apple.

I wonder how different the build up to Christmas will be in NY. Next week I will find out.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

Autumn truly arrived today. The morning started misty and chilled. The leaves had all but fallen from the trees and were being swept up by park attendants and other adults, only to be kicked at by those with a child inside them. This is the time for bonfires and fireworks, for dark mornings and darker nights, for getting cosy in front of a fire, for warming soups and woollen socks, for jumpers and jumping. Autumn is finally here heralding the winter ahead. I wonder what the winter will bring this year. Will it be wet and mild or cold and crisp. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

When You Hand Looks Like This ...

When your hand looks like this there are only limited things you can so. Start with noting that the ring and little fingers are strapped together. The add the fact that you are not allowed to get it wet for ten days and that, because of the strapping, you can not get a rubber glove on, and you have the makings of a few fun days. Oh, and did I mention, it hurts!

Happy days, it should be better soon.

Monday, 17 October 2011

What Kind of Paper Person are You?

I have started a class with Shimelle Laine, Pretty Paper Party, and our first task is to take a photo of our Scrapbooking Stash. Here is mine. What kind of Paper Person am I? I am a cross between a Collector and a Contender, with a dash of Scrap Sorter thrown in to address my Scottish roots.
FYI, the empty shelves are not really empty, I went to a Crop recently and have not put the papers back yet.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Indian Summer. Early Morning

There are a few benefits to starting the working day early and they are often the things that add that extra sparkle to your day.

This morning at about 7.30 I was greeted by the sight of the sun rising over the Tower of London. The air was still and warm, you could still hear birdsong over the noise of the traffic, there was almost no one else about. It was as near to a perfect morning as I have seen on a work day.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

On a day like today, even a station looks good.

With the continued good weather I am spending time looking at ordinary sights from a different perspective. Because the weather is so fabulous so late in September, there is a light that just would not be seen during the proper Summer months. It is imparting something special on to the ordinary, making the extra ordinary.

Very special. Look around you for other special sights.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Indian Summer

I have to say I am finding our weather very strange these days. There was a time when summer arrived in late May and hung around, more or less, until late August or early September. For the last couple of years we seem to have had most of our summer by early May, then we have a strange mix of Spring and Autumn (including leaf drop some years), then in late September we have another visit from the 'Summer Fairy'. Don't get me wrong, I would rather we had this than no summer at all.

Could someone please let me know what is going on. I am getting confused and have no idea what I am meant to be wearing from one say to the next.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

You Ask, Quietly

I spotted this in a gents' outfitters yesterday and have been thinking about it since then:

You don't take a photograph, you ask, quietly, to borrow it.

This set my mind going in a number of ways. Firstly, thinking about photos generally, do we ever ask if we can take, let alone borrow, a photo these days? Time was, and in some cultures still is, that taking a photo was thought as a way of stealing your soul.

Secondly, I have been thinking about the difference between 'taking' and 'quietly asking'. So many of us assume we have a 'right' to do a thing or have a thing, when did we last ask, quietly, if it would be OK to do so?

I shall have to think about how I can build that into my life and so more quiet asking.

(Sorry about the finger over the lens.)

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Much Better

After the slightly fuzzy photo yesterday, here is a better one of the same wonderful sight. This is what getting close to home looks like for me. And today more than most; tomorrow I do not make this journey, so this is doubly wonderful.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Getting There

When you have had one of those really long days and really want to get home, it is good to see a sight that lets you know you are nearly there. This is that sight for me.

Getting there, nearly home!

Getting There

Friday, 26 August 2011

Finally some sanity!

This post comes with a warning. Parents will probably not agree with much, or indeed, all of what I have to say. Read on, don't read on, I really don't mind.

I rarely get the time to read a newspaper from cover to cover, but having been away with little to do and all day to do it in, I have had that pleasure. Unfortunately my paper reading coincided with the announcement of this year's GCSE results. This is usually a topic to get my blood pressure going in an upward direction; this year was no different, as the papers announced yet another year of increased pass rates and increased grades. How? So many youngsters that I have come across in my working life are incapable of using correct grammar, and I am convinced that were it not for Spell Checker, they would be using spelling that has only a very rough approximation to English. They change tense part way through a sentence, do not know when to use the singular and when the plural. It is often painful to read.

I am sorry, but GCSEs are NOT the same as O Levels were, they are set and marked in such a way as to allow more, if not most, to pass and pass well. How does that help future employers gauge which the best applicant is for a particular role. It does nothing for the child either, who will have spent their school life succeeding at everything, only to find that in the real world, they fail. Let me state here and now, there is nothing wrong with failing, as long as you learn from it. I know, I have failed often in my life, particularly whilst at school. In fact I was so good at failing at school that I had always assumed that I was not the brightest button in the box; I was right, I am not, but I am actually a lot brighter than I had thought while at school. Moving into the real world was wonderful for me, I suddenly started to succeed more often, not always, but certainly more often.

I should explain that I was a bright youngster and this meant that I was pushed into the higher class, meaning that I was always one of the youngest in my year and, once I hit 10 or 11, I started to struggle to keep up. For better or worse (and I hold that it was for better) I was allowed to remain in the higher year, but it did mean that I found school life quite tough.

In my later years I have excelled in my studies, most recently passing a Degree level Professional Course with Distinction. This is something that I never thought I would achieve, indeed, during the exam I was convinced I had failed!! How wrong.

So, why is this post headed 'Finally some sanity'? Yesterday there was an article in the Telegraph with the Headline - 'GCSEs: sloppy grammar will cost pupils one in 10 marks'. Finally markers are going to be allowed to deduct marks for bad grammar

GCSE exams in English and English literature, to be sat in 2012, will reserve at least 12 per cent of marks “for the use of a range of sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate punctuation and spelling”, said Ofqual

This will be followed with History and Geography in 2013, with Religious Studies possibly being included in 2013 also. The article suggests that bite sized modules, that pupils can resit until they get the grade they need, are also to be abolished; I had no idea they existed, but it certainly explains how we got to the position that we are now.

I appreciate that this Post may cause some to seethe, but trust me when I say I have been seething for some years now, it is someone else's turn. Roll on sanity, it will help us and it will help our children.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Three nights of Bliss!

Having had a fairly busy last six months, I had, at The Man's suggestion, booked three nights at Grayshott Spa. The time has come and I am here! Settled in my room and already two sessions of pampering done, so I now have pretty hands and feet.

I am looking forward to three nights of pure pampering and indulgence. Not, as one of my colleagues suggested, a time to dry out and detox (this is not The Priory), just attentive service and pampering.

Why is it that three nights here is like a fortnight away somewhere? Is it as simple as having others running round looking after you, or is it something else


Monday, 22 August 2011

Wild Swimming in Olney

Yesterday a group of us headed north to near Milton Keynes to find a spot to go Wild Swimming. We were heading for the town of Olney, on the River Ouse. We arrived in time for a very pleasant lunch at The Bull and then went in search of our perfect location. 

We had been pointed towards the Playing Fields, which have step access to the river, but found this was a little too popular. This is great in one way, but we were seeking some seclusion. The good side to the popularity is that there were a number of families making use of this wonderful location; particularly popular with boys aged about 8, who were jumping in without hesitation. But, as I say, we were looking for something a little quieter.

We had some very pleasant walks around the town until we found our spot, behind the Church, by the Old Mill. We walked down a footpath and across a field until we found some little beaches, we selected one of these and got changed into our wetsuits (other than The Man, who was trying to prove he was a MAN, and only wore swimmers).

And we were off. What a wonderful time we had, the water was reasonably clear, and surprisingly warm (once you were in!). We saw small fish, dragonflies, all sorts. There was quite a current, but not so much that it made it unpleasant. What a great way to spend the afternoon.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Five Things I'm Loving This Friday

I have forgotten this post for some weeks now, but it's back!

So, today I am loving:
  • The sunshine being back, even if it is only for a short while.
  • The mist on the River Thames this morning as I passed over Richmond Bridge. It may be a reminder that Autumn is on its way, but it was still stunning.
  • Today is my last day at work for two weeks.
  • Tomorrow will be spent with friends, playing with paper and glue.
  • I am blessed with good health, even though I feel totally shattered at the moment having worked close to 12 hour days all this week.
See you soon.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Hold Your Head Up

Too many of us spend too much of our time with our heads down, determined to get to our journey's end as quickly as possible.

Stop. Look up. Be surprised by what you may see. I am sure most people would miss seeing this camel train above a bank in Great Tower Street, but there it is for all to admire.

Take the time today to look up and find the little pleasures that so many miss.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

My New Toy

It has arrived!

It took a while, thanks to the DVLA losing the paperwork for my personalised plate. But it is here now and is perfect! How can you not smile when you look at it, it is just a little blue box of joy!

Worth the wait

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Scrapbook Pages

As promised to some of my friends, here are some pages that I have been working on recently. Some of them use the same layout, but may look either subtly or quite dramatically different due to the papers that have been used. Some of the layouts have come from my head and others are inspired (or scrap-lifted) by Shimelle Laine.

These are the same layout, but one has been turned through 90 degrees
Close Up
These two both use the same layout:
Close Up
Again, these have used the same layout, but are meant to work opposite each other, so the papers are from the same range. Can you see the hidden information on the train layout?
Can you see it now?
These layouts are all singles, other than some close up details.
So for those of you thinking about joining my next class, I hoe there is some inspiration for you in these pages. You will see that I have a number of styles, both organised and geometric, and shabby chic/vintage. Don't get too tied to the 'theme' of your papers; the using the sepia photos used paper from a Bridal Range, but they don't look at all bridal as I have used them. Also, keep our eye open for pretty things; the corners of the sepia photo with the group of ladies, uses doilies that have been inked up to match the red highlight in the papers - the doilies were from a tea I had at an hotel I was staying at. Don't throw out clothing that has buttons without first removing the buttons, particularly if they are not just white shirt buttons. Remember that most blouses these days come with ribbon inside to help keep the blouse on the hanger, if you don't use them, cut them off, they are only going to stick out anyway; instant free ribbon.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Five Things I'm Loving this Friday - I'm Back

What a strange month June has been. By which I mean a number of things. The weather was more like April, I seem to have been rushing around like a mad person with no time to really do anything.

But I am back now, so:

Five Things I am Loving This Friday:
  • I am really tired, but that doesn't matter because I have today off work
  • The forecast for the weekend is really not too bad
  • We have a good day planned, out and about and having fun
  • Our National Trust Membership will be used again today
  • Life is good

Monday, 30 May 2011

Friday, 27 May 2011

Five Things I'm Loving this Friday

Five Things I am Loving This Friday:

  • I have today off work
  • Father is home and progressing well
  • We have a good week planned; time with friends.
  • Our National Trust Membership pack has come through just in time
  • I am in a good mood.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Five Things I'm Loving this Friday

Five Things I am Loving This Friday:

  • The forecast for the weekend is good
  • Father is due to go home on Tuesday, with luck and a fair wind
  • We have a good weekend planned; time for us, time for family, time for self.
  • Nature is a wonderful thing that produces some amazing sights
  • We had our own, wonderful, strawberries for supper. Yum!