Sunday 30 November 2014

Week 25: Yorkshire house move

Transport of a house (photo taken in New Zealand)

Not me but friends moving house.

They had a great company of movers who had done a lot of the work and gone over and above usual moving duties by the time I arrived, so there wasn't quite as much unpacking, furniture moving or putting together of things as I was expecting.

Still a few things left to help with - such as:

  • Shopping for new curtains.
  • Putting up a curtain pole with a very flash electric drill, complete with light - handy for those dark corners ... it's still up.
  • Setting up the PC and printer - took me back to my techie days.
  • Unpacked and sort through a few more boxes, finding storage places - a lot less storage than their previous house
  • Clambered up the loft ladder to store a few boxes in the attic.

And importantly get the bird feeders stocked - which were quickly visited by a steady stream of garden birds and a few woodland species too - nuthatch and greater spotted woodpecker.  Lovely to watch them while having breakfast.

Several dog walks - up hill and down, having been collected from the kennels where they avoided adding to the packing chaos.

Travelled door to almost door by public transport - sometimes a lot easier on a long journey than driving, especially when it involves the M25 and M1!

Moving house (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saturday 22 November 2014

Week 24: Learn a Language - Parlo Italiano

English: The Rosetta Stone in the British Muse...
While I'm not expecting to learn a language in a week I can at least make a start.

Italian is a language I've always wanted to learn, it has a lovely sound to it.  I can manage a few words - just the basics like hello, goodbye, please and thank you and there are many Italian words we're already familiar with, even if it's only from our local Italian restaurant.

The internet has made it easier to learn a language - a few years ago we had were limited to books and audio-tapes, now we have access to the multi-cultural internet:
  • Get translations using Babelfish - often more amusing than accurate
  • Access and download any number of podcasts to help you learn a new language
  • Install language learning apps like Busuu or Rosetta Stone.
  • Listen to foreign language radio
  • Download foreign language films or watch online TV
  • Access learning websites like (mostly archived but still useful) or DuoLingo.
Many languages have similar roots (like Latin or German), making it easier to pick up or understand words and phrases.  Grammar may take a little more time as, unlike English, they use masculine and feminine forms for nouns and adjectives.  Verbs take different forms depending on 'who' is taking action.

You don't need to be fluent but being able to speak a few basic phrases helps when visiting another country.

The Rosetta Stone in the British Museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sunday 16 November 2014

Week 23: Film Preview - Emptying The Skies

Not quite the red carpet but a red line to Screen 2 at the Rich Mix Cinema for a screening of the documentary film "Emptying the Skies" by Douglas Kass, inspired by the article from New Yorker journalist Jonathan Franzen.

Franzen set off around Europe, along with members of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) to witness at first hand the large scale and illegal poaching and slaughter of millions of birds for the table, as they migrate from Africa up into and across Europe.

These tiny birds - many of which are familiar to our gardens are considered a delicacy ambelopoulia, and killed in their thousands. Those not suitable for eating are left for dead and discarded regardless of the fact they are protected and many are on the endangered list.  Robins, blackcaps, flycatchers, warblers, buntings, finches, thrushes, nightingales, cuckoos, turtledoves and even small owls and hawks.

It is seen and justified as a 'tradition' and a right.  What's the harm in taking only a few small birds, they say.  But for birds that already declining due to habitat loss and pressure from development, those 'few small birds' add up to thousands being slaughtered on a daily basis during their annual migration.

While I was aware of the hunters in Malta who shoot anything that flies over for sport, I had no idea of the scale of trapping that occurs in Cyprus, Italy and France.

Saturday 8 November 2014

Week 22: Brighton Royal Pavilion Ice Rink

Ice-skating in the lovely location of the Brighton Royal Pavilion.  Part of a social event hosted by the Brighton Chamber and a chance to get on the ice before the rink opens to the public at the weekend.

This is the fifth year that the ice rink has been set up in front of the Royal Pavilion and it provides a very twinkly, scenic and festive backdrop.

I haven't been on the ice for years.  In fact the last time was at the old ice rink in Brighton Square and before that up in London.  A shaky start hanging on to the handrail for the first few circuits, gradually getting the hang of this incredibly slippery surface but managing to get round unaided for a couple of rounds before quitting which I was ahead and unbruised.

Not that I watch it but total admiration for the Dancing On Ice celebrities.

Great food and drink available if you don't want to skate or after you have.  Good fun and highly recommended.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Week 21: Caffeine free October

Yeah - celebrating in the garden with my first coffee for a month in the late Autumn sunshine. Glorious ... the coffee and the sunshine.

No withdrawals and didn't miss it quite as much as I expected - just kept drinking the herbal teas instead and didn't even mind meetings with others enjoying their caffeine hit.

And then my first tea - with cake of course!

Please visit my Macmillan Justgiving page and sponsor me for the price of a latte (or a cuppa). Thank you. :)

Monday 3 November 2014

Week 21: A bit of pampering

Another one for the treat list this week and a bit of pampering with a long overdue back and shoulder massage and a facial.  Cancer treatments take it out of you to say nothing of the hormone treatment.