Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Roy Orbison

When I was a teenager I had lots of lovely LPs with their beautiful covers and one of my favourite singers was Roy Orbison. I was lucky enough to see him a few times and probably the most memorable time was October 1963 at the City Hall in Newcastle when he appeared with the Beatles. We had bought the tickets to see Roy Orbison but by the time the concert came around the Beatles had risen to great fame.

I loved the Beatles & their performance was great, well what you could hear of it. The girls were screaming and jumping on their seats but still I enjoyed the experience.  However when Roy Orbison sang you could a pin drop. The audience just sat throughout his performance watching & listening. It was on that tour that he struck up the friendship with The Beatles which lasted & he eventually joined the Travelling Wilbury's with George Harrison.

Well I bought a Roy Orbison CD quite a long time ago which I have enjoyed but recently I haven't been listening to much music other than on the car radio. A few weeks before Christmas I was driving along listening to Radio 2 (I abandoned Radio 1 a long time ago, you do as you get older) and I heard Roy Orbison singing I Drove All Night but there was something different about the recording. The magnificent voice was the same but there was a longer orchestral introduction and the background music was much better than I remembered. It was from a new recording of Roy Orbison songs on a CD, A Love So Beautiful, produced with Roy Orbison's sons and featuring the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra. I remembered they had made a record last year with Elvis' songs which was really good. They've made a brilliant job of this one too with all my favourite songs. Strangely enough I Drove All Night wasn't one of my favourites but it is now.

So the CD was my Christmas present and a fantastic one it is too. The orchestra doesn't overpower the wonderful singing it just adds another layer to it and really enhances all the songs. I love it and I bet Roy Orbison would have too.

What I'm not so sure about is the holographic tour they are doing. I think it would be lovely to see him again performing with the orchestra but I'm not so sure how I would feel afterwards knowing it wasn't real. It's thirty years since he died and maybe it would be quite upsetting, almost like going back in time to when you were a teenager and then suddenly you're back to the present and ancient!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Blue Planet 2

What a fantastic series Blue Planet II has been. 

The beautiful photography and wonderful presentation by David Attenborough has resulted in a fantastic series that entertains, educates and saddens us seeing what's happening to our world with the changes to the oceans.

There are some amazing clips of strange things that happen in the sea. One memorable one is the poor king penguins tripping through & trying not to wake the sleeping giants. Another was of a fish that shocked me, it was the bird eating fish just leaping into the air and its mouth opening to swallow birds. Awful! You can see all the clips here. 

The final programme tonight was raising awareness of what's happening to our oceans and the effects on us all. Colossal amounts of rubbish including plastic is being dumped in the sea and being digested by fish so we will be eating the plastic they have digested. Sea temperatures are rising which is not just killing the life in the oceans but will lead to raised sea levels which by the end of the century will put huge areas of countries under the sea.  

It's our everyday choices that can make a difference. I knew about this but watching a programme like this brings the horror home. Yet simple things like choosing cotton buds with cardboard sticks not the plastic ones, eat sustainably caught fish and if you live near the sea volunteering to help with a beach clean up can make a difference. That's something I plan to do in the New Year, I don't make New Year resolutions but I do make some plans & that's one.

Another thing I currently do is being a bit more political and signing petitions. I get lots now from organisations like change.org, 38degrees.org.uk and sumofus.org. At least you feel like you have a voice and some petitions have been really successful. This is one good thing that you can do with the Internet in contrast to the awful things that it's used for.

If you haven't seen the Blue Planet II series it's well worth watching.

The future of our world depends on us & we can make a difference. On that pretentious sounding statement I'll finish!

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Remembrance Sunday


By Special Collections Toronto Public Library from Toronto, Canada (In Flanders' Fields)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. 
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, 
and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe,
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae (1915)

During the early days of the second battle of Ypres, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer a young Canadian artillery officer was killed when a German shell exploded at his feet. A close friend of his was Major John McCrae, a Canadian military doctor and artillery commander who officiated at his burial. The next morning John McCrae wrote the poem which is one of the most famous war poems ever written which inspired the use of the poppy as a symbol of rememberance.

Sadly he died in January 1918 of pneumonia and meningitis in Wimeraux, France. He was 45 years old.

You can read more about John McCrae's life here. There are some wonderful photographs of him, his dog & also his horse. 

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Is it really a month since I posted?

Old Key West

Well time passes so quickly especially when you're on holiday. Then you get back & can't be hassled to do anything other than sleep to get over the jetlag & eat!

Also it's absolutely freezing & pitch dark by 5pm so winter is definitely here. We had just moved into Autumn when we left but that didn't last long. 

Had a good time in Disney World, much better than I expected. Gorgeous weather, lots of sun, not too hot, no horrible humidity & hardly any rain. We had a Disney apartment in Old Key West which was very spacious & peaceful. So thank you Florida.

My main crititcisms of Disney are horrendous prices (yes they're getting even greedier) unbelievable crowds mainly in the Magic Kingdom (I've renamed it the Manic Kingdom) & earblowing music everywhere. It's in restaurants, cafes, parks, shops, hotels, buses & even on the lovely ferry rides. We had one ferry driver (not sure if that's what they call them) who said he refused to listen to it & turned it off. A great character!

Why do they feel the need to blast music out everywhere? They've totally revamped Disney Springs (used to be Downtown Disney & awful) now it's much more spacious but even on a walk along the lakeside promenade you're blasted with music from lamposts with speakers every few yards. Why? We were looking for a nice little walk along the lake away from the crowds & some peace & quiet. No chance of that anywhere in Disney. It's such a shame, no wonder people wear earphones and rabbit on into phones all the time.

Nice to get back home to utter peace & quiet! Shame I have to do housework though. It will seem an age until March when I've booked 4 days in Venice! Roll on the light nights.

Thursday, 5 October 2017


I do love Lake Garda and Sirmione in particular is a lovely old place.

Just got back from a tour staying at the pink hotel on the right edge of the photo. Well we were based there but were out touring for five of them!

Although I've been there 5 times one place I never got to see was the Grotte di Catullo. It sounds like a grotto but it's really a Roman Villa or rather the remains of one. This time I made it & it's an amazing place, it's absolutely huge.

It was difficult to visualise what it had looked like until I saw this noticeboard and then later went to the museum to watch a video about it. 
This is what it would have looked like. You can see how the villa was built on a sloping site which was no mean architectural feat. 

It was quite hazy day but you can see what fantastic views that family must have had from their home. 

The height of these arches was immense.

Remains of a brick tiled floor.  You can see the depth of those floor tiles on the side.

Well I've probably bored you enough with these photos.

A coule of days before I walked along the lake edge below the villa and these photos are of the limestone strata where people were sunbathing & going for a dip. This gives you a better idea of what those fabulously wealthy villa owners looked out every day at.

Well I have to go back there again but for a holiday!!!!

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Still Knitting!

I'm beginning to think I'm being a bit addicted to knitting. Normally I can just stop to do a bit of housework but at the moment I just can't put the knitting down.

The pair above are part of a series of sets we're knitting for a school who want knitted toys for their Story Book Bags. No it's not the Teddy Bears' Picnic, it's for Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I've made the Mam & Dad bears who are sitting in our garden on a little blanket I made for the neo natal unit.  I opted out of making a pink skirt for the Mammy bear in case I was accused of being sexist!

They are just waiting for little baby bear who a friend is knitting. She has already made Goldilocks & someone else is making the bag to hold them along with the story book.

I've also just knitted a couple of blankets, baby cardigans & hats for our priest to take to a village in Zambia which the parish support. I always thought they wouldn't need knitted clothes but apparently it can be quite cool. I enjoy knitting these as it doesn't take long. The things I don't like knitting are the brown V neck tank tops for the orphanage in India. Brown was never my favourite colour! 

The gansy is coming on nicely I usually knit this for an hour or two in the morning when I'm in as I need good light. The light is getting poor now by about 7pm so it's going to be a few months before I finish.

However I do need to be a bit more active as I've noticed my ankles are swelling with all this sitting! What a lazy cat I am! I'm off to Italy next Saturday taking a tour to Lake Garda so plenty of walking there to be done. Hopefully we'll get decent weather but I won't get any knitting done. You can't take knitting when you're working! I'm getting withdrawal symptoms at the thought of no knitting for a couple of weeks. 

Look at that grass in the photo, it's meant to be a lawn, neither of us are keen gardeners but it's too big for me to cut. Well that's my excuse!

Roy Orbison

When I was a teenager I had lots of lovely LPs with their beautiful covers and one of my favourite singers was Roy Orbison. I was luck...