Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Tall Ships 2016

The Tall Ships arrived in Blyth, Northumberland on Friday as part of the 60th North Sea Regatta. There was a range of magnificent ships to visit. Although beautiful you realise how hard life must have been for those on board such vessels.

Imagine having to climb up there!

Everyone waiting for the fireworks.

The ships left yesterday in glorious weather for the final race to Gothenburg and the local beaches were unusually packed to watch them sail away.

Looks like a good boat builder there!
It's great that events like this come to the North East as they bring lots of visitors to the area which struggles economically. It was once a great ship building area where ships were built for the Royal & Merchant Navies until the Thatcher era in the 'eighties! 
Next Tall Ships event is in 2018 when it will visit Sunderland. Just down the road so that will be great.
Hard to believe but sixty years ago Sunderland was the largest shipbuilding town on the planet & it produced 25% of the UK shipping tonnage. Now whatever happened!!!

So we're looking forward to the 2018 Tall ships race which starts in Sunderland.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016



Anyone use Goodreads?

I've used it for a while & found it useful for checking out books recommended, recording books I've read & listing ones I want to read.

A few weeks ago I got an email from them telling me that a book I'd listed as wanting to read had a "Giveaway". Not having a clue about this I checked it out. Well I discovered that it was true they were giving away a book I has wanted to read but never got around to it. You didn't have any obligation to review the book if you won it. Although I have to say if they were good enough to give a book away surely I could spare the time to write a review.  So I entered the giveaway but realised I didn't have much of a chance as there were hundreds of others applying too.

At that point I had a look at other books being given away & thought if the giveaway deadline was close & not many people were applying I'd enter. You could apply for any of them but I suppose I tend to limit my entries to increase my chances but if I see a book I really want I would just go for it.

I apply even if I don't particularly think the book is one I would normally read. I have often read things people have given me that I wouldn't normally read & enjoyed them. Also the books can go into the charity shop after I've read them.

Well I didn't win the first one but over the last three months I won four others so it was worth it. Can't believe how lucky I've been as I normally don't win anything but I suppose the more you enter the more you increase your chances.

I wasn't too keen on the first book I won, it was a cold war spy story, A Quiet Life. The second one An Accident of Stars, a bit of a feminist out of world adventure was pretty good & the third & fourth, Conspiracy and The Optician's Wife, I'm saving for the long haul flight to Singapore in October and maybe on the cruise if I'm too tired on the plane.

So if you haven't used Goodreads or entered the Giveaway why not try it? You just have to register & it won't cost you anything but a little bit of your time.

No I'm not on commission! I just like to pass on information about freebies.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Ony 24 to go!

Just 9 more rose squares and 15 plain cream ones to make for my granddaughter Lauren's blanket/throw!

It should eventually look a little bit like this:

I did change the pattern slightly for the rose squares as they didn't turn out to be very square!

This is the pattern Roses Remembered Blanket Pattern

The blanket/throw is for her bedroom which I've been trying to paint this week. She's not a fan of blue, the room's current colour & my favourite. But if I want her to stay with us the colour has to change. I'm not a fan of pink, never have been so our compromise is an off white shade. I did agree to make the roses on the throw pink which was my compromise.

I must admit that I can't paint for very long these days, old age has nothing to recommend it apart from a bus pass. I just do an hour or so & then have a coffee crochet a couple of squares then go back again for another hour or so. It's going to take a while. Never mind I've accepted that it's better to do a little & not have loads of aches & pains even though it drags it out.

If I'm feeling adventurous I might try painting a couple of roses on the main wall & a bit of Parisienne writing to match the writing on the quilt & liven the walls up a bit.

I let Lauren choose the quilt cover although I said no to the pug one she wanted, I really didn't want to see that every time I went into the room. So her Mam bought that as a spare for her room at home. Have to say I don't get the craze for pug stuff. Kittens yes, pugs no!

Her second quilt choice was a Parsienne style one complete with Eiffel Tower which amazed me. I have no idea why she took a fancy to the Eiffel tower, she's never mentioned an interest in it or why she chose such a pale one, not what I would have thought an eleven year old would pick. Well not one who had originally wanted a pug quilt.

No sadly that's not the bedroom but it is the quilt set. I love those white floorboards but in our house the upstairs floorboards are not nice enough to paint and they are a bit chilly in our climate, noisy too! So we'll just have to keep the carpet. Might have to buy a new one as the current blue may not be her choice either even though it's a lovely wool one! Still we could always refit it in the smaller bedroom which also need a makeover. Not this year though.........

Monday, 11 July 2016

Isola del Garda

I've been missing from blogging as I've been on my travels again. Starting with the Inner Hebrides early May, Rhodes mid May & then Venice, Milan, Verona & Lake Garda in June. It's taken me ages to catch up with work & housework but hopefully things are getting back to normal. Well as near as it ever gets to normal in our house. I'm not the tidiest of people!

The photo above is one I took on a boat as we were leaving one of the the islands in Lake Garda, Isola del Garda so that's why it's a bit skew whiff. I do love that house and it's wonderful Italian & English gardens. It's so peaceful there.

The current house isn't that old really, but it's history goes a long way back. Cutting it short Gallic Roman tombstones were found on the island & around 1220 St Francis of Assisi built a simple hermitage there as he believed it was an ideal place for his monks. By 1797 Napoleon suppressed the monastery and later it became a state owned property.

By 1860 it had been given to the army and then it was sold to private owners. I won't go into the detail but the villa was built in Neo Gothic Venetian style and is currently owned by the Cavazza family who live there. They open the house to the public and rent it for occasions such as weddings in order to restore and maintain it. 

My favourite bit is the terrace. This is where we ended up having some nibbles. There were bits of bread to dip in the olive oil produced from the family's olive groves, local cheeses, olives, water, orange juice and a glass of delicious white wine. 

Just imagine having your breakfast or any meal up here. This is the terrace (I think they called it the loggia) looking up from the ground level.

The design is lovely.

The ceiling is wonderful too. However the guide explained that it wasn't painted in situ, it was taken from a building and placed there!

The views are fantastic.

Unfortunately the day we were visiting was a little hazy for taking photos of the lake, it was really hot too but up on the terrace it was shady and a little cooler.

These are some shots from the gardens. I had to keep on the move with the group and keep an eye on some elderly passengers so the photos were taken really quickly and are not the best! 

Sadly the tour came to an end so quickly and we returned by boat to Desenzano, our base for the week there.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Farewell Victoria!

Sometimes you just can't believe someone has gone. I can't believe we've lost Victoria Wood. She was my favourite female comedy actor, writer, song writer, basically she was a comic genius. Luckily we'll be able to watch her amazing performances over & over.

Hard to pick just one piece from her vast repertoire of TV comedy but I love this song. This isn't my favourite version I prefer the earlier ones which were longer but it's still great. What a lady.

Thank you for the laughter!