Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Category Archives: Charity

….AND relax…..

I’ve done quite a lot since I last wrote here. So much so that I’m only going to give you potted highlights otherwise you will lose the will to live before you are half way through.

  • I was invited to a Charity Gala dinner in London on Friday 30th October, the highlight of which was the after dinner speaker – President Bill Clinton. He spoke about the charity work he does through the William J Clinton Foundation and particularly mentioned Kiva a cause I support already and recommend (link in my sidebar).

  • We mooched around Portobello Road market (as seen in the film ‘Notting Hill’) on Saturday as rather amazingly, I had never been there – great fun. We came back from London on Sunday as I had a meeting. I mention this because I then rushed back up to London on Monday morning to spend some time with my #2 son for my birthday
  • He and I finally got to see the Anish Kapoor exhibition at the Royal Academy – it was fabulous. Really enjoyed it.

Anish Kapoor and 'Yellow' at the Royal Academy

  • We went to see Simon Lynge – a very gifted singer songwriter who comes from Greenland. It was the launch party for his new album to be released in February. He was very good indeed. See for yourself. I love this song which is his single.
  • Rushed back from London (again) in time to go out for with lunch with some friends and #1 son for my birthday.
  • Spent my birthday packing as I was going to Spain to stay with a friend early the next day.
  • Had a wonderful holiday in Sayalonga, a small hilltop village in the mountains behind Malaga. We had several hair raising trips out along winding mountain roads tracks to visit pretty towns and to admire astonishing views.

Sayalonga

One highlight of the trip  was a visit to the Caves at Nerja – possibly the best thing I have ever seen – utterly awesome. Here is a photograph which you can click on to see a large version. They have concerts in these caves in the summer (if you zoom in you can see the seating) – definitely added to my list of things to do. Opera in these caves would be astonishing.

One thing that can now be ticked off my list of things to do, was the other highlight of my trip – a visit to the Alhambra in Granada. If the Caves at Nerja are an example of nature at it’s most magnificent, then the Alhambra is an example of how sublimely beautiful some of man’s creations can be. It’s truly breathtaking. Here is a slide show of the photographs I took.

  • The weather in Spain was beautiful – cool in the mornings and evenings but in the 70s and sunny during the day. I arrived back in the UK to torrential rain and howling gales – which has continued and shows no signs of going away. Just as well that I have been thrown back into the deep end with the latest iteration of the record company book project. With only three days to work on it before it had to be packaged up and sent to Seattle and as there were major re-writes and design changes, it was a manic weekend. Fedex have given me several highly stressful moments which I could have well done without but hopefully I (and they) made the deadline.

So now I am working on a couple of websites. One, my first e-commerce site for a friend who makes jewellery will be a fun project and hopefully the experience will help me when I get round to designing my own website for selling my books and photograph albums.

If I ever have the time to do it…

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Oops.

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun? I’ve just realised it is almost a month since my last post. Oops. I have no excuse other than I have been doing other stuff so that is a good thing in my book. When I used to post every day, I was in a very gloomy, bored and down in the dumps place – not from talking to you lovely people, I hasten to add, but from personal circumstances.  Being too much in cyber space at the expense of a ‘real’ life is not a good thing and so as my real life gets busier,  my blog gets neglected, I’m afraid. I am particularly fortunate in that I have great friends who drag me out to have fun when I start getting too wrapped up in bookbinding and web designing and stop me turning into a hermit. Thank you, people. :-)

Anyway, here are the highlights of what I have been up to at the expense of writing my blog – a black tie dinner and dance in aid of the NSPCC at a beautiful house called West Coker Manor (lots of dancing, my knees killed me next day), several dinners and BBQs with good friends (I’ve been to more BBQs this autumn than all summer), a wonderful day at the Goodwood Revival , a trip up to London to see my #2 son, a visit to the cinema to see ‘District 9’ (very good film), games of tennis (knees held up). In between all this activity, I have been working on a wedding album for a friend’s daughter (76 pages of beautiful photographs), designing and writing my new website (yes I’m finally going to start selling my books!), maintaining and updating various websites for clients and research for a new web design project I am about to start. Phew.

#2 son and I went to the Royal Academy to see the Anish Kapoor exhibition only to find it hadn’t started yet which was very disappointing but we did see this amazing construction which was outside. If you look closely you can see us reflected in the silver shapes. At least I have a very good excuse to head up to London again to see the exhibition which has now opened.

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The Goodwood Revival is worth mentioning in more detail. What a fun day! For those of you who haven’t heard of it, this is what it is:

The Goodwood Revival is the world’s most popular historic motor race meeting and the only event of its kind to be staged in the romantic time capsule of the Fifties and Sixties.  As well as recreating the golden era of motor sport, the Revival offers exceptional wheel-to-wheel racing around a classic circuit, untouched by the modern world.

It was fantastic, most of the people attending the three day event, dress in clothes of the period of Goodwood’s heyday – the 40s, 50s and early 60s. The motor racing is SO exciting, there was an air display and as it was Stirling Moss’s 80th birthday, there was a parade of 80 of the cars he has driven during his long motor racing career. I’m not a motor racing afficionado but who could not love these beautiful old cars and to see them racing was such a thrill.

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I ‘ummed and aahed’ about what to wear and eventually wore a dress I had in my wardrobe that looked a bit ‘Mary Quant’ – very unadventurous perhaps and after seeing the effort other people put into their costumes, I shall do better if I ever go again! I’ve also been stressing out about what to wear to my god daughter’s wedding on Friday. I had it all sorted – smart dress, cashmere cardigan, kitten heeled shoes, (same outfit I wore for the wedding at Lulworth Castle) until I actually read the invitation and it said

‘Dress Code – Smart suits with ties and fabulous frocks, the more glamorous the better.’

Eek! I am now thinking my original plan is too…well, unglamorous. What to do? Time is running out so I have just bought some killer heels (and believe me, with my knees they will live up to their name) to jazz up my frock and that will have to do. At least I do like my dress, now, about the bag….

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Let’s dance…

I have been cutting board for the last few days for the 20 books (and matching clam shell boxes). 14 precisely measured pieces of board for each set. 280 pieces altogether. I am having a day off today as my arm is starting to hurt a bit at the wrist and a slight twinge of tennis elbow – which is annoying as I haven’t even had the fun of a game of tennis. In between, I have been tweaking and cropping 90 images (web sized image and a thumbnail for each) for the web site I am working on. I’m starting to feel like a robot. Luckily, my friend who owns the Pierrepoint Gallery has just offered to cut the rest of the board on this amazing all-singing, all dancing glass/board/perspex cutter he has at the gallery. Hurrah!

Talking of all-dancing….(tenuous link alert!) A while back, I did a post about the search engine terms people use to find my web site. Here is the latest all time stats.

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As you will notice, inexplicably ‘strawberry’ is still up there.  I hope the 79 people searching for ‘frumpy’ were disappointed – cheek! Javier Bardem is  climbing the charts – possibly due to the release of ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona’ in the UK (such a good film). There are still a lot of people looking for polar bear jokes but top spot goes to people searching for info on Sylvie Guillem. This is rather good news as I have just bought tickets to go and see Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant (also a genius) in a new ballet ‘Eonnagata’ at Sadler’s Wells in June.

“Eonnagata tells the story of the Chevalier d’Éon, Charles de Beaumont – diplomat, writer, swordsman and a member of the King’s Secret, a network of spies under the control of Louis XV. De Beaumont was perhaps the first spy to use transvestitism in the furtherance of his duties and until the day he died his true gender was a source of constant speculation, even provoking public bets in the late 18th century.”

Wow.

Watch this clip and then you will get a small idea of how excited I am! (Plus it might attract another 1357 Sylvie fans to ‘Much of a muchness’ – which won’t hurt!) I have optimistically bought two tickets for the performance in June and am now holding auditions for the part of ‘ballet enthusiast and date for the night’. Form an orderly queue ;-)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In complete contrast, this is the most hilarious thing I have seen on the TV in ages.  ‘Red Nose Day‘ approaches – a huge charity fund raising day here in the UK organised by Comic Relief. As one of the events this year, a TV show called ‘Let’s Dance’ has lots of celebs and comedians re-creating famous dance routines in a competition which runs over several weeks. The comedian, Robert Webb, (half of  ‘Mitchell and Webb’ of ‘Peep Show’ fame and the UK version of the ‘I’m a Mac, I’m a PC’ ads) performed the famous routine from ‘Flashdance’. Here is Robert as he usually is.

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Here he is performing ‘Flashdance’.

I keep watching this and it makes me laugh every time. The rest of the competitors might as well throw in the towel now. It’s in the bag.

Milo news:  I have bored Milo into submission! He was fed up of sitting at my feet while I worked one day so he got up, ran downstairs (a first) and then went through the dog flap all by himself (also a first), came back in through the dog flap, back up the stairs and lay down by my feet again. I knew he could do it and was just being stubborn. Glory be!! It’s a miracle!! Now just need to train him to make me a latte and I’m sorted….

Let’s celebrate!

It has been like Christmas around here. Lovely people have been been sending lovely bloggy awards my way. It’s been quiet recently and then suddenly, like buses, three come along all at once.

First off Charmaine Zoe over at Tales of Terror from the Black Lagoon (great blog title!) said that I am a ‘Kick Ass Blogger’

an award which originated at Mamma Dawg’s. In her words

Maybe they’ve got incredible, original content. Or they’re overflowing with creativity. Is it someone that helps you become a better blogger? Or a bloggy friend you know you can count on? Or maybe it’s someone who simply inspires you to be a better person… or someone else who sends you to the floor, laughing your ass off. Whatever the reason may be, I’m sure you know at least a couple of bloggers that kick ass. Well… why not tell ’em so?

Here’s how to send them some love:-

* Choose 5 bloggers that you feel are “Kick Ass Bloggers”
* Let ’em know in your post or via email, twitter or blog comments that they’ve received an award
* Share the love and link back to both the person who awarded you and back to http://www.mammadawg.com
* Hop on back to the Kick Ass Blogger Club HQ to sign Mr. Linky then pass it on!

To get codes click on the button above which will take you to KABC HQ – don’t forget to link up the person who nominated you for the Kick Ass Blogger Club.

OK. Done all that. My five ‘Kick Ass Bloggers’ are *drum roll*

Pete @ My GPS Cameraphone

Teresa @ Life, Homesteading and Everything

Amy @ In the Fishbowl

Tom @ Burnt Maze

Jenny @ The Latest Whatever

Next up. What can I say? Those of you who are acquainted with Lord Likely and his Astonishing Adventures will probably have an inkling of what is to come. (Insert you own double entendre here).You can read all about his ‘Golden Cock of Excellence’ award here.

In his inimitable fashion, he explained why I was receiving this accolade thus:

Lady Diane Aldred: supremely creative English rose Diane has been a regular reader of my wondrous journals, and for that she deserves honouring. Plus, with any luck the receipt of said award will endear her to me, and we shall wind up entwined in a passionate embrace, possibly whilst nude.”

In reply I just have to say – consider yourself endeared, we will have to see about the rest :-) The award itself is a little – how shall I put it? Ah yes, outré, for a wholesome blog such as this one (especially as some of my readers might be of a nervous disposition), so if you would like to see it, please click here. Now go and have a lie down.

Recovered? Right the next one arrived this evening courtesy of the lovely Diane CA @ DianeCA’s Metamorphoses.

She received this from Sandee @ Comedy Plus and from her lovely husband Renny @ Renny BA’s Terella, so she is doubly brilliant!

The rules for this award are:

* The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.

* Link to the person you received your award from.

* Nominate and link to at least 7 other blogs.

* Leave a message on the blogs of the people you have nominated.

Now you know how obedient I am, so here are my 7 brilliant blogs.

Diary of a 70’s Teen

Scratchbags

Your Neighborhood Reverend

Nanny Goats in Panties

Subu.Inc

Astrid

So there you have it, speeches optional.

I watched the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics this afternoon – well some of it – it went on for hours. It was quite awesome and putting aside any issues or disquiet that any one may have about the Chinese government’s policies or human rights record, there was no denying that they have set the new benchmark for opening ceremonies. London is going to struggle to get anywhere close to this stunning performance in 2012.

Here is a 30 second round up the BBC broadcast at the end of the 4 hour coverage this afternoon. The quality of this isn’t brilliant but if I find a better clip I will swap it over later.

This is the ad that the BBC has been running  for the games. I love it.

And finally, here’s something that might give you an inkling of how successful the UK Olympic Games opening ceremony is likely to be. These are some UWE students (University of the West of England in Bristol) organising a charity balloon launch. Sigh. I despair.

CARE and Bookwish need you…

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To celebrate the beautiful weather we are having at the moment, here is a very Spring-like book.

This post is going to be a rather serious one. RennyBA and his wife, DianeCA have beeen drawing attention to a fundraising effort which is going on in Oslo, where they both live. You can read about it here on Renny’s blog. The charity which is being supported is called CARE

which is one of the first to respond in emergencies such as natural disasters or civil conflict. Their projects directly assist survivors of natural disasters and conflict through immediate relief and longer-term community rehabilitation, which includes food, temporary shelter, clean water, sanitation services, medical care, family planning and reproductive health services, and seed.

The focus is on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help entire families and communities escape poverty.”

A couple of days ago, I received an email from Logan Kleinwaks, which said this

I recently started a nonprofit, Book Wish Foundation, to provide reading relief for people in crisis. Our first project focuses on three Darfur refugee camps in eastern Chad (more than 60,000 residents, 20,000 of them students) and 18 nearby villages (with more than 19,000 people enrolled in literacy, primary school, or pre-school programs). On the project Wish List are requests for library construction, reading glasses, English-Arabic and French-Arabic dictionaries, secondary school textbooks, English language course material, solar-powered CD players (to play the audio component of the English course), and school supplies. Our website www.bookwish.org just opened to the public a few days ago, and I am trying to spread the word to book lovers about our mission and the specific needs we are trying to meet in this project.

I would be grateful if you would inform other bibliophiles about our cause, or, at least, share a link to www.bookwish.org. If you have any ideas for publicity in the book world, please let me know!”

As I heard about this in the week that I had read Renny’s moving post and was also in the throes of clearing out my book collection (which includes all the text books and teacher training material from my PGCE course) I feel there is a certain synchronicity at work and so I would like to add my voice to those of others promoting these worthwhile causes.

Please do all you can to support and promote CARE and Bookwish in any way you can. Thank you.