You’ll have to excuse my absence. I have been suffering from ‘not enough news’ syndrome and then it has been followed by ‘too much news’ syndrome. I shall gloss over the writers’ block period and rush straight to the ‘Oh my God, I love my life’ bit.
I had a week in Zurich staying with my friends who live in Schindellegi. I visited them in February when everything was covered in a thick layer of snow and Lake Zurich was covered in a thick layer of mist. What a difference 4 months makes. The sun shone, the lake re-appeared and the beautiful mountain scenery was revealed – gorgeous. Heidi country. Think cows with jangling bells around their necks, mountain chalets and impossibly green fields, pine forests and wild flowers, Julie Andrews spinning on a mountain top. Here are some winter/summer images, taken in Rapperswill.
This weekend, I have been at the Glastonbury Festival. My muddy adventures at the usual rain-sodden festival are well documented here. This year was the 40th anniversary of the first festival back in 1970 and for once the weather fairy had waved her magic wand and the sun shone. It was fabulous. The best ever. Lolling about (or dancing away) under clear blue, cloudless skies, glass of wine in hand, singing along to as diverse a set of performers as you will ever come across, people watching, chatting to complete strangers and re-uniting with old friends who I mostly only see once a year at Glastonbury, made for an amazing weekend.
There is something about live music that means you can listen to music you wouldn’t dream of playing at home yet it provokes a response that has you singing and dancing along with complete joy. (Thank you Seasick Steve and even more bizarrely, Slash, from Guns n Roses). Highlights of the weekend are many. Jackson Browne, Scissor Sisters, Shakira, Pet Shop Boys, Ray Davies, Jack Johnson, Faithless and the inimitable Stevie Wonder, who closed the festival last night. The only downside is the number of people who were performing I didn’t get to see. (Click to enlarge!)
To make a change from the muddy Glastonbury photographs, here are a few sunny ones.
I recently heard the phrase an ‘ear worm’ (from the German ‘Ohrwurm’) used to describe a song that gets embedded in your head and replays on a loop constantly in your unconsciousness. This has happened to me with this song to the extent I wake up with it running through my head. It’s by a band called Primary 1 who were performing at Glastonbury but I sadly missed them. This is their new single released on July 5th. Be warned it is SO catchy, you might get ear wormed….
As for the rest of the weekend, Formula 1 -yay for Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, less said about the football the better. At least I can concentrate on Wimbledon now, last week’s epic 11 hour match between Isner and Mahut was astonishing and a tribute to their mental toughness and physical strength. England football team, watch and learn and stop feeling hard done by for having to run about for 90 minutes while being paid a ridiculous amount of money. Dismal showing.
I’ve been occupied this week with making a gift for my sister to say ‘Thanks’ for my wonderful sailing holiday in Greece. Here’s a sneak preview of what I made for her. I was going to send her a CD with copies of all the photographs I took but I decided it might be nice to make an album of the highlights which would hold the CD. So here it is.
I’m now going to make a birthday gift for a friend celebrating her 40th birthday on Saturday. She is the daughter of my very good friends, Mike and Julie, and it is very scary indeed to realise that my friends’ children are now reaching 40. How can this be? I am sure I’m not much older than that myself. Mind you I did start counting my birthdays backwards several years ago, so I might be mistaken….
As this is a return to my bookbinding posts, I want to tell you bookbinding folk of two discoveries I have made recently. One is Ratchfords who sell a full range of bookbinding materials from their web site – not the best online shopping experience but they are extremely helpful and offer prompt delivery. My other discovery is a factory shop at Pittards. Pittards is in Yeovil, where they make gloves (in fact the local football team, Yeovil Town, is nicknamed The Glovers) but the factory shop has a HUGE range of all grades and colours of leather and leather working tools you can imagine – as well as gloves and handbags etc. I visited the other day and managed to take these photographs.
Wow. Very inspiring and the prices weren’t too bad either.
I watched the epic Men’s Final at Wimbledon on Sunday. What a match! I started out rooting for Roger Federer but by the end I was so impressed with Andy Roddick’s play, I didn’t want either man to lose. Poor Andy Roddick looks shell shocked in the photo above. What a marathon, one of the best matches I have ever watched. I’ve been feeling a bit bereft this week, no more Wimbledon for a year but all is not lost. I can now move seamlessly on to watching the cricket – The Ashes series started yesterday and promises to be as exciting as ever. By the time that finishes, the football season will be starting again, hey ho.
And now, the job of a lifetime. It has come to my notice that Wookey Hole a complex of caves near Wells in Somerset and a famous tourist attraction is advertising a job vacancy. They are going to pay £50,000 a year to some one who is willing to live in the caves and be……a witch. Local legend says the original Wookey witch was turned to stone when a Catholic monk, sent by the Abbot of Glastonbury, splashed her with holy water. A large, vaguely witch-shaped stalagmite in one of the caves is said to be her petrified remains.
“Wookey Hole wants the appointee to go about her everyday business as a hag, so that people passing through the caves can get a sense of what the place was like in the Dark Ages. This was when an old woman lived in the caves with some goats and a dog, causing a variety of social ills including crop failures and disease. The job is straightforward: live in the cave, be a witch, and do the things witches do.”
The ad goes on
“Wookey Hole is advertising nationally and hopes to attract a strong field of candidates, with the £50,000 salary serving as a major incentive. Ambitious witches, looking for a key career move, should turn up dressed for work and bring any essential witch accoutrements. A limited range of potion ingredients will be available. We are witchless at the moment so we need to get the role filled as soon as possible. The successful applicant will need to like dark, enclosed spaces, be good around a cauldron, enjoy the company of cats and have a good cackle. We are looking for someone who is friendly, a little mischievous and with lots of character.”
Interestingly, there is also a paper mill at Wookey Hole and they make the most beautiful handmade paper which I have bought on many occasions. Perhaps I could be the Wookey Hole bookbinding witch….
PS Please check out the Social Vibe widget in my sidebar, if you click on it, TNT will make a donation to the ‘Fill the Cup’ campaign by the World Food Program. It’s free for you and it’s a very worthy cause. Better still, if you have a WordPress blog, put your own widget on your blog! You can choose from a selection of different charities and sponsors. Every little bit helps :-)
Well, I’m finally back home again. How many times have I said that already this year? It has been a wonderful few months.
My sailing holiday in Greece was so relaxing. There were four of us, Grant, who is THE most easy-going skipper, (in my experience most chaps turn into Captain Bligh the instant they step on a boat), my sister, Julie, who is a very knowledgeable and experienced first mate, (and also a most amazing cook, producing wonderful meals in a space not much bigger than my fridge back home!) and my niece Melanie who is a very athletic deckhand, and does all the leaping on and off the boat, so there was not much left for me to do except do what I do best – be a deck bunny – reading and sunbathing being my most onerous duties. I did wash up occasionally so don’t think that I didn’t pull my weight :-)
I arrived back in the UK on Thursday last week and on Friday, I had packed up and was on way to Glastonbury Festival. It was a very pleasant festival this year. Although it did rain before we arrived so there was mud, the sun shone for the rest of the weekend which dried it all up. The line up was particularly good this year, the highlights for me being Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. Other bands I enjoyed were Blur, the Specials, Amadou and Mariam, Tom Jones ( one sight I won’t forget was a dreadlocked, multi-pierced couple swaying and singing along to ‘Delilah’ with their arms waving in the air!) I also LOVE Madness. This is my favourite of their songs. To hear tens of thousands of people singing along to this was a joy!
Here are a selection of my Glastonbury photographs from all the years I have been going to give a flavour of the occasion. First, a panorama I took of the site. You can’t capture the size of the site easily, it covers 900 acres, is 1.5 miles across, the perimeter is 8.5 miles and 177,000 people attended (that’s the size of York). Click on the thumbnail to see a full sized image.
To see some amazing images from the Boston.com website click here. There is a wonderful aerial photograph of the site.
I arrived home from Glastonbury, grubby and tired but very happy indeed and the the next day, I was invited to Wimbledon so #1 son and I headed off to London and had a wonderful day watching some awesome tennis. We saw Tommy Haas play Novak Djokovic and then most of the Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick match. It was a scorching hot day – temperatures reached 32º C (that’s about 90º F) but fortunately our Court 1 seats were in the shade so we had a great time. here are some photos of that day!
So now I’m home again. Milo is sulking because I have been away, the weather is breaking and rain is forecast but it is nice to be back again. I am going to unpack and put the suitcase away for a while. But after I’ve watched the tennis on TV….
Well, it’s been a fun weekend. Milo continues to delight – even when he is being very naughty. He refuses to walk on a lead. As soon as you attach the lead to his collar, he sits down and refuses to budge. We had a breakthrough of sorts yesterday. Some friends dropped in and we decided that the three of us ought to be able to persuade one small dog to go ‘walkies’. This was the result…
Milo got about 100 yards from the house walking nicely on his lead, the excitement of us all setting out together overcoming his hesitation. A car passed us and he sat down and refused to move an inch so this is how he continued the walk. I see we are going to have to join puppy school.
I’ve had a very productive weekend. I sorted out my workroom which had become a bit of a disaster area of late. I now have a creative space upstairs for my books and a desk for computer based activities in the kitchen. If I work upstairs, Milo sits at the bottom of the stairs, crying. If I let him come up with me, we have a potential ‘puppy pee/poo’ disaster as although he can climb upstairs , he cannot climb down, so if I become engrossed in what I am doing, I pay for it. So it’s easier to stay in the kitchen with the pooch so he can take himself off into the garden when nature calls.
I also managed to set up my Mac in the kitchen to talk to the printer on the top floor and worked out a very complicated double sided, right way up, back to back, A4 on A3 paper, nightmare of a printer problem. (don’t ask!) I’m still trying to track down some A3 sized inkjet printer paper which is double sided, about 200gsm (or thereabouts) but which isn’t brilliant white. I want off white or cream even and despite hours faffing about on the internet, I can’t seem to track any down. Any thoughts anyone?
I would be feeling quite pleased with myself had I not made the mistake of weighing myself this morning. Bummer. Literally. So the downside to a promising weekend is that I’m back on a diet. And spending my days working in the kitchen is a real test of my shaky will power. I get on much better when I am two floors away from the kitchen, because then I either forget about snacking altogether or at least running up and down two flights of stairs goes someway to mitigate the damage…
I daren’t turn on my Wii Fit, it will shout at me…
On the real life sporting front, Andy Murray won the Qatar Open, easily beating Andy Roddick and Manchester United beat Chelsea 3 – 0 which thrilled me no end.
To finish, here are two more things which have entertained me this weekend. First was from my friend Claire, who rightly pointed out how clever this is. In her words
‘This guy traveled all over the world with his recording equipment, recording street musicians playing the same song, and then meshed it into one fantastic and inspiring tune. Just the feat of getting everyone to play it in the same key, in tune and in the same tempo is mind blowing. Very nice job.
Music is, indeed, universal.’
and the second was from my friend Sharon. It’s a bit like popping bubble wrap and equally as addictive. Just click on this link, then just run your mouse over the bears. You’ll see what I mean.
So that’s it, my new week’s resolutions are – train Milo, lose weight, get fit – no problem…
Well, I’m back. Christmas and New Year passed off very smoothly and enjoyably – ate too much, drank too much, watched too many movies but I am actually facing the New Year (despite the downbeat news) with optimism and equanimity, I am going to make it a good one. It was great to spend time with my boys and my lovely friends. Santa must have thought I had been a good girl last year, as he was extraordinarily generous and somehow managed to get a new 24″ iMac down my chimney.
The dog loved having the boys home as much as I did, and he adored having two large creatures willing to roll about on the floor with him and brave the arctic conditions to chase around the garden and take him to the beach. Boy toys as opposed to toy boys, I guess. Now they have returned home, Milo sits looking at me with a tragic look on his face whimpering quietly, wondering why I am such a boring replacement ( answer – because I am playing with my iMac…..)
I haven’t been blogging (what do you mean you hadn’t noticed?!) but I have been spending an inordinate amount of time on Facebook. Yesterday I decided to delete all the outstanding ‘notifications’ (almost 60), so apologies if you sent me ‘Karma’ , a plant for my Lil’ green patch, an invitation to play poker, scrabble or a war game, or just wanted to poke, hug or throw a sheep at me, but there were so many I decided to start afresh. New Year and all that….sorry.
The new year has begun on a very good note. I was very gratified to read that it is a really bad idea to go on a diet at the moment, what with the flu epidemic and the horrid sickness (and worse) lurgy doing the rounds, apparently if you are on a diet, your body’s ability to fight off the viruses is reduced. Read more here. So that’s one less resolution to have to worry about breaking.
More good news is that Andy Murray has just won an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi defeating both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the way. And the BBC are announcing who the new Doctor Who will be in 30 minutes in a special program on BBC 1 – all very exciting.
I’ve also been asked to do several web design projects and a big bookbinding project which I will tell you about in a few weeks time. Who knows? Maybe my ‘hobbies’ will start to earn me some money – which would be a fine thing indeed.
I found a really funny image which keeps making me laugh…
So it’s been a really good start to the year. I hope yours has begun as well and I wish you lots of wonderfulness for 2009. The best New Year wishes I read were two both by the great Neil Gaiman
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
“…I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.”
Wonderful. You can’t put it better than that, can you?
Happy New Year everyone.
Later : Ooh, couldn’t wait so I have seen who new Doctor Who is and thought I would tell you all…it’s ……..Matt Smith. Matt Smith? Who?
Ooh I’m not sure about this at all. My year might have just gone pear-shaped already…