Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Category Archives: Sport

My heroes…

I went to see the new James Bond movie ‘The Quantum of Solace’  on Friday. I loved it. Having read lots of mixed reviews, I was unsure whether I would enjoy it as much as ‘Casino Royale’ but I needn’t have worried – was action packed, full of exciting, jaw dropping stunts (all performed by Daniel Craig himself) and finished off the story started in ‘Casino Royale’ very well. Daniel Craig is impossibly gorgeous and the two girls, Gemma Arterton and (especially) Olga Kurylenko, are stunning and wear the most fabulous clothes. The locations are amazing – the scenes shot at the Palio in Siena and at a performance of ‘Tosca’ in Austria stand out. I highly recommend it (but make sure you watch ‘Casino Royale’ first.)

On Sunday, my friend Claire from Los Angeles came to stay. She was on her  way back from filming her cameo in the movie ‘Plus One’ in Cannes. She had a wonderful time but the weather was very un-South of France like – it poured down (unlike when I was there a couple of weeks ago). If nothing else it has convinced her that she would not want to leave the wonderful Californian sunshine for the freezing rain of Europe! You can read about her efforts to get her book made into a movie (which forms the basis of the movie!) over at her blog Claire Fordham, Diary of a Hollywood Somebody) there is also a link to Amazon where you can buy a copy of the book or you can click here. Claire and I have been friends for about 15 years now. She was the first friend I made when came to Dorset. Here’s a photograph of us both taken at a party – it’s what we do best…

We watched the Brazilian Grand Prix yesterday. I’m not a huge motor racing fan, I vaguely follow it but find the races themselves a little tedious. The battle for the Formula 1 World Championship was to be decided at this, the last race of the season.

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton was leading the table but was only 7 points ahead of Brazilian Felipe Massa, and Massa had the advantage of being at his home circuit . It was astonishingly exciting and was only decided during the last lap – Massa won the race and we thought Lewis had lost but as Lewis Hamilton managed to manouvre himself into 5th place right at the end, he secured victory. Claire and I were screaming at the TV in excitement – it was truly heart stopping. Claire’s husband Colin (who is a motoring journalist and avid motor racing fan) was back in LA and as he was watching a recording, he was about 5 laps behind us – Claire was able to phone him up and share the astonishment of the last lap with him.

I was very tempted to re-name Milo ‘Lewis’ in honour of the occasion but decided the poor dog was confused enough by all the screeching.

Today, my #2 son arrived home for a few days. It’s my birthday tomorrow (4th) so he has come to spend the day with me. He arrived home with a birthday cake.

Another hero.

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Home again, home again, jiggety jig…

Well, I’m back and I seem to have brought back some sunshine – not as warm as California sunshine but very welcome nontheless. I managed to twist my knee playing tennis on the my last day so the 10 hour journey home in my cramped seat, followed by a 3 hour drive home to Dorset was really uncomfortable and painful. It was a price worth paying though for the wonderful time I spent in Venice, Los Angeles.

It’s hard to pick out a highlight as I have so many happy memories but certainly one great day was spent at the J.Paul Getty Museum where we went to see an exhibition by the Italian sculptor Bernini, but also saw an astonishing exhibition of photographs by a German photographer called August Sander, which I thought was truly magnificent. Here are some photographs which #1 son and I took of the museum and gardens.

I also made a pilgrimage with my very patient friend, Claire, to Paper Source and stocked up on very lovely paper so expect a new burst of bookbinding activity!

I went to a party at the home of the composer Michael Brook and his wife, Julie. Michael writes wonderful music , including the scores for the movies ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and ‘Into the Wild’. He showed me a beautiful book about the work of Pierre Legrain and Rose Adler whose Art Deco bookbindings are absolutely exquisite and very inspiring. I found the book on Amazon and have ordered it, I’ll show you some photographs of these fantastic leather bindings, when it arrives.

Claire and her husband, Colin and I went to a great restaurant in Culver City called ‘Vinoteque‘. We had a great meal which was also a tutored wine tasting, comparing Old World and New World wines. The food was tailored to match each wine and it was so interesting to see how the wines complemented and added to the wonderful food. The wine tasting was followed by the US equivalent of a ‘pub quiz’. Astonishingly, our team, ‘The True Brits’ came second and we won a $10 voucher towards a future visit!

Anyway, I’m back now and I’m trying hard to catch up on the blogging front. I’m starting to get round all the blogs I normally visit but it’s a slow process. What with dodgy knees, unpacking, laundry and jet lag, it’s all been a bit mad. I found today, I had been tagged by Kim over at Laketrees. Actually she was sent three tags by Mariuca@Mariuca’s Perfume Gallery but I’m actually only going to do one today. The easiest one (and I think the most fun one). It’s called the Handbag Tag, and in Kim’s words:

The Handbag Tag is from ECL and here are the rules.
Find a safe quiet place free of significant others, nosey meme makers, priests, nuns, all things religious and men in general. (If you’re a guy just reverse this process to male and tell us about your wallet, tool box, briefcase or metro sexual accessory.)
1. Dump the contents of your handbag in a pile.
2. Take a photo of your handbag and the contents.
3. Be brave and ‘splain to your fellow bloggers what lurks inside the handbag.
4. Tag others who might want to embarrass themselves.
5. Answer these questions:
Describe the contents of your handbag. See my list below.

Purse, iPhone, earphones in wallet, camera, spare battery and memory card and case, sunglasses, reading glasses and spare pair, car keys, my Moo card mini cards and wallet, tin of M&S mints, Japanese wallet full of photographs of my boys and my passport, 3 Moleskine notebooks, 7 pens – various colours, 2 pencils, (1 automatic, 1 with sharpener and eraser), Prada perfume, lip balm, travel tooth brush and paste, mosquito repellant, hairbrush, Glastonbury Festival wrist band, various hair ties and clips.

SO MUCH STUFF! My only excuse is that I haven’t had time to empty out the holiday stuff and I don’t normally carry a lot of those things around. No wonder that one of my shoulders is lower than the other :-)

What’s the most important thing in your handbag? My iPhone
What’s the most embarrassing thing in your handbag? Too many pens, pencils and note books! Too much everything!
What’s the smallest thing in your handbag? Hair tie
Is there anything illegal in your handbag? No, although I notice that the pharmacy no longer sells the brand of mossie repellant I like – I think it probably contains something illegal…

So there you have it, I’m going to tag all my commentators, male and female. Show us your handbags, purses, briefcases, wallets, holdalls whatever.

I dare you!

PS You may notice that the menu at the top of my blog is looking a bit untidy. I have expanded the tutorial page to include a gallery of all my books (130 in the slide show I’m afraid!) as I realised that readers who were coming to my blog following ‘bookbinding’ links were probably hard pressed to actually find any, so I decided to include the gallery. Now just need to sell some of the buggers!

Hey! from LA!

Here I am in Venice, California, the sun is shining (as it has done for my entire stay) and I am having a ball. I have played tennis, eaten great food, been given incredible hospitality by some generous friends, been on a bike ride along the beach from Marina del Rey to Santa Monica, listened to wonderful live music, shopped, played with adorable children, hosted a party, watched tennis (Yay! for Andy Murray!) and seen a great movie (which incidentally also introduced me to my newest crush – of whom more later!) It’s surprising how energized and well, happy, I am, just being in the sunshine. It’s no wonder people are generally so friendly and sociable – how can you be anything else when the weather is so cheerful!

The film I went to see with my friend, Claire, was Woody Allen’s new film ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ starring Scarlett Johannson, Rebecca Hall, Penelope Cruz and my new crush, Javier Bardem.

Having only ever seen him in ‘No Country for Old Men’ where he played a murderous psychopath with a very strange haircut, I was unprepared for the sex-on-a-stick, all round gorgeousness that is Javier Bardem. I am in love. If George Clooney doesn’t hurry up and come and find me while I am still in LA, I may just have to switch my allegiance…

Claire, who you may remember I have mentioned before in this blog, has written a very funny book called ‘Plus One – A Year in the Life of a Hollywood Nobody’ (she also has a great blog) and the exciting news is that it is being made into a movie as we speak! Called ‘The Making of Plus One’ (check it out in the Internet Movie Data Base here) it is a movie about the making of the movie of the book (still with me?) and the brilliant news is that Claire and her sister Julia Fordham, get to make a cameo appearance in the movie, playing themselves. They are flying out to the South of France to film their bit next month.

Gosh! I actually know a movie star! Two even! That’s even better than meeting (well, gazing across the room at) the great Harry Shearer (of Spinal Tap and Simpsons fame), Victoria Tennant (who starred in one of my favourite movies ‘LA Story’ with her ex-husband, Steve Martin. And, Kim, incidentally, she is your favourite ballet dancer, Irina Baranova’s daughter!) and meeting Robert Shaw’s daughter and Tess Harper, who played Tommy Lee Jones’ wife in ‘No Country for Old Men’. It just occurs to me that means she has met Javier Bardem. I have sat next to someone who knows Javier Bardem!! Here she is with luscious Javier at the end on the right.

Star struck? Moi? Well, this is LA…

PS Just been reminded by Claire that on my first night in LA, we were in Hal’s restaurant in Venice and John Voigt and his son (Angelina Jolie’s brother) were at the next table to us. And I didn’t pick up on it – until everyone mentioned it on the way home. My biggest star spot and I missed it. Well, I was jet lagged…

Now you see me, now you don’t…

I am back from Mallorca, rested and with Vitamin D stores replenished. I seriously think I was suffering from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). I’m normally a fairly cheerful soul – everything is fine (until it isn’t!) but I had started to feel that things most definitely were not fine any more – hence my visit to Mallorca.

I’ve not really had chance to catch up since I got back so I apologise if I have missed anything vital! I think I may have missed a few tags – if I have – sorry, I’ll try and get to them when I can. I must confess that part of the problem has been my obsession with the Olympics – I have been glued to the TV watching all sorts of weird and wonderful sports  and rooting for any one who took my fancy if there were no Team GB athletes involved. I am quite bereft now it is all over. It was a wonderful Games, the spectacular facilities, a wonderful backdrop to some truly stunning sporting performances. Now it’s up to London to produce a good Games in 2012. Fingers crossed.

This weekend, the weather has brightened up back home as well and I am feeling much better. Luckily, I am also off to sunny Los Angeles for two weeks on Friday so another blast of hot sunshine should complete the recovery. I will be taking my laptop with me this time so I hope to send you regular bulletins from California. In preparation, I have been indulging in a little retail therapy which has probably contributed to my improved state of mind…

Clothes shopping makes me happy so to continue this cheery vibe, watch this video it combines two of my favourite things – paper and babies!

PS My garden table is due to arrive today…it is almost 2pm, I am not holding my breath…

PPS – Just found out about this film, ‘Burn after Reading’. I HAVE to see this, it is the new Coen brothers film (love the Coen brothers’ films) and it stars George Clooney (and you all know how I feel about HIM), Brad Pitt (take him or leave him – am I the only person who thinks he is the WORST comedy actor? Think of his guest appearance in ‘Friends’ – useless) and John Malkovich (weirdly gorgeous) and two great female leads, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton. Here is a trailer. Maybe it will be on in Los Angeles….

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.