Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Category Archives: Tennis

Busy, busy, busy…

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.

Glastonbury

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….

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Busy old weekend

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…

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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…

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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…

Have a fun week.

Happy New Year!

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. 

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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…

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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?

matt

Ooh I’m not sure about this at all. My year might have just gone pear-shaped already…

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…