Friday 27 February 2015

Challenge Update - February 2015

My 2015 challenges are:-

1. Read one book each month.
1a. Read Agatha Christie books in chronological order.
2. Watch films from IMDb's top 100 movies of all time.
3. Support charities.

I've had another good month in February. Two books have been read on the Kindle, the first one being Little Women. This is a book I've never read before, I remember watching the film but couldn't remember everything about it so when I saw this was free for the Kindle, I thought I'd give it a go and I'm so glad that I did as I really enjoyed it. I read a post at the back end of last year which Amy wrote on her Love Made My Home blog, Orchard House and Louisa May Alcott, about her visit to the author's house in Concord, Massachusetts which I found really interesting as the book was actually loosely based on Louisa and her three sisters.

The second book I read in February was The Inn At The Top by Neil Hanson. This book has the subtitle Tales of Life at the Highest Pub in Britain, so that should give you some idea of what this book is about. It's packed with anecdotes about the author and his wife's time at the inn, in a remote part of the Yorkshire Dales, back in the 1970's with bits of history about the area thrown in for good measure. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

I read the second of Agatha Christie's books, The Secret Adversary. This book introduces the reader to Tommy and Tuppence, two fictional detectives who appear together in four Agatha Christie novels and one collection of short stories. I'm familiar with Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple but I've never come across Tommy and Tuppence in any Agatha Christie books I've read previously so this was a bit of a surprise. I enjoyed the book and didn't guess the ending.

I've had a bit of a film watching marathon this month, ten in total.

For A Few Dollars More is one of the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, the second in the Dollars Trilogy which are a favourite of my dad's. I can't say I was enthralled, it was watchable but not really my thing.

The Shawshank Redemption is number one on IMDb's top 100 and I can see why. It's a film I've seen before and one, I'm sure, I'll watch again. It would definitely make it on to my top 100, quite near the top.

I wasn't looking forward to watching Life Is Beautiful, an Italian comedy drama. I confess that I'm not all that fond of films with subtitles, but this was such a lovely film. A Jewish Italian, Guido, and his family are taken to a Nazi concentration camp where Guido comes up with an idea to shield his son from the true horror of the situation. Bittersweet. I'm pleased I watched it. Roberto Benigni directed and starred in this film and he won an Oscar for Best Actor, very well deserved in my opinion.

I nearly gave Pulp Fiction a miss even though I didn't really know what it was about. I'd heard about the violence and didn't fancy it, but it wasn't at all what I was expecting, I didn't realise it was a black comedy. I actually really enjoyed the film, very clever how three separate stories are connected together, and I loved John Travolta in it. Mick had never seen it before either so I sat through it a second time with him.

American History X is a film I've never heard of before. It's about two brothers, one a neo Nazi skinhead who ends up a reformed character after his time in prison, and the other who seems to be going down the same lines. A very powerful storyline which is bound to stir up strong emotions. This is another film I wouldn't have chosen to watch but I'm glad that I did.

One of my favourites is Forrest Gump. I don't know how many times I've seen this already, but I'm sure it's another one which I'll watch again. I think Tom Hanks is a brilliant actor and is fantastic in the role. This would definitely make my top 100.

Full Metal Jacket is about new Marine recruits, taking the viewer through their basic training and in to combat in Vietnam. I'm not really in to war films and this wasn't my thing, but it was watchable. It wouldn't make it in to my top 100 though.

Another Tom Hanks film, The Green Mile. I think this would make my top ten, a hopeless, tragic story about men on death row, but a beautiful tale too. This is another film which I can watch over and over again.

The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II are number two and three on IMDb's list. They wouldn't make it on to my list, but that's not to say they're not great films. I'm not in to gangster movies at all so these really weren't to my taste. I did enjoy watching Al Pacino when he was younger though, a very good looking man.

Eleanor cleared a few things out of her drawers and wardrobes a couple of weeks ago so they were taken to The Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd clothing bank. These clothing banks are so handy, they're usually situated in supermarket carparks and I know I can take my donations there at any time of day, they don't close like charity shops do.

Lend With Care, part of Care International, allows entrepreneurs in developing countries to make their own way out of poverty with the help of a microfinance loan. Making a contribution towards the loan is a great way to help someone help themselves and this can be in £15 increments. The entrepreneur's profile is regularly updated so you can follow their progress and see how their new source of income is transforming their life. Providing all goes well, the loan will be repaid to your account and you can then decide whether to withdraw the amount you lent or you can go on to help more entrepreneurs in the same way. I think it's a great scheme so I've helped a lady in Zambia with her bakery business this month. It's a very short term loan and should be repaid in July so I hope to go on and help more people in the same way.

It's been another busy month where my challenges are concerned but I'm hoping to have a bit of a rest over the weekend as I'm suffering with conjunctivitis at the moment and I've also done something to my back, I'm not sure what as it came on suddenly without me realising. I do hope it doesn't stick around, a bad back is something I can definitely do without now that the gardening season is nearly upon us.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Photo Medley - February

I usually have lots of photos on my camera which never make it on to the blog, but there aren't very many for February. It's been so cold just lately that I haven't been out much with my camera, so I thought I'd show you a few more photos which I took around the lake at Thornes Park.

You can see how icy it was, the birds look as though they're walking on water.

I'm hoping that the weather is going to start warming up so that I can get out and about a bit more with my camera. Let's see what March brings.

Thursday 19 February 2015

How Did That Happen?

It's Daniel's birthday today, he's twenty. Just how did that happen? How did my baby boy turn in to a strapping twenty year old in the blink of an eye? I don't feel old enough to have a twenty year old son.

We won't be seeing him today but he's coming home for the weekend with his girlfriend tomorrow so we're going out for a meal tomorrow night, I'm sure he'll have some plans of his own for Saturday and then I shall cook a roast dinner for them before we take them back to university on Sunday.

Happy birthday, Daniel.

Saturday 14 February 2015

Thornes Park

Last Saturday, we visited Thornes Park in Wakefield. The main idea was to visit the Walled Garden for a post for my other blog, The Good Life. You can read about it on my Thornes Park In February post. We had Archie with us so after a look around the gardens we decided on a walk around the park. Archie came off his lead and had a good run around but as we neared the lake, we put him back on his lead otherwise he'd have been straight in the water.

It was a cold day and part of the lake was iced over, there looked to be some quite sharp pieces of ice jutting out.

Lots of birds use the lake.

The Canada Geese can get quite aggressive as you pass them, Archie wasn't very keen.

There was a man with his little boy throwing bread for the birds.

The rest of the Canada Geese couldn't come quickly enough when they knew food was around.

There was plenty for everyone.

This isn't a park we usually visit so it was a change to go somewhere different and Archie enjoyed himself.

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Lucky Seven

First of all I'd just like to thank everyone for the lovely messages you left on my last post. Monty was a beautiful bunny and a huge part of our family. We've all been very sad over the last few days and your comments have meant so much to us all, thank you so much.

I'm so lucky, not only to have so many people read and comment on my blog, but also that so many people seem to enjoy my ramblings. I'm thrilled when someone sees fit to bestow an award on this little blog as Lyn from Planner Bug did recently when she awarded me the Liebster Award. This is, in fact, the seventh time I've been given this particular award. If you look down at the very bottom of my sidebar you can see all the awards I've been given previously. I'm very fortunate to have quite a few.

I think that passing on these type of awards and nominating other blogs gives readers a chance to discover new blogs to read as well as getting to know a blogger a little better.

The rules of this award are:-

1) Post 11 random facts about yourself.
2) Answer 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
3) Nominate 11 bloggers to do the same.
4) Let the bloggers you have nominated know that they have been nominated.

11 Random Facts About Myself.

1) I loved watching programmes like The Waltons when I was a child and always wanted a large family of my own. I couldn't have more children after Eleanor so I'm thankful for the two that I did manage to have.
2) It will be our Silver Wedding Anniversary in July but we haven't made any plans to celebrate it.
3) I like watching documentaries, especially those about crime.
4) My favourite crisps are Walkers Cheese and Onion.
5) I rarely wear anything other than jeans.
6) I prefer to take a shower than a bath. I would love to be able to relax and soak in a bubble bath but I just can't do it.
7) I like most food but I don't like advocado.
8) I hate driving. I drive a fifteen year old car and it's fine as I drive it as little as possible.
9) I'm not at all sporty but I was in the school netball, rounders and swimming teams.
10) I love scented candles, my favourite fragrance is citrus.
11) My favourite season is summer, I hate being cold.

11 Questions Set By Lyn.

1) What's your drink of choice?
I drink hot drinks rarely so I'd have to choose water as my non alcoholic drink of choice, but wine otherwise, though sometimes only a cold lager will do.

2) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I could never emigrate and I'm not sure I could ever leave Leeds. I've researched my family tree and my dad's side of the family were living here right back to the 1700's, perhaps that's why I feel such strong connections to it.

3) Who inspires you the most?
My mum. She's been the person I've trusted my whole life, looked to for guidance and asked for advice.

4) Which historical event would you have liked to witness in person?
I think this is a really hard question to answer, there's so many historical events which interest me but I wouldn't particularly have liked to have been there at the time, things like the plague, the fire of London or the sinking of the Titanic. I suppose I'd go for something like the first aeroplane flight or the first moon landing which I only missed by a year, or something which I did witness on tv but which would have been great to have actually been there for like the fall of the Berlin Wall.

5) What is your favourite food?
I like most things but I really don't think you can beat a good old Sunday roast dinner, with Yorkshire Puddings of course.

6) What kind of music do you like to listen to?
I really don't listen to much music these days but I was always bopping around to chart music in the 80's. I do love musical theatre though so I suppose I'd have to say that.

7) What is your favourite tv show, past or present?
There's too many to list them all but a few from the past, Cold Feet, Starsky and Hutch and Fawlty Towers, and present, Downton Abbey and Call The Midwife.

8) What is your favourite pastime when you're alone?
I have lots of hobbies, knitting, crochet, reading, gardening and I've just started cross stitch too. I like watching tv too, but only if there's something worth watching on, I'm not one of these who channel hops until I find something.

9) What is your favourite dessert?
I prefer a starter to a dessert if I'm eating out. I can't really think of a favourite dessert, I'd choose whatever takes my fancy at the time.

10) If you could travel back in time to a particular decade in the 20th century, what would it be and why?
It would be the 80's. I was in my teens and very early twenties then and I'd like to be the same age I was then if I travelled back. I think it was a great decade to grow up in.

11) What was the last thing you bought?
A jumper from Marks and Spencer. Actually, that's not strictly true, I had a £30 voucher as an incentive for applying for a credit card so the jumper cost me nothing.

11 Blogs I Nominate.

A Rich Tapestry
Angel Jem's City Cottage
Granny Smith's Quilting
Hookin' A Yarn
Jumble And Jelly
Lazy Days & Sundays At The Willows
Life At Sylvan House
Love Made My Home
My Blethering Blog
Poppy Patchwork

My Questions For You.

1) If your house was on fire, what one thing, other than family members and pets, would you save?
2) What, other than your children, is your greatest achievement?
3) What would be your dream job and is it a job you do or have done?
4) What is your dream holiday destination?
5) If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you bought?
6) Name your top three films of all time.
7) If you could have a conversation with a famous person, dead or alive, who would it be?
8) What is your earliest childhood memory?
9) What is your favourite season and why?
10) What made you decide to start a blog?
11) What would you like the future to hold for you?

Please don't feel obliged to take part if you don't wish to do so, these blog award posts can be so time consuming and I know that not everyone accepts awards so I won't be offended if you decline, but I think it's a nice way to acknowledge some of the blogs I enjoy reading.

Thank you for nominating me, Lyn, I'm always happy when someone enjoys my blog.

Saturday 7 February 2015


2008 - 7th February 2015.

We're all very sad here today.

RIP beautiful bunny.

Friday 6 February 2015

Another On The List

Another project has been added to the list of things on the go. When Amanda from Eight by Six blog showed a photo of the Blackberry Beanie that she was knitting, it occured to me that Eleanor may like this style of hat. I was right, so I printed off the pattern and ordered some yarn.

I'm using the suggested yarn, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. It contains cashmere and merino and it's super soft. Eleanor chose a dark green shade known as basil as it will go well with her coat. These photos don't pick the colour up properly, it's actually a lovely shade, not the murky colour that's shown here.

It was Tuesday evening when I cast on and I'm about half way through now, it shouldn't take me long to finish.

You can see why this stitch is called blackberry stitch, the little bobbles look exactly like little blackberries.

My other projects have been put on the back burner for now but it shouldn't be long before I can get on with them again.

Tuesday 3 February 2015

A Slippery Slope

After treating myself to a box of Tunnock's Tea Cakes at Christmas, I find I'm now on a slippery slope.

This is the second lot I've bought since that box at Christmas.

I can't help it, I think I'm addicted. Does anyone else have a similar problem?