Friday, July 27, 2007

Away I Go

This weekend I am travelling back to the 14C. Our venue is here at Pembroke Castle. This is a new castle to me. Even though my parents in law live in Pembroke, I have never visited the castle.
About the castle:
Soon after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 the victorious Norman invaders looked to Wales, but it was not until 1093 that Earl Roger of Montgomery built the first Pembroke Castle. Although it was a fairly basic structure of timber palisades the castle stood firm against Welsh counter attacks.
In 1189 William Marshal became Earl of Pembroke and the castle passed into his hands. Over the next 30 years he transformed the earth and timber structure into a powerful stone fortification.
More here on the castle timeline.

'See' you all next week........


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Aftermath

Sitting here in my (thankfully!) dry house over the last few days, I have heard the constant drone of helicopters flying north to help out Gloucester and Tewkesbury people who are flooded out and without water.

Tewkesbury went from small inland market town to island thanks to the Rivers Avon and Severn bursting their banks and enveloping the town.........
This is a map of the most recent flooding in nearby counties.

They are expecting the Thames to continue rising in Oxfordshire and riverside households have been warned of bursting banks.........

There is talk of deaths, missing people, help stations, aid parcels, panic buying........whatever happened to England......?

Latest news

Oh, and those interested in the Joust field? Well, being water meadows, the water didn't drain and next weekend's event is also cancelled.........

But got Horses? You got Water? You got THIS..........


Monday, July 23, 2007

Don't Mess with the Classics

Those bloggers that know me well know I love cinema. I love films as varied as 'Cocoon' to 'From Dusk Til Dawn', 'Monsters Inc' to 'Killing Zoe'.....I am a Depp nut, not to mention Vin Diesel, Denzel (no surname required!), Tom Hanks, Adam Sandler and John Travolta.....hmm........speaking of Mr Travolta......what is he up to?
Dancing a dress!?!

Hairspray is not only a popular beauty product, it is the name of one of my all-time favourite cult movies.
Hairspray is the story of Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake), daughter of Edna and Wilbur Turnblad. The sweet, if a little overweight, Tracy dreams of being a star on The Corny Collins show, a TV dance show.
But her rise to stardom is hampered by the jealous and spoilt Amber Von Tussle, who believes she is the star of the show.
Now a household name, Tracy uses her fame to promote integration in the segregated society of Baltimore.
Then both girls are entered into the competition to be the Queen of the auto show.
When it comes down to the auto show, there can only be one Queen......who will it be?

I love the movie Hairspray because of Ricki Lake's infectious delight, the humour, and the actors. But the real star of Hairspray was the music, along with the dance routines. I like the later John Waters' stuff. His early work was very strange (like the man himself), but he moved to mainstream film-making with Hairspray. In the 90s he went on to write and direct cult classics as Cry Baby, Pecker and Serial Mom - films that illustrated to us his perception on life in Baltimore (his home town).

Well, this year Hairspray has been restyled. I have avoided all the hype, except the odd trailer, but am going to see what they have done with one of my favourite movies. Unlike the original which, as with all Waters' films, was an ensemble piece with no 'Stars' - even though it included such names as Debbie Harry, Jerry Stiller, Sonny Bono, Pia Zadora, Hairspray 2007 does seem to be more a vehicle for Mr Travolta.

I hear there has been all new music written for this version..........which makes me I leave my readers with a classic piece of 1988 Hairspray - the Madison.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday, Floody Sunday

Update to previous post:
Checking on the living history forums, Berkeley castle meadows are now under 3ft of water (and the contents of portaloos!) and there are four days of rain predicted for this coming week. It is unlikely next weekend's Joust will happen either. Joust officials are either looking at cutting their losses this year, finding another local venue or holding it on another date - perhaps I might get to take part after all.......

It's hard to imagine how bad the floods are, although we only live about 20 minutes from Gloucester......
BBC news report
In addition, we are expecting at least another two inches of rain in the next week and the River Severn is expected to burst its banks in Gloucester city centre.

Here's a new caption photo, courtesy of a BBC viewer. Come on, time to use your imagination...


Saturday, July 21, 2007

How Low Can You Go.......?

I'm a bit low this weekend...
I'm supposed to be here, fulfilling a wish that has been in my heart for a few years now..... I've gone to this as a punter every year since the first event and this was to be my first one as a re-enactor......
Watching heroes like this..........
Browsing the market stalls and listening to these lovely ladies (Medieval Baebes)........
Living here.........
And watching the twice daily battle of Berkeley Castle, as fought between Lords Berkeley and Talbot.....
But I'm not - because thanks to the horrible, mean, nasty English weather, the castle meadows are under 3" of water and yesterday the local roads looked like this........So I'm home alone.....dreaming of knights and battles, stalls and flagons of ale. It's stopped raining now, but it's so cold here I am sitting in a fleece, with the heating on and a hot cup of coffee........perfect for July!
Update: Checking on the forums, the meadows are now under 3ft of water (and the contents of portaloos!) and there are four days of rain predicted for this coming week. It is unlikely next weekend's Joust will happen either. Joust officials are either looking at cutting their losses this year, finding another local venue or holding it on another date - perhaps I might get to take part after all.......
I just realised I haven't posted a caption photo - so here's a medieval shot from last year's joust......captions, people!
[pictures from Joust! 2006. Flood picture from yesterday!]

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Bathtub Test

It doesn't hurt to take a hard look at yourself from time to time, and this should help get you started.
During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director what the criterion was which defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.
'Well,' said the Director, 'we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.
''Oh, I understand,' said the visitor. 'A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup.'
'No.' said the Director, 'A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?'

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Toast

Minerva has got her results - no cancer!! Go visit - help her celebrate this brief respite from the Evil C....every scan is a heartstopper for her.

When she was at her lowest ebb there were 104 comments from all sorts of people supporting her in their own unique ways, pulling together to give her the strength she needed.

The blogosphere is an inspiring place.........
Cheers Minerva, and here's to hoping the all-clear continues for a very, very long time - a lifetime, in fact....


Monday, July 16, 2007

Blog Fodder #24

This week’s topic was submitted by the oh-so-lovely and talented Karen, of Karen Writes. She has a lot going on. Not to mention alien bugs visiting (ewww). Go take a look!

What fashion trend you followed was very cool then, but now looks ridiculous?

hmm - with some (mumble cough) years under my belt there have been a few fashion disasters. Oddly enough, though, all fashion comes full circle sooner or later.....of course, you have to realise I have no designer names in my wardrobe - ever.
A friend asked me what 'labels' were in my wardrobe and I answered seriously 'M&S and Cotton Traders'........

anyway, down to bizz....

There was my 'dance skirt' phase - when I was doing American Square Dancing and my favourite skirt was a circular one - well, they've been back in fashion since....

Then in my teen years it was 'Quo Kit' - a teenage uniform of blue jeans and white t'shirts - well, I don't need to tell you that the classic jeans 'n' tee are still in demand....

Flares - back in style (now called bootleg)

Drainpipes - same again (now called tight or straight leg)

Rahrah skirt - yep (now called a ruched skirt)

But I have yet to see my ultimate outfit come round again..........

White jumpsuit (reminiscent of a boilersuit, with collar and long sleeves) with a thin bright yellow belt, cinched tight and matching bright yellow stilettos (being 5'8", in 4" stilettos I was 6'.....!)
I thought I looked SO cool.........sheesh, the 80's were SO embarrassing.....!!

Fancy 'Foddering'? Got Blogblock and need some ideas? Visit Blog Fodder to find out more - play the game and have some fun!!


Saturday, July 14, 2007


Stop Press - before you read on, please visit Minerva to add your voice to the support. She has discovered another lump and it looks like she may have to fight Round Three in the battle with Mr C. Come on, everyone - PowerBlogging Time!

And now we return to our scheduled programming.....

Wow, nearly a week since I blogged?? I have had a busy week and had the rellies to stay last night. But now the rellies are gone on their cruise and MB has disappeared off to Berlin for ... um .... something - and I'm back.

We are finally getting a sunny day after another week of rain and wind and my lilies have bloomed........excuse the slight blurring of the images, there is a bit of a breeze still.....reminding us more torrential rain is expected tonight and tomorrow.

My sweet li'l ol' Missee Bug at Ladybugxing asked what the lilies look like in full bloom - well, honey, here is the whole plant........stunning, isn't it? They only grow to about 18" - wouldn't they look magnificent on a 6' plant????

And some of you will remember the Day Lily bud I posted here... well, here is the fully grown bloom, isn't it magnificent? So many shades of orange.....These lilies only bloom for 24 hours (hence the name) but I get lots of buds that bloom at different times, so I get about 2 weeks of this glory.....
And I mentioned to you that I had found the bulbs under the shed? Well, there are some I missed and every year, one or two resolutely grow and bloom where they are hiding. This one is behind the shed.
Finally, as it's Saturday and it's Meet and Greet time, a caption contest for my blogbuddies.......
Remember, keep it clean - familyblog and all......

Although this isn't a real competition (no prizes, sorry) I do read all the captions and pick my favourites.
Last time (here) I was torn between loads of good suggestions until the last moment when Carmi suggested
'Pandora's Box'
who is, of course, who Pandora was named for........and then a late entry from RCA confused the issue, because I did like her caption
“Let me explain it again Schrödinger.... just because I'm in the box doesn't mean I'm dead”
.......SO made me consider renaming Charlie Schrödinger [grin]
So it was a tie - Carmi in London, Canada and RCA in London, England.....

oops - nearly forgot.......[hollers southward] Happy Bastille Day!! to French people everywhere! Hope your bals des pompiers were the best ever!!


Monday, July 09, 2007

Blog Fodder #23

I'm rejoining the Blog Fodder troops. There were a couple of subjects I couldn't address, and I got busy for a while there too.
I'll catch up with last week's topic which was a good one from
Toy Reviews.
You get to “restart” your life at any age. When, and why?

I would go back to 17. I had left an unhappy home and got a job as a live-in househelp in a wonderfully crazy family with mum, dad, four children and their paternal grandma, not to mention dogs, cats, goats and a pony. The parents and maternal grandparents are classical musicians and the house was always full of music, noise and life. In fact, their grandaddy would visit and announce his presence with a quick blast of a suitable concerto on the grand piano in the drawing room. Yep, the house was ancient and had a drawing room and parlour. The mother was a music teacher to very small children and every Saturday there were about 100 kids roaming around the house and gardens.
The family also owned a falling down barn and abandoned dairy which they redesigned as a concert hall and rehearsal rooms.
It was a fabulous life, in an amazing house, with a family to die for.
Of course, there is the time travel conundrum that in order to get to here (happy in my house with MB and felines) from there (happy in their house with the children and the menagerie) I would still have to leave the family after a couple of years, marry foolishly, get a job in the civil service, divorce, go through major surgery and years of depression.
Come to think of it, I'll stick with my current age.........

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Today is a smorgasblog of stuff - a blog buffet, if you will.......

Firstly, it is 7/7/7 - 2 yrs since the London bombings. Let us pause for a moment to remember the 52 dead, countless injured and the devastated families.

Secondly - my Oriental Lily has bloomed and is as magnificent as ever.Sadly, the rain didn't hold off and the stamen leaked colour onto the petals, hence the yellow tinge.
In honour of Alan Johnston (here) I dedicate my first lily of the year.

And for all the other people snatched from their lives for political or personal gain, I dedicate all the lilies on my plants yet to bloom........... My parents in law are visiting next Friday and staying the night. As they will be sleeping in what is effectively Charlie Cat's room, I have folded the bed up (he had a hidey den under the folding bed) and vacuumed to prepare him for losing his room overnight.

We always knew Charlie had psychological issues, which is why he has his 'own room', but we failed to realise how deep his problems lay. When his den and room were removed from him, he went into 'terrified' mode, shaking and hiding in the wardrobe in our room.
Finally, with a lot of love, he emerged from the wardrobe and went to hide in his kittenhood hiding spot...........
Of course, he was a LOT smaller then..........

And finally, I am supposed to be in Beaumaris Castlethis weekend with the re-enactment crew, but I was so tired yesterday that I slept right through my afternoon off and ditched the idea of driving for four hours in the evening.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Time to Turn off my Ticker....

No - not my Non-Smoking Ticker.........don't panic!

I am totally THRILLED to be able to turn the following ticker off............

Alan Johnston banner

After 114 days in captivity.........He's FREE!!!!
Independence Day indeed......

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Sun has Shone Today.....

This is the sky as I drove home........fluffy clouds gathering - rumbles of thunder in the background......
More and darker cloud soon started to build up on the horizon.........
and some more - the cloud was getting very dark and lightning was flashing.......
by the time I was getting close to home, the sky started to look like the gateway to Hades......I think this is the definition of 'a lowering sky'........the cloud is like a huge great weight just hanging over the world.....

Just before the downpour and full storm began, I nipped out and took today's picture of my Oriental Lily, with the rain spattering on my back...........

The flower is finally taking her first little bit of sunshine and starting to spread her petals......


Monday, July 02, 2007

Summer in Britain......

Well, here it is, July already and now over to our weather reporter to see how summer is shaping up in the UK.......

Well, it's been raining...........(This is Saturday)
a after day.......(This is Sunday)
Do you see the plant in the bottom right of this rainy picture? That's my Oriental Lily, and today I nipped out between downpours to see how it is doing......
I was so excited - look at that magnificent bud. If you look carefully you can see the petals are just starting to curl back at the edges ready to burst into colourful stunning flowers. I can't wait, trust me, the flowers are so pretty.....

Sorry, I got distracted from the weather is this morning's weather......

Rain, rain and more rain......(This is Monday)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

8 Random Things

I saw this over at cyberkitten's blog and thought it might be fun.
I'm not going to tag, but if you like it, then feel free to steal it.
1. I am that much-maligned professional, a Health and Safety Officer.
2. I am allergic to lots of things, including wool, mosquitoes, polyester, aspirin, wine, nickel.
3. I stopped biting my nails two years ago.
4. I stopped smoking 8 months ago.
5. I am a strict vegetarian.
6. I can never finish anything, experts say that is a sign of a history of being told you're no good at anything.
7. I am really bad at birthdays and keeping in touch with family.
8. Although my immediate family live in Britain, most of my distant family live in Toronto, Canada.