Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A ticket at last ?

No, not Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket ( but might as well be given their elusiveness ) but a ticket for the Closing Ceremony. In fact, not just one but four ... I'm on the website now and can hardly believe my luck ... but wait ... what is this ... only Band A available ?  ..... hang on , let me check the price ... £1500 per ticket ?  ...... so the four of us can go to the ball and it will only cost us .... £6000 ?????

Maybe not.

It's high time I posted some layouts

In spite of the  red wine , newly invented cocktails ( did we really coin the phrase Manka Wan*** ??? for the mango / vodka based tipple you plied us with Emma ? ) ,  frequent snack and meal breaks and endless giggling , we did manage to get a bunch of layouts finished at Emma's this weekend. I'm amazed we ever get any scrapping done at all . It is pure joy to spend time with these lovely ladies .... and Kate , you definitely won the tennis ... hands down or should I say bottoms up ?

Until September then ...

Friday, 20 July 2012

Here's what I would wear/carry to the Olympics ...


 ... having just heard Seb Coe tell us on Radio 4 this morning that he wasn't sure if you'd be allowed to wear Nike ( not an Olympic sponsor ... sorry partner .. . although that would imply, erroneously in this case, that both parties had a say in the matter ) trainers into the stadium  ... that is if I'd shelled out what it would cost to inoculate 1000 children from Malaria in Africa for a ticket.

Wonder if they'd let me in .

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Silver Lining

There's only one thing tobe said in favour of feeling ill and that is being able to do nothing. We so rarely get a chance to slow down to a near standtill that when the body tells us to stop , we're at loss to know how. I'm sitting by the banks of the Thames keeping an eye on my son who's doing his best to capsize his mates in their kayaks. Thank goodness for life vests is all I can say. I've been sitting around all day in fact whilst they play and already I've taught myself how to needle felt, make a chevron friendship bracelet and written another poem. And all from the comfort of an easy chair , a magazine and my iPad. Time to go though , they've all just been hauled off the river by the boatyard man who suspects their antics are't in the interests of sportsmanship but rather that they're intent on proving their daredevilry. Can't take 13 year olds anywhere ! !

Friday, 6 July 2012

10 Tips to Beat the Wet Weather Blues

Not the usual .... 'well the garden needs it ' baloney but somewhat more imaginativeI hope. Please report back and let me know if any of these work for you .

1. Find a weather app for your phone/ ipad /pc /mac and set it for your home town ... but in another part of the world. I've just found a Teddington in New Zealand where, despite the fact that it's their winter , the sun is shining every day .

2. Ditch any attempts to style your hair it will only end up in a wiry frizz. Instead go buy some outrageous hair accesssory ( Accessorize have a half price sale on right now ) and wear it with pride. I'm sporting green dreadlocks today.

3. Stuff the BBQ - burnt sausages are vastly over-rated. Buy tins of warming comfort food like baked beans and rice pudding - cheap and cheerful too.

4. Do NOT attempt to emulate the picnic experience by pretending to hold one in your living room with your plethora of Cath Kidston picnicware, as the magazines suggest, to entertain your kids. There is nothing sadder than a pretend picnic in a grey living room and you will only spill blackcurrant squash on the carpet. Tell them that they've got to play on the X box all day and will likely have to for the next two weeks. Result - guilt free peace and quiet all round and remind yourself frequently that X Boxes and Play-stations improve your children's hand to eye co-ordination.

5. Buy wine by the box. Cheaper than the bottled variety and makes the evening pass surprisingly swiftly . This has the added benefit of rendering the following morning a fuzzy experience in which to ignore the morning's weather forecast.

6. Talking of which, ignore the weather forecast. you know what it's going to say . Instead invent a few Sun Newspaper style headlines , such as Wet Wash-out Weekend Wreaks Havoc in the West or Blustery Gales Batter Britain . This has the added benefit of improving your children's grasp of onomatopoeia.

7. Cancel all outdoor engagements and go internet shopping instead. Nothing like a parcel in the post to bring cheer and it's your postman who'll get wet , not you , although we like our postman- apologies Dave.

8. Chuck out your sun screen. It wastes space in your bathroom cabinet and no-one likes that greasy experience of oily hands anyway. Stay pale , it's the new cool.

9. Make Christmas Cards. One less thing to do come December.

10. Adjust your calendar. Tear off July, August and September and just pretend you've gone straight to September without passing jail. Don't forget to collect £200 when you pass Go.

And if all else fails , you can always cheer yourself up by thinking it could be worse ... at least there's no Glastonbury this year.


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Old Lie

Jonathan Ross once tweeted,  when he was still on The BBC's film programme , in reply to a 'fan' who told him on Twitter that he should stop , it was boring,  " I'd just watch something else if I were you "

The trouble is , I suspect that from the 24th July onwards,  there will be precious little on TV to watch apart from the Olympics. I quite like sport but in small doses . I resent the over-blown commercial nature of the Games and the fact that every poster I've seen to date, depicts an air brushed super-model in some form of lycra. Can't sports men and women just look normal ? Fit by all means but normal.

Every Sunday glossy magazine has a bunch of Team GB glamour girls done up to the nines in evening wear and killer heels. is it not enough for school children to try their hardest at running, jumping , throwing and catching without having to look as if they've just entered a beauty contest ? And god forbid if you can't run a triathlon or two before teatime without breaking into a sweat. That would imply that we just aren't competing hard enough or are is some way , grossly inadequate.

When I was about 9 or 10 , as soon as Wimbledon came on the telly , all of us would be out in the street knocking about a few balls with our trusty Dunlop Maxplys. That wouldn't cut the mustard these days. If you hadn't been enrolled into tennis camp by the time you were 5 , or been spotted by a tennis scout for Junior Wimbledon by the age of 8, you'd be deemed a write-off. It's all about being better , stronger and sadly angrier . You only have to look at the furious and contorted grimaces of some of the tennis players these days as they score another point against their opponents, to notice that their demeanor is more that of a gladiator , fist triumphant in the air , the sniff of victory in their nostrils, rather than that of a conscientious sportsman. And as for all that grunting on court ... oh please.

And since when did MacDonalds and Coca Cola have anything to do with a healthy diet such as might be promoted in the pursuit of sport ? It really is all about money , nothing more and nothing less ... oh and being better than everyone else at the expense of true sportsmanship. When Rupert Murdoch can pay £3 billion pounds just to show Premier League football for 3 years, then you know the world truly has gone mad. Doubtless that could write off a sizeable chunk of third world debt, releasing millions from a life of poverty and disease but no , lets spend it on fueling the millionaire footballers lifestyles ... after all their WAGS can never have enough handbags. Don't get me started.  

So I'm afraid I've turned into a grumpy old woman with regards to this Olympic nonsense . At the risk of offending sports fanatics, I've written a poem , which anyone studying English Lit for GCSE will immediately recognise. With apologies to Wilfred Owen .... 

Spent double , like old suckers, over-taxed
Squeezed dry,  coughing up like saps, we cursed through drudge,
Till on the telly we turned our backs
And towards our PCs began to trudge
Politicians droned on, many had lost their wits
But carried on, regardless, regurgitating spin 
Drunk with fatigue , deaf to their endless drivel 
About “The greatness of The Olympic Spirit”
Tickets ! Tickets ! Quick boys , they’re on the internet,
Filling in the clumsy forms , but not in time
Someone was still desperately fumbling for the synchronised swimming
Flound’ring like a man posessed
Dim through the misty screen and tawdry 2012 logo
As if under a spell, I saw him paying thousands.
In all my dreams, with wallet open
He plunges at me , greed infested whining
If you too could see, on the Olympic site
The pathetic goading of self interested, hyped celebrity
of being proud to be a part of this scandalous hoax
And watch his credit card ignite with debt
His gloating face , pound signs rolling in his eyes, 
If you could fathom how thousands for a seat at
some indulgent Opening Ceremony farce can be accepted,
Whilst half the world lies dying of starvation
Obscene consumerism at its worst 
And in the name, supposedly, of sport
Of vile corporate hospitality and MacDonalds sponsorship
Thinly disguised as ‘ uniting a nation’
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate Wayne Rooney style glory
The Old Lie : Dulce et decorum est pecuniam donare quam perdere caritatem et salute *
* Roughly Translates as “ It is good and fitting to waste your money instead of saving lives by donating to charity

Sunday, 1 July 2012

From the sublime to the ridiculous

It's been a bit of a rude shock to return to temperatures of under 20 degrees and rain when we've spent the week basking in 37 degrees and upwards. Funny how quickly you acclimatise to the heat - maybe it's the fact that you get to do nothing more strenuous than swim all day and have all your meals cooked for you.

We've just returned from a fabulous holiday - the sort I thought I'd never like and yet it was like paradise. This may be partly due to the fact that it was all inclusive,  a blessing when you're traveling with 2 Coca Cola addicted kids and a husband who loves beer, gin and tonic but not necessarily in the same glass . Everything was on tap - drinks, watersports, meals.
The boys were over the moon . They were able to do their own thing and eldest son hooked up with a bunch of like-minded teens - we hardly saw him all week ( another blessing if you've ever dragged a reluctant teen on holiday with you) . What make s holiday though ( apart from the sun , the sea and the endless supply of free food and drink ) is the people you meet . We met a wonderful bunch of like minded families and haven't laughed so much in ages ... this also meant DH and I didn't have to bore the pants off eachother - yet another bonus.
Our daily routine went something like this ...

Rise early
Swim in the warm waters of the Aegean Sea
Breakfast on the terrace
Maybe a lap of the pool
Down to  the Sunset Bar for a Turkish coffee
Snooze on the sun deck with a good book and Factor 30
Maybe a G&T or two before lunch
Another sumptuous buffet feast for lunch with enough Rose to bring on a siesta
A spot of windsurfing or snorkelling in the afternoon
Afternoon tea with Turkish pastries and Baclava overlooking the sea
A beer ... or three to while away the afternoon
Shower before dinner
(Think I may have missed the G&T at the aptly named Sunset bar to watch the sun go down
Where and what to eat ... decisions decisions
Off to the village square in the evening for whatever entertainment has been laid on
Wander back through the Night Scented Jasmine filled gardens to bed
...and then it all starts all over again the following day.

And here are the pictures in case you thought I was making it all up.