Thanks for covering me

My lovely little brolly, which we bought on the first day out-and-about in London two years ago, has seen it’s last shower. It’s been particularly wet and windy this last week and poor brolly was blowing inside-out every few steps. I couldn’t dump it in the bin without a farewell photo and a ‘thanks for covering me my friend’.

To Frome and a Wedding

Out and about in Frome, Somerset. It is a beautiful artisan village where the Independent Council supports local businesses, so there are some wonderful arts & crafts shops here.

We stayed at Bistro Lotte which was very nice. I loved the extra large shower head, big comfy bed and calming colour scheme. Highly recommended. The food in the bistro downstairs was tasty and the atmosphere very pleasant.

Driving around Wiltshire is a real pleasure as the surrounding countryside is very beautiful.

We went to our cousin’s wedding on Saturday. We parked the car in a field with horses in the next paddock, and ate at the Michelin-starred ‘The Woodspeen’ in West Berkshire. It was a very happy and loving day.

We stopped in Hungerford for a little brekky and went for a walk along the canal. Hubby helped to open the Loch to let the barge through.

From Marlborough High Street to Windsor Castle.

This is the journey we made. We really had a lovely weekend.

Seasonal hair length

Normally people think Long Hair for the Winter months and Short Hair for the Summer months.

Here’s why I think they should be reversed. In winter I am wearing a woollen jumper plus a scarf wrapped high up on my neck. Then I squash a beanie on my head. The beanie and the scarf overlap and my hair gets completely caught up under the scarf-beanie combo and rubs on my jumper and by the end of the day I have hair that is so matted it is impossible to comb out the knots. Short hair in winter easily tucks in under beanies and scarves and sits close on the head for added warmth, plus it is quick to dry with the hair-dryer so you don’t get frozen-icicle-hair when you go outside in sub-zero temps.

I think summer is the best time for long hair. It easily ties up away from the neck if you want to cool down, you can wet it throughout the day which is very cooling, it dries easily in the warmth and there is no need for styling (especially if you like the beachy look), it provides sun protection on back of neck when worn loose, and it doesn’t get matted because there’s nothing to rub against.

So there.

One PM out, one PM in

It happened just before 4pm.

The Guardian news website showed live video of the whole procedure with extensive camera coverage including footage from helicopters, so I feel that I really was part of this historic occasion.

Firstly, Theresa May made her final speech outside Number 10. She had her husband by her side and spoke very well as usual. Then they got straight into the car and drove to the Palace.

The cameras followed her all the way up Whitehall, around Trafalgar Sq, along the Mall and right inside the Palace grounds. We saw her get out of the car and go into the Palace.

Then, after some time, she left to go home to her constituency in Maidenhead. Next up was Boris Johnson’s car which drove in to the Palace grounds and he went in to meet the Queen where she officially asked him to form a Government.

Then I saw Boris come out of the Palace, get into the car and reverse the whole trip back to Number 10, where he got out and walked straight to the Podium to make his first speech as Prime Minister.

The fun part for me was that I’ve seen these cars and their entourage before, driving up Millbank and around Westminster. They have police motorbikes who zoom ahead to stop the traffic so the cars can drive smoothly without interruption to their destination. I always wondered who was inside the main car, and now I know!

July Heatwave

Yeah, OK, it’s hot. But I’ve gotta say… I rather like it ☀️

[Postscript: the Thursday reached 37 degrees, and was still 28 at 2:00am. The brick walls of our flat were emanating a lot of heat and it was very uncomfortable. I feel for our Northern European friends who experienced endless 40 degree days in buildings that just can’t cope with the excessive heat.]

The week commencing 22nd July 2019

The week commencing 22nd July 2019

Morning musings | decisions decisions

When the thought occurs to you that you might like new towels, but you are faced with a wall of colour choice. Errr… can I have them all?

Oh dear!

Observations Underground | The Likely Lads

A generally quiet start to the commute this morning and I had the carriage half to myself, until I was joined by Six Likely Lads dressed in their finest Blazers, Slim Fitting Shirts, Skinny Black Jeans, and Pointed Brogues. They had takeaway coffees in hand, and one of them was in charge of the Esky… full of Carling Beer Cans - room temperature of course!

I wonder where they were going?

Observations Underground | Olfactory Overload

Seated on my right is a slim, suited chap wearing too much cologne. On my left, is a hefty t-shirted bloke wearing not enough deoderant, if any at all. I am only half-way through the journey to work which now feels like way too long to be sitting here with my senses assaulted. I close my eyes and picture the coffee I will buy as my reward for the completed commute.

Twilight in London

'At Greenwich, England (51.5°N), the duration of civil twilight will vary from 33 minutes to 48 minutes, depending on the time of year. At the equator, conditions can go from day to night in as little as 20–25 minutes.' Wikipedia.

I am used to very quick twilight periods, where you set out on a walk and before you know it it’s already dark!

I’m still amazed by how light it is here late into the night, and how early the light reappears in the morning.

This was taken at 10:12 pm on 16 June 2019.

16 June 2019.

Observations Underground | Dog-in-bag

She was a creative type, because she had a roll of paper sticking out of her bag… you know that clear contact with the gridded backing paper so you can cut straight? Well she had that. She was in jeans and boots and a groovy jumper, with a rope tied around her waist which was attached by a rock-climbing carabiner to the bulldog lying at her feet.

Coming into the station, she stood up, transferring the carabiner from the dog to her waist, the rope swinging at her side. She placed a large cotton-drill tote bag on the floor into which the dog knew to step and he settled into an ‘I’ve done this 100 times before’ position. She drew the bag up around him leaving his funny face looking out, and hoisted it over her shoulder. With dog-in-bag snuggled under her arm the doors opened and she stepped off the train.

The chap opposite me had the same look of amused surprise as me. We shared a happy vision to take into the day.

Prose for a Sunny Saturday

Sun: Shining
Windows: Open
Tea: Drunk
Hot Cross Bun: Eaten

Hair: Washed
Hair: Dry
Hair: Cut
Hair: Crooked

Shorts: On
T-shirt: On
Shoes: Off
Feels: Like summer

Shower Curtain: Soaked and scrubbed
Bath: Scrubbed
Window: Open
Me: Very wet

Washing: On
Dishes: Done
Sink: Scrubbed
Vacuum: Yesterday

Fly: Buzzing
Feet: Up
Tea: Ahhhhhh
Feels: Like home

Warm at last, feels like home

22nd September: heating on
19th April: heating off

That’s seven months of cold.

And now, this is what the weather chart looks like for Easter.

easter-weather

I can’t believe how different I feel in the warmth and the sunshine. It’s as though I’ve remembered who I am. As though for the last few months, as this northern hemisphere winter really set in, I’d been lost in the shadows; unable to decide who I am and what I want to do.

This warm weather reminds me of home; of my childhood; of growing up in the southern hemisphere... in Sydney to be precise. Yes, we had all four seasons, but the warm weather prevailed and I now realise it is intrinsically part of who I am. I particularly like the way the seasons compliment the calendar.

We start the year in the warmth, with long January holidays spent in the pool or on the beach. February gets hotter and we are all back at school or work, excited to start a fresh new year, enjoying the long days and coming home to cool drinks and sneaking in a swim before dinner. In March we are getting into the swing of the year, perhaps pulling on a cardigan at the end of the day, and where Good Friday is invariably wet and the sun shines brightly on Easter Sunday. April heralds the end of daylight-saving and the beginning of cooler days interjecting the still hot weather. By May we are well into the swing of sweeping up the autumn leaves that tumble from the trees in the cold breeze, but we are doing it mostly in the sunshine. In June, it’s dark by 5:00pm and we are enjoying hearty stews and movie nights, quietly pleased to get past the shortest day on the 21st. Six months in now, it’s winter but we have another fresh start with the new financial year on 1 July when we roll-over our books and make fresh plans for the next year. In August we are waking to frost on our gardens and perhaps even some ice on the windscreen, but the sun still shines brightly in the middle of the day and is warm as long as you are out of August’s relentless wind. We spend evenings at home in front of the heater watching the footy, as the season is getting exciting now. September brings the promise of Spring and the buds are forming on the bare, leafless trees. In October footy grand-final comes and goes and we enjoy the warmer days that spring up between still biting cold winds, but daylight-saving is here again by the end of the month. November’s Melbourne Cup day signals the count-down to the festive season and our summery dresses come out of hiding. All eyes are on organising Christmas Parties and booking tradesmen because ‘it simply must be done before Christmas!’ So here’s December, and we end the year as we started… in warmth. On Christmas Eve we close up shop and spend the next week enjoying the warm days, planning New Year festivities and trips to the beach. And so the cycle begins again.

Bath

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

First Winter Snow 2019

Hubby arrived home covered in icicles this evening, and when I looked out the window, the cars were covered in snow. We had a light dusting of snow in the air for about 10 minutes one morning last week, but it didn’t collect like this, so I reckon this counts as the very first for the season. Looks like it’s going to be a cold winter. Hmmm…. I’ve already been wearing full winter regalia for the last few months!

First snow 2019.JPG

Making $1,000,000 feel small

The mind is a funny thing. $1,000,000 is a lot of money. I had an interesting experience on Christmas Day when we were wandering around Mayfair taking in the beautiful buildings and decorated streets. I stopped at an Estate Agent’s window and looked in sequence at the adverts. The first one shocked me because it is such a huge amount to my mind. By the time I reached the fifth one, strangely, the first one didn’t feel so huge. Then I realised that something had shifted in my mind… suddenly $1,000,000 felt achievable after all !

Christmas Day 2019 - Our 2nd Christmas

We stayed in London and treated ourselves to a lovely lunch at Browns restaurant in Mayfair. It was really, really nice and after lunch we wandered around Mayfair looking at all the beautiful buildings. It was pretty cold and there weren't many people about so we felt as though we had the streets to ourselves.

Did you know that the London Underground shuts down on Christmas Day? I didn’t. So we had to catch a taxi there and back, which was pretty nice actually!

I met Annie Sloan

Hey… you know that paint we used to paint the bedside tables in the guest room? Well… that’s Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

And… guess what…

I JUST MET HER!!!!

Two days ago I saw that she was holding a workshop in London (she lives in Oxford) and I got so excited. I registered straight away, and the workshop was tonight. At an Interiors department store called Heals. Six lovely artistic ladies about my age, all sitting round a table with Annie Sloan herself, learning a few techniques and, well, just having fun.

Yay, YAY, and YAY

Holland Park and Kensington

We set off on Saturday morning for an outing to Holland Park. Neither of us had been there before so we were excited as usual to see something new.

We caught the bus back up (I say ‘back up’ because we headed west to eventually head east again) to Ealing Broadway and from there we caught the Central Line to Holland Park station.

Getting off on Holland Park Avenue is really pleasant because there are big trees lining the street and the surrounding buildings are large and affluent. There is a Nicolas bottle shop (one of only three in London I think) on the corner and that reminds me that I’d like to go back and see if they sell Champagne. SURELY they sell French wine! [I know we are close to the continent here, but Champagne is harder to find here that it is in Sydney. Go figure!]

Holland Park itself is really nice. There are lots of big trees and criss-crossing paths where you feel you could get a bit lost but also feel safe because it’s a small enough park that it’s impossible to get lost. There are squirrels and lots of birds and there is also a Japanese garden that is very pleasant — more English than Japanese but the sentiment is there and it’s very peaceful.

After we explored the park, we headed east down Duchess of Bedford’s Walk which curves down to intersect with Upper Phillimore Gardens, which is where I lived for a while in 1991 and where I served dinner to a few guests one night… one of whom was Joanna Lumley. It was quite surreal seeing this house and it brought the past rushing up to meet me with a thunder clap. We took some photos and then walked down to Kensington High Street.

We stopped in the ‘Whole Foods Market’ to eat a healthy sandwich for lunch and then kept walking, gazing in awe at the beautiful buildings and the expensive cars parked in the street. Then we walked back up into the Kensington Gardens for some Royal spotting, except of course they are in Sydney at the moment! After a bit of exploring, we were in need of an afternoon nap so lay on the grass and gazed at the blue sky and autumn leaves in the trees. Stopping wasn’t the best idea because it made us realise just how tired we were so we finished our day-out and caught the bus back home for a proper nap.

We were really lucky with the weather because the sun shone most of the day, and the next day it rained.