Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Birthday Suit Birthday

Grandson preparing to blow candles
If you don't have a family member, aged 2,  with a birthday in the sweltering summer months, you perhaps won't relate to these pictures.  My granddaughter's second birthday was to my ears, complete chaos, with parents milling around, keeping eagle eyes on their offspring re the swimming pool, while the other granny and I tried and failed to find a quiet corner in which to chat.   How great is it to be of an age when clothes mean nothing and innocence is the order of the day.  My granddaughter had to be hauled out of the swimming pool to blow out the candles on her cake. As you might expect, her 4-year-old brother couldn't resist and as she drew breath, he blew out the candles for her. I loved the second pic  - taken 4 minutes after the first. I promise we had not given her anything alcoholic! There must have been 20 grown-ups and countless children at this party. This great hit was the hire of the kiddie rides. My granddaughter was reportedly riding away by herself in the dark, after all the guests had finally gone home.  And yes, I am mindful of how much bare, baby flesh to reveal on the Internet.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

I Just Don't Like Violin Music

How sad is he?

I am not much of a music listener: I prefer Talk Radio because I seem to be obsessed with the need to learn all the time, whether in my car, doing the ironing or during periods of insomnia at night. My parents thought when we were young, that one should study in silence, so I have that habit also. I can't even have the radio on when I'm writing a post, or indeed, reading other people's posts. However, sometimes when in a traffic jam in my car I switch to the Classical Music station when there is nothing else on, and whatever piece is playing, it's always dominated by the screeching, whining violins. And there are always so many of them in an orchestra and they sit at the front. My brother and his wife took me to a concert/recital? once which featured a young, virtuoso violinist.  While I could admire her skill and dexterity, not to mention the number of notes she had committed to memory, I was not really taken with the music. Violins are plaintive creatures, I challenge anyone to deny it, with the exception perhaps of Irish folk music, as exhibited by those heavenly girls in the Michael Flatley shows, but I enjoyed them perhaps as much for their lovely whirling locks and short skirts as for their music. By contrast, I love the brass instruments in an orchestra as well as the wind. I also have a soft spot for the harp which has a soft, beguiling, romantic sound.  Does anyone agree?

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

A Size 40? Surely I can't be?

In the sixties, we used to buy our clothes according to measurements like 36-24-36 (bust-waist-hip). Nowadays, sizes are much more confusing as the world of fashion has expanded to encompass the global village so that now a garment has to bear in mind that it may be purchased by a tiny person (Chinese, Thai, or Mexican?) or equally by a towering Norwegian.  At least I assume this is why my latest pair of jeans sports a label with 5 different size offerings.  I was a bit taken aback by the dominating '40' - which country is that? In my mind, that is a huge size, but I can now at least equate the American 8 with the British 12. Whew - that's a relief, not too bad for my age.  Curious about the 40, I scoured the webpage of the shop concerned and found no answer, so I sent an e-mail to 'Contact Us' who instead of answering the question, referred me back to the webpage. I finally found another label on another part of the garment, which says 'Eur 40', so I imagine this refers to the rest of Europe, any place which is not the UK or Italy?  No matter, I'm just happy that it fits. Not so long ago, we used to buy eggs in sizes, Small/Medium/Large - I still have recipes that ask for these.  Now I swear all the eggs are the same size as before, but we have a choice of Large/Extra Large or Jumbo. What's that about?  It' a funny old world.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Do you Know What "Roll-ons" are?

Only a black & white pic on Google

Sometimes, when attempting a cryptic crossword, you can guess almost exactly the age and possibly, sex, of the compiler.  When I came across this clue yesterday:  "Go round and round on an undergarment", I might have been perplexed, had I not already got one 'l' in the answer, which proved to be "roll-on" (4,2). The dictionary on my Kindle is, understandably, an American Oxford, so it's offerings were as definitions "a passenger ferry" or "underarm deodorant".  The English Oxford yields "a British light elastic corset" as it's No. 2 definition. I remember so well when my mother walked in the back door to our kitchen when she came home from work every day (she walked), she would stand on the mat just inside the door, life her skirt and say as she wriggled out of 'them', I can't wait to get my roll-ons off!"  Her stockings were suspended beneath the garment, the four suspenders sewn to it, so they came too.  I guess the compiler of the crossword I was doing must have therefore been about 60+ and definitely British.  They advertise a newer version of a similar thing on our TV stations today - usually on really svelte and beautiful young things with flat tummies:  I can't imagine who could stand to wear them here, it's just too hot. PS - the armour-plating used to have the spin-off effect of flattening one's backside, which must have been quite a disappointment for the office bottom-pinchers of the day.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

And now to things creative....

I have FINISHED my jigsaw.  Ta-ra!  14 months and as wide as I am high (1.65m).
It almost defeated me at one point and then I used my brain a bit and finally did it. Funny, even as you place the final six pieces, each one laid down changes the possible shape of the one next to it. Fascinating (to a puzzler.)  We are going to frame this one - which will be quite a feat.  Apparently, you place a matching sized piece of hardboard on top, then turn the whole thing over and glue the underneath. When dry, you can turn it over again onto whatever frame. My husband plans to do this and make the frame "when he retires." Meanwhile, the whole thing rests inside a box (which he made for me with a lid) on top of the table, thus usefully widening said table when we have guests. Eventually, the jigsaw will reside on a wall upstairs in the large 'new' room we built on upstairs at our seaside holiday/retirement house. At least, that's my plan: my husband says he wants a row of cupboards in that space...

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

"This house is like a Museum!"

I have been somewhat miffed with my daughter this week, as she took exception to my removing my small granddaughter (who is only 2 next week), from standing on my hearth, within a hair's breadth of my precious Royal Doulton ladies on the mantelpiece.  I am not saying she would have naughtily broken them or even dropped them accidentally if she picked one up, standing on tiptoe. But she is just a toddler and they can be very clumsy. These ornaments are not something I would have bought myself, but my mother loved them and they are a memento of her, especially the little blue one, called "Cherie", which was my dad's favorite. I only brought this one home last year after he died. It's thus a memory of him too.  My daughter's house is devoid of ornament, very 'minimal', but then, she hasn't been married long and hasn't gathered much. Not only did she suggest that her children may touch nothing in my home - (not true: I only have these three china dolls that are out of bounds), she also told me that I sound like my mother.  Wait until she is my age, when I am dead and gone and she has her own grandchildren. We'll see who sounds like who then. At least - she will.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Desert Flower?

My husband has this theory that if you just give plants water regularly they will grow.  Hence he took my languishing and dormant 2"-high cactus out of its (seldom-watered) pot and put it in our garden flower bed where it gets watered with everything else by our irrigation system (we have a borehole), twice a day for half an hour.  Voila. Desert flower? I think not.  Now it's even making babies on all sides.  Must be making up for lost time.