Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Slipper



Well the decision has been made and I am very relieved that the uncertainty and decision making is over. We are going for House 1 which is frankly a surprise for us both. It's the smart choice but the house is really not us, very new and paper walls.

We would be fools not to though and it does mean we have a garden for the approaching summer and a safe haven for dogs!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

B B King - When It All Comes Down

I'm gone man solid gone...

B B King - You'd Better not Look Down

Here's to Tuesday!!

Porridge?!?!?

Just in case anyone is interested the porridge seemed to be a good idea. I felt awake, happy and productive this morning, although the breakfast stimulated my system and I got a growling stomach at 11am!

I am not trying to eat less I am just trying to get a routine that is easy to stick to and healthy.

When I was younger and looking after just me (and the dog) I used to buy 5 baking potatoes, 5 tins of beans and some butter every week. I had baked potato with beans every night and usually got a kebab or burger at the weekends! (Pre-vegetarian years!)

There is loads of food you can buy 5 of and are nice every day and save you the trouble of cooking lots every night!!

However, I now have a healthier taste for food and mixing convenient and healthy is a little more tricky. Possible, but tricky.

February's Girl

Violated by this thought in me
Shouting, crying.
Spirit let this matter be!
You are too much for me,
too strong to bear and too free.

To sleep: perchance to dream...

I dreamed about dogs lastnight. I dream about our two old dogs a lot, we are usually out playing or walking together but lastnight was a new dog.

It has been weighing on my mind as we are trying to make a quick decision about a place to rent before they all go and although the house we looked at lastnight was lovely do I really want to live somewhere where I cannot have a dog...even for the short term?

On the task list fitness front I have substituted my usual breakfast of an egg or nothing for porridge this morning. It is supposed to be brilliant for you and give you a good start to the day. I will let you know my thoughts on that later!

I used to eat porridge as a child but I have always found breakfast a hard meal to take and have missed it for years. I do always feel so much better when I eat in the morning though.

Monday, February 25, 2008

All Rentals Great & Small.

We have been to see 3 places for rent in the village and have our eye on one more.

House 1: 3 bed, new build, small garden, ok views, traffic and rail noise, will take dogs.

House 2: 2 bed, old split house, bottom floor only, tiny yard, no view, busy main road location, no dogs.

House 3: 3 bed, old build, very nice, small private yard in rear enclosed area for shared parking, no dogs.

House 4: Awaiting appointment to view. (Old build, tiny high walled yard.)

We are still contemplating but House 2 is definitely out.

Other weekend pursuits include using my tripod to take some shots of the moon and photographing the beautiful flowers and plants that I have thanks to family contributions since Christmas!

Our Poinsettia is defiant in its vigour and hue, and I have three bunches of beautiful roses and Lilly's.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Honourable Lady Dancin the Villainous of Leighton in the Bucket
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title


I came across this over at Lady Bananas. I quite like my title!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Update

It has been such a busy start to the year and as March approaches I find myself with a few updates to be noted, mostly good and one a little sad. However as I am 'Being Buffy' I am more than qualified to deal with anything life can throw at me!

Ok so sad news out of the way first. The situation regarding our house has progressed somewhat and we are unfortunately not in a position to buy at this time. It has therefore gone on the market for sale.

(Image Credit Sale Sign: Webclipart)

The sign went up last Monday and there has been a viewing every day! Our landlords are not giving us notice until they have secured a buyer so again we have a little breathing space although we have been looking for other places to rent all year to be on the safe side. We are going to view two places in the village today. We hope to remain in the village as it really has become home to us.

As for this house, I have felt so lucky living here, it's not the biggest house or garden but there are some benefits that I hold in high value. The garden, and several of the rooms in the house, face east and as a result I see every sun rise as it happens...weather permitting, from the comfort of my house and back garden. The moon rises over our back garden too and as there is open park space behind us there is little light pollution and we are afforded a wide and generous view of the sky and stars.

There are a few good areas for the birds in terms of mature trees and hedgerows adjacent to this house and that in conjunction with the bird foods I put out has provided us with a wide variety of birds to watch and enjoy. Additionally we have managed our garden organically for the past three and a half years and the result is more wildlife in many forms.

I will miss the views from our position high on the hillside, the sky view and the peace and quiet, and the birds, and I hope that they find new places to feed quickly. I am going to leave some of my bird feeders here and a little note for the new owners explaining what we get in the garden should they choose to encourage the birds by replenishing the feeders.

I will also miss the feel of this house and garden. The wind that comes across the field always makes it feel like we are by the sea and is reminiscent for me of my paternal grandmothers home where we holidayed as children.

Anyway, we are now looking forward! I will let you know what the houses we look at are like following today.

Other news; I have just spent two days surveying woodland with one of my colleagues and friends at work. We had a brilliant two days and during our many conversations she mentioned that she knows a farmer in the village who is also a Land Rover nut. Apparently he has a big yard with lots of space to spare so I have asked if she could mention to him that I am looking for a small space to rent to put my Land Rover in and see if he is interested.

I am hopeful! It would be a perfect solution to getting my Land Rover sorted and down here, as recently noted as a task for this year on my blog. I will wait to hear back once she has spoken to him and then hopefully take steps to get up to Durham to collect it. I am looking forward to being reunited with my Land Rover and predict many happy hours covered in oil, tinkering!

Finally my Scottish adventure looms ever closer and my departure date is set! I found myself a little apprehensive about it last week as it transpired that I actually have 82km to cover in a week........yep that's what I thought!

The job has already been priced and I have a week to complete it and that's all there is to it. Additionally the report needs to be submitted by the end of March so what ever weather I get when I arrive it just has to be done and it is going to be hard work. I have to carry a lot of kit including GPS (An older version that consists of a big rucksack, pole and aerial!) a hand held tablet PC, maps and survey sheets plus the usual tree inspecting kit!

I am expecting to be up there for 9-10 days in total. As I expect to be working the weekends, which is time I would then get off as time in lieu, I am planning to use these extra lieu days to stay up there and survey trees if more time is needed. It will be a very testing week on my physical fitness and I will be returning to start straight back at work with no break at all for a couple of weeks but that is how I am going to have to approach it if I am going to get it all done.

I found out about the increase in distance last Wednesday and felt my stomach churning for the day as my mind raced to fit the work facing me into the time allotted. I am so excited about this trip but as I said there is no option of returning home with this job incomplete. Then I came home and watched Ben Fogles' Extreme Dreams.

The programme involves a selection of applicants from the general public who wish to change their lives, usually following an extreme trauma or as part of dealing with an illness or disability. Once a team has been chosen they set off on a trek with Ben to climb a mountain or cross a dessert etc.

All of his journeys are designed to test physical and mental strength to the maximum but the sense of achievement for these people on completion of the journey is overwhelming and the inner strengths you witness people find is amazing. The last group to complete a task walked across Venezuela and climbed to the summit of Mount Roraima which stands at 2,810m. (Mount Roraima Image Credit: Wikipedia)

The team members had a variety of physical and mental issues but constantly looked inside themselves and found the strength to carry on, face their fears and change their lives.

It's a great show, ok not a totally new idea but I like Ben, he is very good with people, and they go to places that I dream of! I am therefore beginning to think of my work in Scotland as my extreme dream.

It is going to be a hard slog, probably the hardest work I have ever had to do physically in one go, but if Ben's group could reach their summit I can survey 82km in 9 days, come hell or high water!

And who knows, if I do finish early I can use my lieu time to visit the north coast and sneak a peak at the northen lights! Another task I have set for this year.

I just happen to be going close to the north coast of Scotland at one of the best times to view the northern lights. It can't be a coincidence and I am determined to try and see them while I am there.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

Blues Brothers - She Caught the Katy

Ok there's no visual with this, the only film footage I could find had German subtitles. I have nothing against German, it is a most beautiful language, however Jake and Elwood in German did not work for me.

If you do have a moment to spare though this an awesome groove. Just close your eyes and go with it.

Blues Brothers and Ray Charles SHAKE A TAIL FEATHER

There's only one song to follow Think!

Aretha Franklin - Think (Blues Brothers)

A regular dance and jump around song in my house. Sorry about the abrupt start!

Garbage - I Think I'm Paranoid

Headspace

Training

Ok, aside from being Buffy, I am now officially in training. I go to Scotland on the 7th March for about a week and a half, there are 41km to cover over rough terrain, I'll be carrying a lot of kit, it could be snowing, it could be dark....and I might be wearing sunglasses! Sorry I drifted off into The Blues Brothers at the end there!

I was supposed to commence training last weekend...it did not happen. So, from this day forth I will not be starting the day with raw eggs, one armed sit-ups and running but some form of vigorous exercise is going to be part of every day. It also gives me a nice kick start into getting really fit, one of my aspirations for the year.

Rocky I Training Montage

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Being Buffy

I am a little confused as to how a week could have passed with me barely noticing. I can account for Thursday night onwards but the four days before that seem to have passed in a blur.

Life is having a hectic spell at present. Work is stupidly busy but just manageable and we are all feeling it in the team. Comments about employing another new arborist are already being made, and only in semi jest!

Home life seems equally mad and I am finding that leaving work to come home just heralds a different set of challenges for my strength and organizational skills.

So, I am calling on an old friend to help, and here she is!

I am a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan and am not ashamed to admit it; if you are a fan of the super hero it's nothing short of awesome! One girl in all the world with the strength and skill to fight the demons, she alone will stand against them, well she and her pals, and her always attractive male interests. (For the record not Riley.......just too darn wholesome!)

It’s not actually just her who is helping, I have always loved super heroes: Zorro (The original and The Gay Blade!), the Fonz (Ok super hero may not apply but he was cool and wise), Captain Picard Star Trek The Next Generation and equally Commander Data, Buzz Lightyear, Hong Kong Phooey, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Spiderman, the key factor is that the lead character has the kind of integrity that can only exist in fiction; they are strong, selfless, logical, disciplined and always right. The tougher they are, the more I like them!

At times in my life when things get on top of me and I feel weak I make myself the hero figure. It means I have to go on whether I like it or not. There is no questioning whether I can be strong enough, I have to be and that’s all there is to it. There are no other options.

I strive to attain the hero characters excellence. If such integrity can be conceived of it can be lived as a code of conduct, I do not believe it is possible to achieve it as reliably as the super heroes do, however it is a worthwhile model I enjoy testing myself against as I explore my own standards and deal with the tough times.

Image Credit: BBC Cult Buffy Gallery

Above the Clouds

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dancin' Fool - Frank Zappa

Last one then I'm off to take photos while the sun shines!

Fiddler on the roof - If I were a rich man

I love this film for several reasons however, today for dancing. Damn my living room never saw such dancing! Well not since the last time. I am a Dancin' Fool!

Sister Act 1 songs 1/3

It's been a bit of a music morning and I feel like sharing! If you have not seen this film check out the first 3.08 minutes at least. If you have ever liked hymns, go for the whole thing! It is well worth the 9.55 minutes!

5th Dimension - Aquarius/ Let the Sunshine

I have had the most brilliant weekend with my sister and am feeling very happy. As such I have just listened to this and thought I would share it! The way they are dancing at the end, if you get that far, that was me a moment ago but with more enthusiasm and less clapping! Happy Sunday to you all!

7:30am Sharp!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Treasure

I found out yesterday that Joni over at My Piece of Heaven has closed her blog. She runs a farm with her husband and also works as a medical transcriber. Apparently Joni is increasing her hours at work and she has decided that with the extra work and the farm to run she won't be able to fit blogging in, at least not to the standard that she wishes to. I completely understand but I am sad that I won't be able to visit her blog anymore.

Joni posted everyday and displayed amazing photos of the beautiful and varied wildlife in her part of the world, including her new puppy Cooper!

I am really happy that things are going well for Joni but I am sorry that I did not get a chance to tell her how much I valued her and her blog before she went.

It's a funny thing this virtual socialising, connections are made between people. There are a few blogs that I visit that really mean a lot to me, I get a great deal of joy out of visiting them and corresponding with the author. They may not know that their blog is so valued, or that a comment they make sometime can mean so much but it really does.

In light of this, and inspired by Joni and her blog, I have decided to create my own award called 'Treasured Bloggers'. It's my chance to let a few bloggers know that I really treasure them and their blogs.

Below is the badge and a list of the bloggers that I would like to give it to. They may choose to post the badge or not, and similarly pass it on or not.

img_2245

My Treasured Bloggers are:

Macs Niece at Caged Minutes
Bowledover
Coversgirl at Between the Covers
L^2 at Dogs Eye View
Lady Banana
Lone Chatelaine
Literary Feline at Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Wolf at My Spot

...and one final award to Tom at Wiggers World. Tom is a relatively new acquaintance for me however Tom and his wife Jane, and I share many of the same interests and have quickly become regular visitors at each others blogs.

My thanks to you all and Joni, if you are reading this, please stop by every once in a while and let me know how you are doing, you are missed!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

UK Female Bloggers Needed

I came across this at Lady Banana's, it's a message she saw over at Facebook.

Hi there, I found you via a blogging group and wondered if you could help me.

I am looking for UK based female bloggers to fill in a short online questionnaire. It is in aid of my final year Dissertation for University, which explores why people blog. I am really struggling to find female bloggers - it seems the majority are men! So if you do know anyone else that I could contact, I would be most grateful :)


If you can spare a moment to help follow this link and take part via Lady Banana's original post, it's a simple and quick questionnaire.

I cannot find a link to the survey as I did the questionnaire before I wrote this post and the link recognises my URL now and takes me to the 'Thank you for taking part' page from which I cannot seem to get back to the original survey!

I expect it's so you cannot complete it twice. Anyway stopping by Lady Banana's will be an additional treat if you have not already, she has a great blog!

Eureka!

I came across the most amazing blog this afternoon called Tips for New Bloggers. It has been nothing short of a revelation for me! Ok I know I am prone to exaggeration but really...after months of trying to get tips for effective blog editing they have answered all of the questions I wanted to ask and given me a few new things to try. If you are having any issues what so ever I really recommend it!

Things to do ASAP!

My birthday has made me think of a few things I have been meaning to do or complete for a while now. I am 36 this year which is on the downward slope to 40 which is a sitting a little oddly with me. I make every effort not to spend anytime worrying about age for two reasons: it's only a number and you can't change it anyway!

Also I do not believe that there are certain things you have to have achieved by a certain age. Everyone has to live their life as they see best.

I have though been thinking about things I do really want to get sorted and make plans for. I don't want to be sitting here on my next birthday thinking blimey I still have not done anything about that!

So, I have decided so draw up a list of things to sort ASAP and post them in a list. I look forward to crossing them off as time goes by!

1. Fetch my 1959 Series II Landrover from County Durham and begin it's restoration.

Before we left County Durham I was driving my Landrover everyday however leaving any vehicle standing still is not a good idea and consequently there is some work to do before I can get it back on the road. It has though always been a restoration project for me and I am really keen to get my hands on it! I expect this will be one of the first items I complete however it has been outstanding for far too long!

2. See the Aurora Borealis.

Just look at it! Something this beautiful has to be seen, and it is here....on our planet! I know you cannot always guarantee a good viewing of it but it's got to be worth a few tries!

3. Walk the Pennine Way.

I have wanted to do this for many years, along with lots of other walks. My attraction to the Pennine Way is the countryside it traverses, culminating in my favourite English county Northumberland, and it's length. At a good pace it will take me three weeks. How fabulous will that be! I had thought it would be a mixture of Bed & Breakfast stops and impromptu camping. This one could take a few years to arrange but the planning starts now!

4. Set up a family crafts website.

This is a project I have been planning and chipping away at for a while now. I have wares to sell, business advice and, thanks to Wolf at My Spot, a good web provider to try out at ETSY. It's just a time thing now. I need to plan time aside for consultation with my family and site planning. I want this year to see the launch of 'All Things Crafty'! That's not the actual name but you get the gist!

5. Get really fit!

Ever since I can remember I have thought how good it would be to be really fit and strong, gymnastic like. I have been fit at different stages of my life and my weight fluctuates constantly! I don't stress about it, I eat pretty much what I want and exercise when I wan to change myself but I would really like to have a go at being really fit!

I used to dream of being a black belt at some martial art....or all of them, when I was little. My sister has taken up Kick Boxing and already achieved her first belt! I am extremely proud, as are all of the family, but I am not sure that martial arts are the path I want to take to fitness now.

So I am going to give getting fit a go. I had this conversation with myself this time last year, this time is going to be the final time!

Ok, I think 5 is a good number to start with! I will keep you posted on my progress as the year goes on. I hope to have four completed by the end of the year and the 5th, the Pennine Way, well and truly organised!

On a final note I have had a brilliant birthday and have been spoilt rotten! I also have a great weekend planned with my sister fast approaching. Thank you to everyone who left me a birthday message, and to all friends and family for their kind thoughts and generous gifts.

Online Craft Club

I came across this at Cass Knits via That Grrl.



The idea, in Cass's words, is:

Take a picture of your current project, whatever that happens to be. Or maybe one you recently finished. Or the materials for the one you are about to start. Let’s say materials for a project in whatever state it happens to be in at the time you snap it. On Friday, post the picture and tell us about your project. What you did, or what you are going to do. How much you are enjoying it, or hating it. You know–show and tell.

Then link your post to my weekly post. I plan to set mine to auto-publish so that I will be ready when you are. Tell your readers about it so they can play, too. And don’t forget to leave a comment so we know where to find you and your crafty goodness! Any questions? See you on Friday, then. I’ll make the tea!


I have come across many regular blogging events that people take part in and they are a brilliant way of meeting new bloggers. I thought this would be a good way of sharing tips as well.

I could be....a super hero!!!

Your Superpower Should Be Manipulating Fire

You are intense, internally driven, and passionate.
Your emotions are unpredictable - and they often get the better of you.
Both radiant and terrifying, people are drawn to you.
At your most powerful, you feel like the world belongs to you.

Why you would be a good superhero: You are obsessive enough to give it your all

Your biggest problem as a superhero: Your moodiness would make it difficult to control your powers

This is me!



How fabulous! Yes that is exactly how I look, and I eat what I want whenever I want and drink far more than I should. I also never exercise!I came across this wonderful image creator over at Lone Chatelaines blog. It's good fun and reasonably accurate!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Rose


I got these beautiful Roses from my Mum and Dad yesterday, and thought they should be shared.

Birthday Treats

It is my birthday this week and we had planned to go out for a meal and then to the flicks to see Sweeney Todd with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter however, just as the plans had been finalised my partner told me that the England football team were playing that night, and for extra umph it is their first game under our new coach Fabio Capello!

We are therefore going to watch the football down our local instead! Now please don't get me wrong this is my choice and not a rant post about men and football. We always watch football together and more importantly we never miss an England game. It just made me laugh that we had spent a while planning a night out which was then totally irrelevant as the footballs on!

I am curious about the new coach. I do not support the idea of a non English coach however, he has been appointed and therefore it is my duty as a fan to support him. He has probably made some early enemies by leaving David Beckham out of the squad for this game, therefore denying him his 100th cap for his country, but if he feels Beckham's place needs to be earned then............oh who am I kidding? I know it should be about what's best for the team but here I think I would give him his 100th cap, I mean the man's a football legend!

Anyway, Sweeney Todd will have to wait for a few days but I am really looking forward to seeing it. Helena Bonham Carter is extremely talented and stirs me with her performances. Johnny Depp.....what do I need to say?

Finally, this weekend I am being treated to a birthday spoil by my sister. I am not divulging any details but needless to say we are packing in tonnes of good stuff! I also plan a trip back to Norfolk to capture some of that beautiful sky with my camera. Photo's to some soon.

Image Credit: About.com - Hollywood Movies

Sunday, February 03, 2008

3.10 to Yuma

We watched a great western last night. We are both big western fans having been brought up on John Wayne and Clint Eastwood classics and it's good to have some new western films about, although the one we watched last night was a remake.

The 3.10 to Yuma was originally released in 1957 and starred Glen Ford and Val Heflin as the two main characters. Their parts are played by Russell Crowe and Christian Bale in the 2007 remake.

The film tells the story of the capture and attempted delivery to prison of a notorious robber Ben Wade (Russell Crowe). A simple farmer, Dan Evans (Christian Bale) gets caught up in the story in an attempt to save his farm and gain the respect of his eldest son.

I have not yet seen the original however I really enjoyed the remake. It has all the tension and sinister feel of a good western along with a good guy you want to win and a bad guy you can't help liking. I can imagine Glen Ford being very effective in the role of Ben Wade as he is a likable character no matter what his sins. I found the same to be true of the charming Russell Crowe.

I watched Russell Crowe is a western a few years ago along with Sharon Stone, Leonardo Dicaprio and Gene Hackman called the Quick and the Dead. It is a slightly less serious western to that which I am used to however I thought the story was original and refreshing and the cast were excellent. I have to say I have never seen Gene Hackman in a role he did not excel in and this is no exception. He is brutal, cruel and terrifying.

The Quick and the Dead tells the story of a girl gunslinger seeking revenge against Gene Hackman for crimes against her family. She returns to the town Gene Hackman controls and takes part in the annual shoot out competition in an attempt to get close enough to him to kill him.

It's an early role for Leonardo Dicaprio but a good one from an actor I have come to respect as he has matured.

Image Credits: The Internet Movie Database & Home Videos respectively.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I know what you are thinking, but it's just too obvious!

I went down to the lake this morning with my fabulous new Christmas camera lens. The swans were very accommodating, the cormorants....not so. It is beautiful here today but very cold.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Scotland Here I Come!


I got some great news at work today. I am going to survey Scotland! Ok that is a slight exaggeration but I am going to Scotland for 9 days surveying trees! I grinned so much when I heard, and nearly exploded with joy. As it is my favourite place in the world the offer of being paid to have a 9 day working holiday there is just top banana!

In celebration here are some photos I took on Skye last year. For work I am going to the North West Highlands so there will be no shortage of awesome views. I may even come back with a picture of the monster!

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