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Archive for December, 2010

London Eye 31.12.2010 London

Hi folks, thanks so much for dropping by. I trust you don’t mind that I brought you to my blog for a New Year message, but twitter doesn’t have sufficient space that I can convey what I would like to say. ūüôā

Firstly I would like to wish you all a very very happy, successful and wonderful year ahead, I truly hope that it fulfils any dreams, hopes, wishes and aspirations you have for 2011.

Then I would very much want to say a huge thank you for your friendship during 2010. Whether we’ve only just connected, or if you have been my ‘friend’ for a while now, I have enjoyed our brief communiques. You have brightened my days with your messages and brought a smile to my lips with your tweets and mentions, and on many occassions made me LOL and from time to time I have even ROFL!!! – Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. J M Barrie

Despite outward appearances I live a very secluded and limited life. My job is very isolating at times and the demands placed on me are great so your messages on #followfriday #traveltuesday or #justbecause you are thinking of me have been a lifeline to the real world.

I have gotten to know some folk a little better than others and we have learned a wee bit about each others lives – how fascinating it is to get these little glimpses into another world. I have travelled ‘virtually’ to far-flung corners of the world: Alaska, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, China, just about all the states of America, France, Italy, South Africa, The Whitsundays,¬†north of Scotland, closer to home in¬†London and many countries, fascinating glimpses¬†into your world, by reading your blogs, clicking on the links you’ve posted and just our general ‘chats’ have opened windows into the world that I may never have had otherwise.

I¬†took to twitter like a duck to water (excuse the not so very good pun) ūüôā twitter has opened up my world in ways I could never have imagined when I first started, and that is thanks to each of you; your tweets and comments, links and @mentions have brought the world to me. Facebook has been fun with messages and comments, status updates and links to photo albums – photos of your travels are most appreciated. I have enjoyed sharing my life in London, posting photos and writing arbitrary posts on my blog about¬†places I have explored and experiences I have had.

And now this year is at an end and we have 2011 to look forward to, so in closing I would once again like to say how very much I appreciate your friendship, your messages and tweets and although we are far apart in miles, we are close to heart in tweets, so in 2011 do stay in touch and lets continue to enjoy our friendships, I wish you all a good night and some marvellous days for the 365 we have of 2011…….and do remember…. according to the Mayans the world is due to end 2012 (????) so make the most of 2011……

hahahaha!! ūüôā have fun folks

True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in their worth and choice. Samuel Johnson

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Today I met up with my younger brother and sister-in-law K&T, who were in transit to Hungary (where they live) from (South Africa where his and my family live) after spending a few weeks in SA on holiday.

We met up at a wee pub at London Bridge station and enjoyed a cuppa and a nibble.  I have not seen them for some years now and again I am amazed at how the time flies.  It never really seems like a long time because we communicate via facebook and email, so you are more or less aware of whats happening in their lives (family & friends), so when you meet it feels like only yesterday you last met up!

We chatted about various things; like what I am up to in London and what they are up to in Hungary and then my brother gave me a ‘Dr Who’ type¬†jolt back into the past…..and I am talking distant past here!!! (you know you are getting old when you talk about things that happened decades ago!)¬† We have a pretty muddled family with loads¬†of marriages and remarriages which brought with them half brothers and half sisters as well as step sisters and step brothers! One would like to think it was one big happy family…..

The jolt came in the form of some photos!  As he said, how on earth they came to be in his possession is a total mystery, the reasons for that being way too long to explain, suffice to say the photos were of one branch of the family whereas he is from another (it is as complicated as it sounds).

Anyhow to get to the point (sorry I do tend to waffle)……amongst the photos he showed me, were some photos of when I was a wee girl of 11 years old! My god! Did that ever bring back a flood of memories.¬† In the photos are me (11yrs), my younger sister (8yrs), my cousin (12yrs), my stepsister (10yrs)¬†from my mother’s 2nd husband and¬†my baby half-sister (approx 9/10months)¬†from that same marriage.

I was absolutely flabergasted and it was a real trip down memory lane to see us all……5 little girls looking so happy and sweet in the photo with not a clue as to the future………..and what a good thing that was too.¬† Anyhow here is the photo.

from left to right: Felicity (step-sister), at the back Yvonne (cousin) on her lap my baby sister (Jo-anne), me in pink and then Susan (my only full sister)

what I do find most amusing about this photo are the cars in the background. Did they really look like that! how bizarre. What struck me too is how very sixties my outfit is and even at the tender age of 11years old I was already crossing my legs….a most annoying habit and one that has done me no favours!¬†¬† What is also quite funny is the look on my sister Susan’s face….the wee blondie on the right…..she is in a dress!!!! Heaven forbid….she hated wearing dresses and my mother used to make her wear them…coz after all she is a girl.¬† hahahaha. Now….if you want to get her into a dress you would have to drug her! ūüôā

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…I think it’s finally happened….

I have over the years often said how much I love the UK, how wonderful life is in this country, how priviledged we are to live in a 1st world country¬†and how much I enjoy living here, and now…….after 9.5 years……..

I b*itch about the Government (vehemently), complain about the weather (occassionally),

pic from cartoonstock.com

 I have a right old moan when the bus is 5 minutes late,

I complain¬†when the tube is delayed by a signal failure and I have started to realise that¬†6 months of winter¬†is not fun!¬† ūüôā

I have become an avid birdwatcher,

British Jay

feed the foxes in the garden, chase the squirrels,¬†avoid Oxford Street to the best of my ability, am seriously considering ‘wintering’ in a sunny countryand get all teary-eyed when I hear the National Anthem! ūüėČ

today, I had a full Christmas lunch with all the trimmings (albeit pork fillet and not a turkey),

watched a Pantomime on TV¬†and listened to¬†the Queen’s speech!

I think it has finally happened……I have morphed into a Brit!!!!

pic from british-flag.org

and I love it!!!

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wonderful Festive Season and Happy Holidays. may your days be filled with joy and love.

this is now officially my first white christmas and I am delighted to say the least.  Ok so the snow has started melting and the ground is all slushy and mucky, but it is stilll very beautiful albeit cold.  The squirrels are bounding about on the verandah causing mayhem and the blue tits, coal tits and robins are busily flying back and forth from bush to feeder to verandah and off again!!

if you look very carefully you will see the robin sitting on the lower post

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I received this just today from a friend of mine in an email,¬†and loved it so much I had to share it………what a bright guy!! ūüôā

In case you missed it on 60 Minutes, this is what Andy Rooney thinks about women over 50.

60 Minutes Correspondent Andy Rooney (CBS)

As I grow in age, I value women over 50 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 50 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, ‘What are you thinking?’ She doesn’t care what you think.

If a woman over 50 doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it’s usually more interesting.

Women over 50 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it..

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it’s like to be unappreciated.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 50.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 50 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest.. They’ll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one. You don’t ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 50 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 50, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize.

Andy Rooney is a really smart guy!

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Dreams

I am cheating a little bit here today…..I received this quote from my daughter via skype this morning and thought it was so lovely it should be shared:

DREAMS.

All people dream, but not equally.

Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their mind,

Wake in the morning to find that it was vanity.

But the dreamers of the day are dangerous people,

For they dream their dreams with open eyes,

And make them come true.

D H Lawrence

quite a strange poem by any means, but I quite liked it. Hope you do too. ūüôā

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I went into town (London) yesterday for a meet up with my daughter for a business¬†‘Power Hour’. I am having a bit of difficulty with the business plan for 3 Days in London,¬†so went along to get things in order.¬† She is a genius at unravelling stuff and by the end of the session I felt like finally we had a workable direction….

After the meeting I decided to take a walk along the SouthBank to see the German Market and check out the ice-rink at the London Eye.¬† First though I walked across the Thames via Hungerford Bridge….the view is so fabulous that I can seldom resist if I am in the area.

view of St Paul's from Hungerford Bridge

Then at a quick trot along the embankment…..it was freezing, I whizzed past the stalls absorbing the heavenly smells that whafted through the air.¬† The stalls looked cosy and gay; decorated with lights and tinsel and baubles.¬†There are¬†a number of stalls giving you an array of choices that tempt your tastebuds: crepes, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, fudge and chocolate.

german market southbank london

fancy a Crepe (pancake)? go wild and have one with nutella and cream ūüôā

There is a gaily painted carousel, the horses dizzily whirling by; a blur of colour and light and sound, the snow a fitting background.

carousel on south bank

gaily painted horses whirling by at a dizzy pace

From there I walked up to the ice-rink in front of the London Eye and watched the skaters whizzing around; thrills and spills! Looked like great fun.

london eye ice rink

thrills and spills on the London Eye ice-rink

By this stage my camera didn’t want to work, it was so cold it felt like I had lost life in my hands;¬†I had no feeling and my face felt like it was going to fall off!

snow in london 2010

view of Big Ben from South bank

The lamp-posts, walls and sculptures were all covered with snow and looked incredibly pretty.  As the light waned it got colder and colder, so at a quickening pace I walked along to Westminster Bridge and back over the river to Big Ben, Westminster Palace

christmas tree at big ben london

Big Ben at 4pm. the Christmas tree in the forecourt is very pretty

and Westminster Abbey.  The Christmas Tree in front of the Parliamentary buildings looks gorgeous and I watched the clock strike 4pm. Then a quick walk over the the Abbey for a photo or two.

westminster abbey london

Westminster Abbey looking ethereal in the diming light

Then it was back onto the tube and home.¬† It was a delight to step into the house that although cold at the best of times, is a whole heck of a lot warmer than outdoors.¬†¬† It took me about¬†10 minutes to defrost and a lovely cup of tea helped warm me¬†up ūüôā

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Ever since I have lived in the UK I have loved winter.  I love how the days get colder and colder as autumn creeps nearer and nearer to winter, how the wind comes up and blows all the leaves asunder, scattering them far and wide.

leaves scattered far and wide

I love the smell of leaves burning as gardeners tidy up after autumns fall, how the trees look without their summer dresses, how their arms reach skywards; beseechingly, achingly.  How the birds nests become more apparent without the leaves to hide them.  I love how the wild birds and squirrels run about looking for food, digging their noses into hidey holes from the summer.  I love how the days shorten and the nights draw in earlier and earlier,

as the nights draw in......5pm mid November

a perfect backdrop for the gay¬†christmas lights that brighten the dark nights with their cheery colours. I love the anticpation¬†of wondering if there will be snow…..and when! I love it when you wake one day and the world is white, a sparkling pure white that covers the world…the air hushed and still.

and then it snowed!

I love the early mornings when you pop your head out from under the duvet

popping your head out from under the covers

and its freezing and you scurry back beneath the covers.¬† I love the icy cold that makes you hop up and down, the chill¬†in the seconds between getting undressed and¬†diving under a hot shower….goosebumps scurrying up and down your body as you shiver and laugh with the thrill of the cold. I love the sounds of the laughter as kiddies fly screaming down snowy slopes, precariously seated on¬†bright yellow or¬†red¬†or blue sleds, with either Mom or Dad waiting at the bottom or maybe even hugging them close as they whizz along slippery slopes.¬†¬† I love the winter colours; purple, red, burgundy, emerald green –¬†the clothes we pile on in an effort to keep warm before we venture outdoors; scarves wrapped tightly and caps pulled down in an effort to keep the cold air at bay.¬† I love the seasonal activities; halloween, bonfire night,

Guy Fawkes - Bonfire night

thanksgiving, christmas….all seem more appropriate in colder climes. I love how the air ghosts up as you breathe out¬†on a freezing cold morning, the thrill of a warm indoors after a quick walk to the store…that tingling¬†feeling as warmth creeps slowly through your bones…a painful albeit comforting ache.¬† I love how people stamp their feet to keep warm, how folks laugh more in winter coz of the cold that makes you jump about.¬†¬†Then the first advertisement of Starbucks ‘Gingerbread Latte’ and you know that winter has arrived

starbucks

Gingerbread Latte at Starbucks...winter is here ūüôā

And what I love most of all are the layers….the layers of clothes we pull on before we venture outdoors… no such thing as popping quickly out the door….

layer 2 - a camisol and tights

layer 3 - a top and socks

layer 4 - a jumper and trousers

layer 5 - jacket and shoes

layer 6 - and an extra pair of thick socks

(no! I didn’t forget layer 1 – like Victoria, a girl has gotta have some secrets ūüôā )

and then just before¬†it gets tiresome, before you get¬†sick of the cold and dark; I love the anticipation of spring….knowing that all that has died will soon come to life…the first buds of May as they peep through their protective winter¬†covering, the snowdrops that look for all the world like a fresh shower of snow, the tulips

bright colours of spring

and daffodils that thrust boldly towards the light; brightening a dull day with their fabulous colours, then suddenly the blossoms appear

blossoms amidst the green

and and slowly slowly the trees form a sheen of green, and¬†the¬†days lengthen getting longer and longer….

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as I mentioned before, there is one thing guaranteed to get me out of bed before the alarm and that is snow.

snow in london

what I saw when I opened my curtains at 7am this morning

¬†I am dressed and out the door camera in hand in less than 10 minutes…….. it usually takes a cup of tea and a half-hour snuggle before I get up! so today I open my curtain to take a peek at what the weather holds in store and it’s SNOWING!!!!!! Talk about a ripple of energy!!!!! it’s like an electric current runs through the bed……..

So there I was, not yet 8am and I was out and about in the snow grinning from ear to ear and LOVING it!!!! There is one thing to be said for snow besides that it is beautiful –¬†and that is that it is MAGICAL!!! There is something about snow on the rooftops and covering the trees that is quite simply magical.

picture postcard perfect

I know it causes chaos and I have lost out on work in the past…but hey so what! It is one of natures most beautiful visions and in all the 9 years of living in the UK I have yet to tire of it. Long live winter…. it brings the snow!

pretty as a picture

There were a few hardy souls out before me and we smiled a greeting (see thats what the snow does, creates a sense of community) as we wnet on our individual ways.¬†¬† Them to wherever they are going and me to the park nearby (can’t venture too far).¬† I love the sounds of silence the snow creates, how it mutes all daily sounds, the crisp crunch underfoot as you step on virgin snow, the whoosh as it slides off the awnings, the slow steady drip drip drip as it melts off the branches.

birdbath frozen over

I love the sight of the trees under their blanket of white,

xmas trees

 the ground a pure white disc, all uglies hidden, the enchanting vision of snow on the roof, the tumultuous flakes as they whirl and twirl down from the heavens, the smile it brings to peoples faces!

(p.s. this was written on 30.11.2010…I forgot to post it ūüôā )

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