Friday, 29 May 2009

Eeeeewwwwwww

Chris and I are going into London tomorrow to visit the cats (yay, can't wait to see them) so I thought I would have a wee look online to see if there are any interesting art exhibitions on at the moment that we could maybe pop in to have a look at. (We probably won't have time but I like to see what's on just in case!!)

Anyway, I discovered that The Royal College of Art is holding it's annual graduate Sculpture show. The show features a sculpture called 'I Say, I Say, I Say' by a man called Gareth Williams. This is the sculpture.....


It is made from......wait for it......hair clippings off his own head and chewing gum!!! I have only one thing to say to that 'Eeeeewwwwwww'

Thursday, 28 May 2009

I am extremely unhappy!!

A few months back a fellow blogger wrote something in a post that I found very insulting and very disappointing. I wanted to blog about it at the time but knew that a lot of people that comment here also commented on the other blog and I didn't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable so I decided that the best way of showing my disapproval was just to stop reading their blog and to remove all links.

I received an e-mail yesterday from another blogger to say that I had been mentioned, by name, in this persons most recent post and that I might want to go and have a look. I read the post. It does not paint me in a particularly flattering light and I now feel like I need to defend my actions which I find extremely unfair!!

According to the latest post I stopped reading due to some 'perceived' anti-Scottish sentiment. The original post which offended me basically blamed the entire Scottish population for Britain's current economic woes.

The argument, in a nutshell, was a couple of the main politicians are Scottish so they must have been voted for by the Scottish people therefore it's the entire Scottish population that's to blame!! (Just for your information - The union of Scotland and England comprises of 50 million English and 5 million Scots. The British government has never been determined by the Scottish vote!!). Oh, and it was the Scottish banking system and Scottish bankers that caused all the trouble. (RBS is a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc which actually has over 50 subsidiaries world wide and has no single shareholder controlling it.....it might have Scotland in the title but it's not a Scottish owned company!! Also HBOS is the HALIFAX Bank of Scotland which is, last I heard, south of the border and it was the Halifax, NOT BOS, which was the major lender of now ‘challenging’ mortgages). Last but not least, the post also indicated that all Scots hate the English giving the example that someone had been beaten up in Aberdeen for 'having an English accent'. Given the accuracy of reporting these days couldn't there be a whole host of reasons for this violence (presuming it happened at all) which had nothing to do with accent? Hmmmm, but since it happened in Scotland and the person beaten up was English then it had to be because of the accent didn't it!! I don't doubt that there are some small minded bigots out there (you get them in every country) but to tar an entire population with the same brush...well that's like saying since BNP politicians have been elected in England (there are none in Scotland) the entire English race must be made up of narrow minded bigots!! (which is utter rubbish but can you see why I might have been a bit offended by what was originally written?). As my Dad said at the time 'Substitute the word 'Blacks' for 'Scots', and see how acceptable that might be in an enlightened society'


I am not going to name names but I want to categorically state

I do NOT tolerate racism in any shape or form.

and it does not matter how you dress it up.....

if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is a duck!!!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Sofa so good!!

Wooooooo Hoooooooo

(I slipped at the top of the stairs the other night (No, I wasn't drunk at the time!!) and skidded down them on my bum. I am so happy that I now have somewhere comfortable to park my bruised derrière!!)

Oh, and we have another reason to celebrate!! One month today and the splats will be back with us!! Which give me an excuse to post some pics.



When they were babies!!


















'Boo!!'














'Erm, I'm not sure this sink is big enough for the both of us!!'






'What ever it was we didn't do it!!'












and just because I love this picture. Doesn't he look gorgeous!!

Friday, 22 May 2009

I have a guilty pleasure!!

I can't believe that I am actually going to admit this...... (I hope that you will all still speak to me after I admit this)

I love
I do......I can't help it!! There are loads of reasons that I shouldn't like it.....

It's about cars - I don't drive and have absolutely no interest in cars
It has Jeremy Clarkson in it - the most smug man on tv!!
Erm....did I mention that it's about cars? (Actually I don't need any other reasons.....I think that those are reason enough!!)

So why oh why do I find myself stopping at the Dave channel if it's on and then......*hangs head in shame* giggling my way through it. (I know......shocking isn't it!!!). I adore the long-distance races that typically feature one of the presenters driving a car in a race against another form of transport (plane, train or ferry), the challenges make me laugh out loud (who could forget the one that featured a nun driving a monster truck) and I am tragically interested in finding out where the 'star in a reasonably priced car' has come on the leader board after doing a lap of the Top Gear test track!! (Yes, I know who currently holds the top spot....it's Jay Kay.....OMG it's worse that I thought.....I need help!!!!)

I've admitted mine (which I believe is the first sign of recovery!!)...now it's time for you to admit yours!! Go on.....what's your guilty pleasure?

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Family get together

One thing that is really nice about being back in this country is actually being able to go to big family events. I felt absolutely awful that we missed my cousin's wedding in 2007 so there was no way that we were going to miss the Christening of his first child!!! Can you guess what we did yet?? Yep, on Friday after Chris had finished work we drove up to Scotland (yes, again....We've been up and down so bloomin often now that I think the car may know how to get there on it's own!!) so that we could be there for the pre-christening family get together. I'm so glad we made the effort!!

We all met up in one of my favourite places, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, in Glasgow's West End.

(you know what I'm like for my historical stuff so just skip this bit if your not interested!!). For those of you that have never been it is worth going just to look at the building itself never mind what is housed within!! It comprises of a cenral/music hall which gives easy access to all the other parts of the building, a suite of top-lit art galleries and a number of museum halls, some roof-lighted and some side-lighted. The architecture combines a variety of styles but the best description is probably Spanish Baroque as the two main towers were inspired by those of the great pilgrimage church, Santiago de Compostela in Santiago, which is in Northeast Spain. It first opened it's doors to the public on the 2nd of May 1901, now houses one of the finest civic collections in Europe and is the UK's most visited museum outside of London!! (If that's not enough to entice you........Kelvingrove has one of the top three collections of arms and armour in the world, it is home to Salvador Dali’s iconic painting Christ of St John of the Cross and it's Natural History collection contains over 400,000 specimens from all over the world). It's absolutley fantastic!!


Anyway, we all met up there because my Uncle is a renowned organist and he was giving a public recital on Saturday (he's been playing the organ at Kelvingrove since 1969....that was before I was born!! If you look closly at the photo you can see him). I have to be honest and say that I'm not a huge fan of organ music but he does play beautifully and with the acoustics in that building....well, it was just wonderful!! What made it extra special was that it was the first time the whole family (that side of it anyway) has been together in about four years!! Chris and I finally got to meet Derek's wife Anne (who is just lovely!!) and their son Robin (He is soooo cute....obviously gets it from Anne's side of the family *grins*). We also got to meet Colin's girlfriend Megan (Colin's my other cousin) and Anne's Mum and Dad. Awwww, we had such a lovely afternoon catching up. When it was time for us all to go our seperate ways Chris and I had a meander round the Art Gallery (which was fab....they had an 'expressions' exhibition on which is what the picture is of!!) and then went for a drink down Ashton Lane (which is a real buzzy area of Glasgow and great for people watching!!)

On Sunday we were up early to make our way over to Glasgow Cathedral for the Christening service. Not being religous, I knew where it was but had never been inside it before. Gosh it is absolutley beautiful!!!

The history of the cathedral is linked with that of the city, and is allegedly located where the patron saint of Glasgow, Saint Mungo, built his church. (The tomb of the saint is in the lower crypt). The building is a superb example of Scottish Gothic architecture ans it is also one of the few Scottish medieval churches (and the only medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland) to have survived the Reformation unroofed. Technically, the building is no longer a cathedral, since it has not been the seat of a bishop since 1690 but, like the vast majority of pre-Reformation cathedrals in Scotland, it is still a place of active Christian worship, hosting a Church of Scotland congregation. From what I can gather (I could be wrong here) the majority of the building dates from the late 13th century!!

The Christening was lovely....the choir sung beautifully and I was very impressed that there was not a peep out of Robin (even when he was getting water sprinkled over his head!!). After the ceremony we were all invited over to the St Mungo centre for lunch....all too soon it was time for us to say our goodbuy's and head back to Malmesbury. It was brilliant seeing everyone and I hope that we won't have to wait another four years till we do it again!!

Friday, 15 May 2009

A Few Random Things

I have some rather random things that I would like to share with you :-)

First, we had a lovely anniversary (thanks for all the good wishes yesterday). Chris started feeling a bit better in the afternoon so we did indeed celebrate. I got a card, a stunning bouquet of flowers, a bottle of champaign and dinner cooked for me!! (Sirloin steak served with potatoes and a kind of garlic, onion and mushroom sauce followed by a hot sticky chocolate mouse thing...yum!!). I was rather proud of myself....I managed to track down the perfect gift for someone who has everything. Chris is into all things Sci-Fi so I got him.....wait for it......Space Food!!! Seriously, I bought him genuine pouches of Space Food that were developed for the Apollo missions by NASA. Neapolitan, Mint Choc Chip and a Vanilla ice cream sandwich....all of which have been frozen to -40 degrees C, vacuum dried and sealed in special foil pouches. According to the blurb they melt in the mouth, are ready to eat straight from the pack and taste exactly like proper ice-cream does. How's that for an anniversary present that's out of this world (Out of this world....get it....Oh, I'm so funny!!!). I also bought him some cool wall tiles for displaying CD's. I always think it's a bit of a shame that you never get to see the artwork on CD covers as they are always hidden away in a rack but with these wall tiles you can display your favourite CD artwork on the wall and still get the CD out easily when you want to listen to it...good eh!!

Ok, other random things. I was actually given two awards yesterday - the lovely one from Sue which I blogged about yesterday and I got a second one from the lovely Milla over at Country Lite. Now, I am supposed to list 5 things that I am addicted to but since I posted 7 things I love yesterday I think I'm covered!! I do, however, have to pass this to five other bloggers but I am rebelling.....This is for everyone on my sidebar that missed out yesterday!! I love all your blogs so think you all deserve this :-)

Right, I promised a wee while ago that I would show you pictures of our garden....the bit that I had attacked and the bit I hadn't!! Can you tell which is which?














And last but not least.....this is what happens when you let your husband loose with a camera!! That is supposed to be a picture of Snow Patrol on stage at Radio 1's Big Weekend....what can I say....he has a gift for timing!!! (To be fair he did take some good photographs but this one is funnier!!)

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Oooohhh an Award

I am thrilled....I have been given this 'Kreative Blogger' award (It's at the bottom of the post because I wanted to plug Sue's book) by the lovely Sue Guiney. She is a wonderful author so it means a lot that someone so talented has passed this award to me (I am now grinning like an eejit). If you have not read her book, Tangled Roots, then I suggest you go out and buy it immediately....I promise you will not be dissapointed!!.

Right, the rules say that I now have to list 7 things that I love (god, this is surprisingly difficult)

  • Friends and Family - Where would we be without them eh!!
  • Eating and Drinking - I think perhaps I love this a bit too much which is why I am now trying to lose some weight!!
  • Drawing - When I'm working on a picture it's like everything else just fades into the background. (I can even forget to eat!!!)
  • Reading - There is nothing quite like being catapulted into someone else's world and then being captivated by their story.
  • Music - I adore my music and there is always something playing in the house.
  • Blogging - I think it's amazing....without it I would never have got to know you lot!!
  • Exploring - I love visiting new places and meeting new people.
So there you have it.

I now have to pass this to 7 other creative bloggers (and I thought choosing 7 things I love was hard). Ok, I would like to pass this to Absolute Vanilla...(and Atyllah), The Accidental Fan, French Fancy, On a Quirky Quest with Lady Fi, Lane's Write, Country Lite and Querty Queen.

----------------------------------------------------
Sue - It's actually our wedding anniversary today but Chris is not feeling too good so it looks like we won't be doing much celebrating tonight. I was feeling a bit low about it this morning.....your award has really cheered me up. Thank you :-)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

What would you do?

Did any of you watch this last night? As part of the BBC's Violence Season there was a documentary on TV last night called How Violent Are You? Basically, Michael Portillo was investigating what makes ordinary people commit extreme acts of violence. It was fairly interesting, he visited Bolivia to take part in a Tinku (an annual battle that takes place between the people of Potosi...they use it to settle conflicts that have arrisen over the year and everyone gets involved including women and children!!), met a man that had been a child soldier and also met a man addicted to the chemical rush he got from being violent. The reason I am blogging about this is that it became very interesting when they re-created a scientific experiment from the early 1960's.

I had never heard of the Milgram experiment before and I found the whole thing really really disturbing (I would like to think that I would never be capable of of seeing this experiment through to it's conclusion!!). The experiment basically measured the willingness of ordinary people to obey an autority figure who was instructing them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience. The participants were told that it was an experiment to measure learning....one would be the teacher and the other the student. They were both given a sheet of paper and the student was told to memorise the answers to multiple choice questions which the teacher would then ask. If the student got the answer wrong then they would be punished with an electric shock the volt of which would get stronger every time they answered incorrectly. They were put in seperate rooms so couldn't actually see each other but prior to this the teacher watched as the student was physically restrained in a chair and then the teacher was given a mild shock to re-enforce the idea that the student would be receiving painful electric shocks. The teacher was then put in a room with the professor sitting at a desk behind them and told to start the experiment. Now, what the teacher didn't know was that the student was actually an actor and that in reality no such punishments were being administered. In order for it to sound real the electro-shock generator was wired to a tape recorder which played pre-recorded sounds for each shock level giving the impression that the student was recieving the shocks. The big question......would the teacher be willing to administer a seemingly lethal electric shock to someone.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing!! The teachers (there were 12 in total), despite hearing screaming and cries to be let out coming from the other room, carried on increasing the shocks when they recieved the wrong answers....even when the shock generator was at a dangerous level and noise had ceased from the other room most went ahead and administered the final lethal shock!! All participants at some point indicated to the professor that they were not comfortable about continuing but after being told that it was essential they keep going only 3 of them stood their ground and said no!! This backed up the original findings.....I don't know about you but I find that absolutely chilling.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Brilliant weekend.....Radio 1 Rocks!!!!

We're back in sunny Malmesbury, I am now snot free (although I think I may have passed my germs to Chris's entire family!!) and I have lost 9lbs so I'm happy as a wee clam!!! *am doing a subdued happy wiggle in my chair* (We're still sitting on garden furniture and I don't want to risk a proper happy wiggle in case it collapses and I land on my backside which is entirely possible since they are not the most robust chairs!! Oh, and if you are thinking that you read somewhere that we had ordered a sofa...you did....the bloody thing didn't fit and we've had to re-order it!!!). Aherm, I appear to have digressed somewhat.....

After spending the week clearing Chris's Mum's house we decided that what we really needed was some rest and relaxation....I don't know what happened to that idea since we definately didn't rest, or relax for that matter, but we did have a bloody brilliant weekend which did us both the power of good!!! My Mum bought us a fab Moroccan cookbook so on Friday Chris and I decided that we would spend the afternoon pottering about in the kitchen cooking up a storm and drinking wine (what can I say.....we both like the Keith Floyd method of cooking!!). We made Quotban with Ma'quoda which was followed by Tamra Bil Gooz (can you tell I have the cookery book in front of me?).....otherwise known as lamb kebabs glazed with a harissa and tomato sauce served with spiced potato cakes followed by date and nut candies. We had a great night.....listened to music, bleathered and drank waaaay too much wine!!! (It always seems like such a great idea at the time!!!)

It didn't feel like such a great idea when we had to get up early on Saturday morning to get ready to head into Swindon for Radio 1's Big Weekend (thankfully neither of us were hung over but we were both definately dehydrated!!!). We ended up getting there early and spent a very entertaining hour and a half people watching!! Honestly, can anyone tell me what on earth is going on with people's hair these days? (notice I did refrain from saying young people's hair) When did the lopsided, matted and badly dyed look come in? and what is with the fringe that starts at the back of your head? To me that is what men do when they are going bald.....it's called a comb over and is really not a good look for anyone!! (Sigh....I'm getting old arn't I!!). Anyway, we ended up being amongst the first people to get into the park which meant that we were very near the front when Edith Bowman came out with her loudspeaker and camera crew. She started making her way along our line interviewing people......Chris and I just looked at each other then attempted to blend with the fence in the hope that she wouldn't come over (I didn't do too badly but when you are 6ft 3 and wearing a bright red Hong Kong Phooey T-shirt blending is not that easy!!!). Now, what Chris will tell you is that he was sexually harrassed by Edith Bowman.....what actually happened was.....She made a bee line straight for him (hahahaha...seriously....you should have seen the look on his face!!!) but as she got closer I think she sensed his 'Oh dear lord I don't want to be on camera don't come and talk to me' vibes because she just patted him on his chest and said 'I love love love Hong Kong Phooey' whilst he mumbled cheers and looked generally horrified!! (I was very supportive.....I laughed!!). She then announced that the Big Weekend was officially open and the crowd went absolutely wild...I tell you, the sound of 20,000 people cheering was absolutely electrifying!!

I have been to a few gigs in my time (the Foo Fighters and BB King were two of the best) but have never been to a music festival before. I loved every single second of it!!! There were four main areas where you could go and hear bands, the Main stage, the In New Music We Trust stage, the Introducing stage and the Outdoor stage, as well as loads of stalls selling all sorts of things. We made the most of it (if you click on the links you will be able to see what we saw or if you have free view you can watch highlights on chanel 301)....we saw Stornoway, The Saturdays (they were surprisingly good), The King Blues (incredible live...was knackered just watching them), Florence & The Machine (they were absolutley mesmerising. Florence's voice is incredible and she sounds exactly the same live as she does recorded which is pretty impressive!!), Deadmau5 (not really my thing), The Script (we only saw a wee bit cause we went to Florence & The Machine's acoustic set and were blown away by it!!) , Friendly Fires (They were utterly brilliant!!), Jack Penate (superb!!), Doves (what can I say....of course they were fab!!), The Temper Trap (up and coming band....definately one to watch!!), Kasabian (was a bit dissapointed to be honest) and last but defintately not least Snow Patrol (phenominal....gave me goose bumps.....if you get the chance go and see them!!). By the end of the day Chris and I were absolutely knackered and we both had sore feet and aching backs from standing so long but neither of us would have missed it for the world!!!