Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Alphabe-Thursday - O is for Oasis and Optimism

This blog was never intended for anything but a bit of fun. My banner says it was meant to provide an oasis and that was what I wanted to do - promise anyone who followed that there would always be something positive to read here, or something funny or entertaining. Not for me the angst, the baring of the soul, the ranting and raving. Most of those things are, at least in my life, short lived and I have no wish to record them for posterity! So I have been a little quiet recently. Last week's Note From My Mum was not a joke. I have, in the last few weeks, had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a full time carer, my husband and my mother both need a lot of care and between them they take a lot of my energy and time.
I have worked since I left school at 18. I was a lawyer though I tend to keep that to myself these days. I was also a book keeper as a sideline. I was single until I was 36. When I gave up my job just before Christmas it was to give myself six months to catch up with a lot of things before I looked for something else, but I now realise that planning to get another job has been creating its own stress. My own health has been a bit suspect and I don't have the stamina to keep going all the time. Now that I have decided that I am not going to do that I find myself truly feeling a lot more optimistic about the future because I can give my energies to the two people who I love most in the world, and who need me the most and be very glad and feel, frankly, very blessed, that I harbour not one iota of resentment about the situation..
I am extremely fortunate that we can manage without my earning. Hubby being in a wheelchair means that we don't spend on things like holidays, or going very far afield for trips, neither of us smoke, he doesn't drink and I only do in moderation, I have time to cook real meals which are much cheaper than ready made and I have a wardrobe full of clothes that I used to keep for work, or best, which I can now wear to do the gardening in should I so desire. The social life I have is with the people I genuinely want to spend time with, not because they are the people I need to cultivate or people to whom I "owe" an invitation.
I may actually find that I will have the time and space to start preaching again - oh yes, have I told you I am a Methodist Preacher? I haven't been active for a few years because of all the other stuff that has been going on but I am hoping that might change in time. In God's time and mine.
So, for all you fraught and frazzled bloggers, this little oasis will remain open for business for the foreseeable future. I will welcome your company on this new journey and will stay optimistic I hope
More "o" s ( which makes an "oooooo" ) HERE

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Alphabe-Thursday N is for Note from my mum

Dear Mrs Matlock, I am afraid I had to keep Jay from class today. I know that her education is important but I needed her more than you did.
Kind regards
Mrs Dubblah

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Alphabe-Thursday M is for Music

Anyone who has been reading my Alphabe-Thursday posts regularly will know that I have already introduced some of you to a couple of my favourite singers but in fact my musical tastes lean a lot more in the classical direction than you might so far have thought. Music has been an important part of my life. As a small child I was taken along to rehearsals of Gilbert and Sullivan, as my dad belonged to two and sometimes three, amateur operatic societies. I appeared in my first musical at the age of 9, just a small part as a gypsy child in a musical called "Gypsy Love" and I was my dad's attendant in Iolanthe when I was 10 - he always played the G&S comedy role. I played a lead role in a school musical when I was 10 as well and at the age of 14 I sang in my first oratorio with the local choral society. That was as a soprano but I soon moved over to the altos. I have sung solo on occasion and have a video to prove it but not the technology to put it on YouTube (don't all breathe a sigh of relief quite so quickly ha ha) What was then called the "Third Programme" on the radio was on at home a lot, that was the classical music station, and I studied music at school. It is now called Radio Three and I still have it on a lot. Three of my favourite composers begin with "V" and that is my planned post for that letter when we get there. I do like popular music but if I had to choose then it would be classical. I like "World" music too, that is, music from non-western traditions. So, I thought I would set myself a little challenge and try to pick one classical and one popular composer or artist for every letter of the alphabet and this is what I came up with - I had to cheat a bit with first or second names and stretch the definition of classical or popular in a few cases. And there are surprisingly few classical composers for N and none that I like so I put in The Naxos Catalogue, which is the hugest list of classical CDs that I know of and which I drool over regularly. And I didn't want to cheat so I had to leave a few gaps. But I would be really interested to know a) how many of the 48 in the list you have heard of and b) any suggestions for the gaps

Albinoni and Alice Cooper,
Bach (J.S.) and Jacques Brel,
Canteloube and Leonard Cohen,
Dvorak and Dave Brubeck ,
Elgar and Electric Light Orchestra,
Faure and Brian Ferry,
Gershwin and Georges Guetary,
Handel and Lionel Hampton,
Isobel Baillie and The Inkspots
Jussi Bjorling and Japan,
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and The Kinks,
Lehar and Lata Mangeshkar ,
Mendellsohn and Mohammed Rafi,
The Naxos Catalogue and Peter Nero,
Orff and Mike Oldfield,
Phillip Glass and The Police ,
John Shirley Quirk and Queen,
Rodrigo and Diane Reeves,
Sondheim and Sade,
Tedesco and Tom Lehrer ,
?? and Unit 4 plus 2,
John Vickers and ??
Weil and Scott Walker,
Xavier Depraz and XLNC,
Yves Montand and The Yardbirds
??? and ???

Sorry I haven't put any pictures up with this, I was going to do a photo of my cd collection but the battery's gone on the camera again! See what other things the letter M has brought to mind HERE

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Alphabe-Thursday L is for Langham and Lehrer

I found myself torn this week between introducing you to one of my favourite places and two of my favourite singers. But then I remembered that some of you do not confine yourselves to one subject, so I am going to take my L-lead from you.
The place is Langham Glass. I have only been there twice but hope to go again someday. They make glass ornaments there which are very expensive but they also have a visitor centre where you can go and watch stuff being made. Glass blowing is an amazing skill and the people who do it "in public" have a terrific patter which is very entertaining. It is mesmerising to watch. There is a beautiful walled garden there too. HERE is the link to their website There is, of course, a shop, which is why I have a "second" paperweight, much cheaper and just as lovely. It would be easy to spend an awful lot of money there. Hubby gave me a wren for our wedding anniversary this year so I have posted a picture of my two pieces of Langham glass

The singers are Tom Lehrer and Leonard Cohen - poles apart! Leonard Cohen is a Paris memory so you will have to wait for the letter P but Tom Lehrer, well I can't quite explain what it is. He is very clever for a start, he was a Maths Professor at Harvard who had a sideline in very funny songs. THIS is one is one of the less Politically Incorrect ones. Look at others at your peril. His career in singing was short lived and he was on The Frost Report a few times here in England. I am not sure how I came across him but listen to him over and over when I need cheering up

For other people's take on the letter L go HERE

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Alphabe-Thursday K is for Kaleidoscope

I bought a new photo manipulation programme a while ago. It has some amazing features including what they call "Reflection" effects. One of those is called Kaleidoscope and I can't stop playing with it.

It turned this

into this

and this

into this

I didn't find the letter K very easy. I could have talked about the knife I used to cut the onions yesterday and how it cut my finger instead. I could have talked about my kinfolk, about not having any kids, about Kierkegaard or Khachaturian, but I want to go back and play with my photos some more.

See what other people thought of for the letter K HERE