Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Alphabe-Thursday X is for Xylophone

Now that Jenny's link is up I see she was ahead of me on this one. I wrote this before I saw her's - honest! I have been wasting time trying to find a picture that I could point you to, showing the sort of xylophone I had when I was little. You all know what they look like, but all the pictures I found were much brighter than mine was, I guess because the modern ones are painted in rainbow colours and are wooden, whereas mine was second hand and metal and going a bit rusty. But I loved that xylophone. It was educational, I started to learn about how musical scales worked and about the fact that things of different sizes made lower or higher tones. So then I drove my mum mad going round the house with my little xylophone hammers (red wooden balls on the ends of two slim handles) hitting everything in sight to see what sound it made. Then came the exciting moment when we filled up milk bottles with different amounts of water and tried to tune them to a scale. Hey ho, happy days!
What other things did Jenny's team come up with for X. Link will be up on Thursday morning I hope. Jenny if you read this, what time does it go up on your page and how far behind the UK are you? I'm going to stay up one night to get at the front of the list!
And HERE is the link

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Alphabe-Thursday Where or When

OK, this week I am going to ask you all a couple of questions. When do you ever find the time to do all this blogging and commenting? Where do you sit when you do it?
The thing is, although I love to do my little posts I find that I am a very infrequent blogger and this discipline of Jenny's is often the only thing I do on my blogs (and I have two!) for weeks at a time. I am also a very bad commenter. Sometimes I find that after I have visited a blog and commented the whole thing crashes on me and I have to fiddle about re-starting and quite often the time is getting on and I don't continue. I am blessed with the gift of being able to sleep, and I need my 8 hours, so I don't surf in the wee small hours. My computer is upstairs so if I am cooking or eating or doing much of anything then I can't keep checking in and out - I have to sit down and look at the computer and do nothing else (except maybe listen to the TV in the background.) And of course, if I am out of the house then I can't get online either. So tell me where I am going wrong and give me your advice for being a better blogger (provided it doesn't involve spending any money please!)
And while you are here, here is a song called WHERE OR WHEN
sung by someone I may have mentioned once or twice before. It is actually a show tune from the 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical Babes In Arms so a bit unusual for him, but from an album he did called As Time Goes By, which lots of people hated, but I loved.
If you are reading this before Thursday Morning UK time then the link will be up then for the rest of those W posts

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

V is for Villa-Lobos

Many, many years ago, before I was married, I and my then gentleman friend used to buy and sell what was known in the trade as "smalls". Now I don't know if this is a word used for underwear in the US but let me reassure you that I did not buy and sell those sort of smalls. No, the expression referred to small items, usually china, of an antique or collectable nature. We went to fairs and auctions and eventually had a space in a couple of antique centres. Consequently I spent, or misspent, quite a lot of my youth trawling round car boot sales looking for bargains. One day I bought a record. You remember those big black circular things, don't you? The cover informed me that it was some work or other of the composer Vivaldi. I checked it for scratches and it was fine and I paid my pennies and took it home. Then I looked at it more closely and found that it was not in fact Vivaldi at all, but some works by a composer called Hector Villa-Lobos that had been put into a wrong cover. I put it on the record player and was transported, amazed, delighted. Since then, over the years, I have got to know his work and loved most of it. In fact, if I could only ever listen to the music of composers whose names began with just one letter of the alphabet, then I would choose V. Vivaldi, Villa-Lobos and a bit of Verdi would cover most of my moods. And if you would like to know what that first ever piece of Hector's work was that I heard then you can HEAR IT HERE
Curiously I am presently reading the book "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel (thoroughly recommended by the way) and Villa-Lobos means, roughly, the same thing.
Find out what other people thought of for "V" HERE

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Alphabe-Thursday U is for Unusual

First of all I would like to thank you if you visited my "T" post last week. Teacher put me at the front of the class and I had lots more comments than usual - so that was unusual! I didn't manage to come and visit you all. And if you read my "S" post then HERE is the link to the post I did afterwards about the Suffolk Show.

Now, here is a rather unusual flower. I wonder if you know what it is.

It grew in the garden of my old house one year. Later it grew a lot bigger and the colours faded a bit and it looked like this

Well, let me tell you the answer. It's a foxglove, but a very unusual one, I think you will agree. Why it did what it did, I do not know, and it never did it again, although someone did tell me that it is a mutation caused by a virus!


Saturday, 5 June 2010

The Suffolk Show

I had a really lovely bit of "me" time on Thursday. I went to the Suffolk Show with my friend Irene. For those of you outside the UK, the counties in England are probably larger than the US counties but smaller than the states, well, let's face it, some of your states are probably bigger than England! Most of the rural counties have an agricultural show of some description. In Suffolk, and in many others, they are also a show case for local businesses, organisations and charities.
Parking is costly and can be very difficult so the local Park & Ride bus service run a regular bus to and from the showground which takes you on a route past some of the older and posher houses in Ipswich. Once there, and having recovered from the rather enormous cost of getting in we got our bearings and had a quick look in the tent where all the lovely shopping is, and then left again before we got too tempted. We had a good look at the animals

including a bat-eared sheep (?!)

and when it came to lunch time we got something to eat and went and sat in the shade under a grandstand and watched some horses.

I also arranged to meet up with a Twitter friend. Grethic (she's green and ethical) is a green blob on Twitter - it doesn't do her justice! It was nice to put a real face to the name and we chatted for a little while and then went our separate ways but have promised to meet up for a picnic in the summer

We went and had a look at the flower show

and I bought some fancy sweet pea seeds to grow next year and had an interesting chat with a man who grows the sort of thing I would like to grow in my garden. Irene bought a plant. She is the genius behind THIS garden by the way

We went to the stand of my local radio station and I gave one of the presenters a big hug, as we share our birthday and talk a bit on Facebook sometimes. He has the very early morning show and kept me company last year when hubby was in hospital and I wasn't sleeping very well.

Then I am afraid we did go back to the shopping tent. But I resisted most of the temptation and just bought some fudge and some soap. Can you tell which is which?

If I find the soap won't lather and the fudge tastes awful I will know I've got it the wrong way round.

Finally, here is a picture of two more piggy wigs (it's a face only a mother could love, isn't it) and two of what we call enormous tractors and what a lot of you will think are toy models - yes cousin Kathleen in Canada, I mean you!!!

It was a lovely day, the sun shone but there was a bit of a breeze, and I had managed to park my car where the shade of a tree had come round over it in the afternoon. I was tired and happy.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Alphabe-Thursday T is for Trees

I have a bit of a thing about trees. I have very strong memories attached to certain trees that I have "met" during my life. I know, I know, cue for that well known song "I talk to the trees". On the Andy Williams Show years ago he changed the second line to "that's why they took me away". But I digress.
My first tree was a big old apple tree. For some years we lived with my granddad and granny and the row of houses where they lived were Edwardian and had been built on an old orchard. Each house had been left one or two trees in the garden. I used to climb up into it and sit and read for hours, often until the light had gone and I couldn't see anymore. Dad put me up a swing in it too, so here's a photo of me sitting on the swing.

The second tree was one that I used to pass every day when I was walking to work. I had a lovely photo of it but I've lost it so I managed to screen capture what it looks like now from Google Street View. It must be ancient but it isn't as healthy looking as I remember it.

My third tree gives me an excuse to show you what a slim and gorgeous young thing I was. I am about 18 in this picture. The tree behind me was in the garden of the flat below us. It was a lilac and we got all the benefit of it because it was outside out sitting room window. In the winter lots of little sparrows would come and sit in the bare branches and my mum always said they looked liked little brown fruit

One tree I don't have a photo of is a tree in the park in one of the towns where I worked. It was a huge, and I mean really HUGE Copper beech. On stressful days I would go and look at it at lunchtime and it helped. The next tree is one that was across the road from our last house. I was rather pleased with this photo. We lived in the countryside and there were lots of lovely trees around us.

Now we have moved but we are right on the edge of the town and some of you will know that I can walk through a little wood almost outside my front door. I have posted a few pictures of these in the snow so HERE is a link if you would like to look at them. From my study window I can see the woods and two big pines, here they are in the evening sunshine

Last two. The very old oak tree that is along the lane that goes to the old farmhouse that is now a pub

and my favourite tree at Sutton Hoo

See more takes on T HERE