D-DAY

Tomorrow is D-Day and I could be in for a big change in more ways than one.

August 30th is Murron’s due date.
Official Grand Baby number one will be arriving at any moment.
I saw Murron today after a quick visit to deliver the piano she loves and she is absolutely HUGE!
She’s is glowing and is now totally ready for baby JJ to arrive.
I say official Grand Baby because she is the first of my kids to have a baby, but in fact I am already a Grandmother to her partners two little boys and they are so excited for the arrival of their little brother.

August 30th is also the closing date for the new job I have just applied for!
This has taken me very much by surprise as I wasn’t actively looking for a new job.
I love my current job but I can’t deny I’ve been finding it very tough over the last few months.
Out of the blue, a friend pointed me in the direction of this job advert for a new team being set up based in the community that involves a recent interest I have developed at work.
I have spoken to colleagues who have all said that it’s right up my street which has given me a little more confidence.
It’s a scary prospect and I am still very much in two minds about it, but going for an interview if I’m offered one will give me an opportunity to find out more. Watch this space!

So! It’s going to be an interesting few weeks.

ANNETTE

I have just managed to see Annette.
Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard’s musical adventure.
If you haven’t seen it, there may be some minor spoilers in this quick review so you have been warned.
.

.

.

.

When I first heard about Annette I was quite excited and then I found out that it is a musical with a completely sung narrative and I’m afraid I really don’t get along with that kind of musical!

For that reason I have been very apprehensive about seeing this film.

However……
I have to say that I’m glad I’ve seen it.
It was beautifully filmed, wonderfully acted and totally surreal!
I also have to say that I don’t think I could watch it again.

The film has it’s moments and Adam Driver really delivers an out of this world performance, but there was one moment that really blew me away and that was the duet Adam has with little 5 year old Devyn McDowell in the closing minutes of the film.
They sing Sympathy for the Abyss together and OMG! this little girl has got some acting and singing chops!
It actually gave me goose bumps.


It also makes you feel quite heartbroken for Henry, Adam’s character, even though he’s actually quite an arsehole the rest of the film.

It’s a very artsy film and I can see it doing pretty well when it comes to awards season next year and dare I say it… there could well be another Oscar nomination coming Adam’s way, but I won’t be going out of my way to watch it again. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. You can’t win them all!!

NAME AND SHAME – pt 1

I have finally reached my limit.
I live in a house with 3 other adults.
My husband, Dharma who is 19 and Marjorie who is almost 22.
My eldest, Murron, has moved out and is starting her own adventure and grandchild number one will be here anytime over the next 3 weeks.

Over lockdown and since Murron moved out we have had some MAJOR clearing out and moving around in the house.
What is beginning to urk me are silly things.
When I go out to work I will list things that need doing in the family chat group like, washing up, tidying up, putting shoes away and doing the washing.
I have to do this list EVERY DAY.
If I didn’t, nothing would be done and when they do do them, they tend to do the bare minimum or a half hearted job.

A couple of recent examples.
The hubby did a shop for me yesterday. He threw a new kitchen roll on the side and left it.
Instead of taking it out of the packet and replacing the empty roll on the stand, he just left it thrown on the side.

The shopping bags themselves are another urk!

This is how they should look when they are finished with.
They are folded nicely and fit in this bag with the handle hooked back up to keep them all out of the way.

How they should be

But this is how I quite often find them and it does my nut in because I have to put them away before I can get to anything.

How I find them

Coats and hoodies are left on the bannister or hall chair instead of being hung on the rack which is practically in the same room.
Shoes are left where they are taken off and I have found them recently in the middle of the kitchen, under a sofa in the living room and all around the hallway.
There are TWO racks for shoes but I still have to pick shoes up.

Pots and pans.
For some reason, it is acceptable to let them pile up in the hope that I will do them when I’m home.
Baking trays left on the hob unwashed.
Frying pans used with the promise of being washed ‘when I’ve finished eating’…….. which never happens.
Chopping board never gets wiped down, cooker top never gets wiped down.

General cleaning, like bathroom, toilet, dusting and hoovering, only gets done if I specifically put it into the family group chat and ask for it to be done. God forbid anyone should think about doing it because they think it needs doing!
People leaving items laying around like ear pods, cups and bottles, parcels or letters that they’ve opened, instead of putting them away.
I could go on and on and on.

Don’t get me wrong, when Ian had to leave the house for work each day and the kids were smaller it wasn’t such a chore but now that the kids are old enough to completely look after themselves and Ian works from home it’s beginning to get to me.

To put things into perspective.
I’m no spring chicken anymore and I have a knee problem that is only getting worse.
When I’m at work I go out of the house at 7am and I don’t get home until 20:30 and sometimes later depending on the day I’ve had and the writing up I need to do before I leave, so I’m out of the house for around 14 hours.
Sometimes I’m lucky if I get to sit down for more than 45 minutes during that time.
I do two of these shifts in a row, sometimes 3 and occasionally 4!
If I only have a day off between these shifts, I need to rest.
So when I get home and I’m confronted with silly little things like washing up, clothes and shoes not put away, general tidying up and cleaning that hasn’t been done when 3 other adults have been in the house all day…. I get a little urked!

Yes, I know my husband works 9-5 Monday to Friday…….. BUT….
He does that SITTING at a computer and he gets to walk away from that screen whenever he wants to.
I’ve seen what he does for work on my day off and if he thinks he even comes close to what I do,,, he is sadly mistaken.
I don’t deny he works hard mentally but he doesn’t come any where near to what I do physically and he wonders why I get angry when I get home to silly little things that haven’t been done!

So! I am starting a name and shame blog.
If I find anything that urks me, I will take a photo and I will post it here.
If I know for ‘definite’ who did it, I will name them, otherwise I hope these posts will be a way for my family to get an idea of what I actually expect from 3 adults who live in the same house as me.
There is no magic fairy to do the washing and cleaning. Four people use this house and it is actually the responsibility of EVERY one in the house to keep it tidy and clean.
The ‘but I didn’t use it’ argument doesn’t work anymore!!

Watch this space.

LONDON

So that’s it, our first break away since 2019 done. Gone in a flash and thoroughly enjoyed.
It has proved to us however, just how unfit we have both become over the last year.
Walking around London is hard at the best of times with the amount of walking you can rack up.
I think 24000 steps is our record for one day!
It’s made even harder by all the different surfaces you have to navigate, particularly cobbles.
By the end of each day we could barely move!

Anyway, Weds Aug 4th, we arrived quite early at our hotel and they were able to check us in early which was a bonus.
We unpacked and then headed straight to the DLR which was literally a stones throw from our room.

We’ve stayed at this hotel several times as it is out of the congestion zone, has cheap parking for London, has a restaurant/pub attached, has a supermarket over the road, the DLR on it’s doorstep and most importantly, it’s cheap!
we’re not looking for fancy when we go to London. We just need somewhere that’s clean, where we can sleep and have a shower and that has a TV and this ticks all the boxes.

So, first stop was at the Emirates airline for a cable car ride over the Thames to the O2.

Then we headed over to the South Bank and did our usual wander up and down. The weather was pretty good with lots of sunny spells and no rain, although it did look a bit threatening at times! We had a pint at The Thameside Inn before heading to our first meal of the trip at The Horniman in the Hays Gallery. One of our favourite haunts right next door to the HMS Belfast.

After this we were really struggling, so we headed back to the hotel for an early night and to catch up on some of the Olympics.

Thurs Aug 5th, we decided to start with breakfast at the hotel to fuel up for the day and then we headed over to Hyde Park Corner to catch a Big Bus Tour bus. I know, I know, that is SUCH a touristy thing to do, but it’s actually quite fun and a good way of seeing lots of sites in a relatively short space of time. It also means you can jump on and off the bus all over the major site seeing areas without having to go on the underground.
The start of the day was lovely and sunny and so we enjoyed the open top area all the way round to St Paul’s Cathedral.


We had planned and pre-paid to go into St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s something we have never done in our entire lives.
We always see it from the river or walk around the outside and we see the inside on the TV for occasions like Charles and Diana’s wedding, but we’ve never physically set foot in the place. It was worth it. The place is absolutely stunning!
What you don’t see from the outside and what you never really think about it the crypt beneath!!

After this we hopped back onto the Big Bus and headed over to the Tower of London where we walked down to Tower Pier to take a short boat trip over to Westminster pier. The weather was getting a bit bleak by this point and our meal for the day was booked at The Rooftop bar and restaurant at The Trafalgar St James!!

Anyway, Ian wanted to check out the Lego store after dinner so we headed to Leicester Square in the rain.
There was a HUGE queue still waiting to get into the store when we got there and this was 18:30 in the evening!
So after a few photos with the resident statues, we headed back to the hotel for another fairly early night and a catch up with the Olympics.

Fri Aug 6th, was our anniversary day. This was to be a shopping and wandering day and we started back at the Lego store and made sure we were at the front of the queue for when they opened at 10. Unfortunately what we were after was out of stock so we headed off to Regents Street. I wanted to go to the Burberry store to look at getting Ian some Burberry Hero. This is the new fragrance that has just been launched and that Adam Driver is the face for. Obviously we both wanted to smell it first to see what it’s like and I have to say that it’s bloody lovely!! On a par, if not better than Hugo Boss!

Shopping in Burberry was surreal!
We were greeted at the main door and asked what we were looking for. I asked where the men’s fragrances were and we were escorted there! We were introduced to a member of staff who showed us the fragrance and sprayed some onto Ian so we could really see what it was like and then she escorted us to a till where a colleague dealt with the sale while she took the bottle of fragrance to wrap. Our receipt was popped into it’s own little envelope. The fragrance that was already in it’s own box and shrink wrapped was placed into a Burberry box with a ribbon and then placed into a tough little Burberry bag , sealed with a Burberry ribbon and the bag had linen handles. We were then escorted back to the main door. The whole shop is covered with DEEP pile, pale cream carpet, and it was spotless!
I came out of the store feeling like royalty.
I was just a little disappointed at the lack of Burberry Hero posters….. and by lack of, I mean NONE!

We then had a mooch around Hamleys and they didn’t have the Lego we were looking for either so we heading for a mooch in Carnaby Street and Soho.
Of course, this is where the heavens decided to open and of course we just had to find a pub for a bit.

We headed over to Oxford Street to check out one of the few remaining Disney stores in the country and bought a few gifts for the Kids and Grandkids, and yes! we found the Lego we were looking for!! We then headed over to Covent Garden in anticipation of our meal for the day which was at the Hawksmoor Seven Dials. We were taken here two years ago for our 25th Anniversary and my 50th Birthday by my Brother and Sister in Law and my parents. It’s quite an exclusive steak house with a long history.

The restaurant is located in the old Watney-Combe brewery, tucked down a quiet street a few minutes walk between Covent Garden station and Seven Dials. The Brewery’s first owner, Alderman Combe, hosted an annual steak supper for London’s great and good, with his guests in 1807 including the Prince of Wales and Duke of York. A newspaper reported that: “At a late hour the company left the Brewhouse, highly gratified with their beef-steaks, on which the Duchess of York was lavish in her praise, and very pleased with their worthy host’s hospitality.”

I have to tell you that it still lives up to it’s reputation. The meal was amazing although I was a little disappointed that they appear to have reduced their cocktail menu but this didn’t stop me from downing a few!

Sat Aug 7th proved to be a really wet day which was a shame because we had tickets for a canal boat ride from Little Venice to Camden Lock to meet up with and do some shopping with Ian’s cousin Debbie and her partner Greg who moved back to England from South Africa a few years ago and they were planning to do us a South African BBQ for dinner. Anyway, the plan for the BBQ had to be scrapped so plans for dinner today were a surprise.

It took us longer to get into Little Venice than planned as there was a line closure that wasn’t very well announced so we didn’t have time to wander around and find breakfast anywhere. This was probably just as well because of the rain. We will definitely be going back to Little Venice in better weather. It looks like it’s a beautiful little place. The canal boat ride takes about 45 minutes and the crew give some history stories along the way.

As we arrived in Camden, the heavens opened again so it was a case of ducking for cover and having a little mooch.
But as is traditional with the English weather, the sun soon came back out and we ended up sitting in the garden at the Ice Warf having a drink and waiting for Deb and Greg. We managed to get a table underneath a parasol which was just as well as there was more rain. I couldn’t get my app to work (or so I thought) so Ian ordered two pints. Turns out my app was working and two more turned up 5 minutes later!!
Deb and Greg soon turned up and we went to do some more mooching around the market and stopped at Gabeto’s in the middle of the market for…. yes, another drink and a chat and some nibbles and when the weather turned again, we ended up in the Oxford Arms to have more drinks, more chat and to watch the Springboks BEAT the Lions much to Greg’s delight!
We ended the day at Wagamama’s around the corner.
All in all, it was a lovely day, if a little wet. We really should see more of Deb and Greg. Two years between visits is a bit much, although the pandemic hasn’t helped.

We had left Sunday 8th August open.
1 – we didn’t know what the weather would be like and 2 – we didn’t know if we would be up to anything physically.
Turns out the weather was horrendous AND we were not up to much physically.
The plan would have been to head over to Gilders Hill on Hampstead Heath to see the old Pergola and to see the Butterfly house and Zoo that is also over there apparently.
Anyway, this day has now been filed away for a future trip.

We had breakfast at the hotel and we headed home.
Despite the weather, it was a lovely trip away and it has given me something to think about when it comes to my own health and fitness level.

GOTTA LOVE FANDOM

I think it is abundantly clear that Adam Driver fans have seriously missed his presence over the last year.

It’s been less than 48 hours since the Burberry advert and photos sent Twitter into a spin and this masterpiece has already been created by a fan.
Sometimes I really love fandom.

Original Burberry image and fan creation of how Ben ‘should’ have arrived at Exegol!!

ONE WEEK DOWN

First week of annual leave….done.
I have been on a wind down and now my body refuses to move!!

I’ve not done too much so far.
I did get out to the cinema and a meal with the husband a few days ago and went to my first open mic night in over a year with Murron and her partner Jordan and my mate Debbie on Monday evening.
It was a lovely catch up with a few of the music family and we even got Murron up for a song!

The rest of the time has been spent doing the usual household chores and some gardening.
These chores never seem so bad when you know you haven’t got to think about work the next day.

I’ve also been watching some of the Olympics.
The best bit so far has been Tom and Matty winning the 10m Synchro diving gold!!
I’ve been watching Tom’s career since he was 12 years old and I’ve watched him go through heartbreak when he lost his Dad, come out publicly, find the love of his life, lose his mojo and almost quit, had a son and then found his mojo again! I’ve seen him mature and grow into an amazing young man and this week he finally nabbed an Olympic Gold Medal for the 10m Synchro Diving. He is on a roll and still has the individual 10m platform diving to go at the end of next week.

Tom Daley Surprised Matty Lee with an Olympic Ring in Tokyo | PEOPLE.com

A new trailer for Dune dropped 6 days ago and if you read my blog regularly you will know that I have been REALLY looking forward to this film. It should have been released at Xmas last year but because of COVID it was delayed. It is now being released 3 days before my birthday on October 21st and IT LOOKS AMAZING!!

Something else that was released just a day ago was the official advert for the Burberry Hero campaign starring Adam Driver!!
OMG!! After a year long Adam drought we are finally rewarded with this!! Hot is an understatement.

Of course Twitter has gone mental and we have been rewarded with loads of new Adam photos.

On to the next week and apart from getting the car MOT’d on Friday, there’s not much going on except chilling and watching the Olympics. It’s the build up to our time away in London next Wednesday.

BREATHE

I am on a wind down.
This is my second day of 3 weeks of annual leave which has been planned for well over a year because I wanted the time to be able to watch the Olympics to my hearts content!!
I had the same time booked off last year but the Olympics were cancelled because of COVID.

So after a complete chill out day yesterday, I have spent this morning planning for a little trip away.
It’s our anniversary on the 6th August so we have been planning a trip to London for a few days and this morning I worked on an Itinerary.
I’ve never had a London trip so organised!!
There are still going to be a lot of COVID precautions in place so we thought it was probably prudent to at least have somewhere nice for dinner booked each day.

We will be starting our trip on August 4th by checking into a hotel in Beckton that we’ve stayed in before.
It’s outside the congestion zone, has parking, is right on the DLR into London and is cheap!
This is all good except that with some London Transport strikes due to hit over the next few weeks, with one of them planned for the 5th August, this may not be as convenient for us as it has been in the past. Oh well.

We plan to arrive at the hotel early and check in early if possible before we head into London via the Emirates Airline cable car ride and then the underground to the South Bank to do our usual wander.
We have an outside table booked at The Horniman pub by HMS Belfast at 16:00, so I’m hoping the weather will be good.

Nicholson's Pubs on Twitter: "Wow, look at that view! ☀️ Don't miss out on  booking your spot on the Horniman at Hays terrace which reopened this week:  https://t.co/uKYC8yHSRl https://t.co/Ng96ssWkcm" / Twitter

Thursday 5th will be a little bit of a challenge getting into London if the strike goes ahead but we have planned to take the Big Bus hop on, hop off tour which means we can pretty much get around all the hot spots in London by just hopping on and off one of their busses so we don’t have to worry about the underground and the strike.
We have tickets booked for St Paul’s Cathedral too as neither of us have ever been inside!
Dinner on Thursday will be at The Rooftop, at the Trafalgar Hotel. I managed to secure an outside, rooftop table which overlooks Trafalgar Square.

Friday is going to be another wandering day which will probably take in Carnaby Street and Soho.
We need to make our way over to Covent Garden where dinner will be at The Hawksmoor, Seven Dials.
Steak and cocktails!

Saturday is the day I am probably looking forward to the most.
We will be heading over to Little Venice quite early. Hopefully with enough time for a little wander around before we take a canal boat trip from there into Camden Lock where we plan to meet up with Ian’s cousin and her partner who moved back to the UK from South Africa a couple of years ago. We plan on some shopping at Camden Market and maybe have a pint at The World’s End before heading over to do some shopping on the Bermondsey Mile which is not too far from where Ian’s cousin lives and we will end up at her place for a South African BBQ.

Sunday is our last day and what we do all depends on how knackered we are.
London is always very hard on the feet. Ian has Psoriatic Arthritis and I have joint problems in my knees and hips so we may be unable to actually move by Sunday.
Even so, we have a plan for that day with a possible trip over to Golder’s Hill by Hampstead Heath.
There is a lovely old Pergola that I’ve been wanting to see for a while and there also appears to be a zoo and a butterfly house.

Hampstead Pergola: The Beautiful Place That's Perfect For Every Season

So, that’s the trip sorted, tables booked, tickets purchased, we just need to hope the weather holds out!

We’ve decided to take a trip to MK today when Ian has finished work. We’re having dinner at Miller and Carter and then we’re going to see The Quiet Place II.
I may do a little shop on Saturday to stock up on cold drinks and snacks and then I am going to sit and watch the Olympics.

IT IS NOT FREEDOM DAY!!

So today is the day that all COVID restrictions are lifted here in the UK. Live music and sporting events can go back to full capacity and there will be no limits on guests at weddings and funerals etc.

However, certain areas will be keeping their Facemask rule and social distancing measures. Places like hospitals will continue with no real changes to masks and visiting rules. Some shops will be keeping their mask rules and the public are being asked to keep their masks on public transport and THINK when they are out and about in general.

This is where I’m getting s little worried as I see more and more people who are NOT thinking and posting pics online of themselves and friends ‘getting back to normal’ standing at a bar with no face covering, or symbolically burning face masks and referring to today as FREEDOM DAY.

IT IS NOT FREEDOM DAY!!

COVID is still very much with us and will be for years to come. We have simply got used to living with it and dealing with it.

People need to seriously look at getting vaccinated if they haven’t already done it. The country will soon be divided, not into vaccinated and unvaccinated but vaccinated and infected!

You can still catch and pass on COVID if you have been vaccinated but you are much less likely to get serious or life threatening symptoms.

Vaccinated people should STILL be wearing masks in busy places along with the unvaccinated people.

I have been doing a good job at keeping my mouth shut so far, but I don’t think it’s going to last.

C’mon guys THINK!!!

KICKBALL

If memory serves me well, this is the first time I have ever blogged about football and rugby!

I’m not a huge fan of ball sports.
But that is NOT to say I don’t watch it on occasion.

Watching it from week to week and watching all the different teams try and get to the top of their league does not interest me in the slightest.
Watching 2 teams kick or pass a ball around is, most of the time, excruciatingly boring for me.

However, going to see a game live is a whole different ball game (excuse the pun)
I have only ever been to a couple of big football matches, and they were both at the original Wembley Stadium.
I’ve even seen an American Football match there too.

I have to say that sitting in a stadium that is packed to the rafters with fans cheering and chanting is spine tingling.
The atmosphere is something that cannot be felt through a TV screen. So, consequently I don’t tend to watch football or rugby on the TV.

I do however, get caught up a little bit when my country looks like they may be getting somewhere.
I can remember exactly what I was doing when Johnny Wilkinson kicked a drop-goal in extra time to win the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

I also get extremely interested when a final is between England and Italy!!

I come from a Town in England called Bedford which is also known as Little Italy because of it’s large Italian community which represents the largest concentration of Italian families in the UK.
This is how the Italians celebrate winning down the embankment here in Bedford.

So, after Italy beat Spain on Tuesday to make it through to the final today, I became a little more intrigued about England’s game on Wednesday with Denmark.
I made it home from work in time to see the second half, and what a nail biting win it was.
This is how England fans celebrate in the High Street here in Bedford.

Thanks to Micah Pates for the video.

Anyway, as you can see from the videos, Bedford gets quite lively when one of these teams win anything and car horns, cheering and celebrations usually go on into the early hours.
I actually live right over the road from a pub and this is what happened on Wednesday evening after England made it through to the final and they all piled out to celebrate.

As you can imagine, there is quite a buzz here in Bedford today.
Whichever way the win goes, Bedford is a winner.
The town centre and Embankment are going to be absolutely mental either way.
I just hope the opposing fans can keep the celebrations civil and we don’t have any trouble caused by a few sore losers.

I’m even getting excited myself.
After Wednesday’s win I asked some friends over to watch the final this evening.
I even printed some England flags because, surprise surprise, they are sold out in all the local shops!!

It just remains to be seen who will win.

COME ON ENGLAND!!

HAD TO HAPPEN I SUPPOSE!!

I’m trying, I really am, but I am just not feeling it for Adam’s new movie Annette.

I’ve said it before, I really don’t like musicals that are a completely sung narrative like Les Miserables.
I like a musical with dialogue that is interspersed with songs like Singin’ in the Rain.

I was very surprised when I originally found out that Adam was doing a musical and I was initially quite excited about it, however, I soon discovered that it was to be a completely sung narrative and my excitement got a bit dashed.

The film was to originally premier at Cannes in 2020 but it got delayed because of COVID, so I have waited over a year now to find out more about it.

It Premiered in Cannes 2 days ago and the reviews coming in are pretty mixed but overall they are good.
Dare I say, there has even been a little bit of Oscar buzz!! Could be the only good thing to come out of this movie.

Adam spent the day doing photo calls and interviews before attending the red carpet premier on the 6th and then immediately flying back to the States where he is currently filming Noah Baumbach’s next movie, White Noise.

For 24 hours we had loads of new photos of Adam and he actually looked really relaxed and happy.
Red Carpets and press are not his thing and he usually looks really out of place and uncomfortable but not this year!

The more I see and hear of the movie and it’s music, the more bizarre it gets.

One review opens up by saying…..

If you think you know musicals, think again. Annette, the first English language film from French auteur Leos Carax with songs from cult rock band Sparks, doesn’t have huge set-piece song and dance sequences, or singalong numbers. What it does have is singing sex scenes, a puppet baby, and an opening sequence in which Adam Driver grabs a straggly wig before riding off on a motorbike. La La Land this most certainly is not.

I’ve seen a few clips now and I’ve attempted some of the music on Spotify and I think I am going to stop now.
I just can’t get enthusiastic about it!!
I will go and see it when it makes it to the UK in September but I’m not holding out much hope for it.
This could be the first of Adam’s movies that I don’t actually like.
It has to happen sometime I suppose but I sincerely hope I am proved wrong!!