Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Season of mists (and food festivals)...

Autumn Glory...

I love autumn... the mists, the colours, the food... sigh.  Talking of food, Saturday saw Cath, Helen and myself at the Stratford upon Avon Food Festival.  We had such a great day; went to a cupcake decorating demonstration, saw mountains of olives, listened to a band, got a goodie bag from Waitrose which has a superb recipe booklet in it, and generally had a wonderful time in the September sunshine. I didn't actually take that many photos (I was distracted by the food), but here are a few.

Cookery demo
Victim from the audience doing something dangerous with melted sugar 
during a cookery demo...

Rachael (from Rachael's Cupcakes) flaunting her skills...

Helen tucking in to a free sample of god knows what...

Helen and Hamlet
...before empathising with depressed Danish aristocrat.

Cath portrait
Cath keeping an eye open for more freebies...

Cath and Helen
before collapsing with cheese-fatigue...

Cath and Helen 2
...a good day was had by all :O)

Monday, 24 September 2012

It's Monday! What are you Reading?

Well so much for me getting my act together and doing this every week!  Better late than never I suppose... first of all Happy Autumn everyone!  I love this time of the year and am usually driven to start reading more poetry than usual, so a bit of Edward Thomas has had to make an appearance (and you thought I was going to say Keats :O)) :


Today I think
Only with scents, - scents dead leaves yield,
And bracken, and wild carrot's seed,
And the square mustard field;

Odours that rise
When the spade wounds the roots of tree,
Rose, currant, raspberry, or goutweed,
Rhubarb or celery;

The smoke's smell, too,
Flowing from where a bonfire burns
The dead, the waste, the dangerous,
And all to sweetness turns.

It is enough
To smell, to crumble the dark earth,
While the robin sings over again
Sad songs of Autumn mirth.

Now to the books... I got my grubby hands on the wonderful John Connolly's The Wrath of Angels, which is the eleventh novel to feature Charlie Parker.  How to describe them... perhaps Philip Marlow meets Paradise Lost?  I don't like horror stories, have never been able to read a Stephen King without starting to yawn and giving up. These books have moments of violence, but they are also darkly poetic thrillers with elements of the supernatural; demonic humans and worse fallen angels, plus truly wonderful characterisation (if Louis and Angel, the gay hit men, aren't two of the most entertaining and well-drawn characters ever created then I'm a banana).  Plus there is the ongoing mystery of who or what is Charlie Parker. And damn but Connolly can write.  How about this from the first chapter as a taster:

'It was to Harlan, and to Harlan alone, that Barney Shore told the tale of the girl in the woods, a girl with sunken eyes, and wearing a black dress, who had come to him with the first touch of snow, inviting him to follow her deeper into the woods, calling on him to play with her in the northern darkness.'

And now from the sublime to the ridiculous... I bought Sam Bourne's Pantheon in a 'buy one get one half price' deal with a friend but wish I'd saved my pennies.  Set during 1940 it begins with an Oxford academic's search for his wife and child who have left for America.  I can't really say much more as I only got about a third of the way through it - talk about slow; my cat moves faster when he's asleep than that story does.  You have been warned.  I was so fed up with it that I re-read Dissolution by C J Samsom, and also his Revelation, both wonderful historical page-turners.

On my WANT IT list are The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore, and The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz.  If I can't get hold of any of them straight away it will be another re-read, this time The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley, a deliciously creepy book meant for young adults (which I think a remarkably age-ist categorisation), best read on rainy autumn nights with a mug of cocoa to hand.

Friday, 21 September 2012

The Weekend in Black and White...

Hardly had time to pick up my camera for the last week or so, so I made the effort to go into Leicester today to get some shots of the Cathedral.  There has been much excitement in and around the area because of the discovery of the remains of what could be Richard III just across the road, and an ensuing increase in visitors which can only be a good thing.  It's a fascinating building that only became a Cathedral in 1927 but the original church was begun by the Normans 900 years ago.

Leicester Cathedral
Interior shot

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Cats on Tuesday...

We apologise for the lack of communication, I've just been busy, busy, busy, not least with taking certain cats back and forth to the Vets.  A quick update then: Posky's urinary tract infection has cleared up, but now Mrs P has an ear infection again plus a sneezy thing going on which she has antibiotics for.  Of course she vomited and stunk the car out on the journey there and back, plus had an angry at the Vet when she got there.  Talking of angry... Charlie went for his second glucose curve and was apparently not a happy cat.  They'd written on his notes on the computer, 'Charlie is VERY grumpy today.  Take care!'.  He was of course as good as gold as soon as I got there and told me it was ALL LIES, and HE HADN'T DONE A THING!  Anyway, the Vet has asked if we'd like to do the glucose curve ourselves at home next time... so this time next week I could be typing this with both hands bandaged.
Almost forgot - Charlie is very proud that he's taking part in a study about diabetic cats for the Royal Veterinary College.  They now have some of his blood to do all kinds of tests on including genetic testing.  As you may have seen they've recently found what they think may be the skeleton of Richard III in Leicester not far from us, and Charlie is hoping they'll discover he's a long lost relative :O)

 Posky demonstrates how his recovery from infection
means he can now sense the very centre of a rug to lie on...

 Mrs P demonstrates her Vet 'stare down' look...

And Charlie says;
  'and this is my possessed-screaming-cat look 
for use on vet nurses...

...and this is my happy face'

Meanwhile Pepper just thinks they're all weird and 
in serious need of meditation as well as medication...

For more kitties visit Gattina's Cats on Tuesday.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Cats on Tuesday...

A week in which Posky went for his acupuncture and we were both surprised to find a duck in a cat carrier sitting next to us.  A week when Charlie spent all day on Thursday at the vets having a blood glucose curve done, and was rather scared to have a rabbit near him stamping its foot.  And a week when Mrs P and Pepper just did their own thing and couldn't believe how much trouble those two boys caused everyone.

 Pepper thinking how stupid boys are...

 Posky thinking how strange ducks are...

Mrs P not thinking at all...

... and Charlie just lurking on the stairs well
away from any passing rabbits.
See that black thing on the stair post to the right?
That's my phone case - it has since gone missing.  Hmmm...
(This was taken with my new wide-angled lens, as was the
one of Pepper - it's pretty fab!).

For more kitties visit Gattina's Cats on Tuesday.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday...

Decided when I got up this morning to have a go at the Scavenger Hunt - nothing like giving yourself a bit of a deadline to get the creative juices flowing :O) All of these were taken during the last week (and in the case of the batteries - this morning!).

Watching the weather
Popped into Coventry Airport and it began to rain - a lot.
I amused myself by taking photos of people watching the weather.
Oh us wacky Brits...

David and new toy
David and new toy.
Taken with my new toy,  a 10-22mm wide angle lens,
hence the giant hands...

Charlie the uncooperative cat...
One of the five senses...
Touch - Charlie and I share
a hug (somewhat reluctantly on the part
of Charlie).

Not my most inspired work, but not bad
for 6.30am today, in the garden, in my dressing gown
(and before I'd even had my first cup of tea).

Half land - half sky.
Taken at Pitsford reservoir in Northamptonshire.


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