Sunday, 24 June 2018

An afternoon at Trinity

One of the jobs that I had when I worked at the school was Assistant to the Exams Officer.  It was one of my favourite jobs and I worked with a lovely lady who, in her spare time, played 1st Horn in a brass band.  I kept saying that I would go and see them when they were in concert locally but am ashamed to say it never happened.  We've kept in regular touch since she left the school and earlier this year she mentioned that it was the 50th anniversary of the band and they were having a celebratory concert in the building where she now works.  That building is Trinity College, Cambridge.   {A far cry from the local High School where we met!}

So the date has been in the diary for many months now and even though I'm not a huge fan of brass band music, I was looking forward to actually seeing her perform.  Paul and I met up with two other couples {us wives had all worked at the same school together} for lunch before the concert - a slight mix up in an offer the restaurant was offering meant that we were given one whole bottle of prosecco and 4 extra glasses free - I'm still not sure how that happened but I'm not one to turn down a free glass of fizz! 🍾

Anyone who has ever seen the film Chariots of Fire will know about Trinity College.  To this day students compete to see who can run around the Great Court within the time it takes the college clock to strike the hour of 12.  It's a distance of about 400 yards and the clock takes about 44 seconds to chime.  Apparently the clock sticks each hour twice, one low tone and one high so that gives you a little extra time!

So much history about this place,  it was founded by Henry VIII in 1546 and famous alumni include Isaac Newton, Lord Byron, Lord Tennyson, several British Prime Ministers and A A Milne, whose original manuscript of The House at Pooh Corner is housed in the library there.  

You may see from the photos that there is no one walking across the grass - that is absolutely forbidden unless you are one of the 190 Fellows of the College, there is a very strict looking man in a bowler hat keeping an eye on you at all times just in case you felt the urge to take a short cut between the buildings!  

It was a fabulous afternoon and I feel so privileged to have been able to see inside such a prestigious and historical building.  The acoustics in the chapel were brilliant and they played a wide variety of styles of music, finishing on Crown Imperial which sounded so majestic in those surroundings.

There is also a remote possibility that I may have found another photo to tick off the list - although Paul thinks I am pushing the boundaries a bit to think that the organ in the chapel could constitute  2 - Stripes.

And guess what?  I still didn't get a photo of Cambridge cyclists for Pedal Power!  

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Double takes

I know we are both retired, and that we now have every day free, but it seems that if we rarely have a spare minute.  People did warn me about this!  So yesterday I actually wrote on the calendar 'pub lunch' so that we definitely got out and did it.

It was a glorious day and we headed out to a little old country pub about 20 mins drive from here that has a reputation for good food.  Not a huge menu, and definitely not posh surroundings but a typical old fashioned British pub.  We had a fab meal and then went on a little drive around the area where we came across a little barn development which housed some random businesses.  An antiques barn, a cafe, a little deli and a shop selling random bits and pieces.  'There's got to be something here that fits the scavenger hunt photos' I thought to myself.  And then I saw it, something that fits two criteria in one.

8 A pile of and/or 16 Something that could be from a movie

Good old Harry Potter!  I still can't believe I made it home without actually buying one of these, I'm sure I could have found something to store in it. 

Carrying on with some of the memes I am joining in with this summer, I've just finished reading The Wife Between Us as part of an online book club.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, if you like a story that has a few twists and turns along the way this will definitely keep you interested.  I love it when I get a book that makes me want to read just one chapter more!  We had to vote for which book we would read and there was another on the list I liked the sound of so when I'd finished the book we were discussing I read Little Fires Everywhere.  This was one of those books that I didn't want to end, I want to know what happened to Izzy, Mia and Pearl next!  How's your summer reading list looking?

Monday, 18 June 2018

Me on Monday

This is my first day of not really having anything definite planned which probably means that I have no excuse for not doing some housework 😉 {well of course I can't do anything before I've written this blog post can I?}

Last week flew by and I happily ticked another picture off the Scavenger Hunt list (and absolutely no doubt about this one filling the criteria)

3. A framed view

We went to Cambridge on Wednesday which is possibly my most favourite place to go shopping.  Just love the atmosphere there and as we passed Corpus Christi College I realised that this is a perfect example of the wonderful university architecture in the city.  It makes it look as if we were the only people there doesn't it?  Well we weren't - I had to wait for dozens of Chinese tourists to move out of the way so I could get a picture of the building framed nicely inside the archway.  Because Cambridge is so popular with visitors, this time of year you can often feel that, apart from the university students, you are one of the few English people there!  

I also love going to Cambridge because there is a tiny Sicilian restaurant there called Aromi where they do fabulous snack lunches.  You have to get there early as by 12.30 all the tables are full.  It's not smart and it's not fancy, you sit on stools up at wooden trestle tables but the flavour of the food - oh wow.  I can never manage anything sweet after I've had my favourite - Spianata Saporita (pancetta, provola cheese, roasted peppers, caramelised onions and parsley sandwiched between glorious Italian sourdough bread and toasted) but Paul always manages one of their occur di bue biscuits - two rounds of thin shortbread with pistachio cream in the middle.

I realise now that I'm home again that I missed a perfect opportunity to tick off another picture for Pedal Power. Cambridge is a real cyclist city - and I could easily have found a photo opportunity.  Oh well, a perfect excuse to go back again soon!  Talking of cyclists, the lady who takes my Zumba class was in London last weekend and while walking back to the tube station, was passed by dozens and dozens of cyclists - but not any ordinary cyclists, they were all naked 😳 How uncomfortable would that be?  She showed us a couple of photos she took as proof - there was one exhibitionist happy to have his photo taken, let's just say he had indulged in some rather clever body art in the guise of an elephant.  I'll leave you with that image in your mind ...

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Scavenger photos

The sun was shining, we had family coming over for lunch the next day, the dog was anxious for a walk and so we decided to pop over to our local 'Pick your own' farm on Saturday afternoon to tie up all those loose ends and get some strawberries for Sunday's dessert.

I had in mind that I might also be able find something to tick off another picture on the Scavenger Hunt list.  

The dog was slightly disappointed to find that after we had clipped on her lead, we then got her into the car and with a 'this wasn't what I had in mind' look in her eyes we set off.  It was only a short journey - 6 miles maybe? - but Coco cried for most of it.  You've never seen a dog leap from a car so quickly once we undid her car harness - she's such a drama queen.   As she excitedly sniffed for rabbits and all manner of other farm smells, I spied a sign at the end of the car park.

That will do brilliantly, I thought.  Something from a song title.  Everyone will have heard of that one - brilliant.  With a spring in my step I led Coco in the general direction of the picking fields and we filled our containers with strawberries and gooseberries (husband loves gooseberry crumble and I don't so this is his chance to stock the freezer up with the essential ingredients).  Fortunately I took some other photos while I was there because guess what?  Something from a song title isn't one of the challenges on the list!  Where did I get that idea from?  There is Something that could be from a favourite book/movie so I guess I had confused that - or more likely, seen a photo opportunity and made something up to go with it!

So yes I did get a Scavenger Hunt photo - just not the one I thought I had ...

10 - A Field of Plenty

Friday, 8 June 2018

Being a newbie

I ended up taking my grandson to his music and movement activity class on Monday as his mummy was not feeling well.  We pushed open the door and walked in and I felt his little chubby arms grasp my leg and give a little squeeze.  The ladies who take the class welcomed him in and showed me which cushion he usually liked to sit on.  Other toddlers arrived and took their places and little by little he ventured a little further away from me, to investigate a plug socket or knock on the glass panel of a door.  A stray plastic ball had rolled into the corner which needed to be collected and soon it was time for the class to begin.  They start with a song which includes everyone's name, 'hello xxx, hello xxx, hello xxx, we're glad that you are here'.  On the whole he joined in, and whilst he wasn't one for steadfastly sitting on my lap and refusing to join in anything on his own, he equally wasn't the first child in the centre of the room, choosing his instrument or marching to the music.  I'd say that after the first 5 minutes he was cautiously confident.

A week previously I had experienced something similar myself.  In an effort to keep fit (get fit?) I had found an exercise class called Zumba Gold which seemed to be exactly what I was looking for.  Fun dancing and aimed at 'the 50s and over' - well I certainly fit that criteria!  Coincidentally it was held in the same venue as the Tiny Tempo class I went to, but a different hall.  I opened the door, everyone else was standing around in groups of two or three, chatting and laughing.  I'm sure everyone didn't turn round and look at me as I walked in, but it felt a bit like they might have!  If I'd been 58 years younger, I'd probably been looking around for someone's leg to cling onto as I walked towards the instructor.  She made me feel incredibly welcome and explained about the class and I quickly sneaked to the back of the room to put down my water bottle and bag.  I cautiously joined the end of the back row and waited for the music to start.  

It was such fun and although clearly everyone else there knew each other, smiles and goodbyes were exchanged at the end of the class and I knew I would return.  This week, I recognised a face in the crowd and we shared a quick conversation about living close to one another and half way through, the lady standing next to me introduced herself and asked if I was enjoying it.  And I kept thinking that this must be exactly how our little boy feels when he is suddenly put in a group of new people, we encourage him to smile and join in even when it would be much easier to keep on your own in the corner.  

Taking that first step in something new, it can be a bit daunting, but we are big and brave and we aren't going to let it stop us joining in and having fun!

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Online book club

It's very handy that I have a lot of free time on my hands at the moment because I've joined in with Leslie's online book club and the first book has been chosen.

Leslie chose a selection of books for us to vote for and this is the one which won.  I voted for it as It looked like the kind of book I would have chosen if left to my own devices so I was quick to download it to start reading.  

Now I've started, I can't stop!  It really is a page turner and clues are being drip fed into us as to what the whole story is really about.  I won't reveal any more as there is nothing worse than a spoiler when you are reading and enjoying a book, but let's just say that I am taking full advantage of not having to clutter up my days with going out to work!  

Has anyone already read this book? It doesn't seem to be out in paperback in the UK yet, but if you fancy a gripping read and don't mind downloading rather than having a physical book in your hand, I'd recommend it.  

I just hope the ending is as good as the first three quarters ...

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Scavenger hunt photos

I mentioned in yesterday's blog post that I am starting to search for photos that fit the categories in the photographic scavenger hunt organised by Mary Lou.  I joined in with my first photo hunt several years ago now and it was so much fun to try and find a slightly different take on some of the challenges rather than the obvious.  Yesterday's finds are filed under 'taking the category literally' - a red rose for The Rosiness of Red and a bottle of oil with the right name for Mellow Yellow.  Today I have something a little different.

Number 18 on the list is Currency; Coinage or Paper (the odd, the different, the beautiful.       I set about the house searching for something that would fit the bill.  My son went Interrailling around Europe a few years ago and has a pot of random coins from his travels, a Hungarian Forint, a Zloty from Poland and many different versions of the Euro.  There was even an old Peseta from the days before Spain introduced the Euro.  Then while paying for something in a shop, I remembered that a about 10 years ago they designed something a little bit different much closer to home.  The Royal Mint designed new coinage which, when you placed the back of one of each type of coin in formation, it would make a picture of the shield which was on the back of our old style pound coins. 

The real challenge was to find one of each of the coins as they change the designs on our coins quite regularly and while I can't show a picture of the pound coin with the whole shield on (they were withdrawn from circulation last year when they introduced a new 12 sided coin) I have managed to track down the coins that make up the jigsaw.

Another picture to tick off the list!