Monday 28 September 2015

Me on the last Monday in September

What a glorious weekend! It was a Saturday of sunshine and sand, sequins and sparkle.
We always try to get a trip to Frinton on the calendar every year and we knew that time was running out before Autumn well and truly kicked in.  I've been watching the time of the tides and the weather forecasts and finally they matched up so we dusted off the picnic blanket, filled up the cool box with sandwiches and cake and headed off for the coast.  Coco, ever the overexcited dog, sensed that something was afoot.  She saw bags being packed, she saw people getting ready to go out and you could see her thinking 'uh oh, they're off without me' so when we got her car harness out of the drawer and clipped her lead onto it she was beside herself with joy.  Only she wasn't expecting to go in the car, she thought we were off for a long walk so we had pathetic crying and moaning going on in the back seat for about a third of the journey. After she realised that all that fuss was making no difference, she gave up and went to sleep. 
After a lovely day in the sun, playing on the beach, picnic on the green, a trip to the ice cream shop and it was time to go home ... in time for the return of Saturday night Strictly Come Dancing!  They seem to have a better bunch this year, although there was a bit of 'Dad dancing' from one of the contestants, and a new professional dancer who was very easy on the eye! Ah, the first sign of Autumn, Saturday night Strictly!  And please could no one mention the rugby?  Oh dear.  And the next game which is a crucial one is against Australia - the team I got in the sweepstake at work - talk about divided loyalties.

Sunday was a day of 'could this be the last time we cut the lawn?' although I'm pretty sure we said that last week too.  Roast lamb for lunch with plum crumble for dessert.  There is something very comforting about the foods in season this time of year.

So - Me on Monday.  Well this Monday finds me at home for a change.  I've swapped my working days because I have to go on a training course on my usual day off.  Although it's lovely to be home this morning, I know that come Wednesday I'll be moaning about not having a day off mid week. Am I having a fun and exciting time on my unexpected day off?  Am I heck, I'm hoovering ...

Hope you are having more fun where you are! 
Giving up a wave to Sian, the instigator of Me on Monday.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Scavenger Hunt - the elusive flag pole and the end of the hunt

Do you know how you can tell that Summer is officially over?  Not by a change in the weather, not by the fact that it gets dark earlier in the evenings, not even by looking at the calendar.  It's when you know that the deadline for the Scavenger Hunt photos is here.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you need to hurry along over the Rinda's blog to find out all about it so that you have your camera prepped and ready to go in June next year.

Every year when Rinda publishes the list for the Scavenger Hunt photos I'm sure I'm not the only one who quickly scans through it and mentally thinks of the ones that I know I can easily find close to home, those that I will have to go further afield for and the one that you know is going to cause you trouble.  The first one I knew would be impossible was the unicycle - although I have since found out that the son of a friend has one and can do various tricks on it.   The next one I wondered about was a juggler, and then as if the fates knew of my dilemma - a new teacher started at school, one whose previous job was teaching circus performers' children in an Australian Circus.  Of course he had picked up some circus skills along the way - he is a mega super star hula hooper (don't take my word for it, check out this video)  and ... ta dah ... juggling. This year I was concerned about the 3 flags or more on a flag pole.  We're not really a flag waving kind of country, and even when we do fly a flag, you will only find one per pole.  We need to follow the lead of other countries - Italy for example.  Oh how excited I was to see hundreds of flags lining the beach front. 
15 - A flag pole with at least three flags on it
As we sat in the taxi from the airport to our hotel all I kept saying was 'Paul, look at all those flags!'  the driver must have thought I was crazy, we passed mountains, we drove alongside the sea, we drove through quaint villages, but the thing that impressed me most was the flags!
16 - A panoramic view - taken from high in the air

We knew there was a famous tower in Lucca.  What we didn't know was how high it was.  So I had taken a photo out the window of the aircraft in case I wasn't able to climb the tower.  I asked the ticket seller how high it was - 45 metres.  It looked pretty high.  How long does it take to climb - about 8 minutes.  Which seemed a long time but I figured even if I didn't make it to the top I could take a photo from a window on the way.  So we started to climb.  And climb.  And climb. And wow was I pleased I did it, just look at that view!  The tower is famous as it has trees growing out of the top of it.

17 - at least two people wearing matching outfits or uniforms

A five a side football tournament at the nearby football pitch came up trumps here.  I love the way these two are so engrossed in their conversation.

18 - an overloaded truck, car, bicycle or other vehicle

It's not often I volunteer to go with Paul when he takes rubbish to the tip but I'm pleased I went on this occasion as I think this guy had a lot of stuff to get rid of.

19 - a ticket booth

Beaches in Italy are privately owned so to use the facilities like deckchairs and parasols you have to buy a ticket.  Which was very fortunate for me as it provided me with a choice for ticket booths.

20 - A natural body of water

The lake over our local park is such a tranquil place.  It's a favourite dog walking venue - although I'm not sure that the fishermen always approve of the presence of over-excited dogs running around chasing ducks and scaring away the fish!  Even though I could have chosen many a picture of the Mediterranean, I decided to use this one for the hunt.

Which just leaves me with the final photo. The one of me holding a sign. (Sitting in my rocking chair which I was keeping in reserve in case I needed it as an alternative for an elusive item.)
And so the hunt ends again for another year so a big thank you to Rinda for organising it, the search for photos really adds to the fun of our holidays.  Same time, same place, next year?  I do hope so!
My other photos can be found in earlier blog posts.  If you fancy a look I'd love to see you here and here.  But most of all I'd love to know if you've joined in already and if not - I need your promise that you will consider joining in next year. 

Monday 21 September 2015

Me on Monday


I'm giving a quiet little wave to Sian today.  Shh, let's try and be as quiet as we can as they may be nursing a few Guinness headaches after that 50 - 7 Rugby World Cup win over Canada  at the weekend ;-)
As I sit here in the study typing this post all I can hear is the rain hitting the window.  How can weather change so quickly?  We had a weekend of last bits of sunshine, morning coffee in the garden 

Dogs getting stuck in places they had no right to be
That barricade is there for a reason Coco!
We even had apples falling out of the sky!  A sudden 'bump' and there in the middle of the lawn was an apple, a bird must have (ambitiously) tried to fly with an apple in its beak and dropped it mid flight.  It certainly made us jump!
In the evening, an Indian take always with friends. A mojito while we are waiting for it to be delivered? Don't mind if I do
I like the way the cocktail stirrer was a muscular man - in honour of the rugby!
And today

I've got home from work and someone can't understand why we aren't heading off on a walk.  Those puddles are a bit of a clue!

Time for a bit of blogging with a coffee and a Florentine - fantastic!  And before anyone wonders if that means I've fallen off the Slimming World wagon I  am happy to report that they only count as 5 syns!  So in theory, as I'm allowed up to 15 syns a day I could have three ...

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Looking back at Lisbon

As I pack away my summer clothes for another year and as I wait patiently (OK, not so patiently - I'm practically lying in wait for the postman each day) for the photo book of our trip to arrive I thought I'd share a few photo collages to give you a taste of the city of Lisbon.
The city is hilly - those roads are STEEP!  There are steps up from one level to another as you can see in the top right picture, thank goodness that the steepest ones have the old funicular railways to get you from top to bottom.  The other old form of transport is the tram as you can see in the centre photo on the left.  I thought maybe having my photo taken next to a statue of a lottery vendor might bring me luck in the National Lottery that night; it didn't work.  Being a total Brit, after all that walking it was time for a reviving, refreshing cuppa in a pretty sun lit square! 
The views from the tower in the top left column were amazing and well worth the trip up there.  The rest of the photos in this collage were taken in the Belem district, which is where the famous Pastel de Nata originated.  Of course we had to try one while we were there.  Actually, we tried them in all manner of places during that weekend, but the ones we had here in a cafĂ© overlooking the river were the best of the bunch!  The main monument there is to commemorate the explorers that left Portugal to find foreign lands.  Next to it is a memorial to all the soldiers that have died in wars.  The triangular brickwork in the centre has a flame burning all the time.  It was a very touching, and beautiful memorial. 
I just love a good sunset picture when we go on holiday, and this top left one is one of my favourite pictures of the trip.  As you can see there is much street art, fountains and fiesta decorations - every street has something to look at.
So I guess that is the last time I shall be seeing blue skies or feeling the sun on my skin until next year!  It was a brilliant end to the summer and I can't wait for that book to arrive so I can browse through the pages whenever I want.  Although it's good to have all your photos stored on your computer, you don't browse through them like you do a photo album and I always have this terrible 'what would we do if the computer lost them all?' thoughts - hence the need to make a photo book on our return from holidays!  Does anyone else out there make photo books?  If so, which company do you use?  We've always used Photobox which I'm pleased with but I'm always open to suggestions of better places to try!

Sunday 13 September 2015

Me on Monday

It was a weekend of 'this time last week' conversations and looking at photos, uploading them onto a photo book website, filing away the maps and tourist guide books and telling anyone who cares to listen how lovely Lisbon is to visit.
The central heating has quietly clicked on in the mornings, Autumn has arrived.  We keep the boiler going all year round but with the thermostat on low so the heating doesn't switch on until the temperature drops.  So the fact that it is now turning on in the mornings is justification for me to mention that it is 'freezing' outside.  Exaggerate?  Me? Never!
A weekend of proper roast pork Sunday lunch and a new Mary Berry recipe for spiced Apple Cake for dessert.  Football on the TV, the opportunity to curl up with a book while the husband frets about Spurs' form this season.
At the moment I can hear the rain outside and I'm just contemplating whether or not it is dark enough to put on the lights beating in mind that it's only 4.30. P's just taken Coco for a walk and both of them have their winter raincoats on.  So as I wave to Sian and her merry bunch of Me on Mondayers, I'll share this photo with you.  Me on Monday

What a nice bunch of mail I came home to today. Money off vouchers and the new quilting magazine. Time to put the kettle on and have a bit of a browse.

Wednesday 9 September 2015

A Wednesday look at Me on Monday

I'm giving a very belated wave to Sian with apologies for being so late to the Me on Monday party.
I do have a very good excuse though,I was in Lisbon!  We were actually flying back to the UK on Monday and while we were having a last stroll through the town, I saw this shop window display which was full of convex golden domes so quickly snapped our reflections for my Me on Monday photo.

As you can probably guess it was a rather busy weekend!  We flew out early on Saturday morning and returned home Monday evening.  What a lovely city and a fantastic opportunity to grab some late summer sunshine.  We travelled on all manner of transport: metro, open topped bus and tram, not to mention walking for miles, and loved every minute.
When you know that you are only in a place for a short while you obviously need to plan what you want to do and where you want to go before you get there and my husband had spent many a happy hour checking guide books and maps before we left so that when we arrived at the hotel we could drop our bags and start exploring.  I think it's fair to say that if a sight was worth seeing, we saw it!  We used the hop-on-hop-off bus one day and it was such a brilliant way of seeing everything.  I won't go into too many details now, but will save that for another post when I try to convince you all that you need to visit Lisbon one day!
So here I am, Me on Wednesday - trying to get back in the normal routine and wishing it had been a week in Lisbon rather than just a weekend!