Saturday, 29 November 2008

Seven Sisters Seize Suetonius' Size Sixteen Sandals

There I've got your attention now!

Anyway I was tagged by Fat, Frumpy and Fifty a wee while ago with the

'The One Sweet Blog' award and it comes with a tag for a meme - a '7's meme.

VII Things which I plan to do before I die:

i. get to a wise old age without going gaga

ii. learn to live and think in the "now"

iii. spend my/our money more wisely
iv. save my/our money more sagaciously
v. read even more voraciously
vi. go and watch the English cricket team on tour in a very hot place (unlikely to happen now!!)
vii. declutter (and write a book or two...just thought I'd sneak that in....)

VII Things which I do now:
i. worry
ii. go round turning lights off
iii. tut at the mess and dog hairs
iv. think about cleaning the car
v. think about cleaning the house
vi. go round closing doors
vii. procrastinate

VII Things which I can't do:
i. tapdance
ii. speak Mandarin
iii. play the piano (as it is elsewhere)
iv. read other people's minds
v. knit or crochet
vi. get up early (to go jogging)
vii. not blog

VII Things which attract me in the opposite sex (Not sure what this means exactly...attract me "to" the opposite sex or does it mean how the opposite sex might be attracted to me?...Sorry! turning into Lynne Truss/John Humphreys/Jeremy Paxman now!!):
i. books
ii. newspapers
v. good food
vi. laughter
vii. a sense of direction
(perhaps the answers are interchangeable...although hubbie might dispute the last one! I believe that I do have a pretty good sense of direction except underwater!)

VII Things which I say most often:
i."I think that...(then trail off into silence)..."
ii. "I mean" (in the middle of a conversation which heralds a huge change in subject then expecting the other person to know immediately what I am talking about)
iii. "eat your food!"
iv. "shut that door"
v. "put the lights out!"
vi. "tidy up!"
vii. "you'll be sorry!"
(Am usually ignored on items iii. - vii.)

VII "Celebrities" that (whom) I admire:
They'd be shocked to be described thus but here they are:
i. Humphrey Bogart
ii. Lauren Bacall
iii. John Thaw
iv. Morecambe (and Wise)
v. IT Botham
vi. Hadrian
vii. Gene Kelly

VII Favourite foods:
i. good beef casserole
ii. pan haggerty
iii. pain au chocolat
iv. crunchy peanut butter
v. bacon sarnie
vi. cheese and onion toastie
vii. Moody's rye bread (see Hadriana's diet blog)

VII Bloggers who are not obliged to do this if they don't want to:
i. Lakeland Jo
ii. Reluctant Memsahib
iii. Keep Bloggering On!
iv. Nappy Valley Girl
v. Mom/Mum Wars
vi. A Confused Take That Fan
vii. Sandi at (Holding Patterns)

Right that's done! Over to you....

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Happy Scribblers Unite!

Aah! I feel more in tune with the world...nice fried chicken, carrots, leeks, broccoli, baked potato, penicillin, swilled down with some Vin de Savoie, Mondeuse (where one of my sisters and brother-in-law now reside). What more could a gal ask for? award, that's what! I've been given the marvellous award by Dumdad, The Other Side of Paris, and I am well chuffed! I chanced upon Dumdad's superior scribbles (a sub-editor living and working in Paris, please correct me Dumdad if my information is incorrect!) through reading the equally excellent The Lehners in France and now they are The Lehners in (Y)UK. If you've not read their respective blogs I urge you to do so now. They both write from the heart with loads of panache. I try to do this and aim to improve with each post I write.
I'm reading Michael Wright's "La Folie" at the moment which I had resisted reading but now think is marvellous. I often day dream of living in warmer climes and it turns out that I am living a similar sort of life just without the hot(ter) weather. Oh well, you can't have everything.
The reason I love blogs (and books) is that is allows you a peek (or not) into other people's lives.
The other seven(!) bloggers to be so bestowed are the following:
Fat, Frumpy and Fifty (a very lively lady living in Cumbria and her blog accurately reflects her personality. I've had the good fortune to meet her and must get my act together to give her a ring before Christmas is upon us.)
East Anglian Troy (A chap living and writing his dream. Recommends gold...could he have the Midas touch?)
The Dotterel "Bringing up Charlie" (Another chap, ex-teacher, writing and living his dream. The dotterel means "a kind of plover (bird), noted for the fact that the male incubates the eggs and feeds the chicks.")
Exmoorjane (I do so love her blog "Diary of a Desperate Exmoor Woman", she makes me laugh every time, and has an excellent turn of phrase.)
Alcoholic Daze /Rosiero (This lady writes so poignantly...facing hard issues head on.)
Ladybird World Mother (New to the blog world and has a great zest for life.)
authorblog (David McMahon) (Melbourne based journalist...who updates his blog every day....well worth a look at his multi-faceted prose and photos.)
expatmum (ex-N.E. gal who now lives in Chicago...looks at the difference between US and UK life and gives it a cheeky spin.)
The Lehners in France/(Y)UK....absolutely riveting...Go on give it a go!
(and yes...I can't count!.....)
Nuts in May Another must -look-read from a granny called Maggie May. She writes about Life with a Capital "L" beautifully...
I'm not joking but there are loads more blogs out there which I could readily nominate.
Hopefully I'll get the chance to do so some day.....
Happy reading and blogging!

Falling behind: little by little, drop by drop

I decided to inject a small rainbow into my life....because I feel as if I am falling behind with a multitude of things.
Just a quick update then, to keep you all in the picture so to speak:

1. We are putting little house, in the next town, on the market (but need to scrub walls down etcetera plus husband impaled a finger on a nail there yesterday and is now refusing to go anywhere near a doctor!)

2. Answered yet more questions for our very lovely accountant. 

3. We've been to the doctors three times in three days with various ailments and maladies (not for skewered digits though!) but we are still here to tell the tale...

Have received "formidable" (said with French accent - see above) award from Dumdad (will speak more of his superb blog soon) and have not forgotten the "seven things" meme tagged to me recently by the very cosmopolitan FFF! Will definitely be on to things very soon...

Friday, 14 November 2008

"Joined the choir invisible"

Dead Parrot sketch is 1,600 years old
It's long been held that the old jokes are the best jokes - and Monty Python's Dead Parrot sketch is no different.

Monty Python's 'Dead Parrot sketch' - which featured John Cleese and Michael Palin - is some 1,600 years old.

A classic scholar has proved the point, by unearthing a Greek version of the world-famous piece that is some 1,600 years old.
A comedy duo called Hierocles and Philagrius told the original version, only rather than a parrot they used a slave.
It concerns a man who complains to his friend that he was sold a slave who dies in his service.
His companion replies: "When he was with me, he never did any such thing!"
The joke was discovered in a collection of 265 jokes called Philogelos: The Laugh Addict, which dates from the fourth century AD.
Hierocles had gone to meet his maker, and Philagrius had certainly ceased to be, long before John Cleese and Michael Palin reinvented the yarn in 1969.
Their version featured Cleese as an exasperated customer trying to get his money back from Palin's stubborn pet salesman.
Cleese's character becomes increasingly frustrated as he fails to convince the shopkeeper that the 'Norwegian Blue' is dead.
The manuscripts from the Greek joke book have now been published in an online book,, featuring former Bullseye presenter and comic Jim Bowen presenting them to a modern audience.
Mr Bowen said: "One or two of them are jokes I've seen in people's acts nowadays, slightly updated.
"They put in a motor car instead of a chariot - some of them are Tommy Cooper-esque."
Jokes about wives, it seems, have always been fair game.
One joke goes: "A man tells a well-known wit: 'I had your wife, without paying a penny'. The husband replies: "It's my duty as a husband to couple with such a monstrosity. What made you do it?"
The book was translated by William Berg, an American classics professor.

Article from today's Daily Telegraph and read some more of the jokes in more detail here. Nice to know that humour goes back to the dawn of time...

"- When the over-talkative barber asks him, 'How shall I cut your hair?,' a quick wit answers, 'Silently.'"

Saturday, 8 November 2008

The mystery of bleeding heart yard...

I'm grabbing the moment to blog. I've not been blogging so much of late because my husband and I use the same computer. We are trying to get various computers/laptops networked, linked and goodness knows what, so hopefully all will be back to normal in the near future.

This time I am digressing from Roman history to London history (another passion of mine). I've fallen in love with the BBC's current serialisation of Little Dorrit. It happened with Bleak House (my favourite Dickens' book) and now I know that I will soon immerse myself in the 900 pages or so of Little Dorrit.

In May we were down at a fabulous wedding reception at Trafalgar Tavern next door to the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich and we chanced upon some filming of Little Dorrit. As my luck would have it (sic) we did not have our camera with us. Nevertheless we were allowed to wander through the market scene shot inside the Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) in Queen Anne's Court. As usual the BBC props department had gone to enormous lengths to find the right market impedimenta. We also saw some filming down at the water's edge. To see some exquisite photos of the ORNC click here. It was one of the few weekends this year in which we saw some amazingly good weather. You can see quite a lot of these ORNC backdrops in the last screened episode (No.4) and you can also view some of the previously shown episodes on the BBC website. (Not sure if overseas viewers can access these easily although I don't see why not!) Unfortunately I did not see the most wonderful Matthew Macfadyn before you ask!

Speaking of Dickens and his buildings in episode four the "character" of The Bleeding Heart Yard, in Hatton Garden, also looms large and I am reminded of when I used to work in and around this area of London for a big bank which has now gone cap in hand (like Oliver Twist) to the government to ask for more. It is a very quirky and byzantine area (Holborn and Clerkenwell) with very narrow alleys and odd doorways. These are disrupted every so often by smudges of green (Lincoln's Inn Fields, Gray's Inn Gardens and Red Lion Square), and I am sure much more treasure* lies hidden from view like the fabled Fleet River. One day I hope to resume my wanderings and ramblings there. (*My good lady diver friend used to live opposite Dickens' old bank, the Finsbury Savings Bank, in Sekforde Street which is now a private residence. There is a plaque on the wall to commemorate this fact.)

I haven't quite managed to disentangle how The Bleeding Heart Yard came to be so named. There is the usual one recounted at The Bleeding Heart Restaurant (in which I have been fortunate enough to dine) about the murder of Lady Elizabeth Hatton. ("Her Annual Winter Ball, on January 26, 1662, was one of the highlights of the London social season. Halfway through the evening's festivities, the doors to Lady Hatton's grand ballroom were flung open. In strode a swarthy gentleman, slightly hunched of shoulder, with a clawed right hand. He took her by the hand, danced her once around the room and out through the double doors into the garden. A buzz of gossip arose. Would Lady Elizabeth and the European Ambassador (for it was he) kiss and make up, or would she return alone? Neither was to be. The next morning her body was found in the cobblestone courtyard – torn limb from limb, with her heart still pumping blood onto the cobblestones. And from thenceforth the yard was to be known as The Bleeding Heart Yard.")
There is another version to be found in Wikipedia which claims that the gory name for the yard comes from the sign of a nearby tavern dating back to The Reformation. Nevertheless an unresolved mystery, quite frankly, is even more beguiling...