Thursday 5 May 2011

Fair enough*

I may have mentioned. In fact I did mention, that last year we had the kitchen 'done'. Not in the same way that cats and dogs get 'done', but nonetheless, done it was. Just to refresh your memory, here's a picture. In fact several.

Please note the lovely kitchen appliances. Even though most of them are hidden behind frosted glass doors.

As you can tell I'm very proud of it...and them...especially the induction hob which a year or so later I still can't work out how to use properly. I may have to reading the instruction manual.

I may have mentioned. In fact I did mention, that a couple of weeks ago we went to see Iolanthe...the Gilbert and Sullivan opera at Wilton's Music Hall. The performance was full of fairies, not surprisingly because it was a fairytale. Albeit one with a bit of bite. And all the fairies were boys. Now I've always thought of fairies as being girls, but in this performance they were definitely boys. Some even had hairy chests. It was a delightful performance, and not the first I've seen where the boys have come out. Last year we went to see Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, where everyone is a boy.

So my life is full of fairies. Although I'm not sure the Tooth Fairy exists.

Anyway in amongst the confusion of whether there really are fairies and whether they're boys or girls, I've been visited by a fairy. The Fairy Hobmother**. And as HE says, he not a fairy in that sense. He gets paid to be one. Now I may be a bit prim and proper (when it suits), but I think there's a law against getting paid for it.

But anyway, in return for a vast and enormous sprinkling of fairy dust on my bank account (erm, an Amazon voucher), I've promised to mention Appliances Online, and in particular their vast array of washing machines here

Which is odd, really, because when we got the kitchen sorted, the only thing we didn't replace was the washing was almost new anyway. But the rest of the appliances did by some remarkable coincidence come from Appliances Online.

So there we have it.

* Fair enough... "Hello, I'm a fairy, Fairy Nuff"

** If you leave a comment, the Fairy may come and visit you too

A month in pictures

Well normally, once a month I put up some pictures that I've taken the previous month. It's usually the First Friday of the month, but as Tara's Gallery theme this week is April, I thought I'd do it today. So here's First Thursday nearly works! Not a vintage month...

Evidently a 'at shop in 'ackney...I liked the name

The evening sun whilst we sat in the very delicious Brawn Restaurant

No, not tulips in Amsterdam, Tulips in Brighton

Roa strikes again

The roof at St Pancras whilst we sat supping champagne at the Champagne Bar...well what else would you do?

At the Nota Bene house, the vote was split on the Royal Wedding.

And talking of voting...hope you're going to put your cross in the Yes for AV box today...

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Learning something new

I tend to giggle when I find out that I've lived for years not knowing something pretty basic in life. Today I discovered that duck tape is in fact duct tape. It's obvious really isn't it? After all why would you be taping ducks together, unless you are some sort of weird sicko.

Not that it's going to make any difference. Duck tape it has always been and duck tape it always will be.

I may be wrong, but I don't remember a year when there was so much news. Obviously it's not that 'stuff' has started happening in 2011, it's just that there seems to be a lot of 'big' things going on. The up side is that it gives me a very positive feeling that 'things' are changing, and with so many wrongs, that can only be for the good. On the downside, it means that some news that would otherwise get noticed, quickly passes by and is forgotten long before it should be. Henry Cooper passed away this weekend. Some of us remember him more for Brut 33 than for his boxing, but there was always a feeling that he was a true Brit hero...ever the underdog; never quite making it, but plucky, determined and 'nice'.

Last week I wrote a piece on superinjunctions, but didn't get a moment to post it...I may have missed my moment, so it'll stay there in the drafts gathering literary cobwebs. But do have a look on Twitter under the #superinjunction hash tag and see which names pop up.

I only remember waking up once before feeling the world had changed. That was when Tony Blair was elected. It was a sunny, warm day, the sky was blue with white clouds and the air tasted different. There was a feeling of hope, a positive buzz in the air....and things would be different.

And so it was on again this weekend. I came downstairs early after a restless night, switching on the computer as the newspaper hadn't yet been delivered. I almost couldn't believe my eyes at the news of Osama Bin Laden's death. Outside, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and when I opened the conservatory door, the air tasted different. I am sure that with the death of Bin Laden the world has changed.

There's so much chat about this, that I doubt I can add much if anything to what's been said already. So for my own sake as much as anyone else's, here's what I think. As a symbolic leader, his passing will take some of the wind out of the sails of the extremists...although I, like pretty much everyone else, expect there to be some fall out in the short term. Blood will be spilt. Should the Americans be celebrating, should we all be celebrating? Many are pointing out that it's wrong to celebrate the death of a human being. But a celebration, particularly by Americans is inevitable given the enormous impact on their psyche that 9/11 had. Equally, I hope we are in fact celebrating one less piece of evil in the world rather than an individual. And this was a battle victory...something that humans have celebrated since time began. Should he have been buried at sea? Yes absolutely it was necessary to stop there ever being a shrine. And it had to be done quickly before any debate developed to muddy the waters.

For me, though, the real question is, what does this mean for The Cat, The Boy and us as a family. Of course, only time will tell, but if this particular victory gives the West the confidence, the courage and the conviction to engage with the Muslim world in a more positive way, then we will benefit as extremism will be talked out of existence. Already, the Arab Spring is undermining the despotic rulers whose existence and our support of them helped feed the extremists in the first place. It's a smaller step than the Americans might think, but it is certainly a step towards a safer future. Let's hope the opportunity is seized with both hands.

The wind of change is blowing, let's hope it's for the good.

And talking of change, please vote FOR may not be the best system, but it's certainly much better than the one we've got at the moment.

Monday 2 May 2011

A right royal weekend

Phew that was quite a weekend.

Friday morning we invited a few friends round in the morning - not all the Family could make it so we invited some Essex Royalty:

Just to get us really going it was a 21st Birthday celebration on Friday night...we'd have danced all night, but The Boy and The Cat were along with us, and we're being right Royal stick in the muds. So come half past-eleven as I was getting into full Dad dancing mode, a taxi was summoned and off we went. The 21 year-old is the daughter of one of The Cat's Mother's oldest friends, so it was a shame, especially as it was being held in their garden in a beautiful marquee. Admittedly the DJ didn't have a clue about how to move from one song to the next without a jarring crash, but that didn't stop anyone from 5 to 95 strutting their stuff.

Saturday, and we had the Welsh Contingent trooping their colours. With The Boy turning sweet sixteen, they drove from Wales for their first visit here. And Grandma in Wales brought The Uncle and The Boy's we had Unexpected Friend and The Nanny too. As the sun was out, we spent most of the day supping and snacking in the garden, apart from a regal lunch in the dining room.

Sunday was The Boy's celebration proper, so he was crowned Birthday Boy for the duration. Some fifteen of his friends were round for a bbq, which naturally I was in charge of whilst the boys played rugby and the girls looked on. At the same time My Brother and his girlfriend arrived and he gave us his expert opinion on why all our yuccas and palms had died...too much winter cold in December. The Boy was delighted to have him here, I was delighted to have him here...we always have a lot to catch up on.

The only casualties were a stone wall which collapsed when lent on during the table tennis match, and a sore eye from an over-zealous rugby tackle.

We'd have been flagging by Sunday, but maintained a regal dignity as we headed to Loch Fyne Restaurant for another gathering. Fifteen of us took the chance to continue The Boy's birthday celebrations, it was just a shame that they served only fourteen meals and then poured a very hot latte over The Cat. She was a scalded Cat, and I'd have said off with their heads, but it wasn't the time to spoil the celebrations.

So back to work tomorrow for some RnR...well we deserve it don't we? Anyway, thank heavens there was nothing else of any note going on this weekend. I need a cup of tea...