17 January 2019

Never Far Away

I think the unrivalled Great Ormond Street Hospital is know world wide for the specialist care they provide for sick children. 

The Hospital Charity will be launching its Never Far Away: Essex Appeal on 29th January in Chelmsford. This exciting new appeal aims to fund patient and family accommodation at GOSH, helping to keep families from Essex and across the UK together at often difficult times.

More than 53% of the children treated at GOSH come from outside London. Because the care they receive is so specialist, some need to stay for several months. Having a child in hospital is stressful enough without the added pressure of paying for hotels or train fares. So the hospital want to make sure that parents and carers can stay in nearby accommodation free of charge.

The launch is being held on Tuesday 29th January at 6.30pm at Cedd`s Hall, Chelmsford Cathedral, 
CM1 1EH (a short walk from Chelmsford train station, and car parks are located nearby)

For more information visit www.gosh.org/nfa or contact Neverfaraway@gosh.org.


11 January 2019

Lunchtime Concert

Today's lunchtime concert in the Cathedral was Laurence Lyndon-Jones playing the organ, and what an excellent performance it was, ranging from the rousing Music for the Royal Fireworks by George Frideric Handel to the calm Consolation in D-flat major by Nicolaus Bruhns. Organ music isn't everyone's cup of tea and my friend M isn't a huge fan but I do like it. M enjoyed some of it though.
We had our usual cheese and pickle sandwiches and tea, and M had a piece of malt loaf. I stuck to my resolution and resisted the cakes!

~Keep warm and well ~

Polly x

9 January 2019

The Favourite

Sumptuous, funny and deliciously rude, full of lust, jealousy and deceit "The Favourite" is a must see film.

I was pleased to hear that Olivia Coleman won Best Actress 2019 at the Golden Globe awards. She gave a superb performance as Queen Anne, the much troubled last of the Stuart monarchs. Anne's husband, Prince George of Denmark was a drunk and a crashing bore. She keeps 17 rabbits in her bedchamber, calling them “the little ones”, tragic reminders of the 17 children she lost, poignantly described as “Some were born as blood, some without breath, and some were with me a very brief time”.

Lacking confidence, overweight and depressed, riddled with gout, and plagued by suicidal thoughts Anne relies upon the advice of her friend and lover Sarah Churchill (Lady Marlborough). Brilliantly played by the seductive Rachel Weisz, Sarah is the embodiment of steely resolve, a fearless presence who keeps her enemies close, on the understanding that she may shoot them at any time. Anne and Sarah are inseparable, and when they were apart they corresponded using endearing fanciful names. Sarah was Mrs Freeman and Anne, Mrs Morley. Lady Sarah more or less runs the palace in harmonious partnership with the Queen.

This harmony is shattered with the arrival of Abigail, beautifully played by Emma Stone, subtly navigating the shift between innocence and determination. Abigail is Sarah's penniless cousin hoping to secure employment in the palace. Sarah sends Abigail to work in the scullery where a practical joke results in Abigail suffering severe burns on her hands. She treats these with a potion she makes from woodland leaves. This potion also soothes the pain of the Queen's gout, and before long the interloper has made her way into Anne’s bedchamber, where she soothes more than the Queen’s aching legs, prompting a power struggle for the Queen's attention.

Meanwhile the politicians are arguing about how to handle the war with France, poncing around in huge wigs and comical make-up, betting on duck races and pelting each other with fruit!

The settings and costumes are rich and stunning. The occasional, disjointed music created a very interesting edgy "What's going to happen next" atmosphere.


My friend M and I enjoyed every minute of it.

~Keep warm and well ~

Polly x

1 January 2019

Buster's Diary


Not much has been happening here, we had a quiet Christmas.
A few social events and catching up with family.
On Christmas day Polly and her daughter took me and Rufus out for a walk wearing these

Santa outfit for Rufy
Christmas pud for me
Thank goodness we didn't see anyone we knew, our street cred would plummet!
It was a lovely crisp frosty morning.

We each got a variety box of goodies and Rufy got a really nice squeeky toy.
I didn't get one, I don't play with them like Rufy does, I only want it when he has it!

Polly's son-in-law cooked a delicious Christmas day dinner, 
Polly made a lovely boozy trifle and everyone ate too much!
We had a few leftover bits.
We didn't wear the outfits on Boxing Day!

And here we are at the beginning of a new year. Polly isn't going to make any new year resolutions,
but she needs to lose the weight she has gained over the festive season!

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2019

~Keep warm and well ~
Buster & Rufus
🐾

23 December 2018

Christmas



Happy Holiday


Enjoy


~Keep warm and well ~
Polly x

19 December 2018

My Great Mince Pie Survey

Yes dear reader it's that time of year again - the one where I get to eat lots of mince pies
in the name of market research and producing a helpful survey ! ☺️
This is just my opinion though, taste is subjective 

Aldi specially selected all butter classic mince pies with Courvosier Cognac.
Please don't mistreat your taste buds with these, they are truly horrible.
I took one bite but had to remove it.
Zero rating, they don't even get on the scale.


Co-op irresistible all butter luxury mince pies with with rich fruit, nut and brandy.
Very nice, tasty filling, lovely pastry but it is very flaky 4/5


And these, also from the Co-op. I think it's their instore range. Orange flavoured pastry with a
mincemeat filling and brandy. Delicious and lovely pastry, I could really taste the orange 4/5


Greggs lovely pastry and very tasty filling  of vine fruits,
Bramley apple and candied orange and lemon peel 4/5


My favourites this year, M&S. Lovely firm pastry, and delicious filling of vine fruits, 
cranberries, clementines, cherries and brandy 5/5

~Keep warm and well ~
Polly x


12 December 2018

Catching Up

Phew I seem to have been so busy I'm getting behind with blogging.
So what have I been up to?

Two Christmas meals last week, my book club and my art club. Both at lovely venues, both delicious food and both good company. My bowls club one is next week. 

The church in the village just down the road from mine held their annual Christmas Tree Festival at the weekend. All the groups in the area are invited to enter a tree. The public vote for their favourite and the judges vote for an overall winner. Once again there were some beautiful, clever and innovative entries. I had a very hard time deciding between two.
Let It Snow was exquisite. 
A white tree, sparkly lights and beautiful handmade dolls depicting winter activities.


And this gorgeous one
Santa's grotto
All beautifully hand made by the ladies of a sewing club


We Tree Kings was so cute.
The Kings were mini trees

and just look at how cute the camel is


The children at the village infants school made the poppies for Remembrance day.
They did a lovely job decorating the tree with them.

 
The Mad Hatter's Tea Party had the WOW factor. It had flashing stick lights 

and a revolving teapot


This was my WI's entry, celebrating the centenary of the NHS.
The red heart had a flashing light inside it which looked very good
There were many more entries, making a difficult job for the judges.


Back home
The badgers have been busy extending their home.
When they first started last year that pile of earth was level with the edge of the field.


As someone who almost gets ill with the cold I have always wanted a down coat, I bought a down jacket a few weeks ago but returned it because I decided I needed something to keep my thighs and bottom warm!
They are quite expensive so I asked my family if they would give me money instead of presents for Christmas. My darling grandson asked how much I wanted, and I'm sure if I had said £100 he would have given me it. 
I started looking online just to see what was about ............ and I found this
I wasn't planning to buy one until nearer Christmas but this ticked all the boxes, the right length, a belt, pockets and no hood but a lovely high collar. If I had waited and then found they had sold out I would have been inconsolable so I clicked the buy button! It's gorgeous, and I'm worth it! :-)

We had a lovely time at the Salvation Army on Tuesday, a quiz, a brass band playing carols and a delicious Christmas dinner. 
And then in the afternoon at art club the couple who run the club set a fun task for us. They chose a picture, printed it out and cut it into pieces, one for each of us. We then had to draw our piece onto card, larger scale and paint it.
It was fun seeing each piece put on the table and trying to guess what the complete picture was. We all use different mediums, oil, acrylics, watercolour, chalk pastels so the colours didn't always match. My piece was the one bottom left, second one up, done in watercolour. I think we all did very well.
It was Chagall's The Cellist. It was good fun, we all enjoyed it.

Christmas lights are up at the front of the house, and some inside. I've bought a real tree and will be decorating it at the weekend. How are your Christmas preparations going?


~Keep warm and well ~
Polly x



30 November 2018

Lunchtime Concert


Today's lunchtime concert in the Cathedral was Flautista, a trio of lady flutists, or is it flautists? According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word flutist (1603) is a much older established word than flautist (1860). And the English term flute is related to the modern French flûte, so it is thought that the player of that instrument would be a flutist. 
Anyway flutist or flautist they were wonderful, charming, delightful. They played an assortment of pieces - Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Bizet, on an assortment of flutes. Some of which we recognised but enjoyed all of them.


Aren't those shoes delicious, I used to wear shoes like that a long, long, long time ago. 

They wear beautiful red heels as a means of adding some colour to their black concert dresses.
One was wearing sparkly red ones like Dorothy's in "The Wizard of Oz".

I had cheese and pickle sandwiches and a cup of tea.

Afterwards my friend M and I browsed around town before catching the bus home. My bus was late, or rather I think it just didn't arrive, thankfully they run every 15 minutes so I was still in time to pick my grandson up from trampoline after school.

Time for tea now.
I hope you have a good weekend and 

~Keep warm and well ~
Polly x

23 November 2018

A Good Read


Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry
Bombay 1971, the year India went to war over what was to become Bangladesh. 
Hard-working bank clerk, Gustad Noble is a devoted family man who struggles to do his best for his family and friends. His is the one reasonable voice amidst the ongoing dramas of his neighbours, one of whom is the poignant local character Tehmul, a man harmless but brain damaged, Gustad is the only one who can interpret his distorted speech. 
Times are changing and gradually Gustad’s modest life starts unravelling. His young daughter falls ill and his promising son defies his father’s ambitions for him by refusing a college scholarship he has won. 
One day Gustad receives a letter from his old friend Major Bilimoria. The Major works for Indira Gandhi’s secret police, he asks Gustad to help him in what at first seems like an heroic mission. But Gustad soon finds himself unwittingly drawn into a dangerous network of deception. 

Brilliantly written, comic and poignant.  Compassionate and rich in details of character and place, this unforgettable novel charts the journey of a moral heart in a turbulent world of change. I thoroughly enjoyed this touching story and felt I knew Gustad and his family very well. Highly recommend it.


~Happy Reading ~
Polly x

19 November 2018

Cough Cough Cough

And don't mention the snotty nose, good heavens where does it all come from!!!


A week ago I became victim to a vicious cold virus. Aching, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, unable to breath properly. It has been the worst cold I have ever had. The cough and snotty nose are still lingering but thankfully I am starting to feel much better, more energy, more active, my social life can continue. I missed a few things last week, the most disappointing was a trip to the theatre to see The Mousetrap. I've seen it before, a long time ago and was so looking forward to seeing it again but I just couldn't go out with all those germs in my system. Maybe I can book again next year.

Dear reader I hope you keep well and don't catch a cold.

~Take care ~
Polly x

10 November 2018

Saturday

I overslept this morning and didn't want to take the dogs out. I was feeling lazy. But after breakfast the sun was shining and I felt a bit guilty so we went out. We didn't do a very long walk though because I found out from some other dog walkers that the hunt was headed our way and that's the last thing we wanted to get caught up in. They had a good run around though.

The village church had a photo competition and WWI centenary exhibition. Refreshments and cake were provided by the WI. Crafts and home made jams and marmalade were for sale. I helped out on the cake stall for the first hour.

  
My WI group made hession banners with poppies and labels on them. Each label had the name of a soldier from the village who died in the war.


It was very sad, so many of the men were just young boys, and some families in the village lost two or more sons.


Later in the afternoon I took my daughter to Calenzo's for afternoon tea as part of her birthday celebration.


It was absolutely delicious, starting with salmon and cream cheese bagels, the most delicious sausage rolls I have ever tasted and triangles of pizza sandwiches. Followed by plain and fruit scones with cream and jam, mini chocolate cakes, and New York cheesecakes. Accompanied with glasses of Prosecco and coffee to finish. The restaurant is lovely with nice spacious booths. 
We did a little bit of shopping afterwards and then home.

My grandson's team lost their basketball match, they were winning until extra time when the other team scored 7 points.

~Be well ~

Polly x

3 November 2018

Canada

It's a quiet weekend for me, daughter and son-in-law are away, I'm in charge of my grandson. He's playing in a basketball match this afternoon. So for now I'm going through hundreds of photos to either use in blog posts or delete.
Lets see what I've got.

Back in May 2012 my very dear friend Cathy asked if I would accompany her on a holiday to Canada. She and her husband had made plans to visit his cousin in Hamilton. Sadly he developed a very aggressive cancer and died before he could accomplish his dream. It was all booked and my friend wanted to go because it's what her husband wanted but she wasn't confident to go on her own. I paid my share of the flight, bought some currency and off we went.

I was still recovering from a fall three months earlier in February which resulted in a broken foot (bones take longer to heal as we age!). My foot ached a lot but it didn't deter me from enjoying the holiday. 
Our first day was a gentle walk around a waterfront followed by a bus ride The next day was a shopping day at the mall.

The following day, together with D our hostess and seven of her friends we hired a limo into 
Toronto to see West Side Story. The show was brilliant. 
We ended the day back at Hamilton in an excellent Chinese restaurant.

The highlight of the trip for me was visiting Niagara Falls. We visited Niagara-on-the-Lake first. 
This beautiful picturesque town oozes charm.

Shaw cafe and wine bar. We didn't go in, I think it's one of those places that relies on it's 
location and looks to overcharge for mediocre service and food.

Prince of Wales hotel

Whirlpool Aero Car

Cathy and I took a trip on the Maid of the Mist

The ubiquitous photo taken just before boarding the boat.

Taken by a fellow passenger

Out for breakfast, delicious but I didn't expect it all on one plate!

We had a day trip to St Jacobs, a popular location for tourism due to its quaint village appearance,
lots of independent one-of-a-kind shops and its Mennonite heritage.

D thought the Farmer's Market was on but it was out of season,
we were disappointed but there were plenty of shops for us to browse round. 

We did some cruising in D's lovely classic Mustang

Cathy and I at Lake Erie, visiting D's friends who have a summer place there.

A very interesting trip round HMCS (His/Her Majesty's Canadian Ship) Haida.
A tribal-class destroyer that served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1943 to 1963,
participating in WWII and the Korean war. She was named for the Haida people.

After this visit we met with D's friends for a farewell lunch. It was sad saying goodbye.
A couple of years later D and three of the other girls came over to London
as part of a European trip, Cathy and I enjoyed a lovely weekend with them.

~Be well ~

Polly x

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