29 October 2018

A Good Read

Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves
Shetland Detective Jimmy Perez knows it will be a difficult homecoming when he returns to the Fair Isles, where strangers are viewed with suspicion and distrust, to introduce his fiancé, Fran, to his parents. 
Soon after their arrival a woman's body is discovered at the renowned Fair Isles bird observatory. A raging storm prevents outside help from mainland detectives leaving Jimmy to investigate alone. He has to find clues the old-fashioned way, and he has to do it quickly. The killer is waiting for the chance to strike again. 
This is the fourth book of the series, it was a book club choice so I have read it out of sequence but it didn’t matter because although there is a story weaving through them all each one is a separate whodunnit. 
It’s very well written and conveys a real sense of life on the Isles. I liked Jimmy Perez, I like that he is a bit old fashioned and thoughtful. He gets the job done. It’s a very good crime novel and although I did pick up some clues and knew what was going on I didn’t identify the murderer!  
~Happy Reading ~
Polly x

23 October 2018

The Dolls House: Miss Teen's Room

I was looking for something (can't remember what) in my stash of dolls house stuff when I found this little mirror. I think it was among the things included with number 2 dolls house when I bought it from ebay.

I knew exactly what to do with it, it would make a nice wall mirror for Miss Teen's room

I cut out some pieces of cardboard for the backing and surround and
used some sparkly silver ribbon to stick onto the cardboard  

It was very fiddly cutting and sticking tiny pieces of ribbon on the edges. I even mitred the corners.
I fitted the mirror around the edges at the back, slightly overlapping to hold it in place,
and then stuck the backing piece of cardboard firmly in place. 

And Miss Teen is very pleased with the result.
You can see her room here

~ Be well ~
Polly x

20 October 2018

So Good They Named It Twice

New York, New York
Hello dear reader, I have recently returned from 4 fantastic days in New York. Together with my daughter, grandson and son-in-law we went to celebrate BIG birthdays. A couple of weeks ago I turned 70, yes I know, how the heck did that happen. And in a few weeks my daughter will be 50!!..oh my word, my baby will be 50.

We stayed in an apartment in a lovely old Brooklyn house.
Our apartment was at the top of the house. 
The owner lives on the other floors with her family, and her mother lives on the ground floor.

With three bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and lounge
it was well appointed and suited our needs.
Courtesy of Befunky.com
Bedroom 3 was tiny, just a bed and a small built in wardrobe,
but enough for my grandson to sleep in and hang his clothes on the floor!

We had discussed various ways of celebrating;
a party, weekend in London, dinner at the Shard.
I suggested New York as I had hoped to return after a visit 30 years ago. 
I wasn't sure if  it would be my family's choice but they said yes.
My darling daughter arranged the whole thing, overnight stay at the airport Premier Inn,
airport parking, flights, accommodation and itinerary.

It was about 11 am when we arrived at the apartment,
we had all managed to sleep on the flight so we decided to go out.

First stop was Macy's.
 My daughter wanted one of their small bags for her work lunch
I bought this Christmas tree decoration

Lunch was at Broadway Bites.
Rain was forecast and it started just after we finished lunch.
I was the only one with an umbrella, grandson's coat had a hood but my daughter and son-in-law only had coats so we dodged under scaffolding and shop awnings, into souvenir shops, and when it became torrential we had a coffee stop.

Afterwards we made our way to Times Square, passing the Naked Cowboy!

 And the M&M's shop......love the peanut ones

When I was last in New York 30 years ago you could just pitch up at Battery park and take the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty. Nowadays you have to book in advance. When we booked our trip there were no available tours. I had already done the trip and climbed the steps up to the top so I wasn't bothered about doing it again. My family weren't bothered about not being able to visit. So we walked to Battery park and took some photos of the statue from there. I only had my phone camera and they aren't very good. 

Ground Zero was very poignant
Street entertainment
Brooklyn Bridge

My grandson loves basketball, and he's a very good player. He is a member of our town club. 
One of the highlights of our trip was a visit to Madison Square Garden
to see a match between the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets 

The camera floats around and selects people to appear on the big screen. 
It is a serious match but they do have entertainment - prize draws
hurling t-shirts into the eager audience
and a young man proposed to his sweetheart 💙 
The Nets won, I can't remember the score, but it was close.

My daughter read about a flea market in Brooklyn, we love anything like that.
We wondered about the origin of the term "flea market". It refers to the French marché aux puces,
the name given to a market in Paris which specialised in shabby second hand goods,
some of which might have contained fleas.

It was held in what I think used to be blocks of offices or factories.
There were 6 buildings, each one holding a variety of shops and eateries.
There were second hand stalls outside and a vintage fair indoors. We really wanted to visit the vintage fair, but with a $15 entry fee and a very long queue we decided that we didn't want to pay that much to look at items that would be silly prices.

This shop had some beautiful items, but again silly prices. 
A large opaque plastic bangle was priced at $198 !!

There were plenty of good eating places.

And some excellent entertainment

Ahh the New York Public Library
Such a beautiful building inside and out

How sweet is this, a real live beautiful cat in a shop window. I don't think he/she was for sale!

Now, the burning question on everyone's mind is "How do they get that crane down?"
Very carefully.

We cycled round Central Park

One of my grandson's favourite shops. I bought him this backpack.

Dumbo neighbourhood in Brooklyn. It stands for "Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass"

It's a lovely trendy area full of boutiques, restaurants and cafes. 
You can hop on the ferry over to Manhattan.

It also has this great outdoor park with facilities for basketball, roller skating, boating, handball,
picnic area, eats and drinks and lots more. 
Part of it has a roof and there are plans to put side walls in to make it an all year round venue.
That's my grandson - the flash of red on his arm, underneath the hoop.
People just turn up to practice on their own or make up teams to play games. 

And it offers picturesque views of the Manhattan skyline.
I like this dramatic effect photo that my grandson did in Snapseed for me. I now know how to use it.

We walked the pavements and rode the subways. Over the course of our 4 days we walked 37 miles.
My daughter used her fitbit, just out of curiousity.
I loved wandering around taking in the sights and absorbing the atmosphere.
I could have stayed another 4 days but sadly it was time to leave.  

I have a shed load of photos, it's difficult to know what to choose and when to stop!
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed the tour 😊

~Be well ~
Polly x

9 October 2018

A Good Read

The Outcast by Sadie Jones
The story starts in the summer of 1957 with Lewis Aldridge travelling back to his home in suburban Surrey. He is nineteen and has just been released from prison. No one was waiting for him. 
Over a decade earlier Lewis was awaiting his father Gilbert's homecoming from the war. Gilbert didn't know what to do with the seven year old boy except shake his hand and wish him elsewhere. 
Gilbert reverted easily to suburban life - cocktails at six thirty, church on Sundays followed by lunch. But his wife resisted the stuffy, stifling routines, escaping instead with Lewis to the woods or the river for picnics, just as they did in wartime days.
After one of their jaunts Lewis returns home alone after witnessing his beloved mother drowning. The emotionally disabled Gilbert is unable to cope with his own devastating loss let alone help Lewis, so, left alone with his grief Lewis descends into dark places. Only one person understands Lewis’s rage, Kit Carmichael. Kit has always understood more than most, not least from what she has to endure from her father. 

This is a harrowing read, almost every page turn reveals further setbacks, my heart ached for Lewis. How he was treated in the community, the injustice he was up against and how poorly he was treated as a young, sad and broken boy. People didn’t do emotions in those days, it was a case of pull yourself together and get on with it. 
Anyone under the age of 60 probably wouldn’t relate to the comfortable, suffocating suburbia of the 1950's, where everyone attended church on a Sunday, more as a ritual for appearances rather than a deep ecumenical belief. Then return to closed doors where a mother leaves the room when she knows her husband is going to beat her daughter with his leather belt because “Children must learn to obey and behave”. A place where the world could explode but Sunday lunch must go ahead as usual. 

It's a good story, beautifully written, and the ending I was hoping for.

~Happy Reading ~
Polly x

5 October 2018


We are having some absolutely beautiful autumn weather here in the UK. Today's high was a balmy 20 deg.
I went to the Cathedral this morning to take some photos, but didn't stay for the concert. I wanted to do a bit of shopping, visit the market then get home. 

We are officially a city now but in all honesty the services and amenities aren't really up to city status, they are improving though. As well as the usual high street shops the town has had a major makeover with the development of Bond Street where we now have an Everyman cinema, John Lewis, The White Stuff, Kath Kidson, London Grace, The Cotswold Company, and many more. New eateries include, amongst others, Ask, Byron, Jamaica Blue.

Chelmsford was first built by the Romans. It prospered as a market town partly due to its position on a main road half way between London and Colchester. A leather industry, tanners and a wool industry also added to its prosperity. Probably its most famous claim to fame is as the birthplace of radio. The Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company opened the world's first radio factory here in 1898 and was responsible for some of the most important advances in radio and television.

We have a very nice museum that holds lots of interesting events. It has an impressive display of  military artefacts.

Our medieval Cathedral is very pretty inside

the ceiling is beautiful

Hylands House, built in 1730 is a beautiful Grade II listed property, restored to its former glory and situated in 574 acres of historic landscaped parkland. It has beautiful gardens, two restaurants, a lovely shop and a book shop and a great children's play area with a cafe. It's a lovely place to visit for dog walking, strolling round the lake and gardens, enjoying a meal or just a cup of coffee. They also have lots of events; food fairs, garden shows, dog shows, and it's a beautiful wedding venue.

This is a very pretty area along the river. 
It has been smartened up a bit, it wasn't in a bad way before but it looks very nice now. 

The entrance from the road has been opened up with stone cubes for seating, new trees, including dawn redwoods with uplighting to illuminate them, and new paths for pedestrians and cyclists. The children's play area looks the same. With lovely colourful plant schemes, meandering paths, picnic tables and benches it's very popular with office workers, families, and anyone who wants a nice quiet oasis to have lunch or just sit and watch the world go by.

The railway station is looking much better after a make over, and our very dated and tired ice and leisure centre is currently being rebuilt, it is due to be completed by January 2019. It's looking good so far, I'm looking forward to seeing the new build. 

People moan about the bus services but those that live in built up areas have regular buses into town, to the doctors and dentist surgeries, and to the hospital. And some tiny hamlets have regular buses en route to and from Harlow. It's only the outlying areas and villages where I live that are restricted to every couple of hours, but I manage with that on the occasions I use the bus.

We have two markets. The larger under cover one is open from Tuesday to Saturday with stalls selling fruit and veg, plants, cheeses, picture frames, material, handbags, greeting cards, gardening equipment and much more. On Fridays and Saturdays we have the market in the High Street, where shoppers are treated to a variety of local and international fare and gourmet produce. Breads, fish, pastries, olives, fruit and veg, hand-made sausages, award winning pies. And of course a well stocked gardening stall.

We also have a few individual shops selling international and Asian foods.

We still have the Odeon cinema for those, like me who prefer not to pay outrageous prices
to sit on a sofa hoping the guy next to me doesn't spill his beer!!

~Be well ~
Polly x
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