Audio-books

I’ve never been much of a music fan, I listen to the radio but more for the chat between songs than the music itself. However, there are times when music helps soothe the nerves or calm the soul.

Where I’m working they have the radio on all day, the problem is that different people have different radio stations on, although neither is loud it can be ‘just noise’.

So I invested  in some noise cancelling headphones and downloaded some pod casts, they were great but most are very short and working an eight hour day you need a bit more. Then I came across Overdrive, an app which allows you to link your library card and download E-books and audio-books directly from your local library.

I noticed a few Jo Nesbo books that I’d been wanting to read for a while and these were my first. I really enjoyed them. I could dip in and out of them as required plus they were longer stories so lasted a couple of days. Then I noticed the Harry Potter books, again longer stories but books I had read some time ago. Once again, well produced and lovely to listen too.

I recently heard Stephen Fry talking about audio-books as he also has started listening to them whilst walking/exercising but something he said made me think. He said ‘I’m listening to books I should have read, the classics and such’ and I this is what I’m going to do. All those books I’ve been putting off because they looked ‘heavy’ or ‘difficult’.

So I’ve been through and bookmarked a fair few and downloaded the first ready for Monday morning, and I’m starting with The Hobbit, because I’ve never read any of the books or seen the films (for the same reason) because they look like hard work, but someone else can do the hard part, I’ll just listen.

So what do you think ? Cheating or clever ? Have you listened to any ? What books/series do you recommend ?

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Bye-Bye knitting needles

Earlier this year I found myself quite stressed with all the job and routine changes happening, so I went back to knitting as a way of ‘relaxing’ but found I couldn’t keep track of a pattern and was getting more and more stressed.

Whilst I was working part-time I had found a local craft group, who were very supportive and most crafted for charity.

I had a sort out of my craft material, which was slightly terrifying, and I donated 3 bin liners full and lots of books to these lovely people, safe in the knowledge that the babies in special care will have tiny hats and cardigans and some local hospices will have blankets, shawls and monetary donations from all the goodies I gave them, so lets think positive, less stress and a good deed done.

I have kept a few balls of wool and the appropriate knitting needles just in case, at some point, I’m tempted to make something but for the time being I’m going to limit my creativity to photography and I’ve still got a huge cross stitch project to finish.

 

 

New hobby – my new camera

After months of being solitary I decided to do something that will get me out and about more and make better use of my National Trust membership.

I bought a camera. I wanted something a little more than my phone camera but maybe not as advanced as a full DSLR, so after a little research and chatting to people who know about these things I bought a Panasonic Lumix FZ200 bridge camera.

The timing was perfect as I had a couple of weeks before our London trip (you’ll have seen that by now) to practise and learn a few of the settings beforehand.

So one sunny Saturday, with a fully charged camera, I set off to my nearest National Trust property and a well known and loved place, Speke Hall.

Here are a few photo’s of the memorable day …

Not bad for a first attempt and felt much easier than I expected. So it didn’t feel too bad using it whilst in London. Here’s a few (unseen) from that week away.

I’ll keep you updated with how it’s going and what new places I discover.

The missing months

It’s been a little while but I needed to take a bit of a step back from everything and take care of me for a while. The last 12 months caught up a bit plus the lack of routine and a couple of awful jobs knocked me sideways. After a chat with the GP, support of family, a couple of good friends and finding a new job things have improved.

So lets catch-up, first the new job. It arrived just at the right time, it’s close to home, the hours are perfect and the most important thing, the staff are lovely. I actually look forward to going to work, it’s busy but not stressful and we have a giggle. I have routine back again.

At the end of May I went to Belfast for a weekend, a quick surprise visit. I’ve never been before but will return. It was a lovely place, friendly people and tons of history. Too much to see in a weekend. Another tick for 50 things

A few weeks of work and school finished, the end of primary school and the start of a new adventure awaits.

We’ve had a birthday and a week away in London, plus several get-together’s with friends has made it a happy summer.

 

 

Our day out

Oscar went away with school for a week so mum and I decided to have a day of sightseeing in London. Train tickets booked and a few ideas of things we would like to see and off we went.

We left Liverpool, in warm sunshine and arrived in a cold, windy London a little over two hours later.

Our first port of call was the British museum for a brief stop and look at the Egyptian collection and the Rosetta stone.

What an amazing shaped building too. I will be returning to explore more inside here.

Next was the National portrait gallery, a favourite place with stunning art work.

Simply beautiful, then a quick stop for coffee in the crypt at St Martins in the field church. A walk down through Covent Garden and the theatre district, then on to Chinatown for some Dim sum.

Then it was time to start making our way back towards the train station, with tired legs but it was a fun, busy day.

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Ballet and unexpected surprises.

I’m not a girly girl (at all), make-up, shopping and fashion are not my idea of fun in any shape or form. But put me in a theatre with ballet and I suddenly become ‘a girl’

I can’t really explain it, I never did ballet as a child or even saw one. I enjoy the gracefulness of it all and the story-telling without words only music and movement.

Last month I went to see Giselle, a new one for me. It was beautiful, and some of the music I recognised, which was surprising not knowing this ballet. It’s a very romantic, love story and didn’t seem as long as other ballet’s I have seen, however they do say time flies when you’re having fun.

Then we noticed Matthew Bourne was touring with his production of ‘The Red Shoes’ later in the year and this was one that we couldn’t miss. Matthew Bourne’s choreography is spectacular, quirky and always worth watching. His ‘Swan Lake’ with an all male cast is amazing. The morning the tickets went on sale we were on the phone and booked them immediately.

A few days later we noticed an advert on another theatre in Liverpool.

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Again we booked and got front row seats for opening night.

It’s was the craziest busy day and with a bus that never turned up we nearly didn’t make it at all, but I’m glad we did. It was one of the best performances I have ever seen, not just ballet but in general. It was superbly danced and acted. It was funny and sad (yes we laughed loudly). It is a walk-through of the pieces that have shaped his career and his life. Of artists that have impacted him through music or dance.

It wasn’t the longest ballet, each ‘act’ was around 40 minutes and we had two intervals but it was one of the best I’ve seen.

At the end as everyone was preparing to leave an announcement was made that a short question and answer session would follow with Matthew Bourne himself. That alone was worth the money we paid. He was a genuine, down-to-earth person. He refuses to be called Sir, even though he was knighted in 2016.

He explained how and why he’d put these pieces together and answered several audience questions about where his ideas came from, his inspiration and idols. He even gave some hints about his future plans and it would appear that we will be seeing more Matthew Bourne productions later this year and next, and thankfully they all seem to come through Liverpool.

So the future is looking good ……

Destinations

Oscar decided to give me a list of places he’d like to visit, and I’m taking him apparently. It was a little unexpected as there has been no mention of holiday’s or travel in general, but it’s quite an impressive list and started an interesting discussion about a few of the places and his reasons for going.

This is the list …

  1. Hawaii
  2. Vietnam
  3. Thailand
  4. Denmark
  5. China/ Hong Kong
  6. Canada
  7. India
  8. Australia

So I started with the unusual ones for a 10 year old, Thailand and Vietnam, he’s seen them in a few films and TV things and ‘they look interesting’. I explained these might be better explored when he’s older, late teens onward. Both are places I have never been and would like to see, so it’s a possibility.

Hawaii I have been to and it’s a beautiful place, very laid back, a beach type holiday but with history too.I told him about the active volcano and walking up to see the lava flowing also I explained Pearl harbour and have promised to dig out the photos for him. I would love to return but the journey times put me off a little. Although a stop-over on the return could work.

India is somewhere I have been promising to take him for a few years, it’s a favourite country for both myself and my mum. He’s always hearing good things and we will get there soon.

China/ Hong Kong is somewhere I always wanted to visit and had an opportunity a few years back, for many reasons I didn’t take it and in some ways I’m glad but also sad. I’m not sure we will ever get there but I would love to see Hong Kong probably for the same reasons Oscar does.

Canada is his current favourite place because a You-Tuber he follows lives there. It looks fine, not somewhere that’s ever excited me to travel to but who knows. It seems like a colder U.K.

Australia has been on his holiday list for as long as I can remember and he often tells people he’s Australian because we have relatives there ! Again it’s a place I’d love to see but the flight/cost makes it one of those once in a life time kind of holidays.

Denmark is the new one, not sure where this has come from and again not somewhere I have visited. I don’t know a great deal about the country so a bit of research and who knows…

What about you ? Any dream destinations ? Anywhere a child/family member has suggested that has been unexpected or booked somewhere on a whim and loved/hated it ?