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.

 

 

Reading Challenge Dilemma

I’v almost finished the Reading challenge 2017 – update, however the one category that has been given my the most problems.

An epic romance – this isn’t an area I normally read and at first glance it was all classic novels, pride and prejudice, Jane Eyre etc but I read these in school and found them a little dull to be honest.

So I took to the internet and Instagram for inspiration and ideas of what other people read for this category and this is where my dilemma started. I noticed that both the twilight and Harry Potter series have been put into the this category by a few people so I started thinking along these lines and had an idea.

During last years The Reading Challenge I had to read a book from the year I was born – I selected interview with the vampire written by Anne Rice and I think it could also fit into the epic romance category, but I didn’t want to re-read it, so I’m currently reading the second book in the series – the vampire Lestat and think this would also suit the category. The other book I have read recently that I think also works is Bram Stokers Dracula (the vampire thing was coincidence)

So what do you think ? Have you rad these, allowable or dubious ? Any other suggestions, preferably not on the school reading curriculum.

 

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 London photo challenge

Sometimes cities can seem a little ‘educational’ for children with all the museum and galleries, especially as they focus on learning and don’t always make it fun. So I decided to give Oscar a fun focus and a reason for us both to use our cameras.

This was the list …..

  1. Buckingham Palace
  2. Tower guard
  3. A duck on the street
  4. A street performer
  5. An underground sign
  6. A view from the sky
  7. A view from the water
  8. A shoe in the wall
  9. Street art
  10. The smallest police box
  11. A London Met police officer
  12. A Tardis
  13. Paddington bear
  14. Harry Potter
  15. Queen Victoria
  16. With a superhero
  17. Big Ben
  18. Nelsons column
  19. Tower Bridge
  20. The London Eye
  21. China town
  22. Wembley way
  23. Bobby Moore
  24. A shop or sign with your name.

And here are the results …

We had a good time and made some happy memories. Still plenty to see and do so tie to plan another visit.

London – Part 5 – The end

Our last full day was Sunday, and time to explore somewhere new. We jumped on the tube and a couple of stops later arrived in a very sunny, busy Camden town.

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We had a walk along the canal and around the market, and I think I found a place I could live in London. I loved the variety of people, shops and food.

A chilled day of wandering and then a stroll back towards the hotel to start packing and get organised for leaving the next day. We ate in our favourite little Italian again for yet another delicious meal.

Monday morning and all packed up we left our bags at the hotel and we had a wander over to the British Library, which was a two minute walk.

Oscar loves libraries, even more than me. We had been past here a few times and he had repeatedly asked to go inside, so with time it spare in we went. As we went inside I noticed and exhibition of old, rare and unusual books, so we went straight in and had a look around. It was really interesting and we both enjoyed seeing some of the hand written books and the very old bibles. As we came out of the exhibition he spotted the information board and desk and went over. As he was looking at it, a man asked him ‘are you looking for something in particular ?’ ‘yes, the children’s section’ and this is where the problem started, ‘we don’t have a children’s section’ was the reply. Without missing a beat, Oscar replied ‘but you have a copy of every book printed and you don’t have children’s books, so you lied’ with that he turned on his heels, and said to me ‘lets go, I want to find a proper library that has children’s books’ then over his shoulder ‘And I’m never coming back here’ Oh dear…. I must say the man’s face was a picture.

After this disappointment, we had a little wander into Kings cross station, to see platform 9 3/4, it was very busy so didn’t bother queuing for photo’s but it was fun to see the trolley in the wall.

No holiday is complete without churros so we ordered some and sat and watched the world pass by, then off to collect our bags and get our own train homeward bound.

 

 

 

 

 

London – Part 4

Friday started with a tour of Royal Albert Hall, the highlight of Oscar’s holiday (so far). He loves classical music and the BBC proms were rehearsing, this also meant we were unable to take photo’s or video inside. However it was amazing to see and hear.

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Afterwards, with the sun shining, we decide to walk across to the Serpentine Gallery to see the Grayson Perry, The most popular exhibition ever, he is one of my favourite artists. It gave us some interesting topics to discuss afterwards.

 

It was a lovely day so we decided to stay in the park for a while and wandered round to the Diana Memorial Fountain, which was full of kids and adults enjoying the cooling water.

Hunger started to set in around mid afternoon, as we were close I thought the Hard Rock Cafe would be a fun place to stop and eat.

I’m not sure if you can tell but Oscar was very unimpressed, however he enjoyed the food and mocktails. All the walking was starting to take it’s toll, so we headed back to the hotel early for a well deserved rest.

Saturday we had no plans, so we had a little lie in and a late breakfast then headed out for a walk around the shops. We headed along Oxford street and Regent Street until we got bored (me before him) then took a stroll into Mayfair to ‘car spot’ the boy was in his element. No stopping him, other people had noses pressed against the window of car showroom’s, Oscar went straight inside and told them ‘I’m just looking’. Ferrari asked him not touch, Porsche asked him not to touch one car, which had just been sold but Bentley were by far the best, not only no problem looking they asked if he’d like to sit inside and try the different cars to see which he preferred. Excellent service, lovely staff.

This was a special day for him.