Saturday 30 June 2012

Nora Ephron

I was sad to hear that Nora Ephron had passed away this week.  I love her books and films and she made my life a little brighter by them.  I often make the dull task of ironing better by watching "You've got Mail", "Julie & Julia" or my absolute favourite "Heartburn".  The scene in which Meryl Streep is at the hairdressers, 7 months pregnant and her hair half done when she realises that her husband is cheating on her and she dashes home to find the "proof", ties my stomach in a knot every time (and I have to put down the ironing at this point too!).  Heartburn was of course autobiographical and I love the way she used the book and the film to get some sort of revenge on her rat bag of a husband (played brilliantly by Jack Nicholson).

I share a lot of Nora's beliefs.  We both seem to believe that you should fill as much of your life with romance and fun as is humanly possible, and when you get your heart broken, remember that it is only a matter of time before you will be able to laugh at the humour in the situation. We also shared a belief that good food makes the world go round.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Street Art

I saw on the news this morning, a debate about street art/ grafitti.  Some people don't like it.  My opinion is that if permission has been gained, and in the right place, it can look fabulous.  We have some great street artists in Sheffield.  It amazes me that they produce such stunning, detailed works of art that are only going to be temporary.

 They are more stunning in real life.  These are by Rocket01
 We still have lots of derelict factory's dotted around the city centre and these are often used by the urban artists as a canvas.
 I think that this is one by Faunagraphic.  Always stunning.

I love this pub that has a huge piece of art in its stunning Beer Garden, and also on the wall outside.
And this is a collaboration by Phlegm and Kid Acne.

A wander around some parts of the city is like a grand tour of an art gallery - and a perfect way to spend  a warm summers evening.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

What do I know!

With the young man just a year away from starting university, we are undertaking the task of visiting some of his choices.  I had forgotten just what an exhausting and expensive task this is.  
I have been amazed at how I have pre conceived ideas about places and pleasantly surprised when I am generally proven wrong! 

 University buildings are some of the most fabulous buildings in our country.
 With some brilliant hidden gems - this one at Birmingham housed a stunning geology museum which thrilled the young man.
 I was worried that his chosen subject (Geology) would be limiting in the jobs market, but was thrilled to find that the reverse was actually true with employers visiting University's to head hunt.
Final three pictures are of Leeds University.

 We really enjoyed the sample lecture on Volcanoes given by the Professor who lectured in the subject, but was also on the committee for the Montserrat Volcano Organisation.  He is regularly flown out by the British Government to work on the project.  When I had a careers talk at  my school back in 1976, jobs on offer to us were:
Boys - Coal Miner, Steelworker, Building Trade
Girls - Office, Shop Work, Nurse
My how things have changed.  I think if I had told Mrs Benson that I wanted to be a Volcanologist, she would have given me her standard reply - "I don't have any forms for that I'm afraid"!!!

 I know that we were supposed to be looking around for the young man, but I saw so many courses that I would have loved to do now - finally aged 52 I have an inkling of what I want to be when I grow up!
Meanwhile, we have a few more trips and big decisions to make, and the young man needs to continue the good work so that he achieves the desired grades.
My babies are both growing up!

Monday 25 June 2012

And then.... day just got better.  We decided it was such a lovely evening, so we would follow the torch into Sheffield.  My it was busy.  But it was all worthwhile when we bumped into the wonderful, inspirational and totally beautiful Jono Lancaster - one of my hero's.  He kindly let me take his photo.  He had carried the torch earlier in the day.

 We spotted Look Norths Christa Ackroyd chatting to Michael Vaughan (Cricketer)
 The crowds were heaving and it was a fabulous atmosphere - carnival like.
 And then they popped the flame into a miners lamp for safe keeping for the night.
 But nobody wanted to go home, so every body just hung around Tudor Square and the Peace Gardens.  Kids paddling in the fountains, cups of tea and coffee from the Salvation Army.  All the restaurants were doing a roaring trade.  I've not really been a fan of the Olympics, but on this evening, it had worked its magic on Sheffield.
 But eventually we had to come home - so I could tell you all about it.

The Olympic Torch

So, unlike many place, we managed to send the Olympic Torch through South Yorkshire in a blaze of glorious sunshine.

 There was a fantastic turnout in our neck of the woods - the kids had all just come out of school and were loving waving their flags again.
 It was a totally brilliant atmosphere.

If you get chance to catch it, don't miss it.

Friday 22 June 2012

Salmon Fishing in the Don

I was invited by email (totally out of the blue - I think someone must have read my blog!) to attend an event nearby highlighting plans that Yorkshire Water and The Environment Agency have the the River Don.  My email said "to someone who has an interest in the local area" and I do love a walk along the Don.  I missed a lot of the talk that they were doing, and I couldn't stay for the later one, but I gathered from the latter end of the talk that Salmon are now returning up the Don from the North Sea and trying to spawn, but the chemical composition of the river water (because of what is currently poured into it still) is not conducive for spawning.  They are aiming to remedy this.  I think that this is very exciting! 

 Salmon used to swim in the Don, and one area very near the city is called "Salmon Pastures", but years of pollution by the Steel industry saw the wildlife die off.  Readers of my blog will know that wildlife has returned in abundance, but there is still a fair way to go with cleaning up the river.

 It was fabulous to read the information by different bodies and see what volunteer groups get up to.  I brought away some reading matter and we are going to volunteer for some of the events.
 Refreshments were served.  We are really lucky here in Yorkshire to have beautiful fresh water supplies so near.  I once worked with a water company in the south who pumped their water straight from the Thames. The pumps were often halted as bodies (suicides) blocked them up!!!  The water was allowed to settle in a tank, then pumped into another tank.  That process was repeated a few time, and then several million £'s worth of chemicals.  The water was blue.  Ours is very clear!
 We were served mini Yorkshire puddings with beef and some very tasty cupcakes made locally by "Fancie".
It was a very thought provoking event and I can't wait to wade in and help with the clean up.  It's amazing where a blog can lead you.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Holiday reading

One of the things I love about holidays, is the chance to read - a past time I rarely find time for normally.  
My first book was by one of my favourite authors - Adriana Trigiani - "Queen of the big time".  Most of Adriana's books pull from her family's Italian/American roots and stories.  I loved this book.  It was heart warming and nostalgic.  I would love this to be made into a film - but I always think that about her books.

 I absolutely love novels that feature the odd recipe or two!
 My 2nd book was a bit more unusual.  I discovered  Petite Anglaise blog - purely by accident back in 2004.  I found myself drawn in by the real life adventures of this Yorkshire girl who was living and loving in Paris.  I  couldn't wait for her to post her daily doings (anonymously at the time) and followed her love life, her family life and work life avidly.  This was one of the first blogs I had read and I was gripped.
I don't want to give too much away, but she eventually was given a book deal, and here it is.  I liked the book but I loved the slow daily reveal of the blog better.  Like the author at that time, her readers did not know which way life was going to go for her which added to the suspense!

Tuesday 19 June 2012


The Dancing Queen couldn't join us on holiday for the full week, so she travelled down by train to Plymouth where we went to pick her up.  We have stayed in Plymouth before a couple of times, and so we headed down to the Barbican area as we knew that this was an interesting place with lots to see.  It had been a bit windy the night before, and at first, I thought that this was an escapee bouncy castle that had gotten itself wedged!  But I found out that it was The Red Ball Project - an art installation that is travelling about in the south of the UK.

 It is amazing to stand on the same steps as so many people in history have done in the past - who were sailing away to start a new life in country's they knew nothing about.

 How brave they were.  And what momentous changes they brought.  I cannot imagine how they must have felt before they set sail, how horrendous the journey must have been and what on earth they thought when they landed.
 It was interesting watching the teenagers reactions to seeing these plaques depicting history that they have learned about in school and college.  It made it all a bit more real for them.

 A lot of the buildings around the Barbican reminded me of being in France.
 I loved the ice cream van.  The boys treated themselves to a cornet, with a flake, and a huge dollop of clotted cream! We girls thought about our figures and resisted!
 There are several harbours in Plymouth with boats large and small.
 And the boys found the Royal Navy ships interesting too.
We didn't get to spend much time in Plymouth, but we thoroughly enjoyed what we saw.

Monday 18 June 2012

Ulley Reservoir

After work one night last week, hubby and I decided to go for a walk before tea.  We chose to stay near home and have a walk around Ulley Reservoir.  Ulley Res was built in 1879 to provide the good folk of Rotherham with clean water as their existing supply was contaminated.  It is no longer used for water supply, but used for sailing, fishing and as a nature reserve.

 You may have seen it on the news when we had the floods in 2007 as the volume of water caused a problem here and it looked as if the dam wall may burst for a while which caused utter chaos as the M1 motorway would have been directly in its path - and so was closed for a while.

 Fortunately the crisis was averted, and the dam wall was finally repaired.

 The surrounding area has been mined for coal too in the past, and some of the landscape around it is clearly the shape of the old slag heaps.
 We had a lovely walk around it and spotted lots of wild flowers and wild life - including a scurrying little shrew! (too quick to photograph).
 We got slightly worried half way around as we didn't know what time the car park gates were locked, so the last half of the walk was at a much faster pace!
It was a pretty little walk with lots to see, and not too far from home.  I'm still amazed at how many new places I can find virtually on my doorstep.