Sunday 19 December 2010

Concerts and Parties

Attended Ellie's nursery concert.  She's been singing the songs for weeks but on stage, faced with a bank of parents, she didn't utter a word.  However, she did wave and blow a kiss to her grandma.

My faith in human nature has been restored when a bag containing a fair amount of money was left in Tesco by guess who (and it wasn't me) was handed in intact.  Pity we cannot thank this anonymous good Samaritan.

The ice and snow has all but disappeared for now although the weather people warn there is more to come.  I took the opportunity of a walk to the Canal Gardens.  I felt quite sprightly even though my granddaughter observes that I have an old neck.   I noticed that the water was frozen solid but there were signs of growth in the herbaceous border, if you looked closely.  I could even detect the shoots of bulbs emerging in my own garden - not that I'm comparing it to the park.  I read a saying "Live each day as if it were your last and garden as though you will live forever".  I think I will adopt this as my mission statement.

We think it's cold here but it was minus 25 in Sweden and Freya couldn't go out.  The weather didn't stop her grandad who disturbed a hibernating bear and lived to tell the tale.

Sunday was Louis' 5th birthday party, shared with another boy in his year.  Forty young children in an indoor play area plus parents in the cafe area can be really noisy and the party was enjoyed by all and no catering or tidying up afterwards. 

 the cake
Another meeting of the 'bolby' club; how quickly a month goes by.   We exchanged  news and speculations and were treated to a scrumptious chocolate and apple cake which was baked in one of those new silicon cake 'tins'.  I don't understand why they don't melt in the oven.  I have requested the recipe, if anyone is interested.

Have been asked to look after a neighbour's gerbils for a few weeks.  I haven't actually seen them as they are snuggled down in their straw bedding.  They're not stupid, the weather has been freezing.

Bought a squirrel proof bird feeder.  I'll outwit the little fellow yet!

 Yes, just for you - the feeder on the far right

It is a tradition to go to Monika and Dave's on the Sunday before Christmas.  The table was laden with home baked mince pies, stollen and biscuits and of course plenty of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink.  A very friendly crowd of neighbours, colleagues and ex-colleagues (of which I'm one).  I got a lucky bag to take home with one of her famous advocaat cakes.  I am putting on the pounds due to lack of exercise, contentment or greed.

Thursday 9 December 2010

A white chanukah

The snow remains with us as the freezing weather stops it from melting even from the treetops.  Picturesque it may be but, as temperatures plummet in the night,  the ice makes conditions hazardous on the roads.  It is mostly too cold to play out in the snow.

The chanukah candles have brightened up the evenings and Louis and Ellie have lit them with us on most nights.  On the 7th night we went to a chanukah party at shul where we were entertained with magic tricks and a Punch and Judy show (had forgotten how much violence portrayed) and ate latkes, vegie hot dogs and doughnuts - well you can indulge once a year!



 .... at the Goldberg's

 the purple menorah made by Louis at school. 
I have sent an upright hoover and some steel tipped boots to new homes through the local freecycle group. It's great when people can find a use for what is on offer.  I have received such items as kids bikes and travel cots from fellow freecyclers, although some of the items to give away make me laugh - and then someone takes them.

Emma and Freya are off to Sweden for a month; I will ask for photos to be sent.  Freya will have her first birthday there.  Oterlie and family are due to arrive from Mexico on Thursday.  The world seems a much smaller place, yet I can hardly make my way on foot to the local shops it is so icy!

Done a few sessions of work and my CRB check has been approved for there too.

Corrie is exciting yet unbelievable.  I wonder if I can continue to follow it after this week.

I see from my blog dashboard that I have been viewed by Croatia.  They must think that all this fuss about the weather is pathetic!

Wednesday 1 December 2010

snow, snow and more snow

It has been snowing off and on, mainly on, since Friday 26 November with temperatures not exceeding zero. Got a lift there and back from work in the snow on Monday.  The female pupils wore wellies in the examination; some pink, others black or patterned with animal prints, smarties, stripes and zigzags looking incongruous with their school uniforms.

On Tuesday some hardy folk braved the weather and attended an awareness raising evening put on by Jewish Women's Aid to support International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  The two speakers were excellent.  Domestic violence transcends race, religion, culture and social class and the work they do giving advice, running a refuge and counselling is commendable.

And still  it snows and so no work today.   Took the opportunity to speak to Sue, an ex-colleague also  off school, and catch up with her news.  The snow is really thick today as you can see from today's picture of the table on the patio compared to a few days ago.

First night of Chanukah and it looks like we will be lighting the first candle on our own as the roads are too treacherous for visits or visitors.  More latkes for us then!

A celebration of 150 years of jewish life in Leeds 1860 - 2010

Leeds City Museum in Millennium Square hosted this interactive exhibition of all things Jewish including photos, artifacts, Klezmer music, courtesy of the Freylach Spielers and even a mock Jewish wedding under a chuppah where we, the audience, were the guests.   A humourous explanation of the wedding service was given by a narrator and the Rabbi and Chazan were the very same who presided over Rochelle and David's Wedding in October.

 the chuppah

 the mock wedding

It was great fun and aptly timed in Interfaith Week.  My nephew Simon was filming and interviewing with kids from the Zone and my niece Rebecca had compiled a leaflet for the Jewish Genealogy Society's stand on my mother's Bobby (Grandma),Katie Goldberg, and her descendants.  She gave it the title The Goldberg Chronicle and  subtitle 'What Katy Did' and included her three marriages!  I will give a link to the pdf document as soon as I work out how to do so.  Hope this works:

The Lord Mayor and the Sheriff of Leeds attended and spoke about the significant contributions that the community has made to the city; Marks and Spencers, Burtons and Barratt/Stylo just to mention a few.

When we came out it was snowing hard.  We had planned to visit the Christmas Market in the square, but we were anxious for Janet who has to return to Manchester and that must wait for another time.
 The Christmas Market at Millennium Square in the snow

Tuesday 30 November 2010

.... and so the year continues

Monday 15th:   Had my hair done by Louise and we exchanged stories about our holiday homes (sounds bettter than statics) on the East coast.  In the afternoon, the ladies I meet up with once a month assembled at the new home of one of the group.  It is a beautiful bungalow and we were treated to a lovely spread.  The stuffed monkeys or gewickelte biscuits were better than mine although the same pastry of 8oz flour, 4oz fat, 2 oz sugar and the cake with the meringue topping sandwiched together with a mixture of cream, marsacapone cheese and lemon juice, baked by her daughter was amazing.

On Tuesday I had to stay in as we were having two new double glazed windows at the front of the house.  Beats cleaning them.  Anyway, it gave me the opportunity to tackle those jobs that I so often put off such as cleaning the cooker.  I can recommend the company MJM Windows.

As the brown bin was finally emptied and my neigbours were out, I set about cutting the hedges in the drive.  The bin was soon full to the brim again.  I thought this bout of gardening would act as a good warm up for Pilates in the evening, but lets just say that some sessions go better than others.

On Friday I had lunch with my nonagenarian Auntie Flo; her treat.  I hope I'm still a lady who lunches if I reach that age.

I used some of my Tesco vouchers on a year's membership to the RHS Garden, Harlow Carr, in Harrogate which gives free entry for me and a guest to this vast area of diverse gardens, so we took the opportunity of a walk on Sunday.  click on to an interesting and informative web site.

 The winter walk

 a succah?

 It is the 60th anniversary of the Harlow Carr this year

You never now what you're going to find around every corner - Doric columns, a maze, a quirky sculpture!

On Monday I accompanied Debs and her cockerpoo dog on their walk in Roundhay Park.  We walked and talked round the big lake.  It really blows away the cobwebs.  We noticed that the same jogger overtook us 5 times and I thought that our pace was quite respectable.

The next day I took the car in for its annual service and get the clock changed.  The route to Harrogate affords amazing views.  The sky was clear and blue, Red Kites soared above me and Almscliffe Crag looked majestic.  After dropping the car off at the garage, I was able to try out my new bus pass on the short ride to the centre of Harrogate.   Did a trawl of the charity shops looking for a replacement for my glass tray on which my candlesticks sit, but to no avail.  I had a coffee and flapjack at the Bean and Bud; well expensive but posh magazines to read. 

Freya is out of hospital after her bout of bronchiolitis - hurray! 

Although I mainly write about the good times, we all have our share of problems.  The joy that is the bonus of  being a part of a large family and big circle of friends brings with it the corresponding number of worries from ill-health, bereavements and disharmony of relationships.  We must count are blessings and celebrate the simchas.  The process of writing this blog makes me focus on the positives and be thankful for them.
Saw a great Israeli film:  Maya, at the Community Centre. 
A struggling young actress lands the leading role in a theater production. She is to play the part of a girl who undergoes a traumatic experience and is committed to a mental hospital. The actress, seeking to research her character in depth, spends some time observing in a psychiatric ward. As a result she brings to the role aspects that don't match the director's take on the part - creating conflict between herself and the director.

By the evening of the play's premiere, the actress is walking a thin line between acting and madness and the end of the movie makes you wonder – what would I do if I were her?

Ellie came to play on Wednesday morning and we made a birthday card.  Went to Wetherby in the afternoon and, lo and behold, found a glass tray in a charity shop.  I'm glad I found what I wanted but the thrill comes from the search!

On Thursday I attended a play put on by the New Vic Theatre.  It was called Yizkor and portrayed life in a shtetl in Eastern Europe.  It was developed as teaching material for schoolchildren to make them aware of a way of life that was wiped out yet people still lived to tell the tale.  Some parts were narrated by a man, Ibi Ginsberg, who survived the concentration camps but died earlier this year and his wife Val, was in the audience.  They were teenagers at the time, like the characters of the play.  My maternal grandmother came from the shtetl of Vashilishok and my paternal grandparents came from Vilna Gibirne in Lithuania, although they arrived in England before the first world war. 

Our first Waitrose has opened in Leeds.  It's very clean with some interesting foods including a kosher section, but very expensive for a weekly shop.

Looking at the 'hits' on my blog, I was astounded to learn that apart from the United Kingdom and Sweden (thanks Annika), other hits came from United States, Canada, Turkey,  Germany, Egypt, France and South Africa.  If any of you click on again, please let me know what brought you to read it.

My CRB check for voluntary work has been approved.

Sunday 14 November 2010

Preparing for work

Holidays over for this year.  Undertook training to be an invigilator at a local comp.  I've only been doing it for 30 years!

Collected tickets for the panto in Harewood Village Hall.  This year it's Cinderella.  We really enjoyed Aladdin last year and so did the kids.  During the interval we found out that Emma was having the baby in the morning.  The performance is put on by a travelling company and is professionally presented with plenty of interaction.

Bonfire Night held no interest for me whatsoever.  Is that a sign of old age?  It was Diwali too, so with those celebrations plus the community bonfire at Roundhay Park it resembled a war zone.

On Sunday morning I went to a coffee morning put on by Auntie Edith's Sharonah WIZO Group.  The members of this group have been raising funds for projects in Israel for over 50 years.  What an achievement - and they had provided home made cakes, pies and chopped herring for the produce stall.

As the weather forecasters kept telling us that Sunday would be the last fine day before a stormy and wet week, we went for a drive in the Yorkshire Dales and visited some of our old favourite locations:  Bedale, where an old farmer reversed into our car when Ben had just started driving.  Leyburn, where we stayed in a caravan may moons ago and today stopped for a substantial lunch.  Hawes, where I found a silver necklace with Naomi's name in hebrew at the outdoor market and over the bridge at Gayle which is the view of the print by Sam Chadwick which has graced the wall over our mantelpiece for many decades.

 Sam Chadwick's Falls at Gayle

We continued on the single track road over the moors to Kettlewell through beautiful countryside with dry-stone walling, hardy sheep and stunning views.  One for the memory bank to tide us over the coming winter.

As forecast, Monday brought the gales.  These lasted all week but I was working all week (halfdays) at Temple Moor School.  I had to complete forms to be CRB checked for both the school and the voluntary work, such is the bureaucracy these days.

On Wednesday, the only break in the bad weather, I met my long-standing friend Joy for a coffee at Napa Bar and Kitchen.  We seized the opportunity of sitting outside in the winter sun.  Good to catch up on the news and so easy to take up where we left off.


Set off for our annual Autumn trip to Northumberland one week later than usual as we are no longer tied to half term holiday.  We took the A19 rather than the A1 and stopped off at Hartlepool where we exchanged some clothes at their M&S in the city centre indoor shopping centre.

We arranged to stay in the Longhirst Hall Hotel (and of course Golf Club) near Morpeth, which is lower down than our usual visits. which, apart from an initial smell of drains in the room, suited us very well.

Although cold and windy, we followed the Art Trail in Newbiggin on Sea, or at least half of it before it got dark.


Returned to the hotel for a rest and a read (me the second novel of the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson The Girl who played with Fire and Ronnie:  Paul Auster The Book of Illusions) and, after a meal in the spacious Szoda Bar and Kitchen with its good food, friendly service and fair prices, we slept like logs.

We breakfasted well.  Although there was no muesli, no granulated sugar for Ronnie's cereal and porridge only on request, the hotel provided yoghurt, fruit and danish pastries along with the usual offerings at the buffet.

We set off to find Bolam Lake as the sky was blue, but decided that the heavy overnight rain would make the ground too wet for the walk.  Passing by a river, Ronnie spotted a heron.  We stopped to get a closer look and the heavens opened.  Look closely to find the heron in this picture!
 Did you find the heron?
We ambled through Amble finding a surprising variety of shops in the main street.  Managed to find the Kitchen Devil knife I had been seeking for months, an internal cover for the letter box and a small clock.
We braved the gale force winds and passed the marina a walked to Warkworth for lunch.


As we walked along the riverbank we saw cormorans fishing. 
In the afternoon we visited our old haunts of Seahouses and Bamburgh.  Went for a coffee in Alnwick, named by Country Life as the best place to live in Britain.
 Seahouses - next to the harbour

 This 'table' is on the ceiling of the cafe in Alnwick

That night we ate at Gianni's Restaurant in Morpeth which was surprisingly busy for a wet and windy Monday night   where we had a delicious bowl of pasta.

The next day we visited the new shopping centre at Morpeth, which was opened a year ago by Joanna Lumley

We made our way home via the Metro Centre at Gateshead but Ronnie was all too soon all shopped out.

“The sea is their grave but this Memorial sculpture is, in many ways, a headstone for the lost trawlermen”

I have always been impressed by the architecture in the centre of the maritime city of Hull, especially the old buildings with their carving...