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.  http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardens/Harlow-Carr  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.   http://www.longhirst.co.uk/ 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  http://www.giannis-ristorante.com/   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.

Saturday 6 November 2010

Autumn in the Caravan

On Monday of half term week we are off to the caravan with Louis and Ellie, giving Naomi a chance to paint their bedroom.  The weather is bright but chilly and we need to stop off in Bridlington to buy hats, scarves and gloves, as well as go on a ride on the promenade.  Bought a sparkly T Light holder; candles create a cosy and cheering atmosphere in the cold weather.  Thank goodness for central heating in the caravan.  The garden is still blooming with Sedum, Nasturtium and Fuchsia.  Not one Gladiolus has flowered here nor in our Leeds garden.  Many of the caravaners have already packed up for the season.  I started to declutter; it makes you realise just how much the kids have grown and developed this season when sorting out the clothes, books and toys.
Tuesday brought the rain and the children equate this weather with Kandy Kingdom and off we went with our books to read (Old Filth and the Girl who played with Fire from the millennium trilogy) while the kids played on the equipment.  It was really busy and noisy being a wet day in half term.  On the way there we phoned Ben to sing Happy Birthday.  He told us that Emma had treated him to champagne and trifle for breakfast and then they were off to the Jewish museum  in Camden.
We went for a ride to Filey and parked on the promenade and admired the view and people watched.  After a stormy night we went beachcombing on Ulrome beach which was strewn with stones.
Naomi joined us at the weekend.  Ellie was scared of a woman sitting outside a pub dressed as a witch with an ugly mask for Halloween and so frightened by a 7 ft Grim Reaper in Tesco that Naomi asked him to remove his 'top half'.  Good thing she was away from the caravan when some local kids came a calling!
Even at the end of October we managed to go to the beach, albeit in our boots and hats, and had a good game of football with Louis in goal. 

There was a meeting of Lambretta owners and when these Mods removed their helmets they revealed themselves to be about our age.  No Rockers to clash with, though.  Later, on our journey home, we would see many scooters which had broken down awaiting the rescue services.  Good pic from the Bridlington Free Press

No visit would be complete without a trip to Mr Moo's for homemade icecream and a go on the rides at the playground at Far Grange.

 When will it stop raining?


 Mr Moo's Ice Cream Farm

 Playground at Far Grange

Here ends another season at the caravan.  Unfortunately we couldn't find the end to the vacuum and Naomi had to just manage with  the nozzle.  We came back in time for the kids to go trick or treating and for us to prepare for our next holiday the following day.

Weekend with Freya

I'm excited to say that Ben and Freya are coming for the weekend while Emma has a girly weekend in Stockholm.  Travelling with Freya entails a multitude of medical equipment and Ben is coming by train.  He misses the first train as the taxi got stuck in traffic but we meet them off the next train; Freya with her face covered in carrot snack.  We just make it in time to pick up the other two grandchildren at their respective schools.  It was lovely to have everyone there for Friday night dinner and it was a full house upstairs.

Freya is doing more and has a happy disposition but is not interested in eating much.  Ronnie gives her a much needed haircut, but takes off too much in my opinion.  She goes on the swings at Roundhay Park, receives visits from relatives and all too soon it's time to go back to London.

 Freya likes her new hairstyle - maybe Daddy should have one!

Back to reality

As previously mentioned, I don't know how I ever had time to go out to work.  Life has become one long holiday.  However, I was brought up to work hard in order to deserve the good things in life.  This week I have contacted the Jewish Welfare Board to offer my services as a volunteer and registered as an examination invigilator at a secondary school.  Of course, I will be taking a couple of holidays first!

“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...