Wednesday 23 March 2011

Summer arrives in Spring

A couple of days of fog and drizzle has been followed by sunshine and doubled temperatures; British weather at its best.  Been busy gardening.

Pampered myself with a facial and pedicure.  So relaxing.

Ellie made a Megillah and knew the whole story.

Louis dressed up for Purim

Ronnie wanted picking up from Manchester Airport as it was too late to collect his car from the garage in Rochdale.  In the event, the flight was delayed by two hours and he was not best pleased that it was too late for me to pick him up.  They managed to get a train back and we collected the car the next day after seeing Ben off at the station.  They had a good trip, surviving mainly on fellafel.  I shall post some photos when he has annotated them for me.

Caravan season has begun and I was relieved to see our static still standing and the garden had survived although it was under a layer of twigs from the trees which had been coppiced.  The coastline showed some changes after the harsh winter, but for the moment all was calm.
 coastline on caravan site

We visited Skirlington market where Ellie found some additions to her teddy collection in the form of Beanie Toys complete with tags, names and birthdates.   I have now discovered they are collectors items.

 Jake the Drake

 Strut the Rooster
  We dropped Naomi and the kids at the beach at Hornsea while we shopped for lunch and found a well constructed castle on our return. 

The children were able to ride their bikes and we went to the duck pond armed with bread.  The ducks seemed please to see us and received the bread so gratefully and enthusiastically that I believed that we were the first visitors to feed them until I deposited my empty bag in the litter bin which was full of empty bread wrappers!

We went to the shop attached to the John Bull Rock Factory at Carnaby where interesting toys and gadgets are often to be found.  I bought this fridge magnet to add to may collection.

 The factory will star on prime-time television as filming for a new BBC drama called Sugartown starring Sue Johnston, Shaun Dooley and Tome Ellis was shot there.  The three-part comedy is about a small seaside resort which was once the 'rock' capital of England.  Some members of staff acted as extras and one of them told me that a further series may follow if the first is successful.   Scarborough and Filey have been used as filming locations.

Thursday 17 March 2011

medical matters

Cannot believe so many friends and family have been in hospital/poorly just recently.  I am delighted to report that the outcome is favourable for all.  Hospital is never a good experience, but the new Bexley Wing is well impressive.  It has the David Hockney prints of the East Riding of Yorkshire that I have searched for in vain and some quality photographs of the construction workers on the walls.  There was even a vocalist and guitarist performing in the foyer where outpatients were awaiting their appointments.  The new multi-storey car park for visitors is always busy and driving down from the top floor is like being on a helter skelter.

These problems pale into insignificance when you think of the suffering of the japanese.

Ronnie and Ben have spent a week in Israel - reclaiming their past youth?  On route to the airport, the car broke down on the motorway which meant they had to stand on the bank in gale force winds and driving rain.  The pickup truck came within half an hour, dropped off the car at a local garage and they arrived at the airport by taxi in time for their flight.  They have had a whistle stop tour, driving the length and breadth of the country.

Managed to get into the garden on the one nice day and started to plant up the space made available from some heavy pruning of trees.  I have loads of seeds, bulbs and corms to plant up plus (thanks to Simon F)some shrubs from the pound shop; worth a try.

 Weigela Bristol Ruby

Deutzia scabra

 Paul's Scarlet climbing rose

Spotted a purple emperor butterfly.  Rather early?

Caught up with Debs this week.  Picked up Ellie from school and she ate her packed lunch there.  She saw the pigs, dog, cats and even some horses in a neighbouring field.  It's like being in the country.

Monday 7 March 2011

A bunch of firsts

It is the 1st March today.  It was also the first time this year I hung the washing to dry outside (called for a shehechiyanu), first time I saw a bee and first time for a bunch of daffodils to cheer up the house.

Lovely, still, sunny day and, as I had an appointment cancelled, spent a productive half day in the garden.  an ex-colleague stopped for a chat as he saw me in the front garden while driving up the street and we caught up with some news.

Invigilated for some GCSE science modules then walked round the lake at Roundhay Park.

Exciting news!  Attended a training course to become a Britain in Bloom judge.  I felt a bit of a lay person sitting between a radio presenter of a gardening programme and a head of a parks department but my skills in assessing held me in good stead.  An interesting session and a dream come true!

Ronnie has done a sterling job on the pine trees in the garden resulting in multi-trips to the tip.  Some tippers brought just one item whereas others seemed to be gutting their entire house.  The garden now has more light and more space to plant up.

Thursday 3 March 2011

Enjoying myself as if it's my half term

Although I don't officially have a half term holiday, the grandchildren do and I feel lucky to say that this involves me, even if my front room resembles a playgroup as the weather isn't good enough to play outside.   

Went to see an Israeli film The Wisdom of the Pretzel.  As always, I enjoy these films that portray characters with warts and all.

The weather has improved and the temperature climbed to double figures.  We took the children to Harlow Carr where we followed the Bugs and Beasty Trail successfully and participated in the mini workshops on the way round.  We thoroughly enjoyed the morning and the volunteers had provided activities which were great fun for both children and adults.  We ate our picnic sitting on a bench watching the world go by.  The RSPB volunteers had provided binoculars in the hide where we say siskins.  Couldn't help showing off and mentioning that we had been visited by a flock of lapwings and, since then, we have had a red kite soaring over our garden.  A wannabe twitcher or what?

the children's home made feeders

 the log run

 A helping hand - by whom?

 the picnic

 the mini workshops

 Reached the centre of the maze - but can they find the way out?

 siskin (photo not taken by me)

Caught up with an ex-colleague, Tom, who is now 77 and looks fine.  Since his wife passed away a few years ago he has written a biography entitled A Game of Two Halves which refers to the 37 years spent as a catholic priest followed by the 37 years as a married man, stepfather and teacher of english.
 Val and I pose with Tom in the sunshine at the Lakeside Cafe at Roundhay Park

Tom was a keen gardener and I still have the honeysuckle given to me as a cutting, but alas no longer the fuchsias.

Exciting news;  I have been accepted on a training programme to be a Britain in Bloom judge!  This has spurred me on to get to grips with my garden.

The purple crocuses, purchased in Woolworth's decades ago, still do me proud. 
I had forgotten about the elephant's ears I acquired from an ex-colleague last spring and an oriental poppy I planted and is now developing well.  I replaced the polythene greenhouse which was destroyed in the winter gales so I can get on sowing some seeds.  This means the geraniums I keep from year to year seem to have perished, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

 It is noticeably lighter in the evenings now.

Went to the 'opening night gala' of the Leeds performances of the UK Jewsih Film Festival at the Cottage Road Cinema.  The Cottage Road Cinema is the oldest cinema in Leeds and one of the few remaining independently run cinemas in the country.  It is now owned by the Northern Morris chain who also own independent cinemas located in Skipton, Keighley, Ulverston, Elland and Windermere. 

The film, a good comedy called The Yankles was reviewed by Katie Taylor, in the Jewish Chronicle November 16, 2010

In the "Big inning" there was God, a few Yeshiva students and an ex-prisoner. The Yankles is a comedy about a group of Yeshiva students who have a calling from God to start a baseball team, aptly named, The Yankles.

It is a true comedic sight as an army of Yeshiva student baseball players, dressed in their uniform black and white suits, march on to the baseball pitch, with Tzizit hanging freely and Payot tumbling from their baseball helmets.

A rather misfit group, they are led by Rabbi Meyer who coaches his team religiously through a How To Play Baseball book, and as The Rebbe of the Yeshiva says, ‘there is nothing you can’t learn from a book!’

The squad seems all but a joke until Elliot, the captain of the Yeshiva team, convinces disgraced ex-baseball star Charlie Jones, to coach them. An ex-con after a series of drink driving offences, he coaches the team as part of his community service.

The interplay between the Yeshiva students and Charlie is charming. As the two cultures collide and try as it were, to play ball, the film oozes humour and comic satisfaction as Charlie learns his Shmucks from his Tuches!

The comedy is however subdued by the more serious involvement of Elliot’s father, Frankie Dubs. Played by Happy Days star, Don Most, he is embittered by the fact his son has joined a Yeshiva and given up his previous life as a future baseball star. The film raises the issues of how religion can fit into the secular world, and the idea of marrying outside the religion, as Elliot’s sister, Deborah, struggles with her relationship with Charlie.

These more serious moments in the film, are sometimes cringe worthy and hinder the films success. Elliot’s father is a stereotype of the self-hating Jew and sport fanatic father, and his drinking partners are no better, as the actors try to portray an anti-semitic tone, throwing a barrage of abuse at Elliot.

Its cringe-worthiness is magnified due to the quality of the acting, which is questionable from some of these more minor characters. Whilst watching, it became even more embarrassing when poor acting skills emanated from the major character too. This, together with questionable editing skills, hinted to the film’s shoe string budget, as a screen-wipe made its way across the audiences’ vision to signify a new scene.

The film could have also been slightly shorter, and from listening to audiences comments, was a little too long for a comedy.

The films true glory occurs towards the end as you begin to enter the world of the Ultra-Orthodox Jew and begin to see it in a new refreshing light.

The Yankles (2009): directed by David R Brooks, written by David R Brooks and Zev Brooks

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