Saturday, 31 July 2010

Animal Whisperer

My BIL seems to have a natural affinity with all kinds of animals. He only had to make a clucking sound and there would be an animal trotting up for a fuss.

212/365

~ Meerkat ~
We've been out to the Black Isle Wildlife Park, just north of Inverness, today. It's a fantastic place, loads of animals to see and feed, lots of space to run around and very reasonably priced (for the 6 of us it was £40). The Black Isle is a stunning part of Scotland, well worth visiting in its own right.

Friday, 30 July 2010

211/365

~ The cutest baby stingray, ever! ~
My sister and I took DS to the Macduff Aquarium today, about a 40 minute drive away. (The big boys went trout fishing from a boat, but that's a whole other story!) The Aquarium isn't that big, but it's perfect for toddlers, plenty to look at and touch-pools for the more adventurous little ones. We spotted this baby stingray in the "Nursery" tank ~ he's incredible cute, isn't he? If you would like to see DS with the fish, then hop over to my sister's blog, where you'll also find a photo of me sitting in DS's buggy!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

210/365


There should be a lot more to this post ... how we spent a fabulous few hours this morning on a woodland walk along the River Spey ... how DS loved his "big adventure" ... how I spent a lovely hour with my sister, just us, one-on-one ... but, you know what, the Scottish air has done me in!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

209/365

~ Pancakes and play: perfect combination ~
As previously stated here on this blog, no visit to my sister's village is complete without a pancake from Baxters. DS was far more interested as to when he could go and play on the train; my lovely DN obliged with appearing in a photo or two.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

208/365

~ But is this progress? ~
Sign seen in the car park at Stirling services today.

Monday, 26 July 2010

207/365

~ Family Bible ~
My mum unearthed this treasure and has passed it onto me. It's a Bible from Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887 and it originally belonged to my great grandmother Elizabeth (1881-1951). I imagine that she was given it at Sunday School during the Jubilee celebrations.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

206/365

~ Tractor Love ~
We have driven 250 miles North today in order to bring Mum home. (Her foot is much better and she has been so touched by all your lovely warm wishes for a speedy recovery. Thank you.) Mum has a cupboard of toys suitable for little people, left over from when my nephew was small; DS could hardly believe his eyes when he saw a large box full of tractors! We are staying here for a couple of days, before heading further North to my beloved NE Scotland. It's all go! I apologise for my lack of blog hopping; I'll be stopping by soon, I promise.
(Edited at 22.50 to change distance travelled ~ 250 miles, not 20!)

Saturday, 24 July 2010

205/365

~ European Food Market ~

Friday, 23 July 2010

204/365

~ A nasty fall ~
Mum and I caught the Tube back from the airport this morning. Unfortunately, Mum missed her footing and fell into the Tube carriage quite heavily. While nothing appears to be seriously hurt, her foot is badly bruised and painful for her to walk on. It's such a shame that our wee holiday ended like this for her.

Home Sweet Home

We are back, tired but happy. We had a fantastic time and agree that we would like to visit Washington, D.C. at some point again. Here I am, just 24 hours ago, in front of the White House. The magic of 21st Century aviation (no upgrade this time!).

Thursday, 22 July 2010

203/365

~ Which one is me? ~
We visited the Da Vinci exhibition at the National Geographic HQ this morning. It was all about his designs and ideas about engineering; I'm in a mock up of his Room of Mirrors.


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Washington: Capitol Hill

Today's excursion was to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which doesn't allow photography. I don't think that I can do justice to it with my own words, but what I will say is this: incredible, emotional, horrendous and inspiring. In the main entrance lobby there is an inscription carved into the wall: You are my witnesses ~ Isaiah:43:10.
From there we headed along the Mall area to Capitol Hill ~ it was much further than we thought, and also much hotter! We were soaking wet by the time we got to the Hill. The architecture is stunning, and parts of it reminded me of St. Paul's Cathedral in London.
We were sensible on the way back to the hotel, we caught the Metro!

202/365

~ Washington Monument ~

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Washington: Arlington National Cemetery & Iwo Jima

No words needed.









201/365

~ Checking out scrapping magazines in Barnes & Noble ~

Monday, 19 July 2010

Washington: Evening Stroll

Our hotel is a mere 10 minutes walk from the White House and, after 7 hours on the plane, we were keen to explore. The humidity was amazing, extremely draining after about 20 minutes outside. Annoying to see all the locals looking as fresh as daisies!It was much smaller than I expected it to be and reminded me of a wedding cake. There was no sign of the First Family! From the White House we found our way to the National Mall, where we checked out the Lincoln Memorial. It was packed and difficult to take photos that weren't full of the backs of strangers' heads!I thought that the WW2 Memorial was absolutely awesome. There was a slight rainstorm while we were here, which turned the sky into a fantastic array of colour but did nothing for the humidity. The Vietnam Memorial at the side of the Mall is made from black granite and shows all 58,000 names of those lost in Vietnam between 1959-1975. It's really quite startling because when you look at it, all you can see is a reflection of yourself. I felt as though I was standing in the middle of death.

200/365

~ Guess who got upgraded to Upper Class! ~

15 Years

~ 15 years ago today my very much loved Dad passed away. We all miss him still. ~
Just as this post goes live, I will be leaving with my mum for the airport and our trip to Washington, D.C. I know, without doubt, Dad would be waving us on our way, wishing us a brilliant time. And then he'd close the front door and be off to spoil his grandson rotten, and drink too much with his son-in-law and make too big a fuss of the pooch!
See you on the other side of the Atlantic ...

Sunday, 18 July 2010

199/365

~ West London Sky Ride ~
Today the residential streets of West London have been claimed by cyclists of all ages and sizes. This is the reason why we have all those parking restrictions in place. It seems to be very popular and DS has loved waving and saying hello to everyone. (I'm guessing the event has been sponsored by Sky TV.)

Saturday, 17 July 2010

198/365

~ New funky sandals ~

Friday, 16 July 2010

Thursday, 15 July 2010

196/365

~ Yet more parking restrictions ~
There is a huge event happening on Sunday in our part of West London. It's going to make going anywhere by car extremely difficult.

Embracing The Rain

I had to smile when I read Amy's post this morning and her mention of rain. We've been blessed with glorious weather for about the last few weeks, but yesterday saw a break and we had a torrential downpour. It was fab, and that's not something I say about rain often!
~ View from the back door ~~ View from the front door ~

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

195/365

~ A new avenue to explore ~
In relation to this post here, I have to thank those of you who took the time to answer my questions about American Social Security numbers. Over the weekend I discovered, thanks to the power of the Internet, that you can apply to see the initial request record for a SS#, as long as the individual in question is dead and that it is for family history purposes. So, nothing ventured, nothing gained ~ 2 forms and a payment slip filled in and ready to post.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

194/365

~ Buddlia, I think ~
I took this shot on the lane leading to DS's nursery this morning. I was having a go with the double macro setting to see if I could suss out the depth of field, nudged by yesterday's LYPLYP prompt.

Monday, 12 July 2010

LYPLYP: Take 2

Following those sketches from prompt 5 has meant another LO completed for DS's album. This one is based on sketch 4. (I'm liking these 4 sketches so much that I might, just might, base my Washington album on them. I like things simple when scrapping a whole set of photos!)
Of course, I've yet to do anything about today's prompt, which is all about depth of field. In layman's terms that means those blurry bits on your photos that look really cool, and are not due to camera wobble ...

LYPLYP

This is other LO I completed last night, following sketch 1 from prompt 5. I think the design works well on this type of patterned paper.

193/365

~ Buggy Fit in the park ~
There's a couple of open-air fitness sessions for mums of newborns every week in our bit of West London. I went a few years ago, all good fun and the babies seem to love it!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Catching Up With LYPLYP

I'm way behind with Shimelle's new class, Love Your Pictures, Love Your Pages. I didn't find time last week to do any of the photo assignments, but I have managed to play catch up with a LO or two this evening, using the sketches suggested in prompt 5.
This one is an example of 'small can be striking' (sketch 2) ~ not my usual style at all. The photo shows my GodDaughter with a mouth full of cake at DS's birthday party in January. The advantage is that because the LO is only 7x7, it was done in matter of minutes. And it also fits in with this week's Scrap Weekly 2010 challenge of using scraps. I could hardly believe my luck when I found a 7x7 piece of paper in my scraps box!

What Do You Think?

I'm thinking that this LO is fairly self-explanatory and doesn't need a title. What do you think?

192/365

~ My "book" ~
No, it's not a novel. It's a culmination of 5 years research and work about British and Commonwealth War Graves (plus a few Americans), all 104 pages ~ it's not likely to ever reach the top of the Sunday Times Bestsellers List, or even feature in it anywhere at all. It's at the proof reading stage now, and as BF is currently training to be a proof reader, she may be about to land her first commission. DH said recently, "Where's your book? Stop faffing. Get. It. Done." So I have.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Family History Of The International Kind

Okay, dear readers of my blog, today I'd like to pick your brains in regard to family history.For the Canadians: are there online indexes to search for a birth in in Disley, Saskatchewan? I'm looking for a birth circa 1920/21. My relatives arrived in Montreal in November 1919 as newlyweds and returned home to England in 1922 with their son.
For the Americans: are there online indexes to search for a marriage in New York City in the early 1950s? (I have their wedding photo somewhere, I must dig it out and post it here ~ it's terrific, a perfect snapshot of the early 1950s.) I don't know the maiden name of the bride. I have the death certificates for the husband and wife, and someone has helpfully written "Mary" in the space for maiden name on her certificate. I also know both Social Security numbers, although I can only find his on the online SS death index (hers was gleaned from her death certificate). And on the subject of Social Security numbers, when are they issued? Are they like British National Insurance numbers and issued around the age of 16? Do you have to be a US citizen to have a Social Security number? Any advice or help or information would be very gratefully received.

Isn't this photo fantastic? My brother found it years ago behind a painting my Grandad had done.
Sadly, there aren't any details recorded on it and it's in a sorry state around the edges. However, after a process of elimination, we decided that the girl playing with her necklace is my Grandmother (we all have clear memories of that being a habit of hers, in her later life she always wore a large-ish solid gold cross), the 2 other children are her younger siblings and the lady is their mother, none other than Emily Pink. Given that her sister was born in 1920, the photo must be around 1924.

191/365


Friday, 9 July 2010

Thursday, 8 July 2010

189/365

~ Quiet time ~

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

188/365

~ Shiny new Netbook ~
DH has very kindly bought me a Netbook, so that when I go to Washington I'll be able to communicate with home. My mobile doesn't work in the US, as it's only your basic pay-as-you-go handset and, as we all know, hotels charge a small mortgage if you use the telephone in your room. This way I will be able to Skype my boys and to email. That I'll be able to blog about my adventures the day they happen is an added bonus!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

It's Not What You Know ...

My Chelsea Pensioner friend telephoned me last week to tell me about a function he was attending in the Hospital grounds that evening ~ something to do with an elephant charity and a whole load of 'elephants'. He said that Princesses Beatrice & Eugenie would be attending and that he was hoping to be able to speak to them. Now, you may very well be wondering where I am going with this, but do bear with me.
Back in 2005, I took a group of 25 teenage girls on a tour of the Royal Hospital at Chelsea and that is how I met my CP friend, as he was our guide. He loves to tell people that he was expecting a coach full of Prep School boys! Anyway, my girls absolutely loved him and got me to ask the Head if we could 'adopt' him. Which the school duly did and he became a fixture at Harvest Festival, Christmas Dinner & Disco, and the like. Beatrice attended our school as a day girl initially, but when she came into board at 14 I was her Housemistress. (If you're interested, I found her to be a lovely young lady, although she wasn't adverse to using her connections to her advantage ... Would it be alright if I went out to tea at Granny's?) She became Head Girl in 2006 and escorted my CP friend throughout Harvest Festival that year, which thrilled him no end.Back in the present day, I was delighted when my friend called again later that night to tell me that not only had Beatrice remembered his name, she had also asked about me and that my DS had become the subject of a short conversation. Apparently he even had the photo of DS trying on his Scarlet in his pocket, in case the opportunity arose to show her. It didn't.
Great photo, though, isn't it? I showed it to DS, who said, "Grandad P with pretty ladies!"

Photo credit: Press Association.

187/365

~ Mile marker on the Common ~
Some days, it's easy to forget that we are just 6 miles from the centre of London. All distances from London to anywhere in the UK are recorded from Marble Arch ~ the zero mile, if you will.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Love Your Pictures, Love Your Pages Class

Class began today for Shimelle's "Love Your Pictures, Love Your Pages". To get us up and running, she suggested, as Challenge #1, posting a photo that makes you smile ...... this shot of DS was taken just over a year ago, a real I-just-got-lucky-shot. Every time I see it, I think of Edvard Munch's The Scream! I think it must be to do with the distorted faces in the reflection on the car.

186/365

~ Fly tipping ~
I've never understood the logic behind fly tipping. Whatever it is, you have to physically remove from your house/work/wherever in the first place, so why not just take it to the local tip? Do you think the owner of this sad bicycle truly thought it was somehow okay to leave it on the Common, because they left it next to a bin?