Mr & Mrs Blackbird have built a nest in my garden. Now I realise
that in the overall scheme of things birds nesting in my garden isn’t anything
to get excited about, but this is the first time I have been so close to one of
my favourite birds. I just love blackbirds, love sitting in a quiet garden listening to their song, watching them searching for food, following me around
as I’m digging, hoping I turn over a nice juicy worm. This morning I was tying in
some rogue branches of a honeysuckle when I noticed some twigs in amongst the branches,
it was then I saw her, Mrs Blackbird, sitting in the nest, I was so close, just inches away
from her, she didn’t flinch, just sat there looking at me, I don’t know who was most
This area has been neglected of late, which is probably why she chose it.
The fencing and support for the honeysuckle are due to be replaced.
I gently moved
away and went to get my camera. I used the zoom so as not to disturb her.
Her tail sticking up
out of the nest.
difficult to hold the camera steady and focus on the right spot. I tried
sitting on a stool
but that was
the wrong angle, eventually I just clicked one after another, and voilà,
A little while later she left the nest for a few minutes so I carefully had a look inside, she has three eggs. I feel very protective towards her, like they are my own babies!
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver Fierce evangelical Baptist Nathan Price takes his wife, four daughters and his mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959, before its turbulent passage into independence as the state of Zaire. The story is told by his wife and daughters, a story of tragic loss, undoing, human endurance and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in post-colonial Africa. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I didn't want to put it down, but I didn't want to finish it! The author's subject knowledge is excellent, she writes with great empathy and has worked the thorny threads of religion, race and politics into a powerful moving novel.
I’ve been very lazy with this. I actually started writing it weeks ago, soon after seeing the film.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotelfollows the story of a group of pensioners who
have established new lives in India. Yes it was predictable, a little twee and
some of the story lines were unrealistic but with such a brilliant cast it was
easy to overlook a few foibles.
In theFirst Exotic Marigoldour pensioners, lured by
advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and imagining a life of
leisure in lush surroundings, arrive to find that the Marigold is actually a
shell of its former self. Though their new home is not quite what they had
imagined, instead of returning home the retirees actually take on the
responsibility of helping Sonny the manic, optimistic owner/manager turn the
Recently widowedEvelyn(Judi Dench) was emotionally and
financially lost as she had, for her entire married life, depended on her
husband for almost everything. She secured a job teaching call centreworkers about British
culture. This story line was easy to accept because it was credible that
she would be the perfect person for such a role.
Unhappily marriedDouglas(Bill Nighy) andJean(Penelope Wilton) were hoping to find
an affordable retirement after losing most of their savings. The vitriolic Jean
hated everything about their new surroundings and was truly vile to everyone,
and everyone was overjoyed when she went home leaving the hapless Douglas to
pursue Evelyn, with whom he was falling in love.
Madge(Celia Imrie), fed up with unsuccessful marriages
behind her was searching for a new husband.
Muriel(Maggie Smith) needed a hip replacement, and
despite beingprejudiced against
Indians and every other person of colour under the sun,had travelled to India where it could
be donequickly and cheaply.
Norman(Ronald Pickup), an aged
lothario struggling to accept his age and undesirability by younger women was
hoping to find new possibilities.
Graham(Tom Wilkinson) a retired high court judge spent
his first eighteen years in India and had returned hoping to find the man he
fell in love with but was forced to abandon.
owner and manager of the hotel, is determined torestore it to its former glory.
Sunaina(Tena Desae) isSonny's girlfriend. She befriends
Evelyn when Evelyn gets a job at the same call centre.
Mrs Kapoor(Lillete Dubey) widowed mother of Sonny. She
admits that Sonny is not her favourite son, and wants him to move back with her
to Delhi for an arranged marriage, not to Sunaina.
As the hotel improves our pensioners,
instead of just relaxing, find employment, interests and love until eventually
each one had foundsome kind of
solution to their problem. We left them happily basking in the twilight of
their years as the sun sets over their new home in India.
I was looking forward to catching up
with the group and I wasn’t disappointed. In the Second Best Exotic MarigoldEvelynat the age of 79, had landed a
prestigious job travelling the length and breadth of India sourcing fabric
samples for a textile company - mmm this is where you have to suspend
Douglashas a jobtaking
foreign visitors on terrible tours, whilst all the timefretting in his hapless fashion trying
to work out how to make a romantic move on Evelyn.
Jeancomes back in the sequel, still nasty and vicious,
but thankfully only stays long enough to request a divorce and boast about a
mythical relationship with a new lover.
Madge’ssearch for a new husband has resulted in not one
but two suitors, both wealthy, slightly older and competing for her affections.
She wasn’t portrayed very well, playing one off against the other, until
eventually she realises that she has fallen for the modest noble driver who has
been ferrying her around.
Murielhas undergone a major transformation. As a bit of
an expert with figures she helped to turn around the fortunes of the hotel. The
hip replacement was successful and her demeanour is positively euphoric, liking
everyone. At the beginning of the sequel we find her jetting off to New York
with Sonny for high level meetings with financiers to help secure funds for
development of a Marigold Hotel chain. (suspend credibility again).
Normanhas met newcomer Carol (Diana
Hardcastle). He is keen to give monogamy a go but she has other ideas. He
follows her, has a misunderstanding with a taxi driver, then it all gets a bit
Sonnyis juggling his forthcoming
wedding to Sunaina and his determination to purchase another run down hotel to
become the Second Exotic Marigold.
Sunainais busy planning the wedding
whilstMrs Kapoor, Sonny’s
mother is coming to terms with the approaching nuptials. She also has a
blossoming romance of her own with the gorgeous Richard Gere whomay or may not be a hotel inspector
who can help Sonny get approval from investors to open a second hotel. Cue the
arrival of another character, the real hotel inspector played by Tansin Greig.
For me both films had all the
ingredients for a sweet, funny, feel good experience plus the added bonus ofRichard Gere. Images were sourced from the web.
Dollshouse No. 2 has been sitting around for months with nothing being done to it because of some alterations I wanted to do. It was fine when I bought it, ready
assembled and ready to decorate
but I didn’t like the doors or the stairs, so
I sprayed them white,
which was a good result.
My next project however wasn’t quite so successful - I
decided to put windows in the sides of the house. I borrowed a jig saw and set to work. I’ve always been quite good at DIY, either figuring out how to do it myself or asking family or friends for help, so after a quick tutorial on
Youtube I thought I would be good to go.Oh dear, BIG mistake, it wasn’t as easy as it looked, I couldn't control the machine very well, it was jigging away in all directions! Eventually I managed to
cut the shapes but it made lots of marks which has created more work
as now I have to spray the whole of both sides, or, if I can’t get a good match of paint, the sides and front! And of course I can’t do it inside because of
the odour from the paint, and the time it takes to dry, so I have to wait for a long spell of dry weather to
do it outside. Hopefully I won't have to wait too long.
I was hoping to get these in before now but the soil just hasn't been warm enough. They've been hanging around in the kitchen chittting and starting to get a bit soft and wrinkly so I couldn't wait any longer. My daughter said they looked like an audience which would make them spectatoes - get it - spectatoes - yes, oh well I thought it was funny :-) I had planted 4 using the red dibber when the endearing crotchety old boy came along and told me I was doing it wrong, he said they needed more space around them, he picked up the big fork, dug a hole and planted one, then he did another and another until he had done all of them, he's 85! I tried to say thank you I will carry on but he wanted to do it, he was on a mission. I thanked him profusely and gave him a peck on the cheek. I think he went away happy :-)
Did you get fooled? I got my grandson, I told him the Football Association were going to increase the size of goal posts so that footballers would be able to score more goals. Bless him he believed me and commented that doing that would devalue the game and the skill of the players. A clearly thought out mature response I thought.