Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bits N Bobs

Mu Uncle Bob has had a rocky week, what with a cardiac arrest not long after surgery, and more recently, a deep vein thrombosis. He will be starting radiotherapy and chemotherapy fairly soon, so a long and difficult path lies ahead of him.

Great Uncle Bob seems stable but no substantial improvement, which is a worry.

Mum is doing reasonably well, which is great, and our little family appears to have recovered from the epidemic of upset tummies which made life hideous for a full fifteen days!

It's definitely spring; walking Basil today, I noticed that the air was heavy with the subtle scent of magnolia, a very common tree in this area, and a delight for the eye as well as the nose :-) 
Cherry blossom is out, there are swathes of bluebells and daffodils everywhere, and many of the trees are growing leaves, including my loved apple and plum trees in my back garden. 
After ten days of lovely weather, which encouraged me to bring Speedy the tortoise out of hibernation, the weather has turned cold and wet, but the forecast is much better for the weekend.

Keeping you all in my daily prayers !
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Ostrov Online !

Ostrov appears to be available in its entirety online !

Use the CC button in the bottom right hand corner to enable subtitles from the menu.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Walking Through The Woods

Especially for Ian and Meg ! 
Waiting for this year's lambs to be born and I will try and get photos for you both !

The woods are lovely at the moment; they will be stunning in a few weeks when all the trees are in leaf......

I love all the little paths......

and the sun dappling the ground.

DD3 and Basil love them too.

Catkins !

Coming out of the woods, and looking at the colours.....


                                                       and the view is wonderful !
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Recently Read

Villages of Britain is enormous.
Seriously ! 
I did try to read my way through it systematically,
but it gave me mental indigestion,
so I would recommend it as a reference book,
or just one to "dip into".
Great book, nevertheless :-)

I love Faye Kellerman's books.
I enjoy the divergent strands of an Orthodox Jewish  Homicide Detective
and violent crime being drawn together, with the bad guys getting caught.
If only real life were quite that simple.....

Andy McNab - another perennial favourite.

The book of The King's Speech is superb; as soon as I finished it, DD3 has bagged it and is devouring it. DoomHamster is next on the reading list for it :-)

I am systematically working my way through my Georgette Heyer books - wonderful escapist reading.

Yes, Sister, No Sister was well worth every penny - a thoroughly absorbing book about a trainee nurse's life in the 1950s.

I am becoming increasingly fond of  Lindsey Davies' Falco character, and am grabbing every book which makes its way into the charity shops....

The most recent FK book, and one of the most satisfying and absorbing.
 I loved the resolution of this one :-)

Begat was bought for me by Mr & Mrs DoomHmaster,
and I have savoured every single page, limiting myself to one chapter a day
 as much as possible to make it last longer.
If you have ever wondered just how much influence the KJV of the Bible
 has had on modern culture, this is the book for you.

I really loved Bread Alone, and not just for the recipes ! 
A very clever novel, detailing the breakup of a marriage
 and a woman's quest for a new life for herself in its aftermath.

This is one of Andy McNab's teenager fiction books, and is very well-written.
The plots are complex and believable,  
and this one outlines the recruitment and manipulation of teenage suicide bombers.
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Jerusalem - The Biography

                                        Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2010

I must admit that I would not have believed it possible to cover the history of Jerusalem in one volume. Enormous amounts of scholarly work abound for the serious student, but for the general reader interested in understanding the importance - and sometimes the furore- which surrounds this great city, there has never really been a book which adequately covers its immense and complex religious, historical, sociological and political history until now.

Simon Sebag Montefiore comes from a prominent literary Jewish family, and it seems very appropriate that has undertaken this vast project. His lyrical and poetical introductory chapter gives a surprisingly intimate and personal glimpse of the meaning of the city to him before he launches into a more detached and impersonal manner of writing to compress thousands of years of history into one book.

This 647 page volume was a pleasure to read from the first page to the last, covering the massive span of the city's history and its personages, both humble and prominent. It is succinct and well-written, although the chapters covering early Christian history tend to support the modernist Protestant party line relating to theological issues rather than the more traditional Orthodox and Catholic viewpoints, especially on the perpetual virginity of Mary.
That aside, for anyone interested in the Biblical history of the city, it is a treasure trove of information, sometimes too much so.......the brutalities of the sacking of the city by the Romans were described bluntly and without gratuitous detail, but nevertheless were really quite stomach-turning and reminded me vividly of Sir Steven Runciman's devastatingly heart-breaking depiction of the sack of Constantinople a millennium later.

 I learnt an enormous amount from this book, and I suspect it will take me much longer to digest and assimilate the information than it took to actually read it, and for anyone interested in this amazing city, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, this book will be a must-read.
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

What A Week

Today  marks Day 13 of one or other members of our immediate family being ill with this vicious and painful stomach flu bug. It has not been a pleasant fortnight, and fasting has been a disaster for me.

I have managed to stick to my daily Psalter readings, which have kept me focused and grounded despite the dreadful tragedy which continues to unfold in Japan. ..... the death  toll there is equivalent to more than the population of our small town  being wiped out. May God have mercy on us all, especially the suffering people of  Japan. When I was in college, a kind mature Japanese student named Toshio often gave us lifts to college in the mornings, and I pray God earnestly that Toshio and his family are safe.

My dear friend Mary has had bad news about her husband's health, and my Great-uncle Bob is ill in hospital, as well as my other Uncle Bob on the other side of my family.

So many friends are in trouble, sorrow, need and distress - may God have mercy on us all, and may dear St Patrick intercede for us all.
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Holidays Continued

Ten-Pin Bowling was fun....... DD3 gets ready.

DH in follow-through mode.....

An early-morning visitor was disturbed
by me opening the curtains..........
you can just see the hind-quarters of a sweet deer
through the V- shaped tree in the centre of the picture.

This little critter was a frequent flyer once he realised we put food out for him .

I know they are technically pests, but they are so cute !
By the way, feeding the critters with appropriate foods (sold on site)
is actively encouraged as it is a protected and enclosed Nature Reserve
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DD3 Hits The High Ropes

DD3 always likes to be doing something, so this was right up her street, though it took her way out of her comfort zone......

She is on the third horizontal log from the bottom on the right side of the picture, her instructor at the bottom in red.... I have to say, although she was fully roped and safety-harnessed, my heart was in my mouth at this point..... my baby was up there !

She always wanted to have a go at roller-skating,
so we opted for the nice warm indoor area after previous challenges outdoors.
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Activities On Holiday

DD4 went on an introduction to falconry course. 
Here she is with Floyd, a Peregrine Falcon, hooded to ensure he stayed calm.

This is Missy, a nine month old female Kestrel.

DD4 holding a stunningly lovely Barn Owl.....

DD3 trying out Quad biking......

....and DD4 doing likewise on a Junior course.
Much fun was had by both :-)
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Holidays !

This was the view from our patio doors :-) 

At various points in our stay, we saw rabbits, ducks, squirrels and roe deer walking across our patio....
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

It Must Be Great Lent........

It must be Great Lent; the normal domestic mayhem worsens !

DD3 has picked up a stomach upset, and just as soon as she seems to be getting over it and can eat a little, she's ill again. Last night she was pretty poorly, with torrential outpourings from both ends, which was no fun for her, or for me doing the clean-up of the bathroom, and I ended up spending the night sleeping on the beanbag in her room. In the middle of all that, DD4 wakes up feeling sick and hurtles to the bathroom herself, obviously with the same bug, so round 2 of the clean-up commenced in the wee small hours. I'm in the middle of a  streaming cold which has settled on my chest and in my sinuses, so bending over is a nightmare, and I have to stop every few minutes, no matter what I am doing, to blow the faucet that was formerly my nose....

Other news:

We actually managed to all go away on a family holiday last week :-)

I was so scared of jinxing it that I deliberately didn't mention  it all, in   case Mum became ill and had to go into hospital again, like last summer. ..... mercifully, she remains stable and we were able to go away. We had a great time and  as soon as DH uploads the photos from his camera, I will post more about the holiday.

I had a hospital appointment with the Opthalmologist on Monday; the problems I am having with my sight appear to be the early development of a cataract in my very short-sighted eye and what appears to be the beginning of glaucoma. I am having further tests over the next few weeks, but I seem to have had some peripheral vision loss in both eyes as well, which is likely to be irreversible and a bit of a bummer, to be honest.......

My Uncle Bobby (my Mum's cousin) has been admitted to hospital and initial scans show a lesion on his brain which is causing him to lose physical co-ordination on one side. He will be having a biopsy soon to determine exactly what is going on, but it does not look wonderful. His wife has asked me not to tell my Mum at this stage until there is more concrete news, and I am the only person from our side of the family who knows. 

Kyrie eleison !
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