caz963: (Autumn asters and butterfly)
Bonjour - je suis revenue de France!

there are some big pictures under here! )
caz963: (Spring blossom)
I meant to post this yesterday but I got sidetracked playing with the very simple version of photoshop I've got on here and didn't get around to it. But today, I've been playing around with it using some of the photos I took over the weekend and here are the results.

We'd decided a few weeks back to make use of the one-year-ticket we'd acquired at Leeds Castle last autumn when we visited and for once, we appear to have picked the right time to go, because the weather was glorious. We had a jam-free trip from home to Leeds which meant the journey only took 1 hour 40 minutes! I don't expect that'll ever happen again.

pics and ramblings under here )
caz963: (DeathStar Pumpkin)
We're not great Halloweeners here in the UK. The kids love it, but a crotchety old thing like me remembers the days when we didn't bat an eyelid on 31st October. Now, of course, you can't move for bats in the shops from about July onwards.

It's not that I object to Halloween itself - it's an ages old festival anyway. I just don't like the way that it's been so ruthlessly promoted over the last 15 years or so, as a purely commercial exercise.

Yes, I know. Christmas is no different. Except - that it sort of is. Because we've always "done" Christmas and it's always (for as long as I remember) been commercialised. Okay, maybe it wasn't back in the year dot in Bethlehem, but hey - presents?! And you know what I mean.

But the explosion of Halloween over the past decade or two over here is due to nothing other than greed on the part of retailers who are desperate to rake in some money before the big bang of Christmas. And that annoys the hell outta me. I'm sure that, if Christmas had just been invented, or if we were adopting it as a custom that had emerged in another country, things wouldm't be any different.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't bug me.

The good thing about Halloween is the abundance of pumpkins in the shops... which all seem to disappear on 1st November. I remember trying to get one around here the week after Halloween last year, and it was impossible! This year, however, I plan to buy a few over the weekend and either cook the flesh and freeze it or just cut it up and freeze it raw. Any recommendations?

I am also possessed of one of the biggest pumpkins I've ever seen, courtesy of a friend of my MiL. It's huge - took up about a quarter of the space in the back of the car when we came home! I haven't weighed it, but I reckon I'll get at least 6 pumpkin pies and a few pints of pumpkin soup out of it. My thoughts are also turning to things like pumpkin risotto (I'll make it up if I can't find a recipe) and pumpkin ravioli. Yum.

Half-term means that it's time to make the Christmas cake and pudding, both of which have duly been done. Well, the pudding has a few hours left to steam, but that's it.

Right - the kids want to make Halloween biscuits, so I'm off.
caz963: (Default)
We got back from Kent late last night, so I'm knee deep in washing! But we had a good time and the weather was fabulous.

I'll post more and some pics later on if I can - let me know if I missed anything good while I was away :-)

*hugs*
caz963: (puppet song)
Just back from a short break in and around London and I thought I'd post some pics. We've not been away for a "proper" holiday this year - instead we've had odd days out here and there, which have probably cost us just as much, but what the hell! So we did a fair bit of walking and sightseeing - took the kids to The Sound of Music one evening, which Elinor and I have seen, but the others hadn't. It was the first time Abigail had been to a show so she was very excited and behaved herself beautifully - she asked "Daddy, what time does the film start?" - awwwww!

I enjoyed it, but I have the same reservations as before - the kids are good, the woman singing the part of the Abbess is fantastic but the Maria is pretty average vocally - she had a very nasal tone, which started to get on my nerves about half way through! But then, I'm picky about things like that.

Anyway, on with the photos!

Maybe it's because... )
So we're home and, apart from Elinor's birthday on Wednesday, hoping to have a fairly quiet week before I go back to work next Monday (ick).
caz963: (bugger)
Having decided yesterday that we'd spend a few days in London next week, I saw in the news this morning that the bloody tube drivers are threatening to go on strike next Weds for a couple of days, which is just when we'll be there.

This happens every year, I think. Always during the summer, which is the worst time of year for commuters and tourists. If there are reduced services, the overcrowding is terrible and the heat unbearable; if you have to use buses, they're stuffed full and the traffic is terrible.

I don't think tube drivers get such a bad deal these days, do they? Sure, it's a job I wouldn't want to do, but in all fairness, I don't think a tube driver would want to do my job, either - and he'd certainly earn less money if he did!

Fingers crossed it's called off before next week.
caz963: (tennant hamlet)
Back home from a fantastic weekend in Stratford-upon-Avon. I'd originally intended to go up for the day to see Hamlet because [livejournal.com profile] zinke had kindly offered me a spare ticket. But then things sort of grew a bit, and Mr Caz and the girls came too on a longer visit. And added to that, we met up with [livejournal.com profile] hooloovoo_42 as well, so the demented fangirl reunion started a little earlier than originally planned :-)

pics and stuff )
And so to the reason for the early start to the DFRTM.
The play's the thing )

It's been a busy holiday so far - visits, friends coming to stay etc. but it's been great. And it's not over yet! It's off to London on Monday for more hi-jinks with my fellow DFs. Sadly, [livejournal.com profile] coloneljack isn't able to join us, but we'll be thinking of her and having an extra Starbuck's (or two) in her honour!

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caz963

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