sea_thoughts: (Courage)

  • Spent the first two days of February sick. Yaaaay. I'm really hoping that I don't have to take any more time off for at least the next two months.

  • Forgot to mention that I went to Sunday lunch at my friend's house in late January. Similar to my previously mentioned friends, this couple moved into their cottage in the Forest of Dean last year but have only just felt able to invite people around. The cottage is mahoosive and Edgar, their toddler, is a cheeky chops. The roast was amazing.

  • Had Mum's birthday at The Suffolk Kitchen in Cheltenham. Everyone had a good time and enjoyed the food. Mum liked it so much we went back a couple of weeks later to take advantage of their early bird offer - £10 for three small plates or £14.95 for a starter and a main. I had leek and potato soup, then fish of the day. Mum had cured mackerel with horseradish creme fraiche and citrus salad (segments of grapefruit and orange), then mussels in white wine & garlic sauce with chicken goujons.

  • I finally ate out with my friend again after she spent January fighting a resurgence of Crohn's disease. We went to the JRool Bistro in Stroud. We were the only customers in there from the time we arrived (just after eight) until we left (just before ten). Slightly worrying. I hope this was because it was a Thursday evening as it's a great place to eat.

  • I have finally decided that I will go to Cornwall for my holiday this year, but ALONE this time. I realise I didn't actually make an entry about what happened when I went to Cornwall with my friends in September 2015, because it ended up being exhausting on both a physical and emotional level. I may write one later just to get it all out. This time I will be going down by myself and staying in a nice B&B in St Austell, five minutes' walk from the train/bus station.

  • I just found out that the Dulwich Picture Gallery is hosting an exhibition of Vanessa Bell's paintings COMBINED WITH Patti Smith's photographs. I have now bought a ticket to London for April Fools' Day on National Express to see this.

sea_thoughts: (Fly Away - iconomicon)
Just got back from a week in Cyprus with the family, which was lovely but had very limited internet access so will be catching up on entries and commenting today and tomorrow. Aside from a three hour delay on the outward flight(!) due to poor weather conditions and then debris on the runway (caused by an Airbus CRACKING THE TARMAC according to Twitter), we all had a good time. Madeleine behaved so well, honestly could not have asked for more from her, she was so sunny and happy despite the change in time zone and the heat. I don't think my sister will suggest going there in June again, haha.
sea_thoughts: (Summer - eowyngiulia)
Sorry for going quiet. Thank you all for your kind words about my niece. She is growing all the time and becoming interested in the world around her and the people in it. Unfortunately, it turns out she is a little bit like me and doesn't sleep very much. When I was a baby, someone told my mum that this meant I was going to be very smart. My mother, suffering from undiagnosed post-natal depression and sleep deprivation, was not amused and said she would rather I be a little stupid and sleep more!

I went to see Elton John with my dad in June and we had a great time. Elton clearly loves putting on a show, which means you enjoy it even more. He lost his temper with a steward for telling people to stop waving their hands and ranted about it, but then changed his mind and apologised after the next song, saying that she wasn't in charge and he shouldn't have insulted her. He invited her up on stage so he could apologise personally. She arrived on stage and he hugged her and apologised. It's always nice to see someone admit they're wrong, doesn't happen very often.

I have recently discovered a new cinema in Gloucester, the Sherborne (which only opened this year so I didn't feel like I'd been missing out). It is independent, decorated in Art Deco style, with its own small free car park. Afternoon showings are £3.50, late afternoon showings are £4.50, evening showings are £5.50. Tea and coffee are £1. To give you a comparison, going to see a film at the chain cinema here costs just under £10 unless it's the cheap day, and that's with an online discount. This place is so cheap that I am determined to patronise it as much as possible so that it doesn't close down by next year. I have also told all my friends about it, especially those with children.

I have just signed up for the new Gym at the Quays, which is open 24 hours and costs only £12.99 a month. A whole group of girls from my office go there so I think I will be motivated to go because they'll expect to see me there, haha! I used to attend a Legs, Bums & Tums class on Wednesday evenings but that was cancelled as the owner of the venue was messing our instructor around with times and would put up the price for hiring it without even telling her. Unfortunately, the only options left were Monday evening, with the time often too early for me to make it, and Thursday evening, which is in a totally different location. I might try going to the Thursday evening one, anyway.

My Windows laptop has been fixed and I am going to try writing on it.

Much love to all of you who read this. <33
sea_thoughts: (Turning Point)
Sorry that I haven't updated the journal in a while. I have finally moved back to my old department (after being kept in the 'temporary' one for the first two weeks of January) and I'm able to take part in team activities, actually rely on my shifts, swap the times and book holiday knowing that there'll be space on the calendar for me.

My sister is going to have her baby on May 6th (well, that's the due date). We still don't know if it's a boy or a girl. Her husband's family haven't had a girl born into the family in a century, so if it is a girl, I will be suggesting Ginny for a middle name. ;)

I'll be posting the list of books I read and films I saw last year this week. I didn't read many books last year, which is a shame. I'll try and read more this year.
sea_thoughts: (London - sunlitdays)
I'll post about the rest of my Cheltenham Literary Festival later. I went to London this weekend to see the poppies at the Tower of London or Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red as it's officially called. While I am happy I was able to see them in person, the actual experience of seeing them was deeply unpleasant. They don't really have a system in place to let everyone see them so you're basically shoving your way to the front and crushed on all sides. This is even more unpleasant if you're under 5'7" or 170cm, like me. I was glad when we left (still haven't managed to eat at The Kitchen @ Tower, next time). I discovered that my father has never actually visited the Tower of London (despite the fact he studied in London in the 1970s) and I promised to take him next time we're there.

We then went to the Constable exhibition at the V&A. It was great to see his big works right there with all the details I usually miss: The Hay wain, Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Ground, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, as well as many of his studies and full scale sketches, including his watercolour of Stonehenge. The exhibit was really good in that they'd managed to gather paintings from the Old Masters (primarily Dutch) who had influenced and inspired Constable so you could see from where he drew his influence. In some cases, he'd just copied the painting and had to add something to make sure they knew it was a copy and not the original!

Dad and I wanted to eat at our favourite South Kensington Italian, Pierino, but it was full when we stopped by, even though it was half past two in the afternoon. I spotted another restaurant around the corner and we were able to get a table there. This restaurant is called Daquise: Daquise happens to be one of the oldest Polish restaurants in the UK, dating back to 1947, and unbeknownst to us was a key location in the Profumo affair of the 1960s! Dad had tomato soup to start and venison meatballs for main, while I had bigos (hunter's stew) to start and veal schnitzel to follow (topped with a fried egg), but the bigos was so filling that I had to leave some of the mashed potato and carrots behind. A little expensive but very, very nice food.

After that, we went back to Waterloo to catch the train home and I bought a couple of things from Lush. We drove through the rain that had been lashing the west of the country on our way back home and I decided that I was too tired and it was too wet to go and do some more standing, even for fireworks.

And then I had my heart broken by Doctor Who. All in all, a great weekend.
sea_thoughts: (Autumn - sunlitdays)
September kind of sucked until the end. The third weekend I went to stay with Grace in her new townhouse in Bristol so we could see First Aid Kit. The date change from Sunday to Friday led to a lot of grief with my shifts being changed without me being told but the concert was worth it. They went off mic two times and sang by themselves, which was so intimate that it brought tears to my eyes. The second time was when they did Emmylou and invited the audience to sing along. Magic! Grace's townhouse is smart but the parking is terrible. I like it but I am not sure if it's worth the rent they ask, which they only ask because it's in Clifton, the posh part of Bristol.

I went on holiday to Canterbury with the family for my birthday. It was wonderful being back in Kent again. We stayed in a house in Whitstable which had three double bedrooms (one of which had a dormer roof so that was mine) and an enormous kitchen. Mum, Dad and I ate fish and chips on Friday evening (since sister and brother-in-law weren't going to arrive until 9pm) after happily wandering around Canterbury for the afternoon. Then we all wandered around Canterbury again on Saturday and actually found a restaurant in Whitstable that could seat us that evening. H and D had been recommended a restaurant by someone who came from Whitstable but they had not informed us of this until we were actually there, so of course, we didn't end up eating there as the restaurant was fully booked. And then we went to The Sportsman on Sunday, of course. I had been especially looking forward to D's reaction and he was very pleased (if D had enough money and capital, he would be a chef).

Cheltenham Literary Festival Part One )

Monday, I didn't have anything so I just relaxed and went into Gloucester to sell some DVDs and donate some books to charity. I'm trying to declutter. It's not easy as I get very attached to possessions but I did make nearly £20 off the DVDs so that's something.

Cheltenham Literary Festival Day Two )

Days three and four coming soon!
sea_thoughts: (DWPensive Eleven - mars-mellow)
Everybody is sick at the moment! Mum has an infection (somewhere) and has been sick for the past week and had to go to the doctor for blood tests. At least it's not stomach cancer but it's not exactly good news. So she missed Dad's birthday meal and if it hadn't been his birthday, I think Dad would have missed it, too, as he's suffering a severe dose of manflu. It's only the second time I've been to Anokaa and I wish we could go more often, it's such a different kind of Indian restaurant. On top of this, one of the cats disappeared for a whole day and only reappeared in the evening, terrified out of her skin. She still won't venture into the house beyond the utility room.

I've decided to look for a new job after my sister's wedding in June, as I don't want to deal with relocating on top of that.
sea_thoughts: (DWTardis - famira)
Work continues to be stressful and badly organised when it comes to training but I don't want to talk about that.

Last weekend, I went to Bath with my family for my mum's birthday (which was on the 12th). It was Mum's last working Saturday, so she was very happy. I drove to Bath via the M5, battling strong winds that made the car rock and drift. I was glad when I hit the A46, which is an older road, once used by coaches, and therefore has much more shelter. It's a nicer drive as well, with lots of twists and turns and curves. Grace and I drove down the road a couple of years ago and stopped at the Tollgate Teahouse for tea and crumpets. It was getting late, so we didn't go onto Bath, but it was a lovely afternoon.

Mum, Dad and I were staying at Bailbrook Lodge, which I'd found on TripAdvisor. (Ever since I found the King Charles Boutique Hotel in Prague via TripAdvisor, I seem to have become the delegated family member for holiday research. I just realised that I still haven't posted about Prague! Gah! Must do that this week.) Bailbrook is made up of two houses that were knocked into one. Dad had booked the Garden Suite, which was in the cellar but had a four poster bed with television, iPod dock and plenty of seating. I had a twin bedroom next to it but the ensuite was in the corner of my room so Dad and Mum had to walk through there to go to the loo. And since it was in the cupboard, it was quite small. I'd still recommend the place as it's warm (warm enough for Mum to be happy, which is rare in the UK) and very comfortable. (I had been intending to stay at The Kennard Hotel, but that insists on a minimum of two nights. Since Mum no longer has to work Saturdays, maybe we can do that next year.)

Since I got there about two hours before Mum and Dad were due to arrive, I decided to go into Bath to get a couple of things and drop off my bottle tops at Lush. I'd always known that Bath is an expensive place to live but this was brought home when my bus ticket into town (less than three miles away) cost £4.20. To put this in perspective, I can buy a bus ticket for the whole of Gloucester for £3.50 and a bus ticket that covers both Gloucester AND Cheltenham for £5. So £4.20 for a single return to a place that isn't even that far away is steep. Fortunately I had enough change but it was the first in a series of small annoyances (ridiculous amount of traffic lights, the one way system, how far away Lush is from the bus stop) that culminated in finding out that Lush no longer recycles bottle tops. I gave them the one black pot I'd washed anyway and hurried back to the bus stop, limping a little because my trainers aren't exactly right for my feet. I've always been rather flat-footed (I easily get cramp if I bend my feet for too long) so I need to get some trainers that stop my ankles over-pronating.

I managed to get back to the Lodge in time, however, as the bus was waiting at the stop for me when I eventually made my way back down (thank goodness). Mum and Dad arrived on time (I'd already changed) and Helen and her fiancé picked us up without too much trouble (they went to Bailbrook House but that is only next door so not a disaster). We went to Same Same But Different for dinner, Mum's favourite place in Bath. Helen and Dave had never been there and were very impressed. It's one of the few places I know in the UK outside London that is a café in the day and is open into the evening as a bistro. It's small but cosy and the food is delicious. I had Cornish Sole Goujons with Apple, Fennel and Aioli, followed by Butterbean Cassoulet with Slow Cooked Pork Collar. This was the meal I'd had with Mum when we visited Bath for her birthday outing a couple of years ago (we stayed in the Kennard that time) but I'd been ill at the time, so I was unable to fully enjoy it. Finally, I had passionfruit crème brulée, which was a bit sweet but very creamy. Then Mum, Dad and I were dropped back at the Lodge and went to bed.

Sunday, we drove to Helen's flat and then went for lunch at the Victoria, which had won an award for Sunday lunch. Sadly, I wasn't that impressed, as my roast potatoes were pretty leaden and Dad wasn't happy as his lamb was mostly gristle. I don't think we'll be going back there soon.

I did post the list of books I'd read in 2013 and movies I've seen but not sure if anyone saw it. Should I repost?

Prague post coming soon!
sea_thoughts: (Spring - luna_ann)
I went to see Iron Man 3 on Saturday May 4th with my friend R, who is studying in London for her PhD. I took her to Ed's Easy Diner because she was missing root beer and she complimented the chilli con carne. Unfortunately, we missed the Thor 2 trailer because of severe delays on the Central Line. The ushers kept telling us we hadn't missed the film, but that wasn't why we were rushing! At least we saw the Man of Steel trailer. I enjoyed the movie a lot (I always like it when Tony is stripped of his trappings and shows just how smart and resourceful he is). I was pleased with the increased focus on Rhodey, wish there had been more Pepper, loved every scene that Ben Kingsley was in, and was disappointed that Maya and Pepper did not team up to be snarky badasses on the run. Ending credits scene was perfect, well done, Marvel.

Sunday May 5th and Bank Holiday Monday were spent with my sister at her flat in Bristol. The weather was beautiful and we had a barbecue on the hill outside her house on Sunday afternoon. I was able to meet her cat properly for the first time and we finally watched Rise of the Guardians together. (This also turned out to be the last time as they had to put the cat to sleep at the beginning of June. ;_; ). On Monday morning, we went to Rocotillos for only the second time since I've been living in Gloucester (six years) and I had a butterscotch milkshake with the Breakfast Club meal (bacon, fried egg, sausage and toast all for £3.95).

Tuesday, I went to the Guildhall with Lorna and saw Cloud Atlas. Some of the storylines were interesting, some were not, and the digital make up they used to make the Caucasian actors look Asian was discomforting and smacked of latent racism to me. I would recommend it for rental.

Wednesday, I went to see Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty with Mum and Helen at the Bristol Hippodrome. It was funny and beautiful and tragic, but we had to leave before the end because I had to catch the last train back to Gloucester. I can't wait to pass my test so I can drive myself about.

Part Two coming soon!
sea_thoughts: (Spring - luna_ann)

  1. Went to my friends' dad's memorial service. The world and his wife turned up, which was great for their dad, but not so great if you wanted to talk to the family. I managed to say hi to both the girls but we didn't hang around for long. We stayed for the toast to their dad with the local beer and we had some hog roast and then we left. I finally showed my parents Rango and they really enjoyed it!

  2. Had my first mock driving test on Thursday. One major and six minors. If you get even one major, you automatically fail, but I expected that and thought I did pretty well otherwise. My parallel parking was perfect and I didn't ask my instructor for guidance once. I also learned how to emergency stop. However, two hours of my instructor complaining about her life and her marriage took its toll and I was on the point of tears by the time I got home. It didn't help that she was running nearly two hours late, so the mock started at 7pm instead of 5pm.

  3. It was my dad's birthday on Friday. I bought him the new Jools Holland CD by myself. We went out for a meal on Saturday at Da Vinci because he knows the owner-chef and we always get a discount on the total bill. I had scallops, cannelloni verde and panna cotta. Mum, Helen and I paid the final bill, which was £160 even with the discount!

  4. The Prague holiday is officially going ahead! Dad has booked the hotel and the flight. We are going on my birthday weekend, and we will be staying here. I am so excited, I've always wanted to go to Prague. I promise to take lots of photos, and this time I won't be relying on my sister to send them to me.

  5. Really happy that Doctor Who is back on television. I love Eleven and Clara's dynamic and can't wait to find out more about Clara.

Hope everybody is okay. :)
sea_thoughts: (Spring - luna_ann)
Thanks to everyone who responded to my last entry about the death of my best friends' dad. I met up with my friends a couple of weeks ago today since I was in town to see a concert with my parents. I introduced them to a new café, we sat there and talked about films and actors and boys. They laughed, I laughed, and I think it was good for them to talk about something else for a change.

The memorial service is this Friday. I hope the weather is nice. It's taking place in the New Forest and apparently we're having a hog roast afterwards, since that was his favourite meal.

The V&A - Lacquer and Furniture and Ceramics )

Manet )

AND THEN DOCTOR WHO BUT I CAN'T TALK ABOUT THAT YET BECAUSE I'M TOO EXCITED.
sea_thoughts: (Autumn - sunlitdays)
I was going to post more about my Paris adventure, my birthday week, my two previous weekends (Puzzlewood, Brave, Skyfall, Westonbirt Arboretum) but then today I got the news that my sister's cat, Dillon, died today. With no warning. I just saw him this weekend. He was eight years old, a beautiful ginger Maine Coone with a huge fluffy tail and big gentle paws that never scratched when he played with you. She'd only had him for 9 months. She woke up this morning for her early shift and discovered him lying in the doorway of the spare room of her flat. His body was still warm but he was gone. They've buried him in the long grass at the bottom of the hill outside her flat. I can't believe he's gone and I can't believe that once again my sister has lost a pet. None of my sister's pets have died of old age. She's had two hamsters, two cats and a rabbit: all of them have died because of accident or through injury. None of them were over five years old. I didn't even live with him but I'm going to miss him so much.
sea_thoughts: (DWCarmen - wg15graphics)
Had one of the best Bank Holiday weekends in recent memory a couple of weeks ago. Had the Thursday and the Friday off because I went to see Michael McIntyre on the Thursday evening with my sister in Cardiff. I've never been to Cardiff before (never been to WALES before) so I was very excited to finally see the Severn Bridge and the Severn Estuary (which was beautiful even under the glowering clouds). The sat-nav managed to take us into Cardiff but didn't direct us to the entrance of the NCP car park, so we had to drive around in a huge circle. We really only found the entrance thanks to my sister's driving skills and experience, because it was TUCKED AWAY behind some houses. I wonder how anyone parks there considering it's such a major car park. Due to traffic, we only had time to eat a Burger King meal before running off to the arena (and it started raining) but the show made it all worth it. McIntyre is just as funny live as on screen (possibly funnier). There were points during the show where I couldn't breathe because I was laughing so hard. Stayed at my sister's for the night, then went down to see my parents for the weekend and did basically nothing, which was very nice. :)

Have seen The Dark Knight Rises (oh my God, I want to see it again); The Avengers (saw it four times, I regret nothing); The Bourne Legacy (mainly for Jeremy Renner, let's be honest); and The Amazing Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield IS Peter Parker, Emma Stone was adorable, can't wait for more).


Currently planning my birthday weekend in Paris with [livejournal.com profile] vifetoile and my sister. Definitely going to see the Musée d'Orsay this time, and the Eiffel Tower, and lots of other things! There will be photos because my sister is bringing her boyfriend's camera, and they will be GOOD ones this time!
sea_thoughts: (Grief - holo_daxy)
I meant to update my LJ last weekend but my granddad was taken into hospital and we spent the week waiting for news. My parents just phoned me and told me that he died peacefully this morning. It's good, because he wasn't really him any more; Alzheimer's had gradually eroded the man I grew up with and he was practically housebound, which for a man who'd always enjoyed his sport was akin to torture. So I'm glad he's not suffering any more, but I'm still sad. Although he was a selfish man, he was always loving and kind towards me and until my cousin Jack was born, I was his favourite grandchild. My dad's father died when he was 11 so my granddad was the only grandfather I had growing up (but I had 3 grandmothers - my mother's mother, my mother's stepmother and my father's mother) and now I won't have that again (unless I find a partner with a living grandparent).

I'm postponing my life update for a little while but I will be back.
sea_thoughts: (Default)
A couple of weeks ago, Mum and Helen and I went to see Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (which is where J.M. Barrie conceived of the story in the first place). It was in a great big pavilion in case of bad weather. Of course, that day, the weather was perfect. We came up on the train, the first time we'd all been to London together. My mum loves the train; if she could, she'd travel by train and bus all the time, so she was already happy by the time we got to Waterloo.

Where we saw PAUL McCANN. Yes, Eight himself was standing there by WH Smiths on his mobile phone. I did not quite turn into a screaming fangirl but I did stare, because I was so excited. Fortunately, if he noticed me acting like an idiot, he was too used to it to react.

We then headed off to Portobello Market (which is on Portobello Road in West London). Portobello Market is one of the largest weekly antique markets in the world, mainly because Portobello Road is very, very looooooong. It was packed and full of people who wouldn't move, which is exactly what I hate about shopping in crowded place. My sister was in her element, though. We saw lots of beautiful things which would not fit in our flats and found a little undercover market called The Good Fairy which is one place I did like. Lots of little stalls, each specialising in different antiques.

We had lunch in Kensington Gardens and then went to the pavilion. The stage was round, almost 360, so even though we were near the back, it didn't matter because we still had a great view. There were so many little kids in the audience and they were all enthralled. The cast all had harnesses, so they really could fly, and the ceiling was a green screen so they had a CGI background of leaves or the sky, whatever they wanted. But the best thing about the play were the animals, which were perfectly made puppets: Nana was a life-size dog, animated by a man who walked around and made amazing dog noises; the Lost Boys were followed about by a tiny white ostrich-like bird; and then there was the crocodile. The crocodile was a massive wooden contraption, moved by two men, and when it came on stage, the crowd went completely silent. When it finally moved off, there was a round of spontaneous applause, just for that animal. During the interval, when I went to get ice cream, a mother behind me asked her daughter what her favourite part was. "ALL of it!" came the immediate reply. I grinned to myself.

Okay, here's the spooky part. This is the actor who plays John Darling. Not only does he look like Robert Sean Leonard's little brother but his name is - get this - Arthur Wilson. Thank God it wasn't James Wilson, or it really would have felt like the fabric of the world was wearing thin.

I have a new iPod! <3 It's a purple Nano and I can't believe how much lighter and thinner it is than my old one, which was an original and was only three years old (lost in June after coming back from London). I'm making a playlist for my holiday to America and I can't wait to upload it with all the old music and especially my Exiles playlist.

And my desk is finally here! My beautiful mahogany writing desk! I will post some pictures later so that you can all admire it. I'm going to have this desk for the rest of my life, it will always be my writing desk. Now I just need a letter opener to go with it.

I should try and finish my challenge entries. *scurries off to write*
sea_thoughts: (Embankment - sunlitdays)
Hello everyone!

It struck me that I haven't written much about myself lately... so I will try and remedy that.

I got my sample sale package from Green Knickers today, a company that makes knickers (underwear) from organic cotton. I already have a pair of Green Knickers cycling pants which has a special pad to make cycling more comfortable (very good if I want to wear a skirt). The sample sale allows you to choose three pairs of pants in your size for £10 (which is a saving of over £5). I got two pairs of cream side-ties and a pair of bright pink high-thighs with an embroidered Earth on the front. :) I've never had side-ties before, so it's a new experience for me! Side-Ties

London: Three Days of Rain )

Cheltenham )

Mother's Day Weekend )

So that's my March. Currently obsessed with Fleet Foxes.

MYKONOS<333333

White Winter Hymnal

Lydia and I discovered a mutal love of Fleet Foxes when I was in London. And then, the Friday after I came back, I get an email from Ticketmaster. I see that Neil Young is playing in Hyde Park this June. I'm quite fond of his music so I click on the link. This is my thought process looking at the Saturday line up: Neil Young, cool... ooh, The Pretenders, love them... oh wow, Seasick Steve, excellent... ZOMG FLEET FOXES?!!! I called Lydia up, so incoherent that I sounded like Beaker from the Muppets and proceeded to flail all over my living room. Good thing I live alone, I'm sure I would have been sectioned if anyone had seen me. And the upshot is we are now seeing Fleet Foxes this summer. EXCITEMENT! :D
sea_thoughts: (Happyness - royaldawn_uk)
GCHQ have decided not to continue with my application. That's fine, I'm happy I got selected for the test. I hope my friend Emma makes it. My dad seems more disappointed than I am. I don't know whether to feel guilty about that or not.

Wednesday )

Maundy Thursday )

Good Friday
Spent most of it sleeping.

Saturday )

Easter Sunday )

Bank Holiday Monday )

Cool YouTube Videos
The Founders of Hogwarts - any Harry Potter fan will love this. It's a really good video of the beginnings of Hogwarts, effortlessly combining clips from different films in order to portray the Founders. The films used are Pride and Prejudice, Tristan and Isolde, and King Arthur.

Harry's Potter Bohemian Life - clips of all four films set to La Vie Bohème from RENT. Sounds crazy, but it works, and it's hilarious.

We Didn't Start The Fandom - the complete history of Harry Potter fandom by the founders of The Sugar Quill, sung to the tune of We Didn't Start The Fire by Billy Joel. Very funny.

Potter Puppet Pals 1 - Bothering Snape - hilarious animation of the Trio doing just what the title says - and suffering the consequences.

Potter Puppet Pals 2 - Trouble at Hogwarts - Voldemort invades Hogwarts! Oh noes!

Potter Puppet Pals 3 - P-P-P-Potions - now actually using puppets! Snape 'shares' his Potions knowledge.

Potter Puppet Pals 4 - Wizard Angst - possibly my favourite of all the PPP videos, even though it's very difficult to choose, but this one has some amazing lines. Takes the piss out of Harry's 'teenage' moment in OotP. "I'll WOUND you!" XD

Potter Puppet Pals 5 - The Mysterious Ticking Noise - Snape hears a mysterious ticking noise. The whole gang becomes hypnotised by the sound. Then they find out what it was...

Snape Angst - Snape runs Heartbreak Hotel!
sea_thoughts: (Default)
Christmas Day
My sister burst into the room and switched on the light at half past seven to wake me up. She didn't even have the courtesy to leave my room dark. Before you think I'm a Scrooge, I was only protesting because I hadn't been able to get to sleep until three in the morning. A particular scene in my Harry Potter story, Watching for Wolves had been bugging me, so I had to write it out. That done, I was able to fall asleep for a few hours. After my sister had barged in, I got up, closed the door, switched off my light and got back into bed. By which time I was far too awake to go back to sleep. I gave in, sat up, switched on my bedside lamp and opened my stocking presents. The rule in our house is that stocking presents may be opened when we get up, but bigger presents have to wait until Mum and Dad are downstairs. Helen encouraged them by cups of tea and coffee, respectively.

Stocking Presents
Three lingerie sets (bra/knickers), all beautiful
Tigger socks (my mother says I'm like Tigger because I bounce)
A zodiac calendar
Apple, satsuma, nuts
A lovely mug saying "I'm in my own world; it's okay, they know me here." It even has a blonde girl reading a book, and a cat in the background.

Once we were downstairs, the fun really began. The cats loved their 'mouse on a string' and immediately began to play with it. Mum loved her Sam Cooke CD (which I bought back in August); Helen loved her CD (bought at £8.99 in HMV, with student discount (that's how it should be for all Christmas presents); and Dad loved his cufflinks, which I ordered online. I thought they wouldn't get there in time, but when I came home they were waiting for me in a brown parcel. The post has been very good to me this Christmas. I unwrapped Fruits Basket Vol. 9 which I'd assumed wouldn't be available until next year (that's what the shop told Dad), and a French-English dictionary of legal terms which will be invaluable for my MA. I also got Painting Ruby Tuesday by Jane Yardley, Ghosting by Jennie Erdal, The Incredibles, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, a lovely pink-lilac-blue striped wool scarf, In Between Dreams by Jack Johnson (CD) and Look by Beth Nielsen Chapman (CD). I also got a pair of pink fluffy slippers, which I love.

Then Dad and I went off to church, and I saw the boy I used to fancy. Not only is he still tall, he's broadened out. Ho hum. If he actually talked to me, I might start fancying him again, but what's the point? Fresh horizons and all that. Saw my friends Daniel and Sara. God, I miss hanging around with them. Anyway, we got back in time for our midday ritual of toasting (buck's fizz or champagne, depending on your taste), and then tucked into some smoked salmon and salad before the actual Christmas Lunch at two o'clock. A massive organic turkey, with roasted potatoes, steamed greens, carrots and cauliflower, followed by a homemade Christmas Pudding with homemade brandy butter. We finished the day watching the Doctor Who Christmas special on the BBC. Absolutely brilliant, and I cannot wait to see David Tennant in the new series.

Boxing Day
Got up really early (again!) to go and see relatives on the Isle of Wight (grandparents, aunt & uncle, cousin). My aunt and uncle's house was freezing as usual (they have floorboards, no carpet). Spent most of the day talking to a young girl called Victoria. Victoria is the odd one out, because Jack (my cousin) spends most of his time with Elliot, her older brother. Talking to her was like revisiting my own childhood, but seeing it from a different point of view. It also reminded me that condescending to children is one of the worst things you can possibly do - not because I did that, but because I saw that it's such an easy reaction. Lunch was a buffet of cold meats and various snacks; Victoria went up to spend time with the other kids (fortunately), so I went and sat with the adults. The usual situation in our family of being too young for most of the party, and too old for the rest. Helen and I are always stuck in that particular limbo.

Then Dad and I went to walk Grandad's chocolate Labrador, Cocoa, and Jack's golden Labrador, Bella. Bella is kept in a cage most of the day while everyone's at work/school. We say as little as possible about this, since our united family view is that if you can't spend most of your time with a dog, you shouldn't get one. They would be much more suited to a cat but Jack wanted a dog. Bella is sweet but has little training. When she saw some other dogs in the field, she belted off across towards them. Fortunately, they were friendly. I hooked her back on the lead, although I left it long, and we made our way back to Grandad's house without any further incident. Put Bella back in her cage. When we went back to the other house, I was ready to go home, but we had to stay a bit longer. So I sat in the living room, practically ignored. Not that I minded, because I wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone. I can only make so much effort with strangers. A few hours of being polite and interested, and I'm done. That's just the way I am. I was glad to get home. It was a special day because Lydia and Emily actually phoned me of their own accord, not once but twice!

Yesterday
We went up to visit another aunt and uncle (on my dad's side), and our nana (Dad's mum). The north and the east of the UK has been inundated with snow, and we have received nothing. Life just isn't fair. At all. It's not like I didn't know that already, but this fact has renewed my conviction. But I love life inspite of this depressing fact.

As usual, Auntie Doreen had a feast cooked for us: slices of roast beef; boiled new potatoes; carrots and brussel sprouts; roast parsnips; gravy and redcurrant jelly and Dijon mustard. Plus salt and pepper, of course. And our choice of drink. Then we had two choices for dessert: bread-and-butter-pudding or Christmas pudding; then we could choose between cream, custard or ice-cream to go with them - that's two varieties of ice-cream. I was almost in despair, how was I going to choose. In the end, I plumped for Christmas pudding with strawberry swirl ice-cream. Then I had strawberry swirl ice-cream on its own. And then after that, while watching the live-action Jungle Book, then Stuart Little, we had biscuits and chocolates offered to us. I mean, I seriously need to go on a purge after yesterday. Vegetable soup and nothing.

When we got back home, we got our things and went straight to see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Oh my God, how excellent was that film? I thought Lucy (Georgie Henley) was adorable, sweet without being sickening. Susan (Anna Popplewell) was very realistic as the bossy elder sister trying to be mother, and Peter (William Moseley) was also adorable. I wanted to pinch his cheeks. And Edmund, wow... he was excellent. I particularly liked the scene between him and Mr. Tumnus in the prison. Did I mention that Mr. Tumnus was good? I mean, he didn't have much to do, but he convinced me. And I choked up when they tied Aslan up and sheared his mane. And the expression in his eyes when he saw Lucy watching... *cries* They did him so well, although I still have a fondness for the BBC Aslan, because I grew up with him. I wish we could have had Susan's wonderful line about the stone giant, but oh well. My heart was pounding during the battle. I loved Edmund's moment of glory (smashing the Witch's wand, what style). My other favourite moment was the "Woah horsie, woah!" "My name is Phillip!" It's even funnier if you know that the name "Phillip" means "love of horses". XD I want to see it again. I can't wait for Prince Caspian. I forgot to mention Jim Broadbent's Professor. They nicely hinted at his previous experiences. I really hope they'll do Magician's Nephew.

Am trying to finish a chapter each of two different stories by the New Year so people will have a New Year present. Can't guarantee anything, though.

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