Wednesday 3 May 2017

Warwick Castle - mixed reaction

This gives you some idea of the magnificence of Warwick Castle - and it is so rich in history. English Heritage? Yes but there is a burger tent in the Bailey plus intrusive music to distract the visitor. How can they destroy atmosphere in such a way? I know they need to keep up the revenue but surely the added entertainments could be outside the castle walls. So disappointing and such a contrast with the magnificent Kenilworth Castle nearby.
There is a responsibility involved in managing a castle - and that includes other considerations than short-term revenue. Do not turn these sites into theme parks. 

Sunday 16 April 2017

Tai Chi and Qi Gong

   I thought you might like to gaze at this photo of my left foot! Actually I don?t have a selfie if me doing Tai Chi and so this piccie of my greatly improved appendage will have to do.
   I took up these routines because an ex-GP I know said it improved his balance and I confess to wobbling sometimes. I have bought lots of dvd's and go to a class and find it all both soothing and energising. All my body seems to work better and so do its functions, the mentionable ones  like sleeping and the unmentionable like ... 
   It has taken me some time to work out the difference, if any, between Tai Chi and Qi Gong and I am not sure I have it right now. In Tai Chi you can do individual poses and movements - which have fascinating names such as The Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg - but you have the ultimate aim of joining them up into a "form" like a slow ballet. This is my stumbling block as I seem to have a poor memory for continuous movements. I won't give up but, meanwhile, I prefer Qi Gong, where the individual exercises have a healing claim for the various organs.
  I do recommend these methods of exercise: you can adopt the philosophy behind them or just treat them as physical routines but you can do them into old age, even sitting down. You do not heed any special equipment - just wear comfortable clothing. Yet I confess to envying the silk pyjamas the presenters wear! 
  For me it has been a life changer and the golden rooster stands on one leg a little longer every day. In summer I shall stun my neighbours by performing in the garden.

Tuesday 28 March 2017

The Charterhouse - central London

   Last week when I was in London I went, with my daughter, on a tour that she had booked for us to The Charterhouse, near St. Paul's. We had a wonderful guide who walked us round this ancient building which has been a Plague burial ground, a monastery, a Tudor mansion  and a school, hospital and almshouse. It is still home to 40 Brothers - who are elderly people in need - and I found the sight of the table set for afternoon tea very moving.
   If you want to do something quiet and different in the heart of London that you will remember for a long time, book yourself onto this tour.
   I have written more about it on my history blog: History on the Buses

Wednesday 8 March 2017


Nothing quite gives a lift like a proper hat! Here is my latest and it is pure Downton Abbey. The actual colour is cherry red and I feel fab when wearing it. It stays on in the wind which is a Good Thing as I am terrified of hat pins! There are all manner of rationalisations about hats: you lose umpteen percentage points of heat through the head without one etc etc. But the real reason is the surge of confidence they produce. They ARE practical in the rain as I hate hoods on coats which make me walk bending forward in duck pose. I have a series of fedoras - bought in the sales - and little squashy cloche jobbies and I create a sensation at the bus stop. Yet the ultimate accolade is from my butcher: not in words as such but in his scuttling off to the back of the shop to select the best cuts for his hatted customer! 

Tuesday 28 February 2017

Exercise videos

    As you see, I own a remarkable number of Yoga and Pilates DVD's. Why? It is not that I avoid doing the exercises and buy the discs to assuage my guilt. No! I do Pilates every morning for 10 minutes - now that I have found the right one: Pilates for beginners: 10 minute solutions.
   I do not like advertising on my blogs but I wasted so much money on false starts that I feel obliged to do so. Some DVD's are difficult to navigate from the menu, some are unbelievably irritating or slow, some demand that you need lots of space and so on.
    Now I am trying to learn Tai Chi - same dreary and expensive experimentation with discs. One made it impossible to choose chapters and go to them, one was beautiful to see and gave clear instructions but involved me turning my back and watching over my shoulder. I also like mirror image - otherwise I end up in knots! 
   From what I have done, I find the movements soothing and helpful for balance but - where oh where is that perfect DVD? It is not on my shelf yet!

Sunday 26 February 2017

Coffee pods - not beans!

I have recently treated myself to one of those dapper machines that turns you overnight into a barista and fills the house with the aromas of freshly made beverages.
It works  - even though I heat the cup up first on account of my asbestos-lined mouth. I savour my lovely lattes and hot chocolates and have even ordered a sprinkler to add that extra finesse.
BUT my problem is with the pods. Some drinks need 2 pods so that your purchase delivers only half the number of treats envisaged. Second criticism is that they drip after removal and, unless you have an efficient system, your rubbish bin will have a soggy bottom.
Worst of all is that they are not biodegradable. If you have 3 drinks a day that could be 6 pods going into landfill adding up to 35 per week and ... I leave the higher mathematics to you. I think this is disgraceful and that the manufacturers must tackle this issue immediately