Thursday, 25 August 2011

If You Wanna

Several months ago, despite it not being a work day, I set the alarm, made a cuppa, and settled myself in front of the computer.  I opened four separate ticket agency sites, and continually switched from one to another, for about half an hour, until finally I got to the front of the queue - and success!
I must admit that these days, just before a gig, I begin to wonder why I bother.  There's the hassle of getting there -  going by train, with the possibility of a bus replacement service on the way home, or fighting my way through the traffic and finding somewhere to park, followed by a struggle to get on an overcrowded tube.
But then, as soon as I walk into the venue, I'm so glad I'm there.  A mass gathering of diverse individuals,  surprisingly wide range of ages, all ready for a great night of loud twangy guitars and thumping drums.  And finally the band comes on stage, and the music starts.  You can feel the music through the soles of your feet and vibrating in your chest, and I remember EXACTLY why I go to gigs - music is always best when it's live.
Having first seen The Vaccines on Jools Holland in November - I pre-ordered the album and it's been playing non-stop since it was released in March - so I was really looking forward to this night.  It fulfilled all expectations - a brilliant gig.  With short snappy songs and raw thrashy guitars, they've been compared to the Ramones, but that's definitely no bad thing.  Apparently this time last year they played a pub gig to an entirely empty house in Nottingham - but on Tuesday there were 2000 people, ALL singing the words back to them, and  theirs is still the biggest selling album this year. 
So, the next time that someone asks me - "Do you want me to get you a ticket for ...........(insert name of suitably  loud indie rock band)"
Oh, yes please - I wanna.

If You Wanna - The Vaccines

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Why Does It Always Rain On Me?

Soooo, I go to Australia (last year) and manage to break their longest drought in history, and set off rainstorms resulting in unprecedented floods.  Then whilst down in Pevensey Bay last month, we had unseasonal rain virtually everyday.  When back home, I go for a walk in the country on what is supposed to be a gloriously sunny day, only to get caught in such a downpour that even my underwear was soaked, and my camera sustained fatal water damage.
Why, then, did I imagine that France, the weekend before last,  would be any different? 
I had a long weekend with my cousin Sheila, and her husband Mick at their French 'country retreat', which is part of a 'Manoir' built in the 1600's.
They have the middle section - the bit that has been painstakingly repointed by Mick, who is never happier than when in the middle of a renovation/decoration project.
They have only had it for a couple of years, but have managed to do so much work to it, both inside and out, and now it's really beautiful..  I love all the copper cookware that my cousin has collected from charity shops and a well-known auction site!

I especially like the heart shaped mould on the top shelf, but then I would, wouldn't I?
And, talking of hearts, the lavender ones that I'd made and taken with me, soon found a home,  hanging on the dresser.
We had a great time, in spite of the rain, visiting the nearby medieval town of Domfront,
It happened to be the weekend of their medieval themed festival - I don't think they always dress like this
When we'd had enough of the rain, we went back to the house, and picked some plums from the tree in the garden and made jam.  Well, I picked the plums, my cousin made the jam.  I guess she wanted it to be edible.
And some French-inspired fruit tarts ...
We visited a brilliant Vide Grenier (car boot sale, to you) on the Sunday, and bought lots of treasures, including this beautiful workbox which I picked up for 10 Euros.  
Oh, and the machine behind it isn't mine, it's another example of Mick's handiwork - a Singer treadle machine, restored to it's former glory
We weren't able to fit my workbox in the car this trip, but they have promised to bring it back the next time they visit.  I can't wait!

The French are obviously very keen on their cycling - there was a bit of a cycle rally going on the weekend we were there - we saw hundreds, maybe even thousands, of cyclists, all pedalling furiously in the pouring rain, covered in mud, and they all appeared to be in their 50s or 60s.  Didn't see many fatties amongst them! Anyway, because of the cycling weekend, all of the nearby towns and villages were displaying decorated bicycles

Even the shops had bikes decorated with their goods - this was in a cake shop -
So, when we got home - it had to be done
Since I've got back, I've been a bit busy with work, but I did manage to do a little bit of baking, using a recipe my sister gave me for her prize winning scones.  Apparently you had to cut them out with a two inch plain round cutter.  I didn't have one, so I used the cutter I DID have

I took a 'before' and 'after' photo just in case I bu*****ed them up in the oven!
I've also managed to fit in some of my sketchbook homework, and attended a fabulous beading workshop, but that'll have to keep until next time.

Why Does It Always Rain On Me? - Travis