26/10/15 – Retrospective

This is a bit of a late retrospective! It’s been a busy couple of weeks… in that all I’ve done is watch Grimm and Supernatural. Things might be changing a bit soon, but shhh, more on that later!

Listening to

I’ve become a late convert to Spotify: since I’ve been on a slight frugal curve, I’ve put a stop to the worst of my spending, basically my Amazon account. As such, a few albums I’ve not purchased, but have instead streamed off Spotify. One of these was Lana Del Rey’s latest, Honeymoon. I loved Lana Del Rey since I heard the haunting Video Games, which arguably is her best, and somewhat different to all of her other work. I remember reading an interview after Born To Die when she said she wasn’t going to release any more material, as there was nothing left to say; considering there have been two LPs and the Paradise Edition EP since then, I think it’s fair to say she dug a bit deeper. Honeymoon is definitely on the more Ultraviolence themed side of things, musically at least: a lot slower and gentler, somewhat less on the wild vocal lines as Born To Die, but consistently Lana Del Rey in lyrical content. To be honest, I think Honeymoon is much more solid than Ultraviolence: the second half I essentially bypassed, as it all essentially sounded the same, about bad men doing bad things to the starlet persona, with jarring key changes and choruses. There aren’t many bum notes at all with Honeymoon: from High By The Beach to 24 there isn’t a skippable song. Definitely music to get drunk to in a hot dry summer, sumptuous and self-indulgent, but who doesn’t love a good bit of that every now and then?

Watching

I have finished series 3 of Grimm on Netflix and in anticipation of series 5 premiering on Watch soon, I downloaded series 4 off Amazon. Totally binged on it! I’m only a couple of episodes from the end, but poor Nick is having a right time of it. Adalind is seriously getting on my nerves – I’m not necessarily sure that the correct response for someone taking your baby is to disguise yourself as that person’s girlfriend and have sex with them. I know, I know, it was Prince-Not-Eric’s idea, but still, it’s got Adalind up on this high horse and considering she is of no fixed abode, with no reliable income (and, let’s be honest, is everybody really sure that that baby is Renard’s? Paternity test! Paternity test!), and with a track record of rash and questionable decisions, she’s hardly mother of the year material. Renard had it right when he said to her “I so wish I could believe you” (hint about the baby’s paternity??) yet it appears Nick, our puffy-eyed Grimm of woe-is-me, is quite happy to follow Adalind’s breadcrumb trail of deus-ex-machina. It’s nice to see Juliette coming into her own: as a strong character she was getting a bit underutilised as Nick’s piece, though I still want her and Renard to get together: now they would be a powerhouse couple!

Grimm series 5 is on Watch on Tuesdays at 9.

Now, I may very much be late on the bandwagon here, but I’m totally into Supernatural. I’ve been hitting our local CEX and tracking down the early series (is the plural of series serieses?). I stormed through Series 1 and loved it. It is quite scary! I thought it would be more like Buffy, but a lot of it is based on ghost stories – a lot of which are the kind that are represented in every society around – and those are the kinds that in the light of day you can scoff at, but when it’s dark and cold and you’re not sure what that weird tapping noise is outside the window or in the corner of the room, they seem a wee bit more real. I just finished Series 2 and loved it! The chemistry between the two leads is great and there are some fab comedic moments as well as some truly chilling scares. This long-running show will definitely keep me going, especially when I’ve nosied ahead (you can’t help it, SPN fandom is all over Pinterest) and seen demons and angels and what even is Destiel?!

Reading

I’ve finished book thirteen! Bard the Bowman and I now embark on the last one… I am a little apprehensive to tackle A Memory Of Light: the biggie, the Last Battle. Often books that build up to an armageddon conclusion wimp out on the last couple of hurdles. I really hope this isn’t the case! I’m thinking of running a live Twitter feed as I progress through. I’m fairly sure Rand must triumph over the Dark One (does he have a name? You hear Dark One, you think Rumpelstiltskin) but getting there looks like a gargantuan task. This series has some of my favourite female characters in it: Nynaeve, Moiraine and Egwene. I’m pleased that Egwene has solidified her perch as the Amyrlin Seat. I’m also dead chuffed that we found Moiraine, after an age of a hiatus (Moiraine and Thom?!), but I’m sorry, who didn’t see Mazrim Taim coming a mile off? If you like more of this sort of drivel, please follow me on Twitter! I’ll think of a clever hashtag.


Making

While Ma and Pa were in Poland visiting Auschwitz, I had a nice long weekend with my doggy. I attempted another Pinterest recipe (somewhat hesitantly, after the too-simple turkey and sweet potato burgers didn’t quite come off) and made some brownies topped with peanut butter. I have learnt to follow your instinct – this is something that is never new to me, yet I need to be reminded of it constantly. The recipe told me to microwave the chocolate for the spread, but I was tempted to melt it my way in a bowl over simmering water. I wish I had followed my own advice! The result is scruffy but they taste amazing – sickly indeed. I will be such a little fatty after scoffing the lot.

For the past few weeks I’ve turned my hand to cross-stitch, which seems to be the revitalised WI craft of choice at the moment. I got a little one from Hobbycraft to start me off, and I’m pretty pleased with my progress! Since the picture below I have actually progressed a wee bit more, and all the flowers are done and the grass is complete!

Advertisements

Germany August 2015

Some families go to the same place every year for their jollies. It can be a specific Center Parcs, or the same place in the Lakes; or always to the Costa del Sol, the south of France… you get the idea. There is something about the familiarity of revisiting the same place that people like. I imagine there is something in human nature about it. Granted that there are those who constantly strive for change: from my work I meet so many people who thrive in this nomadic lifestyle. It’s just something I’ve never been interested in. A bit of familiarity! Much better.

We are no different when it comes to our holidays. Except I wouldn’t necessarily classify our biannual trip abroad as a “holiday” as such… there isn’t much relaxing that goes on.

Twice a year we go to the Nurburgring in Germany. This year we went at the end of August on a hot busy weekend. This is a driving holiday and a racing holiday: we drive all the way there, hit the track on the evening of the Friday and then all day Saturday and Sunday, make a leisurely procession back on Monday, and then I was sat at my desk at 9am fresh from the boat… or maybe not so fresh. It’s a pretty intense weekend, for all that there is a fair bit of standing and waiting around during the day.

What we did at the Nurburgring

Aside from getting plenty of laps in, we did some touristy things. We went up to the castle of Nurburg, something we’ve tried to do before, except – in true Loy fashion – always on the days it was closed. Because we arrived mid afternoon on the Friday and the track wasn’t open until 5, we had ample time to climb up to the castle, and then climb up the rickety scaffolding, and then climb up the tower itself. I love that in the middle of the Nurburgring you have such an old castle (I forget how old, and I can’t be bothered to get up and find our little tour guide, so lazy); that’s a highly inelegant way of phrasing that as well. I’ll start over. Part of the beauty I think about the Nurburgring is this huge contrast between history and modernity; contrast of power in a feudal sense and power in terms of horses. I love that you can be in the middle of a forest, blanketed either side with trees, and then all of a sudden see wire fencing and a bunch of fast cars go zooming past. There’s nowhere else quite like it, or at least set up quite like it.

I have discovered that I still need a little more practice with my camera to get it to work as best it can. But I think these are some good snaps from the castle.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Laps of the Nurburgring

It feels like a really long time we were there. I had three good-ish (for me) laps, and one not so good, and Dad had a good lot of laps. I felt like I was getting a bit better till I had a bad lap, which threw me a little, but I’ve done a track day at Blyton since we’ve been back and feel a little better.

Blah blah blah… where are the cars, right?

Yes I did take a bunch of photos of cars as well! There is a mix of flash and not so flash, unusual and your standard Ring fare. See if you can spot a couple of familiar ones as well!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s turned out to be a bit of a disjointed post I’m afraid! It’s taken, well, six weeks to write! I’ve been pretty busy – not to mention I was missing a computer for a while, and once you get out of it, it’s hard to get back in.

The funniest part… funniest? or maybe strangest, or scariest… was seeing my Dad lose his rag at mostly everyone we were with. Poor Grandad got a bit of a rollicking for not eating his dinner (cue me and Mum trying to finish as much of ours as we possibly could so we didn’t get told off too) but then it snowballed from there and almost everybody was getting a tongue lashing – and to think, the evening had started off with such calm, with the Dalai Llama’s second there and everything! I do kind of get Dad’s point though: it’s all good and well bragging about your car with this much bhp and the magic switch and all this, and it being all set up for track (whether that be, ahem, stickered up or stripped out), but if you can’t get that much faster – or much near – a supposed family saloon car without much at all done to it, are you really even trying? I don’t brag that my car is fast because I know its driver isn’t 🙂 but the main thing for me is that I get to drive home in Dickie and bits aren’t dropping off him here there and everywhere. And I got to do my four laps, and am inching closer to the first benchmark time.

Besides, I think I’m going to get this T-shirt, from Bridge to Gantry, and wear it with pride!

5/10/15 – Retrospective

5/10/15 – Retrospective

I can’t quite believe that if things had turned out differently – if I hadn’t made a huge decision that, to put it melodramatically, changed my little life – I would be up to my elbows and my eyeballs in marking and lesson preparation and a quagmire of stress and panic and general disillusionment with life. Yet I’m not! Granted I get back from work late, and by the time I’ve made my tea, eaten up, washed up, bathed and sorted my life out, there isn’t much time for relaxation – more just rest. But I make do as best I can!

What I’m doing at the moment…

Reading

At the moment I’m nearing the close of The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan’s definitive fantasy epic. I’ve spent most of this year reading this series: currently I am on book thirteen of fourteen, The Towers of Midnight. I hope to finish the whole set by the end of the year, which is looking pretty likely!

I’ve loved this series. It takes a lot of investment to follow a fourteen book series, and I did initially give up halfway through when i first started, but this time round I have persevered, and I’m glad I have! Things are starting to come together and the Last Battle is definitely imminent. This has been quite a journey for me so I intend to write a full blog post about this.

Watching

At the moment I’m watching a bunch of different things. Wednesday is good telly day for me! I’ve been watching Nashville and Bake Off, but both finished this week; one nicely wrapped up with a bow on top, and the other with a mega load of cliffhangers. I didn’t cry at Bake Off unlike apparently the rest of the UK, but I did get a bit misty-eyed at the end of Nashville.

Once Upon A Time has started again and Netflix are uploading each episode a couple of days after it broadcasts in America. I do like a good bit of OUAT! I know it’s dead cheesy and has appalling special effects (and how many “lost memory” curses can people really be put under before their brains start turning to mush, honestly?), but Robert Carlyle is fab in it as Mr Gold/Rumpelstiltskin and who can’t beat a bit of Killian “Captain Guyliner” Jones as the dashing Hook?

But really every night I’m watching a couple of episodes of Grimm, my current favourite programme. And series 5 will be shown over here in November! Only problem is I’m halfway through series 3 and series 4 isn’t on Netflix yet. At the moment I’m into my cop shows and I’ve always loved my supernatural shows, so Grimm combines the two. While Nick is gorgeous , I am definitely a Sean Renard girl. Especially when he’s holding a baby. Even if I am totally jealous of Adalind, and I’m not sure I am meant to be. I do worry that too many people now know Nick’s identity, and the location of the super secret trailer. Something major is about to happen! It’s a great series, even if when I tried to explain it to Louise at work, she commented that it sounded like a “bad American soap opera”! Maybe with werewolves.

Listening to

At the moment I’m listening to the radio a lot more. I have a routine: in the morning now I listen to Minster FM, on my drive to work until I get out of range, then I switch to Viking. On an evening I try to catch the Confessions on Radio 2, then if I the music or chat is decent I stick with that, until I get in range for Minster. I tuned in to Radio York accidentally the other day and I heard about the visibility of Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter. I got up early to see Venus and Jupiter but I think I was too late for the two other, less visible ones.

Whilst sorting through some things I found a CD I hadn’t really listened much to, and after playing it a bit on my way to and from work, I can’t really understand why! Tuomas Holopainen’s first solo album sounds a bit ridiculous, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, and yet is anything but! As the main songwriter for Finnish band Nightwish (“mastermind behind” is what the sticker on the album case says) despite this not being a metal album, there are all the hallmarks here: listening in retrospect with Endless Forms Most Beautiful, I can definitely hear the precursors to that album in here. It is a story album and yet it isn’t a ram-it-down-your-throat concept album: the story is overceded (so not a word) by Holopainen’s stunning music. He does know how to make a good song: while I love Epica and some of their songs are my favourites, I still feel like they need to learn a lot from this outstanding Finn on how to meld a heavy bit into a softer bit. Even without the operatic vocals he so utilised well with Tarja Turunen (sorry, fangirl) he’s created a perfectly ethereal moments with the voices here. And the occasional chiming bells totally get me in the mood for Christmas!

Learning

This week at work I found out I’m covering the maternity leave of one of my colleagues in sales & marketing, which means I’ve been learning how to put things onto our website and change things – I’ve also been learning html as well! Only a little bit, and while I am using it, I’m not sure what it all means, but it’s doing what I want it to!

Other things I’ve learnt this week… fresh air makes you sleepy! Saturday Nana invited me to watch Pickering Town play at the Rec Club, a match sponsored by the family in memory of my grandad. It was a top day out – we got to have our lunch at half time brought to us and we had a little table all laid out for we six ladies and we had a right good time! Pickering won 2-0 which made it even better and I loved being involved. I’m not that big into football – I am a Liverpool supporter but I find watching footie on the telly a bit numbing; nothing beats actually being there! I definitely will go to another match. But all that fresh air and excitement sucked it out of me; I was reading upstairs (Strictly was too loud and bright and brassy to concentrate on my book) and I must have just laid down to “rest my eyes” and next thing you know, it was gone midnight! I think I might be old before my time.

Pinterest recipes are very hit and miss. I’ve trialled a few, and some I’ve used again and again – I make Almond Joy granola every couple of weeks and it’s gorgeous, though I tweak the recipe a bit (maple syrup is so expensive!), yet I made some turkey and sweet potato burgers, and they definitely didn’t go according to plan. Whoops! I was suspicious by the lack of breadcrumbs and egg to bind them together. They were tasty though, so a bit of tweaking may be involved.

Stay tuned for next week & see what I’ve been up to!