Thursday, November 30, 2017

Great Expectations - Castle Hill, MA

Hi Dear Folk,

I'm thinking The Boy may have Great Expectations, Tierney and Rob visited Castle Hill, MA over the holiday weekend.

Now this would match any stately home in the UK.

I think Rob says there are rolling hills down to a vista of the sea.

If I lived in this area I would definitively belong to the Historical Society there are so many lovely houses to visit in a small area.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Murder On The Orient Express A Comparison of Three Movies 1974, 2010, 2017

Hi Dear Folk,

We are having a binge watching of Murder On The Orient Express.  From Agatha Christie's 1934 novel.  Obviously she very much set the premise of the book on the Baby Lindbergh kidnapping and killing.

Mr. B. and I went to see the latest movie at the cinema, staring Kenneth Branagh .  Mr. B. has never really followed David Suchet as Poirot, so I said lets go home and watch that movie, but Mr. B. pulled up the wrong movie, the old one from 1974 with Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot.  That 1974 version certainly had a star studded cast.  We decided to watch that.

David Suchet is hands down my favorite Hercule Poirot, Kenneth Branagh comes no where close he is too tall, Poirot was only five foot four and we could not get past his terrible mustache.  Albert Finney falls somewhere in the middle, but doesn't capture Poirot.

It's interesting to compare the cast of each three, you start wanting to swap different actors in and out.  What about the train inside and the shots outside?  Now this is a hard choice.  The 1974 film has some lovely train shots, obviously a real train and the 2017 has some very spectacular shots, but they are so stylized as to have been done on a computer.  With the train stuck on a high trestle bridge, stopped by an avalanche.  The 1974 train inside was lovely with inlaid wood panels. I also liked the 2017 train, with the lovely Deco lamps, so that was on the downside in the 2010 version.  Also of interest is how they shoot the train station in Istanbul, the 1974 version being the most diverse and coloruful.

Hercule Poirot running around with a gun, tackling people and everybody sitting outside at tables in the snow does not in any way seem at all probable and Poirot is not even wearing an overcoat.  Liberties were taken rolling the doctor and Collonel Arbuthnot into one character, calling him Doctor Arbuthnot, which I did not like.  So the 2017 version is at #3, the 1974 at #2 and 2010 is my #1, with a couple of things they did in the other films that I would add to the 2010 version, mostly more cinematic the inside and outside of the train, the station at Istanbul.

"A man like your friend always has a choice, he does not have to lie."  Says Poirot, one of the lines at the beginning of the 2010 movie.  In the 2010 version at the end I especially like how David Suchet played Poirot, how torn he was with letting them go, it cost him, his conscience to do that.  It was a lie that he went along with.  No longer were things black and white, what is justice?

Would love to hear your comments.


Friday, November 24, 2017

Cape Ann Crochet Shawl

Hi Dear Folk,

I know I said I would call the burgundy shawl my Cape Ann shawl, but I fell out of love with it.  I did so well with the increase side, but for some reason do you think I could get the decrease side to match, not on your life, after many attempts, I gave up and did my own adaptation, which was to keep on increasing and make it a long triangular shawl, then to add the same flowers across the widest end only as dangles.  So here we are.

The way the flowers were crocheted in at the end of the rows took some learning, but is nice, so wouldn't mind adapting that on another pattern.

Now this is my Cape Ann shawl, I love this pattern.  I made a couple changes, deleting the last row of  crochet around the bottom outer edge, I just thought that less was more.  Possibly in a finer yarn it would have looked OK.  I also added a row of Picot edging on the inner edge.  I thought it looked so much neater after doing this and picot stitch edging is one of my favorites, it just adds a little something.

This shawl is a gift for a friend, but I am going to make another one for myself, that is longer, wraps around and I can tie in the back, well at least that's the plan.  It truly will be a Cape Ann Shawl, because it will remind me of all those fishermen's wifes with their shawls from times long gone.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Today With Mr. B.

Hi Dear Folk,

The Boy is up in Cape Ann for the Holiday weekend, while Mr. B. and I enjoyed a quiet day at home together.  These seem to be so few and far between, that it is nice to have a whole day for nothing too much at all, just be together.

As you see it's a lovely sunny day here, only brisk.  We decided to take a walk in our local park.

Here I am some trees still have their leaves, others are totally bare.  I am wearing a long waistcoat that my sister crocheted for me many years ago.

They have put in a Ba chi Ball court, we also have one in a little park near the zoo in town.  Very popular among the older Italians.  Just nice to sit and watch them playing on a summer evening.

As many times as I have seen this pergola, I never realized that it had been moved here from the old Jefferson House restaurant, I had several friends over the years who had held their receptions there and had their photos taken under this very same edifice.

The Jefferson House was sold off in about 2004 and the land used to build town houses.

While we sat here I thought how lovely it would be to have afternoon tea here.  I wonder if the park authorities would allow it.  Bring in a tea table and set it up under the pergola, you could use the seats round about to sit on and they would seat twelve.  You could serve afternoon tea buffet style.

It would be especially nice in spring as it is surrounded with ornamental cherry trees.

Doing my Samson impression.

Some more transplants from the old golf course that was sold off to build a hospital, which rises on the horizon outside the park.

Quite an old graveyard dating back to early 1800's.

Mr. B's toy.

Ended the afternoon with a nice pot of tea and a piece of Mexican cake.  Like a sponge cake with cream cheese and pineapple filling, very good.  This Mexican Bakery just opened up within a very large produce and food store, with a strong Hispanic influence, but lots of international foods.  He is independent from the store with his bakery.  Mr. B. has also bought home for me a slab of what I would call bread pudding.  Not sure what his was made from but it's super heavy and filling, just like mum's old bread pudding.

Hope you enjoyed time with family.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Visualize a Trillion Dollars

Hi Dear Folk,

I like visuals don't you?

1 Million stack of $1,000 dollar bills is 4 inches high

1 Billion stack of $1,000 dollar bills is 364 feet high

1 Trillion stack of $1,000 dollar bills is 65 miles high

That kind of puts the deficit into prospective.

Did you know that in the USA the middle class earn $450,000 per year according to some in Washington?

Even though the Tax Policy Center puts its "middle quintile" between $48,300 and $85,600

Some people are so far removed that they haven't got a clue, how the other 99% live.

Richest 1% own half the world's wealth.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Pink Roses and Amber Necklace

Hi Dear Folk,

A friend KK surprised me with pink roses, how lovely are these.

It's been a rough week, not sure my eyes are up to all day work on the computer, but such is life.

Today was fun, a dear friend over for lunch,  and used some of my English pottery.  Forgot to take photos.  Quiche, salad and baked apple for desert.  C spoilt me with NZ cheese, the cheese of my childhood, crackers and truffles along with pumpkin scones which we shared over tea, out of my Canadian pottery tea set.

I bought that many years ago when my sister and family came over, Rob was about four and we took a trip up to Niagara Falls and into Canada.  Just fun memories of walking around the studio and picking out some special pieces.

Then we popped over to my local thrift and look what little gem I found, a vintage amber necklace.  It is very long well past my waist $3.99,  just love it.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Mr's Magic

Hi Dear Folk,

We are having a lovely long sunny autumn.  With everything that has been going on I have not got out and really enjoyed it as I should, at least a walk in the park, but such is life.  Today though is windy and a sharp frost tonight, so that may be the end of it.

Mr. B. worked his magic on this old record keeper that I bought off eBay, cleaning up the metal and polishing the wood.  He is very good at taking old furniture that looks dull and lifeless and making the wood live again.  He has done this with several pieces in our house over the years.

I am going to use this for another journal.

Rob has always been interested in bikes right from when we bought his first teenage bike he has worked on them and added parts to make them better.  A few months back he bought a second hand bike which would have cost several thousand dollars originally, and has since then been doing it up and adding his stamp on it.

Parts for this bike seem not to be found in all of the USA, so are coming in from all over the world.  Here is something that came in from New Zealand, and another part from Finland.  In fact the part that came in from Finland was hand made by this man, for this particular part that Rob wanted to replace.  A long correspondence back and forward was held on this.  He had had the same problem on his bike and had made two, one of which he sold to Rob.

Rob said the expense of buying bike parts, in ratio, is like buying parts to a Bugatti.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Engaging with Autumn

Hi Dear Folk,

With all my comings and goings this autumn I have not been very engaged with the season and feel it has now passed me by.  I had my camera with me and took the opportunity to take these two photos, to just note the passing of autumn 2017.

I have had time while at home this week to think over much of my thoughts of 2017, I have felt like I have been marking time all year, just treading water.  I want to make some life changing decisions in 2018 which I have long contemplated, but needed to get through a few hurdles before I would be able to do that.

It all comes down to time and the frenetic pace of life.   Just want more time, more time to travel, spend time with my family in the UK and time with friends, a good meal, a glass of wine and some gut wrenching laughter, time for a cup of tea shared with a friend and friends.  Time for spiritual things.


Hammond Castle, Cape Ann, MA

Hi Dear Folk,

After some time jornaling by the harbour in Gloucester I drove over to Hammond Castle  a little about Hammond Castle.  I stopped by on Saturday afternoon on my way to Manchester by the Sea, but there was a wedding being held, so was closed for that event.  Such a lovely setting for a wedding.

John J. Hammond, Jr. built the castle between 1926 and 1929, as a home and backdrop to hold his Roman, Renaissance and Medieval artifacts.

I hobbled around very carefully, just the grounds as it was also closed on Tuesday, probably enough for my poor ankle.

The weather changes very quickly on Cape Ann, notice the lovely sun in this picture.  Note the similar picture at the bottom a sea mist has rolled in, in just half an hour and then it rolled out again.

After my time here I went over to lunch at Tierney's and then left for our trip home.

Such a lovely time spent on Cape Ann, I certainly look forward to going back again, so much still to see.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Keeping On

Hi Dear Folk,

Mr. B. drove me down to Philly for my appointment with the surgeon.  I met with his assistant and she tested my eyes, took some measurements and asked how things were going since my op.  Then I met with the surgeon, he said to come back in a month after everything has calmed down.  I found out that my stitches are soluble so do not need to have them taken out.  He may need to tweak the position of my eyelids, I thought oh no more surgery, but he said this is something they do in the office.  It seems that some stitches that were done under the eyelid are permanent and they adjust these.  My eyes were not symmetrical before the operation, so I think they will not be totally symmetrical now, but at least closer.

Still enjoying my time at home, crocheting and doing some cooking.  Yesterday I made a fish pie out of this book.

 My dear mum collected these cook books from Sainsbury's for me, I treasure them.

Could have been a little neater with the potatoes, but it still tasted good.

My new kitchen mats.  When you go to a discount store you have to take what they've got, so these were the only three that matched, so this was the pattern chosen, but I don't dislike them.  They look good with the woodwork.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Blepharoplasty - Upper Eyelid Surgery

Hi Dear Folk,

I will give you an update on how I am doing with my blepharoplasty, upper eyelid surgery.  It went well, I had the surgery on Monday 6th November, at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. We arrived at about 5:45AM for check in at 6:00AM.  All went quite quickly with all the paperwork and things that you electronically sign.  They ask you what you are having done, and go over several times that the operation is on both lids. My insurance company pre-approved the operation, very good news.

Led into the pre-op area along with Mr. B.  Get changed, plugged in to the monitor and intravenous, the anesthesiologist stops by and questions you, and then the surgeon briefly stops by.  After all this you are wheeled into the operation room.  I sat up for him to mark my eyeslids, you are then put under light anesthetic and then I think they give you an injection around the eye area.

I was in the op room by about 7:30AM out by 8:30AM, came to in post op area, drank some liquids, ate a cracker and then Mr. B. was there to help me dress, and then you are on your way.  The parking area is right where you come out of the operating floor, so no distance to walk at all.  Although Mr. B. did say that the parking might cost as much as the operation, LOL.

You have so much ointment in and around your eyes that my vision was totally blurred, so could only listen and talk the rest of the day.  I put ice packs, on and off every twenty minutes, took Arnica Montana for the bruising.  I was told to not bend my head down and to sleep more upright with a couple of pillows, not to lift more than a gallon of milk.

The second day I was much more swollen including under my eyes.  My left eye is more swollen than my right eye because I think he had to do more work on that one.  Also it's not uncommon for one eye to be more swollen than the other one.

Today, day three, the swelling has gone down a little.  I drove out to get rugs for the kitchen,  wearing my sunglasses, trying to be incognito, because it is not a pretty sight.  I knew my peripheral vision would be better, but my entire vision is better, everything is that much sharper in focus.  Like when you try and focus your camera and you know if you tweaked the picture just that little bit more it would be in sharper focus. Well that's how my vision is, the world is literally a brighter place and my vision is more crystal. I never expected that, now I can see what I have been missing clarity.

I have down loaded videos to my You Tube very basic, but some folk may wish to view them, especially if they are having the surgery and would like to know what to expect.  My dad had this surgery when he was about 65, so not surprising that I had to.

It's a beautiful day today, and I am enjoying my time off work, crocheting and taking it easy.  Miss Tupp has been keeping me company by the stove.


My Journal By The Sea, Gloucester, Cape Ann, MA

Hi Dear Folk,

Winding down my trip to Cape Ann, MA.  Here I am on our last morning, sister on the promenade at Gloucester Harbor.  It was such a crystal clear morning, after filling the car up with gas for our trip home, I drove along to the waterfront and parked here to soak up the sun and do some journaling.

I will definitely keep a journal on future trips, because I enjoyed doing this one so much, the time I spent putting the journal together was fun, and it's a lovely record of a trip kept in one place.

A fishing boat heading out.

What a lovely place.

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