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Monday, 23 February 2009

Well, here is my cross stitch from last week. The rotation was 'Monet /Waterlilies'. As I dislike so much stitching on it, for some strange reason, I decided that I had to stitch birthday cards LOL! I'm determined though not to let the Waterlilies become an UFO, so whatever, it's going to be in my rotation for as long as it takes. This week I had to do lots of half cross stitches, and it was even more difficult to find my place on the chart / fabric. If anything, it taught me never to use pre-printed fabric again.
The flower basket card is for my friend/colleague Jo - it's her birthday on 28.02, and the heart is for my mum, her birthday is on 03.03. The kits are both freebies from magazines.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

I have been discussing Jade Goody with my colleages at work - she is all over the media here in UK in the past week, and is going to be for some time to come I guess. For all of you who don't know her - Jade, a former dental nurse, appeared in 'Big Brother' here in the UK in 2003 I think. She became a household name, as she was so ditzy and aehm... stupid. ('Rio de Janeiro is a Footballer, innit? '), gobby and not 'afraid' to show off her rather large body and boobies. After BB, she was in the media quiete often, initially the unavoidable 'fitness video', but for some reason or another, she made a name of herself, her own parfume became successful, own TV show etc. Never a big superstar, but never out of the media as well, and her name is well known in UK media land.

Well, Jade had been diagnosed with cervical cancer last year August. It did touch me, as I have had treatment for abnormal cells after an abnormal smear test in 2000. I've heard somewhere (not sure if this is true) that Jade had an abnormal smear and ignored it. I've had the treatment, and go for smears now every year - I've always been ok since. So I felt compelled for follow her plight. She had a hysterectomy and chemo, and att the beginning of this year, the cancer had spread. 2 weeks ago it was in the news that she has been told the cancer is in her bowel, groin, liver and she has weeks to live. She is 27 and has 2 very young children.

She deliberately remains in the limelight, bold head and all. She is quite honest about the fact that she would like to make as much money out of her situation as she can for her children, and I sort of admire her for it. She is selling her wedding pictures for big money to the Celeb magazines. Some say she shouldn't exploid her illness. Yes, there are many people who have cancer and suffer in silence, don't have her money or opportunities, and as I know very well in my line of work, some die without family and with only the support of kind nurses. But this is the celebrity and media culture.... OK! wouldn't pay 1 penny for my wedding pictures, of course they wouldn't, but if they would offer, of course I would take it. In the same light ... why do get footballers and movie starts get paid obscene amounts of money for something which is at it's core only entertainment. Compare this to the money and status of people like nurses, firefighters, scientists etc, those are the people we should admire. But I have to admit honestly, if my son were to become a famous footballer, of course I would take the money that goes with it. Our celebrity culture....

Marti Leimbach 'Dying Young'

Hilary loves and cares for 33-year-old Victor, who is dying of leukaemia. To Hilary, Victor is fascinating, witty, intelligent, complex. But as his health deteriorates life with him becames more difficult and she seeks escape in an affair with Gordon, who in turn befriends Victor - an extraordinary love triangle.

This was of course turned into a movie with Julia Roberts in the role of Hilary. I have never watched it. As I every so slight hypochondriac LOL I tried to avoid books which talk about dying and terminal illnesses. Well, since I encounter it at work on a daily basis, I do find that it is helpful though to get some sort of insight into a dying person's mind - though this is fiction of course, but quite believable. I found Victor a very unpleasant character, rude and unthankful to his love Hilary. We tend to see and define people by their terminal illness, but of course they are still a person with loves and hates,hobbies, friends etc. But here is shows how life appears to disintegrate with a terminal diagnosis - and not in a way I can comprehend, eg. he becomes rude and uncaring to me rather than thankful and happy to have a wonderful person caring for him. The book wasn't a 'page-turner' for me, but retrospectively, I can say that it gave me an importnat different insight into living with a terminal illness.

Monday, 16 February 2009

A finish and a new start!

Last week was my rotation week for small kits. I do this week always after my 4 weekly 'big pieces' rotation not only to finish the small kits, but to give me the satisfaction of finishing something LOL.
I finished the Labrador this week, and now only have to find a suitable frame. With a small picture like this, it shouldn't be too difficult, I think the mount already goes nicely with it. I bought this pako kit last year at Olympia, that was 2 days after we first got Bonnie - and it's a perfect impression of her.

My new start 'small kit' is from the french Company Savoir Faire Vailly. They have a series of heart-shaped designs and I've got the kits for the cherry and the strawberry heart. It is stitched on dark coloured linen, so I have to concentrate to find the 'right holes'.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Bonnie, Ruby and me went to Darenth Country Park today. It's just on the outskirts of Dartford, about 10 mins drive from our place. First we couldn't find the car park - if it is not absolutely clearly signposted, I'm not good at finding places - stuff like that annoys me. So we just parked in the middle of the housing estate behind the park which always makes me slightly nervous. (sort of think people in the estate will realise there is a car which does not belong there!)
Anyway, we walked back from the estate to the park. Despite the rather dull weather (at least it was not raining) there were plenty of people around, with and without dogs. So Bonnie only came off the lead occassionally, unfortunately I still cannot rely on her being 'good' with other dogs - she will run up to them, bark und 'circle them', and there is no way she will listen to me shouting to come back.
Parts of the park are large fenced fields (for horses I guess as a riding centre is part of the park). But there is also a wooded area which we walked right through. It is not large, but that was my favourite bit. I'm looking forward to coming back in Spring and Summer when there will be more plants to see - and in autumn for fungi possibly!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

We've had some sad news yesterday - Nafees' company (well, it's Maidstone branch) is finally closing down. On Monday, the redundancy consultation is going to start. As he has worked for them for only 2 years, we don't expect a redundancy payment (and it's only a small company anyway), but hopefully he will get 3 months wages as he has a 3 months period of notice. Luckily, my job is pretty secure and at least, we are not in danger of losing our house. How dreadful that must be! I can only image.

I also went to Dartford Library today to get myself books/leaflets on 'Walking in Kent'. I really want to get going this year and get out of Dartford and see Kent. And I can't wait for spring to start! The snow is all gone anyway. The tieniest buds are appearing on the trees.

For Valentine's day we did order some Indian food in the evening (my choice). For the first time, we used a Restaurant which is here up in Temple Hill called Haldi. The food was absolutely delicious, even Imran and Ruby scoffed up the food, and we had no leftovers at all. Will definitely buy from them again.

James Herbert 'Shrine'

Just a short time ago, Alice was a deaf-mute. And than it happened. Now she can suddenly speak and hear - and she has the power to perform miracles, cure the sick. As news of her miracle performances spread first the town and than the world starts to worship her. But those near to her realise that all is not what is seems and there is a evil, screaming horror behind those 'miracles. For little Alice has not only the power to cure, she now has the centuries-old, blackest power of death.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

I have dropped Danial off to Ebbsfleet International Station today, he is going on a school trip to France. I am so jelous, I've never been to Paris. They have planned quite a few things for the children eg. Eiffel Tower, Riverboat on the Seine, Notre Dame, Versaille Palais, Disney Land.... We paid £350 for bed and breakfast accommodation for 5 days, and all attractions trips included, but we had to give them an extra 100 Euro for public transport in Paris and all other meals.

I've asked Dan to bring me a cross stitch magazine... wonder if a 14 year old boy on a school trip will have to courage in front of his class mates to buy a cross stitch magazine for his mum LOL

Monday, 9 February 2009

Here is my update on the poodle from last week. I really started to get into it by the end of next week, and finished page 2 and 3. Now on page 4 (of 6).Unfortunately I still haven't figured out how to take good pictures - I just don't have enough patience for this sort of thing!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Frederick is on the wall

I finally managed to frame Frederick, and he is hanging on the wall (on the staircase). I can't believe it, my signature reads '01-2007' - did it honestly take me more than 2 years to have it framed? And more to the point, since this, I haven't really finished anything, apart small stuff and Sara's wedding sampler last summer.
It took a while to find a frame, and this still isn't perfect. I always have problems with the framing, well, don't really have the money to have it done professionally, and while I'm ok doing it myself, the standard shops just never have the frame size I need, or my pictures never seem to fit the standard frame / mount sizes. And that's all I can do with - the standard sizes. Maybe I should invest in a mount cutter...

Saturday, 7 February 2009

I picked Ruby up from a sleepover at a friends house today. Her friend recently moved to an area called Joyden's Wood, just outside Dartford. Joyden's Wood is an acutal woodland, managed by the Woodland Trust. I took Bonnie along with me and thought I could take her for a walk in the woods. Didn't quite know what to expect, I don't quite trust it when they call it 'woodlands' here, sometimes I found that th ey mean an area of about 10-20 trees arranged in a square - I guess I'm used to different woodlands from Germany. But Joydens Wood was loveley - gosh, it almost reminded me of Germany, like a 'proper' woodland. I've made a promise to myself to come back to this place more often, can't wait for spring to start. And just think of autumn and fungi foraging! Acually I should make more of an effort in any case. I live in Kent, and all I ever see is the area close to our house. What have I got a car for - I should use my weekends to explore around and hopefully will make a start next weekend!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Frank Schaetzing 'Der Schwarm'

Everyone who loves books as much as I do will understand.... while on holiday in Germany last August, I HAD to browse every book shop we walked past. And gosh, my mum and the children were ever so impatient, rolling their eyes... 'Mum, not another book shop... Please hurry up' Basically, I was looking for a good holiday read, but wanted something from a contemporary German author. I don't really know any, so I've asked the bookseller in a shop in Gosen for her recommendation. She came up with 'Der Schwarm' (='The Swarm'). Well, I guess our tastes are pretty similar, as I loved this book, and the story kept playing in my mind long after I finished the last page. I think it has been translated and publish in English speaking countries. Give it try! It is not for the faint-hearted, nearly 1000 pages, but I promise, it wont get boring.

So, what's the story? It reads like a big Hollywood blockbuster, and reminds me of 'The day after tomorrow' or '28 days later' with an ecological twist. I think I read somewhere that some Hollywood Acress has already bought the film rights, and filming is due to start soon.

Strange things start to happen all over the world. In the oceans of Peru, fisherman go missing, no trace found. Oil company researchers find strange creatues who appear to have collonised thousands of square metres on the bottom of the norwegian sea. Wale researchers and watchers in Canada realize that the wales are acting more and more strange, first they don't appear when they should, and then they appear to turn violent. None of those happenings appear to make any sense, and are initially not seen as all belonging to the same phenomenon. One of the books 'heros' Sigur Johanson, biologist, does not believe all this happens by chance. And than there is Leon Anawak, Inuit, a wale researcher who also comes to the conclusion that a worldwide diseaster is about to happen. Worldwide, researchers are coming together to find the reasons behind all those strange happenings, and what they are about to find as to 'who' or 'what' is responsible is shocking! Nature against humans - Frank Schaetzing's novel is scarily believable, so much so that I started to look for some of 'signs' he describes in the first few weeks after I read it LOL

Thursday, 5 February 2009

The snow is now finally melting, and I'm quite glad now. As nice as it was to have it and to play in it on Monday, the fun was over for me by Tuesday. Trains were running again, so back at work of course. Luckily, we didn't had to take a days annual leave for Monday, but got credited the full 7.12 hours (which we are supposed to work in a day) The pavements were not gritted at all, not here in Dartford, and not in Southwark were I work.I was walking like a penguin most of the time! Poor Imran slipped on the ice and hit his head on some concrete steps on Wednesday evening. I went to work as usual on Thursday, and when my train was just approaching London Bridge, Imran called me and said he still got an awful headache, feels really sick and woozy. Oh, all my alarm bells were ringing, and I took the next train home and took him straight to A&E. It was almost comical, all the people in the waiting room in the hospital A&E had injuries relating to the snow and ice. Imran's got a concussion and needs to stay home and I have to watch him. Great, so I took Thursday and Friday off, I got plenty of flexi time anyway.

Stitching-wise, this week is 'Poodle'week, and I've got a little progress to announce - I finished page 2 of 6. It is still very slow going. The very similar colours don't help of course, and while I don't really like to work on 14ct Aida any more (too big), the 18ct is small, and I find that my crosses get squashed and distorted by the 2 strands of floss. But if I were to stitch with 1 strand, it would not cover properly.

Monday, 2 February 2009

There were no trains running today from Kent into London. I tried... honestly. Started to walk up to the station in the morning. Nafees said not to bother, as it said on SE trains website that all services are cancelled. I made my way walking up the hill, and people coming towards me asked whether I'm going to the station and not to bother, as no trains are going to London anyway. Well, so I just had to go back home. Did take some work-related phone-calls, but apart from that it was a great day off, especially as it was so unexpected. this week's rotation piece is Rachel's poodle, and I almost managed to finish page 2 yippee!
But here is my update from last week's rotation piece, Nature's Home Afghan. Didn't do a lot, only a bit of tree in square 4.

Sunday, 1 February 2009


Certainly, since I've lived in the UK I've never seeen snow like that here. And there I was telling my mum in Germany only yesterday that she should send some snow over and I'm missing it here - there it came promptly. It appears that there will be no trains tomorrow, so who knows how I can get into work. The kids love it and I rather enjoy it as well ;-)

Jackie Collins 'Hollywood Kids'

This was my first Jackie Colllins read, and I like her style, I was pleasantly surprised, it is a real page-turner. She writes with ease about sex, drugs and richt Hollywood kids, raunchy, but not overtly and sickly so.

Hollywood kids are hot, edgy and filthy rich - and all have their own little problems is appears from overbearing parents to anorexia. But they live a life in priviledge and certainly enjoy it to excess - until a murderer begins stalking them. New York detective Michael Scorsini is on the case.

©2009 The Pegster | by TNB