Monday, 21 October 2013

The Great British Year, GBBO and all that.

I love television. Let's make that clear from the start. I'm not one of these who will just switch on and watch anything, nor do I put it on for a bit of company,  noise and movement in the background of an otherwise empty house for part of the week. I think television represents good value for money when it comes to entertaining me. It provides me with knowledge, information, entertainment, laughter, tears, anger, pleasure - and that's without the 'advantage' of a satellite dish! I won't have Sky or anything like that, I hate the blot on the landscape that is the satellite dish - aerials I just about tolerate and have had to, since where I live there has been the necessity to have an external aerial to ensure a decent signal. I have no need of hundreds of different channels, the ones I have, including Freeview, are sufficient for my needs.
There have been some really good programmes recently... The Great British Year was an absolute must for anyone who loves nature, the countryside, the changing seasons (which is one of the things I love most about living here), photography. 'Doc Martin' comes to an end tonight, and whilst I will be sad to see the end I do think it has run its course, it's hard to see where the series could go next. And Bake Off comes to an end this week too. I wonder if you watch, who your money's on? It's been another great series: I love Mel and Sue, Mary Berry is wonderful, especially at balancing out the sometimes harsh comments of Paul Hollywood. My own feeling is that if you can't take criticism, you shouldn't enter anything like that at all. What has been annoying have been the creeping rumours about favouritism, that 'Paul fancies Ruby'. Mind you, he did himself no favours if he was trying to quash any such rumours in this week's Radio Times, when he said he thought Kimberley was the prettier and Ruby wasn't his type. Oh really? Me thinks he might just protest too much. Wouldn't it have been far better not to mention it in the first place, and if asked about it, just buttoned it and said nothing?
I used to watch 'Masterchef' in the early days, when it seemed more about fun than it does now. It is taken so seriously, as is GBBO by it's contestants for the most part, and maybe you have to take it seriously if you enter. But why is it important to be considered the best baker/chef/seamstress.... whatever? What's wrong with just doing things you love for the sheer fun of it, why bring competition into it? You can tell, can't you, I am not a competitive soul at all. Never got picked for teams in school sports day, I always had to be forced on someone. Because  to me winning wasn't important, and who wants that kind of player on their team? Winning is the goal and if you don't even want to play.....
I enjoy a whole range of programmes from Emmerdale - which I've watched since the days when it was life on the farm - to the BBC news channel. I watch what's going on in Parliament, 'Mastermind' and 'Gardener's World'; love 'Only Connect' which is following the lead of GBBO and moving up a channel when the 2015 series is aired on BBC 2, GBBO of course moving to BBC1, I think next year. I really enjoy social documentaries like the one on Channel Five about living on benefits, which I know is a kind of reality show, but I don't watch those shows which are labelled as such, like Big Brother, TOWIE and so on. Never watched Strictly or The X Factor and don't want to. Thoroughly enjoyed Mary Portas, and anything to do with architecture, house design, house building and interior design, so Kevin McCloud is a real favourite along with George Clarke. I cherry-pick which cookery programmes I watch, so for instance never missed Nigella, and never miss Nigel Slater or Lorraine Pascale, but dip in and out of River Cottage and others. I never miss 'Countryfile', and enjoyed 'Coast' very much when it was on. And I had a lovely time accompanying Mr Portillo on his railway journeys.
I like a good detective story too, so always watched Lewis, 'Broadchurch', 'New Tricks' amongst other such series, and thanks to DVDs can watch any time I like, Morse, as well as 'Kingdom' and 'Monarch of the Glen'. Reruns of old 90s series are being enjoyed currently such 'Born and Bred' and 'Down to Earth'.
I watch more than the national average, but as I spend half the time at least when I am watching in doing something productive in crafts, it's not time wasted to my mind. It's time spent being entertained or informed, in learning something new, discovering an interest I didn't know about or didn't think I was particularly that interested in, making something at the same time adds to the pleasure and the relaxation.
I love television. Did I mention that?

The next day..... having seen the 'last' episode of Doc Martin, I do wonder where it can go from here, if anywhere. If he is to become a 'better husband' then he will need to change character completely it seems, which would then destroy the whole premise of the grumpy doc wouldn't it? Similarly, if he were to remain the same, then how can his marriage survive? I am just as interested in the other characters storylines, and think it a shame we may never know if Joe and Morwenna get together, if the daft pharmacist gets dafter, if PC Plod of Portwenn gets his big break and solves a crime of some importance, and I really liked Ruth.

Friday, 11 October 2013



And welcome to my blog, thanks for dropping by.

I've spent a lot of time reading blogs, discovering how many brilliant writers, talented craftspeople there are out there in the world of blogland. Blogs about travel, thrifting, gardening, careers ... all manner of subjects. The ones I found most interesting were those that mixed a bit of everything, craft, homemaking, holiday chats, family life and so on. They contain a bit of everything don't they, blogs like Attic 24 and Thriftwood come immediately to mind, though of course there are lots of others, but these are the two I just looked at, so they are fresh in my mind. Or in other words, they haven't yet slipped through one of the holes that is the colander of my mind.

My blog will be a bit like these two, only minus the craft inspirations that come from Lucy in the Attic, or the thriftiness of Claire at Thriftwood. There will be a bit of this and that - maybe I'll pass on the title of a really good book I've just read, or show a picture of something I've made. There might be chats about something in the news that caught my eye, or day trip we make. 

Imagine you're popping round to your best friend's house for morning tea. You sit at her kitchen table, a pot of tea - or coffee it's that your preferred drink - maybe a slice of home made cake. No make that 'definitely' a slice of home made cake! You chat about all sorts of things, have a giggle over something, a bit of a gossip maybe. Nothing too serious, though that's not to say it's totally frivolous. I've found, when chatting with friends, we tend to range from the serious to the ridiculous. We'll sit and craft sometimes, eat cake and chat, laugh and cry sometimes too. Hopefully no tears on here though. This is a place to escape to, a place to earwig in on someone else's conversation, and even join in if the mood takes you.

Of course, what many people in the county have been talking about this past couple of days is the weather, which has definitely turned colder, windier and wetter. High winds, high tides - a lethal combination as people along the north Norfolk coast here are only too well aware. The high winds whip up the higher than usual tides and send water over the coastal roads in many places. This picture was taken at Walcott yesterday, when people living across from the beach were evacuated to the village pub. They were later allowed home. And whilst it was the coastal areas that were worst affected by the high winds, over 50mph in places at times, inland trees came down, roof tiles came off houses, the usual incidents associated with stormy weather like this. Today, although dull and wet and chilly in my little bit of the county, at least the winds have dropped considerably.

                                                  Photograph taken from BBC website

I did say that there might be times when something I had heard on the news sparked a debate, and one such story yesterday was of the Suffolk man, who gets £52,000 a year in benefits, has twelve children, ten of whom are still living at home, a depressed wife who is pregnant again, and who lives in a three bedroomed council house, soon to be a six-bedroomed worth a reported £300,000, if the council plans go ahead. The adjoining house has become vacant so the council plans to knock through into it. People are naturally up in arms about this, for all sorts of reasons, and whilst there may be those on the council who disapprove, it is the council's duty to house this  man, and house him and his family in a relatively comfortable manner, and obviously ten-soon-to-be-eleven children and two adults in a three bedroomed house isn't particularly comfortable. Some would say 'Tough!'. Some would argue that it's his right, and his wife's, to have as many children as they want. The voice of reason says that if you can't afford them, you shouldn't have them, there is such a thing as being responsible. (He doesn't work by the way) And there are people who say that the man should have been counselled in some way, by his GP possibly, about his lifestyle, his wife producing a baby a year. But should we interfere in that way? According to the Daily Express online, the 'benefits dad' as he has been called, has apparently said that if he wants 50 children, he'll have them 'and you can pay'. Is he right?

If you've got any thoughts about this, or anything else, please feel free to add them. And meanwhile, I hope you'll drop by another day.