Friday, 28 February 2014

February Challenge Update

Last week when I was telling you all that my daffodils were starting to flower I had several comments to say that yours were still in bud.  Well apparently here in Lincolnshire it is now official (as in all the flower growers have said it) that all the daffodils here are opening at least two weeks earlier than normal which is causing the flower growers some concern.

So what else has happened at The Willows and the wider family in the month of February.  We have had a further two birthdays with number two turning 23 and daughter turning 20 so for the time being I don't have any teenagers. As you will all know by now young master Rufus has joined our doggie family and so far he appears to be settling in very well. He is a real cutie and an absolute cuddle bum.... He has been to meet Dr. Sue at the Vet's this morning, who is totally in love with Romeo as she did all his surgery last year, and she thinks he's a lovely little dog and quite happy to be his vet whilst Monty and Buster are under Dr. Nigel.

So how did the challenges turn out this month.

Product Details
Challenge One
My film of the month was The Three faces of Eve which starred Joanne Woodward.

Challenge Two
My book from school was my nemesis 'Lord of the Flies'.

Challenge 3 & 4
I now have a total of 25 little hats for the Innocence campaign


a further four Poppies completed bringing my total to 12. 

                        Things We Never Say - Sheila O'Flanagan

                         When it Happens to You - Molly Ringwald

                         Reconstructing Amelia  - Kimberley McCreight - Fiction

and I have managed to complete a further three books from the bookshelf bringing my total to 6 which means I have 7 left to complete by the end of June. 

And in between times we have been decorating number 3's bedroom which has been quite undertaking for such a small room as the orange paint that he picked as his accent wall took some getting and then took some getting on the wall. Thankfully 3 coats later it now looks pretty good and I am even more thankful that he has picked a completely different colour and brand of paint to put on the other three walls.

So guess what I will be doing this weekend..................

Hope you all have a great weekend whatever you may be getting up to....


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

And then there were Four

Now I know I said that Buster was the last one 
But this little chap needed a new home as his current owner has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and wanted to make sure that he was settled whilst he was still able. 

So let me introduce to you Rufus who is a Ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel aged just 2 years.

And of course a dentistix makes everything ok in just the same way as chocolate does for me. 

He only arrived last night so everything is still a bit new but he is making pals with the other boys and certainly was happy to share his space with Romeo.

He's a real cutie and still quite small in comparison to the other boys. I had expected a bit of a disturbed night with him but he was very good and didn't whimper once so I'm hoping that he is going to settle quite quickly. 

So D got his own way and now has a complete set of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.  I'm just glad that we didn't go for a Cocker as I could of found myself in trouble with all the differing variations of colours and he wouldn't of been happy until he had one of each.

Will keep you posted on how he settles in.


Saturday, 22 February 2014

Challenge 3 & 4 update.

All over the garden my daffodils are starting to flower which means that Spring really can't be too far away now.   I am amazed they have have survived with the terrible winds we have been having across the Fens, just goes to show how resilient they are.

I thought as we were approaching the end of February I would update you on how challenges three and four are coming along.

It has been rather busy on the work front this month which has meant early starts and late finishes.
Still I have managed to add another 5 little hats to challenge three bringing the total to 25 and 
another four poppies to challenge four bringing my total to 12.

And lastly back in October 2013 I introduced you to the latest addition to our doggie family when Buster arrived at The Willows.

It occurred to me that I hadn't posted any up to date photo's apart from when they have snuck into them. 

Buster has been with us for four months now. He is still learning the house rules and some of his manners still need a little fine tuning but he is getting there and it is still relatively early days but I'm sure he will pay us back in dividends eventually.


Monday, 17 February 2014

Film of the Month - February

Product Details

I  am really enjoying looking out movies to watch and share with you all.  The Three Faces of Eve (1957) which starred Joanna Woodward, who was married to one of my other favourites Paul Newman,  is on my list of must see films.  I had seen it many years ago and at first it took me a while to remember what it was called.  All I knew was that it was about a young women who suffered with multiple personality disorder.

I eventually tracked it down and found it on Amazon.

The story begins with Eve White (Joanne Woodward)  and her husband (David Wayne) going to visit a Psychiatrist (Lee J. Cobb). Mrs White describes how she has 'spells' which start with a violent headache and then she looses track of time and cannot remember where she has been or what she has been doing during this time.  . 

Whilst visiting the Psychiatrist her other personality known as Eve Black makes her first appearance. She is a very different character to the down trodden housewife Eve White.  She is a very confident and veracious character and loves nothing more than visiting night clubs to sing and dance, meet men and drink. She tells the doctor that she has never been married and never intends being so. She also reveals the fact that she can come out any time she chooses and has been doing so since Eve White was 6 years old.

Finally after many months of consultations and the breakdown of her marriage Eve's third personality makes her appearance much to the annoyance of Eve Black. . The third personality cannot tell you her name but can recall everything that happened to her whilst growing up at the farm the same farm that Eve White describes. This personality decides to call herself Jane. Over a time with the help of the Psychiatrist  this personality grows stronger than the other two.  The Psychiatrist offers hypnotherapy as a treatment to see if they can discover what happened to trigger so many different personalities within one body.  Finally whist under hypnosis the truth is discovered and after the session has finished all but one personality has disappeared, enabling the remaining personality to be free from the other two and go on to live a normal and happy life. 

Released: 23rd September 1957
Directed by: Nunnally Johnson

A really good, definitely a must see film.  


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Conquering my Nemesis

First of all thank you to all of you who have left comments and sent emails about 'Lord of the Flies'  I think the general consensus has been that many of us had to read it and not many of us particularly had a hankering for reading it again.  Some even had to write a piece or discuss it's symbolism.  Gail, from Amongst the Wool, could even remember having to write a piece of work which was then shown to the rest of her class which apparently from her own words did not happen often so that's why it was so memorable.  

Having read this particular book some 35 years ago and absolutely detesting it at the time I thought it better to get this one out of the way at the beginning of my challenge. I was secretly hoping that my memory of it had been wrong and that I would really love it second time around.  All I could remember was that it involved a plane crash and a number of young boys finding themselves on a deserted island with no grown ups to look after them and the only other inhabitants being pigs. Oh and that at some stage a pigs head was put on stick and was known as the Lord of the Flies. 

I'm sure at the time I was supposed to realise the symbolic meaning behind the story of  working as a team, looking out for each other, independence &  leadership, but as a 15 year old girl a book about a lot of little boys running riot on a deserted island just didn't have much of a meaning at all. 

Still I decided I would go into this with an open mind and read it as though I had never read it before. Overall it was exactly as I had expected a lot of little boys running round on a deserted island.  It started off pretty well the plane had crashed and initially they had to establish how many of them there were and they came up with a plan of who would be responsible for what jobs, i.e. collecting wood for a fire and looking for food.  They soon established that there were pigs on the island that could provide them with a source of food and built themselves shelters to protect themselves.  But soon two characters especially became adversaries and tensions grew.  'Lord of the Flies'  is a pigs head that is left on a stick and is referred to maybe twice within the book  and not until about chapter 8 and really didn't have much relevance to the story. What I hadn't remembered was how much bullying and violence was included within it which ultimately lead to murder.  The rivalry between Ralph and Jack reaches a climax and leaves Ralph running for his life.  Had the Navy not seen the smoke of their fire and come to the island on a rescue mission Ralph too would of met his demise. 

Piggy & Ralph

Simon  & 'The Lord of the Flies'
Jack's tribe

Having read the book for a second time D also found the original film from 1963 on YouTube and suggested I should  watch it in order to get a complete picture.  The film stayed very true to the book and the script was more or less word for word of the William Golding's novel. 

So where does this leave me after all of that.  Well I read it again in order to have a totally unbiased opinion, which may have been clouded from a long and distant memory of 35 years ago. I can now appreciate the authors work and it's meaning but with such bullying and violence contained within it's pages I am a little surprised  that we still inflict it upon our young people especially as we spend all our time telling them that violence is not the answer.  I am glad that I revisited this particular childhood read but I don't think it will be one to keep on the book shelf as I can't see me getting a hankering for reading it again in another 35 years.  

All that remains now is for me to decide which book to pick for March..  

I am so loving this challenge.


Thursday, 6 February 2014

It May Be Winter Outside

But in my heart it's Spring or so the songs says.

Whilst at Morrison's this week I spotted these little cuties all ready to get us into pre- Spring mode   The little pots had been reduced to 66p each and the pot with the daffodils on the side were down to £1.66.

They were as dry as a bone as seems to be the way when you buy plants from supermarkets.  They are currently residing on the kitchen windowsill having a well earned drink, but I know exactly where they are going to go.  And I will show you that later.

Meanwhile on the challenges.  I have now completed my fourth book, Things We Never Say - Sheila O'Flanagan,  from my 'Yet to be read' shelf. Only another nine to have read by the end of June.

and new month means new choice of a book for my  re-read from our school days challenge

 Lord of the Flies by William Golding was really my nemesis.  I didn't enjoy it at school at all. So I decided I would face my nemesis head on by making it my choice for February better to get it out of the way early on I thought rather than putting off to the very end. All I remember about it is that following a plane crash there is a group of boys left on a deserted island with no grown ups to look after them and the only other inhabitants of the island is pigs. Oh and my other abiding memory is that at some stage there is a pigs head on a stick which is then known as 'Lord of the Flies'.

 I will be starting this one this evening so will let you know how I get on next week. 

Looking around blogland there seem to be some pretty amazing challenges going on for 2014 and it is already giving me a few ideas for 2015.

Have a good week one & all whatever you may doing or wherever life may be taking you. 


Saturday, 1 February 2014

Challenge Update - January 2014

I cannot believe we are at the end of January already where have those weeks gone.  January has seen two birthdays in our family.  Mine was at the beginning of the month and number one son turned 26 (yes 26 how old does that make me feel) last week.

As we have reached the end of the first month of 2014 I thought I better give you an update on my challenges for 2014.

Challenge One - Watch at least one old film per month.

Esther has been deaf and blind since an accident which killed her mother. Wealthy Margaret Landi originally from the village of Cloncraig in Ireland is persuaded to help educate and look for a cure for Esther. Margaret Landi grows fond of Esther and loves her like a daughter. Esther's innocence leaves her threatened by sleazy promoters and by Ms. Landi's sleazy ex-husband.  Margaret Landi starts a charity to help children like Esther. Carlo Landi gets to know of this charitable work and see's an opportunity to exploit the good work of his estranged wife. He convinces her to give their marriage another go and in doing so seizes his chance to embezzle a fortune from the charity, On realizing what has happened Ms. Landi decides she has to do something to stop him whilst making sure that Esther is protected.  The film is based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Monsarrat.  I have not read the book so don't know how true to the novel the film is. This is a film I remember watching many years ago and could vaguely remember the plot so it was nice to find it on UTube. I was surprised to see a young Wilfred Bramble and Sid James as two of the characters.

Directed by David Miller
Starred Joan Crawford, Rossano Brazzi and Heather Sears
Released November 1957

Challenge Two - is to re-read/read a book that we had to read at school.

I have seen the film 'To Kill A Mocking Bird' but I had never read the book and wasn't sure how true to the Harper Lee novel the film was.  I decided that I would make this the first book for this challenge.  The story for anyone who doesn't know is about Atticus Finch and his two children Jean Louise (known as Scout) and Jeremy (known as Jem). The book is divided into two parts. In the first part you learn about Atticus and his children and their lives together. Atticus is a lawyer and you briefly get to here of the types of cases and people he defends.  In this instance he is going defend a coloured man Tom Robinson who is accused of raping a white women.  In part two you learn more of the circumstances around the case and the court hearing.  Although as is most cases you get more in the novel, the film has stayed very close to the original story.  I am really pleased I made this my January read, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was most definitely a book I couldn't put down and a great start to my challenge.

Challenge Three - by Christmas 2013 I had 26 books still waiting to be read on my bookshelf. So my third challenge is to have read at least half by the end of June.

 I am very pleased to report that I have managed to read three books off my to be read shelf this month and I am currently reading my fourth. You can find out what I thought of these three on my Tea and Biscuits and a Good

Challenge Four - Innocence Big Knit Challenge 2014

I had challenged myself to make 2 per month. I have been able to make a good start and have twenty little hats ready and waiting to go to the campaign this year.  Thanks to the awful weather I have been spending quite a lot of my time in my den or watching the TV which has enabled me to get a head start on my hats.  I envisage that as the weather gets better (if it in deed does) that I will be out and about or in the garden so whilst I have the opportunity I am making the most of the time and making up as many of these little beauties as I can.  They are just so cute.

Challenge Five - last year I helped a colleague to make up Poppies to sell in aid of Help for Heroes.  We manged to raise £85.  This year I decided to make this one of my challenges to see if we can do even better this year.  My challenge was to make one per week and so far I have made eight.

In between meeting my challenges this month I have also been finishing off a baby blanket for a little one due in the next two - three weeks.

So that's my update.

The weather appears to be doing it's worst outside again this evening, I hope you are all somewhere toastie warm preferably with a hook or needles in hand.

Have a good week one and all.