Tag: 2019

2019 – My Video

I decided to make a video last year and am continuing to build on it each day. My start point was 31st October as this was when I got the software. Each day consists of anything from 1 to 3 seconds of video to mark what I was doing, even if it was a dull day and I did nothing, I had to take a video. I am looking forward to seeing 2020 when I finish it on 31st December.

Enjoy 86 seconds of my life over 62 days (1.387 seconds each day)

Christmas 2019

Christmas day was a nice quiet and astonishingly warm day, as can be seen with me in a tee shirt. We took the dogs out for a walk around the village Christmas morning, and as I was dressed as Santa being carried by an elf with the dogs wearing Christmas hats I had a lot of cars going passed beeping their horns and people waving, and lots of smiles on peoples faces.

It was quite a nice easy day, but I confess we ate far too much, but I guess most people do. The girls as always enjoyed the day, and once they opened one of their presents Mazikeen decided it was open season and kept helping herself to presents, she even passed ones over to Harper to open, who was very willing.

Each year I say that I will get a smaller turkey as it is only M, me and the girls, so we really do not need something that will feed 20 people, but when it comes to it, I just cannot help it and a big one is always bought.

We did our annual charity run, so went to the supermarket and bought a trolly full of food, personals and sweets (for the kids) and took them to the homeless shelter The Whitechapel Centre in Liverpool. I know that lots of people don’t realise that there are families that are homeless and that includes kids, so we bought 30 big tubes of sweets for them in the hope that they have something to enjoy. M sponsored a few Christmas boxes for Shelter which includes a bed for the night, Christmas dinner, warm clothes, personals (toiletries) and more. He also sponsored a dog for me, funny enough also called Harper. He lives at the Dogs Trust shelter in Liverpool, so we are going to visit him in the new year which will be nice.

All in all, it was a lovely Christmas. I hope you all had a nice day too.

Eurovision 2019

I’ll be honest, pop music is not my bag, but I do like to watch Eurovision each year as it is a good laugh, and every now and again there is a good song that year. Last night it was in Israel, and they put on a good show, that was until Madonna turned up and it went south faster than geese in winter. I am not a fan of hers, but I do appreciate she is an artist and a good one at that, and her field of work is extensive. To date I only like two of her songs, and no, one of them is not Vogue.

Being interviewed she seemed to lack her usual bravado, which I was surprised about, letting her guard down only once joking about the compare dumping his husband for her. Let’s face it, she loves the attention and adoration, it has made her career. Was the eye patch hiding surgery and did her lips look slightly unnatural, maybe after a cosmetic procedure? Then we witnessed the “performance”, which was quite frankly not on par with her usual gusto and ability to actually hit notes. Last night we watched a tired and out of tune performance. There could be many reasons why she sang off-key, was flat and very pitchy. But when all said and done, it was second rate and out of tune. I passed all my Royal School of Music exams, so am an authority of pitch and tone, both of which I lack LOL. Everyone has off days, even the legend Barbra Streisand has performed out of tune, and the ears do not lie.

However, Twitter seemed to be on fire with venomous gays screaming about how fantastic she was and anyone that dare say anything different then they would block them. I had mentioned that it was a pitchy and poor performance and BANG! the hate began with mentions of my throat being cut and being set of fire, followed by being quickly blocked by all the screaming queens, aka buttercups. I have very thick skin, almost rhinoceros-like, so this does not bother me. The only thing that started to hurt was the amount eye rolling I was doing causing repetitive strain injury LOL. One of the buttercups that blocked me and was doing a count of his “heroic blocking actions” is by this point starting to realise he was wrong and admitted that it was not her best performance (I have 2 twitter accounts so can see his timeline, also he has not blocked M). But his verbal attack on those of us who dared to publish the truth has quite frankly caused him to cut his nose off to spite his face. He advertised that he blocked people, then called them all the offensive names his tiny mind could muster, showing he has no backbone, lacks the understanding of free speech, or the intelligence to look outside his little bubble, not to mention getting his hearing tested. Oh, did I mention he is a 50-year-old man, very single and complains that no one wants to date him? Go figure that one out haha!

I thought Iceland’s song was really really bad. I love rock, metal and thrash, but even I thought it was an assault on the ears. Also, their political statement with the Palestine banner was in very poor taste. I had high hopes for Australia and Norway, alas that was dashed in the end. The UK as always came last, but at least he sang better than Madonna. At one point I thought Russia may just win, which would be a disaster as their human rights policy stinks. I think the highlight for me was the “Switch Song”. If you did not see it, then, let me show you.

Reading Challenge – April Update

19 books read so far, and now 10 books ahead of schedule in 17 weeks. Happy about the result so far. April’s books were…

This book is not for the faint hearted at all. I found the whole thing quite disturbing that human beings can be so cruel. Do not get me wrong, it was a good book, just disturbing.

In July 1965, teenagers Sylvia and Jenny Likens were left in the temporary care of Gertrude Baniszewski, a middle-aged single mother and her seven children. 

The Baniszewski household was overrun with children. There were few rules and ample freedom. Sadly, the environment created a dangerous hierarchy of social Darwinism where the strong preyed on the weak. 

What transpired in the following three months was both riveting and chilling. 

In October 1965, the body of Sylvia Likens was found in the basement of the Baniszewski home, where she had been imprisoned. She was starved, beaten, burned and had the words “I am a prostitute and proud of it” carved into her stomach. 

Gertrude Baniszewski oversaw and facilitated the torture and eventual murder of Sylvia Likens. While she played an active role in Sylvia’s death, the majority of the abuse was carried out by her children and other neighbourhood youths. 

The case shocked the entire nation and would later be described as “The single worst crime perpetuated against an individual in Indiana’s history”


For my overseas readers, Leon and June are two people featured on Channel 4’s Gogglebox. It is an insane idea, but on Friday evenings at 9pm, we sit in front of the TV and watch ordinary people watch TV, listen to their reactions and general conversations. A little Orwellian, but very entertaining. Leon was a beloved member of the Gogglebox people who died at Christmas 2017. He and June were in our lounges each week, entertaining us with their madcap moment, Leon’s love of food and general opinion of everything that was going on in the world. Oh, he was also from Liverpool, so he endeared our hearts greatly with his scouse wit and his unfaltering love of June. When Leon passed away June decided to write about their lives as it was one of the things Leon said he would do.

As founding cast members of hit television show Gogglebox, Leon and June won the hearts of a nation with their warm humour and unending love for each other. When Leon sadly died at Christmas 2017, Gogglebox viewers were bereft, calling for a state funeral for our national treasure. In this touching memoir, she looks back at all of the laughter and love they have shared together; letting us in on the secrets to a truly happy marriage in this wonderful celebration of two lives well lived.

Together for 63 years, coming to terms with life without Leon has been a difficult process for June. But the many treasured memories of their marriage will never leave her. From when, aged 18, she first laid eyes on Leon at teacher training college in 1955; their journey to marry when their parents disapproved; happy recollections of 1960s Liverpool; to building a loving home and family together before finding fame as pensioners. Firm favourites of Gogglebox, they were loved for their gentle teasing, Leon’s cheeky gags and humorous rants, and June’s unerring patience and caring touch. 

Leon and June have experienced their fair share of highs and lows, but they always got through everything together. As Leon always said,

‘As long as June’s here, I’m all right.’


I had read the inside cover details of this book and just had to read it. The UK Government decides that all cars need to be autonomous and with that people no longer have full control. Chilling, especially since the current government had decided to outlaw diesel and petrol cars by 2030, so this is now only one step away from this book being fact rather than fiction.

Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.

The new gripping page-turning thriller from the bestselling author of THE ONE – soon to be a major Netflix series.

When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.

The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?


I have always loved this book, so decided to read it again. I just find it a shame that all movies made from it are set in the USA, when it was originally set in Surry southwest of London.

They came from outer space — Mars, to be exact.

With deadly heat-rays and giant fighting machine they want to conquer Earth and keep humans as their slaves.

Nothing seems to stop them as they spread terror and death across the planet. It is the start of the most important war in Earth’s history.

And Earth will never be the same.


Being a country boy, having worked on farms, and love all things animal I decided to read about Julian’s life as a Vet. He is a partner at the original practice of James Herriot (real name James Alf Wight)

Star of Channel 5’s television series The Yorkshire Vet, Julian Norton has written a warm and evocative memoir of his life and the animals and people he has met along the way.

Just as happy calving a cow, treating a dog with cancer or tending to the overgrown teeth of a rabbit, Julian’s passion for his work shines through on every page.

From his first thoughts of becoming a vet through his training and the pressures and challenges faced by vets on call, through the terrible times of the BSE crisis in the 1990s and Foot and Mouth in 2001, dealing with unexpected exotic pets, and handling excitable humans, too, Julian has seen all sides of the veterinary world.

Sometimes sad, often funny and always warm and compassionate, his tales bring to life the world of the working vet and the highs and lows he faces daily.

Reading Challenge – Feb Update…

Since my last post of the books I had read so far, I have managed to finish another three in February, now a total of 9 read from my 30 challenge and am 4 ahead of schedule. It will be interesting to see what I finally finish with. This is the last three in February. Warlight so far has been the biggest disappointment, it felt as though the author, who I respect greatly, had lost his way. The story seemed disjointed and unremarkable. It is a shame really as I enjoyed The English Patient immensely.


Two years have passed since Danny Lynch saw the beast that would alter his life forever…

and now, a string of mysterious drownings has brought him to a new town by the ocean.

But there is more to the creature than Danny could ever have imagined.

And the secret to destroying it may rest in discovering the secrets of a colony that disappeared without a trace four-hundred years earlier.


The story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings’ mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn’t know and understand in that time, and it is this journey—through facts, recollection, and imagination.


To the spaceship Discovery, floating in the silent depths of space since David Bowman passed through the alien ‘Star Gate’, comes Heywood Floyd on a mission of recovery. What he finds near Jupiter is beyond the imaginings of any mere human.

Delamere Hike…

This weekend I decided to go hiking in Cheshire around Delamere Forest. It is a lovely part of the country, and although it is thought to be flat due to all the wetlands and lakes it is far from it. A beautiful day, the sun was blazing and we had temperatures of 16c, which for February is unheard of. Mazikeen proved she really does have the stamina for hiking. She was off the lead all the way, and I would estimate my 8.5 miles were for her about 20 miles as she was back and forth throughout the walk and just kept running the whole two and a half hours. She has a little limp from time to time today, but I think it was from leaping off very high sand dunes yesterday.

Although this is the main route I followed, I did manage to wander off it quite a bit adding more miles to the original walk, I also parked half a mile from the red tracks. Thank god for GPS as I would have got lost very easily.

Delamere Forest
Black Lake
White Moor Trail

After the hike, we went for lunch at Vale Royal Abbey Arms in Oakmere. I had 10oz gammon with pineapple, fried egg, chunky chips, mushroom, tomato and onion rings. Washed down with a nice pint of bitter shandy. M had a steak baguette with chips, salad, cheese, slaw and onion rings, washed down with a coke. Needless to say, we ate the lot, and the girls did help, but not as much as they wanted to LOL!

Lunch at Vale Royal Abbey Arms

Socks…

Yes, socks. Why is it so hard to get socks to fit. My small feet are due to my father making me keep my shoes perfectly clean so whenever I needed new ones due to growing feet he refused to get them, and I think as a result, they stopped growing. I almost have geisha feet LOL. Some footwear I am 6 others 7. So, I have small feet and in the UK it seems that the new sizing is 6 to 11, that is one sock covering 6 different sizes. I bought two packs of three in the hope that these JCB socks would be perfect for walking. They are 76% cotton, lined, cushioned and nice to look at. But when I got home they were so big it was embarrassing. M now has them as he has size 8/9 so they fit great.

I want socks that I can wear whilst out hiking/walking, so high cotton content or merino socks are the order of the day, they allow the foot to breathe and stop blisters, but, can I find any that fit? Not really. I did find some on Amazon, but at £15 to £30 a pair it is a little over the top. I also hate buying clothing online as a lot of the time the sizes are way off.

I have a 32″ waist but depending where I get them depends if I can get into them as a lot of places only do skinny fit, which quite frankly unless you have an eating disorder or are skeletal in frame, there is no way anyone can get in them. It is like shops have really odd ideas about size. Men’s clothing in the UK is shit, so if you are between the age of 20 and 60 then you have very little pickings. Today I also looked at jeans and they were only skinny fit or something appropriate for an old man, nothing at all that would be suitable for anyone between the aforementioned ages. The shop too has devoted 80% of its space to women’s clothing, 10% to home items and the remaining 10% split into 4 spaces, that being suits, workwear, boys and a small part remaining for men. This seems to be the way in most clothing shops, men just seem to be an afterthought. Yet we all need clothes, and most of the stores are owned/run by men, but they seem to have forgotten this. So Amazon it is with a buy, try and return.

So the hunt for socks is still on. Will I find what I need local, or will I have to succumb to the £30 price tag? Also, will I ever find cargo/walking pants too? Fingers crossed.

In Search Of Heathcliff

Yes, that one…

Today we went to Penistone Hill in Yorkshire to do our Bronte walk. The sun was out, and although it is still winter here it was a glorious day with highs of 13c. I parked 1.4 miles away from the Bronte Parsonage and headed towards Bronte Bridge and Falls. I had not been here for just over 21 years, so it was nice to visit it again, although I have been to Haworth many times in the past 10 years.

Our Route
Heather on the Moorlands
Bronte Bridge Approach
Bronte Bridge
Marker stone after the bridge was rebuilt after being destroyed by floods
This is NOT Top Withens obviously, just an old farmhouse that we passed on the hike.

Wuthering Heights Inn was a lovely pub that we stopped at for lunch. They are dog-friendly which was really nice, they provided us with dog treats, bowls of fresh water and a warm welcome. M had a hot beef and gravy sandwich with thick chips. I decided to have a dirty burger which was a half pounder with cheese, pulled pork and chilli mayo, side of salad with sweet balsamic dressing, fries and onion rings. Needless to say, it was rather delicious and was washed down with a pint of bitter shandy. Mazikee and Harper helped eat the chips.

Our view whilst having lunch
Me and Mazikeen – as usual by my side with a stick.
Me with Harper watching the sheep
Mazikeen now locked on to the sheep. She was doing a very low growl, then howling at them which was very funny to watch.
Looking for Heathcliff
The Reservoir

All in all, it was a lovely day, I am slightly burned from the sun and wind, mostly the wild and windy moor. Alas, we never found Heathcliff or Cathy or managed to get to Top Withens, but will go that way next time. All told I hiked 6.5 miles with the girls. Mazikeen probably did about 12 miles or more as she was off lead and ran about everywhere, leaping into every muddy puddle, stream, and the waterfalls. I kept Harper on her lead as she is a bugger for taking off on her own adventures.

Not too sure where we will hike next Saturday weather permitting that is, but I am looking forward to more adventures.

Reading Challenge – Feb

As you will know, and if you don’t, take yourself off to a darkened room and a laptop and read my blog, god-damn-it. Only kidding! I set myself a challenge of 30 books to read this year, so far I have managed 6 and I am part way through far too many to mention, but here are the ones I have managed to read up to now.

Sequel to SCOUSE GOTHIC. Gothic/fantasy thriller set in present-day Liverpool. 
The same characters from Scouse Gothic return and find that their pasts and present continue to become further intertwined. Vampires and mortal co-exist and discover that the boundaries between friends and family, good and evil becomes even more blurred. 
Included are maps of Liverpool marked with references to the text, illustrations and recipes based on characters and events in the story.


Based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—a love story in the midst of atrocity.

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.


Life can be difficult – even when you’re dead. 

Lathom lies awake. His nights are plagued by nightmares and his days by hallucinations and cravings for blood. Worse still he’s stone cold sober all the time – immortality has its drawbacks. 
Melville has decided to put his past behind him and live for the future – unfortunately, his past has other ideas. 
Peter is worried that his research might create human vampires – and also that he may already know one. 
Frank ponders how to make an omelette without breaking your favourite egg. 
And Sheryl wonders if it’s unnatural for vampires to live together. Perhaps, love isn’t all you need – perhaps all you need is blood.


A new edition of one of the best-selling and best-loved books of recent years, with a new introduction by the author. The publication of Wild Swans in 1991 was a worldwide phenomenon. Not only did it become the best-selling non-fiction book in British publishing history, with sales of well over two million, but it was also received with unanimous critical acclaim, and was named the winner of the 1992 NCR Book Award and the 1993 British Book of the Year Award. Few books have ever had such an impact on their readers. Through the story of three generations of women — grandmother, mother and daughter — Wild Swans tells nothing less than the whole tumultuous history of China’s tragic twentieth century, from sword-bearing warlords to Chairman Mao, from the Manchu Empire to the Cultural Revolution. At times terrifying, at times astonishing, always deeply moving, Wild Swans is a book in a million, a true story with all the passion and grandeur of a great novel. For this new edition, Jung Chang has written a new introduction, bringing her own story up to date, and describing the effect Wild Swans’ success has had on her life.


The Pope is dead.

Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election.

They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals.

Over the next seventy-two hours, one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.


From the ocean, it rose.

Every fourteen months it appears on a secluded beach in a small town just before dawn.

One morning during his daily run to the beach, Danny Lynch witnesses the strangest and most incredible thing he’s ever seen.

A dark, man-like figure emerges from the ocean, stands for just a few moments on the beach, and then retreats back to the surf.

Danny’s perspective on the world changes in an instant, and as the only eyewitness to this event, his mission now is to convince anyone who will listen that what he saw was real.

But with only a vague photo and a dubious story, that task is proving almost impossible, and his only hope may be in finding a mysterious woman who was at the beach earlier that morning, and who may hold the terrifying secret that could cost Danny his life.

What did Danny see? And why is he in danger?


So far so good with my challenge, and I am three books ahead of schedule. One of the current books I am halfway through is Warlight by Michael Ondaatje, set in the decade after WWII. It is a little odd, but enjoyable. I read some reviews and it really does divide the readers, some find it a ramble of thoughts, but I cannot see what they are moaning about, it is written like a memoir, so it will ramble, but there are correlations throughout. I loved The English Patient, both book and film, and when I saw this was was drawn to it. It was in my shopping cart for weeks on end, as I thought it would drop in price, and in the end, I yielded to its allure. Then again, any book in a book shop has a big allure.

I love the feel and smell of a book, especially brand new ones, and very old ones that have a heady lived-in smell. I am sure that if you like your books like me you will understand my ramblings. If heaven exists, then for me it would have to be an enormous library with comfy sofas, good coffee and deafening silence. Void of screaming children, people, mobile phones, or any distraction from the words in the books. Oh! and an automatic food bar, so I could eat too. Maybe a knitting section with an abundance of yarn and patterns, after all, I would need some form of exercise LOL. But this is heaven so I would not have to worry about exercise really or getting fat etc., as that is all sorted out on arrival. So there it is my heaven, a place to read, knit, drink coffee and eat without getting fat. Fingers crossed I am right!

Dietary Adventures in Narnia

I know, Narnia indeed! But, it would seem like I have stepped into the blessed snowbound place. Why? Well, it would seem that sticking to my diet I have been able to eat really nice things and keep under my calorie count. I decided that it should be around the 1200 mark, with a margin (of error?) taking me to 1500 if I am being a bad boy.

I have cut out milk, which was a shock to the system as I quite literally, live for milk, cannot get enough of it, and tend to drink many pints a day of the lovely creamy full-fat milk. If I have unpasteurised milk, or raw as our American friends call it, I can drink a hell of a lot more, oh, then there is sterilised which is my all time favourite from when I was a kid.

Anyway, I have been keeping track of all that I consume, and I have tried my best to increase my intake of water. I am a bugger for not drinking water, and this is due to the amount of coffee and tea I drink on a daily basis. I am still not drinking enough water if I am honest, but it is a lot more than I have done in the past.

I started at the beginning of the year at 14 stone 7 pounds. I am broad shouldered so carry the weight quite well, but I need to shift my gut. At least I still have a 32″ waist and this has never increased for the past 25 or more years. After weighing myself I have managed to lose a stone (14lb) so far, but there is still a need for lots of improvement. I have been bad the last few days, so back on the diet again and try as I may to avoid the sinner’s delights of cake and sweets (candy).

Both M and I have ended up with colds, so they do say that you have to feed a cold, so that was my excuse to eat cake, ice cream and other delights. The world is too full of nice things, so I don’t mind sinning from time to time, after all, what is life without a little whimsy?

Tips and Beyond

Daily tips for success, business, lifestyles, self-esteem,...

The Prison of Betrayers

Fulfilling a Destiny freely chosen of Poetic Justice

Cosmicknitter

A little about knitting and a lot about nothing...

Backstage Knits

Random knitting thoughts from a theater lover. Hartford, CT

Endless Roaming

Australian Traveller that loves to "Roam" our globe, creator of ENDLESSROAMING.COM sharing the experience through word and photography. Currently residing in my home of Newtown Sydney

Kitty Payne Knits

Knitting pretty in the North East

WOOLLY WEDNESDAY

Crafting and wellbeing

Flavor Smasher

The ultimate place for smashing flavors

Rain Coast Review

Thoughts on life... by Donald B. Wilson

bookerworm

So many books, so little time

rachelmankowitz

The Cricket Pages

knitsbywhit

Exploring the world one fiber at a time

Kidb.co.uk

Inspiring you with fresh original music and amazing mash ups. Mental health/psychology guides and the occasional funny video.

RTW Roxy

A girl travelling around the world on a motorcycle.

The Happy Book Blog

Books,fun,humour,music,happiness and my thoughts.

USA Writes

Simple Blogs