The fun of Quizzing

February 27th, 2012

For a while now I’ve been going along to a monthly quiz at my local pub with a friend, her husband and her daughter. It’s been quite an interesting experience!

I’m quite good at general knowledge, but I haven’t really got any specialist subjects. I don’t know much about sport, films, chemistry and lots of other things. I do enjoy listening to and watching quizzes on radio and television and you pick up interesting facts that way.

My friend and her husband are retired librarians, and so have some specialised knowledge, and their daughter being younger is good at pop music, films and actors.

So altogether I think we make a good team. My friend’s husband especially seems to know a lot about everything and has an amazing memory, so we are usually ahead of the other teams by half time.

Then we have a problem! There’s always some sort of specialist round. A sheet of terrible photos of actors or obscure car emblems to be identified. Last night we had to name each of the properties and other things – in the correct order – on a Monopoly Board!!

We looked at it and felt our 5 1/2 point lead slipping away! It’s years since I’ve played Monopoly. But even if you play it regularly, would you remember the exact order of everything on the board?

We just had to guess, and amazingly we managed to get 5 out of 39!! Our only competitor got 21 out of 39. I don’t know how they managed to do that!

There were a few more rounds where we managed to pull back some points but we ended up losing by six points. I did wonder if it was worth learning what’s on a Monopoly Board, but when is it likely to crop up again!!?

If you’re trying to remember what it looks like, this will jog your memory…..

Hearts on display

February 14th, 2012

No, not images of open heart surgery, but Valentine’s Day.

I’ve been amazed at the number of shops that have had Valentine displays in their windows since the middle of January. I’ve never noticed it before. Perhaps it’s as a result of the economic recession that they’re having to work harder to get customers in through their doors.

It used to be just Valentine cards on sale in card shops. Now it seems that every shop is selling something heart shaped and filling their windows with all sorts of red and pink hearts – table confetti, little plaques, cake tins and cases, mugs, tea towels and lots of other things with hearts on them.

I think the displays are pretty and I’ve enjoyed looking at them, and it’s given me some good photo opportunities!

When all the hearts are taken out tomorrow, I wonder if they’ll be replaced by chicks, fluffly bunnies and chocolate eggs?

Valentine collection

Cold weather and hot food

February 13th, 2012

Thankfully the weather has warmed up a few degrees today. Last week it was really cold.

I spent most of the week in the lounge which was a little bit warmer than the rest of the house. It was so cold in the kitchen that I couldn’t stay in it for long. I had to put on an extra jumper and quickly get some food or make a cup of tea.

It’s a good thing that since I was made redundant last December, I’ve got into cooking. I’ve been making stews and casseroles in the slow cooker, and cakes and baked apples and roast joints in the oven. I like to fill up the oven when it’s on which meant that I had extra portions to put in the freezer.

So when the kitchen was too cold to stay in, I could get some already cooked food out of the freezer, defrost and heat it in the microwave and have a nourishing, hot meal to help fend off the effects of the cold weather.

Private phonecalls

February 4th, 2012

When you phone someone, do you expect your phonecall to be private?

I do. When I’m talking to a friend on the phone, I’m talking as though it was just me and that friend on our own in a room. I might want to say personal or private things that I wouldn’t want to say in the middle of a crowded room.

I’ve discovered that this isn’t always the case. There are two people that I regularly talk to on the phone who take my call on speakerphone without warning me that this is what they’re doing. I was horrified when I found out. I wondered what I had previously said that was private, and who had heard it! I couldn’t believe that had happened without the courtesy of a warning.

I only found out because I happened to be with both those people while they were on the phone to someone else.

I was at my friend’s house when another friend phoned her. It was awful! I could hear everything the lady on the phone was saying, and I could tell from the way she was speaking that she thought that her conversation was private. It was excruciatingly embarrassing.

I tried to talk to my friend about the problem and say that she needed to warn people if their conversation isn’t private, but she just said that she can hear better if the phone is on speakerphone and didn’t seem to understand my point of view at all.

I don’t know what to do about it. I’ll never remember that I need to check if anyone’s listening before I talk to her. I could email her instead, but like many married ladies, she doesn’t have an email address of her own but uses her husband’s. So anything I email her, he can read as well.

Am I a bit strange, or would having a private conversation overheard make anyone uncomfortable?

Shopping strategy

January 28th, 2012

My favourite supermarket, the one I visit most often, has recently started giving me vouchers.

Whatever I buy, when my receipt churns out of the till, it’s joined by a £2 off voucher. I have to spend £20 in one go and it has to be used within a week.

£20 is quite a lot to spend in one go when I’m trying to watch what I spend, and it would be tempting to make up the £20 with things I’d like but don’t need.

Like most supermarkets, this one has regular special offers that change every week or two. So my new shopping strategy is to visit the shop once a week within the date of the voucher, remember to take some Bags For Life and park the car as near as I can, then I go round the shop looking at all the Buy One Get One Free, Buy One Get One Half Price, Half Price and other offers.

This way I can make up the £20 without too much difficulty, and I’m not only getting most things at offer prices, but an extra 10% as well.

I usually allow myself one treat. This week it was a punnet of grapes that had been £4 and were half price. Still a bit expensive, but I love eating them with a bit of cheese and some water biscuits.

I’m pleased with my new shopping method. All I need now is for the supermarket to carry on giving me a £2 off voucher every time I go to the till!

Potato Peel Pie

January 25th, 2012

I was recently invited to join a Book Club. It was something new to me, but it sounded fun.

I read on average one or two books a week, and lately I’ve been having difficulty finding something that I want to read that I haven’t read already. So to have a book suggested to me seemed like a good idea.

The first book choice was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows. I thought it was a very strange title but of course as I read the book, the title made sense. This is what the book is about….

January 1946: writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name. (Taken from the book’s website)

This was the first novel I had come across that was written entirely in letter form, know as an Epistolary novel. Apparently that’s how novels developed.

I very much enjoyed the book and learnt things about life under German occupation that I didn’t know and hadn’t imagined.

It was fun discussing the book at the Book Club meeting and together we chose the next book to read. I’ve ordered a copy and I’m waiting for the postman to arrive with it. This time I’m going to have a notebook nearby and jot down my thoughts as I read.

Waning Moon with craters

January 15th, 2012

Waning Moon

I was hoping to be able to get a shot of the full Moon this month. We’d had lots of clear skies, so I thought there was a good chance.

I spotted it as soon as it started rising. It looked enormous and very orange, a huge fiery ball sitting on the roof of a house. Guess what! As soon as I got my camera out, it clouded over! I waited and waited hoping that the clouds would clear, but after half an hour, I gave up disappointed.

It was four days later that the temperature dropped and the sky was clear and I was able to take this shot of the waning Moon at 76% illumination. I love the way the craters show up when the sun is no longer shining full on them.

Crescent Moon

December 28th, 2011

Crescent Moon

I like watching the Moon. I meant to go out around lunchtime today to see if I could see it and forgot. It was tea time when I remembered. I opened the front door, and there it was! I didn’t even have to look for it.

I have a challenge with a friend to see who can see it first each month when it becomes visible a couple of days after the New Moon. As soon as I saw it, I sent him an email. I thought I had ‘won’ this time as I hadn’t heard from him that he’d seen it.

His reply pointed me to his blog where he has added a new page called ‘Moonspotting’. There he had logged seeing it nearly two hours before me!! Nevermind, I might win next month!

Persistance pays off

December 20th, 2011

For quite a while I’ve been entering a daily competition on a particular website. I do it at some time during the day when I open all the other sites, forums etc that I look at daily.

In the run up to Christmas, they also have an Advent calendar competition which is fun. There are some shelves filled with presents, and each day the right one is sparkling with stars. You log in, click on the beautifully wrapped gift, and then the ribbon undoes itself, the paper unwraps and there it is – empty! They say, ‘Sorry you haven’t won. Try again tomorrow’

But today was different! When the present unwrapped itself, there was something inside – I’d won!!

How exciting! An early Christmas present! I’ve won a selection of Belvoir fruit cordials. They sound delicious! I like cordials, especially in the summer. They’re lovely and refreshing. I’d noticed these before and thought how nice they looked but have never seen any in the shops. Now I’ll be able to try them!

I’m feeling Christmassy

December 17th, 2011

This morning I got the bus into my local town. It was very cold, so I was dressed in my long coat, 2 scarves, a furry hat, two pairs of gloves – and my Christmas bauble earrings.

I was meeting a group of people to go Carol singing. I recognised them easily as most of them were wearing Christmas hats or tinsel.

Our first venue was at the Town Hall where a trader’s Christmas market was being held. The organiser had invited us to come along. We went up onto the stage, which seemed very high up, and sang quite a few carols including some special requests. It made me feel very Christmassy.

Then it was out into the cold where we sang in the street. Then on to some old people’s bungalows which was a bit of a walk, but worth it as people came out to listen.

By the time we had finished, my feet were like blocks of ice!

I’d had a quick look round the trader’s Christmas market and had seen some handmade heat packs that you heat in the microwave. These ones were different because they were filled with cherry stones instead of wheat. They can be washed, can be frozen and stay hot longer. I decided that my feet deserved one and I’m looking forward to trying it out.