Friday, 22 October 2010

It's a Jungle Out There!

We have a new pet, of sorts, here at the Yellow House. As you will see below, a new friend has decided that he or she wishes to hang out with Dori and Brit Boy!

I took these pics the other day through our back window. Spidey has taken to sitting there on his/her web during the day and soaking up what little bit of sunshine that we get. In fact, Spidey even decided to eat with us a few days back as I looked out on my way to the kitchen and saw that an unfortunate fly had been captured and was in the process of being bound up before becoming our friend’s teatime treat :-) Having done a little bit of research – ie I googled it – I believe that our new lodger is a Cross Spider, by which I mean that is the type of spider, not that he/she is particularly peeved! Apparently, despite appearances to the contrary, they are harmless creatures – unless you happen to be a fly I guess.

Spidey isn’t the only visitor we get in our back garden. During the all too brief summer, we had an army of butterflies who graced us with their presence, as well as a battalion of wasps (yellowjackets) who were somewhat less welcome! We also have a pair of blackbirds who like to visit us, again quite often at meal times, and pick at the grubs and worms outside as we feast on something a little more tasty inside. Dori was also “lucky” enough to see a snake slithering its way around our garden shed a couple of years back. Snakes aren’t exactly common here, so that was quite an unexpected find!

So, the Yellow House garden has quite a little menagerie building up, and apparently that now includes a neighbour’s cat who we have just seen in our garden for the very first time. It is starting to sound a lot like a song I remember....

Thursday, 14 October 2010

A Tale of Two Cathedrals

As I mentioned in my previous post, it was my birthday last week. It was also my mum’s birthday on the same day - strange how that happens every year! :-) For her gift from us this year, we decided instead of giving her something that would probably be put away in a cupboard somewhere never to be seen again, or that would be used up in 5 minutes and forgotten about, we would take her out for a day sometime. And so, as the weather was so good at the start of this week, we went for a little day-trip.

When my mother was a young child, during World War II, she would often spend some of her holidays in Coventry, staying with some distant relatives. She loved these vacations, I guess because the city was so different to the rural life she was used to. It was on one of these visits that her “aunt” took her to see what remained of the recently bombed Coventry Cathedral. During the night of November 14, 1940 the whole city of Coventry had been decimated by a Luftwaffe bombing raid, and the cathedral did not escape from the punishment. Several bombs hit the cathedral and it burned along with a lot of the surrounding city.

My mum has very vivid memories of the sights she saw when she was taken down there sometime afterwards, and of the overpowering smell that still lingered in the air. But, she had never been back since to see either the remains of the bombed cathedral again, or the newly erected cathedral that was built alongside it. So, Coventry was our destination this week!

The new cathedral was designed by Sir Basil Spence and completed in 1962. Although there was some opposition at the time to its modern design, the cathedral is now very well loved, and was voted as Britain’s favourite 20th century building in a national poll. It certainly is an amazing place, and Dori has taken some wonderful pictures which I believe she will be sharing with you sometime soon when she returns to the bloggy world :-) In the meantime, here are a few snaps that I took with my mobile phone that will give you a little idea of what this house of worship is like.

The old....

..and the new...

The tapestry that you can see behind the altar is apparently the largest in the world, measuring 74'8" by 38' and was made in just one piece by Graham Sutherland. The stained glass windows are stunning, and my pictures don't even vaguely do them justice. As we had set off early, we were lucky enough to have the new cathedral almost to ourselves for a few minutes before a group of schoolchildren arrived, and it was an amazing experience to be so peaceful in that huge space.

It was a great day out, and a long-held ambition fulfilled for my mum.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Birthdays and So Much More

For Dori and me, this last weekend marks the start of a holiday season that goes all the way through to next spring.

It began with my birthday, which I celebrated by watching Team Europe squeak a victory in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Wales. As I foretold in my last post, the weather left a lot to be desired for much of the competition, only to end with a gloriously sunny day on Monday as the contest entered an extra day for the first time in its history. To say this year’s event was close would be a massive understatement, with every single match counting towards the final outcome. If just one individual match had gone from a Europe win to being halved, or from being halved to a US win then the American team would have been flying home with the Ryder Cup yesterday.

The tie ebbed and flowed considerably over the course of the 4 days, with Europe starting well only for the US to gain the upper hand, and then Europe fighting back with a stunning third session of games to take a commanding lead into the singles matches. But all was not done and dusted, and the Americans made a tremendous effort to claw their way back into the contest and level the scores with just one match left on the course. The pressure on those two final players must have been immense and it was US Open champion Graeme McDowell who managed to hold his nerve better and secure the win for Team Europe. Yet again the Ryder Cup produced sporting excellence and drama in equal measures and I am already looking forward to the next staging of the event, which will be at Medinah Country Club, Illinois in 2012.

Aside from the golf, we also went out for a meal together with my Mum, who celebrates her birthday on the same day as me. The food was delicious and we all had a very pleasant time. It was a good weekend.

But, as I was saying, this is the start of our holiday season. Being from two different places, as I have mentioned here before, means that we get to celebrate even more holidays than most people. Starting with my birthday, we then have Halloween, Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Dori’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, Pancake Day, Mothers Day, St George’s Day, Easter and our wedding anniversary – and no doubt I’ve forgotten one or two in there :-) And by the time we have gone through all of it will be time to start looking ahead to next summer! Time to get buying cards methinks!!
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