Advent 18: The Royals

royal-jumpers

At 3pm on Christmas Day each year, the majority of British citizens switch on BBC TV to listen to The Queen’s Speech.

There will be clips of the Royals and what they did throughout the year; as well as a topic which will be the focal point of what the Nation will focus on in the coming year. This could be an emphasis on: older people who live on their own, disabled veteran servicemen and women, war and our defences, unity of faiths, what is a Christian? etc.

However the speech is really commissioned by the Prime Minister for the Government of the day. People watch The Queen intensely to see if there is a flicker of approval or disapproval in her manner while delivering the words.

For instance, in her last speech at the re-opening of Parliament in May 2016, it was virtually a list from Cameron’s Conservative Party manifesto and The Queen looked very miserable. She just looked down and read it off the paper: “Proposals will be brought forward for a British Bill of Rights. My ministers will uphold the sovereignty of Parliament and the primacy of the House of Commons…”

The programme ends with a rousing anthem of God Save The Queen and though I know of many who will be crashed out and snoring on the sofa by this time on the 25th of December, there will be others standing up and raising their glasses.

royal-jumpers-selfie
Santa took this selfie but where did he go?  The Royals as depicted by Madame Tussauds waxworks in London

 

Advent 12: Illuminations

p1180649
The Titanic leaving Dock Gate 4, Southampton

p1180671Southampton is not usually forthcoming on Christmas lights as much as other cities – What with the Christmas market and so many lights from shops, ships and offices – But, to open up a leisure area for Christmas at West Quay malls this year, a stunning loop of 7-minute, light and sound illuminations ran on our Old Town Wall at the weekend.

p1180654

p1180656Depicted, was the history of Southampton’s port, which focused on departures of: Henry V troops leaving for Agincourt, The Mayflower with Pilgrims preparing for America, The Titanic leaving for New York, boats and planes in WW2 manoeuvres, J-Class yachts, powerboats, hovercraft, container-ships and so on.

Do you have any festive lights where you are?

p1180398
Southampton’s city square

Cancer Blanket Tree

p1170044
Rows and rows of stitches – a repetitive exercise for the brain
p1170043
Tree wrapped in a Cancer blanket

I have always been a bad knitter and hate repetitive tasks; I have always been envious of yarn-bombers.

To help recover from gaps in my memory ‘chemo brain’, I was advised to keep doing repetitive tasks, until I had mastered them, then take up another task as a way of re-training my brain.

I bought wool oddments and decided to knit a blanket while watching television. I had to relearn from scratch. I cannot tell you how many stitches I dropped and how much unravelling I needed to do. But it worked – I got it right and can knit better now than before my chemo treatment. I had visions of my ‘Cancer Blanket’ becoming some sort of heir-loom.

p1140864
I got the idea from this little warmer in Vienna when I visited in January this year.

I loved the blanket and felt a great sense of achievement, but alas, everyone else in my family hated it. So, as part of the dejunking, when deciding whether to donate it to the charity shop or put it straight in the bin, I recalled a blanket that I took a snap of in Vienna. It wasn’t your usual yarnstormer – it was  as if the crafter wanted to warm up a cold building by wrapping a blanket around a thigh of one of its columns.

But it gave me the idea. I took my blanket and wrapped it around a sad tree I knew of near a corner shop where passers-by continually dump their rubbish – cigarette packets, beer and wine bottles, unwanted take-aways, broken umbrellas and the occasional mattress.

Oddly enough the area was recently cleaned, but the blanket was left. Since then people have stopped throwing their rubbish there.

I am now on sailing knots.

p1180226
Dumped mattress and square of hardboard and naked tree

UPDATE 28th October 2016:

The blanket has now been removed. People have been dumping their rubbish again including a mattress.

 

 

WPC: Frame

When I saw that the weekly WordPress Photo Challenge this week was Frame (click to take part or see others), I realised that framing a photo was a natural past-time for me taking my routine snaps. So here are 15 from my media library (click on to enlarge or see captions)

P1130274
From outside looking inside a tent
IMG_6850
From inside looking outside a tent
P1160670
Reality reflected in a frame
P1130048
A reflection framed with reality
P1130214
From outside looking inside a vehicle window
P1130245
From inside looking outside a vehicle window
P1110588
A frame of nature
P1150233
A frame of concrete
P1100784
A frame of a house tunnel
P1130062
Framed construction
P1150036
Framed by a stairwell

 

Zebra Go

P1160642
Print Primary Zebra contrasts with Southampton’s freshly cleaned Bargate

While the world plays Pokemon-Go – the people in Southampton are walking around and searching for painted zebras. A few years ago it was rhinos in collaboration with Marwell Zoo. It was such a success that we now have these zebras with sponsored themes.

P1160652
Judge Zebra Below Bar – with reference to when Southampton’s Bargate was once a court.

So here are some photos of a few of my favourites – I must confess I did not take the details of all of them – one of the best bloggers for these is on the WP site “I Walk Alone” so seek her out for some lovely walks.

P1160647
The Wheels on the Bus Zebra en-route from West Quay shopping centre
P1160999
Abbey Road Zebra by Watts Park entrance

Vandals have stolen some of them; one also with a Beatles theme, named Ticket to Ride featuring buses, was found floating along the River Itchen and rescued by a youth sailing team.

P1160658
A beautiful Ocean Zebra in St Michael’s Square
P1170023
Jigsaw Zebra. You never know who will be dropping by while you are at a Mettricks having coffee in Southampton.
P1160660
Sharknado Zebra outside the old town walls at Western Esplanade
P1160989
Foxy Zebra in front of Southampton Guildhall

For more zebra photos and an interesting article from a ‘crazy’ tourist who flew to Southampton on a day trip click: here

For an avid walker who seems to be getting them all (though you might need to register on her site) – I Walk Alone – click: here

We are here..

somme
WWI soldiers at IKEA Southampton posted on twitter and facebook with the hashtag “WeAreHere”

Today a number of young men in WWI uniforms walked about the town centre in Southampton. If approached, each soldier handed out a calling card with a name of a local solider who had died on the Somme in 1916.

I was moved to tears by this powerful piece of performance art of ‘soldier ghosts’. It was organised by the 1418 Now group using hundreds of volunteer actors in shopping centres and stations all over Britain, to mark the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

We will remember them.

For more click here

6 Word Story Challenge: Supernatural

 

Vienna tomb 2016 © Southampton Old Lady
Vienna tomb 2016 © Southampton Old Lady m

 

 

Guided in darkness through devil’s fen

To take part or see others who have taken part in this week’s 6 word story challenge visit: https://nicolaauckland.wordpress.com/2016/02/20/sometimes-stellar-storyteller-six-word-story-challenge-22/