A Weekend Getaway

Decided to go down to the coast and languish on the beach for a weekend getaway. The weekend weather looked promising and the sun was blazing so it will be warm by the coast, won’t it? With chairs, jumper and a scarf, which resembles a blanket, I thought I’d be warm enough. I was correct. Well, sort of. Although blustery, it felt quite cosy watching the waves, reading my new book and relaxing. The warm sunshine on my face was warm and welcome. Not sure I’ve managed to sit on a British beach before, in March? This trip has been quite uplifting because the British winter seems interminable this year and I’m glad of some sea air.

It is invigorating to get out and about rather than succumbing to cabin fever. I have been known to meander to the sea shore, visit art galleries and enjoy the tranquil break by the sea, doing my own thing.

After a couple of hours, I took off and stopped for a cuppa, which tasted of sawdust, then walked to the pier. Why do cafes provide rubbish tea? The place had a negative atmosphere when I walked in. Maybe it was my windswept look that shocked ūüė≥ them. Or maybe the putrid tea.

The brisk walk became suddenly very brisk. Ok, now it felt a bit chilly, so I admired the floral display and pier, then, turned around and went back, speedily, to the warmth of the car. Was I a bit bonkers to visit the coast on a windy, sunny day in March? Well, it felt great. Always feels like a mini holiday when you spend some time away from your normal environment.

Do you do this? If not, perhhaps you should. But pick the cafe stop wisely.

London – Evening out with moments of reflection…

 

Several months ago, five of us had booked to hear a lecture on Gin, History and Chemical Science, at the RSC, Burlington House, London. As always, these evening events are a great excuse for catching up with family, plus enjoying some wine, beer and food in the process.

 

Trafalgar Square

As we strolled from the railway station through Trafalgar Square, towards the Piccadilly Circus area, we were instantaneously struck by the unnatural atmosphere after the appalling atrocities of the afternoon before. Everyone was respectful and subdued. People were observing the pavement art work and some were waiting for the Major of London to arrive and speak at a rally to show solidarity. Everyone seemed hushed, observant, considerate and emotional. Most of the sound seemed to be the helicopters above, police vans and sirens.¬† It certainly wasn’t business as usual in London that evening. I couldn’t help feeling¬†proud to be British, be grateful and take a few moments to think about the individuals injured or who had lost their precious lives so unexpectedly and needlessly.

RSC and Gin Lecture

We met other members of our party at the RSC, and enjoyed a complimentary gin and tonic. Very good gin, made by three chemists, one of them, Professor Andrew Whiting, was giving the talk.

The lecture was excellent and inspirational. Professor Andrew Whiting explained about the history and resurgence of the gin industry and his background. He then spoke about the business and their approach to developing innovative gins with imaginative flavours. He also talked about the marketing and branding approach going from the original Breaking Bad image towards a modern, slick and more wholesome brand, thus attracting a wide customer base. May have to check out the chocolate flavoured gin for future reference!

Afterwards, we went for a quick drink and meal and then caught a train home feeling very tired, happy and appreciative. We all had an enjoyable evening out which gave me an insight to the business of gin, humility and respect.

London – A challenging day out…

A day out in London shouldn’t be complicated. But it was. Very¬†complicated and challenging. My friend and I decided to frequent London for a day trip of art, decadence and fun. Well, what a challenging day it was. Everything that could go¬†wrong, did! However, we have a wonderful friendship and just laughed it off.

We arrived at the railway station and were informed that trains are not going to our planned stop and we would have to alight at London Bridge. Of course, our plans then had to change. We got off at London Bridge and Elaine, who is from London, decided we should get a red bus so “we could see London” which seemed OK, although I always ride on¬†the Tube.

We waited and waited for the bus and then realised it doesn’t travel on Saturdays. We started walking and managed to catch a bus to St. Paul’s near the roof top bar. Got off and went to the roof top bar, Madison. The first lift got stuck at level 1 and then went back to the ground floor. We changed lifts and managed to arrive at the bar. The lift to the bar is glass and as you slowly ascend you see St. Paul’s Cathedral¬†which is magnificent. We ordered wine, sat and admired the view and took copious photos. As we chatted away we¬†realised we should make our way to Tate Britain to see the David Hockney exhibition. This apart from roof top cocktails, was the point of the day.

Yes, you guessed it, we got another bus and because it was St. Patrick’s Day, the powers that be in their wisdom, decided to shut The Strand as we waited for our bus connection. ¬†We got the Tube to Pimlico (via Victoria).

On the way to the Tate, we popped into the restaurant¬†to reserve a table for two, for that evening. ¬†Wonderful views, cocktails and food expected, as researched online. The restaurant was shut for a function. “Sorry.” said to waitress.

We arrived at Tate Britain and bought our tickets for Hockney. The tickets were for 7pm that evening. As it was 3pm, we decided to view the galleries, have dinner and return for the long-awaited exhibition.

We thoroughly enjoyed the gallery and wonderful art then found a pub, which although a bit basic, was OK. The food was reasonable and frankly, I was glad to sit down.

The Hockney exhibition was superb and worth the wait. His work goes from the British avant-garde of the 1950s with phallic shapes and his looming (then) illegal sexuality coming out, literally, in his paintings. The period moves on to mid-late 1960s, with a blaze of blue and vivid green, towards poolside paradise and comfort. This is a fascinating insight into his life in sunny California.

Hockney is fascinated by water, glass and shimmering light. In his art, his version of humanity feels flat among the velvet, sumptuous furniture. A type of painting that has an accidental three-dimensional, sentimental effect which slowly draws you in because the colours are vibrant and stimulating. Although perspective sometimes seems wrong and inferior, the paintings are emotionally magnetic. Well, they are for me and judging by the crowds, for others too. Full of illusion and curiosity and subtle elements such as the white cat facing a window and unflattering features of his friends with a backdrop of clarity and modernistic lines. As you look at the faces of his friends, you wonder how disappointed they must have been by his depiction of them. Not flattering at all.

Overall, we felt the day was worth the difficulties. Life is complicated and you have to make the best of it with a little moaning along the way. Anyway, as I pointed out to my friend, who can remember the days when her father could park his¬†car, along the banks of the Thames, Grosvenor Road, in Pimlico, if you don’t deal with the exacting problems, you will never do anything.

Thank you for reading my piece and don’t forget to press the follow button.

Massive

When I spotted the above word prompt, it made me realise this is a good word to describe how much I enjoy writing my blog. The amount of enjoyment from writing my musings on life is massive. It has become an outlet for my protracted thoughts on life and opinions. Also, I’ve really enjoyed reading and following blogs too. They are an amazing source of information from countries and cultures across the world.

Blogging becomes a way of receiving news and creative endeavour through ideas and perspective. It is interesting to read a blog from someone who has lived a completely different life.

Also, reading other bloggers’ views appears unbiased because although some bloggers receive funds, most don’t and happily express their own views and are a million miles away from traditional popular magazine or newspaper type media.

It is great to have the freedom to write about what you want, when you want. Hopefully, this blog will improve and I’m aiming to make some changes. More details soon…

Cheers, Andyx

#Massive

 

 

 

 

Best before dates on food… #HealthyMarch

This is an interesting survey I spotted on the YouGov website. It relates to how far past a best before date you are willing to go, before throwing a food product away.

A good indication is by smelling and examining a food/drink product before consumption. This, I think, is the old fashioned attitude of “if it doesn’t smell, then the milk is fine.” This is exactly what was said, in my office, recently, and the look of horror on the colleague’s face is something that will stay with me. However, the milk was used and all was, indeed, fine. This maybe a controversial attitude but the amount of food wasted is becoming rediculous and fears and ignorance about the difference of best before and use by dates needs to be resolved.

Do you agree?

The survey reveals 78% of people are happy to eat bread past the best before date and comes out the top food item people are most willing to eat after its best before date. 58% will eat fish that had NOT passed its before date and 56% for chicken. Around 18% of people are willing to eat them a day after the best before date.

Beef and ham come out a little better as 39% will consume on or before the best before date with 19% prepared to eat them a day after the date.

Cheese and eggs are kept longer, with 24% willing to go up to eight days after the best before date for cheese and 16% for eggs.

I’m quite shocked how low the figures are as they surveyed for best before not used by dates. Quite shocking and reveals why there is so much food wasted.

Source: https://yougov.co.uk/news/2017/02/16/best-britain-how-far-past-foods-best-dates-are-peo/?nh=find-solutions.

 

Is there such a thing as intentional living?

I hope you enjoy the mishmash of my thoughts on intentional living!

To me, it is easy to drift through life and do the same thing day in, day out in a habitual way. We have choices in life and it is easy to forget that. After a tragic family event, my aim is to enjoy life. It is possible to do what you like to do. Money comes into it, but you can often do stuff cheaply.

Sometimes it is a good idea to step back and evaluate what you have. Recently, I decided to look at my home and had a massive declutter.  It is easy to keep clutter because you just stop seeing it. Have two huge sacks ready to go as we speak.

Another thing is that I’ve joined a group of walkers for not only exercise but to meet new people and enjoy the company of engaging folk with fresh views on life.

Trying to decide how you can improve life is a good idea rather than just aimlessly carry on with it. Of course, it is tricky if you have children, but can still be done with some effort. If you think about life, read, explore issues and go out and about it becomes a good way to examine your interests, talents and passions.

People often continually moan about things and this is fair enough up to a point. We all do it. However, sometimes it is good to step back, take risks and change things isn’t it? ¬†Turn of the TV and go out and do stuff. Write a book, walk, paint, declutter, decorate, socialise, etc. To answer my question intentional living is possible¬†if you decide to do it. What do you think and what have you done?

Conclusions…

  • Evaluate life and who you spend time with
  • Make some choices
  • Discover your passions and do them
  • Stop complaining
  • Turn TV/Screens off

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow, if you like my musings.

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What is intentional living?

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What does intentional living mean? It is about finding meaning in what you do with your life and embracing the moment, isn’t it?

One of my aims for this year is to meet new people. It is simple to drift through life and not do anything challenging¬†and trust me, meeting and speaking to people I¬†don’t know, is as challenging as it gets. ¬†It is easy to socialise with a handful of friends and talk about the same things. So I thought I might like to change this.

On Saturday, I met up with a walking group for not only their monthly walk, but a pub lunch too. We met at an agreed place and then drove to the pub to park the cars.  As soon as I arrived, I immediately felt at home with the other people. They were friendly, engaging and interested.

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We had a lovely walk around the English countryside and happily admired various views, talked about all sorts of things including jobs, village affairs, fraud, nutrition, health, theatre and of course, walking.

I must say, they were an extremely friendly bunch of people and I was glad I spent my morning with them. It goes to show that if you make an effort to go out and about, it pays off. I enjoyed the walk, but more importantly, enjoyed discussing and debating different issues. Of course, I enjoyed a pint and a steak in the pub too. Fantastic.

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