Monday, 19 September 2011

Arrangements for the School Fair (July)

Jamie's school's summer fair came around again, and I made some flower arrangements for them - 2 fresh and 2 artificial - I don't know who won any of them this year but here are some pictures of them.  I didn't have a lot of materials to work with but did the best I could with some basic resources.  Very very simple all around designs - the first two are the artificial and the second two the fresh.

I had quite a few gerbera left but nothing else so I made some very minimalist modern designs for home with the leftovers.


Reading challenge  2 of 16  - currently reading Kidnapped and Other Dispatches by Alan Johnston

Book Review - The Death Chamber by Sarah Rayne

Beware Spoilers

Wow, I really could not put this book down, which is why almost nothing at all has been done for 2 days!!  This is one of the best books I've read in some time and will eagerly be reading the other books by Sarah Rayne - although I may have to save them for holiday times because if they are as good as this one nothing will get done again!!

The story is based around Calvary Gaol, just on the edge of the Lake District which was for some time the execution prison for the north of England.  Now disused Georgina Grey heads to Thornbeck to find out more about her great grandfather Walter Kane and to play her part in the winding up of the Caradoc Society into Psychic research to which Walter had left a bequest.  Walter was the Doctor at Calvary Gaol in the 1930's and Georgina get drawn into the story of Walter and the Gaol.  Also interested in Calvary is TV film maker Chad Ingram and his team who are planning on carrying out experiments in the Gaols execution suite.

Sarah Rayne has woven a complex set of stories together with great ease making it an enthralling experience for the reader to jump between the stories of Lewis Caradoc and Nicholas O'Kane in 1917, to Walter, Neville Fremlin and Elizabeth Molland in the 1930's and Georgina, Chad and Vincent Meade in present day Cumbria.  Rayne has given us a real sense of what the jail must have been like and drawn some characters which it is so easy to like and admire and others which are well drawn in their viscious natures or vanity.  She has created a plot with some amazing twists and turns, one or two I had an inkling may have been coming and others which hit me like a sledgehammer.  A brilliant book and I really can't wait to read more of her work.

Currently reading Kidnapped and other dispatches by Alan Johnson

Twycross Zoo

Twycross Zoo (visited in July)
Our closest relative in the ape world

Daddy Gorilla on Patrol
One of our first jaunts of the summer holidays was a trip to Twycross Zoo, it has been on our to do list for some time.  The first revelation was how easy it is to get to, for us just a trip straight up the A5 - just about an hour from MK.  The other bonus is that it is only a couple of miles from Bosworth Battlefiled Site so there is a full day of activities within a short distance.  We've been to Bosworth before and there is about an hour and a half of activity to do there.
Baby Meerkat

Sleeping Prarie Dogs
Twycross Zoo is a centre for primates, which made it very appealing as we were going to see everything from the biggest apes to the tiny tamarinds and primates are so very appealing.  Easy to find and lots of parking, we had also prepared a lovely picnic and so had our elevenses when we arrived and then packed our lunch to enjoy whilst we were walking around.  A quick visit to the loo on arrival presented an unusual treat which was leaf ants behind glass near the hand basins - watching them doing their work, whilst washing hands was amazing.
Giant tortoise - this picture in no way indicates its size

Emperor Tamarind
HUGE sea lion
We saw a variety of primates the Orang Utan, Chimps, Gibbons, Bonobo (our nearest relative!) and the magnificent Gorilla, Lemurs, monkeys, marmosets and tamarinds.

An unusual ape - the Jamie!!

The elephant area is worth a wander as it is a recreation of their natural home in Sri Lanka.  We saw a variety of other animals - Mike was blown away by the Giraffes, I liked the Dholes (similar to our fox but the Asian equivalent), the meerkats and prairie dogs were popular with us all too.  Sadly we didn't see the Snow Leopard as it was pretty warm and we think he didn't want to come out!!
Love the meerkats

Do the Funky Gibbon

These made Jamie jump as they jumped out of the undergrowth near him!!

Baby Gorilla

A sleeping Dhole
There were also one or two big surprises such as the giant tortoise and the male sea lion which was quite simply enormous and most certainly not to be messed with and the real treat of the day was the baby gorilla with its Mum whilst Dad was on patrol.  A brilliant day.

Currently reading Kidnapped and Other Dispatches by Alan Johnson
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