Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
A picture speaks a thousand words. I bet you wouldn't have known what a wheel-barrow thingy is without this picture!
My heart goes out to these 2 guys - waiting all day, and then having to do such hard work so late on a bank holiday Friday.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Hopefully the sun will shine tomorrow.
PS: got a new skip again today! This is skip #4.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Kevin McGrath (that's our builder) and his team are certainly working hard. Let's hope the weather holds!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
And Willow in the middle of all of this, you may be wondering?
Well, Willow was quite distressed on the first day. The only place he found safe was the middle of the stairs. But since then, he's been doing well. He goes out first thing in the morning, and again after the builders have left, to inspect every new hole that's been dug. And he sleeps in a box or on our bed or on the sofa for the rest of the time.
A few weeks ago, we moved his sleeping quarters to the front bedroom, in anticipation of this. So, he has a quiet room, which he can retreat to when the builders are around. His food is there too, and the water is in my bath. So, he won't be disturbed too much when the builders knock the kitchen wall through.
One strange thing is that he has completely abandonned his seat downstairs since we moved it to a different corner of the sitting room. We only moved it one metre, but it's like that seat doesn't exist for him anymore.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
But I wanted to say that Kevin's team left everything in excellent order for the weekend. We had asked Kevin to make sure that the hole was covered and he offered to bring some barriers to keep the neighbours' kids safe. And he delivered - as a project manager, I know that these things don't happen on their own. Someone had to think about it, organise it, get materials in the right place and the right time, and give instructions for it to be done. Good work!
Have a look at it all. It will be hard to part with some of this (we're keeping the lacquered bowls):
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Hopefully, this is not a sign of things to come. We had such a good start, and we both had a good feeling about Kevin. He came highly recommended, and he's given us a very good impression so far. But if his team only work on our site 2 or 3 days a week, it's going to take a long time!
The contract we have is for the job to be completed in 14 weeks, but Kevin told us last week he would hope to be done in 8 to 10 weeks. Hopefully it won't be more than that.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I went to a customer for 3 hours, and when I came back, the wall between us and our neighbours was gone (it will be rebuilt at a later stage).
And this one is for all you boys who like diggers!
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
- K-Pax - With Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges. We'd seen a bit of it before, it must have been on a flight. Anyways, it was on the telly, and we watched it all. It's a bit intriguing (K-Pax is the planet where Kevin Spacey is from, or is it? He is in a mental asylum, and his psychiatrist doesn't know what to believe anymore), but it's got a strong heart of a story.
- Opal Dream - This is probably a movie we would not have noticed if we hadn't just been back from Australia. Opal Dream is the story of a family in the heart of Australia, a small place where opal mining is the main activity. The little girl has 2 imaginary friends, who disappear in a mining incident, and she is very upset. As she gets quite ill with grief, her older brother (who is about 10) sets out to help her and find out what happened to them.
- Blood Diamond - Leonardo DiCaprio has grown into a fine man and a fine actor. Even in this role, he still looks a little bit boyish, but what a performance. A gruesome story - the diamond trade and its links to the plight of children soldiers in Africa is not an easy subject, but this movie managed to tell the story with honesty while at the same time appealing to those who just want a good action move.
- Curse of the Golden Flower - A Chinese movie telling the story of an empress trying to fight off her emperor's plot to poison her. And the emperor's 3 sons' lives dominated by their father, and how they deal with it. Big production. Fabulous sets and costumes. And quite a few twists. Unlike a lot of the Chinese movies I've seen so far, this one doesn't have many Kung Fu type fighting scenes. Check out the website's photo gallery for a taste of the beautiful colours, costumes, sets and scenes.
More to come... You'll have to wait. Dinner's ready!
Friday, May 16, 2008
I read this in a very interesting article in Newsweek, by Fareed Zakaria. He is the editor of the International edition. I love his political analysis and writing. To me, he talks pure sense, and it is for his balanced view of America and the World that I read Newsweek. I hope they show his articles in the US edition too.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
I think the easiest thing is to ignore the bad movies and just talk about the good ones! The toughest thing would be to remember back to January, but I have kept a record of my life in this gorgeous little Hello Kitty diary that Véronique sent me, so I just need to flick back through colourful pages strewn with little birds, bees, flowers and Hello Kitties!
OK - Let's go:
- War of the Worlds - I watched it. The cinematography was good, but I won't be watching it again. Tom Cruise is just not tall enough!
- Syriana - I reviewed this back in January, I think. One of the best movies I've seen. Hard to follow what's going on and who is who, but it makes you think about what makes the world go round (and it's not Love!).
- 300 - really bad. Don't waste your time watching this movie. Life is too short.
- Good Night and Good Luck - another George Clooney movie. Again, excellent. Wonderful to see men fighting for what's right and moral.
- No country for old men - this is the latest Cohen Brothers movie. A lot of blood, a lot of gruesome deaths, but very entertaining all the same. Darker than previous Cohen Brothers movies.
- Atonement - saw this one on the plane to Australia, so maybe not the best circumstances. While it was quite faithful to the book and it played out the different interpretations of the key scenes really cleverly, it didn't really work for me. I didn't like Keira Knightley in it - I felt she was holding herself too stiff throughout, with her elbows pulled back all the time. But the sound was really bad, so maybe I'm being unkind.
- A few really bad ones: Martian Child and Eye of the Dolphin, both seen on flights where there was no choice of movie channel, so we watched them, but it was painful!
- The next three, we saw on the flight back from Sydney to Heathrow - they were great movies that made the journey shorter:
- Juno - gorgeous, funny movie about teenage pregnancy.
- Michael Clayton - George Clooney at his best, and Tilda Swinton too. I've loved Tilda Swinton as an actress since Orlando (I can't believe that movie was made in 1992!). Plenty of intrigue, double dealing, and in the end, again, a very moral character at the centre of it all.
- Le scaphandre et le papillon - a French movie about the editor of Elle magazine, who suffers a major stroke and can only communicate by opening and closing his eyelid. I did cry at the end of this one. It's very beautiful and very sad, but shows the strength of the human spirit.
- A Fish Called Wanda - it was showing on the telly again, and I laughed as much this time as the last (in 1988). John Cleese, Michael Palin, Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline are hilarious.
This brings us to the 13th of March. I've got as many movies to tell you about again, but that will be for another day.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
You're going to see plenty of Australia/New Zealand-inspired paintings over the next while! This one is a view of the desert near Uluru, just after sunset. It took about 20 layers of watercolours to achieve the effect I wanted. I'm quite pleased with the result!
Sunday, May 04, 2008
On Thursday, Mary called me to say she was going to see the seals at Dun Laoghaire with Cormac on Friday morning and would Laura like to come along? Laura was delighted, of course, and we had a fantastic time! There were 5 or 6 seals hanging about at one of the jetties inside Dun Laoghaire harbour, where fishing boats bring their loot. The people in the fish shop at the end of the jetty were more than happy to give us a big bowl with fish bits (guts, heads, whole skeletons without the filets, and all sorts of gory things!), and Cormac and Laura, after a slightly hesitant start, had a ball throwing these bits at the seals, who had their best meal of the day, I'd say.
Besides feeding the seals, the kids had much fun opening and closing the mouths of monkfish and other strange fishes.
A great day was had by all. Thank you, Mary!
The recipe was from Aine McAteer's book, of course, my culinary bible! It was a big success, particularly with Brendan. We used spelt flour and rice flour, and all healthy ingredients. The mix had a perfect consistency - it was easy to spoon it on the baking tray, where it settled nicely, and it lifted perfectly in the oven.
Brendan is asking for more already!