Three Things Thursday

I have been bitterly chastised for my mispronunciations & spellings. Most of them, I’m sure are a ‘North American’ result, but there are some that I can’t help thinking ‘maybe it’s just me?’ Please feel free to comment so that the raging debates may continue.

  • Adidas, Nike, Puma. Adham recently told me (rather matter-of-fact) that in the UK & in general it is pronounced Ahh-di-DAAHS, not Ahh-DEE-dus. I was pretty adamant that he was wrong. Turns, out I was wrong. The emphasis is on the last syllable. North America what have we been doing all this time!? Our discussion carried over to N-ike or Ni-key? The UK is a staunch believer in the prior, while in fact the correct pronunciation is the latter. I won that round. But then Poo-ma or Pew-ma? We were divided on that, mostly because we are both right depending on which continent you’re on.

 

  • Data. Is it DAY-tah or DAH-tah? I just happened to use the word database (DAH-tah-base) in the office & things got real quiet. “What are you doing? ‘DAH-tah-base?’ We say ‘DAY-tah-base’ over here. Is that how you say it in Canada?” …I…I don’t know. Is it? I’ve never been conscious of saying that word, but now I feel like I have to think about it before I do. I’ve noticed that I switch back & forth between the two pronunciations, depending on the use of the word, which seems a bit odd, even by my standards.

 

  • Okay, so writing-wise I employ the ‘British’ use of the letter ‘u’ in words such as ‘favour,’ ‘colour,’ ‘neighbour.’ I think that’s a pretty standard thing through-out Canada. But, it was recently pointed out to me that I use the American ‘z’ (I say ‘zed’) instead of the British ‘s’ in words such as ‘realize,’ & ‘stabilize.’  I’m honestly questioning whether this was taught in schools growing up or if this was something that I’ve just developed over time. I find it a bit odd, that I’d be utilizing (see? there we go with the ‘z’) both American & British ways of spelling. What were we taught in school? Surely they wouldn’t employ both. You’d think there would be more consistency. Everything I’ve ever known has been a sham!

 

  • How do you eat an apple? Someone once told me I ate apples ‘funny.’ When I mentioned this to a totally different person, they agreed with the first person. When I eat an apple I eat around it in a circle, starting from the top, down to the bottom. I’ll bite into the top, then continue in a clock-wise or anti-clockwise fashion along the top before moving down to the next level. I’m guessing this has nothing to do with country of origin & more to do with me.

 

Oh ho! You may have noticed I’ve thrown in a cheeky four things! Well spotted. I feel like point 2 falls in line with point 1, being that they’re both dealing with pronunciation. So, you know.

 

A Weekend Jaunt To Grantham

I (some-what) recently went to Grantham, in Lincolnshire, about 1.5 hours North of Leicester. There is a stately home nearby – Belton House – & I was due for a National Trust visit.

As a town, Grantham itself is pretty unremarkable. I arrived earlier than I needed to, because I wanted to have a wander around the place; as it was Easter weekend, many places were closed or shut at bizarre times. And to be honest there is not a whole lot to see in the town itself. Grantham would make a good base if you were travelling around to the outskirts, as there are several points of interest.

The tourist information centre was just inside some building, which looked to be the local theatre. And it was just pamphlets on the wall. There were a lot of pamphlets for places that were no where near Grantham. There were also no pamphlets for Belton House, which I found surprising since it’s boasted as one of Grantham’s ‘nearby’ attractions.

The museum was small but it was trying really hard, so I give it that. And I did learn some things, such as: Margaret Thatcher was born in Grantham; Sir Isaac Newton was born just outside of & educated in Grantham; the first woman police officer in the UK – Edith Smith – was from Grantham.

In my ambling took me to:

  • The building where Newton went to school.
  • The Beehive Inn, which dates back to the early 1800s & has a ‘living sign’ – a real beehive with bees.
  • St. Wulfram’s Church, which has the highest spire of any medieval church in the UK, at 282 feet. It was closed, so I couldn’t go in.
  • Margaret Thatcher’s birthplace which is now a chiropractor’s office.

My B&B – The Red House – was excellent value for money. I had a really spacious basement room, with a really good mattress. There was an Asda just down the road, so I was able to pick up some food-to-go for dinner & eat in the comfort of my room while watching nature documentaries on the telly.

So…it’s now Easter Sunday & nothing is open. And I did not take that into account. I wanted to pick up a few bits for dinner before heading to Belton House. I should have done that yesterday because Asda is closed. As is Lidl. As were the other few shops I passed by. I finally came across a petrol station & got some pot noodles. I don’t anticipate wanting to wander around later on, trying to find a restaurant that is open.

Belton House was an hour walk from Grantham – just a straight line there – through some semi-country surroundings. I’m certain there is a bus that goes along the road, but I never saw one. Sunday – probably not running. Ah well, because it was quite nice out, albeit slightly cloudy.

Located in the teeny-tiny village of Belton, the grounds itself are quite expansive, comprising of a deer park (of course), assorted manicured gardens, wooded paths, green lawns, a ‘lake’ (aka, large pond), a church & the house. I had a while to kill before the house opened, so I was able to wander through the gardens at a leisurely pace.

It was in my wanderings that I noticed that everyone was sporting little circular stickers on their jackets. Huh, that’s strange. Then in looking at the pamphlet that I was given with my admission ticket, I see: “ensure your admission sticker is visible at all times.” Wait, what? I have a ticket, but not a sticker. Why wasn’t I given a sticker? Should I walk back to the entrance & get one? Should I just keep going? Will I be allowed in the house? Ok, keep cool. Act natural. If you are questioned, just act surprised & pretend it fell off. Or…wait! There is a sticker on the ground, slightly crinkled, but it’s still good. I smoothed it onto my jacket. There…but why do some people have different colour stickers? Oh god! I’ll bet they indicate the type of entry one has paid. What does green mean? Green: I’m good to go? Green: full price? Green: a member of the National Trust? Huhnnnnn…..

Well, nobody razzed me, so I was able to relax once I got inside the house. There are two floors open to the public, but there is no direction to follow, so it was a bit disjointed with people going all different ways. Many of the rooms featured marble finishes…or did they? No! They did not! It was all wood, painted for a marble effect. The Chinese Bedroom was quite interesting as it was edged in bamboo…or was it? No! It was not! It was oak, painted for a bamboo effect. And the pale greeny-yellow wallpaper, which I found quite nice? Originally pink. This place is out of control.

I was able to snag one of the last spaces available for the below stairs tours; even though it is included in the entry fee, you still have to book a spot, which is a bit weird. Roy took us around the rooms, which were cold & dull & musty compared to upstairs; he was full of information about the life of a servant. It was very Downton Abbey.

On the walk back to Grantham I was wishing I hadn’t worn boots because my feet were killing me. The weather had been dithering between rain, sun, light rain, no rain, cloud, sun & I didn’t want to pack an extra pair of shoes for such a short amount of time. It sprinkled off & on all day with intermittent sun & only really rained as I neared back into Grantham. Oh my god, I have blisters on my feet. On the actual soles of my feet. How has that even happened? This hurts so bad. I am hobbling around.

How am I going to get to the train station? It is only a 15 minute walk, but can I even do it? A night of not moving has somewhat alleviated my pain. I plaster my wounds, wrap toilet roll around my feet, put on two pairs of socks & manage to squeeze my feet into my boots. I will leave with plenty of time & take it slow. Looking back, I realize that there seems to be a pattern involving extensive walking and then wanting to cut off my legs / feet. I will never learn.

 

 

 

 

Three Things Thursday

Ok, see the thing is that I actually forgot to post last Thursday & then when I remembered I was lying on the couch, so obviously I wasn’t about to get up. It’s probably pretty safe to assume that TTT will be sporadic at best. Anyways, here are my three things for this week:

  • You’ve heard of Beyonce – multi million dollar recording artist; Queen Bey; celebrity icon, etc. etc. Well this isn’t about Beyonce. This is about her sister Solange. Definitely underrated, Solange is also incredibly talented, perhaps overshadowed by her older sister. I’ve definitely never heard her in the mainstream, but that doesn’t make her any less of an artist. In fact, I find her music to be more to my taste; less ‘top 40 pop’ & more soul / funk, avant garde. I don’t even know how I discovered her, but when I did, I couldn’t believe I’d not actually ‘heard‘ her before. I knew of her, but I didn’t think she did much. Totally wrong. And now I can’t stop listening to her. I’m a sucker for visuals, so the videos that accompany her songs more than likely helped hook me; I’ll only pick one to tout, but I highly recommend listening to some of her other songs too: Solange – don’t touch my hair.

 

  • We Bare Bears. If you like anthropomorphic cartoon animals, then you are in for a real treat. They’re cute. They’re funny. They’re awkward. And they’re behaving like people. I don’t even know how I came across this show (probably a Facebook ad, to be honest), but it is just too hilarious. Chronicling the main characters – Grizzly, Panda, Ice Bear – each episode stands alone & puts them in ridiculous situations. I love the fact that everything they do is considered totally normal & nobody around them seems to care that they are bears. Broadcast on Cartoon Network (which is an American thing, so I don’t know how that works for other countries), I’ve just watched clips on YouTube; a bit annoying since the shows are segmented into 3-5 minute clips, but definitely worth watching. This is a good one – bear cleanse (clip 1).

 

  • If you’ve ever fancied learning a new language, look no further than Duolingo. This is a free website that allows you to learn various languages at your own pace. It’s simple & easy to use, starting off with absolute basics & becoming progressively harder. It teaches you an assortment of vocabulary, phrases, grammar, etc. through repetition, which employs an algorithm that keeps track of the words you ‘know’ & the words you need to work on. Your progress is tracked on a daily basis, with the theory that even doing just one lesson a day, will help you to retain things. What I like about Duolingo is that it employs several different teaching methods via speaking, listening, & typing translations. There are lots of neat little extras, cute graphics & a lot of languages to choose from.

I’ve been learning Spanish for the past 10 months & I’ve completed all the lessons. I’m by no means fluent in Spanish, but I am really impressed with how much I actually was able to learn & remember. There were of course areas that I struggled with, but by constantly reviewing I was able to slowly understand things. I would say that I can read & understand Spanish, more so than I can hear & understand Spanish; I can write coherent Spanish, more so than I can speak Spanish conversationally. This is a definite A-plus in my books.

 

 

Oot & Aboot – Leicester & Beyond

This post is a series of adventures occurring over the last several months. Let’s start chronologically, because that is logical & organized.

1: Wollaton Hall & Park – Nottingham

Back at the end of January, we were in the vicinity for my large work function / party, staying in a hotel across from the park. It is also a deer park, but I didn’t see any except in the distance. Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan country house from the 1580s & now acts as Nottingham Natural History Museum.

How I coaxed Adham into spending the afternoon here: also on the property is an Industrial Museum & it was steam day – meaning the engines were a-movin’. It was actually pretty cool because the museum wasn’t just about steam engines & it was neat to see them all powered up. Still, there is only so much steam engine I can handle in one day.

Outside the Industrial Museum was a train engine or something…I don’t even know. The point being for like 10 pence you could pull a cord & make the whistle sound. Pretty sure this was meant for kids, but Adham insisted on have a go. Twice. And made me film it. The man operating this thing, started cooking sausages inside the little fire door. Literally put sausages in a small frying pan, stuck the pan inside the engine & occasionally turned them with a fork. Highlight of my day.

 

2: The Queen Visits – Leicester

This past Easter, the Queen came to Leicester for Maundy Thursday. And I had no idea that this was occurring until the day before, when I happened to notice a bunch of road closure notices in town & thought to look into it. Say whaaaat? I had the day off & was 100% down for this. Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper & in the UK the service dates back to the days of yore wherein the Monarch would give money to the poor & wash their feet. In more modern times, this now involves the Queen giving ‘alms’ to deserving senior citizens, one man & one woman for each year of her age. A red purse contains regular money in lieu of food & clothes; a white purse contains Maundy coins which are specially minted pennies, one penny for each year of her age.

In order to get a good view I stood against a barrier in town for an hour & a half before she was due to arrive. Her procession route began at the train station & was marked off through the city centre to the Cathedral, where the service would take place. Precisely on time, she rolled through in her car, with Phillip beside her. It happened so fast. The papers kept calling it the Royal Parade Route. That was not parade speed! That was an I’m-driving-slowly-through-a-school-zone speed! As quick as it was, it was still really exciting. I was trying to clap & wave my flag & take pictures at the same time, which didn’t work very well. The pictures don’t do any justice, but I had clear view & she just looked so happy. I couldn’t believe how close I was! Like there was literally 6 feet between me and the Queen. It was amazing.

 

3: Bradgate Park – Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire

I coaxed Adham to come to Bradgate Park with me. And by coaxed, I mean I constantly prodded him until he relented. It was a really warm day, to the point where I had to take off my coat & roll up my shirt sleeves. Bradgate Park is a natural deer park, home to over 300 deer & man alive were there ever deer! They were everywhere in little groups, just chilling or running across the fields. I also discovered a muster of peacocks behind an old, crumbling enclosure. The park is filled with various walking paths, along the river, across fields, over hills. We headed for Old John Tower up on a distant hill. It’s meant to look like an upside-down beer stein.

Bradgate Park was once home to Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen for 9 days when she was nominated by Edward Tudor (King Henry VIII’s son) as his successor; she was later killed – no surprise there.

 

 

Three Things Thursday

Well this is unprecedented: two Thursdays in a row. Hold onto your socks people.

  • Let’s start by taking it back a few years to Vines. Remember Vines? Those good ole’ short videos that would just loop endlessly? This is one of my favourite Vines of all time. It just makes me laugh so hard. Watermelone. 

 

  • Are you sad? Are you grumpy with life? Look no further than Baker Cat! An old-y, but a goody. How can this not cheer you up? I recommend dancing along for optimum enjoyment. For further enlightenment, check out http://www.pusheen.com/ I can’t get enough of this chubby-tub!

 

  • And finally: another cat. This here is one of my favourite memes. There is so much going on here – the look on the man’s face; the look on the cat’s face; the frosted, charred background. You know where I’m going with this…Twas I Cat. It all just comes together in an absurd, yet entirely plausible situation. Never under-estimate a cat.

 

 

Three Things Thursday

Contrary to what the title might suggest, it is highly unlikely that Three Things Thursday will become a staple occurrence. Not least of which on a Thursday itself. I will undoubtably make a Three Things Thursday post for the next few weeks & then it will just taper off, disappear into nothing. So don’t hold your breath for continuation.

But! Exactly as the title might suggest, it is simply three things that I have come across, which are so awesome they deserve acknowledgement. I may have also become slightly obsessed over them as well. But that’s by-the-by.

  • Saturday Night Live skit – Listening Party    Guest star Kevin Hart kills it in this sketch. *bap bap*

 

  • Parekh & Singh – Ghost     Dream pop from Kolkata, India. So pretty, I can’t stop listening. The rest of their songs are equally melodic. Plus their Wes Anderson inspired music videos are a treat for the eyes.

 

  • The Dark Tower – OH. MY. GOD. I can’t even deal with this. I have been waiting years for this film to happen!!!!!!! UK release date is 18 August & I am just dying!!! The anticipation is unbearable. Every couple of days I re-watch the trailer & I just lose it! Stephen King’s epic odyssey of the Gunslinger has finally come to life! The books offer a combination of fantasy, horror, western & sci-fi all rolled into one. Hands down this series is one of my favourites & I am absolutely going mental that this is happening. Remember the face of your father.

 

 

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