Friday, August 18, 2017

RIP Bruce Forsyth

RIP Sir Bruce Forsyth
February 22, 1928 - August 18, 2017

Bruce Forsyth and Anthea Redfern

My most vivid memory of Bruce Forsyth is his role as the host of The Generation Game, a game in which four teams consisting of two people from the same family, but from different generations, compete against each other.  His co-host, during the years we watched it in England, was Anthea Redfern (think Vanna White).  I couldn't remember a lot of the details (other than the conveyor belt) so I had to turn (where else?) to Wikipedia to fill in the gaps.

In the first two rounds, two couples compete against each other in two games. One game usually involves first seeing a skilled professional construct or perform something, such as pottery or dancing. The contestants attempt to do the same, and a score is given by the professional. The other game usually involves more of a quiz element, such as identifying pieces of music. At the end of each of the first two rounds, the couple with the lower score is eliminated.
The two highest-scoring couples compete against each other in the final. This is often a big set-piece performance; in the series presented by Bruce Forsyth it was usually a drama or farce. The couple that scores the highest go through to the final 'conveyor belt'. Originally, this was scored the same way in the first rounds.
At the end of the show, one member of the victorious team watches prizes pass on a conveyor belt, and wins as many as could be recalled in 45 seconds with some items awarding a bonus prize if the contestant or team recalls that item.
As I read this, it all comes back to me and I'm really giggling.  It was a very funny show.

From the Family Photo Box Friday #2

This is a photo of my Uncle Jack, taken at the Apollo Ballroom in Manchester, England in April 1941.  Born in 1919 and raised in Manchester, England, Jack was the eldest of three children, my Mum being the youngest. He married young but left his family and moved to Los Angeles, California at age 27 to follow his father, John Sr., who worked at Capital Records, and to pursue his dream of becoming a professional jazz drummer.  Uncle Jack began playing the drums at the age of 3 and music was his life's passion. Dedicated to his goals, he followed and fulfilled his dreams, playing with many famous jazz bands and traveling the world as a highly regarded drummer for more than 80 years.

At some point, he divorced his first wife, my Auntie Dora, and had only infrequent contact with their two sons, Ralph and Peter.  I think perhaps Uncle Jack and Auntie Dora's marriage was one of those wartime marriages that just didn't stand the test of time.  Uncle Jack remarried and had a second family in California.  He died in 2012. 

Uncle Jack was able to combine his two loves, music and travel, into a career as a drummer on the cruise ships.  I'm pretty sure this is taken off the coast of Hawaii with that being Diamond Head in the background.

As I dig through the Family Photo Box to write these posts, I learn not just more about my family but also about where they lived and significant places from the past.  The Internet revealed some interesting history about the Apollo Ballroom:

Located in the inner-city district of Ardwick Green, just to the south of Manchester city centre. Opened on 29th August 1938, the Apollo Theatre was built for an independent operator and was designed by architects Peter Cummings and Alex M. Irvine. The interior decorations were carried out by noted interior designers Mollo & Egan with the Holophane lighting designed by R. Gillespie Williams.
Seating was provided in the magnificent auditorium in stalls and circle levels. The proscenium was 53 feet wide and the stage was 40 feet deep. There were 12 dressing rooms for artists who appeared in the variety shows which acompanied the film perfomances. The Apollo Theatre was also equipped with a cafe and a ballroom.
It was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) from 31st January 1943. In April 1960, the World Premiere of the film “Hell is a City” starring Stanley Baker was held at the Apollo Manchester. The film was shot on location in nearby Levenshulme. The Apollo Manchester was re-named ABC Ardwick in 1962.
It was taken over by an independent operator from 30th January 1977 and began to stage pop concerts, with the occasional use for films to fill in dates. Eventually films were dropped.
This stunning Art Moderne style palace became owned by Apollo Leisure, followed by Live Nation. Now independently operated, it serves as a 2,693-seat capacity (3,500 with standing room) concert venue. The cafe and ballroom have been unused for several years.
The O2 Apollo Manchester is a Grade II Listed building.
Contributed by David Pring, Ray Martinez, Ian Grundy, Ken Roe

My fondest memory of Uncle Jack is the way he always referred to my Mum as "Our Kid".  Still with the slight British lilt he never lost, it sounded so endearing. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #75

Happy 67th Birthday to Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal

Anne is the seventh holder of the title Princess Royal, an appellation given only to the eldest daughter of the sovereign, the last holder being George V's daughter, Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood.

The Princess Royal is known for her amazing wardrobe recycling, often bringing out an outfit or hat that hasn't bee seen for thirty years.  How I wish I could fit into something in my closet that is thirty years old!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday 8/14/2017

It's time for another Happy Homemaker Monday with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.  Click here if you'd like to join in .

The weather:::
Mid to high 80s - same old story.

On my reading pile:::

I gave up on Everyone Brave is Forgiven so I'm back to It Happened in Scotland by Patience Griffin.  I started it as my Christmas in July read earlier in the year, it's now August so I haven't progressed very far.

On my TV:::
Army Wives is my current marathon while I'm scrapbooking.

On the menu for this week:::

Vic's gone again so it's snack food, Weight Watchers snack food.

On my to-do list:::

  • Went to Weight Watchers this morning and majorly dodged a bullet - I was SO BAD last week - no will power, no self control, but someone was watching out for me because my weight stayed the same - whew, back to the program
  • Meeting with former spouses' group Charities Chairperson to finalize the turnover for the position
  • Appointment at Apple to get some help with my iTunes - I don't want all my music loaded onto my phone and I'm not sure how to accomplish that task
  • Overseas Move Workshop - just curious about the whole process, nothing definite at this time
  • Airport, airport, airport - yep, that's right, I'll be there THREE times this weekend - I really need my own parking spot!

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
Vic's Career Album is almost finished - just need to find some of the old Creative Memories portrait sleeves - I use them to store letter-size documents like printouts of newspaper articles - I'll have to resort to Ebay and I also need two more color photocopies.  I made copies but had an incident with the paper cutter and now I need new copies.

Looking around the house:::
Laundry, mop floors.

From the camera:::

Just downloaded all my pictures to my computer and the most interesting one was this - my old Home Interiors candle topper fits perfectly on my Spiced Apple Cider Melaleuca candle - I can't wait to light it!

Something fun to share:::

Does anyone have one of these?  I'm dying to try it.  It's priced considerably less than the Philips model.

What I'm wearing today:::
Sun dress (what I'm currently calling my Weight Watchers dress because I wear it to every meeting - once I go down a size, I'll have to find a new Weight Watchers dress!) and sandals.

Friday, August 11, 2017

From the Family Photo Box Friday #1

I found this picture of my Mum's cousin Tom in a box of photos that Mum gave to me. I called him Uncle Tom by virtue of his age and I had kept in touch with him and his wife, Auntie Edna, for many years. Unfortunately, Mum and Auntie Edna had a bit of a falling out a number of years ago that seemed to trickle down to me and we lost touch. Little did I know that Auntie Edna was in the beginning stages of dementia about that time and that was the reason that her letters to me stopped. She passed away in December of 2008.  Uncle Tom and I reconnected after her death and when I found the picture, I made a copy and dispatched it to him with a request for more details and a bit of family history. Imagine how delighted I was to receive a four-page letter from him saying, "I shall now try and give answers to your queries".

This photo was taken in the spring of 1938. Uncle Tom even remembered the location of the photographer's studio. Not bad for someone who would be 90 that summer! It shows Uncle Tom in a uniform great coat with the badge of the First Battalion, Royal Engineers. He began his active service on September 3, 1938 and was discharged in September 1944 due to a leg wound.

The photo is inscribed "To Da, With Love and Best Wishes, Tom". It was given to my Mum's sister Grace (who we called Dado, pronounced Day-doe, and shortened to Da). I always thought we called her Dado so as not to confuse her with Auntie Grace, who was Mum's and Grace's aunt. However, Uncle Tom explained that Dado was not just a term in our family, it was a term used by many small children for their aunts and uncles but he wasn't sure of the origin. Amazing what you learn when you ask. He also said that he and Grace were very close because of their closeness in age (Uncle Tom was born in July 1921 and Grace in September 1921). Tom was closer to Grace because she married and continued to live locally, whereas Mum went off to Egypt and then Paris with the NAAFI (a bit like the US military exchange and commissary systems) and then after she met Dad, to the States. Sadly, Grace died in 2002. It was so hard for my sister and I and for our two cousins, Grace's daughters, to lose Dado in 2002 and Mum in 2003.

Uncle Tom went on to give me the names and birth dates of his mother and brothers. His mother was my Mum's Auntie Dorothy (Dolly) but she died in 1937 aged 38, three months after the birth of her son, Geoffrey. Mum would have been 11 and she often mentioned Auntie Dolly's early death. Tom would have been 16 but I'm assuming that the other aunts stepped in to take care of Dolly's boys. There's no mention of Uncle Tom's father, not sure why, and not quite sure how to ask the question in case it's a sore subject.

Flash forward to 2012 and Uncle Tom's brother, Geoffrey, contacted me by email (our email address was on our annual Christmas newsletter) to say that Uncle Tom was also suffering from dementia and had been moved to and was being cared for at a care home near Geoffrey.  In June of this year, Uncle Tom died and Geoffrey sent me the order of service and details from the eulogy.  It added a few more details to the picture above.  Uncle Tom spent two years as an army engineer in support of the Royal Marines in Scotland.  In 1942, he went overseas with the British Army under Montgomery and served throughout the North Africa Campaign.  Following victory in North Africa, Uncle Tom's next stop was the island of Sicily.  Following the Sicily Campaign, it was on to the Allied invasion of Italy where Uncle Tom was badly wounded at the battle of Monte Cassino to the extent that he was evacuated via a hospital ship back to the UK.  I wish I had been able to talk more with him, if he was willing, about his time during World War II.

It brought a tear to my eye to read in the order of service that the congregation sang what we call our family hymn, Jerusalem by William Blake (1757-1827).

I am looking forward to going through the old photos and I hope I can decipher the handwriting on some of them, or enlist the help of my cousins in England to identify the who, what, where, when and why.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #74

This week is the anniversary of the premiere of Outlander (9 August 2014), the award-winning series on STARZ based on Diana Gabaldon's books.  If you are a fan of history, Scotland, and men in kilts, don't miss Outlander.  Seasons 1 and 2 are available on demand or on DVD and Season 3 is coming on September 10.

Outlander spawned a huge industry for clothing, jewelry, and other collectibles like this mug below and has done wonders for the tourism industry in Scotland.  There are countless tours and private tour guides to take you to all of the Outlander sites.

If you don't know Jamie Fraser, Google him.  You will not be disappointed.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday 8/7/2017

It's time for another Happy Homemaker Monday with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.  Click here if you'd like to join in .

The weather:::
Temperatures are cooling down a little - low 80s with some rain and thunderstorms.

On my reading pile:::
Still working on Everyone Brave is Forgiven but since I haven't picked it up all week, this is likely to be what you will read here for a while.  Diary of a Working Mum posted about the Agatha Raisin series, which I had just watched on Acorn TV, 20 books for an amazing price so I couldn't pass that one up (even though the postage from the UK was almost the same as the books)!

On my TV:::
Worked my way through four seasons of Downton Abbey while I was scrapbooking last week.  For some reason, I started with Season 3 so I guess I'll go back to 1 and 2 next time Vic is away.

On the menu for this week:::

Vic is home this week so that means I have to cook - ugh!
Monday - Roasted Veggie Meatloaf
Tuesday - Chicken something
Wednesday - Lamb something
Thursday - Steak, roasted potatoes, mushrooms
Friday - Date night - dinner and the movies
Can't you tell I'm so excited about the week ahead (insert heavy sarcasm here)?

On my to-do list:::

  • Weight Watchers
  • Spouses' Group Board Meeting
  • Volunteer shift at the gift shop

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
Vic's Career Album - while he was gone last week, I really got a lot accomplished.  It should be up to date in a few days - just need to get a few newspaper articles photocopied.

Looking around the house:::
Laundry, mop floors.

From the camera:::

Dinner on Sunday - Shrimp, Roasted Potatoes and Carrots, Tomato and Cucumber - 11 Smart Points was a bit high but that included the olive oil for roasting and the lemon/garlic dressing that I used to marinate the shrimp - it was really more like 8 Smart Points

3 Smart Points Caramel Cappuccino - I need to work on my barista skills

Something fun to share:::

My latest find at the gift shop - the Flint retractable lint roller - perfect for your purse

What I'm wearing today:::
Still in my pjs - off to shower and get ready to face the day (and the scales at Weight Watchers this morning)!