Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A trip to Kent

Sunday of the 29th August saw our whole family (including Dang and Deng's family) travelling to the county of Kent. It is more than a year now from the time I have my major operation. I just want to have a sort of thanksgiving for all the blessings that came mine and my family's way. I requested that a mass intention be said for my thanksgiving at the Carmelite Priory called The Friars in Aylesford, Kent. The mass was a bit early for us (10AM) considering we were at a concert the night before. But we were on time with lots to spare.

The grounds of the Priory is very pretty and looks peaceful. As you can see in the picture on the left there is a pond teeming with swans and ducks and weeping willows at the edge. We found out that the place is a pilgrimage place since the 13th century. No wonder there were rows and rows of outdoor seats in a sort of ampitheatre fashion.

We attended the mass in one of the chapels. The choir was quite good and with the added bonus that there were 3 additional Carmelite priests visiting from Belgium celebrating mass with the local priest. We were looking around the chapel after the mass and found this strange pyramid structure in one of the alcoves (see picture above right). I wonder what that is? After the mass, we ate our packed brunch from the back of the van. We then proceeded to ...

Leeds Castle

A very pretty moated little castle in a beautiful setting. It was one of the residences of Henry VIII - you know the one with 6 wives. But it was only in the early 1920s that it was restored to its present state when it was acquired by Lady Baillie whose fortune apparently came from her American grandfather.

Is indeed very lovely but I think the price of £12.50 per adult seems a bit steep considering Windsor castle only charges £12.00. And it is by all accounts much more historic and bigger and with more things to see than Leeds castle. Well at least they put in an aviary, a nice restaurant, lovely landscaped gardens, a maze, and kids sandpit and playground (probably to make up for the high ticket price).
I wonder why they called it "Leeds" when it is hundreds of miles from the city of Leeds itself.

As you can see in the picture above left, they've got lots of different birds roaming around - that one is a peacock. On the pix above right, KC and J3 tried talking to a baby swan (or was it a goose?) they thought it was talking back when I told them the hissing means it was getting annoyed with them pesky kids.

We got amused with the exotic birds in the aviary. I especially like the toucans. They looked too good to be true. They in fact looked something out of a cartoon page with bright orange bill, vivid blue eyes, jet black feathers, white throat. Then the kids went thru the maze. I was hoping they would get lost there for hours to give me some peace of mind. But no, within 10 minutes they were back! It's a good thing they got busy with the sandpit playground. It says on the gate "Playground is for children 5 years and below only". All of them got in but only J3 is below 5 yrs., the eldest among them J1 is already 13 ! Nakikipag agawan pa kay J3 ng lugar na lalaruan. (And he's still having a row with J3 on who gets what area on the sand.) Susme!

On the way home in the evening we stopped by and had dinner at Tai Tung restaurant in Purley Way, Croydon. We had our usual egg fried rice, steamed sea bass, beef mami, mixed meat fried noodles, stirfried choisum, prawn fooyung and roast duck. Yum yum !

Monday, August 30, 2004

Gary V concert

concert tickets

Me, the hubby, and my eldest, J1, went to see Gary Valenciano in concert at the Carling Apollo Hammersmith theatre last 28th of August. The tickets were courtesy of Dang & Dennis who were with us as well. Thanks very much D&D !

The venue was full packed but we got good seats at the stalls. Kaya lang the edge of the circle seats (balcony) was right above us. I thought - wala sanang dumura! (I hope nobody spits!). hehe!

Atmosphere was electric, I didn't get to see the front acts because we were so busy settling in our seats. Apparently the seat numbers got mixed up and some people were sitting in D&D's seats. Anyway, the show got underway and when Gary first appeared I thought - eto ba ang karenta na?! He looks so good and young looking. He did not seem to have aged. Which can't be said with the rest of us. He gave his usual great performance - great singing, superb showmanship, great rapport with the audience. Ang reklamo ko lang eh bakit ang tagal naman ng daldal niya sa pag-itan ng kanta. Naiisip ko tuloy - dinadaya yata kami nito. Dinadaan sa kwento para makalimutan na kailangan niyang kumanta. Hehehe!

J1 was miserable most of the time. As he's only 13, he's never heard of most of Gary's music so he didn't really appreciate it. He only lightened up when Blackeyed Peas' "Where is the Love" was sung. So I keep supplying him with coins to buy drinks or snacks to keep him occupied.

We enjoyed it very much the evening was great even the traffic was cooperating. It took us only about 40 minutes to get to and from Hammersmith which normally takes more than an hour. The only thing a bit askew was when Deng started getting dizzy on our way out of the theatre. Hubby has to hold on to him. Deng got reacquainted with Jack Daniels that night. By the time we were out hubby was practically carrying him. He promptly sat him on a metal box by the pavement. Deng hasn't sat down for 10 seconds when he puked. It's so funny because both J1 and Dang shrieked instead of helping him. Hehehe! What an end to a great night.

Friday, August 27, 2004

A trip to the Cinema

I took advantage of my family being away and decided to watch 'The Village' at a local cinema. So there I was fully bloated from an eat-all-you-can Chinese meal sitting by myself in a darkened cinema preparing to scare myself to death.

:: Warning !! Spoilers !! ::

Despite the bad reviews I read I thoroughly enjoyed it. I just think the marketing of the movie was off. It's not a horror movie - it's a psychological thriller. It is a well made movie without the usual Hollywood wham-bam-in-your-face action horror suspense. The writing is very good, the cinematography is superb, the character development is good too (although me thinks Sigourney Weaver was underutilised). It was a pleasant surprise for me on how good Bryce Dallas Howard was. Really superb acting from her and I won't be surprised if she becomes a big big star after this. The one thing bothering me is the dialog ... it's... ah ... how would I say it ... a bit wooden sometimes. It's the same in Unbreakable, there are scenes where dialogs seem unnatural.

It did made me jump a number of times but I think the Sixth Sense is scarier and much better. The thing that made this special for me is how it made me think on the themes and ideas it presented after getting out of the cinema. It speaks about fear, the fear that we hold in ourselves. That fear is actually all in our minds. And how it affect and mould us. The secrets that we hold. Of the lengths that parents will do to shelter their children from voilence and bad influences. Do you think the elders were right in holding the children in that one place? And making them think they have no other place to go? They are controlling the lives of the young ones to protect them from the horrors of the outside world. What they did not bargain for is that 'bad things' can happen anywhere whether you are in an isolated island or in a dark alleyway in a city.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Home Alone

A new blogsite -> new attitude. hehehe! The hubster and kids all went up north to help a relative move homes. So I'm all alone at home. Never mind friends like Precy are nearby and can keep me company.

My kids are getting more involved in my other (food) blog. They are even suggesting on what recipes to include. I guess I have to get a phone camera to get more pictures of food on the road.

I wanted to have a more sophisticated archiving in there but I have to learn more about CSS, HTML, etc. to make that happen. Even templates, I want nicer templates but I'll have to make do with the free downloads from the net ... for now. I do know that I could learn programming these web sites/templates - it's not impossible for me - it's just a matter of having the time to do it. Oh well you can't get everything you want...