Friday, 2 December 2011

Books so far

I've read two books on my list so far; Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and Brave New World, so that's my 'modern-classics' section done!

Zen... was very interesting, and I learned a lot from it, especially about the way Himself (Andy) thinks; in particular his attitude to 'quality' is very similar to that espoused in the book.

Brave New World - we're closer to it than we'd probably like to think.  Scary.  I reckon we're somewhere between there & 1984... doubleplusungood.

I'm having a break from Challenge Books after each one, so that it doesn't become a chore (it's supposed to be fun, after all!) and I'll probably read Beowulf or Frankenstein next, but for now I'm reading Neal Asher - Gabble, a collection of short sci-fi stories, which is a nice change from BNW!   

Monday, 14 November 2011

The Thackray Museum, Leeds

I visited the Thackray medical museum in Leeds this weekend, and it was well worth it.  A fascinating and well put-together exhibition of medicine & health through the ages, with a particularly good section on a street in Leeds in 1842 ( including a very smelly section around the slaughterhouse!  You can choose a character and follow them around to find out what their life was like, what health risks they faced and what illnesses they may have had, and whether they survived them!

There would be enough to interest youngsters in this section, without too much dumbing down for grown ups; and the other exhibitions were very good too, more aimed at grown ups, but still with interactive bits & pieces for little ones.

The collections of Victorian medical equipment were wonderful, and it makes me want to collect that sort of thing all the more!

I have to admit that the 'Pain pus & blood' exhibition did make me a little squeamish, especially the video of the leg amputation, done with anaesthetic but otherwise in the same way (& speed) that it would have been done pre-anaesthetics.  Nyargh!  

One piece that made me laugh was in the section on 'taking the waters' from a visitor to Harrogate Spa in 1997: "It tastes horrible, like very salty egg sandwiches.  Anyone who can swallow it deserves to get better."  !

Onward & upward, or something like that!

Friday, 4 November 2011

No posts for ages, and then two come along at once!

Today I ache everywhere!

The reason for this is I did a 1:1 Barre ( class yesterday!  This was 90 minutes of an already tough form of exercise, but with the instructor making sure that every position and every move was perfect; no slacking off allowed!

It was very good fun, and reminded me why I love the Barre classes so much - the endorphin rush!  I've had a couple of months away from it, due to various injuries and so on, but I'll be getting back to it on a regular basis from now on!  This will hopefully also help with another of my challenges - return to my ideal weight!

However, for now, I'm going to have a fairly quiet day, and go for a gentle walk to stretch out all of my protesting muscles!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Update on my Challenge!

Well, I've already done something spontaneous!
I visited my mum in Brighton (well, Hove, actually) last week, and a couple of spontaneous things happened.
Firstly, I had my shoes shined by a real shoe-shine-guy! Not something I've ever had done before, and not something I'd normally do, but I decided 'Why not!' It was rather fun - the sensation of the brush and cloth through the boots was quite different, and the chap was interesting to talk to. It was a real 'spit & polish' too!
The other spontaneous thing I did was ride the Brighton Wheel.

I've never been on the London Eye, or a Ferris Wheel or anything like that, as I'm a bit nervous about heights, but I decided to give it a whirl. The views across Sussex were lovely, but I was more taken with the view over the English Channel.

While I was in Brighton, I also got a couple of the books for my Challenge, and my friend Leah suggested a couple more (Frankenstein & Phantom of the Opera) so I've added those to my list; although as long as I read at least one from each of Ancient, Classic & Modern I will feel that I've satisfied the Challenge!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Olga's 40 by 40 list

(In no particular order)

Places to Visit
1 Edinburgh: Spend a night in the Library room at the Witchery, take a tour of St Mary's Close (Edinburgh under-city) and visit Jekyll & Hyde pub!
2 Thames river cruise
3 Visit Stonehenge
4 See the Northern Lights (2nd March 2012)

5 Visit Thackray museum in Leeds (12th November 2011)

6 Tour the Victoria Tunnels (Newcastle)
7 Visit Lindisfarne (when Mum comes to visit me)

Skills to try
8 Try Carriage Driving
9 Side-saddle riding
10 Horse-ride along a beach, in the surf :)
11 Do a day of Falconry

12 Try Hang-gliding or similar
13 Ride in a hot air balloon
14 Try Rock climbing (indoor!)

15 Take a course in Bookbinding & bind a book.
16 Try Upholstery or Stained Glass making
17 Take a Millinery course & make a hat
18 Learn to use a Spinning Wheel (K.)

19 Have a Belly dancing lesson (8th January 2012)

20 Have a Capoeira lesson
21 Take a Fan Dancing class

Things to Make/Do
22 Make a corset (K.)
23 Make a leather masquerade mask (Jo)
24 Perform at a Burlesque show!

25 Have a 4-hand massage
26 1:1 Barre class 3/11/11

Personal Improvement / Challenges!
27 Hold a tarantula(!) (25/02/12)

28 Wear more colours, at least half the time! (Steampunk colours, admittedly!) (Ongoing)
29 Money-diet for a month
30 Grow some colourful plants in the garden (Ongoing - planted bulbs, rose bush & raspberry bush in March)
31 Try at least 5 new foods (Bilberries & Figs, Turkish sweets & Samphire, Kiwi Berries) (Finished March 2012)
32 Read at least 3 classics (Old - Beowulf; Classic - Little Women, Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera?; Modern - Brave New World (I've also added Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to this list!)
33 Watch at least 5 'must-see' classic films
34 Try at least 3 new (possibly SteamPunk) bands - Vernian Process, Abney Park, TMWWNBBFN etc.
35 Return to my idea weight (8st7lbs ish)
36 Break myself of the habit of picking at my skin
37 Mystery item – because halfway through the year I’ll think of something I want on this list!
38 See a film that I wouldn't usually watch (I might change this as it's probably covered by the 'Classic films' item - my list, my rules ;)  )
39 Do something completely spontaneous (26th October 2011)
40 Make a (consistent!) profit with Charis Victoria Designs (Removed 27/02/12)

'Spare' items:
Make a Dragon!
Handbell ringing
Box Brownie photography (J)
Make Ginger Beer
Visit Bletchly Park?

Friday, 23 September 2011

The Challenge starts here!


Well, my first day of 39-ness was somewhat different to my plans, but good nonetheless. A couple of planned things didn't happen, so I had a fairly quiet day instead; but one that was filled with good things, lovely cards, nice emails and an Amazon shopping spree on books, thanks to Liz and Himself, who each gave me vouchers :)

It involved part of one of my challenges (soon to be posted, hopefully) which is to try at least five new foods this year. Yesterday I had Cadbury's Fudge Pancakes (thanks to Himself randomly saying 'fudge' and then 'pancake' a few days ago, and then deciding that it needed to be tried!). Today I had bilberries for the first time; The Gelfling is right - they taste like blueberries /ought/ to taste!

Fudge pancakes are a lovely gooey mess of over-sweetness, but a very-seldom type of treat. Bilberries are now on my top ten list of fruits-I-like, and will eat them at any and every opportunity! As I try more things, I'll post my thoughts!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

My First Blog!


Welcome to my corner of the Blogosphere! I'm known as Olga, Lady Charis, Charis Victoria and a variety of other things ;)

The main purpose of this blog is to chronicle my challenge of doing 40 new things by the time I reach my 40th birthday. I will start this on my 39th birthday (in two days time!) which gives me a whole year. Some of the things will be things I've wanted to do for a long time, and I've just never had the incentive; other things are challenges to myself, and others still are just things I think I'd like to try. One or two of the things are quite expensive, but I'm hoping that a lot of them will be cheap, as keeping costs to a minimum has to be a consideration!

Many thanks to Liz, my sister in law, for telling me about her similar Challenge 35:35, and for allowing me to blatantly nick some of her ideas! In fact, some of the things we each want to do we might be trying to organise to do together, which would be lovely!

Another purpose of this blog will be to keep a journal of random thoughts and ideas, as I learn more about myself. For instance, at the grand age of 38, I've discovered that I have a Scanner personality (or Renaissance Soul, as I've also heard it called!) I'm interested in many things; when I was a child, General Knowledge was my specialist subject!

I'd been in a settled science-based job until a couple of years ago when I was made redundant. Since then, I've realised that I'm not really cut out for science as a career, so I'm trying my hand at a variety of things to see what I like, what I'm good at, and more importantly, what I'm not!

So far, I'm doing a silversmithing course, making steampunk jewellery and learning German as hobbies, and taking a Counselling course as a potential career change, although that is very definitely a maybe... I get the feeling that it's an interesting thing to learn, but might be too much for me to do as a real job.

Anyway, that's all for now - Real Life (and all its many things on the 'to-do list'!) beckons.

I'll try to keep the blog updated at least when I do any of my challenges. I'll put up my initial ideas in a couple of days, but as I've only got about 20 things so far, suggestions are welcome!

Love and Blessings,