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Friday, 30 August 2013

eight things i learnt in august

august - a month when i love my daily commute. 

my home is surrounded by primary and secondary schools - good ones - the ones everyone wants their kids to go to - some of them take kids from out of the area. my daily commute involves rubbing shoulders with business travelers and yummy mummies in their 4 x 4s not to mention school buses. read queues and lots of them. in august that stops - schools are out and everyone goes on holiday. as september rolls around i will find it hard to set the alarm earlier and leave the house at my eleven months of the year regular time - but that's next week - this week we can still revel in augusts relaxed style. in keeping with the relaxation perhaps i didn't pay as much attention to what i learnt this month but here goes - eight things i learnt in august.

1. its two hundred years since jane austin's pride and prejudice was published. this month i went to see it performed at castle howard near york. i had never been to this stately home before but on arriving there was told:

2. castle howard was the location for the filming of bbc tvs adaptation of brideshead revisted in the 1980s. it is a beautiful setting and i would love to go back and explore the extensive grounds and house at a later date.

and talking of stately homes:

3. downton abbey is actually highclere castle in newbury, berkshire. i was told this by a friend while chatting about castle howard. apparently the writer of downton abbey, julian fellows, knows the owners - the earl and countess of carnarvon - and he had this house in mind when he started writing downton. it is open to the public and i am certainly going to go and explore this one when it reopens again next year. when i googled to find it i found that the current countess of carnarvon has just started a blog - check it out here.

4. i'm a sucker for orla kiely shopping bags. this month i have bought not one but two of her shoppers - telling myself it was fine as they are inexpensive and some of the proceeds from the sale go to cancer research. when i googled to find out how much i found that 25p from each sale goes to cancer research and 25p goes to the royal college of art - i'm happy with that. what i also found out was that these bags are limited editions for tescos - you can find them on ebay for much more than the £4 i spent.

5. make up artist to the stars, charlotte tilbury, is launching her own make up range. 2 september is the day to check out her new website. why am i excited about this? i'm not a girl who wears a lot of make-up, in fact this month i have been described as cheap in the makeup department as i only really wear mascara and lipstick. but this range is being dubbed "a 360 degree beauty brand" due to the fact you can click on a product and there will be a video to tell you how to use it together with videos showing you how to "do" certain looks. it's going for the helpful angle - i like its style (and i need the help).

and speaking of stars:

6. matt damon re-wrote the ending of the bourne supremacy just two weeks before its cinema release date, scripting the final line "get some rest pam, you look tired." he also worked alongside director doug liman who directed the first bourne film - bourne identity - to ensure that the ending worked - hard to believe but matt damon went into filming bourne off the back of two box office flops (all the pretty horses and the legend of bagger vance) he worked hard to ensure he didn't have three flops in a row.

and speaking of working hard:

7. this month i learnt from my friend who is a pastoral head in a secondary school how she has been trained to help kids who self harm by cutting. she sits and talks with them while they hold ice in their bare hands. the numbing of the hands whilst holding the ice gives them the pain that cutting does but obviously is not harmful to their health. i am constantly amazed not only by how much pain young people carry and what it causes them to do to themselves but also by how willing professionals are to help these individuals. i was inspired. 

and lastly:

8. you can conference call on an iphone. this month i spoke to both my sister and sister in law at. the. same. time. once you have made your first call all you need to do is press the add call button on your keypad and dial the next number then press merge calls - simple. 

this year seems to be anniversary heavy - not just is it 200 years since pride and prejudice was published - it is also 50 years since c s lewis died and 40 years since j r r tolkin died. wednesday was the 50 year anniversary of martin luther king jrs "i have a dream" speech. bbc radio 4  got notables including congressman john lewis, stevie wonder, the dalai lama and nelson mandela's first grand-daughter ndileka mandela to read the speech - hear it together with images of the time here


linking with emily at chatting at the sky.


  1. Great post! Lots of new facts for me too. Can't wait to check out the link to the real countess of carvarnon!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Karmen, great to have you here - hope you like what you find with the countess.

  2. Oh, #7 makes me so very sad for our children and thankful for the adults investing in them. They need Christ so very much. Many of my American friends have visited Highclere Castle since Downton Abbey become the rage. We're eagerly waiting for the next season. Loved your list and love you. Hope you have a restful weekend my friend. Every time I see that gravatar of you and Jane I beam that I was the one behind the camera. I'm so lucky!

    1. I love the photo Shelly & the memory of you almost getting knocked over taking it - such happy memories of that day together. Why am I not surprised that you Americans know about Highclere Castle ahead of me? Just goes to show that sometimes us Brits take for granted what is on our doorstep. Have a great weekend my friend.