The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me – by Roald Dahl

31 08 2016

Another one that I had actually no clue what it was about! The funny thing is, I’m fairly obsessed with giraffes but have never even associated that obsession with this book!

It’s only about 70 pages, so I read it in one sitting. Billy notices the old sweet shop has been bought out by a window cleaning company, which just so happens to be run by a giraffe, a pelican (so *that’s* what a Pelly is!) and a monkey (he sings a song about them which includes the title of the book, so he is “me”). They get a job cleaning the windows of the Duke of Hampshire’s rather large house…. any more and I’d be giving the main drama away as it’s so short, so I’ll just leave you with the rather charming ending:

We have tears in our eyes
As we wave our goodbyes,
We so loved being with you, we three.
So do please now and then
Come and see us again,
The Giraffe and the Pelly and me.

All you do is to look
At a page in this book
Because that’s where we always will be.
No book ever ends
When it’s full of your friends
The Giraffe and the Pelly and me.

the giraffe and the pelly and me

The Witches – by Roald Dahl

30 08 2016

I really wasn’t looking forward to reading this book – as a child I vaguely remember watching the film and pretty fairly terrified, but it’s part of the list so had to be read!

It wasn’t too bad in the end. The tale of a little boy who’s Grandmamma teaches him about witches and what to look out for, so when they accidentally come across their annual convention, they hatch a plan to get revenge for all the children those witches have destroyed. Because witches hate children!

The good news is that Dahl gives us the things to look for to spot witches, so we can be on our guard!

  • A REAL WITCH is certain always to be wearing gloves when you meet her… because she doesn’t have finger-nails. Instead of finger-nails she has thin curvy claws, like a cat, and she wears the gloves to hide them.
  • A REAL WITCH is always bald… A REAL WITCH always wears a wig to hide her baldness.
  • Witches have slightly larger nose-holes than ordinary people… A REAL WITCH has the most amazing powers of smell.
  • The eyes of a REAL WITCH are different from yours and mine. Look in the middle of each eye where there is normally a little black dot. If she is a witch the black dot will keep changing colour, and you will see fire and you will see ice dancing right in the very centre of the coloured dot.
  • Witches never have toes… The feet have square ends with no toes on them at all.
  • Their spit is blue.

And here are some of my favourite lines from the book.

  • “In fairy-tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks. But this is not a fairy-tale. This is about REAL WITCHES.”
  • “I am not, of course, tellng you for one second that your teacher actually is a witch. All I am saying is that she might be one.”
  • “You can’t go round pulling at the hair of every lady you meet, even if she is wearing loves. Just you try it and see what happens.”
  • “Children should never have baths, it’s a dangerous habit.”
  • “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like so long as somebody loves you.”

the witches

Internet highlights – w/c 21st August 2016

27 08 2016

Reasons to love Val from GBBO

Things you wouldn’t have dared to do in church 20 years ago

The WWJD generator

Why we need to stop saying “God has someone planned for you”

Why some people don’t want to sing in church anymore

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Friday five favourite: Pixar shorts

26 08 2016

One of the joys of going to see a Pixar film at the cinema, is that you get to watch a short first, and generally you forget until you’re on the way and you think, oo, I wonder what it’ll be this time! You have a vague idea of the film you’re going to see, but this is a totally unknown treat to warm you up.

Over the years there have been some classics, but I do have favourites. I found some of them on youtube, for others I’ve just had to put the trailer, but you can find them on the Pixar Short DVDs they sell, or I think on the DVDs of the films they were in cinema with. (A full list of Pixar shorts and their relative feature length films can be found here)

I went to see Finding Dory last week, and really enjoyed that short, though it’s not listed below because in a way it feels too soon to decide if it’s a classic!

Anyway, enjoy.

Lava (before Inside Out)

Day & Night (before Toy Story 3)

The Blue Umbrella(before Monsters University)

For the Birds (before Monsters Inc)

Luxo Jr (before Toy Story 2 (but made in 1986))

Internet highlights – w/c 14th August 2016

20 08 2016

Excuses for sleeping in church

People who followed instructions too closely

A visual history of which countries have dominated the Olympics

Some incredible face swaps

Thank you notes for those with social anxiety to use

Does the media now display a bias against Christianity?

Tips for introverts in church

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The BFG – by Roald Dahl

20 08 2016

This is a very strange book. It’s also a very good book!

The first thing you notice is easily the language. The BFG never went to school, and so can’t speak properly; it’s a mixture of grammatical mess (lots of “you is”, “I is”, etc), using the wrong words, and using words that aren’t words at all! To mark Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday this year they’ve released a dictionary of all the vocabulary he created, and I think that most of it must come from the BFG – he’s incredible with language, quite the wordsmith!

Sophie wakes up one night and sees a giant walking down the street. He spots that she’s awake and so grabs her out of bed in the orphanage so she can’t tell others, but it turns out he’s harmless, lovely in fact, and they start to form a plan to save the world from the giants that are dangerous, going out and eating children every night!

We meet the Queen in this book too, I mean, what more could you want from a piece of literature?!

I’ve picked out some of my favourite quotes

“Obviously it was not a human. But it was definitely a person.”

“‘The matter with human beans is that they absolutely refusing to believe in anything unless they is seeing it right in front of their own schnozzles.'”

“‘I do not approve of murder,’ the Queen said”

“‘That’s why they always put two blank pages at the back of the atlas. They’re for new countries. You’re meant to fill them in yourself.”

the bfg

Sewing: The Walkaway Dress

14 08 2016

You may or may not remember that last year, after making my first top, I attempted the walkaway dress, but had some trouble.

Well, after tweeting that year’s Sewing Bee contestants for help (the pattern was from the book accompanying the series), they put me in touch with the lady that actually wrote the book and she sent me a really helpful email which answered my questions and problems. The next issue was just getting started again. I don’t have space for my sewing machine where I live at the moment, and each time I’ve visited my parents lately there hasn’t been time for setting all my sewing stuff up. But when a year passed I realised that if I didn’t set myself a deadline I’d never do it, so I decided I’d wear the dress to my housemate’s wedding (which was yesterday) and so it had to be done by then!

Once I gave time to it, it wasn’t too hard to do at all – I was surprised that it was categorised as easy in the book when I saw it, but as I did it, I realised that was true! it takes a LOT of thread as you hem the huge circle skirt and bias bind all the raw edges, but there’s nothing too complicated. The hardest bit for me was sewing the buttons on! There should have been one on the back and three on the front, but I ran out of bias binding (so maybe round up their measurement for that when buying) so just did one on the back and one on the front – and that was more than enough for me, I’ve always hated doing buttons!

I altered the pattern slightly in that I just added a few inches to the length of the skirt to make it go below the knee which I prefer. This was the first dress I’ve ever made and I’m really pleased with it.

I’ll be moving house soon and once I’m settled should have space for my sewing machine. I also got Chinelo Bally’s “Freehand Fashion” book for my birthday, so can’t wait to try out some of her stuff – sewing without patterns! Watch this space.

Internet highlights – w/c 7th August 2016

13 08 2016

Items returned to shops because the customer’s an idiot

Brilliant celebrity comebacks

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George’s Marvellous Medicine – by Roald Dahl

10 08 2016

Another very short one! after this they get a bit longer again so I won’t be spamming my blog so much!

I read this one quite a bit as a kid as we got a free copy with our teabags or cereal or something like that, but all I could really remember was the lists and lists of things that went into the concoction – I didn’t really remember the plot at all.

George is creating a medicine to feed to his horrible Grandma. Roald Dahl really does write awful people well, people that you don’t even feel bad about hating because there’s not an ounce of good in them! The medicine is filled with all he can find in the bathroom, his mum’s dressing table, the laundry room, the shed and the garage (but absolutely nothing from the medicine cabinet – because *that* would be considered going too far!).

The first batch does amazing things, but trying to reproduce it, each batch does slightly different things as they test them on their farm animals.

Utterly ridiculous but still fun. At least the book opens with a warning to children not to try this at home!


The Twits – by Roald Dahl

8 08 2016

This is one of my least favourite books by Roald Dahl. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it! Just not as much as the rest.

I’ve realised in the last couple of books particularly that Dahl uses a lot of Americanisms. “Sneakers” for trainers, “pants” for trousers, and the like, very peculiar.

The book is about a couple, Mr & Mrs Twit, who really, really, *really* hate each other. The first half of the book is just them trying to one-up each other’s pranks and get revenge on each other! Granted, some of these are very clever. Particularly Mr Twit adding tiny discs of wood to the bottom of Mrs Twit’s walking stick and chair legs each night so she gradually thinks she’s shrinking 🙂

The second half improves though, when the monkey’s they keep in a cage in the garden form a plan to sort Mr and Mrs Twit out once and for all!

My favourite bit of the book, however, comes right near the beginning when we’re introduced to Mr & Mrs Twit.

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until it gets so ugly you can hardly bear to look at it.

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

Vile as it is, there’s a lot in it that’s very clever 🙂

the twits