Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Where's The Rain?

Rainy Season in South Korea, or so they say it should be but the weather is not predictable this year and we were glad of that.

Going to visit our daughter Linda depended on one thing: when was she off work, so that we could spend lots of time with her.
That was during this time so we arranged to go now even though it is normally the hottest, most humid time and also the time they expect their rain.

Fred & I arrived on Friday morning and there was a bit of mistiness over Seoul Incheon Airport, went to the hotel in Seoul and the sun was now shining. Left in our luggage and went out for lunch at a Korean restaurant, sun shining still. Menu in Korean except for names of meals so we ordered the Beef Rib Soup which apparently comes with many little side dishes and rice.  (First time we have had rice with soup except for a silly blunder by myself one time in Belgium.) 

What should we have to drink?

 Well we decided on this, no prizes for guessing what it is.


Back to hotel and checked in and went for a nap to catch up on the sleep we lost overnight on the plane. After 6pm we met up with a Korean friend whom we have known since we lived in Belgium and the sun was still shining.

By the time our daughter made it over from Gangneung we were very hungry and we all went for another Korean meal which was pork and the drink was barley water, which is water with barley and not at all like Robinson's Barley Water. Quite nice!

 Still hot, dry and humid.

Back to hotel after 10pm tired, full and dry.

Saturday after a little lie-in we had breakfast from the stall in the street outside the hotel, great value only 4,000 won for the 3 of us, that is approximately £2.50.
Lazy morning of catching up with Linda and then off to get a snack lunch from a nearby shop. Kimbap, which is rice and meat and vegetables rolled up and wrapped in seaweed - lovely but very filling.


We met up with our korean friend again and went shopping, some very expensive department stores which was really more like window shopping and then some more market type shops.

 Followed by a walk through one of the old gates of the old city of Seoul,



then it was coffee break time and so we headed for one of the many coffee shops of Seoul.

 That's when we got the rain, but even though we were walking in it for a little while we hardly got wet as it was quite light.

Instead of coffee Fred and Linda shared a Bing Soo which is ice, fruit, icecream, yogurt and rice cakes in a large glass which is more like a bowl and you mix everything up together. Very nice and very sweet.

 Linda persuaded me to have an iced latte - never again.

Then on we went to see one of the palaces of Seoul, no rain and very peaceful surroundings.



 Dinner was in a special Chicken place and boy were we getting better with these chopsticks.

 A little bit of rain again as we headed back to the hotel for bed but it had stopped again in time for us to stand watching a Korean lady sitting in the street making their form of honeycomb which is flattened into large circles and cost 1,000 won (a little over 60p). When she saw us watching so intently she made a special bigger one for us but still only charged us the same amount.


Sunday started with the same breakfast as Saturday as we had each enjoyed it so much.

 Then time to hit the subway with our subway app (yes there really is an app for almost everything) and with our daughter in charge as she can read Hangol, we made our way to our friend's church for morning worship.
 A friend of our friend had agreed to translate for us and she had done this for Linda when Linda came to the church some months ago. Lovely service, Fred & I just sang in English when we recognized the tunes of the songs, while Linda sang in Korean.

Our friend works in the church so we went to see her office and meet some of the people she works with and then off with our translator for lunch in a lovely location in a park in the heart of Seoul very close to the church. the building was an oldfashioned Korean type building and the food yet again was great and so we have now sampled more Korean dishes.

Then the rain came but only while we were inside having lunch and it didn't bother us.

 By 4pm we really knew we had made a new Korean friend who has been invited to come visit us in Northern Ireland with her husband and son.

Back to the hotel on the subway and coffee and more chat and then time to pack for leaving for Hong Kong on Monday morning and sending some things on with Linda to Gangneung. then goodbye to Linda as she left to travel back to her home for school on Monday morning.

As she left for the subway the rain had started.

Next part of the South Korea trip is found HERE

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Ready for South Korea?

Well we leave tomorrow so I had better be ready by now.

Last hotel bookings only done yesterday, we really leave it to the last minute in this family.

Hoping hotels are all ok, hard to tell from TripAdvisor etc. and Korean Sites, but our daughter has gone to the hotel near her and says she thinks its lovely so she booked us there for that part of the stay.


Itinerary in brief is:


  • Belfast to London tomorrow
  • London to Seoul tomorrow overnight to Friday morning
  • Friday, Saturday, Sunday in Seoul with Linda and our friend Sharon who is going to take us shopping!!
  • Seoul to Hong Kong on Monday
  • Sightseeing just me and Fred in Hong Kong Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Hong Kong to Seoul on Friday 2nd Aug and Linda joins us then again
  • Jonathan & Daniel arrive in Seoul on Saturday 3rd
  • Sunday 4th and Monday 5th  in Seoul with our friend Sharon who is going to take us sightseeing this time and our other friend Park is coming to meet up with us too
  • Tuesday 6th we travel to Gangneung in the North East where Linda is living 
  • Wednesday to Sunday in Gangneung sightseeing and meeting Linda's new friends
  • Sunday night travel back to Seoul
  • Monday 12th Aug Seoul to London and on to Belfast

So thankful that we can all get together for this new Black family Experience.

Right better go and pack now and collect the foreign currency which the bank have finally got for us.  (That's another story of one of those things which shouldn't happen but do happen and are so infuriating.)


           Getting very excited now!!!!


You can find the next post on South Korea HERE



Monday, 22 July 2013

The Panther - Book Review

My brother-in-law got me hooked on Nelson DeMille books.

Thankfully he had read a few of them before he started me on them so he gave them to me in order (at least the John Corey ones) and being the methodical person that I am that is exactly how I like to read a series.

Then we got my husband on to them and at the moment he is still reading "The Panther" on his kindle and I have just finished so thought I would plug it here.

Firstly  -  it is full of one liners.
I missed those in "The Lion" and my brother-in-law & I decided the reason was that John Corey's wife was not in as much of that book as she had been in others so there wasn't the same opportunity for DeMille to write them.
Not only is Kate in the whole book this time but there are some other characters constantly there too and then they are also the objects of Corey's witty remarks.

Secondly  -  Nelson DeMille makes a story about the middle east actually interesting.

Thirdly  -  it is not as gory as "The Lion" which made it a nicer read for me.

I had been rather disappointed in "The Lion" which I found a bit boring, long and incorporating too much personal violence, but all I can say is that Nelson DeMille is back on form with this latest John Corey book "The Panther" - thank goodness.

So I really enjoyed it and I have a sneaking suspicion that there may be a new character reappearing in a future book, and yes there has to be another John Corey book.

If you are interested in finding out more about Nelson DeMille and his books just click on the books below



Saturday, 20 July 2013

I am Petite!

That does not mean I take size 10 or below and it maddens me when people use petite in this way.

I am petite because I am smaller than 5' 3".

                                          In fact I am not quite 5' 1".




I do need clothes that are the right length and in the right proportion but it can be very hard to find these even in the small sizes but much harder in sizes over 12.  Then we also have to put up with a more old-fashioned look for the petites in those sizes.

When we lived in America I found a lovely shop called "Petite Sophisticate" and I just adored the clothes from there.  But there was another problem and that is: Why should we have to pay more money for items that actually have less material in them than "normal" items?

My husband is almost 6' tall so there is a bit of a difference between the two of us.  Even so when we had our first son I prayed that he would not be short like me but taller like his dad.  2 years later we had another son and I prayed that he would be tall as well.  3 years after that we had our daughter and I prayed that she would not take after me.

God answered my prayers and our oldest boy is almost as tall as his dad, the second boy is taller than his dad at around 6' 3" (sometimes we joke that I prayed too hard for him) and our daughter is about 5 inches taller than me.  My sister used to joke that I needed a stepladder to kiss Fred (my husband) but that's not really a joke when it comes to Daniel (son no.2) and he normally ends up with a kiss on the neck instead of on the cheek.

Well at the moment I'm back to the petite clothing problem as Daniel is getting married in October and I need an outfit and I really need a petite outfit.




Saw this riddle for the word PETITE and I just wish it were true but it makes me smile anyway.






Thursday, 18 July 2013

Packing & Preparation for South Korea


I love the initial preparation,
  • the making of lists, 
  • thinking what needs to be done before I go, 
  • clearing my calendar for while I'm away, 
  • making an itinerary, 
  • deciding on the schedule of all the preparation,
  • sorting my ongoing todo lists so that things are not due to be done while I'm away, 

I don't like
  • the actual packing, 
  • preparation of clothes and items for packing,
  • the booking of flights and hotels 
                                 so that is mostly done by my husband.


This time with a holiday to South Korea and a trip to Hong Kong incorporated into it and then the boys coming to join us later my poor husband has to book 5 return flights & 5 single flights and this was just very taxing for him.

So I said I would look after the hotels but they can't be booked until we know exactly where we will be each day and the Hong Kong flights are only just done so no hotels booked yet and it is only a week before we go.

We are planning to meet up with a South Korean friend who we originally met in Belgium and spend some time with her in Seoul as well as going to Gangneung in the northeast to see places and people that our daughter is constantly telling us about so tying it all together is taking some effort.

Vaccinations are all done, easy for the boys as they were up to date with everything they needed as they have been to different African countries within the last 10 years, but not so easy for us as it took two separate trips to the health centre because we didn't have 3 arms each.
So at least these are now checked off the list.
           Plenty still to be done though.


Next post on South Korea is here

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Marple TV Review - A Caribbean Mystery

OK where did the Voodoo stuff come from?

                            It certainly wasn't in the book I read!

Why was the murder done differently and the scene at the start with the talk about the photograph?

As for the characters; they left out a very central character of the doctor and made Mr Rafael's male nurse take on more responsibility.  Then they also left out the character that I had mentioned in a previous post who seemed to have no real role but was instrumental in bringing a certain point to Miss Marple's mind.
On top of all that, they made the character of Canon Prescot younger (never have I seen a canon so young) and lost his sister from it all so that Miss Marple did not have the help from the gossip source.

Hermione Norris was a good choice for Evelyn Hillingdon, but as much as I like the actor Alastair MacKenzie who played Archie in "Monarch of the Glenn" he was not the right person for her husband. Not keen on Robert Webb as Tim but the actress who played his wife Molly was good.



Julia McKenzie was very good, she is the second best Miss Marple in my opinion, hard to beat Joan Hickson for that role (and yes I know I have said that before).

I enjoyed watching it but again I did feel that it could have been better if they had just stayed with the story as Agatha Christie wrote it, that is what made it famous!




Monday, 8 July 2013

A Caribbean Mystery - Book Review

Finished reading this on Friday night having started on Thursday and wanting to get to the end because I was sure that a certain person was the murderer but my recollections of a previous TV or Movie adaptation had brought a different murderer.  I was right.   Why oh why can movies etc. not stick to the books, they are making them because the book is such a success so why change the main story?  Surely changing the murderer makes it a different story!

Anyway, I let the housework wait so that I could get on with reading it.  I think that is a good indication of how easy a read it was and how much I enjoyed it.

Kept thinking to myself that a certain lady in the book was not really needed but because of that I was niggled by the thought that if she has no bearing on anyone else in it then she must have a clue to the solution and I was right, I just didn't get the clue until the end, even though I got the murderer ok.

It was one of my Christie Collection by Heron Books and I am quite enjoying sitting in the sun room with a hard backed book again.

Now I just have to watch the latest TV adaptation of the book which I recorded  recently and I am hoping that there are not too many changes, and that the murderer is not changed.





Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Poirot TV Review - Elephants can Remember

Ok, I recorded the TV programme of Agatha Christie's "Elephants can Remember" a few weeks ago because I wanted to read the book before I watched their adaptation of the story.

I have now watched it and as usual loved David Suchet (there never was or never will be a better Poirot than David Suchet) and loved the filming of the programme and even really enjoyed Zoe Wannamaker as Ariadne Oliver this time but I was very disappointed in the big changes to the story.

In the book we do not have the mystery of the doctor's death, nor the intrusion of the daughter of the twin sister, nor the attempted murder of the daughter Celia.

They also changed the type of character of the doctor's son, changed the occupation of the groom to be, changed the relationship with the retired police officer, took out one of the French girls and left out some of the narratives with the "old elephants".

The book was named after the main part of the story which was the remembrances of people of different events from the past and how their memories may seem different but yet can lead to a strong conclusion.  The TV adaptation however cut through that and did not show the real genius of Poirot's "little grey cells" in being able to see through all the recounts of the events and bring it all into order and logic.

I am still looking forward to watching the Miss Marple stories I recently recorded as well after I read those books too because I am such a Christie fan and the programmes are made well even if they don't stick to the completely correct story line.