Showing posts with label narrow boats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label narrow boats. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Best [and Most] of Everything

You know those "best of" lists that appear in magazines and local weekly entertainment newspapers? 

You know the ones.  Those best lists with quirky categories such as "Best Place to Splurge on your Pet," "Best Place to Score a Lunch with a Celebrity," or "Best Place to Buy Chocolate Covered Ants."

Who puts those lists together and where do they get those strange categories?

I figure I am as good a person as any to come up with my own categories and put together such a list, so that's what I am going to do
(I know, but sometimes retirement gets boring, and I have too much time on my hands).

So, my Peeps, here is my list of
The Best [and Most] of Everything.

Feel free to weigh in because I am sure you also have your favorites and some of my picks might prove to be controversial.

Most Handsome Actor
(not married to Angelina Jolie).

Since Brad has won People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" Award more than once, I thought I would take him out of the running.  And I know you think I am going to say Tom Cruise or Ralph Fiennes or Kevin Costner here, because I have waxed poetic over them in my blog before, but no, you may have noticed my affections have been lowered - by age - to

*Chris Hemsworth*

This guy is perfection.  See for yourself in "Thor" or "Rush."

*Channing Tatum*


I likem' young.

Most Beautiful Actress
(not married to Brad Pitt):

Angelina Jolie is indeed beautiful, but even she doesn't compare to

*Elizabeth Taylor*

In her heyday, she was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. She was even beautiful when she was fat.  And her raucous sense of humor and free lifestyle just made her more attractive.

See her at her most beautiful in "A Place in the Sun."

Honorable Mention:

*Hedy Lamarr*

If you don't know who she is, treat yourself to a glimpse into the Golden Age of Hollywood by watching "Algiers (1938)." 

( The famous line "Come with me to the Casbah" came from the trailer for this film, but never actually was uttered in the film itself).

or Comrade X (1940) with Clark Gable. 

She was also a smarty pants who invented some early technology that eventually morphed into the cell phone.

Funniest Musical Film
(that wasn't supposed to be funny)

*Moulin Rouge*

C'mon, tell me Ewan McGregor did NOT look like a muppet when he sang.

Best Movie Featuring a Dragon


I just love this movie and can't wait to watch it with my grandsons.  It's only available on VHS and could be hard to find, but it's worth it.  Who can resist a Dragon named Yowler?  And you movie buffs - a young Alastair MacKenzie of "Monarch of the Glen" fame is credited as Sam MacKenzie.

Best Film of all Time

*Citizen Kane*

No argument as far as I am concerned, though I am sure you have your favorites.  But this film was a milestone in cinematography, music and narrative structure, and the montage showing the disintegration of a marriage in less than three minutes is brilliant.

Honorable Mention:

*Paul Blart, Mall Cop*

Just kidding, but it's a surprisingly fun film.

Best Soap Opera


I am not one to watch soap operas these days and it doesn't seem like anyone else does either since most of the daytime soaps have gone off the air.  I mean, who gets to stay home and watch TV these days?  Well, some of us do, but that's beside the point.

"Eastenders" is a British soap that started in 1985.  It first aired here on PBS, believe it or not, and was eventually picked up by BBCAmerica.  After BBCAmerica unceremoniously abandoned it and us fans, we have had to find alternatives, one of which these days is You Tube, so check it out.  It is nothing like American soap operas with botoxed leading ladies and lots 'o sex.  This soap follows regular folks living on a Square in London's East End.  I mean, one of the leading ladies is in her 80's!  Fancy that.

Best Athlete Who Didn't Use Steroids or Run Around on His Spouse (though He Did Run Around)

*California Chrome*

He has won The Kentucky Derby and The Preakness.  Can he win the Triple Crown at The Belmont?  See what happens this Saturday.

Best Restaurant When Someone Else is Paying

*Any restaurant where a steak costs over $50*

Here in Seattle, Canlis is arguably the gold standard, not just for its food, but for the service, which is impeccable.  If I am going to pay big prices, I don't just want extraordinary food.  I want an extraordinary experience.  You get it at Canlis

(Speaking of restaurants, see my blog this coming Friday for my restaurant pet peeves).

Best Food to Eat While Watching Lifetime Movies

*Anything that can be eaten while reclining*

Nothing is more relaxing than watching Lifetime Movies

Read all about them in my post "Lifetime Movies:  A Baby Boomer's Appreciation."

Best New Year's Eve Resolution

*Not To Make Any New Year's Resolutions*

Best Day Trip

*Wine Tasting*

Best Day Trip That Doesn't Involve Wine


Best Vacation for People Who Like Each Other

*Rent a narrowboat in England*


Read all about it in my post "My Favorite Summer Vacation: A Narrow Boat Cruising Adventure in England."

Best Way To Get Exercise

*Stair Walking*
(or exploring your town through urban walking)

Read all about it in my post "The Joys of Stair walks."

Best Dog Breed


No shedding, they are smart and they really want to be with you, unlike some people

And they let you dress them up in cute outfits.

Honorable Mention:


There actually are some good collies out there, unlike some I won't mention.

I grew up with a collie, Echo, who ran all over the neighborhood doing good deeds.

(Dogs could run free in those days and no one ever seemed to pick up dog poop.  Strange to contemplate).

I tried to recreate the good old days of Echo with Mildred.  Oy.  Let's just say, "You can't go home again."


Best Name for the Cutest, Most Darlingest Poodle on Earth.


I had gotten the name from the name of Sir Laurence Olivier's son, but turns out Tarquin was a popular name in England in the 1950's and that name fits him perfectly, don't you think?

Best Way to Spend a Rainy Day

*Reading a book*

Remember those?

Honorable Mention

*Cook Something that can be eaten While Reclining and Watching Lifetime Movies*

Because the only thing more relaxing while reclining and watching Lifetime Movies is eating while reclining and watching Lifetime Movies (unless it's eating, reclining and watching the Housewives).

Best Book from Childhood Memory

*The "twins" series by Lucy Fitch Perkins*

She wrote "The Dutch Twins," "The Italian Twins," "The Colonial Twins of Virginia..."  It was always a boy and a girl set of twins.  I loved those books and remember my anticipation as I headed to the library to check out yet another in the series.  I read every single one and my young friend Chuckie (not to be confused with Hubby of the same name) and I would act them out.  Early acting bug, I guess.

Best Blog


The Best of the Best and
the Most of the Most

*My Hubby*

*My Family*
 *And the newest member*

What do you think? 
What are your "Bests" and "Mosts"?

See you Friday for

"My Restaurant Pet Peeves"


Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, 
email it to your friends and
LIKE me on Facebook at

Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Note:  Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database).
If I reviewed a movie, you can now find my reviews there too.
Find the page for the movie, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Favorite Summer Vacation: A Narrow Boat Cruising Adventure in England

Now that Spring is here, you are probably starting to think about what to do this summer.

So if you are looking for a great adventure, I thought I would share one of the most wonderful summer vacations I have ever had.

If you read my blog, you probably already know how much I love England.  (If not, you can find out from my earlier blog "Why I Love England.") 

So what better way to enjoy England than to hire a narrow boat and cruise slowly up one of her beautiful canals?

So that's what we did.

Not sure where I got the idea from.  Probably from watching too many Morse mysteries or reading magazines about England ("In Britain"), but somehow we decided that was how we were going to spend our 25th Wedding Anniversary.

I gathered our "crew" - Hubby, our daughter, my older sister, and my cousin, Jane and her soon-to-be husband, Lars, who joined us from Sweden.

Our ages ran the gamut from 24-70.

I did my homework and decided the best route for us was the Oxford canal (not too many locks) and the best company the Anglo-Welsh Company.

Meet the Damselfly. 

Our home for the next four days. And we were driving it ourselves.  There were guided tours available and we saw many of those along the way, but, hey, we can do this ourselves!

We all met up in Oxford not knowing what to expect.

Wouldn't you know.  Our boat was the farthest one away.  Geez, why did I bring so much luggage?

After a brief training on what to do, we were off.

Everyone wanted to drive - in theory - but as you can see, it is driven from outside and when it started to rain, Hubby took over.  And it rained for the whole first day!  Lars tried to keep Hubby's spirits up with...well...spirits!

Keeping dry.

Our first challenge was getting through the first lock.

We were cautioned to be sure to NOT leave the "windlass" behind, which was the "key" to opening the locks.  Naturally when we got to the first lock Hubby didn't know what to do.  Uh, gee, here is this handy notebook in the boat with the DIRECTIONS!  What is it with men and directions as in not following them?

That sorted, we opened our first lock.

After more of that, we tied up to do a little sightseeing. 

the ruins of a manor house and church at Hampton Gay.
(Librarian Rosy had already done her research for activities along our route).

Over the stile, over the bridge - watch out for cow pies!

Now on to the next lock.

A bit of traffic.  We were traveling a bit off season. One can imagine what it must be like in the heart of summer.

Though Hubby did an admirable job driving the boat, we were not without mishaps.  Note the hull.  We were not responsible for all for all of those nicks and scuffs, but thank goodness the sides of the boat were reinforced with steel. 

Hubby complained that in order to steer the boat, he had to rev the engine to gain some speed and then swing it around.  The wind was also a factor.  Sure.

I can remember sitting happily inside with a lovely glass of wine looking out the front of the boat and suddenly a tree was looming and boom!  No worries.  Lars jumped out and pushed us off the shore.  Thank goodness for the handy, dandy poles provided for just such a purpose.

The first night we tied up at The Boat Inn in Thrupp.

We were having difficulty finding a space until a friendly local woman came along.  She grabbed hold of the line of one of the parked boats and moved it, making room for us.  She said that since the owners were in the pub having a few, they would never notice their boat had been moved!

So Day 1. 

We traveled about eight miles. Hey, it's not easy when you can only cruise at about 2-3 miles per hour.  Hubby cranked it up to 4 one time as we passed another boat parked on the side of the canal.  The owner of that boat came out and shook his fist at us.  We were probably rocking his boat as he was preparing his tea!

Day 2 was our 25th Wedding Anniversary.

This friendly swan seemed to be saying, "This way to the next pub!"

And here we are!

At the end of Day 2 we had to turn the boat around.  Yikes.

There are only certain places where you can turn the boat around.  Those spots are called "winding holes (pronounced "win - ding")." 

Here at Lower Heyford, our farthest point, Hubby once again didn't read the directions and after many attempts, a friendly local turned our boat around for us.

Half the fun was tying up and spending the evenings hanging out together.

Or just relaxing.

Or making new friends.

I was able to get my Inspector Morse fix as we headed back toward Oxford having lunch at the Trout Inn, one of Morse's and Lewis' haunts. 

Our last day, after traversing the Thames, we tied up just outside of Oxford as we had to return the boat early in the morning.

As we readied the boat for its return, we noticed we still had a lot of wine and spirits, er, "supplies" left. 

What to do?

What do you think we did?


On the fourth day, we said our good-byes.

Taking our happy memories with us
(can someone tell me what is going on with the hair on that redhead?)

We were a motley crew aging 24-70, but nary a cross word was spoken and a good time was had by all.

I have often thought of doing this trip again and sharing it with others.

But I can't help but worry that it just wouldn't be the same. 

Sometimes you just can't recreate magic.

So I think - next stop!  Barging in France!

What are your favorite summer vacation memories?

See you Friday for

"Why Oprah Still Matters"


The Week in Reviews

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends.

Photos courtesy of Rosemary DeHoog and Chuck Brewer