Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Last Hurrah! - R2BC

View from the terrace of King David Hotel
Here we are at the end of the summer holiday? School starts on Sunday. Where did it go? What happened to all those  projects I was going to tackle over nine long weeks of no work (in theory, not including finishing off last year's courses, teaching two summer courses, and preparing for next year's courses)? We traveled some, we had guests from overseas, we went on day trips, we went to the pool, we went to the beach, and we relaxed... a lot. And that's where it went. 

Interestingly, things suddenly picked up a pace for the final week of the holiday. It was a sort of unplanned last hurrah before we return to serious routines for the next ten months. Here's how it panned out.

On Sunday I went out for coffee with a friend and DD was invited to an all-day happening to celebrate the end of the holiday. I forgot to ask who organized the happening but it was all free for members. Knowing the parents of the friend who invited DD, it could have been the Teachers' Union, the Social Workers' Union, or a major children's charity that the family are very involved with. The day was by a pool with an adventure park (zip lines), activities and lunch. DD came home with a new school diary and her fingernails painted. I got a lot of work done at home. Everyone was very happy.

On Monday I met a friend visiting from London, for coffee. She didn't want to travel all the way to my neighbourhood and I didn't want to go into the town centre. So we met in the middle at The King David Hotel. We were the only ones sitting on the terrace overlooking the pool, with the Old City of Jerusalem across the valley. The coffee cost exactly the same as in a crowded cafe but it was so much more pleasant to be in the elegant gardens of the hotel. I don't know why I don't do this more often.

On Monday evening we went to see Hamlet in Motion in the park.

On Tuesday I had to give an exam at my college and meet with some students. Then we popped into DD's school to pick up her school books and a box of school supplies that we'd ordered online. We came home and ticked everything off on the list before going to the Big Shop (it's actually called Big Shop) to get school t-shirts and a couple of sweaters along with anything missing from the supplies list. It's a bit like Primark or Walmart but not nearly as much choice (or quality). However, we managed to do a Big Shop and came home loaded with bags.

DD posing with school supplies
on the table and bags more on the floor.
On Wednesday DD went to her friend's birthday party while I had to go into my school for the opening Teachers' Meeting. All I can say about that is, "oy vey!" To give you  some idea, the renovations that were supposed to be done over the summer, started yesterday. Luckily most of September is taken up by the Jewish Festivals so no one really expects to settle down into a fixed routine until the beginning of October.

This morning we went to the local shopping mall to pick up the last few things that weren't in the Big Shop. Whilst there, DD saw a new school bag that she absolutely loved and so did I. So we bought that on a whim and qualified for another free backpack! The plan was for a pizza lunch in the mall but we weren't that hungry so we came home and ate later (leftover pasta from last night).

This evening we're meeting up with our Summer Holiday Family for a falafel picnic in the park to officially end the Summer Holiday.

So lots of Reasons 2B Cheerful even as we say good bye to long lazy days and hello to earlier nights and ridiculously early mornings. The R2BC linky is back with Becky this week on Lakes Single Mum. I suspect that there will be a lot of cheerful summer holiday endings. Stiff upper lip and all that.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Hamlet In Motion

Hamlet dumping Ophelia while Polonius and Claudius hide behind a tree. 
Last night we went to one of the annual highlights of our summer - Shakespeare in Motion performed by Theater in the Rough, Israel. So far we've seen A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard III, and The Taming of the shrew. (Follow the links for my reviews.) We missed Macbeth as I was in my year of mourning for my Dad and didn't go to any live entertainment (although it was pointed out to me that Macbeth is a tragedy, LOL.) Last night was Hamlet.

We forgot to read Hamlet in our Tales from Shakespeare before we went but luckily there was, as usual, a synopsis in the programme. However, we did go prepared with two folding deckchairs this time. And we forwent the picnic because though it sounds idyllic to be watching Shakespeare in the park and eating baguette, cheese and grapes etc... there's actually too much going on for such pretentiousness. Most people go out to eat afterwards. We met half a dozen good friends there and had lots of invitations to join various parties for after show activities. But DD was tired so we came home and ate leftovers from Shabbat instead.

Gertrude and Claudius caught canoodling behind a pillar. 
The park is the garden between the King David Hotel and the Old City of Jerusalem. And the play (which in Hamlet, is the thing) takes place in various locations. The audience ambles from scene to scene along with the actors. I've said it before, but it's a bit like being there with the characters as the plot unfolds.

The acting was superb. I don't like to name names so I won't. Everyone brought something special to their role and obviously it's most thrilling for me to see people I know personally in the performance (Andrea Katz - the Grande Dame of Theater in the Rough, Annabelle Landgarten - we fold clothes together for the Yedidya Bazaar every year, and Gillian Kay - my age in numbers but more of a youthful Peter Pan on stage). Nevertheless I must give a special mention to Hamlet himself - Natan Skop, who was just amazing - hilarious and tragic at the same time. (DD liked Polonius best - Ira Skop, because he was the only nice person in the whole play. "He didn't hurt anyone and he didn't go crazy. He was just trying to help!")

Polonius giving fatherly advice to Ophelia right in front of us!
Having said how wonderful the acting was and how much we thoroughly enjoyed it, Hamlet seems to be a lot harder to follow than previous Shakespeare plays we've seen (even Richard III). We knew the story so we weren't lost but had we not read the synopsis, it would have been a bit confusing. I think the action is slower in Hamlet - people take a long time to say what they need to say. Hamlet went on and on about the nunnery when we got it that he was dumping Ophelia in the first minute. And boy did they all take a long time to die at the end. Did I mention that it's not a happy play?

Sometimes you didn't know where to look first. 
One amusing incident in the graveyard. There was a communal chanting of, "Alas poor Yorick! I knew him Horatio." And one poor man was heard above the crowd with the old misquote of, "Alas poor Yorick! I knew him well." I tittered smugly to myself. (I forgot that Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement, is in only three weeks. Woops. Sorrysorrysorry.)

And finally, who knew that these famous lines came from Hamlet?

In no particular order: 
Neither a borrower nor a lender be. 
This above all, to thine own self be true. 
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. 
To be or not to be, that is the question. 
To sleep perchance to dream. 
Though this be madness, there is method in't. 
The play's the thing. (What does that even mean?)
Sweets to the sweet.
The Lady doth protest too much me thinks. (I missed what she was protesting about tbh.)
I must be cruel only to be kind. 
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. (Obviously)
Alas poor Yorick! I knew him Horatio. (I gave this one away earlier.) 
I know a hawk from a handsaw. (Meaning, I can distinguish between enemies and friends.)
Get thee to a nunnery!

Here the Gravedigger accidently dug up poor Yorick. 
So much modern English usage from one play. My friends and I kept exchanging stretched eyes and raised eyebrows in surprised recognition, each time one came up. Anyway, mark your own papers. 14/14: English Lit. Professors, 6/14 - 13/14: Damned impressive, 5/14: Me, less than 5/14: Oh well.

Jerusalem People - there is one more performance tomorrow night. 28/8/18 at 5.30 pm in the gardens behind the The King David Hotel (walk down the road to the right of the King David into the park). You won't be sorry. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

R2BC - Short And Sweet

Nice and early this week, here are my reasons 2B cheerful.  It's short and sweet as the new academic year has pushed its nose into the end of my holiday and there's much to prepare. The Linky is live over at Becky's Lakes Single Mum. 

Lovely Photo
I love this photo of DD taken by Sarit Doron at the chocolate making workshop.

Proud to be Israeli
We saw this sign on a mixed-grill restaurant in the Golan Heights. In a country where all the soldiers are all our children, it was heartwarming and it made us feel so proud of the people who live here. The sign says, 

"Dear Soldier, don't be hungry. 
If you're short of money, tell a staff member and the shortfall is on us!"

Sunset over the Mediterranean

Club Med
After 30 years of living in this country I still get a kick out of living an hour's drive from the Mediterranean Sea. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Golan Heights #2 - The Yurt

Plenty of room in the yurt for gymnastics on a springy wooden floor.
After a previous camping experience I only agreed to this trip if we had beds. So a yurt in the Golan was booked with six beds. It also had a non-yurt extension built onto the side with a small kitchen and a separate, even smaller, bathroom. We loved our little home for two nights.

The yurt was in a small village and after our showers in the evenings, one friend and I walked round the country lanes rating looking at the different cottages and deciding which one we would like to live in.

It was very idyllic for two nights but I think I'm probably more suited to [small] town living for the long haul. I like people and cafes, entertainment, shopping, and a bit of hustle and bustle.

Ma'ayanot. They didn't look contaminated....
We didn't just sit around the yurt for two days, of course not. The next morning saw us off bright and early to an adventure centre where the kids could go-kart, peddle-kart, trampoline, zip-line, trolley board (like snow boarding but on a dry slope), and ride on a jeep through a mini-safari. I should be in PR - the mini-safari was a spread out petting zoo and the zip line was only three metres off the ground, LOL. But they had fun and that's what counts. Also there was no Sergeant-Major at this activity.

After a picnic lunch in which DD discovered that she likes an omelet in a bread roll, we went in search of some mountain springs and pools. Btw, omelet sandwiches are perfectly normal here. It's a very Israeli thing and, yes, the omelet is cold.

Chocolate-making workshop
I need to explain about the mountain springs and pools (ma'ayanot in Hebrew). There has been a health scare in the Golan whereby some of the ma'ayanot have become contaminated with a rodent borne bacteria due to the many years of drought in the region. Apparently when the rest of the country gets torrential rain in the winter, the Golan doesn't. This means that things are not washed away as they should be. This summer over 60 people have come down with a life-threatening flu-like illness that can damage the kidneys, up to three weeks after frolicking in the streams.

There was a list of which pools to avoid and many were physically closed off to the public. We found one that wasn't on the list and very open to the public with lots of locals enjoying the cool waters. I wasn't happy about going into any ma'ayanot - why take the chance. However, I wasn't strong enough in my objection and we went. The kids loved it. The next day these pools were added to the list so we're on alert for flu-like symptoms for the next two weeks. *sigh*

The Sea of Galilee. 
And on to the next. A boutique chocolate factory where the kids went on a tour and then did a chocolate making workshop. Thankfully they only needed one adult with them and one of our adults is a chocolate maker herself so there was no contest. I got to sit in the coffee shop and relax with our other adult.

We ate dinner in Katsrin, one of the two towns on the Golan, and then the long drive home to our yurt to shower, stroll, and bed. I say it was a long drive but actually, the Golan is quite a small area of land. It just feels like a vast expanse because it's a plateau of volcanic rock with big skies and rough, wild terrain with hardly anything man-made in it. (South Africans always talk about missing the big skies when they move to the UK. I never understood what they meant before but now I do.) The Golan is very different from the rest of Israel, considering how close everything is (you can drive the length of the country on one day). The Waze kept saying we were only 20 minutes from our destination whereas the map and the scenery looked like we were heading into Syria. Had we not seen some very welcome signs in Hebrew every so often, we would have been nervous that we had crossed the border by accident.

Our final day was spent by and in the Sea of Galilee on the way home. I don't know why they call it a sea. You can see the other side. Lake Geneva is apparently the biggest body of water in Europe and it's 580 km sq. I just googled the Galilee and it's only 167 km sq. Despite the click-bait name, it was the perfect end to a short but full holiday on the Golan Heights.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Golan Heights #1 - The Dairy Maid

Feeding the calves
We had one weekend after  Ashkelon to do our laundry and water the plants before setting off on our second holiday of the summer. One member of our Holiday Family is very pro-active about organizing us to get  up and go. Me, I just pay my money and do what I'm told. Anyway, we were booked into a yurt in the Golan Heights for a three day/two night adventure.

We left early on the Monday morning. Three families (three mothers and three children) in two cars. Neither of the cars are mine so I try to even things out a bit by paying for all the coffee and ice-cream stops. some of the parking, and treating everyone to one of the meals. The three kids liked to travel in one car together and I went with the other driver, whichever driver it was for that leg of the journey, to keep her company.

He made them hold the rail
while he was talking. Brilliant!
On the way up to the Golan we stopped at Bethlehem in the Gallilee. I've heard of this place before because it's near Nazareth and I once read a theory that this is actually the Bethlehem that Mary and Joseph traveled to for Herod's census and where Jesus was born. Otoh, Jesus spent his adult life in Jerusalem which is near the other Bethlehem so someone had to make the long trek south.

First we went to a herb farm where they have cooking workshops for kids. The bread making was at 11 am and the pizza making was at 1 pm. We arrived at 11.45 so we missed one and it was too long to wait for the next. The children were given a worksheet to fill out in return for a prize. The prizes were little plastic nothings like you get after a visit to the dentist but they liked them and they learned something about herbs and spices. The other two adults enjoyed buying spices as they are both interesting cooks. I'd like to be an interesting cook but DD will only eat omelets or dry pasta (with a bit of grated cheese) so I don't bother. The toilets were clean.

Next we went to a dairy farm for a tour of the cow sheds. The tour was designed for children but the guide was very Sergeant Majorish and shouted a lot. The kids didn't like him at all. I thought he was wonderful and took notes on how to keep my classes in line.

We were introduced to the calves who were between four days and two weeks old. We stroked them and fed them. One of our boys let them slobber all over him but that was a bit much for DD and I. I'm not an animal person but they were very cute.

Hard at work
Then we visited the chickens and learned why some eggs have chicks growing inside them but the eggs in the shops don't. We held newly laid eggs. We were invited to hold baby chicks. DD declined. I said, "come on, be brave. Don't you sort of want to?"
"I sort of want to but they're all scratchy and squirmy."
The guide overheard us and took my hand. "Come on Mummy, you show her that it's ok."
I snatched my hand back before he could place a scratchy, squirmy chick into it and squealed. "No, no, I don't want to!"

The cows were hungry by this time so the children were given shovels and told to fill a wheelbarrow with hay, wheel it back and shovel piles of hay in front of the cows who were poking their hungry heads through the railings. This took them about 20 minutes. Meanwhile the Sergeant Major disappeared - probably for a cup of tea or his afternoon nap. There was something strange about this picture. It had to do with paying for the tour and child labour... but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

After that we went into the cow shed to milk the cows. Obviously it's all automated but one cow was left unhooked so that we could milk her by hand. I have always wanted to milk a cow (or a goat, I'm not fussy). DD refused to go anywhere near the cow and she went back outside to feed the calves again.

Feeding the cows
Each child was taken to the cow and shown how to milk her. He invited each parent to go with the child while I, being without child, took their phone and took photos of the two of them milking the cow together and separately. It wasn't just our group, there were other families there too. I waited patiently until everyone had had their turn and there was just me and a woman wearing a 10 month old baby on her chest. I stepped forward but the Sergeant Major wanted to give the baby a go too. So I waited until they were done and I took their photo on the mother's phone.

The Sergeant Major started collecting up his things, "OKAY, NOW WE MOVE TO THE NEXT STATION" he barked. I almost cried. "What about me? I want to milk the cow too!" I got to milk the cow. I loved it. I released my inner Heidi after a lifetime of  buying bottled milk.

Midlife Ingalls Wilder
Now we had the milk we had to use it. Well not the exact same milk that we'd retrieved from the cow but other milk that had been cooled earlier. And another batch that had been gently heated. The children made the cooled milk into chocolate milk. It was delicious. I swear it tasted very different and much better than the tasteless supermarket milk. And I don't even like milk. Or chocolate.

They made the warmed milk into butter and we ate it spread on crackers. Also delicious.

We left the farm and drove off to find some luntea (lupper?). In our car I babbled on about how thrilled I was to have milked a cow. In the other car, apparently, the children went on and on about how much they hated the Sergeant Major.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Ashkelon: Tsunami - 0, Missiles - 1.

Who knew? 
We spent five days in a hotel in Ashkelon with my mother. It was five days of no cooking, no washing up, no cleaning, and no internet. It was wonderful...ish. Ok, there were a few issues along with the fabulous pool and the cable tv. Overall it was a definite good holiday.

We booked through I always use them and there has never been a problem because I've never had to change anything about the booking once I've booked it. This time I found out that changing anything about the booking is a big pain when you didn't book directly with the hotel.

We were without a car and the hotel was advertised as just outside Ashkelon. We didn't know how far out of town it was so we booked dinner as well as breakfast in the hotel. Dinner was £28 per person. We didn't really think about it when we booked but this is an enormous amount when you're not planning to eat three full courses every night. It's a buffet but the choices are the same every night which also gets boring.

After the first night we went to the reception and asked to cancel dinner for the next three nights. "Sorry, we can't change anything about the booking. You need to phone" So we phoned and we spoke to Mike in Berlin. (Have you ever wondered what these world travelers do for a living on their laptops for a few hours a day? - This is it.) Mike in Berlin, bless him, made a mistake and cancelled dinner in only one room. So we called back (each call takes 15 minutes to get through) and Dave managed to cancel dinner in both rooms. Then we discovered that Mike had not just ignored one of the rooms, he'd actually cancelled breakfast in the second room by mistake. I don't know who we spoke to next, Netta I think. After each call we had to wait while they sent an email to the hotel office with the amendments. Anyway, it all got sorted but that was two hours of our holiday we won't get back.

Grandma and DD at the Marina.
The other thing we discovered was that although we are not breakfast eaters at home, I forced myself to enjoy the breakfast buffet because we had paid for it (and I couldn't face another ordeal with but DD wasn't interested in eating it at all. I think next time I'll have my usual coffee for breakfast and buy us both an early lunch (or brunch) in the lounge cafe when DD's hungry. Seriously, one pizza and one salad from the lounge cafe is much cheaper than the breakfast buffet.

On the second evening we walked only 15 minutes along the sea-front to the marina and had a fabulous fish meal with dessert for about £40 for all three of us. Actually the portions were so big that we could have shared two between us.

The Ashkelon Marina is buzzing at night. It's more Greek fishing town than Monte Carlo but it has everything there including entertainment, shops, every type of food, the sea and the boats. And the 15 minutes walk there  and back (nearer 25 minutes on the way back as it's uphill and after dinner) was just the right amount of exercise to be pleasant.

I was surprised to see tsunami warnings along the front. Also signs showing which direction to run to and how many metres to safety. Between 350 and 600 if you're interested. DD was intensely interested if not fixated on the chances of there being a tsunami. We explained that there has to be an earthquake in the Mediterranean region first and then you have a few hours warning. By the time the tsunami comes we'd be back home in Jerusalem. That night she snuggled up to me in bed and said, "can I sleep closer to you tonight? I'm nervous about a tsunami."

On the third morning we were woken by loud sirens signalling a rocket attack from Gaza. DD and I rushed out of bed, I grabbed the door card, banged on my Mum's door, and ran to the stairwell. There we met several other guests in various states of undress. You only have 30 seconds before the rocket hits (unless it's intercepted by the Iron Dome) so no time for modesty.

My sister sent DD a whole package of activity books for the hotel.
We weren't fazed because we've been in war situations before. My mother remembers the first doodle-bug to hit London. It was on June 13th 1944 (I just googled it) after they'd returned from being evacuated in Scotland. Her older brother was standing by the window trying to get a look at it but her mother pulled him away. They took cover under the dining table and the whole window shattered into the room from the impact of the blast. DD and I spent a whole summer running down to the bomb-shelter in our building a few years ago and she remembers it.

So we were't fazed but we were a bit shakey when we returned to our rooms to put on the tv news. It's not a joke even if you've done it before. It's real missiles and they do kill people. That same morning one rocket had landed on a house in a town just south-east of Ashkelon. Interestlingly, DD wasn't worried about the missiles from Gaza like she was about a possible tsunami. This is ironic as there have been about 200 rockets fired at Israel this summer and not one tsunami.

There was quite good entertainment in the evenings at the hotel.
That day my cousin from Tel-Aviv drove down to have lunch with us and we had a lovely catch-up. The next day family friends from Stanmore, now living in Netanya drove down to see us. Whilst having coffee in the lounge I told them about another English couple in the hotel. The evening before, whilst playing our nightly match of kalooki or contract whist, we'd overheard them talking to a guest and they mentioned Edgware and Netanya. "I'm sure you must know them," I said.

Within two minutes the other couple had spotted our guests and joined us for coffee. Turns out that the man is a cousin of our friends' son-in-law and their daughter is married to an old friend of mine from 40 years ago. Btw, yesterday I met my old friend's sister in the supermarket and she said that the couple's guest from the first night must have been her cousin from Ashkelon. I once heard this joke: There are only 10 committed Jews in the world. The rest is done by mirrors. Sometimes it really feels like that.

The next morning we checked out. We asked the receptionist to order us a taxi to take my Mum to the airport. She called her husband but he wasn't available so he got his friend to take us at 2/3 of the price of a real taxi. Welcome to the Middle East. And after dropping my Mum off at terminal 1, DD and I continued to terminal 3 to get a Sherut (a shared door-to-door, mini-bus taxi) and go home.

Friday, August 17, 2018

What Happens To Your Garden When You Go Away?

Inside before we abandoned them.
After a busy July in which DD had summer day-camp and I had two summer courses on the go, we were looking forward to a slower pace in August. My mother arrived on July 31st and spent five days with us in Jerusalem. We didn't do much, mostly hung out and played cards but also met with friends and went out for coffee.

On the sixth day we decamped to a hotel in Ashkelon for a few days of beach, pool and.... more card playing.

But before we go there - a word about my garden. This summer we finally beautified our modest balcony with plants and flowers. We also planted (sowed?) seeds with varying success rates. The balcony has a low wall all around it, that provides a shelf along three sides. The safety rail is fixed to the outer edge so nothing can fall off and we placed planters all round. We also bought a tree for the corner. It looked very pretty.

The problem with a garden on a west facing balcony in the Middle East, is that it gets very (very very) hot in the afternoons in the summer. You have to water it every day or the plants start drooping as if they are gasping for a drink. If you miss two days they die of thirst. As we were going away for five days, that would be three whole days in the middle without watering. I spent a serious amount of money at the plant nursery only a few short weeks ago. Believe me, if I had to stay home to babysit my plants I would have done. (Well perhaps not but you get the level of my concern.)

So pretty and full of life beforehand....
The solution was to bring everything inside.  I put a thick cloth on the dining table and also brought the balcony table inside. All the planters were arranged on the tables and before we left I over watered each pot. I also put the blinds down to keep it cooler inside. This was Monday morning. When we arrived home on Friday afternoon things were a little fragile but not too bad. Nothing that a few hours of sunshine wouldn't cure.

And here is where I made mistakes. Firstly, I watered everything again when actually the soil in every pot was still saturated. Then, I didn't put them back out in the sun to dry out a bit and soak up some rays. You see we were leaving again the following Monday for another mini-break with friends. I lazily decided to leave the plants on the tables inside for the duration - until the following Wednesday. Wrong decision! Even though the patio door was open all the time and blinds up to let in the sunshine over the weekend, 10 days of indoor living was not good for my poor plants.

I can only beg for forgiveness and another chance. 
By the time we arrived home on Wednesday at least three plants were completely dead. Another two had lost their pretty flowers and are hanging on by a thread. The tall, sturdy, something plant that we grew from seeds is now a bent old man with osteoporosis of the spine. I'm hoping for some resurrections over the next few days. We are in Jerusalem after all. I'll keep you posted.

I thought children tied you down, and I knew that animals tie you down... The truth is that over the years I've often had the key to various neighbours' apartments so that I could go in and water their plants while they are away. For now we're home for the duration with no plans to abandon my poor plants again until well into the cooler weather. But I still feel like one of those mothers who goes out partying, or worse, away for the week, and leaves her young children locked in the house at home.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Home Sweet Home - R2BC

Sunset over the Mediterranean

August 16th and I've not written one blog post this month. (Well I have now obvs.) And I've missed at least two Reasons 2B Cheerful - Sorry ladies! But now I'm back on the Linky at Mummy From the Heart with Mich. We've been up and down the country, camped, swum, walked, eaten, played and laughed. I'll be writing about everything (well not everything) over the next few days.

Home Sweet Home
DD and I got home yesterday evening from three days on the Golan Heights. We went with friends, our Summer Holiday Family. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves but last night, after a quick trip to the grocery, a long shower and a light supper, we were in bed by 9 pm and slept like logs for 10 hours.

Today I pottered about the house. The laundry got done. I'm up to date with my summer course grading. The plants are back on the balcony (full story tomorrow). I've had time to blog again. God's in His heaven and all's right with the world.

Badge Of Honour
Apparently while I was away Feedspot selected Midlife Singlemum as one of the top 10 midlife parenting blogs on the web. One wonders how many midlife parenting blogs there are. Anyway, I'm number 6 so I'm ahead of at least four others. And I get to display another badge of honour - eyes right. Thank you Feedspot, it's nice to know I'm not just writing to myself and my three closest friends.