Saturday, July 29, 2006

Rest Day - Still 'Muggy'

Today has been a Rest Day, but quite honestly, I don't think they really suit us. Too much time to think about the house-move that wasn't; and we both feel we are living in a house that we have emotionally left. Neither of us can actually think of a strategy for dealing with it. No doubt we shall come to terms with the problem because we accept that it could be 2007 before we move. so we shall have to, shan't we.

Picture 1 is, as promised 'Leaf-Stem' and when it is in working order water trickles down it. Some years ago, a pavement artist had done a pastel drawing (just in front of where the guitarist is standing) and leaf-stem overflowed, washing out the top corner of the drawing. As I commented in the Evening Post "it is rare for one work-of-art to attack another" but I don't think they saw the funny side. Today has been overcast but still very hot and muggy. As Ray says, it's almost as if the clouds have trapped the heat in. Even the breeze makes no difference. I don't think I realised that 'hot breezes' were a possibility.

One learns something everyday! Or should do. I was reading my online Digital Radio magazine and was surprised to learn that the optimum length for an digital aerial is 31.5cm. Most telescopics pull out to longer than that. I pushed mine down to the suggested length and, believe it or not, the signal strength increased noticeably.

I don't usually carry advertising in this journal but decided to draw attention to these Chef's Candles, which really work. They were recommended in last Saturday's cookery page and I remembered as I walked past Lakeland yesterday. We had fish yesterday evening and as I started cooking I lit it and left it burning until we had cleared away. Result - no fishy smells, and nothing lingering in the kitchen first thing this morning.

And I am quite pleased with the photograph. Digital photography is so much better! I took maybe a dozen frames, deleted eleven and settled for this one because the colour of the wax was the most accurate. Cropped but no trickery though - all straightforward Picasa stuff.

My yellow INR blood book arrived back this morning and my level is back within the permitted range. So no 'dosage change' and I've got 3 weeks before I have to attend again. If it is OK then I should be put back on an 8 week check. Nothing really to do with blood I suppose, but early this morning we had a sparrow-hawk fly down onto the secluded patio at the rear, with a young starling in it's talons. I didn't even try to open the kitchen door, to take a photograph because it would have been off like a rocket and I didn't want to disturb it at breakfast. The weather forecast says it's going to be cooler, which is OK, but I hope the sun remains for our young people's holidays.............

Friday, July 28, 2006

Nottingham Trip - Still Hot


"And I love to live so pleasantly,
Live this life of luxury
Lazing on a sunny afternoon
In the summertime"

.................................................The Kinks ---- whenever.

We decided after coffee on a spur-of-the-moment excursion to Nottingham. Not only do we get a tram-ride and Y can go to Bromley House, but I get to have my doorstop sandwiches at St. Peters and a quick visit to Waterstones. The picture is of the gorgeous seat outside the Church Hall where we actually eat our food and have our beautifully served little pots of tea. In silvery pots with additional hot water and a cute little jug of milk. A pot of tea for one makes a good three cupsfull. This courtyard is so lovely and this morning had the advantage of dappled shade. I hadn't chased the people away; I arrived around 11.45am which is 15 minutes before the rush starts. We made room on our table for a chap who was looking lost and he proved most interesting to talk to. Born in Colombia, emigrated to Stockholm and on holiday here. He asked if it was always so hot in Nottingham and we had to admit that it isn't.

While Y was at Brommers I went to the Big Man's shop and bought a pair of shorts. I didn't try them on till we got home, but they are fine. Not been so comfortable for weeks. Y says they will be OK indoors but I'm not to go out in them ! She may be weakening though, because at tea-time she said "Those shorts are growing on me". Whatever - it is almost bound to bring the heatwave to an end, and rain. Like washing the car. Before I got that far though I looked in Dixons at 32" TVs. Before committing ourselves we will have a good look around though, and we always like to compare John Lewis because we have always been so satisfied with the service. Particularly if anything goes wrong.

Waterstones as always proved an irresistable pull and I managed to buy only 3 books, and a little handbag-sized clip-on book light for Y. Before Bungus intervenes I must point out that the light is not 'the same size as a handbag' but is designed to be 'popped into a handbag'. He was pleased with the way the Clipstone Headstocks looked in the Blog. And I do hope that he soon creates his Blog - he will enjoy it so. And so will we ! We can all make impertinent comments on it. He He!

More Nottingham Pictures tomorrow - including the 'Leaf Stem' a piece of modern sculpture which I like.........................

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Seemed even hotter - Couldn't be?

These are Clipstone Headstocks. The highest in Europe it was said. But of course the Colliery is closed now so it's a bit academic as they say.

This super shot is Bob's not mine, and he took it from the top deck of the bus bringing him to Mansfield for our lunch meeting. The top deck of a bus is about the only vantage point to get a picture which does them justice. On foot, you can't really see enough, and one isn't allowed in the pit-yard anymore. And his chosen distance is first-rate to avoid any problem with converging verticals. I did, of course, seek his permission before publishing it.

Yesterday evening Steve Google-Talked from Jersey, and we got the webcams to work. We saw them all, and had a visual tour round the 'suite', which looked super. Even Millicent entered into the spirit, and it was good fun.

After shopping and popping home to unload we made our way to Mansfield and met Bob for lunch, at the Widow Frost (Wetherspoons). Typically we had been sitting in opposite ends of the pub for 15 minutes before getting together. No matter - we had a good time, a laugh, and a pleasant meal. Things are very competitively priced (i.e. my pint of lemonade £1.69p) and the food is good quality. Y enjoyed it. She loves a bit of 'social' and it took her mind off the fact that it was 'non-moving day'. After the meal we had a mooch round and, of course, the remaindered book shop! I bought an uptodate World Atlas for £1.99. We still have the Times Atlas of The World which was one of my retirement presents. It weighs a ton, and unfortunately was published before the break-up of the Soviet Union, which makes it abit redundant really. I also bought Jonathon Livingston Seagull (didn't realise it was still in print) and I thought Sky would enjoy it - if not this year maybe next. And The Dalai Lama's 'Little Book of Wisdom' which I am sure will repay browsing through. On the advice of our 'knitting correspondent' we bought next week's Radio Times - to help us sort out our new NTL plaything. But even by just pressing promising-looking buttons, we are learning a lot. Joan has a Freeview digi-box and we may see her tomorrow. She will be a 'mine of information'.

When we got home I booted-up my laptop because it is Norton Scan day (all clear again) and my Gmail Inbox had a charming email from Eden books (via Amazon) gently pointing out that I had omitted to submit feedback. I immediately remedied this, and emailed back to say I was delighted with their 'speed and efficiency'.

I think, if anything, it is even hotter. It is now 9.20pm, and still 25C outdoors and 79% Humidity..................

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Still 35C in shade

Having photo upload problems again. So I shall press on and hope to put them in later.

As you can see, I eventually succeeded. Don't ask me why Picture 2 is such poor quality? 'cos I dunno the answer. They both looked the same when I uploaded them. Maybe it will have sorted itself by the time it reaches you.

They are both hover-flies. The second one, which includes the rather ugly house-fly, shows the hover-fly actually hovering. That's why you can't see the wings; they are moving too fast.

The car went in for service. Nothing major needed doing but it needed 2 rear tyres. One was technically still legal but wouldn't be in another couple of thousand miles. It hasn't been heavy on tyres though; these are the first I've had to replace in nearly 3 years.

Y insisted in cutting back stuff that was growing through the fence and forcing the panels apart but reason prevailed in this heat and she didn't stay out too long. Betty next door told her off because she hadn't put her sun-hat on.

After a light salad lunch we spent some time mastering our new NTL digi-box. There is certainly lots there and lots to learn. We've worked out that if, in the 'guide' the programme isn't in bold and there isn't a little 'mini-view' button, we haven't got it. But there is lots and lots that we have got. Tomorrow we are meeting Bob for lunch in Mansfield. Unusually Y is free and not at BJ because Steve and family are in Jersey. We used Google Talk yesterday evening and this evening we are going to try with the webcams. But I've been trying to get mine to work earlier in the day, but without success. Lets hope it works if 'he calls me' rather than me setting up a test-call........

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Action-packed Day - Still Hot

This evening, uploading the pictures seems to have finally defeated me. My 'bragadocia' words of yesterday about 'workarounds' and helping others, have come back to haunt me. For some reason the necessary 'window' doesn't appear on cue. Probably it is a routine 'blogger-hitch' and in due course I shall be able to edit this and include the pictures. Finally managed the lacewing? At 4.30am.

My day started with a trip to the blood-clinic at the Doctors and even at 9.10am they were running late. I took a bag of old WebUser magazines and (with permission) distributed them on the heaps. My intention was to give people a change from Good Housekeeping or People's Friend. And it worked. Before I was called into the surgery (9.40am) three blokes had each picked up a copy. They might actually buy a copy one day. The rest of the day passed without a call from the Clinic so my level can't be that bad.

Then we had the Ntl installation engineer. Up till today we have had my Ntl Broadband, and a phone line from Ntl in Y's name. They offered us a deal of the two together, plus digital TV, for £30 a month. And while we were 'at it' we've moved the TV into the big room and rearranged things because of the space left by the sideboard that was. It looks completely different of course, and it makes the TV look very small ! So ......... I've been reading the 'stuff' and there is lots to learn. For a start there is a TV equivalent of the BBC Radio's 'listen again' service. Any BBC TV programme that one has missed in the last seven days, can be watched, and paused, and rewound etc....

In the afternoon we decided to do some shopping. Air-conditioned Supermarkets DO have advantages in this weather. And also, on spec, we rang David and Helen to see if they would like us to drop-off the little bible-story book, before they go on holiday. David said that Helen's Mum and Dad were there but it would be nice if we went over for a cup of tea. We did and spent a very pleasant hour with them. David, Helen's Dad and I sat in the kitchen and talked about old cars, and the ladies and the girls sat in the other room and talked about whatever ladies talk about. Sky and Brooke have had their hair cut much shorter, and it really suits them both.

It is a shame about the pictures because I had managed to photograph a lacewing on the kitchen window and after countless efforts, managed to get a well-focussed shot. Perhaps later .....

Monday, July 24, 2006

National Trust Committe Day - Still Hot

Picture 1 is Bergen from the mountain top. Reached, I am told by our 'Artic Circle Correspondent' by funicular railway. I'd had a mental picture of ropes and croutons, or is it crampons - I always confuse the two.

Super photo whatever, I just love the clouds. As I can't import into Picasa from folders at the moment, I had to use the Ways & Means Act to publish it in the Blog. But I was confident of getting there by hook or by crook.

Although I have only been blogging since March, I have worked out some useful 'workarounds'. To the extent that, via the Picasa forums, I was able to suggest a solution to a user who had reached the 'hair-tearing' stage with a problem in posting a picture. I'm certainly no expert though.

Picture 2 is the Shepherd's Pie which I foretold yesterday, from the remains of the lamb gigot. When it came out of the oven Y said that it looked good enough for a recipe book. So I thought 'why not?'.

I haven't forgotten the earlier request for the definitive 'meat & potato pie' recipe - which would produce a result 'like mother used to make'. As was suggested, it no doubt centred round shin beef, preferably dark purple in colour, and firm maincrop potatoes which wouldn't disintegrate in the oven. I would also suggest that the 'meat and potato' element would need precooking, otherwise the pastry would be done before the rest of the pie. Also a pie-funnel would be an essential piece of equipment or the pastry would be all soggy...........zzz.......zzzz

This afternoon Y was at a National Trust sub-committee meeting. The sub-committee is charged with the resposibility of arranging speakers for the winter monthly meetings. I think that some are sorted up to 2008! But I agree that you can't arrange things too early because organisations snap-up the best speakers. We were made most welcome and G (who isn't on that sub-committee either) and I happily chatted computers until well after the meeting had ended. I had decided to use Windows Live Local directions finder and for part of the journey it took me down a section of road which has been closed for years!! I shall know better in future.

The second Amazon book arrived this morning, perfectly wrapped etc., and within days of my order. Very efficient. A couple of days ago we were talking about bees and I remembered a Chick Murray story. You younger ones won't know who he was but he really was witty. He was in a posh hotel where the breakfast marmalade and honey came in those little top-of-your-thumb sized containers. He picked one up and said to the waiter "I see you keep a bee"...............

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Becoming Acclimatised & Sunday Lunch

The weather is still hot and humid. 20C (?) in Nottingham as I write - but 28C on my desk, a figure which I trust more, and 88% humidity. The strange thing is, we seem to be getting used to it. No-one I've spoken to today feels as uncomfortable as we have been.

Picture 1 is the purple leaved loosestrife and the ornamental grass, both of which have been suffering in the drought. Yesterday's rain has perked them up.

David reports that their 'first loaf' was not a great success. The top was a little soft while the crust at the sides was too thick. Also over-sweet. They had done the french-bread recipe which I never had any luck with either. But I'm sure they will keep experimenting till they achieve an outstandingly good result which they can all enjoy. I also passed on a tip to only attempt the one & a half pound loaf size because anything larger will rise too much and stick to the glass lid. But the girls seem better which is what matters.

Tracy came to lunch and brought these lovely roses. I had previously asked what she would like, feeling it was too hot for a roast. But she wouldn't be deterred from her favourite - leg of lamb. So the butcher provided a lovely 'gigot' (of this year's lamb) and I accompanied it with onion sauce, new potatoes, whole new carrots, baby courgettes which I griddled, broccoli and lashings of gravy from the roasting-tin bottoms (another Tracy thing). Nearly everything went. There were 4 too many new potatoes, which won't see tomorrow! There is just about enough left-over lamb to make a Shepherd's pie. We followed it with a cheese board including her favourite Somerset Brie and she took to the real Emmental from Lidl. Tracy looked super. She came in a 'wafty'. A loose, summer weight floral patterned dress with an uneven hem-line. I am not publishing a picture because she is anti 'mug shot'. In this she takes after Y, who is also not keen.

Our 'horticultural correspondents' seem to settle for Monbretia for yesterday's pic. and according to Bungus there doesn't seem to be a 'common or garden' name for it. Jill emailed us some smashing pics from their Arctic Cruise, one of a harbour from a mountain-top with lovely clouds which was exceptional. And even though I would'nt dream of Blogging a picture without someone's express permission, I can't anyway. Because my Picasa has lost the ability to 'import from folder'. Not to worry - there are ways & means.

Now I don't want to start arguing politics, but I think I might email a letter to The Telegraph Letters-Editor tomorrow. We now know that Saddam Hussein didn't have weapons of mass-destruction, or chemical or biological weapons. It has occured to me that maybe we ought to release him from prison; ask him to sort out the current mess and resume keeping a weather-eye on Iran like he used to. Unfortunately Radiogandy doesn't have a political correspondent to consult.............

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hot - Stormy - Clear evening

A most unusual day. Very hot still and humid. We went shopping this morning and spent a lot. It had been our intention to run-down the contents of the freezer prior to moving but as we are back to square one, I bought loads of stuff in the butchers. We are back now to our normal state of being able to withstand a siege of several months. When we returned, it was so overcast we unloaded in the garage because it looked so threatening, and about 5 minutes later the clouds opened. But that was only storm 1. Storm 2 came in the afternoon and was really fierce. It was so dark the streetlights came on and you couldn't count more than a second between lightning-flash and thunder-clap; which I've always understood to mean that one is in the centre of it.

Now the evening is here the cloud has broken up and the sky is quite clear. But it is still devilishly hot; 26C and 88% humidity.

David rang this morning and both girls are much improved. But the main reason for the call was to say what fun they were having with the bread-machine; watching the dough-ball being churned round by the paddle !! Ho Hum. They will have a great time with it; all those different bread recipes to explore and a house full of baking bread smell. I hope it doesn't lead to a big weight gain for them, as it did for me.

The flower picture is some crocosmia or monbretia, whatever - and I'm sure it also has a folk-name but I can't remember what it is. Perhaps one of our 'horticultural correspondents' could help? I don't know if it is my imagination, but it too seems rather early in the year. I was going to say that August seemed the right month - but it is of course the 22nd July already. Doesn't time fly?

I've been researching Wakefield Sculpture Park and Google Images as usual was productive. But with the images mostly being around 200 x 150 pixels they clearly didn't have in mind that you would download them to illustrate a Blog. Not to worry. When I have my own photographs I can bore you all to death with them. I had a nice WebUser PM message saying the reader was glad I had removed the adjective 'boring' from my WU signature about the Blog , because he didn't find it boring at all. More encouragement.......................

Friday, July 21, 2006

Still Hot - But we Brits can take it

Still sweltering. But surviving. Ray says he feels slightly less 'awful' today - but only slightly less. Bob says that he thought, yesterday evening as the sun went down it just got hotter not cooler. And poor Jill, longing for the Arctic.

Picture 1 , unless my bee'dy eye deceives me, is a honey-bee. I have received reports that they are 'few and far between' in Ollerton so I thought this one could circulate as far as North Notts at least. A bee-fact which might interest, is that the workers will fly up to 3 miles in search of the 'makings' but much prefer around a mile and a half. Dedicated beekeepers take their hives to good sources. Up to the moors for the heather etc. Great fun ! Another strange thing is that you can move a closed hive miles and miles and they find their way back to it no problem. But if you move it 18 inches while they are out they have difficulties.

This evening we went to watch grandchildren playing football. Poor little people. To say their faces were like beetroot would be an exageration - but certainly like ripe peaches. The adults in charge very sensibly didn't let them play for very long. But we were all proud of them that they had done it at all, and liberally plied them wth 7 Up and stuff.

The football field is across the road from the Trent and I tried again to get a picture of a swan with some detail in the plumage. I have failed again - but I am sure now what I am doing wrong. I shouldn't be adding a stop I should be subtracting one. Further efforts to follow.

We sat on a bench and talked to the chap we shared it with, and discovered an interesting fact about The Ferry Boat pub. It is so-called because opposite it, there used to be a ferry which took you over the river to the Shelford side. I know I know! Talk about not thinking of the obvious until somebody hits you with it. When Y told Hannah, she said "I knew that grandma". Well of course she did. We used the opportunity at teatime to sneak a picnic, and sat by the river to eat it. Y had made some delicious cheese & tomato cobs (or rolls, or baps depending where you are) and a whole bag of crisps each. Cheese & tomato used to be everyone's second favourite filling. But fillings are so exotic these days it probably doesn't even make the top ten.

My glass of ice-cold milk and 2 squares of choccy beckon. I've well missed the 10pm news on the radio but no doubt I shall catch up..................

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sweltering - Too hot for Blogging

It really is too hot for blogging, so I intend to keep it short. In 'comments' Jill says they returned too early and wish they were back in the Artic circle. Although the actual temperature (in these temperate climes) is lower than it has been, it is very humid and uncomfortable. The media are full of it. But I don't think I've seen the word 'sweltering' used; maybe it's gone out of fashion but that is exactly what it is.

The pictures today are both of our Echinacea which is out fairly early in the year. And again, we had rather hoped not to see them bloom. I haven't tinkered with the pictures, apart from cropping to improve the composition. The way they seem to have an eerie glow in the centre, as if someone has installed little bulbs, is how they are. And congratulations Casio, the colour is about right.

We are both still somewhat depressed by the fallen-through house-move and, together with the heat, I haven't felt in an internet mood all day. I remembered to switch on for my scheduled Norton scan and it didn't find anything. Not suprising really I suppose, because I pay it to prevent stuff getting in in the first place. If it found anything it would be admitting previous failure.

Bungus is planning a little break in September to the Wakefield Sculpture Park which, without hesitation I have said 'yes' to. There is apparently a Travelodge about a mile away where we can stay. Another photographic trip. HooRay. He stresses that Yvonne is, of course, more than welcome. She has already been, as part of a course she did at Sheffield Uni, but I guess there will be exhibit changes and interesting new things to see. The sun is almost down and I can't really regret it today.....

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pictures from Buckingham Palace Day

The actual Pictures from the big day will have to wait till I receive them from Steven. He showed us some on his camera and they both looked lovely. Steve made the sensible decision, in my view, to go in a lounge suit rather than morning suit. In my humble opinion 'morning suits' make most Englishmen look faintly ridiculous. I was lucky in being able to go in uniform which solved the problem.

Apparently cameras are still taboo within the palace grounds but Lisa reports several mobile-phone 'violaters'. It must be one-to-one occasions, like Sandra's MBE. where you get an official picture and video. They were quite close to the Queen but she didn't actually stop to speak to them personally. The cucumber sandwiches and the china cups were worthy of note and they had a super, lifetime memorable day, and of course the weather. Poor Queen in that heat; but she's got bottle has Elizabeth R bless her. And Philip too, he stuck it out. And half of her subjects are moaning because the tarmac is melting abit. Mind - it IS hot. We have had curtains closed, fans on etc... etc.. frequent lie-downs. There are advantages to retirement.

Picture 1 is my effort to capture the evening sun shining through beech leaves at Burton Joyce but, as usual, my Casio doesn't like being faced with the problem of focussing on nothing in particular. Hence the less-than-sharp result. I should have tried 'manual focus' but I forgot.

Picture 2 was taken in the later evening from the river bank outside The Ferry Boat. Again not a good exposure. The camera has metered for the water and burnt-out the swan. My own fault. But there was a most welcome breeze. The children got very hot. They don't really understand the concept of not running about in such weather.

And, a follow up from Monday when poor Sky complained of itchy spots, which were barely visible and everybody discounted. They were worse this morning and the Doctor diagnosed chicken pox. Then Brooke had to be collected from School with bad earache; so it was back to the doctors again, and she has an ear-infection. Poor both of them, especially in this heat. The reason I rang Helen was to tell her I'd tracked down the Me Too - Children's Book of Bible Stories which someone had lent her and had to go back. It is a lovely, gentle book with great pictures. Amazon did the biz. Two copies, one new, one used but excellent condition - so I ordered both.

Jill is cruising up in the Spitzbergen, Tromso and Murmansk region. She says she is pleased to have missed the heatwave but that Murmansk is the 'dreariest, dullest, most miserable place' they've ever been to.

They rang me from the clinic, my blood INR level is sky-high and I've got to miss a day's Warfarin. I can only think that the 'idiot in me' discovered a way round my 'idiot-proof' system, and that I've taken them twice in one day recently. She assured me that there was no immediate cause for concern, so long as I didn't start bleeding, or bruising more than I do already....... And she has booked me in for 9am Tuesday 25th. Hardly a ringing reassurance but not to worry...............

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Still Hot - but Llamas in Brinsley?

I know the weather has been hot but I wasn't expecting Llamas to turn up in the field down the road. It will be 'a herd of Wildebeest' next, to borrow John Cleese's immortal line. I also didn't realise how nosy they are. When I pulled up at the gate they were maybe a hundred yards away but as I stood there they got progressively closer.

And then the subject of pictures 2 and 3 (presumably the dominant male) decided to come and see what I was up to. At picture 2 stage I thought "What a gentle creature" and then he just turned and spat at me (picture 3). So I left.

All this was before I went to collect Y from the Tram and go over to Burton Joyce for our further grandparent duties. The day has been incredibly hot, reaching around 34C at noon, and not, at that stage any breeze. when we arrived at Burton Joyce I hitched a lift on Steven's Wi-Fi broadband and my trusty laptop had no trouble at all. So, after a couple of emails, just to see if it worked (it did) 'cos I got replies, I sorted these pictures in Picasa and decided to make a start on my Blog. I do like to at least start a 'post' a day even though I might edit it in the early hours of the next day.

Y collected the children from School and people had cold drinks and things and then, early evening we took them to the Ferry Boat at the side of the Trent. They were at ease there and showed us where the tables near the children's play area was. The place is really geared-up for families, and they both had a super time on climbing-frames and slides etc., and enjoyed their meals, having worked up healthy appetites. The adult food was fine and we relaxed, as far as people of our age can in an environment of boisterous kids.

After our meals the kids played for another half hour or so and then we walked across the road and sat down and watched the boats and the swans. I took a few swan pictures but haven't downloaded them yet, so I don't know if they are any good. There was a gorgeous cool breeze near the river which, in itself, was well worth going for. Then back to Steve's and showers, bedtime stories, games etc., I can't remember in which order but I think showers were first. In anycase showers are Y's department, while I just messed around. I read a Thomas the Tank Engine story - which I'm good at..............

Monday, July 17, 2006

Tea at Long Eaton - It's SO hot !

David and Helen's kitchen leads into the Conservatory leads onto the Decking & Pergola leads into the Garden. It is a most pleasant arrangement and suits both winter and summer. It was a very hot day but low humidity so not oppressive. I have just checked Google as I write this and it is still 32C. Apparently Wednesday is expected to reach 37C and be the hottest day ever recorded in this country. Wow. I shall do my best to keep cool. Big fan day and indoors I think.

They had done a smashing tea, loverly french bread, new potatoes, fillets of everything and a great salad.
I managed a picture, and I don't mind my son's right ear. If I'd cropped it out, a lot of bits I wanted to include would have gone with it. The paddling-pool was very tempting but I thought 'best not'. The girls are both beautiful but Brooke, although still sometimes a little shy, certainly knows when she is 'on camera. Talking of her shyness, which a year ago was so marked, I read her school-report and her teacher says you wouldn't believe she was the same girl now. She takes a leading part in everything and has excellent marks on nearly every subject. Sky's report, as you would expect, is excellent in everything. She is a born leader and we had a super chat about school - why she doesn't talk to her friend Mary anymore and important things of that nature. I also learnt some Harry Potter 'spells'. The best I can do is a phonetic attempt at 'brackyum emendus' which is for healing broken bones. So it might do my legs and back a bit of good !

The last picture is the hull of their recently acquired boat. A Topper. It needs a name. We tried Thomas Topper, Tony Topper and even Turpin Topper (which was seriously considered) but nothing yet seemed 'bang-on'. They can all enjoy the boat and they showed me pictures of them sailing it at Carsington. Super colourful sail and apparently a very popular model. As soon as I get some pictures of them in action I will Blog one. So now they have a big boat, a smaller boat and a wind-surf board. Never mind, they all have so much fun and that is what matters.

Y telephoned me and was surprised I was back. It has been Ruby's birthday and I wished her happy birthday this morning. She told me about some of her presents. Apparently there was friction because Andy had packed something for Elli too, and of course, That was the one Ruby wanted. I'm sure they sorted it all out, but Yvonne sounded, and admitted to, being tired. When she gets back tomorrow we are going straight over to Burtyon Joyce to pick the children up from School because it is Buckingham Palace Day and we shall stay there till Steve and Lisa return. After that I think a 'good rest' is called for. We forget we are 70 not 50 and sometimes I think, so does everybody else...........

I didn't leave Long Eaton till almost 7pm, feeling suitably done-for, but happy. So I am going to steadily get ready for bed and maybe listen to a little radio.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

UFO Sighting in Brinsley

When I had this Buddleia picture on full screen I noticed a tiny object in the sky. If you look closely at picture 1, all you can see is a speck. Please look at around one o'clock, to the right of and just above the rightmost shoot.

But when I enlarged it to No.2 - I could definitely see something odd. It doesn't look like a bird and if it had been an aeroplane I would have remembered it. I feel sure that an astute, or imaginative reader will hazard a guess. I dont think it is a helicopter either, because I usually remember them. They make such a distinctive noise. The more I look at it, and it might be the power of self-deception, the more I can see the classic saucer-shape with a paler dome on top. Hi Ho! Now there is something different to interest Bungus's jaded palate.

Picture 3 is yet another of my bumblebee friends who have such busy lives at the moment. I would have liked more light on the actual bee, rather than shining through the flower. But he wasn't going to stay there while the sun moved round. And he was being exceptionally 'busy'. There does seem to be a proliferation of solitary bees, if that isn't an oxymoron. I see honey bees but not as many as I would like.

I kept bees for a time and being stung didn't used to worry me at all. And then I got a humdinger on the wrist and my arm swelled right up and went streaky, to such an extent that I went to Casualty. I had an injection and lived but was told to give up the beekeeping. Apparently, some people do the opposite of develop a tolerance to bee venom and become progressively more at risk. And, of course, I had to be one of the opposite ones. I was once telling the kids something about bees (around the time Alexie Sayle was doing his 'boring stories') and Steven said "Do you know - that was halfway interesting!"

The day has been exceptionally hot, 28C, 28% Humidity and a Comfort Index of 47. One thing that doesn't need a figure is the complete absence of any breeze. Not a flutter.

I made a curry 0f the leftover chicken with a Sharwoods mix but it wasn't good. They often are a disappointment we find. And although there is enough for tomorrow I think it is destined for the bin. A salad would have made more sense anyway in this weather.

I've spent several hours trying to sort my computer's refusal (again) to 'restore the sytem' to a previous date. The details would be boring but although there was nothing in particular wrong I don't like it declining to do something it should. However, I have mentioned it to Ray, and he has the problem in hand. When I've finished this 'post' I shall read his email, which my gmail notifier tells me has arrived. And when Bungus's index-finger is quick enough to hit Prt Scr when his JT Kernal window flashes up, I'll have a go at that too. Someone one will know about it.

My other task was to change the icons in my 'quick launch bar' which, over time had been overwritten with rather boring Firefox jobs. Now they all look pretty again. Fortunately I still had all my Favicons in a desktop folder, from Internet Explorer days.

I've been invited over to David and Helen's for tea tomorrow. It will be lovely to see them all and it only takes around half an hour down the motorway. Even if it is hot again they have super arrangements for sitting outside and I'm really looking forward to it. Having given David the bread-machine, I must now remember to take him my stock of flour. I didn't 'go off' making homemade bread; the problem was that I ate too much of it!......

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Another Scorcher - But pleasant

The pictures have no particular merit but appear so that 'blues' can be assessed.

The Lavender variety is Munstead. i.e. the common old-fashioned one which most gardens have.

The bee? Just because it was there and stood still long enough to have it's picture taken. Not easy, as they were working so busily. As soon as I had focussed on one it flew away.

Picture 3, the Lidl bag, is there solely to provide a 'blue' reference which most people know. In my opinion the blue is 'washed out' and not as deep as it should be. But my Casio wasn't £400 or £300 or even £200 and I've no intention of changing up-market in pursuit of precisely accurate colour rendition.

I keep making discoveries about it anyway - having just discovered a range of filters within its secrets, one of which is a 'blue' filter. So tomorrow I might have a go with that switched on, and cheat a little. Watch this space !

Y has gone down to Palmers Green till Tuesday, for the last time until September. And I've got a list of computer jobs to tackle (all voluntary) and nothing at all on my 'house moving' list. Seeing the little girls will take her mind off the failed house move anyway, which is a good thing. Before I took her to the Tram we had a proper Sunday dinner (I know it's Saturday but ....) Roast Chicken, stuffing, roast potatoes (Maris Piper! really crisp and golden brown on the outside, fluffy on the inside), plus veg. and all the trimmings. And even though it was a hot day we thoroughly enjoyed it. While we are on the subject of 'hot day', the temp. at the moment is 25C, Humidity 24% (that seems very low) and Comfort Index 41%. Maybe in 200 years time someone will read my Blog and think 'my word, that is interesting'. On the other hand, maybe not.

A few days ago in the pictures of Wimpole Hall, I published a shot of Y standing next to a large-leaved tree which we didn't know the name of. Jill identifies it as a Catalpa (Indian Bean Tree) and Bungus says it's a Mulberry (same family) which we could have 'gone around' if we had known. Good way of solving problems this Blog business.........

Friday, July 14, 2006

Gorgeous Day - But Rest Day?

Super day again. Lovely blue sky. Hot but nice breeze and not too Humid. Figures are as follows :- Temp.21C, Humidity 43%, Comfort Index 41%. The last two are suspiciously close aren't they?

Our Rest Day finished up abit active. Mrs. Radiogandy decided that "packed boxes to be unpacked - books back on shelves - winter clothes back up in loft - empty cardboard boxes to be collapsed and taken to the tip" and I'm sure she is right. It could be 3 months again, at least, before we move and we have got to live here in the interim. Vagabond that I am, I would have been prepared to live out of the boxes for as long as it took; well into 2007 if necessary and I accept that we do need our ladies to keep us from degenerating into the male equivalent of a bag-lady; Roget is back on the shelves so I suppose I could have discovered what thay should have been. I know there is an online Roget but I prefer the hard copy.

Let me explain the pictures. The comment was made that the artichoke yesterday was a particularly virulent blue. So here it is again, with the same flowerhead taken from further away. In the second picture a lavender bush appears in the background. The variety is old-fashioned Munstead and most people have a pretty sound idea as to what 'blue' that is. I think that the light obviously varies, and yesterday's shot was from very close.

There is no doubt that dusk is noticeably earlier. Joan's dictum of '20 minutes a week from the longest day' is quite sound. And the sun is setting much closer to the SW corner of the garage than it did. Ah well ! ........

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Burton Joyce Day - Lovely Weather

I've decided against further Wimpole Hall pictures. Not there are any really. I tried a panorama but it was not good. In retrospect we maybe should have headed for the Home Farm which is home to several rare breeds but the brochure made clear that it was designed to be of interest to children and we weren't in the mood.

The first picture is another of my dutch hollyhock family - Curt van de Hollyhock - and unfortunately my little Casio hasn't done justic to the red. As you can see the greens are fine; it just doesn't seem to get on with reds. The Artichoke has won the race between flowering and us moving! At the present rate we shall probably see the Michaelmas Daisies.

Ah well - thanks for the additional cliches which were suggested. But all things being equal, six of one and half a dozen of the other etc..etc.. . we might be lucky yet!

Another super day, blue sky, breeze and I have only just noticed that on my weather-station there is a 'comfort index' reading, which has been previously mentioned; as against straightforward 'humidity'. All I need to understand now is what it means? The reading at the moment is 43% and as Google shows Nottingham Humidity as 39% the figures probably refer to different things.

Even after all her recent grannying commitments Y still managed Burton Joyce today and when I collected her she was playing a mean game of football. She was allowed to be France while Hannah was Italy and Y lost 6 - 4. A fair result. Millicent can now just manage to kick the ball, but isn't quite striker material just yet. Miles was thrilled with his Telegraph 'dinosaur' poster and decided to watch a video instead of football, until right at the very end. I did a ham salad for main meal and Bungus will be pleased to learn that I used Maris Peer. They were evenly small, looked the most attractive and they were fine. Mind you, scraping, and a butter and mixed herb sauce did them no harm at all.

Rest Day tomorrow......

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

National Trust Day - Wimpole Hall

Another gorgeous day weatherwise. Blue sky, nice and hot but not oppressive, just a hint of a breeze. In fact a proper english summer day. Plenty of leg-room in the coach. The driver was Chris again and he was his usual witty, charming self. McEwans, the coach-company had 11 coaches vandalised over the weekend, windscreens and side windows smashed. Other local coach companies had helped out with spare vehicles and we were exceptionally lucky. Ours was an actual McEwans coach which had been on a holiday trip in France over the weekend and escaped in consequence.

The reason for the picture of the healthy crop of motorway Ragwort taking precedence over Wimpole Hall, is that it was less boring The hall started life in the 17th century and housed the Earl of Hardwicke. As is usual with National Trust houses photography inside wasn't permitted. And quite honestly, it didn't matter! The furniture was tasteless. Most of the portraits looked as if their subjects were no strangers to the bottle. There were hundreds of depictions of horses and carriages, terribly drawn, and a large oil painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds with hands so badly depicted that I feel sure Bungus could have done better. A lot better! At least he can draw.

By far the best picture is Mrs Radiogandy standing by the side of a tree which I hope some reader will identify. As you will see, if you click to enlarge, it has large ginkco type leaves but I'm fairly sure it isn't one. And there wasn't anyone to ask. The guide who boarded the coach to welcome us, read her script from some typed notes, painstakingly but falteringly. The stewards in the rooms couldn't answer simple straightforward questions.

And outside, as the notices every few yards told one, it was a 'Keep off the grass' type of place. It was badly signposted and unhelpful. I won't bore you with examples.

Having said all that, we enjoyed an excellent lunch in the restaurant, and later a pot of tea. Maybe more tomorrow but I'm 'bloggered'.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Fun Day in Mansfield. Lovely Weather

I seem to have managed to get the memorial in Mansfield Market Place a little skew-whiffed. Really I suppose I ought to delete it, go back to Picasa, straighten it and then download it again. Sometime,when I have a spare half hour, I may do that. But not today.

Bob and I had a very pleasant couple of hours in Mansfield. Just as Bob was leaving the house to catch his bus the phone rang, and by the time he arrived at the Bus Stop his bus was vanishing into the distance. It left early apparently. The next one (they run every half hour which is very good) ran late. But he text me from Forest Town to say he would be a few minutes etc.. I wish there was a halfway decent word for the past tense of 'text' because 'texted' is so ugly I have difficulty using it. A completely chance discovery was the The Widow Frost, the Wetherspoons Pub where we met, is a Wi-Fi Hotspot, a MyCloud one which I have used before and the helpful young chap at the bar told me where to sit to find a power-point rather than run my battery down.

Weatherwise it was fine. A little hot but with a pleasant breeze, which prevented it from feeling 'close'. We had a joke about the Humidity research but it is better to know about these things. I lent Bob my Teach Yourself Blogging book. That 'teach yourself' series must have been going at least 40 years. The first one I read was 'Logic' and while it didn't make me any more logical I did at least understand the academic background to the subject.

Before setting off I emailed David with the results of my research into getting one email account to check the contents of another. I know how to get an Outlook Express account to check the contents of GoogleMail but, as yet, I haven't worked out how to get one's Googlemail account to check the contents of others. In David's case Wanadoo for instance. But I shall continue to dig. Y rang quite early and we are both fairly sanguine about the 'move collapse'. What the hell? it's not the end of the world, come-day go-day, c'est la vie, and any other cliches you can think of.

I remembered to take Sandra's soft-apricots from Lidl. It's about a 20 mile round trip for them. Not quite in Madeline's league, but too far for a few bags of dried fruit. The meal in Wetherspoons was quite good; they usually are, and drinks are so reasonable. My pint of lemonade was £1.35 and Bob's beer was well under £2. And a Wi-Fi hotspot thrown in.

A lovely story from Palmers Green to end with. Ruby is starting French at School and was explaining about it when Elli, not five yet, announced that she too could speak French - and reeled off the days of the week, perfectly, in French. She must have picked it up at pre-school. Brain like a sponge! They never cease to amaze.........

Monday, July 10, 2006

House Sale Falls Through - Ah Lackaday!

I wanted an image which was sombre. Fading roses but with hope in the background - the new buds. Ah well. The agents rang first thing this morning to say that our 'purchasers' had withdrawn their offer. They didn't like the footpath at the side. The footpath obviously has been there all the time and I think the reason is that they thought the garden would be too much for them. When they first looked round they said "There is a lot of garden isn't there?"

When I rang Y in Palmers Green I said "I'm afraid I've got a bit of bad news". She says she was quite relieved when she found out what it was. Fearing for an instant that one of the children had been involved in an accident. And I think that is a very sensible view. What does a house matter? My Gran would have said "Worse things happen at sea". I waded through the list of people to notify and emailed people. David came this evening and has done a brilliant job in clearing stuff from the garage and we had a very useful talk about things which is always nice. I am sure you will all excuse the mini-blog, in the cirumstances.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A dull day - 19C and 50% humidity

I haven't gone all religious but I do have a sneaking love of Churches and in particular, stained glass windows. And it is after all a Sunday.

These were both on Caldey Island and the second one I would have missed if Y had not drawn it to my attention. It was down some steps - but well worth the struggle. I don't think it would be possible to achieve these lighting effects artificially. It has just got to be the sun shining through.

The last picture is of a door in the last Church and it's hard to believe that it hasn't been especially created with photographers in mind. I've no idea of it's age. Pretty old. And I've no idea if the inscriptions at the side are genuine and 'in date'.

As my title suggests the day has been cooler and the humidity quite low. The morning started with storm clouds scudding across the sky northwards and apparently arriving in Yorks so they must have passed over Bungus. Probably as he was exercising Ralph. There have been a few drops of rain but nothing serious.

Although I have had a fairly quiet day I seem to have done a lot. I printed out the BBC's 'moving house' checklists. They are rather good. And we have one from Pickfords too. So we can have one each Ha Ha! I also downloaded a very interesting service from The Royal Mail where you enter details of your move, plus people to notify - like Local Authority, Powergen, Severn Trent Water etc., and this 'Iammoving' service notifies them for you. I would have hesitated had it not had the authority of the Royal Mail behind it. It will even send email 'moving-address cards' to friends etc. Should save on postage but my guess is that Mrs Radiogandy will want to send at least some by snailmail.

I also researched Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire, our National Trust destination on Wednesday, and printed off some pages of interest. It saves buying a guide-book.

Tracy rang this morning to see if I was OK (as she does) and I had told her that one of my jobs for the day was to drag the garden-tubs into two groups - those that are going and those that are staying. She said, with her usual clarity, "Why not just mark them rather than drag them about?" Of course. Why didn't I think of that? My occasional bouts of stupidity are not a sign of ageing. I've always had them. A very good friend once said "Out of ten of your ideas Graham, nine are rubbish - but the tenth is brilliant" I suppose it's not too bad a ratio. At least I do now have the odd 'good idea' - I had thought, while I was so ill, that the pool had completely dried up.

I also spoke to David - enjoying the pleasure of Carsington Water again. Apparently yesterday was not too good but let us hope they've had a reasonable day today. I could hear the sound of happy interested grandchildren in the background so they would have found fun things to do. He has consulted with John and is coming over tomorrow evening to sort out the wood, tools and have a look at what the caravan-demolition entails. It will be a relief when it is sorted.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

More comfortable weatherwise

Today has been much more comfortable, for me at least. 19C max. and 49% Humidity. And I understand that it's the humidity which has the bad effect on one. 49% is, I believe, unusually low. Bungus was kind enough to research the matter for me and I now know lots about the matter. Maybe even too much but it would be churlish to say so. Ray's succint explanation was more or less right anyway.

The pictures are easy to understand. The first two are Holyhocks obviously; dutch jobs which I grew from seed and if I went into the garage and found my seed-box, I would be able to tell you their names. But sorry! I don't know where the seed-box is. Picture 3 is also easy to explain. A casualty of photographing 1 and 2. I only meant to hold the rose-stem out of the way temporarily but I sprained it, so I cut it and brought it in and it now graces the dining-room table. I might have put it on the sideboard but it would look daft in Neales Antique sale-room.

Y has gone down to Palmers Green for the second of her three 'grannying' duties and comes back on Tuesday. Fortunately when I dropped her at the tram, I waited to see her safely on it. And it was a good job I did because there was an announcement about severe delays due to a road-accident blocking the rails at Radford Road. So she got back into the car and I took her to the Railway Station instead.

Bungus's 'uncontrolled duplicates' problem in Picasa seems to have been solved by using his SD card. He had, hitherto, just been using the camera's internal memory and producing 27 identical copies of everything, 26 of which he then had to delete. I'm getting on fine with my Web Albums version of Picasa. It is a great way to send photos to people and, in my opinion, beats one of its rivals Flickr by at least three lengths. The online storage capacity is enormous, and if 1000 images isn't enough, one can up it to 10000 or something - all safely stored on google's big computer up there in the sky. No need to burn CDs or DVDs as back-ups anymore, and FREE.

And I still keep making pleasant discoveries about Firefox. My cup overfloweth !

Friday, July 07, 2006

Really Hot Rest Day - 28C

I know I had said no more Tenby photographs but the first picture I did with my Serif Panorama programme and I think it doesn't look at all bad. Provided you don't want to enlarge them much, they are OK. You have to set your camera to the lowest resolution possible so zoomed in on they soon look very 'blocky'. Bit of fun though.

Picture 2 is yesterday evening's Brinsley sky. I thought it foretold a stormy day today and we have had rain but certainly no thunder or anything. The temperature (according to google) in Nottingham at the moment is 28C and the Humidity is 88%. Not knowing what this actually means, and wondering if a Humidity of 100% implies being submerged in water, I consulted Ray. He says that he thinks that 100% would mean that the atmosphere could not absorb any more moisture (but not to quote him on the point). It seemed an eminently reasonable and logical explanation to me; so I shall accept it unless proven wrong.

We managed a completely lazy day after a little shopping first thing. Well I did at least - Mrs Radiogandy has been beavering away ironing, packing away winter clothes, washing machine-ing, making jellies and the myriad of tasks that ladies don't seem to be able to leave alone. She has managed to do this whilst watching the tennis. No problem at all in multi-tasking. It's just me that can't do that anymore.

I'm getting on fine with my new version of Picasa and the Web Albums. It's a brilliant programme and a brilliant concept. Short Blog tonight because I've bought a purposely made wedge-pillow from Aldi which keeps one's feet higher than one's hips. I'm going to try it out with a view to reducing my swollen ankles. Tracy keeps telling me I should do this and she is often right.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Not wishing to 'steal Steven's thunder'

On 18th July it is Steven's big day at the Buckingham Palace Garden Party. Y tells me that she has seen Lisa's outfit and she looks great. She is a very nice looking girl anyway and with a bob or two spent on her she will look terrific. We are coming into play as baby sitters. I thought if I published this early enough I couldn't be accused of scene-stealing. I was invited to the Palace in 1983 and this is me and Mrs. Radiogandy (isn't she lovely?) outside the hotel we stayed in. In those days cameras were not allowed within the gates and it was terribly strict as to who could accompany you. It had to be either wife or unmarried daughter. You were sounded out first "Would you accept etc.....?" because we couldn't have people turning down invitations from HM could we? The invitation card, when it arrived, was the thickness of a paper-back book...... I exagerate, but it was substantial, with the edges cut at 45 degrees and so on. They have relaxed things a lot recently and now, I understand, you can have a sort of official photograph.

If you have read Bungus's comment about Sandra's 'medal for assertiveness' it was when she went to collect her MBE and not only was there a photograph but an official video of 'the crucial moment' and it arrived back in Ollerton before they did.

Anyway. Good luck to you Steven. You work very hard and you deserve it.

Picture 2 is the smoke-bush in full 'flume' or is it 'fume'? It isn't me taking a blurred shot; that is actually how it looks. And we are picking raspberries. I wondered earlier in the year whether we would have left before they were ready and it's been a close thing. Even though we will have a much smaller garden we would like to find room for half-a-dozen canes because they are so lovely picked and eaten straight away. Sometimes before reaching the kitchen. And they are so expensive to buy, such meagre quantities, and so tatty.

We are planning a Rest Day tomorrow but I bet tens something will come along. Y is tired and so am I. A lovely story from Palmers Green - Ruby has lost her first milk-tooth and was so delighted because she is the youngest in her class and now she feels she has caught up a bit with the older ones. The tooth was duly placed under the pillow and in the morning, would you believe? the tooth had gone and the tooth fairy had left 50p. Ruby pronounced it the 'best morning of her life' when asked if it was better the Xmas she felt that it was. So- Tooth Fairy 1 - Santa 0.

I'm going to leave it there because I am running very late. My Norton took 90 minutes to scan 278209 files. I can't possibly have that many - can I? Fusion on WUforums sorted me out with Picasa Web Albums telling me exactly which version I needed. I googled it, found a safe site offering it and downloaded it direct. Problem solved. So much for the email 'invite' from picasaweb. I followed their link only to find I had installed an outofdate version.