Thursday, August 31, 2006

David's Hols - Mansfield Lunch

The last caravan site that David and family stayed at (five star and highly recommended) was about two hundred yards away from a runway at Plymouth Airport. This picture, from the holiday photos David has sent me, shows the proximity.

But they still had a great time. Very little fazes David and Helen and they are very good at seeing the good side of things. And they are brilliant with the children - there is always something to be done and stories to be read, games to be played. And I guess watching and listening to the planes landing was pretty exciting.

Picture 2 is a more conventional beach scene and features the new boat the 'Topper'. Whether or not it has been given a name yet, I don't know. The picture was chosen because, in my opinion, it is very well-constructed with the action on the 'golden section' and the skyline nicely under halfway up.

David has now downloaded Picasa but doesn't know much about how to use it yet. He soon will and it is such a wonderful programme (particularly for a freebie). He'll find it great fun.

News Item just in from Reuters - The Wretched Skip has gone. Hurrah !

Before meeting Bob in Mansfield for lunch I called in to PcWorld and got an estimate for repairing my done-for USB port (due to lappy being knocked onto the floor with the mouse connection still in place) and fitting me an additional chunk of memory. I've only got 256 at the moment and I make heavy demands of it. I've still got the link for Crucial which Ray sent me, to work out exactly what I need. Unfortunately although the Clock has gone and I was hoping that the italicised text would go with it - it hasn't. If I've not fixed it by then I'll let PCWorld do it. My eyes strayed to the new HDready tellies. There was a super 26" flat screen LCD job !! I must persuade senior-management to come with me to look, when she returns from London.

The last picture is the Court House, Mansfield, where I met Bob for lunch. It doesn't look much like a Wetherspoon's but it is and is very 'pubby' inside. Personally I think I prefer the Widow Frost (wherever do the get these ridiculous pub-names from?) on Leeming Street, because it's more filled with light from windows, but Bob prefers the one pictured.

Not a good photography day lightwise but more than acceptable for a record-shot or two. The photograph was taken from a pleasant bench that we had a good long sit on, after lunch. Bob likes 'figures' in his pictures to give them scale. but in my opinion they are usually in the wrong place, or doing something annoying, or are just plain ugly. So I thought that the two people standing discreetly by the door, is a sort of compromise.

Bob brought me a pound of his homegrown tomatoes. We needed tomatoes, and they will be delicious.

Wouldn't it be good of the italics had gone into 'self-destruct' ......................

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Our Sparrow's Family Home

Hitler's mountain retreat was called the Eagle's Nest or similar. This is the winter-flowering jasmine and honeysuckle hedge, where our large family of sparrows nest. Taking a very loose link with Spot-The-Ball as a model, I might offer a prize to who spots the most sparrows.

And apologies to Ray but clicking on each sparrow won't give you the key to something else.

Watched a lovely programme about Betjeman and 'his buildings' by Dan Cruikshank which we had recorded. Dan Cruikshank usually manages to annoy me but on this occasion he was fine and I warmed to him. The architect Gavin Stamp was interviewed, and he is one of my favourite commentators. In real life he is very tall, but here he was sitting down so one didn't notice. Betjeman was a brilliant preservation-campaigner and we could do with him today; to deal with people who want to demolish Victorian Terraces and replace them with tat, for instance.

I dropped Y at the Tram and called in for some milk and that has been about the sum total of my day's activities. The skip is still here. Despite telephone assurances that it would be collected yesterday, and then again today, it wouldn't surprise me if it's still here next week.

Hey Ho !.........................

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Skip removal Day - Amazing Job

The title ought to read 'Caravan Removal Day' because unfortunately the skip is still here and, unbelievably, the caravan is in it. David & Helen and Helen's Dad did an absolutely brilliant job. Stripping out all the insides and then cutting up the walls and chassis. When the skip arrived it didn't seem anywhere near big enough but, as David perceptively said "There is a lot of space in a Caravan". It rained, heavily, but they hardly stopped. My only contribution was to chuck in a few light bits and to make cheese cobs and ham cobs and Y made lots of pots of tea and coffee and provide custard-creams etc. All we need now, is for the skip people to collect it because we can't use the garage till they do.

The further picture of the sunflower is to show the full shot before I cropped it. It is only a titchy thing which self-set in a pot and never pretended to be a 10ft variety but I agree that my 'crop' completely removed any scale from the published version. Herein lies the danger of improving photographs.

Before we leave 'foodstuffs disliked' it was pointed out somewhere that celery is excellent for dieters because one uses up more calories eating it than are ingested ! Apart from being not too keen on parsnips or courgettes (other than griddled with herbs) my tastes are catholic - with a small 'c'.

In the evening we went to Sue and Gordon's for the video of their Machu Pichu trip (it was a cruise, and they went to other places too). The video was first-rate, lovely photography and Gordon had edited down from 9hrs to about 2hrs, with sound - and we couldn't fault it. Sue had done lovely sandwiches and home-made cream horns and fruit cake. We all had a great time and a laugh, as the committee group always seems to. Everyone made a big fuss of me due to my recent problems and it was so nice to see everyone. We hadn't hithertofore realised how enormous Machu Pichu is. In TV clips it always looks impressive but not really large.

By-the-way - is everyone's copy of the Blog now in italics? My own version is, and it is not deliberate. It must be an accidental by-product of the introduction of the 'clock' and I will deal with it as soon as I have found out how.

That's it for now..................

Monday, August 28, 2006

Photo Problems and Underlining

There have been such problems uploading this picture that you will have to be satisfied with just the one this evening. The other one, sunlight shining through a hollyhock, must wait.

The sunflower is a 'strag seed' from a plant we bought last year from Ikea and I guess we can thank the birds for the propogation. It is the same sunflower which I showed the honey-bee working in a previous Blog.

A problem also occured with everything being underlined. Whether or not I messed things up while positioning my 'Clock' I don't know. Anyway, getting rid of the underlining wasn't too difficult, when I found the HTML code.

Can't demonstrate because it would no doubt start underlining again. The 'Clock' is now less obtrusive, sitting happily below my links in the side-bar. And before Bungus announces that he doesn't know what a side-bar is, all he has to do is spot the Clock and the area above it is the side-bar.

The future of the 'Clock' is in the balance. So far 2 readers have said they like it, 2 readers dislike it and 1 reader manages to sit firmly on the fence. It appeals to me personally; but I pride myself on being democratic.

Joan and Chris didn't come in the end - we suspect that Joan is not convinced that I am 'up to it' yet. But I think I am. Twinges occur but not really debilitating and I am hoping to meet Bob in Mansfield at lunchtime on Thursday. Shopping was OK this morning and Barnsley chops and mint sauce, new potatoes, carrots, sugar-snap peas, and courgettes flowed from my grill and steamer like honey. Jill says she is 'with' Joan on the subject of celery. With friends there is always something to remember; a dislike of mushrooms, a hatred of currants, raisins etc. The only vegetable I've never known anyone take against is the humble potato. However, some varieties etc., etc..........

That's it folks unless I have an afterthought.........

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Pleasant Day - Warm, Dry and Breezy

Not one of my sky-photographs. It turned up on a site sent me from StumbleUpon under the title 'storms' and, try as I might, I couldn't establish the author or where it was taken. Somewhere in the USA looks the most probable. In the unlikely event of the photographer seeing this, he/she should know I didn't want to 'steal' it !! But it is such a great picture it was irresistable.

Nice day weatherwise. 19C but windy. On the Football field there has been some sort of big-event with consecutive matches and lots of cars parked outside. Also a bouncy castle and things for the kids - so it has been good that it has stayed dry.

It has been a Y day in the kitchen and we had a super quiche with new potatoes and salad. Delicious. Followed by some delightful Italian fancies. Ellen's (Webuser) Clock link; to put a clock on my Blog is proving somewhat elusive. The clock appears OK when I preview my Template change but then vanishes when I click 'Save Changes'. I shall get there though. And all I need is a reader to tell me that it is there already, on their copy, because my own version is still around 24hrs in arrears.

We are hoping that Chris and Joan will come for a meal tomorrow evening; when Chris has finished on his stall at Moorgreen Show. The showground is only a couple of miles away and it is to be hoped that the weather holds for it. A Chicken Casserole with loads of fresh tarragon would seem about right and I must remember that Joan doesn't like celery, even when cooked.

Today's example of a 'life's little mysteries' is the strange manner by which electrical cables acquire a knot in them. Having done nothing more than move the wire, together with it's plug at one end and it's gadget at the other, from one place to another.

And 'lo and behold' a knot appears....................

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Busy Bees - Not we

We have certainly not been busy bees today - and have taken it easy. Y couldn't resist going in the garden to cut-back and tidy up though but sensibly stopped short of back-ache. An easy lunch, pasta and sauce and plenty of cups of tea. A changeable day, some sun some rain, that sort of thing.

I started the Telegraph cryptic crossword ( doing the easy clues) and Y finished it as usual. Mondays and Thursdays have always seemed the easiest days to me but Y always finds Saturday fairly straightforward. Even though it is the competition day, she never submits it. Neither of us are much good at non-cryptic crosswords because one has to know the answers.

This afternoon I decided to register for StumbleUpon because one hears so much about it. Going through the registration process told me that 'radiogandy' was already in use. "That's a cheek" I thought; but after pursuing it discovered that it was me and I had previously registered. It had completely escaped me ! Oh dear - this ageing brain ! Anyway, it was pre-Firefox so I downloaded it as an add-on and now have yet another toolbar. Good job I like toolbars.

Another development is that Ellen on WU forums posted a link for a 'clock' on one's Blog and then posted 'simple for me to follow' instructions to install one. So. Watch this space, or somewhere else. I can't quite decide where to put it - and please restrain yourself with advice Bungus. We do have lady readers you know.

See ya!..............

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Boughton Sky - Brinsley Too Cloudy

"..Skies are our daily bread for the eyes" ......Emerson

The quote is from memory so might not spot-on but I know what the old boy meant. This sky is one of Bungus's and is, I assume, a Boughton sky. Here it has been quite warm and humid, and completely grey and drizzly this afternoon. A little sun this morning and I nipped out for some shopping and some cash and Y did a lot in the garden. Karen mowed yesterday evening so the garden now looks quite presentable.

Y did a super Indian meal at lunchtime - in the oven (no short cuts) and probably the best Naan bread ever. Followed by a fresh-cream vanilla slice ! Not very Indian, but who cares?. The Blood Clinic rang and my level is going up again. It has now reached 4.10 and another test is required on Tuesday. My arms are beginning to resemble those of an inefficient junkie. But, thank God, no hospital admission necessary! The last thing I want is for my Blog to be like coming to the end of my bed and reading my notes so, unless there is some major development you won't hear anymore about it.

Chris is leading a local walk so, Joan is coming here around 6pm and Chris will collect her later. I wonder if Joan and Y will find something to talk about? He He! They can talk on the phone for an hour, even if they are meeting the next morning! "God Bless Ladies" I say.

Google triumphs again. I wanted to understand more about the 'histogram' graph on my Casio and it took everybody's favourite search engine less than a second to provide the goods.

Stopping there because I've got to go and change my trousers before Joan arrives..............

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Sea Bass Story

As we are in the middle of a D.H. Lawrence Festival, the readership are probably entitled to some coverage, even though as previously noted, Eastwood itself seems totally cold to the event. They are mostly Danielle Steele and Westerns people. No criticism intended.

The picture is of Durban House which is now a DHL centre and Restaurant. Originally it was the Coal Board Offices from where Lawrence, as a boy, used to collect his father's pay. It has always seemed to me to be a particulary fine building. Standing derelict for many years it is to someone's credit that it has finally been restored. As you look at the picture, the area to the left of the building, looks up towards Brinsley and Felley Priory.

This Sea Bass is for David, Helen and Sky and Brooke who visited me this afternoon, after a trip to Ikea. It was lovely to see them.

When they were on holiday, I think I mentioned that while David rang me on his mobile, Helen and the girls were further along the quayside 'crabbing'. They caught some little crabs and then Helen felt this almighty pull on the line and found that she had caught a big, and I mean big, Sea Bass. Someone who was around said it would be worth £25. It was too big to go in the net and torn between cooking it for their evening meal and throwing it back, she thoughtfully decided on the latter. She said that there were loads of kids about, watching, and she didn't want to kill it in front of them. Afterwards a chap came up and said she had reached the right decision because he had four children with him and they wouldn't have liked to see her kill it.

I have had a busy day. Tram, Blood Test, Karen, David and Helen, photographs etc., etc., and I have had intermittent pains. They go away if I lie down and I am beginning to suspect that they are muscular in origin rather than some kidney problem. My theory is that if it was kidneys, it wouldn't go away when I lie down. Flat on my back works; side doesn't.

Lovely email from Madeline and she has sent me a great photograph of her grandchildren. And said all the right things about my WU spat. Bungus has sent me some super 'sky shots' so you will soon be treated to some Boughton sky, instead of Brinsley sky.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Drizzly Day but Warm

After dropping Y at the tram (I resisted the tempation of another 'tram shot') and driving past Moorgreen Reservoir, the sky looked interesting. Overcast and gloomy, but skies never bore me. So here it is. And the day turned out just as you would expect - drizzly! I can give you details today (Google P is back) 20C, 17km/hour wind, 77% humidity.

I messed about with pictures for an hour and had my pain return so I was desperate to lie down but couldn't because the NTL engineer was due to come and fix the duff telephone; which hasn't worked properly since we changed over. But Y hurried back on the bus, bless her, so I got my lie-down and aided by Dihydrocodeine I soon felt better. Y had bought some nice clothes (a jacket and some tops from M&S) not something she does very often, and has decided that life isn't so bad and we might as well make the most of it! I agree wholeheartedly. The NTL man arrived around 3.30pm and discovered that we had a done-for socket which would cost £25 to replace. However, the main socket on the opposite wall of the same room works perfectly, so we have moved the phone. Much cheaper and we have already decided it looks better anyway. Polyanna's Glad Game again !

The programme by Griff Rhys Jones about Betjeman which we had recorded, was delightful and reminded me how much pleasure his poetry has brought me over the years. OK, I went through a phase of deriding it because it rhymes and scans but it certainly appeals now. Maybe an age thing? Joanna Lumley read some brilliant examples. She has got such a lot about her, that girl. Betjeman's love of architecture, churches, and hymn tunes, chimes with me even though I am not religious. They are so English, which some people seem to feel is something to be ashamed about these days.

This picture is one of Bob's Pink Japenese Anenomes (If I read his email correctly). The centre and foliage are typical JA but so many petals ! It is a super plant and I love the photograph. It's got such a Van Gogh feel to it. Bob says the pink varieties are not as invasive as the whites, but even so they are never a problem to tidy up and they don't have the Evening Primroses habit of walking around one's garden.

Lovely note to end with. When Y spoke to Debra, Elli wanted to speak and she said "I love you Grandma - and I love Grandad Graham" A 4yr old diplomat and creep ! Not serious about the last bit. But she would melt the hardest of hearts.

That's it, I think..................

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tuesday. Quite warm and sunny.

Quite a mild day - can't give the temperature because my Google Personalised Homepage says that the information is not available. Although there is cloud there are lots of sunny bits too.

Picture 1 is some of the Artichokes which in my opinion look quite dramatic, in a sort of past-it elegance. A look I would quite like to cultivate, but past-it, untidy, and overweight, is the closest I get. Picture 2 is Leycesteria. If there is a common-name for it, it eludes me. Perhaps one of our horticultural correspondents could help.

We nipped down Eastwood this morning for abit of shopping and Y to the dentist for a check up. The dentist who is a delightful young man gave her the all clear for another 6 months. All her own and in good condition - ain't she lucky. I whiled away a pleasant hour in The Libray and found a few books which appealed to me. One was brand new and had never been issued; which always appeals. I am an inveterate 'new book sniffer' which caused me when I was 12 to be chucked out of the local W.H.Smiths. A new sandwich-bar has opened opposite the Library so we decided to give it a whirl. We wish them well but Eastwood isn't a good place to start a new business at the moment. Sadly, lots of empty shops. There is also a D. H.Lawrence Festival currently running, but Eastwood is distinctly underwhelmed.

Since the big sideboard went and we now have the TV in the big room and I have become a BBC News 24 fan. It is, I think, a sign of being an old man to shout things at the Telly and apparently my most frequent are "Well done", "Bollocks" and "He looks smart in that tie". To extend my repetoire would be a good thing.

Y and Jill have exchanged email and plan to meet up when Y is in London. They will both enjoy that so much.

Dont feel bad today ...................

Monday, August 21, 2006

Photos from our Baltic Correspondent

I've started my Blog early because I haven't had my results from the Blood Clinic yet and I wanted to publish these pictures from our Baltic Correspondent. Picture 1 is of Tallin, Estonia, from the ship quite early in the morning. Picture 2 is St Petersburg, The Cathedral of the Spilled Blood (Jill is not quite sure whose?) and Picture 3 is The Battleship Aurora from which the shot was fired which marked the start of the Russian revolution.

It's Birthday day today for Bob (alias Bungus) and June (a new reader but an old friend) so Happy Birthday to you both.

Our potential house-purchasers didn't want the bungalow and one of the reasons given was that "the garden isn't dog friendly". I can only assume that it is a very small dog and there was a risk of it getting lost, because the garden is large and even if a little overgrown, the boundary fences are secure and dog-proof. But I suppose they have to say something don't they? We weren't disappointed because we didn't think they were interested anyway.

The weather is very changeable, 17c and quite a wind plus loads of cloud. But more rain can only do good. Interesting article in the Telegraph this morning about how the drought and the parched fields have revealed archeological evidence to aerial photographs. Not only Roman and Medieval but some Neolithic stuff 6,000 years old. Lots had not previously been known about.

David and Helen and family, having safely returned from their Caravan holiday are working on us popping over for a cup of tea later in the week. They had some rain and David says that during one storm the drops beating on the roof was quite scary. It must have been bad because usually rain on a caravan roof, is good fun. Us going over of course, is subject to my Blood result later today.

I'm going to 'publish' at that point. And, if necessary, return and edit when the Clinic have telephoned me. Is Clinic singular or plural. If I've got it wrong please substitute 'has' for 'have'

The Clinic phoned at 6.30pm and my level is OK but I've to have it tested again on Thursday 24th. Ah well. At least no emergency hospital admission this week.............

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Lovely Lunch at Tracy's

Lovely lunch at Tracy's. Due to our recent, and ongoing traumas, she thought we needed comfort food and did us Toad in the Hole, mixed greens, and tiny roast potatoes rolled in garlic. And a choice of gravy, ordinary or onion. Lovely meal followed by fruit tartlets and cream. I had to leave some of my main course and turned down the cheese board. But a lovely meal. Unfortunately I had a little kidney-area pain again, but got myself comfortable semi-propped up on a long sofa. But it only takes us around 20 minutes each way so it was a very suitable 'first venture' out. And Yvonne always enjoys it so. Picture 1, is Tracy's gorgeous pink Japenese Anenome. For some strange reason we only seem able to grow the white version. Perhaps we will succeed with pink in the new house.

Picture 2 is also at Tracy's and she says she is ashamed to admit that she likes Gladiolii because she considers them, whatever a young person's word is for it, naff. We reassure her that there is no cause for such feelings and to regard them as colourful and flamboyant.

After a nice chat and coffee we drove back in a leisurely fashion. The roads were very quiet with it being Sunday and I decided on an early Blog. I have so much enjoyed people's comments and I'm pleased Jill's Chef's Candle was such a success. We shall obtain the 'General Odours' version a.s.a.p. I also managed to unravel the knitting Blog. A bit weird to a non-knitter but, as Jill said the photography was great.

One thing I had forgotten to tell you, was a problem with the Video Recorder. We were sure we had noted the essential procedure from Martin and last night there was something Y wanted to record. But we couldn't move the Programme from Channel 5; we could not get it to play, or record, or anything. We got the book out and I found, down on my hands and knees, that I could get things to happen by pressing knobs on the machine itself, but not via the 'remote' Why incidentally do we have these machines a few inches above floor level and, in consequence, almost impossible for the older more corpulent gentleman to access. Eventually Y, perceptively, asked are the batteries OK? They weren't; they were flat. Changed the batteries and everything worked perfick. Why didn't I think of that?

INR Blood-test tomorrow. And we are just hoping against hope that it hasn't shot up again. If there is no Blog tomorrow fear the worst. Well - not the very worst. But just that Radiogandy is temporarily 'off air'............

Saturday, August 19, 2006

21C - No Wind - Showery

An uneventful day weatherwise. Warm and showery. The gardens should be loving it. The picture obviously is honeysuckle, now in bloom on the back fence. As you would expect, it smells delightful too.

I have really enjoyed everyone's 'comments' particularly about the grey squirrels. Bungus surprised me with his gentle approach to the varmints and I am unashamedly in the Mata-Hari camp. "Shoot the boggers" and "Let's hear it for the Red Squirrels". If Bungus actually eats the bushy tailed rats that's OK and if he would care to prepare a grey-squirrel casserole I'm certainly game to try it. Try everything once except Morris Dancing and ........ (the other thing escapes me).

Good to hear from Jill about her Chef's Candle, and 'smoked haddock and poached eggs' will be fine as a test-dish. I have tried to download Jill's knitting Blog but so far without success. It simply says 'URL not found'. I'll try again tomorrow but maybe someone else will have more luck. Re the rose from yesterday. I don't think it's Peace (marvellous old rose) but it IS very similar, and it seems to be fairly resistant to black-spot.

And thanks Madeline for the Alt Gr material. I've bookmarked it so I can refer to it at leisure.

We had potential house-purchasers view the house at lunchtime but neither of us felt very excited when they had gone. Hard to tell though.

Please excuse short Blog but it is a 'me day' kitchenwise, and it's teatime..............

Friday, August 18, 2006

Just a normal Friday - Thank God !

The rosebuds of a few days ago are now fully developed cabbages albeit a cream and pink variety. But they looked so lovely after the storm , with their raindrops, I decided to share them.

Not much to report bloodwise. The coagulant clinic rang this morning to say that my level is now 2.60, which is within its target range, but I have to have another blood-test on Monday. They really are careful over it, for which I am very grateful. But I guess I can now resume my more-or-less normal life-style. Even so, I shall avoid opening corned-beef tins for a while ! I read that casualty departments identify the activity as a substantial cause of accidental cuts. Bungus points out though that, if I find the craving irresistable, there is a plentiful supply loose at deli-counters etc.

The final accolade for the Chef's Candle versus the Kippers. Not a sniff in the kitchen this morning. Jill wanted further particulars so I emailed her direct, together with the original Blog picture. We now feel so blasé about it Y decided on griddled Tuna steaks for lunch. They were delicious, tender and moist. If one gets the griddle just right, it is an excellent cooking method.

It is a Y day today, in the kitchen - and I am having quiche and salad for my tea. "Yum. Yum pig's bum" as 5yr olds love you to say. It is pretty daring isn't it? By the way, a tip I read in a Computer Magazine - to put an acute accent over a letter (as per é for instance), all you need to do is depress Alt Gr while you type the letter. The button is usually towards the bottom of the keyboard, on the right. The old method of bringing up a symbol chart on screen was such a faff I never used to do it.

That's it I think. An early Blog ....................

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Apfel Fest - Storm

I have had considerable problems reaching this stage, and was unable to get into my Blog. Why do computers tell you lies? The NTL trouble-shooting programme insisted that a Macafee Firewall was blocking access (I haven't got a Macafee Firewall !) Anyway, not to bore you with the details I am finally back.

The first picture is 'the storm'. It isn't usually possible, on anything short of a Hasselblad, to capture raindrops coming down but, if you look closely enough, you can see them. It was some storm - it lasted about 40 minutes and in that time we had a full inch of rain. I was able to measure it in one of the empty gravel trays on the level wall.

Picture 2 is a yesterday's Apfel Fest for birds. We had 4 Golden Delicious which had gone 'woolly' and I just opened them up abit and threw them on the lawn. Well - young starlings, blackbirds and even the young sparrows braved it. It took them about 2 hours to polish them off and by this morning even the skins had gone. I shudder to think where. The birds aren't very clear but I hope you can sense the 'activity'.

General news now. In the end we had Martin from the local TV/Radio/Electrical Goods shop come to sort out the Video Recorder and we were very glad we did. Not only did he fix it double quick but he also discovered that NTL had fitted a double output box, so we can watch one thing and record another. The NTL engineer had specifically told us that we wouldn't be able to do that.

Jill, our Baltic Correspondent, has returned and has promised some pictures. As you will see in her 'comment' she has uploaded them to her PC but the little 'tinkers' are now hiding. Jill sent her sympathy for my ailments and, we must remember, she isn't too well herself. Anyway - thanks for the continued 'comments' Jill. I think it livens up the Blog to hear other voices.

The Chef's Candle passed the ultimate test this evening. We had grilled kippers - and not a sniff !! I have blown it out now, because the kitchen was so clear, but it will be interesting in the morning to see if there is any trace.

That's it. I'm going to 'publish' while I seem to be problem free ................

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hospital Again - INR Blood Level Sky High

I'd just finished preparing this picture for my Blog on Tuesday when the phone rang. Around 5pm. It was the Blood Clinic to tell me that the INR level from my morning's blood-test was sky-high at 10.60. The approved level is around 3. And I was to go immediately to the Emergency Short Stay Unit at the City Hospital where I would be admitted while they tried to get it down with Vitamin K5. Don't ask, because I don't know! Anyway all those things took place and I was kept in overnight. But it was much nicer than Hervey 2. Loads of staff, things happened when they said they would, and by this morning the level was down to 7.4 which meant I could come home but must have it tested again tomorrow morning. They advised that I keep off the roads and get someone else to use meat-cleavers and things, because if I started bleeding I would only stop when I ran dry.

The evening was OK because I bought a £3.50 Patientline ticket for 24hrs TV and use of the internet and email (which I am getting steadily more adept with). The problems are basically, tiny keyboard, big fingers and a very slow cursor. I knew I wouldn't sleep and for several hours during the dead of the night, I watched programmes on French Cuisine on BBC2, interspersed with News 24. I avoided the internet at 4p per minute !

It is nice to be home but we are really sorry we had to miss the National Trust trip. Poor Y. It isn't a lot of fun being Mrs. Radiogandy at the moment. She is stoical and I don't know what I would do without her. She thinks of so many little things and almost makes being ill bearable. She is dog-tired though.

And don't worry that I am going to start political arguments on this station, but sometimes Matt in the Daily Telegraph does manage to illuminate current events with a rapier-like pen. It amazes me that he does it day after day, and week after week. He is the son of Oliver Pritchett the Telegraph journalist who also has a lovely sense of humour. And it isn't that Matt has a stock of already prepared cartoons from which he can draw. Because he is always up-to-date on today's news. I think I'm going to stop there.

Enough for my first day back..............

Monday, August 14, 2006

Wind Dropped - 20C - Pleasant

More rosebuds ! But I'm not apologising because they are so cheerful and they are just outside the front door which is nice. The weather has been pleasant; details in title and a wind-speed of only 12km/hour which is negligible. Just a foliage-rippler is all.

We went to Matalan this morning to obtain some better looking boxes for things in my room which was, since getting rid of furniture, looking distinctly downmarket. I settled in the end on 3 'faux leather' magazine racks which are made-to-measure for the shelves for which they were intended. As is usually the case when things work well, they look as if they have always been there. Then we called in at Morrisons for essential supplies and Y likes their 'fill a box with salad from their salad counter' for lunch. It is a Y-day for catering today and I settled for a cheese & tomato cob (2 actually) with a glass of fizzy water. And I haven't been nosying about in the kitchen, honest, but I think we are having griddled tuna steaks and I've seen new potatoes being scraped. We really like this day-on/day-off system.

Bungus sent me a photo of a wild flower he had spotted at Ollerton and was of the opinion that it was Toadflax. My Collins Little Gem wild-flower book confirms his suspicions - Common Toadflax (linaria vulgaris). I know the Collins Gem series are maybe intended for children but I always find them excellent. Children's books often are. Many years ago we thought we would like an aquarium (decided against) and I went to the Library finally settling on the only book I could understand. I read it carefully thinking "this is good" and eventually came to the sentence "if a fish dies you must get an adult to remove it from the tank". Ah well !

We still can't get the VCR bit on the new TV system to work but I've arranged for a 'person' to come and set it up and show us how to use it. I know that with cable TV we can't watch one thing and record another but there is still the aerial point in the ex TV room. Maybe that can be brought into play. Steven would know, but he is so busy we don't intend to ask him. Neighbour Peter would also know but we always ask him to do things like that and this time we have decided to sort it ourselves.

Thats it !.....................

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Still Wet and Windy. A Pleasant Change

This is yesterday evening's sunset. I know I 'blogged' a similar picture before but this one is freshly minted. Although it is nearly against my religion, I cloned out the neighbours TV aerial which stuck up like a sore thumb and wrecked the picture. Removing something which is a scene spoiler is OK, but I don't approve of putting a sky from one picture on another; or putting people where they weren't, for instance. Unless it's a fun thing, like a greetings card - then I'm prepared to take a more flexible approach.

The weather is quite stormy, with a windspeed of 31km/hour and a temperature of 17C. It rained quite heavily last night. Not good for our young people in Caravans. But rain on a caravan roof can be quite exciting and they are all resourceful enough to have a good holiday notwithstanding. Lovely word that 'innit?

It's been a 'me day' cateringwise and we had sirloin steak. Or, to be precise, a sirloin steak between us. But Peter the Butcher had cut them a good 1" thick because he knows I don't like them to dry out, and they were delicious - tender, moist and full of flavour. We had chips and mushrooms as accompaniment and I grilled Y some tomatoes (which I don't like). Then we had bananas and custard for afters. That will bore Tracy I know but it is my diary.

Bungus sent me some b&w photos of Christchurch from when he was on a cycling holiday as a young man. He has a b&w negative, no print, from which he would like to produce a digital positive. It is I think, beyond my equipment and knowledge but I'm absolutely sure it must be possible. It was a relief to hear from Ray because I was abit worried that he was not well again. But he had simply been busy - keeping his grandson occupied while his daughter moved house, and helping her with her cooker etc., etc..

Er - I think that's it ! ..............

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Windy Day - Cooler at 18C

You don't have to go to Egypt for sun-peeping-over-pyramid-shots. I just happened to be sitting in this carpark and thought 'that looks interesting'. My guess is that skies in Egypt don't look like this anyway. My love of skies, particularly ones with sun-edged clouds, remains insatiable. Much cooler again today. It was around 13C when we got up, and is only 18C now, coupled with a strongish 21km/hour, north wind. But it suits me so much better than the heat.

I have admitted to Bungus that it was a bit sneaky to amend the Blog after he had added comments. If I do it again I shall, in future, add some sort of codicil to make clear that the above text may be subject to editorial change.

People's holidays continue. David just rang and they have reached Christchurch. I think it is the one on the Solent, and not the New Zealand version ! He was sitting on the quayside again, with Brooke while Helen and Sky were crabbing. Hope they get one big enough to eat - that would be fun. Another nice caravan-site apparently and they haven't yet explored the town. As I remember it, it is very picturesque. with a lovely Church. But I could be totally wrong.

Y had left a message on Steve's answerphone saying that if Hannah wanted to come over to stay she would be most welcome. When we returned from shopping Hannah had left a message on our answerphone saying she would love to come for a 'sleepover'. She and Y will have a great time. They chatter away like two little old women anyway; so, without the distraction of Miles and Millicent it will be a fun time. Unless I'm wanted for the equivalent of 'dummy' in Bridge I shall keep out of it.

Which reminds me (and you will wonder how) - one of our upcoming winter-programme lectures at Mansfield National Trust, is about the Monopoly Board ! It is with slides, so we shall love it.

That's it. I think ....................

Friday, August 11, 2006

Much cooler - but very pleasant

Although the above picture 'Ocean' has recently been used to illustrate Hopkins' poem The Wreck of the Deutchland I wanted it to accompany the following words from his Pied Beauty. There is no law 'agin it. No doubt I've quoted the lines before, but they are favourites and, with the August sunlight shining on the ground through foliage, there are dappled patches all over the place.
"Glory be to god for dappled things -
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pierced - fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
................................................Gerard Manley Hopkins - 1880"

There is a policy-change today. I've decided to start, and maybe complete my Blog much earlier in the day; while I still feel buoyant. Leaving it till last thing in the evening meant that, by that time I was much closer to my 'done-for' point, which inevitably added a certain pallor to my prose ! Very similar to how my complexion would be - by 8pm.

We both slept well. Y is in the garden - cutting back, tidying, and filling black plastic bags. How did we used to manage without them? By having bonfires - that's how. A good 'puther' my Dad called it. No doubt Madeline can still get away with a smoky bonfire, in rural Wales, but our neighbours would snort with disapproval and it wouldn't be long before the Constabulary arrived. Vandals - Not coming! Smoky Bonfires - We are on our way! would be their approach I'm afraid.

One of the disadvantages to early blogging is that some readers acquire the 'morning edition' and add comments before I have finished editing. For instance, the picture. The only clue to the identity of the photographer which Google Images provided me with, was from the URL which indicates that he/she may be named Anderson. If he/she happens to see this I would like to reassure, that I wasn't trying to 'nick' a super image. And I can also reassure Bungus that the word in the poem is 'brinded' and not 'brindled'. I've looked in 2 quotation dictionaries and also re-read the poem itself. No 'l', honest.

It was a 'me cook' day today and I did tiny portions of poached cod with peas and new potatoes. At teatime we had a little ham; on bread in my case and toast for Y. We have discovered this good brown loaf in the supermarket. It has a hint of sourdough and is v.crusty. Unfortunately it never seems to have an identifying label round it. During the day we have had gallons of tea but I don't think that is particularly fattening or unhealthy.

I'm not deliberately ignoring the terrorist arrests but I can't think of much to add to media comment. The security-services, the police, and the Pakistan authorities have done extraordinarily well as far as I am concerned. And, reluctant though I am to say so, I am beginning to think that John Reid is quite impressive. He might, in my opinion. be a better head of the government than Gordon Brown............

Thursday, August 10, 2006

More or less a normal Thursday

Just a late rose to cheer everybody up. Not that that is necessary because I am quite perky today and Y reports a lovely day at Burton Joyce with the children. We both had a good night's sleep, and I took Y to the tram this morning as usual.

Karen came abit later due to the school-holidays and she did the big-room first so it was clear for Bob and me. Bob arrived just after noon and we had a smashing time. We discovered that he does have exposure-compensation on his camera; so he now has plenty of experimentation to keep him out of mischief. I am looking forward to some pictures !! My experimenation today involved working out how to send emails via our cable TV, using the 'remote' in lieu of a keyboard. It was a success but I won't be using the facility often, because it is very tedious. Nice to know it's there though. Yesterday evening we watched Wallace & Gromit (The Curse of the Were-Rabbit) and it was excellent. I've never seen one before, assuming it was kid's stuff. It is but the subtle nuances and references for adults make it excellent entertainment. The anti-pesto patrol was hilarious.

Y made her way to the Tram terminal and I collected her around 6.45pm ; to save me the drive to Burton Joyce. And I was pleased she did because by then I was about all-in. Things improve each day though and I certainly don't want to complain.. We are promising ourselves a Rest Day tomorrow. But by then we shall probably be lively again...............

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Palace Garden Party - Some Pictures

Had picture uploading problems again, but overcame them.

So - here, after all manner of delays, are some pictures of Steven and Lisa's big day at the Palace. It was still not permitted to take photographs within the palace grounds, even though Lisa said that many were flouting the rule, with cameras on mobiles. But they didn't. Should have been a 'Tower' job in my opinion. The security-services have got enough to worry about at such events without irresponsible people pointing unidentified small boxes at HM!

Picture 1 is in their own rear garden, before they set off and, as you can see, the weather was smashing. Our involvement was to go over at 'schools out' time and to take Hannah and Miles to The Ferry Boat for an evening meal.

Picture 2 is 'almost there' and they certainly do look a handsome couple. We are all very proud of Steven's achievement, which is due to his own conscientious efforts, and long hours. His epithet on his 'Google Talk' entry, when he can't talk, is 'Steven is working very hard' which sums it up.

Just to remind readers of the Blog something about pictures. If you 'left click' on a picture a larger version opens in a new window. And unless a picture is already as big as it will go, on the enlarged picture you will see a little magnifying glass. This will produce an even bigger version !

Picture 3 is lovely Lisa by herself and as Steven put it - "She scrubbed up pretty well". We can all do nothing but agree. I haven't asked Steve how he managed to find a parking space but he always seems to succeed !

These are pictures they will be able to show their grandchildren.

Just a few domestic matters. Not a full Blog because I don't want to dilute the reporting of their big day. I continue to improve and managed an hour's trip to Eastwood this morning even though I was abit pale when we got back. Y went to a new hairdresser and although she only had a trim she was very happy with the result. And it certainly looks good.

Bob is coming tomorrow. And although he says he doesn't want feeding, I shall need to eat so I am hoping he will join me in a bowl of soup and a hunk of bread..........

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Much better day and I can stand the heat.

Oh what fun!! I had not played with Picasa's 'collage creator' before and here is one I made earlier. I put in 5 photos but it obviously likes more, hence the duplication.

I was intending at some stage to 'blog' the hovering-hoverfly anyway. What appeals is that his/her wings are visible. Usually the wingbeat is so fast that one can't actually see them. With the 'collage' one can choose from a variety of formats from 'pile of pictures' to 'picture grid' which is what this one is. More experimentation calls!!

Hasn't the crocosmia come out while I've been away? The garden has suffered through nothing being watered etc., but we have had more pressing concerns. Y worked hard in the garden this morning cutting out Yucca flower stems with her trusty pruning saw. She says they were like pieces of wood. And not only gardening, and loads of washing, she has been in sole charge of catering. We have decided that we have had a convenient 'changing point' thrust upon us and we are intending in future to share the cooking; basically doing alternate days. And when it is a Y day I am not to interfere but simply eat what I am given. We did eat overlarge portions. And I really do realise that I must change my lifestyle.

I feel so much better today and haven't been sick, even once. Debra rang to see how I am and I was charmed to hear that Elli had asked how many 'sleepovers' I had had in the hospital? Bless her. I was excited this morning, to see what I thought was a family of young thrushes emerging from the large conifer in the rear garden. Closer inspection with my binoculars though revealed them to be young starlings. No matter! I have a soft spot for starlings - they are so cheeky. Pam Ayres put her finger on their essential quality with her line "I am a starling mi darlin". The sparrow hawk was here again this morning but empty taloned. I'd love to get a photograph but I don't really fancy my chances.

Bob's 'list of items from Aldi' in his yesterday 'blog comment' did indeed make me laugh, as it was intended to. To go from blood-pressure monitor to essential crackers was a hoot. There is no doubt that I am resuming my normal cheeriness. I shall soon feel up to blogging the garden-party pictures !

Last night I had drifted off to sleep but my radio was still on and something made me 'surface'. It was 'book at bedtime' and as I listened to it I thought "this is astonishingly well written". It was Summer Crossing by Truman Capote. Weird guy, but he could certainly write a decent line or English......................

Monday, August 07, 2006

Steven & Family on Sunday

Steven and family came yesterday afternoon and we all did fun things. And I now have some Buckingham Palace Garden Party pictures, waiting to be blogged. But I think it will be better done in a day or two, when I'm feeling better. I don't want to reduce their appeal by sounding low. So I decided on the view from where I now am, i.e. in bed. Probably I should have withdrawn from the company yesterday but we were having such a good time, I overdid it.

Today, my entire food intake has been a small coffee and a tea-biscuit. But I moreorless kept it down. I've been sick again frequently even though there is nothing in my stomach I manage what I think is bile. Anyway - enough of this. Lets hope tomorrow is a better day!! I'll try and deal with a few emails now, before subsiding. Everyone is so kind and concerned. Y had a call from Jean at the National Trust this morning. She is a very nice lady and I was only sorry that I wasn't well enough to speak to her.................

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Rough Morning - (Me not the weather)

Following on from yesterday, and even after taking very seriously Bungus's comments, I have still decided that more details of my period in Hospital would simply be boring. I had a PM from Madeline confirming how painful these kidney problems are and I guess I am just adding my name to a long list. I didn't sleep well and by the time I got up, about 6am, I just knew I was going to suffer, and I did. The pain eased off but I felt ghastly until around 10.30am when I had a coffee and a dry biscuit with Y which was my breakfast. I was pleased to be able to enjoy a super little Radio 4 programme called Pickwick Poppers which was by and about the sessions singers who made the Top of The Pops albums in the 1960s and 70s. Those of you who are old enough will remember what good fun they were at parties and so good to dance to and often undistinguishable from the original artists. Apparently their biggest challenge was Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. They played a clip from it and it really was very good. Picture 1 is a left-over from our last Nottingham Trip. Any excuse for a Tram Shot - but I liked the 'one going one coming' aspect.

After 11am I steadily recovered and have actually had a pretty good day. I had a lovely warm card from the Chairman of Mansfield National Trust and I note from the newsletter that Y now has the official title of 'raffle cordinator' - there is no stopping her!!

John called in and I'm always so proud of him; he looks so smart in uniform. We discussed 'printers' and I said how happy I am with our Epson Rx 420. He admired the A4 Tenby photos which we have put back on the wall. David rang at lunchtime while they were all sitting on the side of the quay at Weymouth eating fish and chips and watching the boats. We agreed that "seaside, quay, and fish & chips" deserves to be in inverted commas; it is so traditional. I could hear much 'little girl excitement' in the background because there was a funfair and they had each decided which ride they wanted to go on. Debra rang to say that they were just about to set off to their caravan and in the afternoon Steve rang to say that they had safely returned from Jersey.

Picture 2 exists, not because it has much artistic merit but because I was determined to produce a Japenese Anenome photo which didn't suffer 'whiteout'. And there it is...........

Friday, August 04, 2006

First Blog since coming Home

I have decided not to go into my hospitalisation in any detail. Suffice it to say that I had a kidney infection. Extremely painful and I felt so awful I thought I was done-for, and the hospital was pretty awful.

Nothing ever got done on time; if at all. And I had to be 'very cross' in order to get my Warfarin for instance, without which I would surely have had a stroke. My card "was in Pharmacy" and showing them my tablet list didn't work.

The windows in my ward were frosted, so I couldn't see out. I found a window in a day-room at the end of the corridor, on the second day, and took this photograph through it. Even though it was very wet and windy, I thought the new buildings looked impressive. Perhaps our architectural correspondent would be kind enough to comment on them.

Having said all that, family and friends were marvellous re visiting, ferrying things, and me around and Y, as always, was a 'tower of strength'. And Tracy too, who had conveniently arranged to be on holiday - because of Debra's visit - but I benefitted too. Ray and Bob between them dealt with emails and PMs etc., and I even had goodwill messages and card from Mansfield National Trust - they are such nice people. Debra visited twice, and John came promptly. Steven and David, of course, are on holiday and I would have been horrified if they had dropped everything to come up. I had messages, and flowers etc.

At each bed there was a Screen with internet, email, TV and Radio system, called Patientline which one bought credit-cards for. It was fairly user-friendly and when I felt well enough to tackle it I emailed people whose addies I could remember. (Sorry Madeline, but I think Ray PM'd you, and I think Jill is on her Baltic Cruise) It was only possible to use my old Yahoo address because the system didn't like Gmail at all. The keyboard was only as big as the back of the telephone and one needed a third thumb to hold it, depress the shift key and press a letter, all at the same time.

It was a great relief to get home and although I still feel rough, and am sick if I eat anything much, I am getting better. To play Pollyanna's Glad Game - I can report that I have lost almost a stone in weight. I couldn't recommend it as a strategy though..............

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Production Problems

As you will have noticed Radiogandy has been 'off air' since last Saturday. This was due to the editor being admitted to Hospital with a kidney infection. I don't think I have ever felt so poorly. Back home now and still feeling rough, but normal transmission should resume soon..............