Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Overcast Tuesday - David's Birthday

As promised - the Liquidamber. Uploaded without any trouble. Probably before the USA takes to the net and clogs things up. But it isn't just me, there has been loads of blog and press coverage of google's 'blogger' problems and both planned and unplanned 'outages' as they call them.

David's birthday and when I rang at 7.50am he had already set off, so I left a 'happy birthday' on his mobile. The stew was even better today. They always seem to be and I've never understood why. Maybe it's been mentioned before but the Dickensian street-cry which ends "..........seven days in the pot" springs to mind. I suppose that, if brought to boiling point each day, it might be tummy-upset proof, but I doubt it.

After lunch, it was over to Mansfield for the National Trust committee meeting. Apparently it was a success because, as I am not the committee member, I sat in Conny's lounge with my laptop and tried to make sense of Roger's tutorial last night. Some of it was OK but I still have problems with a lot. It isn't a simple programme !

Busy telly night. Strictly Come Dancing for half an hour and then Tim Marlow on Velasquez. I'll try not to impose more art-reproductions on you though. Although I can't promise - because tomorrow is our Holbein to Hockney class.

The Picture is Mark Ramprekash and his partner Karen. He being the celebrity and she being the professional dancer. He is, of course, an excellent cricketer and seems to have translated his natural poise and timing etc. to the dance floor. As a cricketer he has lightning fast reactions and I remember seeing him take the most incredible catch I have ever seen. He must be favourite to win. There are so many strong contenders though that I wouldn't put money on it.

When we were in the super-market we collected a gem. As well as milk and potatoes we decided to buy some packs of assorted kids' sweets with which to fend off the trick-and-treaters. It seems cheaper than giving them money. The lady in front of us at the check-out obviously had the same idea and she and Y chatted about it. The lady said that her mum would never have anything to do with Halloween rating it "as bad as talking to Protestants".

Catch you tomorrow..................

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mild Day - Shopping - First Holiday

This is The Tynedale Hotel, on the promenade at Llandudno, overlooking the Victorian Pier, handy for the shops.......... etc., and we have booked our first holiday for 2007.

A sea-view room on the first floor, which should be interesting at the end of January. But it will be fun and there is a certain attraction and style to going to the coast in the middle of winter.

We can wrap up warmly and go to the top of The Great Orme (by lift or tram of course) and there are excursions, and door to door transport arranged by the coach company - with whom we have been very satisfied in the past. Our Tenby Holiday for instance was one of the best we've ever had.

This is the promised Victorian Pier and although we don't expect it to look summery, it should be interesting - if open. I would settle for large waves crashing over the rails but I can't speak for Y.

Looking at the photograph however, I note that the older lady has her coat firmly fastened. Not my photo of course, it is out of the Llandudno publicity material, so I guess they would be pleased rather than touchy, to have it reproduced.

I had done another Liquidamber picture, because the colour becomes more and more intense, seemingly by the hour. But it was reluctant to upload - maybe try again tomorrow. Tried but failed to photograph some coal-tits on the feeders. They are very nervy little creatures and although I wasn't really close (with my telephoto lens on a tripod) but even the focussing noise sent them to flight. It's my assumption that they are coal-tits - duller and smaller than the great-tits and with black and white striped heads. Why not look them up? I hear you ask. Simple. The books were packed for the move and I canna find 'em.

Routine sort of day. Bit of shopping, Y still cutting back, and I made a beef-stew with a delicious piece of shin plus onions and mushrooms. Cooked for hours on about 12oC. The we finished off some apple-flan which I made yesterday, with some cream left over from TJ's do. It was the cream what did the trick! Well you can't waste food can you?

Touch wood - computer seems OK. And my newly found friend Roger (camera club) is coming round for an hour this evening, to help me with Photoshop.

Ta Ta.................

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Very Mild Day - Quiet Sunday

Picture 1 is of some UFOs which I spotted over Sherwood while looking out of TJ's window on Friday evening. Fortunately I had my camera ! And all on non-alcoholic Ame. An excellent do though and David, who looked very cool in a dark maroon suit, slipped me a tenner. He had sold an old Pentax SLR body for me, and some bits, to a chap on the market who, in my opinion, has more money than sense. Unless he feels there will be a resurgence in demand for non-digital SLRs. Alan, to whom I had chatted about the nonsense speed-limit on the A610, e-mailed me some copy corres. he had received from officialdom on the subject. Aren't young people nice?

Picture 2 is my trusty artichoke seed-heads which I snapped with flash on my return. They have served us well and before they go rotten I intend to cut some and see how they look indoors as dried flowers.

I haven't heard of, or seen them so used before - we might start a trend.

It has been so mild today, 14c in Nottingham, though it felt warmer in the sun, and Y did some cutting back and I sprayed the patio with weed-killer. The rest of the time I have been sorting out self-inflicted computer wounds. I decided to upgrade to Firefox 2 and lost my Yahoo and Google toolbars. I tried everything, even system-restore back to dates when I knew the old browser was functioning fine. No good. In the end I had to uninstall it all and start again. It is OK now so I have created a quick restore point for today, as a hedge against future problems. A classic example of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Firefox 1.5 was fine and, to be honest, I can't see any glaring advantage to 2.5.

On Saturday morning the llamas were in the field and the donkeys weren't. I suppose that as, I believe, llamas live in Tibet, they are hardier than I expect.

If this seems a little terse it is because I have had to write it twice. Blogger.com is playing up again (loads of people have been complaining and it's made the international computer press). It simply said "Could not connect to Blogger.com. Saving and publishing may fail". And it did. I'm beginning to think that Bungus's method of writing in Word, and then copy/paste might have a role to play in my Blogging.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Tracy's - Start of Y's Birthday - My Birthday

Some of the food at TJ's before the onslaught. As anticipated, the 'vittals' were excellent. In the dark middle corner (if that is possible) lurks a Thai curry, courtesy Jamie Oliver and covered in foil. Pronounced delicious by all, plus loads of loverly nibbles. A chocolate cheesecake and cream, which one immediately knew was bad for one - it was so good. I couldn't manage the cheese-board. There were enough people and kids for there to be a hubbub and we all mingled and chatted. We met June's Bill and he seems very nice and coped extremely well with being thrust into such a bustling and strange environment. The children were very good - no serious tears and they all loved playing complicated games in Tracy's gym. Helen had brought loads of things for the kids to do, including a Popcorn maker which was extremely popular. I was full to overflowing but what can you do when offered some warm freshly made popcorn by a proud 5yr old. I 'yumyummed' and got away with eating just two bits. By the way, don't worry about the frightening weapons on the wall - she is a keen martial arts afficianado. Lisa had done me a birthday cake with not quite 71 candles which was brought in after the lights had been dimmed and everyone sang Happy Birthday. My lung-full of puff extinguished all but one. I am indeed a very lucky man!

I 'bailed out' fairly early and Y stayed over which worked out well for everyone. It stopped me from getting over-tired and allowed Y to relax without having to keep her eye on me.

The next picture is my birthday cards and everyone had gone to such trouble with their selection. The centre one is a framed picture by Ruby (6yrs) and she has captured the 'spirit. Hannah did me a computer, keyboard and a real mouse, Brooke and Sky had done me a castle with turrets with a halloween theme and Elli had done a family drawing.

Presents and things this morning- followed by a kip and then I collected Y who is doing a roast chicken for this evening. Then Strictly Come Dancing and then .......... I might get to have a look at the crossword.

See ya all ...............................

Friday, October 27, 2006

No Rafting but - Get-together at Tracy's

Just a quick Blog post, to establish the date, because in about half an hour we are off to TJ's for a get-together. It was supposed to follow the rafting but, even with that being postponed, Tracy has decided to continue with the evening as planned. The food will be tiptop as usual (I can't wait) and it will be nice to see the 'raft-crew' plus children, the infirm (of whom there is only me really) and other lovely folks. A good thing about your 70s is that one is always allocated a seat at such gatherings.

In a way the postponement is no bad thing because Steven has a bad cold and David's clavicle is still recovering. Also, as Ray says "It is hissing down at the moment". Nice message from him on the landline answerphone and I've sent him a Jackie Lawson e-card to help settle him into his new house.

Picture 1 is a 'cracker' isn't it? Taken by Steve on their recent London visit and, Y guesses, from the London Eye. I love those diagonals and the shot is so well constructed. It was good to see, from the rest of the piccies, that they didn't let the occasional downpour spoil their fun. It would be nice to share them but Y doesn't like the idea of pictures of the children being 'blogged' and I take her point because there are weirdos about. It would be possible to restrict access to the Blog to named people. But mainly I have no objection to anyone reading it and it is better just to be careful about photographs and too close an identification of names and places.

Bungus's point about my eating my entire Wetherspoon's lunch without complaining (even though it was tepid at best) is semi-valid but it stems from childhood when my mother used to claim that, if we didn't clear our plates, we were "helping Hitler to win the war" and what 5-11yr old could carry that sort of reposibility?

That might be it for today - we shall see.........

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Burton Joyce - Mansfield - Eastwood

The Liquidamber has also decided that 'the fall' is upon us. As distinct from yesterday's sumac one can plant this anywhere with confidence, and provided you obtain a dwarf one (max about 8 feet) they are no trouble at all. Pleasant green foliage from Spring onwards and delightful colours in the Autumn. The full-size ones are magnificent but can reach 80 - 100 feet. No lawn-invasions; no diseases or creepy-crawly infestations. At least WE haven't had any in over 10 years.

Good news on the blood-level front. Reading nearly within permitted range and no test till Nov.6th - the day after the new date for Y's white-water-rafting.. The people rang Tracy to tell her that tomorrow wasn't going to be possible because the course is flooded! Don't ask - because I don't know the answer.

Y went to Burton Joyce as normal and I delivered her to the tram and then did some shopping. Messed about and then went to Mansfield to meet Bob. We had our usual laugh and a good chat but I think it's back to The Widow Frost for lunch next time. Bob's was OK but mine was luke-warm at best, my large flat mushroom was a small undercooked mushroom and my grilled tomato hadn't been grilled at all. After that we went to the cafe outside Debenhams and my 'tea' consisted of a mug of hot water and a tea-bag to dangle in it. Shan't be going there again.

Then we went to PCWorld to see if I could get onto the internet via their Wi-Fi Hotspot. Couldn't - they aren't a Hotspot anymore. But Comet, a few hundred yards away are - a BTopenzone one, which is a better deal anyway. You win some, you lose some.

This picture doesn't have any artistic merit. I just wanted to record it. One of our shrub 'Ballerina' roses sent a flowering shoot 5 feet up the garage wall. Just the one. All the other shoots have been quite normal. She's obviously more into Aida than Swan Lake.

When I've finished my Blog I think I'll have a quick kip, then collect Yvonne, then go to Eastwood Photographic.

I think my Photoshop difficulties will only be solved by Roger popping round for an hour to sort me out. I intend to ask him tonight. I shall take my laptop again but it isn't a good idea, in a club, to be too demanding of people's time.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Here are the Donkeys - Rainy day

I promised donkeys - here are donkeys. They are living in the same field as the llamas who, if the weather becomes colder, I guess will have to go inside. Shame really because they have added an exotic eastern touch to Brinsley.

Donkeys aren't as sensitive so they will probably be visible for some time yet. Whoever the farmer is, his animals always look very well cared-for and healthy and I am certainly no expert when it comes to animal husbandry.

Picture 2 is a more common sight. A Sumac Tree which at least seems persuaded that autumn is finally upon us. If younger viewers ever contemplate planting one for autumn colour there are a couple of things to beware of. There is a poisonous variety to avoid. It is simply called the Poison Sumac (rounded leaves) and is distinguishable from the non-poisonous Staghorn Sumac which has pointed leaves. Even if you settled for a non-poisonous one, whatever you do, don't plant it anywhere near a lawn. The roots spread over an extremely wide area and upper roots grow through the lawn surface and quickly make new little trees all over the place. Within a couple of years your lawn will be ruined. It is Sumac versus Grass and Sumac always wins. If you were really anti-neighbour, plant one near your boundary and close to HIS lawn. Not serious folks !

Y enjoyed her lunch with Sylvia. She is doing a course at The Broadway Cinema about Pinewood Studios (Lavender Hill Mob, Titchfield Thunderbolt - et al) Isn't there a lot to be learned when you get older?

I spent a good hour messing about with PhotoShop and still find it impossible to make a selection and copy/paste it into another image. To be fair - I have managed it ONCE and now I can't remember how I did it. Y did a nice salad for tea, and had made a jelly which we had for pudding with a dollop of ice-cream. I think it must be true about reverting to childhood. Well it's not really reverting because I've always loved jelly and ice-cream.

Yesterday's Telegraph crossword was a team effort which involved the exchange of e-mails. We were stuck on a couple and Jill was stuck on a couple. Fortunately not the same ones so we could swap. Also, I changed my signature on WUforums because I had a very polite PM pointing out that poor old Bertrand Russell was a little larger than permitted. I promptly substituted a mini Thomas Hood with the quote "....I saw old Autumn in the misty morn......"

Catch you tomorrow..............

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More on The History Boys - Lovely Day

Although Picture 1 feature the play, rather than the film, the cast simply transferred in their entirety to the film. And the picture was better.

All I can say about the film is "Go and See it." It was superb. A brilliant piece of writing, as you would expect from Alan Bennet, great casting and not a weak performance from anyone. If you are not a 'lover of words' and 'a lover of quotations' and 'a lover of needle-sharp humour' it might not appeal. A good grasp of French would also help because my 55yr old O level wasn't quite up to speed. Got the gist though! I used to find at work that an inappropriate quotation was an excellent de-fuser of 'bollockings'. Once I was being told off by a Chief Superintendent and I offered "You could say Sir, that it's a case of 'Minerva's owl flies only in the dusk'." It completely stopped his flow.

The 'boys' were excellent and there were powerful performances from both Richard Griffiths and Francis de la Tour who I've been a great fan of ever since Rising Damp. What Alan Bennet and Richard Griffiths together managed to do was to give one a great sympathy and liking for a character who would normally attract little sympathy. Namely a genital-groping, elderly teacher of teenage boys.

Jill is to see a double bill next month of The Queen and The History Boys with a break for supper in between. I promise she will find both so stimulating and thought-provoking that one after the other would be too much for my personal channel capacity. Better than not seeing them at all though!

Regular readers might remember my point a couple of months ago that the only answer to the Iraq debacle is to bring Saddam back and ask him to sort out the mess and keep his beady eye on Iran like he used to. Corelli Barnet in today's Daily Mail has finally caught on to the same view. He points out that Saddam was anti Islamic extremism, the position of women was better, casualties and torture were less and the place was more-or-less peaceable. I've often thought that things would be better if I were in charge ! Ha Ha!

A contributor to WUforums suggested a solution to my Office 2003 address-book problem but it involved Microsoft Excel which I'm not really au fait with. But it sounded promising and I'll have a go.

I made a sort of fish-casserole for lunch and it was rubbish. Can't win 'em all.

No Art -no Films tomorrow. I've got some donkeys lined up..........

Monday, October 23, 2006

Very Mild - To Mansfield Odeon

John sent me this picture of Berjyk Windmill in the Netherlands taken during their recent campervan holiday there.

The amazing thing is that it was taken on his new mobile phone.

It is a 3.2mega pixel job and I think the crispness and definition is quite remarkable. One can understand the appeal to people who want an easy to use, point and shoot facility, with good to very good results. And that goes for the overwhelming majority of people. Journalists must love them because they are so unobtrusive and must disturb subjects much less than having a large camera pointed at their faces.

Matt strikes again! I just couldn't resist this from yesterday's Sunday Telegraph. He is so unashamedly and gloriously politically incorrect. The nation is fortunate to have such talented people; particularly in view of our apparently silent and emasculated oppostion and a mealy-mouthed but useless government. And to think that Y and I nearly cried to see Tony Blair standing on the steps of 10 Downing Street. I do feel a bit bad because I didn't even buy the Sunday Telegraph, I read it online. But we buy the hardcopy Telegraph every weekday. And this isn't a commercial station. And I do regularly acknowledge Matt !

No matter, it will all sort itself. The electorate will sort it. As Dr. Johnson so wisely said of Britain "About things on which the public thinks long it commonly attains to think right".

In my spare time I'm still tussling with PhotoShop and also with Microsoft Office 2003. A way of transferring my gmail address/contacts book into Office doesn't spring to my notice. All my existing contacts were lost of course in the 'crash'. With gmail being web-based that was no problem. Microsoft seem to expect you to enter each contact individually but I'm sure there must be a simple solution - their help menu throws up zilch. I'll probably ask on WUforums - someone will have the answer.

We went to Mansfield as planned, after my blood-test (no results yet), and arrived in plenty of time for The History Boys. More will follow tomorrow. We both agreed that it was quite excellent. The we went to Halfords for Paul's birthday vouchers, and then home for tea.............

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Proper Sunday - Yesterday's Papers - Relax

Trouble uploading pictures again. Ages since that happened and it raises my concern that it might be linked to Microsoft Office 2003 which David has reinstalled for me. It all looks fine and I spent some time re-establishing my old ntlworld email address. Had to find POP3 servers and things but I managed it, and adjusted the page layout so as to please me. I discovered a change-of-address email from Maggie dated a couple of weeks ago, which I would have completely missed had we not done the reinstall. It shouldn't make any difference but ....?

We recorded The Culture Show and watched it this afternoon. (Picture 1 is their new website icon). We enjoyed it - it brings us into contact with Pop and stuff which we don't know much about. They were interested in the Velasquez exhibition too but I thought it would be OTT to blog another one.

So I decided to Blog Picture 2 which is the new presenter Lauren Laverne. Apart from looking quite dishy (to an old man's eyes anyway) she is well informed and very bright. In the interviews she conducts she seems to get more out of her interviewees than Verity used to. We still like her a lot though and it was good to see her on this weeks show. Y says that Lauren has a 1940s look and I can see what she means.

We like Mark Kermode and find his film reviews good and helpful. I know Bungus doesn't like him (nor his Dad) but he doesn't fall into the reviewer's trap of being heavily critical of nearly everything. If he gives praise, it is worth taking note of. I hope Bungus won't mind me pointing out that he never goes to the cinema anyway. While on the subject of cinema, we intend to go and see The History Boys tomorrow. I have yet another wretched blood-test in the morning but they have seen me promptly recently and we should make it to The Odeon for 12.30pm. Opinions to follow tomorrow.

Jill's 'snap' comment was fun yesterday when they also had chicken casserole. Their accompaniments (tracklements?) were different and I was fascinated with the 'pearly barley'. Our left-overs did us for today. With cauliflower, and baked sweet potato. Remember the days when you just had to have a roast on Sunday?

I've done some further work with PhotoShop and my new books are a great help. Both are in full colour, in the 'Teach Yourself VISUALLY' series and they really are graspable even by my failing brain.

This morning my OAG (old-age gremlin) struck again. When I got up it was chilly and I switched on the heating to warm the house up for Y. I made a little breakfast and settled down to catch up on some reading. Half an hour later, because the radiators were stone-cold, I realised that the OAG had gone and switched it off again ! The sod.

Catch you tomorrow........................

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Lazy Day - Weather mostly Sunny

Yesterday evening on BBC 2 Simon Sharma as the start of his series The Importance of Art featured Caravaggio. This - The Cardsharps - was painted in 1586 and, I suppose, once seen never forgotten. He often included himself in his paintings - but never as the hero or good guy, always as the villian. I'll leave you to work out which is Caravaggio.

He was like no other painter. Violently unstable - but he could certainly paint. He never did preliminary drawings; he would just wade straight in and apply brush to canvas.

According to our tutor this is a History Painting because it has a narrative. And how!!

An early work but it captures his style and the vigour.

Picture 2 is completely up-to-date and is the chrysanths I mentioned yesterday. From our 'bean-man' up the road.

It isn't a panorama; it's just been cropped that way. And only a very minor bit of photoshopping.

I made a chicken casserole for main meal, containing peppers, mushroom, onion, celery and loads of fresh tarragon (which is still thriving in a tub because it's been so mild and frost-free). With it we had mashed potato, carrots and sugarsnap peas. And it was good, and enough left for tomorrow.

An interesting fact from David - who has inherited the gene that causes one to collect such snippets. WD40, which I am addicted to buying cans of, acquired it's name from an experiment into something else. It was found that the product displaced water. And, as it was experiment no. 40, the substance became WD40. I'm not a WD40 sniffer, or anything sinister but I think "Well, I've got a can in the garage and I've got a can in the car-boot. I really ought to have a can in the kitchen. And it would be better to have a spare - or perhaps two!".

June rang this evening and she and Y had a good chat. She still enjoys the Blog from time to time and "Thinks it's great". Praise indeed.

We enjoyed Strictly Come Dancing. I voted for Peter, the goalkeeper 'cos I thought they were the best this week. Y voted for Anton and partner. Not that they were any good, she says, but she likes Anton. And we've got the Culture Show to look forward to.

My PhotoShop Elements books arrived from Amazon - bang on time again. So efficient, trouble free and £9 cheaper than Waterstones...............

Friday, October 20, 2006

New Mechanics - Old Poly

This is The New Mechanics where our class is held. It is right at the bottom of North Sherwood Street which is no longer a through-way, as you will see from picture 2.

I straightened the verticles a little in PhotoShop but there was little to compensate for the fact that it was a damp and dull morning and the lighting was terrible.

A pleasantly designed building which seems to function efficiently. The old Mechanics was fairly good too, but has been flattened in the redevelopment of Trinity Square. What with a new Slab Square (Market Square) not very far away, we soon shan't recognise the old place. In my opinion it would be good idea to demolish Victoria Centre while they are at it. It always has been dreary - apart from the Roland Emmet clock which fascinates children and adults alike.

Picture 2 is from the bottom of North Sherwood Street. The whiteish building, top left, is what used to be the main Polytechnic building and the older, classy looking stone buiding in the middle is The Arkwright uilding which used to be the main library. To my immediate left (out of picture) is The Orange Tree, ex Clinton Arms of which I spoke earlier.

I've messed-about with PhotoShop and worked on some pictures from Eastwood Photographic Association. They gave you 3 on a CD and invited you to modify them to your own choice. And then they are going to look at everyone's efforts. Could be fun !

Just after lunch I picked Y up from the tram, and it's nice to have her home. She's enjoyed her visit though. On the way I stopped at our 'bean-man' because he had buckets of freshly cut chrysanths outside his gate. I bought some for Y and by the time I got to the tram, the car was filled by that distinctive smell. One of my favourite Lawrence short stories is The Odour of Chrysanthemums. Beautifully written, as you would expect, and the aroma pervades the story, so to speak.

Strictly Come Dancing at 6.30pm and then Simon Sharma on the importance of art at 9pm.

Toodle pip..................

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Clinics Fine - Still Mild - Sunny Afternoon

This is going to have to be the briefest Blog ever. When I was listing today's events yesterday I forgot Eastwood Camera Club this evening.

Anyway everything so far has passed off smoothly. My cardiovascular clinic this morning gave me the 'everything OK' tick; if only we could get this INR level sorted. I did all my shopping and then went over to Long Eaton.

I took David to the Fracture Clinic and that was fine too. Everything healing satisfactorily but they said he could still be finding things painful for some months. I felt it for him when he tried to raise his arm etc.; it was so obviously agonising to do. Physiotherapy is to be arranged for him and fortunately he can do it at the Long Eaton Health Centre and not at QMC. The parking was horrendous and people in the disabled badge-holders car-park were nearly coming to blows. "I'll have ten quid each way on the bloke with the zimmer-frame" I thought.

David's having a new bike for his birthday (see picture) and even though he isn't up to riding it yet he wanted to sit on it. Having sold his old one on e-bay for an excellent price, abit of additional birthday money should cover it!

Helen is much much better, which was good to see and after I delivered David home from the clinic I was able to have a pleasant time with the girls as they arrived from School. Stars and stickers have been awarded again. Brooke is proving a very good reader. She was showing me a soft-toy spider on a length of elastic and I said "It's a bungee-jumping spider, do you know what bungee-jumping is?". She immediately replied "Yes. It's sort of flexible ropes". I don't think the description could be bettered. Sky is not being stretched enough at School and she gets bored. She's miles in front and although there is special provision for backward children there doesn't seem much done for the gifted. I played 'Guess Who' with Brooke. It really is an excellent game and I don't know anyone who doesn't like it.

Catch you tomorrow.....................

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

'Holbein to Hockney' Day - Still Mild

I went down to Nottingham quite early and by 12noon, had arrived in The New Mechanics restaurant, sensing it was going to be busy again. And it was. After a leisurely lunch I went up to the room where we meet and played on my laptop for half an hour. An unencrypted Wi-Fi signal was available from a pub called The Orange Tree across the road. But I didn't use it - I disapprove of hitching a lift on someone's broadband without permission. It always savours of theft.

Just in passing, The Orange Tree was The Clinton Arms which, as far as I know, was the first pub, in the swinging 60s to feature topless barmaids. Teenage boys used to drool as they walked past.

In the class, although starting with Hogarth, we moved on from just portraits to History Paintings and Conversation Pieces and then back to portraits again. Picture 1 is by Allan Ramsay, and his wife is the subject. Painted 1754 and a remarkably beautiful work. The 'still-life' bowl of flowers on the table gives it a distinct dutch feel. But it isn't. Ramsay was Scottish but painting in London.

Picture 2 is The Orangery at Belton House and is included because it always seems to me to be a beautiful piece of architecture. Although the main house dates from Tudor times the building shown was built in the early 19th Century and to me, has a modern feel to it.

Belton House is often used as a setting for period dramas and, if any readers happen to be in the area, it repays a visit. It is a National Trust property and one of the really welcoming ones. I've yet to see a 'keep off the grass' sign but, in the formal gardens the grass is so beautifully kept one wouldn't dream of sullying it with a common foot.

I forgot to mention yesterday that John and Yvonne bought two genuine Dutch bicycles while they were on holiday. John says that they are quite distinctive looking and are extremely comfortable. Unfortunately he has inherited the family back-problem and the new cycle cause him less of a problem than his old one. For health reasons he tries to cycle to work each day. Never mind, he can retire quite soon. That makes me feel my age !

Yesterday evening I made a submission to the 'world's biggest blog' organised by the beeb and the idea is that people contribute 100-650 words outlining their complete day for 17th October, with photos. Everything is going to be recorded and archived and will form a sort of snap-shot of life now, for future generations. Seemed like a brilliant idea to me.

Another busy day tomorrow. Me clinic in the morning. Tablets to collect. David to fracture-clinic in the afternoon. Must do some shopping. I think that will have to do 'cos I'm feeling crackered.............

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Another Mild Day - Busy doing not Much

Last night on TV, I intended to watch MegaStructures again. It was to be about The Golden Gate Bridge.

I pretty soon discovered that, would you believe, we are not subscribers to The National Geographical Channel. And the fact that we successfully watched it for several evenings, was either a fluke - or more likely, Andy says, it was NTL trying a 'come-on'.

Anyway, I found an alternative on UKTV History about a Georgian House that was followed through it's successive occupants, through Regency etc. Bearing in mind that last week I encountered copyright problems with the Sears Tower, this week I took evasive action by photographing the TV screen. It's tolerable, I think, little more.

Picture 2 is a distinctive spider that was inhabiting the lid of the garden-waste bin. Maybe one of our 'wildlife-correspondents' can identify it. I would guess that the very prominent crucifix on it's back has some significance. Perhaps it is a British Airways spider !!

If the image is a little blurred, the reason is that it is an action-shot which I was unprepared for, because he was really 'tazzing along' when I pressed the shutter button.

Still on camera matters, John came over this morning and brought the old camera-bag full of stuff I had given Laura but which she does not now have a use for. It is all from pre-digital days. There are some filters and bits which will be useful but a lot of it David can put on ebay. Somebody might still want developing tanks but I doubt it.

He showed me his new Sony Erikson mobile phone which is equipped with a 3.2megapixel camera. It isn't very long since we thought that 3meg was a respectable sensor size for a fullblown digital camera. He showed me a few pictures from their recent Netherlands holiday and the quality and definition was incredible. You can enlarge and crop in camera and apparently you can print up to A4 without any trouble. It was good to hear everyone's news. Philip still hasn't decided about the flat he has been offered. Allanah is settling into the sixth form well and her A level choices are English Lit, Psychology, and Religious Studies and Philosophy. Although not really religious, I found the component I did - The Rise of Christianity and The Early Roman Empire - particularly valuable. It has been surprising how often I have been able to drop a 'killer-fact' into the conversation. Laura is trucking along but John says she seems to spend a lot of time working in a Costa Coffee Bar. She no doubt needs the money.

The OAGs (Old Age Gremlins) seem to have been active today. My particularly ones specialise in (a) throwing things off shelves when you've just put them there (b) taking things back to the bedroom when you have fetched them and placed them carefully on the dining-room table and (c) twisting things out of you fingers and chucking them on the floor. No doubt other people's have their own favourite maliciousnesses. I'd love to hear..................

Monday, October 16, 2006

De Gaul's Head - Walking-stick Progress

You can all now judge the quality of the Bungus head which we have discussed.

It does look like General de Gaul and the rough-chiselled finish appeals to me. I don't envy Bungus his class tutor's mode of finely honed and polished pieces as an end product. They will look as if they have been mass-produced in a factory. Wouldn't suit Willam Morris at all !!

Y has gone to Palmer's Green on granny-duty and she managed to carry the old lappy for Debra. It isn't the lightest of laptops but apart from her handbag she managed to cram things in the laptop bag. She keeps clothes and things down there which lightens the load somewhat.

Picture 2 is also down to Bungus and it is to show his progress with the walking-stick. The one on the left is an old stick I gave him when he was without one somewhere, and the one on the right is the work-in-progress.

I'm shall be very interested to see what the bob-tail bit on the end turns out to be. Perhaps he is intending to create a grey squirrel !

Not much to add really. The weather continues to be mild, 15c in Nottingham at the moment. Can't tell you about Brinsley because my little weather station is showing all the signs of being kaput. First the outside temperature vanished. All new batteries achieved was a date change to Thursday 1st Jan 04. I then did what boys mostly do and pressed and clicked as many buttons as I could. Result - the screen went completely blank and has remained so.

Bob asked Dan about Acronis and Images. He replied that he used Norton Ghost and went on to explain about images. Completely over my head I'm afraid. But I shall try not to worry about it. I keep attacking with PhotoShop though.

Rest Day tomorrow.........................

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Quiet Sunday - 13C - Going to get cooler

Yet another sunrise folks. Eventually I shall become bored with them I suppose, but not yet. The thought always occurs "I've lived to see another day - I might as well enjoy it". A further theory, following the spiders and their webs yesterday, is that it seldom rains at dawn. This one is better supported, from years of working 'nights' out of doors, on the 'beat'. If there
are any policemen outside at dawn at the moment I would be surprised, and double-crewed in a car, you would scarcely notice.

People's 'comments' yesterday were very interesting. Fancy Jill going to the top of The Sears Tower and then not daring to savour the view! When girls, she and Yvonne must have been scared/scarred by the same experience. We were in the Isle of Man once and Y got 'stuck' half way up the Laskey Wheel, not daring to go either up or down. Eventually she had to move because she was blocking the way for a group of kids and her matriarchal instincts overcame her fear.

And don't believe Bungus's modesty about his wood-carving. The 'Easter Island' head which now lives in hs garden is excellent and always reminds me of an Elizabeth Frink. Next time I go to Boughton I will take my Nikon and return with bloggable pictures. Subject of course to his permission! I'm not a member of the 'paparazzi' or however they are spelled. Which reminds me of 'Spelt' - a non-wheat flour which might fit in for Sandra's bread-lust but wheat- intolerance. It has a good history because the Romans were very keen on it.

Helen is still under-the-weather and David still suffering. Sometimes his collarbone aches if he has his sling on and then aches if he takes it off. He has to go to the fracture clinic on Thursday and I can help by providing transport. I know they would cope without me, but it's nice to be able to do something constructive.

The last picture is basically published for Pete's (Manxislander) benefit. He has said how much he misses canals. This is from Carrington Street, Nottingham about two hundred yards from the main Railway Station. No narrow-boats I'm afraid - he will have to do with the reflections of the buildings and things. They appealed to me because the water was so still and the light was so clear.

Re back-up photo storage, Bungus has suggested what may be the best answer of all - an external hard drive, which is the method favoured by two of his friends. He is obtaining for me 'further and better particulars' as the lawyers say.

Catch yer termorra..................

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Lovely Day - 14C - Sunny

Just a few Michaelmas Daisies after overnight rain, for your delectation. Of no significance 'cept they're pretty. There wasn't any fog this morning, and no spiders' webs either. One day isn't really enough data on which to base the theory that spiders only build webs in hedges and things when it is foggy. But I shall watch the situation with interest in future.

Yesterday evening we watched a fascinating programme on The National Geographic channel about the Sears Building in Chicago. It was an hour, but the time shot by. For a time it was the tallest building etc., etc., at 1451feet not counting the aerials on top. 11,000 people work in it and the programme covered the design, the construction and loads of amazing facts. It was good that the people to do with it seemed happy and proud.

Googling found me a much better image than this one but it had 'Emporis' watermarked across it and a strict injunction that you could only view it on your browser and not reproduce it elsewhere without a licence. The one I've used is courtesy of Google Images and carries no such injunction. However, it is a very low pixel count so don't expect much luck with enlarging.

We have both been busy today. Y with the inevitable washing and she managed to get in the garden and do some cutting back. I cooked an apple-flan and a crispy-beef stir fry both of which were proclaimed as successes.

I pricked out 13 Basil plants, the total head-count in the end - not 7 as I originally claimed. The tray only conveniently holds 12 so I gave the 13th to Derek next door. Hope he isn't superstitious.

As I think I've previously said, the variety is Minette and has small leaves. The flavour is super and it's so easy to grow. The seeds germinate well and cuttings root almost overnight.

Ray e-mailed me back about the Acronis problem. He hadn't managed to download it either - apparently they 'pulled' the free offer. And I had been convinced that, as usual, I had boobed somehow. So I had a go with Mozy and needed to leave the lappy on all night, it took so long to record My Pictures and stuff. When I went to it this morning it said I was 103% over quota and my 'backup' hadn't been successful. Sod it! I think I'll stick to backing up regularly onto CDs. But, with gmail and Picasa web-albums alot of stuff is stored online anyway. However, when I had a look at my web-albums, I noted that I have already used up 50% of my allowance. Ah well!

My passport has returned and is now valid until 2016. Y is keen on a cruise, and we have seen a very nice looking Danube job, next April or May. There will be some good photo opportunities.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Mostly Foggy - Shopping - Quiet Day

Foggy morning - visibility about 200 yards - OK but dodgy on motorways because of the risk of running into bad patches. No reason to use M1 today though but Helen still abit poorly. She took the girls to school and she and David went to Asda but were done-for when they got home. But they really do make the best of things and David is very lucky to have her. I got her to promise that she won't hesitate to ring if they need transport, because we can be there in less than half an hour. Picture 1 is some Virginia Creeper at the bottom of the garden and it has surprised us by managing to grow through a conifer hedge.

Picture 2 is a stump, I think Beech but not sure, on Long Lane which joins Ravenshead to the A614.

It looks as if it would not be out of place in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. It captures my attention each time I pass. Probably run into the hedge on the opposite side of the road one day. A horse would suit me much better.

Computer-wise I've e-mailed Ray with a question about Acronis (a web-based free storage system). He sent me the link (Madeline also offered) and I went through the process of downloading it. I thought I had succeeded because they sent me a password and a serial number, and I clicked their 'confirmation link'. But I can't find it anywhere. No desktop icon, nothing in All Programmes - a mystery. To me at least.

I really enjoyed Eastwood Camera Club last night and I didn't arrive home till around 10,30pm. Wow! Lots of old friends still attend and the review of Photoshop was helpful. But, when I tried earlier this afternoon to do a 'selection' and a 'layer' I failed miserably. A chap called Roger had helped a lot, because I took my laptop. But he showed me how to do it. what I need is for me to be doing it and someone to be saying "Now click there" - "Now press that". Roger is a very pleasant man and our sort of age so, after I've attended the club another time or two, I might invite him round here for an hour to pick his brains.

I'm hoping that Bungus will enter a 'comment' about his walking-stick-making course. He is actually very good at wood carving and I'm keen to see some results.

Fish, chips and peas, today. And beans on toast for tea.

That's about it really .......................................

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Misty Morning - Davids - Camera Club

A Rest Day I suppose - fairly busy, but I like that. I finally contacted Dexter at the Computer place and he talked me through my reclusive My Pictures folders. I was loading them from the data disc in a manner which made the computer think it was dealing with one enormous folder of pictures from my camera. They are sorted now anyway. Then I took Y to the Tram because it's a Burton Joyce day. Then David rang to see if I could help out with tranport to collect Brooke from School because Helen was abit 'under-the-weather' and David's still in a sling supporting his broken collar bone. Brave lad that he is though; he's been into School 3 days because he has an exam-due class and he feels responsible for them. It gave me great pleasure to able to help and I went over to Long Eaton and we played computers. We couldn't seem to be able to raise my Blog though, and kept getting a type 500 error (which I've heard tell of but don't understand).

Picture 1 is yet another misty morning over the football field. They really fascinate me because each one is unique. When you think about it every sky since the earth was formed has been subtly different. I suppose pedants would argue that in places like Arizona where clouds are abit rare, one day's sky looks much like another. But I don't live there do I? And Nottinghamshire skies differ muchly.

Picture 2 is David's USED Crash-hat from when he came off his bike. Isn't it a good job he was wearing it! If you look closely at the damage the embedded stone is clearly visible.

We duly collected Brooke and I dropped them off and picked up my lappy-bag and contents and then I braved the busy M1 more or less at rush-hour again. Well it seemed like rush hour. Just enought time for a quick Blog, collect Y from Phoenix Park tram terminus and then off to Eastwood Camera Club.

I rang Brian this morning (where do I find the time?) and he told me to take my lappy with me this evening and someone will show me how to turn a 'selection into a layer' and then open it to work on it. This function defeats me at the moment. But there is always someone who knows the answer to every question. The knack is being able to find that person. Thats is why I find WUforums such a help.

It was good of Jill to post such useful and interesting stuff about Hogarth and Chiswick which, even in Hogarth's time was described as one of the 'better areas' of London. Nice to have friends with good addresses! If the restaurant called Pug doesn't look an old enough building Jill, I'm sure it ain't. If you could send me a picture, our architectural correspondent would doubtless be willing to give a professional opinion. Going to stop there and have a bite..........

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Blood Tests and Hogarth

The day started with me facing the morning traffic, to reach the Queen's Medical Centre early enough to secure a parking spot in the blue-badge car park. Awful! So glad I've retired. The details would be boring so I'll summarise. Not admitted as emergency>had heperin injection> warfarin dosage increased>blood test Friday.

It seemed likely that, as is the norm in Hospitals, there would be much 'hanging around' - so I took my lappy, to work on a picture. In consequence, at each stage I was seen almost straight away and had to keep shutting-down. It couldn't possibly be that, seeing me sitting there happily occupied, they decided to see me quicker - could it? Nooooo!

After that I had a coffee and then met Y at the New Mechanics for lunch and our 'Holbein to Hockney' course. The restaurant was extremely busy because there was some sort of dance. I had gone to an empty table in the window and was saving a seat for Y but was bullied out of it by three elderly ladies who arrived just after me. They really can be relentless can't they? There is probably a 'finishing school' somewhere for aggressive old women. Hogarth knew the type well.

Picture 1 is a self portrait of Hogarth, with his favourite pug, called Trump. Apparently he had a succession of pugs and called them all Trump. Makes sense I suppose. He sounds as if he was a helluva good fellow. Pro the common man and anti gentry. Picture 2 is from the 'Marriage a la Mode' group and shows the 'happy' couple after a good night out, obviously not together. For some reason Hogarth was very keen on tables, or chairs, or something, being knocked over.

Having just read through the above I think I hear a note of cynicism.

Sorry .................

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Trip to Arnold - Lunch with Joan

Blood Test first thing this morning, and they haven't rung me yet - so fingers-crossed. I had antibiotics on the 1st, and my level is probably haywire. No messages yet though - I could be lucky!

Shortly afterwards we nipped over to Arnold because it is a 'Karen day' and we like to get out of her way. She can have her favourite Century Radio on loud, and sing to it. Her singing voice is very good and we told her once she must be good at Karaoke - "only when drunk" she replied. Bless.

In Arnold we went our separate ways for an hour. I like browsing the charity-shops and the book shop, while Y prefers looking for children's clothes and things. Mind you - she managed to find 4 books in the book shop. In the Cancer Research Shop I found a treasure treasure treasure. A favourite boyhood book was this Brother Blackfoot which I read and read endlessly and when I spotted it on a shelf, my crabby old defective heart leapt. My copy, long since gone, had a red and white paper dustjacket with same picture as shown. As if I'm worried about a missing dust-jacket! The picture of the teepee and the camp-fire showed the sort of place I longed to be. I've always assumed the book cover illustration started off as a lino-cut but if not, I'm sure someoned will put us right.

In the chapter with the featured illustration, John, as prospective bloodbrother has to prepare himself to have his little finger chopped off, while Apau measures up the job. All very appealing to an eleven year old. Inside the fly-leaf is inscribed "To Tony, Christmas 1946" so maybe Tony was eleven too. Enough whimsy. Joan met us on the Main Street and we went to The Tree Tops for lunch which was very pleasant except for the fact that an elderly lady collapsed onto the floor. The staff covered her with a coat and two people knelt by her side. An ambulance was summoned and actually arrived very quickly. But in the interim everybody just carried on eating. I suppose , as there was nothing anybody could do to help, it made sense. Just seemed strange.

Then we went back to Joan's for some tea and eventually made our way home - via the pretty route.

Oh dear ! I spoke too soon re my blood. The Anticoagulant Clinic has just rung and, as predicted, my level has gone so haywire that I have to take extra warfarin now and go to Queen's Medical Centre Blood clinic at 9.30am tomorrow for a further test and possibly more warfarin and a heperin injection. The young lady was really helpful, and when I told her that we were keen not to miss our 'Holbein to Hockney' class, she snuck me in for an early appointment at 9.30am.

Ho Hum..............................

Monday, October 09, 2006

Fully Refreshed - Old Lappy Collected

As you will see above, Michael Palin, who Saturday's Culture Show was about. We only caught up last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. Some surprising things we didn't know about the Python team but, at the end of the programme which coincides with the publication of his diaries, you finish up thinking "He really is a nice chap". There were repeats of favourite sketches, which are still hilarious.

The fish-slapping dance in which there are two great moments. The first when John Cleese measures up with his big fish - and the ending which I won't describe because there must be young people around who have never seen it. And I don't want to spoil it. There were extracts from loads of sketches. The Ministry of Silly Walks for instance is still so good. They didn't show unfortunately the opening sequence when the big foot used to come down. More up-to-date are his travel programmes and it has always seemed to us that wherever he goes in the world people of all races, rich and poor alike, like him and find him easy to talk to.

In retrospect there isn't much to add to yesterday's stuff about the PhotoShop Course. I thought this morning that I had tracked down the book the tutor recommended, to Waterstones. Attempting to order it though, revealed that they only had one copy and that was reserved for someone else. Ho Hum - Amazon here I come (it rhymes but don't scan too well).

Similar experience in Currys. I picked the camera for Debra's birthday - a Kodak complete with 6x4 printer but, they didn't have one. The helpful girl tracked one down to Arnold Curry's and gave me a reference no. and the advice that I could order it and they would save it for 24hrs. Ringing the number and pressing 5 as suggested had zilch effect, 3 times, -no-one answered. So I rang Currys main number and spoke to another nice girl, this time in Sheffield. When I gave her the reference number she found it on her computer and said that if a I placed an order there and then, I would qualify for free delivery to my home address within 3 days AND it was £30 cheaper. I'm quite glad that the Arnold Shop didn't answer!

Collected my old lappy from Rainworth and so far so good in the matter of preparing it for Debra. I've managed to get on the net and download the AVG free antivirus software for her. Tomorrow I'll set her up with Google and Macafee Site Advisor etc., I might even put her on Firefox- which will be quite an experience for her coming from a clapped-out Mac. Still problems to sort with regard to My Pictures etc. but all solveable.

Met Bob for lunch again and this time we patronised the Old Court House Wetherspoons, as a change from The Widow Frost. Bob prefers the Court House because it is more like a proper pub. Food good again, reasonable drinks prices, - and good value. V. Nice coffee ...........

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mini-Blog - Brain reached 'Full'

Please excuse me. A full report on the PhotoShop Day School was promised but I'm too 'done-for' to provide one.

A rewarding day even if 90% of it was at a level which I am no-where near able to absorb. But I filled pages of jottings in the hope that I will eventually catch up with my notes. The lecturer was excellent and his presentation was impeccable and my lack of comprehension was my fault not his.

He was kind enough to recommend a book which is more accessible than the manual. He also gave me his e-mail address and offered to e-mail me some handouts and things. There were many people there, from Eastwood Camera Club, who I knew. They just looked older, after a gap of around 12 years. I am going to try to go to their meeting on Thursday evening because they are going to have a review of today.

The picture is a holiday photo from Tenby on which I managed, with great difficulty, to use PhotoShop's 'Quick Fix'. Very similar to Picasa's 'I feel lucky' button - but a tad more sophisticated.

If I have missed out on replying to anyone, or dealing with points, please excuse me. At 3.30am I shall no doubt be fully awake and recovered.................

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sharpey and The Pill Box

It is best first to explain about 'Sharpey' alias Sean Bean. A 'Lisa to Steve' Xmas present was a boxed set of Sharpe DVDs and I must admit that both Y and I are fans, so we were lent them and have watched them pretty quickly. I've missed out on a couple but have much enjoyed those I have watched. The only one missing from the box was the Waterloo episode but it isn't lost and we look forward to it in due course.

The picture is simply a photo from the outside of the box. And it almost goes without saying my loverly Nikon did a super job.

I don't think it would stand being enlarged much further. But I shall know better when I have published this and can check.

Picture 2 is the box I keep my tablets in. After watching the first episode I realised that the soldier pictured on the right is in Napoleonic Wars period uniform and has a muzzle loader. I particularly noted the helmet which, unfortunately, Sean Bean is not wearing a version of.

Steve concurs with my analysis and, from his professional knowledge confirms that the box is very old and beautifully made. The lid is actually screwed onto the side pieces with tiny brass screws. Rather than leave you with the impression that I need a rifle-box full of tablets, its dimensions are just over 5 x 8 inches by 1 inch deep and probably housed a small pistol.

The last picture is an 'enlarge and crop' of the soldier standing on the right - so you can see his helmet and muzzle-loading rifle. And the rest of his uniform and the background tents etc.

Saturday has been a quiet day for us. A Rest Day in fact, which we have enjoyed. Plenty of pots of tea etc. Reasonably fine and mild weatherwise and Y managed an hour in the garden this afternoon. She was keen to do some cutting-back while the council are still collecting garden waste.

Tomorrow I have my PhotoShop One Day School at Greasley Miner's Welfare. And I am really looking forwad to it because although I seem to have installed the programme successfully I'm hopeless with it. Even though a hard-copy manual accompanied the disc it seems terribly difficult to understand and I need hands-on tuition and guidance. Here's hoping it works out !!

A full report will follow...............tomorrow.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bit more Canal - Weather v.changeable

Another 'canal shot' and this picture demonstrates that it is still an active 'working' canal with cranes for loading stuff etc. I could spend hours down there just sitting and am reminded of Bungus's dictum "One thing at a time, preferably less". He claims not to remember coining it but, he says, if he did he's quite proud of it.

This little old shop is about 20 yards from the canal towpath and Beryl remembers the people who ran a small general business there.

I went up to have a coffee with her this morning and she seems fairly sure that Karen has managed to kill the mice, or mouse, because there has been no further evidence. I explained that Y won't be calling in until she is absolutely positive that they have gone - such is her horror of the creatures.

Our 'maltese correspondent' has returned, picture-less, due to a 'craft' moment about cameras (see Jill's comment) and she charmed me by saying the earlier boat-picture was not garish but a welcome brightness - which we could do with more of. It is a good job that I have more than one reader of the Blog isn't it? And thanks to Pete (Manxislander) for diplomatically saying that he liked all the canal shots. He misses the canals from Birmingham days. One would have thought that Ramsay and The Lifeboat was enough boats. But I suppose that barges and narrow-boats are different.

The weather is so changeable with a very strong wind. We were in bright sun a few minutes ago and at the other side of the footie-field it was pouring. I made some of my signature Leek and Potato soup, which we had at lunchtime, with some part-baked rolls straight out of the oven and in a few minutes Y is going to griddle some tuna steaks for our main meal. The Leek and Potato recipe is the one which is best left to cool before re-heating. I once copied it for Debra and she loved the line "If a skin forms be glad. Just stir it in and the soup will taste better".

Still busy-ing myself with Photoshop and my new laptop and the computer shop rang this morning to tell me that the old one is refurbished and up-and-running. Y sensibly asked why I needed two laptops? But I strongly suspect that the old one will find a good home at Palmers Green, or with a grandchild somewhere.

Today's Matt cartoon as usual accurately fingers an important current issue. As my Blog is not a commercial venture I trust he won't mind my occasionally raiding his idea-bank. When I was sworn in as a Constable all those years ago (50 next year) I vividly remember my oath to enforce the law without fear, favour, malice, ill-will etc., to all of Her Majesty's subjects equally, and to keep the peace and to prevent offences. Those are not the exact words but that's the gist. And from that moment on I was an independent crown-officer drawing my authority from her good-self and not the government of the day.

Just a reminder that if you want to see a picture enlarged, put your mouse-arrow over it and left-click. An enlargement should then appear with a tiny icon of a magnifying glass in the middle. If you click again, and you will see an even bigger picture. The only circumstances in which this doesn't work is if the image is a very low pixel count due to cropping etc., or having been sent over the web.

Normal 'broadcasting' planned for tomorrow...................