Monday, April 30, 2007

Brinsley Headstocks - Hall Lane - 57F - NE wind

Collected Y from Sherwood around 11am, having taken a lot of glazed pots for Tracey which I doubt we shall use again. Y had packed two containers of yesterday's finger-food for our lunch, so when we got home we had that.

Then we had potential purchasers to view the bungalow but we haven't much hope of it. They were only here 5 minutes and when the girl said "I bet the garden needs a lot of looking after" we realised we were on a loser.

For our walk we revisited the disused colliery railway line leading past the headstocks which I will photograph and blog one day. The walk is now bashed down hardcore and a fine walking surface, with attractive overhanging foliage and interesting wildflowers and birds.

After our official walk we went in the car to investigate footpaths leading off Hall Lane. We found lots. One in particular attracted us; leading down to the Erewash and it has gone to the top of our 'walks to be tackled' list. Picture 1 is a left-over from our last Cromford Canal walk and at the end of that bit of Canal you can see Boat-Cottage which is picturesque, standing as it does, at the foot of the bridge over.

Picture 2 is another left-over. This time from Renishaw Hall. It made me think of some giant monster's foot with lots of toes, with bluebells and bracken growing in-between them.

I know my imagination is too vivid but there isn't much I can do about it.

Madeline's 'comment' that the blog gave her the idea to get Chris a quotation dictionary, for a surprise present, brought me pleasure. He will so enjoy the Oxford......... and will find it invaluable as an idea-generator for his writing. He has done unusually well to have 2 published short stories under his belt already. As Bungus and I both know from Writers Clubs, thousands of people write short-stories without ever achieving that much. In most cases 'thank god' because they can be dire. I used to 'judge' a short story competition for a large writers' club and while I remained hypocritical I was invited year after year. When I started telling the truth they stopped asking me.

I rang Churchill, my motor insurers, this morning about my crunched boot and bumper, and was delighted to learn that it is covered, even though it was 100% my own fault. My premium won't go up and I won't lose my 'no claim' bonus. Also, from their recommended body-repair garage, I shall have a free courtesy car for the duration. I still like their bulldog on the telly - "Oh Yes".

My problem with Centigrade and wind-speeds in kilometres per hour finally caused me to change it on my google homepage. It just needed the down arrow clicking to alter the settings, and after I had clicked the radio-button for Fahrenheit it automatically changed the wind-speed to mph as well. It must have thought "If this aged numptie wants Fahrenheit I guess he will want mph also" So at 7.45pm, this day of our lord, it is 57F with a North Easterly wind blowing at 17mph. i.e. warm in the sun but chilly out of it.

The llamas have returned to the field down the road. This year I will try to get a photograph without being spat at. "Peace be on your cooking pots"

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Woodthorpe Park -15C - TJ's for lunch

Picture 1 is from yesterday's Canal walk and I suspect that I have shown you this bridge before. It was suggested then that a figure walking under the bridge would be beneficial.

So Y helpfully walked under it for me.

I'm afraid I have an irrational love of bridges. Like cans of WD40 and quotation dictionaries. As you can see, it was a gorgeous day and very warm in spite of a fairly stiff breeze. The towpath though, is usually well sheltered from the most common winds.

Had a nice chat with David this morning but the caravan-club site they were intending to stay at in around 4 weeks time have contacted them to say that the heated outdoor swimming pool is closed for re-furbishment till June. As the pool was a big reason for deciding to go there, they have decided to go somewhere else. They were expecting house-viewers at lunchtime so I hope things went well.

Today we went to TJ's for lunch and to look after Millicent while Steve and Lisa went with the older children for Steve's birthday lunch in a Japanese Restaurant we know. It is always quite exciting with lots of flames and chefs brandishing machetes and things while they cook your meal at a bar in front of you. Miles, who is usually faddy, ate extremely well and the occasion was much enjoyed by all. Tracy had cooked us a super lunch after which we took Millicent over to Woodthorpe Park and on the top of the hill the wind ( a 26km/h North Easterly) really left us in no doubt that it is still April.

Further down in the park teenage lads were doing proper things like playing cricket and arguing whether it was out or not.

In the Saturday Telegraph Review section there was a piece about Kurt Vonnegut entitled "God bless you Mr Vonnegut". The author must have been reading my blog because I invented that little conceit the day after he died. Mind you, she had no doubt also read his "God bless you Mr Rosewater" and reached her decision quite inependently.

Like Madeline I've hardly visited WUforms for weeks. But I've not had flu as she has; I've just not had the time. I feel bad about it because they have all been such a great help to me that I feel a debt of loyalty.

Even now I have loads of reading to do; loads of pictures to process, and much radio to catch up on. I missed Garrison Keillor this morning so I shall use the bbc's wonderful system which allows you to 'listen again' to anything you might have missed.

I think that is all for this evening. Hope you all have a good night.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Renishaw Pictures Still - Canal Walk - Nice Day

The bluebell woods and dappled shade path pictures will eventually come to an end - I promise. But I took so many and 'murdering my little darlings' (to paraphrase Hemingway? when asked to edit) is hard to do.

Thanks folks for your lovely and helpful comments. I think they are a key component of the blog. And when it is taken up by a major publishing house (I favour Faber & Faber myself) you will all be famous. Te he! I'm not even a teeny bit serious. I just love doing the blog and selecting its daily pictures and perhaps occasionally posting a helpful link.

Talking of which, I pointed Bungus in the direction of ArtDaily and I think he is now an avid reader. Complete freebie, Macafee happy, and you can subscribe and receive a daily edition. Although it is an American publication it keeps one uptodate with happenings in the art-world and the pictures are great. The also publish art-videos and there is a reference library and much more. It is a nice site, attractively laid out and easily navigable. Not necessary to read from beginning to end, but easy to skim read for anything which might be of interest.

Renishaw has an abundance of interesting vistas, like Picture 2. Statues in great number and some of them v.good. The topiary is also straightforward and not fussy.

The house and estate are the family home of the Sitwell family and one can't actually go inside the house because they live there. Except as part of a pre-arranged tour; which seems fair enough to me. We aren't keen on unannouced visitors to our 3 bedroomed bungalow either.

We seem to have had an unusually busy day. I went to the butchers early to collect our order. This happens about bi-monthly and it takes me a good hour to cut steak up, wrap into 2 portions, wrap sausages into 4s, etc...... It is much better than supermarket stuff though and less waste in consequence of the individual wrapping. Then after lunch we did a canal walk and it seems that the mallard and 6 chicks are no longer with us. A lady said that the duck had lost 3 then another 2 and then presumably the last one. It isn't possible of course, to recognise the particular mallard without her chicks. Oh well - a fox probably.

Nice walk though and very warm - we had the best part of the day because now the sun is going down so is the temperature and there is a strong wind. Not as bad as the poor people in Kent though with their earthquake.

There was a silly bit in the papers the other day about robins singing at night and 'was it because of the street lighting'? As far as I'm aware Robins have always sung at night. Being on foot on a beat in the middle of the night I would so often hear a robin singing away. Cheery chaps that they are. My window is open and I can hear one at this very minute.

I enjoyed this today, on my born-again google homepage:-

There are two kinds of light--the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.
- James Thurber

These are for my readers. Sleep tight. Catch you tomorrow.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Renishaw Hall - Sunny afternoon - More Bluebells

Picture 1 is one of Y's at Renishaw Hall, on the old Casio and I love it. It demonstrates that my lady wife can spot an 'ogee' curve when she sees one.

And I suspect that Madeline will find the 'blue' of the bluebells much more realistic. Thanks for the 'comment' Madeline and everything you said about my google homepage problem was correct. Eventually I recovered it but decided it was nature's way of telling me I should edit it and have some new features. Some I couldn't do without, but others I simply wasn't referring to often enough to justify keeping them.

The answer to Bungus's query about the 'edited out comment' is that it was me using Yahoo and IE to leave a comment to check if there was a problem. When I had establised that there wasn't a problem it seemed daft to leave a comment on my own blog. So I deleted it. I haven't suddenly stooped to censorship. And while on the subject of comments and links, thanks Jill for the yarnstorm link. The 'wavy crochet' looks incredibly difficult but I'm afraid I associate all 'crochet' with elderly ladies. Nice bright colours though !

The AGM was a success and Reg chaired it admirably. He had found his mallet and demonstrated great skill and artistry in its use. Nobody really nit-picked at all so I must withdraw my prediction that somebody would. Good decisions for the future were reached and the balance sheet and officer's reports showed the club to be in good fettle.

This morning we went to Renishaw Hall and, having set the mileage trip, was surprised to find it is only 20 miles. Chris dropped Joan off and although it had been raining earlier it stopped and the sun broke through. Just as the weather forecast sugested. They must be improving I think. Renishaw is a very beautiful place to be with acres and acres of woodland, bluebells and banks and a lake and statues, formal gardens, centuries old topiary and fountains.

And, as Picture 2 demonstrates, you do meet some interesting people at Renishaw. This particular young lady, silhouetted against the white door, welcomes you to a gallery and the Café where we had a splendid lunch before our serious bluebell hunt.

Just to nip back to 'line of beauty' curves, my guess about the real explanation is that gentle dan Chaucer was out walking with a lady friend in some woodland near his home in early May 1383 when, spotting this particularly beautifully curved path ahead, stopped and shouted "Oh Gee!" and it just sort of stuck thereafter.

On a mundane note. A few days ago from Morrisons we bought a small cherry madeira cake because it looked nice. It was so awful we put it out for the birds. They agreed apparently with our assessment. The starlings gave it a desultory peck and then ignored it; the sparrows tried but were no more enamoured. In the end, rather than risk rats, I recovered it from the tray and binned it.

Rest Day tomorrow. Butchers first and then a little shopping and the remainder of the day for messing about. I took a lot of photos in RAW format so they will need prolonged work. Then TJ's for Sunday lunch.

I know it's late but I think coffee, read, and some radio in bed. Catch you tomorrow.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

EPS tonight - 15C - 'orrible PC problems

A very quick blog this evening I'm afraid because I am in the midst of computer problems.

I left Google and Firefox and returned to IE and an old Yahoo account to see if I had problems putting a comment on my blog. I didn't and I think the trick is that, if you get a window asking you for google ID and a password, you just click 'cancel' and carry on.

Trouble was when I returned to Google and Firefox I had lost my Google Homepage complete with all it's add-ons. My notes, webcams, photo forums, ..everything. I tried a 'system restore' but no good. I shall have to build it up again from scratch. Ho Hm! as Ray says.

So if any 'comments' remain unanswered, I apologise.

Picture 1 is Roy and Reg on the 'dappled shade' path leading round Clumber Lake from the Hardwick Village end, and I hope they don't mind me publishing it. I shall see them both this evening and if they have objections, I'll return later and edit.

Picture 2 is another lovely swan, taken with Reg's 300mm Sigma which seems to have the edge on my Tamron.

But I bet his was more than £99 and I can live with the Tamron. It just needs careful and fiddle use.

Y has gone over to BJ for granny duty; I shall collect her from the tram shortly afer 6pm and then go on to Eastwood. My keyoard has started missing letters again and I have to keep going back to nsert tem. I've left the last sentence as is, so you can see the problem.

It must have been good for Anon 1 to see 'Liberty of the Seas' depart. There have been pictures in the Telegraph and she looks a magnificent vessel.

Talking of the Telegraph, Matt was in form again yesterday. Although he is being witty and making a point, can see it coming to what is depicted.

Y just rang to say her bus is delayed so I have a little more time than I anticipated.

Bungus is quite right about the 'ogee' curve and Hogarths 'Line of Beauty' but I had only come across 'ogee' in relation to Ogee Arches which were double ogees joined at the top, and art-historically to decribe a style of frame-mouldings. Wiki tells me that the word came in around 15th century. But I am certain that the Greeks would ave thought of it first. They mostly did !

It's the camera club AGM tonight and I hope Reg, Roy and Duggie are spared from the undue nit-picking which frequently occurs at such meetings.

No mobile phone picture from John today. I wonder where they have reached?

An argumentative club member. Not just ours - they are everywhere.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bluebells at Clumber - WoW - 20C

With the Wednesday Walker's I set off for Clumber sometime after 10.15am and as there was only Roy and Reg this week we all went in my car.

Part of the purpose of the trip was bluebell pictures and the bluebells certainly were lovely but not a single one of mine really pleases me. I shall be interested to see how Reg fared. Roys will be very different because he was using infra-red film. I've told them both that I would be delighted to 'blog' pictures from either of them. If they fancy world-wide publication that is !

Well we do have readers all over and I was fascinated to read Anon 1's comment that she could see QM2 going past, from one of her upstairs windows. Lucky her. We might collect a comment from someone who has sat and watched Old Faithful spout in Yellowstone. I've just checked the PeakDistrict webcam at 7.50pm and it's getting dark there already. Some of the worldwide webcams have pictures of remarkable quality, others are a little dim and boring. It's a hobby in itself though. And we would love to visit the Swannery - I didn't know that such a place existed.

Re Bungus's comment that I have filched his idea about storing potatoes in the 'fridge. I don't remember his mentioning it but maybe I heard him subliminally and then claimed it as my own. Sorry. Anyway, it works.

If the bluebell pictures didn't fire me with pleasure I was more pleased with this pathway. Traditional elongated 'S' curve following Hogarth's 'Line of Beauty'.

Just for reference, the Hogarth self portrait (lower down) with his faithful old pug Trump has always been a favourite. And it shows his 'Line of Beauty' on his palette. Both those little pictures should be clickable, the portrait particularly because at its present size you can't see what I'm talking about. The other thing, to the left, which says 'VARIETY' under it, was one of his teaching aids. So, if you are ever asked why photographs look good when their construction is an elongated 'S' , you now know something of its history.

We seemed to spend the morning ignoring silly signs saying things like 'Pedestrian Access only' when there was clearly a road for cars, and 'No Exit to A614' when there was, and 'Road Closed and No access to Ravenshead' all of which we ignored in a lordly manner and found our way effortlessly to The Bird in Hand at Blidworth where the statutory 'chip butty' was consumed.

Y had gone down Nottingham for a mooch when I got home and she mentioned The British Landscape by John Davies, to Carol at Bromley House. Apparently she wrote it all down with enthusiasm and went on the net and found it at Amazon. So we might be in luck. Y trammed back to Phoenix Park from where I collected her. When we got home I cooked a chicken and Prawn curry, with a Basmati and Wild rice mix. It was really ace and for pudding we finished off Y's jelly, each with a dollop of Greek Yoghourt; my we do know how to live.

Y at Burton Joyce tomorrow. Hannah is away camping so Miles and Millicent will get a little extra. I have my camera-club in the evening. And don't ask me what a Hurricane in flight has to do with it. 'Cos I don't know. Sleep tight.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Colliers Wood - 17C - Grey Sky

Blood test this morning. And the nursing assistant called me Mr. Marsden which I consider a great step forward from 'darlin' or 'my sweetheart' both of which are so patronising and make one feel that senility and the old-folks home are due.

Lets just hope thaqt te result is OK. After that Y went to The Library and then we did a few other Eastwood jobs and Lidl and Morrisons for bread.

Then I cooked griddled chicken and courgettes, with steamed carrots, green beans, potatoes and cauliflower. Y had made a jelly, so we had it for pudding with Greek Yoghourt. Lovely.

Afternoon walkies then beckoned and as the weather looked so threatening we only went as far as Colliers Wood. The light was so poor and these pictures are just 'blog-shots'. I like that and think I might have invented a new photographic genre. Picture 1 is of a very assertive swan; presumably a male. He wasn't aggressive - more curious as to our reason for being in his territory. Isn't it strange that swans have such bright white plumage and apparently dirty necks? Colliers Wood was opened in 1999 and is built on the site of the old Moorgreen Colliery and the former miners did all the hard work of planting and laying things out. It is attractive now and will continue to become more so for many years into the future. Sadly there's been some vandalism. What can I say.

18,000 trees were planted, there are 2 lakes and large areas of wild-flower meadow which is only mown annually, as meadows traditionally were.

I thought I would share these cowslips with you. There are things like little red dead-nettles and even some primroses. In my opinion the primroses would thrive more on one of the banked areas rather than on the flat. But maybe they took professional advice.

With frequent sits-down I must have managed at least half a mile. And it was nice to sit anyway.

Damn me if now that I am at home 'blogging' and don't need it, the sun has broken through. Lets hope it is a little earlier tomorrow because with the Wednesday walkers I am going back to Clumber. I told Reg that on Monday the bluebells has been gorgeous so we might be lucky. Must remember my tripod because to get a large expanse all sharp, will need a tiny aperture and a long exposure. There isn't much light under the tree canopy.

No links to bright knitting yarns, or hotspring geysers today. But I have made an important discovery. If you store a few potatoes in a paper-bag in the 'fridge they wont sprout! Even at this time of year when they are at their worst. I bought a bag of King Edwards a fortnight ago and put them in the usual dark cupboard. I had however selected 4 large ones intending to 'jacket' them and I put them in a paper bag in the 'fridge. Result this morning - those in the cuboard had all sprouted and gone spongy - those in the 'fridge had not a single tiny sprut and were hard as when they arrived. Idea 6,324 I think.

Y is doing tea. So, I'm off and will catch the News at 6pm.

Monday, April 23, 2007

National Trust Clumber - Envelope Stuffing

A dull day which turned to rain later - temperature around average for April. We were involved in stuffing envelopes for the National Trust at Clumber, from 10am to about 4pm and we had great fun. Picture 1 is the Avenue leading to the exit onto the A614. Often we get lost and can't find it. This time we found the exit OK but messed up going in. We turned left into the wrong driveway, went the wrong way over the bridge and arrived 10 minutes late. But we were forgiven. When Chairman Peter learns the story he will pull my leg all year.

The last envelope-stuffing I did was when I was young, for the SWP, and the switch to the National Trust in my 70s is, I suppose, only to be expected. There were six of us and I guess we did almost 3,000. Lots of laughs, reminiscences and childhood stories and everyone worked with a will. Apart from a sore thumb and both of us tired out we are fine.

Jill's link for 'yarnstorm' still produced a 404 error message but I took direct action and tracked it down via google. Please click here and, it is as Jill promised, extremely colourful. I just checked Old Faithful and actually saw it spout, or at least the immediate aftermath because it seemed like a large high mushroom cloud and the webcam lens was spattered. Having said that, it isn't as colourful as I expected.

Picture 2 is from yesterday's canal walk and perhaps one of our arboriculturalists could help with identification. It resembles a white buddleia which has gone feral, except that the leaf is not right. And more 'tree' than 'bush'. A mallard was swimming with six three-day old (?) chicks looking charming but my picture was so hopeless I deleted every version. I'll try again soon but by then they will be bigger.

Crossword nearly done and we've finally finished Sunday's papers. I need to catch up on some magazines and some radio.

Two recent radio highlights have been Rabbi Lionel Blue coming out of retirement to do a Thought for The Day slot and he was, as he always has been, delightful. He didn't tell the story this time, but how his famly name became 'Blue' is a hoot. His Jewish immigrant ancestors wished to adopt an anglicised name and knew that people were called Black, White, Brown, and Green etc., and thought 'Blue' should be OK. And why not? The second is Geoffrey Sachs doing the Reith Lectures. I won't even try to summarise, but he argues a strong case. Last night's came from Beijing University and it was reassuring to hear Chinese academics and students asking apparently uncensored questions, about hitherto no-no subjects like 'democracy'.

For me this quotation is a little close for comfort:-

He had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit.

- W. Somerset Maugham

Ho hum! as Ray says.

As I type, I notice that another multimedia message has arrived from John, who has reached Florence armed with his mobile phone camera. The picture is amazing again considering.

He says they reached Florence by train. I don't know yet whether they loaded the camper onto the train or have left it somewhere. They are obviously having an action-packed holiday and will need a rest when they return.

Apart from blood-test tomorrow I haven't got any commitments and if it continues to rain there isn't much point in venturing out. If the weather continues like this till Wednesday, I guess it will throw the photography walk out of kilter, unless some indoor location springs to mind.

Is it really 8.30pm already ??

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Cooler and a bit Dull - Old Faithful Geyser - Yellowstone

Relaxed morning. Weekend-Off again you see. For lunch I cooked English Spring Lamb chops with potato/swede/chives mashed with butter. Carrots, mange-tout peas. Fresh mint sauce, and gravy. And for pudding Y did butterscotch Angel Delight. OOo-er ! Delicious.

As I'm trying to do a walk most days, however short, after a sit, we nipped out and did a short piece the other side of the canal. Picture 1 is where one leaves the Nottingham Canal to access Great Northern Boat Basin, the entrance to which is in the foreground on the left. All in all I walked maybe a 1/4 mile but I feel it is doing me good.

Reg e-mailed me to tell me that Thursday's impressive lecturer was Ray Brammall and not as I had it. It was easy to edit the appropriate page but a silly mistake to make. I had taken it from my diary note and I should have checked the programme. Reg's machine at the moment cannot download PanoramaPlus. I'm sure it will yield eventually; also he tried to leave me a 'comment' about the above but it kept telling him he needs a password. The 'comments' system is tricky and he isn't the first to have trouble.

Before leaving blog-matters I've tried all ways to open Jill's knitting blog, Yarnstorm, but all I get is a 404 error message. I'm sure that we shall solve it though because I'm keen to see these lovely bright colours that Bungus will hate. Via David we now have a link please click to the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park. The webcam is refreshed every 6 seconds so, if you are patient enough, you will sooner or later see it do its famous spout.

Picture 2 is of a very nice chap who was, as you can see, welding some plates at the side of the Canal. He was kind enough to allow me to take some pictures. The white/blue of the tip of a welding rod is virtually impossible not to burn-out but I am quite pleased with the result. I even got a few sparks. Please note the more muted colours. Before I adjusted my settings, his orange overalls would have been far too garish and I hope you can take my word that the actual colour is reproduced accurately.

When I described Lesley as 'President of The Hanging Committee' it was my attempt at a humourous link to the Royal Academy. She is of course the Exhibition Secretary and a very good one too.

My search for interesting add-ons for my Google Homepage led me to Photo of the minute which looks good fun. All sorts of photographs and the page is refreshed every 60 seconds so there is always something new to look at. Mind you I've just seen one of some candy-floss water which I heartily dislike. Rather like the current habit of saying 'gifted to....' when what is meant is 'given to...' Not to worry I'm sure it will pass like 'at this moment in time' for 'now'. Later this afternoon we watched 'Never mind about the Full Stops' which was excellent again. The half-hour programme seemed like about 10 minutes, a sure sign one is enjoying it.

.....Must catch up on some reading. I'm glad the Michael Jackson 'dancing' smiley was so popular.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

EPS Exhibition - Shopping - Y returns

Both pictures today are by way of being "just to check" efforts.

Up to this morning I have had my D80 settings at Ken Rockwell's guide recommendations of vivid+, highly saturated, high contrast. And overnight I wondered if it could be a contributory cause to my over-the-top image colours. I accept what Brian says about my printer needing attention but I thought I would try and tone things down a bit.

Thursday's lecturer and the quality of his colour work influenced my decision to go through the appropriate menus and set more reasonable values. One man's meat if anothers poison as they say. Both of these were taken around 6.30am so there wasn't much light anyway. But the flower-bed outside the front window looks positively muted when compared with earlier versions. I'll give it a week or two and review the situation. It is easy enough to alter things from shot to shot but if I did that I would inevitably become confused. Not a hard result to achieve these days !

I did the necessary shopping quite early and then went to Kimberley to help hang the Eastwood Photographic Society's Annual Exhibition. Even though there were enough 'willing hands' part of the exhibition had to go on a wall directly in front of people working on computers. We tried to minimize the disruption and all were good-natured about it. Good straightforward Erewash Valley folk to the core. Trevor tackled the difficult job of climbing on the computer people's work-space and Reg did most of the step-ladder work with Tim. As Exhibition Secretary Lesley acted as President of the Hanging Commttee. My role was assistant steps monitor and deputy drawing-pin carrier. Good fun though and the end result looks great. Cracking pictures which are a credit to the Club.

Y arrived at Phoenix Park promptly, even 10 mintes early, because she had got off the train and straight onto a tram. The train was full of football hooligans but she was able to transfer to 1st Class for £6 and had a great journey. She had to rush and the tram door was just closing as she arrived at it, causing her to nearly fall into the tram. A group of 'hooligans' immediately stopped being hooligans and became most solicitous for her welfare. Then one gave up his seat for her and, when she was safely seated, they resumed 'hooliganning'. Bless 'em. 'Books' and 'covers' spring to mind.

When we arrived home I cooked fish, chips and peas, and in my case with loads of salt and vinegar. Later we had a sandwich for tea.

Re 'comments' on yesterday's blog. Believe me Bungus. If I can find a stump giving a two-fingered salute I shall certainly grab it.

n.b. for new readers. 1/ if you want to see a picture full size just click it. 2/ if you feel moved to add a comment, and they are always welcome, click on 'comments' right at the bottom and a window will open in which you can write.

I think we might go clubbin' tonight. Or watch the telly or read. It's a close thing. The crossword is completed. Y never finds Saturday's too difficult and finished it in no time in spite of a minor obstacle course I had created with 2 wrongly completed answers.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Rest Day - 14C - Not so Sunny

A completely lazy, ankle recovering, rest day today and already I feel rejuvenated and ready for lots more outings and activity. I realise the 'gay world' has more or less requisitioned 'outing' but my meaning is the more traditional one.

John has reached Lake Garda and Picture 1 is from there. The foreground and pool are part of the camp site and the lake is beyond that.

We love these photos from his camera phone and really feel 'part of it' , because they convey so much more than a postcard. He's prolly reading the blog on his mobile. Wherever will technology take us next? I realise the camera on his mobile is 2 megapixels which is comparatively large for a phone but it does tend to prove Ken Rockwell's point that you don't need an expensive camera to take good pictures. It's the photographer not the machinery. I showed them to the chaps at the camera club last night and they were amazed. Brian suggested printing one at A4 just to see.

Maybe you recall the tree stump in Wednesday's blog. I realised at the time that it reminded me of something; apart of course from being Henry Moore -ish. And this is it - a hand.

If you have a vivid enough imagination that is. I hope this is a permissable use of Photoshoppery. Just to make the point.

I've deliberately left the selection round the hand in a rough state so that there is no suggestion of trying to fake a picture.

A full day tomorrow. I need to go shopping; then to Kimberly Library to help with putting up the exhibition. Then collect Y from the tram. It will be nice to have her home, but I shall have to zoom round and tidy up. I must finally accept that I am an untidy man.

The garden is a joy ! I hope we have some potential purchaser to see it in the near future. Cherry blossom, tulips, forgetmenots, erysium, euphorbia, clematis montana, primula denticulata - I could go on a lot yet but I'm sure you get the picture. And Karen has mowed the lawns which always looks good. One of our neighbours - not a close one or a friend - had his sprinkler on his lawn for a couple of hours two evenings ago. I couldn't believe it. As I've mentioned before I have slight 'global warming denial' tendencies but our moral conscience wouldn't allow us to do that. Not while there are people and kids in the world dying for the sake of clean pure water. And spraying it on a lawn to make the grass grow, so you have to cut it and dispose of it seems almost sinful. And if he reads the blog good, and I don't give a sh*t.

The Notts Police NARPO website and forum is good fun. It only 'hit the streets' a couple of days ago and I think it is going to be popular. I've already contacted/been contacted by 3 former colleagues and friends. What fun ! Yet another forum to attend to.

I'm still keeping an eye on world webcams for a substitute for the Queen Mary 2 one. I had one yesterday from an Hotel overlooking Waikiki Beach but it seems to have vanished before I could blog a link. We were all probably fed up with QM2 one anyway. Watch this space !

My tea has already been consumed. Guess what ? A cheese and lettuce sandwich.

Here's hoping everybody is fine.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Long Eaton - 12C - Coolwind - Camera Club

Ukltra short Blog today because I guess I've overdone things.

Picture 1 is another from John's mobile phone and shows their Camper and the view they wake up to. wow !

I nipped over to Long Eaton this afternoon and it was great to see everybody. When I spoke to Helen I asked if she would like some rhubarb and she said she would. So I pulled some and took it. I couldn't believe that in Morrisons this morning, they wanted £1.49p for a pack of three sticks and the label claimed the pack had been reduced from £1.99.

Our bed is now super-productive and it must be 3 years since Bungus brought me the original crown. On his advice we pulled nothing the first year, and sound advice it has proved.

The camera-club lecturer this evening was Ray Brammall from Doncaster and his work was superb. Lovely understated pastel-type colours and it would be difficult to fault a single print. A classic case of Mies Van de Rohe's dictum "Less is more".

Can't keep my eyes open. Sleep tight.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bradgate Park - Little Cooler - Bright Sky

Yet another outing ! This time to Bradgate Park with Reg and Mike. Roy is on holiday in his caravan and I don't know about the other regulars.

Cooler, 12C and with a chilly breeze, but lovely for all that. It's years since I've been there. We used to go when Stewart's children were the same age as ours i.e. 7 to 11 or thereabouts.

A nice trip and the light was good for some pictures. It came and went a bit but it often does. Part of the magic. Picture 1 is, as some of you know, well into my well -starred category. A diagonal of trees, proper tinkly water (not the candy-floss stuff which seems so in vogue) and dappled shade - like a 'brinded cow' as Hopkins had it and I never fail to mention. I was trying to reach the Deer Park Café but it proved too far. But I thoroughly enjoyed the bit I did. I insisted that Reg and Mike walk off ahead. They would have dawdled with me but it doesn't seem right that they should. We have each other's mobile numbers should I fall over or something. Although my ankles have gone into army-gaiter mode I consider it a small price to pay.

There are many many stumps which seem photographable. Some will make good black & whites.

This one almost has a personality, rather like a Henry Moore.

But that is quite enough photography and art because not all my readers are as enamoured as I am.

We shall look forward to Jill's cruise on the Queen Victoria, to the Canaries. If there is a webcam on board perhaps she and Ro could stand in front of it so that we can see them ! Both the QM2 and my Peak District webcams seem on the blink today. One says 'site suspended' and the other says something I don't understand like 'error parsing mode' or similar. Perhaps they have pulled the 'google plug' out. When I have time I'll trawl the google homepage addons and see if there are any substitutes.

I say 'when I have time' because a visit to Long Eaton is planned for tomorrow, then it's camera club. And I have e-mails to deal with and I must pay attention to my new NottsNarpo website which has a forum. Several people have registered who are pleased I am 'still with us' but they have nom de plumes so I've still to unearth their IDs. I wouldn't be suprised if some pedant doesn't say that should be noms de plume if it is to be anglicised. I never understood French possessive cases anyway.

Just spoken to Y and she has finished the crossword. I'm barely halfway there - but she has had more time perhaps.
A serious kip is called for I think. Catch you tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

12C - DHL Exhibition - Y off to London

Not quite as exotic as Attenborough but it is our very own Erewash Canal, or is it the Nottingham? - they join a few hundred yards from here and it's easy to get confused. It is a little overgrown but still lovely to walk down the towpath.

I had another blood-test this morning; they are fairly regular again and the clinic have just rung to say that my INR level is climbing again and I need another test a week today. My Warfarin dose has been cut, half a tablet here half a tablet there. It is so precise. Too high and I bleed internally like a dying rat and too low and I have a stroke. Ho Hum! as Ray says.

Still having a great time though. After my blood, we went to Durban House to check the exhibits and an excellent job has been made of the permanent Lawrence exhibition. People grumble about Councils usually, but Broxtowe are quite excellent. The streets are litter free, they deal with rubbish and garden waste excellently and they always seem to be doing something useful and exciting for we residents. Also at the moment in the Rainbow Room is enamelled pottery and plaques. Extremely bright and obviously classy but neither of us were 'stopped in our tracks' (nice cliché again 'eh?). Then as there was plenty of time before Y's train we decided to have lunch there and save cooking. Very good it was too. The restaurant is run by a pal of Bob and Sandra's who is also a marvellous wood carver. His rocking-horses are beautiful works of art.

Picture 2 is a Great Crested Grebe from yesterday, in its 'breeding plumage' google reliably informs me.

I didn't even notice the water at the time; I was concentrating on the bird. But now I've seen it on my laptop screen for a while it really appeals to me. It has a Hockney feel to it. BTW Hockney is now resident in his home county Yorkshire again. He has had his fussy out of California and has become obsessed with the woodlands near his home and the light. He is painting very large tree-scapes and is to exhibit in the National Gallery starting in late June together with 140 Turner watercolours. We once had the pleasure of seeing Turner's watercolour notebooks where he had 'dashed-off' sketches of the soldiers and sailors returning from the Napoleonic Wars. Magic ! And perhaps we may have the chance again in this Exhibition. There's no way I could do the return trip in one day but maybe we could book into a nearby hotel. Cost a lot, but it would be worth it.

If people are becoming bored with the QM2 webcam, I found this one this morning peak district and at least one a usually see something, even if it's only the effect of the changing light. The Picture was this morning light. But I have just looked (19.40hrs) and it is almost dark. I bet it will be great tomorrow morning though, at dawn.

The dawn chorus is approaching full throttle but the beginning of May will be even better. And this morning around 6-ish I heard a cuckoo. At first I thought it was a wood-pigeon pretending but no. I'm absolutely certain it was a cuckoo. I've not actually heard one for years.

I've not run out of animated icons and I promise they will return.

But I thought I would leave you with these daisies. And we all know what DHL's Mellors did with the daisy chain don't we?

I hope everybody sleeps well.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Attenborough Nature Reserve - Still warm

Bungus's 'ecoescape' book arrived this morning and as he had given me permission to open it and have a quick flip, I did.

Its theme is eco-friendly places to visit, eat, and sometimes to stay. I suspect that his original idea was that we could have a Boy's Own few days again and play at woodcraft folk in a woodman's hut, cooking on a wood-burning fire and perhaps digging a latrine etc., I joke about the last bit, I think! .Anyway, while thumbing through I noticed that Attenborough Nature Reserve, only about 10 miles away as the grebe flies, received an excellent write up. So on the spur of the moment (you can't beat a good cliché can you?) we nipped over. And had a super day. Still sunny, nice café in the visitors centre (opened in 2005 by the great man himself who shares its name) and an astonishing array of wildlife. Nothing in rotten old cages thank goodness, so everything we saw was a volunteer and a respected guest. Picture 1 gives an idea, but this was near the Car Park and children with food, and birds aren't daft. There were however many many more secluded places and hides and things.

And we saw birds we have never seen before. These two guys in the foreground are Egyptian Geese and a knowledgeable young chap told me there are only 1,200 pairs in the country and these have only recently arrived from East Anglia.

He also told me that the geese bit is a misnomer because they are actually a breed of duck. As you can see they aren't big enough to be geese.

The picture was into the light and picture 3, when one of them had swum under the bridge into the darker water shows the plumage in greater detail.

We also saw Crested Grebes, Tufted Ducks, Moorhens, Coots and other birds we were unsure of, and when there wasn't a helpful person nearby. A heron put in an appearance and water-voles and apparently, if you are lucky you can see otters and kingfishers. I managed it to the nearest hide and so helpful, there are benches certainly every 50 or so yards. So I did it in carefully controlled stages. We talked to lots of people and Y enjoyed a bit of 'social' and the fresh air and I loved taking loads of photographs.

Even though I've been digital now for over 3 years I think I am still programmed into rolls of film because, when I got back to the car I found I had taken 35 shots.

Dave Brown's blog was first-rate and when I finally logged into it this morning I discovered he has written a book. His blog had a link to his e-mail so I e-mailed him. I was also linked to another site 'Nottscops' so I've introduced myself there and found a photo of me at Canning Circus in 1975. I also found two of John while he was on 'traffic'.

Bungus's comment was interesting, as usual, and I can help with English Bluebell identification. The English version has florets on both sides of the stem, while the Spanish are all on one side.

Sorry no follow up Canal Pictures, but the Nature Reserve seemed more pressing. We shall certainly go again and Y picked up leaflets for guided walks. She could do them and I could mess about in a hide and drink endless cups of coffee and cans of alcohol-free lager. Can one become an alcofreeollic ? Come on, somebody, invent a better word, please.

Finishing now because I'm running late. We've done the crossword between us. Neither of us feels at all proprietorial about it. It's a sort of pleasant task, which has to be completed before nightfall.

Mind how yer go !