Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mansfield - Lunch - Thunder - Sun


This was Bungus's title for Picture 1 which he took while I staggered to the bar in The Widow Frost. When I received it a few minutes ago I laughed so much I nearly 'wet 'mi knickers'. Seldom does a photograph provoke spontaneous laughter in it's subject but this one did.

My 'neck-brace' is uncomfortable and I don't consider it wise to wear it all the time lest I come to rely on it. Hence my decision, while in the comfortable embrace of a great Mansfield Pub, to take it off for a few minutes while I went to order the food. And Bungus saw the potential.

All the things I needed to shop for were crossed off my list. One important thing was a quantity of the larger rubber bands that postmen used to discard but don't seem to any longer. They were ideal for holding together books that are in the process of disintegration - of which I have several. The little thin, coloured, rubber-bands available in supermarkets are simply not up to the job. Another item was a qood length of strong garden wire to support shrub roses which are suffering with all this wet weather and wind. Wilko of course, 99p for 50ft. Every town should be required by law to have a Wilko. W.H.Smith provided one other thing - an A4 Art-Pad. As I've already said, I can't draw but I use them as computer mouse-mats which have the additional quality of allowing me to write notes and stand my coffee. When suitably full and disgusting I tear it off and start a fresh sheet. Idea 6,325 - I think? 6,324 'the keeping of potatoes in the fridge to stop them sprouting' was disallowed because other people already do it.

Jill's trip to Hidcote sounded good. It is generally considered in 'jewel in the crown' terms amongst Nat Trust Gardens. I had in my head, quite erroneously, that it was something to do with Christopher Lloyd. But when I googled there was no mention of him. But E.A.Bowles of Erysium 'Bowles Mauve' was mentioned and others who had a hand in it, including Gertrude Jekyll.

I had a picture of the beautiful evening light, when I started my blog but Picasa and/or blogger is playing up. An error message, with a code, appears and tells me I can't upload the picture and to try again after a few minutes. I have and it won't. Lets hope it's cured itself by tomorrow. (it's cured itself already - ed)

Still laughing at Bungus's picture. Sleep tight. Catch you tomorrow when I am hoping that my 'carbon footprint' will be zero.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Normal sort of Wednesday - WOW etc.,

A fairly normal sort of Wednesday. Y to tram en route to Palmers Green which she reached safely. I needed to ring her mid-afternoon on Andy's behalf and she was heading for a café in the pouring rain, with 5 little girls all with umbrellas. What a picture that must have been !

Then my weekly blood-test, then to Ripley Town Hall to take down the club's "Hidden Amber Valley" exhibition. The Exhibitions Lady said it had been extremely well received and would like us to fill an exhibition slot next year. Everyone talked it over briefly and I said that maybe we could illustrate something to her choice and suggested 'Victorian Ripley' which obviously appealed. But it needs talking through and Reg felt that 'Historic Ripley' would give more scope. Mike suggested an even wider alternative and both Roy and Doug were broadly in favour. It would be fun to do and reflects so well on EPS as a club.

After leaving Ripley we went to the Cromford end of the Canal that comes all the way down through Eastwood to eventually end in Nottingham. Then to the Cliff Inn near Whatstandwell for our traditional Chip Cob. And very nice it was too.

The light was not good, but we managed to avoid the rain which started quite heavily while we were in the pub.

Picture 1 is a collage of some of the wild-flowers I saw and Picture 2 is self-explanatory. I knew the lady rambler's red jacket would be striking as she walked under the bridge. And I did seek her permission before I took it........ She wittily replied that a back view would be OK !

It certainly is true that a human figure immediately conveys size and scale to the photographed object. In this case a comparatively small bridge. Just enough room for a barge and a towing horse I guess - provided the horse wasn't too big.

Tomorrow I am nipping over to Mansfield to meet Bungus for lunch and we have agreed to meet in the coffee lounge at The Library. I shall be in the VW courtesy car which I have while the Civic has its tailgate replaced. If I park at the rear of the Library again, I shall endeavour not to reverse this one into the square metal post which caused the original damage.

My e-mail box is now respectable but there is so much on my favourite forums (WU and AP) that I'm afraid most of it will have to go unread.

Click here for ArtDaily. I'm publishing this link for the benefit of art lovers, or even potential art-lovers. It is a daily freebie which keeps up-to-date with 'ART' all over the world. It also publishes 'Art Videos' which are invariably short and fascinating. The leading article today is about an exhibition in Tokyo of the art of Le Corbusier. Until this morning I had only known of his Architecture but gosh! his art is great. You can see the influences of Picasso and Braque with just a hint of Kandinsky. But that is no criticism. I just wish I could nip over to Tokyo to see the entire exhibition.

This smiley is specially for Jill. But maybe she's already gone on her house-sitting adventure. Catch you tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Reporting 'on duty' - VirginMedia overcome

Picture 1 is the setting sun which I under-exposed so as not to have the disc burnt out and I've no idea what caused the 'rings' which I hope are visible.

Picture 2 is an old rose outside the front door which I couldn't resist, after the rain.

I am very pleased to be 'broadcasting' again. Thanks Bungus for nipping in and transmitting emergency bulletins. And thank you all for your nice messages.

A blow-by-blow account would be tedious, so here is a summary. Our telephone was in Y's name and the Broadband and TV in mine. We tried unsuccessfully to take advantage of an 'offer' which would merge all three for £30 a month.

In the end we thought we will discontinue all three and then set up one new merged one immediately. Bad move. VirginMedia were on the ball with the disconnection bit, but completely failed with the second, new account, bit. Result :-

VirginMedia 2 - RadioGandy 0.

We were then without either from 24th May onwards. We were finally reconnected today and, as a goodwill gesture, they have thrown in a few extra channels such as National Geographic, History etc. for free.

Using Bungus's method of writing stuff in Word and then transferring, I did some prior work in the form of notes. Life has continued. We've been over to TJ's for a meal, and she has been here. I've caught up on a lot of reading, listened to radio, hammered the crossword puzzles and drank too much coffee. My neck/back has contined to amuse and I've also suffered from internet withdrawal symptoms resulting in tetchiness. So, more or less normal I suppose. The weather has been awful. Cold, wet and windy and our sympathies lie with people on holiday, especially those with children like Steve and Lisa, and David and Helen. They will make the best of it and do fun things I am sure.

I'll now try to clear outstanding e-mails and catch up on my forums. The sun has come out !! Sleep tight.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Nottingham Trip - Warm again - Lawns

There are still pictures from Wednesday to share so here goes.

Picture 1 is one of Reg's. He noticed this London Bus travelling along Parliament Street, Nottingham. A fairly serious SatNav problem do you think?

Whatever the explanation, it was well spotted and he had to be quick. I'd prolly have been messing about with my lens cap or something and missed it.

Not that my reaction time has always been slow. Once in my prime, while asleep, I knocked my watch off the bedside table and woke up quickly enough to catch it before it hit the floor. Nowadays the OldAgeGremlins would ensure only that I wouldn't be able to find it in the morning. And when found, I wouldn't be able to bend down to pick it up !

After dropping Y off, on Angel Row for a change, so that she could catch the bus for Burton Joyce, I returned to the pub in Basford and collected my black&red notebook which was safely there, as promised, behind the bar. It's safe return was such a relief I left a 'drink' for the finder with the licensee , who assured me it would reach the right person. There was so much valuable stuff in it. Not actually financial info, but password reminders, things to be done lists, computer programme shortcuts, web-addresses and log-in names, HTML codes I use regularly but can never remember etc..etc. Black n' Red is a trade mark and W. H. Smiths etc., sell them. They don't disintegrate under robust use and when I get a new one I'll share a photo as I did with the Chef's candle and the Bic conference pen several moons ago.

Thanks Jill for the reference to the Ajuga page. As a garden plant it is called Bugle in these parts which I guess is a corruption of Bugloss.

OK so 'reflection shots' are clichés. But this one of the side of The Royal Concert Hall appealed to me.

You will see, particularly in enlargment (remember - left click on the picture. They are all resized to 1024pixels wide so should just fill your screen width and no more) you can actually see one of the cranes at work down where the Mechanics used to be.

What also appealed was that instead of lots of wobbly distortion which seems almost mandatory, these reflections are nearly completely still. They must have used high-quality glass at the time of construction. I hope our architectural correspondent will 'comment' .

Just a couple of quotations which seem to me to be linked concepts.

"Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads/
and popular opinion "
Jack Kerouac

"Devotees of grammatical studies have not been distinguished for any very remarkable felicities of expression.
Amos Bronson Alcott

Y had a good day at BJ but poor little Millicent has a bad cold. In fact the GP says it is a touch of tonsilitis so he prescribed penicillin. But she is a game little mite and wanted to do lots with grandma. The A610 was bad again but it all worked out in the end. When we reached home Karen had mowed both lawns so the gaden looked even better than when we left it. Rest Day tomorrow except for shopping but I quite like Supermarkets. I fear that "I am not as other men". Don't like clothes shops or jewellers though so I guess that is fairly typical..

, Now I've got mi' little book back I could put that in via the correct bit of HTML code. It's 10.10pm and I thought Venus had vanished. My worries on behalf of humanity were however misplaced. She was hiding behind a bit of strag cloud. ......Sleep tight all.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Nottingham Jaunt - nearly 70F - Sun - Now cloudy

This is a hang-over from Y's cave-tour yesterday and although she claims only to point-and-shoot she always manages to produce well composed interesting pictures.

A teenager in the party volunteered to be put in the stocks and he soon was able to say how uncomfortable the experience was. The guide debunked the common myth that passers-by threw fruit and vegetables at the offender. She claimed that any sort of food was far too valuable and the missiles would more likely be stones and clods of earth.

When the WOW group assembled this morning, as a change from rural settings an urban setting was chosen and we went to Nottingham. My blue-badge means I can park on Angel Row and I was lucky enough to find a space again. There was much lens-clicking around the water features in the Square . And Reg was giving his 50mm prime a first outing. He couldn't get over how small and light it made his camera, but kept trying to twist it for zoom. Mine has just the same effect on me.

I couldn't resist just one more tram shot and I tried the setting on my D80 whereby the camera focus point automatically follows a moving object across the screen. The result seems pretty sharp to me but I suspect that a Formula 1 would be more of a challenge.

The Square was busy again which is nice to see, but aesthetically a little spoilt by 2 big white BBC marquees. I suppose it was the barriers-around which were the real eyesore rather than the tents.

Thanks Bungus for the information about the caves and the dog-shit which I could probably have survived without. Seriously, I love all sorts of information so please keep it coming; the blog is much enhanced by it.

Finally to Trinity Square to see, and photograph, the construction activity but at that point I opted out and just about made it back to the car. Downhill fortunately! But I would infintely rather do things, enjoy myself, and suffer in consequence rather than just sit. We went to The Horse and Groom on Radford Road for the statutory chip-butty and then home. I stupidly left my little note-book on the pub table but when I rang, someone had kindly handed it in. I shall collect it tomorrow morning when I drop Y halfway for her grannying trip to Burton Joyce. Also, one of the chaps has left a grey T shirt in the boot.

Catch you tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Castle Photo Exhibition - 65F - Calm

After my Tuesday blood-test (no call from clinic by 9pm so not disastrous) we went to Nottingham Castle to see the Photo Exhibition about Global Warming in UK. Sponsored by the National Trust who had given their chap Joe Cornish and a group of Magnum photographers free rein to demonstrate the effects. I won't list the photographers by name but Chris Steele-Perkins stood out in my opinion and Y was very taken with Joe Cornish. The quality, as you would expect, was exemplary.

Before we started I couldn't resist this quick panorama from the top of Castle Rock looking over the West side of the city. I must try not to let these sort of pictures become compulsive. But they aren't difficult and I enjoy them. We split the exhibition into two and had lunch in-between and also did other things. It is easy to forget what we have in the city artwise so we had an excellent browse. Several paintings needed cleaning as a matter of urgency. Y left me in the restaurant with loads of reading matter while she did a cave-tour which she loved. She took the Casio and Picture 2 is Mortimer's Hole which is justifiably famous. Under the castle is a labyrinth of man-made caves cut out of the accomodatingly soft sandstone. People lived in them and there were dungeons and at least one comes out into The Trip to Jerusalem a famous local hostelry from which, allegedly, crusaders set forth.

The white light upper centre is not a lamp it is daylight where the cave emerges. I am assured that I couldn't have tackled it but Y absolutely loved it. Lunch was good but I won't bore you with the details. There was an excellent video of the history of the Castle narrated by Robert Stevens. All in all we had a super day.

To return to the global-warming exhibition, you can relax Jill - there wasn't anything so dramatic as to make me change my 'doubting Thomas' stance. It's just been a little hotter than usual for a few years is all. So has Mars apparently but they can't find any 4x4s to blame.

Welcome Nerval and thank you for your encouraging words. Nerval's signature on WUforums is a quote from the the French poet and Essayist - Gérard de Nerval

"The first moments of sleep are an image of death; a hazy torpor grips our thoughts and it becomes impossible for us to determine the exact instant when the "I," under another form, continues the task of existence."

Now that will give you all something to chew till bed-time. Yarnstorm was good again Jill - as you know I love brighty colours and it's such a relief to learn that you can still knit, elbow problems an' all. And Bungus - the Wildlife Book incident was even odder than you describe. I had bought the book in the morning, only to find in the afternoon, that Pete had recommended the same book via his blog-comment. It's a jolly good book too but I'm afraid the mystery flower doesn't look like Vipers Bugloss to me.

I'm going out with my Wednesday Group taking more pictures tomorrow morning. I've explained to Reg that I shan't be walking far, but I so love to be involved. Apparently they have had enough off green-fields and trees and are going to do something different. Sounds like fun................

Monday, May 21, 2007

Nails Day - Pleasant weather - Synergy

It was Y's 'nails' day at Carlton Hill this morning with the Chinese people who are in fact Vietnamese. The weather, as is customary, was pleasant even if not bright sun.

While Y was in the nails-place I did my usual tour of the charity shops and made a few purchases. One of which was the Collins Complete British Wildlife, a Photoguide. The pictures are brilliant, and cover everything from moths, through trees, to wild-flowers s0, with the 'difficult to name' blue flower in mind, I thought, for a £1, I can't afford to be without it.

Now here comes the weird bit. When we got home around 1pm I checked my e-mails and found that ManxIslander, having read about the flower identification query in my blog, left a 'comment' recommending the Collins Complete British Wildlife Photoguide which they swear by.

Well I never ! is all one can say.

We went to our Italian Restaurant again for lunch while in Carlton and had both decided to have the scrambled egg on toast, topped with smoked salmon, again. But it was OFF. Shucks.

I thought that Iris sibirica merited a portrait all of her own after having been rather unceremoniously dumped in a 'collage' yesterday. Y has been in the garden and filling up the garden-refuse bin ready for Wednesday, and she said how easily weeds were coming out following the wet weather. Karen hasn't mowed the lawns because it hasn't been dry enough so there wasn't much in there.

My afternoon has been busy. I've contacted the RPS about 2 groups I would like to join and also had a nice welcome from the Creative Group people whose day I attended yesterday at Ravenshead. They seem my sort of folk. Also I've contacted Nottingham Castle about going to the Global Warming Exhibition tomorrow. From the Castle Gate it is a 200 yard walk up a fairly steep hill but, if you are a little disabled and ring in advance to let them know, you toot your horn on arrival and they open the big gates and you can drive right up to the Castle. So we are looking forward to that. There is a very pleasant restaurant on the ground floor so it seems like we are 'lunching out' tomorrow as well. I've also contacted a local electrician to see if the shower can be fixed. If it can, he might cast his eye over the dishwasher while he is here.

An hour with the paper, do crossword unless Y has polished it off, magazines, dib into my newly acquired books (two poetry in addition to the wildlife book), radio, - I doubt if I shall be able to cram it all in.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Venus and Moon - RPS Creative Group

I am quite proud of Picture 1. In the early hours I noticed that the Crescent Moon and Venus were together, low in the western sky. Although the crescent bit doesn't look very sharp, a closer look at the enlargement (just click on the picture) will reveal details of craters and things. And although I am not well up on Astronomy, I'm not a bad googler. So I googled "bright star low in Western Sky" and dotted 'UK pages'. The first page up told me all I needed to know. I didn't even need to open the site because the information was in the summary.

If Picture 1 is too pixellated for comfortable viewing, Picture 2 of the Moon alone is less blocky. Unfortunately Venus isn't in this one. But I have my limitations. especially at 1.30am and suffering. A handful of DHC and tighten my neck-brace soon did the trick though, together with a little BBC 7 and World Service. It's a shame that my favourite OneWord goes off air at mignight. At least it does here, even though I think it's supposed not to.

Went off to Ravenshead for the RPS Creative Group do. It was supposed to be the last meeting because the regional organiser has had enough after 11 years and no-one had stepped forward. But, at the eleventh hour, somebody did. I'm pleased about that because I am so much more in tune with RPS photography than with camera club judges. Although I also love my local club and wouldn't want to be without them either. Today we had some excellent work shown and very good lectures, slides and prints. They brought a digital projector and it is easily the best way to display work and to make points.

I was fairly tired and achy when I got home but the light was good and I couldn't resist nipping round the garden and collecting some new flower pictures for an up-to-date collage of what is out today. Not much emphasis on Roses because the light was in the wrong place and apart from Gertrude Jekyll and a Mountbatten the main show will probably be another week.

Thank you Jill and Bungus for your comments and you are right about Cousin Kenneth. Although a widower he goes in for high camp and plays to the audience. And he certainly isn't a culture-vulture. And I do hope the wild-flower is Viper's Bugloss. Such a beautiful old-english type name and I shall cherish my photograph of it all the more.

I've managed to find some fresh, working, random world-webcams for my igoogle homepage; my existing lot had gone wonky. So I am again being whisked around the world in 60 second bursts.

It is 63F in Nottingham without any wind, and high humidity so in about 5 minutes I'm having an ice-cold alcohol free lager out of the fridge and finish off Saturday's papers and some magazines. And it is a good radio evening too. So I might have to multi-task!

Catch you tomorrow. Have a good night. And Venus and the Crescent Moon will still be close together if you can't drop off !!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Pleasant Day - still windy (22mph SW) - 60F

Still using images from our Burghley House day and I thought you might like these rather cute deer. I guess from their putative antlers they are stags. So when a little older they won't be such good chums.

The whole herd were extremely tame and unscared of humans. I'm assuming that 'herd' is the correct group term for deer. And I also think, from google-images that these are Roe Deer but I'm sure if not, someone will put me right.

Picture 2 was a rather beautiful sculpture called 'Perpetual Wave' in mixed media, by Nick Horrigan and I have left the daisies in the picture (middle left) to give an idea of scale. It isn't a large piece but even in the wet very attractive. We would be quite happy to have it on our lawn.

Before I leave Burghley (talk about Freudian Slips - my keyboard had typed burglary) I would be obliged if any botanist/wild flower expert reader could identify these small blue flowers. They were growing in a wild-flower meadow and again I have left the daisies in for scale.

Yesterday Joan helpfully said she thought she recognised them but they should have been growing at the seaside. Which they weren't.

I do wish I could find a flower recognition book which sensibly had chapters for white, red, blue or yellow flowers. The organisation of all the books I have encountered means that if you have a suspicion about its identity you can confirm it. But if you have no idea at all they are hopeless.

I forgot yesterday to mention Kenneth's hilarious account of his extended Australia holiday. He says that when tourists return to the UK they always claim to have had an amazing time.

In his opinion the place is awful. Cities are so far apart and there is nothing of interest in between them. Except for the famous facade The Sydney Opera House was grotty and decent restaurants seemed unavailable. He described Perth as 'about the same size as Derby but without the magic' . And the transcontinental railway journey was a frightening experience due to poor track maintenance. He said it felt as if the train was proceeding forward from sleeper to sleeper without benefit of rails, all the while swaying from side to side alarmingly. The lavatories were unusable, the water supply was iffy and the food atrocious.

When he relates his view to people who have been, they all say "Ah well. Now you have said that........." Rather like my point about 'live theatre' where, because one generally goes with someone else, one proclaims 'how enjoyable' rather than be thought a miseryguts.

Royal Photographic Society tomorrow 10am -4pm at Ravenshead. "A day with the Creative Group". That should be fun and I am looking forward to it.

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
Bertrand Russell

Catch you tomorrow. Sleep tight.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Rolling Derbyshire - Wet, Warm and Windy

61F, 24mph SW wind and stormy. We collected Joan and drove up the motorway and arrived at Kenneth's bang on time for lunch. He only moved into his bungalow 18mnths ago and has done wonders. It had been owned by old-minded old people and needed a complete renovation, including the garden which he hasn't quite finished yet. But from when we last saw it, a transformation has taken place. The light was atrocious and as soon as I saw a little sun I nipped out to take this photograph for my blog (do you think I ought to get out more?). His back-garden looks out over rolling Derbsyhire Hills towards Hardstoft. He is quite close to Pilsley and Chatsworth. He had done a lovely lunch. Mushroom soup and hot rolls, meat and potato pie, all home made, and veg. Followed by Rhubarb Crumble and Custard and then cheese. OK so he didn't actually make the cheese but he did everything else.

I had a mull over the 'recipe page idea' in the middle of the night but an easy way of doing it didn't present itself. Blogs are not quite web-sites and do have restrictions. A 'list' facility would be not too bad but it would appear on the left under all my labels, and post-titles, which would make it unwieldy. 'Links' in the 'comments' box are straightforward but that would entail getting a URL for the recipe by having it 'hosted' in Walagata or similar, which would be a faff. Madeline is ace with this sort of thing and she might have a brainwave. Or anyone else for that matter. when I've got an hour I'll go on the forum and ask. I've already trawled the FAQs without success. Probably best is to post the recipe in a 'comment' as normal and then, in the following day's blog-post I'll give it a title and draw everyone's attention to it.

Picture 2 is a left-over from Stamford and I have given it the title "How am I supposed to know I'm not a duck?"

Great stuff about the Ice Houses from everyone. I can well understand Jill why the children wanted to know why the box containing Cromwell's head couldn't be opened. I could never understand about Joanna Southcot's box which needed lots of Anglican bishops to assemble before it could be opened.

Last night my precious DAB radio went wrong again. Losing the signal, switching itself off etc. So, this morning I thought I would give it the full WD40 treatment. I sprayed all the switches and button-sockets and where the power goes in. Then left it for 10 minutes, wiped off all the excess WD40, and switched on. Result - it now works perfectly !!

My neck is still bad and painful so, knowing I was going to have to drive, I bought a foam neck-brace from Boots. And it is helping lots and lots. It supports my head and takes the weight off my neck muscles. I can move my head from side-to-side quite freely and I just hope I don't have to wear it too long. What with sticks and now neck-brace, I look as if I was the inspiration for the Beatles' "Here come old flat-top, he come groovin' up slowly".

Y's finished the crossword. But I've got reading. And, of course, radio - now it works !

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Burghley House again - It's stopped raining

Another panorama. From yesterday's Burghley House visit. The Sculpture Garden opens into the Surprise Garden which has lots of fun and witty things. On the way out there is a curtain of water created by around 10 close together fountains. If you walk towards it with confidence, the fountains stop when you are a metre away and you walk through dry. Kids must love seeing if they can beat the system and get drenched. Picture 1 is of a lovely area to sit. Not yesterday though.

I suppose the woodland light-installation suffered in translation rather.

Picture 2 is another. Neons in The Ice House. The photograph is to show the effect of the neons inside the structure around 90% of which is an underground, bricklined cylindrical shaft. Apparently ice was collected from the lake, stored therein and covered with straw where we were told it would remain unthawed for up to 2 years. One assumes it was then broken into small cubes to chill the Cecil's G & Ts. I promise I will return to more normal pictures soon.

Thanks Anon1 for the vierge sauce recipe. Although tomorrow is our normal 'fish' day we are going to a cousins for lunch, but next appropriate fish dish we have, I shall make some and report back. Pete (Manxislander) once suggested a linked 'recipe' page for the blog and there may be merit in his suggestion. Bungus offered us a beaut only the other day.

I chanced upon this quote this morning:-

"Lots of people think they're charitable if they give away their old clothes
and things they don't want. It isn't charity to give away things you want
to get rid of and it isn't a sacrifice to do things you don't mind doing."
-Myrtle Reed, author (1874-1911)

My first reaction was "how small minded and petty ?". If you are throwing things out and think 'someone may be able to use this' , to take it down to the charity shop is a charitable gesture in my opinion. Likewise when you give up your time to help others, even if it is something you enjoy doing. I wouldn't think that 'an hour in the pub with Myrtle' would have been a lot of fun. Now that would be an act of charity!

Y has been grannying at Burton Joyce as normal today and I shall collect her from the tram around 6.30pm and as there isn't any camera club, and I've done mi' blog we shall enjoy the evening together.

Tomorrow we go to cousin Kenneth's for lunch. And we are taking Joan with us. She loves it at Kenneth's and he is good fun. Catch you tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Stamford, Burghley House and Wet

It seems ages since yesterday and the only consistent factor has been the rain. Don't know about other parts of the country but our reservoirs must be full to overflowing.

An early start to our National Trust outing and in spite of the weather everyone was determined to enjoy it and everyone did. We had a couply of hours in Stamford first. A beautiful Georgian Town with much unspoilt architecture. And that which is modern blends in extremely well. Lincolnshire lime-stone is widely used and it conveys a gentle elegant feel to the place which has been inhabited for ever apparently.

The we moved on to Burghley House, the ancestral home of the Cecil family and they still live there. Wonderful Art collection and Grinling Gibbons wood carving over the doors and so much of interest. The stuff about Lord Burghley's Olympic Gold Medal with original vests etc., on display merited a corridor of its own. And quite right too. Nigel Havers played him in Chariots of Fire.

The house has been used for so many period dramas, Pride and Prejudice etc., and many of the costumes were on display. The house was also used in Dan Browne's Da Vinci Code. It seems it is the largest and best preserved Elizabethan House in the country. Well worth a visit.

What is all this to do with Picture 1 you may ask. Well - apart from the other attractions there was a Modern Sculpture Garden which for Y and me was a honey-pot. I could have spent the whole day there and sod the rain. This delightful objet trouvé welcomes one to part of the walk and he/she is modesty personified but determined that you shall enjoy the other exhibits.

Picture 2 is a light-installation in the wood. I know this sort of Art doesn't appeal to everyone but this is good. The neons light and extinguish randomly and the effect is compelling. It is by Nathanial Rackrow and James Brown and is described as 'mixed media'.

Unfortunately no nearby bench for tired elderly legs or I would have sat and absorbed it till the coach left.

It was so nice having a day out with our NT chums and no-one held Jean personally reponsible for the weather. The rain wasn't actually continuous. It just seems that way. At lunchtime we ate in the Orangery Restaurant. The practice in stately houses of converting the Orangery into an eating place makes a lot of sense. Usually a good shape for it and always loads of light from those enormously high windows. And the meal was as good as the place. We both decided on the grilled sea-bass with gnocchi and mixed veg. with a vierge sauce. I've no idea, yet, what a 'vierge' sauce is - but I shall google it. Whatever it is it was delicious. Much more pleasant than tartare etc., etc. And when I've discovered what it is, I shall make some. Probably Jill and her fellow sophisticates are already familiar with it - but we weren't.

The trip back was painless and we arrived home around 7.15pm, even though you would have thought it was 9.30pm by the lack of light around. More pictures will follow. I've just looked in the folder and would you believe? 35 pictures again. I haven't really got a hang up on 36frame rolls of film. It just seems as if I've been programmed.

Perhaps a little sun tomorrow. Sleep tight.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

TJ Promotion - Nottingham - Weather dire

After my 'routine' blood test we went to Ikea for breakfast; so self indulgent. 2 slices of bacon, two sausages, 3 hash browns, a grilled tomato, scrambled egg and I opted out of the beans. Then to Nottingham to call at the Solicitors, so it was necessary to ignore the pouring rain. Although I could have parked outside their offices it wouldn't be possible to leave the car there, so our trusty tram triumphed. From Market Square it isn't far to Castle Gate. I also 'needed' something from Jacobs Camera Shop and that is only 100 yards from Theatre Square. Needed is in quotes for obvious reasons - I never actually need anything from a camera shop do I?

The tram stop is just past the theatre, on the left. While pausing to recover I thought a 'panorama' might interest readers. A normal photograph however wide-angle doesn't quite put the theatre building in context so to speak. A glance at the road-surface will show what the weather was like.

Ditto Picture 2. There are advantages to pouring rain. Usually our bronze lady outside the theatre is surrounded by passing people who are thoughtless enough to sit on the benches provided. But, as you can see, not this morning. Still too much litter, but cloning it out would be against my religion.

I must stop waffling and mention the big news. For some time Tracy has been doing a job quite a bit further up her scale without it being officially recognised. Yesterday though the job, and her upgrading promotion to it, was confirmed. Good for her, and Congratulations TJ.

I don't feel so cross at the dishwasher now I know they are comparatively short-lived. Re 'O' levels etc., I did the very first year of the then new GCE and Y did the 2nd year. In those days it was pass/fail there were no gradations. My school, even though chartered by Elizabeth 1, had a french motto rather than a latin one. It was 'en bon espoir' and I try to remain so! Y says she finds her Latin very useful for working out the dates on grave-stones and at the end of TV programme credits !! I know she finds it more useful than that.

Nice to have a comment from Julzika who is 18 and an Art Student. I saw some of her work on the net and complimented her on it and she responded by reading this blog and leaving a pleasant comment. We need her to keep us fuddy-duddies in order. I suspect it should have been we fuddy-duddies. But it would have been such an ugly sentence. There is a link to Julzika's blog in her comment. Just click on her name in blue!

I've meant to mention, but keep forgetting, an observation about blackbirds' song. They have stopped mimmicking the 'wolf whistle' as part of their repertoire. The 'wolf whistle' seems to have stopped amongst the human population doesn't it? So I wonder if that's the reason they've stopped including it? Or is there a paucity of attractive lady blackbirds? The question might stand a Letter to the Telegraph I think.

Tomorrow is a National Trust Mansfield Chapter thrash to Stamford and Burghley House. Just hope the weather is better. Jean usually organises the Sun. So............

Monday, May 14, 2007

Very Wet - 57F - West Wind - Shopping

It rained most of the day. The sun broke through for around 3 minutes and this was it so I fird off a quick three frames as the basis for the above Panorama. My fairly recent Serif programme is much better than its predecessor. Easy to use and quick.

We shopped during the morning and I made a crispy-beef chinese stir-fry for lunch which Y proclaimed one of my best ever. Not a trace of oiliness and I chucked in allsorts, including water chestnuts which we both love. Hint of sesame, good dollop of oyster sauce and to complete the surf an' turf theme I added 4 monster prawns. Y added a dash of soya but I didn't think it needed it.

Lucky Jill and Ro house-sitting in remote New Forest with ponies, donkeys and an Aga. Sounds like Idyllia, a place name derived from idyllic. With all these Latin scholars about care must be exercised in the coining of new words though. I'm most impressed Madeline with your 'O' level. At my grammar school one only did Latin as an additional 6th form subject if you were destined for Oxbridge. My shame was failing 'O' level French and having to retake it in the November. I struggled through after extra coaching. Back to Jill and her Dad's runner-beans. My Dad went to no trouble at all and had this theory, which I have followed, that if a crop is being grown for its seed/seed-pods, the plant is best not over coddled/fed because otherwise you finish up with healthy foliage and few beans. The basic idea being that the plant thinks oh dear! we are having a rough time here, best produce lots of offspring.

Success with them has, as he says, constantly elluded Bungus and re: the onion story. He once tried growing them from onion-sets and come harvest-time he assures me, they were smaller than when planted. Before leaving 'commentsville' I would be quite at home in Madeline's area with no TV but I would miss broadband hellishly, and DAB radio. I seem to remember she is a heavy-metal and similar music fan but that would drive me barmy. And re skim-reading. Woody Allen once announced he had skim-read 'War and Peace' and that it was about Russia.

Picture 2 is Annie Leibovitz's recent portrait of the Queen and, in my opinion, it is incredibly good. I'm so pleased that she was chosen to take it because she isn't really a conventional portrait photographer. Her work always impresses me greatly and in this case she hits the spot. As you would expect, I love the diagonals and the way she has captured Elizabeth 2 looking out onto a dull March day is remarkable. The photograph has been published in my AmPhot forums so I guess, duly attributed, it's OK to use it on this 'strictly not for profit' publication. Google, through a system called Adsense, offer me money to carry advertising on the blog but I haven't the slightest inclination to do so. The non-commercial aspect appeals to me.

I realise I'm flitting, but Jill mentioned Daphne du Maurier and Frenchman's Creek is being serialised on OneWord. One of my favourite radio stations but DAB or internet only unfortunately. What a super story though - it still works!

The Zanussi dishwasher has failed, and only 7 years old The smiley is Y coping and I am off-stage left, wiping.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

McArthur Glen - very wet - very busy - 54F

The author of Picture 1 is an inveterate blog 'commenter' who occasionally complains that pictures on this blog are too brightly coloured. The word 'garish' has been hinted at.

He will prolly tell you all about the picture himself. Actually I like it. Stylish and imaginative. Perhaps a fraction could be 'cropped' from the left-hand side, so one's eye isn't drawn to the sombre grey bits. But it isn't my picture.

And I had Picture 2 all prepared and ready for the self-same Bungus. Best give his overstimulated retinal ganglions a break, I thought. I just happened to be around at first light when one of the garden solar-flares was still lit, so Nikon out and click. Hope this is subdued enough.

Anyway, I do owe him a genuine apology for misreading (twice) his 'comment' about the Gertrude Jekyll picture. I had read from ".......the roses look like overbright etc.," and completely missed the prologue. A coward's way out would be to plead 'pain & suffering' but the truth is, I didn't read carefully enough. And I've 'got form for it'.

Nice to hear from Anon1 and I hope they were supporting the winners, Serbia. No need to apologise for watching the Eurovision - it has become quite cult event. Tracy and friends have been known to make a real party of it, don fancy dress and consume lots of alcohol. Her home is so lovely and welcoming it's an event I wouldn't mind attending myself. Except for the alcohol of course. But Y and I could have a session on the alcohol-free lager I suppose, but I doubt if it would work quite the same.

Whilst on 'comments' I must also say 'snap' Madeline. In my igoogle homepage (can't shake off a mental picture of an igloo) I also went for the beach scene where the light changes in harmony with one's postcode. So clever! I wish the 'bus stop' and the 'town-scape' and the others did the same, perhaps eventually they will.

My Dad would have planted his runner-beans today. His dictum was "plant 13th of May, grow night and day". I think that in view of the earliness of the seasons nowadays he could have brought the even forward to 13th April. But a rhyme would have been tricky ! He did always produce an abundant crop though. And always Scarlet Emperor and always in the same place between the side-path and a wall - and these days one is supposed to move the bed each year. Oh well. Or Ho Hum as Ray says.

This afternoon, not being fit for a walk, we had an outing to McArthur Glen (one of these designer outlets), one junction up the M1. The weather remained awful but I bought 2 pairs of pyjamas and some chocolate gingers for Y. Then she bought me a toasted teacake and coffee. Then home.

A little snack for tea. And then a full evening's 'messing about'. Now my lappy will play DVDs I have one from Amateur Photographer which I would like to watch. Doesn't seem much on the proper telly.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Long Eaton - Mostly Rest Day - 55F - SW Wind

Mostly a nice quiet Rest Day and I'm still improving slowly. My walking, if you could call it that, is a sort of amalgam of Mrs Overall and a Western Gunslinger. Back sufferers, and the observers of back-sufferers will know the look well.

We wanted to nip over to Long Eaton to take my 'bowls and bowls gear' which David has kindly agreed to sell for me on e-bay. I've bought things there but haven't yet ventured into the selling bit.

Y took one look at my 'stance' and said "You can't possibly go like that" but I really wanted to, and basically all I needed to do was get into the car. Driving isn't a problem provided one discounts the mach2 pain of head turning at junctions - but I would have a co-pilot for that. So we went. And had a lovely time. Our family brings us so much pleasure and we realise how lucky we are. Picture 1 is Sky's Chess Award Certificate together with rosette and medal. I know I have already blogged how well she did, so I won't repeat myself. In the final round she needed to win 4 games and she only won 3. Had she succeeded, the next leg would have been at Manchester University. Nevertheless we are all proud of her.!

Brooke immediately went for the Flower Fairy book and was taken with the 'dog-rose fairy' because 'she is so pretty'. They produced the 1,000 best children's poems book and we were read a favorite. Apparently the whole family love the book. My browsing of charity shops will resume with renewed zeal. Brooke was also delighted to have a loose toothe and wiggled it for us vigorously with her tongue and finger. We made the appropriate 'disgusted noises' and discovered that the tooth-fairy has 'upped' her onetime sixpence to a £1, plus present for the first tooth. And you get a pretty little envelope to put the tooth in, to take to the Tooth Library. My word. How things progress !!

Picture 2 is a photo of the Bridge at Gateshead, which is currently illuminated as part of an outdoor exhibition. Marvellous Architecture, great idea and a smashing photograph. I wasn't quick enough to catch the identity of the photographer but whoever you are "Congratulations".

I love my new iGoogle Homepage and obviously Madeline is also an enthusiast. The Bukowski democracy/ dictatorship quote appeared in my 'Quotes of the Day' too. We shall have to publish Screen Prints so the others understand what we are rabbiting on about. And the mouse scroll-wheel tip, to go down the blog without obliterating the comments box does work. Provided of course, that you first move the cursor over to the blog itself and away from the 'comments' box.

And I disagree strongly about Gertrude Jekyll looking like two overblown brussell tops. They don't look at all like that. And to make the point, about the colour being fine as it is, I have done this version. Nothing too much trouble to please my friends ! Personally I think it's foul, and it won't last long.

Re errors in 'comments' - I don't think it should be worried about. Spelling mistakes never cause me concern because typos can be such fun and they stimulate creative thought. But, if anyone ever seriously wanted a comment to be amended or deleted I would be happy to oblige.

Some 'bloggers' moderate and check 'comments' before they allow them into the blog. There are mechanisms in the Template which allow for this. But nobody has yet said anything which would justify my doing that, and I positively approve of people saying what they feel. It adds to the value of the blog, in my opinion, that the 'slice of history' aspect, and it not being solely an ego-trip like a 'Hi Letter'. That sentence is awful ! but it's 9.15pm and I'm approaching 'knackeredity'.

Catch you tomorrow. I wonder what has happened to Anon1 ? I hope we haven't offended her.