Saturday, June 30, 2007

Weather typical English late June - Raining

Our Cotinus or smoke-bush is doing well again. It obviously likes the spot where it lives and the evening sun makes it look really 'smoky'.

Fortunately, where it is isn't enclosed or from tomorrow it would prolly be illegal.

Neither Y nor I smoke but both feel that people's right to enjoy a cigarette and a drink in a pub should be inalienable. It was quite right to prevent smoking in restaurants because the 'waft' of fag-smoke drifting across while one is eating is not good. But Pubs? Oh dear oh dear.

We've had a pleasant day. A leedle Lidl followed by a little Morrisons and a little Eastwood. I cooked haddock in batter, with chips and peas for lunch and, phillistines that we are, we both preferred the haddock to the expensive sea-bass. I went to the Butcher this morning for our 6 weekly re-provisioning and saw David from Durban House there. "Pleased to see that you get you meat from a decent place!" I said. Mrs Redgate and Peter liked that. Tracy is coming for lunch tomorrow and will have her traditional lamb - in the form of Barnsley Chops. Peter says he wishes he could breed longer lambs because the barnsley chops always run out first. This the real advantage of ringing an order through midweek, to collect on Saturday morning.

Matt is at his 'priceless' best again this morning. It is so good and who else but Matt would have thought of it. I know it's cruel and the animal-liberation lobby won't find it at all amusing but the rest of us do.

The stances of the dogs is anthropomorphic 'in spades', but he has got them just right.

I felt I was tiring of my Radiogandy logos which I use on some forums so this morning I sorted out an additional 5.

This is one of them and I hope you like it

Quotes are a bit thin today. But when in doubt, have a look in Emerson:-
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail".
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Catch you tomorrow. Sleep tight. A note in my notebook yesterday morning reminded me "Do not trust jobs" - I thought "Fair enough, I won't".

Then I realised that what it actually said was "Do Nat. Trust jobs"

Friday, June 29, 2007

Mostly fine - Rest Day - 60F

Due to the excessive rain Karen has been unable to mow and the rear lawn looks quite attractive. Perhaps we ought to let it become a wild-flower meadow in front of our neo-woodland (which isn't on purpose but has overgrown our original intent).

Looks nice though, and a veritable haven for wildlife.

Y has been enjoying Wimbledon and has discovered the facility of 'interactive' , which means she can choose which match she wants to watch from a choice of around 7, I think. The BBC are, in my opinion, doing very well at the moment. And they are due to add a TV equivalent of BBc Radio's 'listen again' system. I have been a dedicated user for at least 2 years and consider that gives me value for the licence fee, even accounting for my minimal TV viewing.

Picture 2 I've decided is the best I can do with the campions. At least I've managed to retain the delicate tracery of the petal veins which previously have been blocked. But I don't seem to be able to capture their distinctive glowing magenta/blue/red whatever I do. And, as is often the case when one has to admit defeat, I ask myself "Is it important?" To which I invariably answer "No."

Steven is ill, with some sort of flu I think it is. He was sufficiently ill to return home from work and go to the doctor, which is unlike Steven. The Dr prescribed antibiotics and said if he hadn't been able to stop the infection Steven would have acquired fluid on his lungs. His sister has been over and says he really is poorly. But, on a good note, her new grading and promotion have now been confirmed by letter; in good old-fashioned hard copy which always seems more trustable !

Just spoken to David, and Helen seems a little better today, after a sort of rest-day. But rest-days are almost impossible when you are a young Mum with 2 girls and a working husband. And she always seems to do so much anyway. I've sent her a Jacqui Laswon 'get-well e-card' and it has balloons you need to 'click' to start it going. Sky and Brooke will enjoy that bit!. Which brings me to my first quote - Brooke speaks so fast I sometimes have difficulty but-

"What music is more enchanting than the voices of young people, when you can't hear what they say?"

- Logan Pearsall Smith

and rather harsher now, but he is right I'm afraid-

"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious."

- Oscar Wilde

I enjoyed Bungus's 'comment' on the modern use of words. I just hope I retain the ability to tell whether I am having a 'slash' or a 'stroke' thougth. Seems crucial to me.

Shower >then coffee >then > then > early night. Sleep tight everybody.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A little sun for Mansfield - then rain - 55F

The beautiful Picture 1 is not mine, it belongs to Bungus and was photographed on one of his nature walks with Ralph. He feels, and I am sure that he is right, that it is a wild orchid.

What lovely understated colours !

It is difficult to tell but I am guessing that it is only a few inches high rather than delphinium size.

He aks what I mean by 'candy-floss' water. Many photographers take pictures of water using exposures of several seconds which gives the water a very blurred appearance. Next time I see such a picture I will attribute it and 'blog' it.

With regard to his occasional complaints of 'technical' language - it is impossible to please everyone. Several readers are both 'photographically' and 'computer-wise' far in front of me in their understanding and I try to make the blog of interest to them too. So - Sorry Bungus! - you will just have to grin and bear it !

Picture 2 shows the spot on one of our paths where the thrushes prepare their snail-fests. If I can be quick enough I shall try to catch one actually doing it. They hold the snail in their beak and bash it on the concrete till the shell breaks up. Having looked closely, in order to obtain this picture, it seems that, after eating the snail they carefully put the top of the empty shell back on the bottom.

Whatever their reason is for doing all this, we have no objection because they are welcome to as many snails as they can eat. Invite your friends and relations - the more the merrier.

My lunch in Mansfield with Bungus was, as always, very enjoyable although by the time I returned to base I was tired. I collected Y from the tram terminal around 6.30pm and she also reported feeling tired, but happy-tired. We are all getting older !

I had a late start on the blog (it's just after 10pm now) because I spent far too long messing about with some 'campion' pictures in which an accurate 'red' continues to elude me. When I've sorted it, I will publish.

David called last night which was lovely, but Helen isn't very well. Love her - she does so much, and I hope she soon feels better. Tomorrow I will send her a Jacqui Lawson e-card but, for the moment this 'ballerina' close-up is just for her.

I've got lots of notes I haven't used this evening but I want to listen to all the news about the new cabinet and things. I suppose bringing in talented people is OK provided he arranges for peerages for them where appropriate. At least that way they are a bit accountable. I certainly didn't and don't like the idea of people having power over us who haven't been elected. Most undemocratic!

Catch you tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Derwent in spate - 57F - More rain forecast

Only Reg and I went WOW-ing this morning. The others were busy blocking roads with caravans and things. But we had an enjoyable morning having decided to go to the Derwent Visitor Centre at Belper to have a look at the river. It was swollen but not dangerously so and the level had gone down a lot since yesterday apparently.

Much debrís had been washed down and was collected near bridge-arches and things but everything looked under control. The light was changeable and both of us took 'record' shots, not works of art.

We had a mooch round and spoke to a local photographer who was on a similar mission and occupying the best spot on the bridge to get a good strong diagonal. There was plenty of room for us all and we had a good chat to him about camera-club matters, the NEMPF exhibition and such like.

Picture 2 was with my long lens and shows more clearly how the water was. Not attractive; muddy and no clear 'whites' without burning out the highlights. But I managed to avoid my pet hate - the 'candy-floss' effect and at least mine looks like water.

But people are entitled to have their water the way they choose. Once I would have said "It's a free country" but I'm not sure any more. It will be interesting to see how Brown fares.

Ray mentioned a Photography exhibition at Durban House, Eastwood so after leaving Belper we decided to give it a whirl. It featured the work of Nigel Vardy and there were many of snowy scenes from Alaska to Greenland and The Himalayas. He had suffered for his Art; losing fingers, toes and nose to frostbite. His chosen style was pale rather than vibrant colours, low on 'saturation' and, in our humble opinion 'lacking clout'. I'm no lover of over-photoshoppery or too much violent colour, but I considered that his work erred in the opposite direction.

After the Exhibition it was a bee-line to The Nelson for our chip-cob and very nice it was too. Smashing camera chat but also a little, very little, current affairs. Interestingly, The Nelson is a Wi-Fi hotspot and free too. If it is their internal system they really need it to be encrypted. But I didn't use it, and forgot to tell them.

I'm meeting Bungus in Mansfield tomorrow because it is of course, Burton Joyce grannying day for Y who is still on the verge of hay-fever. One would think that, with all this water there wouldn't be much pollen wafting about.

Brian has fixed my printer. But now I've got it back I've forgotten what it is I meant to print. Ho Hum as Ray says. I hope his floods are backing off rather than climbing. Apparently Saturday is going to be a bad day. Hope Jill and Ro are OK in The New Forest. This quote appeals:-

"What we call 'Progress' is the exchange of one nuisance for another nuisance."

- Havelock Ellis

Catch you all tomorrow. Sleep tight.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Better weather - serious floods - 53F

At Bungus's instigation I've tried Macro, and I'm not entirely happy. I wanted them sharper. Interesting though and I think manual focus is a better bet, certainly with the Tamron. But with the camera on a tripod, my nose gets in the way when I try to examine the viewfinder closely.

I'm sure that Picture 1 will not tax anyone's identification prowess. If it does - it's the middle of a cistus. And Picture 2 was even easier. But again, not sharp enough for my taste, and I shot it at f 22 so maybe a slight breeze messed the job up.

I'm going WOW-ing tomorrow so I shall consult with Reg.

Our National Trust 'outings sub committee' was, as I predicted good fun and we had a laugh. We met at Joan's house and Joan is great. She was in the Services during the War.

I had learnt earlier that she collects book-marks; always acquiring one from wherever she visits. So I had taken her one from our Brewhouse Yard Museum visit - and fortunately, she hadn't already got one! She showed us part of her collection and it was most interesting !

The purpose of the meeting was to float a few possibilities for 2008, to put before the full committee next week. And also to discuss the weekend away for 2008. We all felt that one extra day would be welcome and the Portsmouth area was favoured. Choc full of interesting places and, on the way down, Waddesden Manor seemed a good idea. Strangely enough Y and I had recently watched a Nat Trust DVD about the place and it sounds fascinating. Marvellous Art, great gardens, and everyone speaks highly of it. So we are looking forward already.

The floods I mentioned in the header have been really severe and Yorkshire and particularly the Sheffield area badly affected. The dam of a reservoir has developed a crack asnd people have been evacuated and the M1 closed. I e-mailed Ray because he lives so close, and it was a relief to get a favourable reply. Near him the River Don (which has already broken its banks) and the Dearne come together, and he reports that surrounding villages cannot be reached. And his local shops have been 'emptied' by panic-buyers. But Ray isn't a 'panicker' and feels they will survive on UHT Milk, the contents of the fridge/freezer and presumably they have tinned stuff.

Jill is off house-sitting tomorrow, for three weeks, and I hope they don't suffer weather problems in the New Forest. If they are short of food she will have to send Ro out to kill a Wild Boar or something.

Thanks Bungus, as ever, for the useful comment. But I would like to gently point out that 06.30am is not dawn. It was 2 hours ago ! My 'charity shop book' about farming through the ages makes much of Laxton - and I would like to put it on the list of places to visit. And you are correct that the proper description of my medieval-furrows, is 'ridge and furrow'. Don't we lead fascinating lives?

"Be generous with kindly words, especially about those who are absent"


What a nice man he must have been !!

I just sense it for tomorrow. And I'm ready for my chip-cob.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Weather - Arnold - Joans - Charity Shops

Picture 1 is the evening sky from my bedroom window at around 9.45pm last night. It only lasted like this for a matter of seconds. Often the best skies are before sunset and, at the other end, just before sunrise.

This one is not 'photoshopped' in any way, merely cropped to get rid of my window frame and the neighbours roofs etc. I've never been happy with 'roofs' and want it to be 'rooves' but I know it isn't.

At least it wasn't raining. There's been loads all over the country and an unfortunate death as a result of the flooding. In one place a month's rain fell in an hour. It must be global something or other.

This morning we nipped over to Joans and it took us ages to get there due to roads closed and the weather seemed to vary in 300 yard swathes, from downpour to sun to high wind. It was quite exciting. Then we did Arnold and I went on Charity Shop patrol while Y did important things. She needed a couple of cards and I drew her attention to The Cancer Research shop which has an excellent display of quality cards, very reasonably priced, and not suffering from the usual 'naffness'.

Picture 2 shows my National Trust 'jute' bag-for-life. They are the 'in thing' arent they? I bought it while we were away and its squareness and its ability to stand up unassisted appeal to me. In addition to the super-comfy handles.

I was lucky with the two books too. No poetry this time. The bottom one is The Times 'A Century in Photographs' and there's one photo for each year from 1900 to 1999. The top one is 'Farming through the Ages' and contains a chunk about Medieval furrows which have always fascinated me.

Both books together cost me £3 and when I'm through with them I shall donate them to another Charity Shop and get two more. Well, that's the theory. In fact I shall find shelf space for them somewhere; I always do.

Tomorrow we have a National Trust 'outings committee' meeting in Mansfield, which will be fun. Provided of course, that we haven't had to swim there. Bungus reports serious problems in the north of the County. But usually the A608 is OK.

I am more or less up-to-date with correspondence, forums, and reading in general so it must be bedtime.

"There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval"

George Santayana (1863 - 1952)

Can't really fault you there George !

Have a good night. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Still wet - worse elsewhere - forecast bad

This campion which grows in the hedgerow at the side of the drive is a unique and striking colour.

This is my best effort and started off RAW and finished as a TIFF, and it still isn't 100% accurate. I must consult Reg and WOW. One of whom I suspect is 'Annonymous' who left yesterday's 'comment' recommending a subject for a monthly competition.

I shall make enquiries !

Picture 2 is the Loosestrife which grows on the opposite side of the drive. Yellows just don't seem to be a problem.

We have had a quiet day; a little Lidl and Morrisons and then I griddled sirloin steak with sautéed potatoes and courgettes (just happened to have some cold jersey royals in the fridge) with a large mushroom each and steamed sugar-snaps and fine beans. Followed by sticky toffee pudding and custard. Then a kip.

I'm determined on a short blog this evening because we have a National Trust DVD to watch. We haven't been able to get our DVD player to work recently, just getting a blank screen filled with snow.

But, and this is hard to believe, Millicent (just over 2) had a fancy to watch a Thomas the Tank Engine DVD so she went and selected the one she wanted, put it in the appropriate letter-box, picked up the correct remote control and pressed the right buttons. And 'geronimo' the DVD player works. As she can't talk yet she couldn't actually explain to us her modus operandi but the thing now works which is what matters.

Eventually the weather will improve. I know the English are famous for talking about the weather all the time. But it is so interesting n'est ce pas?. If you live in Tuscany and it's sunny and warm most days, what is there to discuss?

Coffee, then Radio, then Catch you tomorrow, even if we have to man the boats.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Back from Carsington - chucked it down - but Great

Thanks for the 'comments' on the last blog; they always enhance. And thanks for the poem Jill, it is very good indeed. I haven't researched it yet but it has Wendy Cope written all over it.

My few days 'caravan-sitting' at Carsington were a resounding success. I arrived just after lunchtime, having found a pub which did chip cobs. Having been programmed by WOW to have such on a Wednesday it seemed right. And very nice it was too.

The food at the Visitors' Centre was a disappointment. The view from the Gallery Restaurant was excellent but the food D minus I'm afraid. And it wasn't just me; when I went for lunch on the second day it was busy and as I glanced round at other diners there were no oohs and aahhs of delight. Anyway I didn't go for the food and I soon mastered the gas oven, electric kettle and toaster in the caravan. Talk about 'mod cons' I had mains-electricity, a hot-water system. a shower, and even central heating. The days of popping half a tennis ball over the towing ball are long gone but obviously David's boyhood experiences haven't put him off caravanning. I decided against either of the bunk-beds and settled for a single just inside the door with lovely views through windows and a place to stand my essential within-reach overnight junk (clock, glasses, note-book, pen, radio, torch, peppermints - I know, I know !) It was an excellent choice because the narrowness of the bed meant that, without a big upheaval, I slept snuggly in one position. And I slept great and woke up comparitively pain-free.

After I woke, with the light filtering in around 4am I thought, as planned, sunrise photographs. Picture 1 was no more than 20 yards from the caravan door and is the view through the trees. As there was very little light it was a tripod job, and half a second at f11. I hope it captures the 'feel' and it wasn't me who hacked off the top of a conifer (quarter in from right) but it's absence substantially improved the view.

Picture 2 was as I was passing the water and these geese (?) amused me. They made me think of "Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to work we go" and were completely oblivious of me as they trudged past around 20 yards away.

The weather confirmed my unofficial theory that "it seldom rains at dawn". Which came about from years of observation in the days when policemen used to work 'nights' and outside on the beat, on foot. Ah well ! Such is progress.

Picture 3 was down one of the many lanes close to the water and I was very taken with the low sunlight bursting through the trees and illuminating little sections of the scene. Tripod again and nearly a full second at f8 - for the few who are interested in such techy details.

n.b. for occasional readers. To see an enlarged version, just left click on the picture itself.

After that it was back to the caravan for brekkie and a kip for a couple of hours plus of course a little radio. I had ordered a Telegraph, which duly arrived at The Warden's reception office at 9am each day and where one can buy bread, milk and eggs etc., and browse lots of leaflets about local 'things to do'.

As I predicted, I managed to arrive without something. Pyjamas ! But 'what the hell ?' I slept perfectly well in vest and pants. Yvonne and I kept in touch entirely by text which we both like. Not only is it so cheap, but a text doesn't put pressure on people as a live call does. Bungus texted me too which was pleasant.

When they arrived on Friday, Sky and Brooke brought me a little 'blue-tit' coat badge so this final picture is specially for them ! It isn't a Carsington Picture but one from home and is a very young blue-tit close to where they have been nesting in a thorn bush at the rear of the Silver Birch. I'm closing down now, not because I've run out of stuff to tell you, or photographs, but I think everyone has an attention span and I have probably already exceeded most people's.

Which brings me logically to my final quote :-

"I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant"
- Robert McCloskey

I can't wait to go 'woodcraft folking' again. But David was absolutely right. I was far better in the Caravan than a tent. Sleep tight everyone.!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Blog before Carsington - Round up Weston

Picture 1 is the lily-pond at KnightsHayes and you can see the sort of rain we braved. Well worth it though.

I've spent the day being 'busy' I sawed off a fence-post stump which impeded the moving out/in of the greenlid bin. It was green recycling day today and it has needed doing for some time but I couldn't solve a problem which I perceived. We needed the stump leaving level with the concrete pathway but eventually I realised there was no requirement for the end to be at a right-angle to the stump, so I just sawed it off at around 45 degrees. Problem solved. Y always says that for an intelligent man I can be incredibly stupid, and this was a classic case.

For lunch I cooked egg & chips because we both had a fancy for it and then we finished off the gooseberries. Soon we shall have raspberries. Yummy yummy. And I spoke to Helen and more or less finalised the Carsington arrangements. I didn't want her to 'buy in' food supplies etc., because I aim to go fully equipped, also with bedding which I shall bring back with me.

I am sorting out camera stuff, tripod, chargers, lenses and filters, and all the necessary leads. Plus books, radios, tablets, clothing - but I'm sure to go without something. I always used to omit something, when work took me all over the place. Each time I would write down what I had forgotten and keep the list going for future commitments. My worst effort though was to go without my case, with everything in it - including list !

Picture 2 was at Snowhills Manor and was an attempt to get the photograph sharp, all the way from foreground to infinity.

It needed an aperture of f22 and a shutter-speed of a quarter of a second, but I managed to steady the camera on a fence-post. It looks as sharp as I could reasonably expect and it is a shame that the subject matter isn't interesting enough to justify the effort.

The national/international news continues to be depressing so I won't bore you with it. ArtDaily please click continues to delight. The link is republished in case we have any new readers who are interested in Art. When I have returned from Carsington and we have a 'window' I would love to travel to London by train to visit the Royal Academy to see the Hockney (big trees) and also the exhibition of Turner watercolours he is curating. Plus of course, The Summer Exhibition, which we always find a delight.

Two quotes appealed:-

"Beauty is God's handwriting"
Charles Kingsley

"Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes."
- Henry David Thoreau

If anything further occurs to me I shall return later this evening. But if not - tattah till Saturday.

Carsington here I come. I shall restrain myself from climbing trees. See you soon.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Splendid Weekend - But all this rain.

Looking left from our Weston super Mare Hotel bedroom. I think the rather weird light conveys the changeable weather. But we had a great time ! Our National Trust group are of a mind to enjoy it, whatever, and therefore we do. There are of course the inevitable moaning minnies but they are always with us.

On the way down we went to the National Trust HQ at Heelis, please click here and a remarkable building it is too. A truly 21st Century building and the above link will take you too it and more explicitly than me publishing a couple of pictures and trying to describe. The above mentioned 'mm s' complained that it wasn't a proper National Trust type 'old building'. Oh well ! We were split into three groups for guided tours and, if anyone is ever in the area, I would strongly recommend a visit. At one juncture a charming young lady thought I needed the lift and took charge of me, so I went down in it anyway ! She said it was a great place to be each day and she had never been happier at work. And she sounded convincing!

Each day was different and during the last evening we sat on the prom, in a wind-proof corner and watched the gulls hovering and playing in the thermals.

On the second day we visited KnightsHayes Court, when we did have some rain. But Y and I were pleased we decided to brave it and have a quick look at the gardens. They were rewarding and had probably the most attractive lily-pond I have seen.

On the last day we visited SnowHills Manor which Jill describes as one of her favourites. It certainly is different. It was the storehouse of an eccentric collector of most things. He lived in a cottage at the rear and, in the house itself, were hundreds of thousands of 'objects' from tiny ivory figures to samurai suits. He was definitely 'odd' shall we say and I don't think I would have been keen to number him among my close friends.

Picture 3 is merely 'basil rooting' and it was Saturday June 9th when I assured you that he would root, and this picture is just 9 days later. So, next time you buy basil remember to snip a bit off and pop it in a glass and a second generation plant will soon be yours.

I think I am now up-to-date with e-mails, but behind with my artdaily newspaper. Up-to-date with photographs because I took my lappy away on its holidays, so downloaded each day's pictures and did a preliminary sort out. I'm way way behind with my AmPhot and WebUser forums but that isn't really important.

And Yes David. We did remember to announce Morrisons, or Aldi, or Lidl etc., to each other, as the coach drove past an example ! And I have sent you an e-mail with a link to a 'pretty kettle of fish' page. What with this 'no alcohol' lifestyle and holding boring conversations in coaches, we really are turning into the sort of people we used to avoid.

I am excited about my chance to play 'woodcraft folk' when I go to caravan-sit for David on Wednesday till Friday of this week at Carsington Water. So, unless I chance upon a handy Wi-Fi spot whilst there, Radiogandy will be off the air - again ! But I have plans for endless tripod and nature photography, mucho messing-about, lots of reading and a little writing. And Y will enjoy the break from me.

Hope everybody is fine. Sleep tight. Catch you tomorrow.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Burton Joyce Day - Steady Rain - 59F

The rain has been non-stop since our thunder-storm and the pictures are both from yesterday.

This is the babbling-brook Y fancies a picnic beside and this is the view from the bridge. It reminds me very much of the upper reaches of Ashbourne's Henmore Brook where I learnt to swim and is of course part of the course of the famous Shrovetide Football game where the whole town can take part. If you are born on the north side you are an 'uppards' if on the south side you are a 'downards' - a much inferior type of person!

And by 'groundsquare' I meant a ground sheet or blanket or rug; just something to put on the grass and sit on. As you all know by now, babbling brooks and dappled shade and picnics are special loves of mine. But, in photographs, I do like the water to look like water, rather than candy-floss, which seems all the rage in photographic circles at the moment. I know how to achieve the effect, but choose not to. I can also play the piano accordian - but choose not to. When I saw the enormous chunk of driftwood in the water I thought for a momet that someone had really meant to win at pooh-sticks.

Picture 2 is of 2 of the dragonflies of which I spoke. They are no doubt the common type of dragonfly but I had not noticed their black wings before.

It isn't a good photograph and is published for information purposes. My long telephoto zoom was in the car. Where else? So what you see is a result of a close crop where sharpness etc., necessarily suffers. Anyway, if I had had a long lens, by the time I fitted it the dragonflies would have gone. Reg says he has a foolproof method of dealing with the problem of low-flying aircraft. He takes his long lens out of his camera bag and before he's attached it to the camera, the low-flying planes have gone and won't return.

Which reminds me. When we were at Ripley, negotiating about the exhibition pictures, the lady said "Cash is like gold here" I said "Ha Ha! Very witty!" and attracted strange looks. I should know by now that my sense of humour can be a little obscure. And further, on the matter of 'words', it occurred to me this morning that perhaps 'bedraggled' comes from having been 'raggled' in 'bed'. Those were the days. Getting into and out of bed is problem enough these days.

'Radiogandy' will be closed over the weekend for staff holidays. The occasion is our Mansfield Centre, National Trust, thrash to Weston super Mare and including a visit and tour of Headquarters at Heelis en route. And Snowshill Manor, Gloucestershire, on the return journey. However, the Radiogandy bike-sheds will be left unlocked should 'commenters' feel the need to exchange pleasantries.

It's the last Springwatch this evening on TV. They very briefly covered the 'Peregrines at Derby Cathedral' last night (see last Wednesday's blog).

As the weather is so awful I've decided to drive over to Burton Joyce to collect Y from her grannying duties and this evening I need to complete my packing.

Catch you on Monday most probably.

Looking forward to the coach trip and peeping into people's gardens.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Brinsley Gin and Erewash Meadows - Hot

Considering we had nothing planned it turned out a super day. Leisurely start, papers etc., little shopping, early lunch - chicken stir-fry 'cos we found some pak choy and for pudding the goosegogs from yesterday with greek yoghurt. A cosmopolitan meal and, apart from the yoghurt, carbon friendly.

After lunch we decided on an adventure and discovered a hitherto unexplored footpath, reached by a bridle-road which makes things easier for me. It was finger-posted to Brinsley Gin and examination revealed Erewash Meadows Nature Conservation Area. And we didn't know it was there!! Just a mile from our house and we were in deepest rural Nottinghamshire. It was really hot and the grasses were high and the seed-pollen count didn't worry Y. It was reminiscent of boyhood walks and it smelt gorgeous.

Picture 2 shows where we reached and there was a convenient stile, not for me to climb over but to sit on.

I managed to get some blurry photographs of some dragonflies with the customary shiny blue bodies but apparently each with 4 black wings. Pictures will follow.

The heat and the ominous clouds were telling us the truth and now at 7.45pm we are in the middle of a thunder-storm. But we had such fun. The Erewash at this point is particularly babbly and even Y, not a picnic fan, said how nice it would be to have a roll-out ground square and a picnic, so we could sit and listen to the brook.

OK to both Bungus and Jill - I accept that 'the geese flying across the rose' was a bad idea! And I shan't repeat it. You are quite right to point out that, just because something is possible isn't a necessary and sufficient reason for doing it. And Yes! Paraphenalia is a lovely word. And you shall have a separate caravan just for your knitting stuff. I feel sure that Bungus will invent a special word for such a facility.

And thanks for the 'expanding' nature of your comment Bungus. Kenneth would be delighted to have such austere support for his 'Sydney Opera House' position. But by the time I see him I shall have forgotten.

I may return, but at the moment I am off to watch Springwatch.

Probably catch you later. If not, sleep tight !

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Nails Day - Hot and Humid

Picture 1 is a venture into another Picasa trick. Multiple-exposure. Obviously with practice one would become more expert. It's in the 'collage' set-up and this picture was made up of a white rose, a tree branch and swift against a grey sky, and a fly-past of geese. It looks pleasantly ethereal and I intend to make it my desktop image for a while so I can ponder.

Today was 'nails day' at Carlton. Hard to believe that 3 weeks has passed and unusually the weather was cloudy and humid. The sun didn't emerge fully until teatime although we had glimpses.

I loved the quote the other day which defined a barometer as :-

"An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having."
Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914),
We had lunch at our favourite Italian Restaurant and decided on Paninis. Different fillings but both were delicious. Completely different from Service area 'franchise' paninis. My customary trawl of the charity book shops resulted in not one solitary purchase !

Picture 2 is the emerging basil seedlings. Referring back, I set the seed on Friday and said they would germinate in 5 minutes. For them to be showing 2 leaves on the fifth day is proof that they are, as I said, speedy.

It is always my hope to set as few as 4 seeds because like Garrison Keillor I don't want the decisions over the spares. But more will come - I just know it.

No WoW photography outing tomorrow; everyone busy with other tasks. And I don't mind not going out because there is lots to do prior to our National Trust Weekend. If the weather is irresistable, Y and I might nip over to Wollaton Hall which is on our 'places to visit' list.

I told Y about Jill's comment that she feels she could live in a caravan. She said "Where would she put all her knitting wools and patterns?"

Sorted my blue badge application with photographs copy forms etc., it doesn't expire till 16th July but experience tells me they will need at least a month. Without it I would really suffer. Topped and tailed gooseberries; quicker because Y did more than me. They are rather like a cooked breakfast - preperation time much exceeds eating tim.

Till tomorrow then.