Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Another beautiful day - family meet at Swanage

This lovely 'mackerel sky' was a couple of mornings ago. To be exact it was 06.47am on the 29th July, or so my EXIF data tells me. The amount of available info. can be daunting. Apparently cameras are in the offing which are fitted with the equivalent of SatNav to record precisely where the photograph was taken.

EXIF data is not a Nikon only miracle. Bungus sent me earlier today a photo of teasels which, apparently, were taken at 19.14 on 31st July. I can only assume that the clock in his camera is not set correctly. Not to worry.

We started the day with my blood-test and, as they haven't yet rung me from the clinic, I can assume I'm not hospital bound. The we went to Staples for some bits for our new office. Such helpful staff and a super store; wide aisles and so well stocked. All we needed were some stacking filing trays etc., the days of red wire baskets seem long gone. And when we reached the checkout a charming young lady asked sweetly "Did you find everything you were looking for today?" Obviously a stock (ha ha!) question but how nice.

Then to Sainsburys for minor reprovisioning. And yet again we both felt that it just has the edge on Morrisons. We shan't forsake our lovely Lidl though.

The butterfly looks suspiciously like some sort of fritillary but I'm sort of hoping that either Bungus or Jill is a lepidopterist as well as ornitholigist. I seem to remember that both have helped previously.

My shirt is almost winter weight and I'm too hot. Bt the forecast didn't say it was going to reach 72F and it was a cold morning. Certainly no intention of changing it now because next step is parjies.

Great thing happened this morning. Which Hannah rang on her mum's mobile specially to tell us. Steve and family are holidaying with friends in Swanage and David and family likewise in Weymouth. And they all met, by chance, on the beach at Swanage. Obviously they were clustered round the mobile because we heard David say "When we spotted them on the beach we tried to leg it, but they'd seen us" and we could hear Steve chortling in the background. I bet they had a great time and the kids would love playing in the sand together although perhaps at 10 there are things Hannah would rather be doing. I hope they took lots of pictures which we can see in due course.

Going WoWing with my photographers is not possible tomorrow because we have an appointment with the accountant and thereafter we are taking Joan out to lunch. She has returned from Southampton but still sounds so croaky and chesty and has been to the Doctor. She has never recovered from her 'flu jab. We also need to check out Wilco for a simple table to stand the printer on and, of course, I must raid the charity shops.

And today there's a quote in my Quotations Page which is quite good:-

"It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis".

Margaret Bonnano
She doesn't seem to merit a Wikipedia page, but google tells me she was a Star Trek writer.

Nice coffee now, and a Jaffa cake rather than the donut shown. Then my usual routine. Hope everybody sleeps well and I'll catch you tomorrow.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Gardening - Tip - House Viewer - Bees

Picture 1 is sad, a dead rose, but it looked so dramatic I thought it should be recorded for posterity.

I suppose it comes to us all eventually and it had beautiful and useful life brightening up our front door.

It is to be hoped that my heading "Gardening - Tip....." doesn't attract blog searchers needing gardening advice. My meaning was that first we did a little gardening, and then we went to the Council Tip. And talking of blog-searchers I will confine myself to saying that we are all pleased for Jill. I think that should do, without attracting attention, with or without a multi-coloured dreamcoat.

A very nice post from RonJon on WUforums about something I had suggested, and he says he enjoys the blog, and the pictures. I've told him not to be shy about adding a 'comment' a fresh voice amongst the codgers is always welcome.

Earlier this evening we had a very pleasant house-viewer who seemed genuinely interested and had a really careful look round. He wasn't 'phazed' by the size of the garden. But again, best not get too excited eh?

It has been my ambition, with all the gadgetry available in the Nikon, to capture a bee in flight. And Picture 2 is my best effort so far. The creature looks as if he has been launched from Cape Buddleia but at least he is fairly sharp.

The weather has been lovely and July like and it is forecast to continue for a few more days. I think we all deserve it and even while faced with such terrible problems the spirits of the flood-sufferers must lift a little in the sun, with some blue sky. How those officials have the effrontery to accept their massive bonuses under the circumstances is amazing. Does anyone working for the government not get a bonus these days?

Nothing terribly good on my 'quotes pages' today so I raided my trusty old Aphorisms, edited by Auden:-

"When are men most useless would you say?
When they can't command and can't obey"


And I love this Slovenian Proverb :-

"Never whisper to the deaf or wink at the blind"

I know I refer to Wikipedia a lot for my references, and I know some people often don't trust it's accuracy. But I love its "written by the people" approach to life, and its range is stupendous. It is constantly subjected to the equivalent of an academic peer review on each and every article. Something erroneous could get through but it would be amended double quick by someone who knows better. More power to Jimbo's elbow I say. And his not-for-profit inauguration of the encyclopedia should rightly be recognised as an enormous contribution to the erudition of humankind.

Yvonne and I have enjoyed doing Nat Trust jobs together in our 'Office' and I must try and think of some venture we could use it for to make money. Or perhaps not.

I'm no where near as tired tonight. I'll go and top up my bird-feeders, read something good, then a little radio, a bit of choccy and then big noo-noos as Debra's call it.

n.b for new blog readers. Click a photo to get an enlargement. And anything in orange writing is a clickable link. bonsoir et bonne nuit !

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tracy Day - Warm but windy - Odd skies

During this strange period of weather even the skies seem to be odd. Picture 1 is looking due West at just after 5am this morning, out of my bedroom window. It is hard to believe that this is reflected light from the Sunrise in the East which wasn't due anyway till 5.16am. It actually seems as if the light is emanating from the West.

And what with those peculiar moving searchlight type lights the other night !

Anyway nothing to stop us going over to Tracy's for lunch. Just before we set off I looked out of the kitchen window and there was this bird ! See Picture 2, and from my Collins Wildlife book I feel it is a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker although the picture wasn't spot on, and it is reputed to be 'not common'. This chap was rooting for worms in the lawn, like a blackbird or a thrush.

Tracy looked lovely, as always, and she had made a smashing 'moussaka' for lunch. Y and I still call it 'moose arker' and can no more take to ' moosackka' than we can to 'boudicca' for 'boadecia'. Anyway, how can an expert possibly know how Bodecia was pronounced in A.D. 60? I've always considered it pretentious claptrap but if anyone can come up with a convincing argument I am prepared to yield.

After our moose-arker we went up to Tracy's top garden and enjoyed her garden table and big parasol while we had our cheese and biccies and coffee. As agreed we had taken the cheese board ready prepared including grapes, and that which we didn't eat we brought away with us. It works well as a system because what was happening was that T would do a cheese board and then insist we brought the remnants away, because she doesn't eat cheese when catering for herself.

And Tracy says she wants to do New Year's Eve again. This will be a popular decision because everyone enjoys it so. Last year David and Helen did it but we couldn't go as we had agreed to go to neighbours (which was second best anyway).

Just had Ray on, via Google Chat and he hasn't been too good having to have a fortnight in bed. Fortunately he seems to be 'on the mend' and sounds in good spirits. Couldn't raise David either landline or mobile so can only assume they are still away.

No good quotes on my iGoogle page today, so I will raid my own personal piggy bank of Chaucer. This one served me well throughout my working life:-

"Beware the smyler with the knyf beneath the cloke"

Gentle Dan Chaucer 1343 - 1400

If you wonder where the 'gentle dan' comes from in place of Geoffrey; Samuel Johnson called him that.

.........Must have an early night. I need some sleep. Hope everybody else sleeps well. Nighty night.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Pleasant day - Exhibition up - Computer slow

Picture 1 is of the sort of formal municipal 'bedding' which I now really dislike. In the 50s and 60s the traditional 'white alyssum, red salvias and blue lobelia type of thing' seemed so cool but nowadays they are way over the cringe mark on my 'bedding' appreciation scale.

This summer I have seen several beautiful 'wild-flower' beds, particularly at Burghley House and there is so much to recommend them. A bit is done for conservation, their carbon-footprint must be minuscule, maintenance is minimal 'cos if a weed grows it looks as if you've done it on purpose. And lets face it, formal beds simply look passé. In my humble opinion.

First job this morning was helping to mount our EPS Exhibition in Kimberley Library. Reg had e-mailed people because he feared he would be short on helpers but, loyally, lots of folks turned up. I won't mention them all by name because I might miss somebody which would be rude. I was allowed to revert to my favourite task of 'drawing pin carrier' but 70 photographs were put up , all different from the previous exhibition, and they looked great and reflected great credit on the Club. A super balance of punchy colour, black & white, subtle/strident and all gradations inbetween. Mike took on the role of 'left-hand up a bit' man, Tim did the mountaineering and everybody chipped in their best efforts. It was a pleasure to go.

My efforts to capture a bee whilst airborne failed and I'm using this because at least it is 'sharp' enough to stand a quite dramatic enlargement and crop.

I got lots of frames of bees actually flying but not one of them was sharp. I've tried very fast shutter speeds obviously and also the Nikon's 'sports' programme hoping that, when I've focused on the bee and it subsequently moves the camera's focus point will follow the bee and keep it sharp. At least that's what it says it should do in the Manual. I think I need to consult Reg, Mike, Jason and other experts.

Try, try and try again.........! .If I eventually succeed you will definitely see the results.

I settled down this afternoon to read the current WebUser magazine and discovered they had used a forum piece of mine about Wi-Fi and routers and the like. It is still a satisfaction to see one's advice in hard copy.

Whilst looking out at the western sky last night from around 11.30pm to 12.30am I saw some weird lights. They resembled search-light circles of light and they travelled very fast from left to right and then immediately back again. Then a few seconds later there would be another lot. Not points of light and not very bright but bright enough to be clearly distinguishable. There was nowhere near enough light for photography. Last time I saw an unusual shape in the sky Madeline identified it as 'cloud luminosity' but that was stationary while these moved. If Madeline reads this and can help, it would be much appreciated! And, importantly, did anyone else see them or has seen similar in the past? I googled without avail.

Quotes for the day, which, if I've used before I apologise :-

"The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter"

"I love those who yearn for the impossible"

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We've got Bettany Hughes to look forward to at 8pm. Last week the TV critic thought it 'dull' but he probably isn't such a sucker for a 'lecture plus pictures' as we are. Off to TJ's for lunch tomorrow and must remember to call at Wilko en route.

Closing down now. Sleep tight everybody. Catch you tomorrow.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pleasant July day - 70F - Rest Day

Weather changes again and today has been a lovely July day with a light wind. I guess that in July one is supposed to call it a 'summer breeze' which sounds altogether more acceptable.

Picture 1 is some phlox which, in spite of sounding like a mild skin disease, are very reliable and, as far as ours are concerned, trouble free. The snails don't seem keen, neither do the greenfly. They aren't invasive and, if you decide to move them, they come out easily. Pretty good plant I think?

I included the sprig of honeysuckle to indicate where these particular phlox are, i.e. next to 'sparrowville' and in front of a weigelia.

This morning we went to the 'Buyrite' shop in Heanor, hoping to buy a suitable box in which to hide the plug extension and assorted wires which link to the stuff on my computer desk. It is now beginning to look more 'like me' and it is great for instance to have the printer there and permanently attached and switched on. I printed a copy for Y of the Nat Trst stuff that Gordon forwarded, and it is more conducive to getting things done promptly than when I had to carry the printer from a shelf in my wardrobe, and then read how to plug it in and get it to be 'live'. We didn't find a suitable piece of furniture/equipment but as we go to Tracy's on Sunday, we pass a Wilko !

A problem with the pedal bin has been that a black plastic bit, which covers the pedal, kept dropping off. I would stick it back with a progressively changing variety of adhesives, up to and including super glue. No matter which, it persisted in coming off so this morning I had bright idea 6,325. I threw away the plastic bit and sprayed the pedal black. A casual walk past wouldn't reveal it and after all who is going to inspect the pedal bin and say "I think you will find that there is a black plastic bit missing here".

I can think of one 'commenter' who will now do precisely that, next time he visits. Fish & Chip day today and while our usual 'chunky haddock pieces' from Lidl were fine we had changed from our normal variey of oven chips and didn't like them as much. Apricots and greek yoghourt for pudding though !

As you may note from 'comments' I had omitted mention of Reg's foot equivalent of 'tennis elbow' and I hereby remedy the omission. Further research in Wikipedia about tennis/golfers/elbow did not take me immediately to a foot version. My attention was grabbed by "osgood-schlatter's syndrome" because Peter Osgood is one of the few footballers I can remember. I was also encouraged when I saw there were 'footnotes' - ha ha! But it was a blind alley I'm afraid and in anycase is mainly suffered by 10-14 year old boys which rather conclusively rules out Reg. None of this Reg should be taken as diminishing a very painful ailment about which you have all our sympathy.

When I collected Y from Burton Joyce it was nice to see Steven and he does genuinely seem much better. I think though that he still has a fair way to go because he said how quickly he tires and how stairs make him not only 'done-for' but also breathless. It would be nice to think that their holiday would be a chance for rest, but, with a young family, it never is is it?

My quote for the day is :-
"Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber at weekends"

Plus a favourite from my own personal quote Library :-

"Jenny kissed me when we met
jumping from the chair she sat in.
Time you thief, who love to get sweets into your list
put that in"

He was much criticised by the mainstream poetry lobby for 'triviality' but I've always rated him for some memorable lines. Takes all sorts as they say. And I love Bungus's invention of the name 'Nisson Lycra' for their new stretch limo ! John says stretch limos are basically unsafe and unroadworthy and their import should be restricted, and he should know !!

Leisurely coffee. Finish off Xword, read, radio and early kip. I must set my phone to remind me I am helping with the Exhibition in the morning. Catch you all tomorrow. Sleep tight.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Burton Joyce Day - very stormy - roads blocked

In a previous blog I had mentioned that granddaughter Laura was back-packing after finishing her actual Architecture Degree and before beginning the next phase. And I used the word 'faffing about' which I unhesitatingly withdraw. John has sent me some super pictures and, aAs you can see from Picture 1, she has been camel-trekking in the desert with her boyfriend Joe. Apparently the camels came equipt with a table and two chairs - one of whch is pictured. If I implied even the hint of criticism I certainly don't feel it because these sorts of experience are much more valuable than boring old Uni and jobs and if she can't do it now when should she? I'm really proud of her !

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, as we used to say, it has been a routine Burton Joyce day. I delivered Y to the tram and then called in at Morrisons for essential supplies and, as Picture 2 shows, after a beautiful bright July day yesterday, we are now back to normal.

In the really badly flooded areas around Tewkesbury there are some terrible stories. Pure drinking water is short and the bowsers are struggling to maintain supplies. People are managing to take more than their fair share and it is hard to believe but the bowsers are being vandalised. Vandals are switching the taps on and leaving them so that they run dry. We must be approaching the stage where the government ought to consider emergency powers. Personally I would have no hesitation with adult vandals and looters (of sound mind) in instructing that they be shot. And I never ordered an officer to do anything which I wasn't prepared to do myself.

Without access to clean water, all sorts of nasties, even cholera will lurk. And people can't boil it because they have no power.

My route to collect Y from Burton Joyce was circuitous. I encountered much flood water too deep to safely traverse and several roads which were closed. Nevertheless we made it and enjoyed our jacket-potatoes and salad and I had keyed-in sufficient leeway with the oven timer so that we weren't rushed. I have plugged in the new phone in The Office, but putting all the numbers in the memory will have to wait. Steven and Lisa and family go off on holiday tomorrow. Miles has discovered to joys of the 'spoken word' because he now has a CD/MP3 Player and was listening to Micahel Rosen reading Hairy Tales and bits he wanted to share, so we had to listen to one earphone while he listened to the other. He loves them, and 'laugh' is inadequate. It is a long time since I heard someone chortle, but that is exactly what he was doing.

Which conveniently shoehorns me into a Byron quote:-
"Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine."
Lord Byron (1788 - 1824)
I hope David and family at Weymouth are reasonably dry. And Debra's lot are OK. And we are off to TJ's for lunch on Sunday.

I'm off to bed now. Sleep tight everybody.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Nat Trust to Southwell Minster - Wet again

A busy day but so enjoyable.

Eastwood for the doctor's, then I cooked sausage & mash (in which I mixed chopped chives - Bungus will be delighted to learn that I used 3
whole leaves).

Then to Mansfield Curry's for a replacement phone for our new Office. The one we've chosen has a ten-slot memory, instant redial, and other gubbins and cost £7.99 - amazing. After that we continued our journey to Southwell where our Mansfield National Trust Group were booked in for a guided-tour. We watched a very enjoyable and informative DVD in the Visitor Centre and then toured the inside of the building. The 22 of us were split into 2 groups of 11 (fortunately no-one had a football) each with our own guide and we all had a great and muchly informative trip round the Minster.

No matter how many times one visits this glorious cathedral one learns something new. For me, this time, it was little pigs carved into the masonry behind some leaves in the Chapter House, and you certainly wouldn't spot them unless you were shown. The skill of the masons was awesome. I have made Southwell Minster a live link for you to click. If you do, you will find more delights on the website. If you hover your cursor over their live links in the left hand column you get a thumbnail picture relevant to the contents. I'd like to know how the designer did that.

Picture 1 is the 'pepper pots' on a dull day (how different from yesterday) and for reasons of unobtrusive-ity I took the Casio rather than the Nikon. I made certain I had knocked the flash off because nothing is more irritating for ther people, particularly in a place of worship. The few photos I took seem fine, if a little blurry, and it was only as we reached the end of our tour that I saw a notice saying that for photography you needed a permit. So I didn't take any more, and I certainly think the rule is most reasonable and I shall remember next time we visit.

Picture 2 is a fairly modern piece of work and is quite spectacularly lit. It represents Christ welcoming and not the Crucifixion. After our tour we had arranged for us a cup of tea and a cake and Jean had obtained for me a piece of blueberry cheesecake which was gorgeous. The way the 'teams' were separated resulted in Y being in one and me in the other. When I was suffering abit going round, Joan S took me under her wing even though, bless her, she is over 10 years older than me. Joan (Peter's Joan) who also suffers walking problems, and I walked round together and sympathised with each other!

It is very nice how nearly everyone makes a point of thanking Jean B for these lovely trips. The thanks are well-deserved because she works so hard to ensure that they are a success and, therefore, they invariably are. We gave her a lift home, whch saved Peter from a detour, and then nipped into Sainsburys for essentials. A lovely fresh malted grain loaf which made excellent toast, under some smoked salmon, for tea. Then it was 'deal with photographs' and finally 'blog'.

If I owe anyone an e-mail, or there are other undertakings which have overtaken me, I apologise and will do my best to catch up tomorrow. Which is a Burton Joyce day so Y will be over there till I collect her in the early evening.

....That's it folks. Sleep tight and I'll catch you tomorrow. Too late for a quote so you will have to google your own.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

'Nails' day - Italian lunch - Bromley House

This morning was like being at work, but fun. It is a Karen day so Y and I installed ourselves in the Office and did National Trust jobs. We made good headway and, now I have my printer back, we were able to print copies of things for our 'Outings' Committee.

By the way, Karen says she is mad keen on her computer and hasn't watched the television since February!

Around 11.15am we drove over to Carlton Hill for Y's 'nails service' and true to form it was a crystal clear day complete with blue sky. It has only let us down once. My sortie into the charity shops yielded nothing but we had another lovely lunch in Frantinis. Then we drove down into town to take books back to Bromley House and because I had promised to buy Hannah a little carrying pouch for her digital camera. She said she would prefer a plain black one and I got just the thing from Jessops.

Picture 1 is our Bromley House secret garden from a first floor window and Picture 2 is from the far end of the garden looking back towards the House. After I had finished inside because it was hot, I sat in the garden to wait for Y and it is so hard to believe that one is just a few yards from Market Square.

I know that the Library's exclusivity might offend some, but as I pressed the entrance buzzer, before I could speak, a voice invited me in by name. It really is like having a 'club' in the town-centre and we cherish our membership. Good books too!!

Thank you all for your sympathy for my Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylitis) but mine is Golfer's Elbow (medial epicondylitis) - different tendon, different yelp spot when pressed. Dr L******** said it was often a result of repetitive strain, or for no reason at all , and when I was struggling up Market Street to Jessops, I realised how much weight I transfer to my left arm, the hand of which grips my stick. Y says I shall have to use my right hand - but, if I did that, I would surely fall over. Thought I would share that with you all.

Bungus and Jill and I have exchanged e-mail views about a certain matter and we all seem to be much of a mind about it. I shall do nothing for several days and see what happens. On a different subject entirely Gordon e-mailed me with a missive from the National Trust about sub-groups. This would be an alternative, I assume, to our setting up of a 'team blog'. Y and I will read it carefully and discuss with Gordon and Peter pretty soon. Tomorrow afternoon we are going as a group to Southwell Minster, and each time one goes something new is learnt. A couple of years ago we had an excellent lecture (with slides of course) from the recently retired Head Verger. We are both looking forward to it. No doubt pictures will be presented for your delectation. Hope it is as nice a day as today.

I certainly didn't intend my response to the floods to be 'glib' because our hearts go out to the poor people who are suffereing. Listening to the radio I had a big lump in my throat when I heard a young family chap trying to keep the children's spirits up by playing a game while they were waiting to be rescued. "See how many different things we can count floating by?". We Brits are pretty indomitable.
Geoffrey Chaucer
Just another of those clichés he was always writing. Like Shakespeare. It must feel seriously good to have such an original mind that people are still quoting you six hundred years later.

It was a joy to learn that Jill had insisted on Dimsie Boy having his own gas mask but such a disappointment to find out that Bungus's 'Raymond' wasn't a real invisible friend at all but had been invented as a purely literary figure. But I never had one in the first place, so who am I etc.....?

We are making our own way to Southwell tomorrow afternoon. Hope everyone sleeps well.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Only showers - 67F - Severe floods elsewhere

This photograph was irresistable and I have called it

"I've been framed"

I know - but it isn't possible to have too corny a title in photographic circles. Even the RPS !

The floods in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire are extremely bad but I'm not providing links or pictures because the media are covering it more than adequately. I agree with the Telegraph that it's nobody's fault and there is no-one to sue. Everyso-often we experience floods. Always have and always will I suppose. None of this should be construed as a lack of serious sympathy for those who are suffering. Bottled water has had a 'bad press' just recently but, when you can't drink that which comes out of the taps (if any does) what to do?

Also, the chorus of 'don't build houses in flood-plains' is a bit daft. We always have done from the Romans onwards. Prehistoric man seems to have had more sense, favouring caves halfway up hill-sides and hill-forts and the like. "Send the missus down to the stream with the leather bucket" has a certain ring to it.

To return to Banksy and 'comments'. I apologise for the typo and meant to say he has a 'brain' , rather than a 'brian' , but have decided not to edit it because it would make a nonsense of Bungus's and Jill's invisible childhood friends 'Raymond' and 'Dimsie Boy' respectively who both sound delightful and in Jill's case, saw her safely through the War. He sounds rather like a forerunner of 'Del Boy'. I feel sure our readers would love to hear more about both of them.

As you will notice I have moved from Hollyhock to Honeysuckle for a flower study. Our common lonicera (all mixed in with the winter jasmine) is mostly where the sparrows live and is in full flush of flower with a super smell. Full of nectar and as a boy we used to go hunting for it to suck the sweetness. We used to make our own fun in them days There were no proper sweets during the War but I hesitate to start the 'Melloids' thread again. David and family arrived safely in Weymouth with their caravan but how they managed to negotiate a dry route from here to there I don't know.

Just to touch briefly on words that we suddenly latch on to their meaning and source. My best example for me is 'wildfire' which I always understood correctly, as something travelling uncontrollably fast. But it is as recently as a few years ago that I twigged it's source as 'wild' and 'fire'. Y has just had one. Until 2 days ago she never realised that St. Pancras was named after a saint of that name. She had always just accepted it as similar to Turnham Green.

I saw the Doctor this morning and she assures me that my pains are due to my back and decrepitude rather than the statins. She made the brilliant diagnostic point that, as it was just the left leg, the chronic pressure on my sciatic nerve would be responsible - the statins being ill-equipped to tackle one leg rather than both. Her remedy for when it becomes excruciating is to try to move it just before it becomes 'set'. She agreed this is difficult when asleep in bed. However, she has put my 'mind at rest' as she always does. My painful elbow is 'golfer's elbow' (medial epicondylitis) and, after I had described it, she pressed her thumb firmly on the exact spot. My yelp of pain confirmed her diagnosis!

My quote for the day is a biblical one, and topical at that :-

........" Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together.".......Psalms 98:8

Have a good night's sleep everyone ...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

EPS 'digital day' at Durban House - 65F- Cloudy

The globe artichokes are just starting to bloom and Picture 1 is the first.

From 10am to 4pm I was at our digital photography open day at Durban House as part of the Arts Festival. The idea was for EPS (Eastwood Photographic Society) members to be available to offer advice and encouragement to any photographers who happened to be passing and possible attract a few new members. Reg recounts that one previous year somebody asked how to get the film out of their digital camera? Quite understandable I suppose for someone who is completely new to this modern witchcraft.

Unfortunately I wasn't asked anything at all but some of the others were. Jason spent a lot of time helping a keen customer and so did Reg, Roger and Maureen. And I think Mike and Brian dealt with some queries. Unfortunately, most of the time, we outnumbered the clients, of whom we had only a disappointing few. Nevertheless we Club Members enjoyed ourselves muchly. Inevitably we found lots to rabbit-on about. And it was well worth me going, for the Photoshoppery I learnt from Jason. And I think Roger was the same.

Picture 2 is a common thistle in the back garden which I suppose ought to be pulled up but I was struck by the similarities. Wikipaedia describes the 'globe artichoke' as a perennial thistle, so I suppose it isn't surprising

When I say pulled up I really mean 'dug out' because they can be tenacious brutes. Perhaps leave it for the new owner, if we ever get one that is.

For lunch at Durban House I had a hot beef sandwich which was pleasant. But served with lettuce? I'm a bit surprised at David (Durban House). However, when I had a coffee refill, that came free - which is a rapidly spreading practice of which I heartily approve.

Reg and I talked about Langold Lake again and mentioned to Mike the possibility of a WOW trip. That is a live 'link' by the way if anyone cares to click it. And for WOW people, I like the sound of Andy's café. We might get a chip butty, but I guess it the place will be alcohol free. The Langold Hotel might be worth a try though.

I know Banksy is frowned on but I firmly believe that eventually his 'graffiti' will be recognised for what it is i.e. Great Art. He has already started to sell well in the galleries:-

::: Banksy:::

"The holy grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it"

He obviously has a brian in addition to a nimble spray can. I think I ought to pop in an example and I'm sure Banksy won't mind at all. If any of the 'it ain't Art' brigade can fail to see the simple power of this piece I fall into a state of despair.

This is his 'Flower Chucker' and in construction terms it is first rate. I know I am a sucker for strong diagonals but................. He can come and spray a version on our wall anytime.

It would probably put off yet another purchaser until some art-dealer rather than Estate Agent told them what it would be worth !!

Kip time I think (9.40pm - don't believe the time it says at the bottom). Sleep tight everybody.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

London & South flooded - 53F - Rest Day

Picture 1 is a Bungus photo of yesterday morning's Sun behind cloud and it is rather nice.

Personally I am convinced it's one of those pictures where, if you stare at it long enough, you can see the face of Jesus or his mother. It is always one or the other isn't it?

But to see the sun at all at the moment is a minor triumph. It has rained steadily here for most of the day and been cold. Compared to London and the South though we are lucky.

Apart from Lidl and Morrisons we have enjoyed our Rest Day. The crossword is finished already and we have an interesting programme to watch this evening on Channel4 about 'Athens and Democracy' by Bethany Hughes who we both like. And, by that time, my 'blog' will have been done.

John called in to see us and it was nice to have all the family news. Laura is 'faffing' about a bit and is off back-packing - but, if you don't do those things when you are her age, it is sometimes difficult to fit them in later. She sounds fine. As is everyone else in the John branch.

He has similar doubts about the wisdom of blogs as Y, so I asked if it would be OK just to take a picture of him leaving, for the blog. Picture 2 is the result.

I know it should be 'his' leaving and I might yet join the "we ain't got no spinach' brigade. (please see prev. blog)

I return to Emerson for my quote today :-

"So of cheerfulness, or a good temper, the more it is spent, the more it remains." -

Now I do think you would have a good hour in a pub with Emerson.

I hope everyone manages to keep their feet dry. And sleep tight.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Art/Photographic Exhibition - And still it rains

I was 'on duty' at the Exhibition this morning and when we weren't too busy I took this panorama of about 95% of the paintings. There is another display board off-stage right but it wasn't possible to swizzle my monopod any further round because there was a door wedged open in the line of sight. Also there is a display board to the left of the desk. The photographs are on the centre boards leading from the front centre of the picture to the stage. I have some photographs of the photographs, but they need work.

All the visitors seemed to enjoy the pictures, and it is a good venue to display in because of the super lighting. However, the distance from the road and the town-centre means that there isn't much 'passing trade'. I apologise for the barrel-distortion in the panorama but it was almost inevitable and would need a more nimble 'photoshopper' than Radiogandy to get rid of it. As it is mostly the roof which is affected I don't think it matters too much. It has given the room a touch of the bowed timbers in Nelson's 'HMS Victory' . Go on, give it a click. I enjoyed the 'chats' and the feeling of being able to make some 'contribution' however slight and we both feel the same about the National Trust. The time passes quickly -not that that is necessarily a good thing at out age.. On Sunday, we have our 'digital open day' at Durban House and that also will be interesting. I hope I don't get asked too many difficult questions!

Our interested house-viewers have decided No. Apparently Mr, who wanted to haggle, was in favour but Mrs's sister who came along, disapproved of the proximity of the main road, and the footpath. Ah well. Good job we didn't get excited. Y went out in the garden this morning and knocked herself up just tidying. Then the rains came and prevented any further activity. It might prove necessary to uproot many of Y's treasured shrubs and trees, beds of things I've grown from seed like hollyhocks, lupins, echinacea etc., take down the trellis fence and turf a large area, to make the garden look more manageable. We shall see !

Today's quote sums up our lives in retirement I think :-

"Play: Work that you enjoy doing for nothing".

- Evan Esar

Only one picture today I'm afraid. The weather is so anti-photography and I do like my 'blog' pictures to be current and at least somehow connected to the day's activities. Reg had a good idea for a WOW trip this morning. Check out how Langold Lake has changed over the last 40 or so years. And if he reads this I've remembered the name of the village one could walk to through the woods. Dinnington ! More about Langold, Firbeck Pit, and miners will surely follow.

Just pratising ! - the way the weather is going we may all need too. Sleep tight. Catch you tomorrow.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

BJ day - Shopping - Boughton - Jack/pots

I took this in the middle of the night a couple of days ago, and it is not a 'red sky at night'. Well not a genuine one anyway. It is quite simply, and horribly, 'light-pollution' and depending on the height and nature of the clouds, we get it all the time.

Thank you Bungus for your alpha+ research into Vegemite and related matters. I feel sufficiently well armed to steer a dinner party conversation round to the subject and then baffle everyone with science. Trouble is we don't seem to do dinner-parties any more - but the thought is there!

We had our usual busy Thursday. I took Y to the tram just after 9am, did some shopping, came home and unpacked it and put 2 jacket potatoes in the oven on the timer for evening meal. Jacket Potato and grated-cheese with salad is one of Y's favourite meals. So you could say she has won the Jackpot. Oh dear - they are flowing today, even if high on the cringe scale. Then I drove over to Boughton to meet Bungus for lunch and he had booked us into The Snooty Fox where, hithertofore, we have had excellent meals. Not so today. We both felt our meals were poor value, too expensive and over-priced. A 25ml bottle of Becks non-alcoholic lager was £2. Bob had the meat and potato pie which arrived without potato and with not very nice pastry. My poached haddock with spinach turned out to be 'smoked haddock' which had I known I wouldn't have ordered. It arrived sans spinach and when I queried it the boy waiter returned and said "We ain't got no spinach". I fought back the desire to say "In that case I will have a portion please" feeling that the irony would be lost.

We nipped over to Laxton the historical farming village which is quite near Bob and which I am supposed to be researching for Mansfield National Trust as potential visit. One of Bob's farmer friends does the guided tours but, at first sight, I didn't think it would suit many of our members. However, I won't dismiss it until I know more. Then, after a quick coffee we returned to Bungus's so I could have a quick chat to Ralph. He is getting to be an old dog and apparently neither his eyesight, not his hearing are working well anymore. The other end is certainly working and he produced a 'room clearer' which his master who was sitting next to him, claimed not to smell. I think Ralph has become a 'ventriloquist of the bottom'. Sensing my desire for a pudding Bungus produced some first rate rhubarb and custard and copious amounts of tea.

When I left I drove straight down the A614 to Burton Joyce and had good fun with the grandchildren. Miles and Hannah both had excellent School Reports to show me. Millicent was her usual boisterous self, I doubt if there has ever been a noisier little girl. I read a bit of The Gruffalo but what she really wanted to do was beat me up which she had great fun doing. Then my nose gave me the second warning of the day. She peeped in the side of her nappy and declared it to be 'degutting' which indeed it was. Y did the necessary thank goodness! And then we all played blind man's buff. I was allowed to to be the 'Humble Assistant' again; a sedentary role which I can handle. Then, before her Dad came home Hannah did us an excellent dance, which she is still working on. Yes. Steven has been to work ! I knew he would. Let's just hope he has a rest day tomorrow. Thank you all for your good wishes to Steven.

When I arrived home I nipped out with my 50mm lens and x4 ND filter and photographed the hollyhocks at f1.8 into the sun, by underexposing quite dramatically. The result pleases me which is what matters. And I would rather achieve the result by camera-work rather than post shot 'PhotoShoppery'.

Tomorrow morning I am Exhibition sitting again. I will be fun and I am looking forward. By the way my ArtDaily newspaper has started arriving reliably again.

A quotation -

Al Capp - cartoonist.
I had a much better night last night, and I hope to repeat the experience tonight. But, as I have commented, and Sandra finds and no doubt Mac will too, the onset of a problem is completely random. If one knew what caused it, it would be a simple matter of avoiding 'doin that thing. But it ain't'.

This is the scene outside Madeline's most evenings. Sleep tight everyone.

n.b. Everything orange is a live link. i.e. click on it and magic happens.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Some Sun - 70F - still managed a downpour

As promised, a picture of my ex-flatpack Ikea computer desk. At the moment it looks uncomfortably tidy - for me! But, give it time - give it time.

Its name is Goliat, and the bookcase is Billy. I do hope they get on.

Our first commitment this morning was Y's eye test at Spec Savers and she reports that they were meticulous. After checking the charity shops while she was 'done' I helped her choose frames and then left her to go down town while I made my way over to the Council Offices to do my first stint of Exhibition sitting. The final display, of both Art Club and Photography Club, really looks good and before it is taken down I will try a 'record shot'. I thought I would be sitting single handed and took radio, newspaper, book etc but in fact I was double-crewed with Reg - and Alan from the Art Club arrived too. So a fun time and good conversatrion was enjoyed by all and we atracted 27 visitors, all of whom genuinely seemed impressed. I've a sneaking fear that that is a 'split infinitive' or something.

Picture 2 is Echinacea, or 'purple coneflower' and we have quite a large clump which are just starting to flower. It has a quality whereby the centre seems to glow. If that doesn't come over I shall try again in better light. Around 5am would be ideal - so I must remember in the morning.

I know they are the basis for a popular herbal remedy. Should we chew them, brew them or stew them I wonder? And what would it cure us of?

Madeline corrected her 'negroids' to 'nigroids' and I am reassured that she also, considered them to be 'sweets'. During the war real sweets were virtually non-existant. I remember some, name unknown, about an inch long which looked like coloured blackboard chalk. The texture and flavour was like that too.

While we are on the subject of 'comments' Jill gave me permission to 'blog' her e-mail about their house-sitting in the New Forest. I am pleased that she is willing for me to do so because it is a lovely account and my view as 'editor' is that the comments and other people's contributions add enormously to the 'blog' and prevent it deteriorating into a sort of 'Hi' letter. (Jill's letter can be found in the 'comments' column).

From my Office window I have a clear view of the Wednesday evening motor-cyclists who I understand all meet at The Boat at Shipley. Although I don't get a clear or close view I can see enough to spot some gorgeous and potent machines. I suppose - once a biker etc.....

Nothing from the house re-viewers and potential hagglers so I think we can assume that they found a dfferent place which suited them better. Not to worry. I am going over to Boughton to see Bungus tomorrow lunchtime, and then collect Y from Burton Joyce. Then on Friday I am Exhibition sitting again. My new Logic DAB radio is great. Mono - but as I only listen to the spoken word the absence of stereo concerns me not at all. In fact I suspect that one bigger speaker is better than 2 little ones? Madeline will have a view because she is defininitely into 'heavy metal' and the like.

A 'smiley' for Madeline. Sleep tight everyone. Catch you tomorrow.