Thursday, August 30, 2007

Still sunny - Y 'grannying' - Me 'messing about'

Both pictures are from yesterday's WOW (Walk on Wednesday by the way) at Dovedale and I couldn't not include the famous stepping-stones.

Again, as lads with fertile imaginations, we used to re-enact the scene when Little John and Robin Hood do battle with their long staves and try to knock each other into the water. Going along with Jill's thoughts, if anyone was seen doing that nowadays they would probably be served with ASBOs and 'elf & safety' would install cast-iron security rails. As I hinted yesterday though, we were all pleasantly surprised at how little interference there has been and also the lack of litter. Interestingly, I didn't see a single litter bin or dog-poo box anywhere between the car-park and the stepping stones, and there was no evidence of either cause of offence. Congratulations to the appropriate authorities for the welcome common-sense of trusting people in a beauty spot !!

I suppose the Grand Teton range and Ansel Adams' 'Snake River' picture just has the edge for drama and quality but Dovedale is nearer and I hope that Picture 2 captures the 'feel' of the place.

It occurs to me that I could 'photoshop' transform it to a very dark black & white and drop the moon from the other day into that welcoming blue passage of the picture ! I could then entitle it 'Moon River' for our forthcoming EPS, 'Song Title' competition.

Comment on 'comments' :- Certainly no need to apologise Jill for using blog space. I love the comments. They are so valuable. And in any case we like medical bulletins on this blog. It adds a dramatic quality I think. I hope Bungus had a good howl at the full moon and in my view his creative 'gin & gripe-water' remedy would have done Jill the world of good.

Y has gone 'grannying' to Burton Joyce and all being well we, and they, are going over to Carsington Water to meet up with David. I shall decline a boat-trip on the big boat but I bet Y will be game.

Now 8pm and had tea. Routine jacket potato and salad. 'Phone calls have been exchanged and tomorrow we all meet near the Visitors' Centre at Carsington at 10/10.30am -ish to decde what to do. Everyone is taking a picnic and chairs and I intend to take a flask of coffee because the centre's is so awful. In Morrisons they now stock Costa Espresso Beans/Ground and OK, it's only a brand, but I like it.

At the moment I'm reading an Architecture A-Z Book by Louis Hellman who, as well as being an architect is a nimble illustrator and cartoonist. I'm enjoying it so much I shall probably find at the end that it is written for 12-14yr olds ! In my ignorance I've always thought that Mies van de Rohe coined the 'less is more' concept. I've dropped it into enough conversations. But I now find that it was thought of a little earlier, i.e in the 6th Century BC by Lao Tsu. You learn something every day.

Don't really need a quote after all that, but:-

"What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure"

Samuel Johnson
n.b. to blog readers. Click a picture for an enlargement.
Words in orange are live-links. For those with monochrome monitors, try hovering over the word and if it twitches it's probably live.

Catch you tomorrow. Sleep tight.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dovedale with WOW - Great Day - Sunny !

First things first and we all hope that Jill is recovering steadily from her 'vicious virus'. What an awful thing to happen! and so soon after her hospital sojourn to be back there amongst presumably drunken revellers. Did you have antibiotics and things ?

I agree Bungus that e-mailing and blogging are addictive. Especially when one's blog has 'a 2/3 pictures a day habit' to feed.

Re Steven's garden. The formal Victorian bit nearest the camera, was designed by a pro. garden designer who they christened 'Long Tall Sally' and its installation was done by she and two Polish workmen who couldn't speak English. Our garden chap Alex also does work there and it is rather lovely isn't it? Steven works very hard and is successful, so we think it is great that he spends some of it on providing such a beautiful environment for his family.

Our WOW day to Dovedale went exceptionally well. Y came with us for the walk. She thoroughly enjoyed herself. There were five of us and we took two cars and it worked out. The air was utterly clear, as was the Dove, we used to swim in the deep bits as lads when it reaches Mappleton and it is one of the coldest rivers I know. The trip was quite nostalgic for me. I took loads of pictures.

Some commenters tell me I should include figures in pictures, to give an idea of scale. So in Picture 1, I asked these three people to nip smartly up, towards the peak of Thorpe Cloud and when they were suitably framed a third of the way in, and against the sky I clicked. I didn't know whether to go for dappled shade, babbling brook, trees, mountains, or what ?

Picture 2 is some 'scree' that has always been like that, and as lads we used to race down it. Part running, part sitting and sliding and falling over, and the winner was lucky to stay out of the water at the bottom. There was no shortage of cut knees but we didn't seem to bother about such things then did we?

The 'fit four' went off up the dale and left me 'faffing about' at my own pace and then we met up at around 12.30pm.

Picture 3 is typical Dovedale and I was pleased I lugged my tripod with me ecause there wasn't as much light under the trees as you would think. And I had decided on ISO 100, RAW, and f16 for sharpness front to back. I used my 50mm prime quite a lot and it really is sharp. There were hundreds of people around and the children are still on holiday. But they were all very well behaved and if you are a lad it is a rule of nature that you throw stones in the water. We were also delighted at the absence of litter ! And no dog-mess either, even thought there were lots of dogs. All i all an excellent day.

We then headed to The Railway Inn at Shottle (I was going to post you a link, but they don't seem to have a website tut! tut) where the statutory chip-buttie was consumed. Nice conversation and then home. Steven has just been on Google Chat which was fun and it is good that he already only needs one crutch rather than two. And it seems like it is 'all systems go' for Carsington on Friday. Lisa will have to drive obviously but it isn't all that far. Just hope this weather holds. It will be great to see the children together. Pity Debra is so far away. And John's are all grown-up.

I mentioned the Chevrolet Belair again to Reg but he couldn't place it, so please clicky here and all will be revealed. When I was in my 3o's I really coveted one. Too many rock & roll films I suppose. The pictures don't really do them justice, they were magnificent !

Quote for the day :-

"Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so"

John Stuart Mill

A canny old bird I always thought.

I'm almost certain the full moon is tonight. I can't see any missing bits anyway. It would yield to a simple google, but I'm tired. Sleep tight. Catch you tomorrow.
I think the 'sheep dog' is due for an airing !

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Steven's knee- guest editor Hannah

Yesterday, Steven/dad fell over in the garage and dislocated his bad knee. We called for a ambulance, that popped my dad's knee back in the right place. He came home at about 12 ish that night.

The next day, Tracy,grandma and grandad-graham came round to look after us 3 (me,miles & millicent) while my mum/dad went to the hospital.

We all had lunch. Dad came back home after 2 or 3 hours and has to rest it for 4 weeks, at the momment he has crutches and a weird cover on in his leg to keep it straight. I hope it hasn't spoiled their Wedding Anniversary!


p.s. Very little to add. Hannah did all the above by herself (having been shown how). She nipped down to the bottom of the garden to take the photograph, on her own camera, and then downloaded it into 'My Pictures'. She was such an able student and she won't forget how to do things at 10yrs, it is only when you get to 70+ that you can't remember from one day to the next.

So, I now have a deputy-editor. And some icing on the cake - Miles at 6yrs old read it faultlessly on screen. OK he had to think about 'dislocation' and 'crutches' but he got there.

Re comments:- Thanks Bungus for details of your 'exciting biting' day. The only thing I would have enjoyed was the eccles cakes and the 'humming'. Not keen on croissants. Unpleasant foreign things that crumble too much and get all over the place. Peanut butter on toast? Fine. But I couldn't face vinagered beetroot with it. Pleased Sandra's auction went well but it is a pity that she didn't get more for what was obviously high-value gear.

Pleased to report 'beard under control' due to old-fashioned safety razor plus comb and sharp scissors.

Quote for the day (my old falling-apart Penguin Quotations Dictionary (10/6d) again :-

"Charity, dear Miss Prism, charity ! None of us are perfect.
I myself am peculiarly susceptible to draughts"

Oscar Wilde (of course)

p.s.s. Reg just rang. Tomorrow WOW are going to Dovedale and I shall be able to take photos of Thorpe Cloud and The Stepping Stones etc. Boyhood revisited. We used to play Swallows and Amazons there. Blogger now claims to deal with videos, so I shall be interested to see how that last link fares.

An early night is called for, for us both. Nice to be busy, and needed though. Hope everyone sleeps well and hope Reg is right about tomorrow's weather. C atch you later.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Rest Day - Y and TJ's Southwell visit OK

Picture 2 is from yesterday, and a few minutes earlier than the Crich Tower picture. This was still plenty of light to make the corn stubble look dramatic and in the enlargement you may be able to see the regrowth of green in the foreground. Ain't nature wonderful ?

In answer to Bungus's query about Sky's 'Mondrian' the picture is around A3 plus. And TJ's dessert was not creme caramel but creme brulee - if you open the link her's were one row down, second from the left. Sorry 'bout the lack of proper French accents ! I knew how to type them once but the only one I can remember is é .

Y and TJ had a smashing day in Southwell. The Workhouse first was good except that the projection screen which Mansfield Centre, National Trust provided, was not in use and they were still projecting onto the bare wall. Hope nobody has pinched it ! They lunched in The Saracens Head where the food was excellent but their 'seating' was odd. When they entered, the restaurant was empty and they were taken to a pleasant table in a corner. But when the next group arrived the maitre d' seated them at the very next table to the right of Y and TJ, even though the restaurant was still empty. TJ queried it and was given some convoluted explanation about the lady's poor eyesight and she needed the light blah blah yadda yadda.......... But TJ and Y decided not to let it spoil their meal.

When I arrived home last night the moon was just rising and I nipped out with mi' tripod and long lens.

I thought, surely this must be the Harvest Moon although it isn't quite full yet. But, as you will see if you open the link, the Harvest Moon is closest to the 'autumnul equinox' and therefore not due to 23rd September. So I guess it will be the next full moon !

The picture must come in useful for something however; maybe I can photoshop it into some unsuspecting photograph.

As planned I had a quiet, inactive day. Cooked nothing, did nothing, and only ventured out to open the front gates for TJ's arrival. Nice kip this afto. Nearly done the crossword and caught up on some reading. But I didn't catch up on my forums. No matter.

My quote (in my ancient hard copy thank you) is one of my favouritest ever Horace (65-8 B.C)

"Difficilis, querulus, laudator temporis acti / Se puero"

"Testy, querulous and given to praising the way things were when he was a boy"

So, old men have been at the wingeing-game at least for 2 millenia.

My beard-trimmer has given up on me, after 20 yrs trusty service, and guess where I found the best bargain ? Amazon ! Is there anything they don't sell these days? The model I've ordered collects the 'trimmings' in a container which one then empties. No more "all over the bathroom floor" or much worse, inside my vest ! Trouble is it won't be dispatched till Aug 30th and by the first week in September I shall have a definitely 'sleazy' look. Or so Y tells me.

....,..I know Madeline has been suffering from forum-fatigue so I might have just a touch of it. If I'm up in the middle of the night though, I might go and lurk abit in WUforums. I always like it there ! Sleep tight and I'll catch you tomorrow.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rest Day - 30.5 barometer - 66F - Tea at TJ's

Picture 1 is the sunset from Felley Priory island, on my way home from Tracy's. You can just see Crich Tower on the skyline about a fifth in from the right. The reason it isn't on the golden section is that I wanted to include the sunbeams to the left. Tracy invited us over for tea because she and Y are going to Southwell Workhouse tomorrow and Y is staying over at Sherwood. I didn't really want to go again and they will have a super Mum and Daughter day.

We had eaten well at lunchtime, barnsley chops with potato, carrots, courgettes, and delicious runner beans from Peter's garden. With, of course, the obligatory fresh mint sauce. Followed I dare hardly admit by Angel Delight (butterscotch flavour - second childhood or what?). So all we needed was a sandwich at teatime. But TJ doesn't like to serve sandwiches and made (while we were there) a lovely Spanish Omelette with watercress salad and couscous, followed by those custardy things (in shallow individual containers with seared sugar on top ?) whose name escapes me. So - not a strict diet day !

David and I spoke this morning and he had already e-mailed this painting by Sky. She was just starting it when we were last over on August 11th. I don't know whether she has ever seen a Piet Mondrian or not but the influence is unmistakeable.

If you open the link and scroll down to the bottom you will see 'Composition with Color Planes and Gray Lines' - 1918. The 'Sky' painting is so bright and happy it is well wall-worthy. I'll probably print a copy to put on my office-wall because it cheers me up every time I look at it.

The weather has been really beautiful today, high pressure and warm, with little wind and the forecast is reasonable. I'm pleased because David and family have gone to Carsington Water, Blackwall Plantation today, for a week, and there is to be a jamboree later in the week.

You can't beat Horace for a sound quote :-
"He will always be a slave who does not know how to live upon a little"

Roman lyric poet & satirist (65 BC - 8 BC)
I plan a quiet, inactive day for tomorrow. Don't know if it will work out like that ?
.....I can do smilies as well. Sleep tight folks and have a super time if you are planning fun things for tomorrow. Catch you later.

p.s. A new button has appeared in the toolbar at the top of my blog-post. Apparently I an now 'add a video'. Something else to learn about !

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Colliers' Wood - New Auditorium - Collierys' Choir

First thing this morning I went over to Kimberley Library to help take down our Exhibition but, by the time I arrived at 10am the job had been completed. Fortunately I spotted them leaving and Lesley invited the four of us for coffee, which was nice. When I got home Y put the shopping away while I cooked a spagbol.

Almost immediately after lunch we went over to Colliers' Wood for the open-air Eastwood Collieries' Choir Concert. The occasion was to mark the official opening of the new auditorium, which Picture 1 shows the choir assembled on. I have made the name a live link but it is a little disappointing. No pictures and it doesn't tell you that when it was created in 1996 the miners did all the hard work themselves. It is now becoming a very attractive little conservation area and the new auditorium blends in well.

I hope my pictures capture what a gorgeous late summer day it was. Sunny, a little breezy, and the temperature in the mid 70s F. For Picture 2 I went behind the Choir for a 'crowd shot' and the umbrellas are for protection from the sun not the rain.

Y and I secured a good place and a little later Reg and Maureen arrived and came to sit with us. After a few minutes a heavily disguised character in SAS hat, shades, and clutching an expensive camera came over towards us. It was none other, Dear Readers, than AnonymousRob and (taken by Reg) Picture 3 is he ! And before rejoining his group he advised us to attach wide-angle lenses and get in close ! The one he's got on must be a 70-300mm long at least. It was also very nice to see Dennis M who also came over. Still his usual bubbly self and he looks so well.

Joan was with him, but the other side of a brook-ette so we just waved. Dennis of course vaulted it without a second thought.

The Male Voice Choir were first-rate. I am no music buff but they sang completely without microphones and speakers and the sound in the open-air was incredibly pure. Their repertoire was just right. From Rod Stewart's 'Sailing', through some Westlife and Spirituals to Mining Songs. We enjoyed it so much one of the chaps s going to pop one of their CDs through the letter-box. So gratifying for them that there was such a good crowd and that the sun shone on them. We shall certainly go to future similar events.

Thanks Jill for putting your mind to the unidentified bird. They were zooming about so quickly I was lucky to get the snap I did ! And Bungus, please don't stop commenting on the pictures. You know me well enough that I am unlikely to be offended whatever you say about them. I prefer the blog to be eclectic in the matter of people's opinions.

I've chanced on the link to the QE2 Bridge webcam again, so I've linked it again. Although you see a lot of sea it is fun and interesting when it is docking or setting sail etc.

Quote for the Day :-

"Unprovided with original learning, unformed in the habits of thinking, unskilled in the arts of composition, I resolved to write a book"
Edward Gibbon
It is 20.20pm, coffee, read and radio time. Then a bit of choccy and shut-eye. Sleep tight and I'll catch you tomorrow.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Edingley for Lunch - PCs - Lovely Day - 73F

Just for Bungus this is a little more contrasty but I didn't use it because my ropy photography seems to have erased the surfer. The result looks like the wind-surfing equivalent of the Marie Celeste.

But I couldn't refuse a request.

'Sherlock' AnonymousRob has done extremely well to solve yet another mystery. It is within my gift, as blogmeister', to award house-points and gold-stars and 'Flatbed Trailer' deserves both. It can be seen by clicking the link Rob provided in his comment. The piece is by Wim Delvoye who seems to be a very strange man indeed and his Wikipedia entry is a link behind his highlighted name. The 'tattoing of pigs' seems number under his more normal pursuits. Art never lets you be bored. For the benefit of new readers ArtDaily is a great source of info. as to what is currently happening in the Art world and excellent coverage of Exhibitions world-wide and some super little culture-based videos - none is more than a few minutes and our only regret is the inability to persuade them to play at full-screen size.

But to pick up on something in Rob's comment, I must prevent this blog from becoming too didactic. It is supposed to be light, airy, and fun.

Picture 2 is my effort to photograph a swift, house-martin, pied wagtail or perhaps even 'duck' - help Jill please !

Some of my readers will know that it isn't even near exhibition quality. But at least it was free to leave. And it left !

Flitting back to the 'shepherd's crook' piece in yesterday's blog post, I think I mentioned to Mike and Reg at the time that it seemed to have an Apollo type helmet at the base.

What this has to do with the piece I really don't know. But I thought I ought to include a real Apollo job for comparison.

OK. Lecture and slideshow over and now to what we have been doing. This morning we went to Peter and Joan for coffee and I was able to help with a couple of PC things. It is so much easier for someone to actually do whatever it is because then one doesn't forget it. At lunchtime we went to a pub in Edingley and I think it was this one. The Old Reindeer. We all had fresh Whitby Cod (small, not even medium and I blanch to think what large must be like) and chips, two with mushy peas and two with garden peas. Very nice meals, lovely chat, and then we returned to Mansfield in Peter's air-conditioned car which was good because it was so hot. There was a silver birch and the sun shimmered on the leaves. Welcome pot of tea in Peter and Joan's Summer House and then back home.

I spoke to David's Helen and they go to Carsington on Sunday afternoon. And, one day next week, Steven is having a 'day off' and they are going over, and we are invited to go the same day. It will be super to see all the children playing together in such a lovely setting.

My quote is from my igoogle page and is a Sam Johnson :-

"Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings"

My only criticism is that they never give their references. Chapter and Verse etc., - which makes me vaguely distrustful. To the extent that I shall probably delete the box and return to my old-fashioned hard copy reference books. I shall feel safer !

If tomorrow is like today, the open-air Colliery Choir concert at Colliers' Wood will be magic. We have to take our own chairs, and perhaps a sandwich and a drink. A report will follow. Sleep tight. Catch you tomorrow.!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Y at Burton Joyce - me messing about

When I dropped Reg and Mike at the Hopton end of the Reservoir yesterday there is this very attractive shepherd's crook shaped piece. As it declined to hold the customary 50p piece in its teeth for scale, I would estimate its height at maybe 12 feet. Reg, being the Engineer, can prolly be more accurate. Also, I think he has a previous photo.

Not intending to photograph it, because it had been done, when I got round the other side I decided I'd like to try a little fill-in flash to prevent it from being a silhouette as the sun was so strong. Limited success only I'm afraid, and I've had to resort to a photoshop-dabble.

My next job was to have coffee which I took down more-or-less to the water's edge at the rear of the Visitor's Centre where I was lucky enough to find somewhere to sit. The coffee was foul but I know from previous experience that Carsington Water Catering falls a little short of Michelin stars. In future on WOW trips I intend to take a thermos. It isn't mean-ness but I would prefer 'no coffee' to unpleasant coffee. And it is nothing to do with franchises because Costa coffee I always like well enough.

Many thanks AnonymousRob for the research and you are quite right of course. The walking lady has Elizabeth Frink stamped all over her. Her full title is 'Walking Madonna' and, as you will see if you open the link, 'War Horse' was previously in an infinitely better location. I might go and demonstrate with a placard saying 'Free The War Horse' but it would cost me too much to get in. They would probably say "Placards is £4 extra". Could you have a go at the 'Cement Mixer Lorry' please Rob? I've googled Bungus's Ravi Nahindra suggestion without success. His work is not known to me (or apparently to google) and perhaps when Bungus has completed his tussle with his 'frig...freezer' et al he could help us with a little more information. And before I leave 'comments' - Dear AnonymousRob, I have tried to negotiate a let-off from the penalty-pint, imposed for criticism of the Chairman's 'Attie' pictures. But I understand that the rap is not subject to remission ! A possible solution is for me to buy you both a pint.

Bungus's p.s. comment about 'foreknowledge' about an accident being in Clumber reminds me of being a very young policemen, in the days when we had to go round at night checking that business premises were correctly locked up. It always seemed that, when you found one that was insecure, as your hand was travelling towards the handle you got a premonition that it was going to open. Could be 'wisdom after the event' I suppose.

My intention at the water's edge was to try and capture a wind-surfer sharply, with a small enough aperture to show hazy distant detail and with a shutter-speed fast enough to keep his water-trail fairly sharp too.

This just about manages it, and my EXIF data tells me it was 1/500th of a second at f9 on ISO 200 with my lens at 70mm. It also tells me it was taken at 11.48am and 28 seconds. As Bungus has remarked, it is rather remiss of it not to remind you of your hat size too !

And while absorbed in all this hard work I failed to notice that beind me a horse-box had arrived with two beautiful shire horses. One of which had been taken to collect the dray but this very young one was happy enough to have his picture taken. It was only Monday of this week that I blogged about having a ride on a Shire Horse as a child.

This one seemed quite small. But I suppose that, at about 5 or 6yrs old, any horse would seem enormous.

Tracy has e-mailed me details of how my computer desk, and keyboard, monitor and swivel chair Should be arranged. And she says that, with my present arrangement, she isn't at all surprised that I get leg/back ache etc.. Oh well ! I shall have to consider getting a proper PC and eye-level monitor then. Bungus said that years ago.

We will have to see what Y's view is. She is 'grannying' today at Burton Joyce, as she does on a Thursday, and we are having a salad when she returns. We have both Robbie Coltrane, and Rick Stein this evening, hence the early blog.

No quote today - sorry !

Lunch with Peter and Joan tomorrow, pick up my replacement power cable from Megatech at Rainworth and at some time, a little re-provisioning is called for.

Catch you tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Carsington with WoW - Sunny but Windy

A smashing WoW day at Carsington
with Reg and Mike of which more later.

But I wanted to share with you two more Chatsworth snaps. I won't wade through the lot, I promise. This beautifully determined young lady was walking purposefully towards the Zaha Hadid piece as if intending to scutinise it closely. She is part of the Sothebys Exhibition I think but had no plaque. So I'm afraid I can't help as to the author's identity. A lovely piece of work, and again, the parkland setting was just right.

Picture 2 is of another interesting work without a plaque or even a title and this time I made enquiries of staff. I was told that, so far, Sothebys hadn't provided 'author identity' because they were unsure as to the provenance of the piece. This seemed somewhat dubious but it didn't seem appropriate to badger the attendant who was trying to be helpful.

I'll give it my own title - 'Cement Mixer Lorry on even Larger Lorry'.

The structure was an incredibly fine filigree of a ferous metal which had rusted to good effect. Whether or not it was because parts looked like an Christian 'Rood Screen' or because of the little 'spires' all over the place but the piece had definite religious connotations.

It was so eye-catching and as soon as people spotted it they walked closer to get a better look.

If I discover more about it I will definitely let you know. Probably too much to hope for, that some 'learned' blog-reader pen a 'comment' of explanation ! Much as AnonymousRob did with the 'Mystery Stones' at Middleton. By the way Rob ' the word on the streets' is that it would be great if you rejoined us at EPS. Your skill, advice, and influence particularly for the benefit of the newer members would be of enormous value. So, there you are then, how can I say more !!

Unfortunately Jill, children are prevented from even touching the exhibits. Even Elizabeth Frink's 'War Horse' has a silly little chain round it. And, bad decision in my view, he has it appears, been moved from the parkland (where he magnificently scanned the distant horizon) to the Courtyard where he is completely hemmed in. In my opinion, with this completely daft and useless chain round him he looks sad and as if he feels rather stupid. There is no way that children touching the work could cause damage and the fence would not deter a serious vadal. Oh well ! At Yorkshire Sculpture Park there are no fences (as the link will show you) and kids have a great and rewarding time. Always seeming happy and well-behaved. I'm not a psychologist so I can't explain it.

Thanks also Bungus for your erudition on matters architectural. And other affairs. A while ago Jill used the word 'educational' about this blog, and I glowed. All the 'comments' are invariably a valuable contribution and I am proud to be the conduit. The Chatsworth Farm Shop to which I refer is in the village of Pilsley, about a mile and a half from the House and is not to do with the Garden Centre.

Today's walk at Carsington was lovely. Reg had noted a weather forecast indicating that West of Notts. was going to be sunnier. And it was so, even if windy. I dropped Mike and Reg at the Hopton end of the Reservoir and they walked round the edge, to join me somewhere near the Visitor Centre. I faffed about trying to take a picture of wind-surfers in the sun, and pied-wagtails and swifts. There was no way that auto-focus was going to deal with the latter and I resorted to pre-focusing and then locking, but only roughly successful. Certainly no award winners.

Photos will follow tomorrow.

Today's quote is again from my iGoogle homepage:-

"It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech"

Mark Twain

Nipping over to Peter and Joan in the morning, to discuss computer matters. And then on Saturday I am helping to take down the EPS exhibition in Kimberly Library. And one day next week we are going over to Carsington again to visit David and family. Sleep tight and I'll catch you tomorrow. Off to watch Rick Stein now......

errata.. It is Friday we are going over to Peter's. So, if you are reading Peter - Don't panic !

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Chatsworth - Sculpture - Farm Shop Restaurant

We had a super day. Tracy picked Joan up and then chauffered. We stopped at Masson Mills for coffee. Didn't get lost, not even once, and when we arrived at Chatsworth the three of them shot off and I had the buggy-plus-guided tour of the gardens and commentary on points of interest. A good 40 minutes and I learnt lots.

Then I was determined to see the pieces of sculpture I was keen on and I found lots of seats so I could take my time. Picture 1 is 'Bemu' by Zaha Hadid, the architect, who Bungus says seems famous for designing structures which would be well-nigh impossible to build. She is a force to be reckoned with though, and I find her work inspiring. Such a sense of shape ! I took several snaps of this and couldn't really decide which showed it off best. It worked superbly in the parkland with those Derbyshire hills in the distance.

The Exhibition is on loan from Sothebys and I may well 'treat' you to a couple more pics. The lady buggy-driver who took us on the tour wasn't particularly interested in Sculpture but she did stop long enough to allow me a quick go at this Lynn Chadwick (who has been previously mentioned in the blog) and this piece is called 'Crouching Beast' and it looks the part dunnit?

There was also a Damien Hirst on a driveway which I didn't get round to, but the ladies said it was impressive but 'orrible. Which sounds about right for Damien. I'd love to see his diamond encrusted skull which is valued at £50million.

At lunchtime we ate in the main restaurant at the house, and all our meals were excellent. I spotted 'Farm Shop sausages' on the menu but, taking Jill's advice decided against them. We need 'blogs' these days to find out about these things. Y had the vegetarian and the rest of us had the 'Steak and Bakewell' pie. Don't ask me where they get the Bakewells from these days?

After our respective mooches we met in The Shop. Oh dear, the prices! And we didn't really like the system where every little extra exhibition for instance, was more money. The ticket to the house & garden was quite expensive but £2 to park before you even started, just seemed 'grasping'. It will be sometime before we visit again. In my early very left-wing days I used to say that the only way I wanted to visit Chatsworth was in the turret of a tank! I accept that I have mellowed considerably. But I wouldn't let the building be wasted; rather than pay the feckless their benefits I would turn the building into a 21st century workhouse where they would be fed and housed and in return for some work, they could earn pocket money for their fags ! I am nothing if not even-handed.

Perhaps I exaggerate. Slightly.

At around 4.00pm we drove round the mile and a half to the Farm Shop and had tea in the restaurant there. Then a browse in the Shop itself which is pleasantly upmarket and not too pricey, and finally home for a mug of tea and a sarny. A super, super day and we all really enjoyed ourselves.

Thanks for your comments. Pork hock Jill, finishes up, after pressing, more like tongue than paté. And the only film moment to add to Bungus's list is that Y was just settling down to watch Von Ryan's Express and I helpfully said "Oh, thats the one where Frank Sinatra gets killed right at the end". Not realising that she hadn't seen it before.

A quote from my homepage :-

"The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards."

- Arthur Koestler

Sleep tight everybody. Only 9.25pm and dark aready. Debra in Ireland by now, David off to Carsington at the weekend; I'm off 'Walking On Wednesday' and Y is meeting June C for lunch in Nottingham. It's all go isn't it?

n.b. Pictures enlarge when clicked, and anything in orange is a live-link. See ya!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Walk from Horse & Groom - bright idea !

Some time ago Tracy gave us a 'potato-ricer' (see Picture 1) and I didn't really know what to do with it. My handling of an old-fashioned masher please click is exemplary. If you open that link, ours is second from the left. With 20+ stone leaning on it most potatoes yield !

Anyway I had bright idea 6,326 and considered that the ricer would make an ideal makeshift meat press. So I decided to cook my remaining Pork Hock and it worked like a charm. Picture 2 shows the result and the £1 is there for scale, so that Bungus doesn't winge. I've just had a sandwich of it and it is delicious. Takes me back to boyhood.

It was a very pleasant morning and Y had spotted a locally organised walk, setting off from the Horse & Groom at Moorgreen at 11.10am to finish around noon. Yes. I too wondered about the rather precise start time but apparently it is to do with bus-timetables. After dropping Y at the Pub I decided to go down the lane at the sde of the Pub in search of pictures and they abounded. I saw a sparrow-hawk but he was too quick. Most of the corn-fields had been harvested (see Picture 3) and I suppose we have nearly reached that 'all is safely gathered in' time of the year. I used to love Harvest Festivals and found the display of crops at the front of The Church adorable. At that time the corn was in the fields in 'stooks'.

This is how they used to look and I remember as a little chap being allowed to ride on the enormous Shire Horse as he pulled the cart which the farm-workers forked the stooks onto. Well he seemed enormous to me, but so gentle. And the 'threshing yard' was less than a 100 yards from where I lived.

Two of the ramblers were back in the pub by the time I arrived around 11.45am so I introduced myself. They had seen the sparrow-hawk too and a buzzard has been seen. And a yellow-hammer, which I don't think I would recognise even if I was lucky enough to see it. A case for Jill, I think.

Yesterday evening I had one of those late-perception moments with the word 'castaway'. I have fully understood the word for at least 65 years but only at that moment realised that it comes from a person being 'cast' - 'away'. Stupid or what ? And I have much enjoyed the list of memorable film-moments and the only one I would still add, is that horrifying instant in Alien when the creature bursts out of the person's chest.

Thanks Bungus for the suggestion that a 'murmuration' of starlings be replaced by a 'nastiness' because they certainly are. But I have checked the group names for birds list and notice that vexation hasn't been taken. My Shorter Oxford gives one meaning as -'harassing by means of malicious or trivial litigation' - I rest my case. Starlings to a T. A 'vexation of starlings' has a certain ring to it.

My quote is from my iGoogle home page :-

"Of all noises, I think music is the least disagreeable."

I'm not sure I agree with him though. The link is courtesy of Wikipedia.

Blood-test for me in the morning and then Tracy is taking us to Chatsworth for the day and we will prolly have lunch in the Restaurant at the rear of The Farm Shop. Looking forward.

.......Sleep tight everyone. Catch you tomorrow.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Wet Rest Day - 63F - Mansfield Sculptures

Following on from 'The Feather' in previous blog this is a Bungus picture of a further recent Mansfield addition. The Sculptures (please click) seem great to me. This one is entitled 'High Heels' and was unveiled by a drag-queen. I suppose we could have guessed the title and I was close when I thought they reminded me of the iron things you used to see in cobbler's shops.

This is the only appropriate picture that googling (or 'boobling' as Bungus now has it) could provide me with but I feel sure you will agree with my stab.

'High Heels' is dramatic. It stands 6 metres high and against the old viaduct as the picture demonstrates it is eye-catching. Just hope that no-one has a car-accident while their attention is distracted from the road to 'matters artistic'.

The weather has been awful again but one feels that, in view of Hurricane Dean it is improper to winge about a little wind and rain. The poor people in Yorkshire and Colchester and other areas were badly flooded but, small mercy, their houses were still standing at the end of it. Wind speeds in The Caribbean and New Mexico may reach 150mph and little can withstand that.

So a gentle little picture of members of a blue-tit family in the rain. The starlings were fully occupied falling out where the 'fat balls' are.

Why-ever anyone decided that the group name for starlings should be a 'murmuration' eludes me. Whatever else the warlike, ill-tempered, aggressive, quarrelsome creatures do, they certainly don't murmur do they? I won't bore you with a research link but apparently the phrase only dates back to 1470, so we can't blame Chaucer !

Comments. At least the TV critic of Saturday's Telegraph Review agreed with Y and I about the Robbie Coltrane prog. He liked it and the two bits he mentioned particularly were two we particularly liked. The small town who weighed the Mayor before he commenced Office and then weighed him again after his year to see if too much junketting had gone on. A charming practice which should be extended. And the Airship Hangars at Cardington - awe-inspiring !

And Bungus's mention of the landscape pictures in the Gryff Rees-Jones 'Mountains' series leads me, sadly, to point out that they now admit that the closing sunset was a 'computer generated' image. You can all trust Radiogandy's blog however, not brilliant but nothing faked. Thanks for the super Noel Coward quote Jill, and, now I have read it again, you are astute to point out that the Rick Stein recipe which sounded so exotic is nothing more than cinnamon flavoured lasagne/bolognese. Ho Hum as Ray says. And how the critics managed to review the missing 'Inspector Lynley' must remain a mystery ?

You are also right about the Omar Sharif/horizon scene. Another one, which sticks in the mind and still carries the power to shock even if you have seen it several times, is Magwitch jumping out from behind the gravestone in Great Expectations. Both films directed by David Lean.

My quote for the day is IT orientated :-

"imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining"

Enjoy the coming week. Sleep tight and I'll catch you tomorrow.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Arnold - Wilkos - Charity Shops

The very first thing I feel I must do is to provide a link to Lord Deedes' obituary in this morning's Telegraph because I know that not all readers have it daily. Bill Deedes' death last night sorrows me greatly. I thought he was a very like-able man and he wrote beautiful, pithy, English. He wrote his last article, a powerful piece about Darfur on August 3rd on his laptop in bed because he was poorly.

This morning, awfully unsettled weather, we nipped over to Arnold mainly to try to get another outside table cover from Wilko for Debra. Hammock cover, seat cover, swing cover YES. Table cover NO.

But I did tackle the Charity Shops and the Remaindered Book Shop and Picture 1 shows my haul. The Chambers Dictionary of Quotations is £25 new at a Bookshop, £16.25 new at Amazon, in Arnold remaindered bookshop £2. And it is the 2005 edition with recent stuff i.e. quotes from Lynne Truss's 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves'. Its 1,283 pages might become my quotation dictionary of choice ! But I have no plans to throw away the others.

Bungus and AnonymousRob might be right about letting the 'Attie' story run but I don't know how Reg feels because I haven't heard from him. Having been a bit programmed by work to tell the truth unless on oath, I felt I couldn't have carried it off. And I realise AnonymousRob that you weren't 'having a go' at Reg's pictures and the words 'beautiful lack of quality' meant that it added to the sense of mystery. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

By dint of much decoding and ferret-like research I now realise that my 'many happy returns' to Bungus was a little premature. Sorry about that too. But to paraphrase, "better early than never". Ferreting also revealed a bbc Rick Stein Mediteranean page and the programme links down the left-hand side are live if anyone is interested the recipes. The 'Pastitsio' intrigued me, cinnamon with mince beef !, and it looks good for a change from a bolognese sauce. The quantities will need scaling back for us two but I will report back when I've done it.

Oh dear! Isn't it getting dark early? Just 9pm and virtually pitch-black, or bible-black as Dylan Thomas memorably described it in Under Milk Wood.

"It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black........."

I'm off for a preliminary nose-about in my literary acquisitions. Bungus's 'The Electric Michelangelo' sounds like a good read and, like him, I've hardly had time to skim ArtDaily and I could almost welcome a 'poor night' in order to catch up on things. But the Elvis tribute sounds good. An eminent lady once told me that Elvis's voice went 'straight from the ear to the vagina'. Being a man I couldn't fully grasp the concept but I sort of understood !

Sleep tight everybody.

p.s. Re: AnonymousRob's 'comment' request for EPS subscriptions I have just received an e-mail from Reg, which I'm sure he won't mind me publishing:- Graham -- re - Rob's blog reply Subs next season are
£30 Full
£44 Family
£19 concessions
£ 31 Family Concessions
Supplement for Critcising the Chairman's Attie pictures 100% payable to the chairman or at least buy him a pint Reg

Graham -- re - Rob's blog reply Subs next season are
£30 Full
£44 Family
£19 concessions
£ 31 Family Concessions
Supplement for Critcising the Chairman's Attie pictures 100% payable to the chairman or at least buy him a pint