Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Eve at Tracy's

The day began with a little routine supermarket shopping before my statutory blood-test at the clinic and, as usual, I was seen promptly. I gave the nurse my mobile number because of the unlikelihood of being at home for the rest of the day for any bad news. Worst case scenario is my INR level being sky-high, requiring hospitalisation again. And I don’t want to receive that information before returning home.

On arrival at TJ’s she had left the drive clear for me, bless her !! Also she sorted me out somewhere to be with mi’ lappy, and here I am using blogger-for-word. An ingenious little prog. Which allows you to prepare stuff and then post it as soon as you are on line. Picture 1 is an incredible toy dinosaur which a sensor, camera and a computer. It will walk round objects and grin and do lots of things. Eventually he goes to sleep in his basket as shown. I asked Miles "How do you wake him up again?" Miles, well accustomed to the stupidity of granddparents gave me the obvious answer. "You switch it on". Now why didn't I think of that?

The food was superb and lots of people turned up. I lost count of how many children and they all played happily together. Tracy had cleared me a bedroom for an afternoon lie-down and I took good advantage of it. There was a din, but a happy children-din so I managed to drop off. When I got up Emma said "You've been asleep ages !" And I guess an hour seems a long time.

Lots of great games were played and I think the favourite, provided by Helen who brought a low-loader full of white toilet rolls is 'Making mummified Snow Men'. This game is a sure-fire hit with the 2 - 12's and the youngest player, little Millicent (in the middle of the foreground) soon got the idea. There was 'pass the parcel' of course! It was lovely to see everyone, especially Val and immediate family, and I think that, after her recent bereavement a happy family occasion with the children was just the ticket.

Comments.......Re Amaryllis.....I have previously heard the phallic connotation but what they always remind me of, in my boring hetero. way, is the loudspeakers that used to be fitted on the roofs of cars at Election Time. But, having recently suffered an half-hour programme devoted to Freud's couch, even that might be construed as a 'freudian slip'.

Smart guess re the Robin puzzle Jill. Cafe>food>robin? And the Courtyard makes sense Bungus. Does the café abut the courtyard perhaps? But we shall have to await Reg's decision. I can't hop, even with both legs, and I'm with you re socks. I have a little foot-stool plus a long-handled shoehorn and a pair of tongs. It was a shame that the Billie Piper thing wasn't better 'cos she is rather dishy, and she was excellent sometime ago in the Canterbury Tales adaption.

And re heating plates in microwave. We just used to put a stack in and give them about 2/3 minutes depending on the number of plates. Just 2 plates takes around 1min 30secs - on full power (we never had ours set to anything else). We never cracked even one.

Hope you all have a happy and prosperous New Year. I'll catch you again sometime next year ! Sleep tight.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday Rest Day - Reg's Robin

It was nice to learn from AnonymousReg that the Rufford Walk was a success and the eleven who turned up had a pleasant stroll round the lake and through the woods and gardens. The weather must have been OK or he would have mentioned it.

He sent me this lovely Robin picture. Apparently he was very tame and you could approach to within 18 inches. (That's the Robin bytheway, not Reg)

As a weird sort of 'spot the robin's whereabouts?' competition I've cropped down to his eye. The idea is that Rufford hands who weren't able to attend, try to identify where at Rufford the picture was taken? Reg, of course, is not eligible to enter, but I am relying on him to judge the entries.

Comments.....Thanks David and AnonymousRob for your e-bay help. I tracked the Sanyo microwave down and it went for £39.99 so my tenner was way out. Also, at 19ltres, it wasn't really big enough anyway so we probably had a lucky escape. Our existing one is 28ltrs. I suppose I must specify that in my search criteria.

David said on the phone that Asda at Spondon is worth a visit for electrical goods. Asda are selling a microwave for £29.99, but again, only a small capacity. And we do need to be able to warm up 6 large-size dinner plates. (Not as strange as some of the functions described)

Bungus.....there was no need for such a recantation re Bruce. You original assessment, and Jill's is quite a logical and reasonable position. I suggest we now leave 't'owd lad' until he surfaces again. Thanks for the foodie update, and also Jill.....It is quite amazing how one can produce a perfectly adequate (sometimes inspired) meal by the addition of 'bol' - plus perhaps a caramelised sliced onion.

Old words. One of Y's presents from Santa was a pair of "Galoshes" for slipping on for forays into the garden. The word wasn't used on the pack and. not having heard or seen the word for decades I didn't expect much luck definition-wise. But Wiki came up trumps, as so often. Please click here. Wikipedia's 'power to the people' approach to matters encyclopedic happily tells us all we need to know on the subject. And BTW, thanks Bungus for the hard copy newspaper cuttings that actually came through the letter-box yesterday. Your throwaway line "of possible interest" was unnecessary. Both were extremely interesting and, in the case of the Vaughan Williams letter, most amusing. It had to be true. You couldn't make it up.

Tomorrow, after my blood test in the morning, we are off to TJ's for her New Years Eve do. It will be great to see the children together. We were invited to Peter and Sheila's to actually see the New Year in, but have declined because we shall be well and truly 'done for' well before midnight.
Have a nice time whatever you decide to do. Catch you sometime.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Rest Day - Japanese Anenomes - Goldfinches

Picture 1 is a Japanese Anenome head. They are opening and shedding seed and the Goldfinches seem quite interested. I used my 50mm with a wide aperture to throw the background suitably blurry without surrendering the context. and giving the picture a dreamy, other-worldly feel.

The immediate past and sometimes current practice of rendering the local environment a complete blur, seems to me to be counter-productive of a pleasant picture. In other words - I don't like it.

Picture 2, similarly treated, is the almost perpetually flowering Erysium "Bowle's Mauve". It is very easy to strike cuttings, which is fortunate because the plant usually thrives for 4 years and then suddenly expires and if you haven't any young ones coming along you have to buy in.

The flowers are just about indestructible and will happily be flowering and providing colour with her petals coated in a thick frost. It is in the same family as the wallflower and seems contented in most soils which don't need to be rich.

We have had a Rest Day although Y went with Steve to see John's flowers. She said how cold it was and how glad that I bullied her into wearing a winter coat.

Comments......I must stress that Hannah made up her own mind to go the funeral - she wasn't pressured at all. Re: The Rufford Walk. How nice that the weather was so pleasant this morning for the walkers. And perhaps AnonymousReg could let me have a picture for the blog. I was so sad to miss it, as I know Bungus and AnonRob are, but perhaps a similar occasion will soon present itself. We watched The History Boys again (seen first last year in the cinema) and my love of English and the use of words overcame my heterosexual dislike of some (even many) of the scenes and implications. I still have a problem with the concept of two men kissing, let alone anything else, but Alan Bennet writes brilliantly and Richard Griffiths was exceptionally good.

The oxtail's lack of oomph surprises me, usually being so distinctive. But stewed oxtail never seems to have much in common with oxtail soup. Rather like the difference between grilled tomato and tomato soup. And Yes Rob. I think he has Dickie Henderson in mind. And all this Brucie-knocking must stop !! In my opinion he is excellent with a live audience, and can make good telly out of mishaps vis when in the last series Mark Ramprakash's microphone got struck and the lady dresser came on, and Bruce did a little ad lib routine with her. And, after all, he is 79 and I know I couldn't do it. Nowhere near!

We just watched a good Arts half-hour on BBC4. About Oscar Kokoschka's "The Tempest"or "The Bride of The Wind" an alternative title preferred by the Wiki author. Not a painting I have seen, or know much about, but a masterpiece nevertheless. Even on our little telly the power and impact zoomed out. I seemed to remember a Kokoshcka "The drummer boy" or similar, but I'm damned if I can track it down. Could be in The Tate. Stuck in my memory though, like great pictures (including photographs) always do.

Catch you all tomorrow, all being well. The Microwave collapse led me to e-bay where my £10 bid failed to win a brand-new Sanyo 21ltr job. Is there a way on e-bay that you can find out what an item finally went for? I shall resume my quest in the morning. Sleep tight !!


Friday, December 28, 2007

Tired out - Wet and windy

This is the statue in question and thanks for the assiduous googling.

I decided on the sepia because Jill likes the effect, and it wasn't a bright sunny day anyway so no important information is lost. I stand corrected on the Sculptor being Hilary Cartmel but, if you open this link to Richard Stainthorpe's work (which I have seen elsewhere and enjoyed) you will understand why I was mistaken. Thanks for trying to discover more.

If she is back at her post I am delighted. Perhaps some minor and not sufficiently newsworthy repair work.

Your comments are so rewarding to read. The foodie columns, the shopping and technology sections, medical matters, the arts and photography pieces, even music, history, gadgets and occasional sports and knitting. It's like having our own made-to-measure magazine!! And, heavens be praised, we steer clear of such trivia as news, politics and current affairs.

Ken Dodd is, as you say Rob, truly amazing. As Bungus said a few days ago he deserves a knighthood, as well as Brucie, and no doubt in advance of Parkinson. But these things move in mysterious ways

Thanks David B from 2 days back. You are right about IKEA breakfasts being great. But they aren't £2 - they are 95p ! and as much coffee as you can drink.

Today has been spent at Burton Joyce looking after the younger children while Steve and Lisa went to her Dad's funeral. At 10 and a half, Hannah went too which I think was the right decision. She is old enough to understand and will know in the years to come that she did the right thing.. The Xmas lights over Steve's front door looked good enough for a snap and you must excuse the rain drops on the lens but the lights will have gone before I next get over there.

Unfortunately neither AnonymousRob, Bungus, nor I can make it to Rufford Park tomorrow, and I so much wanted Bungus and Rob to meet. Well, I wanted Bungus to meet all the photographers and I hope something else can be arranged soon. While Bungus is on his current medication he has to avoid any risk of catching anything. I need a Rest Day, or two, before all the excitement over at Tracy's on Monday. We are looking forward to it so much and have been nominated to collect the cheesecake from the CheeseCake Shop on the way in.

Quotation for the Day................

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep"

Scott Adams

The smiley is me and Bungus using the storm-kettle on our 2008 photojaunt. Be nice but perhaps unlikely. Sleep tight folks. Catch you tomorrow.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Y at Burton Joyce - I collected her

I had photographed, cropped and given it the I'm feeling lucky' button in Picasa, and then found I could link you straight to it, please clicky here for online and in colour.

As Y sometimes tells me "For an intelligent man you can be incredibly stupid". I never thought of checking it out online. With all the papers publishing a free online version I suppose it isn't really worth buying one. Mind you the feel of a proper newspaper, with a coffee, settling down to the crossword takes a bit of beating.

Anyway. Point is. I was going to tell you what an excellent garment 'the cape' was. They were made of a variety of Melton Cloth which perhaps Jill knows about. It was very closely woven without being heavy and didn't let water through, however heavy the rain. When it wasn't raining an approved method of folding allowed it to be comfortably carried on the shoulder. Also when saturated, if swung properly it became a fearsome, even though not lethal, weapon. Comfortable to walk in, ride a bike in and it was possible to hide things - in my case once, when being met at a conference-point by the Sergeant, a brace of pheasants donated by a friendly gamekeeper, or poacher, I can't quite remember ! And doesn't he look confidence-inspiring? Ah, the things we lose in the name of progress.

Now to a problem which has defeated my googling skills. Y reports that the bronze lady statue that stands outside the Theatre Royal in Nottingham is missing. As I recall, the sculptor was Richard Stainthorpe, and a delightful piece which brought me pleasure each time I saw her ! If she has been stolen for scrap I bitterly resent it; if being repaired or something I am suprised at finding nothing with google. I know Bungus's homepage is Radio Nottingham's and he is aware of nothing. Perhaps a regular Evening Post reader, or Anon'niftygoogler' at Annesley can throw some light? I will dig out a snap for tomorrow. seems to be having one of its periodic 'stresses' with Picasa pictures. When I came to check yesterday's with 'Millicent in slippers' as the lead picture, both pictures had vanished. But I know they went out because Bungus commented on the late rose (Picture 2), I have reinstated both but it is annoying.

Comments.....Thanks Bungus for the Jamie Oliver carving method. It makes sense. I have always thought that meat tastes better when carved across the grain rather than with it. It must affect the chew-factor benificially. The Rufford Walk on Sat. 29th starts at 10.15am from the main Car Park. Thanks also for the foodie bulletin; always fascinating reading for us gluttons or gourmets (take yer choice) and your storm kettle sounds a hoot. I'd love to try it. Bring it on Saturday and lets brew up properly !! And I think I agree about 'fudge'. As you all know I will eat most things, including fudge, but I don't like the way it sticks to your teeth.

The Lidl Xmas puddings also have been ace. But our Microwave conked on Xmas Eve and we couldn't fit in the necessary hour to steam one on Xmas Day. Considering we don't actually use it to cook much it has suprised us how much we miss it. I can't reheat my stewed coffee for instance, or warm the plates. Ever resourceful, I warmed dinner plates stacked upright in the airing cupboard and they were just right. I thought it didn't quite qualify as bright idea 6,329 but Y was impressed and hovering.

Hope AnonRob is recovering from his shingles and what sounds to me very much like a broken toe.

,u>Quotation time.......

"There are two kinds of light--the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures"

James Thurber

A truly great humourist. His drawings, if you aren't familiar with them will repay a search for some.

A sad day tomorrow, and I don't think a smiley is in order. John's (Lisa's Dad) funeral in the morning. We are looking after the little ones, which allows me not to stand. Catch you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day quiet. 45F and a mild breeze

Socks and more socks. Why do little girls love wearing bigger girls' footwear.? Millicent tried every-one's that she could find, even TJ's boots. Unfortunately I didn't get a 'snap'.

Yesterday was quiet, and today too. Over the next few days we have 'looking after children' commitments, and then the EPS Winter Walk at Rufford on the 29th. I hope the dry weather holds. And then on 31st the get-together at Tracy's. In the morning I have a routine blood-test but I can only be thankful that Christmas itself was not interrupted. Picture 2 is not a hangover from the summer; I took it this morning. A rambler at the side of the house and no 'photoshoppery' except for a crop. I deliberately under-exposed it, to darken the background and show the effect of the sun's rays back-lighting the petals.

Comments......Bungus.. Please make a note of this Jamie Oliver poultry-carving method. My interest has been captured !

And I guess if one had made the effort to go super market shopping late on Xmas Eve, there would have been some amazing bargains. But my somewhat cynical approach is "If we don't actually need it, it's expensive, however cheap the price tag". I apologise for being in Miserable Old Git mode. And thanks for the 'melloid' info. which some of you may remember has figured before in these pages.

Thanks AnonymousRob for the offer of a couple of your 'Venice at Night' series. They would grace the 'blog', but please ensure you have copyright stitched; there are greedy and unscrupulous people out there, even amongst blog readers. We know 'Petit Paris' quite well and concur with your assessment. Our favourite table was in the far right window corner but we haven't been for some years because of the stairs. It would be the gremlins that threw the bottle out of the fridge and onto your toe. They do things like that. Hope you are walking well enough for Rufford, if not you can sit with me and share my flask of coffee 'cos I aint aiming to walk far either.

Quotation for the Day.........

"Saying what we think gives us a wider conversational range than saying what we know"

Cullen Hightower

(There's loads of quotes attributed to him but a dearth of biographical details. I will leave it to nimbler googlers than I)

An early night again I think. Sleep tight everybody. See you tomorrow.....


Monday, December 24, 2007

Meal fine - The Yorkshires rose - Magic in the Air

An unexpected blog post because I can't settle down to going to sleep. Too excited perhaps. The meal worked fine and everybody had a great time. No tears, no stresses and nobody huffy. For perfection the roast potatoes could have been crisper and, in taste terms, the shin was 9/10 compared to Redgates. I must give the Hardwick Hall Farm Shop a whirl - I understand that all the meat is reared on the estate and the beef is reared for culinary quality rather than ex dairy cattle. The picture in the linked site looks inviting. If of course you are a carnivore. If not, please don't open the link.

Millicent was very taken with her flashing ducks (they flash when the underside is in contact with moisture) and she was a great help to people opening presents. We have a tradition that people can open a few presents on Xmas Eve, because, with Santa being so busy, he sometimes delivers early to grandparents houses.
Picture 2 is/are grandad's socks. I had told Santa that I needed some really colourful socks to wear on rest-days. And wowee ! his elves must have worked hard to produce these, which are absolutely what I wanted. I love them.

Comments.....Thanks everyone for your lovely comments. They are much appreciated. and help keep the jolly old blog rolling along. Flitting back a day Bungus, perhaps the poetic form you need for your 'ospital odes is the ballad. A proud history and a flexible format !

And we have Jill to thank for today's quotation:-

"The reason Santa Claus looks so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live!"

And thanks Pete for the news from the Isle of Man. Click here to read all about his weird Xmas Card and other sheenanigins. Compared with Reg's Morrisons experience, ours in the morning, now seems mild. Although the car-park was pretty full there was no problem leaving it.
I'll have another go at 'bed'. Kept off the coffee and had an "echinacea and raspberry tea bag" instead. I think the technical term is a tisanne. They are mentioned in my birthday present book about tea - they are not of course 'tea' at all. When interviewed about the book the author said the original Mr. Twining would have had no objection to them. Apparently, if he had spotted a potential profit, he would have been in the forefront. I also had a left over ham sandwich. Sleep tight and I'll maybe catch you tomorrow.



Sunday, December 23, 2007

36F - Foggy wet start - John came

I've no idea where yesterday's Jasmine nudiflorum went. It vanished from my copy too. So I have reinstated it.

A cold, foggy, tree-drippy start to the day - you can see the water-droplets on the branches in Picture 1. Apart from the goldfinch upper right, I think this is a great tit. Do you think the title "Sorry I'm late, I'm with that table over there" would suit?

We nipped out fairly early for the purpose of last minute Christmas goods, greens etc., and milk and Morrisons was packed. Not easy to find a parking space and I suppose everyone thought "We'll go this morning because it will be busy tomorrow". Probably be half empty in the morning.

John came with Laura and Alannah which was a joy. Two such beautiful grown up granddaughters. Alannah now is much taller than me, and has the confidence to carry herself really well. She could be a model but fortunately has the brains to aim a little higher. Laura is fine and settling into Newcastle. It was lovely to see them and John says that 2008 will be his last working year before retirement. He has no firm plans and they intend to go away for perhaps 6 months in the camper-van before reaching any other decisions.

Tomorrow Steven and family are coming for lunch, together with Tracy and I have promised beef and onions so I thought I would make a start this evening. I managed to find a good-looking shin (maybe I mentioned it) and I can always manage 5 adults and 3 children from the Prestige base used as a slow-cooker. Having reached the stage illustrated all I need to do is set my alarm for 6-ish and cook it at about 110-115C for around 7 hours. That way it leaves my double oven free for roast potatoes, roast parsnips, and Yorkshire puddings etc., and the hob for greens, extra gravy, carrots etc. All being well, nothing will burn, stick, go soggy, refuse to rise et al.

Comments........Bungus. So glad you renewed friendship with an old pal (being chucked off slides notwithstanding) - one of mine, who taught me how to drive a patrol car has just died which is bad. I hadn't seen him for decades and would like to have done. This Jamie Oliver 'turkey carving' sounds interesting, even though we don't have turkey.

I also am keen on Robins. Apparently we English are nice to them and, in consequence, they like us and become quite tame. On the continent they are not nice to them, shooting, snaring etc., and therefore the Robins keep their distance.

Jill. I'm sure you are sensible to finish off the gammon joint in the oven. My guess is that slow-cookers don't suit anything where a glazed or roasted finish is sought. We also were happy that Alesha won SCD. We both voted for her after 2 dances, but then Matt did a brilliant 3rd dance. Rather stupidly I thought he also deserved my vote so I rang again. Thereby making my votes completely useless. On witnessing this Y thought that the balance had been tipped unfairly in Matt's favour, so she rang again and recorded a further vote for Alesha. Thank goodness it is all in aid of charity ! An excellent series though and we have thoroughly enjoyed it.

.......He's just off to check on his sleigh. Publication of RadioGandy maybe intermittent or hurried for a few days. Some of you are away anyway, or will be otherwise engaged. Have a great time. Catch you later.....


Saturday, December 22, 2007

45F and miserable - David came

I think that the macro approach (Bungus's suggestion) to the Winter Flowering Jasmine or to give it its proper name Jasmine Nudiflorum, is a great improvement. A classical example of Mies van der Rohe's dictum - "Less is more".

He pinched it from somebody but I can't remember who. Doesn't matter I suppose it's the concept that counts.

Some Xmas jobs occupied us this morning and David came this afternoon to deliver some things and to pick other things up. He brought some little fancies which the girls had made and they were lovely with a pot of tea. We expect John tomorrow and perhaps Laura and Alannah. David made a good joke about the Federation card, see yesterday, and suggested it was to represent "Seal-ed with a loving kiss". Ha Ha !

Comments....... Thanks Bungus for the ode. A very satisfactory effort if I may say so. As you know my poetry (not good) is better than my art/drawing, but such a piece would represent several days work for me. Does anyone remember Cyril Fletcher and his 'odd odes' ? A most witty and erudite man.

David too had made the Jamie Oliver stew and was most satisfied with it. But I keep meaning to incorporate Jill's 'pearly' barley into recipes wherever suitable. I love the pleasurable goo-iness it provides.

We love Robins on Christmas cards - so unashamedly English. And I can't think of a minority group who they might offend.

Do I understand Bungus, from your reference to venison, that it has arrived. If you remember you thought therer might be too much for your household and I put in a bid for any spare? But if it is all spoken for I shan't be offended.

.....closing early tonight. SCD the final, approaches. See previous 'posts' if you need a link. Sleep tight ! And I'll catch you tomorrow.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Rest Day - Still in parjies - Chicken Casserole

A complete Rest Day apart from me cooking a chicken-casserole (sorry to be a copy-cat Jill) and Y going down to the river with loads of washing. I'm still in my 'pahjies' but Y less slovenly.

My casserole was also made with chicken thighs because thighs seem have some slight flavour, with onions and tarragon and the inevitable garlic. As the oven was on, I also did a tray of winter-veg, celeriac, parsnip, sweet potato, carrot, courgette, chunks of red-pepper, some left over mooli (sliced - it retains a rather attractive crunch). It didn't seem worth using our Prestige steamer for a few florets of broccoli so I boiled them.

Picture 1 is another entry in the 'Naffest Xmas Card' competition. This ghastly thing was from the Joint Central Committee of The Police Federation. I have photographed it in the Windsor chair to give scale. It is enormous and awful. Without stopping it from being a conversation piece we have put it where we, at least, don't have to see it.

Picture 2 is a second effort at the Winter Flowering Jasmine and still the photograph doesn't do it justice. The almost defunct rose is the one that featured on the RadioGandy Xmas Card.

Comments........Bungus. I am certainly not anti progressive taxation. My gripe with the taxman is that he/she used to send me contradictory and confusing letters and demands and in the end we have employed an accountant who now deals with our affairs and prevents me from becoming distraught and angry. I enjoyed your bit about Catallus but isn't 'buggar' a variety of wheat ? As to whether or not an ode must necessarily rhyme? My feeling is that it needn't. But my Concise says:- a poem addressed to a person or thing or celebrating an event. Which would certainly be OK for your 'ospital sagas. Merriam-Webster says:- a lyric poem usually marked by exaltation of feeling and style, varying length of line, and complexity of stanza forms. I admit that to fit those criteria would be difficult. Anyway your prose is fine!

Jill. Glad you like sepia photographs. There is definitely a place etc.......... I am sure that you are both right about the Annesley Hall buildings. Such a shame they are just being left. Next time I go I'll get a better shot (in sepia) and try to avoid the same tripod holes which Bungus suspects I use all the time. Catullus does sound good fun doesn't he. Well worth trawling the charity shops for. At university I did half a year about "
"The Early Roman Empire and the Rise of Christianity" hence my love for the period. But it was mainly about Art, Philosophy. Buildings, Statuary, Politics, Wars and Religion. Nowhere near enough about the poetry.

Y also is ambivalent about Oliver Twist. She finds praise for the 'atmosphere' though.

I know exactly what you mean about your 15.....touching 35 yr old granddaughter. But her ambition to be a 'lady that lunches' is admirable, much more laudable than 'brain surgery'.

You will all be relieved to know that AnonymousRob, while still not fully recovered has been absent from these pages due to being busy erecting flat pack furniture, moving people into flats etc., all of which take time and energy particularly when you are less
100% well. He hopes to be at the EPS post Xmas walk at Rufford and it will be great for him and Bungus to meet.

We watched the last "It takes two" show and tomorrow is the Strictly come Dancing final. Should be good. And the results show is the same night, not on Sunday. Just to don my Miserable Old Git hat for a moment, it does annoy me when someone refers to a group of people, male and female, as "You guys". I suppose I grew up with "Guys and Dolls" and can't shake it off. I mention it because Claudia said it when addressing a panel of experts.

.....Santa is very busy right now but he wants you to know that everything is in hand. Catch you tomorrow.....


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Y's Burton Joyce day - 36F but miserable

I thought these Annesley Hall pictures work best on sepia. Not only does it better suit 'the age' but it doesn't make so obvious what a dull day it was. Without enough light to cast any form-defining shadows.

Number 1 is the rather beautiful tower.

Number 2 is another part of the small graveyard and in the middle distance a lovely building which I have heard dsecribed as both servants quarters and stable block (perhaps our architectural department could advise?). I am not at all sure technically what Mews Cottages are because the term has been hijacked by the holiday industry but they would be a pleasant place to live. Whatever the building once was it is now being allowed to decay slowly as is the case with so much that is 'listed'.

Please click here for an overview of Annesley Hall and the Byron connection. If you open the link and scroll down you will see in the drawing of the Hall, the Church in the background.

The previous Horace picture showed him as a young man and this shows him in maturity. I really wish I had persisted with Latin at school because it would now give me pleasure to try to read him in his original language.

Comments .....Jill. I hope that a suitable opportunity to slip 'enjambment' into the conversation soon arises. My Concise Oxford has it solely in its poetic meaning. But tomorrow when I'm in the other room I shall consult the Shorter Oxford and maybe my online etymological dictionary.

However, I accept Bungus's 'purloinment' for statuary and gravestones. And EPS would be delighted to see you on the post Xmas walk at Rufford.

Pleased the slow cooker delivered a satisfactory meal and I'm sure the chicken thighs will be likewise. Although I consider tarragon essential with chicken don't overdo it 'cos its so pervasive. Glad you are in the Brucie camp, even with your rider, and I don't disagree with Bungus about Ken Dodd. They have both done stirling service over the years. I know that Doddy and the taxman don't quite hit it off, but neither do I. (I know that's a terrible sentence clause-wise, but I'm sure you get mi' drift).

We really enjoy your hospital odysseys Bungus. Perhaps 'ospital odes' would be a good title.


"A picture is a poem without words"

Horace again

Pre Christmas jobs to do tomorrow. But basically a rest-day. Sleep tight folks and I'll catch you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Annesley Church - WoW - Bailed out at half-time

We went to the ruins of the 12th Century Church at Annesley. With Reg's help, painting the surface with light from with my big candlepower torch, I finally managed a reasonable picture of Richard Barrat's grave-stone. When the others arrived they liked the location which, thank goodness remains relatively unknow and unvisited. Mike particularly seemed to find things to photograph. It is his sort of venue. And I guess we may revisit when the light is better. The stone reads:-

DAY 1778

Bungus once told me it is know as 'enjambment' and another expert, on graveyards this time, said they were quite rare but by no means unique. It has fascinated me for years and it is rewarding to have finally achieved a readable version for my records.

We then went for a brief look at Codnor Castle but unfortunately it was heavily scaffolded and surrounded by a safety fence because contractors are trying to make it safe and doing some pointing etc., before leaving it in peace. At this stage I bailed out. It was my first 'sortie' and although the plan was to adjourn to the Conservative Club to meet the ladies for lunch, I decided that it would make more sense to go home.

Picture 2 is our resident thrush. Jill, I'll swap you one thrush for one redwing, He sits up there mostly, in the remains of the laburnum because if he approaches where the grub normally is, the blackbirds rather uncharitably chase him away.

The Essay continues and to explain, for Bungus's benefit, that I know full well that Horace is customarily called 'The Roman Poet'. I called him the Latin Poet to discriminate between him and Thucydides who wrote in Greek and comes a little later in the series.

Y returned from meeting June and we had a spagbol while watching 'It takes two' and we both think Alesha is going to win. Brucie and Tess were interviewed and apparently there's a website where you can vote for a knighthood for Bruce. And I think I just might. Over the years he has entertained so many millions of people.

Quotation for the Day.........Seeing that he has been mentioned.......

"I hate the irreverent rabble and keep them far from me"

Can't fault you Horace. Sleep tight folks. An early night calls.

p.s. For the benefit of readers. If you see words in 'orange' they will be a live link and if clicked will take you to the appropriate webpage. Photographs when clicked open in a new window at full screen size.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A little warmer - but feels 'raw'.

Managed a quick trip to Lidl this morning and there really are lots of bargains. The tin of Quality Street for instance at £2.89 is about half what they are elsewhere. The other things we just fancied. Thence to IKEA for breakfast.

Eventually we went to Mapperley Hill Top because I needed to go to a decent card shop and while we were there I spotted some good-looking shin of beef in the Butchers so I bought a whole shin (4LBS +) for Xmas Eve - I intend to slowcook it for most of the day as a casserole. Hopefully it should turn out well, the piece of meat was going suitably purple at the edges. I also bought some Wild Boar Sausages from the same butcher. We have had them before and they were excellent. Then we drove home.

After lunch Y went back down town to meet Tracy for the Annual Carol Concert for all the local bigwigs, which Tracy has to organise each year, as part of her job. Traditionally they sing the "Twelve days of Christmas" and the audience are split so that each section has their own bit to sing. Y has been a 'maid a milking' and a 'french hen' amongst other things but has always had a yen to be a "Five gold rings". This year Tracy fixed it and Y has just texted me delightedly.

Picture 2 is the winter flowering jasmine which is doing well.

But it deserves a better photograph, probably more from the front - I'll have another go tomorrow. But I was a little unsteady and with Y not being here I thought it best to come back indoors.

AnonymousReg rang and I'm hoping to go out WoW-ing tomorrow morning.
Even if I don't manage to walk very far I want to make the effort. Then we are taking the ladies to The Conservative Club for beef or chip cobs. We photographers certainly know how to treat our ladies ! No expense spared ! Unfortunately Y had long ago arranged to meet June C for lunch, so she is staying a TJ's till tomorrow. But she is looking forward to the post Xmas Walk at Rufford Abbey on the 29th December.

I'm enjoying some v.good hi-brow radio on Radio 3. A series called The Essay at 11pm and last night's was about Horace (the Latin Poet) who regular readers of these pages will know I am occasionally prone to quote from. The lecturers are usually eminent profs. from the better class of university ha ha! The aim is to give a guide to the foundation texts of Western Literature. I accept that this a minority sport and I shan't be at all offended if most of you decline to open the link.

As AnonymousRob and Bungus and Jill and most folks know, one of my ways of rating people is "Would I enjoy an hour in a pub with them?" And I think Horace looks a better bet than our current Poet Laureate - Andrew Motion. But perhaps I do him a disservice and should restrict my criticisms to his poetry.

Comments ......Bungus - So pleased Danny got your g-mail back together with all your past data. I was sure it wouldn't actually be deleted, but it must be a relief. And yes, please re-send the picture of the 1" Spitfire.

Jill - The Bar Keepers Friend sounds wonderful stuff and I have taken the liberty of making the title a live link for the benefit of others. And I'm glad you too found yesterday's quote a little maudlin. This is rather more robust :-

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club"

Although his picture on his Wiki-page (behind the above link) is full face, I think he looks rather like Horace. Comments please?

Got to get moving in the morning. Sleep tight. Catch you tomorrow.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Still frozen - Hawker Hunter - Lamb chops

In addition to his other talents AnonReg is a keen aeromodeller and photographer thereof, and this superb picture is of a 15ft long model of a Hawker Hunter during a certification flight for its public display. If you open the link you will see that it had fuel capacity problems (the actual plane that is, not the model). The aircraft was in squadron-service in 1953 while I was doing my National Service in Germany and the squadron pilots considered it a great aeroplane to fly. Having seen them in the flesh, as it were, I can only marvel at the authenticity of Reg's picture.

Picture 2 is more mundane. 'Michaelmas Daisies in Frost'. Or possibly more accurately 'Ex Michaelmas Daisies'. The 'only one head sharp' is on purpose, with my 50mm lens with a wide aperture setting.

I considered it for my 'Happy Christmas from Radiogandy' Card but settled for the half-dead rose with which I felt in sympathy. During my period of semi-incapacity Y has been on cookhouse fatigues and has produced some lovely grub. We've just had Barnsley Chops, with mint sauce, mashed pots, brussels, winter cabbage and also cauliflower florets which were delicious. Followed by a 'signature dish - jelly and greek yoghurt'.

Thank you all for your 'comments' - I love reading them, and so do our readership. The 'spicy carrot' soup certainly lived up to its name and although we enjoyed it on a cold wintry day, I wouldn't serve it to anyone who isn't sure about spicy food. Thanks for the latest episode of your clinic saga Bungus, and Jill's 'reindeer and a blow for women's lib' link seemed to open OK on other peoples computers. Thanks also for the 'litheram's dog' stuff. And thanks Jill for the update on your garden birds. We used to see Redwings in the fields but have never had them in the garden. And Ro is generally in the right to shout obscenities at the TV screen, more or less whatever's on - with the possible exception of Songs of Praise. Even there I suspect that most of the congregation have only gone because they might be on the telly and thereby deserve heckling.

Thanks AnonymousRob for propping yourself up in your sick-bed to pen a couple of paragraphs. I am not qualified to utter about the X factor, not having seen it and you are quite right about Capello. If he succeeds he will be a hero - if he fails there'll be anti-Ravioli and boo-to-Chianti stories in The Star and The Sun.

Quotation for the Day.............

"I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there"

An interesting observation from an interesting character, but I'm not sure I agree with his drift. It seems to have a 'tired of life' feel to it. I am sufficiently young to feel that there are so many things to see and do, such a lot to read, and, most importantly, what can I still achieve?

Sometimes single 'smileys' can be a bit boring. So I thought I'd give this one an airing. Sleep tight folks and I'll catch you tomorrow......


Sunday, December 16, 2007

No blog today - out of respect

Sad to announce that John (Lisa's Dad) died last night peacefully in his sleep. It has been a day of family pulling together. I will be back tomorrow.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Still bitterly cold - perhaps a White Xmas ?

I was allowed an hour in the kitchen this morning, provided I sat on my kitchen stool. Always do as I'm told and I made this Spicy Carrot soup which we aim to have while watching Strictly come Dancing, the semi-final, and a definite nail-biter. We both want Matt to go out, not because he isn't a nice enough lad but the final surely must be between Gethin and Alesha.

Having tasted the soup I think it will be a love it/hate it job because I'm not sure about hot chilli powder, cumin, and coriander all together in a soup.

As I've just said to Reg in an e-mail, I might have to live in bed and get up for the occasional hour, because things seem more comfortable that way. My Gran would say I was 'as idle as Litheram's dog'. I never did find out who Litheram was.

Pcture 2 is, as Bungus knows, Basil Rooting and his brother making their tri-annual appearance. Looks as if I need to pot them on tomorrow at the latest. I must investigate different Basils as a change from my standard two.

I've just received an e-mail from Jill giving me the low-down on Rudolph and I would love to provide you with a link to it because it's super. But it has her e-mail address on it and I don't like to do that. I'll find a 'workaround' by tomorrow. Didn't take me that long. I copy/pasted it without the e-mail address into an e-mail which I then addressed to myself. Please click to see a very jolly animation. Thanks Jill.

I can't enter this footie chat I'm afraid - I'll leave it to other readers. No doubt AnonRob if he feels well enough.

Quotation for the Day........

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies"

He was right when he wrote it, in the early years of the 19th century, and he's right now.

Off to watch Strictly......... Then we've got Civilisation...... Please click here Looks like a Jeff Koons hand, but perhaps not kitsch enough. We've got a look alike local at Vicar Water.

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