Thursday, July 31, 2008

A brief 'comment catcher' from I of W

As you will see from Picture 1, Bill's mother seems to have moved to the suburbs of Shanklin.

The weather looked threatening but didn't actually rain and we had another excellent day including a 3 hour boat-trip round the Solent.

Picture 2 is a close-up of a gorgeous Harley Davidson parked outside a food/drink hut. If you examine the reflections carefully you will see RG taking the photograph.

Today we made our way to Brading Roman Villa, by bus, and used our free-passes which were accepted without demur.


Bungus .... I've lost your thread with the poached-egg plant. That is it, as published in my last blog-post, honest.

The 'scrooge' headphones sound just the ticket. Would you acquire me a pair please?

Jill ...The hotel has grown on us since first arrival. The food is good and the service and helpfulness excellent.

AnonymousRob...... I know you only holidayed in Cuba but you knowledge is better than ours by 100%. Thanks for the continued 'old-sayings' and I'm sure people will keep remembering more. Due to discomfort following much painkiller medication I was pleased yesterday to be able to report a 'good clear out' after which I felt better.

My position is slightly different about modern technology. I love it and would wish for things to be different.

Quotation slot ........

"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels"

H L Mencken

Sleep tight. Catch you properly at the beginning of next week.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Sandown swifty - Weather good

Picture 1 is to remove any doubt which still lingers.

It is, without question, "Poached Egg" plant (Limnanthes Douglasii) and here shown growing in Y's top border. She is good at growing it and it flourishes wherever she puts it. The seeds came out of a packet marked Limnanthes Douglasii.

Picture 2 are some Lilies found growing at Ventnor Botanical Gardens where we spent a very pleasant couple of hours yesterday in beautiful sunshine.

The reason for publication is the similarity between them and Jill's (published Friday).

In the published information about them it explained that they start off redder than when fully open, just as Jill said.

We are having a great time. The weather is faultless and the Hotel is adequate.

More may well follow later in the week.

Comments will be covered then.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Packing - Blood level haywire - Excited !

Picture 1 is one of Jill's day lilies and only she can say if the colour reproduction is about right. From your description earlier Jill, I had expected a deeper red.

Picture 2, Y says, could be a helianthemum ? (rock rose) but it's difficult to judge the size of the plant without the customary 50p piece.

My blood-test (INR) this morning showed a level way too high at 5.1 (it should be 2.5) which means my blood is too thin and the clinic worry about the risk of internal bleeding. Spending time in Hospital has had this effect previously. Anyway, my warfarin dosage has been adjusted and I need another test on the Monday after return from holiday. She was happy for me to go away but to keep an eye on any excessive bruising or bleeding.

We've nearly done our packing and the Coach company's luggage restrictions have caused us to pare down to essentials. Good for us and not so much for people to lug about (is that why it's called lug-gage I wonder ?)

Picture 3 is a bit of our Rowan in the rear garden. Self-set and very robust, and the berries in the early morning sun are a joy. The tree's old name of Mountain Ash used to conjure up trekking in exotic mountain ranges......... Rowan conjures up nothing except the name of our Doctor.

Picture 4 is another 'go' at our ancient Clematis. We are happy that it is a Jackmanii but there are named varieties within the group and although we saw a similar one at Powis there were no gardeners on duty to ask.

This time I am happy with the colour. The ambient light was good which gave me a reasoanable chance.

David rang to see how we were and to wish us a good holiday. They also go away tomorrow with Helen's Mum and Dad to Majorca. Everybody is OK.

Tracy rang similarly, to check that we are OK. and also tomorrow Steve and family move from caravanning in Swanage to Hotel in Jersey.

Comments..... You must all excuse my brevity, but I need to go to bed soon.

Jill ..... Thank you for your good wishes. The horse and cart thingy at Osborne sounds good fun.

Bungus ..... Thanks for the 'matters medical and dental' update. So many things are 'not what they were'.

Re your query about 'air to water heat pumps'. I don't even understand what you are talking about. Maybe Reg will.


Quotation time .............. This appeals ..........

"There is no reciprocity. Men love women, women love children, children love hamsters"


Have a nice weekend. I'm not sure when the next blog-post will appear. We are being picked up at 6.45am and are both excited to be going on holiday.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

I of W Research - Monet - Bromley House


Pleasantly warm, by nearly 10 degrees than in I of W - so we must take gansies.

As we have been talking railway-station roofs, and curved ones particularly. I thought I would share these paintings. Just a pitched roof I'm afraid, no curves.

Pictures 1 and 2 are both Monet and form part of his series of the Railway Station at St Lazare. The one on the left is in our own National Gallery but the one on the right is my personal favourite because I love the Hogarth's 'Line of Beauty' curve, of the piece of track in the middle foreground.

The smoke and steam are superb as, of course, are my beloved 'tonal recessions' to the buildings outside the Station. They confer such a 3 D effect don't they ?. One of my major gripes against photographs with over dramatised skies is the lack of recession .... No depth dear boy, no depth !

Picture 3 is a Hollyhock, or more accurately, a detail therefrom. Why is nature so disgustingly 'phallic' all the time ?

My day has been spent pleasantly, researching the I. of W. and I've printed off lots, and maps and things. Plus of course, I am taking my laptop plus dongle.

Tomorrow I must download some BBC podcasts onto my Sanyo for middle-of-the-night listening if I can't sleep. I s'pose I can always slip on a pair of trousers and sit in the corridor with mi' lappy

I took Y to Bromley House to change her books and, nearly opposite, a Tesco Express has appeared. I nipped in for some 'bits' and was most pleasantly surprised. The store size suits me personally, better than a full size supermarket. Only a limited range of choices but to me that's a plus point. The shop is bound to do well, given its proximity to Old Market Square. And, knowing Tesco, things were competitively priced. A tray of Sushi, for my tea, with all the gubbins i.e. sliced pickled ginger, wasabi paste, and Soy sauce. Just eaten it! - 'twas delicious at £2.26p.


Jill ..... Glad you enjoyed the Powis pics. I promise lots of I of W similar. Miniatures can be very interesting and Nicholas Hilliard is probably the best known and the most skillful. The portraits are amongst the earliest known in England and, by reason of their use, portrayed a most accurate likeness of the subject. Similar work continued until giving way to photography and the Carte de Visite but that will have to be another lecture - sorry, I sounded as if I'd accidentally slipped into 'dog-collar' mode !

I don't know if Y watched the drama about oil - she hasn't mentioned it.

Tim Draper, the holiday coach people, say hand-luggage is fine. As is my 'wheeled walker' but they were glad I'd rung because the type of picking up vehicle is contingent on transporting the 'walker'. It isn't that big - honest !

Thanks also for the fascinating info. in your later note. Dervla Murphy sounds quite a girl. I've made the name a live link to her Wikipedia page. Also Y says she watched the oil drama and thought it excellent and part 2 to look forward to.

Bungus .... I'm sure you are right about the orientation of the Evening Primrose but I didn't like the look of the correct version.

Your 'enhanced' ham in black bean sauce sounds delicious - I would love to have shared it. I must remember to label this blog-post 'Cooking' because I might need to retrieve it.

You paint a vivid picture of me in travelling mode ! And so accurate too. I think I might have some Sherpa blood. I did consider the kitchen sink but it wouldn't come off the wall.

So, Robin Williams is out. He might have rejected the part anyway, as too demanding !

Re - Miniatures. I think it is necessary to see them 'in the flesh' to appreciate the delicacy and accuracy of the work (see note to Jill above). Their craft grew out of 'limning' (the illumination of manuscripts) not much called for nowadays.

AnonymousRob .... hasn't yet commented ...... My publication time and his reading time are not in synch. It's one of Elaine's days at the pub and theye are no doubt out eating.


.... A special 'smiley' just to wish Brian S well, and to hope that he is still recovering steadily (after his knee op). . I hope we shall see him soon. If he wants to come on a limited WoW I'm sure one of us would be delighted to pick him up. I would, for a start.

Quotation time ...... One of life's truisms I think .....

"You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in"

Woody Guthrie's lad .... and from his Wikipedia page he sounds 'one of us'.

Sleep tight all. I hope to catch you tomorrow. After that publication might be intermittent or not-at-all.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quiet Rest Day - No WoW

Back to bees. This one was just alighting on the Lavender so I suppose it counts as 'in flight'.

Not that we are still needing to recover from our trip to Powis but another restful day was most welcome. If I stand around I soon start to hurt and need to lie flat. But sitting down is easier, so our coach journey to the Isle of Wight will be no problem.

Y retrieved luggage from the loft this morning, mainly to check the sizes because the coach operator now imposes restrictions, including weight. I must ring tomorrow to ask about hand luggage, and my wheels. I made a Rogan Josh for lunch with some beef and mushrooms and Y was very pleased with it, followed by ice-cream wafers.

I nipped out into the garden for ten minutes to take some flower snaps. This is an upright Evening Primrose. It looked more interesting vertical rather than horizontal.

Work on my new PC continues. Once I am sure what I have successfully transferred I shall begin deleting stuff from the laptop.

Basically Y is going to have it for her personal use - but I am to be allowed access when away from home, and in the middle of the night.

Picture 3 - 'A Large Crevasse' - was taken in 1888 by Vittorio Sella.

In 1882 he had written to the English Camera manufacturers Dallmeyer saying .....

"I beg you to undertake immediately the camera for plates 30 x 40cm described in my letter; I beg you to make it in the best mahogany, with every care possible, as I will serve myself of it for taking views in the high Alps.....Here we have splendid weather, and I burn with impatience to start photographic excursions"

We WoW-ers know how he felt !

When you think this was taken 120yrs ago, and I have photographed it from a newspaper, it puts things into perspective.

Sella's work is on Exhibition in the Estorick collection in London and was written up in the S.Telegraph's 'Seven' magazine by Andrew Graham-Dixon.


Bungus ..... Pleased you enjoyed the Robin Williams clip - I had hoped it would help to persuade you of his suitability for 'casting'.

I'm sorry that Sandra's Garden Party occasion was surrounded by some problems or 'issues' as people annoyingly call them. As I remember, it is quite a walk from Trafalgar Square and Sandra isn't completely well is she? Especially then to be offered a minuscule scone. Not miniscule Bungus. Sorry to be pedantic - and it is a common error.

Anonymousrob ..... No howls of protest from me about the identity of Railway Stations. The roof architecture is often interesting and stylish, curved or not. On our way to the Terracotta Warriors we were most taken with St. Pancras.

You are quite right about the miniature. I couldn't work out the apparent reflections of road signs either. Certainly not any symbolism that I am aware of. I borrowed the picture from a reputable enough site, (The Bridgeman Art Library) but perhaps their photographer had to nip to Powis and nick a furtive shot through the glass case. Could it be the site-owner's 'watermark' to dissuade reproduction I wonder?



Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Rest Day - Karen - Computer


Basically a Rest Day but we seemed to cram a lot into it. It was a Karen day so, to give her a free run, we went over to Hucknall Tesco for an hour.

Picture 1 is another Powis shot looking over a walled garden towards the Welsh Hills. I feel I must assure everyone that the oblong orange shape, almost halfway up near the right-hand edge, is a sandstone path and not a lolly stick ! The light was not brilliant and varied between a few seconds of bright sun and cloudy shade.

Picture 2 is one of their own Powis favourites, it features prominently in their leaflet, the handbook, and the web-page.

So I obediently stuck my metaphorical tripod in the holes and took the snap.

Yesterday I might have sounded luke warm about the Art but not so. The whole trip was worth doing just to see one of the most famous minatures in the world.

I learnt all about it many years ago in a lecture and then could have talked you through the importance of this and that bit, and the symbolism. But I've forgotten nearly all of it.

But neither Y nor I had ever actually seen it. And it is exquisite.

Painted between 1610-14 by Isaac Oliver on velum mounted on card and only measuring 23 x 18cm.

At Powis Castle it is kept in a glass case on a darkened corner wall and you have to press a button at the side to illuminate it for a few seconds only. I have tried to publish the picture at the highest resolution I can muster but only at 800pixels, rather than the painting appear on your monitor larger than it actually is.

The resolution I'm afraid is subject to the smallness of the available image. But I've done mi best ............. If only I could have taken a snap myself ............

Pleased to report that my monitor is now sorted. I've had to download the manual from disc and print, it is so complicated. But I'm delighted with it now. The appearance was truly awful when I finally scrutinised it closely. If you remember, 'Truly Awful' was 'Truly Scrumptious's' ugly sister in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang I think.

Karen came and did her usual splendid job while we were out, and when we returned she brought Y uptodate with her domestic situation. The house she was hoping for is now certain and she will be living at Codnor.


Reg.... Thanks for that great wikipedia stuff about Cuneo. We all live and learn don't we. Nearly all of that was new to me and I enjoyed a good read.

Thanks also for the York Station picture by e-mail. You are right about fantastic bridges. They have always fascinated me, large and small. The little one (recently restored) over the railway line at Basford Xing is a lovely thing. There was a v.good radio probgramme about modern day successors to Brunel and Telford. If I can track it down I'll send you a link.

Bungus .... My word... lots of 'likes' today and I can't find a single grouch. Are you sure you are feeling OK ?

I like your ..... "decent sized bass would be at least a tenner? joke.

Take your point about Robin Williams in 'Vietnam' but it was more his role in 'The Dead Poets Society'. The link is to the closing few minutes of the film which I rated as excellent.

Jill .... Of course we will allow you a few days off ! And we go to I.of W. on Saturday. But now I have my dongle I might manage a brief blogette, subject to Y's approval.

The Powis trip was not too onerous and I was sitting down 80% of the time. With Coach steps although you only need a 'shove-up' because there's hardly anything of you is there ? With me I can manage to pull myself up, slowly, when getting in. Then it's best if I back out - under supervision of course.


Quotation time ...........................

"When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest"

William Hazlitt

Hazlitt was the first of the great essayists I encountered while still a boy. I was so impressed they gave me a lifetime's love of a good essay. And I haven't changed...............

Pleased to report that Walagata is back to normal. All I needed was patience..........


Monday, July 21, 2008

Powis Castle - Nails Day

As predicted we enjoyed our National Trust outing to Powis Castle very much indeed. We had lots of laughs with our Mansfield Centre chums, even though we missed Chairman Peter to play 'first one to see ...... ......... wins 6d'. We sophisticated Nat Trst lot play very intellectual games on coach trips !

The coach trip was good and the driver was excellent. Very pleasant and helpful. He had done his homework and we didn't get lost at all. Our journey was broken by an hour in Shrewsbury - so much better than a motorway services.

The snaps have been selected to convey a 'feel' of the place and Picture 1 is from the first level of the garden i.e. ground floor level and easy for me.

Picture 2 was from virtually the same spot but with me turned through 180 degrees. Yews like the one shown abounded but no gardeners on duty to ask about the attractive trimming.

In the house there was some 'good' Art - Reynolds, Romney etc which we enjoyed. Also a famous 'minature' which I shall track down an image of, and cover better tomorrow.

We enjoyed a good lunch and pots of tea etc., and finally left at 4.30pm returning to Mansfield about 7.30pm with a motorway service area break half way.

Picture 3 is one of Rob's from a visit to the Czech Republic in the early years of the Century and continues the curtain-light theme.

A good picture in my opinion. It almost looks good enough to be in colour.

Ou Monday has been faitly quiet. It was Y's 'Nails Day' so we nipped over to Carlton and I spent the time having a haircut ready for my hols, and visiting the Charity Shops.


Bungus ..... There were Clematis jackmanii at Powis and I'm sure you are right.

Re PC problems ..... I accept that you settle for simple solutions, but must point out that your 'solutions' are invariably provided by someone other than yourself. An approach that doesn't appeal to me - so I experiment, learn, and try to solve things under my own steam so to speak.

Your 'Alex's party' account was first rate. The main characters really came to life.

Helen C ..... As Jill says, it is nice to have another lady in the 'comments' columns.

Re the missing 'lolly stick' from your St. Pancras picture. You could always photoshop one in if Roy insists upon it !

Jill ..... You are right to point out to Bungus that he was supposed to be 'staying in his room' but to think what he would have missed. And we readers would have missed it too.

Re 'casting bungus' ...... Still giving it thought. Certainly not Robertson-Justice with Alf Garnett. More Robin Williams I think .............

Roy ........... As you say, artists who include objects are many. Bungus is correct with Robert (Mousey) Thompson the wood carver, and his mouse.

But more recent is the graffiti artist Banksy who also always incorporates a mouse. Wikipedia are most thorough.

And I think I speak for all regular readers - we are glad you like poetry too !

AnonymousRob ...... As you know I'm with you 100% about photography people who are so obsessed with so-called 'rules' that they only ever look at pictures in those terms. It so limits their artistic souls, if they have them.

If I'm to be a 'grunting fish' can I be a bass please ? - gotta sound manly.

Re the casting of Bungus. As I've mentioned above, to Jill, I think an older Robin Williams would do. But, from your list, I'd go for Pete Postlethwaite with a good dollop of Bill Nighy stirred in.


A Karen day tomorrow. And now I am a little restricted re animated lines to end with. My file hosts Walagata have gone on the blink. Trouble with their servers they say. If it persists I might have to change file-hosts but I would be devastated to lose all the stuff I have stored with Walagata. You will have to put up with this Clicksmilie's one

Saturday, July 19, 2008

PC problems - quiet Rest Day

I'll get the worst picture out of the way first and then deal with the others. The only reason for the very old clematis picture is that this time the colour is about accurate. When it leaves here anyway.

Taken with my Tamron at 250mm and in RAW and I must concede it made it possible to get the colour correct. In a JPEG it remained resolutely blue-ish.

Now you can actually see it Bungus you may be able to confirm Jackmanii, or of course, if anyone actually knows, please feel free to chip in. I enjoy the 'symposium' aspects of t'blog.

Picture 2 is Helen C's jolly good effort at the roof st St. Pancras. It was fun to check the metadata against the station clock and find that the clock and Helen's camera were both spot on. Us with tiny minds have to find something to faff about with !

Seriously though - a good picture Helen and f7.1 was small enough to be sharp front to rear and you were right to use ISO100 even where there wasn't much light. It is all the more crisp in consequence.

Did you rest the camera on something solid, or did you take your tripod with you ? No evidence of camera shake anyway.

As I said yesterday, I'm taken with the 'light through curtain idea' so I had a go in the office this morning. Picture 3 is the result.

This was before my PC trouble began. I wanted to install on my new machine my favourite photo-manipulation programme, from my disc. I had three determined goes and while I got close, I couldn't clinch it.

Rather than go mad I decided to enlist Reg's help and he and Maureen came late afternoon.

It was fortunate that Maureen and Y had plenty to talk about it because hours passed.

Poor Maureen's arm looks healthy enough now the 'scaffolding' has been removed. But is still swollen and looking painful, which we are assured it is. She has lots of physiotherapy type exercises to do. One of which looks remarkably like Elizabeth R's genteel wave, sideways on, from the elbow.

I think the full effect needs a state-carriage though !

It was almost a relief when Reg encountered much the same obstacles as I had. Had he sorted it in minutes I would have felt even more of an idiot.

But, due to sheer determination and perseverance, he eventually succeeded. My input to the procedures mainly involved mashing tea. I did get to click the occasional button and do the odd mouse click.

This evening we, and I'm sure other readers, watched the Hadrian programme and personally I liked the presenter Dan Snow. The programmes are to coincide with the upcoming Exhibition at The British Museum.


Jill ..... You seem to have nearly a full set of common garden birds. You don't mention blackbirds but most gardens have them around somewhere. Neither do you say anything about Robins and ours are missing this year too. I don't know if there is a reason ? We put out some mealy worms the other day and usually they love those.

Y said Harley Street was pretty dire. I think 5 minutes was enough.

Taken side by side Wendy Cope is a better poet than Jenny Joseph, but 'Purple' (quite deservedly) just sticks in the mind.

Thanks for your good wishes re Nat Trust and Powys. We are treating it as a 'heat' for the Isle of Wight holiday.

AnonymousRob ....... You are quite correct to point up the difficulties of 'casting' Bungus for the Clinic Tales. I will give it much thought. Better still would be for Bungus to suggest someone !

Glad the curry was good. Y and I must try Huthwaite because we both enjoy a good curry.

I think that, after your words and Bungus's, about present day veal, I must review my position. Veal is a very versatile raw ingredient and I have many recipes in ancient cookery books.

Bungus .... Scout's honour not to bogger about with my new PC. Mind you, perhaps the occasional tweak ..... or two .....

Does your lack of tolerance with mitre flaws refer to the episcopal variety ?

Re Henry Normal and Baby Cow productions. I think the last time Y and I saw him live was at Beeston Library in the early 80s. I think we all now have the accurate info re his involvement with Series 1 of The Royle Family.

I hope that Alex's thrash survived the rain. Here it was mostly sunshine, but showers around 5pm plus. Sandra's finger-food is so gorgeous that living on left-overs for a week would be no punishment. But you have your chewing probs to contend with.


Talking food, Y came across a very important piece the other day. Apparently while we all now use 'healthy' vegetable oils for cooking there's a problem which isn't given the prominence it deserves.

You can cook in it once and enjoy the benefits. But reheated again, after straining etc, all the polyunsaturates revert to supersaturates and you might just as well be using animal fats.

Quotation time. .............................

"Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise"

Bertrand Russell

Wikipedia provided the best link, as it so often does...... Marvellous creation !

I might miss a day tomorrow. It depends when we get home and how flatpackered I feel. Sleep tight.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Doctors etc.... Thrush and Sparrows


I thought you might like a better picture of the thrush and I've added the sparrows having a 'fest' on the ears of wild wheat near the bird feeders. Although these pictures don't logically 'merge' I have made them into one to save on 'blogger' storage space. Not that it costs me anything but, after having been 'blogging' for several years, I think there are nearly a 1000 in there.

When the wheat started to grow I thought the pigeons would eat it; I didn't expect the sparrows.

All our medical appointments were kept and I guess I shall hear about the ultrasound scan in due course. The operator had a very close look at my hernia and tummy area. But I'm getting better anyway. Still moderate/severe twinges if I stand up for too long but my wheels help. All being well we are going to Powys Castle on Sunday with Mansfield National Trust and we don't want to let people down. I've said in advance that I shan't be doing much walking, but we are both looking forward to an outing.

My new PC arrived this morning and it is good but there are still niggles. It took several hours to download a DVD of pictures from my laptop and I had expected it to be much quicker. Also text doesn't seem as clear on my posh monitor. It probably needs attention with the Microsoft Cleartype tool. I'll do it tomorrow.


Roy ..... Yes, you have the correct Taylor family. Small world isn't it? Research is always appreciated and thank you. Please let me have a couple of photos for the blog on your return from caravaning.

AnonymousRob ....... Benjamin Zephaniah is a hoot. I like the quote. I didn't rate him to begin with but, over the years, he's grown on me.

Looking forward to receiving the 'light/curtains' picture. Many people have worked in that particular area - because the subject stimulates the artistic imagination I suppose. Interesting light always seems to.

Bungus has already answered your 'growing old' question. It was indeed Jenny Joseph. Please click here for a delightful link about the poem.

Hope the tandoori lives up to expectations.

Bungus ...... Just missed you at The City Hospital - I wasn't there till 4pm ! How nice that your driver was an old friend you could reminisce with.

Certainly looking forward to your painting. Everybody is 'at' the light filtering through curtains theme. See Rob above. I might have a go myself.

Here is my troublesome gorilla........

He just wouldn't go away. I hope that, having downloaded him again, he won't do a repeat performance this evening.

When I was posted in Germany I really liked Wiener Schnitzel but never eat it now out of consideration for the calves. However I understand that the rearing methods are now more humane.

Thanks for the reminiscences about 'performances' . You actually knew Henry Normal before I came along but I remember how supportive he was of others. Good luck to him that he has prospered. For the benefit of other readers, Pete Carrol (Henry Normal) wrote the first series of The Royle Family and since then his career has blossomed. Don't know why I didn't expect to find a Wiki page, but there it is, under the link.



Thursday, July 17, 2008

Y at Burton Joyce - Me = messing about

Y insisted on making her own way to BJ today so I could have a rest. Thoughtful girl. And I've taken advantage of it. My new PC is ready and Jack installs it tomorrow around 11.15am.

I'm really looking forward to the better monitor and all the other improved features.

And then at 4pm, I need to go to the City Hospital Clinic for my ultra-sound scan.

I've not heard how John fared with his clinic. But, via e-mail from Reg, Maureen has had the 'scaffolding' removed and all is well.

Picture 1 is Bungus's "fancy grass". A lovely picture and I particularly like the silhouetted shadows on the ground. We have some similar grasses and the sparrows have been feasting on the ears of wheat near the bird-feeders.

I had a clean up, bird-feeder-wise and took longer than I had anticipated. But I enjoyed the fresh air and didn't have to rush to lie flat half an hour after starting.

Picture 2 is one of our juvenile thrushes. We know they are around because of the tap tap as they prepare their breakfast of snails. The shells are always within a square foot of the paving slab leading to the front lawn. This thrush however, was on the rear lawn. The quality isn't good but hand-held through the kitchen window?

Picture 3 is a polaroid by Daniel Boudinet in 1979 and it is published here because someone - I can't find the comment - was discussing early morning light creeping round the curtains.

I also remembered Larkin's poem "Audabe" where he writes :

"Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare/
In time the curtain-edges will grow light"

and I thought the snap went well with the words.

.............. I've had a temporary computer glitch involving a gorilla which took up residence on screen while I was doing something else, and he proved immovable (seriously ! - It was a 'clip art' image I was trying to be clever with - serves me right).

System Restore was necessary in the end, but thankfully he's gone now.


Roy ..... Thanks for the material about Sleetmoor Lane and I think that will be it ! My step-father's name was Sam Taylor and maybe you or Ann will know the name or the family, his brother was Owen. As I said, they had farmed there since time immemorial.

Maybe our 'yaffle' is the same family as the one you saw near Jacksdale. I've no idea of the size of a Woodpecker's normal territory. But we had a similar visit last year too.

You are certainly doing well with your new hip and I'm sure Peter will read your comments and draw them to Joan's attention. It will be reassuring for her to read a 'success story'.

Bungus ...... I think the Youth Hostel in Derbyshire that you hasve in mind is probably Ilam Hall - a beatiful setting and a 'well thought of ' place.

I don't know enough about Clematis to argue, so probably Jackmanii is right.

The 'Betty's' in Ilkley is no doubt the sister ship to the one in Harrogate, which we thought was the famous one. We have 'afternoon tea-ed' there and been slightly disappointed.

I'm sure Jill will sort out the families. It seems to me they are complicated as often as not.

Jill .... I did spend half a hour messing about in Photoshop, with the 'lava flow' picture but the result was awful. So I decided against inflicting my pictorial peccadillo on you all. The one I published was un-interfered with.

Glad that you too are a Matt fan ! He is always 'up to the minute' and even non-Telegraph readers admire his stance and his prodigious output. The stress of producing such work day after day must be enormous. Due to his topicality, he can't even stockpile a few in readiness.


Quotation time ... seldom does your blogmeister find it necessary to flatly disagree with a quote. But this time I do..............

"A poet who reads his verse in public may have other nasty habits"

Robert Heinlein

Bungus and I and also Rob, and Mike to mention just a few, know some performance poets who are super people. In fact Bungus is no mean performer of his own stuff. And just think of Auden, Betjeman, Pam Ayres, Wendy Cope, Dylan Thomas, Carol Ann Duffy, John Hegley, Henry Normal ............... I could just go on and on. They may be eccentric - thank God - but 'nasty habits' is just gratuitously rude. I shan't be quoting him again.

Sleep tight and I hope to catch you tomorrow...........


This is me listening to a good performance poet ................


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Karen mowed - Peter & Joan called

No need for 'what-is-it"? - I'll tell you. It is a disintegrating aircraft vapour trail caught by the rays of the setting sun yesterday evening. If I have time tomorrow I may copy the file, flip one horizontally and merge them in Photoshop. It could look interesting.

My first job must be to clear up a typo from yesterday.

Re Hotels. I meant to say that we wouldn't even consider a multi-hotel holiday. Moving hotels in mid holiday is for young folks.

It was published as precisely the opposite. Sorry folks.

Nice surprise this morning as we returned from Lidl. Peter and Joan called and brought some magazines and chocolates. Unfortunately they had eaten lunch and had coffee so we were unable even to provide a drink. Lovely to see them though. Joan is to see the speclialist re her replacement hip. She needs one very much because her mobility is bad and she suffers so much pain.

They saw me walking as I got out of the car, and I didn't look at all well apparently. My pseudonym for the day is "Bear Lee Staggers". But, after frequent horizontal breaks and pain-killers, I've survived.

Picture 2 is yet more roses. Very old stock which my mother assured us was 'Mountbatten' but don't put money on it because my Mum was a great inventor of facts to suit the story. Bless her!

Picture 3 has a more reliable heritage. A very very old Clematis, name unknown.

My step father's ancestors had farmed near Riddings in Derbyshire since the middle-ages and I believe the farm was called Sleep Moor. A quick google though proved unsuccessful.

And this Clematis came from there. The blue is slightly more purply than shown and I've been unable to get it right. I may have to relent and photograph it in RAW tomorrow and see if I fare better.

I'm reluctant to raid Matt again so soon. But the brilliance of his work makes it difficult not to. His dagger goes straight to the point.


Bungus .......... 'Screwy' was common in my boyhood too. But, rather than 'defying convention' or 'showing off', it was used to mean 'slightly mad'. Also, "he's a 'screwpot'" had the same meaning.

Re birds. I think you are just going through a sparse period and it's nothing to do with early rising. My 'yaffle' snap was 3.20pm which would be a 'lie-in' even for you. From my recollection of your garden though, you can't really see the bottom portion of your rear garden very well, at least not from downstairs. Especially when everything is in leaf.

We agree with you about 'character-blackened' teenagers. In our experience they are polite, helpful and good natured. No doubt David encounters the other sort, at School, but even then he usually has good things to say.

Clever you. The lady in the tableau being Romanian, because of her Book-a-rest origin is good.

Jill ..... Next time Y and I are in town, and looking for a 'posh' tea, I guess it has to be Fortnums then. When we went to The Terracota Warriors and decided on the 'posh' tea on the top floor we were a little disappoointed.

However, we would love to visit The British Museum again starting later this month for the Hadrian Exhibition. We too watched the Timewatch programme and thoroughly enjoyed it. Oh how we enjoy a lecture with pictures. At the end, in the credits, we weren't abit suprised to see the OU logo. I much preferred the presenter to Tony Robinson whose image I can never distance enough from Baldrick.

It seems then that most folks can grow white Japanese Anemones easier than pink ones.

Lilies are not popular in our garden I'm afraid. They remind me of death and Y can't stand the aroma. Mind you 'dark red' sounds interesting. Remind your gardener that even things we propagate as bulbs all start off as seeds anyway and are therefore bird-scatterable. It just takes considerably longer before they flower.

AnonymousRob ..... You are probably right about Bonekickers becoming a cult. Y stuck it for ten minutes and I didn't bother at all.

You are also right about trying to get it right' in the camera rather than Photoshop. Also, and I know that most photographers whose opinions I respect, feel that images which have been photoshopped always 'look' that way whereas soemthing straight out of the camera 'looks' genuine. I accept that there are grey areas and a tweak to recover 'what you perceived' and a judicial crop are perfectly acceptable.

It must be left over indoctrination from film days I suppose. It's amazing how often when I go out with WoW I shoot 36 frames. I don't do it deliberately - it just seems natural. Sometimes it's 37 or even 38 but you always get extra frames at the end of a film don't you?

I'm surprised that any club 'took' against your judging. You always give satisfactory explanations for your markings and offer valuable suggestions for improvement.

So pleased to learn the real history behind Fish & Chip shops. And that it was your Irish forebears who deserve the credit. Am I correct in assuming that they would be the Portadown O'Palmers? There's such a lot in this genialology stuff that we don't know about.

You are right to reprimand the Sports Desk for missing stories. Re The Stags getting a team together for the new season. Is it true that, whenever a chum said he was going on Saturday afternoon, the done thing was to tell him to take his boots because he would probably get a game?


Quotation time ...... I love this gem......

"Art is science made clear"

Jean Cocteau

It's worth opening the link behind his name, just for the Modigliani portrait. The other day I mentioned Roland Barthes and 'punctuum'- in the portrait above, the white handkerchief in the breast pocket hits you.


........ Sleep tight. Hope to catch your tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good Rest Day - Karen - Hannah's Birthday

Couldn't sleep in the night and there, on the window sill was this stout lady with hairy armpits chasing this lay-figure away from her book-chair. He is preparing to kick over a floral display. I borrowed the general idea from a Bungus picture of his lay-figure being used as a head-phone stand.

Picture 2 is a pink Japanese Anemone which hitherto Y has been unable to grow in this garden. We can grow the white variety without any problem but not the pink. With Tracy it's vice versa.

Anyway. this one is growing strongly but Y has no recollection of planting it there. It's very close to the bird-bath so perhaps it is a little gift from nature.

Good luck to it anyway !

Picture 3 was also a stroke of luck. While I was in the kitchen cooking a spag/bol I went over to the sink and looked out of the window, there was this Green Woodpecker.

Jill has told us before they are called a 'Yaffle' which according to the link comes from their distinctive song.

I only managed 2 snaps before he/she flew away. The second one was a better pose but more evidence of camera shake.

A Nikkor VR lens, which reduces camera shake, beckons I think.

A quiet rest day has been enjoyable and Karen cheered us up. We still need frequent rests but I'm confident we shall be OK for the Isle of Wight. We are in the same hotel in Sandown, The Burlington Hotel, for the whole week and there are 2 full day and 2 half day excursions if we want them. But often we prefer to do our own thing as our interests and the rest of Tim Drapers customers don't necessarily coincide.

I really do appreciate Bungus's concern and I'm sure his approach is the common-sense one. Mine however is "if I'm going to be ill, or worse, I'd rather have my boots on etc..."


The tool is certainly a bradawl and not a gimlet. So Uncle Vince was right and my Dad was wrong. I'm not surprised because my Dad and tools weren't best suited and I've inherited the gene. Yet John and David are surprisingly handy. A gimlet has a little screw end while the bradawl is plain. By e-mail from Brian S, he used to use one all the time in the Shop to start off the screw holes in picture frames.

Bungus .... (who for some reason appeared as 'blogger')...... I am really glad that you managed to go, even if unsteadily, to the Presentation and that you heard Daniel play his bassoon solo. He has done very well to gain a place at such a prestigious School of Music.

Alex sounded very witty - has she inherited the gene? ..... And I love your 'chain gang' title for the civic dignitaries. I shall certainly 'clock' that one for future use.

As above, you are probably right about The Isle of Wight. I think the difference is that we both actually enjoy the coaching experience.

Jill ..... Since I stopped drinking completely I don't seem able to doze off on coaches.

I take your point about motorways but they traverse as much beautiful scenery as any other road. As you will see above we are in the same hotel throughout. About this aspect we agree completely and would even consider a holiday involving different hotels.

Very interesting about the polio scare. Fancy you being part of it.


It was Hannah's birthday today. One of her presents is a mobile phone, so we have texted her. I'm sure we will hear all about it soon. And Ruby passed her ice-skating test. According to Debra she looked gorgeous in her skating dress and proper boots.

....... Hope I haven't forgotten anything. Sleep tight and I'll catch you tomorrow..................


Monday, July 14, 2008

Things improving - a good day

Picture 1 is from Reg and shows a beautifully curved path leading you up to, and then into, the grove of Silver Birch with its dappled shade.

One of my favourite childhood rhymes was -

"The Silver Birch is a dainty lady/
She wears a satin gown....."

by Edith Nesbit. She goes through all the common trees in order and says something nice about each.

Reg said he had taken the picture with his 500mm Nikkor lens. Thinking he must have re-mortgaged the house to buy it, I decided to check the metadata. What a relief - it was his 50mm Nikkor !

The Lavender bed in the right-hand corner is very attractive too. The blacks in the wood are black and the white trunks are white. 18 out of 20 territory I think.

Picture 2 is a what-do-you-call-it ? This very handy piece of kit has been in the family a long time. Very hard steel it is amazing what it will go through without demur. My Dad called it a 'gimlet' but my Uncle Vince said it was a 'bradawl' ? Your views would be welcomed. Again, I think Reg, as an engineer, can probably 'name that tool'.

Our day has been more active. Y spent ages down at the river with a load of washing, and had to wait for the stones to be available. Then she has been ironing. I had another 'go' at the pyracantha near the side garage door with the pruning saw and although I have been harsh, it will grow back again.


Bungus ...... Ha Ha ! Roll-map herrings indeed. Well spotted.

Like you SoM is far too twee for me. Not that that always matters. I enjoyed Carousel and Oklahoma well enough. Couldn't find you a decent link to Oklahoma - they were all to some kids high school 2007 production.

The Isle of Wight holiday doesn't seem too much to us. As I said, they pick us up at the door, there's porterage at each end. And both Y and I actually enjoy coach travel. Relaxing and interesting, and sitting in a coach is as comfortable as sitting anywhere else. 'Tim Drapers' have put us just behind the driver so I can stick my leg down the aisle if I need to.

I feel sure that your agoraphobia is medical-condition based - and once you are up to it, you and I can do something stimulating. Rob would love to meet you, - must be near the top of the list. Thanks for the jersey/guernsey/gansey material.

AnonymousRob ...... Thanks for your continued good wishes Rob and is a pleasure to report that we are both measurably better.

Re 'the bellows' - I think I have metering but certainly not auto-focus. And YES please - tuition would be most welcome.

Re the 'sunset' - as you obviously realise, the sky is that dark becase I under-exposed by nearly 3 stops to keep some definition near the sun.

Re the 'roll-mop herrings' and the floor smelling fishy. The problems are a matter of scale !

Jill ..... I suspect that roll-mops are like Marmite - you either love it or hate it. There's no middle point.

I see what you mean about the 'quick' crossword. Looks v. interesting. Will have a go sometime during the week.

I'm sorry to say that the Colour Mag, including the yarnstorm stuff, is already in the bin. Probably wrongly, we both feel the magazine has an air of desperation about it and in consequence we bin it unread.

We no longer bake at all. David inherited the bread-making machine and I think they use it regularly. I think 'passing through' seems to be a way of life for long-tailed tits. They seem to 'pass through' here around 10.30am and one morning I am going to set up a tripod and tackle and sit in wait. But nearly everything except simple survival has been on hold for nearly a week.

I think the gap in your education about 'bellows' could well have remained unfilled - without detriment.

Y really loved your super 'proper' letter which arrived this morning - she will reply soon.


Quotation time .................... I think I could do an anthology of US of A presidential quotes. But I just couldn't bring myself to publish a Bush-ism - however ridiculous. My keys would freeze !

"No man ever listened himself out of a job"
Calvin Coolidge

Sleep tight, catch you tomorrow ......................................