Sunday, August 31, 2008

Soggy Sunday - Idle day for me


Picture 1 was taken at 8.11pm just as the streetlights came on. The nights are definitely drawing in. Whether or not that is a nautical metaphor I don't know. Stephen Fry is doing a god programme on Monday mornings called Fry's English Delight and the first programme was devoted to metaphor. He points out that as metaphor implies moving meaning from one thing to another, it is interesting that, in Greek, a household removal van is called a 'metaphor'. Apparently also we Brits use more marine metaphors than anyone else.

He didn't make the point but it seems people use nautical metaphors like 'the economy needs a touch on the tiller' when things are going badly. If things are going well we veer towards motoring metaphors like 'firing on all four cylinders'.

The morning started well with a misty daybreak and I thought it was to be a lovely day. But not so.

I managed a picture of the robin who has well and truly returned and appears inquisitively all over the place. Although this picture of him feeding in one of the starling-proof feeders makes him seem apparently in a cage he is of course able to fly out of the slightly larger holes in the sides.
As William Blake wrote:
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.

Please click here if you would like to read the whole poem.

I've had a most restful day - lots of radio, lots of naps, plenty newspapers, coffee, tea and snacks. Done absolutely nothing useful at all.


Bungus .....Unsteadiness on one's legs is worrying, especially when as AnonymousRob points out, one hasn't imbibed falling-over water. There obviously isn't an answer, except taking care and not hurrying.

Glad you join in the chorus of approval for Rob's picture. I don't think I have ever seen 'treatment' suit 'subject' better and I'm eager to see his final version. But there, is anything artistic ever a final version ? - I have in mind Cezanne's versions of Mont Sainte-Victoire. I think The Hermitage alone has four.

With regard to the female nude - I certainly wouldn't want to exclude Helen Mirren (who I didn't realise you had a letch for) and I was merely trying to set reasonable limits. If Incy Wincy is who I think it is, he and his good lady are naturists and some people are close to grotesque with no clothes on. I am one of that number. The firing squad, with no blanks, it will have to be then.

There is a marvellous story about Coral Browne and film producers trying endlessly to find a young female actress to portray her in her early years. None would suit the great lady. They had one last try and told her they had found this very beautiful, intelligent, young actress who had raven-black hair down to her knees. "Starting from where?" Coral asked.

I loved your 'the priorities of ladies' story.

Your stuff about Cuba was also very good. I researched Cuba's National newspaper Granma please click but, unsurprisingly, could find no trace of the story.

Jill ..... In my description of Y's idea of a flowers - the dead-heading or picking of outfit, I omitted the wide-brimmed straw hat. You are right, it does complete the image. I'm a little disappointed to learn of the Tesco plastic bag. I would have thought Waitrose at a minimum.

Pleased to hear of Jenny's progress along the 'allowed to go home' curve. And also that you got a decent coffee. We too have always been pleasantly surprised at Costa quality.

You certainly are 'game' aren't you? Pushing a wheel chair along those corridors and through awkward fire-doors. Bully for you !

I agree that people should have Yorkshires with whatever they fancy. Bungus will bristle though and anyway, he isn't a lamb fan - with or without.

AnonymousRob ..... The chorus of praise for your Lumsdale picture is well-deserved (see comments above) but of course, you remain the final arbiter.

Re 'falling over' - no worries. As above, I just need to be careful. If I do fall over at your reception, I'll have to do a little break-dancing while I'm down there.

See also the link to Granma, Cuba's newspaper...... I had a good poke around in the Culture section but they don't seem to want to publicise any punk rock scene.

I yield over the 40yrs upper limit. Perhaps up it to 43.

Incy Wincy ...... I seem to remember from my cave-dwelling days that there was a trick where one painted developer on the exposed sheet of printing paper, with a fairly large flat brush, to get a similar effect. There must be a digital way of doing it and I'm sure Rob will find it.

Glad you also feel that the Lumsdale picture in particular is exceptionally good.

Quotation time

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs"

p.s. for new readers -
  • Left click on a picture and an enlarged version will appear in a new window. After viewing click the green 'back' arrow, top left of page , and you will be returned to the body of the blog post.
  • Anything in orange and underlined will be a live link. If you left click it you will be whisked away to an appropriate website/page. To return to the blog follow the same procedure as for pictures.
  • n.b. I publish no 'links' that haven't been given a 'virus free' health check by McAfee.
Sleep tight - see you soon


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Y off to Palmers Green - Jobs

A warm welcome first to Incy Wincy, at 2.49am - I guess straight from Rob's 'do'......... More later.

And thanks AnonymousRob for the super cyanotype of Lumsdale (see Picture 1). The treatment suits the subject matter extremely well. The foliage almost gives an infra-red feel but the sky says it ain't. I suggest a little work on the 'edges' but, should you choose to use it, I would predict that the picture would do extremely well for you...... It's got that certain something.

Looking forward to the others.

We went shopping this morning and had a normal sort of day until I took Y to the Tram station for the start of her journey to Palmers Green. She goes at this time each year because it helps Debra out re half term. Ruby and Elli sent us a lovely home-made postcard from their caravan holiday which ends today.

Steve and Lisa and family were going over to David's caravan at Carsington for the day but I have finally decided not to go and stay for the few days I had planned. When leaving Rob's 'do' last night I nearly fell over. The problem is, when getting up from a seat, apart from it being painful, I can't control my legs for some time.

I found time during the day for some little jobs, the most important being fixing the rear gate which had become difficult to close and lock. And to sort out for use my heavy-duty wheels, equipped with seat. But I tried not to overdo it.

Picture 2 is a grab shot of our bullfinch visitor. It was my 300mm Tamron, hand held, so please excuse softness due to camera-shake. I really need a 70-300mm VR like Reg's.

My going to Carsington had been worrying Y and my other caring people, for some time. So my decision has put minds at rest. Falling over at Brinsley, surrounded by neighbours is not so bad as falling over alone in the wilds of Derbyshire.

Had a nice chat to John and I was delighted to learn that Alannah got good A levels with the grades she required to take up her place at Leeds to read English Literature. I'm proud of her.

Picture 3 is of quite a large moth (about 1½inches long) on my bedroom wall in the early hours. Around the time of Incy Wincy's return home. And , following the goldfinch's 'shield' frightener, the moth's back view near the head, resembled the head of a bird-of-prey. Identification-wise my Collins British Wildlife book was no real help and has already lured me into error over the buzzard/sparrow-hawk. So, words of wisdom from the Lepidoptery Desk would be helpful.


Incy Wincy ..... Welcome aboard and I certainly agree that the well-dressed chap with the stripey top has a certain urbanity and elegance, to go with his undoubted intelligence. With regard to the wine-glass holding chap at his elbow ?...... I couldn't possibly comment !

It gives me pleasure in this journal to publish photographs from readers - so, any you care to send me will be welcome...... But not nudists (unless female and between 18 and 40yrs) and only then in the interests of Art.

Bungus ...... Interesting that you learned to read via Rupert in the Daily Express. Thats where I learned to do crosswords. I was allowed to help, from a very early age. Does their crossword still not have black-squares but bold lines to separate the answers on the grid ? I must look next time I see an Express.

I note your comments re capital punishment. I also agree that for oneself , floating off in a morphine induced cloud has much to commend it.

Jill ..... The dearth of butterflies everywhere is, I read in the Telegraph, due to 2 wet summers on the trot...... They will return.

On an emotional level I understand your feelings about the death penalty for particularly nasty murders but I remain anti, except in times of war etc.

And if it were to be me, I would opt for the firing-squad. That seems quite an honourable way to be dispatched. But Bungus is probably right with the overdose of morphine. Just float away.

For your garden dead-heading, do you have the flowing floral frock and the secateurs and trug ? .... Y always fancies that look.

AnonymousRob ..... Great do and I'm sorry I couldn't stay longer. And I couldn't blame the booze for nearly going over on my way out.

Glad Reg has finally granted you access to Lumsdale and that you enjoyed it so. Re Tara's Slip and Elaine's comments, you can trust a lady to get her priorities right with regard to the proximity of her wedding.

Reg ..... Sorry I missed your best side in the snap ! ...... I can always 'flip it horizontally' in Photoshop. Would that help ?

We shall see everyone again next weekend I guess. By the way, would you like us to pick you up, then you can both have a drink ? Mind you, you might want to stay later than us. Just a thought though.


"The average person thinks he isn't"

Father Larry Lorenzoni

Sleep tight - enjoy the rest of your weekend - catch you tomorrow

Friday, August 29, 2008

Robs Stagnight - Messing about daytime

Had to open with a snap from AnonymousRob's 'Stagnight' at the Nelson and Railway at Kimberley. A class pub, as you will see if you open the link. The evening was so humid (or 'close' - as we used to say) folks opted for being outside which was lovely. I won't name people because they would be meaningless to readers. Except for my 'Half-Reg' and Rob standing next to him. I only stayed a short while because everyone understands the problems.

Earlier in the day I did my usual 'messing about' and although the light wasn't good I wanted to photograph the 'old and gnarled' rose root, top and bottom as it were. It's hard to believe that picture on the right is the top of the picture on the left.

. ..

I think Jill, that having adopted 'old and gnarled' as an OK description for acceptable 70+ people, we should add 'and a little prickly' to it.


Bugu ...... Thanks for reminding us about Annuals. I was very lucky as a child - Santa left me a pillow-case full of presents rather than the customary stocking. After a lie-in I used to wake up about 2.30am and rush to feel through the pillow-case for the shape of my eagerly anticipated Rupert Bear Annual. I must have had other presents but it's Rupert I remember and, as a poetry lover, I always read the rhyming couplets rather than all that boring old prose.

You are wise to let Sandra take over the neighbour dispute. She is a formidable lady and you aren't really up to the hassle at the moment.

Re Capital Punishment..... Unusually for a 'copper' I was anti and conaidered the Roy Jenkins argument persuasive. In his view, the existence of capital punishment had the end result of many 'guilty' murderers being ' acquitted' because Juries were apprehensive about the death sentence when there was any scintilla of doubt. With the result that the offender walked free when he/she should have been locked up for life.

Pleased to hear the 'butterfly problem' isn't confined to Brinsley. I'm sure there must be an informative web-site somewhere.

The 'marrow casserole' recipe sounds enticing. When you mention 'tomato sauce' I guess you mean passata or similar, rather than tomato purée or tomato ketchup?

Reg ...... The 'juvenile goldfinch' (Miles insists on correct terminology) does in fact seem to be protected by a Zulu type shield. If you remember Tuesday's blog, there's a sideways shot of the same bird showing half a shield on the end of his wing. I think, boringly, the shield effect is just his wings closed tightly together.

But nature is so clever with things like this, and the effect is probably a deliberate scarer for other creatures. Well spotted and I don't know if anyone has ever noticed the characteristic before............. Photos showing just that aspect are not common are they ?.......... Can't see NEMPF being interested.


Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow

The smiley is just for those who can't resist 'boggering-about' with their Computers


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tranquil Thursday - Y at BJ

Picture 1 is for Miles' benefit. Yesterday, from the dining room, we were surprised at the time a juvenile goldfinch spent at the niger-seed feeder.

This morning I watched him for ages from another room. The explanation is that he doesn't feed constantly, he just likes sitting there, as this photo shows. It could be he is waiting for the return of an adult so he can seek permission to get down from table !

Y advised me firmly to have a day of rest. And who am I to argue. It was a beautifully barmy morning so, with my wheels, I toured most of the rear garden. Knowing the reputation of buddleia for attracting butterflies, I waited a long time in this spot (we have a bench) hoping to delight you with a Red Admiral, An Emperor, A Peacock or at least a decent Tortoiseshell. Result ? Bogger all. Bees abounded, but you have suffered enough bees.

Perhaps another day.

I haven't been completely idle. Did a little filing etc., some xword, and read the Telegraph from end to end.

Another little job was to proof-read the EPS programme for Reg (Roy hasn't returned yet) but again, it was a pleasure to be able to 'put a bit back' because I 'take' such a lot from the club and my photographic chums. During the late afternoon I prepared and cooked a meal for Y's homecoming. But I don't consider 'chef-ery' a chore either because I enjoy it so and find it relaxing.

Picture 3 is a deep red velvety old rose we have but the depth of colour and the petal texture always prove elusive.

This time it looks OK and I hope it arrives on your moniter in the same state it leaves mine. I haven't bothered to rectify in PS the many flaws on the petals because it would then look artificial.


Tricky today, because people have 'commented' on Tuesday and some on Wednesday.

A chap who called himself Bugu added a comment to Tuesday's blog and said he had a haircut yesterday (Wed). Senility allows me to clear low hurdles with a single bound but ..............

Whatever I say about football, I feel we must be loyal to 'Stags' especially now Rebecca Adlington has brought the town to such prominence.

Jill ..... Nipping back to Tuesday, I think 'old and gnarled' will do for me too. It seems to imply a good mix of maturity, wisdom, and firmness of purpose. What could be better in one's mid 70s.

The last executions in UK were as late as 1964 - I sort of remember because by then I was a serving Police Officer and had been since 1957.

You IKnit shop sounds great and, for the benefit of the others, I have made the title a click-able link. He must be very popular if one can buy your yarn and relax with a glass of wine or a pint amongst friends.

anonymousRob ...... I'm looking forward to seeing you on Friday too. I shall probably arrive quite early although I know 8pm is scheduled. No need for you to rush though - just thought I'd get myself a decent seat.


Quotation time ............. This appeals ....... The chap founded Digg ?

"I don't care what it is, when it has an LCD screen, it makes it better"

Kevin Rose


If memory serves this is an "Our Stanley" (Ray) type animation

Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday lunch - Visitors

Today's 'post' will have to be brief because it is already 11pm.

Lisa, Hannah, Miles and Millicent came for lunch, (another 'sausage-fest') and extended into the evening. The occasion was a great success and we managed a brief birding trip round Narrow Lane, Moorgreen Reservoir and Colliers Wood. The children were delightful and Hannah was so helpful with sandwich preparation at teatime while the others were off on even more exploration.

I didn't take any photographs today so I am indebted to Bungus for this Clematis Tangutica. A lovely picture - is the variety name 'Boris Johnson' by any chance ?


Bungus ...... I agree re computer courses and I was lucky to find a good one in Eastwood which would have suited Y very well. Unfortunately the Govt withdrew the funding and it had to close.

Sandra's 'Jessica poem' is first rate and so expressive. Rhythm and rhyme add so much oomph to such sentiments. Even after a lifetime as a poetry lover I have never really worked out how it works though. I no longer worry about such deep considerations and just enjoy it.

Jill ..... Your packet of mixed annuals sounds fun. They always seem to produce enough material for a game of 'name that plant' don't they ? A snap or two would be good to blog and then we can all play.

anonymousRob ...... 'Grotesque' sounds about right for the Pierrepoint programme. I've only read a couple of reviews and I base my view on those. And if niftygoogler can't pin down a definitive number of executions the 'fact' will have to remain in dispute. It sounds as if some writer perhaps 'stretched' it a little.

See you on Friday, all being well. And I agree that the sausage-fest will have to wait till your life has resumed normal.


Sleep tight. Catch you tomorrow. I haven't shown Banksy's 'Flower Chucker' for a while...

Good 'innit?


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Karen Day - Shopping - Nat Trst Admin.

The 'mowing of lawns' gives gardens an instant lift doesn't it? Picture 1 is from the kitchen door and Picture 2 is from Y's room, after Karen's good offices with the Mountfield.

Although yesterday I was bemoaning the poor performance of some of the roses, those along the path leading to the front door have done well. All except Peace are perfumed and the red one, outside Y's window (please see below) is, I think. either June Park or some other old dear from around the same vintage. Much of the root-stock system and the 'budding point' are well above ground now and look quite attractive - if you like the ancient gnarled look, that is.

When Karen arrived we got out of her way and went shopping. Y went to Oasis to organise flowers for Margaret who is 80 and has been in Hospital with unstoppable nose-bleeds. Being Margaret she managed to see the funny side, difficult I know. She and Y always have a good laugh on the phone and today was no exception. Many many years ago Margaret used to be our cleaning lady but quickly became and has remained a much loved friend. David and Steven will have good memories of how she used to sort us all out.

This afternoon we tackled NT minutes and two letters arising therefrom. Then an agenda and a couple of e-mails.

I don't mind my role as the Secretary's secretary but on the new PC I'm still feeling my way. Also I wouldn't describe myself as a Microsoft 'Word' expert. So I am not quite as quick as Y would like.

She is quite settled now on having a laptop of her own, and we must carefully select one that suits her requirements. A keyboard she can speed away on, is a major consideration, also a good touch-pad because she really dislikes using a Mouse. For these reasons I don't want her decision to be unduly influenced by 'which is the cheapest ?' - frugal girl that she is.

Anyway - we got there and had good food in suitable breaks. I did Sea Bream (from Lidl - delicious) with wedges, onion rings and petit-pois for lunch, and cheddar on toast with Branston for tea. Liberal quantities of tea and coffee, plus a whisky and water and an alcohol-free lager.


Jill ...... I only had a tiny fiddle with the PC and it improved it. But the thing doesn't seem to remember the settings and reverts to an unsatisfactory state. This no doubt my fault not the PC's.

You really had a 'busy' but I'm sure Poppy was a great help with your 'clearing out'. Always difficult here because Y is a 'chuck it out person' while I am a 'keep it - it might come in handy person'. People are so grown-up these days at 11 but Poppy did well to tackle an unaccompanied trip to Texas. You must be proud of her.

Re TV - we enjoyed the last part of Andrew Marr's 'BritainfromAbove' programmes. The website under that link looks super and earns 5 stars in my WebUser Magazine which arrived this morning. I've only managed a quick look but I guess there is several hours of informative fun therein. I've 'bookmarked' it for future reference.

Bungus ...... A pleasure to publish your Clematis Tangutica snap.

What a delightfully eccentric looking plant. The bearded effect is something again.

I think a really close-as-you-can-get image would be interesting. But be careful if it involves step-ladder work. Did you say in the Spring that it is the only clematis one can germinate from seed? You have really done well with them.

A radio alarm wouldn't work for me at all. I sleep with the radio on anyway and I've been known to sleep through telephone alarm, old fashioned clock alarm and when Y comes in to shake me, she often thinks I'm dead. On the other hand sometimes I wake instantly and happily around 3.30am and can't get back to sleep again.

Pleased with your dentistry-news. And you definitely sounded 'chipper' on the hone this afto.

Thanks for an interesting chapter in the QMC Fairy Tale.

Your 'comment' was a good read and I enoyed it all but won't go through it point by point because bedtime approaches fast.

Quotation slot ......

"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example"

I've linked you to his Wikipedia page before, so this time I chose a different site - about his house.


Sleep tight - catch you tomrrow - God willing.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Bank Holiday Monday - Nice Weather

This tree, just across the road is a favourite of ours. I'm afraid, in my overactive imagination, it has its arms raised in supplication.

As its back is to us and is facing the football field it could be something to do with a long-forgotten goal.

On the other hand is it reminiscent of the Crucifixion !

This is anthropomorphism gone mad so I'll stop.

Picture 2 is a climbing rose that always flowers late. I hope the vivid orangey red colour comes across because it is very reminiscent of 'Super Star' in the 1960s. I know it isn't Super Star because I have grown it and it is a shrub not a climber. Few of the roses have had a successful year and although some have been prolific some have not. Ballerina, for instance, has had a poor year - some years she seems to flower steadily from May to November.

Y says I've been grumpy ! And I admit it. I cannot get my new monitor calibrated properly and it annoys me. This new PC was designed for me and my photographs, and to be an improvement on the quality of the laptop. And it isn't.

The sharpness and definition is sub-standard and it isn't just a matter of personal preference as the computer shop try to tell me. If I put the same picture side by side on both, detail in the laptop version is lacking on the PC. In one York Station snap, for instance, I can read the station-name on the laptop but not on the PC. I know I've promised not to 'bogger about' with it but I'm simply not happy and feel I must 'have a go' again tomorrow. Solemn promise though - I won't do anything which could conceivably disturb Photoshop.

Karen came and mowed the lawns and told us she is moving into her new house at Codnor tomorrow. So we gave her a little house-warming gift. I had to correct a typo there because I had written 'a little house-warming git' and she can do without one of those.

This beautiful video please click of satellite pictures was posted on WUforums and I thought you might like to see it too.


Bungus ..... We shall have to agree to a small level of disagreement in the matter of the acceptability of four-letter words in mixed company. As a uniformed Inspector once, in Old Market Square, after I had taken to wearing spectacles, I was once addressed by a rather drunken young lady as "That four-eyed c*nt". I'm ashamed to say that I didn't find it at all acceptable.

Hope your dentistry results in less painful discomfort for you. It would be good to see you.

I think lateral/elastical thinking are definitely 'stretching it abit' and I shall not therefore think of the phrase as pejorative from now on.

Proboscis seems, as you say, to be predominantly for liquids. Wikipedia has it thus.

anonymousRob ...... Welcome back 'niftygoogler' and you are right the site you found is much better about The Jessop Monument. I've put it into the body of the blog for the benefit of other readers.

Lucky you, finding a carboot sale with a photo-stuff stall. There was much to be said for the Weston and nothing was better than standing it (with invercone) on the item you were interested in to get an accurate light-metering. But, like you, I would probably have kept my tenner in my wallet. In these digital days it's so easy to check a shot in your screen and if it's over/under exposed, delete and try again.

I'm hoping to see you for an hour on Friday evening. I shall arrive early and leave early due to pressure of bedtime but I want to wish you well and buy you a drink.

Reg ..... You are quite right about Jessops and Jacobs being on opposite sides of the road. But I am confused as to whether the Granby Street you mention is the Nottingham or Leicester one. Granby Street Nottingham is I fear no more unless still hiding somewhere under Maid Marion Way.

As with Rob's Weston light-meter I think you were wise to keep your money in your pocket. Even at the time of the miners' strike I would have thought £50 wasn't a bargain.

As per previous remarks, I feel I am more inclined to your view of 'strong language' than I am to Bungus's. And I'm firmly against the 5yr olds you mention reading the words in a children's book. Whatever happened to Janet and John.? I think we need input from the younger generation. Please chip in David, or anyone else out there.


Speaking of whom - a Longleat holiday picture has just arrived from David.

A lovely photograph of a Giraffe.

Such gentle looking creatures.

And this time grazing grass rather than nibbling the tops of trees. I guess that can't really be encouraged at Longleat because of a limited number of trees.

And, unless my eyes deceive me there is a Zebra crossing in the middle distance.

Quotation time ......

"He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I ever met"

Abraham Lincoln

Sleep tight. Past my bedtime. Catch you tomorrow.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Satisfactory Sunday - Gardening

As evening shadows lengthen, and all that ........... The trees at the far side of the Football Field always look good in the evening sun. Aren't the nights drawing in ?

And I didn't want to just leave the Olympics without a picture so No. 2 is from the TV. It shows the bird's nest stadium during the closing ceremony. We both thought it impressive.

David rang this morning. They arrived home yesterday from Longleat Safari Park and it seems they had a great time. Lucky with the weather and they found fun things to do. The giraffes were popular, and I am to be sent photographs.

Then we had an hour with the Sunday Telegraph and yesterday's supplements.

Both Y and I found the time, and the inclination. to do some jobs in the garden. I used my kneeling frame and weeded a small herb bed near the garage and Y planted some bulbs and weeded. Together we re-fitted 4 or 5 lapped fence panes which had warped and pulled the fixing nails out.


Bungus ........ Thanks for the additional Jessop background information and I agree, the tightrope story is mystifying. I think Helen is right about the Leicester beginning of the Jessops camera shop. Their shop seemed to be some sort of HQ and they ran (perhaps even still do) courses there.

You are quite right too about 'swear-words' and I remember my maternal grandmother reprimanding my grandad for using 'pit-talk' in front of the children. As an Eastwood area resident though, with our DHL connections, most expressions are now permissible. Even so, there are words I'm still embarrassed to hear in mixed company.

The description of your mouse's attire is delightful and I can well understand the need to anthropomorphize.

With regard to the suggested meeting - I await your call. You are of course, more than welcome to stay here overnight, as you have done in the past. If your car is tied up, it wouldn't be a problem for me to drive over and collect you. Or pick you up in Mansfield ?

The blackened room at Yorkshire Sculpture Park was a light-installation not pictures. Fair point though. But citing cinema is stretching it abit.

Helen C....... Y says I spend far too much on cossetting our garden birds but I do enjoy watching them so much. I am nowhere near being a 'twitcher' because I wouldn't travel a hundred yards to see an unusual variety - but the garden regulars, and visitors, are of endless interest to me.

The stuffed marrow discussion reminds me of the Dr. Johnson, or the Rev Sydney Smith story about the correct method of preparing cucumber. One of them said "The cucumber should be peeled, sliced thinly, lightly sprinkled with vinegar and then thrown away"

Jill ...... A tapenade is "Tapenade is a paste made of black olives, capers, anchovies, mustard, basil and parsley. You can use it on crostini or bruschetta, with pasta and in sauces, as a marinade for meat and also for adding to casseroles and stews"

In all the different recipes shown under a google-definition search, the common ingredient seems to be olives. So you were right.

With regard to a 'proboscis' for coffee drinking - I suppose you could borrow from young people's cocaine methods, and use a rolled-up £20 note. A rolled-up tenner would not be you at all. Trouble is it would soon get soggy. I think that the unashamed use of a proper straw is called for - I'll join you because it annoys me that one has to sit up to drink beverages. When I'm 'poorly' I spend a lot of time semi-prone, and coffee drinking is a problem.

Glad Jenny continues to improve.

We also are watching Andrew Marr but we resort to technological means of watching it a time to suit ourselves. The scheduled 9pm is little late for me.


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

"Someone's boring me. I think it's me"

Dylan Thomas

Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow - Enjoy your Bank Holiday Monday


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Super Saturday - Weather good too !

Still working on 'bee close-ups' and I'm getting 'closer' ha ha!. The bees seem almost intoxicated on the nectar from the Echinacea. The camera can be within an inch or two and they show no inclination to move, let alone fly away hence Picture 1.

And you live and learn. I didn't realise that bees have this sort of proboscis between their eyes, which they extend and poke into the nectar - like a retractable straw.

I could do with one myself to avoid spilling my coffee.

We've had a great day. Lovely lunch with Helen and Julien. Julien is a real bibliophile and Helen, I learnt, is a fellow 'charity shop' enthusiast. We found loads to talk about.

Julien is also a keen cook which will give us much fuel for future conversations. He had made a gorgeous sorrel soup with 'grown in their garden' sorrel. And a paté and a tapenade, the recipes for which he will e-mail. Of course he may not have actual recipes and be a fellow member of the 'bit of this, bit of that and cook it till it's done and no longer' school of chef-ery !

I hadn't realised their bungalow was so 'out-in-the-country'. Great view over the valley to The Jessop Monument on the skyline. And while I was googling for that (not very successfully I'm afraid - where is niftygoogler when you need him?).... I found this 'Jacksdale Timeline' which is a useful quick guide to the history of the area.

The Monument is in honour of William Jessop the canal-builder and nothing, as far as I know, to do with the camera-shop.

The picture on the left is - I think - a goldfinch chick. If the other perch is occupied by a parent I can understand the slightly bemused look. I don't mean to be anthropomorphic (it was mentioned over lunch) but as a lover of nature it's an easy trap to fall into.

At Burton Joyce on Thursday we were discussing wildlife and Millicent (3yrs) informed us she was going to get her "Bloddy Book" out of the play-room. Unwilling to believe such a swear word, we were relieved when she returned with her "Bill Oddy book".

After lunch Reg and Maureen called in, mainly so Reg could fix my Photoshop (yet again !) and anyway it was nice to see them both. It seems ages - hospitals, holidays, family etc. Maureen's arm looks much much better, but I can well undertsand it is still very painful. And she has lots of physiotherapy exercises to do.

n.b. Mainly to reassure Bungus - I have given Reg a solemn undertaking not to 'bogger about with my Computer' in future.


Bungus ..... You mustn't confuse The Railway Museum in any way with 'train sets' over which I agree with you. However sophisticated their owners make them - they remain a 5 minute experience at most. As a child I much preferred my 'farmyard' where, as well as little lead animals, I had a shepherd, a farmer, a milkmaid etc., and I would put them wherever they needed to be in the story I was writing in my head. The 'train set' was never so stimulating.

Trust you to extend ' ill-lit galleries' to the notion of looking at pictures in the dark. It's rather like the point that, had electricity not been invented, we would all be watching TV by candlelight. I reluctantly agree that the work of some artists would be much improved thereby. And I am not referring to modern art, as you know.

I certainly agree with exchanging a visit this coming weekend. A phone call will perhaps be best.

Em's courgette misshapes look good and obviously they are from different plants. I am always amazed they a priced as delicacies. The seeds are easy to germinate, the plants are robust (but not frost hardy) and they crop prolifically. Admittedly I never managed to work out a good method of storage because, for the home-gardener at least, they are seasonal.

A word of caution though, if their misshapen-ness is because the plant has been pollinated the fruit will be bitter. This happens with traditional varieties of cucumber, like Telegraph, but not with the F1 hybrid varieties which of course cannot set viable seed.

We are with you over 'faded elegance' in Hotels. AnonymousRob's Cuban chums had it in spades.

Reg ..... Thank you very very much for, yet again, sorting out my Photoshop. It now works perfectly but, as I said, I would have given up much earlier and simply gone out and bought Elements 6. But it is much better to have the real McCoy.

The Sgt who threatened unpleasantness from a great height reminded me that on the day before pay day the saying was "The Golden Eagle shites tonight". Written without asterisks because we now know Jill doesn't mind a little vulgarity. But I don't want to offend Helen, or any other lady reader. Or children. Or even gentlemen who are a little on the precious side.

Jill ...... So glad you enjoyed the sepia. It just seemed right for the subject matter.

The Railway Hotel - If you click it and open the link you will see that google took me to the Royal York Hotel which might be a different place altogether. But the description including the phrase the "The Hotel is an integral part of York Station, and is situated adjacent to the celebrated National Railway Museum" makes me think it must be the one where you stayed.

You are right of course about 'pictures in the dark'. Bungus was pulling our legs !


Quotation time ...... Had time tonight so I dug out a photography specific one ....

"I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed"

Sounds like an adequate enough reason for us 'snappers'. But aren't they a type of fish ? Perhaps they have them tinned in Aldi ?


A quiet day planned tomorrow. A couple of garden jobs I feel up to tackling, and I plan to do a crispy beef stir-fry. I still have some British Choi to use and it has remained in good condition in the fridge since last week. Same family as Pak Choi but longer stems. As soon as the leaves wilt they are cooked and the stems are tender but retain a pleasant crunch.

Apologies for such a lengthy blog. Sleep tight and I'll catch you tomorrow. I guess the 'train' must be due !


Friday, August 22, 2008

Feet-up Friday - Mild and unpredictable

As promised I will continue telling you about the Railway Museum, York and Benningborough Hall.

Picture 1 is the Minster taken from the top of the Ferris wheel and published in sepia because it suits the subject and Jill will enjoy it.

It amazes me how well the camera copes with pictures through smeary, 'in your face' plastic 'glass' completely surrounding the module. No opening at all. To my simple mind it calls into question why photographers insist on expensive high quality real glass filters.

Picture 2 is the immortal Mallard. The attention the locomotive was receiving from young boys of all ages up to 80yrs, demonstrated she has not lost her appeal.

The Railway Museum is very good and, almost unbelievably these days, entrance is free!

What a good place for a young family with children. There is lots about 'Thomas the Tank Engine' and also 'The Railway Children'.

Beningborough Hall is interesting and houses a lot of National Portrait Gallery Portraits. There were significant Gainsboroughs, Reynolds, and Neller Unfortunately they were exhibited in very gloomy conditions with window blinds almost completely pulled down.

I know the standard explanation trotted out by The National Trust is to do with 'preservation' but that doesn't really stand scrutiny with robust, healthy, oil paintings. In anycase their 'home' at the National Portrait Gallery is airy and well lit.

There was a room dedicated to the mezzotints of Thomas Frye. These were exceptionally good. Mostly portraits of ordinary people. They had a compelling immediacy and justified my trip all by themselves. The mezzotint process was widely used for portraiture right up to the onset of photography.

When I got outside I felt I ought to have a snap of the place and the light wasn't helpful for the main building. So I settled for this archway. I acknowledge the influence of Reg's 'King James's Chambers' blogged on February 15th 2008. Still awful light though, for my shot, but nice structure and I only had to wait seconds for someone to walk across. To save 'model release' problems etc., I have gaussian-blurred the face.

We've had a generally quiet fish & chip day, a little shopping, Y been down town to buy her rail-ticket for next weekend and I've been messing about.


Bungus ...... I like the introduction of the Bungus Diary. You've got things on record and they are fun for the rest of us. I won't comment specifically except about the chemo and the risk of bleeding - I know all about that, only too well.

Like you I have a constant battle with my mobile phone. The device keeps letting me down - not reminding me of appointments when it should, vibrating only, when it should make a noise as well. Sometimes not even vibrating. Earlier mobiles have been better. One I used to enjoy allowed me to enter a series of jobs and the alarm would go off reliably for each.

I know full well you haven't sussed your new one yet. Today you sent me 2 gibberish text messages, 'Jptp' was one and 'JTGrahamMobGrahamMob' was the second - I apologise for not replying !

Jill ...... The Railway Hotel is still there and apparently doing well. AA 4 stars no less. And it looked fine - often 'faded elegance' is good.

I can't join in the exotic fish conversation because I've never eaten the types mentioned. We have a reliable source of Sea Bream and Sea Bass, both of which we love. I cook them like trout and they always turn out well.

So pleased things have been nudged in the right direction for Jenny, and I'm glad that things came good for Noreen.

Carrying on with the old sayings thread, I am in serious doubt as to whether or not to list this rather vulgar but expressive Police saying. Describing a chap with a serious hang-over it was said "His eyes were like a racing-dog's knackers - small, red, and set well back".



Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yesterday at York and Beningborough Hall


Our National Trust trip yesterday was first rate, notwithstanding the School Holidays and a bad traffic jam in York which probably delayed our arrival at the Railway Museum by over ¾ hour. However, we had plenty of laughs, and when we got there The Museum was excellent. Considerably refurbished since my last visit, not suprisingly as it must have been 30 years ago.

As Y and I are keen on the Ferris-Wheel type experience we boarded it (second item on webpage) and I took a snap (Picture 1) of the nearby Railway Station. We were about a third of the way up when I clicked and considering the poor light and the misty plastic of the module, I'm quite proud of it. Wasn't the Station and its curved roof recently discussed on the blog ?

The picture makes the scene look remarkably like a very expensive model train set, in my opinion.

This morning our Mr. Bullfinch came for breakfast at around 5.30am, but the light was so bad I couldn't grab a shot. Picture 2 is a Card received by Bungus and I have a sinking feeling that we may have missed his birthday. If so, a belated

Picture 3 is also courtesy of Bungus, received by e-mail, but he offers little information about the creature - unless I've missed it.

I know he doesn't like a 'song and dance' to be made about it, but I don't like to have inefficiently missed it.

Is it The Common Toad 'bufo bufo'? and we are really at a loss as to how big he/she is, without the customary 50p piece. The picture on the linked webpage looks very similar. However, in the Bungus picture, I really link the twinkle in her eye.

Due to time/space considerations I will cover Beningborough Hall and the Art collections tomorrow.


Bungus .... Baby goldfinch it is then.

No. You said nothing untoward about The Archbishop. And I wasn't being sarcastic when I said I was impressed.

The 'cycling rules' are very well covered in this piece of video by the gold-medal cyclists themselves. Mind you - we've finished the cycling now haven't we ? and by 2012 we shall have forgotten anyway.

anonymousRob ..... I didn't mean to damn your Haiku by the faint praise which 'unpolished may have suggested. And the first 2 lines made me think -

Chris Hoy, cycling boy,
Three gold medals from pedals,
They fixed in Heanor.

Jill ...... I certainlty join you in hoping that Bungus's dental problems have abated.

Y knew all about Hillary Jones, even though we don't receive that Channel, or read the News of the World. No crticism implied of either.

Y still enjoys 'pen and paper' but only today she said she would quite like a laptop of her own ! Do I hear tectonic plates moving ? Soon Joan will be all alone in her pre-IT cave.

Quotation time ......

"Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future"

Niels Bohr

Sleep tight ! Catch you tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another bird - Nat Trst Minutes - Computer

More bird identification please. I assume the bird on the left is a juvenile something, perhaps a goldfinch ? and I suspect one of you has told me before. Sorry !

We've had a lovely day. Y decided to abandon her plan to go and see 'Mamma Mia'. Instead we made big inroads into outstanding NT stuff.

We actually quite enjoy working together. Being able to start/stop/have a break etc., exactly when we choose to renders it more pleasure than chore. And I'm quite happy with my role as The Secretary's PA.

Bit of a horror story though, which I attribute to my attempt to use Serif's PCMover programme. Wanting to make a start on the Nat Trst stuff I booted up the laptop and couldn't find the relevant folder in 'My Documents ' - Everything - minutes, letters, agendas, templates etc.. was in it.

Eventually I used the Windows XP 'search' tool in Windows Explorer which effectively allows you to search every nook and cranny of your computer's hard disc. The missing folder was safe and well in 'My Computer'. Panic over. But how it came to be moved from one place to the other is a mystery.

As a future safeguard I have copied the entire contents of the folder onto a memory stick and transferred it manually onto my new PC. So, belt, braces, and a piece of string - it's now in 3 places !

Picture 2 is simply a weird little snail having fun on an echinacea flower. I hope the thrush spots him in the morning.

I also did good work with the new PC and sorted out a few annoying things. I conitnue to use Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 7. Annoyingly Megatech, the computer people, had made their website the homepage in IE. Rather cheeky I thought - so I've changed it to something less niggling. And I've transferred most of my Bookmarks/Favourites and a few other little jobs.


Reg ..... Whatever reasons there are behing the daft speed limits on the A610 the question "Why are they not enforced ?" stands unanswered. I stick to the limits (more or less) but people zoom past me at speeds I would guess of upto 70mph, at least. That is, of course, when the traffic is moving at all.

The 35PC AGM at Chesterfield sounds interesting. If I understood what you are talking about that is ?

Bungus ...... Thanks for the mouse pictures. Not 'blogged' I'm afraid due to Mrs Radiogandy's aversion to the creatures.

Re the Archbishop. Speak as you find. And I thought him a charming and intelligent man. Yet another case of 'one can't trust the media' who generally give him such a bad press.

When you say "it may get a mention in our Chad tomorrow " I assume you didn't open the link I posted in the blog, to the Chad. It was quite a good piece, accompanied by pictures.

I think you will find that "the Amateur, and later Professional, World Champion, Reg Harrison " was in fact Reg Harris and I have made his name a live link should you want to give it a click.

anonymousRob ...... Thanks for the update on the arson story. See Bungus above. His ambulance driving pal might be a neighbour.

Also, re the 'cycling' rules and names and things. I used to know someone called Alan Madison - could that be important.

Wikipedia, as usual, provided me with much needed elucidation. Please clicky. Or not - it's strictly voluntary.

The Haiku is not bad, for an unpolished early effort. Keep going because we all love them.

Jill ...... I will of course, publish an report on Beningborough. Incidentally my blog post about Dimbola Lodge is the first you come to, if someone does a 'google blog search' for Dimbola.

Your account of poor Jenny's food reminded me of a chap in a Restaurant with his wife. She said "This food is awful" he replied "It certainly is. And such small portions".

I agree about The Games. Boris Johnson was very good in today's Telegraph. Here is a link to the article for non-subscribers.

I will certainly tell Y about Noreens birthday. Visits mean so much more don't they. I seem to remember that Noreen found a small flatlet in her home for Tracy just after she had left University. Isn't one of her sons a TV 'doctor person' ?

Quotation time ....... Perhaps Bungus will call to mind his neighbour !

"There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity"

As you know from previous posts, we are off National Trusting tomorrow on a coach trip with our Mansfield Centre chums. Whether or not I publish a blog-post depends on how 'done-for' I feel on return. Sleep tight. Catch you soon.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Quick Blog - Busy Day

A busy day. Starting with my Blood Test, then over to Joan's for coffee. Across to Carlton for Y's 'nails' and quickly to the Cheesecake Shop for lunch.

Up the A60 then to Mansfield for Nat Trst Outings Committee meeting at Jean's. An excellent meeting, lots of laughs and much work completed.

Lots of jobs acquired too, but I suppose that is what it's all about.

Picture 1 is to demonstrate the 'racial harmony' among our garden birds. The goldfinch shall dine with the blue tit.

Picture 2 is another blue tit, alone, on one of the starling-proof feeders.

This blog post will have to be short folks, because I'm tired out and we have things to do tomorrow. This evening we watched the last part of Richard Dawkins, The Genius of Charles Darwin, and I found it the best balanced of the series.

There was a discussion between Dawkins and the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop gave a coherent account of himself. A more doughty opponent than the school kids previously used.


Jill ..... Ikea is rather a "love it/hate it" place for us. As it's so close we like to go quite early, for breakfast, before the busier time begins. Also, we actually find it an interesting store to browse in and I love the design of so many of their products.

We don't mind going for something specific - but a "wander round" is OK too.

So pleased Jenny is 'on the mend' and I hope your visit was a success.

Bungus .....

Interesting that you have come round to frozen mashed potato because we have gone off it. It seems too runny - but I suppose it is a matter of personal taste.

My phrase 'not Amazon's' was intended to convey the point that the problem with the SD cards was mine and not the fault of the firm Amazon who supplied them.

I am surprised by your lack of knowledge of Carl Sagan and that the webpage I linked you to was obscure. So please click here for his Wikipedia page which is more helpful.

Reg .... Thanks for the stuff about Ikea and I'm persuaded by your theory about Broxtowe Council's lack of knowledge about Giltbrook and the surrounding environment. One is also tempted to speculate about decision makers and little brown envelopes. A different but nearby problem is the ridiculous and mostly ignored 50mph speed limit on the bypass. What on earth was that all about ?

anonymousRob ....... You are 100% right about the nonsense of extending the IKEA site without an adequate road structure. It's going to be a nightmare at peak periods. If I take Y to the tram nowadays, I mostly take her to either Hucknall or Moor Bridge due to the problems of reaching Phoenix Park via the A610.

How interesting about the fire and for the benefit of other readers please click here to read the Chad rport, with pictures. Glad you sorted out a copper-proof route home. Sounds like there was much evidence of right hand not knowing about left hand etc., among the emergency services.


We aim to have a quiet day tomorrow because on Wednesday we are going to Beningborough Hall in Yorkshire with Mansfield National Trust. Let us hope the weather is better than today. It has been so stormy.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weather better - Ikea - Fly swats


Reg calls the enormous Ikea site near him 'Terminal 5', and when you see it, the reason hits you. Basically it was an Ikea with a Next and a Decathlon nearby, which have been OK - I s'pose. But now it has become a massive complex with lots of big names therein.

Although it is great picture it is hard to see what a big site it is, even when you open it as an enlargement. So I have taken the liberty (I hope you don't mind Reg) of cropping the original photo into 2 separate pictures and publishing them side by side and abit bigger. Hope this works.

I must have spent a good half hour doing that and I'm not at all sure it's an improvement. An important current piece of local history though, and photos like this are essential in archive terms. A pleasure therefore to publish the picture.

n.b. Readers - please remember that the composite immediately above is actually 2 pictures and to enlarge them you need to click on the left half first, and then the right.

Fly Swats are probably safer ground for me, and the snap on the left is posted with a query. I had occasion to use the green one this morning and can report a 'clean kill'.

(Wasps 0 - RG 1)

It occurred to me "Are the fly-shaped holes in the swat included to provide the fly with a sporting chance ?" or "Is it something to do with aerodynamics?"

The customary 50p piece seems essential on this occasion because it shows that the 'escape holes' are quite large enough for a quick-witted fly intent on self-preservation.

Your opinions, as ever, will be welcomed.


anonymousRob .... You will no doubt note that Reg, The Sherif of Lumsdale, has decided you may visit. But, as he says, strictly monochrome, and no candy-floss water (an exception might be made in the case of a pinhole shot).

Bungus ..... The PCmover programme, and it's cable, are sitting on the corner of my desk - minding their own business and causing no trouble.

I can well understand your need to fall to your knees in prayer when faced with Reg's Swaledale Path.

We are really enjoying the Olympics too. That amazing 100m sprinter ! What speed could he do flat out for the whole distance I wonder? You are quite right too about our lovely Mansfield Rebecca. She has put us on the map and I have read about the open-topped bus etc., and the plans to welcome her home. I might even take Y.

Jill ..... As Bungus says "your order has shipped" is better than being told it has 'sunk". I rather wish it had though. My hope that I could use SD cards to shift data doesn't work. I've tried several cunning methods but it appears they are solely designed to take photos on and then download them to one's computer. My own fault entirely though that I have them and not memory-sticks, not Amazon's.

Like you and Ro we are enjoying the most obscure Olympic events. Didn't enjoy the rifle shooting though and we both feel that having top-of-the-tree professional Tennis stars like Nadal in the amateur Olympics is stretching it abit.

Looking forward to the 'yngling' (I've made that a link to the relevant Wikipedia page) because I know nothing about the sport.


This morning David texted me from Longleat and sent me this photo from the centre of the maze.

Yet another excellent photo taken on his mobile phone and the technology involved in sending it seems straightforward.

A text message arrived in the inbox of my mobile with an ID and Password to download the picture from Orange.

No problems.

Quotation slot ........ I always admired Carl Sagan and his TV programmes made science and astronomy interesting enough to hold the ordinary viewer spellbound - his voice of course, made all the difference.

"In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe."


Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow - Hope the weather isn't too bad for caravanning - David, Rob, Roy and I'm sure hundreds of others.....

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