Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuxford - Manxislander's Tomato Soup

These fungi were growing in the Churchyard about 18 inches from the the one pictured on Sunday's blog. Having seen an illustration in Bungus's authoratitive book, I am quite satisfied that that one was the 'Orange Peel' fungus and is edible.

Perhaps he will be kind enough to look up this one for me too.

The book has the 'plus point' of announcing under each illustration '½ life size', 'life size' etc. and I wish bird identification books had some similar schema to indicate size.

After shopping this morning (which conveniently got us out of Karen's way) we went over to Tuxford for lunch with Bungus.

He had prepared Manxislander's (click here for his website) splendid Tomato Soup. Please click here if you would like the recipe. Take our word for it - it's the best. It transforms humble tomato soup into a cordon bleu experience. Followed by crumble and custard for puds. 'Great conversation' accompanied each course.

Picture 2 is from the TV programme about the Russian Avant-Garde. This oligarchic Russian Art collector spoke fluent English and was a very pleasant chap, contrary to his rather threatening appearance, and he knew his stuff too.

Some of the roses seem to have got their second-wind although one can tell that the end of the year approaches and that dahlias and chrysanths will take over. The rose picture is the 'Hannah' rose which Lisa bought us the year our granddaughter Hannah was born. The rose is a strong performer in the garden but it doesn't enjoy life as a cut-flower.

How times change, now at 11 she has just e-mailed Y a picture of a snow leopard she is using in her homework. No problem to her and fortunately, just today, Y has acquired the necessary knowledge to download it at this end.

As you can see, the snap was taken in rain-sodden conditions. For the plant that is, - I was inside, looking out of the window.


Bungus ...... Re Peter's lawn - apparently the badgers are searching not for worms, but for daddy-longlegs larvae.

Nice joke about Incy Wincy and the spider.

Useful Micology information. I would certainly like to 'foray' into the culinary aspects but I suspect that Y would refuse pointblank to try the results.

anonymousrob ....... Re the mackeral sky's possible role in a photoshop exercise to 'drop it into another photo to enhance the finished result'. Please wash your mouth out !

I love the Haiku stanzas.


Quotation time ............... I've been saying this, or similar, for years.

"No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one"

Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow, which is WoW of course


Monday, September 29, 2008

Busy, busy, busy - Lovely day

Yesterday evening's mackerel sky -

"Mackerel sky, mackerel sky,
never long wet, never long dry"

...said the old adage. And it has been a fairly accurate forecast of today's showery weather.

My first job this morning was my routine blood-test, and at 10pm, they haven't rung me from the clinic so nothing disastrous is happening.

Then over to Mansfield to deliver the Nat.Trst visits info. to Oak Tree Primary School which we found without problem.

Round the Forest Town corner then for coffee with Peter and Joan. Joan seems quite lot better and has lost some weight. She seemed much less 'in pain' and we enjoyed an hour with them.

Picture 2 is their rear lawn which, until recently, was beautifully kept. Then some Badgers decided to visit each evening and play havoc with it. Neighbours apparently have counted 6. They just dig, scratch, and tunnel..

I have tried to illustrate the damage, but the light was poor and the state of ruination is underestimated by the snap.

We had lunch in Wetherspoons and then went to the Cinema to see "The Duchess". Shot mainly at Chatsworth. The "trailer" is under the link and both Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes were splendid. All the cast were first class and the story line was gripping and believable.

Picture 3 is a spider, variety unknown, who has a productive web close to the front door.

When I noticed him/her this morning there was a fly ensnared at about 45 degrees right, and halfway to the top right corner. I went to my bedroom for my Nikon and when I returned 30 seconds later the fly had gone. Escaped or eaten ? We shall never know.


Bungus....... Your pork joint sounds first rate. Shame you couldn't enjoy just a small piece of crackling.

Your mouse-training sounds fun. You'll have them towing little carts and swinging from trapeses by the sound of it.

4 ticks ........ Thanks for the pork-butchery tutorial. Provided my knives are sharp enough and I can find my bone-saw I'm not bad at butchery myself. Its a long story .... some time ......

incy wincy
......you've got to be right about the Med and tides. ..Any and all stretches of water are tidal. They have no option. If the area of water is small the tide may not be noticeable ..... but that is a different matter.


I shall have to leave you all. My 'pit' beckons and my eyes are glazing over.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pleasant Sunday - Excellent Lunch - Walk

Nice chat with David this morning and it was good to hear all about the children. Both Sky and Brooke are avid readers and, in consequence good spellers and grammarians. Brooke reads so quickly that David thinks the teacher is a little irritated at the speed at which she (the teacher that is) needs to produce new books to keep up.

Neither of them have TVs or Computers in their bedroom and I think it has proved a good strategy. They are both happy with it anyway which counts for a lot.

Picture 1 is from Helen's holiday in Sicily. She says it is just to prove they've been there - but I think there is more 'interest' within the picture than Helen's description says....... I love the tree growing so close to the sea-water.

Not being a 'flora' expert I haven't much idea as to what it is. A more expert opinion would be welcomed. My Collins 'British Wildlife' doesn't extend to bandit country.

Is it some sort of palm tree ? Noting the pebbles round the base I wonder if it is actually in a pot and some Sicilian is having a laugh ?

Picture 2 was taken during a walk we tackled this afternoon, without the car. We went round The Moor and ended by coming through the Churchyard. At first I thought this fungus was a piece of litter - it looked too perfect to be a plant. The orange colour is striking. I have left the dandelion leaves in for purposes of scale.

This one will be easier to get an answer to, because Bungus is somewhat of a Fungus expert. He cooks and eats an astonishing array of them (much more than I dare try) and, as you know, he is still with us.

When we arrived home from our walk (With my wheels of course. I had two 'sits' but covered a surprising distance overall) I cooked lunch.

As you can see from Picture 3, I decided on a healthy, slimmers' dish which Y pronounced to be as delicious as it looks. The sauces were quite voluntary and, although I had a good squirt of Tomato Ketchup, Yvonne declined. For pudding Y made Butterscotch Angel Delight which was, as always, ambrosial !

Second childhood or what ?

We both have had good productive days on our respective computers and Y is still forging ahead. I do need to remember she has only just started because I found myself trying to discuss the relative merits of the browsers - Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer against the new Google Chrome. And then I realised that Y didn't actually understand what a browser is or what it does. So I explained and she made notes in her little book. Little books are essential I've always found.

This evening we watched The Great Russian Art Invasion on Channel 4 and the writer/presenter Marcel Theroux certainly didn't let down his famous bloodline. An inquisitive, well informed young man who obviously speaks fluent Russian and he did a first rate job. The main Art period covered was the Russian Avant-Garde which I know nothing about at all, as a movement. Some of the work - Chagall, Rodchenko, Kandinsky for instance, I do know about but not in a satisfactory depth. Yet another learning curve presents itself.

Immediately after that it was Strictly Come Dancing and the results of the ladies 1st week. Y had voted for Christine and I had voted for Heather. Both survived but so did Jessie Mathews (Kat in Eastenders) which meant that a better dancer, Gillian Taylforth and partner Anton had to go out after a dance-off against Jodie Kidd. Jodie was simply better on the night - not easy for her, she 's 6'2" tall, and with her stilettos makes it to 6'5" !


bungus ..... We haven't tried the low-fat Brie but I'm not at all surprised to read your report. In the matter of 'brie' we prefer the Somerset Brie, for the very characteristics you describe. It has always surprised me that they are able to call it 'Brie' at all, as it takes its name from the French province. And we make such a fuss about Melton Mowbray pork pies don't we?

Pleased about telly. Long live Charity Shops.

Thanks for posting the tribute to Paul Newman and I entirely agree. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid is probably my absolute favourite film ever. The website under the link has several bits of video of the actual film - should you want a nostalgic wallow.

Re lenses - best if I explain when we see you on Tuesday morning (I hope that it still on ?) and I can demonstrate the differences.

I think Churchill once described life in the Navy as "Rum, bum and baccy".

(and to Rob) I've decided to walk straight past the Sports Desk because, like so many things these days, I wouldn't understand what I was talking about.

The Wodehouse being serialised at the moment is Psmith in The City and this Friday's episode was quite relevant. If you've a slack half hour, open the link and have a listen. Excellent stuff in my opinion.

anonymousrob .... Thanks for your kind remarks about Hygger Tor.


Quotation time .............. A relevant quote presents itself ............

"There is no special way a photograph should look"

The link is a 6 minute Youtube -ed interview with him. Quite good really.


Catch you tomorrow - Sleep tight


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Northern Ballet - Lovely day - Computer jobs

Yet another Longshaw shot. A typical case of the camera, if not lying, then certainly misleading...... this was on my 10-20mm lens and it makes Higger Tor (on the sky-line just right of centre) look about 30 miles away. It is exactly the same mountain which has figured in previous posts this week. And my vantage point for this snap is only a few yards from the others....... If you open the link you will see that I was just to the right of the same tree shown on the website.

Camera club judges don't like you to have the sky-line in the middle of the photograph...... Oh Damn ! ..... I must remember next time.. ha ha!

Today Y went to The Northern Ballet's matinee production of The Tale of Two Cities and was back home by 5pm. She found the music jarred and the dancers just 'pranced around'...... she wasn't alone, the woman next to her went to sleep (there's constructive and honest criticism for you) others left at half time too..... The tickets were £523.35 ....... well, it felt like that !

The Picture on the left is a further example of 4 ticks's "tatting" and is entitled "tatting on a pin-cushion" and certainly demonstrates the delicacy of the work.

My day has involved much messing-about and as a result, I am finally getting the PC in my office more or less as I want it to be. I think I shall have to settle for the monitor not being as sharp as my laptop. The monitor was bought on advice but I would have been better to look in Staples etc, and then just picked the one I liked the look of best.

Not to worry. "Worse things happen at sea" as my father always told us.


4 ticks ..... From the day before yesterday. I'm glad you first Art class went well. 6 is a good number. When I was lecturing we found that "up to 8" or "over 12" were OK. Between 8 and 12 people always seemed problematical for some Social Psychological reason I understand. There is a tendency for them to split into two cliques, and people start making 'leadership bids".

I think your summary of the EPS lecture was about right. Like so many lecturers, they could have used the services of a good editor.

Jill in particular will enjoy -and understand! - your "tatting" information.

bungus ....... We may have been fortunate with the parking at The City. But, a fairly new introduction which you may not know about is a "disabled only" car-park near the Physiotherapy Dept (the right turn before the right turn down to Outpatients).

But the other advantages of Hospital Transport argue in favour of sticking with it.

anonymousrob ...... I'm SO pleased you both are happy with the wedding photographs. I know Incy Wincy felt honoured you had asked him to do them, and he was relieved when he got the prints back. You and I both knew he would come up trumps and I am very much looking forward to seeing them.

I love the Higger Tor Haiku and the near-rhyme with St Victoire is most enjoyable. In poetic terms it's known as an oblique (or slant) rhyme. But who's bothered about such technicalities ?

Interesting to learn of you are gathering material for the Sports Desk while developing film. I hope you weren't distracted from the timer !...... Bungus and I both disapprove of this multi-tasking. As he once memorably said "One thing at a time, preferably less !".

Quotation time ........ This seems appropriate to several of today's themes .....

"When I work, I work very fast, but preparing to work can take any length of time"

Banksy says that Cy Twombly is the only graffiti artist he cares about.


Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow


Friday, September 26, 2008

Hospital OK - Bromley House - Shopping

Just another of my Longshaw snaps. The light kept changing and I couldn't decide which was best. This appeals because having the foreground well lit produces strong tones close to the camera with steady recession to the hill on the sky-line. I guess that we all probably have similar pictures, but there are always different things which attract different photographers.

I didn't manage the full walk and when I left the others they went right down into Padley Gorge where Picture 2 was taken by Brian. (Your picture Brian is much nicer than the one on the website behind the link. Your water looks proper)

I particularly enjoy the passage in the photograph where the sunlight falls on the grasses at the water's edge on the extreme right of the picture just up from the bottom.

Well captured. You can't fake that sort of light in Photoshop - it never looks quite 'right'; you've just got to spot it when it happens and click.

Anyway - enough photography. Our day started with my attending a clinic and consultation at the City Hospital. People criticise the NHS but, we found a parking space without hassle, I was seen at 10.25am and not 10.30am. The surgeon was confidence-inspiring and we agreed that, unless I have a further serious flare-up, best not have another operation with its attendant risks.

Relief all round !

Then we nipped down town, Y went to Bromley House while I went to my favourite little Tesco Express on Angel Row. We went round to The Playhouse and Y tried, without success to get Panto tickets for a particular day before Xmas. Probably have to be after Xmas now.

Picture 3 is some more of Maureen's 'tatting' .

The black background displays them beautifully. They are such exquisite little things aren't they ?

It is a pleasure to publish pictures of them on the blog Maureen.

The pastime is obviously not the source of the expression "A load of old tat!"


incy wincy ..... I'm sure the honeymooners will be well disposed towards the pictures. Indeed I hope so, so that your concern can be aid to rest. I would very much like to see them myself and I'm sure the opportunity will arise.

At the 'Sausage -Fest' perhaps, if not sooner.

Jill ..... Glad you are enjoying the Longshaw pictures. Re incy wincy's infra red. It is certainly a 'weird' look. Some people love it, some the opposite.

Thanks for the 'tatting' points which, although directed to 4 ticks, are of general interest and I think we would all like to know the answers to the questions you have raised.

We've heard good reports of 'The Duchess' and we are going to see it in Mansfield on Monday. Nice link by-the-way - a sort of trailer.

Enjoy your Devon break ! Under the circumstances you couldn't really decline. Pictures will be welcomed.

anonymousrob ...... Glad you are back. We must now seriously plan the 'Sausage-Fest' and I need to know when Helen and Julian are back

Please give Elaine our very best wishes with the new job.

bungus ..... Glad that, apart from the lack of punctuality of your transport, and your sky-high blood pressure, things went tolerably well.

I sincerely hope that your 'BOG COMMENT' is a typo. And incy wincy will be pleased at your 'dunes' picture comments.

Re 'The Harvester Restaurant' and Reg's info that it forms part of The White Heart at Daybrook. Y and I stopped there for a meal about 6 months ago and it wasn't good. You never know though with restaurants, they can be good/bad one week and the opposite the next.

I too 'googled' it but failed to fnd a decent webpage lurking. Not a good sign these days.

Quotation slot ..... I suspect we have probably all heard it before but it is good .....

"She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B"


Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday EPS day - Y at Burton Joyce

Picture 1 is a seaside snap by Incy Wincy and, although he doesn't say so, it must have been infra-red film. Infra red conveys this slightly spooky, dramatic look and although people try to conjure up a similar look in photoshop, it never quite works.

Personally I think the picture is oustanding. The life-belt post breaking the shore-line and the sky-line is a deft touch which holds the picture together. Congratulations Denis! My guess is that Jill will enjoy the monochrome.

Picture 2 is of some of 4 ticks's 'tatting' and again, I think they look terrific. I don't quite understand whether or not the designs are hers too or if she follows a pattern, as in knitting. I feel sure that an explanation will be forthcoming.

The day so far has been pleasantly relaxing. I have printed and mounted a print to hand-in at EPS this evening. Mounting prints is not my favourite activity but I won't bore you with detailed reasons - I often get the bevelled edges facing the wrong way for instance and have to start again.

This evening Brian offered to cut me 4 which will keep me going for a week or two.

I have also done some computer jobs. One of the unforeseen problems of having multi-computers is that you do things on one and are then surprised it hasn't been done on the other simultaneously. (I know it is possible to network them together but I haven't done the necessary yet)

Tonight we have a lecture by Rowland and Barbara Hill who have won medals in prestigious events.

p.s. Their lecture and pictures were very good. From their travels in Cambodia, Venice, Laos, Nepal to mention just a few. They have a 'style' which they favour and perhaps a few backgrounds seemed close to being duplicated. Both are very skilful photoshop operators and they veer towards producing Art more than record shots. But a thoroughly enjoyable 1½ hours meriting more praise than criticism.

As it is Thursday, Y has gone to Burton Joyce. She will return happy-tired and I shall only see her for a few minutes before setting off for Eastwood.


Bungus ...... Welcome back and thanks for your account of your Supanet Saga. And all due to your changing broadband packages (who is boggering about with their computer now?). Still, we are all glad you have finally got it sorted !

There is much to be said for your staccato, sten-gun prose style, even if forced upon you. Each sentence becomes a little brain-teaser.

You 'dietary diary' is most interesting. Particularly so for us food-lovers who have a great interest in what other people cook and eat.

How interesting about Sandra's MBE conferring a right to be married in St Pauls. Are there any other hidden rights we should know about? Can she drive a flock of geese through people's gardens for instance? I think we should be told.

I shall continue to invoke Occam's Razor whenever I feel it appropriate. More easily understood than The Law of Parsimony, because people think that's to do with stinginess or Parsons. I suppose you could argue that it is to do with 'stinginess' in a way.

reg .... The Goosedale Conference centre's previous owner sounds like a real character. We need more people who are unwilling to be messed about. (nobody incidentally has come up with a better suggestion for the location - The Fat Duck at Bray is too far away and prohibitively expensive).

I suppose you are right to 'delete the expletives' in this family journal, but I suspect some of our readers will be disappointed.

4 ticks ..... The trouble with Catholic Weddings is they last too long. We were guests at Shaun Mosley's wedding to Teresa (Shaun is Sir Oswald Mosley's grandson but not at all right wing) and by the end there was much fidgeting and shuffling. Even now, so many years later, I have this indelible image of the soles of Shaun's shoes as they knelt at the altar-rail for what seemed like hours.

Thanks for the interesting material about 'tatting' and The Tudors. Y will be most interested

Glad you enjoyed the Longshaw view. Nothing too complicated for me. I just like a nice 'record' of places we have been and things I have found beautiful.

I hope your first teaching evening went well and that everyone who had enrolled turned up. With limited numbers there must be nothing more annnoying than someone booking a place and then not using it.

I noticed you had slipped in to EPS but obviously didn't know you had come straight from teaching.

Jill ..... in response to a previous 'comment'. I know that town-centres are bad at night, but as Sandra has found (see Bungus's comment) and Y's experience with the Football Hooligans, should you decide to walk through, they only make trouble between themselves and that you personally would not in anyway be threatened.

Unfortunately we have always been a drunken nation given to drunken revelry. As Wellington was reputed to have said about his soldiers "I don't know about their effect on Napoleon but they scare me to death". I haven't looked up the quotation, so it's a best guess at the wording.


We have a busy day tomorrow. City Hospital outpatient's clinic at 10.30am then Bromley House, then shopping, then computer jobs. However, I shall take my dongle and, if the clinic drags, I can use the time on my laptop, on-line !

Quotation time ....... Now this isn't true for other art forms, painting for instance, where the knack lies in knowing when to stop - and then stopping, promptly.

"A poem is never finished, only abandoned"

Sleep tight - hope to catch you tomorrow


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

WoW at Longshaw - Chip cob at The Peacock

.Our Wow today took us as far afield as The National Trust's The Longshaw Estates in north Derbyshire and we regulars were joined by Roger and Incy Wincy. Both enjoyed their WoW-ing. I don't know how many pictures they took, because after walking with them for a while (with wheels of course) I let them carry on with the more serious walk while I messed-about closer to the Visitors' Centre which was unfortunately .closed, due to staff-illness or something. Fortunately I had my thermos, and I enjoyed myself with frequent lens-changes and endless consideration of the best view-point which I could actually reach.

The view across to the hill, from Longshaw reminded me such a lot of Cezanne's many versions of Mont Saint Victoire. Eventually we left and travelled to The Peacock at Oakerthorpe for our chip-butties, and very fine they were too. Roger knows many attractive country-lane routes to places which avoid the busy and less-interesting A class roads.

You will all be pleased to know that Bungus's computer is up from it's sick-bed, after much hassle with Supanet. However he feels 'drained' and although he texted me the good news, he asked to be excused a reply until tomorrow.

4 ticks has sent me some great pictures of her 'tatting' and some of these will, hopefully, appear tomorrow and in future editions. I am also promised more pictures from both Brian and Incy Wincy, and now that Rob and Elaine are back in the country, I also hope for some from them. It looks as if I can have a week or two off !

The picture on the left is just another Longshaw snap. I thought I'd better get one or two in, before the rush starts.

While chatting, Brian expressed an interest in the more technical side of 'blogging' and 'live-links' and pictures etc.

I've told him that, if I can, I will be delighted to help. Blogger.com is a very user-friendly programme. Occasionally subject to 'google-glitches' but nothing serious.

Just checked and I've now been blogging since the end of February 2006 !


Jill ...... Very posh, getting married in The Cathedral...... It is a Catholic cathedral - our Anglican one is Southwell Minster. Very posh to get married there too.

The Goose ...... something Hotel defeats me. Maybe a reader will have a brainwave.

I'm afraid the scene you describe in the city-centre is, I understand, fairly typical ! What are things coming to.

4 ticks ..... Thanks for the 'tatting' pictures which have arrived safely.. No need to worry about file-size anyway. I can sort them out with a couple of clicks and provide the big thumbnail whch appears in the body of the blog, and enlarges to 1024 pixels.

It is good to receive things but obviously I can't guarantee to publish them all. I try to strike a fair balance because my children and grandchildren and many friends and WebUser forum people etc., are readers, and I try keep them all interested.

As you say - see you soon.



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tiring Tuesday - Laptop problem solved

The Copyright © rules apply strictly to Picture 1.

An original water-colour by 4 ticks - and isn't it super? The passage on the left hand side, where we have the shrubbery and the trees, is particularly charming and in that tradition of English Water-Colourists. I have told her before, that her trees and foliage have a similarity to Rowland Hilder's work with the same delicacy of touch.

Picture 2 is the evening light, from the front door, looking over the football field towards Moorgreen.

I am tired and this will be a shortish blog. Fortunately I've managed to sort out the Anti-virus programme, eventually by uninstalling it and persuading AVG to refund my money.

The solution has been to install the McAfee Total Protection CD which accompanied Y's new laptop. During the closing stages of installation I was informed I could install it on up to three computers. It also said this on the box...... I'm delighted with McAfee: the programme includes their good old 'site-advisor' which tells you, when you have a page of search results, which are safe to open and which are dodgy..... Strongly recommended by WebUser forums and I have used it for ages.... You don't need to buy that bit, just download it here for free.


anonymousrob ...... I know you are looking forward to being home and I am so sorry that the weather has been such a pain. If it's any consolation; it's been pretty awful here too.

As soon as you have settled back,  we must plan the 'sausage-fest'. It is doubtful that we can find a date to suit everyone but we can at least try. We favour a lunchtime 'do', at a weekend, so you both can manage it. And lunchtime suits me better because I tire so quickly as evening approaches. Y is looking forward because, as you know, she does so enjoy a bit of 'social'. (What a pity Jill that you are thousands of miles away in Chiswick).

I think Incy's 'NEMPH judge' description is just a convenient shorthand to indicate that you know your way round a photograph. Don't worry about it.

Bungus is aware how much we are missing his 'wit and wisdom' which you correctly identify.

Re his PC problems - His ISP is Supanet and I know nothing about them. Now the weekend is over he is getting in touch but, if they are anything like AVG on the telephone, he would achieve as much by disemboweling a chicken in front of his computer.

Jill ..... Xanthe Clay's first name annoys me too. Perhaps it is pronounced Chrysanth (as per Xmas)...... We are also with you about most offal. And even with proper meat we tend to eat much less, plus lots of veg.

And welcome to the 'proper water supporters club'.

Y also watched, and liked, 'A Place of Execution'.

The recipe is from the book on the left and is basically 'Potatoes Fermiére'. I say 'basically' because over the years it has been 'modified'..... Marcel Boulestin was one of the great chefs, in my opinion. In any case, as I understand it, the 'fermiére' bit only means 'as of the farmhouse' hence the dash of cream, the eggs, and the bacon bits.

4 ticks .... See top paras re your picture.

My Mum also was keen on the rain-water from a but at the bottom of a drain-pipe, for hair-washing. Mind you my Dad also had a tendency to dangle a canvas-bag full of sheep-droppings in it, to produce feed for the tomatoes.


OK fellas, I think we must now leave the ladies to their tatting. Should be Port and Cigars time I suppose ..... but, as I neither drink nor smoke ! As Y pointed out some time ago, we are fast becoming the sort of people we used to avoid !

Way past my bedtime - catch you tomorrow

I think Bungus needs to give this guy a ring !


Monday, September 22, 2008

Miserable Monday - Internet problems

Just as well I have some pictures from yesterday's Canal Walk because today has not been good.

This family were having a great time and shouted "Yes" with great gusto when I asked if I could take a photo.

Not a good day in computer terms. This morning I installed the AVG 8 update and ever since have had great difficulty getting onto the internet. Maybe a firewall is preventing my access. I am preparing this on the big PC in the Office which, touch wood, seems relatively problem free. Bungus can't get on the internet at all either - over the phone we've tried everything including a 'system restore' but all to no avail. His Danny will be able to fix it but that could be weeks.

So, if you notice an absence of Bungus-wisdom, he isn't ill or anything, just temporarily out of touch...... Re my problem, tomorrow I'll uninstall AVG 8 and start afresh, and ring their technical department - they are always helpful - nice firm.

John rang this morning and they are finally devoid of live-at-home children. Laura in Newcastle, Philip sharing a house with a pal, and now Alannah off to Leeds University. I've asked John to ask Alannah to give me the occasional update on her English Lit. degree course. Lucky girl. Mind you, I wouldn't really like to start all over again - I'm happy enough in my 70s messing-about.

Picture 2 is either a 'speckled wood' or some sort of 'fritillary' or other ? but I am willing to yield if someone on the 'lepidoptary desk' knows better.

I won't bang on about it, but I wouldn't have stood a chance of this shot without my 70-300 VR because I was roughly 15 feet away.

Y continues to forge ahead with her laptop. Apart from finding the 'Strictly come Dancing' website she has now discovered the treasure-trove in 'help' menus. Google-Mail 'help' is particularly ..well ..... helpful !.... This is why Sergie and Brin are multi, trulti, millionaires I suppose.

Picture 3 is especially for Reg. Again, testing my new lens. I just swivelled round until I thought I saw it in the viewfinder, and clicked. I have cropped it and I know it should be sharper, but this is new territory for me.

Real cordon bleu cookery at lunchtime. I did Sausage, Egg and Chips with a couple of battered onion rings. Plus.... I had Tomato Ketchup on mine. How upmarket can you get ?

Pudding was some left-over stewed apple and cold custard. Bungus's Bramleys are ripe and we are invited over to collect a bag-full and have soup and a cob while we are there. We are looking forward.


reg ..... Thanks for the VR advice. I think I knew the VR mechanism doesn't stop motion in the object. But, misreading the instructions led me to think that, if the object was moving one needed the 'active' setting. I have now grasped that the setting is for when the photographer him/herself is moving. Thanks.

4 ticks ..... I love your 'poetic paragraph' about yesterday's quote - we all dash about too much to enjoy our immediate surroundings I'm afraid.

You will enjoy Jill, as a fellow knitter. To my knowledge she is very well-informed on the subject....... Apart from recipes, we could perhaps publish the occasional knitting pattern but, from a man's viewpoint they always look fiendishly complicated and unintelligible. I suspect they contain, in code, much sisterly criticism of men !

p.s. I fully accept that the last sentence is 'old-man sexist' and there are male knitters and women who hate it.

Talking of 'composing a picture in watercolour'. ..... It would give me great pleasure to publish one. So, if you like the idea, please scan/photograph one and e-mail it to me..... It will increase your Art-footprint because I have readers all over the place. As far afield as The Isle of Man and West Virginia.

Jill ...... I'm sure 4 ticks will enjoy your blog comments and visiting the sites you mention. I don't know if you are still associated with 'yarnstorm' but, I have made that a live link for 4 ticks' benefit anyway. (So give it a click Mo - it's always so colourful).

I'm sure you could get Fentanyl on the internet but I guess it would be illegal. It's morphine basically and a controlled drug. Mine arrives with a red C.D sticker on it and I have to sign for it. Well worth the trouble though !!

I haven't read the Telegraph 'pigs trotter' recipe yet and it doesn't sound much good anyway. If it is that hopless Xanthe Clay I won't bother to read it - it always seems doubtful whather she actually cooks anything at all. She was the 'expert' who said in February to get a 6lb leg of fresh English spring lamb ! To paraphrase Churchill "some Spring, some Lamb !"

I haven't forgotten the potato & bacon bits recipe. It must be in my Boulestin - '101 ways to cook potatoes' but I more or less just cook it. If I can't find the official 'french named recipe' I'll write down from memory what I actually do.


I shall now retire to my internet-free bedroom boo-hoo ! I can always listen to the radio and have a read.

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

"There will be a Rain Dance on Friday night, weather permitting"

George Carlin

Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow


After they've fixed Bungus's they can come and fix mine


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gorgeous Sunday - Canal Walk

After my regular and much cherished Sunday morning chat with David, this morning, with the weather being so lovely, we decided on a walk along the Canal Bank and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

So much to see and nice Erewash Valley stalwarts to talk to as they walked, jogged, cycled or canoed past. (a good example of their niceness is that while messing about I unbeknowingly dropped a filter from my camera -bag. We carried on walking and ten minutes later a jogger who had been going in the opposite direction found it, turned round and caught up with us. "I think you dropped this" he said, proffering my Cokin x4 filter). What can I say !

I took my wheels (of course) and we managed quite a long distance, with a couple of sit-down pit stops. Y loved it and I was so comfortable sitting on top of the bridge I could have stayed there all day. A side effect of my 'wheels' is that I can walk at a much quicker pace than without them.

Picture 2 is a 'water-boatman'. Ages since I've seen one. There were several on the canal and, yet again, my Nikon 'vibration reduction' lens performed well. I didn't expect to get this sharp at 300mm. Aren't I having fun with it?

This one was temporarily static, but mostly they were scudding about quite quickly. Reg has told me something about changing the VR to 'active' for moving objects. I shall have to read the instructions.

Y is, as I predicted, racing along with her laptop. Without any assistance at all she can now cope with e-mails, finding the result of a football match, and navigating e-bay to track down a missing Poldark video. Not to mention loading her 'Vista for Dummies' DVD and learning how to play it 'full screen'.

This evening we watched the 'Strictly come Dancing' results show ! We must be the only people not annoyed by Brucie. Anyway, our votes did the trick and John Sergeant stayed in. Phil Daniels and Flavia went out and I'm not suprised. In this morning's Telegraph Bryony Gordon said he danced like a mixture of a corpse and an ironing-board. She's got a way with words .......


Jill ...... The premature publication was due to the problem with using the 'blog this' procedure with pictures. They were far too big and I had to revert to tried and trusted methods. (you wouldn't expect me to suffer with 'premature publication' at my age, would you).

Great to hear your adventure was such a success. You are quite right about obsessives, what ever the obsession. From Photographers and Knitters to Ramblers through Morris Dancers and Penny Whistle players - all potentially problematic differences are levelled by the common interest.

Whatever Shakesperean scholars we may have, will find little to carp about re your quote about the ravelled sleeve etc......

I too enjoyed the Robert Hughes programme 'The Mona Lisa Curse'. He made some good points, and I have enjoyed reading his material for a good while now.

4 ticks ..... Your Friday comment did appear twice. But that is better than not at all (like Rob's - see below).

Talking about the cider making you feel happy quickly - my Fentanyl Patches have the same effect on me. The other day I missed changing them in the morning due to having a bath, then the boilerman coming, the having to do something else - so I forgot. Had a painful and depressing day. When I remembered and changed them around 6pm - WOW .... inside 2o minutes my pains had gone and I felt on top of the world !

incy wincy .... we need to talk on the 'telling bone' or exchange e-mails. Or speak to Reg. There are 'issues' as young people call them.

I don't know what to say about the 'wedding picture'. Did someone download it from the blog ? Or obtain it from another source?.

bungus ...... Like Jill, your Dr Johnson quote is quite accurate enough for the purpose. Without looking it up I think it starts off being about a woman preaching.

Re. big blokes dancing - there have been several examples on Strictly....... Darren Gough, the fast bowler, atcually won, Peter Shmeichael the goal-keeper, and a couple of others spring to mind. But of course you are glued to the X factor.

My county-trial was only as a schoolboy - but I suspect that I was guilty of being occasionally irritating even then.

Thanks for your advice to keep pressing buttons on the earphones ! Are you sure this doesn't constitute 'boggering about' with them ?

See other comments - no - it wasn't a typo in the Blanchard's Bakery sentence. All will be revealed at an appropriate time.

anonymousrob ...... Sorry about your vanishing-comment. Is it a touch of dongle-trouble ?

Unhappily I feel you are right about incy wincy's photo-ideas. And he couldn't copyright that particular one because he didn't take it...... How it was obtained remains a mystery. Perhaps Elaine or yourself sent it to them ?

As Professor Fletcher always says "Don't look for a complicated explanation when a simple one fits the facts." It is known in academic circles as 'Occam's Razor'.

Strangely enough, as a non-sports listener, during the night I often listen to Radio 5. The 'Up all Night' show is very good. Particularly when it's Rhod Sharpe.

reg ..... see above comment to incy wincy.

I've e-mailed you re the 'bubbles' picture and I suppose it would be best if I took the picture myself. Unfortunately, with one thing and another, I have not left myself much time. I may well decide not to enter.

Picture 3 is also performing duty as the quotation slot. Yet another page from my 'Tennyson-selected' quotes.

My only regret is that it is such a small book ! Never mind, I mustn't be greedy.

That train must be due - surely !


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Busy Saturday - Sorted Office

Picture 1 was my bedroom barometer at 5.30am this morning. It has been 'going up' steadily, but overnight it zoomed. And it has been a lovely day.

I said yesterday "Start of weekend off" but we have in fact been very busy.

After shopping and putting away we had lunch. Eclectic, I think was Helen and Julian's word. We finished off a bolognese sauce, by the side of a potato dish I cook in the frying pan which involves eggs, cream, and bacon bits; to accompany that we had steamed green beans, fresh from Lisa's garden.

For pudding we had pancakes stuffed with cherry jam and topped with ice-cream.

In the afternoon we transformed the Office because Y had read that a monitor shouldn't be positioned with a window behind it. One's eyes can't deal with the dramatic light difference. So, no wonder I had problems adjusting the monitor. I'm surprised the computer people didn't know this and advise me. I won't bore you with the details and by tea-time it was working with the desk on a different wall and I was knackered.

Then inevitably 'Strictly come Dancing'which we thoroughly enjoyed, as we always do. The programme title is a live link by the way, and what a cracking website it takes you to. Camilla and partner were v.good as was Austin Healey. But we decided they would both be 'in' anyway and we voted for John Sergeant who, whilst perhaps not as good technically, really appeared to enjoy it and produced a creditable performance. We thought he needed our votes more than the others...... Watch this space.....

Picture 2 is of one of our Great Tit family, feeding in one of the starling-proof feeders. Most of the smaller birds are now used to them. And, since my vibration-reduction long lens it is so easy to flit (visually) about the garden and grab pictures. I would prefer a shot of him perched on a branch but they remain rather elusive.

And - one day - I shall snap a wren !

I also forgot to tell you that I have just received my annual AA subscription letter and the amount has inched up to £97. At Y's insistence I reluctantly contacted them and went through the tedious 'options' buttons procedure and eventually came to one which said "If you are thinking of leaving the AA for any reason, please press 3" - so I did and by sticking to my brief and agreeing to surrender 'Complimentary Home Start' (Willis the garage man is just up the road) they agreed to reduce my annual premium to £40, a net saving of £57. Well done Y because I wouldn't have bothered.


jill ..... Glad you liked the lock snap. And I suppose I am lucky in Charity Shops. Mind you I spend time at it. The Tennyson wasn't strictly speaking from a charity shop but a second-hand book shop. It is delightful though. I think I can be irritating (I once had a county-trial) but I don't gloat.

Lovely bit about your day. All sounding delightful and so wittily described. Thanks. While we are in 'knitting country' could you please explain the difference between ravel and un-ravel ? My mother used either term to describe the same action. I had to sit with my little hands about 18inches apart while she pulled the garment apart and wound it onto my hands. What a strange upbringing I had.

bungus ........ You and I both need the ear syringing treatment. My left ear more than the right. Also, I have been semi-successful with the wireless headphones. I can get a clear signal through them and can control the volume. Trouble is I can get every channel except the one we are watching. Even radio is present. Is there a knack ?

I couldn't find the salmon pasta this morning at Lidl. One of the young ladies who now knows us quite well said it had been part of an 'italian special' promotion and it soon went. She said though, that when they have it again she will save us some. And she will too. Super shop.

Fascinating brickwork and bone-ing stuff. Thanks.

reg ....... I can guess what you want the Blanchards sign on the side of a house for. I'm still scratching my head.

incy wincy ...... Not at all surprised about the work-force at the bakery. Did you see today about the traffic wardens at Lambeth. Half of the total of 83 either resigned or were sacked when asked to present their passports to their employers. Over 40 were illegal immigrants.

If your weather at Anderby has been the same as here, you will have had a super day.

For the benefit of 4 ticks ... who hasn't left a comment. Bungus has sent his 'spiced goosegog' recipe :-

esp good with smoked mackerel
(recipe also works with rhubarb with 10% increase in fruit + generous amount of grated
root ginger).
I usually make a half quantity.

2 quarts gooseberries
4½ cups brown sugar (2 pints 5oz)
1 cup cider (or white wine) vinegar (½ pint)
2" stick cinnamon
8 cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 whole allspice

Wash berries, remove stems and blossom ends (I use scissors).
Place sugar, vinegar, and spices together in a large pot, add 1/2 cup
of water and boil for 5 minutes.
Add gooseberries and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. When the berries are
tender and the syrup is thick, turn into hot sterile jars and seal.
Time required: 1 hour. Yield: about 3 pints

Sounds great to me. He has given me a jar for Y but she hasn't started them yet.

Instead of quotation time here is an improvement.

A photograph of a page from my beautiful Tennyson with the illuminated quotation printed theron.

I used the facility in the new Picasa 3 to 'blog' the pictures directly from Picasa.

It worked, but unfortunately it didn't resize the images to the 1024 pixel standard (just a screen filler when clicked on). The pictures were enormous and you would have been scrolling side to side and up and down to see them. And I try not to annoy my readers !

So I deleted them and reverted to my usual resizing practice. The programme is still being tested and I'm sure these teething difficulties will be ironed out.


Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow



Friday, September 19, 2008

Quiet Friday - Start Weekend Off


I will come to the pictures in due course, because I must first mention last night's EPS club night. In the programme, a digital skills evening was scheduled. And it was, but almost exclusively a 'photoshop skills evening'. Hardly anyone was interested in Picasa, or producing a blog. I had taken my Vodafone dongle, which connected me with the internet, but only Roy had any real interest. Jim, bless him was interested in what I was doing but unfortunately he himself isn't on the internet.

People's photoshop interests lie in things like making skies more dramatic, brightening individual buildings, cloning things from one picture to another and the like; all of which are anathema to me. To me the results are faked pictures which fall ignominiously into a dust-bin between Photography and Art. I can understand someone 'cloning out' an ex-partner from a treasured picture (as I know Brian was sometimes asked to do when acting professionally).

I saw nothing to compare with Incy Wincy's 'farmer ploughing with oxen' which I had the honour of publishing a few days ago. In that picture the sky was completely blank, which concentrated one's attention on the important passages of the picture. Plus of course, AnonymousRob's cyanotype, brilliant pin-hole 'bowl'. And many of Reg's, Brian's, and Roy's pictures which are all about 'seeing a good picture' and grabbing it.

And OK, I do it myself. But only in a 'graphics way' as above (to show a book followed by 2 open pages for example) and I'm not setting out to win a competition anyway.

Rant over ! People must do what pleases them most, in the residual freedom we enjoy in this country.

In passing, here is a link to the updated Picasa 3 which has many useful improvements and innovations. At long last there is a 'retouch' tool for removing many blemishes. Also a 'text' tool to write text on pictures, and it's range of fonts outstrips Photoshop.

Picture 1 is my old lappy with Y's sleek new Toshiba at it's side. Sorry about the aging banana in between. I didn't notice it. I suppose I could clone it out....................... !!

Picture 2 is all about this gorgeous book on the left which I was fortunately enough to find in the second-hand book shop at Canons Ashby at the extortionate price of £2 for a leather bound, hand-press printed (you can see the slightly raised indentations on the reverse of each sheet), first edition of a collection of quotations selected by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Wow--eeee ! What a find. And lovely content too.


incy wincy ...... As Rob says, and as I know - with your gift for understatement, I think we can all assume that the 'wedding snaps' are little short of brilliant. And considering what awful conditions you had to contend with. At least they wont all have their eyes squinting against the fierce sun !

You are right about pub food and the microwave. I know I distrust these £3.50 'Carveries' which have blossomed, but at least they would have difficulty microwaving a turkey. But on the other hand...................... !

Like you, the mysteries of high finance elude me. I don't like 'stocks and shares' and my 'few quid' is in National Savings Bonds. But no doubt a way will be found to cause me concern too.

AnonymousRob ....... You too are quite right about pubs, but I agree with Bungus's point about the silly 'no smoking' ban...... Like you, we find little pleasure in eating inferior food out when we can eat better at home. There are exceptions and the Restaurant at Clumber is now good.

Pleased you are not neglecting your 'sports desk' responsibilities.

Thanks for your holiday activities and events info. and we are all looking forward to the pictures, - here's hoping you continue to avoid suicidal motorists.

Bungus ........... Thanks for the blow-by-blow account of your scan but sorry it was so horrendous.

But your 'odds & ends' haul sounds magnificent.

I've noticed the pasta of which you speak in Lidl and now, on your recommendation, intend to try it.

You ask if Canons Ashby is to do with the poet Dryden. I would have thought that, when I wrote in Tuesday's blog ...."The house is the ancestral home of the poet Dryden"...... it would have given you a clue !

Thanks for your thoughts about the alcoves. I should have persuaded Y to stand next to them. They were perhaps just under 5' and a small person could well have sheltered from the weather, whilst eating the vittals provided. The brickwork stuff was most interesting too.

4 ticks ....... I will certainly send you Bungus's 'spiced gooseberry' recipe.

We had 2 gooseberry bushes but, in the end, uprooted them because of the pain involved in picking the fruit !

I must speak up in support of Reg. .... Cotmanhay, Awsworth, Ilkeston, Heanor - what the hell? He found it in the end. I can get lost going to Ashbourne (my home town).

Glad you are still enjoying the basil. I will root you another to take over when that one gets past it.


Quotation time ....... From my Hand-Book of Proverbs again.... I can speak to the truth of this, having been married to one such.....

"A woman that loves to be at the window, is like a bunch of grapes on the highway"


p.s. I'm loving all these 'comments' ..... Please keep them coming.....

Sleep tight and I'll catch you tomorrow


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Canons Ashby - Stoke Bruerne - Mansfield National Trust trip

En route to Canons Ashby (on our Mansfield Centre for the National Trust) outing we called in at The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne for a coffee-break. A most pleasant little place where we could happily of stayed longer.

Cognizant of recent photography discussions I deliberately shot this at f5.6 which, I thought, should give foreground sharpness with a recession to fuzziness in the distance - hoping to avoid the flat/painting look critique of digital photography.

Another 20 minutes travel brought us nicely to Canons Ashby. A fascinating Elizabethan place with much to offer. The first thing which strikes you is the tranquility and a complete absence of the 'keep off the grass' mentality of some historic places. There is none of the roped-off areas of rooms to contend with and guides are helpful and well-informed. With her interest in The Tudors, Y had much to absorb. The original priory was Augustine (hence the canons rather than monks) and being Puritan escaped the worst of Henry V111's wrath. The house eventually became the seat of the Dryden family and descendants still occupy an upper floor flat.

I found the Jacobean plasterwork and wall-paintings beautiful and of great interest. The National Trusts' 'no photography' is a rule I support whole-heartedly but I would have loved a snap or two. The light was not good outside and the picture in the front of this link is better than mine.

So I contented myself with a detail. Monasteries as you know would feed any passing traveller, and the needy. These two little alcoves in the outside wall by the road-side were where food and drink were left when the Priory was closed at night. Why they were so tall is a mystery to me ? If the Architectural Desk can provide an explanation, it would be most welcome.

Our return trip was uneventful and we were home for 7pm. Tired, but having had an enjoyable day.


jill ...... I think you did well to leave the portals of HBOS unscathed. It's amazing how senior people in organisations can be solemnly reassuring everyone about the rock solid financial soundness of their organisation minutes before they go bust. Similarly with the tour-operator who minutes before going over and abandoning passengers all over the world was still selling tickets ! In my simple retired Police Inspector's world I think someone should be charged with 'obtaining money by false-pretences' and locked up.

Sorry - hush my mouth! I try to keep this journal out of such political and current-affairs matters. Instead we discuss really important matters like knitting, tarte tatin, and photographs.

Incidentally, the road-signing to Canons Ashby is still a little under-stated. We didn't see even one 'brown & white oak-leaves and acorns sign'.

bungus ...... You make a sound point about hedges. Our 'Derek next door' could change into someone similar to your neighbour.

Re 'as broad as it is long'. I know full well what it means ! It was the derivation and history I was after.

I still think it is midly irritating to be addressed as 'young man'..... 'Youth' in Nottingham is OK up to any age.

Quotation time ....... I hope I won't offend our ladies, but I found this in my Hand-Book of Proverbs.

"A woman's strength lies in her tongue"
Tonight is Camera Club night. I might return later. If not I'll catch you tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Plough at Ollerton and 'Tarte-tatin'

You are quite right to say "That doesn't look much like a Tudor Country House to me !"

And you would be right...It isn't...

n.b. ... I have decided to keep things in some sort of chronological order - and the Canons Ashby coverage and pictures will follow tomorrow.

The picture shows The Plough at Ollerton now unfortunately closed - see previous 'comments' and the snap is courtesy of Bungus.

I asked him to photograph it specially for the blog because I wanted a picture on record. The pub was part of our North Notts mining heritage and it is so sad that, as a thriving local hostelry,  it has closed.

Picture 2 is also courtesy of Bungus and is his 'tarte tatin' - his recipe can be found in his 'comment' on yesterday's blog-post.


bungus ........ Thanks for the recipe and, as you say, it sounds delicious. I particularly like the sound of softening the fruit in a caramel of butter and caster sugar..... Is that Delia or you?..... You sound as if you are eating more easily. Is that the case? If so I'm delighted.

I'm sure you are right about hedges ---- you have experience. My only clues are that the hedge follows the line of a fence which belongs to us.... I think ! Anyway, we are such good neighbours I don't aim to fall out over it..... If he laid claim to the fence and hedge I would promptly make him a gift of both !

As a child I did indeed live very close to the countryside. Surrounded by farms, the farmers of which were on very good terms with my parents. I vividly remember when I was maybe 4yrs and being lifted up to ride on the back of a big shire horse pulling a load of corn sheaves. The Threshing Yard was at the bottom of our garden. .... And when we were a little older and out-to-play we could walk over the fields to Dovedale. All my chums and I were keen Arthur Ransome readers and we used to play Pigeon Post and Swallows and Amazons etc.

I don't know the etymology of 'a long chalk' but I shall be interested to know it, if someone does. BTW - another old one I haven't heard recently is "it's a broad as it is long".

reg .... I couldn 't agree more - that the digital/film debate generates far too much 'hot air' and Rob is right that the only thing that really matters is whether or not the result is a good picture.

It is really sad that all these historic pubs are closing and I agree with Bungus that this daft anti-smoking rule is to blame. Nobody wants tobacco smoke where there's food, but what was the harm in a 'smoking room' with a bar ?

Glad you and Brian managed a WoW plus mallard.

Also glad your chip-cob was up to the mark.

jill ...... No need to apologise for missing a day ! It's not home-work where you get 'lines' for handing it in late.

Y loved your long and newsy e-mail and has replied - all by herself. And fancy you telling her not to let me 'bugger about' with her laptop. Now really ! .. Would I ?

What a hoot - going to The Halifax to see a 'financial advisor'. Who gave advice to whom ? Or is that the wrong way round. Roy will know.

4 ticks ..... Likewise, as to Jill. I'm pleased you find the blog interesting, and so will the authors of the 'comments' be.

No time for a quote tonight. And I'm too tired to look one up.

Catch you tomorrow !