Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday fine - Brief Bloggette

Picture 1 isn't a prize-winner but it does the job of showing you how the mini-salad is growing back after several harvests.

When we had cut off and used its product, mainly for garnishes but once in the latter stages of a crispy-beef stir-fry, I was reluctant to compost it. So I let it go on living on the kitchen window sill and, as I suspected, there were seeds still to germinate. My guess is that when we return from The Rhine there will be another crop to enjoy.

I had my ear (singular - right) syringed by the Practice Nurse this morning and she also reported a good harvest. Immediately I could hear better - I was sure I could detect the sea ! So I need no longer ensure that Y is to my left. We collected our Euros and I've loaded loads of spoken-word podcasts onto my MP3 player. The we packed and our luggage is within the prescribed weight limits. Perhaps I've been a little OTT in the matter of lenses but you never know what you might need ! I have my little DAB radio and plenty of reading. We are so looking forward to a complete break and doing different things.

Last night I e-mailed my contact-list with the third version of my mobile telephone number. 'Eagle eye Brian' spotted that, in error, I had included an extra digit '9'. As Bungus wittily said in reply to my e-mail "I hadn't realised it was a serial".


jill ..... Glad you enjoyed the pictures. And you would most certainly have enjoyed incy wincy's talk and pictures yesterday evening. He specialises in monochrome work and has the most natural 'eye' for a picture of anyone I know of. There was a print of some old fellas in a Spanish Café playing dominoes which Cartier-Bresson would have been proud of. That link is to Cartier-Bresson's Wiki page, please click here for a link to some of his pictures.

Thanks for 'the Cruising advice' and Y has noted it.

Can't think why my leather coat is so cosy - but it is.

bungus ...... You make a fair point about the coat and my size. 2 points - I can't button it up, and I was fairly hefty when we bought it.

Thanks for the précis of the driptrip. Could Jackson Pollock have painted a driptriptych do you think or was he too busy christening tasteless fish ?

Yesterday evening at EPS we didn't actually 'get around' to needing me to do my Picasa 3 slot. And I was relieved. I think Reg took one look at my face and realised I was suffering ! Now, if EPS could meet at say 3.30am they would catch me at my best. But as I guess I would be there all by myself, no-one would appreciate the finer points of my lecture.

Re 'carrying music around'. I don't ! The items I download onto my MP3 player are Radio 4 programmes like Melvyn Bragg's 'In our time' and Roger McGough's 'Poetry Please' , Radio 3's ' The Essay' and stuff like that. Music is mostly lost on me. MP3 players are only storage devices, they aren't exclusively for music.

"I wish I'd looked after my Teef" sounds like Pam Ayres. Is it ?

Like jill below, I need an explanation of the acronym FSMO. I won't hazard a guess because they all sounded rude.

Quotation time ................ This appeals to me...........

"What a blessing it would be if we could open and shut our ears as easily as we open and shut our eyes ! "

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Sounds like quite a fella. Good hour in a pub etc., .............


I haven't done a link to The Rhine. And I'm not taking my laptop. So the next time you hear from me will probably be the 3rd November. Please feel free to exchange 'comments' via the blog, as has happened before, and it keeps the generators ticking over so to speak. But if you all need a rest too ........ etc.,

David's birthday occurs while we are away - So Happy Birthday David !!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Y at Burton Joyce - EPS this evening.


All the pictures are from yesterday's WoW and you can see what a pretty village Alport is. Unspoilt is the word which spring to mind. It is unfortunate that people have cars but they need them there more than we do in the Eastwood/Brinsley area.

Picture 1 is mine (some more chocolate box for Bungus) but I'm relieved he doesn't necessarily use the phrase as a term of disapproval. Picture 2 is by Helen and shows me trying to capture the pretty cottage (shown yesterday) in some decent light. My leather coat is genuinely distressed and at 40+ years old is entitled to be distressed. Y has never liked it and calls it my gestapo coat. But yesterday with such a cold wind it was just what was needed. The coat repels wind and water with equal panache and is extremely comfortable to wear.

Picture 3 is again by Helen and shows Reg and Denis (incy wincy) discussing the finer points of Mill-races, weirs, and charming country bridges.

I have achieved a lot today. Carphone Warehouse were given an ultimatum. Either fix my phone so I can receive calls and all other functions, or give me my money back.

They chose the former. The girl who had originally served me had messed things up. I daren't go into detail because it becomes confusing. Basically by putting my old Sim card into my new phone meant that I retained my old number.

So I had to spend time this morning circulating to everyone who I had informed that my number had changed, that it hadn't. (see what I mean about confusing) Not straightforward because I got several 'mailer daemons' but I hope things are now sorted. I'm pleased because I really like the phone. It has a pleasantly solid and well-made feel.

Another, more pleasant task has been to install my recently arrived Photoshop Elements 7 on the Office PC. A genuinely user-friendly piece of software more suited to my needs and abilities (sounds like the Communist Manifesto dunnit?) than the full grown-up version ! And it installed in a straightforward and intuitive manner which should save me from becoming a 'Reg-botherer' again.

I decided on an early blog because it's doubtful that I shall feel up to it when return from Eastwood. A 'volunteers evening' is planned and I have offered to 'do' something about Picasa, Picasa Web Albums, and Blogs, if anyone is interested. My guess is they will all want to concentrate on Photoshop anyway - their choice isn't it ?

Denis (incy wincy) has offered to bring prints and talk about them till tea-break. I've asked him to be sure to bring the infra-red 'dunes and life-belt stand' picture because I am keen to see the actual mounted print rather than a digital image on a computer screen. Reg sounded a little worried that not enough people would bring things - but I feel sure that it will be like an adaptation of the 'Peter Principle' i.e. that 'work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion'.

The other reason for an early blog is because neither of us has started packing yet. I also need to download some 'podcasts' etc., onto my MP3 player and DAB radio so I have to hand something to listen to. From National Service days I remember that Deutsche Welle was a bit heavy going (but now, having found a link, the script is in English). I don't expect the radio will be though. Nordwest Deutsche Rundfunk was easier on the ear but, having found a link, I note that it closed down in 1955 !


bungus ...... Interesting about Jessica's homework. Is the 'cupboard' referred to, the 'naughty cupboard' ?

The grandchildren never cease to amaze. Millicent, speaking on the phone with great confidence, told me a few minutes ago that Grandma isn't very good at the card game 'pairs'. (The cards are dealt face down, randomly, on the floor) You can turn one over but then if it doesn't match, you have to replace it face-down and try to remember where it is. If you get 2 matching, you pick them up and score 1 point. At 3yrs, Millicent beats Y every time, and genuinely, because Y doesn't 'let her win' - there's no need to.

Re 'energy saving'. And there's me thinking that plug-ins are software extensions to Firefox and similar open-source programmes.

Re chip-cobs. There were, under the mountain of first-class chips, rather nice wholemeal seeded cobs.

Re Ann's picture. I may be 'unkind to seal pips' - I don't know because I've never eaten any. Don't they get stuck behind your teeth ?

Re 'taste-less fish'. If all there was to eat was some obscure, easily farmed fish, that didn't have any flavour, I would join Helen and Sandra and become vegetarian. I wouldn't go as far as 'no animal products' because I would be happy to get my protein intake via the cheese-board.

Like you I can sleep almost anywhere - when I can sleep at all, that is. As soon as we are back from the Rhine, I aim to tackle the cake-recipes.


A conversation yesterday about English weather brought to mind a J. B. Priestley quote but I'm damned if I can find it. It was to do with putting his hand on the wood of his desk and knowing the tree had experienced March winds, snowy Februaries and the July sun....... Ah well ! This one will have to do ..............

If there is one thing left that I would like to do, it's to write something really beautiful. And I could do it, you know. I could still do it.”

Addicted to Priestley's essays before moving onto the novels, I had a good grounding. And I consider 'An Inspector Calls' perhaps the most powerful play of the 2oth Century. He was responsible I think for my early lurch to the left, from which I have never straightened. There is a connection to the currently popular "The Suspicions of Mr Whicher" by Kate Summerscale.

Might catch you later - Might not !

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Good WoW - Alport - The Miners Standard

A good turnout for WoW - Helen, Brian, Reg, Denis, Mike, Roger and myself and we went to a favourite location of ours. Alport and Bradford Dale.

I have a favoured parking spot near the bridge at Alport, from where it is only a few yards to take this picture. The cottage illustrated borders the weir where, just to the right of the picture, is the old Mill.

Helen and Mike walked down to the Mill and there is a building opposite it with scaffolding. Helen says it looks like an old lime kiln in the process of renovation. That will be fun.

I stood on the bridge looking towards the Mill edge of the weir and, with my lovely 70-300mm VR lens, managed to capture the water cascading over the mill-race. Thanks to the lens saving three stops I was allowed a fairly fast shutter speed, thereby keeping the water looking like water and not going all blurry.

The walkers managed quite a long walk and, when they arrived back at the bridge, we adjourned to The Miners Standard at Winster for our chip-cobs, and quite excellent they were too.

The Miners Standard is a great pub, log burning stove, good welcoming seating and tables, and it dates from 1653. A witty notice proclaims 'Pub of the year 1653'. If you open the link you will learn that the pub name comes from the measuring dish used in the valuation of the lead-ore which the miners had extracted.

My new mobile phone still does not work properly. I have patiently waited for the 24hrs to elapse, whereupon the 'fixit' performed by Orange should have taken effect.

The end result is that I cannot receive calls, voice or text, and it isn't as a result of 'boggering about' with it. It never has worked and I think tomorrow I shall return to Carphone Warehouse and get my money back.


jill ...... Welcome back. We have missed you. And you are right about the naughty chair ! I suspect that I am one of the candidates and, on the occasion in question, could only plead tiredness for my fractious interlude. Mind you it fell well sort of a tantrum so perhaps I could be excused the naughty chair on this occasion. Perhaps a double dose of Calpol would have done the trick.

What a lovely lengthy comment. A joy to read and so informative. It was really good to read all about your activities.

Without doubt you seem qualified to write a definitive guide to Hotel Teas and The Grosvenor House Hotel sounds good - pity about the missing sugar-tongs and slop-basin though - definitely should lose 3 points out of 20 I would have thought.

Why not you do the Hotel Teas in London and I'll do Chip-cobs in the East Midlands ?

Glad to hear that 'normal service is now resumed'.

bungus ......... Pleased that the wife of your wildlife guru has had a snap published. Only problem is, I think 'Practical Photography' a waste of money, and I'm not keen on seal pups either - they always look like turds.

Re gorilla-pods. I have as yet no personal experience. I would only trust a DSLR on it, if the camera strap was firmly round my neck. It always is anyway.

Re currants. My Dad used to grow both red and black currants and I vividly remember them being draped in old net curtains to deter the birds.

4 ticks ...... The BBC's 'use of English' sins are not too widespread in my opinion. I can't speak re the TV or Radio 1 or 2 or local radio because I seldom watch or listen. I'm pleased to say Radio 4 is comparatively problem free. As an avid listener I find it a pleasure to hear decent well written items and the news-readers - Peter Donaldson, Corrie Corfield, Brian Perkins and, of course, the peerless Charlotte Green need apologise to no-one about the quality of their English. Just a personal opinion of course !

I accept what you say about king-sized beds but I think Y and I will stick with our separate rooms. My snoring, and irregular sleep patterns would make the nights intolerable for Y. And in anycase we both feel there are advantages to a little privacy when you get into your 70s - if not younger. Y says that many women (if it wasn't for the risk of hurting feelings) would prefer their own room anyway. The aristocracy have always done it. And what's good for ..........

Keep on blogging ! ..........

Quotation .............. This seems appropriate ..........

"Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level"

Quentin Crisp

The link is another bit of YouTube so if Quentin Crisp annoys you please don't open it.

That train must be due for another appearance


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Still Windy Tuesday - David and family visit

Picture 1 is 4 Tick's Apple Cake. Both the cake itself and the photograph thereof are hers.

Congratulations on both - and if they taste as they did before, they will be delicious. (the recipes can be found if you search the blog for cooking)

Y had her nails done at her Eastwood Hairdressers this morning which saves a trip over to Carlton and she seems satisfied with them. Y declines 'Nail Art' but the hairdresser told her about an 82yr old who has hers 'decorated'.

We did some bank jobs but put off getting our euros till later in the week. Several things ordered on the net arrived this morning, but I am still waiting for my Photoshop Elements 7 which I intend to install on the PC. Having the full programme on my laptop is there to fall back on if I need to.

This afternoon we both tried to have a nap but were interupted by no fewer than 4 'spam' calls offering us free cruises and free invites to a party in Limoges. Supposedly we have a scanning system on the phone to protect us from such intrusion, but it must be on its holidays.

Still having problems with my Nokia 6500. I can call other people but people trying to ring me receive a rejection message. Queried it with Orange who told me I needed to register my new phone (wouldn't you have thought Carphone Warehouse might have dealt with that?) and the girl at Orange said she needed to refresh my settings. It will take 24hrs before it will work properly. Oh dear !

After tea David and family visited, to bring my birthday present. They advised me to open it because I might want to take it on holiday with me.

And I certainly DO.

Picture 2 illustrates it. It is a Gorilla Pod which acts in lieu of a tripod and you can attach you camera to all manner of solid objects. Ships 'rails' for instance.

In anycase it was lovely to see them all and Sky and Brooke were super. Apparently 'farty' jokes and 'bum' jokes are considered cool. We thought it was just boys who thought these hilariously funny but apparently it has now extended to girls.

David also managed to get the DVD player to work. Great. It hasn't worked properly since we had the new telly.


incy wincy ..... Sorry about the language! You seem to be coping pretty well whatever.

Thank you very much for your words of praise about the moon pictures. Very encouraging for me because I thought they were OK too.

Hope you can manage WoW tomorrow ! If you can, it is 'meet at Reg's at 9.50am'.

bungus .......... Glad you liked the wider view of the Wollaton Hall roof. It was only 'less gaudy' because I couldn't brighten and saturate it any more without spoiling it.

The mobile number I e-mailed you is the correct one.

Titan Holidays have warned us that the Rhine can be nippy at this time of year so we shall dress accordingly. In anycase I have decided against my Leder-hosen.

4 ticks ...... Wollaton Hall is certainly worth a visit. They don't seem to have actually got rid of anything, merely repositioned it. That black gorilla that used to be halfway up the stairs is in a display case somewhere.

Sky, my granddaughter who has just visited, is a fellow spider/web lover. As they left there was a super web under the porch, front illuminated against the black sky.

I know your damaged arm is still troubling you and I think you do very well to knit at all ! A rest after 2 rows doesn't sound unreasonable. Our resident expert Jill will surely comment when she gets back from holiday.

Quotation corner ...... A quote from the boss-man himself ...........

" The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place; from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web"

Pablo Picasso

The link is a great bit of footage in my opinion. Better than words in a potted biography.


Monday, October 20, 2008

The Week begins - Very windy


A wider view of Wollaton Hall roof - showing things overall, rather than the highlighting of a single boss. In these circumstances a refutation of the 'less is more' concept.

I started my day with a check-up at the dentists. No problems thankfully. After that I went directly to Carphone Warehouse who sorted me out. The young lady explained that my top-up difficulty was due to my giving Hannah the wrong card. As the Sim cards had been swapped over, I should have kept the old card for my new phone, and given Hannah the new card for the old phone. Comprendez ?

Picture 2 shows another web by one of our friendly garden spiders. This time she has been spinning in-between branches of the winter-flowering jasmine. She doesn't seem to have caught anything.

For lunch I did my crispy-beef stir-fry and finished off therein the remains of the mini-salad garden. The Pak Choi content had become dominant anyway so its use was appropriate.

Although the crops have now been 'levelled' I don't aim to bin it yet - just so I can see if anything else germinates.


bungus ..... I tried a two picture collage but it produced a four picture collage which, when cropped to two, looked awful.

Re 'curves' -it is a function in photoshop which you won't want to know about.

Re 'scale' - as the butterfly was on a Michaelmas Daisy bloom I didn't consider a 50p piece necessary as, so far as I am aware, the actual flowers don't vary much in terms of size.

reg ..... I wasn't connecting the cabbage/kings reference to a Haiku. But, as they had been discussed, I pointed out that your line, if it were the middle line of a Haiku, would be a syllable short.

4 Ticks ....... Best of luck with the Gooseberry bushes. We should be floating gently down The Rhine by then.

Quotation time ........

"Critics search for ages for the wrong word, which, to give them credit, they eventually find."

I thought the youtube 'interview' would be more fun than his Wiki page. Good though it is.!

Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Good Sunday - Babysitting - Mobile Phone

Thought I'd start with this panorama of my new phone. Not, as Y and Hannah said "Showing Off" but because I wanted to solve the technical problems of showing the front and rear when I've only got one phone. Anyway, there is the result but the modus operandi would bore normal people.

A good day - with Morrisons petrol price now being 99.9p per litre it cost me £32 to fill up the Civic, rather than the £42 it cost me last time. Y did lots of heavy work in the garden, pulling out brambles whose roots seemed to start somewhere in the middle of the football field opposite. Eventually I prevailed upon her to stop because I knew she would 'do her back' and we had Burton Joyce to cope with in the evening.

We set off for BJ around 5pm and have had a great time here with the grand-children.

Miles and I did lots of 'bird things' and he had great fun messing about in 'curves' to obtain some really weirdo bird colours.

He enjoyed manipulating this Spoonbill and I hope the original author will indulge our use of a great original image. We aren't going to sell it, or enter it in a competion or anything, and Miles is only 7yrs.

His 'bird knowledge' is way beyond ours and his computer skills can best be described as 'nimble'. Hannah helped me a lot with my new mobile. She really wants to show me how to use Bluetooth, and my protestations that "I can live without it" tend to fall on deaf ears.

They are all in bed now (9.15pm) and I'm just now getting round to my blog.


Bungus ..... You've got me totally confused about distances from USA to Russia/Cuba. I suppose that Alaska to what used to be USSR is the 40 miles figure, across The Bering Strait, and that Cuba, say Miama to Havanna, is about 250 miles. Or am I missing something (not unusual, I know).

Re the Small Tortoiseshell. I decided not to crop closer because the creature was already larger than life-sized.

Sorry about the goosegogs ....... I planted both bushes yesterday. However, if you are desperate, consider one of them as 'heeled-in' until the Spring cometh ...... !

Re my 'tetchiness' .... I shouldn't have been snappy - you are too good a friend for that. Please accept 'tiredness' as the cause. Interesting that anonymousrob is so fluent in Radiogandy... He explains my thought processes precisely. (mind you - he's known me a long time too !)

And you make the excellent point that, had you not added your comment, there wouldn't have been any comments at all, and how boring is that ?

He also manages to understand my mental agility in seguing from Colin Gibson to David Gibbens. Even though I failed the last hurdle, that was the name I was searching for !

anonymousrob ...... Thanks for manning the 'multi-translation' desk at such short notice. You were spot on with my meaning.

Pleased to learn that you and Elaine both have the Nokia 6500. I'm inching forward with it but shall enjoy being able to pick your brains. The Camera looks good, but I'm having difficulty using the focusing methods. Fingers too fat maybe !

Also - please excuse me slipping the Delia recipe into your slot. It helped with the lay-out don't ya know !

I know David had the recipe as I dictated it, without the book, on Saturday morning but it will be best for him to actually see it. You and Elaine might like to try it anyway - it is v.good and v.reliable.

The moon/melon Haiku is a cracker ! One of your best. It flows effortlessly. The 7 syllable middle line is so natural but bang-on target at the same time. Congratulations.

A photobook with an image per page, and a haiku beneath would be a joy !

Reg ........ Just a syllable over the necessary 7 for the middle line of a Haiku. Brilliant concept though.

Here is a link to The Walrus and The Carpenter so others can enjoy returning to the Poem or reading it for the first time. I think I've read it 4 times since we got home.
'get off to bed - Ed'

I think I'll let the Lewis Carroll serve as The Quotation Slot and I'll hope to catch you tomorrow.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Good Saturday - Y lunches with Sylvia

A pleasant Saturday. I took Y to town where she was meeting Sylvia for lunch at The Bell.

While she was there I went to Carphone Warehouse and bought a new mobile. The minor defects in my existing Samsung - 'warning tone of impending appointment too faint' and 'not going off at all in some circumstances' finally reached irritation point. In any case Hannah quite fancies my exisiting one. So I have returned to a tried and trusted Nokia 6500 slide.

It will take me ages to work out how to use its wide range of facilities but I shall get there. The warning tone is loud enough even for my wax-full ears. Having them syringed on Friday 24th though, prior to our holiday. And Yes, I have been doing the warm olive-oil bit.

The Bell has undergone a major re-fit which Y tells me has been mostly downstairs and affected them little. Her last visit had resulted in a 20% off voucher which made the meal and drinks under a tenner. Sylvia doesn't really like The Bell, preferring the fawning waiters at Café de Paris, and in anycase she had forgotten her voucher.

Picture 1 is, as you can see, a snap of a Small Tortoiseshell aglais urticae and I'm quite pleased with the photograph. Probably Bungus will manage some constructive criticism but we are used to that n'est ce pas?

Picture 3 is to keep you uptodate with the Liquidamber which gets progressively redder. In the course of the next few weeks some leaves go purple and all sorts of other shades in between. One of which is a virulent dark green. Watch this space.

Before setting off for town I got down on my hands/knees and cleared a patch for the gooseberry bushes. I have one of those kneeling things with handles which makes it all possible. The plants looked healthy, with little buds just emerging. Far too early of course, but a good keen frost will slow them down a bit.

This evening we enjoyed Strictly come Dancing and there were some excellent performances. Those at the top - Cherie, Tom, Austin don't need our support. In the end Y voted for Heather Small and I voted for Jodie Kidd.


Bungus ....... Don't let the Moon/melon similarity worry you. It's only my over-active imagination anyway.

The full moon we have just experienced was the Hunters' Moon by the way.

You weren't supposed to SEE anything in the Shower. It was just that we have had a new shower fitted, complete with new basin, and I wanted to 'record' that boring fact. For me the whole purpose of my blog is for family and friends to have access to our routine lives, both now and for the future. Hence the 'record' shots. How do you feel it should be?

As I keep advising you - "Write your own blog and then you can have whatever content and whatever pictures you approve of".


E-mail just in with this picture attached. Earlier in the day David rang for Delia's oven-baked winter vegetables recipe which I dictated to him over the phone.

As is so often the case with Delia, she helpfull says that the choice of vegetables isn't set in stone ! Use whatever you have.

He followed it and and was very pleased with the result, to accompany Jamie Oliver's Sea Bass á la Tony Blair but with Rainbow Trout substituted. As David says the trout is less expensive than the sea-bass and just as tasty. It eertainly looks excellent my boy! Congratulations !


Baby-sitting at Burton Joyce tomorrow evening. But plenty to do before that.

Bit tired - so I'm closing there..... David's always loved this picture -

Good night and sleep tight

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weekend Off - Y's hair - Shopping


Perhaps the best way to persuade a doubting-bungus of the melon-like characteristics of the full moon is to publish this explanatory panorama. Isn't retirement and messing-about good fun ?......... Can't wait for you to join us Rob. This 'going to work', especially when you don't like the job, is a right pain.

Y had her hair done in Eastwood this morning and has arranged, in future, to have her nails done there too. My fingers always want to type 'furute'. So, if I say I am looking into the furute and I don't spot it, please don't be confused. There's enough of us about already !

Picture 2 is entitled 'Peter Pan plays in RG's new shower' and I used it for the first time this morning. Super job by Ian who did it, at estimate price, and quickly and efficiently and arranged for the 'tiler' who was similar. My Sigma 10-20mm has distorted it somewhat but it is a 'record' and conveys the idea.

My somewhat hopeless notion was, with my powerful hand lantern, to illuminate the interior without using flash. I didn't realise motion would be frozen to quite this extent. There ya go sunshine !

After 'hair' we shopped at Lidl, followed by Morrisons and intended to sample their recommended coffee but the timing was all wrong so we came home and had our customary Friday lunch of Fish, Chips and Peas even though, by then, it was 2.10pm.

Several fairly happy computer jobs, on all three devices. Y's Vista is into energy conservation and takes it upon itself to shut down if you leave it on unattended for long. I've fixed that and it now stays on, happily showing Y's pictures as a screen-saver, until she decides to shut down.

There are glitches with Picasa 3, but all surmountable, and the programme is after all still in 'beta' (meaning it's still being developed) but that's true for most Google programmes anyway. There has been nice coverage of the Queen's visit and she had a laugh at the v.popular YouTube page about the laughing baby. The Google Search page for the day was brilliant.

Please see picture above right. I did a screen-print and saved it.

Good for Queenie for going and good for Google for getting it just right.


incy wincy ........ You did miss a good day. I'm sorry you weren't with us to point out your lead work. There is a certain magic in having an artist show one his/her work and discuss its features. And along with William Morris and Ruskin I do consider that craftsmanship of that order merits the classification 'Art'.

Wollaton Hall will repay a further visit anyway, in better weather and in better light. The building is an undervalued gem in my opinion.

I now we are running out of time before you are costa-bound. But hope to see you next Wednesday because Y and I are then on holiday and a couple of days after we get back you are off.

bungus ..... I like the 'distraction' joke and I really must try Morrison's coffee.

I was confused by the "30 to 40 sq inch sheet" thinking you meant "40 inches square". To paraphrase Churchill I thought - "Some pig and some cheek !"

The figure in the 'arch picture' is Helen ! Either my prose is becoming obscure or you didn't read it properly. It doesn't really matter which.

See the lead picture for a better explanation of the Melon/Moon imbroglio.

anonymousrob ...... I don't think I have ever met anyone with an NVQ in plastic pipe assembly. Impressive or what ?

Thanks for the note about the Exhibtion at the - Djanogoly Art Gallery - I think Reg mentioned it on Wednesday. Sounds well worth a visit. Perhaps this coming Wednesday if the weather is still bad.

Fancy Colin Gibson having an FRPS - as Erewash Valley has it "ood a thowt it ?"

p.s. I think I'm confusing him with David Gibson aren't I ?

Pepperoni prepared like parma ham and 'fatty' doesn't sound good. I've always thought of pepperoni as sliced discs from a long sausage with a diameter of maybe just over an inch. But I haven't researched it.

Thanks for the brief piece from the 'Sports Desk' and I think, as blogmeister, it will be best to leave the Astronomy Desk unmanned/unwomanned.

They'd only spend their days gazing out of the window anway, hoping for a glimpse of heaven and completely ignoring Jill when she walks past......

Lovely, witty last sentence. I'll try not to make a 'fool' of myself !

Quotation time ................Nice one Gore !

"Today's public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can't read them either"

Gore Vidal

I think Jill returned today. Hope you had a good time Jill. Talk us all through it, and pictures would be nice.

Sleep tight all. ...... .Hope to catch you tomrrow


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Y at BJ - Haircut for Holiday - Moving files

A leftover picture from yesterdays Wollaton Hall trip. They are so understanding about the strange need in some humans, to record pictures of pleasant subjects. The through the arch>through the door>to the french style window in the centre appealed.

At the side of the windows were tall mirrors and Helen was trying to figure out how to do one of those 'chair in a mirror, in a mirror, in a mirror etc.,etc.,' shots. Unfortunately it would also have included 'photographer's hand holding camera' repeated ad infinitum.

If required, next time I see her, I will ask for a 'model-release' letter.

I didn't sleep too well (what's new?) and the moon-shot was at around 4.30am. An experiment to see how well my beloved 70-300 VR worked hand held under these quite extreme circumstances. I am more than happy.

At also led me to realise that I had never noticed this 'end of a melon' look that the moon has.

It looks just as if there are segment marks radiating from the stalk-end doesn't it ? Not being sure whether or not we have anyone 'in post' on the 'Astronomy Desk' I will seek general help from readers. Have these apparent marks always been there ? Is it just that I've never noticed them before ? Or have I made a discovery which will lead to the Nobel prize ?

Perhaps an e-mail to NASA would be fruitful.

Our Lidl type 'cut-and-come-again' mini-salad tray is unfortunately coming to the end of its useful life as the crops want to grow into full-size plants. We have had several harvests and it just grows back.

Two days ago I thinned-out the plants to give the others more room but 'nature abhors a vacuum' and the following day the spaces had vanished. I am loath to compost-heap it (I love this modern practice of using nouns as verbs) because different things keep germinating. The Swiss/Red Chard, having germinated, grows on apace. What next - cannabis ?

I took Y to the Tram to start her on her way to Burton Joyce and then collected her around 6.45pm. We used the Hucknall terminal because of the awful traffic hold-ups on the A610 near Phoenix Park. A shame because we both prefer Phoenix Park but 'needs must etc...........'

She had her usual delightful-if-tiring day. We shall see everyone again on Sunday because we are baby-sitting 6.30pm onwards.

Picture 3 is the mini-salad and the red Swiss Chard can be seen to the right of centre. I hesitate to say ' it is on the thirds' because the inside of my mouth would go all funny and I might collapse with 'nervous exhaustion'.

Still jobs for the National Trust.

This morning I printed 11 copies of the latest Minutes and then did some computer jobs of my own. I needed to transfer quite a lot of data from my laptop to the external hard-drive so as to free-up disc space (my laptop has been driven hard) and I had to do it very carefully, manually, ensuring against accidentally losing anything. I was determined not to go down the 'mover and cable' path I tried before with the PC. A straightforward job but time-consuming.

Then I did a similar job with My Pictures. My laptop's My Pictures folder was becoming un-manageable. I also renamed several internal folders to ease the 'find and retrieve' tasks in the future. So now, if I have ever taken a picture, I can find it. What's the betting that first time I try out my new system, I fail.


bungus .... Only you so far youth !

You are not 'spoiling my party' by being critical of tudor-style interior decorating. In tudor times there was a desire to be flamboyant, colourful and ornate, a sort of mock-gothic indoors as well as outdoors. This led to the disney-like gaudiness of which you complain. I've re-read my words carefully and I think I fall short of saying 'I really like this myself'. But the conservation scholars and renovators were not trying to please your taste for the understated and muted - they were trying to show it as it would have been. Taking that into consideration I don't feel that it was my ale into which you micturated. I accept that "having been brought up not to ‘show off’" leads you not to appreciate that particular style. Your parents obviously liked, and passed on to you, an appreciation of the faded, brown look of pictures and decoration which have detiorated. Many thousands of ancient pictures, when meticulously cleaned, offend some modern eyes and you are not alone.

Quotation time .................. Most of our readers will remember J. K. Galbraith, the very tall economist who spoke such sense most of the time ........

"The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable"

J. K. Galbraith

Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

WoW at RPS Exhibition - and Wollaton Hall.

Being an RPS member I was relieved that the Exhibition of East Midlands Members in West Bridgford Library in no way caused me embarrassment.

The pictures were of a very high quality and only perhaps 3 were a little weak or clichéd.

Picture 1 shows Reg, Brian and Helen, closely scrutinizing a snap. And compared with the Nottingham and Notts exhibition at Brewhouse Yard there was no comparison, if you see what I mean. We didn't rush round and although each picture had a title/author card an Exhibition Catalogue would have been good. Even a single sheet to take-away or buy, would have been handy.

Excellent points were made - Both Reg and Brian felt that 'mounting behind glass' prevents keen photographers from enjoying the true quality of an image (due to reflections). Quite understandable though, in a public space like a Library.

After West Bridgford we went to Wollaton Hall where the refurbishment continues. There they have a wonderful approach to photographers. And that is "You are welcome". The name above is a live-link so please give it a click.

In my opinion the National Trust is unnecessarily strict and stuffy with their 'No Photography' rule. I know all the arguments on both sides. But even 'Compacts only,and then just for the last hour of opening' would be better.

The refurbishment is classy. The object is to reproduce how it would have been in Tudor times. They succeed remarkably well. It wasn't stuffy, precious age - there was a certain healthy vulgarity. This detail from the roof is typical. This picture was from close to a small pipe-organ on which Handel played. Wowee ! Positioning and reflections in glass prevented any reasonable sort of snap.

Also, Wollaton Hall is the 'disabled person's friend'. User friendly lifts, plenty of seating, plenty of helpful staff who are ready and keen to help without being 'patronising' etc.

After Wollaton Hall we adjourned to the Nelson and Railway at Kimberley for the statutory Chip Cob. If you click on the title you will be taken to their very workmanlike website. Plenty of pictures, info, and links. What could be better ?

And, as you can see from the snap on the right,the chip-cob was a first class effort too. A shame Incy Wincy didn't turn up, he would have enjoyed the whole day.


bungus ..... Apart from delivering/collecting Y from the Tram tomorrow, I am planning an 'at home' day so, if you are in, I will ring you - probably in the morning. We don't want your brain to suffer atrophy.

You are probably reading my 'confused' comments correctly. If it is satisfactorily confusing, so much to the good.

Lucky old you with the butcher and a pig's cheek. Is brawn to be made ?

Haven't watched the current Book Quiz and we are hoping to catch it on iPlayer. I agree that A.L. Kennedy does 'trance' rather well. I remain impressed with Kirsty Wark. And Daisy Goodwin and David Aaronovitch are quite good - in my humble opinion. Y often 'gets' the novels and I'm regularly surprised at the poetry they don't know. Good fun though, and for me, watcheable, which is rare.

I know nothing about Higger Tor but I suspect that anonymousrob does, and probably Roy.

Another snap of the living mixed-salad may be necessary because something looking rather like swiss chard has germinated.

Re your comments to several - about Herring Milts. I have never found the soft-roe bland. Maybe because I season them well and then flash-fry them in a butter/olive-oil mix.

And I have always enjoyed 'real' kippers - grilled until the skin comes smoothly away from the downside. I also scrape off the fatty bits you sometimes find on commercial kippers. All those bones keep me occupied while I pore over the morning Xword puzzle. Y doesn't mind because she doesn't like me too cheerful and noisy at breakfast-time. And I have to have tea, in preference to coffee with them.

Jill ..... Please see comments above re our joint lack of knowledge about Higger Tor. Such an unusual name must have history associated with it. Maybe Joan's Chris will know. His sort of thing.

We all hope the dentistry passes without undue pain and is successful.

Hope your Bristol trip works well. I will try to keep them in order while you are away.

4 ticks ....... Sorry we were blocking you in this morning. You only needed to say and we could have parked so as to allow you to use the drive.

We are rather similar to you with regard to regular commitments. Burton Joyce, National Trust, Monday mornings 'blood test' Thursday evening EPS and so many more. But, to live a well-stocked life is good.

Rather like Reg, I am traumatised if I miss WoW. It really is a highlight.

I well remember 9d 'pictures'. No bus-fare necessary, both within comfortable walking distance. In Ashbourne there was the classy Elite on the market-place and the 'bug-hut' Empire down near the Station. We used to go on Saturday mornings and there was always a B film in support of the main one. Plus, of course, the Pathé or Gaumont News with the presenter having that unmistakeable voice and throw-away delivery style.

Quotation slot ..... Y spotted this one because she has quotes on her home-page.

"I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them"

Jane Austen

Tomorrow is Burton Joyce day for Y and I'm planning a one-day 'retreat'. Unless, in the evening I feel an irresistible desire to do something active I aim to give EPS a miss. It isn't that I don't feel the need to support Reg - I do - but I don't fancy the subject, and I can do with the rest.

I feel bad about raiding Matt two days running but, as Jill says, he has been brilliant just lately.

In conversation with Helen this morning the question of newspapers arose.

I'd been having a gripe about The Telegraph's misleading headlines, sub editors imposing article headers that were eye-catching but inaccurate for the story etc.

My support items were the Crossword, Matt, Richard Dorment and Andrew Graham Dixon on Art, Sandy Toksvig at weekends and others who I enjoy.

And we couldn't read The Grauniad - that's the poly-lecturers' paper 'innit ?

Sleep tight and I'll catch you tomorrow !

n.b. for new readers, or old readers who have forgotten. Things in orange and underlined are links - click them and you will be transported to never-never land.

If you left-click a picture you will get a fullk-screen enlargement. Get back either by closing the page, or using the green page-back arrow at the top left,


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Changeable Tuesday - WoW tomorrow

The first picture is from our Brewhouse Yard WoW of a few weeks ago and shows Roy, Reg and Brian resting after undergoing the Nottingham and Notts Photographic Exhibition.

We try only to do indoor functions if the weather demands it and tomorrow, if it's not good we aim to pull in the RPS Exhibition in West Bridgford Library. A report will follow.

The second picture is one of Brian's at Padley Gorge, when we visited Longshaw. The dappled light is a joy. Very similar to my first ever snap on the family folding Kodak of The Henmore Brook at Ashbourne.

Picture 3 is one of mine, again from our Longshaw trip. I waited a while because I was hoping for Hygger Tor, on the skyline, to be lit more dramatically. But it didn't happen till I had moved further on - and then I got that fence cutting straight across the picture. Such is life !

This morning has been occupied by National Trust chores. Not from next April though ! Y said that she will just master the intricacies of her laptop and setting out minutes, agendas, letters etc., in Microsoft Office when she won't need to do it anymore. This morning she learnt 'underlining' 'bold' 'tabs' etc., - it wont be wasted though, and she is really enjoying the internet.

I cooked a beef-casserole with green beans and a tray of Delia's oven baked veg (butternut squash, sweet potato, celeriac, onion, swede). I already had some stewed apple so Y put a crumble mix on top and we ate it with ice-cream.

The tiling man came to sort out the tiles in the Shower and they look very nice. Still can't use it though because the tiles need to settle down before he finishes off with the grouting. Be fun when it's done.


bungus ...... Hard to believe but true - well nearly ! We have been going to Mansfield National Trust for 5 years - Y went on the Committee and became raffle-coordinator the following year and I joined her on the committee a year after that.

Escher, Eschler, Eischler etc,.... Whatever - we all are talking about the same bloke.

I'm surprised at Sandra's comment about the inadequacy of the living salad. (I did include the steak-knife for scale). The box isn't that small and the plants have now grown much taller and replaced the salad I cut off. Seems perfectly adequate to me. In any case, we tend to have salad as a 'garnish' rather than the main part of a meal.

Jill .... The Liquidamber is often described as having maple-like leaves, but it isn't actually a maple. Please stress to your gardener that it must be the dwarf variety. Ours is around 10yrs old and was a Daily Telegraph offer.

And Yes ! They will have problems finding new comittee members. But all us us are quite determined to go. We will keep you informed.

Like you, I am assuming that the discussions of 'herring milts' is about what we call 'soft roes' is it? Like your Dad, I love them, fried, on toast, but haven't had any for ages. Y doesn't like the smell of them cooking.

I agree with you about kippers. I ordered them for breakfast on holiday and was quite disappointed when fillets arrived.

Reg ....... Of course ! Beatties ! Close to Beecrofts I suppose. Well they both begin with a B.

Great story about your 'Spitfires' and the photograph and the Chief Test Pilot. I was going to say "Amazing that it didn't do well in Competitions" then I remembered myself.

Kimberly Library sounds pretty dire. Anyway, probably see for myself on Saturday morning. I'll take a couple of snaps for Bungus.

4 ticks ..... Tricky one re the Spitfire and the 'testacy' thereof. Your idea of selling it and divvying up the proceeds in your wills, is not of course the only solution. You could do the 'selling it' bit, and then spend the cash on yourselves !

The new Morrisons coffee sounds worth a try. And what a good idea to use the place for meetings.

The MATT cartoon will have to perform service as today's Quotation.

His dagger like humour hits the spot again.

I haven't snaffled one for ages and I always attribute them fully

Going to make a hot drink now, and perhaps toast a hot-cross bun I saw lurking in the breadbin earlier. Only go stale by tomorrow and I've got to do my bit for a greener Britain !

Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow


Monday, October 13, 2008

Busy Monday - Recuperative Nap

Just managed to catch Monday's deadline ! It is possible for me, as blogmeister, to change the day and date to my choice but it would seem like cheating somehow. And subsequently I wouldn't know for sure what time of day I wrote the blog-post in question.

I started off with my statutory Monday blood-test and then called back home to collect Y, so we could go to Jean's for the National Trust committee meeting.

We announced are intention to stand down and not seek re-election next year. So did Jean, Peter, and Gordon and Sue - which will leave only 3 surviving members. And, after we had 'done it officially' we felt a great sense of relief. We've had a good 5 year run but will enjoy reverting to being ordinary members, able to pick what we go to and what we do. Peter and Joan, and Jean will remain close-friends anyway and, as Y e-mailed to Peter, we will be able to have little non-Nat Trst 'committee meetings' about subjects of our own choosing.

While in Mansfield I had a look at mobile phones in Currys, PCWorld etc., but didn't buy one. I aim to have a serious look tomorrow in Carphone Warehouse while Y has her 'nails' serviced.

After Mansfield, I ran Y down town to collect her London rail-ticket and to allow her to visit Bromley House. I managed to park just outside the Tesco Express on Angel Row and found a good excuse for going in for milk, bread, etc. - It is one of my favourte shops.

The first 2 pictures are of our dwarf Liquidamber entering its autumnal magnificence. If you open the link, I don't rate the commercial picture - they don't show the tree at all well. I use the adjective 'dwarf' advisedly because the non-dwarf strain can reach 80 feet high and is definitely not suitable for one's front garden.

We finished up eating 'lunch' ? around 4pm and had the left over cold chicken with 'potatoes fermiére' (I haven't forgotten Jill that you want the recipe and I'll sort it out soon). The chicken was great - flavoursome and still succulent and moist. I sometimes think one can best judge these qualities, second day and cold.

Y was quickly on her laptop, e-mail to Garry and Sue re the acorn-farm chap as a potential lecturer for Mansfield Nat Trst, and then other e-mails and things. It is rewarding to see her enjoying it so much. I can hardly wait for an opportunity to say "You are not still on that computer are you?" She can see the potential irony.

Then I found the need for a recuperative-nap strangely compelling.

Picture 3 is from Bungus's family archives. Picasa 3's 'text tool' is a great adjunct to a didactic tool-kit. It would have been tedious to have reached the same result in prose - "middle row, second from the right, etc.," which tends to make the viewer's eyes glaze over.

I had trouble last night with Picasa 3 though. There was a selection of 50 photos I wanted to store in Picasa Web Albums and the upload facility simply wouldn't work properly. In desperation I re-installed Picasa 2.7 which dealt with it effortlessly. So I now have both programmes running simultaneously with their icons side by side on my desktop. A bit resource-hungry I suppose, but what the hell ?


Reg ..... I accept your 'placing' of Beecrofts. But what was the name of the toy/model shop just round the corner from Angel Row ?

Thanks for remembering 'Lionel Hampton' and the Benny Goodman story. As I said when you were here, 'Led Zeppelin' sprang to mind - don't know why - nothing to do with it at all !

I had a dinky? or similar ? spitfire, and memory tells me the wingspan was little more than an inch.

4 ticks ...... I understand your frustration at the Hayley water-temperature problem, and we were only pulling your leg about 'nesh-ness'. With that sort of annual subscription, to keep the boiler in good order seems the least you can expect.

Your 'spitfire' pictures are super and I am taking the liberty of blogging them. See Picture on the right.

Re the 'echinacea' and your camera. Not really a problem - I will nip out and capture a snap as soon as the light seems reasonable.

And thank you for all that information about Beecrofts. All excellent archive material for this 'journal of record'.

bungus ..... I disagree about the 'sunrise'. The cropping you suggest would produce yet another boring sunrise picture and there is no shortage of them. The misty building and the goal-posts make it a 'record-shot' which was my intention.

Re 'troublesome programme' - please refer to our telephone conversation.

Re monochrome. You are right about Eschler and I have created a link because most people only recall his line drawings, the never-ending staircase etc., and those 'hands'. In fact, until I researched the link, I was numbered amongst 'most people'.

You are right that it would have been good to hear Fuller 'preach'. Amongst witty clergymen I think that The Reverend Sydney Smith would also have been worth sitting in a pew for.

Which conveniently segues me to ......

Quotation time ......

"Have the courage to be ignorant of a great number of things, in order to avoid the calamity of being ignorant of every thing"

A Karen day tomorrow, - Y's 'nails' - and then who knows ?

Sleep tight (if anyone is still up) - catch you tomorrow

Hope I haven't forgotten much