Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Off - Beef Casserole - Strictly results !

The picture is to show you my new desk-lamp. Exactly like the old angle-poise but only £9.99p from Lidl.

If the original picture on the monitor had been the lamp, I could have produced a technological equivalent of the old never ending mirrors visual-joke.

A real, live, Sunday Off !

Notwithstanding, as I wasn't sleeping well, I decided to get up at 4.30am and prepare a beef casserole. Or 'beef-stew' as we used to say when English was English. Basically, some very nice shin (from the Butchers on the far end of Shirebrook Market Place) plus onions and swede (or turnip as we used etc., ........). a hefty clove of garlic, 2 bay leaves, some herbs de provence. And it was delicious, proving that Shirebrook is not all bad. It was a 'use your dessert spoon for the gravy' dish.

It had been put into the oven at 5.30am and cooked for 7 hours at 110C. Heston Blumenthal would be proud of me!

For pudding we had some delightful orange jelly containing Mandarin orange segments, topped off with a pleasant chunk of ice-cream. This jelly is one of Y's signature dishes. When she goes to Palmers Green she is always quizzed by Ruby and Elli "Have you made Grandad Graham a jelly?" They have my welfare at heart. On the phone today we heard Ruby playing the piano and Elli playing the violin. And very good too ! Elli is much better than that awful screechy noise that most kids produce out of violins.

The picture on the left is yet some more old German architecture, from our holiday.

This was Rudersheim. Yet more cobbles. We should certainly have retained more of our old cobbled streets in Nottingham.

They are a definitely touristy pull and seem to be fairly low maintenance.

Had a nice chat to David and learnt the news from Long Eaton. Poor Sky is still suffering with her flu-ey type cold and her ear is painful.

and Y sorted out some details for Xmas Eve and we are now looking forward to it very much. It is such a joy to have them all together.


David ........ Thanks for the low down on Popeye and the Spinach.

bungus ........ I guess you must be right about the symmetry of graveyards.

However, talking about Amstrad, I thought LocoScript was an excellent word-processing programme. There were features which I wish were available in Word.

Thanks for the title suggestions. Nothing has quite hit the spot yet. But the photo has done very well for me on Ephotozine (the online camera mag). I was going to say "Which I subscribe to" but am not sure if you can subscribe to something which is free ?
Re Absurd Person Singular. Y says that each act was in a different person's kitchen but thinks you may have the wrong play. By the way, I should have said '2 acts' not '2 scenes' when I was describing their exit.

Re your fridge/freezer purchase from Currys. I think the economic climate at the moment is certainly haggle-worthy. And I've never seen the point of these 'gaurantees' anyway. The sale-of-goods acts cover most eventualities if things don't work properly.

kevin ...... Lucky you - seeing a kingfisher. I certainly intend to hang about for a while where you describe, the little waterfall near the headstocks. I'd love to get a snap.

Jill ..... Thanks for 'fragile beauty'. That sounds nice. On my online freebie photo mag, desribed above, the picture has earned me 16 ticks ! I usually hover around the 7 mark.

I do agree about keeping one's artistic memories pristine. So many 'performing' people lack the knack of retiring before their work starts to tail off badly.

I think I had 'mizzled' in mind. Considering it a verb meaning to 'cheat out of'. In anycase it is a very nice word and we shall feel free to use it. Somewhere between misappropriated and embezzled.

Our votes for Austin did the trick and, as you will now know, Christine went out. Shame because she had a lovely smile but it was a fair result.

Nostalgia time. .......... Please click here to see Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in action.

Quotation time .......... This seems relevant somehow .....

" 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


"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"

We have a National Trust Committee Meeting starting at 10am - so I may be fraught !


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quiet - Y at Theatre with Sylvia - Idea 6,330


Pictures 1 and 2 are Collages of Roy and AnonymousJBW' work. When we WoW-ed at Dale Abbey on a dismal lightless day some week's ago, all the gravestones had been regimented, much as shown in the bottom left corner of JBW's picture. Roy said he had some earlier versions when they were higgledy-piggledy as is proper. He promised to find a picture and e-mail it to me.

And for good measure, he found the inset 1953 picture of Cologne Cathedral. He did some RAF time in Germany the same years as me, and not too far apart geographically. Perhaps he was in the next billet and we could have discussed German bier ! Or even photography !

AnonymousJBW was kind enough to provide me with a whole CD of Dale Abbey images - the Hermit's Cave, views from the Church, and it's interior. There is some very interesting Art in there. A wall painting which has all the indicators of being medieval. It couldn't possibly be - could it ? I wonder. I must go and have a look for myself.

Picture 3 is another spider's web photo. This morning the moisture was hanging delicately from the strands.

The only title I could think is "Nature's Jewellry" which I admit errs on the side of 'sugary and too sentimental'. So, any improvements will be gratefully received.

Y and Sylvia went to the Theatre Royal to see Alan Ayckbourn's "Absurd Person Singular" (considered a major play by some). Click the title to read some reviews. But it didn't click with Y and S who considered it "appalling" and they left after the first two scenes. This wasn't a spur-of-the-moment thing because they seriously considered leaving after Scene 1 but thought it might improve. It didn't. And they were not alone ! There wasn't exactly a rush for the exits, but it came close to that.

My quiet but busy day has involved sorting pictures out, moving stuff around and deleting much. Got to be done ! I haven't yet had time to try out the Photology programme I mentioned.

I delivered Y to Phoenix Park this morning and then around 4.30pm collected her from Moor Bridge. No problems with traffic I'm pleased to report.

We watched Strictly come Dancing which, now it's down to 5, is getting very exciting. Click the title if you want to read all about it and watch a clip ! In my opinion Vincent let his and Rachel's dance be too much about him, and Tom and Camilla seemed rather stiff. As Austin and Erin were in the middle of the leader board (a dangerous position) we voted for him because his Latin dance was amazingly powerful. And we certainly don't want him going out. Probably should be Christine or Lisa for the chop.


bungus ..... I willingly and hastily accept the correction about the "fused glass pendants". Please apologise to Alan Taylor if there is any chance of anyone reading the blog who might have been mis-led. The spelling 'misled' is avoided because I always think it feels like 'cheated out of, in a miserly fashion'. I've probably made that up so don't worry about it.

The mistake occured because, when I dived back into my filing system, I discovered the original glass pendants were by Emma (I didn't blog them because I thought they were too blurry). When this tack-sharp version arrived I assumed the author was the same. Sorry !

The fresh pineapple chunks as on ongoing sorbet is, as far as I know, one of my 'original' ideas. If my filing system can be trusted it is Idea 6,330.

Re AOL and Google. I sincerely don't think there's much danger of a 'major malfunction' with Larry and Sergey's computers - if Google were to fail 'all hell would break loose' all over the known world. AOL will probably be OK too, it is just that it has been 'mentioned' in WebUser circles.

Jill ....... I agree with you about the pendants. Each one of course is an individually crafted and unique work of art. But people are simply buying a beautiful object.

The 'poster' or wall-mural was around 5' by 5'. It was too high off the ground for the customary 50p piece, but of course, the surrounding brickwork gives scale. Maybe I cropped in too close and the bricks vanished. It could have been tiles I suppose but I think not, just straightforward acryllic on board.

You are quite 'in order' to be justifiably proud of Carrie's achievements. To be sharing exhibition space with Damien Hirst and Banksie is really something to have a good old 'crow' about.

I'm pleased to be able to publish it.

Your 'not liking greens' is also perfectly acceptable. I remember you telling us you like your meal floating in a lake of gravy. And that's A1 OK too. The Xmas pudding was completely voluntary as was the slightly burnt custard !

Talking of all those veg, and food, makes me think I ought to have a soup making session tomorrow - if I can fit it in......

Try not to worry about AOL - prolly a 'storm in a tea-cup'.

Much of Tom Lehrer would fail the essential PC tests these days I think. What rot !

Clive James has been very good last week in the Point of View BBC radio series.

Quotation time .........

"Speak the truth, but leave immediately after"

This is a Slovenian proverb - with much to commend it.

Particularly at Committee Meetings.

"Sleep tight - hope to catch you tomorrow"


Friday, November 28, 2008

Entertaining again - EPS went well last night.

These pendants are some examples of the work of Bungus's Emma. 'Kiln Fired' as the caption announces and the included 50p shows the size.

The picture (by bungus) is now nicely sharp and the pendants look very attractive I think.

Oh what a handicrafty group some of our blog-commenters and families are. My only claim to fame is that I do know a fair bit about Art - but I can't draw for toffee. Even in exchange for Helen's highly recommended 'sticky toffee pudding'.

At EPS last night we enjoyed 'An evening with Uncle Roy' (our esteemed Secretary and Senior WoW-er). Roy had asked people to submit 'favourite' pictures, some prints and some projected images, which folks were willing to say a few words about. Roy also displayed his own work. It was a lively evening and pleasant to have lots of 'chats' not least to anonymousrob who is always much in demand.

For part of the evening we were invited to act as judges and to shout out a mark . There was a lovely picture of some trees (Reg ?) and one of our girls shouted "18". Roy asked why she had given it 18 and she said "'Cos its dead good". Art criticism from the heart ! What could be better. There were many, very good pictures and the work shown illustrated the 'life' in the Club. So varied and buoyant !

Picture 2 is of a mural on the wall of a pub in Bakewell.

So beautifully done and it so summarises the town.

At lunchtime today we had Peter and Joan, Dorothy and Joan (the sisters . Dorothy is 80 and both are still great). They enjoyed a sherry as appetizer.

The menu was fish & chips, mushy peas, and bread and butter. Followed by Xmas pudding and custard. Then cheese & biscuits and coffee/tea. I also put on the table a bowl of freshly prepared and chunked pineapple as a palate-cleanser, which proved popular. No bowls or spoons or anything. If you fancied a cube, it was a fingers job.

Picture 3 is a close-up of the world-weariness of my 'bag for life' from the National Trust.

Close examination reveals that the plastic membrane of which I spoke is actually the inside lining of the bag. It isn't as I thought inbetween two layers of hessian/jute or whatever it is.

Whatever it is, everyone felt I ought to take the bag back to a National Trust shop and draw it to their attention. The bags are a comparatively recent introduction so it can't be very old.


bungus ..... I like the 'gull' caption. That will be fine if I use the picture - thanks !

Re the goose-crown. I understand your position but can do no more than keep checking.

Re "olive oil". My earliest recollection was of Olive Oyl, the skinny lady in PopEye.

And I seem to be one of the few people I know who actually does enjoy spinach. My Dad used to grow early and late varieties so during childhood I ate a fair bit of it.

And it is so good for you. please click here.

I think Gary Larson of the Far Side fame would be having fun with the Shirebrook Market Place thread.

His surreal sense of humour would no doubt rise to the occasion.

My googlemail notifier has just told me I have an e-mail from Roy. With pictures.

No doubt they will be something I have asked him for and 'for the blog' but not tonight. I am starting to flag quite noticeably.

Jill ....... Glad you've now seen the Radio Nottingham stuff about the 'mystery blanket'. Is it the same one?

Y and I have had swordfish steaks, in a Greek Restaurant. Don't know if they are a specilaity. They were quite acceptable but not a patch on Cod or Haddock !

Re GoogleMail - The word on the streets is that AOL could be in trouble so you might need your googlemail account eventually. In anycase I think googlemail to be the better system.

Quotation time ......... This struck me as amusing ! ......

"I know that there are people who do not love their fellow man, and I hate people like that!"

Tom Lehrer

The link will take you to his incredibly clever song about the chemical 'elements'. I remember hearing it in the 60s and thinking it brilliant. It still is !

"Sleep tight - have a good weekend"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Y at BJ - Me at EPS this evening

Picture 1 shows our intrepid WoW-ers about to 'hit' Bakewell yesterday and apparently Bakewell was completely unmoved by the experience. And, rumour has it, so were our WoW-ers !

The bright sunny morning didn't last long after this which, my EXIF data tells me, was 11.07am. I don't think they actually got wet, but the interesting light vanished.

Obviously Picture 2 was a bit of luck. Even I don't sit there waiting for such a scene to appear and then be quick enough to click, just at the 'decisive moment' as Cartier-Bresson used to call it. Please click here.

Photographer of genius he undoubtedly was but often, I suspect, he got lucky. Albeit after much spadework and making sure he was 'in the right place at the right time'.

Suitably witty titles for my '2 gulls snap' would be gratefully received !

But comments about my 'gullibility' will not be welcome.

This morning we went shopping on the way to drop Y off at Phoenix Park (the tram terminal) and we managed Lidl and Morrisons.

(While in Lidl, Bungus, we looked for a frozen Goose Crown but were unlucky I'm afraid).

Picture 3 is more worrying. When I bought it in a National Trust shop, it carried the blurb 'a bag for life'. I'm beginning to hope that the life in question is not mine - because the bag is falling apart , the corners have worn through and one handle has become detached. The symbolism is unsettling.

Like so many things these days, the bag is 'sailing under false colours'. It isn't true jute but a jute look-alike fabric incorporated either side of a thin plastic membrane.

Even so, 'hope' trumps 'experience' and I promptly bought a replacement in the Peak District 'Visitors Centre' in Bakewell.

We both slept well, without artificial aids, and Y was looking forward to her Burton Joyce day. She will be tired when she gets home, but she doesn't mind that, especially if she has been 'a really useful engine' to paraphrase Thomas the Tank engine. No doubt Millicent will have trounced her, yet again, at 'Pairs'. Kids are so good at it.

I was able to wish Helen "Happy Birthday" today but, unfortunately the girls are still poorly. Brooke had to have antibiotics from the Doctor because her cold had gone immediately to an ear-infection. With David (her Dad) it was his sinuses, and catarrh which inevitably accompanied the slightest cold. Poor lad ! and I remember how painful it used to be. I'm a great believer in locally applied heat. Either hot-water bottle or one of those grain-filled bags you heat up in the mcrowave. Even if it doesn't actually have a therapeutic effect, it feels as if it is doing you good. Therefore a good thing !


Thank you all for your 'learned' comments, and I think we now have the issue of ale/beer laid open before us.

anonymousKevin ..... Thanks for that. When I was a young policeman over 50yrs ago, we had to learn by heart legal definitions. Alcoholic drink was .... " Ale, beer, porter, cider, perry, or any fermented or distilled liquor of whatever description".

bungus ...... Y won't watch 'The Devil's Whore' on the unarguable 'lady' grounds that she doesn't like the title.

Sandra is doing so well with her op. On the other hand I hope she doesn't have to wait too long.

The bridge picture isn't supposed to have some important purpose and it isn't taking us anywhere. Just a record-shot, that's all. I thought t was rather 'nice'.

We were allowed long-trousers at 12, on entering the third form. But no earlier, irrespective of the weather.

I disagree. 'Fingerless gloves' and 'mittens' are quite different. Mittens cover the whole hand but without individual fingers. Fingerless gloves are exactly what Jill so kindly knitted for me. And, counter-intuitively, it seems that, if your hands are warm your fingers don't get cold. Don't know how it works but it does.

Have you e-mailed Jill the 'knitting' stuff from Radio Nottingham ? If not, is it OK if I do ?

anonymousJBW ...... Thank you for an authoritative answer to the IPA question.

anonymousRob ...... Your market place logic is faultless ! Not helpful, but impeccable.

On reflection you did extremely well to find him at all.

Nice to see you at EPS and to exchange a few words.

Helen C ......... Bakewell outstripped Shirebrook on all know scales. We must WoW there again and take Y with us. She is a 'sticky-toffee pudding' enthusiast.

I can't wait to kitchen-test my fingerless gloves under real WoW conditions.

Jill ...... We are with you re Marlin. Neither of us have eaten it. But I know Bungus really rates it.

You haven't reacted to the Radio Nottingham stuff about knitting and Debbie Abrahams. Perhaps Bungus is holding things up.

Quotation time .....

"I shall never be ashamed of citing a bad author if the line is good."

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Good WoW day - at Bakewell - then Miners Standard

Our WoW took us to Bakewell and the above is the Old Bridge taken from a newer bridge. The lady in the red coat on the seat was a bonus. The chaps found me a good parking spot near the Agricultural Centre and without having to walk far I found plenty to occupy me. After their walk the weather deteriorated. The day has been much milder, 48F at the moment and the wind has completely died down.

For lunch we returned to The Miners Standard at Winster and had a pleasant lunchtime, Lively conversation and some laughs. This framed notice intrigued us because we wanted to know what 'Sutlers' were.

According to the landlord they were a sort of early 'procurement officer' for the military. My Etymology Dictionary fully endorses his opinion.

sutler Look up sutler at
"person who follows an army to sell food to soldiers," 1590, from M.Du. soeteler "small tradesman, sutler, camp cook" (Du. zoetelaar), cognate with M.L.G. suteler, sudeler "person who performs dirty tasks," M.H.G. sudelen "to cook badly," M.Du. soetelen "to cook badly." Probably related to Du. zieder, Ger. sieden "to seethe" (see seethe).
Aren't online Reference Books magic ?

There was much discussion as to the difference (if any?) between Ale and Beer. It was noted that India Pale Ale and Mild Ale sound correct but Bitter Beer is right. Perhaps Bungus, with his knowledge of the licensing trade can assist?

The chip-cobs were well up to standard and there were actually two varieties of vinegar -

Sarsons and Lichfields. Well !

I felt I had to find room for this cute junior gull who was perched on a piece of driftwood just offstage right front of Picture 1.

For the photographers it was on my 70-300mm VR Nikkor, at the long end. The gull must have been 40yards away. This vibration-reduction technique really works like a charm and I love the lens !

This evening we watched Andrew Graham-Dixon on BBC 4 doing Travels with Vasari and it was excellent. He made a first-rate programme of it.

Vasari's "Lives of the Artists" was one of my first year set-books and I still have that well-thumbed and heavily annotated volume around somewhere. Andrew Graham-Dixon is an engaging chap and a tops art-historian. I feel I ought to re-read Vasari and that can't be bad.

Re links. Y tells me that yesterday's link to Survivors was to the original series and of little interest to anyone. Please click here for a page about the current series. Sorry folks for getting my links in a twist !

I can't possibly move onto 'comments' without a resounding thank you to Jill for my hand-knitted, fingerless gloves personally designed for cold WoW days.

When I got home from WoW a mysterious package had arrived through the post. I honestly had no idea before opening the package that I would find these delightful and so useful gloves.

They feel so comfortable and lovely and warm and just the job for camera-clicking at this time of year.

Thank you Jill !

Photograph courtesy of Y, who took it for me !


bungus ...... I accept the opening paras as a reasonable enough account.

It is my intention to try your highly recommended Aldi marlin. Each time we visit Aldi I intend to buy some and each time I forget. It has been written on shopping lists, programmed into my phone etc., all to to avail. Perhaps God doesn't want us to eat marlin (an anagram of 'lame train' by the way - could this be something to do with it?)

30 seconds is more than enough to miss out on a sunset ! They don't hang about do they ?

Speaking on a mobile phone is obviously something you have forgotten, not 'not learned' because I distinctly remember being at Northern College and exchanging the spoken word with you.

........ Please see above re my gloves.

You are probably correct about £4.99 for my Tesco electric jug. Whatever it was, it works perfectly and isn't at all slow, which some of them are.

No. I don't add beer to batter. Maybe someone else mentioned it. Ages ago I used to add a half-teaspoon of 'golden egg' for added crispness. But you can't get it nowadays.

Poor you and your electric gates ! I've heard of gated-villages but a gated house must have been quite scary.

Join you in being sorry about Woollies ..... Do you remember 'nothing over sixpence'. Those were the days.

I hope bungus has e-mailed you the Radio Nottingham stuff about the 'mystery blanket' gang and Debbie Abrahams. There are pictures and I definitely recognise at least one square from the pictures you sent me. A black and white one of interesting design.

Quotation time ....... I would love to have spent that 'hour in a pub' with Mark Twain......

"I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened"

Y is bombing off to Burton Joyce tomorrow and I am having a quiet day 'at home' prolly most of it in kip - unless something fires my burners ! There often is - I'm pleased to say.

I've downloaded a programme called Photology please click here if you are interested, which claims to sort out your old photos into 'landscapes', 'people', 'faces', 'red' etc., without you having to wade through them adding tags. I shall play arounbd with it and if it's any good I'll publish more details.

In the evening at EPS we have "An evening with Uncle Roy". I'm looking forward to it.

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow - sometime"


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shirebrook with Rob and Bob - b. cold 36F

The 'meet' at Shirebrook with AnonymousRob and Bungus was a success.

Bitterly cold, plus wind-chill and other niggles failed to spoil it. Rob and I bumped into each other quite effortlessly and adjourned to the Taste-Buds Cafe on Market Street but Bungus couldn't find us.

To be fair, Market Street continued past the bottom of The Market and the Cafe was a little obscure.

Perhaps a good thing we left it to go and find him because the coffee was atrocious. It looked promising in small individual cafetieres but each used around 6 grains of coarsely ground coffee with a tasteless tepid result. The idea of a meal there became less than attractive due to an elderly woman at the next table clicking her dentures loudly and relentlessly.

We moved to a more promising cafe but it was freezing due to the door being wedged open. The fish and chips, and in Bungus's case mushy peas, looked around four days old. Mugs of tea were better, but not much. As Rob said, we shan't be writing to Egon Ronay recommending Shirebrook as the place to eat in Derbyshire.

A good chat was had though, and we must do it again, but perhaps not in Shirebrook.

When we left Cafe 2 and walked towards our parked cars I noticed a tree festooned with clothing and an old curtain. I pointed it out to Rob and he told me it probably meant that a fresh supply of drugs had arrived in town.

Well ! - you live and learn something every day. Perhaps Shirebrook people need some sort of emotional shield against the cold and foul coffee.


Jill ....... The blue/green tardis looking structures in yesterday's blog-post are Virgin Media junction boxes and they are, as you surmised, on the opposite side of the road.

Tesco are very cheap for electrical goods and they seem reliable enough. The electric kettle/jug in my bedroom cost me some ridiculously low figure like £3.99p and has worked without the slightest glitch for over 2 years.

The large store nearest to us, is two-levels and it's OK but not a favourite.

I think another bowl of blue hyacinths to carry us over to Xmas is called for because the existing ones are so gorgeous.

This evening the sky at the rear of the house was striking. On my Nokia again and I've discovered I can turn the 'flash' off and 'reduce the exposure' and there are other DSLR-type refinements I'm still learning about.

"Red at night, shepherds delight" bodes well for WoW tomorrow.

Shirebrook didn't tire me out and I'm looking forward to WoW-ing as I've missed a couple of weeks. I've already rung Reg, and I shall ring Helen after 'Strictly'.

Bungus ..... Interesting to hear about your boxing. Did you mean 'feinting' or 'fainting' ? Either would do I suppose.

I'm sure David will get it just right with JD. But I think you underate the level of your 'artistic judgement'. As an art-historian I've never known your opinions be other than 'sound' and 'fairly-reasoned ' from a substantial data-base.

Re our Derby Road neighbours (your cousin). Yes, I knew them, but I didn't know you at that time.

Like you, I would be pleased to acquire an ashmere pullover. I must look in our esco and see if there's a man's ersion ?

I am definitely in your gang over the question of towels. It seems a lady-thing to want nearly new towels that fail miserably in their intended role. Worn-out towels are infinitely superior if you actually want to dry yourself.

anonymousrob ....... You are quite right ! We must not embarrass Bungus. On reflection, I can't think why he didn't simply ask someone where the Taste-Buds Cafe, on Market Street was ? The chances are the person would be a local. I don't think that tourism is a strong feature of Shirebrook.

Anyway we met up eventually which was the main thing. And we had a laugh. Plus understanding your job better now. Maybe it is boring and poorly administered but nevertheless important to disabled people who don't want just to sit back and vegetate. It goes without saying that I will keep my ears and eyes open for possibilities - and will definitely mention it to Steve.

Quotation time ......

"Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder"

Y will certainly watching Survivors please click and also the Football if she can find it.

There must be PC and non PC jokes about the Police. I shall give it thought.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Another cold day - 37F - Pleasant enough though

Another National Service picture from 1953-ish in Germany, this time at a camp near Brunswick.

The vehicle is either the NAAFI wagon, or the Malcom Club ? I think the Malcom club was unique to the RAF but if it wasn't I'm sure I shall be put right. The chap in the gauntlets was 'Ginger' Stone but I can't remember the other man.

This camp had been a Wehrmacht base and we actually inherited one of their cooks. It was he who taught me to cook "Veege". A splendid fellow. We had no problems with him and he had none with us. It isn't ordinary people that have the problems is it ?

Picture 2 is self explicit and is:-

"Liquidamber tree
Still retaining some leaves when
Others have none left"

Roger called round and we had a Picasa half-hour, but I think he prefers other programmes. As he says "it all depends what you get used to". He is right of course. But Picasa 3 suits me well enough for most of my photographic and archiving needs.

Y continues to make progress with her laptop and Vista and this evening we have downloaded Google Talk so she can chat to Hannah and Miles.

We watched Claudia's "It Takes Two" show and Jodie and Ian were very gracious. Jodie is a classic English Rose although at 6'2" she is unusually tall. but so graceful and with such poise and obvious 'breeeding'.

For lunch I cooked some 'lost label' fish from the freezer. I had thought it Trout but now think either Bass or Sea Bream. Whichever, it was delicious and a joy to cook. The fillets easily lifted off the skeleton and the skin, but the flesh had remained moist and flavoursome.

Tomorrow morning Bungus, AnonymousRob and I are meeting for an hour in Shirebook and whether we visit a pub or a cafe will be decided around 11.30am when we find each other on The Market Place. This may be problematic. Shirebrook Market Place is almost the size of Tiananmen Square, and a quick google tells me it is market day. Resourcefulness will surely triumph however !


Jill ..... Nothing wrong with "a straight-forward photograsph" at all. I was only experimenting !

I seem to remember Y telling me that Ro was very fit and also a talented boxer in his younger days.

Although I was certainly prepared to be huffy about Strictly Come Dancing I actually quite enjoyed it. But my word - aren't the judges cringingly jumped-up and self important. I used to like Len but I'm going off him fast. Now Jodie has gone, my votes will go for Austin, unless he makes a right pigs ear of it.

I wasn't talking about frozen 'roast potatoes' - we've never tried them - it's so easy to pop a real one in the oven. What I was talking about was Aldi Oven Chips being cut from Maris Piper p0tatoes. The variety is also good for 'roasting' was my point.

Bungus ..... Hawthorn and Elderflower smell fine. The only real cat-pee smell is flowering currant !

I am sure that David will read your praise of JD's painting, and pass it on to him. He will be much encouraged.

Rostellen was indeed the house on Derby Road, Mansfield, opposite the Tech .... but atcually within the Sutton in Ashfield boundary. I had no idea that your cousin lived next door. When would that be ? The neighbours during our time were Wally on the Coxmoor Side and Harry Wakefield on the Mansfield side.

Lovely National Service reminiscences. Keep them coming. I consider it important to record these things while we are still around and 'compos' enough to write them down.

Thanks for your good wishes for the recovery of Sky and Brooke. Both have been off school today. It was good to exchange a couple of sentences with Sandra this morning and to hear her sounding so positive about her op. Excellent news.

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

"The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not."

Eric Hoffer

"Tuck youselves in well - its going to be a cold night"

"Catch you tomorrow"

"Shirebrook here I come"


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pleasant Sunday - Snow this morning -36F

Please be sympathetic to my 'artistic' adventure into Photoshop Elements. It is so pleasant to go into the kitchen and smell blue hyacinth. So subtle and distinctive. I have this theory that the scent of the blue is preferable to the red ? In a few years some IT person will invent a way of trasmitting smells through cyberspace and all you will need to do is scratch the picture on your monitor for the room to be filled.......

We had steak, egg and chips for lunch. Aldi frozen oven chips have now further refined them. The Lidl brand tells you the chips are cut from whole potatoes - Aldi now tell you the variety, namely Maris Piper. A first class choice for chips or roasts. Delicious ! Followed by Xmas pudding and custard.

Picture 2 is a photograph of a JD painting which I consider to be rather good ! JD is David's pal who lives in the New Forest and ubnfortunately has MS. He can't get about much anymore and so he paints. And very well too.

He in turn has a friend who is an approved copy-artist who has official commissions to copy famous paintings. According to him JD's work will soon be good enough for people to buy. Praise indeed !

My research into the childhood book I mentioned proved fruitful. i.e.
clipped from

The Magic Door
As a child, I had a copy of a book called “The Magic Door” (Author unknown). It told stories about a class of schoolboys who find a door knocker. This door knocker open a door into History, where the boys have various adventures. They meet Alfred the Great, they meet the Romans in Britain etc., Eventually they go back to Prehistoric times and meet the dinosaurs, one of which escapes through the door into the modern world. The book had a number of coloured plates, and I vaguely recall a green hardback cover. It was all very exciting stuff, and like many of us who are getting on a
bit, I would love to recover just a bit of my childhood. Any ideas? - Roland
SOLVED: The Magic Door by Dan Billany, solved by Matthew in Chicago, IL
POSTED: Monday March 24, 2003

The bad news is that, however diligently I searched, all I got was 'no copies available'. The extract above is exactly as I remember reading the book and, from the bit about the dinosaur escaping into the modern world, so did the author of Jurassic Park.

Unfortunately Dan Billany died in the war leaving only three books. T.S.Eliot rated him highly and had encouraged him to write more. So my boyhood impression of brilliant was not wide of the mark.

I enjoyed my Sunday chat to David and learning all the news which unfortunately contained Brooke having had a flu type cold, and Sky currently suffering.


David ....... You remember your shared bedroom at Rostellen well. I suppose it was a little barrack-room-ish. But you had a nice view ! And a three bedroomed prefab at the bottom of the garden as a playroom.

Sorry about the lack of chip-cob pictures but I've not been out with my WoW chums for a week or two. More will surely follow.

I forgive you your non pc joke because it is very funny. I had to read it twice before the penny dropped.

bungus...... I think you had previously told me Tripoli and I'd forgotten. Always pleased to hear stories about the rebellious.

I thought of it when I listened this afternoon to the final part of The Good Soldier Ċ vejk and the adaptation has been first rate. Obviously for radio it was edited substantially and unfortunately many good bits were left out.

I certainly intended no euphemism re Peggy Owen. A rather chaste kiss in a corridor outside an annual school dance was it. But cherished !

Re John Buchan. I thought everyone had read The Thirty-nine Steps and in those days I thought it a great novel.

Anonymous ..... Thanks for the up date on the 'bed-block' !

By dint of painstaking research I finally unearthed a picture of a full kit-inspection type bed layout.

The bed-block or 'biscuits' are the carefully folded blankets and sheets at the head of the bed. They are spot-on for accuracy.

This is obviously much later than 1953 though. The mess tins and brushes are still correct. But the mug is porcelain - ours were white tin with a blue rim. And I can't see his 'irons' (knife, fork and spoon) also the luggage at the side has replaced the kit-bag.

The spit-and-polish boots are genuine !

Quotation time ......

"There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line."

Oscar Levant

stop press - Just watched Strictly come Dancing and please click here if you want
to know who went out. Don't open it if you have video-ed it etc.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

At home Saturday - Very cold - 34F

Picture 1 is a change from German architecture and is a barrack room in Azizia (wherever that is ?) and is an excellent drawing by Bungus. He can certainly draw and his English isn't bad either . Ha Ha!

The bed-space is correct, for military barrack-rooms. His looks rather palatial though. I remember living in a long thin hut with 30 beds, 15 a side, and heated by a coke-burning stove somewhere in the middle which used to glow red-hot in the middle of the night. Does anyone else remember having to fold your blankets in an exact way. Unless memory deceives we used to call them 'biscuits'. I'll try and research a picture.

Picture 2 is the village pub "The Dorfkrug" we used on Insel Sylt. In the enlargement you may be able to decipher "Zum alten Dorfkrug" or "come to the old village jug" an instruction we willingly complied with, regularly.

Although Picture 3 shows a pub in Strasbourg, during our recent holiday, and although it's 2 storey and not a chalet, I personally felt the architecture had a similar feel to it.

Perhaps wishful thinking because I hadn't gone out especially looking for one to make the point.


bungus ..... I wish you well with your Xmas Goose ! It is, of course, the traditional English festive bird, the turkey being a fairly recent innovation.

Your Cauliflower Cheese sounds excellent and thanks for publishing the recipe. And I seem to remember you saying that my recipe sounded a lot of trouble !

Y and TJ thoroughly enjoyed Tosca. Musically it was excellent. It is an Opera they both love. The production they felt was a little weird and involved one of the female leads sitting all the time on top of what looked like a wardrobe. It was in fact the Chapel. They agree with you about the language and, if you had opened the link I published you would have noticed it was sung in Italian. (English sub-titles were displayed on unobtrusive sub-screens at the side of the stage). TJ also told me that the conductor looked like a mad professor - but this added to the experience rather than detracting from it.

Re BNP - It seems to me to be a little 'rich' to suspend an officer for membership of the BNP whilst Freemasonry is allowed to flourish !

reg ...... I'm very very sorry that 4 ticks lost her carefully crafted 'blog-comment' into cyberspace. Probably Bungus's method of preparing the comment as a Word Document and then copy/pasting it into the blog is the only sure way of ensuring this doesn't happen. I admit I don't do it myself. But I have the luxury that, if a make a 'b***s up' and hit the wrong button, automatically 'saves to draft' for me.

You are bang-on with the author of Coral Island, and I've scanned the inside page of my copy for this exciting picture. I was there with the lads on that log. I was the one in the beret fending off the 'monster' - or is that Peterkin ? I forget !

My copy has a label inside the cover saying it was awarded to me at Sunday School. Can't remember what I had done to deserve it. Probably just turned up I suppose. There was no real contest. It was either Sunday School or a 5 mile country walk round Kniveton with my parents, and always having been an idle sod ........

Other favourite books were The Secret Garden and a book I've never since been able to track down called "The Magic Door". There were around 10 chapters and in each you were transported back in time to a different period - like Roman times for instance. And of course Dr Doolitle.

Jill ...... Sorry you missed out on Rover, Wizard, Hotspur and Adventure. Y seems to know all about them because her brother had them and she read them. So she could discuss Wilson's slow heart beat with Reg. I seem to remember it was 30 beats a minute and when I measured mine it was whacking along at 86 - I thought "Oh Well, I'm never going to do the 4 minute mile"

I seem to remember girls at School reading "Bunty". But compared with the above it seemed a bit wet and lack-lustre. And Peggy Owen, with whom I was desperately in love, used to borrow my Wizard.

And I don't think anybody has mentioned "Champion" yet and Rockfist Rogan. That was nearly all solid reading which I liked.

With you re John Buchan too. What was all this anti-semitism stuff supposed to be all about. I can't remember anything along those lines.

I suppose kids stuff at that time was a tad anti-german, which wasn't surprising under the circumstances was it?


I've waffled on far too much tonight anyway - so I will spare you the customary quotation. I had a really nice e-mail exchange with Ray (ourstanley) during the day and I'm pleased to report that he seems fine. He was such a great help to me when I first sought 'computer help' on WebUser forums. It was back in 2005 and I've learnt a lot since then - never enough though !

p.s. for Bungus's benefit. The real time of going to press is 9.20pm. 'cos we watched 'Strictly' in the interim and had a meal.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Polish Goose - Y off to Tosca

Just a bit of Rhenish architecture and I thought it looked better on the right side of the page, for balance.

This is Koblenz, at the beginning of the holiday and the light was generally this flat. Still 'record shots' have to be taken.

It is interesting to compare with the pictures, lower down on the left, which I took in 1953 when I was stationed in Germany.

Although different buildings and a different town the feel of the place was the same. Walking about I just once caught a whiff of german tobacco which was nostalgic and conjured up images immediately a la Proust's madeleine biscuit. Click if you are interested.

For main meal today I cooked 1lb crown of a goose (country of origin Poland) which I had bought in Lidl. Although thoroughly defrosted, the estimated oven-time on the pack was woefully short and after an hour at 200C still spurted red, which meant that my roast potatoes and yorkshires were done way too early, ditto my carrots and brussels. I made some white-sauce to accompany and, to be fair, when I did get it altogether the meal was delicious. A much chewier texture than normal British poultry but certainly not tough, and very flavoursome.

This evening Y has gone with Tracy to the Theatre Royal for a performance of Tosca please click and she has been much looking forward to it. The opera is one of her favourites and contains so many well known arias and things. It wouldn't suit me, if for no other reason than the excruciating lack of leg room. Tracy is ringing her Mum back and may stay over - I shall probably have opted out by then.

The John Sergeant issue rumbles on and I decided to give the Claudia show a miss tonight because I feel that I have heard quite enough about it, thank you. I shall watch the main show tomorrow evening and, depending how it is all dealt with, decide whether or not to continue watching future editions of the competition.


bungus ..... I'm pleased the car's MOT thing sorted itself out so satisfactorily. It becomes increasingly easy to forget the due date of these things. Our local garage has an efficient computer which generates letters to tell you when services, and MOT's etc., are due, otherwise we'd never remember.

Re the Police and Political Parties. The rule is that, as an Officer of the Crown one is forbidden to "take an active part in politics". It always seemed a moot point whether or not the passive membership of a political party offended this regulation. I never knew of anyone being disciplined for it anyway. I don't think it would be possible to permit one party and ban another.

Jill ...... Our childhood reading lists seem almost identical. To mine was added Arthur Ransome of Pigeon Post, Swallows and Amazons etc. fame, and we must not forget Just William. I suppose that, being a girl, Wizard would be denied to you, likewise Hotspur.

Good for you - making your own mincemeat. I never did try that.

Quotation corner ........

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it"

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow - all being well"

Temperature 39F and falling


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Y at BJ - Me messing about at home

Picture 1 is from Heidelburg and, as you can see, is a statue to the chap who invented the handgrenade.

Y bussed it back from Burton Joyce and we watched The Book Quiz on BBC iPlayer while we finished off yesterday's Spagbol. As always, by today, the spices etc., had matured and blended. Certainly if making a bolognese sauce to invite people to, I would make it the day before.

The Book Quiz final was good and Daisy Goodwin and David Aaronovitch were worthy winners. My problem these days is not not knowing the answer but being too slow to shout it out. Must be the ageing process I guess, like so much else. Y was very good particularly on the novels of Thomas Hardy. I was only quicker than them with Tom Stoppard - Kirsty got just as far as "Rosen..... ....." and I was there.

Mostly today I've been trying to reach the correct part of Orange to enable my phone to send pictures. I suppose I should say the correct segment of Orange. When I finally got there having waded through a morass of 'options' and 'press this' and 'press that' it was relatively painless. Another minus point for Carphone warehouse when I discovered my new phone had never been registered let alone 'enabled'.

This 'enablement' is the crux point apparently although I've no idea what it entails. Because, apart from the pictures, my phone seemed to be working quite normally 'unenabled'.

Far be it from me to put Bungus right in the body of the blog but Rob's description of the 'shirt' picture (not yet published) as sans pantalons is completely correct. The sans-culottes wore long trousers as a defiant protest against the knee-breeches (culottes) worn by the aristocracy.

The gloriously kitsch rendition on the right, in the style of the day, shows a proud flag-waving sans-culottes of the Revolutionary Army in the early days defiantly wearing his pantalons.

Comments proper

bungus ...... glad you enjoyed Reg's pictures and it was a pleasure to publish them.

There is indeed a v.good reason for storing your pictures on DVDs because they hold so much more than CDs. If you go down the Picasa path, when you start, having held the pictures in your picture tray (bottom left) and press the 'create a CD' button, it will tell you how many CDs or DVDs you will need to store them on.

In the thread about "trees same shape as their leaf" you make a killer point by mentioning the Horse Chestnut.

Even with my febrile imagination I find it impossible to succeed in connecting the leaf with the tree-shape.

So I am prepared to consider it yet another theory shot up the a***

Ah well !

Your amiable Shirebrook stories don't surprise me. I have very fond memories of their 'writers club'. And I would be very keen to join you and Rob there, some morning or lunchtime, but I don't actually know anything about it, do I? (That isn't being sarky by the way - because maybe either you or Rob have mentioned it and I've forgotten). I know I'm being cheeky but I see next Tuesday being mentioned. Can I invite myself ? It would suit me very well because Y is meeting June for lunch in The Bell. And, as you know, for me "Lunch times is Good" from then on I tail off, sometimes dramatically.

You are quite right that many police officers are very right-wing but, in my day at least, there were a good smattering that were'nt. As you say, in teachers, it is more worrying.

Jill .... So glad you enjoyed Reg's bridge picture. I shall try to prise a few more out of him because he is such a good photographer. As are all the WoW group. I shall work on it.

Your friends will enjoy Newark. It is a friendly place, and better in that respect than Southwell.

As you know I am of the same opinion as you re Strictly. Although Y's approach is more reasoned, I am very cross indeed. With the possible exception of Bruno the whole judging panel is far too high on the 'jumped up and self-important' scale for my liking.

I agree with you too about M&S and while we are so lucky to have Lidl, Aldi and Netto so close who needs a 20% discount? Did you see by the way the results of the blind-tasting of mince -pies in The Telegraph this morning ? Fancy Aldi and Netto beating Waitrose and Harrods by such a comfortable margin.

Quotation time ..... trying to be relevant again.....

"As I grow older , I regret to say that a detestable habit of thinking seems to be getting a hold of me"

I well remember reading King Solomon's Mines in bed, under the sheets with a torch, my Mum having insisted on 'lights out'.

"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WoW at Newark - I was absent

I am indebted to Reg for both of the lead pictures because I wasn't able to WoW today. Breakfast at Ikea and 'lamp' buying took priority plus some legs-therapy lying down.

The chaps went to Newark on a lovely sunny morning and enjoyed a walk round the river. By lunch-time the weather deteriorated and they had what sounds like a mediocre chip baguette at The Bridge at Oxton. Apparently the baguette was great but the chips were not.

The bridge shown however is the one at Newark, adjacent to the castle, and please click here for some local history. An important snippet of which is that, in 1216 at Newark Castle, Friar Tuck poisoned King John in revenge for his murder of Maid Marion.

And, as if by magic, Reg's picture 2, is of a moored boat, the Friar Tuck.!

Y and I breakfasted at IKEA, for £1.90 for the two of us including our free coffee. After that we bought a new halogen lamp for my room and thence to Lidl for a more general re-provisioning. Then home, lay down, and this afternoon we managed to put some of Y's pictures on her MP4 player, a lengthy job because I couldn't find a more nimble method than to drag/drop each file individually.

STOP PRESS - John Sergeant has withdrawn from Strictly come Dancing. Clicky here for details. He gave a very dignified press conference. And although the judges were unanimous in claiming he should have stayed, I feel their relentless sniping must have finally reached him. I can't say that I personally am very interested in even watching it on Saturday.


bungus ...... I feel you are a little confused about blog-transmission times. The time shown at the foot of the blog-post is the time I began the blog, not the time I finally published it.

I haven't made up the "trees the same shape as their leaves" bit, but I can't remember its source.

I'm afraid your assumption that only pictures you have saved to Web Albums would survive a PC crash is correct. Picasa is very helpful though in that burning your pics onto CDs/DVDs is very straightforward. With Picasa open, if you look at a folder you will see, just under its title a row of icons. The fourth one along is to create a CD/DVD, if you hover your cursor over it, you will see the text.

Things are recoverable from google by opening your google account, for which, unfortunately, you will need your password. Perhaps Danny could help.

Thanks for carrying on with the Haikus.

Jill ...... Thanks for not being really anonymous. I get so confused. Not kidding about 'neat', nor about tree-shapes.

American humourists, from Twain onwards can be very amusing. The proud tradition is carried forward by P. J. O'Rourke.

I'm with you in suspecting that John was 'persuaded'. But Y feels that, being such a strong character, it must have been his own decision, un-pressurised. She also had a good read in the web-site.

kevin ..... thanks for your advice but I am reasonably abreast of things like disc-maintenance. For some time I've used 10bit SmartDefrag, an excellent little programme which runs in the background defragging your disc/discs on a 24/7 basis.

anonymousrob ...... As above to Kevin. You are right. There is a 'school of thought' that is anti-defragging. I generally have a good clear out each week with CCleaner which is preferred to Windows own Disk Cleaner. It's a freebie and the title is a link to a download page should you fancy it.

A meeting in a suitable Codgers Cafe sounds a great idea! You can put me down for a place and I'm sure Bungus will feel likewise.

You must ask Bungus to e-mail you the sans pantalons picture. I would not be so bold as to blog it.

I actually hope that you are right and that John Sergeant does indeed take a few with him !

Re broadband/ modems/ analogue systems/cookies/startup menus/registries et al. Having opened a can of digital worms I intend to firmly close it again. We try to keep this journal fairly free of technical discussions. It was all Jill's fault for asking in the first place,

You are doing fine on the Fashion Desk but, if you can return to the Sports Desk for a moment, Y tells me that the German match was a very good game to watch and Fabio Capella was well pleased.


Quotation time ............... The unanimity of the Strictly judges in belated support for John Sergeant makes this paricularly relevant.....

"So this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause"

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"