Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blog at last - trouble with Picasa 3

I have had big trouble with Picasa 3 ! I know I could use some other programme for messing-about with my pictures but Google, Picasa, Picasa WebAlbums and are intertwined and it is so convenient to use the whole toolbox.

My problem basically was that Picasa wasn't accepting today's snaps.

Anyway, the problem yielded eventually and here we are. Y and I have also spent a little time putting more music onto Y's laptop for onward transmission to her Zen MP4 player.

Other than that - a quiet day.

Picture 1 is my tried and trusted Carrot and Coriander Soup recipe as requested. I must admit though that I cut several corners and make it simpler than shown. And, as per handwritten note, I add a diced potato to thicken it slightly.

However, it is delicious and reliable.

Picture 2 is to show how 27F looked here this morning. The blackbird glared at me because his water was frozen. But blackbirds glare at you anyway don't they, whether or not their water is frozen.

David felt a little better today and has decided he is far from well enough to start back at School on Monday. He didn't go to the doctor this morning but is going to ring on Friday for a Monday appointment. In consequence the Long Eaton branch have decided to have an early night rather than 'see in' the new year. I think they are sensible and I think we will do the same.

Not wishing to be a kill-joy though, because Rob and Elaine have booked into a hotel in the Lace Market the better to nip down to Old Market Square to wave a sparkler and sing Auld Lang Syne. It will be the firework photos that they are after - I know !


bungus ....... Re Bruce. Such a shame he has been ignored again. It make one wonder if there is some 'skeleton in the cupboard'. Never seems to stand in other people's way though does it?

If you insist in going through these gymnastic hoops re your comments, rather than simply writing less in normal English, I suppose it is a matter for you. However, I would ask you again to consider the position of other readers. The blog wasn't designed to be a vehicle for your daily journal and yet you insist on using it thus.

I think it irresponsible of Rob to suggest means to you whereby you can get round the suggested restriction. I suppose that eventually I shall have to apply a system of 'comment' moderation where I approve the comment before it is published. Many bloggers do this as a matter of course but I had hoped it wouldn't be necessary.

anonymousrob ..... please see above re your first sentence. The blog is, as its header announces 'a family and friends journal..........' It is not some publicly funded newspaper with rules which clever people should seek to undermine.

Having said that - thanks for The Sports Desk piece. And also the Waterstones info.

Incidentally, your comment was 206 words - Not too onerous a restriction ?

Jill ....... See above re David. He didn't actually go to the doctors. And thanks for asking.

I think it would be lovely for you to have a dog again. As you will see from Bungus's comment, he misses Ralph.

mannanan ..... Your daughter will enjoy her Banksy book. Please click here to get some idea of his work.

That is very interesting about the Hairy Bikers' visits to your Island. They are good practical cooks, and a lot of fun to watch.

p.s. for all readers. Please click here for mannanan's own website.

reg ...... Thank you for that. Where indeed could such a house be ?

Hope your visit to the doctor was satisfactory. I think if we had WoW-ed in this biting cold we should have suffered for it. I'm certainly not anti-photography in wintry conditions but there are limits ......


Quotation time ......

"I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me"

The link is to him singing Mad Dogs and Englishmen - still worth a laugh.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nails day ! - Carrot and Coriander Soup.

Honestly I'm not 'showing off' with my Xmas books - I just wanted to demonstrate how well the family all know my tastes and interests.

The black one, in the centre of the bottom row, is a Moleskine Diary from my lady wife. A classy piece of goods and very beautiful .....

This morning it was over to Carlton for Y's routine 'nails' service after which she went into town to change some things at M & S. I came home and had a happy hour cooking carrot and coriander soup. In true Delia fashion, as I didn't have any leeks I used some French Shallots which are 'in' at the moment. It worked perfectly.

Poor David has reverted to being feverish and is going back to the doctors in the morning. I am so glad he is doing that because, as Jill says, it has gone on too long.

We aren't WoW-ing in the morning either. Reg has succumbed to the cold/cough/flu symptoms and he also has decided on a trip to the doctor. I'm still not 100%, Roy has a commitment and Helen also has things that need doing. Mike is in Whitby. In any case, in this bitterly cold weather it isn't really a hardship not to go. I hope Brian isn't too dissapointed though.


Jill ..... Robins are great little creatures aren't they. Each seems to have an identified personality in a way lacking in starlings for instance.

AnonymousKevin ..... Glad Bradgate Park worked out, but you are right about the weather. It doesn't put one in the right mood for photography at all.

bungus ...... The staccato style précis has a certain attraction. Is the answer perhaps to cover less ground ? You have always quoted Mies Van de Rohe's 'Less is more' dictum with approval anyway.

Yvonne ..... How nice to have your pithy and germane comment ! And if I disagree I can always shout down the corridor can't I ?

Mannanan ....... Thank you for your good wishes. I was intending to publish a link to your site, but keep getting 'page cannot be found' error message. As you mentioned in your e-mail there seems to be glitches at the moment. When I have cracked it, I will edit this accordingly. As you said in your e-mail, if blog-comments are too long, the end result is that folks simply don't bother to read them. And all the very best to you and yours in 2009.


Quotation time......

"There is always a well-known solution to every human problem--neat, plausible, and wrong"

H. L. Mencken

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"

Monday, December 29, 2008

Caught up with Shopping - still tired out

Picture 1 is a very grainy robin, sitting on the sparrow-hawks post. And who says robins aren't brave. He is grainy because there wasn't much light this morning and I needed a high ISO.

Mostly I put pictures on the left of the page but I thought, if I put him on the right hand side, he can look in rather than out.

Y has taken the tree and decorations down and they are safely back up in the loft for another year. As I said before, we now want to get on with 2009.

We are both feeling weary, and I can't shake off this fatigue. David still can't take a lungful of air without pain, Y has a cough too, to match my catarrh. For the weather to become a little warmer and the days last a little longer would be a start. Jill and Ro set off on their cruise soon, and I hope its to somewhere hot.

Picture 2 is a good old reliable artichoke. And Jill will enjoy the neo-sepia - it just IS that colour. No fiddling has taken place.

Even I feel they are becoming a little war-torn and will perhaps have to be cut down.

I'm always reluctant though.

Shopping this morning was surprisingly non-stressful. Neither Lidl nor Morrisons was excessively busy. Probably people had restocked on the Saturday and Sunday.


Jill ...... We too thought The Royle Family was a classic. As with all great comedy there was just the necessary amount of pathos. As you say Tom Courtney was terrific.

Your excessive word-count will be forgiven on this occasion (as the solicitors say) but future transgressions will lead to the naughty chair.

Y ........ Y needs no introduction from me folks. And welcome aboard ! As you say, you are certainly filling a slot. Perhaps people will return after the holidays, or then again, perhaps not..

I do agree that a few restful days won't come amiss.

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

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it"


p..s from Editor. Thanks Madeline for the Xmas e-card. I've e-mailed you.

"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lets get on with New Year then !

Picture 1 is the big room prior to the arrival of the family on Christmas Eve. The sausage-fest idea worked very well again. They need minimal preparation and cooking and, therefore, can be enjoyed as much by the hosts as the visitors. The meal comprised multi varieties of hot sausages, with a big bread board and a good selection of breads (slice your own) followed by cheese and biccies, and jelly and stuff for the little ones.

Christmas Eve also happens to be Sky's birthday and this year, it was lovely to see her on the actual day. Her present was an MP3 player of the type she wanted, and she is thrilled with it. As Santa had left some presents early we all felt it was OK to open a few. Picture 2 is Hannah's white slippers. Aren't they great ? I want a pair !

Moving forward to Christmas Day both Y and I had some super presents. And so much thought had gone into what Santa was asked to bring,

I wont list everything because I would need too much room, and other people's presents, like holiday snaps, have only a limited appeal.

David was still suffering from his pleurisy and the pain was drawn on his face and in his eyes. I will use that disputed word again and say that, in my opinion, he was very brave to come. Obviously I have spoken to him since and he sounds a little better. Only a little though and it seems a shame that he is being ill in his own time. I don't know when the new term begins but I will be surprised if he has fully recovered by then anyway.

I have an announcement about the future format of the blog -

Over the Holiday period my RadioGandy blog was discussed and people made several points, most of which were encouraging plusses. A recurrent minus point however, was the off-putting length of some blog-comments, which, on occasion, are longer than the blog itself. I pointed out that these need not be read in detail. If desired a little icon at the top left of a ‘comment’ can be clicked which reduces the comment to the contributor’s name only.


However some potential contributors feel a need to read through the whole of everyone’s comments in order to establish that the ‘comment’ they are considering making hasn’t already been made. As this can be tedious the end result is that they don’t bother to add their own ‘comment at all.


For a trial period therefore I would ask that ‘comments’ be restricted to perhaps 200 words and we will see how things pan out. I do not want to go down the path followed by many bloggers of moderating comments before they are allowed to appear. Most of you fall well within the suggested word-count anyway so the change will not affect you at all.

As a rough guide, the above words in blue, total 191 words

I know the restrictions will be irksome to some, but I am trying to be fair to all readers.


bungus ...... Re film/digital and infra-red. For a full explanation as to why it needs film you would need Roy or Rob to give you the accurate low-down. One reason is that most digital cameras, for sensor reasons, have a filter which cuts out infra-red light.

Rather than compare your blood curdling activities with a Victorian surgeon my thoughts went to the same period but to Jack the Ripper.

Jill ..... I have a feeling in my water, as they say here in the Erewash Valley, that you are going to succeed with this pavement versus glasses business.

I'm with you re 'meat on the bone'. Maybe 'on the bone' is marginally more difficult to carve but, I find anyway, the meat remains moister and tastier.

So Strictly come Dancing has finished for another year. But we have our tickets to the live tour to look forward to. I note, could have been in the Telegraph, that there is a move to restrict the judges to just commenting on, not voting. The voting to be entirely in the hands of the telephoning punters. Sounds a brilliant idea to me. Put the pompous p***ocks in their rightful place ! Mind you Bruno isn't at all pompous is he?

And with no doubt at all, Y and I are with you about 'can't be bothered shopping in the last hour of supermarket opening'. Even if you find bargains you've then got a storage problem and, if you didn't really need it, it works our expensive anyway.

AnonymousRob ...... Many thanks for your seasonal greetings. And to extend the idea behind todays title. -

I always think New Year's Eve should be the day after Boxing Day. This rather void period until the New Year annoys me. When I come to power I shall remove 4 days from December and insert them into February to balance things up.

Anonymous ...... I read about the Beeb's reasons for not revealing the voting figures. Mind you, I also read that a member of The House of Lords, is considering using the Freedom of Information Act to winkle it out of them. That would be a laugh.


Quotation time .........

"A liberal is a person whose interests aren't at stake at the moment"

Willis Player

n.b. That whole blog-post was 896 words. Editor .....

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas and a successful 2009


Happy Christmas ! Radiogandy will not be published until after the holidays. Please hold on to your 'comments' till then


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Definitely ungroggy but still tired - So be it !

At least the Hall barometer actually moves and shows something about barometric pressure. The old fashioned banjo shaped one on the wall at home seemed permanently stuck on change. However firmly tapped.

The reading seems to be 30.5 while the number shown on my igoogle homepage for the weather is 1035. Not that I understand the significance of either figure. To say 'Fair' while trucking along towards 'Very Dry' isn't much of a concept in late December.

I nipped out sharply this morning, in the dark, to do the bulk of the shopping and a lady in Lidl told me there was a queue at Ripley Sainsbury's at 6.30am for 7am. It is a recuring mystery that people over-shop so dramatically, particularly so when the shops re-open on 27th. Ah well.

I spoke to David again this morning and I am pleased to report that he feels well enough to come tomorrow. He says the pain is least when he sits and does nothing. That would be fine for me, but he is of a more active stamp.

Naffness or should it be naffity is in the eye of the beholder. Y considers the card on the right as a qualifier.

I am intrugued by the wreath on the door which looks suspiciously like Ché, I thought.


Jill ..... I feel really good that you enjoyed The Borrowers, having downloaded it from my link. I listened to Part 2 this afternoon but considered it not quite as delightful as part 1, but still good. Here is a link, please click, if you missed it and you can make up your own mind.

Also, I suspect you may be right about lurking readers in journalistic places, Andrew Marr, The Telegraph etc.,.

Your onscreen message about the 'of non-configuration of your protocols' is beyond my IT grasp. Next time you see it, it might be useful to put the phrase in quotes and google it !

I guess the Council are almost duty bound to give you the runaround treatment. Just grit your teeth and stick at it. I sense from your tone that you fully intend to anyway.

Bungus ...... I think your explanation of the non-configuration of Jill's protocols is more than adequate. She should have had them configured like everybody else. These southern belles !


David and Helen and family, Steven and Lisa and family, all here lunchtime tomorrow for a family version of the sausage-fest. Hope it goes well.

I don't intend to leave the house at all over the next few days, except for a Wells Fargo type visit to Burton Joyce on Xmas morning, for an hour, max. And then back home to cook our Turkey Crown plus all the tracklements.

Hope you enjoy this. Please click here

Monday, December 22, 2008

Grogginess diminishing - Carol Singers - Sunrise


Absolutely terrific shot, one of Roy's infra-red snaps (on film of course, the full effect is not really possible digitally) of Greasley Church. The figure, about 2 inches to the right of the Church Tower, is a cowled monk. People will try to tell me its a gravestone - but I know different.

My catarrhal cough persists although I feel less groggy. Hope everyone else is perking up too. See below re David.

As Jill notes below The Tom & Camilla, Strictly come Dancing story has certainly generated a lot of hot air ! Pages and pages devoted to it in the Mail. I've not created a link because, if you want to, it is easy to access miles of coverage.

Many people complain of difficulty in 'getting through' and I would make 2 points. Lots tried to phone in their vote/votes before all the dances had been shown. This '
having made your mind up without seeing the evidence' isn't good and 'multiple voting' should be outlawed. In one case a viewer had voted 200 times. Well, they deserve to have difficulty getting through in my humble opinion, plus of course, they make it difficult for a genuine person wishing to cast just one vote.

Re the word 'naff'. Like Bungus I feel the earliest user was the Princess Royal over a decade ago. My online dictionary has it thus -


  Show Spelled Pronunciation [naf] Show IPA Pronunciation
Chiefly British Slang. –adjective


unstylish; lacking taste; inferior.

but it is clearly a word to feel, rather than pin down in OED terms.

In any case, readers should be assured that the term is completely subjective and what one person finds trite another might find delightful. One man's meat is another man's poisson as we linguists say. Ha ha !

The following please click is a Picasa WebAlbums folder of the entries so far. And, even now, one sent in by Bungus is to my eye elegant, brief and understated.

This afternoon we were entertained by Carol Singers who managed an unaccompanied version of Hark the Herald Angels. And they did a fair job of it.

It is reassuring to live in a village where parents feel OK about their girls going round singing carols on behalf of the RSPCA.

Sorry the snap is blurry but I took it in a hurry before they vanished next door and my shutter-speed wasn't fast enough to stop subject movement. It tells the story anyway.

The afternoon play on Radio 4 was Mary Norton's "The Borrowers" and I didn't realise how charming a play the book would make. If you have ¾ hr to fill please open the link and enjoy a childhood/pensioner experience. Whether you identify with Pod, or Homily, or Arietty is entirely up to you.


Jill ....... Please see above re definition of 'naff'. You could of course ring The Princess Royal and ask her what exactly she meant ?

I was in exactly the same position as you, re the matter of 'Strictly' voting. It doesn't seem quite 'cricket' to vote more than once does it? I'm glad they couldn't get through. Tom is in The Tour for which we have tickets and it would be great to actually see The ShowDance in the flesh. Please click here for details of the tour. As well as Tom, Camilla is one of the professionals featured so we might be lucky. Isn't it a super present for us fogeys. Plus Jodie Kidd ....... one's cup runneth over !

Bungus ...... The pheasant casserole sounds exquisite. Congratulations to Sandra.

I only saw the first 5 secsonds of the Larkrise opening credits and reached the same conclusion as you. Even Y who has a fairly wide tolereance for costume drama uttered the word 'twee'.

With 'analyse' I wasn't searching for elegance - just making the point because I had never heard it made before and I would like to claim 'coinage'.

Helen C...... You will just have to keep going with the 'naff' xmas card. On seeing your Rudolph my fellow judge said she didn't think it naff at all, but in fact, she liked it. Eye of the beholder and all that jazz .......

Our card from (Professor) Colin and Lyn on the other hand ....... Will be included when I amend the WebAlbum folder tomorrow. And I know for sure that his feelings won't be hurt.

Roy .... Fancy me accusing you of the comment re my failing eyesight ! Just sounded like you is all. I didn't feel offended.

And I agree about the post xmas 'teach in'. Glad you downloaded ClickSmilies. That is the main bit. The rest will follow.


To strike an unusual note I will end with this morning's sunrise -

My EXIF data gave the time as 8.27am. But the weather station says sunrise was 8.16am. I suppose the view from my office is towards a low hill, and I guess the metereologists give sunrise as the first glimpse of the orb breaking the skyline. I must ask Tim at EPS because he works there.

Quotation time ..... Goethe knew a thing or two about life .... Another chap to add to our 'good hour in a pub with' list .....

"There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity"

Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

I've deliberately saved the most important news item till last. David's pleurisy is getting better but I think he realises it could be weeks. Yesterday he didn't take painkillers because he 'wanted to see how painful it actually was'. To be admired I suppose, but a different attitude to his Dad. I keep taking the painkillers, stronger and stronger, till the pain starts to diminish - not a strategy I'm proud of by the way.

Almost his closing words were 'look forward to seeing you on Wednesday'.

p.s. I have had trouble, fontwise, so if nthe blog looks unusual please be forgiving. Tomorrow should be back to normal.

Simply had to re-open the blog because of a late arriving comment from AnonymousRob.   Just who has had the temerity to put the 'Sports Desk' in a corner ?  I want names please because I won't hear of it.  

Just whose blog is this anyway I ask myself ?   The 'Sports Desk'  was one of the first editorial additions and you can rely on absolute support from your editor.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

John and Alannah called - coughing in unison


The scene through the office window at 7.49am this morning. One really feels 'getting up' in the middle of the night. However, today is our winter solstice, with only 7 hours and 50 minutes of daylight, so, as Blair famously said "Things can only get better".

When I spoke to David this morning I discovered he has pleurisy and it is very painful. He's off school obviously and has been prescribed anti-biotics. He says they have worked partially but he still has quite severe pains in the chest. He assures me the Doctor has ruled out a 'heart problem'. I didn't keep him talking, because it would tire him. Lets hope he is soon feeling better.

And now onto more mundane and trivial matters. Recently I had to change the goldfinches' feeder because it needed a good clean and I was worried they wouldn't easily accept the replacement. I needn't have. They were bang at it within a couple of hours.

The snap isn't as sharp as I would like, its on my 70-300mm Nikon VR, but maybe I have the settings wrong. The lens instructions have gone AWOL and I fear it will be a 'consult Reg again' job.

However, the picture is good enough to tell the story. This feeder is only ⅔ the size of the other with the advantage that they empty it quicker permitting more regular maintenance.

A bon mot occured to me during the night. Does the verb 'anal yse' imply having 'eyes' in your 'anus' ? If nothing else, one could construct a crossword clue around it.

John and Alannah called at tea-time. It was lovely to see them and to hear all about Uni and Alannah's Eng.Lit course. She is really enjoying it and is going to e-mail me a summary of the content.


Jill .... Teasels are also high on my favoured list and we must grow some more in the Spring. The goldfinches love them too. I'm still trying to 'snap' some of our 'long-tailed tits'. But they seem to favour the front rather than the rear garden. It's just a matter of sitting in the big-room with a camera at the ready - by the time I have gone to collect one, the birds have flown.

Y and I are pleased you came out of retirement to vote for Tom & Camilla. As you say, their 'show dance' was amazing. Please click here if you would like to see it again. Y points out that Camilla took a big chance by choreographing such a way-out piece. But it paid off. Good for her !

Bungus ..... I was a little worried when I read about rolling back the stone. I thought you were going to say that Sandra found your bed was empty !

'General Grogginess plus cough' - During John and Alannah's visit three of us were coughing in concert. Only Y didn't join in. I think tonight a stiff jollop of Buttercup Syrup is called for.

EPS/WOW ....... My failing eyesight, one-eyed reading, and my pictures - I really asked for that. Didn't I ?

By-the-way. Your infra red of Greasley Church is 'in the stacks' as art curators say and will be published as soon as space allows.

AnonymousHelen ..... You certainly aren't too late for the 'naff xmas card' competition.

The sender's decision not to put their name therein is a nice touch !

The Bombay Spice restaurant in Eastwood sounds good. Is it open at lunchtime or just in the evening ? It isn't apparent from the Advertiser piece (link above). The reviews are mixed.


Quotation time ........

"You can take all the sincerity in Hollywood, place it in the navel of a firefly and still have room enough for three caraway seeds and a producer's heart"

Fred Allen

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Brighter Saturday - Plenty of 'kip' the best remedy

Picture 1 is Y's laptop screen with an offending 'shortcut' icon stuck in her Vista sidebar. Several unsuccessful efforts to delete it led me, of course, to WebUser forums. As I thought someone would know the answer. They did!

'BurrWalnut' came back to me 32 minutes after I had posted the problem. There were 3 places where the icon could be lurking he told me, but his first suggestion was spot-on.

Y and I sat with my little Asus with the info on it, at the side of her laptop and we fixed it together.

I won't bore the 'uninterested' with the details but basically the Vista start menu is different from the XP version which I can normally navigate around. But we know now. If Y carries on at this rate she will be soon running computer classes. It would be marvellous if her friend Joan would go on line. They would have a great time.

Picture 2 some of the artichokes in the fading light. They either look majestic, or an untidy nuisance, depending on one's point of view.

Maybe I become too attached to them each year but they are survivors and I like that.

The last picture is intended to amuse. It isn't a good picture but again, in the half-light it looks, when you look at the patio door, as if we have decorated some outside shrubbery. We haven't - it is just the reflection of the xmas tree in the glass.

We dashed out shopping this morning before I flagged and had fish & chips for lunch. As an experiment we used Lidl's 'cod fillets' rather than our customary 'chunky haddock' fillets. They were perfectly OK but both us felt we enjoy the haddock better.

There were bargains. Two packs of Lurpak for £4 and they are OK till the end of February 09. They have been retailing for £2.39 a pack so a considerable saving. After lunch I tried the remedy I have recommended to Jill, to quote myself "Lots of rest interspersed with periods of inactivity and naps" its rather like a Computer. A shut-down followed by a re-boot cures lots of ills.


Reg ...... You are right. I misunderstood your comment about Doug's picture. And the fault was entirely mine. A re-read shows you were referring to 'the shed' and not to the whole house. My brain seems to have gone into 'careless' mode and I must get into a habit of reading things more carefully.

Thanks also for the telephone advice about layers.

p.s.for readers..... I want to experiment with the spooky church picture. What I want to do is find some pictures of ravens in flight and, with Photoshop layers, introduce them to the picture behind rather than in front of the trees. Reg has given me a brief resumé of how to do it. Now I know it is possible I can mess about with it for hours!

Those retired people who say they can never find anything to do annoy me. They sit and watch the telly is all.

bungus ..... Sorry I got it slightly wrong about the 'workshop'.

We will certainly consider The White Post some time, for a change, particularly if in Mansfield on Nat Trst business. We could come back that way. As a matter of interest (to Helen) you don't mention the 'veggie' menu. Perhaps just a sentence ?

Re the 'church picture'. Now, if I messed about with it successfully, do you think there is any chance at all that you wouldn't see it?

I suspect you are right about the shooting fraternity and the BNP. But, without becoming too wordy I'll stick with upper class oafs.

Generic terms can be difficult but one I can never forget was my chum Ben Whitaker describing Freemasons as 'The Mafia of the Mediocre'. Apart from being an influential Secretary of The Minority Rights Group, Ben wrote an important book called The Police in Society in which yours truly appears in the dedication on the title page together with numerous quotes.

Re glasses. I really know I need a new reading prescription and Y keeps telling me to go to the optician. It has got so bad the only way to read successfully is to close my right eye. This puts a strain on my left eye, and I ought to get it fixed. Inertia more than frugality though. The solution probably is to keep these for driving and general use and simply have a dedicated pair of reading glasses.

Jill ...... Oh poor you. I woudn't dream of publishing the photo of your 'beaten up' face because, as you say, those who don't know you might think it your customary look.

However, the pavement picture, with the statutory 50p piece is very good indeed. (Please see right)

Just got to be worth the price of your glasses, plus abit extra for pain and suffering. If they say the misalignment isn't deep enough I think you could argue

"If it had been any deeper, I would have seen it !"

We all wish you well with the problem.


Stop Press .................... Strictly come Dancing please click here for the result. No need to open the link if you don't want to. Tom and Camilla won. Their final 'free dance' was quite brilliant and I shall enjoy watching it again. Camilla's hard work proved worth while, and, of the lady professionals, we always think "Everybody likes Camilla". She knew that Tom was strong enough to leave him to do quite complicated acrobatic manouevres while they weren't physically in contact with each other.

The final was decided solely by the phone-in audience. Both Y and I suspect that, had the judges had their way, Lisa and Brendan would have won. But, as has happened before in the competition, the voting public went against the judges. Quite right too..


Quotation slot ....... this makes a fair bit of sense.....

"Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names"

John F Kennedy

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"

Friday, December 19, 2008

Brief Blog - Groggy Club - 50F !!!

Please excuse a brief blog but I also am feeling groggy, and I can't blame it on a fall. Just a sort of generalised malaise.

Picture 1 is a final snap from the 'Nosy-Horse' series because I definitely get a feel that they aren't people's favourite animals.

I was parked in a little unofficial lay-bay this side of the hedge and whenever I moved he/she (I didn't check) followed me. Probably thought I had sugar lumps or carrots or whatever does it for horses.

p.s. 'Nosy-Horse' was a famous native-american scout around 1860.
- editor

Picture 2 has been submitted by a reader in the 'Naffest Xmas Card' competition. At the moment, continuing with an equine metaphor, the card is leading by a short head. Further entries are welcome. The final will be judged by a panel made up of Mrs. Radiogandy and myself. We will, of course, weigh carefully the views of readers. But telephone voting is positively discouraged.


bungus ....... Congratulations to The Dukeries College Always good to hear of state schools doing well. You can open the link to read all about it. It was due to her exemplary work with the workshop component that Sandra was appointed MBE.

Both you and Jill have picked up on the 'supernaturally threatening' look of my snap of Greasley Church. When I feel up to it I may well give it abit of Photoshop and introduce a couple of ravens as Jill suggests.

Also see Reg's comment about the background to the house.

I liked the sound of your bubble & squeak. Using up whatever is around appeals to me too. At the weekend we had some left-over mashed potato with chives. Together with the remnants of Roy's excellent Lancashire cheese plus an egg to bind them into cakes and toasted breadcrumbs for body, I made some tasty cheese-cakes which vanished off the plates remarkably quickly.

You say you recall 'Woodcock on the wing'. I suppose that would be the poor creature's natural state before some upper class oaf took a gun to it.

Reg ..... Thanks for the info. on the house at Greasley. As you will have read, The Architectural Desk was unsure of its provenance.

I must ask Duggie if he would dig out his earlier picture, because I would very much like to see the house as it once was.

Jill ....... I hope your grogginess passed. "Lots of rest interspersed with periods of inactivity and naps" would be my advice. And I am pretty much doing just that myself. Roland is very lucky - being permitted to read edited extracts from the blog !

My position on 'bravery' must remain different from yours and bungus's. In my dictionary/thesaurus "pluckiness, indomitability, grit and determination" are all mentioned. I think you both are veering to "valour, heroism, courage and gallantry". We wont quibble though 'eh ?

I don't blame you at all spending £550 on glasses if you wanted them and they have proved a success. My new little Asus netbook was an indulgence but I know I shall love it and use it widely. And what the hell ? In a year or two when we need to take a barrowload of £s sterling to buy a loaf of bread you will probably still be enjoying your glasses.

When you go 'pavement measuring' please be careful not to trip over anything !


I promised a brief blog - but when my fingers start to thump the keyboard.......................


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Burton Joyce day - 45F - Phew !

Picture 1 is the same Greasley Church which was the subject of Reg's photograph yesterday.

Please don't imagine that I was doing acrobatics to take a snap with the camera at ground level. The churchyard is surrounded by a 5' perimeter wall and I was standing in the lay-by, poking my camera over the wall.

To carry on from yesterday, about Greasley, the village is right in the middle of Lawrence's 'Country of my Heart' and very beautiful it is too.

The house featured in Picture 2 is well up on my list of houses whose architecture I admire. Whenever we drive home by that route one comes round a corner and the house is nicely set, on the right. I've no idea of its heritage or who owns it and I hope they don't mind my featuring it on the blog.

Re yesterday's 'fogey's outing picture'. I think (thanks Rob for pointing it out) I have done Anne a disservice by saying she was missing because there she is, next to Roy. I had just imagined she was sitting on Roy's right and that I had missed her off. Sorry Roy and Anne - it will teach me to look at my snaps more carefully !

This morning I took Y to BJ because she needed to be there early, as Millicent was going to a party, as they always seem to be doing at that age. I managed to catch a few minutes with Steven and he lent me a VGA (laptop to TV) cable because ours doesn't transmit sound and we have to make do with the small speakers on the laptop. He sensibly thought to try his cable, and if the sound works, we know the fault is our cable. If not, 'further enquiries will be necessary'. Over tea (smoked salmon paté on crusty brown toast, topped with slivers of cucumber with the rind cut off. 2nd course - our cream cakes, courtesy of Lisa) we watched an old David Attenborough show about ladybirds which held our attention.

This evening Y sussed out the 'Catch up TV' commercial equivalent to BBC iPlayer because she wanted to 'catch up' on Desperate Housewives. I'm never quite sure whether it is 'desperate' or 'dangerous' housewives. Both adjectives seem appropriate from the few minutes I have seen.

I still haven't got round to working out how my Asus Eee free online storage works. It seems that owners have access to online storage which can be accessed from anywhere. The idea is to take pressure off the gadget's internal disc, and of course, items stored there are 'crash free'. Whether or not one can put useable programmes thereon I do not yet know. Watch this space !


bungus ...... Glad you all had a good time in McArthury Glenoutlet. And I am glad you finally have a 'goose breast' to eke out you meagre xmas dinner. Mince pies abound in Morrisons. Personally I prefer their flat ones which seem particularly good.

How ladies can spend an hour in M&S must remain a mystery to us simple men.

Glad also you enjoyed The Bold Forester again and your reporting of the meal prices amused me. Bavaria (the non alcoholic lager I drink) in Morrisons has been 2 four-packs for £2 for ages. I notice that the 'offer' has now closed and one four-pack costs £1.

Don't apologise for mentioning prices. This blog is a journal of record and I can see historians being very interested in these things in a hundred years or so.

Jill ...... Maybe I was stretching imaginations a little with the Willie Nelson likeness. It was the straggly hair hanging down over his ears. I hope you clicked on the link and opened it though because I thought the YouTube video delightful and so did Y. Thereon he has his hair tied back in a pony-tail.

I shan't emulate Bungus by cooking woodcock. No doubt I 'would-cock' it up anyway !

Don't care what you say ! We all think you were brave. Hope your day hasn't been too horrendous painwise. It will have knocked you up (not in the American usage of course) and after a few days you could feel very groggy again. How annoying about your glasses which you obviously rate. Perhaps as Rob says, you should just pursue the council for their replacement, and his point about household insurance is useful too.

But hey! bogger the expense. If you really like the glasses, they are well worth getting the same optician to sort you out wth them.

p.s. just read your recently received comment. Bad luck with the glasses ! Hope your optician can do them quickly, even if you have to go on holiday without them. Lets hope your holiday proves a better 'trip' 'eh?

anonymousrob ...... Talk about obscure links ! You can now say you know some people who are friends of Rob Lachowicz's grandmother. That should prove a conversation-stopper.

Thanks for pointing out my error about Ann and please see the apology above.

Another Woodcock for bungus's larder is Bruce Woodock. A popular heavyweight boxer please click but a little before the Sports Desk archives began I think.

Nice to hear of Incy Wincy. He is missing a lot isn't he? We all know about the 'sun'. But beef cobs in the conny club ...... well I ask you ?

You promised to let me have his e-mail address, for internet café use.

Quotation time ......

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work"

Thomas A Edison

"Sleep tight everybody - catch you tomorrow"

p.s. for Roy's benefit. Above is a 'clicksmilies' smiley. Click here for the programme. Its virus-free etc and free !


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

WoW-ed locally at Greasley - lovely morning

Picture 1 is courtesy of Reg and shows St Mary's Church at Greasley. Super snap Reg, great depth-of-field, sharpness, and the detail retained in the middle-distance. And the Derbyshire Hills on the sky-line. Thank you.

Please click here for info about the village, and surrounding villages (including Brinsley). Due to our planned get-together with spouses at The Conservative Club we decided to WoW locally. And Greasley was the chosen spot.

After my miserable lion at Belton House, I thought this scruffy horse at Greasley sort of followed on.

The animal's face reminded me of Willie Nelson the Country and Western singer. I think it must be the haircut.

Sorry Willie ! How rude of me. Because I really rate your voice, and you.

Both Y and I had slept well and breakfasted together. When dawn broke, the sun and the weather were excellent. Still cold though and, according to the Telegraph, this year has been the coldest start to a winter since records began.

All went to plan, the walkers arrived early at the 'Conny Club', Julian collected Y as planned, Pauline arrived, and eventually Brian and Audrey turned up. Brian had been delayed at the hospital. He had a post-op (knee replacement) appointment with his consultant and things are going well. Brian had been concerned that his ability to bend his knee was not as it should be. But the surgeon put his mind at rest, and more than 90 degrees could take at least a year to achieve. He has just got to exercise it apparently.

Picture 3 shows more or less everybody. Some faces are unfortunately hidden and I am the space on Reg's right, due to me taking the photo, and Roy's wife Ann seems to have been cut off from the right hand side.

The cobs (cobs is the bread bit Jill) were beef for change and they had been buttered, unless you specifically asked not.. Doreen said she thought that chip-cobs were a must on a Wednesday.

They are, but we have to be flexible n'est ce pas? It didn't seem 'right' though.


bungus ...... I think you have managed to make the woodcock sound just about edible. You must count me in with Jill. Thanks, but no thanks !

Re 'point & shoot' cameras. You might be right about the spontaneity. But it isn't only that because I can spend a lot of time deciding on a picture and view-point etc. Maybe its more due to a slight softness of image. I'm certainly not about to abandon my Nikon though, because for so much work it is an ideal and rewarding tool. Horses for courses ........

Jill ...... Oh dear ! Poor Jill. What a terrible thing to happen and it sounds as if you have been very brave. It was the right thing to go ahead with your planned lunch. If you had 'bailed out' and gone home you would have felt even worse. You will be stiff, and it will be painful - if you were closer I would give you a couple of my Fentanyl patches. They would take the edge off. You will have to wear your black-eye with pride, like a duelling scar.

I realise that you 'speak in jest' about needing a set of wheels like mine. But honestly, don't completely rule it out. If you feel at all unsteady, they create a firm base made up of the wheels and ones legs. Using mine, I am much much more confident about moving about.

Yes my word. A Nottingham Waitrose. The 'in crowd' can't wait ! Please click here to read all about it.

Quotation time ......

"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Average Tuesday - Karen day - Lidl


Another picture from our Nat. Trust trip and shows The Orangery at Belton House again, and to the right of it, The Church Of St Peter and St Paul the oldest parts of which date from the 13th Century with additions from the Norman, late Medieval, Georgian and Victorian periods. The Church doesn't belong to The National Trust by the way.

Picture 2 is from a WoW trip in February this year when we went to Wirksworth and had our chip cob at The Cliff Inn. The view is from the car park on the opposite side of the road.

Picture 1 was taken on my Nokia mobile-phone and Picture 2 on my Casio compact. I only mention this because I sometimes think the pictures I like best are taken on this 'point and shoot' equipment.

Karen has been, sorted us out, and given us a quick squirt of air-freshener. Not that we needed it I hasten to add. Y has gone to Nottingham on the bus because she and Tracy are going to The Carol Concert which TJ is responsible for organising each year for civic dignitaries, and school kids etc. Each year the audience is split into segments to sing The Twelve Days of Christmas and this year Tracy has promised her Mum that she can be in the '5 Gold Rings' section. Will it all work out? I ask myself.

Johnny Cash sings The Twelve Days of Xmas, please click for a weird video.


Jill .... I see what you mean about the 'flying-angel' xmas tree lights. Could be camera-shake or glare. You are quite right - it was unintentional.

The Xmas cake sounds excellent. And how nice to have proper 'royal' icing. And what a lovely surprise to have your blanket lined.

I gave up on Nigella a long time ago because I would be reduced to yelling abusive comments at the telly.

bungus ....... Poor Sandra. What an awful expedition.

Re Belton Lion. I just jumped to calling it a 'lion' - perhaps it isn't. Could be a sheep ?

anonymousrob ..... Interesting fact - Mrs Mulligan's grandson plays for the Panthers. His name is Robert Lachowicz. Apparently he has represented England too.


Quotation time .......

"Painting is so poetic, while sculpture is more logical and scientific and makes you worry about gravity"

I'm going WoW-ing tomorrow which will be good. And then, around 1pm-ish, its 'beef' cobs at the Conservative Club with husbands and wives. Shame we have to meet at the conservative club, and I know others feel the same, but I have managed to eschew all political connotations.

Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chilly again - 35F - Sausages again

This stone lion at Belton House, who features in Picture 1, had human eyes and the result was probably the saddest lion I have ever seen. Such a boring job anyway, regurgitating water into a seldom used water trough.

Picture 2 is of the lights in the oak tree outside Brinsley Village Hall and, concentrated in the lower branches as they are, produces an odd effect.

I can only suppose that Health & Safety ruled the higher branches un-useable. We may never know.

Mrs Mulligan's visit was a great success. She thoroughly enjoyed herself and so did we. And can I please scotch the rumour that I am only capable of cooking sausages!

For pudding we had 'bread and butter pudding with custard' but Y cooked that I s'pose.

It was a lovely day weather-wise too. Cold again but bright sun and little wind. We managed the Mrs M collection and delivery runs during daylight - but only just. By 4.30pm it was dark.

The BBC are in a real pickle with the Strictly come Dancing imbroglio. It was far too glib to reassure viewers that their votes on Saturday had not been wasted (because they are to be rolled over and added to the scores in the final - we were told). But those votes were cast for last week's dances and can only distort the voting this coming Saturday !


Jill ...... You may have a cavalier approach to your comments but, as editor-in-chief, I regret their loss. When the blog has been snapped up by Faber & Faber and we are all rich and famous, those comments will be sadly missed !

When you speak of your daughter-in-law having a "silver (real, dipped) tree" I assume that it was the silver which was real, not the tree.

I must wrap my presents tomorrow.

The 'Chiswick Home for the Bewildered' sounds fun. Are there any 'beds'? And are the bewitched and bothered eligible for vacancies too?

bungus ...... I join with you in admiring French disdain for petty rules. It harks back to the revolution.

Hope the Sandra Saga eventually reached a satisfactory conclusion.

I disagree about not checking anagrams. Most crossword puzzlers of my acquaintance automatically spot a problem. With your Obama example I immediately wondered where the 'k' had gone.

anonymousrob ..... Congratulations on this effortless multi-tasking !

Re The X factor. If Alexandra is a singer, I think I caught a few minutes on the telly. She is, as you say, very good indeed.

Not sure about the haiku. I'm assuming the reference to Mrs Mulligan "Might do sausages" is using the word 'do' as druggies 'do'.

If there is to be a McArthur Glen 'meet' you can rely on an invitation.


It is a Karen day tomorrow. And we ought to find some excuse for getting out from uinder her feet etc. Or she can hoover round us - she won't mind.

Quotation time ....... This one appeals greatly .....

"Sometimes when you look in his eyes you get the feeling that someone else is driving"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nat Trst Xmas trip to Belton House - humidity 89%

Today was our Mansfield National Trust Xmas outing and our chosen venue was Belton House in Lincolnshire. The house name is a live link. We had a our usual great time and lots of laughs with our chums. The weather wasn't brilliant but, after all, it is December not July.

Unfortunately our Chairman - Peter and his wife Joan - couldn't make it. Joan is still recovering from her operation and Peter has 'shingles' and is in consequence, generally under the weather. We all missed him and with Wendy mssing too we couldn't play our noisy 'first to see Belton House etc... gets sixpence' game. As you see our National Trust trips have serious academic content.......

During the morning journey, thanks to my mobile, I managed my customary call to David and they are all OK.

As the light was fairly grim I went armed (photographically) with my mobile phone and not the Nikon but, as you can see, it gave a good account of itself.

Picture 2 is The Orangery. Architecturally it is in the top ten of my favourite buildings list. Dating from the early 19th Century it isn't old, comparatively speaking but beautiful neveretheless. There are three reasons for the sepia - 1. The scene was almost devoid of colour due to the dullness of the day. 2. It suits the period, and 3. I know Jill will enjoy it.

Y and I both decided on a turkey dinner. It was fine. Freshly cooked and carved. The only problem was the brussels which were on the raw side of al dente. We also had tea/coffee plus throughout the day. Nice time in the book shop but came away empty-handed.

The return journey didn't take long and we were home before 6pm.

Picture 3 is, as requested, Y's tree. Sometime's Y claims to want to follow TJ and other young people's lean, and sparsely decorated look.

But, to please me mostly, she always finishes up doing one which looks traditionally Y. We only have a tiny artificial tree these days which lives in the loft collapsed into pieces.

When it is erected though, I like lots and lots of lights, baubles, tinsel and lametta. It is, in my opinion, a little meagre in the lametta department this year. I have been given permission to purchase more and may well do so.


bungus ...... I'm with Sandra in not liking the big-room curtains drawn in the evening. As you know, passing friends look in and we exchange waves. And we are anti net-curtains too.

But you are right to be concerned about 'buglers'. They might 'break-in' to a rendition of 'the last post'.

p.s. for xword addicts. 'Presbyterians' is an anagram of 'Britney Spears'. How appropriate is that ?

You are right about my new 'netbook'. It's lightness and compact size are pleasant. Particularly as the keys are full size and operate with a very satisfying clunk rather than rattle. As you know I have an irritating tendency to take a laptop to all sorts of strange places. This tendency is, unfortunately, now being nurtured.

Re 'snoek' . I prefer the taste (from memory) to pollack which I have only tried once and thoroughly disliked its ' lack of taste' and unpalatable texture. However, if I was hungry enough ..............

Every household should have a lay figure !

Jill ...... I really don't know what to say about your ephemeral blog-comments. They are very important contributions and much enjoyed by me and my readers. Perhaps you really ought to use the nungus method of creating a 'word document' and saving it. Then copy/past into the blog. If I am talking double dutch, please e-mail me and we will go through the method a bit at a time.

Another method would be to e-mail the 'comment' to yourself. You could then use the copy/paste method to get it into the blog.

Please click for views about 'Strictly'. I don't think we have heard the last of the phone-in shenanigins ! Personally I smell a rat. And I'm so sorry because we both really love the show.

Present wrapping...... Y does most of it, and enjoys it (I think). I haven't actaully started my few yet.

Quotation time .......

"We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office"


Tomorrow we are going over to Wollaton to bring Mrs. Mulligan over for lunch and then deliver her home again preferably before dark but I don't feel strongly about it. Mrs Mulligan was an early 'Karen' when we were both working. She is now 80 but still in great form. We always have a laugh and we are looking forward to her visit. I might do 'sausages' .......

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"