Saturday, January 31, 2009

Restful Saturday as planned - Y feels better - 34F


The top two pictures, from which the above collage was made, were taken within minutes of each other on my Nikon, firstly with the 18-70mm Nikkor, then the Sigma wideangle 10-20mm. Skies change so quickly you've got to be ready. ... The bottom picture, a few minutes later, is the result of three pictures taken on my Casio click>click>click and made into a Panorama using Photoshop.

If eagle-eyes notice the skyline is a little different in 1 and 2, its because I moved slightly to the right so as not to include the artichoke head. Comments would be welcomed, and not only from afficionados.

The picture on the left is just a few more snowdrops plus the occasional aconite of which there don't seem to be many ... yet !

Things come at different times some years - a characteristic of the plant world seldom commented on.

'Experts' will blithely aver 'spring is 3 weeks early' but not "the aconite has flowered before the snowdrops this year" for instance. Y and I both like the aconite because, even after flowering, it always looks as if it is going to do something interesting. It never just looks untidy and in need of attention.

Our day has proved as restful as hoped but poor Y is really suffering with her cold. She says she feels better, but she always says that. She is bunged up and, I suspect, a little feverish. I think another Rest Day is called for tomorrow and well wrapped up with the heating on. The forecasts promise a bitterly cold day with the risk of widespread snow. At least the kids will enjoy it.

My responses to your previous comments

..... I feel the same about most theatre seats. Our Theatre Royal seating is more akin to an instrument of medieval torture than a place to relax. But the Cinemas we go to are all modern and I find their seats very comfortable indeed. My difficulty is going up the stairs therein due to the lack of a handrail or anything.

I don't think I knew you were an evacuee and how interesting to hear about the Vicar and his Magic Lantern shows. I am including a larger version of one of the hand-painted slides because in the collage they were a little indistinct.

Considering they were painted by hand onto quite small glass-plates the amount of detail is awe-inspiring. Bear in mind that this picture was projected onto a screen and then photographed by me on a hand-held mobile phone without the flash on.

Glad you enjoyed Bob's 'Minotaur'.


Quotation time ....... Trying as always to be topical ......

"The modern writer is too often a Theseus so enamored of the grotesque appearance and strange cavortings of the Minotaur that he has decided to make his permanent abode in the Labyrinth, and to accept the Minotaur's laws as his own."

Robertson Davies

Lead me to the Labyrinth ! ..... I'm not too sure about the 'cavorting' but I could manage a bit of 'staggering around' before vanishing into space.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Start Weekend Off - Shopping - Cold again !

Yesterday evening's talk by Brian Davis was entertainingly different. As you can see from the pictures on the left his Magic Lantern is an impressive piece of kit.

As Brian pointed out, in the old days, the operator would be a travelling entertainer who had to carry the projector, plus slides and ancilliary equipment on his back and from town to town on foot. Please click here if you would like to read a little more about the history etc.

Our lecturer brought some of the original hand painted glass plates which would be used and several could be made to move. In pre Movie and pre Television times these must have seemed Magic indeed. He also brought and projected some early photographs and, as always, these were good.

The weather today is still cold, 39F with a 6mph SE wind. Our cavity-wall insulation must have kicked in because this morning, before we went outdoors, it seemed much warmer.

We had a thorough 'shop' at both Lidl and Morrisons because we seemed to have been putting it off so it was like provisioning a ship. Indeed we remembered to buy some citrus fruit against the risk of scurvy.

The picture on the right is a 'Minotaur' by the sculptor Johnny White. The picture was on a card received by Bob from an old friend of his. The link is to the only site I could find and I hope I've got the right chap because I don't know his work at all.

I think it is probably right because there are stylistic likeness to the pieces shown on the web-page and the glorious Minotaur on the right, beautifully photographed from a low angle showing the haughty nature of the beast and other characteristics to demonstrate male lust.

My responses to your previous comments

Yvonne ..... As Rob says below your comment, the capacity of the stadium is 6,500 so Kate Thornton's 10,000 was a little bit of slack reporting.

As you say, a wonderful evening and thanks for taking me ! Clang ! I really thought it was a joint gift to us both, and there's me muscling in on your birthday present. Those vanishing brain cells again !

Rob ..... Thanks for the definitive info on the Arena and the Panthers.

Re harumpf ..... This proved elusive. Even my Shorter Oxford fell short. My however produced the following -

Whether those elderly reprobates were actually looking 'sulky' in Mansfield Museum only you can tell. I think a more current meaning is -

An expression of disdain, disbelief, protest, or dismissal; a huff, grunt, or snort; To dislike, protest, or dismiss; An expression of disdain ...

'Huff, grunt, snort and disdain' would be about right. I can see them in my mind's eye because you chose precisely the right word. Especially if there was a magenta cast !


A quiet, keep warm, and have frequent lie-downs is called for tomorrow. Especially Y because the lurgi has her in its grip. My cough and catarhh is much better but Y is getting worse. After our mammoth shop today we don't need to go out. We have milk and potatoes so we shall survive ......

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

"The eyes of strangers
Are as cold as snowdrops ..... "

Philip Larkin

A bit of YouTube with the poem An Arundel Tomb read by Larkin himself !


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Camera Club - Magic Lantern Slides


Our 'present' of tickets to Strictly come Dancing, The Live Tour was a resounding success. Talk about 'glitzy' woweeee ! The atmosphere was great. Everything contributed, the ligthing, the quality of the seats and even, towards the end when they let off a few fireworks, the smell. The link is to the review in The Stage and I chose it because the illustration is of Vincent and Rachel who were the winners on the night.

The Judges were as on the telly - Craig, Arlene, Len, and Bruno and everyone took it seriously. The host was Kate Thornton who Y and I didn't know but apparently used to be on the X Factor, a rival show. She had recently been in trouble when hosting 'Strictly' in Newcastle and thinking she was in Liverpool. Here in Nottingham however she did an exemplary job. The write-ups on Radio Nottingham have apparently been very good.

The collage at the top is from my Nokia mobile because Y thought taking my Nikon with a long lens might have been a problem.

A final point we learnt is that Trent Arena is apart from the Ice Rink. They are part of the same complex but separate. Often in the old days it was the practice to cover over the ice and use the same area for concerts etc.

The picture on the right shows the ice-rink and the Arena is just to the right of it. Interesting with probably 10,000 people there we bumped into Joan and Chris, and also Lisa and her Mum and family.

The new arrangement is much much better and we were so pleased we are keen to go again. I had no trouble with the seating which was a surprise.

Our Lecturer at EPS this evening is Brian Davis with his Magic Lantern Slides. I feel sure I have seen him before but I coudn't find a suitable website to link you to. He has been to other clubs in the area but no site with actual details. I shall report back.

My responses to your previous comments

Rob...... I think your duplicated comment (nearly the same but not quite) was probably a result of your feeling that the first one hadn't registered. Possibly, under the new 'moderated' system it could be that I hadn't got round to clicking 'publish' which means the comment won't appear until I do.

If I had not felt the need 'not to overdo it' prior to our Strictly date I too would have been harumphing with those reprobates and could have even contributed the occasional additional harumph. They probably covered a full enough harrumphing spectrum without my twopennorth though.

Thanks for the Sports Desk coverage.

Jill ..... Baited or Bated Breath. Click here for a link which takes us absolutely nowhere, Except that Shakespeare used it. I'd have a small bet Chaucer had something to do with it. One day when ............

Best of luck with your difficult student, That is I hope you don't get landed with her.

Y is over at Burton Joyce today. I might see her at 7pm, as she walks in and I walk out on my way to the Camera Club.


"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Strictly come Dancing Tour

In the end I decided not to go WoW-ing. We had too much on.

I only show this foody-picture to sing the praises of Lidl yet again. As I have tried to stress - we don't shop there solely because its cheap but because of the high quality of certain products. Particularly 'delicatessen' stuff.

This Salami for instance is genuine Italian and gorgeous. Its carbon footprint is not good but the flavour is.

This morning we had the cavity wall insulators and it only took them around 90 minutes, but they were experts.

Another reason for the early blog is that this evening is our outstanding Xmas present - the Strictly come Dancing Tour which is this evening at the Arena (the old Ice Rink where Torvill and Dean practised) and TJ is delivering us and then bringing us home at the end. Apparently we will be allowed to vote from our seats via text message. Oh what fun. It will be great to see everyone in the flesh because we really enjoyed the TV series.

My responses to your previous comments

JBW ..... I fully accept what you say about your recommended weather-forecasting site. But I seem to remember that we have had this conversation before, at least once, and the reason I use the one I use is that it is a google gadget and can therefore be carried on my iGoogle homepage - which I have no intention of ceasing.

Helen C ..... Catching up or not, it is good to see your comments.

It is indeed a good idea to experiment with subjects differently lit. Especially when they are dormant. There are so many variations, so called "dracula lighting" where the light source is at the bottom of the frame, certainly yields drama.

Jill ...... Sorry its still chilly down there. It has seemed warmer here - until you go outside.

There is nothing worse than a student who feels at the outset that they know more than you do. My patience is too short these days - especially when not being paid ! In the end I just walk away from it, leaving no doubt as to my feelings. But I guess, like Y, you are too polite.

I regularly receive 'comments on the blog' by e-mail, but I do not refer to them. It wouldn't seem fair to real 'commentors' .

Unfortunately, just after I had posted yesterday's blog including the John Updike quote, news arrived of his death. I decided against going back into that day and editing it out - that would have seemed more disrespectful than not doing so. A great writer and a very witty and urbane man.

Quotation time .......

"Television has raised writing to a new low."

Samuel Goldwyn

"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Karen Day - Nails Day - 40F - 5 mph Southerly wind

Picture 1 is just a 'straight' photograph of our Hyacinth, and I think I prefer it to the 'good ideas' version. As is so often the case it looks more natural. In anycase, in my pictures I am usually trying for a straightforward record shot anyway.

This morning I took Y over to Carlton for her 'nails service' and left her there because she then went into Nottingham to meet Joan for lunch and to do some other bits like Bromley House and M & S.

Also this morning was a Karen day and she brought back my Victorian Mirror. This has always been around and I remember it from childhood. Some months ago, in the middle of the night I opened my bedroom window and unfortunately knocked it out where it fell onto the patio, broken into pieces.

I was lucky the glass had not broken, neither had any of the constituent parts.

I had discussed it with Karen and she felt her pal Dave would probably be able to fix it.

We do move in 'interesting' circles because Dave owns and runs a 'porn' shop (not a spelling mistake) and is also very handy. He obtained the right glue and staples and a piece of plastic to secure the back and there you are, as good as new. In future I have promised not to throw it out of the window in the middle of the night !

The lay figure lives on the window-sill anyway, so I thought he/she may as well gesture towards the mirror rather than merely stand there looking faintly embarrassed.

All being well I hope to go WoW-ing tomorrow but the weather isn't very promising. This forecast is for Mansfield and I think, having just spoken to Reg, that we may be going there to see the NEMPF Exhibition. in the Mansfield Museum and Art Gallery.

It doesn't look like 'go to Derbyshire' weather, so I will take a camera but not bother with my flask.

I recognise that I recently raided Matt but this cartoon about Members of The House of Lords taking payments for agreeing to influence amendments makes the point in his
usual withering way.

It needs absolutely no comment at all from me does it?

My responses to your previous comments.

JBW ..... Some good ideas there. Thanks.

Rob .... Ditto... And thank for the suggestions as to what to do with my hyacinth bulb !

Pleased to hear that you managed to see Bob, and Sandra and that her arm continues to heal.

I know I shall attract an attack of hornets but I sometimes think we omnivores have better 'healing characteristics' than our vegetarian colleagues.

Helen will be only too pleased to hear your blunt advice on some of her pictures. And I will certainly tell her that such advice will be valuable and constructive.

Thanks for the Sports Desk update.

Jill ....... The bulb picture you like best certainly has an Alien feel to it. I've tried unsucessfully to find on Youtube the scene in the film where the creature emerges from his chest. A moment to compare with Magwitch jumping out from behind the gravestone.

Ranunculi and Anenomes together should be nice and cheerful. Begone dull colours ! We want Spring. Y won't have Amaryllis in the house - far too phallic. When all the flowers are open they always remind me of those loudspeakers on the tops of cars at Election time.

In retrospect I wish we'd switched off the testiculating black man on the Christianity programme. I could have spent the time more usefully - like having a kip !

This evening we watched The Book Quiz on BBC iPlayer and Y was ace. She got many more than I did and often beat the panellists by succeeding where they didn't, or she was quicker.

Quotation time ....... Present company excepted, obviously !

"A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience"

John Updike

The link is as it is rather than to his Wiki page because people tend only to think of him as a novellist. He is a tidy poet too.

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"


Monday, January 26, 2009

Normal Monday - Carrot and Coriander Soup

I am not about to venture into politics but this Obama campaign-poster is of interest from an Art point of view. In my talk at EPS I said that graffiti artists are not always mindless vandals.

Some of them are but some of them can draw extremely well and are brilliant colourists. One such is Shepard Fairey who drew this poster. It has great power of line and the black, blue and red are significant to Democrats and Americans alike.

Shepard Fairey has now graduated from graffiti artist to Graphic Designer and has under his belt a Led Zeppelin cover, the advertising artwork for the Johnny Cash 'Walk the Line' film and numerous others.

Please see below on the right for the last one. But I just couldn't cram it in where it should be. Y and I both loved the film. The lead actors were excellent, and the original Johnny Cash music was great ! (See blog-post March 2nd 2006)

Today has been an odd-job day and I won't bore you with a list. We had some left-over fresh coriander from our vegetarian curry of Saturday so I decided to make Carrot & Coriander Soup. I won't publish the recipe because you've all seen it more than once. For our main meal I did Sausage & Mash, carrots, brussels, and some button-mushrooms (also left over from the curry).

Talking about food, a few days ago Reg e-mailed me a link to the UK Food Bloggers Association where scores of blogs about food are listed as you will see if you open the link. It is a 2007 posting and some of the blogs are defunct. Some however, are most interesting and I'm having great fun going through them. Often around 3am. I'm not sleeping very well again but, as always, I make the best of it. Catch up on Radio via the BBC 'listen again' facility, or BBC iPlayer if I fancy abit of telly. Plus of course plenty tea/coffee and the odd biscuit. If I get bored I can always mess about with a few pictures in Photoshop or Picasa. Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the night !

Anyway, to return to today -

Some photography was also squeezed in and the collage on the right charts my progress with the hyacinth bulb picture. My original notion was to have it bottom-lit but it isn't looking too good that way.

Constructive criticisms would be welcome. In fact 'destructive' ones would be OK too. If you feel it isn't worth pursuing please feel free to say so. I shan't become tearful.

My responses to your previous comments.

JBW ..... I think we've probably exhausted the 'competition' thread. Well, at least it has exhausted me and I would like to move on. In 'Citrine on Committees' one is always advised to propose a motion called 'next business'. Baron Citrine was the General Secretary of the TUC in 1926 at the time of the General Strike. Not that we are quite at that level yet !

Tilly (Hannah) ..... I feel sure that you now know just how much we loved our 'Full English' and my pal Roy isn't really serious when he invites himself ! He is just saying how lovely it all looked. And there's so much I never got round to mentioning. The Fresh-Fruit Salad was a cracker, and the freshly brewed 'real' coffee in the Cafetierre and so on.

The reason you finish up talking about food whenever you come on the Blog is perhaps because I talk about it so much and you are just reacting.

And I mentioned the Victorian Mini Sponge cake yesterday.

The Fantastic Five (Steve) ....... You are quite right to make sure that Lisa receives due praise. Not only for the idea, but masterminding it. At least she wasn't cowering in her 'pit' with a Proprietor-Sized hangover.

And the waiter/waitressing was superb. Joking apart mi' boy. they are a great credit too you both.

Jill ..... Like you I'm never quite sure whether the week ends or begins on Sunday. My Telegraph TV/Radio Times runs from Saturday to Friday, but I think the Banking week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday. All very confusing - rather like Easter.

Whatever it is, the 'Full English' was an excellent start/end to the week. And I bet on board ship you didn't get such personalised service accompanied by hugs and kisses.

Yesterday we watched the third part of the series Christianity a History and it was Dr Roger Beckford - a black man testiculating so much he obscured the importance of his lecture. It was good, I think, but almost impossible to watch.

As you say, the photography in things is excellent these days isn't it? And when you add in the quality of modern TV receivers the telly can be a fulfilling 'art' evening.

Roy ..... Tilly will be happy to be either Tilly or Hannah I'm sure.

We are aiming for her to come over soon for a sleepover during which she is going to sort us out with Vista and Smilies and Bluetooth (don't ask) and various other bits we don't fully understand. Y and I will take copious notes which we can subsequently share them with you.


Quotation time ..... I know I've used this quotation before .... but its so good....

"Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good"
Samuel Johnson

To use Miles's words from The Menu

"Sleep Well, Eat Well"

And here is a Smiley you might like


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Really good Sunday - Breakfast at Burton Joyce


Breakfast at Burton Joyce has at least as good a ring to it as 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' and for Y and me a damn sight more enjoyable. However for you who would like to see Audrey Hepburn again, the link is to a couple of minutes of the film. (Although Google assumed I wanted to know about the film I must just say that the original Truman Capote novel was a brilliant piece of writing. English prose at its best. The fault was mine and not Google's, I should have remembered the qualifiers and typed +book -film before pressing 'search'.)

Our breakfast invitation all worked splendidly. They had all enjoyed the Pantomime, even being sprayed with water....... Everyone slept well and when I arrived at Burton Joyce promptly at 10am there was such a surprise waiting for me ! ...... Hannah and Miles were dressed as waiters in white shirts and black trousers, and each had the traditional 'cloth-over-the-arm' and were standing in the hall just inside the door. We were ushered to our table and it was all so lovely. Please see the Menu at the top. I was really keen to include a snap of them on the blog but Y isn't happy with the publication of young-people-pictures. She is right to point out that there are some weird people about and I wouldn't dream of going against her. Probably she's right anyway - she usually is !

The snap on the left is the view from the breakfast-room down Steven's back garden. The shutters show the width of the walls and the window-ledge had had the starters, and fresh fruit-salad etc., thereon all of which had been cleared away before I took the picture.

Even little Millicent helped with clearing the table. Lovely kids and Steven and Lisa are to be congratulated !

Steve and I managed some computer-conversation and although Y and Lisa had their eyes glazing over, Hannah let us know that she understood most, if not all of it. Not surprising really because she and Miles had designed and produced the menu in 'Publisher' and I don't think I would have known how to do that. Miles was the author of the "Sleep well, Eat well..." prose on the front page.

When we arrived home I managed a chat to David because at my usual 'ring David' time I had been in transit. And 'no' that doesn't mean I've swapped the car for an old Ford Van. He is so much recovered I think he is considering going into School tomorrow and the Headmaster will be more than willing for David to be flexible over the matter of 'hours'. Sensible Headmaster. He doesn't want to lose David because Maths Masters have a certain rarity value. Rocking Horses spring to mind.

My responses to your previous comments.

JBW ..... You are certainly entitled to your view! And, were the competition the 100 metres, I would agree with you. But with 'judged' photographic/writing/or similar competitions at least one other reason for entering is the wish to have an impartial and reasoned opinion of one's work, whether you come first or last is immaterial. Another valid reason is the wish to exhibit your work to fellow photographers.

And I reiterate my quote of a day or two ago - "Focus on competition has always been a formula for mediocrity" ... Simply because competitors try to abide by the so called 'rules' currently popular with camera-club judges. Rob quite rightly often mentions this aspect and how refreshing in consequence the Beginner's Competition was. Roy made the same point in his comment a couple of days ago.

Helen C ...... Carrying on from above - I think the sort of disappointment you express is legitimate. (As indeed is JBW's) ... Also, you are fairly new to Camera Clubs and I know how much you would like to 'win'. Again, perfectly legitimate. In my opinion you will gain a lot from your RPS membership and the chance to see stimulating work over a wider field....... And in any case, as Roy pointed out, your progress so far has been excellent.

Jill ..... Strange thing with recipe-book recommended 'number of eaters' isn't it? Our veggie curry for 2/4 people would comfortably have fed 6 or even 8. Yet other times 4 can be recommended when there's barely enough for 2.

This is one reason I don't like Xanthe Clay in the Telegraph. I'm convinced she doesn't actually cook half of the stuff she prints recipes for. There were so many glaring errors I eventually gave up on her.

You are right about the camera-bag being heavy ! ..... It weighs a ton..... But I don't intend carrying it anywhere. Car boot, disability wheels (two models) certainly not walking with it on my back.

Also agree about the Julie Walters play. In fact I went further and have made a positive decision not to watch it even if Y did. My reasoning is that Julie Walters is such a brilliant actress the result would have been too harrowing for my gentle perceptions.

Similarly, I heard Sir Ian McKellen interviewed on the World Service about his King Lear. The interviewer was over-the-top in the way Sir Ian, and the Director, had brought out Lear's slow slide into Alzheimers. Sir Ian, bless him, said "Well, of course, Shakespeare had something to do with it too".

Yvonne ..... I've heard all about the Pantomime. Lovely tales. I liked the progression from water-pistol, to larger water-gun and eventually to hose-pipe !

Kenneth Alan Taylor does indeed do a superb job.

Sorry I linked you all yesterday to last years 'panto' site. Please click here for a this years write-up.

As you know I'm 100% with you over 'pantomimes' and, from what Steven said about the potential seating, I'm looking forward to coming with you next year. While I was finding the Wikipedia page to act as the link I read it. And, not only popular as we thought, in the UK but also in former Commonweath countries like Canada which leads me ............

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

"Very little is known of the Canadian country since it is rarely visited by anyone but the Queen and illiterate sport fishermen."

P. J. O'Rourke at his cutting best

If you would like to see him in action please click here - he has the ability like Auberon Waugh had to make me burst out laughing while reading his prose. But he has a serious side too.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pleasant day - enjoyed cooking the Vegetable Curry - Y to Pantomine

Picture 1 is the Vegetarian Curry of which I spoke yesterday. I enjoyed cooking it and it was a success. It even looked like the illustration in my Hairy Biker's Cookbook.

OK, I was in the kitchen maybe 1½ hours but as I enjoy it, that isn't a problem. In the kitchen I always get a lift in spirits, perhaps to do with liking cookery books and being creative. I think I like the books because they've got bright colourful pictures in them and aren't just boring old text.

If I learnt anything from the trial-run it is to cook the dish for perhaps 10 minutes less in order to retain a little more texture in the vegetables. What you can see in the pyrex is the left-overs because I had cooked the meal in my Aluguss-Brater from Lidl. I don't know how that translates but it is a large oval cooking-pot rather like a Creuset but heavyweight aluminium and not cast-iron. Whatever it is, it always does a good job.

After lunch I delivered Y to Nottingham Playhouse to see Kenneth Alan Taylor's "Jack and the Beanstalk". It is the final performance today so it will probably be very good. The Playhouse panto is always good, but the seating is so cramped as to make it impossible for me. They will enjoy all that shouting !

The collage is Reg's camera bag.

Well, actually mine now because we've done 'swaps' and he has my Lowenpro rucksack type which was good but not really suited to my needs at all. I don't need a camera bag on my back which swivels to the front to give me instant access to my camera and gear while trekking through the Derbyshire Jungle. The one illustrated is old, heavy and capacious. Sounds just right for me dunnit? I can carry it securely on my wheels and it will hold all my camera stuff. In fact there are slots available for more lenses ....... !

I love it. Real canvas, real leather edges and solid. Also, there's room for my little Asus Eee ! My cup runneth over.

I've just had a call from Debra and spoke to both Ruby and Elli who were justifiably proud of themselves having done their 200 metres swimming under examined conditions.

Well done both of you

My responses to your previous comments.

JBW ..... I don't think that anywhere did Reg express 'disappointment' at not winning. And if everybody took your recommended course to avoid 'disapointment' by not entering, Competition nights would be slender affairs.

It seem to me one should feel a duty to the Club to enter at least occasionally even with slim chances of success. I've known Reg's pictures over the years and he has produced some crackers. Not always fitting Judges' pedantic requirements but, as you know, to me that is a matter for congratulation not a lack of offering 'incentives'.

Roy ..... Thanks for an alternative view of Thursday evening.

You make good points about Rupert Brooke and you are right that the circumstances of those years must be taken into consideration. It was an horrendous time, and Brooke was quite young. He wrote some memorable lines which have entered the culture. But Wilfred Owen for instance was much the stronger poet.

.......Roy, you are the clear winner of the Radiogandy Cup for the wittiest comment of the day with your 'duck identification'. It clearly is an "Ey up Mi" ..... Any fule shud know that !

Tilly (Hannah) ...... Hope your Cookery Class went well this morning. What a busy day - cookery. then panto, then Grandma to play with. But not really messing about because she is hoping to learn about 'smileys' and Vista, and perhaps other serious things too.

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.

David (Carry on Camping) .... I think the night of the torrential rain, and floating out of the tent on our airbeds was near a little stream at the bottom of the Holymoorside approach to Beeley Moor.

And didn't we think we'd seen a ghost? A chap, standing on the bridge, at 3am, miles from anywhere in the middle of a monsoon?

Reg ...... You are quite right to remonstrate with JBW - Quite out of order ! Only light-heartedly though. See my remarks above.

Pete (Mannanan) ..... Oh dear those Broadband et al prices are a bit wince-iducing aren't they. Would a dongle from one of the phone companies work on the Island ? I pay £14 a month for the Vodafone version. It is a bit slow but you have broadband wherever you can get a Vodafone signal.

As you say - lovely place to live - you pays your money and takes your choice !

Jill ..... You most certainly have not been ex-communicated ! Your comment arrived at 6.06pm and there wasn't an earlier one. I think that Google,, and Picasa 3, have been going through one of their occasional 'glitchy' periods. Must be the weather.

Glad you liked 'Testiculating'. I shall beaver away at a similar term for women. The trouble is the requirement for it to be printable in a family blog !


Tomorrow I'm going over to Burton Joyce to collect Y and I have been invited to breakfast at 10am. Looking forward !

No real room for a quote tonight so ......

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"


Friday, January 23, 2009

40F and 6mph NW wind - Shopping

Must start today with a reference to yesterday, when I collected Y from Burton Joyce.

There was only one of Hannah's scones left and it was toasted for me when I arrived to accompany a mug of tea. I broke a bit off because Y hadn't tasted them either. Thanks Hannah - delicious ! Anytime you want .........

Today we had a prompt start and even so the supermarkets were busy. We did Lidl first because we needed frozen chips for our Friday fish & chip lunch, then we braved Morrisons. Sod's law I think, because we encountered a lengthy queue at each checkout but by the time we were through, all the queues had vaporised and people weren't having to queue at all. The fish was also from Lidl and was first rate.

Our shopping also included ingredients for a vegetarian curry from my Hairy Biker's Book (Christmas present) and it looks good. The only item which proved elusive was curry leaves. I used to grow it in the greenhouse but no more - no greenhouse for a start !

The idea is to cook it for ourselves as a test-run. As hosts of some experience we realise the dangers of cooking an untried recipe for guests.

Picture 2 is a collage of some of Jill and Ro's holiday snaps and they give a good feel for your trip Jill.

You clearly had a welcome respite from this very cold winter we are having.

When I saw the TV News at lunchtime there was the statutory piece about elderly people unable to afford to have their heating on. T'was ever thus wasn't it? Over the decades I seem to have regularly seen this TV stuff. The simple fact is that old people are reluctant to spend money on keeping their homes warm irrespective of how much money the government throws at the problem. They won't take taxis either - yet a taxi fare split 4 ways if they went shopping together would be most reasonable. Mini-rant over !

My responses to your previous comments.

Jill ...... When I sort out my guillotine you will be one of the first I contact for candidates. They don't have to be national figures - there are one or two locals too. And all you and Y and Helen C and Madeline will need to say is "Off with his/her head"

You are right to feel it is milder. Google tells me that in North London today it should have been 45F (7C) - but with a 13mph SE wind to contend with it wouldn't feel too cosy outdoors.

I think you may have hit the nail on the head with the duck ID. It is probably, as you say, a common or garden farmyard duck. I can mangle adjectives with experts.

Roy might come up with the definitive answer when he reads the blog and sees the picture.

Reg ..... I think we've now 'got it' with the info on Sky. And the 'paws' facility must be very handy. The only reason we stick with Virgin Media is because of the TV, Phone, and Broadband package at £30. But it isn't very reliable and Y often says (after yet another shutdown and reboot) we should give Sky a whirl.

Just an aside, having recently watched a TV journalist on an outside broadcast, on WebUser forums there was new word for 2009. ..... Testiculating : waving your hands about and talking b****ks.

Younger readers should not worry about the above sentence - it's old folks humour.

I'm glad the competition went well and my commiserations on your not being placed.

And using my response to you, as a suitable spot - Congratulations Mike H ! I shall no doubt see the pictures sometime during the year.

KevinB ...... Congratulations ! I think I must steel myself and brave another competition evening, even if I don't enter anything myself.

I'm also pleased to hear of such good work from our recent joiners. Did our young ladies enter stuff ?

Quotation time ....... I tried to find a relevant quote - and this caught my eye .....

"Focus on competition has always been a formula for mediocrity"

Daniel Burrus

I hadn't come across this chap before but he is impressive - I actually found time to read his blog - we bloggers must stick together.

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Short blog - feeling tired - 38F

The blog might not be short, as per headline, because once I get tapping away my energy levels seem to rise.

Both pictures tonight are collages. Picasa seems to work fine on my big PC but not on my new notebook. The notebook simply doesn't like Picasa, or vice versa and I might discuss it with Staples where I bought the machine. It also has a tendency to shut-down unbidden. Instead of going into 'screensaver mode' it merely closes down altogether. And before anyone advises it, I have checked and double checked the settings both on the hardware and the programme.

Collage 1 is from our very own Jill and shows the lovely accommodation on their recent cruise. Ro is imitating the customary 50p piece and is there to show scale ! It all looks great Jill. I know the weather wasn't perfect but I think you both had a good time.

The second collage is from our visit yesterday to Codnor Park Reservoir where I didn't know about the black & white 'duck' ? which all the time was with a group of other birds, mostly Mallards. Grandson Miles 7 yrs has the ID problem in hand but he was only working from my verbal description and I thought the picture would help. Also of course, on the day, I should have asked Roy who I was later standing with in the Car Park but I forgot. I must remember my Blueberries !

Today has been a 'Y over to Burton Joyce day' and I agreed to collect her. The weather has been foul and it is still so cold I don't like to think of her standing at a bus-stop in the dark. Steven is away anyway because he often runs her into town. Another reason is that at EPS it is a judged-competition ! Need I say more !

Debra rang and we had a lovely lengthy chat ! Although their credit-crunch predicament doesn't ease, as she says, all their friends are in the same boat which must make it easier to bear.

My responses to your previous comments.

Reg ..... I will go and have a look for the article you describe but I seem to have been busy doing s*d all. Because I was hoping to put an extract in the blog. But PDF files aren't easy. The best way I've found is to get the words on screen, then do a screen-print and treat it like text even though it is a picture.

Jill will find your words helpful and re-assuring. As non-Sky users I don't know what you mean with the 'purse feature'?

JBW ...... Thanks for your encouraging words about a future lecture. Rob and I will certainly discuss it.

Jill ..... Glad you are getting on well with Sky. We have experts at this end if you get stuck.

I hope your 10C worked out. Personally I prefer 50F - old stick-in-the-mud that I am. Still not warm enough for bees who demand 56F. I recently e-mailed Pete (Mannanan) about it - I used to keep bees you see.

Glad you and Helen C have reached peace over the knitting-question. I'm just hoping you will knit for us, while I man the guillotine come the revolution. You are provisionally cast for the role of Madame Defarges

David ....... A bit out of sync because your comments on earlier blogs have just arrived. I tend to agree with you about the present financial crises. One of the senior International Currency dealers said on the radio this morning "Sterling is finished - how dare they force your tax-payers to bail out a couple of thousand greedy and inexperience young bankers who got you into this mess? Just so they can carry on driving their Maseratis".

Also can't fault you on comment 2 about the memory-stick. What I need is a USB port in my head to plug it into !

Quotation time .....

"It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!"


I know how he felt - I have the same problem with shopping lists and a memory stick.

Quiet day tomorrow. Perhaps a little shopping, a little cooking, some radio, some newspaper and crossword puzzle, some reading, some computer, some kip - that sort of day !

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WoW at Whatstandwell - then Codnor Reservoir

A most pleasant WoW day with a good turnout of 7. We went first to the Cromford Canal at the Whatstandwell end and the chaps enjoyed a good, if muddy walk starting along the Canal towpath. The link takes you to the Derbyshire CC site about the Canal in general.

See Picture 1, although this was looking back towards where the cars were parked. The light was good and a nicely romantic sort of mistiness over the more distant trees. Reg tells me there are distant plans to desilt and open up the section I have illustrated.

We had our chip-cob at the Cliff Inn at Crich and the link is to the best website I could find but I'm afraid it isn't very good. The site doesn't do the pub justice. The landlady has been in the pub for ages and the chip-cobs are first rate. Also, some interesting beer which I heard the chaps discussing.

Their walk wasn't too long, neither was lunch, and now the days are just that little bit longer we decided to visit Codnor Park Reservoir during our return journey. A sanctuary for water-fowl and anglers by the look of it. And only a couple of miles from Brinsley. Terry, whose first day out with us it was, swapped cars so I didn't need to drive back to Reg's to drop him off. He really enjoyed himself too.

Y also had a good day and managed a quick trip down to Nottingham. She needed to go to Bromley House and a couple of other visits and says what a boon her MP4 player is, as an anti loudy and screaming kids.

After I'd sorted my pictures out I managed an hour's quick kip and then felt in the mood for preparing tea. We finished off yesterday's 'spagbol' so preparation wasn't onerous. Then we had Lidl rice-pudding which was great and in my case with a big dollop of raspberry jam in the middle !

My responses to your previous comments.

JBW ..... Good point about 'where do I keep my PC to go with the memory-stick'? I know you ask in jest. The memory stick is suprisingly useful.

Sorry I had to reject your second comment, because the ball-point pen cum memory stick sounds an excellent idea. But, if I had accepted your second 'comment' I would be morally bound to accept multiple submissions from everyone else too. Anyway, you were kind enough to e-mail me saying you fully understood.

Rob ..... Ha Ha ! Good joke. I really need a memory stick which I can ring, to give me a clue where the car keys are don't I? This is getting complicated.

Next time we chat we must discuss 'Son of an Evening with .....' I'm not anti because there is so much easily understood stuff I could continue with. And I know that you, plus Elaine of course, keep churning good pictures out ! The pin-hole stuff was very interesting and would stand further exposition.

Glad you had such a good time at Sileby ! And Gianpiero Ferrari sounds as if he will be interesting at EPS.

It is good to have Jill back from her cruise isn't it. Pictures have been promised.

Helen C ..... Ha Ha ! witty you. It will be good when you are back to WoW-ing. I'm sure Jill won't take offence about 'knitting' - she is an expert, a member of groups, and prominent in the field. And, when she tells us all about it, she and her 'knitting chums' seem to have a great time. Alcohol is regularly consumed which I'm sure adds to it.

Kevin B ..... I was almost sure it was Brian Hanrahan. And, if you read Jill later on she says that, although the quote was mentioned, the lecturer didn't claim it as his own.

Jill .... The consensus seems to support your view about the 'UK map' sky. Almost certainly 'improved'.. Isn't it a shame. You can't trust anything at all.

My guess is that you will be delighted with Sky. We know several very happy users. And Ro will love the 'sports coverage'.

Thanks for further info about your holiday. You certainly had lots of choice of things to do. The idea of the tickets lasting all day is good, even if one trip lasting all day would be a bit heavy for us. We like 'doing our own thing' but tour-operators are usually most co-operative. On one holiday of ours the coach driver, setting off with our fellow-guests on a full day tour, dropped Y and me off at the Rijksmuseum in the morning. Neither of us had actually seen The Night Watch. We had a full day there and eventually made our own way back to the Hotel. Quite an adventure.

Sorry about the sexist quote. But anyway the author was a woman ! I guess that makes it worse ?


Quotation time ........

"Museums, museum, museums, object lessons rigged out to illustrate unsound theories .........................."

D. H. Lawrence

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mostly fine - 40F but feels colder

Picture 1 is from The Express which David saved for me because it caught his eye. If the image has not been tampered it is really incredible. As all photographers know, clouds seldom stay in the same formation for more than a few seconds. You would have to whip your camera out quickly, or in my case nip indoors or to the car boot to get it - or perhaps he used his mobile phone ?

Readers opinions as to its veracity will be welcome.

Picture 2 is more straightforward. But I think lots of people may already do this.

I've attached a 4GB memory-stick to my car keys. I'll call it new idea 6,331...! But if someone comes back and says "I've been doing that for years" my blog-post can be edited accordingly.

Far be it from me to claim originality where none exists.

Our Ikea browse was successful and we found at least some of the things we were looking for. A new microwave jug with lid, 2 lightweight lager glasses, a jazzy cushion for the Office and a new, equally jazzy duvet cover for my bedroom. I won't bore you with the new loo seat. A suitable white plastic plate-drainer for the draining board however proved elusive.

Y is watching the Inauguration of President Obama and I'm sure it is very moving. One can't help having renewed hope for the world with such an impressive and obviously intelligent man in the job which is so important to the world. The Times online seemed the best coverage, so that is what I've linked you to. Mind you Y tells me that Aretha Franklin was a little high on the cringe-scale.

With regard to our own indigenous financial straits Matt, as always, aims his dagger directly to the right spot and hits it unerringly.

As I always attribute his work, and only pilfer stuff perhaps half a dozen times a year, I feel sure he won't object. And we do pay for the paper, not just nick material online.

As he always does, he identifies problems.

How dare these greedy bankers who, through bad business decisions, have got themselves into a mess, expect to be bailed-out by the tax-payer ? And you know in advance none of them will be honourable enough to resign.

When Y (as Grandma) apologised for forgetting something while over at Burton Joyce, or on Google Chat to Tilly (Hannah) Tilly told her, very seriously, that blueberries are recommended for older people with memory problems - although they can take 3 months before having an effect. So, while we were shopping in Lidl, we bought a punnet ! In three months time we'll report back. If we remember !

My responses to your previous comments.

Jill ..... I'm surprised that Michael Nicholson claims the authorship of the "I counted them out and I counted them back" comment because I'm fairly sure it was Brian Hanrahan. I remember hearing him say it and thinking 'WoW that's pretty good'.

But I suppose I could be wrong - it has been known.

Your other lectures sound good too. But I'm not surprised the finger print man had a problem ............ The subject matter is rather boring anyway.

As Y says "Jill tells it like it is". I'm referring to the food/fish. Of those that you mention we agree completely. Pollock is a load of 'pollocks' - likewise coley. I don't think we've yet sampled Mai Mai or Atlantic Char. I note you say your Catfish was nice, so, if we spot it we'll give it a go.

Yvonne ...... It does sound some cruise doesn't it? And with their accommodation being so good too.

You are right to praise Brian's books about Nottingham - they are good. I keep sneaking a look, without moving your bookmark.

And, as you have already told Jill "the lady in the kitchen IS knitting". I sort of remember you asking Helen. However one creates a 12th scale model of knitting I don't know. Can't be easy. No doubt Reg knows about it - with his modelling interests.


Quotation time .......

"Women like to sit down with trouble as if it were knitting"

Ellen Glasgow

Ellen Glasgow was a Pulitzer Prize winner, and is best known in the USA. As to her opinion, the views of lady readers would be valued. Mind you, if we have any gentlemen knitters ........................

....We are WoW-ing tomorrow. But where ? hasn't yet been decided. And I don't know who is going either. Meet up as normal at Reg's.

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"

I think this ending line is a new one

Monday, January 19, 2009

Long Eaton Visit - Cold, showery day - 35F - South Westerly at 3 mph


We had a lovely morning over at Long Eaton. Nice coffee with David and Helen and we learnt all about the Dolls House and the pleasure it gives Sky and Brooke, not to mention their Mum and Dad by the sound of it. Although they do play with DS they prefer the Dolls House. They actually make things for it, it isn't just a matter of re-arrangeing commercially bought furniture,

As you look at the collage, the small frame, 2nd in, top row left, are some wedding gowns which seem to be Brooke's speciality. and the large frame top right, shows bread and confectionary they have made - the 50p piece is for scale. David pointed out that he had made the shelf on which the cakes are displayed. Man's work - shelf-making. Helen told us what the breads are made of, but I've forgotten. Perhaps a helpful comment might be added? The room in the bottom right corner is 'favourite room' and a 'special piece' is the display cabinet at the rear with the lady standing behind it. I hope the photo is good enough for you to see.

I really wished I had my Nikon with me. But I didn't take it and the snaps were taken with my mobile phone.

The tulips on the right have now actually gone but they were that lovely colour which it so difficult to pin a name to. Too light for purple, too dark for mauve and I can never quite decide what 'puce' is. Perhaps bishop's shirt colour.

My responses to your previous comments

Jill ..... A warm welcome back ! Figuratively warm that is because temperature-wise you have obviously been warmer on your cruise. It has been viciously cold here for a prolonged period and I bet you are delighted that your central-heating has been fixed.

Your suite on board sounds fabulous. And you both found good things to do. Were the lectures about where you were going? Or were they more wide-ranging - Art and Architecture etc. ? I know the food on cruises is excellent and I'm pleased you enjoyed it so much.

I know Y is/has e-mailed you with our news in greater detail.

Thanks for your kind thoughts about David. He really is much better but his doctor has told him not to over-tire himself and lengthy periods of inactivity are prescribed. I try to set him a good example.

Tilly (Hannah) ...... The scones sound 'yummy yummy good for your tummy' but I hope one or two lasted long enough to have their photos taken.

Our readers would enjoy a picture.


Quotation time .......

"Here tulips bloom as they are told/
Unkempt among those hedges blows/
An unofficial English Rose"

From The Old Vicarage, Grantchester - Rupert Brooke

I've always found his poetry abit sugary and over contrived - "Stands the Church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea?" and all that jazz. By they way Lord and Lady Archer now own and live in The Old Vicarage.

But I wanted a quote including 'tulips'.

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"