Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mild Tuesday - 58F - No Wind - Karen's Day

I tried for ages to position these two collages on the same line but I admit defeat. Life's too short etc......

Collage 1 is the finalé of 'Basil Rooting for Helen LE'. The picture reads clockwise 2,1,3 - but that is a compromise because 1, 2, 3 proved too complicated.

n.b. Cue for Mnemonic -

"Big Elephants Can't Always Understand Small Elephants".

The x2 converter I bought on ebay for £5.60 plus £5 p.p. arrived this morning and forms the subject of collage 2. A preliminary play reveals it to be completely manual, but that's fine for the purposes I intend for it. If I was doing sports photography it would be useless but with my birds I can set it up before-hand and wait for the bird to alight.

I hope to use it primarily with an old Vivitar 200mm prime giving me an effective lens length of 400mm plus the digital compensation.

Today, of course, was a Karen day and shortly after she arrived we nipped out. Special bulbs were required from Ikea and it made sense to avail ourselves of free coffee. Other things presented themselves, as they do, and we came away with plant-pot saucers, picture frames etc.

Then we went into Eastwood. We both needed slippers from Jonathon James and I wanted to buy something more robust for walking than ordinary shoes. These boots are just right. Laced up as far as shown, I can wear them as slip-ons. They are remarkably comfortable too.

I had an e-mail from John telling me that Laura and Joe had arrived safely in Mumbai. At 43C, he said the 'heat can only be described as undescribable'.

What a big adventure.

Full 'news day' today because we have discovered Quorn - already discussed last week with Helen and Bill and blogged about.

I cooked a spag/bol and we both thought it delightful. The bolognese sauce was basically a Ragu Traditional together with chopped onion, crushed garlic, and at the end loads of fresh basil and grated parmesan. Melted in the mouth - and at least as good as, if not better than the beef mince alternative.

Defintely acceptable to us for future meals. I must research recipes.

I've decided against WoW-ing tomorrow. The chaps are going down Nottingham to have a look at canals, and are getting there via the tram - which makes sense. But I would have to deal with my wheels on the tram and then steps at the railway station end. Discretion is the better part etc.......

My responses to your previous comments

Ray ...... Great to have a comment from you Ray. And I love the blog man with his megaphone. Thanks again. n.b. for other readers, Ray is 'Ourstanley' on WebUser forums and he has helped me and so many others, so much with computer matters. Originally he sent me a tutorial to explain about 'links' - I couldn't understand why mine went blue autonatically and I thought that was it !

Yvonne ...... I know I've got a whole room as an office, but you love your chosen spot. And your laptop, now you are becoming more accomplished.

Pete ..... The navigational mnemonics are great. Nobody is going to forget 'True Virgins Make Dull Company' are they ? I haven't a clue about the subject matter but I shall remember the mnemonic.

Jill....... I think having an 'office' spot is important, irrespective of size.

I love the narcissus that come multi headed. And for some strange reason their scent always seems more noticeable.

JBW ..... See above re Offices. Coal shed sounds fine. Especially if things are 'slack'. I was in London when the 'Miners Strike' broke out, and when I returned to Notts I found that my office had been requisitioned and all my stuff put outside in the corridor. Oh, the indignity !

Bob..... It is amazing where surgeons can find to 'insert telescopes' . Oh, the indignity ! again. Like the sound of your Aldi/Lidle...etc...mooch.

The other end is always open to misinterpretation n'est ce pas ?

I eventually worked out the mnemonic, but not easy.

Prawns aren't high in calories, but very high in Cholesterol.


Another cartoon from Squiffy's Multiple Sclerosis Site

"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"



Monday, March 30, 2009

Good Monday - 52F - little wind - feels cold though

These are nice to look at from Yvonne's Office, at the other end of the bungalow.

I was helping her with something this morning and took a snap.

The variety, I think, is either Jack Snipe, or Tête à Tête. As I've said before Y is very good with bulbs and at the moment the garden is a picture for lovers of daffs and narcissus. To estimate the number of different varieties at 30 plus, would not be an exaggeration.

Picture 2 is some narcissus in Y's woodland area and for a short time span each morning the sun shines between us and the neighbours and illuminates them.

We have both done a lot this morning and I'm afraid it is backaches-ville. I finished off sorting-out the printers. The HP one was difficult to uninstall but I finally managed it. And then re-installed it which took ages. Just glad I did it on the PC - on the laptops I would still be waiting !

I've also done good work with the WoW Picasa Web Albums. The pictures from Trent Bridge, Monsal Dale, and Cromford are now amalgamated into one Album. It will be simplicity itself in the future to add to it.

Carrying on the Mnenomic thread -
Y has contributed - "Does It Always Run Regularly Hourly or Every Afternoon .

Everybody at some time has suffered but few can spell it. So, there's a method.

My blood test was this morning and, so far, I haven't had a call from the clinic. This is a good sign. It means I shan't have to be admitted and it will be next Monday at least before another test.

The appearance of AnnonymousAnne on the blog is due to her posting a problem on WebUser forums about trouble she was having with the blog-comments system (now resolved fortunately). I suggested that, as a test piece she was welcome to leave a comment on Radiogandy, even if she only said 'boo'. So she did.

My responses to your previous comments

Rob ..... Lovely to have you back. We've missed your acerbic wit and the Sports Desk updates, although Bob has struggled manfully to fill in, and all within his irksome word-limit.

Mind you, I think my position was justified when I heard on Andrew Marr this morning, in a piece about 'oratory' that The Gettysburg Address was 229 words long. Just outside the limit I'm afraid - I would have to have rejected it !

I don't know if A. A. Milne was dyslexic. but I think Pooh Bear and Eyeore might have been.

Your liking of Thai food is noted. Do you do any Thai cooking? I have a small jar of Green Thai Curry paste, bought in a frivolous moment and now I don't know what to do with it. Just watch it fellas !

Thanks for the Panthers updates. We haven't seen Margaret, Lachs' grandma, for some weeks so we haven't any inside stories to share with you.

Jill ..... Yes, I meant extensive, thinking of the ex Eastern bloc countries like Slovenia etc. But I'm sure you are right that they are expensive too.

'Google images' found me the Mrs Bullfinch picture and I can't attribute it because we weren't told the author. The bird though, seems to be running true to form by wrecking somebody's fruit buds.

Until I saw the picture I couldn't really visualise 'taupe' but now I understand it. I am sure she does visit the garden and I must be sure to be camera-ready in the morning.

Bob..... Glad your fishpie was a wow ! Mine has a potato crust on top which goes lovely dappled brown and gold. I make it in a large oval earthenware crock which is attractive to dib into, with a large serving spoon. It's certainly fattening - butter in all sorts of places, cream, prawns - need I say more ?

Your expansion of my Europe definition was spot on. Except for Israel ? Explain please !

I hope you don't mind me sharing (I know it should be 'my' sharing, but please....) my handiwork with your portrait. I'm quite proud of it.

Yvonne ..... You DO look like a pixie when Alannah/John/Laura stoop down to give you a hug. I'm glad you didn't use 'gnome' - unfortunate connotations. Elf would have been OK though.

I agree - I'm sure Jill started you off on Precious Ramotse. Alexander McCall Smith has recently read some of his own stuff on radio, and very good it has been too. He sounds like an extremely nice chap.

AnnonymousAnne ...... Reg will be pleased you liked the look of his Tiger Bread. - Don't hesitate to visit us again. We have wide-ranging discussions from photography, though cookery and all the way to knitting.

I've tried to explain above how you arrived in the first place.


I hope this cartoon isn't too sexist. It's from Squiffy's Multitple Sclerosis Website

"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"


And thanks Ray for this one, its a beaut !


Sunday, March 29, 2009

John's visit - 48F and no wind - still cold though

John called over with Laura and Alannah. It was lovely to see them and I deliberately didn't take pictures. The girls are so beautiful and I suspect I would have embarrassed them. So I contented myself with this 'exit off-stage right' shot on my mobile.

It was great to hear all the news. Tomorrow Alannah is back at University and Laura and Joe set off on their 'trek' . Some places, like Russia, they have to be there on a particular date. But with Europe of course no restrictions apply. And Europe is so extensive nowadays isn't it? We all look forward to a bulletin, with pictures, when she feels appropriate.

Alannah is working hard at Uni. She is reading English Lit. and wow, what a reading list ! It sounds like a great course though and super for her. Y and I are envious !

Picture 2 is Reg and Maureen's home baked Tiger Bread.

All I can say is that the loaf looks very professional to me. Just like it looks in a Supermarket but I bet tens it tastes a lot better.

Another thing I mustn't forget is to thank Brian S re my Epson printer. I followed exactly the steps he suggested to resurrect it. Result - the printer now works perfectly and produces scans like it did when new. Thanks Brian !

Another restful day and although my 'weather page' tells me we have a 5mph SW wind, it is in fact quite still. Doesn't stop the cold though. Nice chat with David this morning. I was late ringing him. Although I remembered about the clocks I went back to sleep and my mobile reminder to ring him didn't work because my mobile was an hour slow. Caught up with their news too and they were going to a shadow-puppet show later in the day.

My responses to your previous comments

Bob ..... When the bullfinch re-appears I shall provide him with a google-map to Boughton. I didn't know they were partial to black-currants. When we lived at Mansfield we had a small (4 trees) orchard and the bullfinches were unpleasantly keen on the centres of apple-blossom. In the end I bought an old air-rifle - only to scare them off, obviously.

Re Cartoon pedantry. I didn't realise cartoon characters were supposed to have studied Fowler's English Usage. Dennis The Menace will have to re-enrol at Bash Street School. Anyway as Helen points out, 'of' was quite correct in the context.

Thanks for the Sports Desk update. David got up early to watch the Australian Grand Prix. And Sky got up with him. That's nice.

Yvonne..... As you know, I agree. I think Bob has failed to read it correctly and Helen is correct. And, as you imply, I thought that, in cartoons anything goes.

Jill .... I don't know whather Mrs Bullfinch was around or not. From your description I shall have a more careful look next time he appears. I'm sure one of my reference books has a picture of the female. And there's always google-images isn't there?

Glad your cod worked out. And No! our salmon was sauce-free. 'Obesity-clinic' for me and Y isn't at all keen on sauces, or even gravy.

I don't think the East Midlands has graduated to carvery meats in cuboid form yet. Our local carveries always seem to carve from an actual joint of meat. Surely if it's pressed into a cuboid shape it is probably re-formed meat ? - horror of horrors.

Helen C ..... As with Boughton - when the bullfinch returns I shall instruct him to fly a few hundred yards South West and look out for your place. A google-map shouldn't be necessary.

Re Chatsworth .... As you know my first quarrel with the new duke was moving Elisabeth Frink's magnificent War-Horse into the courtyard with that silly little chain round it. That and massive price- hikes !

Anyway. Hope you and Julian have had a good day and a walk. Nice that yesterday's wind stilled, even if only temporarily I am assured.


Quotation time .....

"My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places"

A. A. Milne

I have decided against a cartoon today lest it contain spelling or grammatical errors.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday rest-day - John's birthday - N wind at 10mph

I'm hovering between 'synchronicity' and 'serendipity' in connection with the bullfinch picture.

It's some months since we had a visit and then, the day after missing Peter and Joan's, here we are. A bullfinch. Whether or not when appearing at Peter's he had been told "Get you over to Brinsley straight away!" and, being a God-fearing bullfinch .......

Nice record-shot though. Not a NEMPF winner due to the surrounding crud and, the background isn't sufficiently blurred. But I like to have some idea of the surroundings - good or bad.

My eldest son John is 50 today. WoWee - getting old or what? And he has only days to go before retirement. He is putting his birthday money towards a canoe - and there just happens to be a canoe-selling day today at Home Pierrepont. It's called a Paddlefest From the link it looks like a fun day. But crikey ! I just wish it was warmer for them. A 10mph N wind and it feels vicious here - I shudder to think what it's like at West Bridgford. A paddlefest ! Did I start something with the Sausage-fest ?

Picture 2 is Y's 'posh' book from Cromford.

A quick peek reveals she's reached page 68 and is just starting about Sophocles and Antigone. Although thoroughly enjoying some serious reading again, as she says, "Not a Saturday afternoon book."

For lunch I grilled fresh salmon fillets again with some steamed veg. and new potatoes. The variety was Exquisa and what Boulestin described as 'of the waxy type'. It isn't a bad idea to cook more than you need because, from the fridge, a quick tasty meal can be rustled up toute suite. For pudding Y did sliced banana and greek yoghurt. Sharp and delicious.

Before we leave pictures, here is our minuscule parsley patch which I have successfully over-wintered. Not enough to make parsley sauce for ten I suppose, but handy for the odd garnish. Such a pretty fresh colour I always think. And one can understand the old Derbyshire euphemisim "Having a poke around in the Parsley-Patch".

My responses to your previous comments

Jill .
.... There has been a splurge of £3.50 carveries in this area. But I guess in London you would expect to pay more. They vary quite dramatically. The best is probably Chatsworth - but not at £3.50. The Farm Shop is first rate and not exorbitantly expensive. At least it wasn't when answerable to the Dowager Duchess. We haven't been since the new Duke took over.

I hope your steamed cod-loins were a success. Cod usually is. It's the right time of year for inshore catches. The M&S sandwich fillers sound good, probably too good for me, trying to make 'obesity-clinic' gestures.

Bob ..... You are right to ask 'does anyone under 50 eat broken biscuits?' I used to enjoy buying a bag-full of assorted broken biscuits at the Grocers. 6p a 1lb seems to ring a bell. And that's a lot of biscuits.

Rather like shoe-cleaning with polish and brushes. I don't think anyone under 50 has even heard of it being done !

Glad you managed to change your 'desktop'. The random slide-show you describe is called a 'screen saver'. It should vanish as soon as you touch the keyboard or move the mouse. It's a hang-over from CRT days when an unchanged image would 'burn' itself onto the screen. It doesn't happen anymore but people have grown to enjoy the random slide-show or whatever other screen-saver they decide upon.

Fish pies always seem to be fattening. I've got a favourite recipe too. Not Delia surprisingly enough. Blackberry & Apple pie is a bit out-of-season isn't it? Consider your carbon footprint my boy. Apples certainly OK, and I suppose the blackberries could be from the freezer.


Quotation time .......

"Weather forecast for tonight: dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning"

Here is today's cartoon from The Multiple Sclerosis Squiffy Website

"Sleep tight - but Daylight Saving means - remember to put your clocks ON one hour with effect from 1am"

The old adage is 'Spring forward, Fall back"


Friday, March 27, 2009

Nice lunch - Long tailed tits - Cold West wind


The lead picture is a collage of two of Peter and Joan's Long Tailed Tits which visit every day at regular hours. One of which coincided with our visit for coffee. They favour this shrub just outside P and J's back window and are tame enough to ignore you even though you are maybe no further than 6 to 8 feet away. Although the one on the left is the prettier picture, the one behind the fat-ball is sharper.

Apparently we just missed the Bullfinch or I would have had even more for my collection. The 'girls' (Dorothy and Joan, sisters and both in their 80s) came too. They are both great; marbles firmly in position and excellent company.

The long standing plan was to all meet at Peter's and then go for lunch at the Woodend Pub at Huthwaite which Peter spoke highly of. The link is the best one I could find but, as is so often the case, no picture. So just as well I stopped in the car park and took my own.

Carvery meals can vary but I have no hesitation in recommending this one. Decently cooked meats, succulent and fresh, and the vegetables too were v.good. Without any criticism intended of the meal I left some of mine uneaten. 'Obesity-Clinic' advice is, when you are full, stop eating. So I did. I shall learn by experience to take less meat and put less veg on my plate, and then I can follow our generation's injunction about clearing ones plate. I know Bob wasn't brought up under this rule but I think most of us were.

While in the pub we experienced the gamut of an English March Day. Dull and gloomy, full sun beating on the back of Dorothy's neck, rain, and those semi-hailstones that are like lentil sized white polystyrene. Plus of course, the wind. Then back to dull and gloomy.

n.b. Apologies Helen C. I intended to check out the vegetarian options - but I forgot !

Everyone realised I am going through a bad patch and were sympathetic but they are such good friends I didn't have to don a brave face. We were due to entertain Joan and Chris, and Derek and Betty to a slow-cooked beef-casserole tomorrow. But Y, bless her, seeing how I am, rang round and explained about the pain-killers and my blood INR level and had no difficulties postponing the occasion. They too are good friends of long-standing. Y knows I would have struggled through it rather than let her down, but sometimes she displays angel-like qualities.

This morning I noticed on the kitchen window-sill that the Basil cutting has put out a tentative little root. Exactly seven days since we were over at Long Eaton and I promised to root a Basil for her. Good old reliable Minette (the variety) but I know other Basils root with equal facility.

I spoke to Reg about Picasa WebAlbums and then went for a kip. Since I got up I've printed some pictures for Yvonne, from her recent London trip. She likes up-to-date ones for her room.

My responses to your previous comments

Yvonne .... I fully accept what you say about your photography but over the years you have taken some crackers.

Much better than some of the NEMPF Exhibition pictures of Thursday night. The consensus was that although there were some outstandingly good images there were too many that weren't. In fact there were too many, full stop. The programme would have gained by being edited by at least a third. A terribly 'dated' approach to photography and they desperately need some new blood with new ideas. thats enough photography. editor.

I fully share Rob's position. <- A typo correction there. I had written Rob's 'postion'. And I'm not sure if he even has one.

..... In spite of the criticisms above, I actually enjoyed Thursday evening. Lots of good 'chat'.

Re the cod loin - although we successfully grilled salmon fillets a few days ago, I decided to steam the cod. It needed around 20 minutes and I managed to transfer them from steamer to plate in whole pieces. The result was good and the flakes separated nicely but were cooked through.

Thanks for the peach tree in blossom. Excellent series of pictures.

Bob .... Y is pleased her 'hazy church picture' found favour. And Yes ! The Casio, complete with rubber bands to hold the batteries in.

Your 'non-expert' opinion of the NEMPF Exhibition was precisely shared by the 'experts'. And your epithet 'Why bother ?' is particularly well placed.

I wasn't trying to purloin the puffball source of some vegetarian food. I knew I had heard it and it was obviously you.


Here is today's offering from The Mutliple Sclerosis Squiffy Website

Quotation time ..... semi-continuing the 'thread' about processing conversations.....

"If I look confused it is because I am thinking."

Rather than to Wikipedia or anything the link behind his name will take you to a Youtube Trailer of his film 'Angel Face' With Jean Simmons being particularly evil.

"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Typical Thursday - 49F - W at 9mph - Y at BJ

The picture on the left is one of Yvonne's.

I had installed myself in the car and didn't want to get out again, just before we left the car park at Cromford Mill. So I asked Y if she would nip out and take a photo of the Church through all the shrubbery.

This was the result and I love it. It so sets the time of year with the daffs and just a hint of green on the trees. In a month you won't be able to see the Church at all for the foliage.

Likewise with picture 2 which is looking from Cromford Mill towards the distant hills. You can just see the hole in the wall where the gate was (centre bottom) and you can imagine the hundreds of thousands of people over the years who have been so happy to see this view at the end of a shift.

My viewpoint is high to exclude the atmosphere-wrecking cars.

Today has been a rest-day although I am going to EPS this evening. The NEMPF Exhibition is being shown and it will be an interesting evening. I know we have at least one member with accepted work. Y, as usual has been over at Burton Joyce and I dropped her at the tram this morning after collecting an undelivered package from the GPO place. We were quite let down when we discovered it was a pile of National Trust Secretarial stuff. Eventually it will end !

My responses to your previous comments

Pete ..... Thanks for your good wishes. My INR level has done this sort of thing before. It is usually associated with some medication change and I have recently had my Fentanyl patches strength changed. I guess it is that.

Bob ..... Unfortunately I missed Heston Blumenthal. I heard his name in the pub yesterday lunchtime and I guess it was that programme they were discussing. My ability to process 3 conversations at the same time is diminishing. Nowadays I can only manage 2.

Alyssum is unfortunately close to asylum don't you think ? I'm not going to set any this year, just in case.

I suspect I knew about the 'puffball' source of some vegetarian foods but hadn't associated it with Quorn.

Jill ..... You are right. Not even one chip - tempting though they were, served in a communal rectangular crock which was passed round.

The wall with the alyssum was very sheltered and seemed in full sun at midday.

I agree that the use of the word 'loin' in fish seems something of a misnomer, this linked picture shows exactly what they looked like though.

Witty old you - about the blackbird's off-spring. Logically you should, by that process finish up with a white blackbird ha ha!


Quotation time ..... I often have this feeling too ....

"I don't necessarily agree with everything I say."

Marshall McLuhan

The latest from the MS website Squiffy


"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Better Day - Super WoW - Heavy Rain - Then Sun

After my blood test the rain was torrential and we were on the point of not going to Cromford. But we did and we were pleased that we did.

The skies cleared and we had lovely crystal clear light bathing Cromford shortly after we arrived. Arkwrights Mill is full of history and we had no difficulty filling our time while we waited for the others to return from their walk. Where we parked, a stone face opposite was full of what looked like alyssum-gone-wild. I s'pose if cats, and youths can go feral there's nothing to stop Alyssum.

Just below was some interesting curved walling which Helen later explained was the remains of 'The Barracks' where non local apprentices were housed during the Mill's heyday.

n.b. I'd better mention my blood result before I forget. Late afternoon the clinic rang and my INR had dropped to 4.5 so I don't need hospitalising. The concern when it is way high, like the 6.5 it was yesterday, is the risk of internal bleeding. So, the treatment is, careful warfarin dosage and another test on Monday 30th March.

In the Cromford complex there was an interesting second hand/remaindered book shop and I bought Y a splendid mint condition, book about books which should keep her out of mischief for a week or two.

When we had met up with 'the chaps' we adjourned to The Cliff Inn. Yesterday's link wasn't very good so I decided to take my own picture. Please see left . Y entered into the spirit of the thing and had a chip cob, which she thoroughly enjoyed, I didn't. I settled for a rather staid ham cob as a less fattening alternative.

The landlady was her normal cheerful, helpful best but the barmaid wasn't a bundle of laughs. There was a distinct feeling that serving 70yr olds wasn't high on her list of chosen pursuits.

We had some good chats and the usual laughs.

This evening for main meal I cooked two pieces of fresh cod loin, no batter etc., and some tasty pan-fried potatoes. Followed in my case by Icecream in wafers, and for Y some fresh fruit.

My responses to your previous comments

Bob ..... Re Warfarin. The dosage is checked very precisely. I've had mine changed by as little as half a tablet per week. But they ring me, not vice versa and I have confidence in the system.

A tufted blackbird would certainly be one for my collection. Pity the strain dyed out ! You could have had it named after you.

Changing your 'desktop' in Picasa is simplicity itself. Select an image, go up to 'create' on the second line down from the top, click that and in a drop-down menu you will see 'set as desktop'. Click that and the job is done. I change mine quite often because I like a new picture to look at.

Re - The Polar Bear cartoon - when you are reduced to challenging the spelling in a cartoon character's speech it may be time to consider your position. Rather like complaining that Dennis The Menace isn't terribly well-spoken.

Jill ..... Poor cartoonist ! His characters don't speak very well, and he can't draw either. Oh dear !

Thank you for your concern over my 'blood' and health in general. I did enjoy WoW-ing and so did Y. She didn't ramble with them but she loved the company and she and Helen get on well anyway. They had good chats and Helen and Bill Saxton filled us in on Quorn meat-substitute. Spoken highly of by my 'obesity-clinic' young lady. Helen says it is too much like meat for her liking. Helen is a vegetarian of many years standing and seems a mine of info on the subject.


Another cartoon from Squiffy's House of Fun, Multiple Sclerosis site

"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beset by problems - Wet and windy - Blood Test


This is a 'blogger experiment'. I won't bore you with technical details but by ticking a 'none' button I have managed to display 4 separate images side by side so each should be responsive to a 'click' and thereby enlarge to a readable size. So far so good. This blend appealed to me in Bulwell Morrisons and it is very pleasant. A mash-up of Assam, and Darjeeling with a hint of fermented Oolong. Interesting and attractive flavour. Mentioned in my big 'Tea' book

The problem of the day stems from my routine INR blood test first thing this morning. Around mid-afternoon the Clinic rang to say my INR level had rocketed to 6.5 from its proper level of 3. The last time this happened I had to be admitted till they got it down. But this time I have been counselled to miss completely my Warfarin this evening and I am booked in for another test at 10.25am tomorrow. And they will play it from there.

And I was desperately keen to WoW tomorrow and all the arrangements had been finalised. The walk is being led by Helen C, in her familiar territory of Cromford where she is a volunteer guide at Awkright's Mill. Reg had worked out where I could park and take snaps in Cromford without moving far and in any case I know it quite well and would like a record-shot or two of the pond, and the Mill itself etc. My first thought was that WoW was out, but Y suggested that, after my blood test, I could drive over to Cromford and join them on their return from their walk. Moreover she would come with me for supervision purposes. She will enjoy it anyway because they all make a fuss of her. So that is the plan. No doubt we will finish up at the Cliff Inn which is always popular. The link is to the best site I could find.

I won't detail the rest of the problems. Final AGM Minutes for the National Trust. The document insisted on reformatting itself into 'red' half way through. Then we had paper-feed problems again. All surmounted. My Epson scanner has gone on a playing-up outing. It simply won't scan. It keeps telling me that Microsoft has encountered a problem and needs to close. But it won't tell me what the problem is. This has the hallmarks of a Brian S problem and fortunately I'm seeing him tomorrow. All being well.

The Chaffinch on the left was snapped through the kitchen window. I thought it first it was some strange sub-specie with a tuft on top of his head. But the tuft is merely a piece of twig behind his head. Never mind, he is a cheery chappie and at the moment I'm using the image as my 'desktop' because my 'icons' sit nicely in the kitchen-blind at the top of the frame - it looks 'made-for-the-job'.

The day hasn't been completely negative. At 3.20pm I had an appointment at the 'obesity clinc' and Amanda was pleased with me. On her proven scales, wearing the same clothes and shoes as last time, I have lost 5lbs in the fortnight. Not a lot but a sound start - she said. I no longer need to keep my food diary, which she went through with me, and I am to c0ntinue along the same lines. Mainly - smaller portions ! And I am to return in two weeks time.

My responses to your previous comments

JBW ..... I think Bob is a little older than you. But he never seems i, t and prefers not to brag about it.

Yvonne .... I also can remember old fashioned roneo skins and cranking those enormous machines which technicians visited to service. And the alterations in the skins that were sometimes necessary. We had a girl whose nickname was 'Snow-pake Sally'.

Helen C ..... Obviously the Dogues de Bordeaux owners are not of the responsible persuasion. Do your other neighbours share your concerns. It just isn't right that you should have to change your route.

The 'bird of paradise' is a fitting name for the flower. It really is like a bird with a pronounced beak and a tuft on top of its head. Rather more pronounced than my little Chaffinch.

A quick google seemed to suggest there is a flower called an Ecum - but the site was in French and time . etc.. If 'nifty-googler' chances by, he may help.

Jill ..... I think we agree about Yellowstone. Worth watching for the pictures. Y and I decided ages ago that what we really like is a 'lecture with pictures'. About almost anything that keeps our interest. The guy-ser geezers were off putting, but so weird as to be nearly compelling.

Y has always enjoyed Trout, and I don't dislike it. Prefer Salmon and really fresh Cod though. Caught by rod/line from a beach in Norfolk in November is good.

Bob ..... I like the idea herein that Moses must have been under the influence of hallucinogenic substances when he witnessed the 'burning bush' . Now that would explain an awful lot I think.

You are quite right about document transfer by 'memory stick'. I experiment too much. I admit it.


Quotation time ...... I always want to live in the present, with hopes and aims for the future, so this appealed to me .....

"I have a lot of great memories, but I can't imagine anything more exciting than the life I have now."


"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"

And now, by popular demand
Another Cartoon from our Squiffy's Mutliple Sclerosis excellent site

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nat Trst Minutes - Wet & Windy - 45F - NW at 15mph

As Y's comment says, she had a lovely Mothers Day at Burton Joyce and the children did the 'waiting-on' role, having produced and printed the menu on the left.

TJ did the transport run both ways so I was able to mess-about at home at will. They brought me back some nice beef for a sandwich and a slice of moist, melt-in-the-mouth chocolate cake. Home-made choco cake 2 days running. Woweeee !

Glad everyone liked the 'Y as cover-girl' pic. Actually it isn't difficult. Somebody on WebUser forums posted a link to this Photofunia.com programme and, once you have decided on a suitable portrait, its child's play. The title is a link by they way and I have checked out the programme for viruses and malware etc., - its as clean as a whistle.

On the right is Hannah in her 'long socks' 'tights' or whatever their proper name is. I just love that vibrant colour.

Our morning has been preoccupied with the National Trust Minutes for our last Committee meeting. We decided to compose them on Y's laptop and then e-mail them to me and print from my PC in the office. Bad idea. All sorts of calamities betook us, layout wrong, double-spacing where we didn't want it. Paper jam in the HP Printer (unheard of previously).

We got there in the end but we still have one final set of minutes ( the AGM) and these will completed, start to finish, on the big computer.

For lunch I cooked fresh Rainbow Trout with green beans and Jamie Oliver type potato discs baked in the oven. It all worked very well and we had peach halves and cold custard for pudding.

As you will see from the title, today has been very windy. Y went round to the paper-shop for milk and to pay the papers and was nearly blown over. I've told her not to diet so much.

The picture on the left is of some flowers from Tennerife which Helen C e-mailed me on her return.

I have joined them together solely to save 'blogger.com' storage space, and I'm hoping Helen will add a comment about the relevant size of the crook stem which appears to be growing out of a yucca type plant. The flower on the left looks just like some exotic bird about to peck something offstage left. I once knew the name of them but have forgotten.

This afternoon we watched the second part of the programme Brian S recommended about Yellowstone. This part was about summer and autumn. The photography has been amazingly good. I'd love to see a programme about how they did it. How long a camera-man had to spend in one spot waiting for a bear and her cubs to emerge from their winter lair etc. The 'geyser-gazers' were a weird bunch though. I think they realised that themselves though !

My responses to your previous comments

Helen C.... Sorry about your experiences with Dogues de Bordeaux the title of which I have linked to the breed's UK website. Although lacking the customary 50p piece in its teeth, they look fearsomely large although probably not vicious. Sorry you have found it necessary to change your route though.

Bob .... Thank you for a very witty 'comment' . You have me confused though over 'faltless'. Does he mean fatless, faithless, fartless or even faultless I asked myself.

Yvonne ..... I think you will just have to succumb to Tracy-power over what you have on such occasions. Your protests are of no avail.

I'm sure you are right over the blog and the 'comment-moderating'. It is nice for people to have instant access to their wit and humour. We prose writers are such a vain lot ! Rather like Oscar Wilde always taking his diary on a long train journey so he had sometheing decently written and exciting to read, he said.

Jill .... I think Shakespeare wrote "Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything" - I suppose the last bit incorporates sans legs.

You are no doubt right about the pitiful state of the 'mitten thief'. But I have not one jot of sympathy for him.

Please see above for the programme which produced the 'Esquire' cover. You see, I'm not really that clever.


Quotation time .....

"The winds and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators"

"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"

"I'll end with another cartoon from my MS site - I hope my lady readers will excuse the bad language - and of course, those men of a gentle persuasion"


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mothering Sunday - Y at BJ - 50F - NW at 9 mph

I must open with 'good news' and 'No' - not the Gospel according to St. Radiogandy. Simply that the first set of mittens, which Jill so kindly knitted for me, have turned up.

The 'mitten thief' who stole them from the Pub, somehow gained entry to the bungalow and secreted them in the pocket of my blue denim jacket which it has been too cold to wear.

So now, as the illustration shows, I have two pairs - both equally comfortable and efficient. ........ I think, on balance, the blue ones are my favourites. It is fervently hoped that Jill won't insist on the return of one pair or the other !

Y was duly collected by TJ just after 11am and transported to Burton Joyce for the day. There are to be three Mums. Yvonne, Lisa, and Lisa's Mum and Tracy and Steven are in charge of the kitchen. I'm sure they will be having a great time.

During the night, rather than twiddle my thumbs, I created the picture on the left. And sent it to Yvonne shortly after 7am.

She likes it a lot. The image is from Y's 'white-water rafting' triumph and the rest is photographic chicanery. I am quite proud of the result and Hannah said in 'google-chat' ..... "That is Soooo good". Praise indeed.

My day has involved catching up on reading, crossword puzzle, and - naturellement - radio. Interspersed with frequent naps.

On e-bay I was pursuing a x2 converter for my Nikon and had high hopes I might 'win' for £12.50 but at the last minute I was outbid and decided to let it go. During the week I'll give Jason at Calumet a ring and talk about a new one. My interest in photographing our garden birds remains undiminished and I could do with something longer than the long end of my 70-300mm Nikkor lens. I still have a 200mm Vivitar which is as crisp as a fresh cracker - the converter would make that 400mm which should be more than adequate.

Another site I 'stumbled upon' during the night was this site for people suffering from MS. Whenever I see the words my thoughts fly to David's pal JD. So awful to be afflicted in one's 40s. Awful at any age I know but it really hits home when its people the same age as your children. The site is Squiffy's House of Fun. Although a donation isn't required I sent a fiver which has already been graciously acknowledged. I felt happier then about using one of their cartoons. Please see below -

There are many others, equally witty, so - watch this space ! ...... A sense of humour, as a sufferer, must be valuable. When I was 'doing' the Home Office Police Discipline Appeals Tribunals we sat in threes and my particular three was chaired by Gary Flather a Barrister who couldn't practise anymore due to MS. His brain-power however remained undiminished.

My responses to your previous comments

Bob .... Talking of old gramophones and childhood 78s my favourite was ' I wanna go back to my little grass shack, way back in Kallikoo Hawaii! ' I haven't had time to google it but I can hear it now. Ray is the best 'lyric finder' I know so - if you are reading Ray !

Although thrushes may call it an 'anvil' the stone in question is a bog-standard concrete paving slab.

As the date has now passed anyway I feel I can safey agree to your Caps & Bells celebration of the blog's birthday. But, as with 'giving up Marathon running for Lent' you will be pleased to learn that I haven't faltered !

JBW .... You now have me completely confused (not difficult these days) . If the 'aqueduct' portion is the water carrying bit (by definition) and is some feet lower at the inlet end, how do they persuade the water to run uphill ?

Jill .... Reading between the lines, I suspect I am with you. I now know as much as I need to know about aqueducts/viaducts. In fact I suspect I could survive with slightly less !

You are also quite right about Bob and Twitter. We could all then enrol as his 'friend' and he could blog away to his heart's content.

Reg .... I haven't forgotten "it simply come to pieces in my hand". If I have another bad night I'll tackle it then.

Also I am indebted to you for this Tommy Cooper gem -

"Two fish in a tank,.one says 'a you drive and I'll look after the guns'


n.b. People have been good about keeping their comments within suggested word-counts - using real names, and not posting more than once each day etc.... I have decided therefore to suspend the 'comment-moderation' system for a trial period. This means that, as soon as you write your comment, it will be published. No time lag !


Quotation time .....

"Belief is the death of intelligence."

Had my usual Sunday morning Chat to David which was nice and John also rang. Laura and Joe are off trekking - India, China, Tibet, Russia etc., before Joe comes back to begin his PhD at Newcastle. John obviously feels that Laura, 25 now, will be in 'safe hands'.

John's last day of work is quite soon although his last pre-retirement day isn't till June. And he and Yvonne are off in their Camper Van to go wherever the spirit takes them. I know he will keep in touch and send pictures etc., and all I can say is good luck to them all. They have worked hard, and they deserve it.


"Sleep tight - catch you tomorow"


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lovely Weather - Thanks Tim - 51F - NW at 6 mph


A collage of the kitchen-window sill this afternoon, mainly to show a 'Basil rooting For Helen' in the centre. We had a lovely morning at Long Eaton and it was so rewarding to see Sky and Brooke. Both seem likely to develop into formidable young ladies but 'nice with it' if you know what I mean. With our coffee we had some irresistable (home-made Brooke and Mum) chocolate cake, light and moist and full of flavour with some great soft chocolate icing which I could have eaten spoonsfull of. I could hear the 'obesity-clinic' moaning pitifully in the background....... This time I have succeeded in copying some of Sky's poetry onto my Asus, and onto a stick, so when we arrived home we transferred it onto Y's laptop too. n.b.Can't share any of it with you yet because it is embargoed until published poet Andy has seen it.

The Doll's House continues to delight, and I was pleased Y has now managed to see the Cornish Pasties and things. This picture though, is of the main house, rather than the bakery annexe. It really is beautiful - I could sit and look at it for hours. Such care and so exquisitely arranged.

I forgot to tell you, yesterday we uploaded more music onto Y's Zen MP4 player and she still has around half of its 4GB capacity to fill. The technology is wonderful. While playing, it shows the CD cover in the display, in addition to the track information. Things have moved on since our old Dansette record-players. Mine was just like the one shown in the link but more of a brown colour.

Apparently Thrushes aren't doing too well nationally. They are 'endangered'. So here is a snap of our resident song thush who sings lustily and does a fine job with the eradication of garden snails. I wish we had more thrushes because we could happily keep them in snails, with enough for to send elsewhere to family and friends.

Inset in the shot is a picture of the special place where they break open the snail shells. I've actually seen the male (I believe) doing the 'bashing' on the concrete.

Needless to say I've never been quick enough with a camera.

The mysterious 'Thanks Tim' in the title follows an informative e-mail from him about the Wind direction and Wind speed 'thread' we have discussed.

As I mentioned in Wednesday's blog-post Tim works at the local Met. Station and knows about these things. Here is a link, please click, to the relevant piece of his e-mail. If you read this Tim, you would be more than welcome in the 'comments' columns.

Speaking of blog-matters we celebrated a blog-anniversary on March 2nd. Radiogandy's 3rd year of publication. I s'pose I should have done a special edition with bells & whistles and flashing lights. But I forgot !

My responses to your previous comments

Jill... Re the 'night' photo. It was indeed misty, but not a pea-souper. If Forsythia wasn't Moses's burning bush, it should have been. I had a quick google but it didn't seem keen on the notion.

A meal-ready Hollandaise kept in the fridge sounds first-rate. Like you, I like me sauces, and gravy, but 'obesity-clinic' .........

Thanks for the explanation re the panoramic cameras. And you are wrong about the attitudes of 'proper' photographers. For most it is the picture that matters, and the spotting of potential, rather than the type of camera it was taken on.

Reg .... You are 100% about Aquaducts and Viaducts.

Wiktionary says -

Viaduct - A bridge with several spans that carries road or rail traffic over a valley or other obstacles.

Wordnet says -

Aqueduct - A conduit that resembles a bridge but carries water over a valley.

n.b. Please see JBW's comment which has just arrived.

Bob .... I fear you are right re the 'night' picture. So we'll call it a record-shot. Which it was. It was on my Casio as I said and, if you set it to 'night scene' it takes the ISO right down to 50 which is real handy. Can't explain the red.

Thanks for the 'I Love' Marmite picture which looks fun. It's got champagne in it then. Still dunna like it, even if it had non-alcoholic Becks in it.

Glad the hedge-saga seems 'all-over-bar-the shouting' etc....

You could always 'whittle' another walking stick if you are feeling the need of whittling.

I still think that you and Twitter are potential soul-mates. Our old friend Doug (from Trent Poly days) wants us to be his friends on Twitter. He is very IT with-it and if he approves, it is for us, quite a recommendation. I'll keep you informed.

Yvonne .... The comment precedes the blog. ! Nothing wrong with that. As you know I love your comments, whatever.

And I'm so pleased you liked your Long Eaton 'Mothers Day' card. What a lovely thought, and such moving words.

JBW .... Thank you for your 'authorative' contribution to the 'viaduct/aqueduct' thread. It arrived just as my index finger was poised over the 'publish' button. So your comment is a sort of 'Stop Press'.


Quotation time ........ This should be learnt off by heart by all would-be artists, photographers and writers .....

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail"

Friday, March 20, 2009

Full Friday Morning - Quiet Afternoon - 47F - S wind

One of the EPS Competitions scheduled for next year, or my subject-out-of- the- hat is 'Night'. I can't remember which and it doesn't matter in this context.

Knowing my propensity for nocturnal activity you wont be surprised that I decided to have 'a go' in the early hours. I simply put my old Casio on a tripod and let it do its own thing. At a guess the exposure was around 20 seconds.

To me it doesn't look bad. The light-sources between the trees and the bungalows are both street-lights I'm afraid. Nothing so romantic as the moon.

Talking of 'street lights' - my picture out of the office window of 'Snow under Streetlight' was placed first in the monthly open competition on Thursday and my 'Mint Sauce Jug' collage came third in the 'Repetition' category. Y said "Bet you are sorry you didn't go ?" but I'm not. I'm not keen on Judges even when they select my pictures.

This morning we nipped over to Arnold, firstly to deliver something to our Accountant, and second to visit the big Sainsbury's to get Vegemite. Haven't been successful elsewhere. The store in question has recently been given a make-over and extended.....

Now, it is most attractive - you could spend days in there. Very well stocked and good wide aisles. And shelves-full of Vegemite. The Forsythia illustrated was just opposite the Accountants, but it is all over the place and at its best at the moment. And it looks OK even when the flowers have fallen - the foliage is such an attractive green.

For main meal we had fresh salmon fillets lightly brushed with olive oil and grilled. Accompanied by new potatoes, and purple-sprouting broccoli. A little garnish of our own fresh parsley and I did small amount of white sauce for me, Y is not a lover. For pudding I twisted her arm to do jelly and ice-cream.

My responses to your previous comments

Bob ..... We both like tulips. Of all shapes ..... A long time ago a favourite was a May flowering variety called Clara Butt, unfortunately long gone. Y is keen on them in a vase when they begin to droop - 'artistically'.

I'm sorry the word limit prevented a full description of your bus journey. But, at the risk of being tedious, could I say that such a description is not really a 'comment' on my blog but a possible post in your own. Perhaps 'Twitter' would be the answer to your 'blogging' aspirations. Twitter gains in popularity at a phenomenal rate. Here is a link please click here and, if you set up an account, I would immediate offer myself as your first 'friend'.

Jill ..... In ordinary light the apparently 'salmon pink' daff is not such an interesting colour. I was crouched down, so far as I am able, and the light was being reflected from elsewhere I think. I'll take another so you can see it in a truer colour. Sorry to sound a disappointing note.

Reg's 'panoramas' are always good. If I can persuade him to send me one he did ages ago, of a woodland scene, I will be happy to publish it. Brian S had a print of it hanging in his shop for ages.

Very interested in your old camera that captured wide-angle shots. Can you remember anything more about it please?

Reg ..... I suppose that, whenever one sees a viaduct like that, it implies either rail, or occasionally canal. With a 'road' they would make you go steeply down one side, across the bridge, and then up again the other side. I'd never thought it through before.

Pete .... Please see above, my remarks to Jill about the 'pink' daff. My fault I think, not the daff's.

Thanks also for the link to the Telegraph picture. I had actually seen it before during my research into 'pinhole' photography. As Brian S says, a 6 month exposure is of 'interest' but hardly an attractive photograph.


Quotation time ..... I've probably published this before but it is so, so true. My working life seemed beset by people 'pinching' ideas and not accrediting them....

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit"

Harry S Truman

Tomorrow morning we are going over to Long Eaton around coffee-time and it will be lovely to see everyone. I must remember this time to copy some of Sky's poetry onto a memory stick, so I can enjoy it at leisure.

"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"