Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wet morning - Y at BJ - 57F and 3mph Southerly

A collage of yesterday's WoW. For any newcomers, it means Walk On Wednesday by the way. As you can see the weather was kind and, fortunately, I am not experiencing any extreme after-effects. Tired but happy tired, as Y will be this evening on her return from granny-duty at Burton Joyce.

She has taken her new Fuji compact and, when we spoke on the phone at lunchtime she told me she had already taken some snaps in the Park.

This mornings weather was not good but now in the late afternoon the sun is trying to break through. The sun is shining but it is still raining so there should be a Rainbow somewhere.

Yesterday, in the Elton area, the hedgerows were packed with interesting wild-flowers and I can't decide if this is Herb Robert, or Red Campion ? The hairy bud-cases and stems are common to both. I'm pleased with my D80 with the 70-300mm fitted because the colour is absolutely right - if anyone feels more certain of the identification I am, as always, willing to yield.

Today I have had a restful day - Telegraph from cover to cover, fair whack at the crossword, naps, an excellent afternoon radio play about George V1's speech to the nation on Coronation Day and the problems surrounding the poor chap's stammer , the play was very sensitively written and performed ......., then a few computer jobs....... life's not bad is it ? .......

And fingers crossed, at the moment I feel well up to going to EPS this evening. I'm pleased because it is the Presentation Evening and I want to be able to clap and cheer enthusiastically, in the right places.

Y thinks she will give it a miss though because after the tedious return bus journey she will definitely be 'all in'.

My responses to your previously posted comments

Bob ..... Perhaps Llama Loin Medallions might have a certain cachet.

I too have had Jasmine Tea in Chinese Restaurants and enjoyed it. Whichever way I try Earl Grey I don't like it. It is the bergamot. However I am assured that a used Earl Grey tea-bag, allowed to cool, is an excellent cure for a cold sore - because of the bergamot.

Re fish ..... The Fish Counter at our local Morrisons is surprisingly good, and we also buy more exotic things frozen from Lidl.

I too mourn the lack of LocoScript - an excellent word-processing programme with many user friendly features.

Jill .... Strange about London's dearth of aubretia. I would have expected it to flourish there.

Re Llamas.... I suspect that you didn't open yesterday's link to the Wikipedia page about Llamas. It tells you about them .... and their uses etc., here it is again to save you going back.

Just to refresh people';s memories - if, in the blog, you come to something underlined and in a different colour, it will usually be a live link to a relevant page or website. A good way to check is to hover your cursor over it. If the arrow changes into a hand, click it because it will be a link.

Helen C ..... Glad you liked the Nine Stones link and I agree that Brinsley Llamas are better !

I think you pressed the poublish button twice or something. But don't blame yourself because there seems to be a blogger-glitch around. Recently Y has written a comment, only to find when she tries to 'publish' that the whole thing has vanished. I know Bob prepares his in 'word' and then copy/pastes into blogger.

But, for a normally brief comment, the method sounds tedious.


Quotation time .....

"The llama is a woolly sort of fleecy hairy goat, with an indolent expression and an undulating throat, like an unsuccessful literary man"

Hilaire Belloc

Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow - or later this evening depending on EPS

p.s. I only stopped at EPS for the Annual Exhibition and then made my apologies and left before the actual presentations. It was good to see such an excellent range of quality pictures.

Much better then NEMPF. Our WoW members were well represented in the awards and I will post further particulars in due course.

It gives me great pleasure to publish the picture on the left. Y took it with her new camera from the Television at Burton Joyce. The TV has a wire leading into it from a camera in the Tit nesting box outdoors in a tree. The camera is a black & white one which accounts for the absence of colour in Yvonne's picture. Pretty damn good though ! In my opinion.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WoW-ing at last - Elton area - fine day - no problems


Nine people turned out to WoW this morning and I was so pleased to feel able to join them. It seems an age.

The lead picture is one of Reg's during their walk to Robin Hood's Stride, and back. Although only 4 stones still stand the site is called Nine Stones Close and the linked site will tell you something about it.

Reg's picture shows how pleasant a day it was and although I think it was a tiring walk everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves. The cars were parked in Elton Village and I found plenty to occupy me in the immediate environs.

Although I walked a little with my wheels I also explored some tiny lanes by car and was surprised in one field to find Llamas. As you know from previous blog-posts we have a Brinsley farmer who often has a few but it is still a shock to be confronted by them. They seem quite tame and unaggressive although a couple of years ago, one of the Brinsley ones spat at me. I understand this isn't uncommon as they are related to the Camel.

Whilst in Elton, having downloaded my pictures to the Asus, I e-mailed Y this picture of some Aubretia and Honesty in the corner of a farmyard.

My Vodafone dongle worked beautifully, again, and I had a 3mb broadband connection without any problem,

The Aubretia had been exceptional this year and this is the first Honesty which I have seen in any quantity. When the chaps returned we went to The Peacock for lunch. I say lunch rather than chip cobs because some people had soup, or a sandwich etc. Trying to be loyal to my diet, I had half a chip cob and left the rest. Roger took an evidential photograph !

My responses to your previous comments

Yvonne ...... You really are enjoying your football at the moment ! Good for you.

And thanks for Alchemilla Mollis which was on the tip of my pen. A welcome plant because it is robust and a good do-er but with a tendency to be invasive.

And I really am glad you are happy with your Camera.

Bob ..... I know from previous corres. that you don't seem to curdle milk, as we do, and apparently Jill and Ro too.

Jill ..... Thanks for your good wishes about WoW, and, as you will have read above ......

The Fujifilm A100 (as Yvonne's) is a fine little camera and currently markets at around £75 to £80. I would recommend buying it in an actual shop rather than online. Once you add in shipping costs you wouldn't save much anyway, and from a shop you can always take it back and argue.

I should have included the customary 50p piece, for sizing, but the LCD screen is 2.7" which demonstrates its fairly compact size. And most importantly it takes lovely crisp snaps.

My Red Bush tea, is labelled 'Rooibos' and claims to be The Original Red Bush Tea from South Africa. It makes no recommendation about milk, either with or without. But I am certainly willing to give 'with milk' a try. Sorry if I confused you with Bob, over the query re 'milk in green tea'. The answer is 'No' but 'Yes' to a slice of lemon. My Gran used to drink Green Tea and I remember that the raw product was like little green twigs rather than how it is nowadays.


Quotation time ......

"Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A dreary day - 49F but feels colder - Y's camera


Above is a collage of front and back views of Y's new Fujifilm compact. This morning I took Y to the Station to buy her London ticket, for the weekend, and she was going on to meet Joan for lunch at The Bell where they have a favourite table overlooking Market Square and the food is reasonable. I parked on Angel Row and, with my wheels, walked up to Jacobs who seemed to have the best selection of well-specified compact cameras. This A100 please click for review seemed good without going over the top.

Yvonne has now unpacked it and is very happy with the model. And, as you will see from the right hand image in the collage, has actually taken a photograph with it. She is threatening to come out with us on Wednesdays ! I'm not sure about that !

Picture 2 is some of nature's little jewels following a heavy shower. I just forget the name of the plant but it always seems to collect raindrops in a photogenic manner.

All being well I am aiming to WoW in the morning. I don't need to walk far and I have missed the occasion and the company. So when Reg rang and asked if I was turning out I said 'Yes'. I've contacted Helen C and she is turning out too.

I managed to clear my e-mail inbox this afternoon, even if it meant filing a few without having replied to them. I have read them all though because it seems rude not to. And I rely on my Google Spam-filter which makes around 99% correct decisions. Ray sent me two more smashing icons/animations which are now duly filed in my Walagata account for future use.

p.s. Editor's note. ...... Y asks me to tell you that I am watching the Football with her ... Chelsea v Barcelona. This sufficiently unusual to merit inclusion.

My responses to your previously added comments

Jill ..... Quite a relief to know we aren't the only milk-curdlers, and that Lidl aren't the only purveyors. It is almost worth contacting a milk-man and asking him to deliver a couple of pints a day.

Apparently the subject cropped up in Y's conversation with Joan. She feels it is best to buy single pint containers so as not to have the milk in use for long after the inner seal has been removed. But our offending 2 litre container was as described immediately upon opening.

I think you will like Red Bush tea, it isn't a real 'tea' of course but doesn't have that odd 'fruit tea' flavour. The flavour is unique and if it's good enough for Precious Ramotswe it's good enough for me, at 3am. The stories are being serialised on Radio 7 which I am enjoying more and more.

In my mind's eye I have a clear image of you with your pink stick. All you need now is some metal railings to run it down.

Bob .... Just a Lidl criticism is all.

It seems to me that the latest 'build' of Picasa has several problems. The Picasa forum has many people wingeing. Lets hope the problems are resolved soon - they often are.

Re Clematis Montana. As I understand it Clematis is the 'genus' within which are several species. Montana Elizabeth is reddish pink, Montana Grandiflora is white, Montana Rubens is white with the merest hint of pink. If you open the link all will be revealed.

Whoever suggested milk in Green Tea ? I don't think I did.


Quotation time .......

"There is no more mercy in him than there is milk in a male tiger"


Monday, April 27, 2009

Weather deteriorates - 49F - chucking it down

When I saw this sky out of my office window yesterday evening, I should have guessed what today would bring. And it did - bucket's full. As Ray says, it has been hissing down all day.

There was a few minutes break which allowed Y to nip round the corner for some milk. A litre container, sale by date 1st May, kept in a cold cupboard, had gone solid. Not just 'off' but like white scrambled egg. I think we must blame Lidl - whose standards, like today's weather, seem to be deteriorating. At least in the fresh food department.

Picture 2 is of some Green Tea, not from Lidl, but I am intrigued by the clever box-closing idea. After opening there is a white flap which engages with two tabs inside the lid and keeps the box closed. Not airtight obviously, but clever.

While doing this collage I made a discovery. Text which you have put on the constituent pictures doesn't stay in place when you prepare the collage. So any text you want has to be entered post collaging. Not a big deal when you know, but annoying if you don't.

John texted me to say they had moved to Fouesnant on the South Brittany coast. It looks a fun place to be and a nice bay. Probably Rob knows it.

Incidentally I am becoming a big fan of Radio 7. There is such a goodly amount of class listening from dramatisation, and plays and straight-forward readings - always good actors and actresses. In my preset buttons it is the one just to the right of Radio 4 - so, if John Humphries is annoying me (quite often these days) I just click the button.

It isn't my intention to start discussing politics but Y and I both think the government's stance about the Gurkhas residency claims is despicable. The riff-raff we do allow in apparently, but loyal men who have fought and given their lives for us are to be excluded. The reason for this paragraph is our delight that Nick Clegg and the Lib/Dems are to join forces with Joanna Lumley to campaign on the Gurkhas behalf.

I can see myself in that voting booth, with my black pencil poised ...............

My responses to your previous comments

Pete ..... Don't be put off by the 'soft scoop' description. It always seems fairly hard to me. Certainly hard enough to cut a slice and separate with a knife.

Bob .... All I can say about 6 in-laws for lunch is 'rather you than me'. Sounds like a great meal though. And a choice of puddings !

Yvonne ..... How Google's computers work out what sites to put in their right hand column is a mystery. But it can be the source of amusement. It is almost worth including some provocative words in ones text, just to see what they come up with.

It could prove an unusual creative tool.

Jill ..... My bendy basin 'idea' doesn't seem at all original now. Everybody is saving them.

Re the Clematis. I never doubted it was a Montana. The question was 'which sub- variety?' - Rubens or Grandiflora ?

You crammed a lot into your holiday and I think you were wise to have a 'rest day' - we certainly need them nowadays. One trouble is that I have lost the ability to 'nap' in a coach seat, or even an armchair. I have to lie down.

Thanks for the 'further and better particulars' about the food. I wouldn't have been happy either.


Quotation time

"I prithee go and get me some repast;
I care not what, so it be wholesome food."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Super Sunday - Hot-Pot good - Idea 6,333 !

Picture 1 is of an annual event - "the counting of TJ's change bottle". Y hasn't really imbibed the bottle of brandy so we put the glass at the side for 'narrative' reasons.

We have a £1 wager on how much there is going to be and I was closest at £46.20p. But there was almost £60 and I didn't feel close enough to collect my winnings. Man of honour ? or what ?

Picture 2 illustrates the latest of my 'good ideas', number 6,333. The black basins are what supermarkets sell Christmas Puddings in, and I have saved half a dozen of various sizes, some red and some black.

Their attractions are that they are flexible enough to facilitate bending into a sort of spout, for pouring purposes. They are dish-washer proof, freezer proof, microwave proof and they are incredibly cheap i.e. nothing ! Well worth idea 6,333 status.

Picture 3 is mainly for Pete B who wondered about block ice-cream for ice-cream wafers. The only one we know for sure is the Walls version illustrated.

Most of the major Supermarkets stock it. But I'm not sure about the supermarket position on the Isle of Man. Wafers are easy. If they carry the block ice-cream, they carry the wafers too. A very pleasant 'back to childhood' experience.

The Bolton Hot-Pot was, even if I say it as shouldn't, great. I had cooked it, in total, almost 6 hours at about 100/120° which had brought the flavour out and produced tender meat. With part cooking it yesterday all the flavours of the ingredients had melded together successfully and the sliced potatoes on top had browned nicely.

I did Roast Potatoes as one of our accompaniments and I remembered to use the Goose Fat which Santa included in our hamper from Long Eaton. And WOW! everybody is right - it is the best stuff for the purpose. Using Maris Piper I achieved the sought after crisp golden brown outers and the white fluffy inners.

For pudding Y did a Rhubarb Crumble and Custard which was spot on and not 'commercially' over-sweet. Again, the real flavour of a good old-fashioned English Pudding. We had a good cheese board, which we returned to after Y and TJ had been Garden Centre-ing and I had had a nap.

Nice chat to David this morning and it was good to hear the Long Eaton news. In particular his continued successes on Ebay, as a seller. Brooke's Nintendo DS had broken completely. The hinge had disintegrated and the thing was in bits in fact. One would think the bin was the only solution.

But he described it fully, published a picture which showed the state of it. And it made £22 - truly amazing !

David and Helen have worked hard to create a patio halfway down the back garden and the picture on the left shows it. An excellent job folks ! Now you must take some time to sit on it and enjoy it rather than immediately starting a further project.The magnificent Clematis looks like a Montana. either Rubens or Grandiflora - hard to say because I can't really see the colour accurately due to the plant being in full sun etc.....

My responses to your previously penned comments

Bob ..... Vinegar is truly a cure-all of a liquid. I know you and I both have a booklet listing around the first 200 or so uses.

I would have thought the sodium bicarbonate might be good. If the aphids are suffering from indegestion.

Your dislike of sheep meat, particularly the cooking smell is well known to me and I wouldn't dream of serving it when you visit.

Re Y's 'Moving' comment. The position is that we would like to move, when the country's financial situation makes that possible. Until then we have decided to grin and bear it, and enjoy some of the advantages that Brinsley/Eastwood/Derbyshire have to offer.

Not a bit surprised about the Gordon Ramsey exposé.

Rob ..... By popular acclaim you are now Radiogandy's Poet Laureate ! I can't promise the annual case of Claret or whatever though.

Writing verse on demand is a responsibility of the post I understand. And it was that aspect that Andrew Motion had difficult with.

I think in the matter of Dandelion Haikus you have the winning hand over Wordsworth. 'Dandelion Haiku' sounds rather like a Chinese dress designer I think.

I hope your 'Illustrated book of Haikus' is advanced as a serious suggestion. Now that would be different and has great potential. As they used to say - "Run up a flag and see who salutes it".

Jill ..... Welcome back 'pet'. We've missed you. So glad the weather played the game and provided those blue skies.

The 'big room with a view' sounds good, but a shame about the food. Was it a matter of regional variation or simply not of good enough quality ?

It sounds, going on the tulip report, that garden wise they must be at least a fortnight or three weeks behind.

Well now ! A steak mince and gravy sandwich ! That really sounds something. Does the gravy run down your chin?

Looking forward to Part 2 .......


Quotation time .......

"A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin"

I know Rob will appreciate the re-publication of this Man Utd memorial line


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday - 58F wind 9mph SW - Cooking

Picture 1 is of two facing pages from my National Trust, Weather Forecasting book scanned and collaged together. I've chosen to publish it because our sky this morning looked very similar to the picture.

But before we get to Picture 2 and our Brinsley sky I would like to publish in the body of the blog, a link to David's Sailing Club's website and their extremely good live weather page. The site in general is lively and good fun and I wish I knew how they do the changing pictures at the top of the page.

Apart from some drizzle around lunchtime the forecast from my book seems fairly accurate.

This morning we did a quick shop for bits for tomorrow and also nipped into Jacksdale Garden Centre for some minature gardening gloves for Millicent - she is keen to help, and will be encouraged. We spent a small fortune on weedkillers, and insecticides and stuff. The stems leading to some rosebuds are already infested with aphids. I seem to remember that my Dad just used soapy water, occasionally with a jollop of Jeyes fluid therein ..... Much cheaper !

Picture 2 on the left shows our Brinsley sky this morning.

When we got home I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen preparing the Bolton HotPot, but it will make things easier tomorrow and I shall be able to enjoy TJ's company without slaving over a hot stove etc......

Picture 3 is the Bolton Hotpot and the recipe, a tried and trusted one, from my Best of British Cooking book which was a present from Stewart A. maybe thirty years ago. Often with recipe books you are lucky if you find 3 recipes that are really good. In this book I have at least 10 which are first class.

The forerib of beef I swear by and the cauliflower cheese is a nuisance but worth it.

Y makes an excellent Fruit Salad from it. The Carse of Gowrie's Fruit Salad is its 'given name' and again a lot of messing-about but the end result is delicious.

I had a nice chat on the phone to Debra and the sale of their house is nearing completion. I hope the planned move to Broadstairs comes about soon - won't it be fun having family living at the seaside ? Friends have offered to put them up if there is an overlap - now there's real friendship for you, accommodating a whole family.

If you open the link it looks a fun place and I can't wait to have a browse in The Old Curiosity Shop.

My responses to your previous comments

David ..... Thanks for the web-address of your Sailing Club. As you will see I've linked it in the body of the blog. Good site !

Bob ..... Thanks for the chicken low-down. The gamekeeper at Winkburn used to keep Banties and Silkies as a hobby mainly but he used to use the eggs and give me a dozen when he had a surplus.

Which reminds me of a reminiscence. Once I caught a well known poacher from Chesterfield 'trespassing in pursuit of game" at Winkburn. I took his shot gun saying "I am confiscating this gun" to which he replied "It's up to a Court to 'confiscate' it young man - you are 'seizing' it". Embarrassment for keen young policeman because of course, he was right. Still, he had the decency to plead quilty ! I stressed how helpful and non-aggressive he had been and the bench only fined him a £5 - but of course, he lost his shot-gun. I was given the task of destroying it in the boiler-room fire .... I seem to remember we kept the skeletons of a couple of twelve-bores just in case the Magistrates Clerk decided to check, so ..................... He was delighted. I never found out where the brace of pheasants came from, which appeared just inside the Police House gate ..............

The mind boggles on Wordsworth let loose on dandelions ! Perhaps Rob could delight us with a Haiku.

Your Bank Holiday commitments sound manifold. Hospital ? Don't understand that bit.

JBW ..... Lovely little homily....... Well worth bear-ing in mind !

Yvonne ..... I well remember Steven and the central heating at St Leodegarious in Basford.


Quotation time .......

"All the world's a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed."

Just showing off. The RSC stage at Stratford.

And by popular request


Friday, April 24, 2009

Pleasant Friday - Shopping - 64F but windy

When we went shopping this morning we went first to The Watnall Farm Shop, a favourite haunt, to buy some lamb shoulder to make a Hot Pot on Sunday. TJ is coming to eat with us.

I tried to google a link to the Farm Shop but the best one I could find was a link to this blog back in October last year. So I didn't post it.

Y says TJ is coming to check up on how I am ! Probably right too. When we went into the car-park just beside the door to the shop was a little chicken run. Within it was a hen with some chicks. The mother hen looks like an old fashioned Rhode Island Red but the light was tricky. The chickens were older than 'day-old' - perhaps Bob will advise, being an experienced poultry man.

I was sorry we weren't accompanied by grandchildren. Millicent would have probably said, disdainfully, that it wasn't a Rhode Island but a Buff Orpington. After the Farm Shop we did Morrisons and then home. Both fancying a light lunch we had scrambled egg on toast, with a smoked salmon topping. Delicious. I also forgot to mention yesterday that we had first-of-the season stewed Rhubarb and Custard. We didn't hammer the bed because on Sunday Y is doing a Rhubarb Crumble for TJ.

Another thing yesterday that I forgot to mention was Shakespeare's birthday. To make amends here is a witty sketch by Rowan Atkinson and Hugh Laurie please click.

Another trawl round the garden found enough different flowers for a further collage. The dandelion in the upper left corner isn't a mistake. They have been magnificent this year and I thought they deserved at least one publication. Y has tried manfully to keep on top of the lawn dandelions but it is a bit like painting the Forth Bridge. She clears the front lawn and goes to the rear lawn. And by the time she's finished that there are 4 more in flower on the front lawn. The trouble is that it now gives her back-ache so sometimes we both need a lie-down. As Jill memorably said "Getting old isn't for wimps". I'm not sure when Jill and Ro return from their Durham holiday but it will be nice to welcome her back. Maybe she will have taken a few snaps.

We didn't go over to Peter and Joan's. But Y is in contact with Peter and he seems OK and is being brave. But being knocked over and breaking a bone when you are 80yrs isn't good !

My responses to your previous comments

Yvonne ..... I think you did well to get 16% for an interpretation of Blake's 'Tyger Tyger'. His original illustration wasn't brilliant please click and I've always thought his tiger looks more sheepish than frightening.

I'm quite looking forward to the May Carnival at Burton Joyce. Should be fun.

Bob ...... You under-estimate your ability to draw. You work has always seemed extremely good to me.

I think forefathers and forebears are a different use of the word fore. No argument as to what 'fore' means anyway. And now you have Helen C on your side ......

JBW ..... Thanks for your report on Frankie and Millie's show at EPS. I sort of anticipated that it would be good, and fresh, and I'm only sorry I wasn't there.

Brian S e-mailed me with a similar assessment as to how good the show was. Maybe at some time in the future I may be able to see them in action. We are lucky to have such strengths within the Club.


Quotation time ........

"Pretty and witty; wild, and yet, too, gentle:"

p.s... It's only when you look at an ant through a magnifying glass on a sunny day that you realise how often they burst into flames.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Y at BJ - Giving EPS a miss - Rather dull - 62F

Different flowers keep opening, such is the nature of April/May and although there's much blossom around, our cherry blossom is not yet at its peak.

Enough flowers for a 'collage' though, from what is available in the garden.

I took Y to the tram en route for Burton Joyce. A restful day for me, a little shopping first thing in Lidl and then I put jacket potatoes in the oven for evening meal with salad.

The planned celebratory birthday meal tomorrow for Peter Green and Jean Bradbury has had to be postponed due to Peter having been knocked down on a crossing and breaking his wrist. He is in plaster down to the tops of his fingers and can't drive. Peter and Joan, Jean and Yvonne and me all in our car isn't a reasonable proposition. A possibility would be for us to drive over and visit them, maybe collecting Jean on the way. But Y feels that maybe Peter is too shaken up to contemplate entertaining.

I have also decided to opt out of the camera club tonight because I don't feel up to the stairs and then sitting for almost 2 hours. It is a shame because I think it is a show put on by our young ladies and it would have been a refreshing change.

The snap of the 'Lilies of the Valley' on the right is there because they have a special place in my memories.

A watercolour painting, about 7" by 5", earned me 8/10 for Art homework. My usual mark was 5 or 6. Producing art has never been my strong suit even though I love it so and went on to learn a fair bit about it. And I'm still learning and I try to keep up-to-date.

Tilly has a more immediate problem. We have been on google chat and phone because there's a photo she needs for homework on her Dad's camera. He hasn't downloaded and cleared for some time and there are hundreds there and she only needs one. We've tried various strategies but then things became complicted when, in mid procedure, the camera batteries expired. I've left her to it now. Maybe we shall hear of the outcome via the comments box.

Although I am so much better, I don't seem to be able to shake off this feeling of weariness. Most probably due to my tablets and patches and things which I shall discuss with Dr Barrett when I see her on Friday 1st May.

My responses to your previous comments

Yvonne ..... I'm pleased our walk yesterday was such a success. And, as you say, your striding ahead on reconnoitre missions gave you the opportunity to walk briskly.

And I'm glad to hear that your BJ day has been OK. You always enjoy them.

Bob ...... We shall have to disagree about Christian names. Were you not 'christened' ? I'm afraid that 'forename' always makes me think of 'foreskin'. 'First-name' I've no argument with and it used to be frequently used i.e. "What's your first name then?"

Rob .... I remember our Brittany holiday with great affection and that photogenic little house wedged between the rocks.

The ending of yesterday's blog was a little tongue-in-cheek trouble making I'm afraid.

I haven't really gone dramatically right-wing. But hospital receptionists can sometimes try one's patience or should that be patients ?

Another GREAT Haiku. Congratulations.

Helen C ...... As with Bob above, you and I will just have to disagree about first-names. I think what I am really complaining of is receptionists and people speaking to me as if I am already an Alzheimer's sufferer. In a ponderous loud voice addressing me by my first name, or 'dear' or 'darlin' or 'sweetheart'.

You are still of an age where such people take you seriously and probably haven't yet come across the problem.

By the way, did you eat at Hardwick ?


Quotation time ........

Courtezan : .... How say you now ? Is not your husband mad ?

ADRIANA : ............ His incivility confirms no less.

Shakespeare - The Comedy of Errors: IV, iv

The above quote obviously does not refer to Helen's Julian. I could have mutilated Shakespeare and substituted 'receptionist' for 'husband' but the line would not have scanned so well

I can't really end without drawing your attention to this breaking news about "Button seriously injured in F1 accident". Please click here for update. Bob drew it to my attention.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Moorgreen Woods - 63F and 3mph S wind - Sunny !


This morning Y and I ventured out for an hour and went to the woods in which Helen C had mentioned bluebells. We followed her excellent directions but then, having parked the car and, while following a path we bore left instead of right and went up this hard-core hill (see centre shot) unnecessarily. Eventually we retraced our steps and were amply rewarded by a lovely walk which we intend to revisit. There are so many good walks in the area and although I had several sit-down pit stops thanks to my wheels we covered quite a distance.

For the collage I managed to capture a female Chaffinch and a Speckled Wood butterfly. Across the top is today's mystery bird. Although it had a reddish head I'm fairly sure it wasn't a Goldfinch. Also it had a sweet and complicated song which more or less rules out a Woodpecker, and anyway, it wasn't quite big enough.

The day has been idyllic. The chilly wind has almost gone away. Merely a leaf-rustler which you can't feel at all in some places. Walking down the path in the central collage shot it was great to feel the sun on your back.

In my bedroom I have set the lay figure to guard my glass bottle-top. I had a nap this afternoon but not a lengthy one.

I haven't heard from the WoW-ers yet but I guess that wherever they went they would have enjoyed the lovely weather.

The Budget will not be discussed. As the Matt cartoon said this morning "Is it possible to be alarmed and bored at the same time?"

My responses to your previous comments

Bob ...... I couldn't discover much about Tomasto but I agree it sounds interesting. You and I both love words that sound as if they should be something else. Only this morning while looking for something to spit my prune stones into I had the experience with Ramekin. The word sounds as if it should be a little helper, like Santa's elves.

Tomasto incidentally is a large American family mostly in the New York area.

And I am firmly with Yvonne over the question of Christian names. Why should we be bullied into 'forenames' anyway when we live in a Christian Country, where the Church of England is The Established Church. As I have said before, with strangers I will settle for either Mr. Marsden or Sir.

I have noticed that Consultants for instance always get it right. It is only when we are being addressed by people from the shallow end of the gene pool, like hospital receptionists, that a rude informality creeps in.


Quotation time .......

"Oh thou monster ignorance, how deformed dost thou look !"

Shakespeare - Love's Labour's Lost


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lovely Day - 58F 7mph SW wind - Nails day

These pictures arrived by e-mail from John this morning but devoid of accompanying text so I can't really tell you the location. He did mention the rose-granite rocks so maybe these are they ? Rob probably knows.

This morning was busy. Y had her hair cut in Eastwood and then we went over to Sherwood for her 'nails' service at her new place.

It certainly looks jazzy and more efficient than the last one on Carlton Hill. I seem to remember it wasn't too clean. Y took her MP4 player with her so she didn't have to attempt to follow conversations in Vietnamese. They did a thorough job and meanwhile I did a little shopping and browsed new charity shops. A 'find' presented itself, a book of Man Ray and the fact that some of it is in French matters not at all.

When Y emerged we came back home because I had an 'obesity-clinic' appointment at 2pm. My nurse-practitioner is very pleased with me. Another 6lbs have vanished bringing me well under 21st. My method is not to specifically avoid anything but simply to eat less. I almost feel that having been so ill is cheating. She wants to see me a fortnight hence so I must ensure I don't start to creep up again.

The sun has been unexpectedly bright - I hope it is so in Durham, for Jill and Ro. At home this afternoon I wanted to try to capture the brilliance of the inner surface of some tulips without burning out any of the red petals.

After all that messing-about I cooked some Quorn fillets with grilled tomasto, oven baked wedges, courgettes and some mange-toute. It worked well and we are quite happy with Quorn and it certainly has a place in our diet.

I was on the verge of WoW-ing - it seems ages since I've seen them all - but I've just rung Reg to say I'll wait another week and then see how I feel. If the weather is as good as it has been today Y and I will go out somewhere, just for an hour. Joan rang an hour or so ago and Y is very pleased her chum has returned home. She misses her, and the occasional chat !

My responses to your previous comments

Pete ..... The Ice cream in blocks is Walls, as Y mentions, but we are out of it so I can't post a photograph. As soon as we have replenished - a piccie will follow.

Bob ..... You are right about the territorial nature of the blackbird. I suppose particularly so at the moment in the mating season.

The flavours are interesting. We have just bought some Twinings 'Green Tea with citrus' which stresses on the packet that one shouldn't leave it to brew for more than 2 minutes.

Yvonne ...... You are doing great with Virgin Media - but we lost the internet again during the night. And I know it isn't our devices at fault, because everything works fine with the Vodafone dongle.

I suspect you are also right about the strength of a handwritten letter. I particularly liked your closing 'sally' that you would have e-mailed them but you couldn't get on the internet !

I also agree about Vince Cable. An impressive man with a lot about him, and an air of integrity. He seems to have more gravitas than Nick Clegg his leader.


To tired to dig out a quote, or a cartoon - Sorry !


Monday, April 20, 2009

Blood test day - feeling good - 67F 2mph E wind

The first of two 'collages' today.

Whilst I still want a good close-up of our Robin I liked this picture enough to 'collage' it with the young Blackbird adjacent. In both birds I am taken by their feet.

(I can hear Steve saying "You should get out more")

The two birds compete in the early hours as to who can sing the loudest and sweetest, and in my opinion its neck and neck. Or should I say throat and throat.

The Blackbird is not tolerant of other visitors and frequently chases Tits and the Thrush away. The Goldfinches make a token movement but fly back within seconds.

The second 'collage' is from my boyhood edition (1912) of Robin Hood by Henry Gilbert.

Robin and Little John fighting on the bridge is compulsory but I used to find (aged 11yrs) that 'Robin shoots his last shaft' very moving.

I must have read the novel 20 times and always had to linger at that bit.

If I did the same, it would entail Y interring me somewhere in the middle of the Football Field.

To return to reality. Blood Test this morning, so I'm now awaiting a call, or not, from the clinic. Most likely they will ring because even if my INR is coming down, as we hope, a Warfarin dosage change is still likely.

I have felt pretty good today so I don't want it to be spoiled. Lunch was a spag/bol which worked fine, followed by Icecream in Wafers which Y got just right. This afternoon, after a nap, I went over to Colliers Wood hoping for some pics, but there wasn't much that was photogenic.

We hope Jill and Roland got off to Durham successfully. If the weather continues as today they will enjoy it. Now there IS a photogenic spot and Durham Cathedral is one of the outstanding examples of Norman architecture in Europe.

My responses to your previously made comments

Bob ..... Thanks for the Sports Desk update.

And you don't have to contemplate 'milk and a slice of lemon' in tea. A straightforward typo, I think, because I have one or the other. And I have realised that if I am going to have the lemon version I only need to let it brew for 1½ to 2 minutes at the most. Otherwise it tastes really stewed.

Plus, I am now drinking black coffee, and I need this to be much weaker than hithertofore.

Well. Fancy that. Would you believe it?

According to my Colliers Wood Dandelion its 5.40 pm already.

That was the only halfway decent picture I managed to shoot this afternoon.


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

"When shepherds pipe on oaten straws
And merry larks are ploughmen's clocks
When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,
And maidens bleach their summer smocks."

I've published nearly the whole stanza because a few days ago folks had difficulty working out the meaning of the bit I quoted....... Come to think of it - you don't see, or hear many skylarks these days do you?

p.s Stop Press - The Clinic rang at 6.30pm. My INR level is down to 3.3 so Hoo Rah ! And a slight dosage change. Further test Monday 27th April 09. Real progress.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Almost there - Pleasant day - 56F 2mph E wind

Y pointed out, quite correctly, that this view as published yesterday, didn't look good. I had inadvertently left the camera set up for portraits. So it softened everything. (Nikon don't like your subjects to have sharp wrinkles)....... This one looks better.

We've had a good day even though I'm still so weary all the time. David called in for an hour this morning which was super. He didn't bring the girls. As he said, preparing the household for a trip out is a big and time consuming job. In any case their liveliness can be a little tiring. It was lovely to hear all the news. He also brought me a bag me of offcuts of material, blue front black/ rear, to use as backdrops. Thanks Helen they are just right.

The roast pork loin was delicious and for tea Y has just served a tasty ham salad with tiny pak choi and tao choi leaves which are unexpected nice served cold.

When I looked at yesterday's tulip collage I noticed that I hadn't included a yellow one so picture 2 is to make amends.

Most of the daffs have now finished and the next thing will be bluebells.

This morning when opening the front gates for David I noticed that our large-ish bed of 'lilies of the valley' are on the point of flowering.

This afternoon Yvonne has watched the Manchester United v Everton Match and was pleased with the result. It means that, in the final, Chelsea will have Everton as their opponents rather than MU.

I caught the exciting penalty shoot out.

My responses to your previously made comments

Yvonne ..... You are quite correct about my accordion and Denis on keyboards. But I was never satisfied with the quality of my accordion-playing. Hence, it came to an end.

I understand that, if Sky get Wimbledon it will be essential to have it. Plus our dissatisfaction with Virgin media.

Mind you, although we are only talking about 1 full day, since the TV man came we haven't had to shut down/reboot. Watch this space.

Jill ..... Tulip colour is such a personal preference. Y prefers subdued where I seem to go for vivid. I could'nt join you in liking double ones - they never look quite right !

I agree with you about Tilly and the tooth-fairy. It will be taken care of.

My taste buds in general are fine. It is just that I seem to have lost my liking for very strong coffee and orange-coloured tea. At the moment, milk and a slice of lemon in tea seems attractive whereas I would once of dismissed it as a drink for women and w**fters.

The weather seems promising for your Durham sojourn. Remember to take a ganzey because it is, after all, the frozen north up there. Cuthbert awaits you !

Bob .... Thanks for your good wishes. I think 'normal' is a place on the map I shall probably need a sat nav to return to.

Roy .... The basil I grow is a minature leaved variety called 'Minette' which roots very easily and is simple to keep going. It likes living on kitchen window sills so will not objject to being taken on holiday in a caravan. I keep several plants on the go and every so often I snip a cutting off and root it in a stem vase.

There is a 'cutting for you' now rooting. If you open the above link you will see what it looks like.

Helen C ..... Thanks for your comment. The 'coughing normally' = coughing devoid of blood.

Please feel free to use a bottle top. One can't copright ideas anyway - not that I would want too anyway.

Here is another one. Not too much manipulation - I simply put the bottle on the windowsill where the background was predominately dark then, in photoshop>select>inverse>and darken the background even further.

For Jill's benefit, and everybody's, I have rotated the image through 180°

You must tell us whereabouts at Moorgreen the bluebells are because we would both like to see them.

I am so much recovered it would be good to see the WoW-ers. Perhaps best for starters would be too join you in the pub for an hour.


Quotation time ......

"The only way to entertain some folks is to listen to them"

Kim Hubbard

I cant find a decent link to him/her. There seems several Kin Hubbards and I don't know which one. So, please click here for more of his/her quotes.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Much better - sort of ⅝ recovery - coughing normally !

As you can see from the above summer is a-stirring. Most trees are breaking leaf, even buds on the early roses. And although still a cool wind (8mph NE), at 57F overall the bees have ventured out.

I have felt much better again although now, by late afternoon, I'm flagging a bit. It is such a relief not to be coughing up blood anymore and Dr Barrett was quite right not to rush me into hospital. It's been a big strain on Y though. My appetite is returning, we managed egg, chips and mushrooms for lunch followed by raspberries and icecream. Strange thing though is that I haven't got my taste back for strong tea or coffee.

The above collage is of the tulips out at the moment. There may be a couple of varieties still to come but not many. For ages we've had a dwarf variety called Grenadier but I haven't seen it this year. The past few days have made a big difference and things have leapt forward.

Fortunately we have a quiet weekend ahead and I've got a little piece of pork loin to cook for tomorrow. We shall have it hot first, and then it will be nice cold with salad.

From WoW on the 15th at Matlock Bath I've received pictures from Brian S, Reg, and Bill, and I have started a fresh Picasa Web Album for them. The system seems to be working well and I am enjoying my secretarial role. I've also worked out the method of moving a picture from my computer to my mobile phone. This time I have made a note of the essential steps, so next time I forget ....... Strangely enough it isn't in the handbook.

My responses to your previous comments

Yvonne ..... As you know, I agree 100%.

Incy Wincy (Denis) ..... Absolutely lovely to have you back from your lengthy stay in Europe.

I remember very well how good you are on keyboards and it sounds as if you've had a whale of a time. I can hear the chanting Denis, Denis, Denis ....... You are a very creative and artistic fella !

It will be good to see some of the 'not many' pictures, when you've sorted yourself out. And fancy you becoming a 'birder'. We have keen young ones in the family.

Tilly ..... Thanks for the update on your teeth ! But oh - poor you ! It seems as if you had to be injected more deeply than usual and the numbness took longer to wear off. 5 and a half hours is a long time.

Grandma has just been down here to the office to give me your love. That's nice.

Some more tulips for you further up the blog.


Quotation time

"When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding:
Sweet lovers love the spring"

I've linked you to the whole scene.