Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Rest Day - Did lots - 74F - Wind returns

Decided to show you a collage of the Sat/Nav's box plus the gadget in operation.

First things first. We had a leisurely morning. Although Y was earlier I didn't actually get dressed till noon by which time Y was scrutinizing the Garmin Sat Nav and its instructions. Such devices no longer scare her and she is now willing to keep pressing knobs and clicking buttons till something happens.

I cooked pork-chops for lunch and for pudding Y made a blackberry and apple crumble and custard. Both courses were lovely.

In the afternoon we decided to take the Garmin for a spin and made the unwise decision to select somewhere we knew the way to i.e. Newstead Abbey. All was well and we were approaching correctly when the lady announcer told us to turn right about a mile before we should. We were shocked and critical. Then later we realised that the device didn't know we usually go to the Mansfield Road entrance and was directing us to a geographically nearer entrance.

Our return journey was more satisfying because, on being told to turn left at some lights I deliberately drove straight on. The SatNav was quick to announce 'recalculating' and thereafter gave us an accurate turn-by-turn instruction to get home. Our score = at least 9/10, I suppose. It is rather unnerving to realise that a satellite way up in the sky can actually see your vehicle and know what it is doing. It gives you good warning when you are to turn, and then tells you again when you are say 50yards away. Also, spookily, it sounds strong warnings if you dare to exceed the speed-limit !

The device seems happier with post-codes than addresses, but maybe there are intricacies to learn !

I realise all this is already known to most of our readers and I apologise if I have bored them. But I am writing for posterity !

The final picture is another bottle-top lens view of the patio and some orchid leaves. I've flipped it upside down to make the content more understandable.

Talking of the Orchids, I have just watered ours and then I took particular care with Betty's. It is a relief to say they still look fit and healthy, as do the scented-leaved geranium plugs I potted up for her. I guess they return sometime next week and my responsibility for the plants will cease. Not that I really mind because they are such excellent neighbours.

The weather has been super again and, when I spoke to David this morning, it was good to hear their holiday weather has been like this throughout. David has certainly got the interest-in-words gene. They had been talking canoe/kayak and the word capsize occurred. Like him I can see no logical link between the size of someone's hat and turning upside down in a boat.

All suggestions will be gratefully received !

The wind has got-up again today (16 mph ENE) - quite enough to blur flower pictures !

My replies to your comments

Bob..... I don't intend to stray into 'Sports Desk' territory.

Good for you - going to the pictures. What a good idea to show films in Village Halls. We haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire - the clips and the reviews didn't appeal. I'm surprised though that Egmanton is a place where you could lose the Village Hall.

Rob .... Great Haiku ! Congratulations - they flow from your pen.

Didn't know Garmin sponsored anything at all. Perhaps Middlesborough now need it more than ever.

Y will be speaking to Lach's Gran during the week. It will be fun to hear her opinions about the Summer Camp.

Just the weather for your Caravanning. Don't know how long it is scheduled to last though !

I haven't given up on 'pinhole' photography - it is the traditional problem of 'hours in the day' and being so busy when you retire. A pleasant enough problem though !


Quotation time .....

"The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off"


Saturday, May 30, 2009

In the 70s again - barely a rustle of wind - great!

Our busy-ness continues. Bill S and his wife called in this morning and they have bought from us one of our Digital Picture frames. A duplication of presents had resulted in our owning two.

After Bill's visit we went shopping for routine stuff and then, after we had unloaded the car and put frozen stuff in the freezer, we went to Mansfield Halfords (see Y's comment). The Sat/Nav we selected was the one David recommended - Garmin Nuvi 205 - which seems just the job.

We got home in plenty of time for The Cup Final (please see Sports Desk) and Y tells me the result was just.

Picture 1 is Iris Sibirica in the evening light. By the looks of them they need thinning out when they have finished flowering. I grew them from seed and they have always enjoyed the slightly 'boggy' nature of their present location.

Weatherwise it has been another glorious day. That pesky wind has more or less gone away and we of unsteady footing feel safer on venturing out. My weight continues downwards albeit slowly and it is solely down to smaller portions and stopping eating when I am full. A virtuous circle, because my appetite has diminshed too.

Picture 2 is of another favourite at this time of year - the Cistus. The 'crumpled paper' look to the petals always delights. The one shown is the basic 'robusta' type and we have fancier versions, but I love the common-or-garden type best.

Last night I didn't sleep well. One would have thought, with all the fresh air and not having had an afternoon nap, I would have slept like a log but I didn't. I was on the internet buying trousers from Chums and shirts from Cotton Traders amongst other duties.

Then I cleaned the sensor on my Nikon. Twice before, when it has needed attention, Reg has done it for me.

I had bought a cleaning kit on e-bay and, having seen Reg do it, and armed with the camera handbook to sort out 'mirror lock-up' I managed a tidy job. A camera shop would usually charge in excess of £50.

My responses to your previously made comments

Bob ..... The funeral you attended sounds a splendid affair and I am glad you felt that the deceased would have approved.

Sorry your king-sized water pistol didn't work out. I noticed this morniing that Lidl have them too.

Yvonne .... Thanks for the Sports Desk coverage. And I'm glad your team were the victors.

We haven't really had chance today, but tomorrow we'll try out the Sat/Nav. It needn't be a long trip but I'm eager to see how it works.

As you know, I only saw snippets of Britains got Talent. while passing through. To my un-informed opinion Simon Cowell has the sort of face that asks for a smack. Pass me my un-lined police-gloves please.


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

"Talent is god-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful."

We've promised ourselves a Rest Day tomorrow. Apart from a few fun jobs, some photography ones, perhaps an hour in the garden, cook Sunday lunch, catch-up on the Papers, a Sat/Nav test-flight, ring David, catch-up on TV programmes missed etc... we shall be at our leisure.

Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow


Friday, May 29, 2009

Longshaw Estates - eventually - glorious day - 80F

The weather when we awoke was so lovely we decided to take advantage of it and risk a trip into Derbyshire.

Carpe diem and all that jazz. All thanks to Horace originally.

Y suggested we try somewhere where we had WoW-ed and Longshaw Estates fitted in. Our route was, to say the least, circuitous, but resulted in an impressive scenic tour. Our big mistake was using Google-Maps and printing-off their suggested route.

Chesterfield is OK but .........

Anyway, we saw grass being mown for hay and 'wuffled' which produced that unforgettable smell.

Bottom left of the 'collage' was the view from where we stopped for coffee (our own and delicious).

When we finally arrived at Longshaw it was busy (school holidays etc.) but well lived up to expectations. I managed a fairly long walk with my wheels and reached the pond/lake on the way to Padley Gorge. - Grindleford. We stopped and talked to a very pleasant couple who were regular visitors and recommended a handier car-park for me in future.

On our arrival back at the Visitor's Centre we had tea and a nice piece of cake - and a lovely long chat to the NT 'volunteer' tea-lady and learned lots of insider-information about Longshaw and in particular the 'old house' which has been converted into up-market apartments.

When we arrived home the garden still looked in it's pristine post-Karen state.

As I sat on my bed to unload my 'bits and bobs' I noticed this interesting picture featuring my bottle-stopper lens.

Apart from adjusting my position to maximise the juxtaposition of the diagonal lines the picture is fiddle-free.

My replies to your comments

Bob ..... As you noted a couple of days ago, the weather seems consistently inconsistent. An old red pullover that I haven't worn for years has become my bosom companion (please excuse the word-play).

Tesco is excellent for good quality and extremely cheap electrical goods. Your new telly will doubtless give excellent service. My bedroom hot-water jug/kettle was under £3 and I can't fault it.

Glad we've sorted out the misunderstanding about the Toyota lights.

The AA man was quite witty about our Yaris Verso. He described it as a 'normal Yaris with a loft-conversion'.

Yvonne .... I think you do wonderfully well to play Cricket and Football with the grand-children, especially if you aren't allowed time on 'the bench'.

I'm glad you have actually seen the Lidl ad for the 'swimming-goggles' and they seem OK. Big difference between £2.79 and around £15 at Decathlon.

Thanks for your kind words about my gardening efforts. I intend a further couple of hours before the weekend is over.

jbw .... Archery isn't my forte although the subject interests me - particularly the English 'long bow'. Such romantic connotations and history.

Doug is very interesting to listen to on the subject and an excellent bowman himself.

Going back into the animation to alter it is easier said than done I'm afraid. Although I couldn't do it myself, I know a man who could .... as they say. But I have no intention of troubling him with this one. Sorry if that sounds abrupt because it isn't my intention. It is good to have your comments on the blog - so keep them coming .....


Quotation time .....
"Hark! I hear their drum.
Fight, gentlemen of England! fight, bold yeomen!
Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head!

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Burton Joyce for Y - 70F - Cloudy but some Sun

Please excuse the lack of quality of this picture of some elderly water-babies yesterday at Darley Dale.

A straightforward record shot showing the awfully wet conditions.

The car started this morning at the first vigorous turn of the starter-motor and the battery seemed full of charge and healthy.

So, while en route to the tram this morning, Y rang Steve at the Garage and told him I wouldn't be taking the car in. Lots of things needed to be done today including me having a good rest.

We had decided on an egg salad and I prepared and cooked Jersey Royals to have cold and later some hard-boiled eggs (I didn't give them quite long enough and the yolks were too runny) plus lettuce, celery, radishes and some crinkle-cut beetroot. I had a good sit with the Telegraph and the crossword, frequent naps of course.

Karen came and mowed, with the repaired mower, and then I did a little more de-weeding of the ring-border and planted the rest of the Geraniums. Picture 2 on the right illustrates.

With regard to the rest of this particular border I must see if 'mixed annuals' seed is still available. I realise it is quite late for sowing seed but things always catch up and then flower for a bit longer at the other end.

We haven't discussed it though and Yvonne may already have something in her mind as to how she would like it to look.

Roy called in to pick up a Basil plant which is to accompany them in the Caravan. After he'd left I realised I had given him a roooted cutting, and I wanted him to have a seedling which I think might be more vigorous. When he returns he can have one of those too.

Y returned from her usual Thursday at Burton Joyce and was tired. But she had played cricket, and football, and I don't think there were many quiet periods as the children are all off for the Whitsuntide break.

My responses to your previously written comments

Bob ..... Re chip cobs. Almost everywhere we visit for chip-cobs they serve everyone a cob, sliced in half and buttered and several crocks of chips are put on the table so that people assemble their own. It would be quite odd, in our experience, to be served with one that had already been made into its final form.

The Toyota does have an audible 'lights-on' warning which operates when you get out of the car. I was sitting in it ! It would be very strange for a car to emit an audible warning that the lights were on, while you are sitting in the car. I've never come across that - perhaps you could name makes and models ?

Jill .... We all hope your Bristol city break is a success. But we shall miss you on the blog and look forward to hearing all about you holiday when you return.

And, hopefully, some pictures.


Quotation time .....

"The one function TV news performs very well is that when there is no news we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were."

David Brinkley

This another line/divider from the site recommended by Pete B.

It makes me think of Duggie (EPS) who is a keen archer.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WoW at Darley Abbey - weather foul - flat battery

David sent me this picture, entitled 'Lunch at The Lakeside Café' from their Caravan Club site. He has a sense of humour and knows his Dad.

A pint of Bitter and a Chip Cob - those were the days.

Today I had no lunch at all, due to arriving at The Bell Inn, Smalley at 2.07pm - I was firmly told they stop serving lunch at 2pm !

n.b. There isn't a link because, if they can't rustle me up a sandwich at 2.07pm, I can't give them any free publicity.

In Darley Abbey where I had been parked down by the Cricket Pitch while the chaps completed their walk, I inadvertently left my side-lights on for almost 2 hours. The result was a flat battery needing the AA to come to my rescue. The AA man said, later borne out by Steve at the Garage, that modern cars and batteries don't permit lengthy parking on side-lights like they used to 50years ago. I hadn't had my car-radio on or anything like that. But I shall have to be more careful in future. There is a 'lights on warning' icon but it didn't attract my attention. Steve says to take the car up in the morning and he will check the battery. If it needs a new one they will fit it at no cost.

Darley Abbey is a pretty town with many interesting buildings, an Arboretum and a scenic Park. All to no avail unfortunately with the incessant rain. But our Wow-ers don't give in easily and I have already had photos sent in.

The snap on the left was taken about 100yards from where I parked.

An amusing story from yesterday.

Karen told us that one of her friends says "Karen drives her car as if she has just stolen it". We assume she means 'fast'. Sounds like Karen - bless her !

My responses to your comments

Jill ...... Re 'Golden Years' menus. Plenty for me too. But yesterday I was so un-hungry I opted for 'toast and paté' with a few salad leaves.

I still haven't caught up with 'Simon Sharma on John Donne' but I must because it is important.

Yvonne ..... I will 'catch up' with the Simon Sharma while you are over at Burton Joyce. The weeks go by so quickly it's hard to believe it's Thursday again.

Your Hayley Centre stories are good fun ! With you and Reg both reporting-in.

Bob .... According to the author of this Viper's Bugloss link the plant is far from a cosy little beauty. If you open the link I feel you will agree that he only has himself to blame - he shouldn't have been trying to pull it up.

The plant's defenses account for the 'viper' element of its name but I wonder where 'Bugloss' comes from? The plant looks a little like the common Bugle - perhaps that's it.

I agree with you about the poetry of Andrew Motion which to my ear always sounds rather stilted. A first rate chap though - we saw him on The Book Quizz and were favourably impressed.

Reg .... You are right about the way some men drive certain cars. In this family publication I can't tell you what policemen used to say about BMWs.


Quotation slot ..............

"Macho doesn't prove mucho"

Peter B sent me a link to some free lines/dividers - thanks. This is one of them


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Activity filled Day - 48F - Cloudy and Cool


The pictures are from later in the day, and show where Y goes swimming. Today 6 lengths. Jacuzi, and walk home. The Hayley Centre is beautifully situated in pleasant parkland and everything looks in 'good order' - no litter, edges trimmed, grass neatly mown - that sort of thing .

Today we crammed a lot in. Took Library Books back, collected tablets, went over to Joan's for coffee and then to The TreeTops for lunch. Whilst at Joan's we booted-up Yvonne's laptop with the vodafone dongle so Joan could see some correspondence Y wanted her to see.

We had a good chat about wildflowers because Joan really does know the subject well. We identified several pictures from my Cromford shots and she put me right about my umbellifers, my ranuculaecea and my avens etc.. I have so much to learn but she lent me a good book.

After lunch I dropped Y off for her swim and she walked home via The Headstocks, all while I had a much needed lie-down. The chair in the Treetops hadn't suited me at all and eventually I had to give up and go and sit in the car. However, after getting home and taking pain-killers, I rallied enough to go out and de-weed part of the ring border in the front lawn (Y had already more-or-less cracked it) and then we planted some Geraniums, which have done well there before. Excellent, well-rooted plants, some from Aldi and some from Morrisons - they were all good. The we watched Springwatch and enjoyed it. I wish Kate Humble would do less gesticulating though - it must be contagious. Chris Packham the new presenter is good and knowledgeable and quite honestly, although I am sorry he is ill, we were ready for a change from Bill Oddie.

The third picture is from my Cromford collection and shows Viper's Bugloss. Now there is a name to conjure with. I shall have to research how it came to be thus named.

Sorry if the snap is a little dull but the flower was growing in a heavily shaded area and what you see is a fair representation of how it was.

I've decided to try and WoW tomorrow, unless I wake up feeling awful. Helen is turning out and when Reg rang me he said there was talk of going to Darley Abbey near Derby. It sounds like an interesting place and, if their website is any indication, it should be fun.

My responses to your previous comments

jbw ..... I have seen your 'mobile-phone cum sat/nav' up at EPS. I think the point was however that the satellites themselves, up there in the sky, might be reaching the end of their useful .......

Pete B ..... We are all loving this TT info. straight from where it is all happening. Please keep it coming.

Yvonne ..... Now you've mentioned it, bells rang, and I'm not sure if David and gang's invasion of Debra's was not post Le Mans rather than the IofM TT. No doubt when he returns from Holiday he will sort it out.

He sent me a holiday-picture on my mobile this afternoon but I'm unsure how to move it onto my computer because it looks like a video rather than a still.

Jill...... Glad you have sorted out your picture problem. I thought it was impossible to push a USB in the wrong way round. Hope you haven't caused any damage.

What an interesting piece about the Hebe and the bees and butterflies. I've never seen one that popular ! Must have been a memorable sight.

I already knew about sewage-works and tomato plants, and they always look so healthy. Am afraid I personally wouldn't be able to use it as a source though. Bob might !

Please give Jenny our best wishes !

Bob .... Re-introducing past species to this country always worries me. Why bother ? If they turn up of their own accord so be it and they should be cherished but there seems to be more important 'green' issues that need to be worked at.

The Poetry Archive is a very valuable resource and Andrew Motion is to be congratulated for his work on it. Little compares with a poet reading his/her own work. There are exceptions but they are rare.


Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow

This is one of Y's favourites - Good enough reason to use it


Monday, May 25, 2009

Whitsuntide - 56F - no wind - dull

Picture 1 is a further photograph from John, location not known, but demonstrating that there are wild boar in France.

Somewhere near the 'esterel massif' if close to where he took another picture. They certainly seem to having a whale of a time. Good luck to them.

Our day has been good. Deciding to brave the Bank Holiday we went to the river bank spot at Cromford which Helen C recommended for wildflowers. Thanks Helen. The 'getting there' instructions proved straightforward and we were rewarded by a cornucopia of flora. The path (wheels friendly) leads down the centre of a wide river-bank and wildflowers proliferated.

Plenty of checking-out needed in my reference books.

Some were easy to find like this 'Bistort' on the left. And I'm still working on many of the others.

A little apprehensive that noisy children milling about would be everywhere, we were pleasantly surprised.

I guess the river bank at Cromford Mill is not a place to which young families are attracted.

The Mill itself is now a World Heritage Site and of course Sir Richard Arkwright was a man who perhaps doesn't receive the attention he deserves. For his time, he was an exemplary employer. The village he built for his workers had a School, because he wanted young people who were to be employed at The Mill to be able to read and write.

Come back Sir Richard !

On our return journey we stopped at The Canal Inn at Bullbridge and had an excellent meal although there was too much of it. (I had a feeling there wouldn't be a satisfactory web-page to link you to, so the photo is mine. The link takes you to a page about the village)

We both chose the 'fresh haddock, chips, and mushy peas' and certainly didn't have room for a pudding, attractive though they looked. The menu states clearly that meals are actually cooked on the premises and to allow a little time during busy periods. This was borne out by our experience and they were busy. We arrived at just the right time, before the rush started, and the landlord directed us to a charming corner table by a window.

I checked out the 'chip cob' position for WoW possibilities and received the reply "No problem".

By the time we reached home it was completely clouded over and at this moment it is raining.

My responses to your comments

Jill ... Would like to come and help in your garden, but weeding about a tenth of ours is more than enough. Sorry !

The Garmin NUVI 105 is a Sat/Nav. Silly me for not publishing a link, or at least explaining.

But Helen C's cautionary note does not fall on deaf ears. There seems to be a reluctance on our part to take the plunge. Perhaps we have subliminally noted similar warnings elsewhere.

Re Gertrude in a Pot. I think she would flourish magnificently in a pot. Although not visible from the photo ours is not in a border but in a hole in the concrete path, perhaps 10 x 18 inches filled with about a foot of compost on top of subsoil. So, go for it !

Lucky you with the Painted Lady butterfly. It would be lovely to see your photo. Keep experimenting with photos>computer, or, if son helps - make notes.

Pete B .... Thanks for 'from the horse's mouth' information about the TT races. So much more fun than official briefings. And doubtless more accurate too. Blogs are the in-thing !

The poor people who are virtual prisoners by living 'inside the track' have my sympathy. I guess the best solution would be to 'let' your house for the duration to a respectable family of fans and go off somewhere on holiday with the rent.

Bob ... Thanks for the e-mailed picture of your tomato plants. I hope I haven't been premature in putting mine outside. I must remember to cover them if a cold night is forecast.

What a lovely poem (Whitsun Weddings) to do for A level. As a mature student ? Didn't think he'd written it back in the 40s.

As a special treat I've tracked down a recording of Larkin himself reading it. Please click here.

Helen C .... Please see above re Cromford river-path. I definitely want to go again in a month or so, to note changes in wildflower population. However, in identification terms, I have plenty to keep me occupied already.

Your 'surprise tomato plants' are no doubt a product of your home-brewed compost. Seeds are very resilient.

Thanks for the Sat/Nav tip. I think our current reluctance is telling us something.


Quotation time ....

"You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft: a certain free-margin, and even vaguesness - ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things"

Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)

Another 'line' borrowed from Pete B

Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Super day - gardening in lovely weather.

The weather has been great - 66F and 5mph W wind but, in the bit of the garden where I was working, there was no wind at all.

I completely cleared a patch of sunny border by the garage and have put my Gardener's Delight tomato plants there. Already potted up by Helen so I had very little to do except make decisions. The patch you can see was completely overgrown with Periwinkle except for the very edge where I had too much Chives and some Thyme and a new Curry Leaf plant.

Basically I loosened it all with a strong fork and a spade and then used my kneeler and a trowel and hand-fork to get it all out. The Courgette Helen has also given me I planted in a previously cleared bit of flower border opposite.

Y changed beds, and then weeded out the Ring Around in the front garden where we aim to plant some Geraniums to blend in with some Pansies which are still doing well. We both worked hard and tired ourselves a bit and a lie-down was very welcome. Very satisfying though and a sense of achievement.

David has just rung to say he has tracked down a good deal on a Garmin NUVI 205 at Halfords. Half price and it seems just the thing we want. Perhaps have a look in Mansfield Halfords tomorrow, if they are open.

David and family go away tomorrow to the Caravan Club Ferry Meadows site near Peterborough. And jolly nice it looks too. Adjacent to the Nene Valley Park which also looks delightful. There certainly looks plenty of interesting things. Bird-watching hides, a lake and cycling !

At lunchtime we watched, courtesy of iplayer, a doumentary about Wilfred Owen which Yvonne had found. It was about Wilfred Owen, the outstanding First World War Poet and Jeremy Paxman now seems to do an excellent job with this sort of subject. Very harrowing content, but important, and I'm glad we watched it.

My responses to your previous comments

Pete B .... How interesting about Gertrude Jekyll. I too hope your plant flowers soon and you can tell us all about it. Haven't had chance to check-out your blog yet.

Do the TT Race supporters cause problems ? Or do you all be pleased to see them for tourist reasons? The Official Website looks very lively and attractive.

Bob ..... Perhaps the Log Cabins are on someone's 'wish-list' and they are not yet imminent.

I am kind to bees but I have to be extremely careful. My tolerance to bee-venom diminished over the years rather than increased. I had a particularly nasty reaction to a sting and the Consultant advised me to give up the hobby. I keep some histamine tablets readily available and also a spray.

Jill ..... As you will see from the picture on the right Gertrude Jekyll is a Climber/Rambler - I'm never sure what the difference is. And does it matter ? She certainly gets about a bit and flowers over a reasonable period. After the first flush around now, the plant will continue to produce blooms till the end of the season albeit not as prolifically as May/June.

And, as we have mentioned, the scent is worth lingering near the Rose for. It was a good decision to plant her near our front door. Probably Y's !

I went out specifically to take the photo to include here but, as you can see, the sun has gone over to the other side of the Bungalow. Would be better in the morning.

We too are not in favour of plants with a very short flowering period. Peonies are out for us for that very reason.

Glad your Hospital visit worked out OK but 3 buses sounds tedious. You will have to change your mind about things with ear-phones because Y now swears by her MP3 player and won't travel on public transport without it.


Quotation time ........

Talking about trains, and with it being Whitsuntide, I can't but think of Philip Larkin and The Whitsun Weddings.

"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weather picking up - 70F - 10mph S wind - pleasant though

I heard David and family arrive - having been in my room to put on some new 'mail-order' trousers.

When I went into the Hall I thought "Ah ha! There are Princesses about" and there were, three of them Helen, Sky and Brooke".

We really enjoyed their visit, so much news, Sky awarded her Level 5 in English, a year early at least. She is so knowledgeable and quick-witted. And Brooke had lots to tell us too. Helen brought us two very healthy looking tomato plants, already potted up into their final containers - all they are going to need is a longer cane in due course, routine watering and the occasional feed of Tomorite. It's going to be quite like the old days.

Helen and I had a pleasant gardening chat and if the weather is like today, I'm looking forward to an hour in the garden tomorrow.

Gertrude Jekyll never lasts very long but at the moment, at the side of the front door, she is gorgeous. Earlier Y gave her a couple of buckets of water.

When one walks down the path one is rewarded by the rose's super delicate perfume. Just like old English roses are supposed to smell. I drew it to Sky's attention and she fully appreciated the scent. Maybe one day she will tell her granddaughter about the smell of old English roses.

And David managed to fix my digital watch, to stop it 'going off' unbidden at 12 midnight each day. My previous workaround has been to wrap it in a handkerchief and hide it in my dressing-gown pocket !

They are off on their Holiday on Monday and are hoping to meet up with Steve and Lisa and family at Swanage. I reminded them to take their cameras !

Both Joan G and Jean B rang to say how much they had enjoyed their lunch at RedBrick House yesterday.

It really was a splendid occasion - the weather held, the surroundings were lovely, and the food was beyond reproach. Their calls were appreciated. I know that a call of thanks or a note is second nature to courteous folk of our generation - but not all by any means. And it seems to have passed the younger generation by completely. We still have no idea whether or not Alannah received her birthday money for instance. Her birthday was 12th May.

Before we leave the roses, I think a proper 'flower portrait' is in order. So here goes. smack in the centre of the page.

Our busy-ness continues. This evening TJ is calling in and I am cooking her her beloved lamb-chops. We haven't planned a pudding yet - but we have Peter's rhubarb of course which would be delicious - perhaps hot and with ice-cream. We shall see. Y has just reminded me she has done a Mandarin Jelly with segments in it. One of my favourites. Say no more !

.Re Poetry programmes. The half-hour programme on BBC 4 dedicated to 30 years of Poetry Please was much much better than the Gryff Rhys Jones effort. The people who made this programme are actually poetry lovers which showed through.

My replies to your previous comments

Bob .... Maybe, due to the recession, the log-cabins will go on hold for sometime. Possibly forever. I don't suppose they would be an eyesore anyway. Presumably they applied for planning permission. Did you see it?

The Bumblebee's death was entirely natural. Although I kill wasps I never would kill a bee. I tend to collect them in a tumbler and take them outside to be released.

I shall follow the Jury Team with interest. One of The Telegraph's writers this morning was making noises of approval.

Edward Langley will not grace these pages again. His English was atrocious and his supposed point doesn't make sense anyway. On reflection I don't know what persuaded me to use the quote.

Jill ..... Re.. The five people in the car. Peter Green, Joan Green, Jean Bradbury, Graham Marsden and Yvonne Marsden. Joan is not yet 80 and neither are we - but we felt unable to refuse entry to those named.

Re ... Our political system. I don't think it needs to be changed at all. Just some people chucked out and some new (honest) people elected.

It was such a relief to us lefties to find that Dennis Skinner has claimed almost nothing by way of expenses. No 'snout in the trough' for Dennis !

Glad your Golden Anniversary Roses are performing. The other flowers you mention are earlier than ours. Hope you managed an hour's 'garden-enjoyment' before Hospital visiting.


Quotation time .....

"Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine/
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:"

Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream

Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow all being well"

And it's good that my file-hosting site Walagata recovered from the nadgers of yesterday


Friday, May 22, 2009

Birthday Lunch for Peter and Jean at Redbrick House

We've had a busy day and took Peter G and Jean B out for lunch to celebrate their 8oth Birthdays. Both looked marvellous and we all agreed it was to do with having active minds and plenty to occupy themselves with.

The location chosen was Redbrick House, on Peafield Lane at Mansfield Woodhouse. If you open the link you will see what an attractive setting it is - I quite like the look of the Holiday Log Cabins which are to be developed. I could book one for a few days and indulge my wildlife photography interest.

I can't show you any of my photographs of the place, or the setting, because there aren't any. My camera remained in the car.

The service in the Restaurant and the quality of the food was first class and I would have no objection to re-visiting.

The little Yaris performed bravely. It really makes one think of The Tardis because the car looks so small outside, but we got 5 adults in, all wearing seat-belts, and people didn't feel crowded. 'Amazing' as Millicent would say. But, not knowing the car, I was much obliged to Joan who pointed out that I was nearly out of petrol

We had a lovely time at Peter and Joan's both before and after the meal, for tea/coffee. Lots of laughs and light-hearted fun sometimes about Mansfield National Trust among other things.

Some days ago I think I may have mentioned a Bumblebee who kept crashing into a front window, in an effort to join us in the big room.

This morning he succeeded due to the window being open - only to die on the napkin box. At least he finally got his wish and lets hope he died a happy bumblebee.

Peter gave us some lovely fresh rhubarb and a smashing bunch of radishes. He went and got both straight out of the garden while we sat there, and at the moment I am enjoying cheese & biscuits with 'fresh as you can get' radishes for my tea. And WoW are they tasty !

My responses to your previous comments

Peter G ..... I am really happy that you have sussed out how to access the blog and, now the 'comments' system. Another 'comment-er' is most welcome.

That is not to undervalue the contribution of our stalwarts, without whom I would feel as if I was bellowing out of my rear bedroom window, without a megaphone.

Bob ..... For the benefit of other readers I am making The Glyders a live link because some people may not immediately know it's a mountain range in Wales.

Now I have a little time I shall have a look at The Juryteam and publish my impressions. Here is a link to a Martin Bell article about them. I didn't link you to their actual site because my 'siteadvisor' wasn't completely happy, and I don't want people picking up an infection of Malware from this blog.


David and Helen and Sky and Brooke are visiting in the morning. That will be fun and we shall enjoy getting up-to-date with their news - always a lot of interesting things.

Quotation time ......

"What this country needs are nore unemployed politicians"
Edward Langley

Edward Langley was an artist but I couldn't find a biography to link you to. No Wiki page even !

But, talking of politicians - MATT strikes again


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yvonne at Burton Joyce - 60F - 5mph NW wind

Another Dovedale shot which reminded me of boyhood was this scree which we used to slide down on our backsides. It is rather steeper than it looks from this angle and the one towards the centre of the snap is the one. The other one, on the lefthand side is rubbish. Go and check it out if you don't believe me !

Y has been over at Burton Joyce and managed not to get drenched because the showery weather had continued. Fortunately better weather is forecast for the Bank Holiday weekend. Lets just hope.

The second picture is from a little further down the riverside and close to where the Dipper nest is. Dovedale doesn't change much.

Today I've been quite busy. Sorted the Picasa WebAlbum for WoW at Newark, and Dovedale. Tidied up some gardening projects - I put outside the geranium seedlings I pricked out for Betty. But then brought them in again because it occurred to me that they me be greenhouse varieties rather than for the border.

Caught up on some reading and then prepared a meal for Y's return. The day has zoomed by. No time for the crossword.

My replies to your comments

Yvonne ..... Thanks for your nice comment about the pictures, Apparently Dippers like fast-flowing rivers in hilly country. So the Dove is an ideal place for them.

Bob ..... Sorry about the young greenfinch. We have a bumblebee who would like to join us in the 'big room' and crashes (not fatally) into the window a couple of times a day.

Incy Wincy Denis ... Many thanks for your praise for the dipper picture. It is due to that 70-300nn VR Nikkor which really is a gem of a lens.

Thanks also for your good health wishes. Whatever - I am happy in myself.

Jill ..... The RSPB website is lovely isn't it? To be able to hear a snippet of the bird's song at the click of a button is so helpful.

I agree with you about the Griff Rhys Jones programme about Poetry. He did the topic no favours at all and sounded most of the time as if he was taking the mickey. Thats ok I suppose but he just didn't sound genuine.


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

"Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary"

Kahlil Gibran

Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A first-class WoW at Dovedale - 60F - Little wind

This morning I decided to WoW.

After picking up Helen and dropping Y at the Hayley Leisure Centre we went over to Reg's and Dovedale was selected as a venue. Quite a long way I suppose but it proved worth it.

We were lucky with the weather which stayed fine and there were a few brief periods of sun. We parked in the bottom car-park and, thanks to my wheels, I managed to walk as far as the Stepping Stones. The snap on the left is almost compulsory if you visit. And of course many boyhood memories came to me. Informal competitions were held to see who could run across the stepping stones quickest. There were several unplanned 'dips' and The Dove is a cold, cold river. We used to swim in it, further down, at Mappleton where the river is wider and deeper and lengthy periods in the water were not popular. Shall we say 'bracing' !

The 'chaps' went off on their customary trek but I found plenty of interest. Possibly the main thing was this 'Dipper' which I had noticed. I decided to sit down on my wheels chair and observe him/her and managed a few reasonable shots with my 70-300mm treasure.

Then, after staying still for some time the bird flew into this hole in the bank which closer observation revealed to be their nest. The 'dipping' is to collect water-borne insects and other fodder and you can see he has a beak-full.

Picture 3, below and on the left, is the nest and, after I'd found it I was hoping for an action shot of the bird flying in, or out. I sat there for probably 5 minutes but no luck.

When I got home and researched it I found this excellent website, by the RSPB of course, and when you have found your bird, you go to it via an alphabetical chart to particulars. And there's a button to click to hear it's song. Great fun !

For chip-cobs we went to The Cliffe Inn at Crich where we were greeted with the landlady's usual bon-homie and v.good chip-cobs. I had a cheese-cob instead and the home made 'Beetroot and Orange Chutney' was delicious.

When I arrived home I was delighted to open my blood-test result and find my INR level bang-on 3 - exactly where it should be. In consequence, I don't need to be re-tested till the 9th of June and there's no change to my Warfarin dosage.

Yvonne's good experience at the Hayley was great to hear about and she obviously enjoyed herself muchly. It is going to be 'her thing' and I have promised not to muscle in on it.

My responses to your previous comments

Bob ..... Anglesey Abbey is near Cambridge not in Wales. I think I know how it got it's name but I can't remember.

The Big Issue can be v.good and it's heart is in the right place. The 'arts' coverage is often surprisingly good. Mind you, so is The Telegraph's.

Yvonne ...... So glad The Eastwood Hall, Hayley experience worked out so well and I promise not to interfere.

At lunchtime Reg told me that one can eat there and the Restaurant is first class. But prohibitively expensive. You can read his comment about the Jacuzi and the human wave-machine !

Perhaps, if you have more leaflets to deliver, it would be worth taking some kitchen-tongs with you. You could then push the leaflets right through and remain un-injured.

Jill ..... Re vegetables. There's undercooked and undercooked. We quite like al denté and dislike greens boiled till mushy and tinged yellow.

You and I can certainly sit in a swimming-pool lounge and be onlookers. We could amuse ourselves taking the mickey out of the actual swimmers and doing the Telegraph crossword.

Re my Tree book. No complaint about the pictures or the quality. But I wish it were a bigger book, with more entries.

Reg ..... I'll vouch for you. Definitely in Dovedale, followed by Crich.


"Sleep tight - 10.30pm too late for a quote - catch you tomorrow"


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A busy Tuesday - 53F - Gusty wind - heavy rain.

This is the entrance to Anglesey Abbey, located what seems miles from the Visitor's Centre and Restaurant.

The meal in the Restaurant, Roast Pork with cauliflower, carrots, roast potatoes and gravy was so awful Y complained. At £9.30 it was seriously over-priced. Y was offered a refund which she pointedly refused, saying she wasn't trying to get a free meal but registering a considered complaint about the quality.

The carrots seemed to have been cooked for around 10 minutes and were virtually raw. Ditto the cauliflower. The cook obviously thought cauliflower needs around the same time as broccoli i.e. 12 minutes. The resultant florets were too resilient to sink a fork into. Not that there was broccoli - there was no greenstuff at al, not even peas. The Pork had been carved 'with the grain of the meat' rather than against it. But the 'piece de resistance' was the gravy which had settled-out, leaving the top 3 inches of liquid fat. You only discovered this AFTER pouring because it was in a thermos ! Not a place to be recommended.

Anyway, today has been fun. The first thing was calling in at the Hayley Centre so that Yvonne could register as a member of the Leisure Club and enjoy the Swimming Pool You will immediately see the pool area if you open the link. There's a pleasant lounge/bar where I can settle down with my laptop while Y does her 40 lengths ! I'm sure she will tell you more about it via a 'comment'.

Then it was my blood test, followed by Y's Hair, some shopping then over to Sherwood for the monthly 'nails' service.

Before Sherwood I nipped home to put frozen things in the freezer and Karen told me that Willis (garage-owner) had called in about some paper-work to do with the new car. When we called in, thinking the cheque must have bounced ha ha!, he handed us two gents umbrellas, a spray can of flysquat remover, a small purse with old coins in. So much for my clearing out the old car !

In Sherwood there was a whole new set of Charity Shops for me. The Oxfam is a gem to which I shall return. On the left is my 'haul' but I bought the Big Issue from a chap on the street. Looks like a good issue too !

I think it was my most expensive purchase because I gave the vendor £2.

All the Charity Shops, - Oxfam, The Children's Society, Mind, Nottingham Hospice, were thoroughly checked for a pottery/china butter dish for Bob, but I'm afraid I was unsuccessful. It is in my mind now though so watch this space.

This afternoon Y has been keen to get out and deliver her allotted number of Lib.Dem election circulars which arrived this morning but the weather has ruled it out. The sun shines and 10 minutes later the clouds open. And I didn't want to have to collect a bedraggled, saturated, Liberal Democrat from the bottom of Mansfield Road.

My responses to your comments

Bob ..... I have identified the trees as 'Betula utilis var. jacquemontii' - 'Silver Shadow' and if you open this link I hope you well agree. Thanks for the Alder suggestion but, of course, you hadn't had the advantage of having seen the trees.

Re Rainbow Bridge. You will have read my thoughts previously expressed and I agree with yours. Steady on though about People's Friend ! I once had two pieces published therein which earned me the princely sum of £15.23p.

However, a decent bit of poetry on the subject, is Byron's Poem to 'Boatswain' his Newfoundland. Even the Gravestone at Newstead is moving.

My 'bird-feeder' comment was my preference for the feeders hanging in the Rowan Tree anyway. The point I had added was that, now the tree is in full leaf, I can't see the birds clearly enough for a snap. Not really important though. Aesthetics is all !

Jill ..... Thanks for your comment about 'The Trees'. Y says it is one of my best pictures.

I also read about the Hockney Trees. I cherish the hope that one day this Summer I shall be able to see his big picture, made up I think of 40 panels. I think it is in Tate Modern.

We often treat ourselves to a burst of Central Heating. Trouble is the 'bursts' often need to be of several hours duration.

Yvonne ...... You have caught up with me 'blogwise' so well today that you are in fact in the lead.

I've known you long enough and I've never considered you 'vain'. And, if you remember, in this respect I do know what I'm talking about.

You are wise to read carefully the pamphlets you are delivering. It would be so embarrassing, and counter-productive, if some potential voter said "Whats this all about then?" jabbing a finger at an article, and you not to know the answer.


Quotation time ..... And while we are talking about Byron, this quote of his is relevant this year isn't it?

"The English winter—ending in July,
To recommence in August."

Lord Byron

Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow

Monday, May 18, 2009

The gusty wind persists - 58F - a Rest Day

Today's wet, windy, and cold weather makes us realise how lucky we were yesterday at Anglesey Abbey. Stormy during the journey but after arrival we had warm sun and everyone was able to see outside things as well as indoors.

Our route from Car Park to house was longer than the most direct but one of their volunteers recommended it and, thanks to my wheels, we managed it. And I'm so glad we did for the sight of these trees.

One of our ladies assured us they are 'Silver Birch ' but we doubt it. Most indigenous Silver Birch don't acquire this absolute whiteness when young, if at all, and we think this is one of those tree species that in the Autumn have a really attractive bark-peel. Does anyone know?

Inside the house the Art Collection was a high point for us. In one room was the last picture Richard Parkes Bonington painted and remains unfinished but delightfully bright perhaps in consequence. He has a special place for Nottingham people because of his birthplace in Arnold. There were other treasures - Holbein, Constable, Claude de Lorraine, Munnings, a Landseer or two, one of a Spaniel that looked as if it had been fed sugary sweets - awful!

The second picture is of Lode Mill which we didn't manage to pull in. This picture was from the closest point we reached. Y would liked to have gone down to it but I was flagging a bit by that stage.

The Mill is still functioning and people bought stone-ground flour and oatmeal etc.

The coach journey was good fun and we had lots of laughs. Peter G is still in his plaster cast (broken wrist from being knocked over on a crossing in London by a cyclist) but Joan has stepped into the breach by taking on the driving. On Friday we are going out with Peter and Joan, and Jean to celebrate Peter's and Jean's 80th Birthdays. They are an example to us all.

Tomorrow I have a blood-test, Y is having her hair done and then we are off over to Sherwood for a nails service. Charity Shops will beckon and I must keep an eye open for jigsaws for Joan G. While we are over there it would be nice to call in on Joan B but Yvonne hasn't managed to contact her yet.

Sports Desk - Y had a nice chat with Margaret M and her grandson 'Lachs' is doing extremely well. Although he is one of Nottingham Panthers stars his actual team is 'Lions' and recently he has had 4 other offers.

My comments on your comments

jbw...... Thank you for 'Rainbow Bridge' which I am sure will bring comfort to bereaved pet owners. For my taste it was rather sugary and cloying I'm afraid.

Bob .... As you know, I only have one actual 'field' but that can be located anywhere. On reflection, perhaps I have two. One is a 'field' and the other is a 'small enclosure'.

The fact that I could not find a bird feeder-stand anywhere was nature's way of telling me I prefer the feeders hanging in the Rowan Tree anyway. The fact that sometimes I can't see the birds clearly enough to photograph them is but a minor hitch.

Jill .... I hope you will enjoy your Morrisons. Like Debra you will be pleasantly surprised at the prices and also the quality and range of goods. It is our favourite Supermarket.

I can easily understand your reaction to Rainbow Bridge and my 'comment' above should not in anyway be interpreted as a put-down.

Helen C .... I think your comment will be much appreciated by both Rob and Bob. It is over a year since Ralph died but I know how much Bob misses him still.

Your remarks about the silliness of the 'dog rescue' 70yr limit are absolutely right. There are so many 40yr olds who are not fit to have a dog and many at 70+ who would be ideal. Often more so because they have the time and the commitment.

Tilly .... Great to have you commenting!

Thanks very much for the update on the Great Tit chicks. I guess that, by Thursday when I collect Grandma, the situation may have changed again. Lets hope there are no more casualties.

We would all love a picture of them outside the nest box.

Quotation time ..... While I was looking up a quation for May I came across this old dictum, known to all Bee-keepers ........

"A swarm in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm in July
Ain't worth a fly."

The reasoning behind it is that a swarm (usually around 18,000) in July won't have time that year to grow into a honey producing colony. So you have to look after them, feed them if necessary, all for a nil return.

In the original Derbyshire version the 4th line read "Ain't come too soon"


Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow


Sunday, May 17, 2009

No real blog post today. Not ill or anything - Just tired.

You will all have to excuse me this evening. We just returned from our trip to Anglesey Abbey with Mansfield National Trust. To tired to start a blog entry.

I will respond to your previous comments tomorrow.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Soggy Sunday - 12C - 24mph gusts again - French Weather

This picture from John is where the "Pyrenees melt into the Mediterranean" (he says).

Apparently the weather in Central France was so awful they left.

He doesn't give a place name and as the messages are captions for the photographs, information is scanty. Possibly Rob will say "I know where that is".

John sent a second picture today about which he says "Encountered these poor things while out cycling". I seem to remember that they always were poor things, even when new unless you were an enthusiast like a pal of mine who ran an old Citroen like these. They had weird suspension which you could adjust. Perhaps the owner of these is intending to restore them. But I wouldn't have thought they were a 'classic car'. But it isn't my field !

We have had a pleasant day, despite thunder and heavy rain again. Some sunshine but still cold and the gusty winds have started all over.

Although I didn't sleep well, at 5.30am I decided to get up and get on with the day. So I went out in the garden and cleared another 4 feet or so of border. Then I topped up the bird feeders.

The Robin, as is in the nature of robins, was closely attentive to my turning over of soil and weeding. He didn't actually perch on the handle of the spade but sat patiently a few feet away. As soon as I left the area he was keenly searching the freshly turned soil.

Super lunch. First class Scampi, Chips and Mushy Peas. Followed by Fruit Compote with Greek Yoghurt. The 'compote' was from Aldi and I can recommend it. Not over-sweet and heavily fruited.

We noticed while shopping that they do a green version based on Kiwi Fruit and Mango etc. Certainly on our list of 'something to try'.

Merriam Webster suggests 'comm pote' for pronunciation.

Tomorrow is the first of our Summer National Trust Trips for the Mansfield Centre and the venue is Anglesey Abbey near Cambridge. And all we have to do is sit their and enjoy it. No Raffle to organise, no admin jobs - just enjoy the day out with our friends. We are picking Jean up at around 8.15am and the Coach leaves at 9am.

This evening at 8pm on Radio 4 is a highlight for me. The Archive Hour on Radio 4 is Andrew Motion talking about his proud achievement in setting up The Poetry Archive. The recordings are amazing. Dating back as far as Tennyson, and Yeats. Hilaire Belloc, Siegfried Sasson to name but a few. The recordings naturally are sometimes not good. But when you consider how old they are ! What an achievement !

And I forgot to mention - being carried away with doing jobs on a list - so I can have the pleasure of ticking them off ! ........... For months we have had a kitchen cupboard door which wont close. So, when I'd finished my gardening, I took the door off and straightened the sprained hinge. Then I re-hung the door which now closes perfectly !

Jill sent me some very interesting stuff about Wisterias, as we've been talking about them. She was concerned about exceeding her 'blog comment' word limit. But, as blogmeister, I don't have those restraints so here goes.....

"The oldest wisteria in Britain has been showing its true colours at Fuller's Brewery in Chiswick. The impressive flowering plant was grown from one of two samples which were brought over to England in 1816, the other being given as a gift to Kew Gardens. However, proving there must be something in the water at the brewery, their sample successfully took root unlike the one at Kew, which had to take a cutting from the Fuller's plant after the original died. The wisteria was brought over from China and was planted on what used to be the head brewer's cottage."

I am wondering whether other cuttings were handed out locally, the brewery is by Chiswick Mall, lots of old houses, most have wisteria.....

My comments on your comments

Bob ..... Publishing the Ralph 'collage' was something that gave me great pleasure. I knew him a long time and I felt that it was the least I could do, as a mark of respect for a friend. And, I know you won't be offended when I point out that 'friend' in this case was Ralph and not you.

No. Ice-cream in Cinemas is hard unforgiving stuff. A couple of sandwiches and a can of beer is the thing - rules or not.

Reg .... Your orchids do indeed do well. So that qualifies you as the only 'expert' we've got. No doubt JBW will put us right though.

I can't actually see where this syrup-py secretion is coming from. But the plant looks healthy enough.

Your comments about The Exhibition are noted. As is your e-mail about similar.

You know I share your opinion about the high quailty and some 'different' images. My heart sank when I opened this months RPS Journal and saw yet another 'Flipping Jetty'.

Rob .... Glad you enjoyed Bob's 'Ralph' collage. He was a fine dog. Also I am very sorry to hear about your recent loss. Non dog-owners don't really understand. Brian H. a Dog-Handler chum had to have 3 days off work when his Police Dog 'Flash' keeled over.

Jill ..... I feel sure you are right that there must be old 'rescue' dogs who just want a good home, some love and affection, and a bare minimum of exercise. I think that Bob should bear this in mind as a possibility. Ralph's death has left a chasm in Bob's life.

We are determined to catch 'State of Play' because I have read excellent reviews.

You are right about cookers. I use the 'timer' function quite regularly and would indeed be annoyed if I couldn't do so.

Your 'bluebell' jacket sounds great !

Re Carrie's recommended 'blog' here is the link. I will try to sort out how to actually hear her perhaps on Monday. It's too late now and we are tied-up most of tomorrow.


Quotation time ........

"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's"