Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Karen day - Blood test - 80+F - slight breeze

This is a picture from my 'most comfortable' chair.

Well - standing up from it actually, before some pedant quibbles.

In the very bottom right hand is the corner of the TV but often, if the tennis or the news is boring, I prefer just to look out of the window.

We began this morning with a routinely boring 'blood test' taken as a favour by my Obesity Clinic nurse as the regulars didn't have a slot. She told me interesting things about the bruising which sometimes occurs. Apparently, if the nurse manages just to go into the vein, rather than through it and the patient carries out the instruction to press hard on the cotton-wool swab, there should be no bruising. And today there isn't. It rarely happens to me but I know it does to some people. Apparently, if you don't press on hard enough the residue of blood seeps subcutaneously, giving the appearance of bruising.

After this we went to B&Q to buy a flange-nut because the one on the tap in Y's bathroom has disintegrated (plastic) and the hot water tap wobbles about in the air. I'll fix it tomorrow because I shall have to turn off the water.

While in B&Q Yvonne found this 'duck watering can' irresistible. It is for Millicent who likes to help her Mummy with the watering.

I tried to capture the water emerging from the duck's beak - this is my best effort and I hope it is visible.

Then we drove down to Nottingham so Y could book Pantomime tickets at The Playhouse which she did and got seats which suited. The Playhouse is just not possible for me due to the seating which is designed for able-bodied midgets. We sat outside for coffee and the place was quite busy with something to do with The Nottingham Festival 2009. Can't link you to it because I can't find anything. Perhaps it is only at the planning stage.

When we reached home Karen was just finishing and, as always, the house looked and smelled lovely and fresh.

My responses to your comments

Bob .... Thanks for the fungus identification. I felt sure you would know.

Your gooseberry crumble sounds good. Neighbour Betty just rang to say they have picked 40lbs of gooseberries from their bushes this evening - and did we want some ?? I must ask her if she needs a basil plant ?

Jill ..... You are quite right about my meal. The 'pudding' course was unnecessary. As the saying goes "Eye bigger than belly".

Wish you well with your search for a trolley. I recognise the problem with spilling. I used to be able to carry two mugs (or 3 pints of beer) without spilling a drop. Now delivering just one mug unspilt defeats me. As you so accurately said "This business of getting old isn't for wimps".

jbw ..... I'm sure Jill will find your 'House of Bath' online shop a satisfactory place to get a trolley from. Just to help, the above is a live link to it.

With regret I decided to delete your second comment, in accordance with the rules above the 'comments' box. I fear that, if I allowed it just once, it would open it up for people to return several times to the same blog-post. Sorry !

Yvonne ....... It is indeed a shame that the screeching grunters are wrecking Wimbledon for you.

And indeed that Murray's pained performance had a similar effect.

There was a fair bit of online comment about his complaints of sweating and being uncomfortable under the roof with the floodlights. According to the Wimbledon 'boss' they control the humidity very carefully and that, when the roof is in use, the Centre Court is in effect air-conditioned.

Please find above a picture of one yellow duck !


Quotation slot .......

"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability"


Monday, June 29, 2009

A 'mixed' day - very hot and humid - 81F - little wind

A day of mixed fortunes, for me at least, fine during the morning and while Y was swimming I went shopping. I decided to check-out my dairy allergy and bought a 'creamy carbonara sauce' to accompany the second half of the fresh linguine. My eye was also taken by some fruit-on-custard and pastry tarts, for pudding.

At least I now know I'm not imagining it because immediately after lunch I was quite poorly - the sickness etc. and the churning stomach.

I dropped Y at the Hayley Leisure Centre at 10am for her morning swim. She did her 10 lengths and has decided that, rather than extend her distance, she will increase her speed. She followed it by 'steam rooom', 'jacuzzi' and 'coffee' and then walked home via The Headstocks.

While she walked off to the pool I sought and obtained permission at Reception to take a snap of their pond which is at the side of the old building and around 150 yards from the drive.

An excellent place for wildlife photography due to its privacy and lack of disturbance, I would think.

By the barriers on the drive is the stump of quite a large tree and the fungus shown was growing out of it very contentedly. Maybe Bob, or someone else can put a name to it.

After Y arrived after her walk home we went to Reuben Shaw's at Moorgreen to buy a few plants to populate the increasing number of empty spaces. The staff were as helpful and knowledgeable as ever.

My replies to your previous comments

Jill ..... Y feels the same as you about tents, and caravans. We who are nature's campers however, see it is a way of getting closer to nature and the pre-history days when life was more simple.

Re sheeps/cows/goats milk. Bob has fwd-ed a copy of an e-mail to you, where he goes into the subject in some depth. I can now only speak about the effects - please see above.

Bob ..... I can't quite work out whether or not your 'Arlene Phillips failing to impress' comment was as a result of hearing her on Desert Island Discs or not.

I never realised that Wensleydale was a sheep's milk cheese. I shall approach it with renewed interest. n Thanks for the info re Tesco and Goat's milk yoghurt.

Anonymous Peter Green ...... It would be nice to curl up in my herb-bed wouldn't it, with a cup of mint-tea perhaps and a chive sandwich.? Now 'twitch' in bed is not an unkown condition for me. Particularly when I can't get comfortable.

Our readers will be amused by your 'Love to you both' ending and will wonder which two. The largest numbers of readers I have had on a particular day was well over a hundred. My blogger.com stats system will tell me if I ask. Many people read it and never leave a comment which is absolutely fair enough. I love to get the comments and our regulars enjoy reading them and the sometime exchange of ideas, if a particular 'thread' is of interest.


Quotation time ......

"There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling."

Mirabel Osler

"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow"


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nice Sunday - plenty 'kips' - jobs done - 75F - no wind

Although suffering computer problems David managed to send me this picture this morning.

The children had been promised that everyone would sleep outside in the tent (Brooke excited since Thursday) and they managed to erect the tent in the rear garden.

Only just by the looks of it. As I said to David on the phone it resembles a space-ship forced to make an emergency landing. Anyway - it all went well. Unfortunately it was a dull morning and they didn't wake to the rising sun and the dawn-chorus. By the way, I asked David about maths teaching and our Lidl girl's problem with 4 x 6 = 24. He said children are still taught 'times tables' but perhaps, if one's career aspirations lie in the supermarket check-out line of work ...........

This morning we did our favourite Sunday morning routine i.e. stay in bed and catch up on Saturday's papers. I listened to Desert Island Discs where the 'marooned' was Arlene Phillips (of Strictly come Dancing fame) and I was very impressed by her, both personally and career-wise. If the Sun story that she is to be replaced on 'Strictly' by Alesha Dixon, a former winner, I consider it an ill-judged move. Alesha is a nice, rather silly young girl singer who couldn't possible bring to the show Arlene's depth of knowledge about Dance...........

As I have recently mentioned Fruit Salad I thought I ought to publish Y's extremely good and always successful 'Carse of Gowrie' recipe. But, as Jill says and Delia always tells you - "use whatever you've got available ....."

However, courtesy of Peter Kay :-

"Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."

For lunch we had pasta (linguine) with a basic, tomato-ey sauce which worked rather well. For afters 'fruit salad'. This evening Betty brought us a bowl of freshly picked garden strawberries. The tasted great ....... after my tea of Rocquefort and biscuits. Rocquefort, recommended by Debra is a sheep's milk cheese and it packs sufficient clout to make up for anyone missing cows milk hard cheeses. The link is to it's Wikipage. Therein the word 'crumbly' is used. I certainly would not have chosen that word because my sample was almost spready with more the texture of a well-matured Stilton. Most acceptable though and I shall have it again.

When the sun started to go down and be less over-powering I went out and did some garden jobs.

There's a bed just outside the back door where Y has done all the hard work of cutting back and clearing. All I had to do was use a hand fork and trowel to make sure most of the twitch was out and then I hoed and raked.

The bed is now ready for planting and we aim to visit a garden-centre tomorrow to buy a few suitable plants. I stress 'suitable' because in wet weather the bed becomes water-logged and can stay that way for weeks. This is why the Iris Sibirica, being basically a marsh plant, has been so happy there.

Y tells me she can 'possibly' find me a 'window' prior to lunch. After swimming and certainly before the tennis, which starts in the afternoon.

Re the picture above - I think this single poppy arrived to thank me for tidying up her living quarters in the herb bed.

I know I ought to dig out the mint, replant it in a bucket or something, to restrain it because, in a week or two it will be all over the place. Such an invasive plant but so essential in the garden of anyone who cooks abit.

My replies to your personally crafted 'comments' which are so welcome each day

Bob .... I am pleased you find Lactofree so acceptable. I honestly didn't realise it was for you ..... we naturally assumed it was for Sandra. Also you were lucky to find their cheeses - Eastwood Morrisons haven't managed to 'have it in' yet, likewise the cream.

In any case I seem to be OK with the 'greek yoghurt' we get in Lidl ( in the cartons which resemble large tubs of emulsion).

Thanks very much for the kind offer for us to 'drop in' during Laxton trip. In the end we decided to give it a miss and have a 'rest day'. Albeit with jobs. Y is 'ironing' at this moment.

Lucky you with your goosegogs. As you know, for me, the pain if picking outweighs the joy of eating. Some of our raspberries are ready and yesterday we casually chucked a net over a few. However, the birds had beaten us to it. The blackbirds are the wortst offenders. A permanent 'fruit cage' is the answer really. Perhaps in our new house ........

So pleased also that your camera turned up. My life wouldn't be the same without a camera.

Yvonne ...... With you 100% about the arrival in the comments columns of Peter G. Our readers will enjoy his ascerbic mode and his sense of humour.

I think you were a little harsh on Chris Evert. I know you didn't really like her but I considered her a sound and talented player. Pretty frocks don't win you 18 grand slam titles !

Your report of the finale of Robin Hood astounded me. No deathbed scene where he fires his final arrow to identify where to dig his grave, and surrounded at his deathbed by Little John and Will Scarlett. I was amazed when you told me the Will Scarlett hadn't even been in it !

Jill .... You are probably right about School's preference to teach citizenshp etc., instead of 'times tables' - David's reassurances notwithstanding.

We seldom encounter the 'change' problem in Supermarkets because we always pay by debit-card. In our more normal local shops, the shopkeepers seem pretty nimble. Kumar and Rachel rpund the corner are quite sharp, (well it is their own shop) and ditto Paul the £1 shop equivalent up in Eastwood.

It is quite remarkable how well John McEnroe has transmogrified from loud-mouthed player into dignified and well informed commentator. We really like to see him now and he adds much to the game.

As with Y and dead-heading. I have this mental image of you in a floral frock, spready straw sun-hat. secateurs, and a wooden trug going round the roses in the evenings when the sun is cooler. It must be a proper wooden-trug by the way, none of this horrible green plastic rubbish !

Differently from you though, we both like the hot weather and it doesn't trouble me at all. As I have already mentioned somewhere, Yvonne considered the Tropical Biome at The Eden Project just about right !


Quotation spot ......

"The Harvard Law states: Under controlled conditions of light, temperature, humidity and nutrition, the organism will do as it damn well pleases"

Larry Wall

"A busy day tomorrow - but sleep tight - and hope to catch you come blog-time"


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nice Saturday - 72F - no wind - Shopping


Picture 1 is a collage showing my herb bed and the bit of garden I am currently working on - slowly. At my rate of progress I should be all the way round the garden by 3rd May 2016. But of course we hope not to be here by then and I shall have another little bed to care for painstakingly. The clematis has been cut-back sharply where it climbs the garage wall and the grey stain on the brickwork is where most of the plant used to be. A few days rain and the bricks will all look the same colour.

The second picture is of a delicate pink rose which climbs the trellis which is at a right-angle and behind me where I stood to photograph the herb bed.

It's name eludes me but it has the look of a David Austin variety. I know his roses seem expensive but they are healthy, robust and repay you with years of vigorous growth.

His website, in which I have linked you to his English Rose collection, is pleasant to browse around. We just need the scents and perhaps a barely audible background of summer evening birdsong.

This morning we went shopping to replace essentials (I do seem to use a lot of this Lactofree milk) but we witnessed a 'sign of the times' incident in Lidl.

The lady in front of us had bought a whole tray of tins of tomatoes, 4 across and 6 deep. This was a problem to the check out girl who is programmed to deal with single tins. "There are 24 tins" said the shopper helpfully. The sum 4 x 6 = 24 defeated the cashier and she had to tap each tin with her forefinger until she reached 24. Goodness gracious me ! I think times tables must be frowned upon by current educationalists. I must seek David's opinion.

Y has watched some tennis, but didn't want to watch the women screechers and grunters (see her comment). At tea-time I sat and watched some of the Murray v Troicki match and I could see that Murray wasn't really being extended.

Tomorrow afternoon, depending on the weather, the tennis, my state of health etc., we may go up to Laxton because they are having an open day which Stuart Rose told us about when he came to do his National Trust lecture. Google however is a little tight-lipped about it and I'd better check in the morning. We shall be very close to Bob's but don't aim to call in because the arrangements are so unsure and neither he nor we approve of unannounced, unplanned visits.

My responses to your comments

Bob ..... As you say, we must agree to differ over the issue of flower shades. Same with painting really I think - I love strong contrasty colours.

Jill ... We are in agreement over hot-weather food. Fish seems right. Beef stew or Lancashire hot-pot would make the stomach turn, in contemplation alone.

Y has explained about my Van/Band error. I wasn't actually there and subsequently misheard her report.

Weather not right for Glastonbury - it's supposed to be torrential rain and mud !

Yvonne ..... Can't disagree about the women's tennis in general. But I think you are wrong about the style of game. I recall that women often stuck to the baseline and it was the men who went in for the serve/volley type of play.

I certainly don't remember any of the ladies you mentioned, or Margaret Court, Steffi Graff etc., rushing up to the net very much. Perhaps Billie Jean King did - I can't remember clearly enough.

Rob ..... As you say - technology marches on. I'm sure your ferry driver knew his way. Or perhaps he relies on his Sat/Nav.

Even though too short I'm glad you enjoyed your holiday and a montage of snaps will be most welcome.

Peter G .... Message received and understood. Over.

Well done. I'm real proud of you.


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

"But he that dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose"

"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"


Friday, June 26, 2009

A good day - nice meal - good company - 68F


My e-bay acquired lens cap arrived from Hong Kong this morning and I've been very satisfied with the transaction. I completed the purchase on 19th June and here it was. Item including postage £3.39p as against the official Nikon replacement at £8.89p from a shop or by mail order. And the latter would have attracted additional shipping costs.

An added attraction to the one I have bought, is the thread-loop to attach the cap to your camera to obviate future loss. Miss Wongrm can be assured of my future custom should the need arise.

We've had a lovely day. I didn't sleep too well and was in the garden around 6.30am doing some little tidying-up jobs. Then around 9.30am we went over to Peter & Joan's prior to going out for Joan's Birthday, to The Woodend at Huthwaite. Peter and I managed some time with his PC and I was able to help with a few 'workarounds' which will make his computing-life easier and more satisfying. In my opinion, at 80, he does remarkably well but what is more, he is eager to learn.

He went and collected Jean and we eventually set-0ff in both cars because it made sense for us to come home directly rather than drive back into Mansfield. Moreover, it allowed Y some extra Wimbledon time this afternoon.

When we got home I fancied a 'kip' rather than tennis, after which I watered and it is nice to see the first flower on my petunia hanging-basket - father's day prezzie from Long Eaton. Please see picture on the right.

We have some lovely coloured petunias. There is one in the front which is purple and white striped and looks really jazzy. I'm sure a snap will eventually surface. Y and I both like brash flamboyant flower colours, dahlias, petunias, and things like that. It says much about our 'common' tastes.

For tea Y made scrambled egg on ciabatta toast, with the two remaining eggs from Alex. She got the consistency just right and the beautifully rich yellow colour shouted 'home reared eggs'. They tasted great too.

My responses to your previous comments

Bob ..... I accept my mistake over the venue of Sandra's smoking problem. It just sounded like the same sort of place.

Re the entertainment. I am still trying to find out better particulars. Basically it was two blokes making weak jokes and leading community singing of songs like 'My old man said follow the band'. But I now realise that I have probably been too critical because I heard this morning that several people had enjoyed it very much.

The intransigence you encountered in Newark Morrisons is only too common and, if anything, is on the increase.

If Diogenes will permit me my laptop I would be more than willing to share his barrel.

Roy .... Ludlow is one of our favourite Shropshire towns, apart from the supermarket now plonked in the middle. Friends of ours live near Craven Arms and whenever we go we seem to have good weather.

Give my best wishes to little Basil and tell him I have every confidence in his ability to transcend these minor hurdles.

Jill .... No doubt the photographs have exaggerated the size of the garden. Whilst large it falls well short of 'grounds'.

I am happy to withdraw my remarks about 'entertainment suitable for an old-folks home'. They were unnecessarily discriminatory. Of course people are entitled not to be treated as if they are unintelligent and have lower standards. Sorry !

The Woodend Pub meal was fine, especially so considering that it is basically a £3.50p carvery. I asked for the 'vegetarian option' and was served, quite speedily, with a brocolli and brie bake, with which I had a selection of the veg from the carvery hotplate. No criticisms at all. Joan felt that the stuffing balls, stored on the hotplate and under strong lights, had gone rather hard-cased. None of us had room for pudding.


Quotation slot .......

"........... second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything"

"Sleep tight - I'll catch you tomorrow"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A day of rest - Y at BJ 'grannying' - 72F - NE wind at 10mph

Rather than spend a lot of time doing a proper panorama of the front garden I decided on a simple 'collage' which conveys the same information. As you can see it's been a lovely sunny afternoon and the 10mph North Easterly wind doesn't spoil it. I managed to get out into the front garden to remove a 'weed' which was growing through a specimen 'Ballerina' rose. Technically I suspect it wasn't a weed - but it was growing in the wrong place which makes it a weed doesn't it?

I suppose that chronology requires me to mention first our Mansfield Centre National Trust Annual Dinner at The Hostess nr Warsop, yesterday evening. The snap on the left shows the entrance. Not a good picture because it was well after 9pm and I had to use ISO 800 which accounts for the graininess.

This is the place where I believe, some time ago, Bob's Sandra got into trouble for smoking a cigarette under the canopy entrance shown. Although outside the building there is now a notice prohibiting smoking there. Even though I'm not a smoker I feel that people who are, are pursued excessively.

Reg and Maureen called in at lunchtime to pick up a basil plant and we all agreed about 'smoking'. They aren't smokers either but no one could see any problem with the idea of a Smoking Room in licensed premises.

Anyway, about last night, the food was good and the company excellent. The after dinner entertainment though, was grim. It would have perhaps suited an old-folks home, provided the residents weren't too bright. I suppose it demonstrates people's perceptions of The National Trust. Because I was suffering a little I went and sat in the car for half-an-hour and Y told me it had been a wise decision. By the way, I have discovered that the driver's seat in the Yaris tilts back to nearly horizontal and, with a cushion, I could very happily have a 'kip' there. My life-style at the moment revolves round 'kips' so this is a useful discovery.

The last picture is by way of an experiment with my Nikon. The camera allows you to take multiple exposures to produce a single frame. The technology takes care of the exposures so as to balance them for brightness etc., and fun results are possible. This shot basically superimposes the rose I have mentioned i.e. Ballerina on top of The Rowan Tree carrying the bird feeders.

With careful forethought some interesting ideas can be experimented with. Perhaps as Steven sometimes says "I ought to get out more ..........."

My responses to your valued comments

Jill ..... I bow to your birding knowledge about the non-siskin. Roy agrees with you and he knows a lot about birds. If Bob has never seen one, his contribution is only of limited value.

The zone system was/is a method of allocating values to the blackness in photographs and was more relevent to black&white. Don't worry about it !

As you will see above, we did enjoy our annual dinner. Re the 'entertainment' - a belly dancer would have been a considerable improvement.

Bob ..... Only 'pulling your leg' below about the siskin.

The Sea Bass is from Lidl and is really good.

My experience in Morrisons this morning mirrors you own, re Lactofree. No cheeses, and no cream. When I succeed in finding either I will surely try them and report back.

Yvonne ..... As you say, Miles would have known straight-away that the little bird was a non-siskin. Millicent too I wouldn't be surprised.

If you had been asked to stand under Lib Dem colours for The Council 10 yrs ago I would have been urging you on. But I think now the commitment would be too much.

Glad you found the Lactofree acceptable.

Roy ..... Thanks for the info about the siskin/goldfinch identification.

I understand from Reg that you are off caravanning either today or tomorrow. Whichever it is, I sincerely hope you both have a good time and that the weather favours you.


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

"Most men are within a finger's breadth of being mad."

Diogenes The Cynic

Diogenes by John William Waterhouse, depicting his lamp, tub, and diet of onions.


We have a fairly busy day tomorrow. We need to go shopping. At lunchtime we are going to The Woodend Pub at Huthwaite for Joan's birthday. We've been before and it is good.

"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Busy Tuesday - Blood, Hair and Nails - 78F - Light E Wind

The first picture is a 'left-over' from Saturday. Just as we were leaving to go over to Burton Joyce this Dakota flew over as part of the Brinsley Carnival celebrations. I didn't have chance to change to a longer telephoto but was quite pleased with this result anyway.

On looking at the snap I notice that the fuselage door is open. Perhaps they were going to 'leaflet' us saying that the Government are rubbish.

First job this morning for me was a blood-test, and then I collected Y and we both went to have our hair cut. My barber Matt is a caravanner and very keen to hear all about North Norfolk which is one of his favourite areas. Then I took Yvonne over to Sherwood to have her 'nails' serviced. We decided I would leave her there and come back home, she to return on the bus - which all worked out fine.

It meant I could only manage one charity shop, Oxfam, but I found a lovely dog-eared edition of Ansell Adams' book called 'The Negative'. All about the 'zone-system', always worth brushing up on.

The picture on the right is one of Reg's 'Goldfinch' photos and "credit where it's due" - his is sharper than mine and well deserving of publication.

We've even got a catchlight in the critter's eye !

The weather has been great all day. Hot, very little wind, and fairly high pressure - so it feels good. Karen thought it too warm when she arrived this morning. It couldn't be too warm for Y - I remember her thinking the Tropical Biodome at The Eden Project was just about right.

Whilst in bird-picture mode we had a visit this morning from a Siskin. Please see left.

Bird habits vary so much between species. The tits and the finches seem busy and hurried feeders while this Siskin had all the time in the world. He sat there for around 10 minutes without doing anything, or making any attempt to feed.

Good news for photographers though.

I have decided against Wow-ing tomorrow. In the evening we have the National Trust Annual Dinner at The Hostess, Warsop and I need to conserve my energies for that. We have been before as a group and it always works quite well.

We plan to go over to Peter & Joan around 6pm and then collect Jean en route. Chairman Gary has arranged 'entertainment' rather than a 'speaker' so I have absolutely no idea what that will entail.

My responses to your previous comments

Bob ..... Although my diet may sound uninteresting, it isn't. This evening I cooked fresh Sea Bass, oven-baked, with fried slices of left-over salad potatoes from the fridge. Marcel Boulestin always used to recommend this. He advised "If you cook salad potatoes (the waxy kind) always cook too many and store the residue in the fridge". You can then always rustle-up a meal in minutes.

For pudding we again had Y's fruit-salad - even better today !

Jill ..... Thanks for your good wishes ! Although still rather fragile, I'm coping.

I'll scan Y's fruit-salad recipe. I think it is a Delia, with modifications !

Y is going to be just the same as you with Wimbledon. At the moment she is watching Murray whose opponent Kendrick is mounting a sturdy defence.

Rob .... Lovely to hear from you. I'll make Amboise in the Loire Valley a live link and then everyone can see where you are.

Glad it is hot and sunny and we'll look forward to more on your return.

Internet caf├ęs are ropey. I take it your dongle doesn't work there. Or is it prohibitively expensive. I love my dongle - use it lots. It was great in Norfolk on holiday.


Too tired to dig out a quotation. May catch you tomorrow - or may not, it depends


Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday 22nd - 72F (phew!) - No wind

Picture 1 is of my Father's Day cards and although there isn't one from John he did ring, all the way from Lyons and it was great to hear him.

The cards were all 'thoughtful' because, as Tracy reports, it is nigh impossible to obtain cards which are neither twee, nor rubbish. I guess I must be a difficult father to please !

I was pleased they all succeeded as well as they did.

Our trip to Burton Joyce for the Barbeque was good and we were lucky the weather held. Y doesn't like 'children pictures' on the blog but they all looked great.

Hannah is rapidly becoming a very nice-looking young lady - why can't they just stop as little girls I wonder?

The garden looked good - which is mostly due to Alex's ministrations.

Unfortunately my tummy played-up again and I had to go indoors for a sit-down. I'm beginning to think quantity is as responsible as any particular foodstuff.

However, for lunch today, I cooked. My portion was one sausage, 1½ small potatoes, 2 broccoli florets, and 4 small chestnut mushrooms. No gravy. For pudding I had a small portion of mandarin orange flan which Hannah had made, with two spoonsful of Greek Yoghurt. And I kept it all down - even though I needed a rest.

In response to a query, Helen C forwarded a full and explanatory email from one of her choir colleagues. She thinks he is trying to persuade her to go from 'vegetarian' to full 'vegan' but there was loads of interesting material . And live links to sources, which is handy.

On the left is a picture of Lactofree from Morrisons - (Debra's recommendation).

Although still cow's milk, the enzyme which causes digestion problems has been filtered out. I can't tell the difference from ordinary semi-skimmed milk - honestly ! - and it certainly seems the answer.

According to the packet, the same firm produce yoghurts, cheeses and creams. The world is my oyster !

Mainly though, for me, the answer seems minuscule portions of things. Obesity Clinic - here I come again ! A Mies van de Rohe "less is more" approach to diet !

For tea today I had a slice of bread & butter (well - Bertolli olive-oil spread) and a dish of fresh fruit salad which Y had made. Delicious it is too. I could breakfast, lunch, and dine on it, which she says is a good because the recipe yielded a medium-sized pyrex full.

The tennis has started. Wimbledon fortnight has always been a highlight for Yvonne and she used to plan her holidays around it. Unfortunately our 15yr old star Laura Robson lost her match but put up a very creditable performance. We shall hear more of her in the future.

A good feature of our Virgin media is around 9 matches being broadcast simultaneously and the click of a button takes you from one to the other. Anything to avoid the 'grunting'. Apparently a referee can now warn a player under a 'match hindrance' rule. Lets just hope it happens because for many people. certainly Y and I, it renders a match unwatchable.

This morning I took Y to the Hayley Leisure Centre and got her officially registered. We have neglected to do it for several days. She learnt lots of things she can do - classes etc., some of which sounded interesting even though her main reason for joining is the recreational and fitness inducing swimming. You never know - she might start pumping iron, and sessions on the rowing machines, kick-boxing ????? ..... where will it end?

Alex has spent a full day in our garden today and has shifted an incredible amount of work. Several years' worth if I'd have tried to do it. Not that I could have done all of it anyway. Some was far to heavy

My responses to your previous comments

Bob .... You make an excellent point about freezing cooked chickpeas instead of the hummus itself. I have already bought the chickpeas but forgot the Tahini. Anyway I need really to look in my handwritten kitchen book for the proper recipe !

The main reason is that I found Morrison's own version far too bland. It needed another 4 cloves of garlic...... At least !

The other point is that, apparently, cooked chickpeas are a good 'staple' in other dishes too.

Jill .... Very witty about 'can't wait to get to 80'. Personally I think I'll just let it arrive. I'm not in a rush.

Yvonne .... Thanks for the 'blog-holder' comment.

As you suggest, within the next couple of days I must introduce you to the intricacies of my 'blogger-dashboard' and then you could act as a fully qualified deputy-editor.

You've gained so much confidence and expertise since acquiring you own laptop haven't you. By the way, at BJ, Hannah said she would like to come over again for a sleep-over and show you even more 'tricks of the trade'.

Tilly .... We did indeed enjoy our barbeque. And for pudding at lunchtime today, we had your orange flan. Super - very happy to have it again. We had greek yoghurt with ours instead of cream. But you need to be a greek yoghurt fan because it conveys a lovely sharp flavour.

Sorry !!! The parasol- squishing was entirely my fault ! Should have looked where I was going.


Quotation slot .....

"No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office"

George Bernard Shaw

I've linked you to his Nobel Laureate page. He deserved it.

and finally - one of Ray's - in his spaceship


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Good trip to Long Eaton Carnival - the weather held

We arrived at Long Eaton just after 10.30am and sat outside David/Helen's to watch The Carnival go by. A good long procession with lots of floats. I've not shown many with kids on because parents can worry.

I was disappointed to see the Carnival led by Policemen in a van ! In my day we used to have an Officer at the front (on foot) 'pulling' and one at the back 'pushing'. Times change.

The floats were good - people work so hard. It was interesting to see no fewer than three DeLoreans ! Shame the concept didn't take off because the vehicles certainly had style. The elderly Barton's Coach was a joy. It actually looked luxurious with the antimacassars over the headrests. The regd.no. RVO 668L tells exactly how old it is and I hope someone will work it out for us.

After the Carnival had passed we had lunch. David had made some super stuffed Jacket potatoes and salad, followed by fruit tart. I'm sticking to my dairy-free approach and I feel OK. Still not 100% but getting there. My Father's Day prezzie is a hanging basket of petunias. They look good and when we got home I found a place for them to hang over by the garage. Pictures will inevitably follow.

Picture 2 is yesterday evening's sky at around this time i.e. 6pm-ish. Tonight's isn't so dramatic.

If you have a spare minute or so The Cloud Appreciation Society is worth a visit.

Apparently there's a new cloud formation around called 'Asperatus' and, if you open the link, you will be able to see some.

Personally I am more than a little suspicious, knowing what can be done in image manipulation programmes like Photoshop.

Maybe I shouldn't be such an old cynic but they just don't 'look right' to me. Views please !

Picture 2 in the series (see link) seems to owe more to Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' than to a record-shot of cloud formations.

Tracy has just arrived - she wants to be here in the morning for Father's Day, and John rang from somewhere north of Lyons. He says the weather is just starting to 'go off' abit and they are heading north, intending to sail back to UK on July 2nd. It will be good to see them when they get here. What a trip they've had !

My responses to your comments

Bob ..... I take your point about homemade/Tesco hummus. 'Bought' is certainly more convenient because I seem to remember that, when making it, I finished up with about a bucketful - and I only use a dessertspoonful on a piece of toast. Can you freeze it ? I can't remember.

It would be fun to make it again though !

Whether horses 'pull' with their collars or 'push' seems a classic case of Newtonian Physics. "To each action there is an equal and opposite reaction ....." and all that Jazz.

I seem to have known your chickens had names. But perhaps so did the Fox. And I certainly knew your chickens were egg producers because I have sampled the delights ..... Please accept our condolences.....

Whilst disliking scallops I am a keen roe-eater. The soft variety rather than the hard. I like them peppered and lightly fried in butter, with a dash of olive oil to stop it burning.

Jill .... You are right about the garden. It is full of joy at the moment. Once I get started I don't want to come in. But Y tries to keep me sensible about it.

When I was seconded to The Home Office (Police Federation and Discipline) my Region included Norfolk and Suffolk and Cambridge. I used to hold the regional meeting at North Walsham, and eat at Mundesley or Bacton (where the Oil Installation is).

Pleased you saw your 80yr old friend. 80 seems to be 'where it's at' at the moment. Our National Trust Friend Peter is 80 and last time they came over he wanted to get the mower out and do our lawns. And Yes ! he was serious. He's marvellous - but I had better spare his blushes because he is now a regular blog reader. He just wants a quick tutorial so he can start leaving ascerbic comments.

Quotation time ......

"A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule"


Friday, June 19, 2009

Normal Friday - 60F - 9mph NWesterly - Blood Test


Awake early this morning but not due to pain, just due to having had enough sleep. The centre picture in the above collage was the trellis and roses at around 6am. Lovely light - well worth getting up for. I waited for Y to get up and shared breakfast. Tried milk in my tea again, not a wise decision but I won't bore you with the details. I've consulted with Helen C and obtained several useful tips. I had forgotten how high in protein chick-peas are and I have remembered how I used to make Hummus with them plus Tahini and garlic. Helen also says eggs are a good standby.

Suffice to say that, during shopping we bought Soya milk. Weird stuff - it looks rather like Dulux Magnolia. But I've had several mugs of tea with it in and kept them down without a problem....... I had an INR blood test at 11am and the clinic have already rang to say my level is 2.8 which is good. No warfarin dosage change but I'm to be retested on Tuesday 23rd.

Also this afternoon I managed some time in the garden. My tomato plants, and the bird feeders needed attention. As I dealt with the bird-feeders the birds were impatient for me to 'be off' and as soon as I went about 10 yards away Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Great Tits, and Blue Tits immediately descended. No Sparrows or the Robin though. They won't be far away.

I made a start on the WoW>Picasa Web Albums job and have done the Bempton Cliffs trip - I shall do the Ashford in the Water outing tomorrow. If I get time, because we are off to Long Eaton a.m. for the Carnival followed by lunch.

The snap on the left is The Walnut Tree Shades Pub in Norwich which we mentioned. I've linked you to a page where other people have said what they think about the place. It seems the live music is v.good.

My responses to your previously crafted comments

Bob ..... I think it must be your perception of the Wells Quay which is remiss.

Wells was on our itinerary when we used to stay at Mundesley in the 70s and Frarys Fishmongers was certainly there then. No matter.

Re foodstuffs. I have also consulted Helen C and picked up some valuable tips particularly on protein-source alternatives to meat and dairy produce. Don't know if you remember but I have a good recipe for hummus which I used to make for the Nottingham Writers lads. The one the link shows, is Jamie Oliver, but almost identical to my own. Fortunately Y and I both love hummus.

I yield my position on their's.

Jill ..... Please see above re their's. Don't know what I was thinking of ! You are all correct.

Re : The Shire Horses. Pleased to hear that you set a good example to that lily-livered youth.

When I referred to hanging on to the horse's halter I meant, of course, his collar. On a heavy horse the collar is an enormous piece of leather worked art to which all the pulling equipment is attached.

Usually Yvonne is also concerned about 'shellfish' i.e. mussels, whelks etc., but she seems OK with crab, lobster, and crayfish tails. She had a bad experience in Egypt ! Apart from the 'camel' already mentioned.

Yvonne ..... Lovely story about the Milkman's Horse and I can understand your concern that he might nibble your toes. Our milk also was delivered by pony and trap with two big churns and two long-handled ladles (one full pint and one half-pint). The milkman was in fact Archie Stubb's mother. His parents/grand-parents owned the farm up near Bradley Wood which I will have pointed out to you.

As you say - a busy weekend. But with benefit of frequent 'kips' I shall be fine.

Roy ..... Thanks for your support over the Seafood Stall on the Quay at Wells.

You are quite right about the Deli ..... opposite and maybe 30 yards further down the road. A fascinating place. We also bought some Olive Oil based salad-dressing with Shallot and Orange. We tried a dash last night and enjoyed it. A little goes a long way.

Brancaster Staithe we remember with affection for probably the best strawberries we have ever tasted.

Like you, I can't understand the acclaim for Scallops. I too consider them tastless but worst of all so chewy as to be almost impossible to masticate into a swallowable consistency. Are you perhaps supposed to swallow them whole like oysters ?

I've tried them twice - to be sure I wasn't mistaken first time. And that will do for me and scallops.


Quotation slot .......

"I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark."

Dick Gregory

We haven't closed with Grandma for a week or two - so here goes


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Y at BJ - Me quiet and messing about - 60F - Windy

Y has gone over to Burton Joyce as usual having managed a little rest yesterday. I stress 'a little' because whenever I saw her she was either using the washing-machine, tumble-drier, or ironing-board. Household equipment with which I seldom experiment.

Having been a long-term uniform wearer though, I can put a tidy crease into a pair of trousers - if necessary, but so seldom these days.

The snap on the left from Wells-next-the-Sea will please Norfolk Coast fans because this firm have been trading here as long as I can remember. And we certainly enjoyed our dishes of freshly dressed crab. He also had a small amount of freshly gathered samphire and I wish I had brought home a small amount to use with our salad today. But I fear it would have gone soggy and limp.

This morning I thought I was fully recovered even though still on the anti-biotics. In consequence I risked milk in my tea. Bad decision because the feelings of sickness immediately returned. I shall stick to my green-tea with lemon and black coffee for the time being. Is that CoffeeMate stuff diary free I wonder ? Must read the box carefully.

Having mentioned the Heavy Horses in their field I attach the above collage of two snaps from the bedroom window. Jill said she liked the idea, so here they are.

I note from my EXIF data a timing of 5.03am which accounts for the attractive lighting. As a boy (about 5yrs old) I was allowed to sit on the back of a super Shire Horse pulling a haycart, and holding onto the top of his halter tightly. The horse seemed enormous and I was so high in the air. Elf & Safety would probably prosecute the farmer these days but, there you are, I remember it vividly nearly 70yrs later.

The picture on the right is a collage of the front/rear of the packet of Smoked Maldon Sea Salt. I tasted a few grains this morning and it is certainly a subtle and interesting flavour. I'm preparing a salad for our evening meal which will be a good opportunity to try it out.

If my problem with dairy produce and meat continue I must consult Helen C and Bob's Sandra who are both experienced in the field. Missing out cheese long term would be the biggest problem. I feel that, with regard to meat, I am going off it steadily anyway.

I have heard nothing from my fellow WoW-ers and don't even know where they went on Wednesday. I'm sure I shall though in due course. If they haven't read the blog they probably don't even know I'm back. This evening I'll probably ring Reg....

My responses to your previous comments

Yvonne .... I wouldn't have rated the Walnut Tree Shades as the worst pub. My feet didn't stick to the floor for one thing, and there was no lipstick on the glasses.

And what about that IRA pub near Waterloo Station where the hubbub of conversation died when we walked in ?

I maintain my position over the greengrocers' apostrophe. My aim was to discuss 'their' Carnival and to say we would visit their's rather than our own. A moot point I think. Other opinions would be welcomed.

David ..... We too are looking forward to coming over to see your Long Eaton Carnival. I love the countdown timer at the bottom of the web-page. At the time of writing I have just 1 day - 20 hours - 11 minutes - and 27 seconds to wait.

It will be great to see you all and have a little lunch with you.

jbw ..... I can recall the house you mention and I agree with your assessment of its architecture. Unfortunately I didn't take a snap or I could have blogged it.

Jill ..... Just to clear up the point about the hotel food. It was very good indeed.

After the first morning I decided to leave the fry-up alone and have a more continental start to the day. Although the actual food was super the waitering was sloppy. You'd ask for toast and nothing would happen. Then you'd ask again and two lots would arrive. But minor irritants only. Some of the starters and puddings were exceptionally good, especially those based on sorbets.

I didn't complain to the Farm Shop because I can't quite be sure about the pork pie. And re-reading what I have just written about going off the 'fry-ups' I wonder if my tummy started to be iffy earlier.

We didn't like the singer in the purple tent either. I found neither her voice, nor the rest of her, at all attractive.

Bob ..... Please see above re food.

You are right about the weight-loss - I lost nearly 3 lbs. Not an attractive way to do it though.

Really sorry to hear about your chickens. Usually there is no doubt if it is a fox, due to the feather debris left behind.


Quotation time ......

"The English country gentleman galloping after a fox - the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back home, back to normal - 60F - heavy rain

We seem to have been away ages but in fact just under a week. The Mansfield Centre of The National Trust's long weekend in Norfolk was a great success. The organiser, Jean, had done a super job and, as usual arranged for us to have excellent weather.

Our itinerary included so much of interest I think it best not to list them all. But we included stately homes and gardens plus the seaside.

Picture 1 is of Sandringham the Queen's country retreat and everything was in lovely condition. I spent more time in the gardens than the house.

Our seaside day was at Wells-Next-The-Sea where again the weather favoured us. We enjoyed fresh crab and Y discovered a delicatessen which deserves mention. A fascinating find and although I just went to look, inevitably I bought things. One notable purchase was Maldon Sea Salt (smoked). I use the ordinary all the time but I'm interested to encounter the smoked version. I shall report back.

Our room was exceptionally good with a magnificent view from our bay window. Looking right you could see the sea and looking front and left were lovely meadows, village houses, and a Shire Horse Rescue Station. In the mornings you could see the heavy horses in their fields.

We never had time in our busy schedule to fit in a visit to them. Perhaps next time.

On the return journey Jean's control over the weather only held out as far as our last visited place, Norwich where we had several hours. Some people visited the Castle, some the Cathedral, some, including us, just had a good mooch about. Just 20 minutes after we left Norwich the skies opened.

We stopped in a Farm Shop/Restaurant at Holbeach where I inadvisedly ate a pork pie. I think it had recently been defrosted - it was suspiciously cold to the touch. But, fortunately after dropping off Jean and Wendy, I just managed to get home before I was violently ill. Sickness, diarrhea and violent and uncontrollable twitching - at my request Y sent for the Doctor who was out making visits and called in. She prescribed anti-biotics and things for the sickness. By today I was well enough to go for my blood-test and I know my INR level will have gone haywire again. I was so ill I didn't take my Warfarin on Monday and the tablets prescribed will affect it anyway. I await the results with interest.

My replies to your previous comments

Jill .... Your keyboard is fine. Apparently the 'wireless' ones which transmit a signal to the PC leave enough space for cybercriminals to intercept and download account numbers etc.

Glad Ro's results were OK.

The bridge at Ashford in the Water is, without doubt, of the pack-horse persuasion.

Yvonne .... It seems well-dressings no longer are limited to religious themes and are simply works-of-art in their own right..

Bob .... I'm pleased your trouble is diagnosed as Achilles rather than DVT which is more serious. Colin Fletcher has DVT trouble and it has made him quite poorly.

There may be some mistake. Your Ashford-under-Water sounds post deluge. Our WoW trip was to Ashford-in-the-Water.

jbw ... I know Tissington very well, being an Ashbourne lad. My father's firm owned the village pub there.

Rob .... Thanks for your good wishes for Norfolk - all of which were fulfilled. We met a local in Norwich who directed us to The Walnut Tree Shades pub down an alley. Every word was intelligible - our objective was a quiet pub without juke-box and this was spot on.

Y may well say more in her comment.

Thanks for The Haiku from the Sports Desk. It is undoubtedly a gift you have there. Just wish for your sake there was some money in it.


The fun-fare is arriving bit by bit on the Football Field opposite, prior to The Carnival on Saturday. But we are going over to Long Eaton to enjoy their's. Previously we have sat out on David and Helen's forecourt and watched it go by. Here's hoping the weather allows us to do so again.

Quotation time .....

"No man needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one"

Elbert Hubbard

Some TV to watch tonight Y tells me, a programme about the Pre-Raphs on BBC 4 and a whole hour about The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition on BBC 2 at 7pm. Yvonne and I have always loved the Summer Exhibition and it must be about time for us to pay another visit.


I don't believe I've shown you The Ducks yet


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Running late - sorry! - 58F - NW wind again.


I'm running late. Half way through packing. The 2 hrs I spent bedding-out in the garden this afternoon were tiring, but worth it. The plants wouldn't have been in a good state if I'd left them till our return. Derek and Betty returned just before 6pm and we were able to hand over their plants in good order. Derek has now taken over looking after ours.

So, basically please excuse my lack of responses to your comments. All will be tidied up when I next publish - sometime early next week.

Pictures 1 and 2 are from WoW on Wednesday. The Cricket Pavilion and Cromford Station both 'took my eye'.

The weather looks promising and we shall have a good time with our Mansfield National Trust chums in Norfolk. Please click here to see where we are staying.