Friday, July 31, 2009

No blog today

Graham is unwell so there will be no full blog today.

He knows you'll all wish him well but no comments please as he would have to address them on his return.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Better Day - Some rain some Sun - 61F

I think we have a couple of tomatoes 'on the turn'. Please scrutinise carefully the bottom truss of the second plant from the left. It is only the 30th July and I didn't expect them to be ripening till mid August in their outside location - even if it is a sunny spot.

I saw the Doctor this morning and she didn't seem terribly worried about my rate of weight loss. My 'kidney function' is too low on a scale where I can't even remember the acronym let alone what the letters stand for. Normal is 80, they worry if it falls below 60 and they really worry if it gets down to 30. Mine is 49, up from 45 last week, but I am to have it tested again. My 'normal' aches and pains continue, as does my sickness. But she is a sensible lady and is willing to leave things a fortnight before recommending hospital checks. I hate hospitals.

After Doctors we shopped. Lidl and Morrisons and Y didn't have a Lidl back-twinge. The I cooked a chilli for lunch which was a success. For pudding we had a Y speciality Orange jelly and our favourite Greek Yoghurt.

Picture 2 is the view out of my office window, a few minutes ago. We feel honoured by a sunny evening.

I also managed to top up the bird feeders. How awful if the goldfinches went off in a huff ?

Rick Stein appealled to me for this evening, but it's an hour and I decided to watch it another day on iPlayer. Strange to have Y at home today but Burton Joyce people are on holiday. The meet-up between David's lot and Steve's worked, We know because both texted a picture of the children. I've been trying to work out how to download them onto the computer, but I haven't managed it yet. I used to be able to transfer the snaps but I've now forgotten how.

My replies to your comments

Jill .... We don't seem to have had a good drying day for ages. If the clothes dried once the onset of torrential rain has been so sudden they easily got soaked again.

I'm really sorry your Saga holiday has been cancelled. And we sympathise with Ro. He enjoys his Country & Western so. We sympathise with you too, but you know what I mean !

Bob .... Yes. I do realise the record-shot aspect of Paul Sandby's watercolours. Like Turner's water-colour notebooks. And the WoW group people are also well up to appreciating them.

I don't really need to 'confirm' that Wiener Schnitzel is veal in crumb. Yesterday, the link to the Wiener Schnitzel wikipedia page was to the same page and described it perfectly. I guess you omitted to open the link. It isn't a big read and the words about 'veal coated in breadcrumb' are on the third line down.

Perhaps it's just not worth doing links.


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

"By far the most dangerous foe we have to fight is apathy - indifference from whatever cause, not from a lack of knowledge, but from carelessness, from absorption in other pursuits, from a contempt bred of self-satisfaction"


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WoW at Nottingham Castle - weather awful - no let-up from the rain

It was simply good to be out with my WoW chums again. It seemed ages and ages. Five of us met at Reg's and decided to visit Nottingham Castle.

Our luck was in, because there's the Bicentenary Paul Sandby exhibition on until October.

Nottingham is indeed fortunate for the curator to have put together such an exhibition. HM The Queen has lent works, as have Yale, The British Museum et al ranging from etchings, line-drawings, water-colour sketch books and the odd full scale oil.

Although not photography as such, the chaps loved it and were taken with the detail and the overall range of the bloke's achievements. In some works he really came alive. Y knows the Exhibition is on and it won't pain me at all to pay a sceond visit. As a watercolourist herself Reg's Maureen will love it - so I think Reg will be visiting again.

As always with the Castle, the staff were superb, and by prior arrangement (thanks to Y and Helen) I was allowed to drive right up to the castle itself and park in a disabled bay. Picture 1 is of the middle gate, on the way back down the drive and I hope it suggests the sort of weather we enjoyed throughout !

After the exhibition we chip-cobbed at The Nelson and Railway at Kimberley. Excellent as always, and reasonably priced.

If you open the link you will see a similar snap in the middle of the second row. However, the one on the left is an original, courtesy of Helen who was closer to the hatch illustrated. For the blog I'm not at all precious as to who actually clicks the shutter.

For our evening meal I cooked some Ikea meat balls, and mixed veg and for pudding Y had done an orange jelly and ice-cream. Gorgeous ! While we ate we watched the Scandalous Adventures of Lord Byron and different from Jill, we thought it was OK. Not a brilliant piece of work but watchable and the scenery was good. Personally I preferred it to the Desperate Romantics about the PRB which really is flailing about abit and apparently losing 500,000 viewers a week. Rafe Spall who plays Holman Hunt seems only to have one facial expression. And the Dante Gabriel Rosetti character is beginning to irritate me a lot.

My responses to your previous comments

Bob ..... Re weight-loss. I don't like the sound of ..."Perhaps a bit of lead...?" it seems rather too final to me.

You seem to be making a steady 'stairfall' recovery. We are looking forward to the 'full colour' leg bump.

The curry sounds great !

Jill .... As above - I think you are perhaps a little excessive in your criticism of Everett's job on Lord Byron and, as I say above, the scenery was nice.

Your lunch at daughter's pub sounds good too. I know people are agin veal, but whilst serving Queen and Country in Germany I did enjoy Wiener Schnitzel. I've tried to cook it over here and failed miserably. The proper job has a certain 'crispness'.


Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday - Karen - Fat Clinic - Blood Test

We started the day by 'getting from under Karen's feet' i.e. we went to Ikea for breakfast. I had a child's portion of two hash-browns and baked beans. Y had a more normal 'middle' breakfast - plus free coffee. One of the reasons for going (to collect Peter G's Ikea card) proved unnecessary because it had already been sent to him via snail-mail.

After that, and a couple of jobs in Eastwood, I went to my Obesity Clinic (I used fat-clinic in the title line for space reasons) and the practice-nurse told me that the 5 kgms I had lost in the month was perhaps a little too much. She made a note for the Doctor who I am due to see on Thursday anyway for the result of my kidney-function blood test. It's all getting too complicated.

I told her I was wearing my lightweight underpants, but she wasn't really impressed.

Picture 1 is of Derek & Betty's new five-barred gate, fitted this morning by Alex. Sepia seemed to suit the subject. Alex had Reuben with him, fast asleep in the passenger seat. Y nipped out to see him and was surprised to see a sturdy 4yr old. It doesn't seem 5 minutes since he was born. Alex had taken him to the scrapyard with him and the cranes had impressed him. I bet 'going to the scrapyard with Daddy' will be a treasured moment.

I couldn't resist 'googling' to discover the history of the five-barred gate but it is going to need more time and effort than I have available this evening. What we really need is for 'nifty-googler Rob' to have a go at it.

Picture 2 is of the recently blooming Echinacea, or purple cone-flower. I know they have medicinal properties but I don't know if you are supposed to brew them, chew them, or grind them up ? And is it the flowers or the roots which are efficacious ? I suppose you could 'suck it and see'.

The sharpness of the front flower and the gradual blurring-away of the rest is deliberate - with my 50mm lens at f2.

We bought Y a new Fujifilm compact, also to serve as a replacement family compact for the old Casio which has become almost impossible to hold together long enough to take a snap.

But I really can't function without a viewfinder ! Even on a dull day, the LCD screen isn't bright enough for me to compose a picture. I'll have another 'go' with the old Casio - perhaps stronger rubber bands round it ?

We both enjoyed The Street last night, by Jimmy McGovern. As before, a well written play, well cast, well directed and well acted. The clumsy stitch-straps across the soldier's horrendous facial injury were probably over-done for effect. They just wouldn't have sent him out looking like that.

Nevertheless - a powerful, thought-provoking story which went some way to making more possible to comprehend what 'our boys' are undergoing in Afghanistan. I hope some politicians watched it. I am indebted to Y for drawing the series to my attention in the first place.

This afternoon on Radio 4 I heard an excellent episode of A Good Read, introduced as always by Kate Mosse. The programme featured poet John Hegley and singer Imelda May. A high spot for me was a piece about 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Matsuo Basho' which would have pleased Rob, with its emphasis on Haiku. Written in the 17th Century of course - but what's wrong with that ?

My responses to your comments

Jill ...... I agree with you about the noise in these 'hell-holes'. It is unique. The noise of happy children playing in an outdoor playground is also unique - but pleasant !

I think you should watch The Street Episode 3 on iPlayer - and we will do likewise with Byron - so a critique would be valuable.

The Bramleys do sound early. But Bob will know - they have a tree.

Bob .... My taking the 'p' out of Pompidou was quite unintentional I assure you. Mind you, I spotted the error during my editing preview - and decided to leave it uncorrected, just for fun !

I hope your fall down the stairs hasn't left you with any serious problems. You sound perky enough ! However, at our sort of age (and I know you are a few years older) these falls are a major problem. You could have easily broken a large limb and finished up in hospital again.

Yvonne ..... As you know, my admiration for your AquaSplash activities is second to none. Volunteering to be the 'nominated adult' in the first place was a major undertaking. But I know from your telling me about it, that you enjoyed it all immensely.

All those slides and chutes and splashes !

You are right about the LibDem sign. Neither of us expected it to survive the first night. But it did, and 5/6 more too ?

I'm looking forward to 'Desperate Romantics' again this evening. The link is to the programme's actual website - and good fun it looks too.


Quotation time .......

"Like a god going thro' his world there stands One mountain, for a moment in the dusk, Whole brotherhoods of cedars on its brow "

Personally I rate his wife Elizabeth Barrett Browning the better poet. especially the sonnets.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Return to bad weather - 67F - 6mph West Wind

The purpose of our visit to Palmers Green was to attend Ruby's AquaSplash birthday party which was held in the Leisure World complex shown. For grownups, Tracy warned me, inside was like hell on earth. Unbearably hot - enough to make one feel queasy and noisy enough to do damage to your ear drums.

But the kids loved it and Y was designated as the adult to go in the pool - there had to be at least one apparently. She went down slides and chutes etc., - some of the blue coloured external tubes shown in the snap are water chutes leading down to the pool. Pictorially, I love the garishness and the feeling of vigorous life, and those external tubes make you think of The Pomidou Centre.

Tracy thought it would not be a good idea for me to actually go in to the AquaSplash bit. so the closest I came was to walk into the building and peep through a large window. I managed to wave to people.

Then she took me just over the road to the MacDonalds where I installed myself with my laptop and my Vodafone dongle came into play yet again. Excellent 3MB broadband signal - later a nice MacDonalds lady told me that they are a WiFi hotspot which is available to customers free.

I listened to my radio and, in fact, quite happily did the sort of thing I usually do. At intervals I saw people. Elli and Ruby came separately to see me. and check if I was OK !

We eventually returned to Palmers Green and I took them out for evening meal to the Rimini Italian Restaurant and everyone enjoyed their food. Although the menu was very small print Andy found 'calves liver and onions' for me which wasn't too rich. Only the girls could find room for pudding. Elli chose ice-cream which people had a spoonful of here and there.

I was very comfortable in my room and managed to install myself satisfactorily. Just next door to the bathroom, which was good. In the morning Tracy brought me a muf of tea which was most welcome. She certainly looked after me extremely well.

Andy cooked two gorgeous meals. Bubble & Squeek for Breakfast, with a poached egg and some bacon. Then for lunch he did an equally sumptious Fish Pie. And everyone was happy for me to only have very small portions.

Tracy drove us home, and although there were lots of 50mph areas on the Motorway, we made good time and arrived around 6pm. We both slept well and when I weighed-in prior to my shower this morning I was delighted to find that I hadn't gained anything. We have had a quiet day today and although Y was a bit off-colour first thing she relied by mid-morning. I managed to do a few gardening jobs too.

We really have been lucky with weather this year. Each time it has been fine at the place we have visited and awful back here in Nottingham/Mansfield. Since we returned we have had the torrential squalls again.

My responses to your comments

Yvonne ..... I bow to your accurate memory of the outdoor-shower incident. I know you regretted not joining me - perhaps a chance will occur this autumn !

Madeline ..... Thanks for your good wishes ! As you will see above - we did indeed have a good weekend.

Bob ..... The bottle-bags are designed in pleasant cheerful designs and have draw-strings at the top. They are intended for use when you give someone a bottle of wine rather than to transport it around in.

Jill ..... Your spag/bol at a nudist beach café incident raised a smile. Where do you carry a tissue to wipe it off with ?

I haven't been watching New Tricks so I can't comment. But I think Y still enjoys it.

This evening we intend to watch the third episode of The Street. Having read the link I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to it or not.


Quotation slot ......

"Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity."

And if I hear anyone mutter "physician heal thyself'" I shall be down the line to them - ed


Friday, July 24, 2009

67F - 10mph W Wind - Odd Rainfall and squally


Picture 1 is a scrn.prnt to demonstrate that Madeline's solution worked brilliantly, and I now have my Norton 'safeweb symbols' happily in place (the little green ticks - if there are problems with a site you get a red cross etc.). Thanks Madeline ! I feel much more confident opening unknown sites when I know they have been checked over for viruses and other malware. This is definitely an area of computing where 'prevention is better than cure'.

We nipped out to Morrisons this morning to buy some decent wine to take with us tomorrow, and also to Paul's bestbuy shop in Eastwood for some bottle-bags. His are great, and 35p as against 99p or similar elsewhere. And they aren't cheap & nasty either - or perhaps they are but not to our downmarket tastes.

Picture 2 shows my 'successful' attempt to collect Basil seed. I say 'successful' because an earlier attempt ended abruptly when Karen tidied up and washed the plate. My fault entirely because I hadn't explained what I was doing. If you look at the enlargement you will see the little black seeds which will form the basis of next year's basil population. Anyway, it is more satisfying using home-produced seed rather than buying someone else's from a seed-catalogue.

A strange experience with the weather this morning. Y went to the Hayley Centre about 10.15am for a swim. It wasn't a good experience because of the large amount of people milling vigorously about in the pool, to the discomfort of casual gentle swimmers. There is some sort of trial-period offer on for a month and this might be the cause. Also the Jacuzzi was knackered. About half an hour later Y rang to say could I pick her up due to the torrential rain ? ..... There hadn't been a drop here, some 1½ mile away. As I drove down the road towards the Centre there was almost a definite line across the road surface - dry one side and wet the other.

John e-mailed me to say that granddaughter Laura and her fella Joe were back safe and sound from their adventures. They had now gone up to Newcastle, where Joe is doing a PhD, to find somewhere to live, and also jobs. Good to have them back.

We are away at Debra's for the weekend. Chauffeur TJ - picking us up at 7.30am.

My responses to your comments

Jill .... Glad that you too are back to normal and I'm glad you enjoyed your 'knitting workshop' so much.

Glad also that you are enjoying the 'collages'. The flower in the bottom left corner of yesterday's is a 'frond/flower spike?' of the cotinus (smoke bush).

The picture on the right shows it more in context.

Poor Y also suffers when furniture is such that her feet don't reach the floor. I'm sure the things Nicola intends to provide for me will prove a success. In any case I'm not really bad at the moment - the unsteadiness on my feet is a bigger worry. Although I have now lost over 2 stone it would be a major problem if I fell over. This is yet another reason why the present gusty/gale force winds unsettle me.

Madeline .... Please see above re Norton's safeweb symbols. A very sincere 'thank you'. I didn't mention an additional plus - The symbols are operative even when I have the Norton toolbar 'unchecked' and even when I use an alternative Search Engine.

Yvonne .... re outdoors showers. I have at the back of my mind that I once did it, under some leaky guttering. Wherever we were living I know we weren't overlooked. Could have been here ? Or have I imagined all that ?

Bob .... Thank you for your e-mail explaining the pseudonym. Certainly as a 'one off' I don't intend to be picky.

Interesting that your period of watching the PreRaphaelites has now stretched from 15 minutes to half an hour.


Quotation slot .....

"Thou fill’st from the wingèd chalice of the soul
Thy lamp, O Memory, fire-wingèd to its goal."

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Have a nice weekend folks - there won't be a blog-post tomorrow


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Routine Thursday - Y at BJ - Me messing-about - 67F and 5mph W Wind


Having done a collage of flowers out in the front garden yesterday it seemed to naturally follow that I turn my attention to the rear garden today. And there they are. I suppose we could have a 'name that flower' competition, but then again .......

I took Y to the 9.38am tram and then went to the doctor's for 10.10am - she had had a cancellation and saw me at 10am. Dr Chamberlain, another young lady doctor who I hadn't seen before. I was quite happy with her and she put my mind at rest about certain things. She took yet another blood test and I am to see her a week today for the result.

After the doctor's I went shopping to Lidl and Morrisons - it takes the pressure off tomorrow. I know we are going to Debra's and don't want to leave a fridge full of commodities we shan't use.

Picture 2 is a photoshop drawing of The Pantiles.

For those of us who can't draw these sort of programmes create for oneself the illusion that one can - if you see what I mean.

I shall probably print it as a 10 x 8 print, just to see what it looks like.

The weather is really weird isn't it ? Here today there's been sunny spells, but all the time that niggly wind - and now it is raining again, quite heavily. So much for the bit of gardening I had promised myself this evening. And I don't know if there is anything we can watch together on the telly.

My responses to your comments

Madeline ..... Thank you very much indeed for your input. The Norton Safeweb symbols are simply Norton's equivalent to McAfee's siteadvisor symbols. Green tick for 'site clear' etc ...... Allegedly updated more often than McAfee though.

I haven't yet got round to working through your suggested 'workaround' but it all seems to make sense and I'll have a go either this evening, or in the dead of the night. By the way, I don't think one can do 'links' in the comments box.

During today there has been a 'Firefox update' to build 3.0.12 so. if that goes onto the laptop too (I'm on the PC at the moment) it may have solved the problem anyway.

I shall report back.

Thanks for the kind comments about the blog !

Bob ...... I thought Epoisses would appeal to you. It really is worth making a special trip to Sainsburys - although I don't know where your nearest is. Perhaps on one of your Newark or Retford sorties !

No problem with flies - I feel the aroma would knock-em out rather than attract them.

The bed-height isn't really a Karen type problem. There are these special cuplike devices braced across for safety. I already have some on an easy chair, and they work well.


Quotation slot ......

"There is nothing more dreadful than imagination without taste"

Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

"Sleep tight everybody - I'll try and catch you tomorrow - prior to a break over the weekend"


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Busy Wednesday - OT - PC - Garden - 61F - Southerly Wind

We bought this cheese on our Monday visit to Sainsburys. All I can say is WoW ! and nothing to do with walking. Unless the delightful smell is too much for ladies of a sensitive disposition and causes them to walk briskly away from the box.

The cheese is Epoisses an apellation controlé etc., and will appeal to lovers of strong attractive cheeses. On the box it says it is runny and it is. First day I kept it at room temperature and I could have poured it on my breakfast toast. Second night I kept it in the fridge which maintained the cheese in a more manageable state i.e. spreadable. The flavour did not seem to have been impaired. The best 'new' cheese I've sampled for many years.

About 25 years ago I was at a conference in Bruges, in a good hotel, and after dinner I had an excellent cheese of a similar stamp. Y was with me, and the following morning bless her ! she went into town and bought me a box to bring home. Subsequently we had no difficulty locating our luggage on the carousel !

Our day started with a visit from the Occupation Therapist, Nicola, who is going to sort out my problems with rising from bed. She agrees that 'hooking my stick round the toilet door-handle and pulling myself upright' is not the best strategy. I am to have some things fitted under the bed legs to raise it 4½ inches exactly. She measured me, and the bed precisely.

She also wants me to have a new frame to fit round the loo because she didn't like the rusty state of the existing one. Nicola was the sort of person who inspires confidence - and attractive with it !

Then the MegaTech computer lad arrived to do the annual health check, to which I am entitled under my warranty. No problems with my PC and he also explained my Norton 'safeweb symbol' problem on the laptop. Simple really - Norton 360 and Firefox 3.5.1 are not compatible.

So - either uninstall Firefox latest version in favour of an earlier build - or live without the 'safeweb symbols'. I favour the latter. However, if Madeline, or Ray, or some other WebUser forum person knows of a workaround and is reading this - please e-mail me, or add a 'comment'.

This afternoon I managed a few minutes in the front garden. I hadn't got my watch - so I was amazed when I came back in the house and Y told me I had been 'at it' from 5pm to 6.40pm. I only tidied the 'ringaround' under the tree and then hoed it smart.

Picture 2 is a collage of some of flowers in the front garden which I took when I had finished. Just a record-shot to show what's out - nothing purports to be arty.

I spoke to Helen on the phone to find out which Caravan Site they are actually booked in it from this weekend on. It is The Wareham Forest Touring Camp and from the website it looks superb. Two swimming pools no less ! Here's hoping they are lucky weatherwise.

Tomorrow I'm due to see the Doctor at 10.10am prior to which I shall have dropped Y at Phoenix Park for the 9.38am Tram, the start of her Burton Joyce day. Then there are things I need from Aldi and Lidl, after which my day is free.

My responses to your comments

Bob .... I agree that 'transvestite' doesn't matter either way - ha ha! But the voice can be a distraction.

I agree about The Snooty Fox food. Whenever I've been with you the standard has always pleased me and I can remember some very good meals. I think I once had 'liver and onions' and jolly good it was too. All that fuss about the loos - we all remember outside ones where the urinal was just a wall with a gulley at the bottom of it.

Congrats on your level of knowledge about Macbeth. If I had to select a Shakespeare 'specialist subject' it would be The Sonnets. Although I did neither for GSE.

Hope Jill's trip went well and, when she next comments, she will perhaps give us an update on Barbara.

Yvonne ..... I agree with your 'romp' assessment of the Desperate Romantics. The Telegraph didn't like it at all did they ? Mind you, as we both know, for us that can be a plus point.

If you aren't looking for historical accuracy I thought the programme was good. The hour passed quickly and that is as good a measure as anything.

I particularly liked their use of the David Bowie 'Heroes' track as a background for their joyous marches down the street.

I agree with you about Ro's great nephew being a handsome little chap. He certainly loved the yellow duck.

Interesting info about the 'whitening of the skin' chap and Michael Jackson. Google tells me the condition is called hypopigmentation and the site I have linked you to explains.


I've decided to end tonight with a photograph sent me by JBW

Perhaps we need something similar for Britain - It isn't racist, in fact the precise opposite

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Typical Tuesday - 61F - 10mph SSE wind - Jobs

I'm not obsessed with the front garden but, a comment alleged that my photography 'blew it up'.

Had I wished to make it look bigger I would have photographed it thus. Had I wished to 'blow it up' I would have used a well known horticultural explosive like Nitro-glycerine.

Y managed yesterday, as she notes in her comment, in the sun, to dead-head the roses and other things and you can certainly see an immediate improvement. From tatty to dapper at once. I think she has the 'twinges' to show for it though. Y now understands my Magwitch analogy - the pain does hit you that suddenly.

Our day has been fairly typical for Tuesday, which is a Karen day. My first appointment was with my blood-lady Sheila and she was delighted with the holiday postcards I took in. Her surgery doesn't have an outside window and she brightens it by encouraging her patients to send or take postcards. It is also nice for people, whilst sitting there wincing, to look how widely travelled are one's fellow patients.

Then we had several calls in Eastwood, Y's 'hair', The Library, and the Bank. We called in at Paul's for some large rubber bands but to no avail. However, later in the day, Y obtained some just-right ones from W.H.Smith's. I need broad ones to hold my collapsible sticks together - thin ones don't last five minutes. After that I took Y over to Sherwood for her Nails service.

Picture 2 features 'Dragon fruit' which we hadn't previously sampled. I can't recommend it. Not a trace of redeeming sweetness - at best bland and tasteless, for all it's exciting looks.

I still haven't fixed my Norton problem. Another go tomorrow.

This evening we aim to watch a drama/documentary 'Desperate Romantics' based on The PreRaphaelite Brotherhood. How true to history it will be ? and how much just an excuse for another costume drama is anyone's guess. The trouble is that, unlike Cranford for instance, there wasn't a well-written novel to hang it on. The programme well need plenty of 'water on its wheel' to pass muster because I know a fair bit about the PRB and Y knows even more.

My responses to your comments

Yvonne .... Well done with University Challenge ! My only recollection, from passing through the room, was the lady team captain with the male voice. Not a tenor either, more a baritone. Not that these things matter but they do draw attention rather.....

You are right about the moon-landing conspiracy theory ! Load of ....... ! Mike H has sent me this recently published photo that shows the lower half of the lunar module in situ. The bit which was left behind when Armstrong and Aldrin blasted back up off the surface.

Jill .......... You certainly were busy and anyway, you don't have to comment. It isn't like handing in homework. It is just that we all enjoy your comments so much.

In the garden I only manage to do the fiddly bits. Y does the real graft. But she does enjoy 'cutting-back' and moving things about. With these twinges though I try to persuade her to only do tiny little stints - if it gets too much for us we can always have Alex for a day or two !

The garage-door frame badly needs painting but, I mentioned it to Karen yesterday and she said "I'll do that for you - I love painting & decorating" .... So there you go.

Hope you have a good time in Sussex - and I hope that soon your hot water becomes more reliable.

Re Carrie's conspiracy theories and The Moon. Please see my note above to Y. I know it isn't conclusive evidence but ......

Bob ..... Glad The Snooty Fox has re-opened. I always enjoyed our visits to it but as you will see ( if you open the link that is) the 'reviewers' had a wide range of opinions.

"Through a glass darkly" is indeed 1 Corinthians 13. Perhaps you are getting confused with "The dark lady" of Shakespeare's sonnets ?

Thanks for the advice to address the Russian Soldier in the terms ‘привет, привет, привет. Что мы получили здесь тогда?’. That is what I was going to say to him anyway.


Quotation time ......

"Cabbage: A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and as wise as a man's head."

"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow"


Monday, July 20, 2009

Joan's for Coffee - Sainsbury's - 65F - Cold Wind

We got going early - 7am ish - when Jason (Y's Lib Dem person) arrived to erect a sign in the front garden. I was just opening the curtains in the big room and felt I ought to speak. He seems a very nice and competent young person.

It made sense to continue with the early theme and we called in at Joan's for Coffee prior to Arnold Sainsburys. We needed Vegemite and know we can get it there. Then home for Scampi and Chips with Mushy Peas, followed by a Y-made Fruit Salad with Greek Yogurt. Delicious meal.

This afternoon Karen arrived to mow because rain is forecast again tomorrow, and immediately the garden looked so much better. She does a tidy job, bless her!

I've spent hours tussling with a computer problem. On the Dell laptop I have Norton 360 Security programme and a feature is 'safeweb' symbols when you google for something. Like MacAfee Siteadvisor it checks out sites, for malware before you open them. Well, mine has gone wrong. I shall fix it however, it just needs the correct buttons to be clicked.

Tomorrow we have 'Blood test', Y's hair, and then over to Sherwood for Y's Nails service. But she wants me just to drop her there after which she intends to bus it into town. I shall drive home and mess-about trying to fix mi' Norton. Additionally there are a couple of garden jobs I would like to pull in.

This evening we aim to watch the Jimmy McGovern play "The Street" at 9pm on BBC 1. We watched the first episode of this series while we were away in Kent and I considered it v.good. Well written, directed, and acted.

My responses to your valued comments

Bob ..... All on your own this evening ! Blog-wise, I mean. I have no idea of your domestic arrangements.

You are never really incoherent. Obscure maybe but not incoherent.

Interesting about 'atom bombs' . We used to have to do 'Civil Defence Training'. Once I asked a senior bod, "As a Police Inspector, what should my attitude be to the Russian Soldier with the rifle when I emerge from my bomb-proof bunker?"

It seemed there was no clear-cut policy on this !

You make a fair point about Rye Bread going stale. But I don't have a need of Rye bread-crumbs very often.

Y says, re Arlene Phillips, that, as a Cabinet Minister she would expect Harriet Harman to have more onerous duties to attend to.

Maybe Jill will be along later --- if not, that's it I guess.


Quotation slot .....

"Barring that natural expression of villainy which we all have, the man looked honest enough"

Mark Twain

Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow - God willing


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Simply Sunday - 55F - still now but blustery - watched The Open


We have reached the time of dramatic sunsets over the garage. Surprisingly you can see quite a lot of clear sky because most of the day seems to have been heavy squally rain. I had a chat with Helen on the phone this morning - David had taken Sky to the Sailing Club to check out competitive events for her. Brooke had opted for staying at home with Mum to do quietly creative things with the Doll's House. My granddaughters personalities are quite different - but no problem with that, in fact its probably best that way.

I talked to David this evening and they go on holiday this coming weekend to a Wareham Caravan Site and, while they are down south, they are hoping to meet up with Steve and Lisa and group. Can't do a link to the actual site because I'm not sure which one it is. Tracy is taking us to London to see Debra and family because the people they are staying with are to be away and it makes an overnight stay possible for us. More detail later.

The Orchid on the left gives me great pleasure to publish because this a re-flowering from a last year's plant. I know Reg and Maureen have achieved this previously but I haven't.

I followed orchid-culture advice and cut the flowering stems back and put the plant in a cold spot which stimulates the production of new flower spikes. And it has worked. There are two more healthy plants on my toilet window-sill which look equally promising.

We watched The Open together and enjoyed it immensely. The light was favourable for good pictures and our new TV does a tidy job. Apart from the golf itself the scenery and the presentation were delightful. Stewart Cink and Tom Watson tied in first place and a playoff was necessary. For nostalgia, people hoped Tom might pull it off, at 59yrs, but it wasn't to be and Stewart proved a worthy winner. Golf appeals on the telly because everyone, players, crowd, officials etc., are invariably polite and sportsmanlike to each other which reflects so well on the sport.

My responses to your previous replies

Bob .... No apologies needed for incoherence. I didn't notice anyway.

The Iron-rich water had a slightly metallic taste, but way away from being 'foul'. It was quite pleasant in fact. Perhaps the origin of Ironbru ?

'Gunnera' is indeed a plant species. I accept though that it reminds one of the unspeakable diseases one was warned about as a recruit during National Service. The rash is quite different I understand !

I haven't seen the Halford's TV advert, so I can't comment.

Jill ..... Thank you for your praise for The Pantiles picture. The light made all the difference.

Sorry to hear of Ro's continued leg-pain problem. As you memorably said "Getting old isn't for wimps".

Your gran's recipe using left over stale bread sounded great. We never seem to get 'stale' bread these days, it goes mouldy before 'stale'.

Yvonne .... Re Bluewater and similar. I agree in general terms. But you succeeded, on a blisteringly hot afternoon, to track down an ice-cold non-alcoholic lager and a gin & tonic. Even though the bill was a tenner ? I suppose such places have a 'place' in extremis.

Isn't your Lidl sciatica strange ? (Honestly folks - we go into Lidl and 2 minutes later Y has a pain in her back and down her leg - editor)

If anyone else would like to join the 'Reinstate Arlene Phillips' campaign to which you refer, that is a live link to it.

Pete B .... I agree with your view that the RNLI should receive some govt. funding especially when you consider some of the things they do support.

Hope you enjoy your holiday, and the break. I can only wish for you the sort of weather we had. Also hope the Football Academy works well.


No quote tonight - feeling a little tired and queasy.

Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Normal sort of Saturday - Chilly - 63F - 8mph Westerly

Picture 1 is another of The Pantiles at Royal Tunbridge Wells - now there's posh for you.

Isn't it where 'disgusted' who used to write letters to The Telegraph lived? It is a nice place though, but again, we were lucky with the weather. I didn't mention it yesterday but I tried a glass of the famous iron-rich spa water served by the lady shown in the link, or a lookalike. I thought the iron would be good for my back - Y couldn't be tempted though. Although some similar snaps have featured in the collages, I wanted you to see these a little bigger.

Since we returned Y has been so busy washing and ironing, I think her back will undoubtedly suffer. I managed a little gardening - tomatoes, weeding herb-bed, feeding and watering our courgette from which we enjoyed the first 'crop' today. Although small, picking them will allow the others room to expand. Very tasty they were too.

Some computer jobs and dealing with pictures have occupied my afternoon. I have deleted maybe seven in every ten - such is the joy of digital. It isn't good policy to delete any while in the camera - you can't see them well enough. But on a big screen - well !!

Picture 2 is the carp pond at Chartwell. I liked the swirls of fish and water, and those enormous guneras on the left. Very photogenic but best not handled too much - a rash ensues.

At one stage today the weather seemed promising, a little sun - but now the strong gusty wind is back and I have donned my smoking jacket for warmth.

My responses to your previous comments

Yvonne ..... I think we are in agreement about the holiday. Great ! And I'm glad your 'Battle of Britain' simulation was so good. I guessed it would be your sort of thing.

I can't see the attraction of Shopping Malls like Bluewater. You might just as well go down Nottingham, all the shops are there. And those 'milling-about' crowds of people.

Jill ..... The big shopping place near here is Meadow Hall, nr Sheffield and, although much smaller, but nearer is McArthy Glen. I suppose they have their place. In fact I must confess to a soft-spot for McCarthy Glen which, as such places go, is pleasant enough.

The swimming pool at the Hilton was well up to R's requirements and was deep enough at the deep-end for me at 5'10½" to be out of my depth. And, as you saw from the snap, quite comfortably large. And at the side of it a full equipped gym, with those apparent instruments of torture. He would probably have enjoyed the gym too? Certainly the Jacuzi.

Re collages - in the first one, top right corner, the pretty bridge was at Bluewater ! Sorry !

In the second one, your guess is correct = The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells.

Bob ..... I think Kitchen Shops always have a certain attraction, for we culinary dabblers.

My digestion is iffy at the moment, and I do suffer from bile. Y suggests I discuss 'gallstones' with the GP.

I didn't intend a double admonition re the Order of Mercy. I spoke to Peter earlier today. He has a photograph of his medal, and as soon as I have it to hand, publication will follow.

Glad you sorted your 'cargo trousers'. I never did find the receipt anyway.

Sandra is so lucky to have a wren as tame as that. Our wren is extremely timid and camera-shy.


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

While away I bought a selection of Thomas Hardy. I prefer him as a poet rather than as a novellist. This little extract sums up my feelings when I start to feel tired.

"Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk."

Thomas Hardy

Sleep tight - hope to catch you tomorrow.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday - Great holiday - Lucky with Weather

I thought a couple of 'collages' would be the best way to transmit the most information in the smallest space. The contents of the above picture more or less explain themselves. The bottom row are all from the Royal Dockyards at Chatham where we had a brilliant day. In the bottom right corner you can see the 'slip cover' which is applying for World Heritage status in its own right. Historic ships such as The Victory had their timbers laid there, and there they stayed until the wood had seasoned.

We spent some time also in the Royal Lifeboat Museum which Pete B would have enjoyed.

Our journey down was uneventful and the 'Tim Draper Holiday' system worked flawlessly. Our taxi arrived on time, our seats were comfortable. Our driver was Claire and our courier was Neil, both of whom we've had the pleasure of travelling with before.

The Hilton Hotel at Maidstone well justifies its 4 star rating and, if you open the link, the slide-show gives an accurate visual summary of the place. One couldn't fault the food, although I have decided that, for me, with my present fragile digestion, the simpler dishes on the menu suit me best. One breakfast time we witnessed an amazing event. A middle-aged lady (not of our party) literally had everything. Fruit juice, cereal, porridge, large (and I do mean large) fried breakfast followed by substantial continental breakfast with croissant, cooked meats and cheese, followed by more fruit juice, and then toast, then another croissant .... We gave up at this stage .......

We both slept very well. The swimming pool was good, although Y used it more than I did. I just went in the once and managed 4 strokes of dog-paddle. But I was surprised at my bouyancy - I just seemed to 'float' ha ha!

Later in our holiday came Chartwell and Royal Tunbridge Wells and, on the last day, The Imperial War Museum at RAF Duxford.

Chartwell of course, was Sir Winston Churchill's home and we had an interesting visit. Then came The Pantiles at Royal Tunbridge Wells which again we both loved.

The 'different shops' commended it to us. In so many town-centre shopping places one always gets M & S, Waterstones, John Lewis, and Next etc., - not so here. We found a lovely kitchen shop called Mottrams where I found some small glasses with handles, for tea with lemon but no milk etc.

On the last day, during the return journey, we visited the Imperial War Museum at Duxford and managed to spend several hours there.

Claire and Neil's decision to change first day/last day was inspired. The Bluewater shopping complex (first day) held little attraction for us whereas the War Museum (last day) could have occupied us for more than one day. We were lucky with the weather - bright sun, little cloud, and little or no wind (just enough to waft the wind-sock away from its pole) and there was so much to see. Y managed a trip in this Spitfire versus Messerschmitt 109

I'll leave her to tell you about it in her 'comment'.

My responses to your previous comments

Bob ..... Admittedly I did not announce our forthcoming holiday in upper case. but I did say we were going away. Anyway - we are back now and it has been a most enjoyable experience.

Not the sort of holiday which lays one low for a fortnight thereafter.

I understand your '2nd post' remark now. The blog-clock seems to start the moment I put pen-to-paper and, if close to midnight, it is easy to be confused as to the actual day. It is possible to go into HTML to change the time but it is too much faff.

Pleased for your sake that the weather allowed you to avoid Alex's 19th shennanigins. Glad you enjoyed the 'snap' though, even if you over-did it. At the moment very small portions suit me. Not only is it better for my digestion but my weight continues to fall satisfactorily.

Pete B ..... Glad you enjoyed the Mark Twain bit (Tom Sawyer). I think the 'fence-painting' passage is justifiably famous and if it led you back to the novel I feel really chuffed !

The RNLI museum as mentioned above, was extremely interesting and I have more pictures to send you in due course. You are actually our only 'seafarer'. Having said that, Y has a rambling chum Dick Playfair, who served on the Arctic Convoys during the war. He is too old now for active rambling but they exchange letters around Xmas time.

Hope your joint exercise, with the helicopter, was a success. I haven't managed to scrounge enough time yet to visit your site and find out for myself.


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

"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for thats the stuff life is made of."

Benjamin Franklin

Brave man ! Some would say 'foolhardy' !


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Getting ready for hols - 70F - 2mph SE wind

The weather has been mostly cloudy but with occasional sunny bits. Fortunately no rain.

On the footie-field has been a kids day with everything from a Bouncy Castle to small football matches, roundabouts and performers doing turns. You could tell they were having a good time by the unmistakable noise of kids at play.

Alex has finished Derek & Betty's picket fence and very beautiful it looks too. He is so careful with alignment and design. I asked Derek if it was to be painted because, following on from my flat-pack mastery, I could see myself in a Tom Sawyer role! ..... Go on - open the link - it's a beautiful piece of prose !

But the fence is not to be painted; the wood has been treated and is guaranteed for 25yrs - although it may darken a little with age. The light wasn't good enough to do it justice so a better effort may follow. Such a pity about that awful green Virgin media box spoiling the look of the whole thing.

While I was at the front gate I photographed some more Clematis Vulgaris but again the light didn't allow me to capture the blue 100% accurately. The colour that you see, lacks the necessary richness of hue.

I'm so pleased that my INR level is 2.9 (i.e. almost perfect) and I don't need to be tested again till the 21st July, so we can relax while on holiday. This morning we nipped out for essentials and it is good to know there is a UHT version of Lactofree. I tried the Lactofree cheese, toasted on toast (Debra's recommendation) but it didn't appeal to me.

Joan was supposed to going on her hot-air Balloon flight this evening but it was cancelled. Apparently they only fly in clear, cloudless skies. When it is re-arranged I am looking forward to taking some photographs.

My responses to your comments

Bob .... I don't understand your rather delphic 'Second post?'

Re the Casio photo. No ! There was no false modesty. I thought the snap unsharp, messy and ill-defined. Only thing going for it was that it did the job of showing what the 'viewer' looks like. You are right in a way about its Roleiflex nature and it is also equipped with a x2 diopter. It enables me to get the camera level with a flower without bending down too far or adopting a position of prayer (christian or muslim) and my efforts so far are satisfactory.

I am surprised at your ignorance of Tim Berners-Lee and www - did you think it all just happened then, spontaneously ?

Jill .... We all learn something of value every day. Or should do. Until we atrophy and begin our final decline. Anyway I bet there's hundreds of things you know that I don't. Its the way of the world.

I remember when I erected our Billy that you commented that you had one. Most impressive that Ro will still tackle a flat-pack if necessary. You are quite right that it is things with drawers, especially when they have wheels and runners - I had to enlist the help of my glamourous assistant to pronounce about wheel positions at the opposite end to me. We got there though.

You have without doubt reached the correct decision with your tree stumps. If you wanted to, you can paint them with stuff that rots the wood away, even though I think it takes some time to work. But does it really matter ? As you say you can always stick a tub or a trough on top - or even make them a wildlife feature - don't put on the poison but encourage moss and lichens and even put a few logs thereon and create a haven for creepy crawlies. If you open the link you can read about the RSPB's approach to log-piles.

I am to be allowed my Asus Eee notebook. But mainly for dealing with my photographs. Mind you, with my Vodafone dongle, I could be on the internet in a jiffy ! I don't intend to though - wouldn't be fair to Y.

Anonymous Peter G ..... Thanks for the holiday good wishes.

When we return we shall look forward to hearing about your new Order of Mercy Award. I googled from what you have told me and I just hope against hope that the link I have provided is about the correct thing. If it isn't I shall correct my error as soon as I can.

Sincerest congratulations seem in order. You do such a lot of good work, which so few know anything about.


Quotation time .......

"Come hither from the furrow and be merry:
Make holiday; your rye-straw hats put on
And these fresh nymphs encounter every one
In country footing."

"Sleep tight - enjoy your holiday from reading Radiogandy - I will be back towards the end of next week"


Friday, July 10, 2009

Fine Friday - 63F - Sunny spells - 3mph NW wind

Just the one picture today, taken on the old Casio. Poor old thing, it is about falling apart, literally. I had to put in new batteries and then hold the camera tightly together to enable this snap. It has been reliant on strong rubbers bands for some time, to make it usable, but that ruse doesn't work anymore. So, if the picture falls short of the usual standard on this blog I apologise.

The purpose is to illustrate the angled viewer which I purchased from my Hong Kong e-bay person Miss Wongrm. As before the original transaction was slick and the item arrived 8 days later - nicely packaged and in good condition. Most important of all, it works ! For those of us with bending problems it enables flower pictures for instance which wouldn't previously have been possible.

I have tried to put the garden in order for while we are away and have fed things that need feeding. Derek coming in daily to water indoors and he is also going to look after our outdoor tomato plants and things. I planted the new herb Savory which Nat Trst Colin had sent me a cutting of. The cutting came via Jean and she had wrapped the rooted end in a wet tissue and it looked very healthy. Fine white root hairs and a green and white growing tip.

I've sorted out most outstanding computer jobs and I still have tomorrow if other things crop up. I must download some podcasts onto my MP3 player to listen to whilst away.

Y went down town to meet Joan B for afternoon tea at some classy place near Byard Lane. Although they didn't have it, the official afternoon tea was over £15 per person - rather expensive in my opinion. However they enjoyed themselves and bumped into Tracy.

My responses to your comments

Bob ..... A pleasant meeting indeed at Wetherspoons - and such good value. They seem to be able to keep their beer prices down and it makes one wonder why others can't. ergo Reg's e-mail report from WoW of the prices in tourist Peak District.

Tackle some flatpack furniture! The challenge would do you good.

Yvonne ..... Your suggestion of Tim Berners-Lee as your second choice for the Trafalgar Square plinth is inspired. Although a Knighthood was accorded, other recognition must surely come. Order of Merit or even Companion of Honour when suitable vacancies occur.

I have made his name a link to the excellent BBC potted biography.

Jill ..... Tim Berners-Lee is a fairly self-effacing sort of chap. Although he could have patented WWW and thereby been in the Bill Gates class for millionaires, he chose not too, feeling as a scientist that he would contribute the idea for the benefit of all mankind. The last phrase isn't overblown at all because the contribution the Internet has made to life on the planet is immense.

Re Ikea flat-pack assembly. We have already used this service - when we bought our present dining table and six chairs. And it took the two experts over 2 hours - had I done it, I would by now probably been on chair 3. But I did a Billy bookcase and I thought the chest-of-drawers within my range. Which it was - just !

Nice of you to give such a complimentary reason for Millicent's 'no body' stance.

Shame your irony was lost on the waste people. Shame about the blackbird though. If we had had three rats Y would be close to being 'sectioned' by now.

Anonymous Peter G ...... How my cufflink arrived under the rear seat is a mystery. I think I must have taken a jacket off and the cufflink had become entangled in the sleeve. When I took my shirt off at bedtime I discovered it was minus one cufflink. Neither of us thought to go and look in the car. As you say though - it is great to have it back.

I think you are quite right about the availability of drinks at Thaymar - it was just a matter of asking. Y's point I think was that we shouldn't have needed to ask. But the Thaymar lady was very busy and under a little stress, with all those people.

My chest-of-drawers does look good and, I think, with its acquisition, I am supposed to become a tidier person. Perhaps ! I'll certainly try.


Quotation time .....

"The very rats Instinctively had quit it."

All being well there should be a blog-post tomorrow.

But if I get bogged-down with packing .................


Tardy blog-post - definitely cooler - 53F - No wind

At last I've got round to doing my blog.

I publish the picture of my Ikea chest-of-drawers almost as the mug-shot of an offender, because that is where my time has gone and leading to my being flat-packered.

Y's praise, whilst welcome, was a little premature. The outer shell was no problem. But the drawers had wheels running in runners and were hard (for me that is) to assemble. Anyway the task is now completed.

I managed to make it to The Widow Frost in Mansfield to meet Bob for lunch. We both opted for the 'veggie-burger/salad/chips - plus drink' option which seemed reasonable at £4.69p. Mine came with a Becks Alcoholfree and Bob had a pint of bitter. We had a good chat and some laughs although I had to leave fairly early, to return to my chest-of-drawers.

Y did her usual Burton Joyce run but it tires her a little these days. It is a 3½ hr round trip, and she has her routine tasks whilst there. When Millicent starts proper School in September Y thinks she will make alternative BJ visiting arrangements. She has been going since Hannah was born - 12yrs ago and she has loved it.

Millicent was kind enough to ask Y to bring me the picture on the left. As you can see, it is a portrait. Millicent says she 'can't do bodies' hence my long legs leading straight down from the neck. Its all there - the sun (with rays) a blue sky above my head, some grass to stand on, and a tree with a very narrow trunk but with plenty of red berries. It is some time since I had a new grand-child picture for my wall and I shall treasure it.

Our National Trust trip to Thaymar IceCream was a success and it is good to support and find out about local environmentally friendly enterprises. The lady proprietor who founded the firm 20 yrs ago was good to listen to. Minor problems were due to her being under-staffed and over-stretched. The buffet was of excellent quality but a pot of tea with it would have been nice. At our table for instance, as with the others, Joan G had to ask for water.

Another good thing happened today.

I searched the car thoroughly for a 'pin' which Bill S has lost. Something under a rear seat gleamed and I thought he was in luck.

The lucky person however was me. The item was my 'lost' Police College cuff-link which I can't remember if I told you about or not.

A difficult subject to photograph. On camera flash made a right pig's ear of it. The best result was on 800ISO and photographed under-exposed under my desk light. I then corrected the 'white-balance' in photoshop.

My responses to your comments

Bob .... It is a Witch-Hazel and the nut-shaped things are quite hard like cobnuts. Just that it hasn't had them before.

Glad we were able to semi-sort out your phone's abilities. 'Text' reminders should be just what you need.

Yvonne ..... Please see above re chest-of-drawers.

We shall just have to disagree about the 4th Plinth.

Jill ..... TK-Maxx sounds well worth a visit. I've just googled to find that we have 2 in Nottingham and 1 in Mansfield so I shall have to go and see for myself.


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

"I detest life-insurance agents; they always argue that I shall some day die, which is not so."


"Sleep tight - catch you tomorrow (really will)"


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Weird weather - heavy rain/sunshine - 59F now

Another part of the old Clematis - it traverses almost all the front wall.

However, the purpose of the snap is to show the Witch Hazel which for the first time ever has some cobnuts set.

I suppose that, being of the 'hazel' family, it is entitled to nuts - its just that I have never encountered it before.

Our morning started with my more -or-less routine blood test taken by Sheila with not a trace of bruising. She was amused at my last weeks bruising at the hands of the 'expert'. Then we visited the Disability Aids place for a replacement collapsible walking stick and, after that, to Ikea for free coffee. Whilst there we bought a three-drawer chest of drawers for my bedroom - the present system of pull out boxes being unsatisfactory. Naturally the item is a flat-pack so I shall have the pleasure of erecting it tomorrow. Our Ikea 'family card' led to a reduction in price from £44 to £34. One simply has to ask for a card and we were pleased we took ours with us. I think Y keeps it in her handbag anyway.

Y collected new Ikea catalogues for family and friends - a new edition, only released 1st July 09. As I think I must have mentioned before I love mooching round Ikea. I consider their 'design' to be excellent and up-to-date and there is nothing stuffy to be encountered anywhere.

After Ikea we came home and Karen was still here. The house looked neat and tidy and smelt fresh. She likes doing our house she says, because she can 'see a difference' when finished. I'm not sure if that is a compliment or not ?

For lunch I cooked Sausage, Mashed Potato (with Swede) Carrots, Courgettes and our Cauliflower (just cut) from Derek. He had soaked it in salty water, for Y's benefit, so she didn't encounter any unsuspected protein ! For pudding we had Y's fruit salad, prepared yesterday. Delicious !

The, after a kip, I planted an outstanding Dahlia - it just wasn't fit yesterday. Today I managed to dodge the showers. I fed everything I could think of and then started my pictures.

Picture 2 shows the recently germinated Coriander. I know Bob does the same, but I don't waste money on seed-catalogue seed - I just use a few pinches of cooking coriander seed. It always seems to work as well and at least you know you are growing a recognised culinary variety. If, in an enlargement, you can read the plant labels you will be able to see that the planting date was 29th June 09. Just over a week ago !

Buying a replacement collapsible walking-stick had the frequently occurring miracle of causing the lost one to turn up.

On coming home some days ago I had collapsed the stick and put it, carefully, on top of a bedside cabinet which lives in the garage, and over which I store my 'wheels'. Messing about with the 'wheels' namely tying the front and rear legs together with a piece of string to stop them flopping about had resulted in the stick being pushed over the back of the bedside cabinet, where it rested, out of sight, until today.

Ah well ! Two sticks is better than none !

Alex is creating a new front fence for Derek and Betty which involves serious looking hardwood gate-posts and although he is nowhere near finished, you can tell its going to be a super job. Poor chap, trying to worked inbetween the torrents. I think in the end he gave up and decided to work while saturated. Incidentally - he brought us another half-dozen eggs - leading to our tea of scrambled eggs on toast. Truly scrumptious - that yellow - and the richness of the flavour. Are we not lucky bunnies ?

My responses to your much valued comments

Bob ...... Love the Kestrel Haiku. But, honestly, I can recognise a Kestrel, and a Sparrowhawk, mostly. It could have been some sort of Harrier I suppose. Nowhere near big enough for a Buzzard. I must return to Narrow Lane, armed with binoculars, and Nikon with long telephoto on board. If you remember I had a Sparrowhawk in the garden and blogged a picture thereof.

See blog-post 10th August 2008 - I had thought it to be a Buzzard but knowledgeable grand-children soon put me right.

I know what you mean about prefering a Bullfinch to the Black-currants but, personally, I find them a little chewy.

See e-mails re mobile phone v voice recorder and other matters.

Yvonne .... The smoked haddock was good but I'm game to try some of these 'in the bag' things. Eventually the smell clears from the kitchen but it is abit tedious.

Thanks for the added info re the chest of drawers. I had forgotten all about the 'heavy' bit. You and I could have managed I suppose. with great difficulty, plus the danger of falling over.

Jill .... Having a Matalan is valuable because the range of products is much wider than Primark. I once bought a really high quality copper-bottomed large saucepan there and it has become one of my favourite tools.

Please see above re fish in 'bags'. I am already convinced and we'll give them a whirl a.s.a.p. And I am sure you are right about the price. I think our piece of haddock, which we shared, was £2.78 without any tasty sauce etc.

Looking forward to the 'knitter' on the plinth on July 13th. Here is a link to Gormley's site for the exercise. Y thinks the idea 'silly' but I disagree and consider it an important piece of living-history archive. What better 'record' of life over a hundred days in 2009. How valuable for future historians. Think of checking it over in 100 years time for a record of how we dressed, what Trafalgar Square looked like, what we did etc.,? And I am so pleased some of your 'knitting' people had the foresight to go for it.

So pleased to hear your Duck arrived, in good condition, and rarin' for an outin'. And I don't want to find that you have allowed him to share your bath.


Quotation time .......

"We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones."

For the 'ç' I am indebted to Alt Gr .....................

- And the man himself -

I think he passes the 'spend an hour in the pub' test

"Sleep tight - Catch you tomorrow - but could be early or late because we are National Trusting at Thaymar Icecream near Retford in the evening"