Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Just had to add

My feet are freezing and I've added some links..Geoff's telly blog which is always a tonic, and two photo sites which are stunning.

Just to remind me that spring will be on the way...clearly the hazel trees think so anyway.

And some nice mediterranean looking vegggie oil. With a rather *English looking onion :)
*I know it's incorrect when it's an adverb, but I can't stand 'English' written 'english'. It makes me feel as though I'm pronouncing it wrong.

No time to sit and blog

I've just done the rounds and discovered that the man with a nice smile who was in the workshop this afternoon was actually the Beep! I really wish I hadn't been running so late or I'd have had time to say hello or something!
In view of which, I really MUST get my life under control.
The day is only twenty four hours long. I know this so why do I keep trying to do more than twenty four hours worth of not very useful stuff in it.
Tonight I WILL do the things on my list, I WILL NOT procrastinate and tomorrow I swear I'll get up....in time anyway.
Got to go now.
More pics from the weekend.

By the way, we're going up to Leeds this weekend to see Sister in Law. Who knows, there may be pics from Roundhay Park.

*Actually it's more likely to be Gifford(?)Park, tiny but beautiful in Autumn. Much patronised by dog walkers. And just round the corner from SiL's new place. (which is just round the corner from her old place). I want to see what it looks like in winter. And a city is *the* place to take a camera and a tripod out at night.

**And I can't wait to have a go at Leeds night skies to compare with two years ago. I hope SiL's new place has a good view of them :)

***The only problem is we're supposed to be helping sort out SiL's garden..not keen on heavy outdoor work in Winter, me. I wonder if she'll be happy for me to make tea and take photos.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Bingeley beep

I find it quite endearing that this is what my pda says when I connect it to the pc.
Fortunate really as it is nowhere near as industrious as Sam Vimes's and frequently has to be reset before it will connect at all. First causing the pc to say 'windows has detected a malfunctioning item of hardware'. This is of course nonsense. The item is just sulking.
When I disconnect it, it says bingeley bong. In a descending arpeggio.

Some water features don't quite work do they.

Swans in a feeding frenzy at the wharf car park in Newbury. (I love the goose stepping chap on the right)

On the way home from shopping

The sun suddenly emerged and while I was admiring my shadow

there was this commotion of pigeons going on behind me.

Just to show I haven't been idle

Saturday, February 25, 2006

model runs away from photographer


I spent last night reading the manual and taking innumerable shots of chairs, door knobs, lamps, oranges and other stuff around the dining room.
There's an awful lot of new buttons and knobs and dials to learn about. Not to mention manual zoom.
Today I shot out with the dog and some dog treats to try the camera out in a freezing wind. Proper frozen I was. Came back in and took this throught the window, thinking I'd stand a better chance of keeping the camera still indoors.
Then I had a small panic because the 1G sd card (not panasonic's own brand) that came with the package would't fit in the card reader at first (but all I had to do was push harder!). Downloaded a heap of pics and when I got to this one I thought "Oh dear, you shouldn't have spent all that money on zoom and pixels....you just can't handle it. Even the fabulous anti-shake feature can't correct your wobble!".
After a bit I realised that it wasn't my wobbling that caused the strange effect but the wobbly (sub-standard)glass we have in our windows. With a bit of help from the howling gale outside. Quite satisfactory after all :)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I t came

It took 2 HOURS to charge the battery! (Which isn't bad really but I'd forgotten I'd have to do that first)
Now I have to go and RTMD. Not to mention getting the software on the pc.
Back soon :)

Decisions, two down....

First one was getting the hair cut. Yay. done it.
The second was, shall I splash out on the Panasonic camera of my dreams. Discovering how much Barney spent on stamps recently tipped me over the edge and YAY!!!! Today I did it. omg! I hope I can use it properly. I hope it's not too big to manage. I hope my pics actually are better. I hope it'll fit my tripod.
It might arrive tomorrow. I hope I wake up before the postman arrives. Ooh I do hope it comes tomorrow!!!!!

Other decisions? Oh I don't know. I'm so excited I can't remember them, I hope they weren't important :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I love the way the pigeons look like some kind of 'now you see it now you don't' puzzle.

I just realised that my eyes are not merely bigger than my stomach but entirely the wrong size for it.
Tonight I ate too much. But this morning I didn't eat enough. In between, I seem to remember getting it approximately right.
Somehow I don't think it will all balance out nicely.

Anyway I'm knackered now so I'm off. Goodnight.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Rain and Sun

Today I watched Shooting the Past (Poliakoff) and it was just as good as I remember it.
It was a marvellous weaving of the past on a backdrop of ten million archived photos with the present/imminent destruction of the archive and of its guardians' slightly obsessive yet tranquil existence.
It was wonderfully haunting and subtly dramatic and the while photos were perhaps the true stars, the cast and music made it utterly compelling.
For me anyway. I'm still all quivery from the emotional and visual impact.

I do wish I could do people better. But they won't stay still long enough!
Still, rain and sun do wonderful things to the world. And one does sometimes wonder if they are always going to be there.
Meanwhile, hooray, most of my hair is no longer there. I have emerged from a perpetual bad hair day into *short* curliness. Yay! I am a bit cold round the ears though :)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Before embarking on my February whinge

I will just say I’m truly appreciative of all visits to my blog…In the early days of commentlessness, I burbled away to an apparently empty blogiverse/osphere/whatever and cared not a jot for the absence of response. But from the second comment onwards (the first was spam) it seems to have become ridiculously important to know there are people out there, noticing…umm, me.

Thank you :)

I realised it's not a blog crisis at all. It's a social crisis.
Quite often I read a post I totally agree with and am about to leap in and say yes yes that’s just what I thought.
Then I read the comments and realise that I am completely out of step with the rest of the world. Everyone except me realised this was ironic. Or agreed but had something witty to add.
Or I am about to say how much I disagree but can’t think of any way to say so that doesn’t sound stuffy, sulky or dull.
Like a grubby urchin peering round the door at a glittering party, wondering if I could steal a few gems of wit or a handful of sustaining erudition. And occasionally sulking because nobody invited me in :(
And then there’s the Homer Simpson syndrome. Each time I have a new thought it pushes one of the old ones out, so I start reading a post and by the time I get to the end and read all the comments, all the thoughts have pushed each other out of my head so I have to start all over again. Very tiring.

Meanwhile, this doesn’t stop me reading and enjoying all kinds of blogs and while sometimes unable to go with the flow and unwilling to stick out like a short, fat, unmanicured thumb, other times I do it anyway. So I’ve had my whinge and now I feel much better. Can’t think what the fuss was about. Crisis?…nonsense!

Besides, the snowdrops are out.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Made hair appointment

Day looked up a bit.
Went to swim...adults barred because of half term children. But we asked about that on Tuesday!!!!! Day looked down, especially as I didn't shower this morning, knowing that I was going to be showering after swimming. AArgh!
Went to work. got involved in bank statement. Missed hair appointment. day plummeted.
Rang hair people. They were quite nice about it and we have a new appointment at 11.45 tomorrow. day improved slightly.
Went home early and showered. Day improved a good bit.
Then went out for Curry and music at the Greenham Arts Centre.
Further improvement.

OK. I'm about ready for tomorrow.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

What will they think of next?

Sonic teenage deterrents yet..
We have a sonic mole deterrent in our garden which doesn't appear to work very well. but maybe that's because it's low enough for even my aged ears to hear?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Blogger error. An engineer has been notified.

Drains again I suppose.
So if you visited and didn’t see this post it’s because it wasn’t there, it was here in word on my computer.*
I don’t know if it’s the cold I had last week, the dentist’s appointment on Monday or the looming of the end of month and end of year at work (and somewhere in Sage**, £20 has gone awol and it has to be found by the end of the year) but I'm feeling decidedly off. So I’ve got to get my hair cut NOW. And this time it’s got to be curled again.
In between all this there is swimming on Thursday and a fiddle lesson and a gig on Friday (both of which require urgent and intensive practice). And we’re going out on Thursday night.
I’d better go to bed.

By the way, I missed VD in Blog world while blogger was erroneous. Couldn't comment. Hope everyone had a good day with or without V.

Oh and I'm going to have a blog crisis but I haven't got time for it now.

* the engineer must have arrived while I was taking the dog out. the drain's been fixed.
**That's Sage the horrible accounting programme not Sage the friendly RSS feed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Trees are best, but the Severn Bridge makes me go weak at the knees

And the Forth Bridge and the other Severn and the Clifton Suspension and all five of the Newcastle ones and the Beep's lovely photos and one in Wales somewhere (in the floods a few years ago)
As Fran pointed out this weekend, I have rather a lot of pictures of trees.
And many attempts at birds.

Quite a lot of water.

Skies (with the odd tree lurking in the background).

And another thing about which I am a bit obsessive, is bridges.

Taken on the move, through the car windscreen. not bad eh?*

Have to say, although I think I should have had a computer, a fiddle and a digital camera when I was five, I'm damned lucky to have them now. I may be late but I'm stuffing myself with as many technological goodies as I can. I shall die fat and happy. I hope:)

*No I wasn't driving. but Barney wouldn't stop the car on the bridge to let me get it just right. I don't know why.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Late to the feast.

I'm naturally late for everything.
At approximately five, I distinctly remember spending a whole afternoon trying to invent a simple way to write music so I could write down the tunes in my head without learning to read music first. Having only just learnt to read books, another language looked like taking another five years…I wanted to write that tune NOW.
At eight, I desperately wanted to write pony stories and poetry but the sheer effort of producing miles of blotted, crossed out, rewritten and virtually illegible pages eventually defeated me. (after some ten stories had been set down lovingly in exercise books. They were awful, but....)
At ten, I learnt piano for a year. Too many hands, eyes and notes required...melody person, me.
Between five and thirty five I did Art...at college, on the walls of various flats, all over the caravan I lived in (when two households merged and I got the short but peaceful straw) and after the children had gone to bed or school.

An odd, solitary child. Not popular with peers, not easy to bring up and deeply frustrated. Also, if I believe my parents, lazy, thoughtless and untruthful. Stupendously untidy!

I took up the fiddle at age 35 and still wonder if I'd done it as a child, would I have loved it as I do now.
I got a computer at about age 40 (hand me down from Adam) because I still wanted to write music (yes I know Mozart did it by hand but I didn't have enough skill in theory or the ability to hear it in my head and write it straight onto the page).
I gradually discovered other uses for the computer (pictures, email, word, stuff like that) and eventually got my very own, all new and fast and shiny. Much faster than me!
I did have a camera when I was 17 or so, an ancient Brownie my Dad gave me. One of those ones that concertinas out and has lovely, tiny levers and buttons to press. A beautiful piece of machinery.
Then I didn't have one for years and had to drag the family one out of Barney's protesting hands to take my "arty farty" pictures before finally getting my Fuji which is very clever (but I do want one which is even more clever) and a bit easier to use than the Brownie!

As has been pointed out to me, all this technology is no substitute for technique, (of which I have very little in any subject) but I know it helps! It's far too late to wish I'd been born in this computer age and maybe I would have been just as frustrated. But I do wonder, if that odd, dreamy child had been able to use the tools I have now, what would she have done with them.

Should anyone be interested in this, my earliest and most lasting artistic inspiration came from my first Rupert Bear Annual, given to me when I was about three. Oh, the purple and orange skies over Nutwood, the glorious yellow and turquoise backgrounds to the paper spill adventure and the wonderful self possession of Rupert's little japanese girlfriend. (whos name I forget).

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Got a houseful

It's gorgeous Babe's weekend and Fran and Andy are staying too.
Some time ago, Ruth was given a large sea trout which she didn't have time to fillet and freeze away. so she gave it to me...in the middle of town in a huge black rubbish bag. so I spent the rest of the day accompanied by a large fishy smelling black sack (there are things almost as bad as ashtrays). I got it home and spent what seemed like all night filleting it (well, separating it from it's bones anyway) and tonight the four of us conspired and co-operated in finishing it off with lots of herbs and cream cheese on top, baked in a hot oven together with spicy potato wedges and veg. And a creamy wine sauce made with the stock from the skin and raggy bits I hadn't filleted very tidily.
Pretty damn good.

Attitude or what.

GB loved having Fran and Andy to play with and mostly ruled the household. Also got taken for long walks with Nutmeg which made both of them very happy.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I can't decide

Black and white or colour?

OK, colour it is :)


It's always cold around the feet near my computer and I couldn't help wondering why Nutmeg chose to curl up next to me for the last hour. With the new warm cosy bed and all.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

New toys all round

Fred introduced me to Picasa and Peter got himself a download. It's a lovely simple programme for doing things with pictures and I took the plunge and downloaded it too. (Free download). It's catalogued all my pictures (I was a bit taken aback to learn that I have more than 3,000 on the computer and that's not counting all the Clipart stuff) and has really simple photo fixes and a few nice effects. Incredibly easy and quick to download and install. Picture viewing and editing are a joy. The only thing I can't find is a feature to adjust image size for the web but I can still do that in photo shop. Really worth a look.

And it's Barney's birthday tomorrow so I bought Nutmeg a new bed. Well OK, I went to Scats (The Country Store, I think they call themselves) under the mistaken impression that I could get Barney some tape measure patterned braces there and couldn't, so I bethought myself of the poor shivering dog in his worn old blanket. He seems to like the new one.

I'm still dithering about a new camera. I seem to have convinced myself in some tortuous way that I'm not allowed one until I have got my sleeping habits under control and will therefore have time to do some more photography (as opposed to occasional mad snapping). Thus making the camera a worthwhile investment. Who am I kidding. I worked out the other day that if I go to bed like other people and get up after 8 hours sleep I'll have less time.
Oh well.

Not late night reading, this.

The other day I was told a horrific tale. An acquaintance of ours was walking down a street in London and heard a sudden bang and a loud explosion close behind him. He turned round to see that a man had fallen off a roof onto the pavement. In itself this was a pretty awful thought.
The police were treating the incident as a probable suicide until a woman came forward, in response to pleas for any witnesses, because she had been on the London Eye that afternoon and had seen a man climb onto a chair on the roof of a high building to take a photograph and saw him fall off.
Well I was sort of horrifascinated by this story (it's the sort of thing you'd find in a Michael Bulgakov novel) and tried to find a reference to it in the evening. Couldn't find it but instead found nine other stories about people falling off roofs. All within a few days. One of which was about a man convicted of manslaughter (I think) after falling drunkenly off a roof and killing a woman walking beneath.*

Once again I am amazed by the things that happen in the same world I live in. I think it's the same world anyway. It all depends on your viewpoint.

*In case I didn't make it clear, these were all news items..except the original story which had actually happened the day before.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New toy.

I should have been swimming now but my partner in crime can't go and I get bored by myself so I did this instead.

Over Christmas, my son installed Sage, an RSS feed programme. Finally I have learnt how to add blogs to my feed list (by clicking on the icon at the end of the URL bar...all I had to do was look at it instead of dragging and dropping and cutting and pasting and moving and....). It's a very small icon though.
Anyway I like Sage. It tells me who's posted since I last checked and now I have found out how to add to the list, it checks some 30 odd blogs for me while I'm fiddling about with something else. It now takes me no time at all to find out who's updated since last visiting but all day to check what they actually said!
Sage doesn't seem to come with a nice little icon to add to the sidebar in the blog but it's here. (It may not be very easy to install though...thankyou Adam :)

Monday, February 06, 2006


was fine. Suffolk was foggy and flat but OK.
We did some unusual things, such as going to Wetherspoons for lunch. Wetherspoons does a good line in special offers and the Braintree Wetherspoons is in the old cinema. Barney was very happy to see lots of old photos of the cinema as it once was and deeply disturbed by one special offer...A burger and a drink was cheaper than the same burger on its own. Was there something wrong with the drink? Was it some old drink they were trying to get rid of?
We never found out.
On sunday, today even, we all trundled off to visit Frangelita and duly admired the new flat then went to The Star at Lidgate for a catalan lunch. Great Grandad has a passion for mussels. Barney cooked him mussels for dinner on Saturday evening but he couldn't resist mussels for at lunch today. Because we weren't enormously hungry but were feeling a little bit skint, we had a lot of starters and there was a moment when we thought GG was going to have two lots of mussels. But he settled for soup followed by mussels. Andy also had mussels so you could say mussels has been the theme of the weekend. (we were once invited to a party. The theme of the party, we were told earnestly, was to be cheese. We've never forgotten it).
On the way back to Braintree, we stopped to look at a house Barney thatched as an apprentice, 27 years ago.
Roof still looking pretty good, but due for a rethatch this year. The current owners only moved in three days ago and were delighted to be shown pictures of the last rethatch under way. And while I was taking pictures for Barney I sneaked in a typical Suffolk view.
Eventually we rolled home, rather full of mussels and some time later I found Tosca in one of her favourite cosy places. It's always a bit disconcerting to glance down at the laundry basket and see one of my knickers scatching its ear. But I suspect it's even more so when you're scratching your ear or just sleeping peacefully to have an enormous pair of knickers thrown on top of your head. So we're even :)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Away for the weekend

Tomorrow we are going to Braintree (to visit Great Grandad) and on sunday we'll all go to visit Frangelita and her OH. Can't wait to see their new flat. On the other hand I'm not sure about being gently broiled all weekend in GG's house. He doesn't move as fast as he used to. Except if there's a door ajar or any posssible crack in his defences against the outer cold. So if i want some cold air or a cigarette(or any combination of the two) I shall have to dress up in extra warmth and waddle michelin man-like, out into the garden to stay there until I can't stand the cold and then reverse the process.
Ah well.

Nutmeg has gone to his preferred holiday home (our holiday, his kennels) joyfully, nay, ecstatically, pausing only to pee on the potted pansies before rushing in to greet all those other happy holidaying dogs. (why anyone would keep a big stone pot of pansies just outside the door of a kennel at peeing height is beyond me but they looked quite healthy considering).

Oh and I saw a sparrow hawk on the way into town. As I went 'click' I saw him start to fly, in my viewfinder. When I'd finished taking the picture he was gone.

I had an extremely enjoyable and hugely stressful fiddle lesson. After which I felt as though every remaining brain cell* had been stretched to it's utmost. Kindly, my teacher suggested that I hear flatter than my fiddle (so as not to say you're playing sharp again or you're out of tune).
Now I'm drinking a Chilean Viognier (Santa Rita 120) which is very nice indeed (but alas no longer available at Waitrose).

All in all a very good day. The rest of the evening will be spent tidying, packing, practising, and watching 'Timewatch: The Floating Brothel'**.

Have a good weekend everyone :)

*Yes, still only the one.
** I thought it would be good. And it was.

St Nick's in different moods.

A bright day and a distant bonfire

A gloomy and blustery day with the wind stripping the last few leaves.

But fantastic news on the Beep's blog.
And I'm not ashamed to say I resisted the big M with all my might even in the face of childish rebellions and small hungry faces pleading. And I am a person who has an occasional craving for Heinz spag bol.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


A russian version of those water sprites of irish legend, who look like beautiful maidens and turn out to be nasty spirit stealing monsters. CJ Cherryh's Rusalka turns out to be a witch and lives under an extremely unfriendly old willow by the riverside.
This can't be the same willow obviously but it's definately got a presence. And is that a twiggy, brushy, sleeping maiden lying down behind him?

The conclusion of a quest

I've been searching for the perfect bag for a long time.
Sometimes I try to reduce the contents, sometimes I try adding fittings to accomodate them. There have been bags with nearly enough pockets and bags with nearly enough space. Bags that went with one set of colours and those that went with another set. There have been many but this may well be the one bag to tame them.

The Contents.

The bag.

(Plus a few items that weren't in it when I took the photo.)

Of course it's always possible another bag may grab me by the arm as I walk past one day.