Friday, March 31, 2006

Is Spring official yet?

I took Nut's wee sample to the vet's and they said we'll call you. Fine.

I took my teeth to the dentist and he said, well if they don't settle down they'll fall out. He said brush them a lot and take paracetamol. This was so much not what I was expecting that I forgot to ask how long it would take for them to *settle down*! Or fall out. Am I to wait for them to fall out? Or if they don't settle down (grrr) should I return them to him and demand immediate removal?
Pasta for tea, yoghurt for breakfast and couldn't face lunch. I'm getting decrepit, my hair will go grey next and my feet are already unmentionable. I say nothing about heartburn (because that's fine as long as I carry Gaviscon around with me) and anyway, if I don't feel like eating there won't be anything to burn will there.

I wonder if I dare go to the optician. I have a feeling my eyes need testing. But suppose he says they're going to fall out?
I am seriously disgruntled!

This is my sister in law's front garden (tastefully enhanced).*
Much more cheerful than me.

By the way, we're away for the weekend at Barney's dad's, so no computer.
Have a great weekend all, I'm going to pack now.

*Not that it needed enhancing, just nice to play with.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sad dog, frustrated vet, Spring!

The trouble with vets is, ever since Nutmeg had to be muzzled to have his toenails cut, he's took against them! He wasn't too impressed by having a towel wrapped round his head either. It's just that he doesn't want anyone playing around with his toes thank you very much and I'm awfully sorry but if you keep doing that I really will have to.. ouch.. no.. stop it.. snap!
It was even worse when he had to have stuff squirted up his nose for kennel cough!
Now he's convinced that as soon as he goes into that room with the table, he's going to be tied up in towels and muzzles and sat on by large numbers of increasingly agitated people while terrible noises happen to his toenails and evil stuff gets squirted up his nose. Topped off with a painful injection and lots of bad dreams.
So, after a bit of time spent inside the waiting room trying to wee against a particularly dilapidated and worn looking poster, preventing the weeing with stern admonitions or dashing outside in a slither of (long) toenails only to find that we didn't want to wee any more, we got our call.
Dog slithered into the surgery on his backside and then hid under the chair. When the vet tried to check his heart, he rolled over on the wrong side and tucked all his paws underneath him, buried his nose amongst them and looked up with one bleary, apologetic eye.
Vet, having read his notes, decided that taking his temperature was not an option and I don't think she got a really good feel at his tummy either. So we came away with an all-purpose antibiotic and a sample bottle for urine (don't try and take the sample using this, she said as we, thanks, I won't!).

As if dog trouble wasn't enough, I have a tooth problem. After my filling and cleaning and polishing last week, some of the, presumably, healthy ones felt a bit, sort of squeezed. Not nice but not painful. Only they seem to be getting more, not less uncomfortable and today I bit some scotch egg and thought Ow! Oh dear!
Dentist and dog wee sampling tomorrow morning then. That'll make for an unusual start to the day.

I've been waiting for the first green of spring to start brightening in the hedgerows but it just hasn't happened yet, here. I wanted it to start this week because of the following scrap I remembered from somewhere.

The March beast howls the sky at night
but below, by day
the fallow land is greening.

Well it isn't so I borrowed from last spring!

If it's not one thing it's another,

in this case the dog. Having nobly decided to give up a peaceful weekend alone, while Barney visits his Dad, and go with him, it looks as though I'm going to be spending it at home with a sick dog. I noticed this evening that he wasn't exactly bounding about and went to investigate. There was this poor hot, sticky-eyed creature limply drooping a paw over the edge of his basket and trying hard to give me the ultimate disney-eyed sick dog look. Succeeded only in a sick look.
Vet first thing tomorrow...and I bet he throws off his weakness in order to fight off injections, tablets, investigations and all kinds of vet like invasions.
And I suspect that for an as yet undefined period, I shall spend a good deal of time planning strategies for getting dog and treatment together without doing damage to either of us. there may be ropes and nets involved!
Some time I must tell about the time the cat had her eye operation.
It's possible I won't be able to swim tomorrow. Again!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Early for once

So I did that thing with the golden 5 minutes.

Every so often I remember that I am not a photographer. Brung up to think of myself as a nartist. Never quite made it but it does mean I'm not obliged to feel restrained by photographic disciplines all the time. In other words, I can play with my photos and try and make them look like paintings.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bricks and starter

The starter courtesy of youngest, who invited us over for Mother's day and to share her mother's day. Prawns, avocado and Mango spaghettini with salad and *white truffle oil*. Ooh! It's really quite nice.
Bit of a history of the family wine drinking here. Mum and Dad loved a glass or ten in the evenings and since wine was very expensive (or very unpleasant) in those days, they used to make their know the sort of thing, tea and parsnip or a bit of dandelion and potato peeling. (sadly the used teabag wine was a magnificent failure, the house stank of sulphur for a week and then they threw it away). They also used to buy cider from the farm down the road (by the barrel, flavoured with rats and drowned tramps of course) and the bar opened at 6.00 (pm). Occasionally they'd have some real wine and I would hear discussion about Nuits St George versus Medoc and Chateau Neuf v. St Emilion and stuff like that.
When I drank wine myself, I remembered these snippets and of course couldn't afford to buy them, so Me and Barney also made wine. Some impressively almost drinkable ones. Our best failure was the 3week grapefruit wine kit. It was dark brown and tasted strongly of cough medecine. Fortunately some friends professed to like it so we gave them the lot.
In later years after my love affair with guinness and cider wore out, and also when I wasn't smoking, I rediscovered wine. Could afford it too. Lovely!
Then youngest became restaurant manager at heaven's kitchen and Last night she produced a Chateau Neuf Du Pape which she claims is a particularly good year. (well she should know) and gave it to Gorgeous Babe to take to Barney and said, tell Grandad it's a bottle of Chateau Neuf du Pape.
Said Gorgeous Babe to Grandad, with aplomb and perfect diction, "Grandad, here's a bottle of Chateau Poop de Naff".
It's true, she really did.
Oh joy!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I'm having that time displacement thing again.

Oddly enough I started reading the time traveller's wife this morning.
We had a gig last night....booked to play till midnight. Not sure what the contract has to say about midnight being 1 am though.

Just recently I've been noticing that it's light when I go home from work. This is a really nice feeling, makes me think I'm going home early. Problem comes later when I realise it wasn't early at all. It'll be even more confusing now.

This year has been a first... Mother's day communications fom all three children on the day! (well the card, another first :)was a day early of course).Wow!

I'm a bit OD'd on the computer just now, I've been adding to Barney's website, updating March stuff at work in big lumps because we were waiting for the End of /year to be sorted, and finding blogging just a bit too much more computer. My eyes see large flat squares in the night when I take the dog out last thing. Which didn't stop me rewriting three tunes for the band last night in a clearer format. We disgraced ourselves yesterday (for the first time) by falling completely apart when somehow, two of us started the tune at a different speed from the (my) intro. It didn't matter because the dancers just carried on regardless but highlights the fact that this isn't the original band that practiced earnestly every tuesday night for ten years or so.
Reminds me of appalling moments when I used to play with the local orchestra and once or twice, you could hear one section drifting away from the rest by a beat or so and the conductor would suddenly become furiously animated (often in quiet, 'flowing'passages in some delightful modern piece). Never imagine that the conductor isn't earning his keep! I suppose you could say the audience was getting two performances for the price of one :)

Some random pics. I'll try and organise some more interesting ones soon :)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Still not a lot to say, but

as a result I finally finished reading 'The System of the World'.
I read a few pages at a time when I bought it at Christmas and, as with the first two books of the (huge) trilogy, thought god, this is hard work. Did the same again a few days later, then a hundred pages or so and found that a bit too much. But kept coming back and read the last 400 odd pages last night. If you like that kind of hard work reading, it's totally absorbing. The plot is spread a bit thin over the 860 pages (and the main plots if there are any) are even airier, spread through the whole trilogy.
But at the same time there's this wonderful rich, dense, claustrophobic detail about the world in between the late 16th and early 17th C. Sewers and criminals and cities and their governments and celebrities crowd the pages and are juxtaposed with ascorbic wit. There's a feeling that you're actually wading through a stew of history. With sudden voice-overs and close-up shots of kings and Queens and Isaac Newton! I've no idea if the history is accurate! It feels real.
Well I love it.

Barney must be cooking.

Got nothing to say

So say it!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Business and other people's friends

It's not that they don't mix, and he's a very nice chap and he's helping out.
But i really wish he'd turned up today as I could have either done more work instead of shutting everything down and printing off dozens of reports that probably will all have to be done again when he does turn up, or even stayed at home and taken photos in the glorious sun!
I could have gone swimming too.
And maybe he'll turn up tomorrow. Or not.
I'm very lucky in that I do as many hours as are required to get the job done and I do them when it suits me. (Or when I have to even if it doesn't suit me :) and my boss is an old friend and an unusually nice person, so working together has never been a problem.
So i'm just having a quick whinge here because it really isn't anyone's fault that this is taking for ever to get sorted (I know friend is in the middle of a busy time and it's the end of his year this month) and dammit the sun was shining!
Which reminds me, I popped out for a cig and to get some discs and took some photos on the way.

But they were absolutely crap!
Earlier though, there was this poor little chap quivering at the bottom of the door steps*

And this wicked person taking a break from her evil play

and this gormless idiot who noticed none of it

*I put him or her very carefully in the deepest depths of the woodpile but I doubt if he suvived the shock.

The thing about blogging

Since everyone else is talking about their things about blogging, is its impermanence (though a healthy touch of paranoia will remind you that Google keep everything for ever and ever and really I don't believe they are as pure as the driven snow or as kind as the sun).
Several blogs I really enjoy reading and whose writers I feel sort of attached to have either gone or been temporarily (I hope) suspended or just don't get updated so often.
Other blogs haven't taken their places because actually a blog, like a beloved pet, can't be replaced!* But it's always exciting to start a new dialogue with another blogger. some bloggers look like going on for ever (I hope) but you can never tell!
I suppose it's because, unlike your friends in the real world, you can just up sticks and disappear by typing a few words or checking a few boxes. Poof! gone! That's why it feels so safe to start one up. That's one of the unspoken're there tonight, in the morning you might be gone.

Another of the things about blogging is that you can afford to be more kind and more generous than in the real world because the most you can do is visit regularly and say the nicest things and most helpful thing you can think of at the time. You are unlikely to be called upon to actually do anything. You might be one of those people who actually do things but if not, you couldn't anyway. so you can, for once, give free rein to good feelings.
I've no doubt it works the other way too but I don't seem to encounter people like that.
This may be a bad thing..i don't think so. I find that contact with so many people, whos instant response to another person's problems is kindness and generosity, is good for my soul and counter-balances the apathy, idiocy and cruelty that abounds in the real world.
Why do I do it someone asked...well because I want to show people my pictures and like to feel as though someone out there can occasionally hear my thoughts. Which are often dull and random, but hey, the blogithing is forgiving.
And yes, of course I occasionally pore over my stats and feel snubbed by people whose blogs are too good for my comments and wonder if I should try some new way to attract a million people to comment and link and make me popular :) And read a good post and then find everyone else has already said whatever I was thinking. pooh!

What the hell. i have to get up at a sensible time tomorrow.
I like you all quite a lot and when you aren't around I miss you.
Sleep well. I will :)

*No I don't mean to suggest that blogs are like pets in any other way!

This isn't what I meant to do

But since I did, here they are.

Good night :)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I found a broken earring inthe middle of the road today.

Anybody lost one? Green and purple/clear banded glass beads and a silver dragonfly. Long and dangly.

No ? Oh well.

No time tonight so quieter pictures than usual.

Winter texture


Can't quite get today together.

A group of trees, seen often from half a mile away,

and for the first time last week, from the opposite direction.

Those are the Tuesday Walkers lurking around the bridge.

Now they've been cleaned and polished and all their cosy corners exposed, my teeth are cold. Ow!
Lukewarm drinks are not much fun.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Yorkshire vegetable rolls. No gravy.

In between my starting to make dinner and getting the yorkshires in the oven, Barney announced that he was in the middle of making rolls and they would have to go in to a different temperature. as a result, the roast potatoes are done (and cooling!!!!) the yorkshires are just starting to cook and the rolls are half done.
I am both of two kinds of cook. Either I throw everything into some sort of pot and demand that it turns into something edible in the oven or I follow the recipe carefully (as far as ingredients allow) and plan everything minutely, pausing to clear up and make lists of timings.
This was to have been a recipe day, but the rolls have thrown everything out and I now have no idea what needs to be done next to which ingr3edients....No no, there can't be 3! Ooops. I've forgotten the veg.
Barney claims to need to follow a recipe exactly and always. And he never clears up after himself.
We aren't entirely compatible in the kitchen.
Also I had a dentist's appointment today. I'm quite grown up about the big D these days. (In my youth I used to get a trifle hysterical and/or miss appointments on a regular basis). The appointment was in the morning so I had a banana (on the principle that it would keep me going for a while but all traces could be removed from the teeth easily) and then after the thing was over, I had some soup...I tried bread but found myself chewing something much, well, chewier than bread. Probably mouth I thought, and decided to leave the bread till the mouth had returned to its proper place and didn't feel quite so full of itself.
Later when mouth had returned and had made it quite clear that it had been treated unkindly while absent, I ate the bread even though it was a bit stale by then.
But a small bowl of soup, half a bread roll and a banana don't really constitute breakfast and lunch after a traumatic experience. (yes I said I was grown up about it now but that only means I go to my appointments, behave sensibly and don't feel like bursting into tears half way down the street after the job is finished).
I should mention that Mr D is a very good, efficient quick dentist and the job is always done much sooner than I expect. And unlike one or two previous dentists, he doesn't tell me off for occasionally going Aghh and Errw when the cold water jet hits those hot spots. (during the cleaning and polishing bit)

Hmm. Well I think I have demonstrated that sandwiching rolls in between dinner and imbibing whatever it is that dentists give you to keep you quiet while they make horrible noises an inch or two away from your ears and make your head vibrate, is bad for the brain. And don't, please don't, tell me how much nicer it all is if you just don't bother with the injection. OK? Just don't.
It sounds like time to get back in the kitchen and see how bad the cold potato, warm roll, hot yorkshire situation is.

Update: it was alright but it could have done with some gravy. And here are some of next door's crocuses as a reward for reading my deranged drivel.*

*If you actually read this far. Otherwise, don't look at the crocuses.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Snelsmore Common

Is a one of the sites of special scientific interest/outstanding natural beauty through which they dragged the A34 Newbury bypass.
Quite a lot of it remains untouched and this is right on the edge, close to the M4.
Yay! At last Blogger has arrived!

But I've lost the party pictures. I don't think I deleted them, just let them vanish back into the filing morass.
But I did tidy up my blog list and added several blogs to my RSS feed. Which means it'll take even longer to check out. Madness.

Having a bad blog day

I've been trying to upload some pictures all day. Blogger says 'done'. Lies, all lies! Nothing done at all.
Whereas, the ongoing B&B website has been uploading obediently (if slowly) and more and more thatch is appearing on its (still unpublished) pages.
Meanwhile my computer is overflowing with randomly filed images of thatch so I spent a good deal of time intending to tidy up the filing and, rather like when you put all the old newspapers away and find you've inadvertantly spent several hours reading them, discovered lots of wonderful photos (notably, my step brother's 50th party, taken by Fran) which I would show you if only blogger was playing ball!
But it isn't. So no pictures of snelsmore common and no wild party pictures!
yet :)
I'm into the wine now (Wirra wirra, 2003 Church block Cabernat Sauvignon Shiraz Merlot, which is, in several senses, a tremendous mouthful) so I may not be making any more sense! Fortunately I drank most of it yesterdday and then fell comprehensively asleep for several hours!

I don't think I've worked so hard for so long for a while. I'm quite enjoying it.
Did quite a lot of tidying and washing in between web and blog (trying to get legs and eyes back to the real world) so I do believe I've had a productive day :)
And Barney has just been talking to a thatcher friend and would now ,like to go to Sri Lanka for our holiday this year. So would I. Wishful thinking!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sunday, typical Sunday.

At 6.55 this evening, we heard the siren sound of the ice cream van up the road. On a summer evening this would be unremarkable but tonight, in the icy wind and pitch dark it's a little surprising. Bearing in mind that there are 9 houses here and nothing else except fields, hedges and trees (in case you hadn't noticed).

I have spent the day adding pictures to the new B&B website and I suddenly feel that we should all be on our knees to those noble blogspot people who make it possible to add stuff to our blogs without making endless user errors and cursing and being approached by web site owners who have just thought of another thing they would like done and can't understand why it's taking so long to do the first thing. ("I thought these computers did everything instantly"...what happened to 'no such thing as an instant lunch' unless of course it's smash. Does smash still exist?)

I'm also on my knees to Adam who designed and set up the website in such a way that I can add information as posts. Though I quite understand why he did it. Although family feeling undoubtedly was involved, I feel there was a desire to get Dad off his back and let Mum deal with the nitty gritty. There's been quite a lot of nit and grit this afternoon.
When the thing is on line, I shall add a link to it just so you can all admire lots of thatched houses and be astounded by the useful and fascinating information of which Barney has vast stores available in his head. Coming soon, to a website near you!!!!

The real star in this picture is the Wistaria, though the thatch is,of course, very good.
I also went shopping and took some pics, not at all on the way home.

oh and after many f words and other bad language, I finally made sensible shoes business cards. (our barn dance band). I feel a ridiculous sense of achievement about this. Any half competant secretary could have done the whole thing in five minutes. Still, it gave me something useful to do while Barney cooked the dinner.

The design was done by the ex double bass player(also painter and graphic designer, Sarah Luton who left the band to have babies and live in Maidenhead. She is a really brilliant artist. I hope she's still painting).
and I did the washing and the shopping and swept some mud off the floor (which came from my infrequently used comfy walking boots).
I have been extremely good today.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Who would have thought

You could find stuff like this in one of Newbury's armpits.*

I go up and down these stairs practically every day yet I never saw them till today.
It's possible you might get fed up with them now I've seen them in a new light.

*multi-storey armpit

Friday, March 17, 2006

My washing machine is broken. Either the rubber band has perished or it's lost it's marbles. When it gets to the spin cycle it sits looking blandly at me and occasionally makes a small whirring noise. Then it hums peacefully to itself (as if to say nice, it's much easier to do this bit without actually rotating the drum) and clicks with a satisfied air. Job done.
But not! Pile of wet washing (including my swimming costume so I had to unearth an older model which, as well as digging into my armpits, kept slipping in such a way as to give me a four boobed look. Totally uncomfortable and probably not attractive...I didn't dare look. Miggy four-boobs!)
So I hope that nice Mr C is coming tomorrow morning, well before 12.00 to either fix the WM or condemn it as I have to be at work at 12.30.
As a reward for going swimming with chest furniture in disarray and for being brave and organising an appointment which may or may not be useful, I drove up a small lane with HUGE speed bumps in it and took some photos of the back view of a group of trees that has fascinated me for the last however many years we've lived here. I've never been up there before and it was rather nice.
Which reminds me, I copied everyone else the other day and as befits a mild and non-controversial blog like mine, only came up with the following 3 search terms...not very many but I liked them.

Bunps around the eyes
pictures of sundials
pictures that say "be quiet".

Further, there were 179 googlings for various kinds of bunps and they were all mis-spellings. shame. I was hoping to discover a new word.
Any suggestions for a definition of bunps will be assessed and submitted to, Oh I don't know. The Douglas Adams foundation maybe?

Update: Didn't I say Mr C was nice. £40, turned up on time and fixed it in half an hour. Amazing :)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Into the Sun

Of course no one really wants to see more buzzards.
Oh well

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Winds of Bardsley Hall

It's a very solid, well built old house. Turn of the century semi. there's a pleasing (and undoubtedly apocryphal) idea that as Lutyens lived around here for a while it's possible he designed houses for the Astor's estate. (Actually I think it was the Palmer's estate then)
Anyway when we bought it, it was a bit of a bargain and came with two coal fires, a copper and a pump to pump water from the copper upstairs to the bath. Also a huge attic and a walk in larder.
Oh and to be truthful, there was an ascot heater in the kitchen and a slightly larger one in the bath room which if coaxed, would produce about a gallon of hot water. If you really wanted a bath, you had to do several ascots full. Naturally, each load had cooled by the time you got your next load so you had to leap in as soon as the last lot went in to feel the last gallon of heat dissipating into the tepid remainder!
Once, before we got the central heating and water system in, we boiled the copper up and washed the nappies in it. This was great fun and involved clouds of smoke (because the copper's flue was blocked) and masses of steam. A good deal of ash and general disorder as the copper's fireplace was just a hole, at floor level, under the basic structure. the childen couldn't really understand what a historic thing we were doing but they thought it was all quite exciting.
Anyway we 'modernised' the house quite succesfully and over the years added stuff that makes it quite comfortable. (Particularly the wonderful, enormous power shower which is of course a bad thing in ecological terms but a truly heavenly thing in a ny other way you care to look at it).
But it is at heart an old house. This means it's airy in Summer. Which is to say there are draughts. Good old fashioned ones too. Like if you don't light the fire in the dining room, and you choose to sit there blogging, for hours in the middle of the night, you leave without any feeling from the knees down. If there is any wind outside, it comes down the chimney. (and we're half way up a hill so there is usually wind). The pretty, arched door we put in at the back of the house suffers from a bit of rejection by the rest of the house so there are gaps round it's edges and down its centre. At the moment we have to keep it locked otherwise it opens itself and lets the dog out. We have the fridge in the larder so we have to keep the larder window open to stop the fridge from having to work too hard. It's very important to keep the larder door shut through the winter!
When we converted the attic, we put lots of insulation in the roof assuming that this would keep the new rooms warm and cosy. But there is a mysterious draught that comes from somewhere and gets inside the insulation layer. As a result, when the wind is blowing a certain way, all the cunning little eave cupboards' doors fly open and the carpets upstairs turn to ice. As you come up the stairs, you can feel a waterfall of cold air tumbling down from somewhere into the rest of the house. This is not heat efficient or sensible but exhaustive hours spent on my knees, tracing the draughts with wet fingers and feathers, lead to sealed, carpeted, insulated corners where nothing could get in! Surely?
So we are not alone in this house. The glorious outdoors comes in on a regular basis to freshen us up and remind us that we live in the country. And the house remembers its age and keeps us from getting stuffy. and the ceilings are slightly curved and the floors slope gently and the walls lean a trifle. (This means the work surfaces on one side of the kitchen are nearly high enough for Barney to work comfortably and the other side is nearly low enough for me).
I love it here.

And right now I am a very happy bunny. I just went out with the dog and I thought, take the camera, the sun's shining, I could always practice moving dog pictures :)

And the buzzards were there.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I didn't get much done tonight

but it seemed important to play about with picasa and photoshop.

Terms of Venery

Or nouns of assemblage. In other words, collective nouns.

I've heard of a murder of crows and an exultation of larks, but I'd never heard of a lute of mallards, a pitying of doves or a bazaar of guillemots.

I didn't know that geese come in wedges and nides, as well as gaggles, skeins (flying) and flocks. And I'd never come across a plump of geese (in water).

Owls come in parliaments and stares.
You may see a parliament, a clamour or a building of rooks.
Regrettably a gulp of swallows is spurious but a kettle of hawks,a richness of martens or a doading of sheldrakes may well be genuine.

I was quite taken with a knob of waterfowl and a ubiquity of sparrows!

Courtesy of

Monday, March 13, 2006

Mixed bag

On the way home from work today, I saw one of those bunny bugs (for those of you who live amongst city lights not fields, that's a pickup truck with an array of spotlights on top of the cab. Bloke drives pickup around a field in the pitch dark with his mates standing in the back of the pickup carrrying rifles*. When he's got to a spot where he thinks there will be lots of rabbits feeding, he switches on the spots and while the bunnies are transfixed by the light, the blokes with the rifles shoot as many as they can. I know rabbits are a pest and nice to eat but it still makes me think of sledghammers and nuts. They shoot deer the same way but with more powerful rifles. What happened to dawn jaunts with a terrier and some ferrets?)
Anyway, this pickup had blue lights along the top of the cab. Bunny police?

I've taken to drinking veggie juice at work (V8 in a little bottle) and when I emerge from shopping, all thirsty and hungry and wanting a cig. However I am not kidding myself that two portion's worth of veg juice is the same as two portions of veg. Neither am I convinced that this is a good thing to drink as it's quite deliciously salty. I just like it.

And moving a little further along, isn't it funny how you always realise how much you should have bought a nice refreshing drink when you get half way into an impenetrable thicket of queues in the supermarket.

Moving a lot further, it's odd how easy it is to remember loo-roll while on the loo, worn tyres while driving urgently to work and the dentist when brushing your teeth. But never when noting down things that are very urgent and must be done today!!!! before they run out, burst or fall out.

A while ago I mentioned to a friend that our house at night reminds me of a ship (very romantic and picturesque). She emailed me recently to suggest a lit candle in an upstairs window to make you think of the women lighting candles to show sailors the way home.
So the other night, I was out with the dog in the moonlight and I thought...that's the picture, moon just right and the roof outlined against the clouds, and rushed in to get the camera etc. Only I forgot that to take a picture with a single candle glowing in the window I'd first have to get a candle in the right window and put out the other lights.
Back to ships in the night.

Candle some other time.

*I think they're only low calibre rifles (if that's the right expression) or maybe even air rifles.

Shadows, early evening.

That's our house, in the centre.

It must be Spring soon. Both the car and the cats are giving me static shocks.
On the other hand, it was so cold today I thought it was going to snow.
Maybe it will.
Almost the best thing about snow is the silence in the morning when it's arrived in the night. And the way the quiet and the coolness of the light through the curtains makes you feel as though something has changed while you were asleep.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


I spent several large lengths of time scanning them to put on the B&B website last night.
There are a lot of things you can do during the approx 2 minute period spent waiting for scanning to happen.
Roll a cig
Go to the loo
Boil the kettle
Make the cofee and let it brew
Make the cup of cofee and drink some
Sort out three month's bank statements
It's really boring.

It's our weekend to have GB staying and it's been quite exhausting as always. She's becoming even more bossy. "open the door then" "sit here Grandma" "I'll have a biscuit now" "it's time for a biscuit Grandma" "come here then" "I'll have toast" "I don't want toast" "Can I have your toast" "where's my toast" "shut the door then"

We are trying to explain about polite requests and wondering from whom she's acquired this increasingly cavalier attitude. Mum, Dad or the other side of the family. Or Pre-school, Nursery or Toddler group.
She's a very busy young woman.
I said I'd really like to go to the loo by myself and no I wouldn't like to keep the door open so she could peep in if she wanted so she waited outside for me (and commented often about how long I was taking). Later, she said she could go to the loo by herself thankyou and could I wait outside for her. At intervals, she asked "are you alright standing there by yourself".
A busy but thoughtful young woman.
At age three and a bit, she's learning a lot of things about adapting to different lifestyles and behaviours that many people don't learn until they're much older (like, 20-50 odd).
At some point after a veiled argument about drinks before or after finishing dinner, she fixed me with a cool, assessing gaze and said "I'd like to be friends with you, Grandma". We discussed the drink some more and she ate quite alot more dinner and then she said "are we friends now Grandma?"
I don't often use the word awesome. I never use it. But I found this simple, apallingly adult, approach to a difference of opinion, devastating and, well, awesome.

Barney and I watched a programme about being/becoming smart* today. We enjoyed it but we don't think we're very smart. (Barney scored a bit better than me because of his impressive instant arithmetic skills). We might drink some more water as this seems to be *a very good thing* for improving smartness.

I often see this view on the way to and from work. What fascinates me is that I also often drive along the road that goes through the trees at the top of the ridge.

and until I stopped to take the last photo I never even realised that this house existed.

*This is smart as in clever, not in a **sartorial way.
**though we aren't that either.

Update: I think the link works properly now.

Title? Can't think of one.

I was so entranced by this sky

that I failed entirely to notice a whole flock of rooks and two buzzards. But there they are, flocking all over my picture.

Does anyone know the collective noun for rooks?

update: Thanks Fran. A parliament of rooks.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The trouble with lurking

is I always want to comment. Too much mouth, me.
The thing is I may be spending a lot of time adding stuff to Barney's new website so we can get it on line as soon as possible. (I spent 2 hours last night scanning old pictures of thatch to put on the site).
But I don't want to lose touch with everyone. On the other hand, commenting takes me hours of concentrated metaphorical pen chewing* and changes of mind so for the next few days I may attempt to lurk without saying much.
I'll still be there though:)

And there will probably be pictures.

*Mouse chewing and keyboard thumping.