Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Clearing up

Sundays night's moon:)

Today I did some clearing up.
I cleared up some vegetable juice and some fruity bread and then I cleared up some cheese and some bread. I found the best way to clear up all the breads and the cheese was to toast it. Though it seemed a bit too urgent to toast the Roquefort. However, the Camembert and the Gruyere toasted away beautifully.
I've cleared up quite a lot of the wine already but I ought to clear up a bit more tonight.
The lemonade is a bit of a problem though and the six fruit squashes. If anyone wants to help clear those up I'd be grateful. Barney's doing well with the beer.
And we both worked hard on the beef burgers last night. Later we will deal with the boiled beef and carrots and dumplings and potatoes:)

Oh, I think we'll have the place ship shape in no time.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007


There is a certain somnolence around today.
After the party you see :)
People had an enormous breakfast (courtesy of Barney, the ultimate breakfast chef - I believe he is happiest when cooking breakfast for 17) and then there was a walk to the pub expedition, with a support expedition following in cars to collect the walkers. Well, and to go to the pub too, obviously.

People who stayed in B&B turned up to say goodbye and delightful cousin No1, took the two utterly, wonderfully, loopy Elderlilies to the pub too. He didn't get a lot of choice because in between asking how they were getting home and who was going without them they both seemed quite certain that they were going to the pub. Delightful cousin no2 and her partner and son had to go home but managed to add a little confusion to the conversation with the Elderlilies before leaving. it was all very relaxed and pleasant. Well I think it was - I was in that after party state where everything seems relaxed and pleasant. Small children (only three this year) were as always, gorgeous and gently naughty, in spite of having a slightly disturbed night camping. I hope they sleep well tonight, for youngest and partners' sakes :).
Frangelita and HF finally left after joining the pub support expedition and youngest and her partner and the three children left after a suitable period of putting the slide to various unorthodox uses and dog patting and fruit eating.
Soon we will eat another large meal ( we still have Great Grandad and Sister in law - the famous author - and beautiful teenager no1 here) but meanwhile, somnolence.

As for yesterday, the party proper went brilliantly. did I mention sunshine? We had sunshine. Did I mention food and drink? We ate and drank sufficient - well maybe a bit more than merely sufficient :)
As well as the aforementioned people there were the Lovely cousins from the Hertford and from Wales (though sadly none of their children or grandchildren came this year) who added sparkle and Joie de Vivre to the whole day. As well as washing up heroic amounts of dirty dishes and glasses. Brother in law and his wife whose dry humour always entertain and beautiful teenager no2 who was a stoic camper in the face of coldness and wet feet (can you have wet feet in the face? No don't answer that!)
Throughout the day, the slightly dotty Elderlilies were delightful and particularly sporting about the hot chocolate with marmite incident. The marmite was really just a figment of the assembled company's imagination but the two of them grabbed the idea and ran with it. Hysteria ensued:) It's not at all that these two ladies have lost any marbles, just that their marbles often collide and roll in quite unexpected and hilarious directions. Their conversations were reported to other people in a way that would make chinese whispers sound as sensible as.....oh as sensible as if it had come from the academy of sensibleness!
The cats both hid, all day. Mandu has just come in to ask if Muffy, the visiting dog has left yet. And whether it's time for her tea and incidentally, would I like a fresh mouse. I haven't the heart to tell her the visiting dog is sleeping upstairs with sister in law. However, I do have the coldheartedness to tell her to take the dammed mouse away.
Nutmeg seemed less infatuated with Muffy than in previous years but settled down in her basket with the confidence of old acquaintance.
My favourite niece came and helped with all sorts of tasks, including kebab threading and hoovering. I so love a relative who will arrive and pick up a hoover in one hand and a set of skewers in the other and set to work:)
Wonderful puddings were brought by youngest and lovely cousin from Hertford. Ooh, Delicious
Puddings :) With cream :)
The lamb chops were completely forgotten and stayed in the fridge all day.
Barney juggled on the scaffolding (we still haven't had the pebble dashing fixed) and then slid down one of the vertical poles. This caused both daughters to remonstrate with me on and off about allowing him to behave so dangerously. As if I have any control over his dangerous behaviour. After all this is a man who climbs ladders for a living and after a few drinks, he just does it more adventurously. In the same spirit, he took the three littlest ones for a ride round the garden in the back of the ride-on mower which started off a bit of a trend. Soon the orchard became a practice ground for would be tractor drivers.
Now, one of our friends, who is known to some of you as Joe Brown is an honorary member of the family and he brought, well I suppose, a new honorary member, known to some of you as Thursday:). Oh well, all I can say about that is,
Though there was a good deal of pleasure expressed by people who have met Joe Brown a few times at seeing such a very nice person with such an equally nice companion.
A number of people who couldn't come for various reasons were missed. But we hope to see them next year. (Last weekend in July folks, book now!)
And now there's a fabulous full moon rising and I think I need to go and be somnolent myself fr a while.
I hope you all had a fabulous weekend too:)


Thursday, July 26, 2007

monkeys and sunshine

It's sunny! it's sunny! (today, Friday)The thing about house work, I find, is that when I have done it, I find the results delightful. Even wander around beaming slightly upon my efforts.
This happens rarely and usually adds another dimension to my procrastinatory abilities :)
I've just cleaned the computer desk. Wow! :)
And while I was doing it, the heavens emptied a few more buckets of rain outside the window. It's supposed to be getting better by Saturday but I do wonder whether that's wishful thinking from the weatherpeople. (yesterday - Thursday)

It seems that extreme situations will always throw up extreme views. This, I am impressed with as an example of how faith (and a reluctance to apply reason to dogma) will make monkeys of the best of us. Well, the holiest anyway. Oh, alright, the supposedly holiest (where's charity, the best of virtues, in this)*

Believing in God is no excuse in my opinion for unbridled prejudice and lazy, self indulgent spouting. That's only my opinion though :)
It's still sunny! (today again :)

*I have no quarrel with the view that greed and carelessness may have brought judgement upon us, only with the idea that allowing homosexuality has too.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Narrowing the focus

We have an annual event next week. The Bardfest as it has come to be called. That is to say, a big gathering of the family at our house with camping and BBQ and lots of food.
This is a lot of fun and involves merriment, small children, often half naked, at least two, possibly three dogs, tents, more food, oh, a good deal of drink, more food, late night world sorting/silly conversations on the lawn, delightful, scatty, elderly ladies. It lasts from some time on Friday evening until some time on Monday and no doubt, causes the neighbours a certain amount of entertainment and/or annoyance :).
It also involves a good deal of advance cleaning and tidying of the Bardsley house. So it's possible, next week I may become somewhat obsessed with the minutiae of scrubbing, cobwebs, paintwork and floors. I may make lists. I may become so involved with the gargantuan task of getting this house in order that some of these lists and some descriptions of the things I encounter and the obstacles I overcome (or circumvent) will find their way onto this blog. If so, I hope you'll forgive me and be patient :) Some of this stuff may not be pretty!
What's more I am procrastinating. There may be blogging about how much I haven't done!
So here is something pretty to be going on with :)

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Friday, July 20, 2007

And flood

Well it certainly rained today!
Newbury is flooded and so are most of the surrounding villages. After a tranquil evening in Bagnor, yesterday, when I took this picturewe had quite bit of rain. Apparently, today, the River Lambourn burst its banks and a picture can be seen in the picture gallery link here. (bottom of the page) I don't think I'm going to be able to get near enough to take a picture unless I go on foot.

I was naughty and went looking for floods. I didn't quite realise the extent of the flooding at the time but I soon found out. Having made the basic error of assuming it would be shallower round the corner and therefore, risking the first part of this flood, I didn't have a lot of choice but to go right through. Muttering things like "shit!" and "low speed, high revs" and " 'kin 'ell!!!" and other such heartening nonsense I drove through scenes that begged to be photographed but didn't dare stop! Couldn't anyway because there was more than enough chaos already.
Actually I'm not sure it was really necessary to drive up the kerb but everyone else was.Road lined with cars abandoned earlier in the day when it was, apparently, a raging torrent. People wandering about sight seeing, wondering if they could get through on foot, asking if there were other ways to get to here and there. Offering coffee to random passers by:) Standing around in bright yellow jackets not doing anything. Splashing barefoot or in waterlogged wellies through the water, cycling, driving along the pavements (mostly a foot under water).
Really after having committed the silliness of going to look for floods in the first place and then and compounding my idiocy by driving through them, I might just as well have done the sheep and lamb thing and waded in! Everyone else seemed to be wading!Instead, I stopped and parked further up where it was all frustratingly distant! On the way home, there were further floods. As there was no other traffic around and quite a lot of road, I took a picture as I drove through ("high revs, low speed - snap!")And later, one of my trusty car. Didn't it do well :)Last week I thought foolishly, Oh well we've had floods for this year then. Lucky us in the South, we've been let off. I was wrong wasn't I!
I've just been looking at the local newspaper on line. Reading about people's houses being flooded. Realising it's all over the South of England and South Wales.
Last week, it was the same story in the North and the Midlands.
A while ago in Mumbai (Bombay ) they had 4 Feet (FOUR FEET!!!) of water in 12 hours. All unprecedentedly high levels. People haven't seen anything like this in Newbury for 20 years. And then, not across the whole area. And it all came so fast. Funny thing though. When I think back to this morning's rain (and it wasn't raining when I went to bed last night so it's all happened in half a day or so) there was a lot of it but it wasn't really extraordinary rain. Just heavy and persistant. Isn't this the kind of thing we were told would come with global warming?

Oh well, it's time to go out and buy a canoe and some sandbags. But maybe some kind of amphibious vehicle would be most appropriate. Like a horse drawn canoe on wheels.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

water and recipe

sparkling and splashing
And for two days, hardly any of it rain. That's what I like :)

Oh and I don't know if you wanted the actual recipe for beef olives. It's really quite nice and ever so adaptable and undemanding.

For two.

-You do need some very very thinly sliced beef. Quite nice and lean and not too many stringy bits. About 2 to 3 pieces per person, 12 centimetres approx square (or round or irregular) about 1/2 centimetre thick. Butchers will slice it for you but you need to check the piece they're slicing off. Or just say, it's for beef olives and see if they look blank or not :)
-Enough made up stuffing to spread all over the beef slices (I use ready made dried but no reason why you shouldn't make your own if you like)
-olive oil for frying - Oh about a tablespoon or two.
-Half a small onion, chopped or sliced,
-Half a big carrot cut into rings,
-A stick of celery sliced,
-One or two cloves of garlic crushed,
-1/4 pint of beef stock,
-1/4 pint of red wine,
-A generous squeeze of tomato puree,
-A bay leaf and a nice casseroley herb like thyme, oregano or marjoram. (fresh or dried :)
-Some water,
-Salt and pepper to season (though you might not need it if your stock is salty).

Preheat the oven to about 160C
Beat the beef with a rolling pin or a meat beater until it's even thinner and a bit bigger in area.
spread the stuffing over it.
Roll up each piece of beef with its stuffing and use cocktail sticks to sew the sides up and to fold up the ends so the stuffing is sealed in. (about 3 per olive*/paupiette - the french recipe uses needle and thread but I'm allergic to those. Actually I did once use cotton and tied them up into little parcels but really, cocktail sticks are easier).
Heat the oil in a nice solid casserole (Oven and hob safe) and brown the olives very quickly all over(ish - well they've got cocktail stick ends sticking out all over, you can't be fussy about doing them all over).
Put them on a plate and fry the onion, celery and carrot till the celery and onion are soft and slightly browned then add the garlic and fry for a few more seconds.
Put the olives back, add the herbs, wine, stock, tomato puree, herbs, salt and pepper and add enough water to cover the olives.
Bring gently up to a simmer and then put in the oven. Cook for, Oh, half an hour to an hour and a half depending on the quality/tenderness of the meat and what else you've got going on (like blogging) and who's not back for dinner yet and who's back and starving hungry right now and how long it takes to cook the potatoes and veg.
Check the amount of liquid every half hour or so and gently slosh the olives around so they don't stick to the bottom of the casserole - at that temperature they shouldn't but you never know.

You can add mustard to the flavouring of the gravy if you like (along with the liquids). You can skip things like wine, garlic and tomato puree. (but make up the liquid with water or stock). You can use stock cubes or home made.
Nice with mash or boiled and a not too watery green veg. Or roast veg.

*Like I said, not an olive in sight. The 'olives' must be the meat parcels...I expect paupiettes means something like - Oh well here we are. A definition.

Got to turn off now, there's a thunderstorm approaching a bit faster than I expected!
Back later :)

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"A sprig of fresh rosemary"

says Anthony Bourdain in his roast chicken recipe, "and don't bring any of that dried crap anywhere near my bird"! Look, Anthony, it may have been your bird when you wrote the recipe but this is my bird. See?
As it happens, I use quite a lot of dried herbs but, I dry them myself and I can tell you, the difference between fishing a random assortment of crisp, fragrant dried leaves out of a brown paper bag which lives on top of the boiler in the kitchen, and opening a jar of something dusty that smells like a variation on dried grass (I mean the lawn kind you evil people not that I have anything against the other kind except it puts me to sleep faster than anything else and on top of dinner and wine and stuff like that I might not be able to stay awake long enough to get to the computer and blog and that wouldn't do!)
Anyway back to herbs. I buy them from the supermarket and there's never quite the right amount. So I shovel them (just before they get too soggy to use) into a left over brown paper mushroom bag and fold the top over and put them on top of the boiler. At present, there's a bag of oregano, bay and rosemary and another bag of thyme and rosemary. Heavenly smells! And such fun, picking out the nicest one for whatever I'm cooking.
Now there are herbs like coriander and parsley which I think are better frozen. Slightly chopped and bunged into a small pot and into the freezer as soon as you get panicky about how long they're going to last. But the sooner after buying the better. You can tip/scrape out as much as you need for a fresh herb requirement and really, they smell pretty good. Not for salads, only for sprinkling at the last minute into curries and stews and things.
Back to Anthony Bourdain though. I love his recipes and I love the way he's extremely rude to his readers ("not that way dummy! This way!" "I know you think it would be easier to skip this bit. Just don't. I promise you it's best my way!"). I also loved 'Cooks Confidential'. Lots of swagger and bluster and rollicking, knife wielding, kitchen madness. I don't mind cooks (oops, I mean chefs) who come over really 'in your face' in their books. Much more fun than your polite Delias and Rhodes's. I prefer them not to be too passionate (passion is soooo fashionable). I like them to jump out of the book and harangue you a bit. I'm quite fond of Jamie (because actually, I think he does care about the children and the impossibly wayward students even though he is a bit passionate) and cute cuddly Rick (though I believe he's universally hated in his Cornish base town and he used to have a soppy dog with him wherever he went) and I enjoy the evil Ramsay on telly just because he's so over the top. Wheatey Feather thingie....well, he gets a bit dull after a while though he's good for a laugh now and then. I can't take too much of that noble killing ethos ! It all seems a bit contrived to me, as though he's really feeling terribly guilty abut killing animals but hopes that by making a quasi religion out of the whole business he'll quieten his conscience.
All of which is not as important as tonight's dinner which is Beef olives. (tell me when the potatoes start boiling would you please?) I so enjoy rolling the ridiculously thin slices of beef round the stuffingy stuff and then sewing it together with cocktail sticks. My recipe is a proper cooks recipe which is to say Barney told me his mum made beef olives and I couldn't find a recipe for them anywhere (pre-internet days) so I fiddled about with a recipe for 'paupiettes de boeuf'. A kind of french beef olives.* Pretty damned acceptable food if you like beef. I was wondering this evening about thin slices of fish wrapped round a lighter stuffing. In a creamy, lemony sauce. Mmmm. yes, I'll have to try that!
(hey, didn't I ask you to tell me when the potatoes started boiling? they're practically disintegrated.)
I wonder what veg you could use to do a totally veggie recipe. Cabbage leaves? Why not? In a veloute sauce :) Nuts in the stuffing.
I mean the basic requirement is just some wrapping, some stuffing and a simmering liquid (with wine in please). Oh and cocktail sticks for the fun sewing bit.
Oh I'd better go and check the dinner again. It might be nearly ready. Be back later.

*Funny thing about this recipe: Not an olive in sight.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

3rd party on the line

I am feeling thoroughly exasperated and ratty! and it's all the fault of mobile phones, specifically Orange!
Some years ago, one of my daughters sold me her old mobile when she upgraded. We left it in her name for some reason* and this hasn't been much of a problem since. It's on 'pay as you go' and I only use it for phone calls so really the only problem is, I don't get very good signal, if any, at home. Being brung up in a generation that used landlines for calls anyway this isn't really much of a problem either except that these days we have a cordless phone, so in a power cut, I don't have any phone at all.
So I gave in to pressure from various people and decided to change to Vodafone. Because, another few years ago, I opened an account for my other daughter, (she being too young to do it herself), which she no longer uses.
For which, if I want to keep my current phone number, I need a special pac code which I can get from Orange by dialling customer services (when I'm not at home of course). Only Orange won't give it to me as I am not the account holder. So one sunny afternoon, me and daughter went to the Orange shop and obtained the code and for a week or two I carried it around in my bag against the day when I would feel I had the time and energy to enter a vodafone shop and make the change.
Some time after this, my handbag was stolen and in it was the piece of paper with the pac code on it. I went to the Orange shop and said look we've done this once, can you do it again? Well, no the number has expired now. Get your daughter to phone this number and they'll give it to her. They might even text it to your phone.
I phoned said Daughter and gave her the number and asked her to do the whole thing again. Oh, ok she said, I'm very busy just now but I'll try.
Shortly after, I asked if she could do it soon and it turned out she'd lost the number.
Perhaps I could pretend to be her. Right.
Armed with her ID code, and security code and of course, knowing her as I do, I thought this would be quite easy really. Immensely irritating and time consuming you know, but not really very hard as long as I kept my cool and had something to do while I waited for Orange to answer me. So this afternoon, I began the long business of phoning and waiting and pressing assorted numbers for assorted purposes till I got to a real person (all this had to be done in a car park in town, of course, since I don't have signal at home). The real person was very helpful but couldn't get through to the next layer of impenetrable customer assistance. So he said he'd phone me back. He did but I was out of signal. So I phoned back and went through the whole thing yet again. Finally I got to the last level of interrogation and she said, "are you that person who owns this phone?" "yes" I said bravely. After all I know my own daughter don't I? "Good", she said. "Can you tell me your date of birth"?
I'm not good with numbers.
I giggled hysterically and wondered if not knowing your own age was the same as not knowing your own mobile number. Perfectly normal.
Apparently not.
Are you the person who owns this phone? she asked accusingly or are you the third party?
It seems I am the third party.

Daughter is very busy. She really doesn't want to spend half an hour waiting for these people to find each other amidst their many places for not helping customers achieve service. I don't blame her.

Do I really need signal at home? Do I really need my own (her own) number anyway? Do I really want a mobile phone at all? Or do I maybe want to throw the cursed thing into the nearest bin and become as much a dinosaur as my dearly beloved husband who can't send an email without me standing at his shoulder telling him which buttons to press.
I suppose that's what you get for telling lies.

*I'm guessing the reason was the complicated process they wanted to put us through to get it changed.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Them fashion whotsit guru pwople*

You know, Trinny and Woozy or Suzy and Vinnie or whatever they called themselves.
Turning people into other people which I have to say they did quite well. It made me feel slightly queasy actually. I mean there was one woman, middle aged, slightly scatty, horsey, active, energetic and colourful. True, she didn't generally look neat or smart but she looked fun and lively. I seem to remember at the start of the programme she wore pastel slightly fluffy and frilly tops with jeans. Her hair was fairish and fluffy and a bit disorganised.
So T and S went to work on her and did all the ritual spying and throwing out of her old stuff, complete with solemn disparagement and shrieks of not-very-funny sarcasm.
Then they took her shopping and got her hair done over, and presented finally a rather solemn, mournful woman wearing some sort of brownish, greyish, fawnish outfit with straight, floppy brownish hair.

Much smarter. Much tidier. Much more in keeping with her age. Er, more fashionable, I think.
So having torn her old look to shreds (on the twin bases that it was unsuitable for a woman her age and wasn't fashionable), they made her up a new look which, personally, I felt wouldn't have made anyone feel positive or enthusiastic about anything. But that's not what fashion is about is it. It's about making everyone scared to look too different. It's about wearing the same feathers in the big fashion nest. It's about being scared to stand out in the crowd. It can even be about being the loudest and most noticeable bird wearing today's fashionable feathers. The same as everyone else but more noisily.

Now me, I like to look like myself, you know, the person I believe lives inside my clothes. At my age, fashion doesn't really cater for that person so I have to borrow bits and pieces and add them to my older stuff and the result is probably a bit of a fashion muddle. It does the job. It's true there are times when I'd like to look different from the essential me that looks out from inside the dressing up but I'm not terribly good at disguise.

Vrizzle and Wurny could undoubtedly make me look like a different sort of person though I suspect the look would disintegrate as soon as I sat down or ate or drank or got hot or cold or tired or whatever! Still, if I wanted to look older and more dignified and smarter, I bet they could do it for me long enough to get the final shot in the programme! (I forgot to say, "but I bet I wouldn't like it" Maybe that was obvious?)

So, however much you might think my look needs improving (not that anyone has ever shown the slightest hint of wanting to do so), don't, please, send my details to T and S.
(Though I do suddenly wonder, if they give you all that money to buy their choice of clothing, would you be able to take all the clothes back next day and change them?)

Right. I've done that. Now for some windows.
This one even had a chap sneaking a tea break fag in it.And doors

*You may recall I accidentally invented this word for persons who I would normally call 'Them'.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I bin dreaming

That is to say I've been to Oxford to take photos of the dreaming spires. And other stuff.
Spent two days staying with Frangelita and HF, (whose feet, I have to say, do not resemble Hobbits' feet at all IMHO), and have trudged the length and breadth* of the dreaming city in search of suitably dreamy images with which to woo the market goers of Oxford.
Fran and HF met me on Monday afternoon (nobly abandoning a Pimms and sunshine session in a pub) and took me to many lovely and interesting places in the city. Thing is, in a city like Oxford which is crammed with loveliness, you need a local guide to show you the best and most charming secrets. It helps if the guide comes in a pair and one can carry your bag for you (for which eternal thanks to HF) and the other can steer you around lamp posts and cars. It also helps if your pair of guides are happy to stop and consume cream tea and flapjacks at a moment's notice as well as directing you to a good source of such delights. It helps a lot if your pair of guides are relaxed about stopping every five (or two) minutes while you burble and snap and wander around backwards pointing a camera.
So that was all good. Followed up with a delicious Chinese and a good night's sleep,and I was ready to do some more trudging. Solo this time, as my guides were at work, but armed with a nice map and lots of detailed directions, I ambled along the Thames Towpath and viewed the city from on high and strolled through the gorgeousness of Christchurch College and its environs. When my back gave out (I really missed HF's bag carrying) and my feet burned I stopped and sat down to admire the views. And consumed copious amounts of tea and coffee. (they have some good loos in Oxford).
I never cease to be amazed and delighted by the number of buses available in Oxford. Sort of what you expect in a city I suppose but not at all what you get used to in the country! It does slightly compensate for the astonishing prices of parking! So anyway I adventurously caught a bus back to where I'd left my car and went back to Fran and HF's for some lovely pasta and a few drinks at a local bar. I also never cease to be amazed at the number of bars, caffs, restaurants and takeaways which seem, like gold, to line the city's streets.

So today's** wanderings included a lot of opportunist ambling down side streets and the discovery of St Edmund's College which is a gem and then the main event which was climbing the tower of St Mary's church, a magnificent and slightly scary edifice. Involves a corkscrewy and steep and narrow staircase and a lot of tourists going in both directions (in spite of having to wait at the bottom because "the tower was full"). After a good deal of pressing myself against window embrasures and just plain walls while poised above a corkscrewy descent in order to wriggle cosily past a number of assorted foreign bodies, I took to shouting "COMING DOWN" or "UP" as the case may have been, to stop another wave of assorted tourists beginning their ascent or descent while the stair was still "full"!
Still, we a were a very polite and considerate crowd of tourists and gave each other plenty of time to get the shots we were all after. Such as Christchurch and other spires and towers and generally lots of stuff.
After which my legs, feet and back (and also most of the camera batteries) gave out and I declined any further trudging. In fact I went back to collect my belongings and go home!

Tomorrow, I may make a folder of doors and windows. Oxford has the most wonderful collection of doors and windows imaginable :)

*This is patently nonsense. It's not a huge city but it's much too big to be length and breadth wise trudging in a mere two days. But my feet are still tired.
** That's yesterday now.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Every day a new one

So what's new this week.
Well there has been back ache. I have a new surge of sympathy for a friend recently afflicted even worse than I have been and that's saying something.*
There were two live baby bird incidents involving a lot of cat's arse kicking (not literally, more sort of suggestedly) and one possible survivor. I didn't hold out much hope for the first one because it seemed to have an injured wing but the second was clean, dry and quite lively.
I have new hair. Yay!
And twenty cards (here's one) have been delivered to the Art Shop, negotiations have been made as to prices and I live in hope.
It's rained a lot.
I spoke to the owner of the cornflower field and it seems they sow the cornflowers on purpose. I applaud their taste and inventiveness.Not new but I am missing this blog a lot. Maybe she'll be back next week. I really hope so, or soon anyway. The cornflowers are for you I :)
Ooh, I suddenly solved a nagging problem which was that I couldn't find a nice way to frame some fiddle pictures for cards for my fiddle teacher to give her birthday pupils. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, I thought I wonder what happens if I do this that and the other and wow! It worked.***
Ah. It's time to feed the wildlife. Am I giving the cats enough I wonder. Oh no, it's futile to imagine that they'd hunt less avidly if I fed them more. Anyway they're improving the evolutionary development of our local birdlife so I suppose I should leave them to it.

*Mine is intermittant and can be eased by not doing whatever I'm doing at the time of attack. His was continuous and only eased by time and treatment. It's a bugger** though.
**Well fancy that. Spell check knows how to spell bugger.
***This one could only be called "viola with flowers" and therefore could only be sent from someone called Viola to some one in need of flowers. Oh well.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The sound

Last night I took the dog out for a late night constitutional. We stood around, as we do, sniffing and looking at horizons.
After a minute I began to feel as though something was odd. Couldn't identify it for several minutes.

It was silent.

No wind. No rain. no bird calls. No motorway noise. No hushing of the big treetops. No lights on the motorway.
Silence and stillness. Big clouds unmoving in the dark sky with a moon somewhere above them casting a very faint radiance over the fields. Me and the dog, sniffing and looking and listening with all our might.

Nothing happened. After a while we went inside and felt all peaceful and soothed.

It's amazing how rarely it's quiet even out here.

I have to add this story which I read in New Scientist about thirty years ago. Concerning the plains of....somewhere Mid Western America and FLAT - Iowa? Nebraska? Well, wherever. The plains were so vast and flat that a constant steady wind blew across them, always from the same direction, unceasing and unvarying.

One day the wind stopped.

All the chickens fell over.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

A typical Sunday evening in the Bardsley household

Barney is cooking and has a glass of cider in attendance. Occasionally he says things like "Ok,that's cool" and " how much rosemary!!???" and "where's the fennel seed these days?". He is wearing a black and white checked chef's apron.
I am checking through today's batch of photos. (large glass of red wine...today's is Clos de Siete if you're interested...delish and a gift from Youngest) and offering information on the whereabouts of ingredients as required.
In between the meat and the potatoes, Barney comes in to the dining/computer/stamp/card making room, pushing a hoover. After a minute, I offer to take over this task as after all he is seeing to our most pressing needs. Willingly he accepts and vanishes back to the kitchen. Davy Graham is briefly shut out of the dining room while I hoover. As I am not wearing glasses and can't see what I'm missing, the hoovering only takes a few seconds then I can have Davy Graham back and also the dog can stop leaping out of the way of the hoover. Well into its way mostly as he is quite incapable of predicting where it will go next. One of these days I will hoover him up. That'll confuse him.
So that was Sunday.
then on Monday, I was good for quite a long time and sorted out pictures for Newbury cards to take to the Art Shop where the nice man (bless him) said yes he'd display some cards to sell for me. Later I made them all pretty and soon I will sort out the printing packages.

But I did take some pictures on Sunday, in Froud's Lane. Such an irresistible name and before I knew where I was I'd started playing with this. Quite nice but rather a dull sky So I added a sky from another picture
Which was fun and then I tried to add some gradient and inadvertently threw a bucket of black all over it
This was so amazing I had to see what happened if I inverted it
And added a curves layer
And now I can't decide which one is the most fun.

I recommend Froud's Lane.

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I'd like to meet

Homo antecessor's dentist.


Straight and narrow view.

I didn't hear about this on the telly*. It seems unimaginative and insular, to me, that news coverage of floods at home doesn't throw in a reference to the rest of the world.

*probably because I don't watch the telly much.

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Frog for brains

A new slant on the kissing of frogs and subsequent transformations here.

It's a shame they don't say where these frogs can be found and how the evil drug companies could be harnessed to save a bit of earth's lungs from the evil other forest clearing companies.

Fairy stories for adult children hey ?

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So this is the one Mel sent to me (I can't put it in my side bar though because before I can play with that I have to 'upgrade' (????????????) and when I do that I might lose some things from my template though Blogger will keep a copy for me but it doesn't tell me where or how easy it will be to find it and it all sounds very complicated and indeed this was complicated enough for one night!

Ok! I've found it, and copied it and now I'm sending it to
Samantha, Thursday, Frangelita, and Mangeycur.

Cos they deserve one too :)
Now I'm going to find out if I have actually done what I thought I did.
fingers crossed!:
Ah, so I didn't. Well here is where you can collect yours!