Friday, February 29, 2008

On the care of lutes

This I had to share :)

Hi Mig,

Here is the advice on keeping lutes as sourced from Thomas Mace, Musick's Monument of 1676

All the best


"Take good care of your lute, especially in damp weather.

That you may know how to shelter your Lute, in the worst of Ill Weathers (which is moist) you shall do well, ever when you Lay it by in the daytime, to put it into a Bed, that is constantly used, between the Rug and the Blanket; but never between the Sheets, because they may be moist with Sweat, etcetera. A Bed will secure it from all Inconveniences, and keep your Glue so Hard as Glass, and all safe and sure; only to be excepted. That no Person be so inconsiderate, as to Tumble down upon the Bed whilst the Lute is there. For I have known several Good Lutes spoiled with such a Trick."

Hi Phil,I thought you might like this (if you haven’t already seen it) :)
Should we be putting our fiddles to bed too?

Thanks Mig,
I have read it before.
Poor Old Mace went death and had to resort to biting the lute whist playing it.

Hi Phil.
After some thought I decided you maybe meant Mace went deaf?
Either way this conjures up interesting images what with the tumbling into the moist bed, the biting of lutes and the possible deathness!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Before setting off into the fields again
Further earthquake news.
There definitely was one
it was the biggest to hit Britain for 24 years. (Not saying a great deal, I know but it's all about what you're used to)
it measured between 4.7 and 5.8 on the Richter scale (depends who's figures you look at - 5.8 was quoted on a personal blog. The most quoted figure seems to be 5.2)
Lots of people felt it. (Apparently, according to USGS as far away as Brussels)
It was really quite small in world earthquake terms - a number of USA comments on British blogs point this out with varying degrees of asperity and a number of British bloggers say the same thing rather apologetically.
The general consensus is that it probably wasn't caused by global warming, terrorists or any deities objecting to immoral behaviour in the country
It was the first time a lot of British people had experienced a quake that you could feel. Their comments seem to range from 'cool' through 'scary' to 'I thought I was having a heart attack'. One irresponsible person said " I want to have another one".
It didn't cause much damage or injury. Good. Because I'm still amazed and slightly offended by the way the cats didn't wake up and demand reassurance and the dog didn't jump up and down and bark warnings or even wuffle urgently at me. He may have opened one eye.

Well those of you who live in seismically active places no doubt wouldn't find it so shocking to feel the earth move. It just goes to show that human beings can get used to anything and I suppose since the earth has been doing this moving and shaking thing since it began one ought to take it in stride. Or seat as the case may be.
Still, even when it's tiny, it's quite very damned impressive at approximately 1am.

Otherwise, my printer's fixed, my internet seems to be getting a little more stable (some of the time) and my washing machine is leaking. A bit. Oh and one of the cats broke the cover of a pyrex dish and ate what was to be my lunch today. I'd have blamed the earthquake for the breakage if I could but the vanished dinner? No.

Oh bother. Blogger's off.

Got to go and do some work now - even after having been slightly quoked,** the house must sometimes be cleaned :)

*I know most people are treating this event with commendable brevity and lack of excitement. I, however, am not ashamed to admit that I found it quite alarming and very exciting however tiny it may have been in the global scale of things - in an alarmed sort of way and will therefore continue to milk the experience for at least one more post!
Also, while last night's title was very, very, slightly witty, it was also totally unoriginal and hackneyed. One of "about 26,320 results" on Google.
Today's title is much more er, direct and meaningful. Yes.
**Not the past tense of 'to quake'? Oh. Well, quaked then .

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Did the earth move for you too?

I've just sat on an earthquake!
No really, I mean it!
I was sitting in the dining room, reading 'the colour of magic' and my chair suddenly began to quiver. All by itself. And then moved, very much like the way it feels when your car starts moving. Only without going anywhere. And things dingled quietly and the house creaked a bit. A pheasant squawked outside. (but the dog and cats paid no attention whatsoever. Huh!)
And when I rushed upstairs to tell Barney about it (I felt this was something one should be woken up for) his glass of water was still rippling.
I wonder where the rest of it was.

Ah. I've found it - here South of Kingston on Hull.

When I first looked at the map, there were only 50 odd responses. Just looked again and now there are loads.
Well I don't think Nutmeg and I will go out for a constitutional tonight. Sleep well.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Constitutional - a curious way of saying 'walkies'

Me and the dog have taken to going out for a midnight 'constitutional'. Up the road, into the field and back again. And now we are joined by the little black and white cat. We like this. Cat and dog investigate hedges and fence posts (sometimes together, puzzlingly) and I wander backwards and forwards looking at the sky and the hedges and woods and thinking what a shame it is that the animals won't stay still long enough to be photographed. (20 seconds minimum needed in bright moonlight, 2 seconds max stillness available :)
We have also taken to going up the road for our morning constitutional. It's beats trudging round the wet garden (though, so far, it hasn't rained on us so we may change our minds if it does).
Since the field across the road is a change from the one out the back, I've taken to going back, without the dog if there is a nice sun or sky or whatever, to take a few photos. In fact this morning, I did it the other way round since there was frost and mist and all that :) Got up very early even. The dog didn't even realise I was going out it was so early.
Anyway, now, me and the dog are going to do it again.

Goodnight, sleep tight.

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I've forgotten

What I was going to say.
Ah. Music. Yes.
I've been watching Choir on TV and (possibly revealing my age here) been enchanted by the delightful and extraordinarily youthful looking (I'm not revealing my age here as even one of the six year old boys thought, at first, that he was much to young to be in charge of them) Gareth Malone. More to the point, I was enchanted by the way he dragged 60 odd recalcitrant boys, most of the staff and even the school rappers into performing and practising regularly enough to achieve a standard fit for performance at the Albert Hall. In a year. Starting from 'don't like singing, can't sing, singing's for girls, singing is rubbish, only gays sing, blah blah blah'
As a passionate musician (and for once I mean passionate) he wanted to get a school full of non-singing boys to have and enjoy a school choir. He achieved this by chasing boys and staff around the playground, sports fields, classrooms and staffroom and charming them into, bemusedly agreeing to give it a try. And then making it work. Wow!
Highlights included the happiness of one very small boy doing a fantastic solo, several wonderful voices emerging from obscurity and also from fear of bullying. And the reluctant surrender of the macho-hero teacher. And particularly, one lad who at age 13, has incurable hodgkin's disease and said he knew he would always have cancer but the choir had given him something to share with the other boys.
Have to say I was completely swept away, remembering my own school choir (which happened to be a very good one) and how much of the same kind of stuff it did for me. We didn't have the benefit of a gorgeous young teacher (one of my best treasured memories of choir was the time we were rehearsing in Manchester Cathedral and our choirmaster, conducting with his usual fervour, arrived at a particularly large, loud, final chord and with one huge and powerful gesture, broke his baton and inadvertently spat out his false teeth. Both of which fell to the floor with a faint clatter in the perfectly disciplined silence which followed. And his glasses fell sideways down his nose.)

Whatever. Singing is good for you. Singing with other people is even more good for you. It's good because it expands your lungs and you find there's more space inside you than you thought there was. Because, out of that surprising space, comes wonderful stuff you didn't know you had in you. Because it teaches you that lots of you together are a great deal more than the sum of your parts. Because it's about not just letting, but pushing, throwing and flinging out stuff you don't need inside you. As well as conserving, controlling and garnishing some of your most precious feelings with grace and subtlety. Instead of being about going inside yourself and rummaging around in your psyche, it's about using whatever you have stashed away in there to share with no strings attached and then having made something that couldn't have existed before you all sang together to share it again with people who like to listen.

Can't sing? Nonsense! I mean this. Everyone can in fact sing. Not necessarily the solo part, not necessarily the bit the others are singing and very rarely the weird and wonderful stuff that famous people do, but listen, singing is just pushing some air out past some strings in your throat and stopping and starting the air movement and tightening and loosening the strings. Singing is yelling and whispering and muttering and speaking. Singing is listening and then doing. But above all it's GETTING OUT OF YOURSELF and being together in another place where it doesn't matter who or why you are because you're too busy making something new and astonishing, with other people, to think about yourself.

Oh and after all that, it really does sound quite nice, sometimes :)

Thank you lovely Gareth Malone. Pied piper stuff. Magic maker. (Wonderful TV).
Mmm. It was just so good to see all those little thugs and tykes having a really great time doing something really good together.

Oh and I forgot to mention, it's also extraordinarily good for your brain since it gets the old left and right brains communicating like you wouldn't believe and also 'promotes prefrontal cortex activity'. In fact it's almost as good for your brain as talking to people and sudoku - suduko - that thing with numbers. Which are also extraordinarily good for all that brain stuff.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Total eclipse.

Thanks to Mel, a text from someone who's number I don't recognise (that could be almost anyone then, given my numeracy levels) and even Barney Bear who doesn't wish to encourage me in keeping odd hours) I was up at three this morning to record the last total eclipse of the moon till 2010.
Even the dog was out there with me until just before it began. While I was waiting for something to become obvious, I took a quick (slow actually) shot of the house bathed in uncanny and fleeting moon radiance from behind wispy clouds.

An awful lot of clouds in fact.
Rather nice ones
Which eventually dispersed and became a general misty effect
And made a bit of a rainbow halo round the last shred of moonlight
Thank you Mel, kind reminding person and Barney Bear :) It would have been a shame to miss the last one for 2 years :)
And now I must go and catch up on some sleep.
Hope you all sleep well :)


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

There's a mouse in the house

Now, I'm a fairly tolerant cat owner but I do get cross when they bring in live mice and let them go in the kitchen so they can hide under the dishwasher. I know they think they are teaching their incompetent human pets to hunt properly and when I've given up trying to chase the tiny things out and catch them in the dustpan and put them safely in the woodpile, I usually shut the cats in the kitchen and tell them to finish the job properly. Sometimes I leave the back door open and shut the cats out. It all depends how lively the mice were when they hid.

But really, this is too much. the cat has just hopped onto her feeding shelf, the dog (usually quite gentle and protective when he catches one*) has gone to bed and the other cat is nowhere to be seen.
Course, I'm not much better, getting the camera out before removing the illegal immigrant.
(s'ok, illegal immigrant has been tenderly deposited in the woodpile.)

*He always looks quite at a loss when his new little friend turns out to be DOA - probably having died of one shock too many.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The secret of success

When taking photos directly towards a low, bright sun.

Is an umbrella.
(Of course passers by give you funny looks as you stand over your tripod holding an umbrella roughly above the camera, not so low that it appears in the viewfinder not so high that the sun shines under it and therefore not necessarily directly above the camera.)

However, this doesn't work if the sun is what you want to take pictures of. Then you have to resort to standing behind trees and stuff like that :)

Goodnight :)

(you get even funnier looks if you forgot the tripod and are therefore balancing the camera on top of a small cushion on top of a fence post while waving the umbrella with the other hand and bending over in a decidedly inelegant manner in order to see the viewfinder without dropping the whole delicate assemblage.)
(But quite diferent looks if you then glare at passing traffic as they travel through your perfectly composed shot just as the light changes)

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Trying to find the pattern in things

Like, for instance, the silent vanishing of my internet connection.

Well every day, between 2 minutes and half an hour after I start looking at blogs.

Just before I post a comment – between the first attempt and the sixth. (usually one I’ve forgotten to copy before hitting publish)

And that would be between and ten minutes and an hour after I get up (except on days when I get up very early – by my standards - when that would be between ten minutes and an hour after I get back and the camera card is uploading).

It would also be some time during the late night when I’ve decided I must go to bed now but I’ll just do a quick round of visiting blogs. It’ll only take ten minutes right ?

About ten seconds before the little picture of two televisions with a tiny world attached becomes two worldless tiny televisions. (why have the icon if it only tells me stuff after it’s happened? Like “I KNOW THE CONNECTION’S GONE AGAIN YOU USELESS PIECE OF PROGRAMMING!)*

I am learning patience. And new words for ‘bother’. Also new words for some words I won’t print here since I am not at this moment seething with impotent rage but typing in word so later when the machine has sneakily reconnected itself I can post it.

Anyway this morning I thought “why do we say the computer ‘crashes’”. When what it usually does is more like flatlining. Somewhere out in the virtual world is there a huge virtual noise with bangs and clangs and crunching? Do bits of programming fly out from a point of impact hitting surrounding bits of virtual scenery and groggily stagger around saying “where am I? What happened? Oh I’ve crashed the computer!” Do they know which computer they’ve crashed?

Meanwhile "Could not connect to Saving and publishing may fail. Test connection now" WHAT connection? Yes, we were momentarily, virtually in contact there for a few seconds. It says a lot for human adaptability that I can quite forget that the next thing that may happen when I hit publish is - nothing. Or maybe it just says a lot about my single brain cell :)

Well, while doing this, I've been following instructions from the people who haven't fixed my printer. I've taken the printhead to be cleaned twice, rinsed the jets under warm water, dried gently, nay, tenderly with kitchen paper, executed cleaning two or three times and then executed 'deep cleaning' twice. The nozzles remain unchanged. Well the check results do anyway. It's time to go and see the boys at Cartridge World again and possibly trot out that nice phrase about not being born yesterday - young man! Well at least they haven't charged me for soaking the printhead though the cost in petrol and advance planning in between early gettings up and disconnections of the internet and daily life stuff like cooking and eating and sunsets as well as shopping are causing severe brain strain.

Oh well. I'm off to get the printer fixed, walk the dog, buy a hard drive (one day I will, really will, have all my photos backed up properly) get some curry meat (Barney Bear has to be fed sometimes), and this will have to wait till later. If Blogger will save now? No? Ok. Back to word and yet more brainstrain.

*Equally (nothing if not even handed) it only reacquires its little world after I’ve randomly attempted to connect again. “Oh you’ve noticed you’re back have you? Huh!”

Monday, February 18, 2008

chasing the tail of the day

I've been chasing sunsets and catching early mornings :)
Following a wonderful dinner that Barney made when Thursday and Joe Brown came, we were talking about the possibility of getting up the next morning to catch the sort of shots that Joe Brown regularly takes in the misty predawn light. And we agreed that probably, Sunday morning wouldn't be the day we did get up early - what with it being nearly midnight and all at the time.
But amazingly I did get up and spent a happy morning with frozen toes and fingers, and warm bits where the sun did shine. (Not predawn alas, that would have been overdoing things a bit)
Then during the last few days, I've been watching glorious sunsets and not getting photos of them because they kept happening when I was already about to be late for this and that. Finally, today, I organised myself to be in a good sunset watching place and took some quite nice pics.
Then I went home and half an hour later as I was rushing around getting dogs and cats and Barney' dinner s together, I noticed that, far from fading away, the evening light was getting more and more and more - well, more!
Tonight's sky was probably the most spectacular it's been all week and 3/4 of an hour after sunset was officially over.
You just can't win them all!
There's a photography site I visit sometimes where you get useful tips and ideas. And on one occasion an essay about when to get the best shots. Basically, when half of us are busy cooking for the other half or when the other half are eating!
Don't eat at meal times the nice man said, you'll miss the best shots. (didn't actually say, don't cook at cooking times but I guess that's because he's a kept man!)

Now I'm wondering, how did I manage to take 614 pictures today? Today was a 'noImustn'tgooutwiththecameraI'vegototherstufftodo' sort of day. Except for the sunset of course.
Ok, I've got the camera set to take 3 different exposures so I can play with my photomatix programme but even so, 200 odd !?
Now I have to go and mash potatoes. Well, peel and cook them and all that too. I don't seem to have done anything useful since I came home and the sun went on and on setting. And on. And on....
Anyway, good morning
and goodnight
I hope you got to see tonight's sunset. They can't go on for ever like this :)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

And after monsters at midday

The moon at midnight :)
And snowdrops:)
Hope you're all getting a good moon tonight too.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I've been trying to remember this word for three days!
The other morning I went off (as I said) grumbling about my failure to get up early. But there was still some mist around the ford and though a bit bleary*, I pointed the camera up river and what with the sun in my eyes** and the sparkle of the water, really, I didn't know what I was looking at. Just that it looked quite possibly like a picture.
And when I got home, there was the Pookah : Which roughly translates from the celtic as a riverhorse. A creature of myth which would emerge from the river, change into a horse shape and lure the unwary human into riding on its back. Whereupon it would leap back into the water, change back into its fearsome pookah shape and first drown and then devour the foolishly greedy*** and unfortunate rider.

And then of course there was the Kraken.
Mind, I think Krakens inhabited the ocean and trapped unwary sailors with their tentacles. Still, in a Berkshire bog you may see something like this pretending to be a tree. Obviously it's something much more .... monstrous than a tree :)

*My typo for bleary was 'brealy'. It took me ages to work out what I'd meant to say - brealy looks quite meaningful don't you think. Once I'd started trying to work out what I could possibly have meant by brealy, it took me ages to remember the original.
**It's probably an occupational hazard - little suns floating across the vision because you forgot not to look at it while trying to work out how best to catch the light:)
***Which only goes to show that there was no such thing as a free ride, even in mythic celtic times. And possibly, that you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth because it might eat you!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunny morning

With special effects
Only I missed most of them.
Here's how it goes.
I wake to the sound of the alarm, having told myself last night that I would certainly get up early and check for mist, frost and amazing dawn sunlight.
I think, (sort of) erggh, mmph, er, snooze15minsok.
The alarm goes again and I think (sort of).......
Third time I may throw myself sideways out of bed and stump off to the bathroom, drinking the cold tea that Barney prepared earlier, as I go.
And thinking erg, mmph, er, sun?
Ok. clothes? er, yes, no, yes???no socks?????
Groan! (feet are a long way away in the morning)
Coffee! :)
Meanwhile, in counterpoint to the easy bits, I'm thinking "where shall I go?" and running through assorted possibilities. Rejecting most of them because I am now late and I won't get there before the mist, frost and special effects have all faded away.
(this is why you have been treated to so many of the view from the bathroom window at dawn)
While making coffee, feeding the cats, letting the dog out, rolling three cigs, locking the back door, checking the camera batteries and doing my teeth, I'm still, with increasing uncertainty trying to decide WHERE. Get in the car, turn it round, stop at the gate and think "well left or right?????"
So far, I haven't chosen straight on which is just as well as there's a solid bank opposite our gate. With a hedge on top. (Though sometimes I stop the car when I get to the gate up 50 yards up the road and leap out muttering* and stump around the field for a while - which is where you get these pics :)Eventually I go somewhere!
Possibly somewhere new, like yesterday when I discovered new woods to play in.
Since then the internet has been sulking and dropping off every time I tried to see what was going on in the virtual world. I hope you've all been ok, today it was off nearly all day :(
I suppose some time I'll get someone to sort it for me but in the meantime quick! Pics!!!!Now I'm going to stump off to bed, muttering.
Lots of love to all you lovely people :)

*Could have walked here and back before doing all the early morning stuff what a waste of time mutter grumble mutter

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Burnt at both ends

But still some left in the middle.
Up early (ish) and still up late.
I really ought to change at least one of my habits.
(well quite a lot of them I suppose but I won't go into that now)
Anyway, I had a couple of nice pics and I thought I'd just quickly post them before hurrying off to bed.I was really feeling a bit cross because I didn't get up early enough to catch most of the mist the other day. But there was a bit left :)
OK. time to go an blow out a candle end.
Sleep well. My weather forecast says it's going to be sunny ALL WEEK!
The sun is good for us :)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Ok so I got up early

And now I seem to be up late.
I did a quick skip round blogs and realised that I am not in a fit state to comment, as my eyes keep closing and my head wanders.
Now I have to sleep, perchance to lie in tomorrow before treating the bear to a birthday circus and dinner.
Or perchance to get up early and make him a cup of tea!
Goodnight. You sleep well too :)

Friday, February 08, 2008

And good morning to you too!

Oh what a beautiful......

I love mornings like this :)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Fuzzy contentment

My haystack has been snipped off and swept away by lovely hair people and I can see out from under again :). What's more, the little girl who washed it did a really good head massage!
So I've made little quiches for Barney's lunches. I know it's Friday so he'll only get to eat one this week, but quite possibly we'll eat the other 4 over the weekend. Then I'll have to make a whole lot more for next week.
And I've booked us dinner for his birthday - we're going French, which is to say Madame will be taking M'sieur to dinner at a French restaurant in Reading. I think I shall wear my Florence and Fred cashmere cardi. 'Cos i think it's a tiny bit elegant (though also a bit hairy, being black and the cats being various shades of grey, white and black). Yes and the little Dorothy Perkins black top with a cream lace neckline. Or maybe the black and silver embroidered jacket from last year's Fairport Convention festival. Or maybe RED!
Oh decisions decisions.
Now I'm extremely hungry. Eating half the ingredients for the quiches (which turned out to be a good thing as I'd prepared a bit too much ingredient) wasn't quite enough and he's gone to look at stamps and anyway dinner's not ready. But the smell of little quiches is filling the kitchen. there's bacon, mushroom and garlic and olive and anchovy.

Which reminds me of a long-ago, heavenly holiday in Greece.
There was the bank clerk, who having told us we couldn't withdraw money since the bank was closed (? How did we get to walk in then?) smiled beatifically at us and produced 3 slices of melon from under the counter which he gave to us , saying, "unlucky in money but lucky in melon" . Two of us were thereafter totally in love.*
There were the three old men I encountered in the orange groves, early one morning, who chatted politely in broken English, and then gave me oranges and then asked nicely if they could please play with my breasts. Some sign language was required for this bit. When I said no, not really, and offered them the oranges back, they all smiled (can old Greek men smile beatifically?) and said, never mind, keep the oranges :)
There was the waiter, who on learning that one of us was suffering the slings and arrows of an outraged stomach, immediately rushed off and returned with a plate piled with salad and heaped on top with thin slivers of raw garlic. This he assured us would cure the sick one and prevent the others from suffering the same misfortune. It worked.
There was an early morning when Roger and I swam across the bay. It was probably about 3/4 of a mile and till then, I was the kind of swimmer who would always swim at least one length of any swimming pool. And only one length. The warm, still, salty water cradled us and the early sun bathed us gently in light and warmth. Jelly fish politely avoided us and we had coffee and some sort of bread in Epidauros port when we emerged at the other end. A glorious, quiet, triumphant sea change.
There was the huge fig tree by the entrance to our tents. And by the steps that led to the beach.**
There was a tiny, tiny, Byzantine church in Athens which was like walking into a jewel. All silver and gold and sparkling icons and cool flagstones and soft, candlelit gloom.***

Poppies, more red than any red anywhere else in the world.
Mountains, bare and sparse but laden and groaning under a weight of awful legend.
A strange, clear, subtle, hot light.
The scent of herbs, orange blossom, and the sea.
The theatre at Epidauros, stone circle, dark trees, and the sound of a pin dropping.****

Barney and I tried to find the camp site and the bay when we went for our 25th anniversary. There was some kind of evil oil refinery in the bay and the camp site looked a lot the worse for wear. The fig tree was gone. But Epidauros remains, the poppies are still more red than red and the light still graces the legend laden mountains.

*The female two.
**This was probably the cause of the stomach trouble
***I think I'm actually combining two churches here, one tiny and candlelit gloom and the other softly gleaming with kings ransoms of silver and gold. No matter :)
****If you stand at the back row, high up and far away from the tiny circular auditorium, your guide drops a pin and I swear, you can hear it.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

∞ or possibly 8***

Yesterday the computer gave me all my pictures back.
the electric company told me they were going to give me some money back.
I found a sweatshirt for Barney.

So I was emboldened to make an appointment to get my haystack trimmed. Some time on Thursday I may have a head of something resembling hair again.

On the other hand the printer gave me a sad blurred printout yesterday so I had to go and speak to the people at Cartridge world. They seem to have a new boy there. He looked about 12 but was definitely old enough to jump straight in with the time honoured phrase 'you might as well buy a new printer'!*
He had to be joking. Or jut not paying attention since the cost of a new printhead is around £40 and the printer I need costs around £250. And we hadn't even covered cleaning the printhead.
I want the older boy back. He didn't try pulling any wool over my aged eyes and now I'm not confidant that this boy will even try to clean the printhead if I take it to him. (perhaps he's temporary? I hope so. The older boy only looked about 18 but I think he was more grown up than he looked)
Anyway, pictures :)
From Watership Down of bunny fame.
There were men herding sheep with a pick up truck and two dogs
Kestrels (or sparrow hawks - I can never remember which is which) hunting. Probably why the bunnies weren't in evidence
And shadows in a combe
And a long, long view towards the rest of the world
Then later on the way home, Ecchinswell Church.
I hope you are all having a good day.

*And gazed at me seductively with his eyes all big and brown and serious as he said it, in the hopes that previously proven charm would save him some work and bamboozle the old lady into parting with lots of money. Huh!!!!**
**Actually this would have been a golden opportunity to trot out that time honoured phrase "I wasn't born yesterday" which I've never actually said to anyone yet. But I didn't think in time.
***Not the shape of a pear but the shape of life.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The shape of the pear

This weekend.
Pear shapes came and went with varying rapidity. And are still at it.
There was the birthday dinner for Fran's HF. Barney Bear decided to make a Jamie Oliver chocolate tart for the event. This went well until it became obvious that there was going to be more than twice as much pastry and filling than could be accommodated by an 11" tart tin. What to do with a whole tart and a half's worth of uncooked chocolatey stuff? the tart he made was brilliant though.
And so was the roast. But BB prepared it all and then went away to meet the others in the pub, leaving me in charge. All cool and calm I got on with it (in spite of a stressful half hour while he dithered about a) whether to go, b) when I should start cooking it and c) whether I would remember the stuffing).
They returned and suddenly my calm kitchen was full of small children and large questions. Like, when will we eat the starter? Where will we put the potatoes? Have we got enough plates hot? Which plates????
BB took over with a visible but inaudible sigh as of one who knew he shouldn't have left the little woman alone with the dinner and the wine. (the sigh was in a bubble over his head but he thought he was being patient and concealing his true feelings of exasperation and superiority - he does that). Really, we shouldn't share cooking*. It just doesn't work. He offers to help and then instead of doing what he's told, asks questions - often very apt and relevant ones unfortunately. It's so easy to see what the other person has forgotten!
Ok, so once we'd worked through our kitchen sharing issues, dinner was brilliant and both girls and all their partners and children were delightful and it was great. Youngest took over the serving of dinner while the issues were being sorted but pointed out that I couldn't rely on her doing so in future. (Ah if only she would - I love her:) There was a short period when BB got bossy about Fran's wedding plans but she bravely swallowed her fury and stood up to the inquisition without missing a beat. She's a good kid :) I love her :)
Well I love them all but when one of them confronts their Dad with such courage and humour I love them most of all :)
Later, blogger wobbled.
So, being somewhat tired and hung over this morning, I didn't get up in time to catch the frost before it melted but I did get up in time to go to a hill near Watership Down (as in the book) and saw marvels.
Then I went into town to see if I could get some inspiration for the swift approach of BB's birthday. This was a failure. I bought a book. I don't think it's really going to do the trick.
Then I came home and considered the left over chocolate tart mixture. In the end I made it into a lot of little chocolate tarts, BB's lunches for the use of.
While I was doing this, I attempted to down (up?)load today's photos of marvels.
Picasa threw a wobbly and they may all have vanished into the computer. Or may in fact simply have vanished altogether.
I'm not sure yet whether Picasa loaded them or just threw them away. Having told me it was going to compact the data base, it's now putting vanished stuff back in a totally random order so I've no idea if today's photos made it onto the computer or not. They certainly aren't on the camera card any more!
Meanwhile, HF's present which didn't arrive from Amazon in time is now on the way and so is one for BB which therefore will be in time.
The dinner's ready (tonight's dinner) but BB's not back yet. I'm ready for dinner but BB's not....
Picasa is still plodding through a million photos putting them all back. but I fear today's marvels won't be there.
The shape of the pear is flipping vertically every time I try something new and I'm really not sure if we're all going pear shaped or raep shaped.

*actually this isn't true. If I'm the sous chef it works fine. I get stuff out of the larder and wash dishes and produce required ingredients. I will say nothing about his qualities as a sous chef. Because it's quite probable that I'm not a very good head chef :) and anyway he doesn't like being ordered around.**
**no, neither do I but I don't think I make a fuss about it :)***
***well in some things you just can't be objective.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Bloggy thing's not working properly

Well, I keep trying to post and/or visit but getting random disconnections. I'm pretty sure it's either the computer or the www so I'm not adjusting myself! Yet.
But it's getting a bit much when it takes three goes to post a comment (I've got about four pages of saved comments in word now as I keep forgetting what I said - well you do after starting again three times!) so posts and comments are going to be a bit intermittent till it sorts itself out!
mutter mutter!Calm! Peace! Consider water.
Oh well. It could be worse.

Hope you're all having calm and peace. Have a good weekend :)