Monday, 30 April 2012

Happy Monday - Subtle

Saturday, 28 April 2012

A Saturday Saunter

Life (and Blogger again!!)

 Have you noticed that blogger’s new reading facility for following blogs doesn’t show half the photos. So when you get, for example, a note that Dawn Treader has posted an article about Coltsfoot you get a helpful little note saying that her post includes [image: CIMG7863]. Like Wow! How helpful is that. I might resist going to a post with an image numbered 7863 but her Greetings from the Past blog had the much more excitingly numbered [image: 005.2A-001]. I had to go there! 

Life (and eyes again)

Life demands a day or two away from blogging and I come back to find dozens and dozens of blog posts in my (new style- ugh) reading list. How can I catch up with everyone?  The simple answer is not to bother and just to miss a couple of days but I do so enjoy people’s posts and I hate not knowing how everyone is getting on.  I must find some sort of system for doing this.  Either that or invent a Time Machine. 

I would have a lot more time if I didn’t have to go back and correct every sentence I type.  I’m thinking of getting an eye patch for my left eye to wear when I’m typing – that way I would only see one keyboard.  I don’t suppose anyone out there has any experience of wearing one to stop double vision?  I worry a bit about my left eye getting even more lazy and the fact that it doesn’t work properly already has me walking into doors, etc. because of miscalculating distances / angles.

Scottish Wildcat

According to the Cairngorms Wildcat Project previously unknown populations of Scottish wildcats are living in the Cairngorms National Park, conservationists have discovered.  Their habitats have been identified by camera traps which captured images of the animals across the park and beyond. But the species remains under threat because of cross-breeding with domestic and feral cats.  The Scottish wildcat is larger and much fiercer than its domestic cousin.  It is estimated there are only about 400 left in the wild.

This photo was not taken in the wild but at the Chestnut Centre Conservation & Wildlife Park.

In the Garden

The garden has been a delight throughout March and April and I just haven’t had the time to post my photos on my garden blog.  I may manage to do so in the future but in the meantime I thought I’d just put a post on this week to show some of the things that are out just at this moment. 

Mouldy Pot Noodles or the Best Songwriters Ever?

A new music award has been presented in Liverpool to highlight the city's thriving music scene and prove there is more to Liverpool than The Beatles.  The inaugural Get Into This Award, named after a music blog run by writer Peter Guy, went to the delicate and hypnotic four-piece band Loved Ones.  The award has been dubbed the "Scouse Mercury" after the Mercury Music Prize.  That's fine so far but I wasn't overly in accord with Guy's comment that the spirit of The Beatles "hovers over Liverpool like a mouldy Pot Noodle".  Long may the spirit of The Beatles hover over us.  They gave so much to the music scene and while I appreciate the need to celebrate the new I don't see why we have to disrespect the old.

Time for a cup of tea… Bye.


Friday, 27 April 2012

Friday My Town Shoot-out - Time

As usual I have wandered away from home. This time I am in my younger daughter's town of Exeter.

This clock is in the Cathedral in Exeter in England. It is one of a group of famous 14th- to 16th-century astronomical clocks to be found in the West of England. Others are at Wells, Ottery St Mary, and Wimborne Minster. The main, lower, dial is the oldest part of the clock, dating from 1484. The fleur-de-lys 'hand' indicates the time (and the position of the sun in the sky) on a 24-hour analogue dial. The numbering consists of two sets of I-XII Roman numerals. The silver ball and inner dial shows both the age of the moon and its phase (using a rotating black shield to indicate the moon's phase). The upper dial, added in 1760, shows the minutes.

The Latin phrase Pereunt et Imputantur, a favourite motto for clocks and sundials, was written by the poet Martial. It is usually translated as "they perish and are reckoned to our account", referring to the hours that we spend, wisely or not.

The original clockwork mechanism, much modified, repaired, and neglected until it was replaced in the early 20th century, can be seen on the floor below.

The door below the clock has a round hole near its base. This was cut in the early 17th century to allow entry for the Bishop's cat to deter vermin that were attracted to the animal fat used to lubricate the clock mechanism.

If you would like to see what other members of the gang have found for this Friday My Town Shoot-out please click on this FMTSO link.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

ABC Wednesday - O is for Octopus

The octopus (traditionally, plural: octopuses) is a cephalopod mollusc of the order Octopoda. Octopuses have two eyes and four pairs of arms.

An octopus has a hard beak, with its mouth at the centre point of the arms. Octopuses have no internal or external skeleton (although some species have a vestigial remnant of a shell inside their mantle), allowing them to squeeze through tight places.

They may look like suckers but Octopuses are among the most intelligent and behaviorally flexible of all invertebrates.

If you would like to see what other Wednesday folk have chosen for this letter please visit...

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A Tuesday Toddle


Do any of you schedule posts? I have had trouble in the past with scheduled posts turning into ‘drafts’ when my back is turned. Now, an even better trick has been invented by Blogger, they remain on my edited posts lists as scheduled and just ignore the fact that the date and time have gone by… So Monday’s post, scheduled for just after midnight, wasn’t there when I switched on Monday morning. There it was in the edit posts list, scheduled for six hours ago and just sitting there. So I clicked post and it showed as having been posted at just after midnight - liar! Why do I get the impression it’s b**** all use doing scheduled post?

Just out of interest I have scheduled this for Tuesday morning but I suspect it will be a case of coming back and actually posting it.

(It posted itself but when I went to my dashboard and posting everything had changed - the new format has come in whether I want it or not!  

I am not a happy bunny.  Since everyone asks the same question I shall repeat it here - WHY CAN'T THEY LEAVE THINGS ALONE?)

And have you noticed that if you now go to follow someone a little note pops up (pre-ticked) suggesting you get all their updates and changes to their blog emailed to you as a newsletter. At the risk of repeating my swear word, b***** that for a lark. Quickly unticks box! Why is it that the only thing that makes me swear in my rambling posts is Blogger?

Favourite Clothes

Just occasionally one buys an item of clothing that becomes a real favourite – to the extent where one’s friends and relations become fed up of seeing it.

This uninspiring looking jacket is only uninspiring because it’s a poor photo. I bought it last year while we were on holiday coming down the West coast of Scotland from GB’s. It’s a perfect fit; I like green; it zips up so it can be used for cold weather or unzipped for warm weather; it has zips on its pockets so things don’t fall out when I want them to stay in; and it is a lovely soft material. What more could one want? (The answer – two or three of them so that I could vary the colour and make Partner-who-loves-tea less bored with seeing it.)


I've got a cough!  But no that notice is not referring to me.  I hope.  It is a silly, chesty, something trapped in my brochial tubes, type cough. I knew we had cough mixtures in the cupboard so I investigated.  The first was best before some date in 2009.  I decided to bin it.  Being a re-cycler I took it to the sink to empty it first.  I tilted it over to pour out the contents.  They wouldn't pour.  It had solidifed.  OK, I knew there were more bottles.  The next was early 2010.  At least that poured down the sink.  Then we came to the last bottle - at least that was late 2010.  How do you tell if cough medicine is off when it smells and tastes so bad any way?  According to the Food Standards Agency, "Best-before" is an indication of quality rather than safety. Eating food past the best-before date does not necessarily put someone at risk from food poisoning," it has said. Note the "does not necessarily" bit in there - i.e. it may. In fact, it may kill you! Ah well, once more to the sink and off to the chemist.  If only it tasted like this...

 The Hanging Monastery

I find some of the wonders that you come across on the Internet absolutely fascinating.  This is the Hanging Monastery on the west cliff of Jinxia Gorge 40 miles from Datong City in China.  It is situated more than 50 meters above the ground and has survived more than 1500 years.

Oriuginally built in 491 it was partially rebuilt and refurbished in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).  Not only is its architectuire wonderful but it also is unusual in that it includes Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Inside the monastery, sculptures of Sakyamuni, Confucius, and Laotzu appear together, which is unusual.

And while we are on the subject of the Far East....

Monday, 23 April 2012

Laura's Day

A few days ago I gave you an extract from the diary of fifteen year old Laura Troubridge.  It suggested how she would spend her day if she had her choice.

She is now 26 years old and this is the real Day of her Life.

August 2nd, 1884 - THE DAY OF MY LIFE

. . . but quite unconscious of it, I rose, breakfasted, talked and laughed as on any ordinary day, and afterwards, feeling rather in a fright I went off all by myself to interview a strange Mr. Cooper about my book. He turned out to be a most harmless civil old chap, who having had a letter from Caldecott praising my draw­ings is anxious to do what he can about them.

A lovely day, a day to spend lying in a wood amongst ferns and flowers. Home to lunch and afterwards, about four, drove with Amy to the Grosvenor Gallery. Mr. Hope met us there and Jack St. Aubyn. Looked at the pictures together and spent a quiet time. Then Vi joined us and we all went to Charbonnel next door - for iced coffees and petits fours. It was a hot day. Walked partly home and said 'au revoir', not good-bye.

Alone to dinner, we three - wore my black frock with some red carnations. Amy dressed up the strangest and most fantastic dummy and called it 'Aunt Chatty' — to preside at the Drum as sundry cousins had failed. Mr. St. Leger came and was funny, but I was not in tune with fooling and remained on the balcony, where there was a rising moon, until Adrian came very late. I had faithfully promised to play games with the others and not spend a tete-a-tete evening - but all such promises were thrown to the winds — we only came in and danced for a few minutes with the rest, and then sat there together all the evening, and when the moon had risen above the housetops and looked down on us — we knew that we loved each other — till Death us do part - and were very happy.

I still call him 'Mr. Hope' but I am trying to get used to the other in my mind. On August 8th Adrian came to take me to the station, for Tom [who was in the 6oth] was stationed at Limerick and he and a group of his brother officers had taken a house at Knocklofty near Clonmel, for the fishing and we four sisters were invited to keep house for them. We drove off together, waving good-bye to Gloucester Street - such a drive - almost too happy to feel how near the parting was. As we passed the Abbey he put on my finger the most lovely sapphire ring. Our horse fell down but we scarcely noticed it. Arrived at Euston he took care of us all, but the train went dreadfully soon and we had to say our first good-bye - though we called it *au revoir'.

 Everyone say Aaaah, how sweet!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

A Saturday Stroll


I love learning new words. It doesn’t matter if they are 21st century slang, 19th century words that have declined in use or obscure current words. I recently read on a blog the word ‘Peeps’. I had to look it up. Imagine my surprise when I found it fitted two of the above categories. Peeps (plural only) (now slang) People; often especially (with personal pronoun), one's friends or associates. [from 19th c.]

About jewellery – or is it health?

As everyone knows (boringly) I suffer from migraines. Kay (A Georgia Girl with an English Heart) suggested a possible remedy that I haven’t tried before – a copper bangle. My grandmother wore one for her rheumatism and I have used one for my neurological pains but had the problem that it turned my skin green. Nevertheless, I determined to give it a try. This was what I bought.

It turned my skin green for a few hours but that disappeared after a day and has not recurred. As soon as Partner-who-loves-tea saw this bangle she decided it was too good for a mere Man and threatened to acquire it so I had to point out it was for health purposes or I would have lost it! (I’ve now bought her one as well!).

I also bought a second one with magnets. Magnets are another thing I’ve tried but the elastic that kept the magnetic haematite stones together kept breaking and I gave up without giving it a fair trial.

No prizes for guessing what happened when Partner-who-loves-tea saw this one? Having wrenched it back it has now gone on the other wrist. I shall keep you informed of progress.

On Being Geographically Challenged

(Don’t tell Partner-who-loves-tea I blogged this!)

I have a ‘To-Do’ list which grows like Topsy. Occasionally something occurs that moves things up or down the priority within the list.

Partner-who-loves-tea has difficulty with directions, maps and (her real hatred) diversions and road closures. In fact, she pretty much needs a satnav to get to bed. Whenever she is going somewhere new outside of Merseyside I have to do a map for her. I was reminded of this the other day when I saw a note on my To-Do list that said ‘Map for Trentham Gardens’ because she may be going to this stately home with some of her students. But it’s still a couple of weeks off so I casually mentioned ‘I must do that Trentham Gardens map some time’.

The worst words I can hear are – ‘I think it may be all right. I’ve got a reasonable idea where it is.’ In this case she followed it up by ‘I can visualise the sign on the road. We went there last year didn’t we?’

‘Er No. I’ve never been there in my life,’ I responded.

A debate then ensued. The final clincher after a few back and forth squabbles of as minor nature was her comment ‘It’s just by Knutsford, isn’t it?’

Knutsford, for those folk who live in faraway places, is in north Cheshire – the county we live in – and is 32 miles away. (Nearby is a stately home called Tatton Park!) Trentham Gardens is in south Staffordshire – the next county – and is 65 miles away. I think I’d better get that map done soon.

(Mind you, her colleague managed an even better one when he used his satnav and entered the wrong option of two similarly named villages. He ended up in Staffordshire when he should have been in North Wales, 52 miles away.)

And Darn Old Fools...

A friend sent me a brief e-mail recently and at the end mentioned she had to go and cook dinner. I saw the words ‘Darn old fool getting in my way of blog life’. I thought - that’s no way to refer to her husband’s need to be fed! Then I realised it was my eyes the words were ‘Darn old food...’ Good job I went back and read it again!

 Hope you're having a good week-end and that it continues in a similar vein.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Friday My Town Shoot Out - Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is a compositional tool that places the subject of the photo in an area of intersecting lines created by dividing the photo in 3rds horizontally and vertically.  If the subject is principally a line it should lie along the lines.  If it is a spot (like a bird's eye) it should lie within one of the circles.

I've not been out of doors this week so here are some samples (though few are perfect)  from around my brother's Outer Hebridean home last year.....

The above one is an interesting one because the subject is in the middle - the seaweed - but it has two distinct 'horizons' running along the thirds lines.

If you would like to see what other members of the gang have found for this Friday My Town Shoot-out please click on this FMTSO link.

A Thursday Toddle around My Chair

I have decided that one problem about writing posts that ramble all over the place is that folk may be tempted to skip down them for any interesting keywords.  I know I sometimes do that on blogs when I’m in a hurry to get up-to-date with what everyone I follow has written. So today I thought I’d help out by having sub-headings.  Those of you, for example, who are fed up of hearing me complain about my health can skip the one headed eyesight issues, others might want to skip sport but I recommedn you read the small print.

Eyesight issues

Kay recently asked why did she only see the mistakes in her comment posts after she'd clicked the 'post' button.  I think one answer in my case is that the font in the comment box is rarely anywhere near as large or clear as that on the blog itself. I hope folk therefore forgive me when I leave comments with so many typing errors.   If I wear my glasses that enable me to see the screen clearly the keyboard is in my 'double vision' range and if you've ever tried hitting a key when there's two of each of them you'll know it aint' easy.  It doesn't help that the co-ordination of my fingers is damaged by my neurological disorder so even if the keys were in the right place I mightn't actually land on them!  Perhaps those of you who consume alcohol might like to have a go after your next total wipe-out and see what it's like. 

Another sunny day

I always thought it was a British thing to talk about the weather all the time but I notice as I travel around Blogland that what the weather is doing today seems to be a major topic in most countries. Monday was another gloriously sunny and warm day. I spent the morning in the garden planting out some seedlings.  Partner-who-drinks-tea was working at home in the morning so we had a cup of tea out on the patio and revelled in the sunshine.  I mentioned how dry the garden was and that I would have to water it on Tuesday if it didn’t rain.  She responded by saying they’d be extending the drought restrictions shortly.  Sure enough on the radio  news later they mentioned just that. Had I thought about it properly I should have realised that these things combined would mean that by Monday night it would be cold, windy and a constant downpour.  Ah well, the garden needed it. 

The Conservatory Roof

What doesn't need the rain is the conservatory whose rtoog=f leaks.  Afters of putting up with this I have decided to get a man in to sort it.  It will cost £150 to take a look at it and if it is easy to fox that will be done within that £150 but if the apex ridge has gone it will be trioke that much. Ugh!

A rose is a rose is a rose… Or Perhaps not

 We had a hilarious incident the other day.  Some of you may recall these wonderful artificial roses that Daughter-who-takes-photos and Son-in-law-and-friend-who loves otters gave to Jo for her birthday last year.  They are so beautiful and so real.  In fact, so real that they fooled a wasp.  It flew into the conservatory through the open door – as buzzy things have a habit of doing all too often – and went straight into the roses.  It then went down inside one.  Only my eventually moving, to get the camera, disturbed its futile search for pollen.

Sporting-wise a busy week-end (to be avoiuded by those with a 'sports filter')

In terms of the sports I follow I don’t think you could get a busier week-end unless someone threw in a Wimbledon tennis match!  Firstly, Liverpool played Everton in the soccer FA Cup semi-final.  Everton is the team that live across the park from Liverpool and therefore are our closest rivals (though not our most bitter – that’s Manchester United).  Although both teams are from Liverpool the semi-final was held at the national stadium, Wembley, in London which was turned red and blue for a day.  Everton led 1-0 at half time and Liverpool won 2-1.  Normally I wouldn’t menti0on the half-time score but it turned out to be significant because this is one of two days in the year that I gamble on sports and I had a bet that Everton would lead at half-time but Liverpool would win.  I ended up significantly richer as a result.  (Significant in my terms at any rate!  It will pay for a quarter of a boiler when we eventually get one.)  On Sunday the other semi-final was played and afterwards there was another major call for goal-line technology to help the referees make decisions. He awarded a goal to the team that eventually won and the cameras showed the ball was nowhere near crossing the line. 

Also on Saturday there was the Grand National which I know from previous mentions is a controversial subject because of the potential for horse getting hurt which sadly occurred this year and two horses died. Ironically both died at Beecher’s Brook, a fence which had been made safer this year.  The act of making it safer caused more jockeys to go for the inside line and the horses were bunched up too much as they jumped.  Although my horse came in second by the closest margin ever seen in the National that made me no money because I’d backed it to win though Jo’s horse coming third did because I’d backed it each way for her.  (I never win on the National because I put bets on a couple of horses each for Jo and Richard and if they win they get the money while I’ve still paid out the stake money on all the horses, winners and losers alike!  It’s called the ‘I’m a mug’ syndrome.)

And finally there was a Grand Prix on Sunday and it was exciting for once. There was a lot of overtaking and changing positions though the pole-sitter went on to win the race without having his equanimity disturbed by anyone else.  It was Nikko Rosberg, son of a famous and favourite driver of mine from the past, and it was his first win.  It’s always nice when someone new wins a Grand Prix and ‘my’ driver, Jenson Button, came second.;


I’ve had quite a few cards lately and my postcrossing site is not up-to-date but I had to share one with you here.  One of my blogging friends, Danielle, who introduced me to postcrossing and mailcrossing collects World Heritage Sites.  England and Scotland have a lot and I happen to have postcards of a few of them.  So recently I sent Danielle one of Stonehenge.  This was her response.


I have decided that I might change the postcrossing blog slightly and add in the occasional family postcard from the past.  An interesting idea but whether I will have the time to carry out is another matter. 

ABC Wednesday

I showed some photos representing Nature for ABC Wednesday and Chris J – the Flamblogger chose the same word.  As I knew some people would.  As an N it is irresistible.

In an ABC Wednesday post by Sapna - a typical twenty-something computer science engineer working in one of reputed Investment Banking companies in Bangalore,India - I learned about Namaste.  This is the customary greeting when individuals meet, and a valediction upon their parting in India. 

All to Scale

While I’m pointing you to places let me show you a brilliant website which shows things around the universe in scale with each other.  This is very cool - an animation that allows you to scroll through the scale of the universe, starting at human-sized and going very small or very big. Go play with it and learn stuff.”  So said Jedediah at Book Scorpion’s Lair – thanks to her for finding this.

The Small Print

I got a new Barclaycard the other day.  The accompanying information was in the smallest of print and it was a toss up whether to devote the time to reading the Barclaycard small print or ‘War and Peace’.  In the end I settled for ‘Les Misérables’  it’s slightly shorter than ‘War and Peace’. 

And talking of small print I was about to upload an app to Facebook when I noticed – hidden away in a corner of it - To use this app, you will be upgraded to Facebook Timeline.  Ha, ha – I didn’t upload it so you didn’t catch me this time!  

I hope the rest of the week is good for you and that you manage to avoid all the pitfalls of small print.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

ABC Wednesday - N is for Nature

N is for Nature.

What a wonderful word Nature is since it covers so many things in the world that interest me. I could post a butterfly or a moth, an oak tree or a red squirrel. All of those are part of the Natural World. But I decided not to cheat and specifically went for creatures and plants that began with N.

So here is a Rufous-bellied Nitava. It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Thailand. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. But this one was in my town – Chester in England – at the zoo.

A Nomada species of bee. The genus Nomada is one of cuckoo bees and they are parasites on ordinary bees so they lack a pollen-carrying sac and are often extraordinarily wasp-like in appearance with red, black and yellow colours prevailing, and with smoky wings or wing tips.

This plant is called Navelwort because of the leaves resemblance to a navel.

This is Nipplewort – named for less obvious reasons. The name Nipplewort was coined by John Parkinson who wrote in his Theatrum Botanicum; or an Herball of Large Extent, 1640, "Camerarius (a physician and botanist of Nuremburg) saith that in Prussia they call it Papillaris, because it is good to heale the ulcers of the nipples of womens breasts, and thereupon I have intituled it Nipplewort in English."

Newts from my garden pond.

A Northern Marsh Orchid on the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales.

The leaf of a Norway Maple.

A North American River Otter – once more from a zoo (or Otter sanctuary, I can’t recall which).

Thank you Mother Nature for all your wonders.

If you would like to see what other Wednesday folk have chosen for this letter please visit...

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