Life, photos but not the universe


This is a sticky post.  Apparently this means it will stay at the top till I get bored and choose some new wallpaper.

600 pixels wide


April 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 22 Comments

Further journeyings around bits of OxNorWarshire

So we moored at Cropredy in a glorious sunset







and woke up to a brilliant, frosty, sunny morning.



And ice on the canal, an inch thick.  Doesn’t it look nice?IMG_3886-CS54


We have broken ice with Farndon before.  It’s quite a scary experience.  The ice crashes and splinters and makes graunching noises and bits of it fly about.  Inside the boat it sounds as if something is grinding the bottom off the boat and occasionally hitting it with big rocks.  It sounds a bit like this ↓IMG_4188-CS5-hard-mix


Sometimes, the ice sheets split at an angle and shove the boat inexorably towards the banks.  But it’s a steel hull after all and ice is only water?  We tried breaking it up a bit before setting off and the boathook broke.  It didn’t sink of course, just skimmed across the ice.

Here are some geese, who all looked up as we approached and then briskly set off across the field, away from us.IMG_4167-CS5


We crashed and graunched and shuddered out way to somewhere in the middle of nowhere and had a nice meal on board and there was wonderful light and a glorious sunset and a brilliant moon.

The next morning the ice was two inches thick and our nerve failed after about half an hour of crashing.  We moored a hundred yards the other side of the middle of nowhere and waited for rain.  We also rang the marina six times to say we wouldn’t be back mid afternoon on Thursday but they wouldn’t answer their phone.  And we rang our boat management company but they didn’t answer their phone either.  We felt abandoned – and not in a cosy showering sort of way.  We reckoned up our stores and decided that we could make corned beef hash and omelettes if we never got back to the real world  and I was very pleased that I had brought too many sausages and too much bacon and had bought some extra eggs and bread at Cropredy.  Though oddly, the fridge seemed to get warmer as the weather got colder so the extras I had brought from far away Berkshire were just about keeping cool – ish.  (We should have put it all outside!)

Eventually, it rained and the ice began to melt.  It was the day we were due back (the marina still weren’t answering their phone).  Wonderful Linda, from the management company, phoned us though and said when were we expecting to arrive because people were waiting for us. We explained that we would be another several hours and she said well could we take the boat to another further away marina where it was going to have its hull re-blacked?  We said yes and then the gas ran out.  Thank heavens I’d decided to make coffee first thing.   We battled the rain and wind and lots and lots of cold locks and as we finally glided towards the marina, the sun came out and there were people waiting for us in the real world (quite cheerfully as they’d been having lunch in the pub).

Actually it was a really nice holiday.  The days when we were iced in were sunny and bright and came with sunsets and frosty mornings.  The other days were spiced with anxiety and in fact the gas didn’t run out till the very last minute – well, five hours.  And inside was wonderfully warm and cosy.  It was all very, very good.  Can’t wait for July when we’re next out.

There will be more pics, I just haven’t quite got round to editing them all – what with the sunshine and slowness of travel, I took rather a lot.  Now I’ve got to get a move on because the Middles are coming tomorrow and the house will be overrun with two small people.  Possibly I ought to find them somewhere to sleep?

Sleep well all : )


February 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Back from the Freezing, er,Northamptonshire area

Sunset somewhere in NorWarOxfordshire.


Last October, we moved our 12th share of a boat (along with the other eleven 12ths) from the medium North (Nantwich) to the medium South (Napton on the Hill in Warwickshire – or Northamptonshire, I’m really not sure).  This is a two hour drive from home as opposed to a four to six hour drive  up the M6.  Yay!  Also, it’s on the Oxford canal which meanders through bits of Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, ending up at Oxford.  You’d think this would be a good area for lovely pubs, excellent meals and perfectly reasonable shopping?  Yay?  Also, as it’s a very, very popular boating area, you’d expect plenty of marinas, boatyards and canalside shops, all selling all the stuff that boaters need, like food, drink, gas, coal and kindling.  Well but on the other hand, it’s the depths of winter and lots of people aren’t mad like us so there isn’t much boating traffic around.  And the canal meanders a lot in this area – sometimes two or three miles to a meander and back – often, it seems as if it was built to stay as far away as possible from any kind of human habitation.

We were in fact the only boat setting off on a cold, windy afternoon last week, heading vaguely towards Oxford and calling at The Bridge Inn, where we had a slightly below average dinner and then, next morning, at the shop at the Folly Inn, Napton where we hoped to replenish our coal.  “Open”, it said on the shop door in big letters and then below that it said “winter hours, 12.00 pm till late”.

It was 11.00 so we decided to have a nice cup of tea and wait.

At around 1.00, a man arrived and unlike all the previous arrivals, didn’t go straight into The Folly but seemed to be heading for the shop.  We got coal.  He was a nice man (“retired off the canal”) and I told him we’d see him on the way back.  Local gossip (on their way to the Folly) had told us he wasn’t in good health and usually, but not always, might turn up at 12.00 or any time after that so we were lucky to get the extra coal.

It was a bit cold – here we have swimming drake and standing duck, on ice.♦


We moored somewhere high up and far away and cooked chops and enjoyed the shower and felt quite cosy.

Next morning, we woke up to a freezing boat and snow outside.



The heating had died in the night – fortunately, the coal burner was still alive and of course, we had all that coal from the Folly shop.  Phew.  It seemed that we’d overdone the electrics the night before, what with showering and hairdrying  and keeping the heating on quite high all night because it was quite cold.  So we faffed around with the engine and eventually the boiler fired up again but after a while it went out.  Ah!  The gas had run out (we probably overdid that too, the night before), so we changed the gas cylinder and made a note to get more gas as soon as possible – perhaps at Fenny Marina?  Or Cropredy?

The Fenny Compton Tunnel.♦♦


Next, we moored at The Wharf Inn, where we had a perfectly average dinner but the shop, cunningly concealed behind the bar, sold only bare essentials like milk and sweets.  No yoghurt though.  Oh well.  We can make curry without yoghurt.  They did also have a stock of interesting spices left over from some long ago enterprise.  Unfortunately I couldn’t think of a use for any of them as the only ones left were those for which no one had ever been able to think of a use.

We passed the Fenny Marina where there was a sign saying “closed”.  But a quick google check suggested that this could be because it was open Tuesday to Friday?  However, we were bound to be able to get more gas at Cropredy.  There’s a ‘useful’ shop there, the book said.

Bridge 115 and the lock above it, in the Napton flight.


Lightly iced keyhole.  Somewhere between Napton and Fenny Compton.


We got to Cropredy (where the shop didn’t sell gas in spite of its big sign on the towpath which said “Calor Gas” or yohurt or anything much useful like meat or cheese or newspapers though it did sell vast amounts of feminine hygiene products and nappies), and turned round and moored and after showering and making ourselves nice and clean and tidy, we set off to the Red Lion which didn’t serve food on whatever night that was.  We asked about The Brasenose at the other end of the village and were told that the barman had no idea about them (it’s quite a small village so I felt that this was unhelpful rather than truthful).  We trudged a bit to The Brasenose where they did indeed have food and it was very nice.

Arctic geese near Cropredy


Anyway, After Cropredy, things got more exciting.  I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.  Or soon anyway.

♦Some sort of martial arts cocktail?

♦♦Yes, I know the roof is missing – it kept falling in after they built it so they took the top off.

January 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments


Oh!  Apparently I have been blogging on WordPress for eight years (they don’t seem to have noticed that I’ve been missing for a while).   If you add my previous blogger blog, that adds up to about fifteen years.  (Though I’m guessing as Blogger only seems to have kept posts as far back as 2005 and those were definitely not the first posts I wrote – some kind of update?  Oh well.  Not immortal words then.)

Well it’s not like it was when I started – I said in my second post it was like talking out loud in a dark room and not knowing if anyone else was there to hear.  The image of the dark, echoing room has been replaced by memories of sunlit rooms and gardens and cafes and much loved faces, smiling and laughing and a kaleidescope of blogs from many lovely people.

So, a new year and an oldish couple : )  We haven’t had much work recently and have attempted to work out a budget to compare with what we might have to live on if Barney has to retire early.  Some people, I know, have this sort of information at their fingertips but for us, it has involved a lot of head scratching and list making.  Also, muttering and peering at the bank statements and thinking, what on earth was that paid for?  (I know, I know – for what on earth was that paid – it really doesn’t work any more, that correct grammar.  Reminds me of a lengthy argument/conversation I had with my son over Christmas about some inept phrase and whether the ineptness was as important as the sentiment it conveyed – or didn’t convey if I remember rightly).

Anyway, I’ve decided that whether he is able to use it or not, Barney must have a computer of his own for his birthday (don’t tell him I said so – he won’t like it).  If he retires, he will certainly start using the computer more often – even, he may get better at typing.  Already, he is assuming that at any moment he can pop down and send an email while I am busy with something else.  Since I have my computer set up so that our email and files are completely separate, this means moving over every time and also, raising and lowering my (MY) computer chair.  And anyway, I am getting tired of pointing out that this is MY computer, bought with MY money.  The business owns the printer.  Just the printer.  (Possibly the router as well?  Probably not.) So Barney’s new computer will solve one potential problem when we are together full time.

Another will be transport.  I suspect that we won’t be able to run three vehicles (the car, the toy car and the pickup – which is rattling along on its last wheels anyway).  One of the reasons we are so happy together is that we have widely different interests.  Widely covering the whole country – as in blog parties in Norfolk and hills and valleys in Wiltshire and Yorkshire for me and stamp fairs all over the place for him.  I like to set off on a sunny morning to some corner of England and spend two or three hours driving, parking, hopping out and waving a camera, hopping back in and driving a hundred yards further and so on.  Actually, it would be really useful to have a chauffeur for these excursions as then I wouldn’t be constrained by parking spots which won’t offend the local farmers and walkers and householders.  However an unpaid chauffeur (Barney?  Hmm.) has to be considered more thoughtfully than a paid one (I suppose – I’ve never had a paid one – should I look into the possibilities?) and might quite reasonably say “I’m pissed off now, let’s go home”, while I’m still thinking”in half an hour, the sun will be shining right across that hillside and the shadows will be all long and curvy – unless the sun goes in and how long will it be before those clouds arrive in which case I’ll still take the pics but they won’t be as good.  Maybe I should drive a quarter of a mile to the next spot where the sun is just right, take some pics and then hurry back here”.

No. We’ll have to have a car each.  Or we’ll have to negotiate and I’ll have to learn to plan more precisely, only with the British weather and the increasing warming and unreliability of the globe, that’s going to be really hard.  At least stamp fairs are usually in the same place at the same time.  Oh or maybe I can drive him to stations and send him off to stamp fairs while I trundle around the countryside?

Then there’s cooking.  We both like doing it.  Until recently, I’ve done most of it and Barney occasionally embarks on a culinary odyssey. I can see that, with more time on his hands, Barney may feel like spending more time cooking.  Which will be nice, of course.

Neither of us likes clearing up but only one of us does much of it.  Also, only one of us knows where everything is but if the other one does much more in the kitchen, neither of us will ever know where anything is.  Or how much of anything is left.

As I’m going to say in a future post, there are challenges ahead.  Meanwhile, I shall have another glass of wine and here are some pics.

A stormy and sunny afternoon at Coombe Gibbet.  There’s no way I could have planned, in advance, to be here at this exact moment.




Nor this one!  Somewhere near West Ilsley, below the Ridgeway.


This on the other hand was planned to the last minute – somewhere between 8 and 10 am.


Anyway, I wish you all a very happy New Year (the 358 odd days of it that are left – it”s not a leap year is it?  Oh oops! It is.  Well that would account for the odd day)




January 7, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Lovely Ziggi

Many of you will know Linda as Ziggi.  She died two nights ago – peacefully and comfortably, I’m told.

She was one of the loveliest and dearest friends I’ve ever had and I’m so lucky and grateful to have been her friend during the last years of her life – She once said to me that she didn’t want to be remembered as she was in her last few months – but how could anyone forget the courage and humour she never lost.  Nor the compassion for others and the fierce determination she had to do everything right, both in the daily minutiae of keeping things going while she struggled with the maddening constraints of illness, and in the wider world.  From minute to  minute and day to day she never gave up on her family, her friends, her animals or her principles.

She was kind, clever and a bit fierce!

Dear lovely Linda, I will miss you so much.  Thank you for being my friend.


None of us who knew you will ever forget you.

December 10, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Weekends away

I’ve just returned from Z’s fabulous blog party♦♦♦.  As always,  a triumph, with wonderful food and simply lovely people.  Was brilliant seeing you all again : )  And the extra bonus of Dave’s marvellous coffee!

Thank you so much darling Z  : )

The week before, we went to Bampton for our annual morris dancing, camping festival.  Another occasion for seeing old friends, most of whom we only see once a year and again, it was brilliant.  I do like people!  (The ones I like, that is.  Obviously I don’t like the people I don’t like but this is rarely a problem as all three of them live a long way away.)

Anyway, I didn’t take many photos at either event and over the Bampton weekend I had a long conversation with a dear friend and it dawned on me that the reason I don’t take many photos of people is that I can’t do two things at once.  If there are people around, I tend to talk to them♦.  If I’m taking photos I just do that.  The camera, I’ve realised, is not a communication device!  And of course, it’s also true that unlike trees and landscapes, people don’t keep still long enough for me to get my camera settings right and  make sure it’s not upside down or pointing the other way and that there aren’t too many distracting objects behind the subject and all that stuff.

Oh well.  Here are some non-verbal photos.


Barney and Charlie playing their annual cribbage game at Bampton.  (They barely knew I was there)


Wistaria and the  small child.  (She had no idea I was there)


People, sheep sculptures, the church steeple and Little Place in Bampton.  I think this must once have been a joke, as, though there are bigger houses, this is definitely one of the biggest.


My youngest Granddaughter.  She doesn’t really do verbal yet, so though she clearly knew I was there and had thoughts about it, we didn’t have to talk about it.

IMG_2710-CS5 IMG_2721-CS5

Devon♦♦, who is seven this year, dancing with the team for the first time.   His Dad, David, (ponytail) also dances with them and his Grandad, Tony, retired as squire this year after dancing for fifty years.  We knew Tony’s Dad, Bill, and watched them dance together twenty odd years ago.

Meanwhile, odd things have been happening in the kitchen back here at home.  Barney loves to cook but isn’t so good at planning in advance.  So he’s been saying shall I cook?  Ok I say cheerfully.  Then suddenly he’s been saying, Oh I forgot there was a cricket match on TV.  You may have to take over.  Um.  Ok.  I say slightly doubtfully.  What needs doing?  See, the problem is, I am one of those kinds of cook who has everything pre-chopped and arranged in little bowls and all the debris cleared away before I start heating things up.  Barney is one of those kinds who reads the recipe and chops and fries and simmers and doesn’t clear anything up, all at the same time.  Sometimes he can also talk while he is doing (or not doing) these things.  I on the other hand get slightly ratty if I am expected to speak while cooking and am quite likely to say “It’s in the tomato (or whatever I’m chopping at the time)” if asked where the Radio Times has gone.  Anyway, today, I found that Barney had chopped and sliced two bowls of onions and had peeled four tomatoes (no Radio Times though).  Thing is, none of those were supposed to be in that curry.  A bit of cross-page recipe reading going on I think.  And now I understand why he said “there’s an awful lot of coriander here”.

Anyway, the curry was fine, Bampton was great and Zoe’s party was a complete pleasure from beginning to end.  So that’s all good.

Barney assures me that I can’t talk and roll a cigarette for him at the same time so obviously taking photos is out of the question.

♦Yes we wondered too.  

♦♦♦This is completely untrue – I actually returned days and days ago and have been to lots of other places since then.  But I expect you know what I mean.  If not, don’t worry.



June 4, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Wild Wales and wonderful Z

It’s always a bit of a gamble taking a new person on the boat (a week in confined space, far from civilisation) but we felt we were on a safe bet with  Z and so it turned out.

To be fair she didn’t exactly leap tall buildings but she did lift enormous bridges and travel across extremely high places without turning many hairs.  Not  to mention steering a large narrow-boat through very small looking locks and bridges and working hundreds of locks.  It’s amazing how much less narrow a narrowboat can look when you’re approaching a ridiculously narrow looking bridge.  Even if you know (because Barney said so) that the bridge is wider than the boat and especially if you are a smallish person and can’t see the front of the boat.

We had weather of all kinds, ranging from icy winds and rain to bright sun.  Lots of wind.  We ate lots of really nice meals both on board and on land.  We drank a lot of wine and a phenomenal amount of tea.  We saw a Kestrel hunting not much more than thirty feet away, almost at eye level because it was hovering above a field which was way below the level of the canal, and I saw a gull dive bombing a heron – I’ve never sen a heron perform such aeronautical feats before.  Oh and we saw a hotel boat pulling a butty (no engine) through Willeymore Lock.  Very very clever and smoothly done.  Z has described it on her blog.

So I uploaded all my photos onto my new, capacious and shiny Drobo (which is ? has? a raid system so that I need no longer worry about running out of space or hard discs dying with all my pics inside them).  It’s refusing to start up now.  I know it’s running because it’s whirring gently to itself but the computer sees it not neither does it talk to the computer.  Inside it, are photos of Z, lifting enormous bridges and steering and balancing on high places.  Probably.

I’ve looked up ‘Drobo won’t start’ (and got over my confusion about Drobos not mounting – the context suggests other drobos are doing the same thing as mine, nothing to do with bikes or horses♦) but I don’t understand any of the answers except the bits about turning it on and off.  I’ve done lots of that.  I’ve phoned Patrick, my computer expert who says I can call him back tonight and maybe he can talk me through it.  I’m not sure I want to be talked through.  I feel that there might be interference on my line.

I’m going to have another glass of wine now.  Then I’m going to investigate the clothes I bought in Headington today (9 charity shops within a 1/4 mile square area) and The Cowley Road (only 5) and eat a samosa (freshly made throughout the day in the Indian shop in the Cowley Road).  Then I will ring Patrick.  If he really wants to talk through me, I’m sure the lubrication and distraction will make it go more smoothly.  It’ll feel like it anyway.

If this is all successful, I’ll post photos, otherwise I’ll just post.  I’m not sure if I can wake this blog up after so long sleeping but more surprising things have been known?

Update – Patrick told me to unplug the drobo.  Not very demanding so I’ve done that.  Wait till tomorrow and see if it feels more chatty.  I’m doing that.

Aha.  I mean Update.  It worked and here are photos.

Z, lifting an enormous bridge (you have to peer into the space between the bridge bits to see Z.  and actually, she’s lowering it after we’ve been through but she did lift it as well)


An unusual sight – almost unheard of – Barney reading from an iPad.  Z appears to be reading a book.


Illuminated ducklings


Going through The Narrows on the final approach to Llangollen.  (I’m the runner – going ahead to check that no boats are coming the other way)


A bridge somewhere on the Llangollen


Z is ready for anything – rainhood, sun hat and big smile.


A bridge, somewhere on the Llangollen


There may be more to come.  Sadly, my photos of Z steering the boat across the Pontycysyllte Aqueduct (and of the boat not being steered by anyone – this is perfectly safe really since aqueduct is only a few inches wider than the boat so the boat can’t go anywhere but straight on but when you’re 128 feet up above the valley, it looks a bit scary) didn’t come out but there were other moments. Lovely Z, thank you for coming with us 🙂

Or anything else either.  What can you be thinking?♦♦

♦♦ It always makes me giggle when people talk about sexy computer equipment♦♦♦.  Really???  Makes you wonder what exactly people mean by sex doesn’t it.  (Er – doesn’t it?)

♦♦♦  And as for Jamie Oliver’s sexy salads – words fail me.  Well I’m sure salad sex is fine in the privacy of your (one’s – his – well whoever’s) own kitchen.♦♦♦♦

♦♦♦♦I think I’d better have another glass of wine.

May 15, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

I forgot to say

That I’ve seen Zoe.  Isn’t that lovely?  (Yes)  Yay!

And I’m really, totally, enormously pissed off that I can’t visit Ziggi.  Actually, ankles and stuff notwithstanding,  I will.

November 28, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Dropping by

Or in or wherever it is that you properly should drop.

I haven’t blogged for longer than I can remember (which is not as long as I’d like♦) and you know what?  I’ve missed it.

Meanwhile, various canal holidays have been had, various family problems have moved into better configurations and just recently I’ve had benign postural, paroxysmal vertigo, a broken car and

a mysteriously damaged ankle.

So, benign.  I always imagined this as a description of something somehow warm, pleasant, comfy.  Actually it seems that, medically it means ‘not malignant’.  That seems to me to cover a very wide range of conditions (like normal for instance) and not to exclude a lot of conditions that I personally would never describe as benign.  Got to love the medical language?

The other part of the description means you have a bit of stuff floating in your ear canal and when you tip your head in some directions, it floats along the little hairs in your ear and tells your brain that the world is going round and round.  One of the ways to find out which particular canal the bit of stuff is floating in, is to tip your head around a bit and watch your eyes.  When the world goes round, your eyes follow it as far as they can and then try again and a trained observer can see them flicking back and forth and make an informed guess about which way your head should be tipped next.  When the observer is a rather nice looking doctor, gazing gently into your eyes, you (that’s me) are tempted to ask him to stop going round and round so you can reciprocate.  Never mind.  The treatment is an impressively low tech business of having your head tipped this way and that and gazing into the above mentioned eyes.  Works a treat.

The car was all about it’s computer and deserves a rant all of its own.  Perhaps I shall give it one sometime. I think it’s fixed now.

Meanwhile, my ankle hurt.  Sometimes.  Sometimes not.  Usually not for long but as days went by, rather longer and more.  After a while I realised that actually getting upstairs was sometimes extraordinarily painful.  Sometimes not.  Hurrying to the loo was sometimes quite challenging.  Sometimes not.  Yesterday the sometimes was prolonged into most of the evening and the sometimes not was a couple of short breaks when I trotted around cursing a bit because I hadn’t got quite a lot done during the sometimes.  The thing is, whenever it goes away I think it really has gone (ever hopeful in spite of the evidence to the contrary) and also, bafflingly, it shows no sign of bruising, swelling, heat, lumps, bumps, deformities or indeed anything at all that you can see. Eventually I decided it was just lying when it pretended to have gone away and rang the surgery and they offered an appointment on Friday.  After a session involving making chilli while standing on one leg and hopping backwards and forwards whenever I forgot where I’d left my glass of wine or an ingredient I rang them again and said actually, what have you got in the way of emergency appts tomorrow morning.  Shortly after making the phone call it all went away again and didn’t return all evening.  Typical.  By the time of the appointment I knew I was going to have to go and say, well it doesn’t hurt now but when it does hurt it hurts like hell – Honest!  And naturally I looked up ankles on the internet and was confidently able to reject torn achilles tendons, broken ankles, plantar fascitiis (which I already have so I knew that anyway) and sprains.

I’m very grateful to the Doctor for accepting quite blithely that I really had something wrong even though there were absolutely no visible symptoms whatsoever – nor even, at the time, any invisible ones. He complimented me on my bandaging and then on the mobility and flexibility of the ankle itself (very good for an ankle of its age).  We agreed that it was very odd and that I probably didn’t have any of the above mentioned problems and after some thought, he said brightly that I  might have a loose body.  No, not the whole body, just a little bit of something in there which shouldn’t be – perhaps a bit of bone.  Though bearing in mind the benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (very heavy all those words, they make my mind ache as well as my ankle) I wondered if in fact my body is getting a bit loose.  Who knows where next an unwanted loose bit might appear.  Plenty of scope between the ear and the ankle!

Doctor sent me off, all hopeful, for an xray to look for loose bodies but alas, the radiologist assured me that there was no obvious sign of them in my ankle.  She looked thoughtful and said I might have to have an MRI scan to look more carefully.  I can see this going on for ages and then suddenly vanishing just as everyone has decided it’s a permanent, incurable, unidentifiable condition.  Actually I really don’t mind looking silly as long as it does go away – fairly soon, for preference.

I am resigned to further hobbling for the moment and have acquired Barney’s old crutches from many years ago when he broke his ankle.  My word they are good!  Much better than a walking stick or the occasional bit of furniture.

I am about to gain another year.  I think I’ll be 64 – having a December birthday has always confused me and indeed confused my doctor when I was 29 and pregnant for the first time.  He assured me I was an elderly primagravidae and took some convincing that I wasn’t just one of those weird people who pretend that they’re 29 until they die.  Anyway, I hope this isn’t going to be the year when I have to stop trundling around the countryside with a camera.  Well it won’t be.  I’ll just have to do it more slowly.  And rig up a camera carrying crutch.  That should work don’t you think?

I’ve been playing with Photoshop.  Here are some seriously unnatural photos.




They’re effectively just colour negatives and it’s quite fun only I wish green didn’t invert into purple.

Damn.  I’ve left my wine in the kitchen again.  Got to go.


That’s the remembering, not the blogging

November 28, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Space, time (quite a lot of it ago) and power

Not only had I put the letter from SEB up on the notice board, I’d put the date in my calendar.  June 18th.  Power Cut!

So it’s a shame I didn’t look at the calendar last night because by the time I’d got round to realising there was no power this morning, it was too late to have a shower.  And without a hairdryer there’s not much you can do about sticky up sideways hair with flat bits on the side.

So I didn’t go out today.  Furthermore, I still have several hours of backing up to do and still can’t look at baby pics or circus pics or any other pics for that matter.

But that was fine, as tomorrow,Youngest’s ex-partner will be bringing round all her stuff.  I offered to come and collect it and he said,”I don’t think it will fit in Barney’s pick-up”.


So I trotted up to the top room and began to empty cupboards.

Thing is, when three children lived here, we turned the attic into bedrooms and stored our things in sloping eave cupboards.  When they left, we moved our stuff into the rooms and their stuff into the cupboards.  Clothes, nintendo games and boxes and boxes of nintendo cartridge thingies, super nintendo games and boxes etc, books, clothes, books, GSCE reference books and old school papers, books, nintendo booklets, boxes for old electronic stuff, monitors, keyboards, clothes, books, toys, cuddly toys, bits of bike, cuddly toys, old lamps – have I won a prize yet?  Well there was also a box of crockery, which I didn’t feel we needed cluttering up the kitchen but to which Barney may have sentimental attachment, and a lot of my old silk shirts, which I thought I’d thrown out, and some ancient photos in an even more ancient suitcase (incredibly heavy) which I haven’t yet got round to looking at – that will be fun.

Right, now have I won a prize?  Did I mention the cuddly toys?  And the clothes?  Books?

There was also quite a lot of sticky, rusty, greasy and otherwise undesirable stuff.  And junk.  and rubbish.  So I trotted up and downstairs with bags and boxes and after a while I trudged and later still, I wobbled and finally collapsed in a heap at the bottom of the stairs, surrounded by mounds of rubbish.  Phew!

Then I went back up to the top room and spent a couple of hours, more or less, on my knees, pushing boxes and bags into spaces that were smaller than required.  Eventually, there was more space than there had been before I started and my knees hurt.  Surely I must have won a prize by now?

And Barney came home and we loaded all the junk into the pickup and he went off to the dump – always a satisfying expedition.

It’s still a bit worrying though.  Half a pickup load of junk has gone and quite a lot of stuff has been compressed but how much more have we got to fit back in.  I just hope Ex is, like many people, quite without my special understanding of how stuff will fit into spaces with a smaller volume than that of the stuff.  In fact I really hope he’s an absolutely rubbish packer and sorter!  Well I’m just going to investigate the garage in case he’s right about the amount of stuff.

Did that.


The power came back.  That was nice.

Next day I discovered that one of my carefully hoarded, back-up hard drives wasn’t big enough for the backup and one of the disadvantages of virtual things is that you can’t really push them around into different positions so they’ll fit into smaller spaces.  (Because, I suppose, 50 gig always takes up 50 gigs’ worth of space even if you turn it on its side)

After much thought and peering at properties I realised that the new camera makes files which are nearly twice as big as those that the old one made.  I suppose it’s got more pixels (when I was choosing the camera I didn’t really think about pixels beyond noting in reviews that there seemed to be a satisfactory amount of them.  I certainly didn’t think about gigs.  Or terrabytes).

Then the new hard drives dropped off the computer screen, one by one.  More deep thought and suspicion of the USB hub and lots of plugging and replugging and occasionally “safely removing devices”, but often, just unplugging them.  The mouse still worked though, so surely the hub was ok?  Later the mouse stopped working.  (But that was a flat battery.)  Anyway, eventually I unplugged everything and then plugged it all back in.  It seems to work now so I can start backing up again.  Isn’t that nice.  And I’ve got a new, bigger, hard drive so there will be plenty of space for the moment.

Finally, on power, I was looking for a cheap battery for the camera and on finding one, was told that if I spent one more penny (one can’t help briefly thinking about toilets), I would qualify for free delivery.  I quickly glanced through the seller’s other items and discovered, for the princely sum of £8.99, a

Mini USB Flash Disk Hidden Camera Mini DVR with Motion Activated Wholesale.


Coo, I thought, Isn’t that nice, what is it?♠  So I looked at the description.

Features: 1.New and high quality 2.For a safely meaning like business negotiation and contract signing 3.High quality monitor, protect personal privacy data and information confidential. 4.Fit for hotel/restaurant/public toilet/changing room, etc. 5.Have a long working time…….

You’ve just got to wonder about these meaning like business negotiations in public toilets.  Or maybe I did because of the penny spending.

I think I’ll pay the postage.

Meanwhile, there are things that require no batteries or other power and work beautifully all by themselves as long as they get fed regularly (and etc but I needn’t bother about that just yet)


Don’t take up much space either but time will change that.

♠Was that Flanders and Swann?






June 28, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 11 Comments


That’s me.  Again.

Our new little Gorgeous Babe is very nice and, so far, very quiet.   Her older sister is doing well too – she’d like to be more in charge and also she’d like the baby to need less space in Mum’s bed, but mostly, she’s just besotted.  As are we.  Very proper.

To celebrate the new babe’s arrival, I’ve got myself a new lens.  It’s got zooooooom and you can do moons with it.


(Who knew that the moon is really a melon?)

I wish the lens had come before the baby, I could have taken some lovely photos with it, except that I’m not best at people (They move too much).  Anyway, today we went with our other Granddaughter and her Mum, to see the ‘Fit for Nothing Circus’, in town, so I got to play with it a lot.

I was going to post all kinds of baby and circus photos but my photo hard drive ran out.  It’s taking me hours and hours to back it all up so I’m temporarily deprived of photos and indeed haven’t even got the baby and circus on the computer yet!.  Never mind.  Next time.

Here are some flowers.  Last time I looked at Flickr, there was a convention that BoF (bugs on flowers) unlike DoF (Depth of Field)♠ are hackneyed and old hat.  But who could resist the grasshopper’s knees peeping out of the rose petals?

IMG_4445-CS5 IMG_4487-CS52

Oh well.  I’d better go – us new Grandmas need our sleep.


♠  Just as well that DoF isn’t old hat since you get it whether you like it or not.  The new lens does both shallow and, er, deep?  Depth of Field, effortlessly.

June 18, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 9 Comments