Life, photos but not the universe

Party pics :)

Quite random ones.






Now I have to take the dog out.  He’s doing the cold wet nose under the elbow thing which, at this time of day, means  “it’s been a long time since I did anything nice?”

Good night : )

July 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Up and running

Probably round and round in circles.

The new, shiny and, apparently, enormously powerful machine is installed, purring softly, glowing with little blue lights and needing several hours of programme installing before I’m ready to play.  However, Mr Treasure has installed all the basics and a few other essentials like picasa.  The machine has found what seems like several hundred very important updates and installed them.

Oh and I’m finding out how many of my old programmes need passwords to reinstall and also how many I remember ever using.  Hmm.

And I may have lost the settings for at least some of Barney’s email.  Oh dear – I need Eldest and he’s gone.  I wonder how I’m going to get him to help me reset it all!*

Well!  It’s certainly fast.  Let’s try uploading some photos.

Scottish thatch

Scottish thatch

on the road to Kylerhea

on the road to Kylerhea

Yep.  that’s fast! I think it probably was worth saving up all my gig money for the last two years and then spending it all in one go.**

I could do with something similar in the kitchen.  It seems to be heaped up with disorderly cooking left overs.

Oh well.  time to do some clearing up and then fall into bed to dream of new ways to get lost in the downloads!  And the uploads.  And the installations and all that.

Sleep well.

*Actually I think I know how we’ll do it.

**Definitely worth it – Barney said “doesn’t the business have to pay for this”?  Oooh No!  It’s mine-all-mine.  The business uses email and the printer and it’s allowed to pay for those but it (read he) isn’t going to get its sticky (read fumbling) little fingers on my computer any more than I can help!

July 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

28 people came and went

There was sunshine and babies crawling around and people drinking and chatting.  At least three dogs rushed or lay or leapt around joyfully – and for once, I don’t think there were any chicken bone disasters.  A horde of small children spent a lot of time splashing in the car shaped paddling pool.

There was a constant stream of food heading out of the house, via the barbecue to the people and I have to say that the whole salmon, cooked in wet newspaper was a resounding success.  (all Barney’s meaty things were resoundingly gobbled up within seconds too but the salmon was my main cooking contribution : )

The scene of devastation afterwards was efficiently cleared up by all sorts of people and enormous breakfasts were cooked by Barney at what seemed like frequent intervals – but in fact, I think there were only two breakfasts.  Youngest and I were the last ones standing (or sitting and staggering slightly, at four in the morning.  One of the nice things about our family is that we’re all affectionate and chatty drunks.  No grumpy, sulky  or abusive ones).

On Sunday morning, I left with Eldest and Lovely Northern girl, and we went to Reading and bought me a new computer.  Eldest and Northern girl travelled onward to the far North and I returned to find a group of people sitting on the lawn looking expectant as I hauled a big box out of the back of the car.  They didn’t exactly applaud but there was a ripple of enthusiam and questions : )  Then, with surprising suddenness, they all vanished pubwards for lunch : )

A large amount of juggling equipment, one pair of glasses and all Youngest’s children’s clothes are all that remains now.  Oh and three boxes of glasses to be returned to Waitrose.  And a big box, full of quad core computer with its own card reader and lots of gigs of RAM and masses of hard drive waiting to be unwrapped when Mr Treasure is available to set it up for me.

Oh Ooops!!!!  Mr Treasure just rang.  He’s coming today!  I need to get down there behind the machine and sort out my wires!

See you later!

July 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Just letting you know

Computer’s broke – not Mr Treasure’s fault I don’t think – he did say the problem was with the connnection to the motherboard and I suspect the motherboard has now gone totally bad.  the wireless gadget was supposed to be a stopgap and it looks like the gap has widened.  Or snapped.

Whatever.  I was planning on on an upgrade and, as I may have mentioned fifty times or so, I’m all backed up and ready to abandon ship.

Just, I may have a hiatus for a week or so as time is currently full (of family party and preparations thereof) and the laptop isn’t comfy for my back.

And then of course, if I do get a new computer, it’ll be  a month of Sundays before I can get all my stuff running on it.

See yoou soon


July 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

We’ve been serviced!

That is to say, the nice computer man came, investigated, conquered and then gave me lots of useful advice and information and gave the computer a mini service while he was at it.  I think he’s what we used to call a treasure! £30 for the hour he spent here and £30 for the wireless broadband gadget, installed and – as you see – working*.

I suspect that I could have got the wireless thingie for less but now I’ve also got AVG ( £0.00) instead of the Norton monster (anything from £40 to £100), all our email accounts on my laptop so I can check Barney’s email when we next lose the connection with the desktop, lots of useful information and my computer’s been tidied up and should run a bit faster. What’s more, since the whole problem mostly affected the business email rather than my personal one, it’s all classified, quite genuinely, as a business expense so I won’t have to pay for it.

I had to laugh.  Mr Computer Treasure doesn’t use email or computers for himself at all.  He says he sees enough of them at work!

“What a lot of plugs you have down here” he said “must be at least twenty!”  He’s right.  I can’t at all see how I have so many.  There aren’t  that many things connected to the computer I’m sure.  I suspect that I need to get down there again with a torch and find out where all the wires go.  I could maybe get rid of some and rationalise the others.

Oh.  Well I just did a quick count of things connected and there are nineteen.  Still, it wouldn’t hurt to rationalise.

And I’ve had a hair cut too.  (no, not from Mr Treasure – that would be really too good to believe).  My last young hairdresser (they’re all children these days) has gone home to Australia dammit!  So I had a new one who looked even smaller and younger than the absent Australian one.  She didn’t seem to know exactly what I meant by “just trim it exactly the same way it was done before” and she watched me fluff it into a curly looking style and say “that’s how I like it” and then got out her dryer and brush and blew it into a straight and neat style.  Not like me at all.  Annoyingly, Barney says he likes it like this.  I’m afraid he’ll be unlucky.  The minute I have time, it’ll be curly and fluffy again.  But it’s not getting in my eyes and it’ll be reasonably tidy for the family party.

Speaking of which, I really must get down to that housecleaning.  And meanwhile, do something about dinner.

Speaking of that, I have to have a quick whinge.  About non-stick pans. See the theory is, nothing ever sticks to them so you don’t get any burnt on stuff to wash off.  The practice is (in our household anyway) that sooner, or even sooner, someone will succeeed in burning something on to them and then, gradually and inexorably, the non-stick will unstick itself and peel off in unsightly and poisonous shreds into your next fifty or a hundred meals.  And I mean poisonous as in heavy metals and unspeakable chemical bondings.  So when I go out to buy a frying pan (hot!) or a wok (even hotter!) I demand and seek good old-fashioned sticky stainless of the very finest quality.  Well the quality doesn’t matter so much but it’s got to be stick!  And then you can scrape away with metal utensils and toss and fry as hot as you like and nothing nasty will get into your food except that what you put there yourself.  And while we’re on the subject, no non-scratch fish slice or wok thingie-scraper-stirrer is worth its salt.  They don’t get the browned bits off the bottom of a pan before they become black bits and they aren’t ever thin and firm enough to quickly lift a crisp thing off the pan before it becomes a burnt thing.  Usually, they become a burnt and slightly wrinkled thing in the process too.

Picasa is doing a long winded thing which I don’t see the purpose of – I think it may have decided to compact its data base.  I suppose this will be a good thing eventually.  At the moment it’s just a nuisance as I suspect if I try to upload any photos it’ll throw a wobbly and  freeze.  So I shall just say good night.

Good night.

*Actually, you wouldn’t know this if I hadn’t said since I was able to use the laptop but the desktop is ever so much more comfortable and convenient.

July 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Prescient or what?

This was written the day before the computer parted company with broadband.  So, am I or am I simply prescient?

Now I’m thinking serious thoughts about a new computer because a) it’s unlikely, even improbable that this one will continue to function for ever and b) because I want a faster one.  And they’re all faster now and bigger (in the virtual sense), than mine ever was.  All those dual core processor thingies and firewires and stuff and hundreds of gigs of memory and all that.  And I’m feeling a bit tempted by Middle Girl’s very tiny laptop thing.  Which would be a very nice and convenient way to back up photos when I’m on holiday.  Hers was a bit cheaper than mine would be but I’d need more hard drive space than she does.  And then, since I only ever use the laptop to take on holiday and back up photos, I could give Barney the old laptop and he could have it upstairs and do all his email and ipod stuff whenever he liked and not on my computer!

Well I’ll have to think some more.  But I’ll have to magically do the thinking before this one crashes or I’ll be a very cross bunny.

Well I did promise some more photos : )

I waited ages in the hope that these people would centre themselves nicely in front of the gap in the mountain but instead they wandered away.  So inconsiderate!



I’ve moved these mountains to my desktop.  I think I can quite happily look at them for a long time : )

Dun Scaich castle at Tokavaig

Dun Scaich castle at Tokavaig

As for this one, there was no time of day it wasn’t a plesure to see.  And since it was at the bottom of the drive, so to speak (and give or take a couple of hours walk), we could look at it almost any time.  In fact, you could see it from almost all over the island : )

Sgurr Nan Gillean

Sgurr Nan Gillean

A nice thing happened the other day, just before the computer broke.  I was leaving the shops and it was pouring with rain.  Two mobility chairs, open to the elements, with a big, solid looking old man driving one of them and a tiny wizened old lady driving the other, went past at considerable speed along the pavement.  Both the old dears were leaning forwards as if to urge their chairs on faster and were clearly laughing fit to bust as their carriages splashed through the puddles up the slope : )  I guess they were indulging in  a very junior moment!

I hope I can have fun i the rain like that when I’m old enough to get my own mobility chair!

‘Night : )  Sleep well.

July 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Ee’ it’s enough to bring on me palipitations

As me mum used to say.  (I believe that’s what our dearly beloved char lady Mrs Payne or Pinnie as I called her when I was very small,used to say too)

Today there were storms with torrential rain and thunder and lightning.  I was out when it happened but clearly some of it happened here becausewhen I got home, there had been a power cut.  And naturally the computer had turned itself off.  Worrryingly it wasnt very keen to come back to life but after a bit of restarting it whirred and did the right sort of things.  Except for the internet connection which didn’t.

Exhaustive investigations (which involved crawling about underneath the infernal machine with a torch and peering at various leads and connectors as I like to do this sort of thing by a combination of deduction and empirical observation -of the shapes of the plugs that go into the different holes) convinced me that there is a problem where the router connects to the computer.  I can’t tell whether it’s the bit where the lead leaves the router, the lead itself or the bit it goes into.  It’s not the rest of the router as you can tell because the lap top is using it.

I need a helper!  I may have to go to the market tomorrow and see if the nice man who once helped me before for the respectable sum of £30 is still ther and will do it again.  It occurs to me that I probably ought to have Barney’s email account set up on the laptop as well as mine.

I must have been feeling a bit prescient – hence all the backing up!   Of course that was no use when it turned out to be the router part of things tht broke.  But at least I’ve now copied all my settings over onto the laptop.

Can’t transfer photos over without a lot of extra faffing around though.


I’ll do some tomorrow if I’m not up to my neck in computer stuff.

July 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

All out, one in

Well now that the indefatiguable Head Gardener around here has removed the deep jungle from the window, I feel that we need some replacements.

Something not too fast growing or overbearing.  So I’ve bought a very small marjoram plant. To grow on the kitchen window sill.  This is completely foolish of me because a) I have brown fingers, b) I forget to water and c) I think marjoram is an annual and will therefore die anyway as soon as the weather gets cold.

But I really love the herb.  Almost as much as Basil and Coriander which are my favourites.  More than Thyme and Oregano which I love too.  It’s not pot marjoram or Greek marjoram (which I strongly suspect is really oregano) or that other interestingly named marjoram which I forget just now.  It’s proper, old-fashioned, delicately aromatic Sweet Marjoram and it used to be very hard to get hold of as a plant or as a cut herb.  Waitrose sold it a couple of times in the last year or two as part of their ‘herb of the month’ range and I bought copious amounts and dried it and then used it all up very quickly.

Now I’m covetously eyeing Barney’s very many and surely nearly all unusable old boots.  These have proliferated over the years.  I wonder occasionally if they breed under the tumble dryer shelf and if that’s why there’s always, whatever I do to tidy them away underneath, a huge heap, spilling out onto the floor and harbouring spiders, escaped mice, probably frogs, bats, snails and slugs and generally behaving in an inappropriately organic way.  Every so often he declares a current pair worn out and goes off to buy some more.  Pairs.  One of the things we share is a difficulty in throwing out old stuff so I understand that he hopes the worn pairs will come in handy (or footy) sometime.  I just suspect that it hasn’t occurred to him that they might come in even more planty!  I’m suddenly fantasising a row of old boots by the back door all sporting herbs and looking wonderfully quaint and charming.

You may not be aware that I’m totally not a gardener.   Other peoples’ gardens delight me and I sometimes imagine how I’d do it if I could be bothered but what with next door’s charming and well maintained garden giving ours a colourful and beautiful frame  all year round it doesn’t seem necessary.   I’ve done it in the past and thus there are some shrubs among the bramble hedge and the mock orange (Philadelphus, thank you Thursday) scents the front door and the Forsythia and Winter Jasmine glow with yellow flowers in winter.  Now and then I get the urge to plant something so there is bamboo and a Cedar tree growing down next to the fields at the bottom of the ‘lawn’.  I have vague plans to plant a hamamelis down there too (more winter gold).  and perhaps try again with a couple of birch trees.  Also, protected from passing deer and rabbits by a small square of netting and completely buried in grass, there’s a tiny ginko tree which, though it produces half a dozen leaves every year, has shown, over the last ten or fifteen years, absolutely no sign of growing taller than about 12 inches high.  Every year I haul out some grass, just to confirm that it’s still there and still alive and every year it isn’t any bigger.  In fact it’s smaller than it was when I bought it.  The original, main stem has died and only a tiny shoot survives.

The curly hazel, on the other hand, which I planted on the lawn has got much bigger over the last few years and is still the very odd shape it was when it arrived.    I don’t know why I thought it might ‘grow into its shape’ but I was wrong. It looks as though it’ll be the same odd and awkward shape when it’s 100 years old!

Meanwhile, as a rest from all this unaccustomed thinking I’ve been reading.  Rereading Miss Garnett’s Angel  by Sally Vickers which was a treat and discovering The Guernsey Literary andPotao Peel Pie Society.  Which is a treasure and got gobbled up in one sitting.  Well actually, one lying -on- my- tummy -on -the -music- room -floor – ing.  (very good for my back and feet but hard on the elbows).  It’s short and sweet and funny (though not without sadness and depth) and a gem.  Perfect, restful and feelgood stuff written with real talent and charm.

And now I have to make a start on the grand annual housecleaning.  (Family party next weekend)  This will undoubtedly cause a bluish discoloration of the air around me.

So I’ll spare you any more on that subject and here’s a bit more from the blue skies of Skye 🙂

This was a wonderfully peaceful and quiet place.  Bird song, stillness, a faint occasional plop and splash of fish rising.

Suddenly, really suddenly, there was a weird mutter inthe distance imediately followed by an appalling banshee screech rising to a body shaking roar, seemingly about two feet above my head.  Completely disoriented my whole body convulsed in abject terror and leaped and scrabbled away from the water looking for safety.  I knew what it was – only a passing jet fighter.  But even knowing what I was hearing and feeling, my body reacted quite involuntarily.  I can’t remember the last time I got such a violent physical shock!  And it was all just noise and a bit of vibration.  Only an instant later it was gone and the place dropped back into it’s daydream.

I was lucky though, one of us was in the toilet when it passed and the lights had been switched off.  One can’t help but wonder how many tiny creatures just died of shock in the undergrowth.

Under the bridge at Dunvegan Castle

Under the bridge at Dunvegan Castle


waterfall and clear blue depths at Kilt Rock

on the way to Staffin Bay

on the way to Staffin Bay

Portree Harbour

Portree Harbour

Sligachan Bridge

Sligachan Bridge

Taken on the journey to Skye.

Loch Garry

Loch Garry

Also on the journey.  Not a bad lunch stop!

On the shores of bonny Loch Lomond

On the shores of bonny Loch Lomond

I hope you’re all enjoying some peace and quiet.

Or having a lot of fun.

Or being enormously productive 🙂

July 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Back up and then back up again

Well I’ve finally caught up with the backing up backlog.  I never thought I would.  (I owe Eldest an eternal debt of gratitude for his advice about USB2 thingies).  As a result, I now have two external hard drives which are almost completely full of photos and there is a strong temptation to clear one of them out and start filling it up with new photos.  But I mustn’t do that.  The whole point of backing up is that you end up with two copies of everything not one.  One is an archive and the other is, well, a back up.

This means I need two more hard drives, one to work on and one to back up to.

So I went to Reading and while I was there I looked yearningly at a pair of VERY expensive trousers from East which is a shop I love but where I rarely spend any money.  (cos it’s so VERY expensive).  Instead I bought a new dog bed, some flea killing stuff, and some other random bits and pieces.  But not from East.

Then I went and looked at the VERY expensive trousers again and then I had a sausage roll and a coffee.

This is all good because the trousers would have cost nearly as much as a hard drive.  And now, my complete back up of all those photos is safely packed away in it’s Maxtor box (another debt of gratitude I owe to eldest who trained me to keep all his computer purchase boxes and whose example I followed.  Though this was helped by the fact that I really hate to throw out a good box).  And the new hard drive seems to be working well and this has emboldened me to go and buy another one so that for once, I will have bought all the things I need in order to do something properly.  I have a tendency not to do that but to get half of what I need or buy the smaller size just in case I am wrong about needing to spend so much money.  It’s odd that having spent years (more spending) learning to restrain myself from buying up half the charity shop (even though I know some of the things I get are too small or some such minor difficulty) I’m now having to persuade myself that even though two costs twice as much as one I must buy the whole pair of hard drives !

So all in all, the backing up and the backing up of the backup are proving instructive as well as useful.

Anyway.  We’re having kebabs for dinner.  Jamie (who I’m very fond of after his noble assault on the school dinner system) Oliver has a one major fault as far as I can see.  And it’s not his accent which I’m happy to believe is genuine.  It’s his timings.  I don’t know who actually wrote, tested and/or edited the recipes for Jamie’s Kitchen but I’m pretty sure that when they said “grill for about five minutes, turning regularly” they actually meant “cook for x minutes, turning every five minutes”.  Where x is currently equalling about twenty.  Or else their barbecue is a lot hotter than my grill by several orders of magnitude.  Never mind the kebabs were done eventually and very nice too.  And the marinade was delicious. (Even though Barney used half the amounts of all the ingredients except the lemon of which he used the lot)

Now the dog says he really really does need to go out (cold wet nose under the elbow, pleading eyes, pointed ears and a succession of small mfff! and gwow! noises) so I shall stop and post and let him out.


July 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Let there be light

We have been feeling for a while now as though the sitting room is under water.  It’s not wet in there but there is lush, voluminous and prodigal growth, just outside the window, filling the room with a soft, green dimness.

A Forsythia, a Winter Jasmine, two small Ash Trees and a Mock Orange Live in the rather small flower bed and they seem to like it there. The Mock Orange (I can’t immediately remember its proper name) reaches up to the bedroom window above and has been wondering about moving in with us.  The Ash Trees are intruders and have spawned a dozen babies which are also thriving excessively well considering how little space there is for them.  The Forsythia is trying to move in next door (and has been firmly and efficiently repelled by Mr Next Door).  Somewhere I have a photo from inside the window taken last year before the growth became  overwhelming but I can’t find it (buried in leaves and branches no doubt) but here it is from the outside.DSC_3485-1

Somewhere underneath all this fecundity is my Rosemary bush and a heap of Montbretia which have been struggling bravely on in spite of the competition.  Not to mention a rose bush, some violets and cowslips and some tiny irises which I was given a long time ago by a famous horticultural photographer and writer who I happened to be friends with before she became famous.

It’s time they, and we, saw the light of day again!

Mr Next Door tends to do these things with a pair of secateurs and a lot of time and care.  Barney has another approach, involving large pruning shears, the strimmer, the chainsaw, the pick up truck and a good deal of brute strength.  He doesn’t take kindly to instructions like “cut each branch a few inches above the last major junction with another branch and make sure the direction of each cut will allow the new growth space to grow away from the centre of the tree”  He prefers to”cut it right back!”  Ah well.  Trees are tough things.

This is not the window in question.  This is the one that you can see through.

This is not the window you can't see through.

And now you can see even better through this one.



OMG.  It looks a bit naked!

Mr and Mrs Middle girl came last night for dinner and we had a most magnificent rib of roast beef.  Normally, Petrol Head (aka The Chef, aka He Who Knows Everything.  Who?  Oh well, Barney really) does roast beef with ‘orkshires and all the trimmings.  However, he’d spent the morning amongst the jungle at the sitting room window and inspired by the joys of destruction and  wielding sharp implements, he’d moved on to the hedge (not really twenty feet high but sometimes it seemed like it) and was completely worn out by the time it came to cooking.  Not even in order to wield yet sharper implements could he face anything other than a shower and a trip to the pub with Son in Law.

So I cooked and Mrs Middle helped and it was all very nice.  Done to a turn, though I say so myself, and if the ‘orkshires were a bit crisp, no one minded.  Mrs Middle and I finished off the evening somewhat owlishly moving photos in and out of Barney’s ipod.  Sometimes the wrong way, sometimes the right way and sometimes out of all human ken.  Eventually all those that should be, were, on the ipod and all those that had vanished had been retrieved and put back. So we went to bed feeling we’d done a good job.

And rather tired.  So now I’m going off to eat another dinner (tortilla with salsa and Garlic bread) and not watch cricket.

Enjoy your evening and your following days and nights.

July 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments