Life, photos but not the universe

So where have all the marbles gone?

Today, Barney was supposed to be up before the crack (which, by the way, is getting earlier again, as the sunset is getting later) to set off to the far side of the country and fetch his Dad over for NYE.  But after the power cut, he set his alarm clock an hour late.

And yesterday, I went to get sausages and finding the butcher was closed, I thoughtfully peered at the timetable on his door and carefully noted when he was planning to be open – last week!

More coffee!!!!

And which day is it today anyway?

I don’t know why Christmas on a weekday is so destructive of rational thought but it seems to be playing havoc with ours.  (I’m assuming we used to do it – rational I mean.  And thought, for that matter).

And today, we notice that although our rubbish collection timetable seems to say they won’t be collecting the recycling today, next door have put their recycling boxes out.  I studied the recycling timetable very carefully and I’m sure it says it’s not our week this week.  So maybe next door are having a bit of trouble too.  And the regular rubbish wasn’t collected last week, presumably because of the snow, (it doesn’t take much to put them off) so we have a bulging bin out there.  And overflowing recycling boxes but that can’t be helped.

Ah well.  With or without marbles, preparations must go on.  I’m off to wield a hoover 🙂


(if I’m not back before it begins 🙂


December 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Under siege – routine him belong me gone altogether buggerup!

We’ve got wild and stormy winds today* and I notice the cold is coming in quite briskly through one or two windows – notably the bathroom window (just behind the loo as it happens).  No surprise to wake up to a power cut today either.

Mandu, the little skinny cat is back from her holiday at the kennels, where, I’m told, she was quite happy and ate a lot.  No change there then and no change here now she’s back.  I still have to watch her like a hawk to make sure she doesn’t forget herself and make unwelcome deposits.  Not to mention picking her up every five minutes and putting her up on the feeding shelf in case she’s too weak with hunger to get herself up there!

And, it being the frozen festive season, Barney is at home.  Has been for, ooh, about ten days now.  This is, of course, very nice.  Maybe a trifle disruptive?  Just a little trifle?

I think I’m going to make some coffee now.  That’ll help keep me calm.  And alert.  And on the ball.  And ready for his next foray into the kitchen.  Which will be to do with NYE.

The party, as usual, has invited itself and we need to be making a bit of stuff for people to eat.  Namely, cassoulet, curry, meatballs, rice, potatoes and trimmings.  And the house might get cleaned a bit (though at least I won’t have to do any washing up since I have an unlimited supply of clean dishes at my disposal)  And I do need to work out who wants to stay the night and where they might be sleeping.  (Eldest tells me the blow-up bed deflates during the night – this could be a problem!)

Meanwhile, my cold is going its second round.  Barney told me it would and naturally, I assumed that being a woman and one with a thoroughly unhealthy lifestyle at that and also being just generally hardy and resilient, it wouldn’t dare return to me.  But it seems to be doing so in spite of all that.  My diaphragm aches with night-long coughing – which of course I deserve since I haven’t stopped smoking while I was snuffling and I have a sore throat!  (Damned cheek all the same!)

So in preparation for all the forthcoming excitement, I went out with the camera on what may turn out to be the last sunny, frosty morning for a while.

I’m quite glad I did.

I can’t thinkwho the idiot was that left – er – my car parked there!

Going to bed with cough medicine now.

Sleep well 🙂

*Did I mention rain?  Bucketsful!

December 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

For a certain very special Rainbow

Lime sorbet

In fact, a rainbow of cocktail sorbets.  To be enjoyed after something rich and heartwarming like soup or roast dinner 🙂

December 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Christmas dinner (Before the trimmings)

Roast Beef

And ‘Orkshire

Barney was a justly proud and happy cook : )

December 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Should you ever be among the Kori tribe

in Australia, you might want to know the pidgin English term for an eclipse of the sun.

Kerosene lamp him belong Jesus Christ, gone buggerup altogether

This is a wonderful book.  And I am so clever, I gave it to Barney for Christmas and now I get to hear the best gems read out over breakfast 🙂

We had a very nice Christmas thank you 🙂

All the children and the grandchildren were here and the smoked salmon and hardboiled eggs was nice, the roast beef and ‘orkshire pudding was marvellous and then there was christmas pudding and sticky toffee pudding and cheese and nobody burst into tears and ran away : ) Everybody got presents they wanted and everybody was lovely : )

And the snow was still out there in the field, albeit a little patchy, so the grandchildren, the dogs, and some of the grown-up children went out and played with Uncle Eldest’s snowboard.  While Grandad made dinner and Grandma trailed around after them with the camera. (wearing the gorgeous purply, fleece gilet with a furry collar which Grandad gave her for Christmas and which she has barely taken off since it was unwrapped).

And then on Boxing Day after a gigantic Barney type breakfast we all went to Youngest’s for dinner and had a seven course gourmet meal.

(Plus canapes~cauliflower cheese balls)

~beef consomme

~carpaccio of beef

~roast (Don’t look Mel) goose with confit legs, rosti of parsnips and carrots, bread sauce, roast potatoes, sprouts cooked with bacon and white wine and stuffing.

~lime sorbet

~chocolate fondant

~hazelnut meringue


Now, having collected Mandu from the cattery (where she was very happy) and taken Nutmeg into the field to find his lead which was used to tow the snowboard and which he allowed the people to leave lying out there, we’re having a rest.

Snowboard towing with dog lead

General mayhem

way to go

Marmite encouraging Uncle Eldest with the snowboard – guess what happens next : )

more mayhem

A Happy (restful) Sunday to you all:)

December 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Happy Christmas Everyone

Have a wonderful, cosy, peaceful, joyful holiday.

Be well.


December 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

From snow to the post office and bird feeding stations in between

Decisions decisions.  Not mine though.  Will Eldest come down for Christmas, bringing the lovely, boisterous, ebullient and cat-chasing Marmite* dog?

If so, I think we will bundle our little, thin, fragile, old Mandu cat into a container of some sort and take her to the local kennel/cattery place. W here, hopefully she can be kept warm and safe indoors till the Marmite Monster has gone.  We know that Jess the big spaniel pup will be bringing her family actually so perhaps we’ll bundle Mandu anyway.

Thing is, both cats have total control over Nutcase – he daren’t even go through a door if one of them is by it.  They just aren’t prepared to argue the toss with either a large golden, Alsatian/Lab sort of thing, or a large black and white love-everything-to-death, high-speed Spaniel pup.  Tosca is the queen of high places.  If there’s a shelf available she’ll sit on it and defy a dog to come anywhere near her.  Mandu keeps her feet on the ground.  When visitors, of an over-excitable canine nature, arrive, she tends to vanish out into the cold and dark till they’ve left.  I don’t think she’s up to it this year.

So  it’s into a box and away with her to a safer place.  (Don’t know what we’ll do if they’re full!)

Meanwhile, it’s snowing!  Lots!

I got my lovely Mr Treasure to call in and fix the printer, frantically printed, wrote, labelled and enveloped fifty more cards and set off to rush to the post office but in fact had to drive very very slowly through falling snow on slippy roads, only to find that the post office computer was ‘down’ and so I could only buy a lot of stamps from the shop counter.  Parcels – no go!  Oh woe!  No presents for people in the far North till after Christmas!

Speaking of presents, here are the very first visitors to my birthday present 🙂 (taken through a very dirty window so you can hardly see them!)  Barney said it would be a robin and I said it might be a blue tit.  Robin came first by a very short flutter.  And today there were a nuthatch and a woodpecker.

And speaking of snow

I know some people would think this was just a dusting but Nutmeg thought it was quite a lot 🙂

Now I might consider a quick night time snap or two if I can find the tripod.

Good night 🙂

*Ooh!  Spell check hasn’t heard of Marmite!  Weird.

December 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Oh well that’s that.

My nice new envelope printing programme is doing as well as could be expected.  Which is nothing at all seeing as how muggins here, refused to believe that the printer wouldn’t accept the very small envelopes she was putting in it.

Printer jammed.  (at the first envelope, naturally).

It won’t even let me turn it off!  I can see the envelope in there!  I can even get hold of it with a pair of tweezers!!!  But I can’t get it out.

*Small, weary scream of frustration*

You know sometimes it seems like Christmas is a bit like childbirth.  Once you’ve embarked on it, you can’t get off.

I don’t know who invented Christmas cards but they’ve got a lot to answer for.

Is it worth mentioning that I didn’t bother to print the whole 150 cards we’ll need?  Because (unless you jam the printer) you can always do a few more.  And if I hadn’t jammed the printer, I could have printed sticky labels.  On A4 sheets.  Cos the nice little programme would have done that for me.

Do you think I need a break?  You’re right.  I’m going to go to the pub and croak carols with the merry crowd up there.  I’ve had it up to here with Christmas cards, printers, computers and all that.

See you later 🙂

December 20, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Glass dropping and also filling up

That is glass as in barometer and glass as in half full or empty.

And, Wow!  I am an astonished and possibly very happy bunny!  And talk about the eleventh hour!

I typed some folorn sort of query into google, about Outlook and mailing and got this.

It puts a button in Outlook with which you can print an envelope or a label with a remarkably small amount of adjustment.  (it took me about an hour to get it set up to do the printing in the right part of the envelope but in the past I’ve spent DAYS trying to do the same thing with mail merge and the old outlook express label thing). True, I’ll have to select each contact individually but it goes straight to the printer and out comes the envelope, addressed.

Just, Wow!

I may even pay for it when I’ve done the christmas cards.

Oh wow even more!

You don’t have to do it one at a time!!!! You can just select a whole lot of contacts and it’ll do them all!  Can this be real?  No endless arguments with mail merge, no faffing around with label sizes and envelope positions?  Well, we’ll see.  I haven’t done it yet.  It could still come down to me and a pen and a lot of crossings out.

Furthermore, I’ve ordered Barney a Christmas present which he’d forgotten he wanted.  This is so clever of me 🙂


Anyway, in case anyone around here hadn’t noticed, it’s ever so cold!  We even had snow today and though there wasn’t very much here it was decidedly wintry.  I’ve put the winter duvet layers together and tucked two hotwater bottles into bed (both for himself, handed on to me when he gets hot – usually quite some time before I arrive and sneak in, hoping to steal a bit of heat from him before my toes freeze).

The dog has given up trying to run off in search of people’s compost leavings and after a swift deposit or two, comes back inside as fast as he can.  We’ve lit the fires three days in a row.  Ooh and the weather forecast says heavy snow! Tonight!  I must go and see if it’s doing it now.

It’s not but I still have one or two photos from the canals to spare 🙂


Just a note on something that puzzzles me.

Christmas presies.  Right?  Well no, according to my kids, it should be prezzies.  But according to ecards, it should be pressies.

The kids are of course phonetically correct but ecards are surely not!  What they describe would be something (or things) which you press? No?

Well then, by default, if the ss’s in  pressies sounds like ssss, then the s in presies should sound like z. IMHO.

Actually IMNSHO.

Got to go to bed now!

Sleep well and keep warm.

December 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Yell for help!!!!!

Does anyone out there feel able to tell me how to select a large number of contacts in Microsoft Outlook (2007) and then make address labels from their details?

Mail merge seems to be the only way to do it but I don’t want to click a hundred odd individual names and I already have a whole list categorised as Christmas card people.

Every year I get to this stage and then quietly go mad.

Why can’t outlook help say

how to make labels from selected contacts

1 select them from, for instance, a customised view,

2 do this simple thing to them, thus creating a list

3 run the mail merge thingy and when it says “which of these lists do you want to use for your merge”, select that nice simple list you just made from a drop down menu.

4 put a lot of sticky labels in your printer and press print.

Doesn’t that sound as though it ought to be the way to do it?  Why do I have to think about fields and filters and business managers?

Any knowledgeable help very gratefully accepted!

December 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments