Life, photos but not the universe

And on journeying

Says my middle girl, when people ask for a GPS reference, “Hello??? You ever heard of maps?”

As a journalist, she walks, cycles and buses around her home city finding the homes of people she needs to interview.  As a traveller, she uses maps to find her way around the world.  Maps are a wonder, a delight and incidentally, useful – as in fit for purpose.

But they also still  serve the purpose for which they were originally invented and created.  They tell you about the world as we know it.  They define the things that some groups of people want you to know about their bits of the world.  Somewhat in the way that the first pictures of Earth from Space did, they offer you a romantic perspective.   And of course, Google Earth with all its extra bits of information and knowledge is far closer to those early maps than a regular Atlas.

If I had a choice, I wouldn’t have GPS but I would have instant and everywhere access to Google Earth!  Since I don’t (once I’ve left my front door) have either of those options, I am very happy with maps.

And yes, I do all those things you lovely people mentioned, (except writing on the original – I print Google maps out and write on them) .  Before a journey I ring things and highlight stuff and study routes and search for places of special interest.  I look for ponds and lakes and hills and woods.  Then I buy the local map wherever we go so I can see where we’ve been.  And as we drive around the country, I get to study the road map, the canal map and the railway map so we can squeak excitedly as we pass over and by various features and places we’ve seen from the water or window of a train.

Not to mention features that no longer exist (there was a railway here before Beeching – Oh yes look, you can see the embankment) or don’t exist yet  (like the bridge across the M6 Toll road which has no ends  because the canal which it will one day carry isn’t restored yet – so cool).

Ok.  I’ll stop boring on about maps and move swiftly on to Wildlife You May See In Berkshire.  If you’re prepared to suspend disbelief.

To be fair, I believe these are mostly domesticated.  Still, it’s a bit of a surprise to find Highland Cattle in the lush pastures of the Pang Valley

Slightly astonishing to see what look suspiciously like ostriches, grazing in a field near Tutts Clump.

Albino ostriches even??

And something that could either be  Llamas (No no Mel, you didn’t read that word, really) or Alpacas in the same field.

I wonder if the furry and feathery things get on well together?

Actually suspension of disbelief is easier than you’d think, since our local game butcher sells ostrich, buffalo and crocodile meat.  Obviously the ostrich and buffalo must have come from somewhere, not necessarily overseas.  Crocodile though, is another matter – I feel that it’s very necessary that it comes from overseas.  I really don’t want to stumble across a crocodile farm when I’m out with the camera.

Yes I know it would make an interesting shot, blurred and conveying swift backwards movement.  Perhaps with TEETH!  (I might find myself involantarily saying “BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!!!!!”)*


No, really.  I was joking, they can’t seriously have started up Crocodile farming in England?   I can just about handle the idea of Wolves being returned to the Wild in Scotland but Crocs in Cambridgeshire**?  Nononono.  A man who casually shuts a croc’s mouth with duck tape before picking it up doesn’t strike me as having a healthy attitude to safety.  In fact, call the Health and Safety!  This must be one of the few places where they could be useful!

I need to go and lie down.

No dreams tonight ok?

*Which, you may recall, means in tidal waters, “I do not understand your intentions” .  Which would be a lie but might make a crocodile pause for a second.  Or not?

**Returning briefly to maps, I feel this merits a god old fashioned map entry – here be dragons.

April 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Ouch and bother and ?:{

I’ve been a very grumpy bunny the last few days.  My twisty foot hurt for three days.  It does that sometimes without warning and then, without any obvious reason, stops doing it.  I’m very gad to say it’s now stopped doing it.  Why it had to wait till last night, after dark when I’d finished all the walking and shopping and general hobbling up and down steps and such like I don’t know but it’s a huge relief to be able to do stairs and nipping to the kitchen or the loo without cursing and grumbling and occasionally squawking.

Pain is a damned inconvenient thing is all I can say.

I notice that, now my foot is untwisted, the weather forecast for tomorrow is light rain followed by rain. Typical!

Anyway, while sulking over a hot paracetamol, I thought to do a bit of brain straining.  First it took a whole day to find my nintendo, (which was more or less where I looked to start with), then my fiddle teacher told me that brain training is no longer considered an effective way to keep the worn out brain going a bit longer and then I found that my “brain age”  hadn’t got any older anyway.

So, today I looked up the research that shows that brain training doesn’t work.  (Well, some of it anyway).  And it seems they’re saying having done the base test once is, in itself, enough of a practice run to improve performance but there’s no sign that people who practiced brain games, performed any better on the base tests than people who looked stuff up on the internet (well that an be a bit of a brain exercise in itself).

It’s like the old thing about IQ tests.  They measure your ability to do IQ tests.  And if you practice IQ tests, you get better at them.  Like if you always do the times crossword, you may get very good at Times Crosswords but never be able to complete a Daily Mail crossword (does the Daily Mail have a crossword?)

All about patterns see.  People like to learn patterns and then they get efficient at those patterns.

So my suggestion is that they ought to produce games with more unexpected variables.  Instead of doing the same old remember some words, count some people, follow a maze stuff, they need to think of lots more ways to befuddle and confuse the would be intelligentsia.  My brain training thing has about eight games on it – it could do with a couple of thousand.   None to be repeated until you’ve done them all.

Or something like that.  I’m slightly confused really, after doing half a dozen games today.

However, I have to tell you that I did complete the most difficult game* with all five answers correct and according to Dr Kawasaki or Kamasuke or Kawashike (I can never remember his name**) I’m up to jet engine speed all of a sudden.  Pretty good since till today I’ve only managed walking speed (which is to say, 2 correct answers and one of them a complete blind guess).

Don’t get the idea that I do this stuff often or even regularly.  I get the nice little toy out about , ooh, three times a year and go completely gaga over it for two or three days and then I forget it for another longish time.  And I have to say that I have absolutely no evidence that doing it improves my brain’ overall performance at all.  In fact, if anything it’s the converse (or obverse ?) in that I only tend to do this stuff when I’m feeling quite bright and alert already 🙂

Footnotwithstanding, I did catch a bit of sunshine and a baby bunny

And a cowslip meadow

And some buffaloes


Yes, I think they are.   Either that or Dr Krakashiwu has finally cracked my brain cell.

I shall take my broken brain to bed perchance to dream.

(Buffaloes eh?  Hmm)


*For those of you who have one of these fun gadgets, it’s the game where lots of little people go in and out of a house and you have to keep track of them and say how many are left at the end.  All five correct!!!!  Wow!

**Which doesn’t say a lot for the effect of training on memory does it.***

***Kawashima!  Of course.

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

From Limehouse Basin to Teddington Lock

Oh yes!

We’re going up the River Thames  for our holidays.


My first inkling that this may be a little different from our usual canal jaunts came when I learnt that in order to travel on the tidal Thames in any boat longer than 45 feet you must have a VHF radio.  You have to book your passage through Limehouse onto the Thames in advance, with the port authorities.  In order to use the radio, you have to attend a course in maritime radio use.

And then, according to the London Tideway Handbook (1 – Upstream edition) you have to learn the sound signals such as “beep! ” (I am altering my course to starboard) and “beep beep!” (I am altering my course to port) and even “Beeeeeep!” (I am about to get under way or I am approaching a blind bend).  And more worryingly “Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep!!!” (I do not understand your intentions[I doubt whether you are taking sufficient action to avoid a collision]). !!!?   *##*!  (Presumably after that you go “Boing! Gurgle“, ie, I told you you weren’t taking sufficient action to avoid a collision and now you’ve collided with us and we’re sinking)

Then there are lights displayed at bridges, most memorably,  a flashing white light indicates that there is a large vessel in the vicinity and a very quickly flashing white light, that there are two or more large vessels in the vicinity. (gulp!  H-h-how large, I wonder?)

Puzzlingly, by day, a bundle of straw indicates that the headroom of the arch is reduced (but it’s still open to traffic).  I suppose that’s to soften the blow if you miscalculate your height.  But – a bundle of straw????

Oh and look!!!!! If we go “Beeeeeeep!” as we emerge from Limehouse, it might be heard by a vessel about to pass the entrance.  Might be.  Right.  Ok.  And we must be ready for the strong current and must also be aware that because of the blind bend just down river, vessels may suddenly come up behind us only a few moments after we’ve set off.  Oh yes and we mustn’t be surprised or concerned if marine pirates I mean police launches challenge us and want to board.

Now look here, when I signed on for this trip I understood that we’d peep out of Limehouse, have a quick look round to make sure the coast was clear and then zip up the river, riding on the incoming tide and in next to no time we’d be safely tucking ourselves into Teddington Lock and locking it firmly behind us.  I didn’t realise we’d have LARGE VESSELS –


Like this rather fast looking refuse barge,  perhaps two or more of them – coming suddenly up behind us while ducking under bundles of straw and have to indicate that we ‘doubt they are taking sufficient action to avoid a collision’.  I didn’t realise we might have to beep at people to tell them they were about to hit us!  (A narrow boat horn sounds improbably loud in a confined tunnel through some rural hilltop in Lancashire but I bet it sounds pretty thin and small out on the Tidal waters among all those LARGE VESSELS!).  Yes and watching out behind and in front at all times and also to the side to avoid collisions with vessels coming out from piers unless they’re river police intent on boarding us in which case we must let them do all the manouvering.  And of course we must listen to all the other beeping boats in case we need to know what all those other vessels are planning to do to us.

Just in case we might have thought it’s just a bit like a big, wet, boat motorway, you have to drive on the right.  And if you should happen to find yourself crossing the path of another boat “the vessel which has the other on her own starboard side shall keep out of the way” (I think that’s a complicated way of saying, avoid boats on your right especially if they look like ramming you amidships).  Also, the map which shows all the bridges and which channels to go through has to be read from the bottom up.  (Why???)

Oh and we have to have an anchor.  I won’t go into details about things like what to do if your engine fails or there’s a man overboard (shudder!) but the anchor figures largely in the relevant instructions.  Together with rope hurling and lifejackets and floating ring things (not to be thrown at the head of the person in the water – Hahahahgulp).

The handbook  doesn’t mention wakes.  Neither does it tell you what to do if the steerer is overcome with seasickness.  I happen to know that this is highly probable with at least one of ours**.  Not me, I hasten to add – neither a steerer nor seasick will I be.

You know, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll be able to let go of the edge of the boat long enough to get a photo of St Pauls as we hurtle past (I’m told we have about ten seconds to get the shot).  I think probably, I’ll just hide in the bottom of the boat and hold the camera over my head.

Well.  If anyone wants to come along for the ride (we already have at least two passengers booked) they’re welcome.  The more people looking out in every direction the better.  I think.  And it’ll be an exciting ride don’t you think?  Tea and cakes on offer.

I need to consider something other than water.

Ooof! that’s a little calmer.

*downloaded from freephoto.com (which is why they’re so big I suppose)

**It takes about three and a half hours – Oh yes, that’s quite long enough.  Ooops!  I won’t mention it to him anyone.

Update – actually you don’t have to have attended any courses in maritime radio usage – you don’t even have to know how to use your VHF radio.  In view of  what I’ve learnt since then, this seems a little casual!

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The beauty of maps

If you happen to a be a map nut like me, this promises to be a fabulous series.

The first episode was in fact about the mostly fabulous Hereford Mappa Mundi the largest medieval map in the world.  and I mean LARGE.  Not the sort of thing you’d put in your bookshelf.   I was a bit worried that the programme would be all enthusiastic young women describing the ‘meaning’ of maps in rather slushy ‘meaning of LTUAE’ terms with a limited input from the curator of the British Library and an even less useful input from anyone who could tell us what was actually on the map.  It’s ok, the second episode was much more informative and still quite interesting about the meaning of maps – this time, the Morgan Map of London, made in 1862, and a 1746 map made in the French style and Stephen Walter‘s modern, funny and personal map.

I dearly long for a Stephen Walter map of my very own!  Or a Mappa Mundi like the Hereford one, full of fabulous beasts and monstrous creatures and wild inventiveness.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

And meanwhile, the sun came out, the weather got warm and the volcanic ash made news and then arrived here in Berkshire.  I missed the spectacular sunsets but went out yesterday with camera hoping for sunshine.  Which came and went through  a grey filter.  Not the prettiest light really.   But I was on a blossom hunt so I went out anyway.

And I found

impenetrable blossom

Distant blossom

fringe blossom

blossom with matching white pony

and blossom behind a high hedge.  To get this photo, I had to stand on the bank and hold the camera over my head and then bring it back down to see if I had been pointing it the right way.  Not bad for blind shooting : ) And it only took about forty tries!

While I was wandering in and out of gates and gaps trying to get a good shot of the pony, a polite voice accosted me suddenly.  It turned out to be the pony’s owner who was concerned because there had recently been strange goings on and tampering with her horses.  So I (hopefully) reassured her about my harmlessness.  Still, it’s a bit depressing to think that today idylls still have snakes in the grass!  And just as I was getting back into the car, a big grey pickup roared down the road and it’s driver shouted something that sounded more than merely unfriendly,  out of the window, as it went past the horse owner’s house and the pony’s field!  If only I hadn’t already put the camera down, I could have got a shot of the number plate!

Now I’m supposed to be cooking and if I don’t post this imediately it will turn into one of those  posts that sit around for months as a draft and then vanish.

Hope you are having a good weekend.

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

From oxes to washing and boxes and boxes of everything.

Our house seems to be full of boxes.  Well, it is full of boxes*.

Going back a few years, when we converted the attic into bedrooms, we lost a lot of storage space but kept some under the eaves which are full of the childrens’ childhood stuff.  In boxes.

Then fast forwarding to a few weeks ago, there was a bit of house clearing in Braintree and Barney took on the task of collecting and delivering all the lots for his stamp club auction.  These have been heaped in boxes in the sitting room while all the stuff we brought from Braintree has been heaped in boxes in the dining room.

Meanwhile, there are other boxes containing Barney’s own stamps, lots of clothes that I shouldn’t have brought home, enough books to start a small library, a lot of junk (I mean items of great sentimental value) which one or other of us has refused to throw away over the years, my father’s millions and millions of photos, slides and negatives which just might have some kind of historical interest but it would take someone a month of Sundays to check them out,  and all the stuff that I tidy away every time we have a party and which never gets put back.

Of course, under all the above headings, there’s also a huge amount of stuff on shelves and in cupboards and under chairs and behind tables and hung on the walls and stacked in various rooms and and and and………………………ad nauseaum**

Anyway, instead of Spring cleaning and throwing out during the last few days of occasionally glorious sunshine, I’ve been adventuring with my camera and since Barney has been using the Escort to carry boxes to and from the stamp auction, I’ve been adventuring in the little car.  I have to say that it keeps me on my toes that car.  Not only do I have to remember how many times to undiddle the alarm doodly everytime I park, I also have to work out what the reminder beep is trying to tell me.  Since all the reminders (handbrake, seat-belt etc) sound the same as the reversing beep***, I spend quite a lot of time wondering if I am going backwards without noticing. I also have to remember that it has automatic transmission and therefore spend quite a lot of time carefully relaxing my clutch foot with which I am constantly trying to change a non-existent gear. Oh and the indicators and windscreen wiper levers are on opposite sides from the Escort’s so I keep trying to indicate with the wipers and vice versa.

Ah well.  When  I get the Escort back I can transfer a whole lot of boxes and their contents to the nearest charity shop.  That would be  the one in Thatcham where I can put all my Spring throwouts into a shopping trolley and wheel them to Save the Children.  Or the other one (I forget which it is).

So.  Spring wanderings.


more lambs

the distant hills – calling me through the mid-afternoon haze.

Got to go and hang washing out now.  Wow!  Hot enough to dry washing.  Wonderful!

*typo – oxes.  Ok I typoed the wrong spelling but I’m so glad it is just a typo.  A house full of oxes or even oxen would be untenable.  Worse than boxes. (boxen?)

**how on earth do you spell that?

***I wonder why it needs a reversing beep.  You can only hear it inside the car so it must think little car drivers are really absent-minded people.****

****Well I am one of those but I rarely fail to notice if I’m going backwards!

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments


At this time of year, I tend to wander around town and the surrounding areas, admiring the magnolias.  I love the old fashioned single-petaled tulip trees with just a hint of colour at the base of the flower.  Not that the double petals and Stellata and deep magenta ones aren’t lovely and exotic.  I just prefer the lovely simplicity of the single, white flowers.

Anyway, just up the road from where we used to live on the South side of town, there is this splendid, old magnolia growing up from behind what looks like a wonderful walled garden.  There’s nowhere even slightly convenient to park and for years, I driven past it, swerving a bit and absolutely longing to stop and get a good look.

So today, as a reward for being extremely brave with the hygenist*,  I made a special trip out to see this tree and walked quite a long way and took a photo (or twenty) of it in the soft evening sunlight.

Worth every step.

Meanwhile, I’m setting myself a task in three parts.  First, to take all the stuff we brought back from Barney’s Dad’s house to a charity shop and unload it.  Second, to gather up all (or at least, a lot) of the books and clothes from our house that I don’t read or wear anymore and third, to take them to a charity shop and unload them.  You’ll notice that part one is similar  to parts two and three put together.  This is an indication of how much junk there is in  our house compared to Dad’s.

*which is to say I went there and let her do dreadful** things to my poor pegs which didn’t like it at all

**That’s a slight exageration.  She’s actually very gentle and quite nice about me squawking from time to time – in return for which I am very careful not to bite her.

April 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Of parties and imprisonments

We spent last weekend in Devon, having been invited to a fiftieth Birthday party (this was clearly just an excuse, she can’t be a day over thirty).

So, B&B booked and we arrived in plenty of time to get settled in before going off to the party a few miles down the road.  It all looked good.

It transpired that our hosts were going out for the evening too, so we were given our front door key and shown round and left to get ready to go to our friend’s party.  So we set off, but really, only got as far as the front door.  Because as Barney inserted the key to unlock it and let ourselves out, the key broke leaving the barrel in the lock.  Somewhat taken aback we stared at the key stub.  Then Barney managed to extract the barrel from the lock but obviously, it still wasn’t going to be a lot of use.  Then we went round the inside of the B&B knocking on doors and searching in corners in case anyone might still be at home, or have left a spare key somewhere.  No such luck.  We were alone in a locked house with no way to get out.  I had the phone number of the house – the one in which we were locked and all alone.  In case their answer phone message had a mobile number on it, I tried to ring it but had no signal.  We realised that there was a good chance that we might be spending the evening, locked into the B&B with nothing to do except watch TV, while, out in the free world, other people were partying away, all unawares.

Well, eventually, Barney discovered that one of the ground floor windows was unlocked so we decided to escape that way, leaving a slightly anxious note on the windowsill (Which ended with a plea not to lock us out) and the window slightly ajar in the hope that we’d be able to get back in at the end of the night in case we didn’t manage to speak to our hosts!  It was a tight squeeze getting out and we both wondered whether, much later and after much carousing, either of us Spring Chickens (one long, not very bendy one and one bendy but quite wide -beamed one) would be able to get back in.  Not to mention the alarming possibility that the note might not be seen and the window might be locked.  Or that someone would spot us trying to get in or out and there might be an arrival of police and lots of bother!

Eventually, I did manage to leave a message on their answer phone and it was an excellent party.  And when we got back, Mr B&B was waiting up for us anxiously, having got my message as they left their party.  After all, he didn’t know what time we’d get back!  (About ten minutes after they did as it happens).  So it was all good in the end : )

On the way to Devon we passed Stonehenge which had to be photographed from the car as we were in a bit of a traffic jam at the time.

This was the Chilsworthy village green and play area (just round the back of the B&B)

And this is a memorial to the workers who broke up stone to repair the roads.  Last used in 1935 it says – obviously the stone wasn’t used so it must mean the wheelbarrow.  It  looked remarkably well preserved for a 75 year old wheelbarrow so I couldn’t help wondering if it was actually left behind when the modern housing estate was built and some bright spark on the local council is having a joke on the tourists : )

Anyway, the violets are out.  Which is nice.

And now I have to make dinner – I hope you have a nice dinner – we’re having pork faggots and celeriac mash.  (I don’t think you want to look up that link Mel.  I should just ask the Brit 🙂

April 14, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The best laid


Hedge, at Douai Abbey.

Ok, it looks a bit of a mess now as it’s newly laid.

Once, long ago I saw an old woodcut showing hawthorn flowers in a laid hedge and the image has stayed with me though I’ve never been able to find it again.  I’m really hoping this hedge will turn out to have some hawthorn in it.  Hedge laying is incredibly labour intensive compared to driving a giant hedgecutter along the roads, thrashing the tops and sides off the summer’s growth, but the results are a miracle of elegant curves and tight weaving.  It may not look as though this will grow but it will and after a few years of careful laying and tending  it’ll develop into a wonderful, dense barrier with even growth all along its length.


Egg, at Burghfield lakes.

Well, not so good, this laying.  I can’t imagine what prompted a goose to leave an egg here but I fear it won’t ever amount to much apart from someone’s lunch.

It’s very sad.


Stitches – does one ‘lay’ stitches?

Recently I was seduced by a blue linen jacket I saw in a local, not very cheap shop.  They were having a sale and I sidled in, hoping I wouldn’t notice myself doing it.  Before I knew where I was, I was outside again, clutching a very pretty blue, knitted, jersey top with a tiny velvet bow, strategically placed, and oops!  A blue linen jacket.  In the general, overheating brought on by the cheapness of the top and the fact that they did manage to find a jacket in my size, even though it wasn’t in the sale, I forgot that the current fashion for very wide, very deep ‘v’ necked tops, is rarely compatible with the design of my supportive underwear.  (It has a good deal to support, top and middle and lower areas and may well be the sole reason why the top half of me didn’t fall off the bottom half altogether, some time ago)

So I just spent an hour, carefully increasing the length of the fetching little gather at the strategic place and also stitching the fetching little bow into it and then unstitching it all and restitching with the bow outside.  The typos for the last sentence included stitiching, stchitining, stitchititeting and, oddly, stitcheling so you can tell that the effort has nearly unhinged me completely.


Plans.  I have been good,  Very very good.  I drank only two glasses of wine yesterday**, I smoked many less ciggies during the day than I normally do.  I ate only three quite small meals.  I walked quite a long way round Burghfield Lakes and then I came home with a lot of photos*.  After my small dinner, I sat down to quickly glance through said photos and all was undone.  I found myself at three in the morning with a full ashtray, an empty (fourth) glass and a blissful sense of having achieved a lot.


Even the best laid plans can be overturned in a flash.  I reckon the hedge has the best chance of hatching from all these layings.

*A mere 220.  Ish.  (Only I take three different,  bracketed exposures each time I click and they’re each stored as jpeg and raw files so, well, you can do the maths)

**That’s yesterday before midnight***

***Actually that’s now the day before several days before yesterday.

April 12, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

R, R& R*

I felt in need of some.

So I got up early, did a few jobs and was about to have a shower.

Suddenly the dog jumps up and wanders over to the back door with an expression of benevolent interest.  Sure enough, the cat has brought something in.  OMG!  a live baby rabbit!!

There follows an ungraceful scene featuring an elderly-ish, hobbling and cursing woman (in pink pyjamas and a droopy dressing gown with a pillow-created hair do that could only be described as eccentric), a sneaking-out-into-the-sun dog, cat-beating, rabbit hunting, rabbit escaping, cat pouncing, dog reappearing in hopes of finding a new friend.  Round and round the grounded garden mower we all go until eventually, I get the rabbit, the cat and the dog widely enough separated to put the cat indoors, tempt the dog back with treats and stand over the rabbit while it hides behind the log pile.  I shut the cat flap.

Shortly afterwards, as I sit with my coffee, somewhat out of breath, massaging my foot and looking quite (even more) dishevelled, I hear the cat flap.

#*****&  *##! I thought it was only the other cat who knew how to open the cat flap door.

Sorry.  Another round is beyond me.  Still, so far the rabbit has put up a good fight.  And clearly, as I always suspected, Tosca lacks the killer instinct that was Mandu’s.  In fact she seems to lack all but the pouncing, carrying and playing instinct.  Maybe she thought it was some kind of edible kitten?  Maybe she even thought she was teaching it something.  Spring has brought out her maternal instincts?

So maybe the rabbit will have got away.  Certainly, if Mandu had been around it would have been DOA (and headless to boot) but with Tosca you just don’t know.

Anyway, I returned to the plan; shower, do a few more jobs and zoom out into the sunny morning (if I was very quick otherwise it would be afternoon) to search for lakes

and spring growth

and water fowl (grebes courting)

young swans, feeding (but they don’t look nearly so pretty when their heads are at the bottom – gives a whole new meaning to “does my bum look big in this…”)

geese nesting (look closer : )

and, of course, sunken dragon’s hoards.

And just generally have a good amble.


April 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Caught flat-footed

I always knew these wretched feet would be a problem one day (along with the equally wretched teeth).

So I spent the weekend hobbling around like an old lady and wondering if I needed a walking stick.  then wincing at every particularly nice chewy thing I got stuck into (or which got stuck into my teeth – take your pick – I forgot to take mine).

What with all the wincing and hobbling, my knee nearly gave out and then my back started whinging and twinging and then it was time to come home.  (and consider elbows and RSI)

It really is time to adjust my lifestyle to fit my age.  ie. a little less indulgence and excess and a little more discipline.  I’ve always said if I wanted to get fitter and lighter all I’d need to do is cut out (some of) the booze and fags and tuck a bit less food into the bit in the middle.  Oh and exercise a little more (more than not at all that is).  So, hey! this is my chance to prove myself right.

So first thing, on the way home, we stopped at the pub to meet some friends and had a few drinks and then went home and made a curry which was a bit too big for two and not quite worth saving any for the freezer.  So we ate it all.

Um.  Then my feet still hurt and anyway the dog hadn’t been fetched from kennels yet so there wasn’t any real incentive to go for even a very short walk.

Am I not trying hard enough I wonder?

I’d better got to bed and think some positive thoughts.  Better take some paracetamol too – it’s much easier to be positive if you don’t hurt.

However, I have been distracted by the possibilities of commercial exploitation of Thames Chinese Mitten Crabs.

Wouldn’t you be?

The sun is out!  It’s promising to be out for the next three days!  Barney’s inadvertently taken my little flask and left me his big one!  I shall need to stay out for hours in order to use it all up and I’m going hobbling  in search of lakes and spring buds.

Have a glorious sunny day!

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments