Life, photos but not the universe

Blog Break

I think I am probably having one for a while. See you soon xxx


December 15, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments

By Contrast

Although Joan’s ashes were buried properly and even with a few words from the minister, it rained steadily throughout the burial.  We all stood around under umbrellas (mine being embarrassingly rainbow coloured but usefully large) and didn’t spend very long with our private thoughts afterwards.  We all agreed that the rain was appropriate but inconvenient and as I said to an old friend of hers, she would have had something to say about it.

Anyway, after the cakes and coffee, her three children gave me a lovely surprise – the violin, over which I have had so much heartsearching was officially given to me.  No strings (apart from the ones attached to it).  Although, when I do stop playing – if ever – I shall honour her desire for it to be offered back to the family.  It was all very good and although we didn’t exactly have a knees-up, the few of us who attended felt that we’d done her justice.  Certainly after the cakes I had a sugar high which lasted all the way to Sandbach services.

So, on, on.  It was a hell of a long journey back (I swear the M6 saves it’s worst just for me) and I’m very pleased to be home.  If I don’t fall asleep first I shall play the fiddle later.

Meanwhile, WordPress keeps telling me to enable phone authentication for my blog.  I couldn’t help noticing that one of the steps involves giving Google my phone number and you know, I really don’t want to do that.  I shall dither over it and ask Eldest what he thinks when I next see him.  Probably they’ve got it already.  I do think it’s odd that WordPress need Google to be involved as well since I thought that never the twain would meet.  If they are so close to Google that your phone number goes through them, why on earth doesn’t WordPress ID work on Blogger?  Pfftt!




A little more Nose.

December 13, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Well, that could have gone worse! There were no delays on the M6 and I didn’t leave very late. Although heavy mist accompanied me up the A34 and most of the M40, the sun was working hard and eventually made a watery appearance – this caused an interesting series of ice blue, yellow ochre and neutral grey, colour effects to happen to the scenery so I didn’t get bored (much) on the way up.
Further, I didn’t get lost, not once, even slightly. However, the traffic slowed down dramatically at Congleton, where you leave the Ms and head for the hills, and eventually it became clear that there was a funeral cortège ahead. So the last eight miles took nearly half an hour and all the while, the sun dipped lower and the clouds gathered. It’s a very nice place though.
So now I’m booked into my room and have tried out most of the facilities and I’m practising typing while lying on the bed. It’s not very good. No matter, shortly I shall go and try the attached pub for a meal and a drink. I brought some ginger beer which turns out to be a good idea, and then I thought that was really a bit Puritan so I got a miniature prosecco in Sainsbury’s on the way. This was also a good idea.
Then I spent ages trying to edit some photos with an app. Quite possibly there will be one here in a minute ……..

…….. Um. All I can see is the HTML. I’ve no idea what you’ll see!
Oh well I’d better publish it and see what comes out. There doesn’t seem to be a draft option any more.

December 11, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments


I’m off up North again to join the family when they bury my sister’s ashes.  It’s quite complicated working out a plan that will allow some time en route for the hills and lakes since if I get there before dark, I’ll need to find something to do for several hours in the dark – I’m staying in the local Premier Inn as their house is currently heaped with stuff they’re trying to sort out.  I don’t particularly want to drive up the M6 in the dark especially considering its habit of stopping for hours.  Probably four hours in a Premier Inn would be marginally nicer than in the car on the motorway in the dark.   Most of our friends and family up there either live on the other side of the Pennines or on the wrong side of the sprawl of motorway madness that surrounds Manchester – not brilliant for getting to a cemetery at 10 am.

Just in case I’d forgotten someone absolutely lovely who won’t have forgotten me, I trawled through my address book and found that I am quite right in thinking that there are lots of people I’d love to see and haven’t forgotten at all who live just a bit too far out to be practical.  I also found a lot of people I can’t remember at all?  Who on Earth can that be I wondered, frequently.  And then there are loads of people who got duplicated when I first connected my iphone to the computer and again when I started using icloud.  One fine day I need to spend an hour or two removing them.

Right so now I need to plan an outfit that can be worn while scrambling up and down Tegg’s Nose ♠ (assuming that I get there before dark) and also while burying ashes.   We’ve been involved in ash burying twice before, once scattering them across the cliffs on the Beara Peninsula and once trudging across a cricket pitch carrying a cardboard box.  Prosaic that time, and amazingly heavy.  When you condense a person into a cardboard box, they become dense.

Anyway, this time we’re doing a graveside thing – so I suppose a bit of smartness is in order.  So, ok.  Two outfits.  Both warm.  As long as the graveyard outfit is comfortable it’ll do for travelling as well?

Although I am not as mapslexic as Youngest ♠♠, by a long way, I do need to know where I’m going, especially if it involves small roads and lots of turnings where I haven’t been before (no, no satnav in any of our cars) so I’ve goggled, sorry – googled, myself a route from here to Tegg’s Nose country park and then street-viewed all the turnings (so I’ll recognise them and not panic when I get there).  And then Macclesfield high street because when the sun goes down at four-ish, I can go and check out the charity shops but I’ll be knackered after the Tegg’s bit so I need to know where the nearest car park is and how to reach it.  Although I used to live near Macclesfield, I never went into the town itself so I had no idea how to find it – there’s a big road cutting through it which is quite hard to get off at a sensible place.

And I’ve just read Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay, a rollicking thriller which begins with a young man seeing a just-murdered person on a google maps-type street view.  I recommend it but that may be because I’m nearly as addicted to Street view as the young man in the story.  Quite apart from the whole rest of the story, the young man was amazed and delighted when he first saw a reality which he already knew like the back of his hand from the map thingie.  I am so with him on that and really looking forward to seeing the Nose in the flesh – or the rock as it will, hopefully, be.  Although it would be surprising and extremely interesting to see a real nose on top of a Derbyshire hill, I will be quite happy with a heap of rocks.




And some late afternoon sun.  Wish me luck on that – the weather seems to be getting less sunny up there every time I check.

I’ve travelled past it many times and I think it will be as good as its name.  Which is extremely good, don’t you think?  How can you not yearn to see a place called Tegg’s Nose?

♠She has an uncanny ability to get lost half a mile away from her own home – satnav was made for people like her.

December 11, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Things we didn’t do in November

We didn’t go out on the boat.

The week before our week was due it transpired that the boat was leaking (probably caused by a collision.  ???!  Those things are made of thick steel ♠ and travel at four miles an hour).  It was agreed that the people who should have been on it the week before us would skip their week so that it could be repaired.  What with boatyard schedules and stuff, it didn’t really get looked at till Thursday and then they decided that it would have to come out of the water and then pointed out that they could do the re-blacking at the same time which would save us (the twelve owners) money in the Winter Works.  But it would take longer – till the Monday of our week.  So we (me and Barney) agreed to miss the weekend.  But sadly, it took even a  little longer and the boat wasn’t back in the water till the Wednesday afternoon (unblacked, I assume since they’re talking about blacking in the Winter Works).  By Wednesday, Barney was up to his ears in work and we didn’t feel like trundling up to Nantwich to take the boat a couple of miles up the cut and then turn round.  Especially as the Llangollen Canal, although picturesque, is very, very ♠♠ isolated.  Pubs and eating places are few and far between.  And it was mostly wet.

As it happens, the boat AGM was due on Saturday and we’d been offered the Friday night by next week’s owner as he wasn’t planning to come up till the AGM so we could have been on the boat till the AGM and then come home after it.  Bit of a problem being that we had also been invited to a surprise 60th birthday party on the Saturday night and would have had to get back from Nantwich like a streak of lightning in order to be there in time – Barney had suggested that we change into our party clothes on the boat in the morning but quite honestly, what with cleaning the boat and packing all having to be done by 9.30 in the morning, I couldn’t see that happening.  Seeing that we weren’t even going to be there on the boat it seemed just silly to drive 200 miles and back in a hurry just to discuss stuff that we don’t mind very much about anyway.  What colour should the new carpet tiles be? (yes, fine) Should we replace the chimney vent? (if you like) Shall we have the bows painted or just blacked next winter?  (Yes)  Shall we throw away all the bits and bobs stacked up in the front deck cupboard? (why not) Shall we get a new company to fix the TV or replace it? (oh, isn’t it working?  We never use it)

So we stayed at home and went to the party and it was really fun.  Richard Cox Smith was the birthday star and one of the guests was Michael Chapman.  When they played guitar together they were FANTASTIC!

Also, I encountered a son of Richard’s, wielding a Canon D60 and I fell in love.  My Nikon is old and dear but the Canon is well known for being noiseless (That’s got nothing to do with sound – I’m so deaf these days I wouldn’t notice it anyway.  It’s that grungy purple/green/blue blotch you get in dark parts of photos taken in low light).  And the Canon was so light!  (I’m beginning to need a hoist just to get my camera up to eye-level.)

This week I was in PC World and I noticed that they had a D60 on offer – I was severely tempted.  I might yet go back.  It’s got one of those swivelly lcd screens too, so you can take photos from funny angles without getting down on your hands and knees and then falling over when you try and get up again – or without climbing on rocks and chairs and then falling off even before you try and get down.  The only thing is it does movies too and I don’t really want to spend money on movie-making.  I want the same camera without the movies – cheaper surely?

After the boat fiasco, I suddenly thought wouldn’t it be nice to go and visit friends in Luxembourg – it could be a birthday treat I thought.  There was a flurry of emails but what with our friend’s work and Barney’s commitments it couldn’t quite be made to fit.  But, now I’ve made the first attempt, (we are so stuck in the English mud – it took two years to get ourselves to Dubrovnik for my sixtieth birthday treat) I feel we’re almost on the way and will definitely make a plan for the Spring.

Anyway, we didn’t do all that in November and although I have absolutely no idea what Barney is getting for my birthday, I’d better go and get it a wireless adapter so I can use it straight away without getting it all tangled up on my desk.  So maybe I won’t rush out and buy a Canon.  Yet.  Besides, there’s that insane, shiny, jingling season approaching a bit rapidly; I might need my money to  boost the domestic economy.

While we weren’t away, the leaves ripened






There’s nothing like Autumn.  All last year’s sunshine, stored up and splashed about.

And now it’s December and I’m a whole sixty three years old.  And later today (when we get up) I shall get my present and start playing with it.  Watch this space.

♠I was going to say 1” thick but I looked it up in the interests of accuracy and found that it can be anything from 4 – 10 mm.  However, thinking about concrete blocks, supermarket trolleys, bicycles, dead bodies, shotguns and other stuff found on the bottoms of canals, I don’t believe the 4mm people.  I think they are talking through their hulls.

♠♠I accept that commas ought to be put in their proper places and especially between each, except the last, of a row of adjectives.  However, when I say ‘very very’, it doesn’t sound like very   , very.  ♠♠♠

♠♠♠Of course I probably shouldn’t be saying very very, at all.

December 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 9 Comments