Friday, 21 December 2007
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
Monday, 10 December 2007
Sunday, 25 November 2007
Saturday, 17 November 2007
After needing specs for 50 years my husband can now, using only the eye which was operated on yesterday, easily read what I'm typing here in comic sans size 10 from a distance of 6'. It's a good job I never diss him ;-)
We went into town today to get one of the lenses in his specs changed to plain glass as an interim measure and it was very reminiscent of going to town with Constance. He needed his hand held descending stairs and kept reading aloud from street signs and shop windows. I may apply to Children In Need for a Grant.
Friday, 16 November 2007
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
Monday, 12 November 2007
Friday, 9 November 2007
Thursday, 8 November 2007
Never start taking anything apart or annoying your software if it only happened the once! <g>
Monday, 5 November 2007
Saturday, 3 November 2007
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
My husband does magic tricks for children. He's totally crap at it which is why for adults watching him it's absolutely hilarious. For 8 year old Grace aka Miss Gullibility it's all very 'spooooooky, Granpa!' This pic was taken when Granpa turned over the last card.
Monday, 29 October 2007
Sunday, 28 October 2007
kneecap the bitch
Saturday, 27 October 2007
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
Some children just like to play a fair game of Hide and Seek in the woods, others will go to extraordinary lengths to win. Even when they can't climb down from their perch. Some children have evil Grannies who hear them sniff, suss where they are and then quickly walk off out of sight, leaving them stuck.
I don't know where some children get their competitive streak from. <g>
Saturday, 6 October 2007
Friday, 28 September 2007
Psychologists have found a justification for the male strangehold on Nobel prizes – there are twice as many men as women in the brightest 2% of the population.
But although men may win the top prizes, they cannot claim a clear-cut victory in an intellectual battle of the sexes. The study shows that men also cluster at the opposite extreme, with twice as many men as women stuck in the least intelligent 2%.
So now let's ask a question: what percentage of Nobel winners are female?
There was no significant difference in the average intelligence of men and women, when all the test results were taken together. However, the analysis showed that men were far more likely to be be found at extremes of the intelligence scale. At the time of the study, men had been awarded 545 out of the 557 Nobel prizes for science. [Emphasis mine]
So great! That's solved the reason that women don't win Nobel Prizes. Well, except for this dratted sentence from the article I'm quoting:
[T]here are twice as many men as women in the brightest 2% of the population.
There have been twelve.
So what does one make of such disparity? Well, I'll tell you what: I'm going to suggest that this study proves, once and for all, that sexism is the overwhelming reason that women do not achieve at the same level as men. After all, this study argues that women should only account for one-third of Nobel Prizes rather than one-half -- a difference of about 93 winners. My theory accounts for the other 174 women who didn't win the prize, but would have in a truly egalitarian society.
When women are winning the Nobel prize at least a third of the time, come back, and we'll talk about whether there are differences in the raw intelligence of women and men. It will still be a stupid and wrongheaded argument, but at least we can pretend at that point that gender is a meaningful factor. Until we get a lot closer to equality, though, I think it's doubtful that we're going to get the right answers anyhow.
Thursday, 27 September 2007
Sensible people everywhere were pleased that NYC didn't allow Iranian President Ahmadinejad to place a wreath at the WTC site and that Columbia University rescinded the offer to let him speak. If you let a foreign idiot like that express his views, before long the entire world will want freedom of speech.
I hate Ahmadinejad for all the same reasons you do. For one thing, he said he wants to "wipe Israel off the map." Scholars tell us the correct translation is more along the lines of wanting a change in Israel's government toward something more democratic, with less gerrymandering. Huh, only brown-nosing-to-terrorist crinoids listen to scholars when the tabloids offer their own helpful monosyllabic interpretations.
Ahmadinejad also called the holocaust a "myth." Well he can go stick his head up a dead bear's bum! A myth is something a society uses to frame their understanding of their world, and act accordingly. It's not as if the world created a whole new country because of holocaust guilt and gives it a free pass no matter what it does.
That's Iranian crazy talk.
Those Iranians need to learn from the American example. In the USA if the clear majority of the public opposes the continuation of a war, their leaders will say they're terrorist-loving traitors and they'll do whatever they damn well please. They might even increase taxes expressly in order to do it. That's called leadership.
If Ahmadinejad thinks he can be our friend by honouring the victims of terrorism and opening a dialogue with the West, he underestimates our ability to misinterpret him. Anyone would think that Americans weren't the only nationality killed at the WTC. What a twat.
Sunday, 16 September 2007
Walking up 8th Avenue we came across a street barred off from traffic by no less than 9 baton twirling and very insouciant New York cops and so naturally we turned into the street to see what was going off. Luckily for us it wasn't a riot, but a very local celebration of St Martin's Day - St Martin apparently being a great fave with people from South America. An image of the saint had been brought from the neighbourhood church and was being carried a short way up and then down the narrow street by a strange and very slow sideways shuffle. Most of the people carrying the image were no spring chickens and one poor chap looked fit to drop with the strain. When the image had to be turned around to parade up and down the street a supervisory type man struck a huge gong to direct the movements of the bearers. Frankly the sudden loud clash seemed more likely to give them a heart attack.
The image was followed on it's several trips up and down by a small and somewhat discordant band and by several people wearing the ethnic clothing of their region of origin. People threw flowers and everyone appeared to enjoy themselves hugely in the great friendly atmosphere.
Speaking of local neighbourhood things, we were astonished to hear, and see for ourselves, that what famously used to be a significant feature of Manhattan, Little Italy, has now reduced to one street, Mulberry St, which is really little but a fairly short row of restaurants. The remainder has been taken over by their ever-expanding neighbours, the Chinese. China Town is huge and still growing. Away from the tourist area of Canal St where all the knicknack shops and eating houses are located we saw considerable poverty. One good thing was that all of the little 'parks' and squares were taken over by old Chinese people playing MahJong and cards and a very obscure Chinese game that we just couldn't puzzle out. A park full of gambling pensioners makes a nice change to yobs loitering round the kiddie swings tho :O)
Saturday, 15 September 2007
These are two of my favourite photographs from NYC. I shall make an attempt to paint this one as I think it's a simply fabulous building. I have no choice than to be an impressionistic painter :
Times Square of course needs no introduction. It's a much 'cleaner' location since Guilliani's crackdown on filf but just as busy.
Friday, 14 September 2007
During our week in NYC we took the ferry to Staten Island to visit a shop famous among acoustic musicians the world over, Mandolin Brothers: MANDOLIN BROTHERS LTD Center of the Acoustic Universe! The 30 minute ferry ride is absolutely free btw, so if you're ever in Manhattan, don't forget to get this view for no charge:
Staten Island was a complete surprise, it was so suburban and leafy - hard to believe that it's one of the 5 New York boroughs. Sadly as my hub had very specific requirements, ie for a (really) Vintage Vega open-backed 5 string banjo, he ended up buying nothing. All in all it was a very inexpensive morning but he had a great time anyway, playing some of the world's most rare and expensive guitars and doing his nerdy music talk and jamming with the even nerdier but very friendly and welcoming staff.
That evening I had a similar hugely enjoyable but abortive experience in Bergdorf Goodman's Fur department where, in absolute desperation, the suave gentleman hoping to sell me the latest fur trimmed mohair 'drape' ( Yankee for poncho type thing) said that in fact, if Madam decided to purchase, he would like my contact details in order to invite me back at Bergdorf Goodman's expense to model it at their pre-Christmas show as it suited me so well LOLOL. If I could have afforded their fur I wouldn't have been interested in a free weekend trip! As it was I got neither. They really had nothing I could garden in anyways <gg>
Thursday, 13 September 2007
I thought that the very first photograph of New York might appropriately be one of the AOL/Time Warner Tower. 4 Floors comprise a hotel which costs from $1200 to $23,500 per person per night. The hotel has a Sushi bar which caters for only 9 customers a time. Seats are $500 per head. Goodness knows what they'd charge if they were expected to actually cook the fish!
This 2nd photograph is of Central Park, imho the very best bit of Manhattan. We spent almost a whole day there watching baseball, at the zoo, the model boat pond, the various gardens and at the castle. It's a beautiful park with numerous lakes and wooded hilly areas and New Yorkers use it in their masses, running, roller blading, cycling and riding on the pedestrian-only cross-park roads, and there are charming horse drawn carriages or bicycle rickshaws for those who don't want to walk. There are enclosed areas for dancing, musicians scattered across the whole park, and childrens' entertainers abound - really good ones too with storytelling, group singing, juggling and magic tricks. During the whole day we saw no bad behaviour whatsoever, no shouting, no booze, no trouble at all. Just people enjoying themselves. Fantastic.
Friday, 31 August 2007
I was up with Gyp until 4am, and then came downstairs again at 7am. She was vomiting watery froth, actually peed on the kitchen floor which she's not done since she was 10 weeks old and she was in an unmoving trance-like state. This morning we genuinely thought she was dying.
We took her to the Vet and had to carry her to and from the car as she wouldn't/couldn't walk and he gave her more antibiotics and another anti-emetic and kept her in for observation. We came home to the house bereft and not knowing whether we were coming or going.
We rang at midday to see how she was, fully expecting to hear bad news and, well, isn't it brilliant, but she was on the mend! The vet said he'd keep her over the weekend if it would help but he thought she would be fine to travel to my daughter's today. Come and have a look, he said. He's concluded that she has a nasty case of gastro-enteritis. She was so glad to see us, wriggling her little body and wagging her stumpy tail. When we got her home she gave Dennis a quick lick hello and went to look in her <empty> food bowl.
So now she's in Lutterworth with her special convalescent food and 5 days worth of antibiotic pills and she's fine and getting just the right mix of attention and peace and quiet, thanks to my brilliant daughter. Not many mums of 14 month old toddlers would take on a dog for convalescent care with gastroenteritis. I must have done something good sometime to have a kid like her.
Meantime hub and I are knackered - no sleep and we didn't start packing or sorting out holiday measures for my polytunnel and the 40 baskets and pots in the courtyard until 7pm this evening. Every container we own is outside, full to the gunnels with water and plants and 2 cases are also packed to the gunnels with hair straighteners <g>
Early bed tonight and thank goodness we can sleep without worrying until up at 5.30am to set off for Manchester and NYC.
Thanks so much for your kind words, I really appreciate it.
Thursday, 30 August 2007
Sunday, 19 August 2007
This week we've had the pleasure of Constance's company. Connie is 5, and the sort of easy-going and happy nipper who would make anyone wish they could start another family. We were really sorry to have to take her home. Especially as she never finished clearing up the hawthorn hedge cuttings. We'll save the remainder for the autumn half-term <evil laugh>
This is a Long Eared Owl who's visited our garden before but never stayed long enough for me to get the camera out. This morning he was more relaxed and sat while I fetched the camera and opened the window - and then sat through 2 flashes. According to our book Long Eared Ows aren't at all common and, so the book says, are only out and about during the hours of darkness. So much for bird books, but he's a cracker, isn't he?
Just after he'd flown off into the orchard I saw a sparrow hawk do a stuka swoop onto an area of lawn at the back of the house. My hub rushed out and got within 6' before the hawk flew off with a vole in his claws - too quickly for a photograph but boy, what a flier.
Thursday, 9 August 2007
Am I pissed off? Just a little. I found tomato blight on my vegetable patch which is where all my crop for freezing was planted out and starting to crop well. Blight begins with browning of leaves and then patches of the stalk followed by the tomatoes getting brown patches on their skin and the whole plant eventually dying. Even if the tomatoes are taken off and brought inside, they'll go brown in the bowl so they can't be saved. I've just put about 60lbs of actual and potential tomatoes in the dustbin. That's our winter tomato soup and sauce for the kids gone. I could spit.
And now, to make my day perfect, my hub has decided to strip the paint from the fancy portico which surrounds our front door. I can't let him just get on with it, husbands being the half-assed botchers that husbands are, or mine in any case, but common sense demands I supervise and advise and my conscience demands I do my share of the graft. He was seized by this fantabulous idea at midday in full sun. I may give him a slap before the day is out.
Finally, and best of all, I've put on 2lbs and, as I never actually reached my target weight before I started celebrating losing 1.5 stone, I can't afford to pile up anymore. So just when I should be living on salads and tomatoes............... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Wednesday, 8 August 2007
If you like reading stuff which gives you plenty to mull over then the next time you log on to Amazon or wander by a bookshop then take a tip and buy The Road by Cormac McCarthy. One of the best of the current crop of American fiction writers McCarthy writes dark tales, and The Road is the blackest yet - tho not his bloodiest.
The common theme in his stories is of very ordinary people struggling to survive in extremely bleak environments and The Road tells of a journey undertaken by a man and his small son after a devastating catastrophe has killed off all living things. It's thought-provoking, scarey yet ultimately hopeful and the language is of real quality.
Thursday, 2 August 2007
This has been a very trying year in the garden but as always it's come up trumps. Even so, every time I'm outside and looking at my planting beds I'm constantly thinking that this was a mistake, that should be moved, this has to hit the compost and that should have been divided last autumn.
Here's a few pics taken in my largest bed, created 4/5 years ago on the base of an old cowshed:
And just to show how decorative vegetables can be, here's some 'rainbow' Swiss chard fronting up a bed of Bulgarian leeks and backed up by tomato plants grown from the leaf axil sideshoots of my polytunnel plants:
Monday, 23 July 2007
Monday, 16 July 2007
Tuesday, 10 July 2007
Monday, 9 July 2007
Letters written to God in Sunday School. (allegedly)
Are you really invisible or is that just a trick? -Lucy
Did you mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident?
Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don't You just keep the ones You have now? -Jane
What does it mean You are a Jealous God? I thought You had everything.
I think the stapler is one of your greatest inventions. -Ruth M.
Please send me a pony. I never asked for anything before, You can look it up. -Bruce
We read Thomas Edison made light. But in school they said You did it. So I bet he stoled your idea. Sincerely, Donna
And my own fave:
If You watch me in church Sunday, I'll show You my new shoes.
Wednesday, 4 July 2007
I take back everything I said about my husband and his red eyeball a couple of months ago. Poppy seed heads on stiff stalks are vicious buggers.
Mind, it'll make my 'looks' and whispered threats much more effective this weekend. And my son in law already thinks I'm the scariest woman he's ever met! <g>
Tuesday, 3 July 2007
Monday, 2 July 2007
Thursday, 21 June 2007
I fell down the stairs this morning, but I'm still jumping for joy this afternoon. Good news for me today - my biopsy result was clear of anything worrying.
My consultant yet again shoved his horrid nasty camera thing up my nose and down my throat to have a looksee, lucky man, and he tells me that tho my incision has healed well I have severe laryngitis. This is in addition to the bronchitis my GP diagnosed last week and which is still with me, the antibiotics having done little but given me the usual female side-effects. Bronchitis, laryngitis and thrush - but all of those are temporary and I'm not actually ill, which is a fantastic relief.
I do tho still have a problem with speaking and am to have speech therapy to help recover some strength in my voice. This too will necessitate not only having the camera thing shoved up my nose repeatedly, but I'll have to watch the resultant movie on screen and speak - while it's still there!!!! - so as to learn how to manage my vocal chords again.
Ah well, mustn't whinge too much today after my good news.
Wednesday, 20 June 2007
The current account war is now white hot. Alliance & Leicester's* added to its market leading one year 0% overdraft (it's still cheapest after a year too) by now paying the highest in-credit interest at 6.5%. This is the absolute best interest rate offered anywhere by any bank or building society in the UK.
Plus its 'refer a friend' offer's been improved to £40, so for every pal you recommended you get £40 and so do they.
Info courtesy of MoneyExpert.com - if you aren't yet signed up for their weekly email then go sign right now!
If so, then don't spend a penny until you've got your new Capital One Platinum Cashback Card.
4%, yep 4% cash back on every £1 you spend for the first 3 months, so, if you're planning to buy something major, put it on your Capital One Platinum - in fact put every penny you spend on the card to get the maximum return - food, clothing, petrol, utility payments, put it all on plastic instead of using your debit card or cash.
After 3 months the cashback drops to a still market leading 1%. Do this right and you can make (ie save) £100s a year. First set up a Direct Debit to pay it off in full each month, so there's no interest charged; then use it for all spending.
Go on, give it a go and for once get something back from a credit card company!
Wednesday, 13 June 2007
Far be it from me to show off, but we've been eating strawberries from the garden for pudding for the past 10 days and have a further 7lb already in the deep freeze for summer pudding in the winter - and yesterday I cut my very first cucumber and red pepper! All from plants I propagated myself <bows>
Goodness knows why tho because I can't stand cucumber!
I'm seeing the consultant to hear the biopsy result from my recent vocal chord surgery next Thursday. Hopefully the time it's taken means everything's hunkydory.
Friday, 8 June 2007
Friday, 1 June 2007
For the past few days I've had Grace staying with me over half-term. She's loved the fact that I can't raise my voice and has made the most of it, disappearing into the garden at key times, such as when I've wanted her to help with some little task, or when bedtime is looming. Then she's been laughing at me around corners while I've been at the bottom of the rope ladder to the (empty) treehouse, telling her as sternly as possible given that I've had to be all sotto voce that it's well past time for her bath. At one point she repeated what I tell her when she says some cheek under her breath and she brazenly told me that people who mutter aren't saying anything worth hearing. I don't know where she gets her propensity for sarcasm from but I'm not looking forward to her adolescence.
Tags: vocal chood surgery
Thursday, 24 May 2007
Tags: Vocal chord surgery
Monday, 14 May 2007
I've been outside working hard, trying to calm down and get rid of my angst about this hospital thing and thought I'd share a few more garden pics with you.
I hope you like them. I usually find that being busy, especially outside, helps me towards gaining a little balance. This bed above is mainly a grass garden altho it doesn't look much like it at the moment. I made this bed 4 years ago on the site of a former cowshed and it's where I've put my new cannas which will look great I hope once they come into bloom among the tall grasses.
Altho it's not visible in this pic of the ceanothus 'Blue Skies', one of those bay windows is crazy paved since the petrol strimmer caught a stone thrown up by a blasted mole. The man's coming to fix it on Wednesday, unless it rains again like on the last time he came. I hope he's more successful than the ruddy useless molecatcher man.
White lilacs are my fave and this is a highly scented double. I once was asked by a passing stranger if I would cut some so that they could be incorporated into a wedding bouquet for the next day. They dropped in a pic of the bouquet a few weeks later. It looked fab.
Altho the deep purple isn't to be sneezed at either.
I have two laburnum, one each side of our lane gate. They get bashed by binmen and agricultural machinery who pull into our gateway to squeeze past other traffic but every year they come up smiling. Much under-rated trees imo. The whole of the lawn (and pond) beneath these blossom trees looks as if there's been a wedding with blossom littering the ground after last evenings high winds.
The absolute last of my tulips, almost gone over but still beautiful.