Sunday, July 31, 2011

From car boot to Mozart

A varied day - sunshine blessed the car boot sale, and then we went to Stamford to see the film of Glyndebourne's performance of Don Giovanni from 2010.

Shame they had to break the atmosphere up with interviews at the beginning of the second half of the film - we went back, all ready and eager to be plunged into the story again - and lo! analysis and explanation . . . I thought these guys were supposed to know about dramatic tension.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Photos and walks

I used to carry my mini-digital-Fujifilm A303 everywhere. I loved it. It was tiny, and went into pockets, handbags, bumbags without protest. It got me into the habit of snapping wildly.  It slowed down - the zoom lens wouldn't move.  I forced it - it lived on for a few more months. Then it stopped altogether, and neither tenderness nor violence would bring it back to life.  For several months I was cameraless in the world.

Now I take my Canon dslr most places, but I tend to carry only one lens with me when out walking.  Too much baggage otherwise.  But I always wish I had the lens I left behind.  Sod's law, and self-delusion, I suppose, along with the desire to do two things at once.

Yesterday I tried to catch a hovering tern with the telephoto. The result was, frankly, rubbish.  I think it was a combination of lack of time/patience, probable need for a tripod, and not very good light.  I'll post when/if I get a good result.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Going back a year and a bit

In her blog Mille Fiori Favoriti Pat has featured the Brooklyn Bridge Park, which should be two thirds completed by 2013.

I walked along there in April last year, and met Leonie for a picnic lunch at the Manhattan Bridge end.

Photos with my old Fujifilm A303 camera, before it stopped working.  It was not underused!

And one or two family photos from around Easter 2010 as well:

Easter Sunday at Coney Island

Monday, July 25, 2011

Toddler in confined spaces

Flowers in wellies

July 2011
Just to compare and congratulate the gardeners for perseverance.
Feb 2008

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Esperanto -

After talk about Harry's grandparents being in Paris for the conference in 1914 we have found quite a lot of postcards in Esperanto including the official one. The conference was curtailed and the delegates sent home as war was about to break out.

to be completed.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

German biscuits

There's a recipe if you click here. .

And all because of a conversation yesterday.  They're a Scottish favourite,  renamed Empire biscuits after World War I.
Two shortbread rounds, sandwiched together with jam, and iced -  sometimes with a cherry on top. For a few minutes I was convinced the name was a corruption of 'Jam-on-biscuits', but the theory is that they are related to Linzertorte.

Meanwhile we ate a delicious aubergine and egg bake, and a Pavlova with raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. Many thanks to Alison and William for a lovely evening.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

After the rain, the flowers

For some reason,whether modesty or sheer bloodymindedness, these clematis flowers were all facing the fence - I've manhandled them and twisted them back, supported by an old clothes-line-prop. 

Should we blame St Swithun?

One of those traditions my mother was so fond of passing on:

St Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain na mair
Here's some of the background from a bbc page.
St Swithun (Swithin) was a Saxon bishop of Winchester, who lived in the ninth century

Swithin died on 2 July 862. According to tradition, he had asked to be buried humbly. His grave was just outside the west door of the Old Minster, so that people would walk across it and rain fall on it in accordance with Swithin's wishes.
On 15 July 971 though, Swithin's remains were dug up and moved to a shrine in the cathedral by Bishop Ethelwold. Miraculous cures were associated with the event, and Swithin's feast day is the date of the removal of his remains, not his death day.
However, the removal was also accompanied by ferocious and violent rain storms that lasted 40 days and 40 nights and are said to indicate the saint's displeasure at being moved. This is probably the origin of the legend that if it rains on Saint Swithin's feast day, the rain will continue for 40 more days.
 Yesterday was fine and fair here - this morning it has been raining with intent. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Of swimming, child-minding and other things

I went to the pool as Esther was doing her tri training on Monday. I swam 50 lengths in about three quarters of an hour. Mainly breast-stroke, as my crawl has become an effort again!   Memo to self - regular practice, my dear. 

I've loved spending time with not-so-little Joseph, climbing up slides or squatting on floors, taking him out to places where he can run around.  

But, touch wood, he has settled with Karen to look after him for three days per week - sleeping, eating and playing quite happily at her house.

So here I am, back home.

Monday, July 11, 2011

On yer bike. . .

for the first time for a while, just a very few miles - to Longdown Activity Farm - ideal for little people.  Esther ran back, with me cycling alongside - nice gentle pace for a cyclist!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Lepe Beach

My third or fourth visit to Lepe, and I didn't realise the connection to the D-Day landings in Normandy

Some of the remaining structures

The joy of sorting stones

Shame the sea is on a slope!

Marbled white butterflies in the wildflower/ conservation area, and lots of different wildflowers, then yellow poppies on the shingle

Sunday, July 03, 2011

. . . more garden . . .

Poppies now removed, ground hoed and cleared and a few snapdragons and geraniums planted.  Not flowering at the moment, so it looks tidyish, but a little on the drab side.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

garden time

The poppies have attracted bees . . .

. . . but now they've gone to seed.

A bounty of blackcurrants? 

Here is this year's veg (fruit?) plot.

So . . . I pulled up some poppies, transplanted some tomatoes, harvested (!) a dish of blackcurrants and pruned the bushes.  They're in large pots, but I don't expect miracles.  Time will tell.  I checked my compost pot and it's full of worms working hard.  Then I shifted containers around - a few quite large, most small and mostly full of flowering plants. 

There's a noticeable difference in leaf colour between the tomatoes which I planted in the ground two weeks ago, and the ones which were in the trough until yesterday. 

Friday, July 01, 2011

Travel by train

. . . and are Northerners really more talkative with strangers?. . . or are my preconceptions showing?

I travelled from Southampton to London without chatting - my fault to some extent, nose in book, sitting in those 'bus seats where you only see people's backs! 

I took the tube and managed to avoid eye contact in the regulation manner. Why doesn't Waterloo station display an obvious tube map?  If it had, I could possibly have caught a train an hour earlier, but no matter,  I wasn't in a rush this time.

Later, waiting at St Pancras, I was seated on that metal tube in the upstairs area. Why doesn't Saint Pancras have enough seats? Walking by, just off the train from Derbyshire were a couple who are friends of my brother and his wife. 

On the train heading north, lots of smiles - and towards the end of the journey, the very friendly trolley man (from Nottingham area) chatted to the family at the table opposite me, asking where they were from - Switzerland.
Ah ha, so that's why I thought they were speaking German, but couldn't understand it!  So I tried my rusty German out!