Friday, 31 October 2008

Weather Watching

Along with my computer crammed in a cubby hole under the stairs is my weather notice board. If you click on picture to enlarge you can see there is a picture which says "Cold" !!! Below it there is a meteogram which I download every morning - this is generated using our latitude and longnitude points - it is usually quite accurate. To the left the maps are of Europe showing the weather fronts and pressure for the next couple of days - this comes from a Dutch website - they "straighten up" the UK on the map, rather than the usual tilted appearance on a normal map of Europe. Far right are two weather predictions for the week from two amateurs I like to follow.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Four Herons ( And Possibly a Funeral)

Husband is a walk fanatic (as well as a leaf sweeping maniac) and usually takes himself off for a walk every day, if not playing tennis or golf with a load of wrinklies.

When he comes back from these walks I always ask him if he has seen anything interesting - if he hasn't he usually makes something up just to amuse me. However a couple of days ago he came back and reported he had seen four herons standing in the middle of a ploughed field with a kestrel worrying them from above. He was not spinning me a yarn. Neither of us have ever seen four herons grouped together let alone being mobbed by a kestrel.

Husband does not like seeing possible death in the wild so he swiftly moved on.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Leafless - Husband Nutty as a Fruitcake

Husband is sooooooh sooooh embarrassing! We have no trees of any note within our garden . Our house, now just over two years old was built on the site of a large concrete yard belonging to a farm and therefore no trees were within the area. Actually we have an uninterrupted view of the countryside which is a big plus. However Husband dearly loves his compost heap. At our last house he had four compost heaps on the go with plenty of leaves to satisfy their appetite.

At the beginning of October Husband emptied our lonely single compost heap out on to the veg patch (and good stuff it was too). But Husband needs leaves to start off the new season of compost making - on his regular walks he takes this plastic bag and fills it with leaves - but he likes a variety of leaves - today whilst we were shopping at Waitrose I saw him looking with hunger at the strip of grass covered with fallen leaves in the car park. I said "No" - he said "Oh Yes". To my embarrassment and to the curiosity of the other shoppers Husband proceeded to trawl up and down the car park greedily stuffing his bag with leaves. Oh well it takes all sorts!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Slowly Slowly Catchy Moley

After another two huge molehills appeared we decided to ask for help before our lawn became decimated - the mole man cameth. He has set three contraptions (cannot call them traps) to catch the mole alive - he thinks there is only one. This was yesterday. Mole Man will arrive every morning until Mr. Mole decides to be captured and removed to new surroundings.

So far Mr Mole has followed a route just where we had planted spring bulbs which are now uprooted, but he has stuck to the strip of longish grass we had left for poor Rescue Dog to use.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Wonderful Westonbirt

Yesterday we ventured into Westonbirt Arboretum to look at the leaves - actually we visited Silk Wood. Silk Wood, mostly unknown to anyone but us locals, has a public footpath running through enabling entrance into this part of the arboretum free - locals also know where to park! We prefer Silk Wood, to us it seems more beautiful - the main arboretum is too dense making its appearance quite dark.

The colour of leaves was simply stunning - the best ever. We could not decide whether there were more camera lenses or labradors lolloping about! We normally leave Westonbirt to visitors in the autumn knowing that in the winter the place is just as beautiful - in the good old days when we ourselves had labradors and later Rescue Dog it was a lovely place to visit after a recent snowfall.

Today I shall put my feet up having 'overdone' the walking bit yesterday - but it was well worth the effort.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Wholly Holey Moley

This is the work of a sole mole (not a vole) who achieved its goal within one hour! This wretched little rodent has been tunelling vigorously in and around the field adjacent to our garden. Yesterday there was no molehill in our garden - I looked outside an hour later and there was this volcano of earth. Husband suggest that I (note not him) should go out and spear the ground with the garden fork to see if we could harpoon the little chap. Note for animal lovers - no success!

Friday, 17 October 2008

A boring walk until . . . . . . .

We came across this topiary at the edge of Radcot lock. We decided, as it was a nice sunny day yesterday, to follow the path along The Thames near Faringdon. I must say I was dissapointed - the area seemed a graveyard for small motor boats, their owners long gone. It was a sad sight to see - flapping tarpaulins, rusty hulls and peeling paintwork. However we set off across some fields near the river bank - the going was fairly rough for my wonky knees but I ploughed on. Then we came across this lock - it was in the midst of the country with no permanent road access - the lock keeper was hard at work mending some chains - it was evident he had also spent a great deal of time with his little bit of garden!

I think this area of The Thames has not got the same charisma as the canals.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Post Office Games

I receive shedloads of catalogues - a few I subscribe to and the majority I do not. I tried emailing the various companies asking them to take my name off their mailing list - consternation - I found that many of these companies then started sending me two catalogues!

A friend advised me the best way to stop these catalogues from flooding through your letterbox was to just scrawl 'Return to Sender' upon the outside and cover up your own name with a label requesting removal from mailing list and post back. This seemed to work for a bit - just a little bit.

I think our local sorting office decided I was a nuisance and I found the wretched catalogues returning to me with my sticky label torn off to re-display my name and address. I now have a different system - I add the return address on another sticky label - I think the sorting office do not like searching the catalogue for the return address - so far success.

We do not have a letter box - we have an American style mail box attached to our porch. All of the four new houses find these difficult. If we go away we have to arrange for a neighbour to empty our box - I think it can only hold about 5 thick A4 letters in total. You ask why do we not insert a letter box - we have very nice thick oak front doors - it would be a mammoth job to install a letter box - way beyond Husband and I.

Monday, 13 October 2008

My Window Pain

We have been having trouble with a window since we moved into our new-build house two years ago. We moved in during August 2006 when we had been having a hot summer (remember those far off hot days?). In about February 2007 we experienced the first N and or NW wind howling around my bedroom window - the result - an awful moaning noise that changed pitch with the strength of the wind - it was so loud I had to move out on windy nights. We could not find the cause. We padded the window opening with J-cloth - annoyingly the wind would go away and we would have to wait until the next N/NW wind to see the result of our labours. More moaning noises - we took out the little vents on top of the windows and filled them with newspaper - no luck. We rang the builders - they were not interested to find out the exact problem as they would have had to arrive on a day with the wind in the right direction - too much bother for them! I was getting cross because the spare room bed was uncomfortable - we bought a memory foam mattress cover for the bed - that was good for visitors as well as me!

This problem carried on for a full year until I nagged Husband to really DO something about it! The result was we hired a cherry picker device (quite good value we thought) and our lovely next door neighbour who has a head for heights and building experience zoomed up to the window - luck was with us - it was a horrible cold windy day with the wind coming from the north. He could see nothing but raised himself above the window and lo and behold he discovered the window had not even been sealed in properly by the builders!!! The wind had been vibrating against a piece of waterproofing lining. Neighbour cheerfully sealed up the window and all was well - until last week. A familiar moan started again - oh no, not again.

I had a brilliant idea - I bought some blue-tack, hung out of the window and squashed it into the recess above the window. Silence was golden. This weekend we bribed Neighbour to scoot up his own long ladder and re-seal the window (the sealant had dried out). So really, we have to persuade our neighbour not to move house ever so that annually he can renew the sealant for us! Why oh why do not builders check their own work. I would have been fired from my job if I had made such basic mistakes.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Handy Household Tip

These little beauties are used to bake apples in the microwave. Just prepare the apples as you normally would (ie core, stuff with sultanas, add dab of butter and slit skins) place the apples inside containers and turn on microwave. I used them for the first time yesterday and followed the instructions - had the most delicious apples in less than 4 minutes. Saves the fuel used to bake in oven. I bought these through a well known catalogue whose head office is up in the Lake District.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Virgin Outage - more like Outrage

I gather from Virgin help line 50% of its users are without email services, including me! Am thinking of ditching this inefficient service as within the last 6 months there have been many down times. Any ideas which ISP I should change to?

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

High In The Sky Trouble

I was amused by a snippet in the news this morning. As you can guess the item in question was certainly not financial news - there is nothing to be amused about on that topic.

Apparently Quantas had an 'in-flight upset' - well, the mind boggles. Perhaps all the passengers developed food poisoning and dashed to the loos all at once creating a weight imbalance, loo paper bulging out under the doors, sick bags taking the strain (sorry, Strine as it was a Quantas plane). On a serious note the plane landed safely and all was well - possible air turbulence.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Car Clutter

Taking stock of the things that travel with me in the car are:
Biro and Paper
Walking Sticks
Plastic Supermarket Bags
In the boot are my swimming things! I am too lazy of offload my swimming bag each day - the "Aqua Set" have discovered that if they leave their cozzies hanging over the back seat they are dry to use the next day - I also leave my pool shoes (size 10) and my washing kit to dry as well.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Narrowboat Names (nothing to do with potatoes)

Yesterday we explored a bit more of the Kennet and Avon Canal starting from Kintbury (towpaths are good flat walking places for wonky knees and crutches). We manned the lock gates for "Maris Widgeon" to pass through - we got talking to the owner and his wife. I was interested in the name, especially because one of my closest friends is called Maris.
The boat was named by her previous and first owner after a brand of wheat. Now that is a surprise - one would have thought that perhaps the Widgeon part of the name was a bird. Apparently Maris Widgeon is a type of wheat especially grown to be used in thatching because it produces very long stalks. So my dear Maris, when you read this - perhaps you were not named after the famous potato but a type of wheat?

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Hoarse from Laughter

Last night was the local pub quiz night - this is made hilarious by the antics of the quizmaster. Eight teams of 4 people took part and unfortunately the team I was in came 2nd last! If we had come last we would have won the booby prize which is often better than the 'real' prize. Last night the losers received Avocado's from Lidls (best price) and highlighter pens!!! So far I have never come last and once first (when Husband was not around - which should tell you something!!). Having thought I was 'laughed out' with no more breath to spare, the quizmaster launched into reading an email he had received from a long lost "friend" (unrequited) via the Friends Reunited website. It was several pages long - everybody was splitting their sides and gasping for breath - well done quizmaster - the entertainment was fabulous.