Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sadly I can't embed the video but the song's still there.
Eliza Dolittle with 'Pack up your troubles.'

Thursday, July 29, 2010


The garden was alive with them yesterday evening and I wondered if it was to investigate the new gleaming patch of water which Mick our handy man left in the broken bird bath he has just repaired.

I discover they have two sets of wings which work separately so the front wings will go up whilst the rear ones go down.

The largest in in Costa Rica with a wing span of 7 1/2 inches although prehistoric ones were measured in feet.

Their main predators are birds and they themselves catch mosquities and gnats mid flight and devour then so they should be encouraged.

Their eyes had 30,000 lenses.

In Australia their speed had been clocked at 36 mph and in China they are called 'Old Glassy.'

All the garden furniture has been painted, the main gate has stopped dragging its feet and the fence down the steps has beeen anchored. The dodgy locks have been fixed and my arbour repaired. Now he's gone so we had a lie in today (8am) - to hopefully return for the many, many indoor jobs when the weather deteriorates.

Good news - our French son is coming over in August and Joy, Jackie and I have railway tickets to visit Margaret in Cheltenham for the day. We have everything crossed that we'll actually make it.

I don't advertise - in spite of blandishments - but along with Tesco's pork and apple sausages, whhich some of you knew about already their miniature Cornish Pasties make brilliant 'bits' with drinks.
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Action Girl aka my grand daughter

Time off at the orpanage is put to good use.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Two Faces of Pat(in a nice way)

What with Blogging and Face book I'm feeling a bit schizoid; what to put where? And where's the time to visit blogging pals which I have always been meticulous about. We've had another family weekend which is great but I took over the cooking at lunch time - not totally successfully. I put my mouse finger through the holey oven cloth straight onto the oven tray and spilt cilcannon all down the Aga onto the mat.

The sausages looked burnt but in fact were caramelised (my DIL said) and honestly it all tasted delicious and not a scrap left over and people had seconds. We are told we really should get a micro wave oven and it is beginning to make sense. Just another thing to get the hang of.

It's going to be a very busy week and I would be grateful for good thoughts on Thursday - nothing I can talk about but I do believe in good vibes from the blogosphere and have seen it in action many times over the last four years.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Garden Update.

Boy am I having problems with posting this morning. I only wanted a little light distraction. That'll teach me.
Below two honeysuckles - the pink one has no fragrance but is pretty and the lemon/white one has a pleasant smell.

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I was too late for sweet peas but these everlasting ones are good value

Love these - an early present from # 1 son. I can't remember the name

This refuses tobe dug up - too prominent

First sight of a new dahlia.
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Crocosmia - Lucifer with sedum and fuchsia in background

Butterfly on balcony

Fuchsia abounds here - great fun to pop.

The slightly boring Rose of Sharon
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Thursday, July 22, 2010


We have always had a soft spot for Watchet – a harbour town with a brand new marina just along the coast from us. Its main claim to fame is that Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote the Ancient Mariner whilst travelling through there and Daniel Defoe was fascinated by the fossils and geology of the coastline. I have previously written about Coleridge and the Coleridge Way which I finally completed - in short bursts - a couple of years ago. Tom bemoaned the fact that the maze, which used to be painted on the north end of the Esplanade, was no more.

Holiday makers recently were transfixed by the sight of the SS Balmoral steaming towards the narrow harbour entrance when a cheeky little yacht cut across her bows. I saw this on SW News and gasped. # 1 son – a real ale fan – had read about the Esplanade Club where one could gain access to the Harbour Bar with a copy of CAMRA’s Good Beer guide and we had a pleasant sit and sip al fresco- the first time I remember being really warm on the Esplanade.

We gave the familiar Boat Museum, the Railway station and the Museum a miss and enjoyed walking round the harbour and staring at the sea before a café lunch. Nothing exciting happened; nobody fell in the sea but the time passed all too quickly in a pleasant haze of warmth, old familiar faces and places.

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,

The furrow followed free;

We were the first that ever burst

Into that silent sea.

The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1722-1834)

How can one get hold of Firefox to request that they desist bouncing me off line, and to refrain from installing updates which I do not require when I am in the middle of a complicated posting. I mean REALLY!

Watchet - a glimpse of the Marina, with the museum - the terra cotta building - on the right

Tom keeping a safe distance from the sea.

Looking along the coast towards Minehead.

Imagine the great big SS Balmoral steaming through the entrance and missing the pesky little yacht by inches
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The Ancient Mariner - Watchet

The Esplanade Club

One of the locals taking the weight off his feet
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Tom makes a splash - twice!

To reach the Hunter's Inn in Devon you have to delve into the bowels of the earth and I was quite glad not to be driving. It's a welcoming pub and worth the journey. We had lunch - large tasty prawns with a watsubi mayonnaise. A mistakenly brought me a large instead of a standard glass of wine but I bravely dealt with it. Fortified we set off to see the sea. Later - after our adventure - we went inside for hot drinks and sank into voluminous leather sofas where some of us would have happily stayed for a snooze.

Lunch on the terrace with a noisy peacock whose tail had seen better days.

The lovely garden behind the hotel
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Heddon Valley contd.

We follow the river down to the sea.

Others have the same idea.

Can he be the tiny baby I used to bath in the kitchen sink?

It's all a bit exhausting.
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Heddon Valley contd.
We didn't recognise this curious plant.

The first heather and first view of the sea.

The warm air released lovely smells making the walk quite blissful.

Tom emulating his Grandma's scree running of yore.
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Heddon Valley contd.
The boys helped me across these slippery stepping stones

Whilst climbing these rocks Tom - fully clothed fell in - twice. Just as well I was higher on the beach and missed it. His father had his camera at the ready but laughed so much he couldn't focus
Here they are coming down from a previous scramble which - again fortunately for my peace of mind - I missed
This was a bee hive like shelter where Tom examined the damage to his phone. Even a night on the Aga didn't help. Fortuitously the weather was warm as Tom was sodden up to his armpits
We walked back up the valley for hot drinks at the Hunter's Inn.
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Back tomorrow DV

Monday, July 12, 2010

Please excuse me if posts and visits are thin on the ground this week. I have a lot of real life catching up to do and the only way is to try to stay away from the computer for a while. The good thing is we’ll have family here – always a pleasure.

Friday, July 09, 2010

She’s no Nelle

Andrew Smith was 13 when he first read ‘To kill a Mockingbird’ and says it was the first book he really loved. It was written fifty years ago, won the Pulitzer Prize and has sold over 30 million copies. Nelle Harper Lee born in 1926 wrote it as Harper Lee, as her sister explained ‘She didn’t want be called Nelle and believe me - she’s no Nelle.’

A private person, she was a ghostly presence when Andrew visited her home town - Monroeville in Alabama hoping to interview her for his documentary commemorating the 50th anniversary of the book. We meet friends and relatives but the closest we get to Lee herself is a large slice of cake which is about to be delivered to her by a friend at the party Andrew has given to return some of the famous southern hospitality he enjoyed. But the ghostly presence knew exactly what was happening on a daily basis and it was clear that permission had been given for friends to talk to him.

Although Lee denies the story is autobiographical it is told by ‘Scout’ a young tomboy having adventures with her brother Jem and best friend Dill who is said to be based on her friend and neighbour Truman Capote. Scout’s father is a lawyer and Lee’s father was a newspaper editor and a lawyer. I remember being entranced when I saw the film in the sixties and having seen it again this week I long to read the book which even now is winging its way to me, courtesy of Amazon.

After all the publicity and the success of the book people wondered why she never wrote another. But why would you? How do you follow that?

An important part of the story is the white lawyer – Scout’s father, defending a black man, falsely accused of rape and failing to convince the white jury of his innocence. Although Atticus feels they have a strong chance of winning an appeal it ends in tragedy. The other main thread is when the children are in mortal danger from the evil father of the girl who lied about the alleged rape. Boo the strange recluse shunned by most of the townsfolk appears in the forest and saves their lives.

In the film Gregory Peck is just right as Atticus – the father of Scout and all the cast - especially the children are totally believable. The strange eerie character of Boo is played by a young Robert Duvall.

Andrew remembered that his parents had been shocked in the fifties when they took a Greyhound bus to the south from New York and witnessed the segregation and racial discrimination that existed then. Many years later, on his own visit he stayed with a white family and a black family and found that although they were no longer segregated much of Alabama was still separated.

It seems to me the book is about the best and the worst of human beings and although much has changed since then ignorance, intolerance and prejudice still exist everywhere.

I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house. And that he'd rather I'd shoot at tin cans in the backyard, but he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted, if I could hit 'em, but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird...Well, I reckon because mockingbirds don't do anything but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat people's gardens, don't nest in the corncribs, they don't do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us.~

Atticus Finch

When a school tried to ban her book Lee had this to say:

Recently I have received echoes down this way of the Hanover County School Board's activities, and what I've heard makes me wonder if any of its members can read.

Surely it is plain to the simplest intelligence that “To Kill a Mockingbird” spells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners. To hear that the novel is "immoral" has made me count the years between now and 1984, for I have yet to come across a better example of doublethink.

I feel, however, that the problem is one of illiteracy, not Marxism. Therefore I enclose a small contribution to the Beadle Bumble Fund that I hope will be used to enroll the Hanover County School Board in any first grade of its choice

You have to admire her.

Gregory Peck as Atticus in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

Atticus with Scout and Jem
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