Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More about Mini

I've got a couple of funny stories about Mini, to tell you about.

She's coming up to Nottingham tomorrow with her mum and Little D,
as two of her cousins are celebrating birthdays this weekend.

Yesterday she opened up a card, posted to her from her dad. Her mum,
L, asked her to read out the message on the card. Mini said: "It's
from A. ... and it says: "Please come and eat some cake!""

A few days ago at Mini's bedtime, her mum said: "Mini ... it's time
for bed."
Mini replied: "I'm not tired."
"Well, tired or not, it's time for bed."
"I don't want to go to bed."
At this point in the conversation, Mrs C then asked: "Mini ... would
you like Grandma to take you to bed?"
"I don't want anybody to take me to bed!"

I'm really amazed at how well young children manage to express themselves.
Mini will be 3 in January.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The rain in Spain is mainly ... up North

Hi everyone,

Mrs C and I have been back from sunny Spain a few days now, and I’ve
been very busy dealing with a backlog of emails, updating websites,
food shopping, going to meetings, and today, puttting up a load of
holiday snaps onto my Flickr site. We've also spent evenings catching
up on last week's TV crime drama and comedy ... using the BBC I-Player.


The Costa del Sol was fabulously hot, with some hazy cloud at times … a bit
too hot for us really (av. temps 29 deg C). We stayed at one of our holiday
resorts, the Sahara Sunset Beach Club at Benalmadena, nr Malaga. We’d been
once before many years ago, as our introductory free holiday with the
holiday company, which is now under the aegis of Diamond Resorts. It’s a
really lovely place with 3 swimming pools including an indoor heated one,
a café/restaurant, and a mini-supermarket. The sea is very close – just down
the hill, and the sea-front has numerous restaurants, catering for various
sizes of wallet. Uphill from the site is a large park, the Parque de la
Paloma, which has with several coffee bars, a large lake to walk around,
two playgrounds for the kids, a waterfall and various animals roaming
around. The park is used mainly by the locals rather than by tourists …
I thought it was a lot more interesting than sitting on the beach (though
there were some topless women to be seen basking on the beach, occasionally
… and lots of topless men too).

So we had a very nice break with members of our family, despite not sleeping
too well due to the children crying occasionally during the night. We both
felt rather strange coming back to the quietness and comparative loneliness
of just two of us living in our house (that is if you don’t take into account
our two cats). However it was great to get back to comfy beds, good drinking
water, proper cups of tea, and the coolness of Autumn in the UK.

PS ... Gary, our local computer repair man, has a photo like the one above
on his computer desktop. I've tried to take a similar shot on various
holidays we've been on, and I think I've succeeded this time in creating a
replica. The tree is alongside a beach cafe at Benalmadena.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Accommodation available

Yes, we've got some new accommodation available.

Suitable applicants should have a GSOH, a lot of imagination, have good
tea-making skills, ideally should be under the age of 5, and be related
to us also. Good social skills would be preferred, though the occasional
temper tantrum would be tolerated.

Mrs C bought this yesterday in the Habitat sale, and we spent half an hour
this morning working out how to put it together ...


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What day is it?

I woke up this morning, thinking that it was Wednesday today.

I had a strange unsettled feeling most of the day, thinking that
this wasn't right. I met up with a couple of friends for an electric
guitar session (as pre-arranged),which went very well. Aterwards,
I went for a pub lunch with them, and then did some pre-holiday
shopping including buying some food and a bundle of Euro banknotes.

It wasn't until I'd got home and was checking through the TV programmes
that were on tonight, did I ask Mrs C if today was Wednesday or not.
I felt relieved to find out it was Tuesday, and that I've got an extra
day to do lots of stuff before we go away.

Pre-senile dementia is setting in.

I've got a few more photos of our grandchildren to show you, and then
I must dash off to bed before the clock strikes midnight ... more about
that another time. :)




Monday, September 14, 2009


Woke up this morning ... unusually early, and lay in bed for a while before
getting up, and switching on my computer. I've read through some comments
(ta very much for sending them), and am now writing this at 5.10am (after
about 4 hours' sleep).

Today, I've set up a second meeting with members from other U3As in the area,
who are interested in setting up their own websites. I'm running through
various aspects of using Gimp (to resize photos, etc), Weebly and 110mb (for
creating small websites), and Kompozer (to make larger sites, together with
free FTP Commander, and Angelfire for web-hosting). All this in 1-2 hours.
So I'm feeling very excited (and a bit anxious) about presenting so much
stuff.... I think this is why I woke up so early. Oh, I also was thinking it's
time I got in touch with you all.

Later on today, I'm going to an open U3A meeting about making a will. Not that
I intend dying just yet ... it's just in case I do.

Talking about dying, I read in The Times last Saturday that the author Roald
Dahl died 20 years ago.... 20 years ago ... how can that be? It seems like only
a short while ago. Some of you might remember a series of gruesome mysteries:
"Tales of the Unexpected", written by RD and produced by Anglia TV. The content
was horrific at times, but with some black humour mixed into the plot, to
lighten it. One of my favourites was the story about someone being clobbered
to death with a joint of lamb (or was it pork?) ... and then the murder weapon
being roasted and eaten, when the police arrrive on the scene. A recipe for a
perfect murder? And then the stories for children like "Matilda". I think most
people can relate to some really bad schoolteachers or authority figures ...
I could fill a few chapters of a book about some of those.

I spent the past few days painting the fences around our property, some taking
over an hour each to do (if you include pruning all the shrubs around them,
including some very prickly ones). The weather's been gorgeous, so I thought
I should get on with this annual chore while it's been so nice. We've got 15
fence panels.


We off to sunny Spain next weekend, meeting up with our family (in London)
at Malaga Airport, and sharing a large apartment with them for a whole week.

Then Mrs C and I will come back home for a rest.

I'll squeeze in a little story about our granddaughter, Mini, who we'll be
seeing later this week. She'd drawn a picture of herself, her mum and her
grandma (Mrs C)... all going to the local coffee shop.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

This morning ...

(12 bar blues, sung with a gritty black American male voice)

Woke up this moanin … (duh du--uh de duh)
At a quarter to six … (“)
To the sound of the cat … (“)
Throwin up her bics … (“)

Aaa--ah, no no no--oh!

… sorry about the crap lyrics.

After clearing up two lots of cat sick from the stair carpet (one of which
contained a fresh blade of grass), I rushed to take some photos of the early
morning sky, through our bathroom skylight. The sky was on fire … pinkish-red
clouds in the distance, partially covered by dark fluffy ones, scudding by
in the strong wind.



This reminded me of photos I’ve seen of the fires raging in Los Angeles …
a real hell-hole at present. (see the Flickr Blog for September 3rd).
These photos make me think how lucky we are to be living in a wetter and
cooler part of the world.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Yesterday's photos

Here are a couple of photos I took of the evening sky by the reservoir...



plus photos of Little J and Little A, who are both adorable ...



Here’s a funny story about their cousin, Mini, who lives in London...
While Mini was stroking her baby sister’s hair, she said: “D… is my best friend.”
Her dad, J, then said: “When I go to Heaven, you must look after your little sister for me.”
To which Mini replied: “Daddy, you just go to gym!”

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Yesterday and today

We spent yesterday mainly with our other two grandchildren, Little A and J,
while their mum and our daughter (B) went shopping. B is returning to part-
time work as an environmental health officer in a month's time, so we'll
carry on seeing/looking after them most Fridays from now on. The little ones
are coming up to their 3rd and 1st birthdays, and J is not far off walking
by himself. How time flies!

As regards time flying by, I think it's amazing that the Romans used the
same expression some 2000 years ago ~ "tempus fugit", and interesting
to hear about a Roman soldier here in Britain writing back to his mum in
Italy (on one of those clay tablets), asking her to to knit a pair of
socks for him. Unfortunately, this letter was never sent, so the poor chap
had to endure the winter cold here without them. Rubbish postal system.

Later on we went out for an evening meal a couple of streets away, chez my
MIL ~ organic trout fillets with steamed organic veg (spuds, carrot, runner
beans & cabbage), with a few raspberries to follow, plus some white & red
wine ... all very nice.

In the evening, I walked to the top of a nearby hill (where the BelleView
reservoir is) for a Belle View of last night's sunset, and to take some
photos of it. However, by the time I got there, the light was fading
rapidly, so I didn't get any good ones really.

We watched an episode of "Dexter" last night on our DVD player/TV. One critic
said it's "deliciously dark", and so it is. I give the series a 5 star
rating ... it's brilliant. We've only got one episode of the first series
left to watch, but I see on the internet that there are three more series
available. For a bit of light relief afterwards, we watched "Mock The Week",
which was very funny as usual.

Today, I pottered around (well, if you could call doing stuff on a PC as
"pottering around"), while Mrs C went for a session on "Alexander Technique",
at a private clinic around the corner, and later, after having a coffee with
me, she saw a client for counselling. She doesn't usually work on Saturdays.

I've been busy putting together a programme of talks for the Computer Club
I help run, and trying out Google's Streetview, which I will demonstrate to
CC members this coming week. Our local locksmith is quite hard to find in
the Mapperley area of Nottingham, so I looked up the postcode on the net
(TouchLocal), did a Google search for the postcode, and then looked up and
down the main road on Streetview for the locksmith and the nearest bus stops.
I think Streetview is useful for finding businesses ... it will save a lot
of walking/motoring around.

Later on this morning, I made some houmous from pressure-cooked chick peas
(it takes about 25 mins to cook a large batch of them, and then you can
freeze any surplus chick peas for future use). We vary the recipe slightly
from time to time, but we're aiming to create a houmous similar to the one
made by Malcolm at our favourite veggie restaurant, Cafe Nomad. Anyway,
I made some delicious houmous, and we ate some of it at lunchtime.

Mrs C and I walked into town later, to see a murder mystery play "The
Late Edwina Black", which was on at Nottingham's Theatre Royal, and which
was excellent. A very good plot & good acting. We saw another play in the
same series 2 weeks ago, "Suddenly At Home", which was very good too.

For the evening meal: a veggie-burger with home-made tomato sauce, together
with the usual veg and a glass of Shiraz wine ... a TV dinner, as we sat
down to watch the "X Factor" on ITV, which had the usual mix of a few
outstandingly good singers and the rest who were really bad (or mildly
entertaining). I'm always amazed how some people think they've got the
"X Factor", when it's plainly evident that all they've got is the
"Crap Factor". They are either tone-deaf or delusional, possibly both.
However, it does make interesting TV to watch. I think the singer Lucie
Jones is a star in the making - she has a fabulous voice. Here's a video of
her performance tonight, singing one of my favourite Whitney Houston

I've probably said this before ... that I think Simon Cowell is spot-on with
everything he says about the people who come and audition for the show.
He speaks his mind, which some people don't like, but in the music
business as in any other, you can't promote useless people or unrealistic

The Beatles were back on TV last night ... co-inciding with the re-release
of their entire album collection. Mrs C and I enjoyed watching the oldies,
going back to late 1962, when their first single came out, and when we were
young ourselves. Oh, the wonderful 60s.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

London to Brighton last weekend

We spent last weekend in London, visiting our family there. On Saturday,
we went to Brighton for the day. Here are a few photos from the weekend,
including two photos of our granddaughters, who I think are very
photogenic ....




(there are more photos on my Flickr site)

It was a very windy and cloudy day in Brighton, with slight drizzle
from time to time, but with occasional bursts of hot sunshine. There
was a nice beach-side café just by the children’s play area, where we
all had tea/coffee and later some lunch. After this Mrs C and I went
round the Royal Pavilion, which was exceptionally beautiful. I’ve
always thought that the interior of Chatsworth was stunning, but that
of the Pavilion is even more so. It’s like walking into Aladdin’s Cave.

Unfortunately, photography inside was banned and security was very
tight (so I couldn’t take a snapshot of anything), which is not
surprising when you see the amount of gold/gilt on display. Anyway,
I’ve found the official website, which will give you a glimpse of some
of the fabulous rooms.

BTW, all the above photos were uploaded via Flickr ... I'm very pleased
with the results.