Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In the past week or so ....

... I went to an evening concert with Mrs C, to hear some chamber music at
the Nottingham High School.
... went to my U3A's Computer Club, where one of my colleagues spoke about
file management. He's a semi-retired computer programmer, so it was a very
high-powered talk.
... went to see the LS Lowry exhibition at Nottm University's Art Gallery
You might know that he painted the drab industrial landscapes of Greater
Manchester, with equally drab-looking citizens wandering around the streets.
He found his niche, as his paintings sold very well. My parents had a few
large prints of his work, one or two of which they displayed on their walls.
.... went to Hucknall on the tram from Nottingham, for a look around. St.
Mary's Church contains Lord Byron's grave, but unfortunately the church was
closed. An ex-mining town, which I don't think we'll visit again.
... also went to Eastwood, another ex-mining town, which was the home of
DH Lawrence ... to see the Heritage Centre and a brilliant photographic
exhibition, plus the Birthplace Museum (see my Flickr photos). It was the
first time I've seen gas lighting inside a house.
... went to see my dentist for part one of a major root canal filling in
one of my molar teeth (she drilled a large hole through the porcelain
crown to get down to the roots). Thrilling!
.... dropped off a load of china, glassware and wooden items off at one
of our local charity shops ... to reduce the clutter in our cupboards.
... went to a U3A photography group (today), for some excellent company
and inspiration as regards improving my skills.
.... did a major update on a U3A website (which took me a few days). I'm
stopping work on this after 6 years in the job, at the end of January.
.... about to start work on another website for one of my nieces, who is
a pop musician. She achieved some fame a few years ago, performing at
Glastonbury and doing a world tour with a major rock band, but took some
time off to raise her son. I won't say any more about her for the time

Tomorrow we'll be meeting up with a couple of friends in town, followed
by grandparent duties later in the day. More of the latter on Friday.
On Sunday we've got a treat lined up for ourselves ... seeing the New York
Met Opera performing "The Enchanted Island" at Nottingham's Broadway
Cinema. We're really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cutting back on the booze

There’s been a lot of media coverage about the damage that alcohol does
to the liver and to other parts of the body. The experts now recommend
that drinkers such as myself should have 2-3 days off drinking alcohol
each week (and definitely not to binge-drink at the weekends).

A good many years ago, I used to brew my own beer / continental pilsner …
I still have one home brew kit in my garage waiting to be used. A pint
of this stuff was very strong however (abt 5%), though I did manage to
drink a pint a day of it most days, and sometimes 2 pints if we were
having a party. I used to wake up in the mornings feeling parched … a
very dry mouth.

I cut down my drinking in more recent years, to the occasional half-pint
(abt 250ml), but then stopped drinking lager as my brewing kegs stopped
working properly. (I couldn’t be bothered to replace them.)

I am now mainly a wine-drinker … on a “good” day (especially when away
on holiday), Mrs C and I could get through a whole bottle of wine,
though usually one bottle lasts us two days. However in the past few
months, I have reduced my glass size to one of the smaller ones you
get in a pub (the 125ml size), and with the new recommendations in
mind, I now cut out drinking any wine on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
also. (Oooo-oh, isn’t he being a good boy?!).

When we were last on holiday in Germany, relatives there introduced us
to a combination of apple juice and sparkling water, which you can get
in pubs and restaurants, which tastes very much like Schloer … very nice.
So on our alcohol-free nights we’ve treated ourselves to large glasses
of this. Fresh apple and mango juice with a little sparkling water is
lovely too … it tastes really exotic … nicer than drinking cocktails,
I think.

Monday, January 02, 2012

The New Year

Well, it's now the second day into the New Year. Our festivities are
slowly winding down, though today we hosted a large family get-together
at our house. It was lovely to see everyone who came, but it was fairly
hard work getting ready for the occasion and clearing-up during and

Our daughter L and her two girls have been with us for about two weeks,
and will be setting off for home this coming Thursday evening. The girls
are getting rather home-sick and are missing their dad (who went back
home 4 days ago). I've been helping out as child entertainer, alternating
between being Mr Greedy (who occasionally makes out that he's going to
eat their food / sweets, and gets banished to the naughty-step) and the
dastardly Tickle Monster, who chases them around our rooms … good fun.

It's time to mention my New Year's resolutions – my good intentions for
the coming year. I've been reading one newspaper columnist today (in the I),
who thinks that we should be making positive resolutions rather than
negative ones (such as giving up chocolate or alcohol). Her positive ones
were all about self-improvement – educating oneself, rather than having fun,
which is what Mrs C wishes to have more of.

One of my aims is to take my electric guitar playing up to a much
higher level, to that of the late Gary Moore – playing and singing the Blues.
I really enjoy playing and singing along with my two pals, B and S, and
wish to get up to their standard of playing.

I also intend resurrecting my interest in family history this year. Mrs C's
mum is now 91, and has a vast knowledge of her generation and two
generations of folk before that. It's the stories of how these people led
their lives, which is what I'm particularly interested in. I'm not
interested in just collecting names and dates, which I think is rather
like train-spotting.

On the negative side (though some might say positive side, depending on
what you think about computers), I will be reducing my website work …
stopping work on two of my websites. I've been thinking about the huge
variety of activities my friend B does … a bit of website work for himself
and a folk-singer friend, playing & teaching guitar, wood-turning &
guitar-making, speciality bread-making, and lots of outdoor activities as
well, whereas I'm spending more and more time looking at a computer

Photography is now my main hobby, which I will continue for the time
being, while I have such a brilliant mentor and such lovely grandchildren
to photograph.

Also, Mrs C has a long list of outstanding jobs for me to do inside the
house … well there's no end to the amount of painting that has to be done,
and bits and bobs that need fixing... and if I don't do it, then Mrs C will be
paying other people to do the work (she's got no reservations about that).
You will be no doubt familiar with all this yourself.