Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Post from the House of Coughs and Colds

Yes, Mrs C and I have got bad coughs and headcolds at the mo, though
we're now in the recovery phase. A week ago, I felt as though I was
going down with flu, in addition to the above and a bad sore throat.
I felt so ill, that I was unable to leave the house to help one of
my daughters, who was stuck in a traffic jam, on her way home to her
children (after work). (Her child-minder stayed on until she got back
three hours later.)

We had her sister L staying with us at the time, along with her two
daughters, who brought this horrible bug with them from London. I
realised that L was ill with pneumonia last Monday, so I arranged for
her to see our local family doctor for antibiotic treatment. L is now
recovering - on “holiday” with her family in Centre Parks in Sherwood

It's a pity for her, that the weather has turned cold and showery this
week, but there's a good swimming pool on site, and restaurants on site
also, to keep everyone happy. Those of you who don't live in the UK,
might be surprised to hear that a good half of England is in drought,
owing to two successive dry winters. It does seem illogical somehow to
hear that, when it's bucketting with rain outside (and that we haven't
really worked out better ways of conserving this rainfall, but just let
it drain away out into our rivers.) We've got one large water butt and
several smaller ones now full of water, and I'm thinking about buying
a second large water butt to put alongside the other one … we could do
with the extra water for the garden this summer, if it's going to be a
dry one.

I've been having problems with my Windows XP PC … it's become terribly
slow in recent weeks, which I think was due to a virus infection. I
think I've got rid of it by changing my free anti-virus cover from
Avast to AVG, and then running a full scan of the computer, which
removed a “severe threat” … not sure what this was, as I didn't
investigate this further. My PC is now working much faster, I'm
pleased to say. I was about to do a clean re-install of Windows XP
(or possibly Ubuntu Linux), but the recovery CD wouldn't work … a
window popped up to say that “the version of Windows XP on this machine
is more recent than what is on the Recovery Disc” … so try something
else. I spent a good part of the day trying other things, but now the
problem has nearly gone away, by switching to Free AVG. This was
highly praised in a recent comparative survey of free anti-virus
software. By the way, the best paid-for software was deemed to be
Trend Micro in the same survey (in one of the computer mags).

When Windows XP is no longer covered by free anti-virus software, I
might have a go with a Linux-based operating system, rather than pay
for a PC with a newer version of Windows on it. We've got Windows
Vista Home Premium on our laptop, which should be OK for a few more
years yet.

Anyway, that's enough of rather dull geek-speak. I'll just tell you
about a couple of things … we were really amazed by the New York Met's
production of Verdi's “La Traviata” last weekend, especially by
Natalie Dessay's really beautiful voice, and that of the two male
lead singers.

Here's a critic's review of the performance, which was not so
complimentary … .

The other is a funny story about our granddaughter Mini, who was with
her mum, sister and Grandma, choosing some new reading books in one of
Nottingham's leading bookstores. L showed her a few books she might
like, but Mini said she particularly liked one book (which was for
one-year olds) … with fuzzy-felt pictures on the front of it. L refused
to buy this for her, despite Mini's repeated requests.

So L said: “Well, how about spending some of your Easter money on this

Mini replied: “I'M NOT WASTING MY MONEY ON THAT!” … much to the surprise
of other parents nearby, and one of the shop assistants. :)

Monday, April 09, 2012

What a grey day !


Friday, April 06, 2012

What does he DO all day?

Hi everyone … I'm ba-a-ack again.

My heading was a query from one of my distant relatives, Stan, who was
asking about me in a rather critical manner (but not in my presence). He
thinks that I should be still be working, earning more dosh for myself
and my family, and doing some good for society in caring for those who are
sick, rather than being off work and enjoying myself. This chap must have
had a stronger work ethic than myself, as indeed did my late brother, PJ.

PJ semi-retired from being a consultant diabetologist at 60, but carried
on working part-time until he was 65. He really loved his work, and was
highly skilled. However, he died two years later, of leukaemia, so he
didn't have much time to enjoy his retirement, or spend much of his
pension. Well, he had choices … he could have retired much earlier, if he
had so wished, and spent more time with his family.

Coming back to Stan … he is a retired civil servant, now in his 80s and
in poor health. He has what's known in medical circles as a dicky heart.
And what does he do all day? He watches sport on the telly for most of
the day, while he's waited on, hand and foot, by his wife. When the
weather gets warmer, he ventures out at far as the potting shed in his
garden … for a change of scene, and probably to read a newspaper, such
as The Daily Mail. What a life!

So from time to time, Mrs C and I have a good laugh about: “What does
he do all day?”

For those of you who haven't been keeping an eye on my Flickr site …
there's a link to this in the right hand side-bar … I've been taking lots
of photos of my family, and trips to Venice, London, Shropshire,
Lancashire, Yorkshire and The Lake District. I've put 200+ photos of
Venice onto Flickr.

As most of you will be aware, we've had exceptionally warm and sunny
weather from the end of February up to the beginning of last week, when
it became wintery again. So it's been brilliant for walking outdoors and
for taking lots of snaps.

Here are a few of them …

a collage of photos of our grandchildren, which is currently on my
Desktop …

0412 collage

Grasmere in The Lake District


Wensleydale in Yorkshire


The Clock at Hampton Court Palace in London (home of King Henry the VIIIth)


Venice at dawn … a view from the Accademia Bridge, and another with
San Giorgio in the distance.



I hope you'll like them.
Talk to you soon.