Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back from Scarborough

I've spent the last two days sorting out my holiday snaps and putting the best
ones up onto Flickr. It was lovely to see our four girls together again (which
doesn't happen very often, though we do see them individually a lot more).
We were very lucky with the weather again ... the sun shone most of the
time, though the sea breeze was chilly at times. The rain is back with us again
today ... not good for holiday-makers.

So what did you think of the wonderful opening ceremony of our Olympics?
I thought most of was a load of rubbish, but I did enjoy the fireworks and the
orchestral playing, plus a brief video of our Queen being met by James Bond.
I also liked the bit where Kenneth Branagh (aka Kurt Wallander) recited
Caliban's speech from "The Tempest". However, the rest of it was staged
like a bad school play, which I thought will have bored most viewers around
the world.

We'll be in Cromer (at the seaside again) next week, so my next post will be
in about two weeks' time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Going off to the seaside

This heading reminds me of one of Enid Blyton's Noddy stories, when Noddy and
Big Ears set off in Noddy's car for the seaside. I don't recall much happening,
except that one of them gets pinched on the foot by a crab. I read it as a kid
myself, and to 
my children when they were young. I can remember feeling excited
when we went 
off to the seaside with my mum and dad.

Our grandchildren M and D are getting excited about going too. M has been going
to bed early, thinking that the sooner she gets to sleep, the sooner she'll get to the
seaside. She asked her mum to put her to bed at 3pm this afternoon. :)

M has been packing her suitcase (a Trunki) today. She'd written a list of things to
take with her, and her mum told us that she was carefully crossing off the list,
things that 
she'd packed. "Just like me," her mum said. Her sister D is into
delegation of the 
packing ... just like her dad.

We're all setting off for Scarborough on Friday morning, and the brilliant news is
that the UK weather will start to improve this weekend ... we're hopefully in for a
and sunny week ahead. Yippee!

I must get out my bucket and spade, and have a look in the loft for my Trunki.

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's been a topsy-turvy day

Yes, it's been an odd day today ... I've done a lot of things, but I feel
I've achieved very little.

Mrs C has a bee in her bonnet about getting things ready well in
advance, for family members (The London Crowd) coming to stay
with us in a week's time. They'll be with us for a day, and then
we'll all set off for a week's holiday in Scarborough, followed by
a week at our house with L and the girls, then a week in Cromer,
and then L and the girls back with us in Nottingham for a few days,
as her sister is expecting her third child in Nottingham (on about
10 August).

So getting things ready, has included a huge spring-clean of all the
junk in the spare bedroom (so a lot of the junk has ended up in my
room, or has been lobbed), clearing cupboard and wardrobe space
in Mrs C's room, including lots of old family photos. These are
currently on the landing in various piles, as the box we put them
in became damp owing to a slight water leak we've had with the
recent downpours.

I put my mobile phone down in amongst all the photos, while I
was rapidly sorting them out (with view to finding the damp photos
for drying out) ... and later spent about an hour trying to find it
again. If only I'd left the phone switched on!

While Mrs C was making a large fish pie (to keep in our freezer
until our guests arrive), I spent some time sorting through piles
of unread magazines and newspapers, picking out a few articles
to put by for future reading (as I tend to do, but eventually throw
out, unread!).

Earlier in the day, we both went to Victoria Centre Market in town,
where there's an excellent stall selling bedding plants. Mrs C has
spent hours spring-cleaning the garden, throwing out loads of
border plants, but as it now looked bare, Mrs C decided that we
needed more colour back in the garden again. So we came back
from town, laden with plants. To be fair to Mrs C, the plants she
threw out were far too tall, so tall that we couldn't see our new
rose bed. The roses are thriving with all the rain we've been
having, and some are about to flower.

Today, we moved three armchairs around the house, one of
which is partially broken and is awaiting repair (when I can get
a replacement spindle). This is a comfy leather swivel armchair,
which has ended up ... in my room.  :)

Today, I've also re-hung a large mirror and one of our large
paintings, on different walls in our house, which required putting
up two heavy-duty picture hooks ... a easy DIY job really, but all
part of Mrs C's home improvements plan.

This evening we watched a couple of cop dramas on the telly ...
Case Sensitive and The Closer ... both of them were excellent.

I've been typing this on my revitalised PC ... revitalised with
Linux, I'm pleased to say. I've just got a few more bits of
software to add onto the system ... Gimp in particular.  I'm
also thinking of switching from Libre Office to Open Office, as
I prefer using fonts like Arial, Tahoma and Lucida Handwriting
Italic. However, I'll see if I can add these fonts to Libre.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Higgs Boson

Well, what are your thoughts about the discovery of this new sub-atomic particle?

It seems that a lot particle physicists including Professor Brian Cox, are over the
moon about it. I have my doubts about it all, however ... but then who would
take my side ... an ignoramus like me? Could this particle be entirely man-made
... artificially created by these collision experiments?

I can see how this research can satisfy the curiosity of the top physicists, but
is the practical benefit of it all?

Will it help us in future years, devise a safer form 
of energy production than
nuclear power, or help us become more effective 
at harnessing the power of
sunlight, the wind and the waves? This is the research
that we should be spending
more money on, and focusing all our attention on.

The fossil fuels that we take for granted: oil, petrol and gas, will gradually run out,
possibly in our children's life-time, which I think is a very worrying prospect.

The school "sports day" we went to last weekend, went very well ... it was well
organised and had an Olympic theme to it. It wasn't a sports day really ... it was
more of a huge garden party, mainly for the children. Some time next week, I'll
post some photos of the event onto my Flickr site, for you to see.

I mentioned already that I'm looking into using Ubuntu Linux on my Windows XP
PC, partly to improve the PC's performance (as it's become very slow), but also
to extend the life of the PC. I don't wish to scrap it when Microsoft stops
supporting Windows XP in April 2014, and then feel obliged to buy another PC
Windows 8 on it.

What I've found out is that you can run Ubuntu Linux alongside Windows XP on
a PC or laptop ... and you can switch between the two, by a dual booting facility
set up by WUBI ... have a look at these links, if you're interested ...



I've also found this YouTube video all about Linux (one of many vids) ...

The good thing about this is that I will be able to carry on using Photoshop 
Elements on the Windows XP side of my PC, for processing RAW images, and
use Ubuntu Linux 
for everything else.

No need to buy Windows 8, and no need to buy Microsoft 
Office. Ubuntu has
Libre Office, which is said to be similar to Open Office (or I 
could switch over to
using OO, if I so wish).  At present, I use OO for creating text documents, PDFs,

slide shows and spreadsheets also ... no fancy "ribbon" toolbars that you see
with Microsoft Office.

I've already downloaded Ubuntu Linux (12.04) via WUBI onto my PC, but I'm
having to borrow a friend's wired keyboard, to be able to switch it into Ubuntu
mode when 
initially booting the PC up. I've got a wireless keyboard (with a wireless
so I'll be looking for drivers for these, so I can use them with Ubuntu.