Saturday, 31 August 2013

Here's the Chap I Wanted to Kill!

You haven’t heard for me for a few days even though I had planned to fork out a daily fiver for unlimited Internet access on my phone.  Then I was going to continue blogging via the Bluetooth keyboard that I normally use for my tablet.  Awkward I know but I am dedicated to my craft!  On the ferry my plans were thwarted.  Louis lost my mobile, after a session of gaming with another youngster and left it goodness knows where.  So, after a few hours of wanting to throttle him a la mode of Homer Simpson with Bart, I cooled down.  For couldn't a fortnight’s worth of anger ruin a good holiday?  And given that something usually goes wrong during our extended time away isn’t it better that's its done and dusted early and not the usual dental or medical emergency?

So here we are, firmly entrenched for five days in a campground, just a few miles up from the French-Spanish border with Internet connection to my laptop at last.  We got here in spite of having no sat nav for that was on my phone too.  Luckily I'd run off a PDR file giving verbal directions to each of our first stops and now we're in France we have an atlas so life gets easier!  In spite of the inconvenience I'm so happy with engaging in those old fashioned pursuits of reading, sewing, swimming and cycling that all thoughts of murder left me days ago!

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Motivated by the Moomins

We're off on the ferry to Spain today so you'd expect the picture that goes with this post to be of say, the Guggenheim at Bilbao.  Why the ruddy hell then is there a Moomin?  What possible link could this have to my holiday?

Well I've had Moomins on my mind since I watched a BBC 4 programme about their creator Tove Jansson last Christmas.  Unfortunately it's not still available on the i-player at the moment but no doubt it will come round again, although not as frequently as old episodes of The Good Life or Dad's Army.  Watching the programme means that the Moominland books are on my reading list so I can spot the hidden meaning that lies within that went over my head as a child.  And I want a Moomin in my home.  A print of this picture would do.  I think it would fit in nicely with my retro furniture, methinks in the dining room hanging opposite my charcoal nudes!

So I've promised myself that I can have it, but there's a catch.  It'll be a reward for losing half a stone in weight.  And despite ongoing knee problems (I collapsed in a yelping heap in the front garden again yesterday). the pounds are slowly dropping off.  And I want them to stay off during my holiday, a time of traditional overindulgence on the food and drink front when pounds are piled onto the waistline.  So, this chubby little Moomin is a reminder to myself of what might come my way shortly after my trip is over if I lay off the pastries and the wine.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Lino By the Sea

I'm off tomorrow with littl'un on that gargantuan road trip through France and Spain.  Gulp!  I really do hope that I haven't bitten off more than I can chew   But I can't back out now.   A couple of rather excellent Yelloh Village campsites and a trip to the fabulous Futuroscope theme park are booked.  After all I've got to keep a ten year old happy and my preferred choice of wilderness camp spots really wouldn't be his bag.  Adult only spas on the campgrounds and  most of all, the Guggenheim at Bilbao are my own treats for the trip.  I've really wanted to visit that weird and wacky place since it opened. I like a bit of art.  For full effect that last sentence has to be said in an East End gangster type of  accent!

Talking of art, I'm planning to create a bit of my own whilst away.  I can't really take printing inks to produce prints from the animal linocut that it is progress but my cutters and lino are definitely portable enough.  Not many people will be packing those for their holiday this weekend I'll grant you!  Perhaps the mermaid whose been taking up headspace lately will materialise in cut form as I'm sitting by the sea for inspiration.

To whet my creative appetite I'm going to be studying the work of  Elizabeth Rashley whose prints I discovered on one of my jaunts to the Devon Guild of Crafts.  It's a pity that most of the pictures in her gallery aren't there at the moment as her website was attacked.  However this sea scene comes from there and something similar but simpler could make a fitting backdrop for my hair combing, fishy-tailed lovely!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Passing Go

I had a devil of a job finding an image of the common-or-garden  London edition of Monopoly.  There's so many different versions these days. Brighton and Hove have their own board as does Pokemon, Harry Potter and Hello Kitty.  Apparently there's a super-duper jewel encrusted variant with real US dollars.  For me it wouldn't be the same unless there was a Mayfair on the board to cast dread or delight depending on whether or not you're the card holder

Louis has just discovered the game, and being a business minded chap it's now a favourite pastime.  I procured our board for a rather reasonable £2.99 from a Mutley Plain charity shop.  Someone had been having a clearout and there were about six different versions in the store.  Those newcomers didn't tempt me.  Old stick-in-the-mud plumped for the original and British best!

What with the playing cards that Lou has taken to carrying around , we seem to be getting back to the old days and revisiting a childhood that's familiar to me.  Sure, the electronic gadgetry is still in evidence but my son has got a real penchant for a good old fashioned parlour game.  And perhaps whilst the going is good I can introduce my dyslexic son with his aversion to all things that might allude to spelling to my own personal favourite.  Why it's Scrabble of course!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Thinking inside the Salad Box

If I'm following my 2013 rules, shop bought lunches are a no-no.  But unless, it's grown from gifted seeds or liberated by a freegan, isn't every lunch from a shop?  Of course what I mean by my own little bit of self regulating legislation is that I'm not allowed to buy the sandwiches, sushi or salads that lurk at the entrance of the local Co-op.  On the other hand, if I venture further into the shop a roll from the bakery and some hummous, or say a reduced pork pie is perfectly okay, although not for the waistline.

Yesterday I ventured into Morrisons, not one of my usual Totnes haunts. It's got something to do with its low slung ceilings and odd lighting but there, I'm becoming a funny old stick.  They have a salad bar and I thought I'd give it a go.  I have to say that I'm pleased that I did. The range is superb, a veritable mixture of the healthy like the oriental coleslaw and super salad here and some of those carb and mayonnaise type calorie-laden treats.

Now I headed over the road with Buxom Brenda who filled her £2 medium sized box with a rather traditional offering which included lots of cheese and an egg.  I was about to choose the same option but then noticed that an extra large box with its five compartments only cost £3.20.  I've went ahead filled my boots. There's definitely enough to keep me in lunches until the end of the working week and maybe there'll be a little bit over to use as an accompaniment with Friday's supper.  Now that my friends is what I call a thrifty result!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Wheeled Object of Lust

I'm going to reveal just how totally uncool I am and why I'll never attain surf girl status.   Am I bovvered about all that self-image malarkey?  Not in the least.  Oh okay, maybe a little bit.

So my first confession is that I'd much rather have a motorhome than a camper van any day.  This puts me well into the fogey league.  But it's a space thing dude and motorhomes win on that count anyday. The Burstner Ixeo IT666 is my machine of choice and   I've just got to work out how I can get the funds so I can upgrade my existing vehicle.

Secondly I'm don't really get the VW camper hype.  Sure there's cute looking but blooming expensive.  If I'd spent all that money I wouldn't want to be doing all that  rearranging stuff to have a kip.    After a few beers all I want to do is climb up into bed.   And for the price that Volkswagen charges I'd rather not have to have a toilet that pulls out from under a sink.

I could just about be tempted by this new Hymer camper van though if I wanted to venture to those parts where a motorhome doesn't reach.  For that's the problem with the big old beasts.  Unless you're really gung ho they're not made for venturing far off the beaten track.  Isn't this Cape Town model to die for.  So compact, bijou and clever.  But if I had the choice and the £50,000 to splash out  I think I'd still be buying a motorhome.  Okay I'll never reach cooldom but will have a private toilet cubicle.

Pictures:  Out And About Live

Tuesday, 20 August 2013


I've had my share of sleep problems in my time.  Frankly getting up in the morning after an undisturbed night feeling refreshed is a bonus.  Self administered cognitive behavioural therapy made me realise though that life can go on anyway.

But I'm always open to suggestions about how the situation can be improved.  So, it was with open ears that I listened to a piece on Radio 4's Today programme yesterday.  There, a choir director with the ever such cool name of Alise Ojay described the research that she'd done in conjunction with the University of Exeter to see if singing exercises reduced snoring.  And guess what?  They do.

This sounds an eminently sensible approach, one that I'm kicking myself that I hadn't thought about it before.  Snoring often occurs as the pharyngeal muscles in the throat lose tone and become floppy.  Singing firms up those muscles and voila, after following the programme many people found that they became less vocal and annoying at night.   Today's title was the phrase that Ms Ojay sung in the Radio 4 studio.  I tried it myself and you can really feel those tonsils getting a workout.  Of course,  singing nonsense untunefully can also be irritating in its own right, perhaps more so than those nocturnal rumblings.  You'd have to weigh this up.

The programme on CD is available from the Singing for Snorers website and costs £42.  However, if like me you're not particularly flush at the moment here's another resource  giving ideas for other exercises following the same principles.  Some of these have the added benefit of being silent!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Cheap Phones Come to Her That Waits

Today's picture gives you a little clue as to which mobile phone network that I use, far prettier than 3's own logo, I hope you'll agree.  I'm due an upgrade soon and I'd like a new smartphone.  One reason is that I can give my old one to Louis and will not have to tolerate being notified that things, in various games that he's uploaded, are hatching or dying. My new device will be out of bounds once he has his own. The other excuse for such wanton materialism is that my eyesight is failing and a bigger screen would be rather handy.

So what to choose. Shall I take my own advice and stay behind the times or say, hang it and get one of the latest models.  The Samsung Galaxy 4 or Max  both looked like the business, particularly the latter that has a huge screen that is ideal for increasing visual impairment.   To help me make up my mind when my contract runs out in the next month I popped into a phone shop to have a look at the models in the flesh.  It's the Galaxy Note II that gets my vote, a screen that's big enough, long battery life and a cheaper than the other models.  In the shop it was a whole fiver less a month than its newer counterparts.

Do I buy instore?  Certainly the salesman was keen that I should but he would be wouldn't he!  He was even keen to offer me an early upgrade for just £29!  In fact the whole sales patter was geared around persuading me that I could have a new phone in my hand immediately.   Obviously a lot of people go for this but he was onto a loser with this thrifty bird who mixes metaphors and is prepared to wait for her worm.

I've worked out that if I buy the same phone using Quidco and I'll save £6 a month on contract fees.  That's one hundred and forty four spondiddledoodlies that remain in my bank account!  Plus the £29 early upgrade fee if I'd have gone for that.  By paying £39.99 for the phone upfront I can pay just £26 monthly as compared to the shop price of £32.   What's more the Quidco cashback covers the upfront cost of the phone.    The salesman said that it was way better to buy instore but I'm having trouble with his logic!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

That's Better - Now Don't Do It Again!

As promised I'm reporting back to show you my progress with transforming my store cupboard into somewhere that has a semblence of order.  Go back and have a look at the disgraceful mess that it was in a month ago.   And now, I'm sure you'll agree its much better. There's still some room for improvement which will come once I've used up a few more of those duplicate bags of flour and found recipes for all that cornmeal which, thanks to Mr Hollywood, came into the house during my unsuccessful tortilla making experiments.   But its a good start to complete kitchen karma and I'm going to make sure that it stays that way!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Fishy Printing

What would you do with a nice bass fresh from the sea?  Fillet it and fry it in a little butter or steam it in a foil parcel with some herbs and seasoning?  But if you're not peckish how about printing with it instead?

The Japenese have been up to Gyotaku, fish rubbing, since the early 1800s.  I kid you not!  Even though the concept is a rum 'un  the results are quite beautiful.  For recording the magnificence of your prize catch it beats taxidermy any day.

My favourite artist of this genre of relief printing has to be Gail Boucher whose work is shown here. She doesn't hail from the Land of the Rising Sun but is from Maine in the far north of the USA.  Go watch the slide show on her website to see more of her work.  Isn't it amazing? Doesn't it just want to make you run out to the fishmonger, buy a fine specimen and slaver it with ink!  Mackerel would be my choice.  And maybe if you used a vegetable based dye you could get away with serving your naturalistic printing block up for supper.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Spookily Silent?

My sleeping patterns are right up the creak at the moment for no apparent reason.  Maybe it's  a combination of menopause and warmer weather? Who knows.  The angst-ridden Lovelygrey of earlier years would have been troubled by this state of affairs but I just go with the flow now and embrace whatever life hurls at me.

So today's Guardian crossword is already done and dusted and I'm blogging at just after 3am in the morning.  Let's publish early too and see if I can catch some trade across the ocean..  Good evening my transatlantic friends!  How has your day been?

In the depths of the Devon countryside it's completely quiet except for my own tapping on the keyboard and the laptop fan.  If I were in a city now there'd be a hum of noise punctuated by even noisier nearby traffic sounds and the orange glow of light pollution seeping through my curtains.  When she visited last time Red Mel, a town dweller, said the silence and darkness here were spooky.  I beg to differ and find them more soothing than all that 24 hour sensory input could ever be.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Do You Floss?

I need to get a move on so haven't got time to post something ever so deep and meaningful today.  There's some corners though that I'll never cut.  As such,   I'll always shower before I leave the house as the idea of being a smelly so and so terrifies me.

Even so, I'm not in the market for these innovative wipes bought to my attention by Miranda Hart Facebook page.  A sawing action to clean the jubblies just can't be right.  Call me boring but I'll stick to flossing teeth, thank you very much!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

My Family and Fish Town

This is my Grandad,  father of Papa Lovelygrey.  He's been dead awhile now, since the late '70s.  If he were alive he'd be 109 which would be pretty good going for someone with a serious Golden Virginia habit.  And yes, it was the tobacco that saw him off.

He was a rum old dude who, for reasons unbeknown to anyone other than himself, had a rather striking likeness of Edith Cavell on his chest.  Whether the entertainment was worthwhile for us kids, while we were at my grandparent's house, depended on his compliance with our request to 'Show us your nurse, Grandad!'. This revelation should blow away any mistaken beliefs that I'm descended from the aristocracy. I'm sure they're not in the habit of revealing their tattooed torsos over Sunday tea.

Dad gave me this photo when he visited last month.  It's Grandad Lovelygrey with a conger eel that he caught at Brixham, the town that I'm going to make my future home when I eventually move into Great Tits House.  It's a teeny tiny print, much smaller than on screen here.  It looks like technology though has given me the means to blow it up. Then it can have pride of place on a mantlepiece just a few hundred yards from where it was taken over half a century ago.   

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

2013 Spending Rules Updated

I haven't mentioned my 2013 spending rules for a couple of months so some of you may have inferred that I've gone way off kilter.  So it's time for a quick overview.  Let's see how I've been doing.
  • Books:  Just two lapses here m'lord.  An old Rough Guide to Barcelona bought for the princely sum of 50p in advance of our trip in the New Year.  The other?  Well, it's a textbook about something I'm mulling over for work where Internet information was just too sparse.  In my defence let me say that if my hunch works I may be able to substantially improve the lives of people living with advanced dementia. There's a tip to be had here.  Do you really need the most up to date edition of an academic text? Older ones can often be had for a song. The latest edition of the book that I bought was over forty quid whereas my older version, containing all the basic information that I needed, cost less than a fiver.  
  • Shop bought lunches:  I can't recall the time that supermarket sandwiches passed my lips so I've done well here.  Gold stars all round!
  • Shelf consuming knick knacks: Just a Bernard Moss buying flurry back at the beginning of July to own up to!
  • Cards and wrapping paper.   Nope, nothing here.
  • Craft materials:   Or here too!
  • Kitchen gadgets::  Only a replacement food processor.  There's more to say about this in another post.  Let me also say that I have managed to dissuade Louis from buying a doughnut maker.  I must look into how you make these using non bespoke kitchen equipment.
  • Alcohol for lone consumption. There's the occasional lapse.  After all it's summer and there's nothing like a cool beverage in the garden after a hard day's graft.  My 2011 self would be astonished though at how infrequently this occurs.
  • And finally.... those clothes.  The rulebook went sailing out the window months ago.  After all,there's nothing that I love more than a rummage around a charity shop!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Live Stock: You Should Have Been There!

Red Mel, Louis and I went to a brilliant festival in my village on Saturday, just a hobble away down the lane behind the house.  It was the best little do ever and at £6 each a brilliant bargain!

The music was to die for.  My favourite was Storm UK who sated my desire for modern sea shanties.  Funnily enough I was looking for music like this just the other day on Spotify.

Louis made friends with the Oakwood Folk....

....and lasted all of two seconds on the bunking broncho.

Even though the rain made a brief appearance it brought a stunning friend with it.

It's unlikely that I'll be able to go  next year for  it looks like this would be a one off.  Sadly, it was a lossmaker.   In spite of having everything just right,only a smattering of people turned up.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

And Something Else Really I Didn't Know That I Needed!

Hee hee! I've scored some brownie points.  Louis thinks that I've been a super kind mum as an exercise bike has appeared in his bedroom to play on.  It's really there because it's ugly and I don't want it on show anywhere else in the house.

Never in a month of Sundays did I think that I'd buy anything found in the home fitness section of a department store or indeed Argos where I suspect most of this stuff originates from.  However its been strongly recommended by the lovely physiotherapist that I saw earlier in the week after phoning for an appointment and getting one 48 hours later.  Isn't this  a shining example of the NHS at its best?  Ann pointed out that it'll mean that I can workout daily. and keep the muscles around my poorly knee joint in good condition even the days when I won't feel like exercising outside because it's too cold, dark or windy. The woman is a mind reader!

If you are in the market for exercise equipment don't forget that most items purchased end up unused and taking up precious space.  So, think carefully if you really are going to use the gadget that promises so much but is likely to deliver little as there's almost a 99% certainty it will be a five minute wonder.  If  you're still sure that you need a mini home gym don't buy new.  There's plenty of people out there who want to offload stuff that they bought whilst on a temporary health kick.  Ask around, check freecycle and trawl secondhand sources.  My one?  Well, its an Ebay purchase, has never been used and is less than half of its original purchase price.  And yes, it was bought from Argos!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Something I Didn't Know I Needed

Wow!  The other day, I saw a picture of a shoe on Facebook that had been produced using a 3D printer  and I thought that I must share it with my bloggy friends.  So off I toddled to find it but instead found this even more beautiful one on the website of the 3D printing industry.  In a strange kind of way it looks rather comfy as if it would cushion every curve of the foot rather nicely.

3D printers have only come up on my radar since I visited the Design  Museum in London back in June.  There, I started to appreciate the scope for the medium.  This orthotic wizardry, The Wilmington, robotic exoskeleton is far less pretty than the shoe but life transforming.  It's designed for children with upper limb deficits and as they grow replacement parts can be easily printed off.  One little girl describes this as her 'magic arms'.

I've got to show you this far less worthy but also genius use of 3D photocopying.  It a template to make little bricks that join up different model making components.  If you want to stick a bit of K'nex to a lego brick there's now no problem.  The possibilities are endless.

Apparently, we're all going to have these devices in our houses one day but  their inflated prices means that  I'm not sure I'm going to get on the early adopter bandwagon.  Unless that is I win one in this Stuff TV competition. Even though it'll diminish my chances of winning, I've been kinder than kind and added the link so that you can have a go yourself if you've been inspired by anything that I've shown you.  And if you won, what would you create?

Friday, 9 August 2013

Don't Put Your Willy in the Toaster Mister!

The ingenuity and yes, stupidity of the male of our species never ceases to amaze me.  However much I adore my new-ish Dualit toaster than I won in an online competition  I would never, ever feel the need to make love to it lest I mess up its rather excellent grilling qualities.  Yet, I see from this article in the Guardian that firemen are having to caution men doing just that.  As if those common and garden hoovering accidents weren't enough!

And just to prove that the silly, or maybe sensible season for the press is well and truly upon us here's another article doling out seemingly much needed advice about one eyed trouser snake etiquette!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Who's Joining Us For Breakfast?

Small boys are a pain in my big fat butt which I must do something about once the leg is better.  One day they like a particular food and then they're not partial to it anymore.  Louis loved bran flakes a few months ago but now he's right off them leaving a soggy mess at the bottom of his bowl whenever I gave them to him.

So at the moment we're both into that great summer breakfast, porridge!  It's cheap, filling and apparently good for the heart.  The brown sugar that we sprinkled on top used to be stored in a plastic container.  Functional yes, but it wasn't particularly attractive.  So, now we're using Windy, bought from a car boot sale some months back for a price that was bang on the money.  Traders are canny these days.  He's supposed to hold a conserve but serves our purpose nicely too.  I wonder if he's got a hangover this morning?  Here's a link to a clip from Camberwick Green where he gets drunk on homemade cider.  Really!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

£2.42 Wasted!

I was very cross with myself yesterday but then stopped beating myself up because I try to practice self compassion. For somehow, in spite of being sent electronic reminders, I missed the deadline and had to pay a library fine, a staggering  22p on each of eleven books for being just one day late.  That £2.42 could have gone towards a holiday!

Whilst some of my spending to the most frugal out there may seem profligate it's not at all.  Most of it is planned like a military exercise. Oh, okay I exaggerate. It's more like one of the battles that you see going on in one of those Games Workshop stores.  What I try to avoid is forking out for stuff that is a total waste of money.  I've got to get out early this morning so'll have to hurry but here's a quick list.

- Fines of any kind.  library, parking, blah, blah, blah.
- Things I'll never use thus committing the double sin of creating unnecessary clutter.
- Clothes that I'll never wear
- Books that  I'll never read
- Credit and debit card charges.
- Extras on subscription that I'll never use
- Food that'll go to waste and never be eaten
- 99% of the things that Louis nags me to buy.  He's so used to me saying no that when I actually give in  it nearly causes him to have a cardiac arrest.

Okay, I get it wrong sometimes but I reckon that paying attention to the little stuff has got to add up to the price of one of my ferry crossing each year.  Or perhaps a small piece of treasured art.  Now, they're the type of things that I really think are worth buying.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Learning the Lingo FREE!

I've pretty much finalised the itinerary for our motorhome road trip between the Brittany Ferries ports of  Santander and Roscoff.  Initial plans for visits to either the Pyrenees or the Picos de Europa mountain ranges have been scrapped.  I've bitten off rather a lot with the long drive without adding in some switchbacks and a few mountain passes.  Let's save those for when I've got a few more experiential miles under the belt.  

The trip is now going to take in the Northern Spanish coast and a meander up the edge of Western France.  It will include a long awaited visit to the Guggenheim at Bilbao.  There'll be a  couple of nights in a  French town called Saintes that I'd never heard, but looks well worth a visit for its Roman remains. Theme parks have been off the radar for a couple of years so I thought I'd throw in a visit to Futuroscope, the multimedia theme park in the Poitou Charente region. We'll also be resting our bones at a couple of well-equipped Yelloh Village campsites and exploring their environs by bike.  After all, aren't holidays meant to be about recharging the batteries?  I'm not going to be doing that if I'm driving a great bit hulk of metal relentlessly each day.

My French language skills are okay, ta beaucoup but I've only very limited knowledge of Spanish which,  of course, includes the word cerveza.  So it was with glee that I've found the area of the BBC's website that has some rather good free language courses.  I'll save polishing up my French but it will be helpful to get cracking on beginner's Spanish straightaway!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Craft Notes from the Boudoir

Let me dole out some hard learned advice. Linocutting really cannot be recommended as an activity for the bedbound unless you are a  complete slob like Tracey Emin and opt voluntarily for a mattress and surrounding floor covered with detritus.  Fine black gnarly bits are  the by-product of using an eraser for the fine tweaks to the image before I commit to the blade. Then of course, there are lino shavings. However hard you try you can't keep these off your sheets.   It was a good job that the Dyson was plugged in and close to hand.

In spite of the mess I'm pleased that my weekend of enforced repose wasn't  a complete waste of time. Behold  my finished linocut of African animals, a theme that's been filling my headspace for the last couple of weeks.  Mr Anonymous from Guyana is moving home and I wanted him to have  a print for his new gaff. Rather than surprising him with a print of a big naked mermaid that was to be my next project, I thought I'd asked him what he would like to don his pristine walls. This  is the  theme that he came up with that I've been mentally working on in my drives around the South Hams between patient visits.

As a craftswoman with a personal preference for the creation of sea inspired objects, I'm finding  that the challenge of getting others to choose my subject matter has been invigorating.    I don't consider myself good at drawing but forcing myself to create images of things that I don't normally sketch is increasing my confidence and helping me to appreciate shape, movement and form.  Googled images are my source for these composite designs which rely on photos and other people's sketches.

So, now onto the printing stage.  Although I'm raring to get going that's going to have to wait until I'm up and about.  After all ink and bed linen are not a good mix!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Playing Cards: They're Ace!

Scout camp was an electronic gadget free zone.  And a soap free zone by the looks of it too.  A pristine bar that was put in Louis' wash bag for the 2012 jaunt has come back untouched for a second year in a row.  His flannel is another matter.  That looks as if it is a specimen for a germ warfare experiment.

And so it was that being bereft of all digital devices, Louis looked around for alternative forms of entertainment and has returned home as a bit of a card shark.  Not only is he in the process of teaching the old dog (that's me!) new magic tricks there's games as well.  How has Go Fish passed me by for the last forty seven years?

Is a pack of cards the perfect toy for children and grown ups alike?  It's cheap, lightweight and more multi-functional than most of the stuff on the market.  So whilst you're packing for your hols this year slip some into the suitcase.  Then pop on over to Pagat and check out the possibilities for play.  They're endless!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Leggy Update

Good morning from the bed/office/reading room that has become my base camp since I busted my leg on Monday!  Just in case you start to think that I've been using my injury as an excuse skive completely, let me put you straight. Whilst weightbearing through my knee joint is a problem,  I'm perfectly capable of driving safely. So fuelled by ibuprofen,  I've dug out my brace and crutches procurred after the original skiing accident and soldered on.  I'm rather proud that I've kept all my appointments, attended meetings and popped into the office to do the bits and pieces on the computer where I have to link directly into the NHS IT network.  That office in the bag has its limitations.

Guess what ?  Yes,  in view of the fact that I don't take kindly to lolling about, I've overdone it.  A joint that seemed to be healing nicely at the beginning of the week is now sore and swollen once more.  So, I'm now enforcing a regime of as much rest as possible.    Elevate, elevate is my mantra, hence more drugs and a four storey pile of pillows topped with an ice pack wrapped in tea towels.  It's all very princess and the pea-esque but minus the legume.   The vacuuming, lawn mowing and car cleaning will just have to wait.

There's more to my plan.  After littl'un has been fumigated on his from Scout camp this afternoon he'll be set to work fetching and carrying for the age of child labour is not dead and buried at Lovelygrey Cottage.   Needs must as this leg  has got to heal soon in time for our holiday that's coming up very shortly!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Nerdy Wish List

Have I ever mentioned that I've got a metal detector? Not that I've found anything valuable with it.  Booty has been limited to great big hunks of rusting metal and tin foil  but I bet you in a pie in the sky way that I hit treasure trove one day!

That's the  lot when it comes to 'fessing up about my geeky gadgets but there's a few more on the wishlist. I rather hanker for a  good quality microscope and a telescope.  And there's a rather recent addition to the list  in the form of a 3D printer. However, the item that's been there the longest, ever since some biology dudes set some one in the orchard next to my student home, is a moth trap.

There's plenty to be had on Ebay and Amazon that are killing machines but that's not the aim of the game here. After all, my philosophy on life errs towards Buddhism with a bit of bacon thrown in for good measure.  No, what I want is just to observe the little blighters and add to my personal knowledge about what there is out there in the garden lurking around unbeknown to me. Legit moth catchers with their UV light source are an expensive bit of kit and their limited range of use has put me off ever purchasing one.  However, if anyone reads this and wants to freecycle one I'm your girl.  For now though, I've found a rather reasonable alternative.  My SAD lamp with its bright bulb attracts a plethora of wiggies into my bedroom.  Not something that the faint hearted might welcome but I'm game!

The other evening  something flew in that even fazed me, brave soul that I usuallly am when it comes to our six and eight legged friends.  It was about three inches wide with fluffy ears!  I'm fairly sure that it was a hawk moth but haven't been able to identify the species and didn't take a photographs.  The camera was downstairs and okay, I'll admit it, I was a bit too scared to move.  So, you'll have to make do with this shot bravely taken by Judi and posted on Facebook after it gave her a bit of a fright by settling in her bathroom. Judi, it's a Poplar Hawk Moth and they're a rather common visitor to light sources at this time of the year. And if you have any other visitors that you need to check out  this link is a good starting point.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Three Months On and Not Depressed

Who'd have thought it?  Three months after I've stopped taking anti-depressant medication, I remain well.  Mad as a hatter,yes, but in a good way.  My concentration is good, self doubt hasn't overwhelmed me and in the main, I'm happy.  Except that is, when something sad happens.  But that's how it should be.  A person who is mentally well experiences a range of emotions that vary with circumstance.  High as a kite all the time isn't a state of wellness either.

Being laid up has made me realise that looking after my health needs to be top priority.  Had I have been fitter I might not have busted my leg.   There's no point in dwelling on the past though.  Let's get past this hobbling stage and plan an exercise regime that I can stick at!