Friday, 30 July 2010

Computer madness and a blackberry escape

Today I spent most of the day gardening, and dug up a large patch of pampas grass which was home to a thousand snails. Later I went round to Margaret and John's as I had borrowed instructions on how to set a timer on the lights from them. We had all been given one by the local police as we have been having so many burglaries in our area.

On Thursday Mas went into London for a meeting. The computers were refusing to work all day, so I did more gardening. At this rate we will soon have an excellently tidy garden, and various neighbours will be provided with potted up cuttings. I also did some shopping, and later chatted to the boy next door who is to have another knee operation soon.

On Friday I put another dose of anti flea medication on the back of the cat's neck. I also had an early (for me) appointment with my doctor to try to get an epipen to use in case of allergic reaction to bee stings, while we are in the jungle later on this year, and I don't mean an asphalt jungle! I had to stop keeping bees because of this allergy, which was a shame. These days grants are available to try to encourage people to keep bees.

Mas began calling the AOL help lines at 8.00am today, and was still at it when I left at 2.00pm to go blackberrying with John. I do not know how Mas can do it, just listening to the endless numbing phone calls almost gives me a nervous breakdown.

I got lots of succulent blackberries with John, it was fun, and John was pointing out all the best pickings to me. As we were walking there, he said we should keep our eyes open for dropped money. He immediately found 20p! Afterwards I called in for a cup of tea with Margaret.
Mas and I had fresh blackberries and yogurt later, and I froze the rest for later in the year.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Socialising with friends, struggling with computers

On Sunday Mas thought it would be nice to go to the Man in the Moon and have one of their roast dinners, and he also invited Poppy and Ben. We had a long lunch with them, with lots of joking and silliness which was really fun.

Later in the evening we watched another of the new Sherlock Holmes episodes which was entertaining.


On Monday I tried to catch up with all my 'to do' things, but both of our computers began acting oddly, and Mas spent a lot of time trying to sort out his. We were expecting some difficulties as Mas had upgraded the service with AOL. To get away from all this I went off for a walk, and on my way back picked up some shopping.

On Tuesday our computers were still on the blink, so having no patience at all with computers I left Mas struggling with the problem most of the day.

I had noticed a strange thing in the garden. We have a Pieris forest flame tree in the garden which the wasps have been clustering round. They have made small holes in the trunk, and are sucking the sap from the tree. I have never seen them do this before, and think it may be because we are having such a hot dry summer, but the tree is losing its leaves fast.



















To try to stop them, I smeared vaseline thickly over all the small holes, but it had no effect, apart from making them clean their faces a lot. I asked Joan's advice, and she suggested putting bleach all over the bark. This sounded a good idea, so I did, while listening to a Jay calling raucously nearby.

I went round to Margaret and John's and had chats and tea with them for a while, which made a really nice break. Later I looked in the garden at the tree again, and saw that the wasps were sucking away at their bleach and sap coctails, nonchelantly.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Mark and Nina's Silver Wedding

On Saturday I went to Woodford, by train, to attend Mark and Nina's silver wedding celebrations. Mas could not go as he had a meeting to discuss business.

It was a lovely warm day, and when I arrived I found the house and garden full of their friends and family. A lot of the people had been at their wedding, and all the friends that they have made since were enjoying themselves and talking to each other. It was lovely to see Mark and Nina, and catch up with their news. Nina had put out a delicious buffet that everyone helped themselves to while chatting.

We had not seen each other for about five years, and resolved to meet up again in September. It is too easy to get caught up in the daily activities and not have time for the really important things in life. I am going to try and remember this from now on!













It was also interesting to see what charming people their children have become.

















It was a lovely day which I will remember, but I still find it strange to think how long I have known them both, and how lucky that I joined Mark's evening class where he was teaching jewellery making, mostly from silver, so long ago.

I left their lovely home before it got too late as I was a bit worried about Mas as he has been working so hard and dealing with a lot of stress. As I walked to Woodford station I felt really glad that Mark and Nina had spent their married life in such a nice area, it makes such a difference.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Life cycles

Thursday, and Mas went off for a meeting, and I collected some shopping. Pete called and chatted, and we had a series of thunderstorms. I put some peelings into out green recycling bin, and noticed something strange holding onto the inside of the lid. Eventually I worked out that something was trying to pull itself out of its own transparent skin, so I rescued it and put it onto a leaf in the passageway.

I got myself a stool to sit on, and watched the whole process. It took a long time, but it pulled itself free, and while I watched it turned bright green and expanded, muscles forming on its hind legs, and the transparent wings were stretched and dried, and turned green as well.















Later I identified it as a great green bush cricket, and I felt priveledged to have seen the whole process.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Fruitless shopping and hospital check up.

Mas needs some new cloths, so we drove off to Watford, and before we started looking had lunch at Yummies; the Chinese owner always recognises us even if we have not visited for a couple of years! We walked around the Harlequin shopping centre, but Mas could not find anything he liked, so we returned home.

Tuesday, and I did some more gardening, and began fasting for my hospital visit tomorrow. We watched Murder She Wrote in the afternoon for a break.

On Wednesday Mas took me down to the station, and I went off to the Royal Free hospital for my 1.30pm appointment still starving, but worse I was not allowed to drink anything and it was a really hot day. I had my sedation and investigation and was told afterwards that everything was fine and clear. Mas was coming to pick me up in case I was a bit wobbly from the anaesthetic, but he was a bit late as I had not told him the department was called Endoscopy, and he had been searching the hospital for me. We left after I had some tea and biscuits.

As I was no longer sedated, we walked to the station and squeezed into a crowded lift. By mistake Mas pressed the wrong button, and the alarm went off, and we all had to get out and wait for the next lift. If he had not been feeling so anxious it would have been funny.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Life as usual.

Mas was due to meet David at lunchtime, and as he was a bit late I drove him over to his meeting. Later I walked to the Two Jays secondhand bookshop to see if they had any Deepak Chopra books, but ended up buying one by Alan Coren called Toujours Cricklewood, which later made me laugh aloud when reading it.

I then walked on to Queensbury and walked around a Morrisons superstore to see what they had. Taking the bus back to Edgware I sat next to a young woman who had a huge scar down the front of her chest which looked as if she must have had heart surgery.

Poppy and Ben called in briefly.

Friday morning I spent doing despicable things like renewing the car's road tax for next year, the car breakdown cover and car insurance. It is amazing how much you can spend sitting in front of a computer.

Mas and I went off to the Mill Hill Garden centre, and bought some sacks of top soil for the garden. It appears that all the plants cost twice as much as they did last time we visited.
After loading up the boot we headed off to the swimming pool.

Over the weekend things continued as usual, but I did plant my strawberries in a strawberry pot, and Toby phone while I was doing this, and we chatted.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Good film and a good book.

Maheena and I could not go for our meditation today, so instead, Mas and I went to Edgware and did practical things. I walked home later for the exercise. I saw two Red Admiral butterflies in the garden today.

















In the evening we watched this film about Elsenheim the Illusionist in early 20th century Vienna. For once a really interesting film.

Today, while we were having our morning coffee, I was just thinking about Pete's book, and looking forward to reading it, when the postman delivered it to us and it was signed by both Pete and Richard, each on their part of the book. I spent some time reading both parts of the book which are both very good. Later I called Pete to thank him and talk about it.

I had an email from Diane who says that Paris is still very hot, and she told me that P.G. Wodehouse's Summer Lightening was on the BBC, so that I could listen to it.

On Wednesday I listened to Summer Lightening, which of course was funny, then Mas and I had lunch at The Man in the Moon and got shopping. Reading Pete's blog I saw he had fallen downstairs and hurt his leg so I called him; luckily he was mostly bruised and shaken, but nothing broken.

I took some videos round to John and Margaret's, then Margaret sat in her garden drinking tea. They have a lovely interesting garden, and although it is fairly small it is crammed full of flowers, fruit and vegetables with not an inch of wasted space.

Later I finished off my mending; I hate sewing! We watched a Midsomer Murder later on.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Dusty work and teasing Marines

The weather is still very hot, but Mas and I spent most of the day gardening. Mas topped our Yew tree last year, and it got stuck inside the tree, so he spent some time sawing off branches which I then cut up to be recycled. Very hot and dusty work.





Joan sent these photos of lovely lilys that are growing in her garden (and her award winning idea for a picture involving the use of Lily Beetles, but we won't go into that here, in case sensitive people may hear about it).
On Saturday we had lunch with Tania and Robert in Sazios and caught up on all the news. Later Mas and I did more gardening.
Today Mas finished cutting out the dead part of the Yew tree. This sounds easy, but it involved him standing on a ladder while cutting off large branches. It was very hot and dusty work, with dead needle shaped leaves falling on him with various assorted insects and arachnoids; I was holding the ladder and passing cutting tools to him. When it was done he climbed down the ladder pleased that he had overcome both fears while doing this: spiders and heights!
I am always teasing him (as an ex-marine). When I first met him he was only able to walk in straight lines and turn smartly at a right angle when we reached a corner. I had to hold his arm when walking to teach him how to walk in curves. To this day, he groups and lines up his morning vitamins and pills in military formations, and should I disturb them he looks at me in a resigned way; luckily he is unable to speak before his first cup of coffee in the mornings. When spiders come into the house he calls me, so that I can put them outside, and I jokingly ask if all marines are like this.
Having teased him over the years has been a lot of fun, but really I know that bravery is overcoming your fears and doing the right thing in spite of them, and I know he is a very brave person indeed.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

At the Jolly Badger Harvester

Yesterday I went off to the library, and, after walking for a while, went home and caught up with emails.
Tania and Robert drove down to us, and we went off to the Jolly Badger Harvester for dinner. While we waited for a table we had a drink, then very soon a nice meal in the attractive farmhouse style surroundings.

Afterwards Tania and Robert came back to our place, and while Robert and Mas talked, Tania and I went into the garden and looked at plants. Tania really loves my Salvia ( Hot Lips), and took some to make cuttings. Later she will give me some of her Fennel. I love the taste of it chopped up, and sprinkled on new potatoes with butter.....another slimming snack!

We all talked until we were ready to drop, then Tania and Robert went home, and we went to bed.

Today I woke at 5.00am, feeling very tired, but not able to go back to sleep. Mas left to meet up with David for lunch, and I hung about all day, and watched Murder she Wrote. I noticed that we seem to be in the flight path of some small damsel flies, and I have to rescue them when they get trapped in the conservatory. I also saw some rose leaf eating caterpillars which had skeletonized some of the leaves.

We went to bed early, and I found I still could not relax; later I discovered that I had taken a double dose of my medication which had wound up my metabolism.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

BBC Guernsey radio: Jenny Kendall-Tobias

Today I listened to the Jenny Kendall-Tobias, BBC Guernsey radio, programme. She talked on air to Pete and Richard for two hours, and the whole session was very interesting and it sounded as if they were all getting on well together, and enjoying it too. Pete and Richard could not have had better publicity for their book. Pete mentioned I was listening, and said hello, and so did Jenny! Someone phoned in and requested that Pete read one of his poems that is in the book, so he did.

My hip is better today, so I did some gardening; I jumped when I heard a huge crash in the peaceful garden, guess who's fault it was! Salty had knocked some empty plastic flower troughs off the shed roof!

Pete called me from the airport while he was waiting for his flight back to the UK; he was very happy with the events of the last few days.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Twisted Hip and grasshoppers

We did not go to the Tom Merrifield exhibition on Sunday, but went instead to the Man in the Moon pub for a Sunday lunch, after I had cut and washed my hair. Myk called round with one bag of videos, and another bag full of heavy glossy magazines from Maria, for us which was a nice surprise.

In the afternoon I planted my herbs and did more gardening, the weather remaining very hot. Later in the evening we watched a strange film called 'Clue' with Tim Curry in it, based around the board game Cludeo.

Today I did not go to the meditation as Maheena could not make it this week. Playing with Salty on the bed I somehow twisted a hip or something, and found it difficult to walk, so, in a ploy to walk it off, I walked to Stanmore and back to get some shopping. For a break we watched Murder she wrote in the afternoon, my hip feeling somewhat worse for wear.


Pottering in the garden I noticed that we have lots of grasshoppers now.



In the evening we watched Crocodile Dundee 2, which I had not seen before, so that was fun.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

A relaxing day

This morning we decided to go off to the real Elstree car boot sale.

Once there, we looked at as much as we could, before getting too thirsty as it was so hot. I managed to buy a tray of herbs to plant later. Leaving there, we drove to Letchmore Heath and went to the Three Horseshoes for a long cold drink.

It was very pleasant and cool in the bar, and the landlady played a tape that she loves of Spanish guitar music, which we liked too. It is a very friendly place, and before long everyone was talking to each other. Mas visibly relaxed which I have not seen him do for a while, and we had lunch there. The last time I had visited this pub was with Jana when she was on holiday. The landlady's dog Angel was keeping cool in the pub too, and when we left we spent a few moments looking in the duck pond.





In the evening we watched 'Tell No One', a French film with Fran├žois Cluzet as lead, a thriller
which was excellent, and kept us guessing to the end. It had more twists and turns than the zig-zags on a dragon's tail, and we found ourselves talking about it the day after too.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Book launch and book signing session

Yesterday Pete and Richard were doing their book launch, but before that, they had an interview on BBC Guernsey radio with Jenny Kendall-Tobias. Surprisingly she read three of their poems, and very well too, but it was obvious that she became quite emotional as she read them. It was very interesting to listen to it all, and good publicity for A Guernsey Double.

Pete said that the book launch in The Greenhouse went very well, with Pete and Richard reading about five poems each. They had also been asked to give another interview on Guernsey radio.

Today Pete and Richard did a book signing session at The Guernsey Press shop. The Press was displaying their book in the window, The Guernsey Double of The Boy Who Fell Upwards, and The Man Who Landed. (picture copied from Pete's blog) Lorraine is due to fly over and join Pete tonight.














Back home, Mas and I had to go to Stanmore, but as the weather was so hot we called in to The Man in the Moon where Mas had a cold lager and I had an icy shandy.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Radio interview and book launch of A Guernsey Double

Today Pete and Richard are doing the book launch of their Guernsey Double book of poetry, in Guernsey.













Before that however, they had been invited to give an interview on BBC Guernsey radio about their book, their poetry and themselves. Mas and I listened to the interview which I thought went very well. Jenny Kendall-Tobias did the interview, and read a few of their poems, and was obviously moved by them. When Pete and Richard had left the studio she said that reading the poetry had made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end!

Pete called shortly afterwards and said that the book launch would start around 5.30pm, and that Jenny had asked them to do another interview on BBC Guernsey on Tuesday the 6th of July, so he would stay an extra day in Guernsey for that.