Monday 23 August 2010

Keeping busy

On Saturday we drove off to St. Albans and met Tania and Robert for lunch at the Bua Thai restaurant, where we saw the friendly owner who has just come back from a long visit home, and we caught up with all the news.

On Sunday we called round to Margaret and John's and had tea in their lovely garden. Eddie and Christiane were there too, as they had returned from France for a month. It was fun seeing everyone again, even if it was just for a short time.

Toby came back from Wales in the late afternoon, and we had a nice dinner with him in the evening, with lots to talk about.

Toby had been working on my computer, and un-networked it from Mason's one, and took it back to the state it had been in when it left the factory, and it seems to be working again.

On Monday, after a leisurely breakfast Toby and I went off to Euston on the tube. Euston seems a different place from when I used to work there years ago. We walked around town, past London University where Toby got his second degree.

We noticed with approval that Barclays Bank had set up a bicycle for hire scheme, but the first half hour was free. Later we saw people using them, and they are quite distinctive.

We had a coffee at this pub, and sat outside watching the world go by for a while, and most people seemed relaxed and friendly.

This chalk drawing was on the outside of the door to the ladies toilet, and inside several ladies were laughing, and saying they felt like that about their husbands too!

We passed the British Museum, and noticed that a temporary garden had been set up in the forecourt with plants from Africa, so we looked at them for a few minutes.

The small tree below is called a Silver Tree because on the underside of the leaves there is a thick covering of silvery white hairs.

Later there were periods of heavy rain. I left Toby up town, and returned home as Mas and I were due to have shots from our surgery in preparation for the visit to Costa Rica.
In the evening we had dinner with Toby before he sped off to spend the evening with friends.

Friday 20 August 2010

Frustrations and friends

On Thursday Toby spent most of the day trying to fix our computers with little success, but much frustration. Later Toby went out for the evening, and at 7.00pm Barry and Linda came over for a meal, and we had a really nice evening chatting to them both.

Today Toby went off to Wales with a friend, so that they could visit Danny and his family.
Mas was busy with his work, and having maddening problems with his computer. As it was Mason's birthday I suggested that we have a lunch break and go off to the Three Horseshoes in Letchmore Heath, as I think it is his favourite Pub. We did this, but Mason was so mentally involved with his business project, that we sat and stared at the walls without any conversation or anything to talk about. After looking at the ducks on the pond for a few minutes we went home.

Later, on the spur of the moment we called Poppy and Ben and invited them for dinner, and had a really enjoyable evening after all!

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Toby comes to stay

On Monday we went to St. Albans to try to get Mas some comfortable trainers, and ended up buying two pairs. As the computers are not functioning, I spent time gardening, and sorting out the plants in the conservatory.

As we are expecting Toby to come for a visit tomorrow I prepared his bedroom and generally straightened out the house. We also went off to get some shopping, so that we do not have to do it when he is here.

Toby arrived early at Gatwick, but had to travel up to Mill Hill. I saw Barry next door, and Linda who is presently staying with him, and invited them for dinner later this week. When Toby arrived we spent most of the day talking, and had a very nice rib dinner which Mas cooked and we had a tasty bottle of wine with it too.

Today Toby and I went off to Hampstead, leaving Mas to work peacefully at home.
We took the Tube, and walking down from Hampstead station, found a cafe to have a quick coffee. Then walked through Hampstead looking at all the familiar places. We walked over Parliament Hill Fields with lots to talk about on the way, then wended our way back to the Flask Pub, and had a bite to eat there.

Flask Walk

Later we walked up Heath Street to the White Stone pond, which had an ecological area of reeds planted in it. We walked past what used to be the historic Jack Straw's Castle and went the back way to the Hill Garden and walked on the terraces there, before going to Golder's Hill Park looking at everyone enjoying the nice weather.

Eventually we walked down the sandy path and down to Child's Hill, where both I and Pete had been born. We walked to Golders Green and took the tube back to Edgware and then walking home! I was pleased that I could walk so far in one day still.

Mas had made another nice evening meal for us, and afterwards Toby left to spend the evening with friends, and Mas and I watched a TV programme about the Normans.

Friday 13 August 2010

Treading water!

On Monday I walked off to Stanmore for exercise, then in the afternoon Mas and I went off to the forest in Edgwarbury Park and collected blackberries and plums from a tree while we were walking. Later Mas had an appointment with the doctor (not because of the fruit).

Mas began to feel a bit unwell in the evening, so we watched the Sixth Sense; I had not remembered it being such a good film.

Mas was feeling better this morning, and the computer man came to try to fix at least one computer. He was here trying his best most of the day, and then came back in the evening. He was paid £120.00, but in fact the computers are worse than before! Ben came and had a look at the computers too, but did not want to try anything too radical.

The rest of the week passed in a haze of computer anxiety interspersed with comfort gardening, at this rate I will soon be a serial gardener! I tried to get on with the paintings for Toby and Romy, but things were too tense. On Friday my computer gave up the ghost completely. Mas went to the doctor for a routine check up, and found his weight and blood pressure are the same as they were last year. I don't know how he does it, but I know if things continue like this, the men in white coats will soon be coming to take me away.

In the evening we settled down to watch Wallendar, escaping into the Swedish countryside, then Salty burst in through the curtains carrying a very alive rat. Pandemonium ensued, and by the time we had sorted it all out we had lost our storyline! Talk about last straws!

Saturday 7 August 2010

Rupa and Wynford's wedding

Today Rupa and Wynford got married. They have loved each other for many years, but at last the time was right for them to wed. We all went to St. Margaret's church (which is catercorner from the Mason's Arms pub) in Edgware. Wynford plays the organ there for the usual church services.

During part of the wedding service Wynford played and sang a song he had written for Rupa telling her how much he loved her, a very romantic touch which she had not known about before.

After the service photos were taken outside the church, and guests and family began chatting too.

Mas and I went home and changed cloths, then went off to the Hilton Hotel near Aldenham for the wedding reception in the afternoon.

The hotel seemed to be running late; it had been arranged that there would be a meal served at 3.00am, but in fact it was not done until 5.30pm, by which time the guests were very hungry indeed. Despite this, everyone seemed to be having a good time chatting to each other, and listening to the speeches of appreciation. I sat next to a very nice couple, friends of Wynford, and we had lots of animated discussions about music, and Brenda and I seemed to have a lot in common with each other.

Mas and I left the celebrations before the dancing began; it was due to go on until midnight, but we were both feeling a rather tired by this time. When we arrived home our road was filled with parked cars due to another celebration nearby, so we parked some way off. Much later as we were going to bed, Ben and Poppy rang the front door bell; they did not see our car so they thought that we may have had a problem, and be stranded on a motorway somewhere! How nice to have friends who care!

Friday 6 August 2010

Good friends and bad computers

On Saturday we drove up to St.Albans for Mas to drop off some papers for Robert although it was not our usual day to go shopping there. Once there Tania told us we were to stay for lunch, and she presented us all with a tasty meal of plaice, asparagus and sweet potatoes which was a nice surprise.

The computers were almost completely useless today; it is enough to drive you to drink!
In the evening we watched another episode of Wallander.

The next week passed with more computer frustrations, and Mas spent lots of time and energy trying to track down anyone who might be able to put things right. I kept myself busy gardening, walking and keeping in touch with friends and relatives by phone. I was trying to paint a picture, but did not feel relaxed enough to paint.

On Friday Mas went to the hospital to see a chiropodist as he had been having pain in his feet. After a thorough examination it seems that he has been wearing shoes and trainers that do not fit well, and that has caused sensitivity.

Later that day we went to Brent Cross shopping centre to see if we could find some well fitting trainers for Mas. We looked in all the sports shops there, but did not find anything that was good enough. We did talk to one really nice shoe salesman about computer problems and he made several good suggestions. Later Mas phoned a computer technician, but he could not come over for a few days!

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 François 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.

Wednesday 30 June 2010

You can take a horse to water...........

I spent nearly all day gardening on Sunday, and left Mason trying to sort out various problems with his project. I managed to catch up with a few emails which were overdue.
On Monday I went off to Pinner for a change, it is a beautiful bus ride and made a change. The weather is still terribly hot. When I got home I tidied up a bit.

On Tuesday Margaret called round, and we sat outside in the shade and had icy lemonade. Poor John was at home recovering from having a tooth taken out by the dentist. It was nice to chat to Margaret as we had not seen each other for a while. As Mas had spent all day on the computer or phone, we decided to go out for dinner at the Man in the Moon to break the monotony.
It was steak night, so we both had one. Ken came in, and said his TV had just gone wrong, and he had come to watch the football match so he sat where he could watch it, and we went off home once we had finished our meal.

On Wednesday we went swimming in the afternoon. As usual we separated to go to the changing rooms, Mas saying he would see me in the pool in a minute. I swam alone for 50 minutes, knowing he must have got talking to the guys in the changing room.
Another lady was swimming too, the pool was fairly empty, and I got talking to her. She was from Croatia, and had lived here for 15 years, she was wondering where her partner had got to, and I suggested that he and Mas were talking together; before long they both appeared.

After swimming for an hour I got cold, and with lots of protests from Mas, left the pool, showered and dressed, and walked around several football pitches looking at the variety of bushes and plants. After two hours of this, Mas came out, and we left! He had not done any exercise, just talked in the pool!

Saturday 26 June 2010

More dancing than you could shake a stick at!

On Saturday we went to St. Albans to get shopping and have lunch. Tania and Robert had gone away for the weekend so we thought we would have lunch in the White Swan which is a pub that many years ago used to have wonderful home cooked lunches, but sadly the cook left some time ago.

The weather was very hot so we decided to have a long cool drink. We got talking to a group of people sitting near to us who were Morris Dancers and had been invited to St. Albans to dance to raise money for charity; they were from Lewisham, and were a very friendly group.

The Dacre Morris dancers

We left the White Swan and looked in the shops, especially Past Times where I accidentally bought an Art Nuveau butterfly ring.

Everyone seemed to be out enjoying themselves.

There was another Morris dancing group by the clock tower.
The sound of the drum made our chest cavities reverberate!

After watching them for a while we succumbed to hunger, and went down to Sazio's where it was cool and quiet, and we had a nice meal.

Friday 25 June 2010

Anniversary and Sports Day

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary, the 24th! I spent most of the day gardening and doing a belated spring clean, and Mas went out to see a friend. Pete called and chatted which was nice.

Today Mas was busy, so when Oktay called round I left Mas for the day and went off to Cheshunt with Oktay. Monika had prepared an excellent lunch, and one of her friends had come round with her two little children too.
Afterwards we sped off to see Milan's school sports day; the weather was very hot.

I think we saw everyone in the school race, including a brave boy who seemed to be wearing leg irons, but all the parents gave him applause and lots of clapping, so he looked quite pleased with himself.

When we got home again Milan was still full of energy and springing about in the garden; Monika showed me her white currant bush and gooseberry bush too, and a beautiful peony, and we had the chance to chat for a while.

Oktay cooked a really nice BBQ, using his new garden barbecue, which we enjoyed. Later Monika and I took the boys off to the local park, to the playground, and at one point Milan and I were climbing a tree together, and Monika remarked that it was a good thing Mason could not see what I was doing.

Milan asked if I could sleep over and read him some stories, but I told him that Mas would be lonely on his own. Eventually it was time to go home, Talu was tired so Monkia was going to put him to bed. Milan came for the ride too, but before long he was fast asleep in the car. It had been a really nice memorable day, but very tiring too!

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Busy doing not very much.

On Sunday morning I walked off to the car boot sale, and John and Margaret passed in their car, but stopped to chat for a moment. There was nothing very interesting at the sale so I came home again to find Mas had been working non stop at his desk, so I suggested we go swimming in the afternoon.

When we arrived at the leisure centre we were told that as there was a swimming gala we could not swim today, so we walked in the woods for a little while instead, where we could hear children cheering in the distance, probably doing sports of some kind.

On Monday morning I went off with Maheena to have another meditation session which was a peaceful break in the day. Later I wrote to my credit card people as we keep having deductions from our account taken by a company in California, these have been refunded once, but they are trying it on again.
Ben called in later bringing back some garden tools, and in the evening we watched an episode of Lewis.

We managed to go swimming on Tuesday which was good, and I spent most of the day gardening. Mas thought he would scoop out the leaves, from the fountain in the garden, with a small fishing net. Salty pushed himself between Mason's arms and was trying to catch them as well, he did pull out two leaves.

We went to Stanmore, and had lunch at the Man in the Moon, then got our shopping. Normally we pay £1.00 to park, and if we get back to the car after shopping within an hour and a half we get our money back. If we take too long we forfeit the money. This time we were late back, and expected to lose the £1.00, but I was warned that if we were late again we would have to pay a £90.00 fine. Sadly we will have to change our routine now.

Joan sent these pictures from Canada, she came across the white roses when walking in the forest, and the turtle shaped rock has been added to their garden.

Saturday 19 June 2010

Toby's birthday and a possible transformation

The rest of the week was spent doing our usual things such as going to the library, shopping, paying bills and so on. It was Toby's birthday on the 17th, so sent him an ecard. I have always thought that the Star Trek idea of beaming people from place to place was a good idea.
In the evening we went to the Curry Club where we met Ken, and we had a nice meal.

I also sent off a Premium Bond tracing letter, as I used to have some Premium Bonds many years ago, and cannot remember cashing them in. There is a distinct possibility that I am really a millionaire, as there are apparently millions of unclaimed winnings.

On Friday I went off again with Maheena to do some meditation, and to listen to some of the teaching, some of which I could not go along with, but the teacher suggested that it was because I had joined towards the end of the course, so we agreed that I should not come on Fridays until a new session begins.

I had a breakthrough on Saturday. I always sleep badly, consequently I am an authority on world news, as I listen to the World Service BBC radio programme during the night, the shipping forecasts, and then when it hands over to radio 4 , the farmer's news and then the Today programme. Now, once I get into bed I fall asleep almost before I am in a comfortable position (which usually takes hours of tossing and turning), and sleep soundly all night. My secret is to dab a couple of drops of essential lavender oil onto my neck, on the pulse point. What knockout drops! I expect that when I catch up with years of missed sleep, my personality will be transformed!

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Storing wills, and print to be sent.

This morning I went off to High Holburn and deposited my will for safe keeping in the records office. If I was still trying to trace my family tree this would probably be a very useful place to find vital clues, but as I have live ones that I do not know, it seems a bit pointless trying to trace dead ones.

While I was out Pete called and chatted to Mas. Dominic phoned later and said he wanted one of my prints, 'Softly as in a Morning Sunrise', which was very cheering.
We watched a Midsomer Murder episode in the evening.

Monday 14 June 2010

Lessons of different kinds

This morning I went off with Maheena to Darshna's house where we had a Raja Yoga Meditation session with about a dozen people. The lady who was taking the meditation had a very calm and peaceful voice, and we meditated for about an hour, and then she handed each person a piece of fruit. After talking and asking questions Darshna gave everyone a bowl of fruit salad, and shortly we went back home as she had to go to give lessons elsewhere.

I have always had difficulty meditating in an accepted way, but if I try to do it on my own I can visualise colours on the inside of my eyelids, moving rather like the shapes in a lava lamp and I watch the colours change; if I do this listening to music it produces unexpected colours.
I think when I was young it was very easy for me to think of nothing at all, in fact it was probably my default mode. This caused me no end of trouble at school and subjected me to public ridicule, and I was always told off for 'day dreaming, and living in a world of my own,' perhaps this is why I find it difficult now.

In the afternoon Mas and I went swimming. Sometimes when we are swimming, part of the pool is sectioned off for children's swimming lessons. The instructor is really good at his job and encourages the children in a very positive way. He says things like 'keep going, excellent, good boy, well done, keep it going.....' and so on for about half an hour without a pause! By the time we go home his messages of encouragement go with me too, except for the 'good boy' bit.

Sunday 13 June 2010

Lunch with Robert and car boot sale

On Saturday we went to St. Albans and had lunch at Sazio's with Robert; unusually, the waiters recognise us, and when I entered the restaurant they told me that our friend was waiting for us, and told me which table he was sitting at. Tania could not come as she was busy today. We had a really nice lunch and lots of chat over a mellow bottle of red wine (or perhaps we were mellow).

On Sunday I walked over to the car boot sale that they hold in some local fields. It was fun, but I did not buy anything. I did notice that the blackberries were looking healthy, so I will definitely come back to collect lots later in the year. I think later we should also make rose hip syrup as it is very nice poured over yogurt, and full of vitamin C, so I was looking at the wild roses too.

In the afternoon I gardened, cutting back, tidying up and clearing things. The garden has been looking very colourful with clematis, roses and rhododendron flowers, and in the conservatory the Amaryllis is flowering.

Friday 11 June 2010

The man who lost his trousers, and another fine art.

We seemed to have another busy week, Mas was busy on his computer, and I did a lot of gardening and walking. Pete called, saying that his visit to school had gone well, and they liked my pictures of the Skelly characters.

Mas and I went swimming, and when he went off to town on Thursday I went swimming again. This time, talking to another swimmer, he mentioned that he had all his kit stolen yesterday, including his wallet and car keys. When Mas came home he was really tired; he hates travelling on the tube. We decided on the spur of the moment to go off to the curry club, and have a meal there. Luckily our new friend Ken was there, and we had a nice meal, but an even more interesting conversation, and amongst other things he told us about his recent holiday in India, and we talked about meditation and French films.

The next morning I walked down to the station, and on the way saw the two Jims who are neighbours. Irish Jim, talking of Lilu, (Ben and Poppy's small white dog,) said he would not take that dog out. He said he had seen Lilu (who was on a lead) tear the trousers right off a man she did not like the look of. This made the other Jim and me laugh a lot. On a more serious note, Jim's neighbours, on either side of him, were recently burgled. That makes five burglaries on one side of our road.

I met Christiane at Hendon Station, and we travelled off to Olympia as she had free tickets to the International Fine Art Fair that was on today.
We spent a long time looking at
everything, there were beautiful carvings from Japan in ivory, wonderful hand stitched
sculpture over animal skeletons, and lots of jewellery too.
We stopped for a cup of tea, and we had bought some biscuits with us. Eventually tired, but feeling we had seen everything we left and went home again, another nice day!
Once home again I had a quick tidy up, and before long Manu came round, and we sat in the conservatory and had some cool white wine and chatted. Manu wants me to check with the local church hall to see if we could use one of their rooms, one evening a week, so that our art class people can use it. I will check with them. We had a nice evening, but both Mas and I felt really tired and staggered off to bed as soon as we could muster up the energy to climb up the stairs.

Saturday 5 June 2010

Untitled: an excellent art fair.

On Sunday Mas and I went off to Chelsea Town Hall where there was large artists' fair called 'Untitled'. There were over 150 artists selling, direct, and commission free, work. It was a really good exhibition, and the general standard of work seemed very high. It was a very hot day, and we had a glass of white wine in between. I talked to several of the artists, it was interesting as there were lots of original ideas.

One picture I would have liked to have is this one by Kit Boyd.

Mas thought the show was very good as well.

Eventually, when we had seen everything we left the Town Hall, and went to the Chelsea Farmers Market where we thought we would have a meal at the El Gaucho restaurant. Unfortunately it was an execrable meal, and very expensive for what they served up. We definitely will not go there again.

By the time we got home both of us felt really tired, but it had been a good day.

Friday 4 June 2010

Time for friends

On Wednesday Mas and I went off to Stanmore, paid bills, got shopping and had breakfast at the Man in the Moon for a change. Later my consultant from the Royal Free Hospital called to tell me that my recent blood test was fine. Christiane called, and we arranged to meet up to go to the art show at Olympia soon.

On Thursday I went with Mas to the Man in the Moon, where he was meeting his friend David. I had a cup of tea with them and chatted for a few minutes before leaving them and going for a walk.

Later I managed, with Mas helping me, to give Salty his worm pill. I had to break in in half, and pop it in past his tonsils (if cats have these), he kept spitting them out, but eventually I succeeded, then gave him a treat to eat as compensation.
I tidied up a bit and did various chores before going off to Belsize Park and meeting Diane at The George pub. We had a long cool drink as it was such a hot day while we decided where to go for lunch.

We decided to go to Chez Gérard which is situated across the road in what was once The Post House. It was in this hotel dining room that I had my first date with Mas so many years ago. He had met me the previous evening when I was out with Diane, and invited both of us for breakfast at 9.00am!
We had champagne, and later all went for a walk, and eventually Diane and I returned home in the afternoon.

Diane and I had a nice light lunch and a glass of wine, and caught up on all the news. She has been in Normandy for a while, and will be leaving soon to live in Paris for six months!
Later we walked to the tube, and went off in different directions.

When I got home, as planned, Monika and Oktay were there with the children and Mas. Oktay has recently had an operation on his shoulder, and has to have physiotherapy so it is a chance for us to meet up. Monika has finished her exams now too. We put on some children's TV programmes, and I was surprised at how nice they were, especially the Cbeebies Tinga Tanga Tales which are so beautifully animated. It was lovely to see them all, Mas had given everyone some snacks, and before too long they left to go home again.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Memories of Maureen

This morning I had to hurry off to the Royal Free Hospital for a routine check up and a blood test. I saw my Consultant; she always makes me feel cheerful and well looked after.

Walking back from the hospital I remembered that while Mas and were having our breakfast coffee they had played some music by Sir Arnold Bax on Classic FM which had reminded me of my friend Maureen. She had liked his music, and his romantic love of Ireland. While walking I began to list all the things that Maureen had shared with me, or introduced me to! Here goes:

Gin and tonic.

Perfume: Jolie Madam, by Balmain.

James Thurber's quirky humour.

Funny holiday meetings in Guernsey.

Lunch time meetings at The Phoenix, Oxford Steet.

French music.

Jacques Loussier's jazzed up classical music, and going to a concert together.

Seeing Swan Lake together.

The Stockpot at Leicester Square.

Pink gin: drinking this and looking at the setting sun through it, several times, as the anchor had been lowered while the sails were still up!

Sitting in an Emsworth cafee after a sailing adventure, both covered in mud up to our eyeballs, and she said " We look as if we are in camouflage....eeeh! I can't wait till I am in nylons and high heels again!

Intermittent conversations about the merits of Trad jazz as opposed to Modern Jazz.

Evenings when she wound Mas up about who the best American President had been, and he always rose to the bait!

The funeral service she had taken fun in planning, during which 'Take Five' by Dave Brubeck was played, and I knew was a nod in my direction.

The list is too long, but what a wonderful thing friendship is! I feel so lucky to have known her for so long.

Monday 31 May 2010

Finding Beneficent Law

On Sunday morning we sprang out of bed (or we would have, if our springs had not already sprung), had breakfast, put on tidy cloths, and prepared to go off to the art show in Chelsea. At the last moment, I looked at out tickets again, and realized we were a week ahead of ourselves; the art show is next week! As we had our neat going outdoors cloths on, we decided to go for a pub lunch, so we went off to the Man in the Moon and had a feast.

On the way back we bought some strawberry plants and a black currant bush. Now I have to find a few inches of space to squeeze them into our garden. In the evening we watched another episode of Lewis.

Today I managed to find places for the fruit plants, and it was a pleasure doing this as the weather is so nice.

I had been thinking of making a will recently, and called in to a local solicitors office previously, to find out how much this might cost, and was quoted a price of £500.00 for a simple will. I did not make an appointment as I thought that I could write my own will.

I began researching how to do this on line, looking at various government sites and will writing services. By luck I found . Beneficent Law is a community interest company and a "not for profit, for good" legal service that deals with wills and probate. They have fixed fee charges, and a single will, which they write, costs just £25.00! I had various queries, and got replies to all these and lots of good advice, and service that was kind and efficient. The whole process took about a week, with them telling me what to do at each step of the way. Now it is done I feel very relieved; it had been on my 'to do' list for a long time, and now that it is done I do not have to think about it again. I cannot recommend their service enough, and it is so unusual to deal with such nice people.

Saturday 29 May 2010

Green rinse folowed by Robin Hood and Wallander

This week I was busy gardening, walking, and socialising with friendly neighbours. Mas and I managed to go swimming twice this week, which is always a good thing.

Before one swim, however, I made a special hair rinse by blending lots of elderberry leaves in some water, and pouring it into an empty milk container. After the swim I washed my hair, then poured the dark green juice onto my head, which felt very good, then I realised I was standing in a dark green pool of water, with dark drips running into my eyes. At this point two other ladies came in for a shower, and looking at me, moved to the furthest corner of the shower room. I think it was at this point I decided perhaps the next treatment should be done at home.

We also went off to the cinema to see Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe. I was surprised because I had expected the worst, and it did not live down to my expectations, although I think Russell Crowe is rather a wooden actor. Mas did not like it at all, as he thought the story line had been interfered with, and he prefers the swashbuckling variety of Robin Hood. The cinema always plays films so loud I have to put cotton wool in my ears while we are there, otherwise it is painful.

On Saturday we went up to St. Albans and had a nice lunch in the Bua Thai restaurant. Tania picked up her new car yesterday, but someone bumped her while she was stationery! I think it is quite good that we have an old car so an odd dent here and there does not matter so much. Later we were walking through the market and talking; I forget the reason why, but Robert kept breathing on Tania's specs. and steaming up her view, much to Tania's irritation and disbelief that he could be so childish, and sorrow that men never really grow up!

Once home again Mas and I watched another Wallender with Krister Henriksson.

Monday 24 May 2010

Busy times and beautiful eggs

We all got up early as we thought that Pete and Lorraine had to get away early. This meant that we all looked tired at breakfast, but we managed to get in a fair bit of chat before they headed off into the wide blue yonder.

We planned things to eat in the evening as we were expecting Tania and Robert, and Poppy and Ben to come round. I cleared up and Mas went off to get a couple of things we needed. Consequently he came home with all kinds of odd things to eat, and his menu got a bit muddled.

Poppy brought round this tasty flan!

We had a nice time sitting in the garden, but kept the food indoors to simplify things.
We had fun, but both Mas and I felt a bit tired.

On Monday it was very hot and we resumed our usual routine, but I spoke to Ben and Poppy and Toby phoned.

Joan sent this lovely picture of robins eggs taken on her sisters farm; they are protected from raccoons by a small electric fence surrounding them!

We watched an episode of Midsomer Murders with John Nettles in the evening.

Saturday 22 May 2010

Friends, family and birds

This week went by quickly in a frenzy of gardening cutting hedges and doing the lawns, swimming, buying window box flowers and planting them out and talking to neighbours and friends.
Maheena came round on Thursday morning and we caught up with all the news, she always has a sense of humour and we find a lot of small things to laugh about. We walked around the garden, and she saw some Mind your own Business growing all over the place and asked if they needed roots.....I said "yeess" slowly, which made her laugh as she was wondering if they could be propagated from cuttings. She also saw our Salvia, (Hot Lips,) plant, smelled the leaves and said she thought it was the same as a plant that grows in Keroula which is considered sacred, as it has so many medicinal properties. Looking it up later I found that our plant was a relative of Sage and Mint, so it is hardly surprising.

Salty bought two live birds into the house through his cat door, on different days. Luckily I was there to take them from him, one of them looked dead, so I moved his legs and wings which seemed to be undamaged and went to lay him on a bush, and he flew out of my hand and away, and the second bird was quite lively and flew off as soon as I got him outside.

On Saturday we went to Borehamwood to get shopping and look at pet supplies, and thought we would have lunch at our favourite fish and chip restaurant. When we got there it was very busy, and we ended up sitting at a table with another couple. They were very interesting people, and we had a lively time talking of politics, religion, history and all manner of things. They had lived in the village of Elstree for years, both being very socially active in the community. I mentioned that I had been evacuated to Elstree during the war as a toddler, but could not remember which house I had been staying in. They said they would try to find this out for me, and were very keen that we should keep in touch.

We went home and tidied up as Lorraine and Pete were coming to stay overnight as they were going to a party in North London. When they arrived we had a couple of drinks and talked, but not for too long as we were all a bit tired, but it was fun seeing them.

Sunday 16 May 2010

A meal at Veer Dhara withTanya and Robert

Yesterday we met Tanya and Robert in St. Albans and decided to try a new restaurant which is called Veer Dhara, and specialises in cuisine which uses recipes originating from the aristocratic families in India. The restaurant was beautifully appointed, and the cooking was wonderful; we had a really nice meal together!
In the evening we watched a Wallander, and went to bed fairly early.

Today there was more volcanic ash in the air and some airports are closed. The weather was odd with thunder, cloud and occasional sun. Pete called today and chatted,and Toby too. While I was talking to Toby this rainbow appeared.

We watched another 'Lewis' in the evening.

Friday 14 May 2010

After the concert another nice day

We had breakfast with Pete, while playing with Calliope. Afterwards Mas and I had a short wander around town, then went back to the Sussex Yeoman with Pete where we met up with Maureen, Pat, Beth and her boyfriend and all had a cheerful lunch together with much talking. I found I had a lot in common with Lorraine's parents. They lived close to Folkestone, and that is where my grandparents lived too. We had all spent holidays in Folkestone, and used the same beach, and knew the same places.

Afterwards Mas and I collected our things, bid farewell to Pete and headed off to the station, hoping that the last night of the concert would go well.

Pete and the 'Terror of the Twitten'

We had a rather fast journey home, despite having to change trains twice.
Once at Mill Hill, we took a cab home, where we found a mouse on the mat, and Salty waiting for us. We both felt really tired, but before long Manu called round clearly wanting to make an evening of it. Regretfully I had to explain that we were too tired to play tonight, and we went off to bed early, for us.

Thursday 13 May 2010

This concert will fall in love with you.

Today Mas and I (after leaving huge amounts of food for Salty) took the train down to Brighton, and from there to Pete's place. Before too long we walked around the corner to The Sussex Yeoman where we met up with Beth and Mark. Mas was looking forward to their home cooking because he had really enjoyed a meal there before.

We all had a cheery time, and later Mas and I went for a short walk in Brighton as we did not want to get in the way, Brighton is a stimulating place, especially when the Brighton Festival is being held. We were surprised at the really nice shops so close to Pete's house, home made bread and wholesome groceries available.

We had a coffee and walked slowly home to Pete's. When the time was right we went to St. Michael and All Angels Church where This Concert Will Fall in Love With You was to be performed. The music written and conducted by Matthew Pollard will be performed by The Tacet Ensemble with Pete reading his work.

The church is quite beautiful, and has windows made by William Morris and Burne-Jones, and decorations by other members of the Pre-Raphaelite group.
Mas and I found seats near to Maureen and Pat, Lorraine's parents. To start the programme Glen Capra played Liszt, followed by Elgar's Salute d'amour with Ellie Blackshaw on the violin as well.
Pete read three of his love poems: Train in snow, Exorcism and Our Song. This was followed by a percussion duet played by Adam Bushell and Tom Norrel on vibraphone and marimba, then madrigal singing, with Lorraine included in the singing group.

There was a short interval with wine and biscuits, and I had a chance to talk to Janet as I am interested in the textile projects she is working on.
In part two, Matt and Pete's piece was performed. Pete was dressed as a flamboyant Victorian, with purple ruffles and cummerbund, and a black silk top hat. The music was extremely beautiful, and Pete spoke his lines in dramatic form. It was all very impressive!
After the performance people drifted off to the nearest pub, and everyone had a chance to chat with each other for some time until it grew quite late and everyone gradually left. Mas and I went back to Pete's with Bob. We met a very friendly cat on the way, and Pete pointed out where Anton lives.
We had tea, and caught up with Bob's news, and then, before too long Mas and I went to bed.