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.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

National Gallery visit with Pat, and visit from four friends

Yesterday Mas was feeling a little less stiff and sore, so I did nor feel too guilty leaving him for the day.

I went off to Victoria station where I met Pat as arranged. We went into the National Gallery and saw an exhibition of Christen Købke's work; he is known as the Danish Master of Light, and I must confess I had never heard of him before, so it was interesting. We then spent more time looking at more of the pictures; we thought we should take one section at a time, and methodically look at everything over many visits, but I cannot think we would ever be that methodical.

Pat's favourite picture is Ophelia, but at the time I could not remember who painted it, but later remembered it was Sir John Everett Millais, one of the Pre-Raphaelites.

When we got tired, we left and walked through Leicester Square to the Stockpot and had lunch there. We had missed the lunch time rush, and got there before the theatre matinee people came in, and the staff were playing the radio. I heard a familiar tune which I like, but did not know what it was. Pat was astonished that I was familiar with it, and said it was a Rolling Stones number called 'Paint it black.'

Today Mas was feeling much better, we thought we might go swimming in the afternoon, but unexpectedly Margaret, John, Christiane and Eddie paid us a visit, and we spent the afternoon chatting. It was really nice to see them all, but I was sorry things were not a bit tidier!

Today is the first night of Pete's concert, so we were thinking of him; we will see it tomorrow though.

Monday 10 May 2010

Marion's birthday party, and a painful back

This morning we woke up to find two dead mice on the floor; this is becoming a carnage hot spot!
Mas still has a stiff and painful back, but as it was Marion's fiftieth birthday we could not miss it.

We got round to her house at the right time, and found her place full of interesting people. Everyone seemed even more flamboyantly dressed than usual, and Marion's hair was bright red! We found out later that it was a fancy dress party, but were never able to establish what the theme was, and after a glass of wine we did not feel out of place. We met up with some of the usual suspects and chatted, and Marion had roped in a few new people, one she had only met that day, and everyone was having a good time and laughing a great deal.

I had a long conversation with Marion's neighbour who has a Philippina wife. They spend some time here, but a lot of time in the Philippines where they have a large farm with a mansion for their home. It all sounded very colourful. It was a fun way to spend the evening, and Marion changed her fancy dress again, and I wished that I had bought my camera!

Eventually we thought we should go home, and Mas by this time had a worse back problem,
and we crept carefully off to bed.

This morning Mas was in such pain that he went back to bed to lie on his back after I had given him one of my muscle relaxant pills; he spent most of the day asleep. I spent most of the day gardening.

Mas got up in the evening, and we watched a programme about a garden being constructed on the cliffs above Saints Bay in Guernsey. There were several stunning views of Guernsey scenery which was lovely. After which, we watched another excellent Lewis episode, set in picturesque Oxford, so for once it was worth watching TV.

u7777777777777777777777777/+++++++++++++* this was typed by Salty who always has a few things to say!

Friday 7 May 2010

Fun at craft show and computers sorted!

This week we did our usual things and tidied up the conservatory, took cuttings and re potted a large pot with geraniums and an Amaryllis. We continued to have computer problems and Mas bought a new router for his. I finished the deaths head moth picture for Pete.

On Thursday morning I voted, and then we went off to Hatfield House for the Living Crafts Fair for the rest of the day. This was much better than last year's event because the weather was so much nicer. There was a huge array of marquis to visit with every kind of craft displayed. We really enjoyed the day, and had snacks while listening to the band play. Children were obediently doing Morris dancing, and everyone seemed to be having a good time and admiring the workmanship and innovation. http//

Today I had to go off early to the Royal Free Hospital for the results of my recent CT scan. While I was waiting to see the doctor, a lady sitting beside me gradually worked herself up into an indignant rage at having to wait so long. We talked for a while; she wondered why I was so calm, and I turned over the book I had been reading with a front cover which said RELAX, which made her laugh.

When I saw my surgeon, he said I was fine and well, but that they would keep up with the normal monitoring. Then I went off home.

Mas had been working on the computer problems, and later a really nice IT techno. person came to help. Mas had actually almost fixed the computers, but this nice man completed it all off for us. What a relief! Poor Mas had got a very painful back ache by this time though.

Sunday 2 May 2010

An unusal experience!

Yesterday we went to St. Albans and had lunch at the Waterend Barn with Tania and Robert, and caught up with their news before getting shopping as usual and going home. It is lovely to see the countryside greening up again.

In the evening we watched another excellent episode of Wallander, while we could hear the rain pounding down outside.

Today when we woke up we found the cat asleep on the bed. As soon as he woke up he began meowing and looking under the bed in such a way that we realised he must have bought a mouse upstairs! We took off all the bedclothes and mattress, and Mas began unscrewing the bed as it can be separated into halves.

The cat was overjoyed and purring as he thought we were joining in the game with him.
Elbowing him aside, Mas lifted up half of the bed, and the mouse ran into a corner. I tried to catch him, but he ran up the inside of my trouser leg! I did a quick tap dance, and it came out. We immediately realised it was no mouse, but a rat! I threw a towel over him and caught it where he struggled in a muscular way.

Mas then asked what I was going to do next and I said put it outside. We thought we would put it into a container while considering various options; Mas thought if it went into the garden we may get it back again. Luckily we tried to do this outside, because he wriggled free and escaped!

To add insult to injury the computers would not work, so Mas spent all day trying to sort them out. In the evening we watched a Lewis, and Lost Kingdoms of Africa which was interesting.