Saturday, 31 December 2011
To lose one computer may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness
But I guess I shall get there in the end.
But......the real reason for this posting is to wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year. I hope 2012 is good to you.
Sunday, 25 December 2011
Merry Christmas 2011
Thursday, 1 December 2011
Saturday, 26 November 2011
Enigmas by Pablo Neruda
his golden feet?
I reply, the ocean knows this.
You say, what is the ascidia waiting for in its transparent
bell? What is it waiting for?
I tell you it is waiting for time, like you.
You ask me whom the Macrocystis alga hugs in its arms?
Study, study it, at a certain hour, in a certain sea I know.
You question me about the wicked tusk of the narwhal,
and I reply by describing
how the sea unicorn with the harpoon in it dies.
You enquire about the kingfisher's feathers,
which tremble in the pure springs of the southern tides?
Or you've found in the cards a new question touching on
the crystal architecture
of the sea anemone, and you'll deal that to me now?
You want to understand the electric nature of the ocean
The armored stalactite that breaks as it walks?
The hook of the angler fish, the music stretched out
in the deep places like a thread in the water?
I want to tell you the ocean knows this, that life in its
is endless as the sand, impossible to count, pure,
and among the blood-colored grapes time has made the
hard and shiny, made the jellyfish full of light
and untied its knot, letting its musical threads fall
from a horn of plenty made of infinite mother-of-pearl.
I am nothing but the empty net which has gone on ahead
of human eyes, dead in those darknesses,
of fingers accustomed to the triangle, longitudes
on the timid globe of an orange.
I walked around as you do, investigating
the endless star,
and in my net, during the night, I woke up naked,
the only thing caught, a fish trapped inside the wind.
Monday, 31 October 2011
The Old Man of the Greenwood
Friday, 16 September 2011
I think I am supposed to add here that normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. I am sure it will, although I am not too clear as to what 'normal' actually is.
Sunday, 11 September 2011
Have an eggsellent day, dear boy
She was a day......tripper
Saturday, 27 August 2011
Gorblimey hello Mrs. Jones, how's your Bert's lumbago?
Monday, 22 August 2011
Happy birthday Jonathan!
Sunday, 21 August 2011
Modern shameless CFZ advertising
Saturday at Weird Weekend 2011
Jon found a very sweet, stray chicken called Bo:
And the creepy crawlies were creepy crawling courtesy of Nick, Kara, Lilly and Harriet Wadham:
All in all a pretty busy and fun-packed day for all concerned.
Saturday, 20 August 2011
Friday night at the Weird Weekend 2011
Friday, 19 August 2011
Weird Weekend Thursday 18th August 2011
Thursday, 21 July 2011
If a face could launch a thousand ships .......
Saturday, 16 July 2011
Lazy Sunday afternoon
Thursday, 7 July 2011
Happy Birthday Thea!
Friday, 17 June 2011
As for the 'featured author' section, I hope to be able to present you with the occasional warts 'n all interview, when yours truly will probe as many Verruca vulgaris as she can, armed only with her trusty and ever-sharpened pencil and well-thumbed notebook.
See you there.
Wednesday, 1 June 2011
The woman in the wet dress and the throw in the washing machine
But giving up smoking or chocolate is absolutely nothing to do with Bones or the events that occurred on Wednesday afternoon.
What is pertinent to the point, however, is that one of the episodes we watched on Tuesday evening involved a murderer disposing of his victim's body by shoving him down the laundry chute of a hotel, which culminated in said body being given a good old service wash. This meant that he ended up being spread all over the inside of the drum, something discovered once the machine had been stopped and further investigation had ensued. One big machine though; big enough to walk into – now that is impressive (as would be the water and soap powder bills I am sure).
So coming back to Wednesday afternoon …. and I have to say that I had a similar occurrence in my washing machine, the similarity not being that there was a body in it I must add, but merely a burgundy throw. Pru was sick on it the night before (after we had finished watching Bones that is) which I noticed on my way in to see Jon, who had asked me to go and look at something on the computer. Although she ate her deposit (with apparent relish), almost as soon as she had chucked it (dogs are so disgusting) it did mean that I had to wash the throw. I have washed this article many times in its life, but on this occasion something weird happened and the washing machine decided to mangle it slightly and the drum became awash with bits of soggy burgundy-coloured material. This meant the machine could not drain properly as the holes in it had become blocked up with the wet fluff. I had to enlist the help of Oll to assist me in emptying out the machine manually and we, the ‘utility area’, and the kitchen were soon awash with water. Luckily, on this first evacuation the water was warm, so having to wear rather soggy clothing and footwear for the following hour was not as bad as it could have been. However, by the third attempt at getting out the fluff and getting the drum to drain rather than swish around murky particles of thread, the warm water had been replaced with cold that was certainly not so pleasant.
Anyway, back to Bones. Upon opening the door to let the water gush out into the bucket I was holding underneath, I noticed that the inside of the drum looked remarkably like the one in the Bones episode described briefly above, only the body parts had been replaced by the material. So there was a method to my apparent madness in mentioning the episode earlier. And you all thought I had completely lost it didn't you? I may take a roundabout way of getting there, but I do get there in the end, wherever there is.
Oll went off to find a syphoning tube in order to get rid of the water that still sat in the drum below the level of the door. He came back armed with one, saying that there was a bigger one somewhere, but it seemed to have disappeared. I unintentionally voiced my suggestion aloud that maybe somebody had decided to try a bit of home-style colonic irrigation and had failed to return the tube afterwards, at which Oll assured me that it was not him. Well not me either so that leaves Graham and Jon, but we will not go any further down that road.
Since the dramatic events of Wednesday have been laid to rest until the morrow, we have at least worked out the chain of events that led to the waterlogged scenes of earlier, and have all reached the same conclusion…it is all Jon’s fault. It was he who wished to have liver and bacon casserole for dinner, meaning that Pru had a small onion-less version made for her, which involved her eating it quickly as it was such a treat, causing her to throw it up later and so on and so forth.
So BOO to Jon for causing me to get soaked, first in warm water and later twice in cold as Oll and I tried to sort it out. And BOO to Jon for causing Oll to look for a syphon tube and only find the thin one, leading to my dismaying thoughts of DIY colonic irrigation (thoughts that will no doubt take a long time to vacate my grey matter ….urgh).
But joking aside, it will be a real pain and shame if the machine is irreparable. It has given me pretty good and faithful service since October 2000, and considering we live in such a throw away society and things are not made to last these days like they used to be, it has had an amazing innings.
Saturday, 28 May 2011
Last of the great surrealists
On Tony’s suggestion I read one of Leonora’s novels last year , and I used to read it aloud at night so both Jon and I could enjoy it at the same time. The Hearing Trumpet is a very strange novel, but one that you cannot put down once starting. The heroine is a 92 year old woman who is given a hearing trumpet by her well-meaning friend. This then means that she can hear everything that her family is saying and finds out that she is to be taken to an institution. The adventures that follow are weird, funny and poignant and Leonora’s writing had both me and Jon laughing out loud at times, so much so that on occasion I would have to re-read a paragraph over and over before being able to finish it with a straight face.
Leonora died in Mexico City on 25th May of complications following pneumonia at the grand age of 94, and is survived by her two sons, Gabriel and Pablo.
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
That is all by the by, however. Perhaps the shock of the free show to which he and I had been treated before he had entered into the realms of the podiatrist (who sat waiting for him, grinning from ear to ear and armed with the instruments of wounding) had given him a rush of adrenaline; a weird sort of fight or flight instinct rushing through his veins. This combination had, therefore, enabled the podiatrist to cut his flesh without him flinching and to emerge from the consulting room glorious in his success.
You see, we had arrived at the hospital around ten minutes early, and had also not found it necessary to search for a parking space, so we were able to sit in the car park for a short while before Jon had to launch himself into action and attend his appointment. Jon used to reside at this hospital once upon a time, when nursing was his game, and his window overlooked the area in which we sat idly watching the world go by as we waited for the clock to tick those remaining minutes. In the flush of youth his reactions would most likely have been entirely different to the events that were to unfold as we were parked there yesterday.
The scenery was quite pleasant; the trees were all in full leaf in various, glorious shades of green, and the horse chestnut was in the last throes of blossom, teasingly offering a view of what is to come when its annual fruits ripen and fall to the ground. This will either be under their own steam or from marauding conker challengers armed with sticks or anything else that they can throw in their attempts to ensure the prize falls to the earth. However, being as it is a hospital car park, I am assuming that, in the main, it will be the former that will occur, apart from a few opportunists during visiting hours. In the corner of the eye, a male blackbird could be seen to be busily hunting for food in the shade of a beech, and the wind ruffled the leaves gently in the chilly breeze.
Then the occupants of the car next to us returned to their vehicle and in a second diabolically marred the serenity of the surroundings. Their car was on our passenger side so I could see them whilst talking to Jon. I have no idea what the slang is these days, but in my day it was builder’s bum or bum cleavage. But this was no builder. It was a young woman strapping her children into the back of the car who was revealing a little more than she probably thought. She was clearly wearing a pair of the so-called fashionable – and to my mind uncomfortable – hipster jeans. I have a pair that ease their way down to my nether regions at the merest mention of gravity and are constantly being firmly yanked back up to waist level , and secured with an ever –tightening belt in order to restrict their movement south. Why did I purchase such things? At the time, I found it nigh on impossible to find a pair of ‘normal’ jeans and had to make do with what was available.
This woman, however, seemed oblivious to the migration of her own pair and was exposing at least six inches of her lower cheeks to the air and the local wildlife, and also, to our horror and rather sarcastic amusement, us. I must remind you here that we are two ageing hippies that are growing more belligerent and unforgiving the older we get. And we were – by now – trying not to look at the free peep show whilst muffling our giggling and groans of repugnance at such an unfortunate display of bare flesh.
The car and its occupant with the offending buttocks eventually moved off, leaving us both staring out of the windscreen with looks of dismay and jaws dropped as if catching flies. The spectacle had clearly affected us. But then, it was time for Jon to make his unsuspecting way to the gleaming instruments and for me to doze off slightly, trying desperately to shake the vision that had so recently invaded my personal space.
Monday, 2 May 2011
Happy birthday wishes to my brother
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
A typewriter is tougher to shift than a condiment
However, I was saddened to read here ....
But relieved to then read here ....
I learned to touch type many years ago on an old battered black manual typewriter at my local technical college. I took evening classes after I left school – such classes were not known at grammar school, only academic lessons with a bit of PE thrown in for exercise. I cannot remember exactly how the nitty gritty stuff was taught at the tech, but I do remember bashing the keys with fingers that were hidden beneath a wooden affair that covered the keys from cheating eyes. And of course it was necessary to bash the keys with enthusiasm to ensure they descended with enough strength to get the letter to reach the ribbon, let alone print anything on to paper. And then there were those occasions when you caught two keys at once and ended up with a duel of inky metal at the ribbon, not to mention those times when you missed a key altogether and you finger plummeted painfully between two keys.
No doubt, that is why these days I tend to hit the keys from a height and with great gusto rather than glance my fingertips over them, which is – let’s be honest – all you really need to do these days on computer keyboards. It may also explain why I cannot take to laptop keyboards - they are too low down and squishy for comfort. They are only playing at being keyboards.
But the most memorable thing of all? The heavy, satisfying ‘ker-ching’ of the carriage return after the little bell had warned you of nearing the set margin. ‘Ker-ching’, ‘ker’ching’, ‘ker-ching’ - to sit there just pressing the carriage return to hear that satisfying sound was bliss in itself.
However, there is something to be said for the modern ‘delete’ button. My mum used to work in a solicitors’ office and would type out contracts etc on such a machine. There was no allowance for mistakes – make one and she had to start all over again. Eeeks! At least in my job we could use correction fluid or correction tabs. And now I have remembered good old stencils, and the wonderful red correction fluid you could paint on mistakes. I can still recall the smell and sound of the stencil machine, and I am aware now that I am once again flying down memory lane at a tangent … so I shall merely raise my cup of afternoon tea and accompanying biscuit to the good old manual typewriters of old.
Sunday, 24 April 2011
Friday, 15 April 2011
An arrogant bustard
Sadly, if I am to tell the truth, I did reply along the lines of ‘Well, der!’ and - with hindsight - probably rather too quickly. I had tried so hard to leave as long a pause in between his question and my answer so as not to appear too eager, but I failed miserably. In my defence, I was hungry and wished to resume the demolition of my toasted cheese sandwich. I must also add here, that this all took place only a few seconds before Jon took a drink from his glass of Diet Coke and managed to stab himself in the eye with the straw. And as all of you will know, Jon wears glasses so to do this was not as easy a task as it might at first seem.
To be honest, I don’t think he actually did do anything too Jonathanesque on this trip, apart from nearly exposing certain parts of his body - which would mostly likely not be a good idea to reveal in public - on a couple of occasions when his braces came undone at the back, with a resounding ping. The following scramble to avert the ‘trousers around the ankles’ scenario may well have provided a highly entertaining video to put on CFZtv, but unfortunately the situation called for immediate attention, not allowing me to obtain the camera from the camera bag that sat tantalisingly on the back seat of the car.
The sat nav, however, surpassed itself in its mis-directional stupidity. So much so that both Jon and I screamed at it to shut up, before it was unceremoniously unplugged and then dropped further along in our journey (albeit by mistake) when Jon opened the car door, not realising that when he pulled the plug from the cigarette lighter socket with sour-tempered gusto, the wire had flown back and become twisted around one of his legs. You never know, the event may have knocked some sense into it. The cause of our testiness with it? I can explain if you would care to know. Usually, when approaching roundabouts, the lady inside the tiny box tells me which exit to take (in fact she makes sure I don’t forget by repeating the information several times on the approach to them). But at least three times last night, she took us back to the same roundabout and told me – with no emotion in her voice whatsoever - to turn right, then right again.
She seemed determined that she wished me to park the car on top of the grassy, daffodil encrusted mound in the centre of the roundabout for some peculiar reason only known to herself. No matter how hard we tried to navigate ourselves out of town by – we thought- making acceptable sense out of her instructions, she managed to take us back to the damn roundabout. So, in the end, we decided to go with the flow and interpret her ramblings in a sat-nav kind of way, and did as we thought we were being told by pretending we were tiny boxes also rather than using our jaded sense of direction or the stars. We thought we were onto a winner – she did not re-compute the journey and seemed perfectly satisfied with our interpretations of her instructions at last. Lo and behold she took us where she clearly wished us to go. Her sinister aim was revealed. The Vodafone headquarters was her desired destination. It was then that we lost our tempers with the small speaking box and the tiny female entity inside. We searched frantically as we drooled psychotically inside the untidy mess that is the back of the car, and eventually found the old-fashioned way of finding our way back to the correct route. Road atlas in Jon’s hand, we eventually managed to vacate the vortex and made our way serenely into Hampshire in a manner more befitting our age, rather than like two enraged escapees from Bedlam.
Saturday, 9 April 2011
Games doggies play
It must be pretty good fun being a dog at the CFZ you know. Four people to exasperate with silly games on a sunny Saturday afternoon. And then just roll over, display your tummy and wait for the attention that you so desire. What joy, what rapture.
Sunday, 3 April 2011
Would you mess with this mother?
However, she is doing what mothers do best and guarding her young well. Mind you, the more you look at her, the more appealing to the eye she seems to become in an odd sort of way. Those dark eyes, those completely natural full lips that have not had a collagen needle anywhere near them. Awww she is rather sweet really.
The Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California announced in late March that aquarists there had been helping around 250 baby wolf eels to hatch from a mass of eggs, with another couple of hundred due to hatch over the following couple of weeks. Found in the northern Pacific Ocean, wolf eels (Anarrhichthys ocellatus) are not actually eels at all but fish (scientists refer to them as 'wolf-fish') and despite their rather aggressive look, they are quite friendly unless, of course, you happen to be a sea urchin at dinner time. They are rarely aggressive, but it may be wise to note that they are capable of giving a painful bite if they so desire.
Thursday, 31 March 2011
Worse things happen at sea?
Nightingale Island is surrounded by oil which extends to a slick up to 8 miles offshore from the wreck of the MS Oliva, which was carrying 1,500 tonnes of fuel oil. Inevitably hundreds of oiled penguins have already been coming ashore. Not only are they affected, but also the economical important rock lobster fishery. And as the vessel was also fully laden with 60,000 tonnes of whole raw soya beans there is also the concern of how the impact of this spilt cargo will have on the fragile local marine environment.
RSPB research biologist Richard Cuthbert said: "How a modern and fully laden cargo vessel can sail straight into an island beggars belief. The consequences of this wreck could be potentially disastrous for wildlife and the fishery-based economy of these remote islands. The Tristan da Cunha islands, especially Nightingale and adjacent Middle Island, hold millions of nesting seabirds as well as 40% of the world population of the globally endangered Northern Rockhopper Penguin. Over 200,000 penguins are currently on the islands and these birds will be heavily impacted by leaking oil."
Yes, how did such a vessel manage to do that?
Tristan da Cunha is not the easiest place to get to and from. There is no airport and all 3 scheduled ships depart from Cape Town. They are scheduled to make 9 return trips each year and it would seem that two of them (which only carry 12 passengers apiece) are fully booked for 2011 sailings. The third is operated by the South African Government as part of a contract to lease Gough Island as a Meteorological Station. It has space for 30 passengers but only calls in September as the Gough Island relief service. So, it is not sure as to how long the Greek Captain and the 21 Filipino crew will be in the Tristan da Cunha settlement (Edinburgh of the Seven Seas), but they are all receiving the warm hospitality of the islanders.
Meanwhile the remarkable rescue is continuing. Oiled penguins are being collected from the islands of Nightingale, Inaccessible and Middle with the aim of transporting them all to the main Tristan island. But there are not enough supplies of specialist cleaning fluids and a vessel with all necessary supplies is scheduled to leave Cape Town in the next few days. Unfortunately, it will be too late for at least two sub-Antarctic fur seals that were found dead on Middle Island, and two Inaccessible rails that were found dead in the tussock grass near the shore of the island they are named after. The Inaccessible rail is the smallest flightless bird in the world and is endemic to that island.
Tristan da Cunha one of the remotest places in the world and more can be read about it, this incident and the efforts of the islanders to help the stricken penguins at: http://www.tristandc.com/newsmsolivatristan.php
And just to emphasise exactly how remote, here are some distances - as the crow flies - posted on the Tristan da Cunha website:
To St Helena - 2429 km - 1509 miles (nearest community)
To Cape Town - 2805 km - 1743 miles (nearest mainland city)
To Rio de Janeiro - 3353 km - 2083 miles
To Stanley, Falkland Islands - 3902 km - 2424 miles
To London UK - 9881 km - 6140 miles
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air
During the early 1900s, the Laysan albatross was hunted mercilessly by feather hunters who killed hundreds of thousands of them, succeeding in wiping them out from Wake Island and Johnston Atoll in the north Pacific. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are now protected, but the birds are still vulnerable to longline fisheries and the ingestion of floating plastics. On the newer colonised islands, they are also vulnerable to feral cats.
But for now at least, officials at the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex are greatly thrilled at the return of Wisdom and that she survived the March 11 tsunami. Let us hope that she continues to ride the thermals for many more years to come.
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Happy Birthday, Shoshannah
Happy Birthday Shoshannah
Thursday, 10 March 2011
As sure as eggs is eggs
Imagine how many egg sandwiches a hard-boiled ostrich egg would make. A picnic extravaganza no less, but for a hearty breakfast, also imagine the size of the egg cup required to hold such a monstrous item. And bearing in mind it would be equivalent to around 24 hen eggs in content would there be a table big enough to seat 24 people around it, each with a spoon in one hand and a bread and butter ‘soldier’ in the other?
However – and here is the rub - you would not be able to arise one sunny morning and decide, on the spur of the moment, that the family would all pile into the car for a trip to the seaside or some such outing. Oh no - well not if you were going to take advantage of the only egg in the house and the enormous amount of sandwiches as mentioned above that is. Why? Because it apparently takes 2 hours to hard boil such an egg, although it does only take a mere 50 minutes to soft boil one. But soft boiled eggs in sandwiches are not a good idea at the best of times, especially when mixed with mayonnaise. Apart from not looking very attractive, or palatable, they are little devils to handle. And that inevitable gust of wind whilst on the beach (maybe, if you are lucky, even with the odd oil-covered seagull feather being carried on it) would result in their more moist composition than that of the hard-boiled variety being coated in more sand than the latter, causing them to take on the appearance of a more insipid golden breadcrumbed look.
Hey ho what a thought.
Do I have such odd thoughts of the day on a regular basis? Well…yes actually, but on this occasion it was, in fact, brought about by looking in a magazine for a banana loaf recipe and coming across an advert for a certain supermarket who sells ostrich eggs, lain in Lincolnshire, for £18.99 each.
Wednesday, 16 February 2011
However, I am not really that affronted at the phrase being used towards me - I am a Cancerian and therefore have quite a hard shell to crack - but I do just have to ask one question. If this statement is true, then WHY AM I NOT OBEYED!? Now, that is the crux of the matter as far as I am concerned, and it is this point that needs to be urgently addressed. I think Jon may rue the day he quoted from one of his favourite TV series.
There may be something in the woods, but don't forget to check the cave systems too....
He really does get everywhere, red eyes included, and as can be seen, my courageous little hobbit stood in awe for a few second just to allow the snapshot to be taken, before she moved hastily on. And the inhabitants of the cave system in question? Why, goblins of course. So it is not really surprising to see that he is batting for the darker side I suppose.
Saturday, 29 January 2011
Thursday, 27 January 2011
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch
Click on the following link to see how you can join in on this event on either Saturday 29th or Sunday 30th January: http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/takepart.aspx