Friday, 26 August 2011

The Weather Today

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Oh my goodness, if you look at the difference on the two weather gadgets I have alongside my posts you can see the discrepancy of the two. Anzio is 32 degrees and Bristol is 14 degrees. My mother told me my uncle's car is actually registering 39 degrees outside.

But where has our Summer gone!? It's cold and threatening to rain again, need to keep a watch out, I don't want the washing to end up wetter than when it went out. This is August and it would be nice to have a little warmth, not wanting to feel we need to pile on the jumpers.

But then again, would we want that heat either? That's just sounds unbearable. Every year seems to be that much hotter than it was the year before. Easier to get warm than to cool down, imagine it without air-con!

What a difference between the two countries, too hot to move in the one and too chilly to want to go out in the other.

Oh... now it's started to rain, and what is it they say? It doesn't rain but it pours, obviously that's meant as a proverb but in this case it's quite literal. Come back Summer - all is forgiven!

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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Nasa News

Isn't nature beautiful? I just had to add this. Makes you wish you were one of Dr Who's companions, doesn't it? Imagine hopping into his Tardis for a quick peek at the latest star being born, or to watch a cosmic storm.

The funny Nasa people are calling it the Cosmic Inkblot Test, perfect analogy.

 Cosmic Inkblot Test

The Dumbbell Nebula, also known as Messier 27, pumps out infrared light in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The nebula was named after its resemblance to a dumbbell when seen in visible light. It was discovered in 1764 by Charles Messier, who included it as the 27th member of his famous catalog of nebulous objects. Although he did not know it at the time, this was the first in a class of objects, now known as planetary nebulaeo make it into the catalog.
Planetary nebulae, historically named for their resemblance to gas-giant planets, are now known to be the remains of stars that once looked a lot like our sun. When sun-like stars die, they puff out their outer gaseous layers, which are heated by the hot core of the dead star, called a white dwarf, and shine with infrared and visible-light colors. Our own sun will blossom into a planetary nebula when it dies in about five billion years.The Dumbbell Nebula, also known as Messier 27,

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Random Picture

Honk Honk - well it make's me laugh

Taken by daughter#1 on a school trip to the zoo.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Look What We Caught!

Look what daughter#2 caught when we were in France. Fast little things these lizards, and her Grandad was amazed she caught it saying he didn't think it could ever be done. She's quick too, when she wants to be, and has caught a few as has her sister. 

They are very cute and amusing to watch. Baby lizards as well as the adult ones. They are called Common Wall Lizards common to this part of France as well as Switzerland, Italy, parts of Germany and the Balkans, and also the Spanish Pyrenees which back onto this part of France. They seem to thrive in human living areas, scuttling away if anyone gets too close - usually anyway.

The lizard daughter#2 caught was a female, to be distinguished from a male due to it's brown colouring and stronger markings, males are green.

Daughter#2 holding said lizard, with the Chauffeur having a doze on a sunlounger in the shade.

                                              Peep o

           It would make a good tattoo don't you think?

                           Watch it doesn't fall off, now!

Do you want to see a close up on the kunquat tree which is in the background of the first photo? It's a lovely bright orange colour. Mother-in-Law made some marmalade out of the first batch which apparently tasted wonderful.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Photos From France

We had a lovely time in France, staying with the Chauffeurs parents in their place in the Pyrenees. Being August it was, of course, hot but dry with a couple of spectacular thunderstorms. The storms meant the wireless connection had to be shut down as they have had 3 modems blow up due to the electricity in the air!

The area has a lot to see and visit, some of it we saw and photographed, though I won't post them all up today. First to show is where we stayed and the rocky stream alongside the house which the girls loved going back regularly to make a dam, trying to divert the water a little, I think, is what they were doing. Naturally being so high up in the mountains there is a lot of water around, streams all around, going through villages, past peoples houses, some naturally others deliberately to avoid the flooding which happens occasionally.

 We were there for the 15th August, an important time in the Catholic calender, of course, and although we didn't go we could here the music from the nearby village where the villagers danced for hours late into the night.

Here's the house with it's large glass room, can't really call it just a conservatory.

Us sitting in the shade under a tree feeling cooler than in the house

The mountain view around, the first picture shows the peak of the Canigou.

The Chauffeur making us a barbecue in the specially built oven, the other side has a bread oven, too.

The girls and the Chauffeur playing in the stream, it was so cool there under all those leaves, and the water cold but so refreshing on our feet.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Going to France in the Morning

This is just a quickie today as I've a ton of stuff to do. We're travelling to France tomorrow to stay with the Chauffeur's parents where they are pretty much living these days.

We're up at silly o'clock so it's not great that I'm working till at least 10pm tonight, bad management on my part for not organising things properly.

Need to pack, get the girls to pack, though I believe daughter#1 has already begun and will no doubt be the first to finish and be able to relax, she's so organised, just like her Dad. The house needs cleaning and tidying so it's nice to return to. Animals need their cages cleaned, too. One of our friends will be coming in every day to feed and water them.

Right, I'm off to make a start. Will hopefully have photos to show you when we return. Byeee!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

What I'm Reading Now

You Against Me


If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's accused of a terrible crime but says he didn't do it, you defend him, don't you? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her, his world begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the offence, her world begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. This is a brave and unflinching novel from the bestselling author of "Before I Die". It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Scout Returned

And she's back. Safe, sound and, as predicted, very tired.

Daughter#2 had a great time, mountain boarding, hiking and everything connected with camping. It rained but the first two days weren't too bad, getting very wet on the third. The tents are currently opened out in the scout hut drying off. No matter, scout's don't care about a little thing like rain, do they. I remember being worried about daughter#1 scout camping in the freezing cold but she enjoyed every minute of it, she told us when she returned.

D#2 wouldn't let me get a decent photo of her when she got back even though I'd been prepared to grab one when I could. Here those are

The other patrol leader who went with her, son of our good friends. They've known each other since birth.

The backpack she carried - my old one from over 20 years ago I travelled around Europe with, still in good nick, knew it was worth keeping.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Feeling Sad

I shouldn't be really. My little girl has gone on a scout camp and I miss her. Silly as she's been on a few already as has daughter # 1 as well as various sleepovers. I still miss them when they're gone. Daughter # 2 has been looking forward to going for ages and has had her backpack ready for weeks now, all packed very methodically, methodical is not a word usually associated with d#2, with each days outfit in a separate bag. 

It's a patrol leader camp and as she is one of the two patrol leaders this means she goes with two of the leaders meeting up with some other scout groups, doing exciting things such as mountain boarding. The patrol leaders have planned the meals, will set up their own tents and pretty much do it all themselves with the leaders supervising only.

She will be fine, I know that, and will return muddy and tired but happy. I'll be happy when she's back. Oh dear, what am I going to be like when my girls fly the nest...

Sadly I have no photos of d#2 on her way out so will leave you with this photograph taken the other day, she was wearing the same outfit with her scout shirt, neckerchief and woggle added.

And a back view, too.

Friday, 5 August 2011

A Few Photos of our Last Camping Holiday

I know you can't really see any photos of tents and that's what camping is all about really, isn't it? But our photographer, aka the Chauffeur, doesn't actually do photographs all that well. These are the pic of the best. 

But it was all fun, though, and that's what matters. A nice enough site with a lovely tea room in a large old house serving enormous cream teas with lashing of cream and jam for the homemade scones, is a good feature for this site. Plus it has reasonably good washroom facilities. The showers (two, to be shared between the sexes) in the same converted barn as the sinks for cleaning teeth etc, which is partitioned off from the sinks for washing the dishes. This, for us, is a step up from the converted '70s caravan with tiny sink and toilet added in to it, in our usual site.

The main problem with this site is the noise. The camp site is split into two with the section we stay in next to a road. At night the car noises are amplified. It is also near a busily running stream. One friend was discussing the night noises with me and another friend. She talked about the road, water, and the other friend brought up the loudest dawn chorus which we agreed was louder than any we'd ever heard before. But she also brought up the noise of the men - Snoring. Hmm. I had to agree. We both had partners snoring on one side of us, and there was also several other men in our company doing the same which can be heard clearly at night with only canvas walls between us, Snoring in Stereo as she succinctly put it, yes, absolutely - of course we ladies don't do that, do we??

Another interesting feature of this site is that at the other end of the fields is the oldest river swimming club in Europe. People come from miles around to swim in it. The weather was exceedingly good while we were there, as it was last year too, and  so the field next to the diving boards was filled with picnickers and bathers. Shame we have no photo of it, maybe next time, but here's a link if you're interested

Anyway, here are the photos. Daughter # 2 and a friend in the holey dingy, apparently they got very wet when it leaked and sank.

Daughter # 1 walking past the Bell Tent belonging to some other friends. I am so envious as I have been after one for ages. We might stay in it at some point this Summer as the friends are living in their yurt and have this up next to them as their guest tent. Is she eating something? Looks like it, we do eat well while camping, plenty of food and plenty of hunger in the fresh air.

Little shot of D#2 outside our tent next to our cooker.

Wide shot. The people sat down are in front of our tent. Everyone always seems to come to ours as the communal one, no idea why, ours isn't the largest or even the nicest but they always gravitate to ours so there is always a semi circle of chairs around us which people sit and go off, return, etc, for the camp duration.

 Me and some others, well you got to have a photo of someone with a cup of tea - a staple at campsites. This one is me drinking it.

Camping is great and people are so friendly there. One incident to let you know how is that Daughter # 2 ran out of water when in the shower. I was drying my hair with my portable hairdryer while a couple of other people were queued waiting for their turn in the showers. I had no 50ps to give her to pop in the shower meter and was about to run all the way back up to get some more when the man in the next cubicle to her popped his head out of his door and offered me a 50p piece, and also some more shampoo as he'd heard her asking for that too. How nice, to stop his showering and do this with all those other people around (he did keep himself well covered up). I made sure to find him to return his money. Just an example of how everyone mucks in while camping, it's a real leveller.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Allotment Photos

Want to see how the allotment is doing? Here are some photos. All credit to the Chauffeur as the rest of us don't make it down there very often.

Rhubarb. Not ready to eat till next spring, it takes 3 years from re-planting to being viable to eat, to give it enough time to establish itself in the ground. This rhubarb came from the garden of my sister-in-law who inherited it from the previous occupier of her house. She doesn't like, Niece and Nephew don't like, we like so we have it. Cannot wait for those delicious rhubarb crumbles Daughter#1 will make us with those, she makes a GOOD crumble.

Think those are carrots of which we have had a very good harvest this year, and they have been a good size too. Even the carrot tops are eaten, though that's by the rabbit and guinea pigs who love them. Alongside are the raspberries which are finished for this season.

Leeks. Looks like some have fallen over.

Overview. Those sheds at the top belong to the allotment owner next to us. We've had a fairly good year weather-wise. Worrying at first as it was so dry but has been made up for with a mixture of sunshine and rain creating good conditions for veggie growers in this region.

The yellow bucket in the pic above, comes home regularly filled to the brim with good things to eat.

Monday, 1 August 2011


Daughter # 2 stroking a sleepy looking sheep

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St Fagins

We all went to the Welsh Natural Histoy Museum the other week, meeting up with my Aunt and Uncle. Naturally as soon as we got over the boarder into Wales it began to rain, but by the time we arrived at our destination it had dried up and the weather was quite nice.

Unfortunatly the camera decided to break down on us for some unexplicable reason so we didn't get very many shots at all, spending a good deal of our time just trying to fix the darn thing instead of looking around.

It's a great place we've all been to several times now, the girls having gone with both primary and secondary schools a few times too. The teachers seem to like taking the children into the old schoolhouse and getting some of the school children to assume the punishments meeted out in those days such as wearing a flat board on their backs to get them to sit straight or to wear strange contraptions on their left hand to teach them to be right-handed. The girls enjoyed telling us about their school mates who had to endure these things for an hour or so.

Anyway, it was lovely seeing all the old houses having a good look around inside and imagining the lives of the the past owners.

Here we all are, minus me behind the camera

The only picture we managed to get of any of the old buildings

And us in this video enjoying a picnic and deciding to go for a coffee

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Look at the two posts below for a couple of other videos which wouldn't load onto this one.

Man playing old fashioned instrument

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