Saturday 31 March 2012

Djanogly Art Gallery

What a difference a day makes - much, much cooler today and I had so many warm weather plans for the weekend.
Went to the Djanogly Art Centre next to the University Boating Lake this morning to see an exhibition about the work of Edward Burra.
He had a real knack of making most of his subjects, even potentially cheerful ones,  quite dark and scary.
Originally, I planned a nice walk along the canal, but it was really nippy, so just had a quick look at the pictures and the lake, and then drove in the car most of the way to town for a burger and a pint.

Friday 30 March 2012

Licking the bowl clean

Question - What is the nicest food in the world but is never served in restaurants?
Answer - Raw cake mix, although you can buy cookie dough ice cream.
Margs and Dave are coming to stay for the weekend which is exciting as we haven't seen them since our jaunt round Vietnam and Cambodia.
Have made pear and dark chocolate steamed pudding for tea tonight, and it's not possible to resist leaving some of the mix in the bowl instead of it all going in the baking tin.

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Parlo Italiano

I have had many false starts over the years trying to speak French and Spanish which have been totally unsuccessful.
So I have decided to start again afresh and give Italian a go.
Darren has bought a six month course on the internet for me and I am having great fun chatting and typing away to it.
Will find out in a few weeks how successful it is.
Ps, the photo is of me waving my arms around as all good Italians do.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Italian weather

Fantastic day again today, we are going to Sorrento in May, but its as nice here already.
Pleased to see my lemon tree has made it through the winter, and looking much better than it did this time last year. It even has some baby lemons on it already.
Which puts me in mind of the gin and tonic that Darren and I are going to have as soon as the sun goes over the yardarm. We have no idea what this means so it varies quite a bit depending on how thirsty we are.*
Started collecting seedlings and favourite plants in to pots in preparation for our house move, but trying hard not to tempt fate by assuming when that will be.
* Ps, apparently its at 4.59pm today!

Sunday 25 March 2012

Slow motion cycle fall

Out for a bike ride today in the lovely sunshine and just stopped at Stoke Bardolph for a cider and lunch.
Loads of people out today, admired the yachters, campers, horse riders, scooterers, runners and dog walkers.
Stopped to admire the view of the river and to watch a very old gentleman cycle extremely slowly towards on a tarmac path.
Unfortunately he had to ride over a cattle grid and he stopped pedalling in the middle of it and turned across it so the wheel went down the hole and he fell off.
Darren rescued his bike and took it to the other side while I tried to help him up as his legs were dangling through the gaps.
We left him on the other side of the grid which I had thought was helpful, but Daz pointed out that he might have to go back over it to get home.

Friday 23 March 2012

Non scientific experiment

Bought these lovely daffs for £1 from the stall just outside Santander bank after having a bit of a run in with the staff over 'data protection' issues which are too dull to go in to here.
Instead, I thought I would tell you about how clever my 'pet' ducks are!
I have put netting over my ponds to try to keep away the herons, and thought it would stop the ducks visiting as well.
It did at first, but then they started swimming on the little area of pond with no netting over it, but they gradually worked out how to go under the edge of it.
Now they have sussed out that they can 'duck' - sorry - under it and as long as they keep their heads and beaks down, they can carry on making as much of a muddy mess as last year, and then climb out again when they have finished.
Has much research been carried out on duck intelligence? Maybe they are as clever as dolphins.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Indian themed Orange Wednesday

Can't believe we are keeping going with the Orange Wednesdays, but even I am starting to get a bit enthusiastic about it.
Just got home from tonights episode, and I am thinking of going on the Broadway website to check out what we can go to see next time!
Review of this evening - went for a meal at Kayal which specialises in food from Kerala. Ordered Keralan style poppadums and the dips were totally different to the usual. I didn't realise this so loaded up a chunk of poppadum with the nearest one and it nearly took my head off. Can only describe it as being sort of similar to the lime flavoured dip that everyone leaves at a standard Indian restaurant, but made out of really sharp lemons instead. One of the others was coconut and the last one was red and green with a mystery flavour.
On to the film - Krishna - apparently based on Tess of the D'urbervilles, which fortunately we hadn't read otherwise it might have spoiled a rather shocking ending.
The scenery was superb and reminded me completely of our holiday there. So much so in fact, that todays photo is a shot of a photo of a wedding party that we took that hangs in our kitchen.

'Warm showers' visitor

Darren heard about a website where cyclists from all over the world post their details and the idea is that you either host or stay overnight at another members house, while on a cycling trip. And use the shower!
I put our info up last week and Martin, a super, super fit guy from Somerset stayed overnight last night.
He is on a five day trip and was in Edinburgh two days ago and had cycled over 200 k to get to us. He is doing 278 k today to get back home.
It makes our efforts look a bit poor, but he did at least look shattered when he first turned up.

Monday 19 March 2012

Giant horizontal hamster wheel

Mowed the lawn today and it looks much better.
It is a massive egg shape and the only way to mow it is to start at the outside and go round and round in a circle, getting closer to the middle.
I always feel a bit like a giant hamster, but the wheel in my case, is horizontal. Also, hamsters don't have to worry about accidentally running over the electricity cable.

Saturday 17 March 2012

Wot no taxi!

Fantastic service from D G cars in Nottingham. They remember your phone number so they have your address. You then don't need to speak to a real person to book a taxi next time.
Here is Darren and his mum and dad waiting outside our gate when we thought the taxi was on it's way, bur maybe it's not.
Absolutely packed night in town for St Patricks day.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Finished my chaise longue

Phew, what a relief! Thought at one time I might have to abandon it, but its all done. It looks good from a distance, and is even quite comfortable, but there are some amateurish bits if you know where to look.
Tried to take a couple of arty shots, just in case any readers of 'House and garden' magazine view this blog.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Ran a marathon - in a week!

Finished a whole marathon today, but started it a week ago. Have run seven days on the trot, just to see if I can.
Nearly ruined it by being really clumsy playing squash on Monday. Ran in one direction, realised the ball was going the opposite way so did a huge twirl that twisted my knee in a way that it was never designed to go.
Struggled round on Tuesday, but feeling better today.
Darren asked how long did it take me to run the marathon, but I didn't write any of my times down so I have no idea. Don't think it was very fast though.

Monday 12 March 2012

Chaise longue - back to the drawing board

Have been sulking for the past few weeks about my attempts to renovate the chaise longue I bought on eBay. It initially seemed to be going well and I basically rebuilt it, with all of the original springs. However, when I sat on it to test it it was really uncomfortable - creaky and bumpy - a bad combination I think.
Anyway, I left it while I had a strop but have calmed down enough to strip it back down, and I have a new plan to rebuild it.
Can't work out how to join some new wooden cross beams to it so will have to ask for help from Daz.
Meanwhile, I have had a bit more success with a large solicitors desk, which just needs a bit of finishing off and I should be able to put it back on eBay in a day or two.
Fingers crossed somebody bids for it.

Sunday 11 March 2012

Fat Cats then a scooter home

Beautiful spring day and a visit from Steve, Helen, Jessica and Marissa.
Walked to Fat Cats for an unusually large lunch and home on the scooters.
I was really jealous and nearly had a go on Jessica's scooter, but I was afraid it might fall apart after all the goats cheese tart that I'd eaten.
Darren and Helen were left carrying all the coats and cardis, while Steve ran alongside the scooterers taking action shots.

Saturday 10 March 2012

All England Badminton Championships

Exciting day today! Had to miss the Colwick parkrun as we needed to get on the road quite early, so instead went for a run with Darren along the canal, the Trent and The Meadows.
Semi finals day at the All England, but no English players left in to cheer.
The best and loudest supporters were the Malaysians who were there to cheer the fantastic Lee Chong Wei. They even had musical instruments and loads of flags and the atmosphere was great.
Next came the Danish who mainly sat in a block together, all dressed in white and who did synchronised clapping and chanting.
The worst were the Chinese who made up at least 50% of the semi finalists, so maybe they are so blaze that they don't need to bother.
Took a good photo of the stadium but really bad ones of the players, and in view of the terrible shots I published yesterday, I am not going to include any. I even recorded it on the telly and tried to take photos of the players on pause, but it still didn't work.
Sorry - a bad workman blames his tools. Will do better tomorrow.

Friday 9 March 2012

Halifax reunion

I left the Halifax Building Society in Nottingham in 1994, so it was lovely today to meet up again for a catch up with some old friends after all this time.
Genuinely, everyone looked just as I remembered them. Unfortunately, it is impossible to confirm this from my photos!
For the record, it was lovely to see Kevin, Richard, Jill, Joanne, John, Karen, Pam, Betty, Pam, Janet and Linda.

Thursday 8 March 2012

Collecting parcels part two

Drove up to Bradford to collect a parcel for Darren today. Much warmer and more convenient than cycling up to Bilborough, although it did take nearly four hours door to door.
Disappointingly though, I arrived home to find a card from The Post Office saying I had missed the postman and there is a package waiting for me!
Not asked Daz how big it is yet, but I think it is a case of de ja vue for tomorrow.
Ps in case you can't tell what it is, it's a sub woofer!

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Full moon over the Council House

Out in town again for our third Orange Wednesday and the light is quite luminous and enchanting this evening.
It could be extra bright street lights in the  Market Square, or more likely it's the full moon, snapped just over the top of Flying Horse Arcade.
Just had an okay Greek dinner and off to see Moneyball starring Brad Pitt.

Tuesday 6 March 2012


There are some beautiful flowers called anemones in my garden that were here when we moved in.
A year ago I potted up about 70 seedlings that I found growing around them. They have spent the winter in my dads care and are all looking good.
Unfortunately it will be at least another two years before they flower, so I am going to have to lug them around for a long while yet.
They will look amazing in 2015, wherever we happen to be living then.

Sunday 4 March 2012

Saturday night at the Theatre

Went out last night for an early curry and then on to the Concert Hall to see the Nottingham Youth Orchestra.
The place was pretty packed with proud parents, aunties, uncles and hundreds of beautifully dressed children to see the orchestra play an Olympic themed extravaganza.
It was hosted by the fantastic Des Coleman who used to present the weather forecasts on Midlands Today and who can also belt out a good tune.
Note, on the big screen you can see a snap of Sebastian Coe and the Olympic logo - if it's not too blurry anyway.

Saturday 3 March 2012

Herons and ducks

Was really pleased with myself as I put netting over both ponds to keep the herons from terrorising and eating my lovely goldfish.
Got home from our run this morning and two ducks were swimming around on top of the netting, then this afternoon I looked out of the window and two herons were in the garden.
There is a small section not covered by the netting and one heron had found it and was paddling in the pond.
Poor, poor fish - I think they are mostly safe, but I am sure all this stress can't be good for them.
Ps, also got frogspawn in the pond - surprising amount of nature in the city centre.

Friday 2 March 2012

Collecting parcels

Just missed the delivery man yesterday so had to cycle 3 and a half miles to collect them.
I had ordered a running watch, and Darren some bits for his new bike.
The smaller items went in my basket but the handlebars tried to leap out at every bump and pothole. The real killers were the wheels that came in a gigantic box. I had taken some string with the hope of tying them on the rack at the back, but no chance.
I unpacked them and now everytime I moved they clanged together worryingly.
In the end I had to walk home, balancing the bike with one hand and holding the wheels in the other, but splaying my fingers out to try to stop the wheels touching.
Got more confident on the journey and on a gently sloping downhill section, I got on the bike and rolled along, with my right arm stuck out holding the wheels. Got a lot of startled looks from the old ladies at the bus stop and when the handlebars made another bid for freedom I decided it was probably safer but slower to go back to plan A.
Got home and my right elbow is completely locked and my hand has turned into a claw, but still in one piece although I'm not sure when I'll play the piano again.

Thursday 1 March 2012

First day of Spring

Well, allegedly so. I always used to think it was the 21st March, but it's a lovely day today so we might as well start early.
Getting all excited about the veg patch (sorry I lead a sad life) and what to grow.
Have promised Darren I will keep it more traditional this time as last year I chose purple tomatoes, brown peppers and yellow courgettes as I thought they sounded interesting, but in reality they were all a bit weird.
Have bought some giant sunflowers seeds as well to try to bring a touch of Provence to The Park - assuming we don't sell the flat before they flower.