Thursday, 1 August 2013

Thursday Thirteen

I am going to have a play with the blog called Thursday Thirteen in which one lists thirteen things from the past week or so.  Here goes…

Numero Uno – (if I put the number 1 the paragraph indents!!!) - Blogs

I continue to add blogs to my ‘Blogs to visit’ list on the side of my Blog.  It is totally out of hand but there are just so many great blogs out there.   This week I added Colleen Redman’s ‘LooseLeaf Notes’ and, of course, the Thursday Thirteen.
"A blog is to a writer what a canvas is to an artist." ~ Colleen Redman

My post of the week was Laloofah’s trip to Butte, Montana, as part of her Silver Wedding tour on the blog Mehitable Days. 

Two – Down Memory Lane
On Saturday I met up with three of my former schoolmates (one of whom I hadn’t seen for about forty years) and their wives. 

Only Partner-who-drinks-tea had not been a regular in the Fiveways Pub in Liverpool with us forty odd years ago but all four wives were fed up of ‘in’ jokes from school and tales of the various Liverpool matches we attended together by the time lunch was over.  One of the waitresses kindly took a photo.  (Paul and I don't really go in for wife-swapping!)

Seeking ghosts circa 1965 – yours truly, Paul, (Keith), George and David

The ghosts 2013 – Paul, me, George and David

Well, someone had to bring the old school tie along.

A birthday party of mine - I think it was my fifteenth. Myself, George, Keith, Paul, David. I’m not sure what music the coffee pot achieved!  Only Keith was missing from the reunion. 

The serious stuff- Alison and Chris checking the menu.

Not the story about the clockwork mouse again…

 I didn't have a pony-tail at school!

Three – Ivy
Ivy decided to have an argument with something this week and suffered her first injury.  It’s a minor nick out of her ear.  She may have decided that now she is grown up (she becomes a cat and leaves her kitten-ness behind this month) it was time for an ear-ring.  

“The fact that I am wet has nothing to do with the sprinkler.  I wouldn’t be silly enough to investigate it while He was round the corner turning the tap on.  And no, I am not embarrassed.”

“No, that splashing noise was not my back end falling in the pond as I jumped it and no I’m not embarrassed again…”

At least she hasn’t been stuck up a tree for three days which is what happened to this kitten.  

The Fire Brigade couldn’t get her down with the usual ladders so they had to bring in the hydraulic platform, diverting buses, blocking residents from moving their cars for an hour and generally causing chaos.  According to a Freedom on Information request, the fire service has rescued 17,000 animals, including 19 squirrels and a snail in the last three years at an estimated cost of £3.5 million.  A snail!!!  How does a snail need rescuing???

 “I’m just watching the world go by.”

4 – 100 years ago
On Saturday it was the hundredth anniversary of the arrest of, suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst amid scuffles with police after attempting to lead 7,000 Free Speech demonstrators to Downing Street.

5 – Lemon-tree very pretty
Son-who-watches-films has been after a lemon tree for a couple of years now and we managed to find one this week.  It’s a really healthy specimen and has one ripe lemon, some small lemons and lots of flowers.

He looks after the vegetables in the garden and harvested his first of the garlic this week.

Six – Buses
How does the saying go – “You wait hours for a bus and then four come along at once.”

7The weather
A few days ago it was hailed as being Britain’s driest July for 247 years.  I think the missing rain all fell this week during violently heavy thunderstorms.   Alternately it has been hot, cool, steamy, thundery, wet, dry…  One of those weeks!  It’s a long time since I sat by a window and stared at the falling rain but I did so this week.  Listening to it bounce back up off the ground and seeing the thickness of the downpour was quite relaxing so logn as one didn’t have to be out in it.

Soaring temperatures were blamed for the 65% rise in questions from couples seeking advice on splitting up from a law firm.

HuitThe Ring o’ Bells
The Childwall Fiveways pub wasn’t the only one I revisited after a forty year gap this last couple of weeks.  Partner-who-drinks-tea-or-coke-in-this-weather and I called in at the Ring o’ Bells a favourite haunt of GB when he lived in West Kirby and a regular haunt of mine (and whoever my current girlfriend was) on a Thursday night.

And they even had proper coke in a bottle instead of just Pepsi on tap.

9 - In the garden
We have two new hanging baskets planted.

We have had a Gatekeeper butterfly around for a couple of weeks now – on one occasion it decided to flutter into the conservatory where I photographed it before ushering it out of the window.

"Did I just see a butterfly come out of here?"

A female Southern Hawker dragonfly (thanks to Daughter-who-takes-photos for the species identification) pictured below was in the garden at one stage. A male has been around for much of the week as well but he is a bit shy about posing for photos. 

A young Robin that was just losing its spotted breast and gaining its red one came to investigate our feet on the patio.

10 – Pollyanna Pickering

We went to the National Wildlife Artists Exhibition at one of our local nurseries again this year.   

There were some unbelievably good examples of wildlife art there and we could also meet some of the artists.

I was thrilled that the delightful Pollyanna Pickering and her daughter and business partner, Anna Louise, were there.  

The print that Anna Louise is holding is one that Daughter-who-takes-photos gave me and which is displayed on our stairs.

Pollyanna Pickering is a world-renowned artist and whilst these sort of attendances are necessary for her profile and sales they must be a bore (especially as the marquee was about 40°C and even too hot for Jo) but she showed no signs of that and really seemed pleased to meet a fan of hers.

Eleven – The Octopus that wasn’t an Octopus
Schoolgirl Areti Hydras proudly poses with an octopus her father caught on holiday in Greece.  The family cooked it and ate it. 

Picture from Daily Mail
It was only afterwards the engineer from Washington DC  discovered they had eaten what was only the second hexapus ever found.  The first was found five years ago off the North Wales coast and called Henry.  Why Henry?  After Henry VIII and his six wives, of courser.

Twelve -Books (or things on my Tablet)

I haven’t mentioned the books I’ve read for ages.  I do have a list of them and some comments so I shall blog about them at some stage but at the moment I am in the middle of the Inspector Lynley series by Elizabeth George.  I'm reading the books on my Asus tablet, usually in bed

Elizabeth George, born in Warren, Ohio, in 1949, is the American author of highly acclaimed mystery noevls set in England.  Her first novel, 'A Great Deliverance', was honoured with the Anthony and Agatha Best First Novel awards in America and received the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière in France; 'Well-schooled in Murder' was awarded the prestigious German prize for international mystery fiction, the MIMI '1990'. Eleven of her novels have now been adapted for television by the BBC as the Inspector Lynley Mysteries. An Edgar and Macavity Nominee as well as an international bestselling author, Elizabeth George lives on Whidbey Island in the state of Washington.

What I like about the Inspector Lynley series is that the main characters are developed as the series progresses.  It’s not just a case of having the same people in each book.  They are all believable and have real lives outside of each individual investigation and they age and marry (or not as the case may be) and suffer the trials and tribulations we all go through at some time or another.

In addition the plots are well-crafted and the stories well-written.  I reckon there is one new word for my vocabulary in each book which is a fair average so far as I’m concerned.  

Inspector Lynley is an officer of Scotland Yard and so far there have been about half a dozen slip ups when the American background of the author peeps through and her English advisers have missed translating the Americanisms for her.  One example is the use of the word pavement when she means the road surface as opposed to the sidewalk (our interpretation if pavement). In another she put a lay-by on a motorway – we don’t have any lay-bys on Motorways.  Bur these are rare examples and I’m just being picky.

The series began with ‘A Great Deliverance’ in 1988 and so far is up to number eighteen ‘Just one Evil Act’ (2013).  I have read up to Number 9 ‘Deception in his Mind’ (1997) so far and cannot imagine me reading any other fiction until I’ve finished the series.  If you are after some cosy crime with a bit of depth and good writing I can thoroughly recommend this series.

And the last one – 13  - 165 mph 

That is the speed Shiad Mahmoon clocked up on the M57 motorway (which has the UK's national maximum speed limit of 70mph).  In his Audi R8 Spyder the 24 year old matched the speed a passenger jet takes off at and eclipsed the 120 mph average with which F1 driver Lewis Hamilton clinched pole position at last weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix.  Mahmoon, from Oldham, received a three year ban from driving, had to pay £515 costs and fines, and will be rewuired to take a driving test before being allowed on the road again.  

 If you want to see other Thursday Thirteens they can be found here.


  1. Great Scott, John! I never heard of Thursday Thirteens before. They're a far cry from Wordless Wednesdays, aren't they? :) That reunion with your old chums looked like jolly good fun! With names like John, Paul and George I first thought I was looking at pictures of those other Liverpoolian moptops. Poor Ivy. She's learning the dos and don't of kitty life, some lessons learnt the hard way. I'd love to attend that wildlife artists exhibit. That's my kind of thing! 165 mph? Heck, Mrs. Shady attains that speed whilst still in our driveway! :) Great post, John. Enjoy the rest of your week!

    1. I never thought of the John, Paul, George connection before. I would how David would take to being called Ringo?

  2. Quite an interesting 13. I love all your old photos. It's kinda cool to see what you looked like back then. :)

    I was befuddled about a snail being rescued also. Who would have thought.

  3. Of course, the part most interesting for me on this post was number 3!
    So nice you could meet your old school mates and revisit some of the places you regularly went to in the past.
    Reg. Elizabeth George: I find her mysteries not cosy, but rather disturbing sometimes. She describes the psychology behind a crime very well, and I used to read all of her books. Then, a few years ago, one came out that I found overly lengthy and somehow could not connect with the characters and the story. Since then, I think I have missed two. Maybe I should try again.

    1. I don't find them disturbing but I do agree she is good at getting the psychology behind the crime.

      I'm not sure what the official definitionnof cosy crime is (if any). So far as I'm concerned if it absorbs me but doesn't tax my brain too much it's cosy - be it historical, crime or whatever. Howevere, I agree that if I found something disturbing it wouldn't be cosy for me.

  4. Elizabeth George is one of my favorite authors. She is such a brilliant writer and funnily enough your comment about finding one new vocabulary word was exactly what I said about her writing. The only negative thing I have to say is that sometimes her plots are a bit gruesome and graphic. I guess I'd rather skip the really nasty bits. I didn't like the TV versions because they had to contract her plots into a limited time frame and they just couldn't do them justice.
    Great wildlife illustrations. I have one I did about 15 years ago of a lion's head which I am considering entering into an art gallery weekend here in the park in October. I've never displayed my art work publicly before except at church and who's going to dare criticize the pastor's wife there! :)

    By the way, what a lovely smile on Ivy's face!

  5. Interesting and varied reflections. You did well to get thirteen of them.

  6. Good heavens CJ that's 13 posts all in one post and as I'm a slow reader I've now got to work twice as fast to get things ready for the arrival of your daughter and sil (I'm borrowing Meike's new word) in 10 hours. Oddly I didn't recognise John, Paul nor George. (Is it only I who has not changed?). It's nigh on 50 years since I used to drink in the Childwall Fiveways. I did have one other specific point to make but it's so long since I thought it I can't remember it now. I can say though that that a really interesting and enjoyable post.

  7. After all that, it's nine on Thursday morning here (about eight on Thursday evening in NZ) and the Thursday 13 link doesn't seem to be in operation! I wonder why? Ah well, it was a useful way of catching up on life.

  8. Wow, I've just gained a wealth of information from this enlightening post. Loved this post.
    I have only read one or two of the books in the Inspector Lynley series, but I have been watching the movies.
    So happy for you and Jo to have met Pollyanna Pickering and her daughter....thrilling experience for you both.
    I'm happy too that you were able to meet up with your old school mates and have a wonderful time together, that must have been a blast!
    Do you remember which ghost you guys were trying to channel in that photo?
    I was thrilled to see the coke in a bottle (has the best taste), and I felt Jo's exhilaration from way over here.
    Loved the Ivy photos, but please don't turn the sprinklers on without warning her in the future, if not you've got me to answer to.
    I'm guessing her nicked ear is a proud battle wound. As long as she's okay after the fact, it's all good.

    1. I did warn Ivy about the sprinkler - she just took no notice.

  9. Nice post, Scriptor. When I read about Ring 'o Bells I was reminded of your author, Enid Blyton who wrote a novel of the same name; The Ring 'o Bells Mystery. We couldn't get many of her books in the Colonies, but my grandparents would often travel to Canada where they were available. I absolutely loved reading Blyton, and the only trouble I had was that I'd often turn up with English spellings and language idioms. For instance, the word 'centre' is spelt differently over here, as is 'spoilt'. I used to drop a few points in my spelling test because of this, but on the other side of the street the constant reading of good literature - such as Blyton - gave me a command of the language that allowed me to write a decent essay by the time I was ten years old.

    This post was a very pleasant read for me, but it's after 10:00 and I must be about my business. Cheerio, me old china.

    1. My English sister-in-law used to send our daughter Ladybird books as a gift. Our daughter loved them, but got into the same difficulties you pointed out. When she was about twelve or so, she wrote a story for class that referred to "gorse bushes" and got points taken off because the teacher told her they didn't exist and that she'd made them up!! Our daughter was understandably miffed.

  10. I kept expecting there to be a Ringo! That was a crash course in getting to know you. We are the same age. Thanks for the shout-out!


  11. Ivy a great ;little [personality

  12. What a great post! I love the idea of thirteen things to be thankful for on a Thursday....thirteen is Rob's lucky number. He has never lived in a house where the house number didn't add up to thirteen.

    One of the things I am thankful for this week, is seeing you and Jo out and about, enjoying your friends and the weather. But I do think you need to clear off the window ledge if Ivy is going to use that window as a door!! :)

    Have a great weekend, xoxox Carol

  13. I also enjoy Elizabeth George - she writes very well and as you say her character development is really good. I still don't know why detectives have to be members of the aristocracy to have any credibility in detective fiction set in the UK ... there are so many of them - guess it's all the fault of DLSayers. I haven't got any of the more recent ones - will have to look out for them.

  14. Welcome to Thursday Thirteen! I hope you become a regular. Loved your photos - nice stuff!

  15. I suppose I'll have to be the one to point out it looks like the bear is having his way with the rhino... but that's not really surprising, is it? 8-D

  16. Ah.. reunions! Friendships that last long years. Is that cat on the tree talking? Now I remember the Cheshire cat. And no, you four aren't quite ghosts yet. That's called aging beautifully :)

    Cool 13.


  17. I never know how to comment on these multi-topic posts - which does not mean I don't find them interesting! My experience of Elizabeth George's books is much the same as Meike's. I loved the earlier ones but lost interest in the later ones. Please give another report when you've finished the series. It seems a huge task to read them all in one swoop like you're doing!
    Is the pony-tail a Librarian "thing", I wonder. The male librarian at my local branch library has one too!


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