Saturday 31 January 2009

This Blog won't harm your computer!

If you did a Google search between 6:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time and 7:25 a.m. PST this morning, you likely saw that the message "This site may harm your computer" accompanied each and every search result. This was clearly an error, and Google have apologised for the inconvenience caused to their users.

What happened? Very simply, human error. Google flags search results with the message "This site may harm your computer" if the site is known to install malicious software in the background or otherwise surreptitiously. They do this to protect users against visiting sites that could harm their computers.

Unfortunately (and here's the human error), the URL of '/' was mistakenly checked in as a value to the file and '/' expands to all URLs. Fortunately, Google's on-call site reliability team found the problem quickly and reverted the file. The duration of the problem for any particular user was approximately 40 minutes.

The Wirral (Part 1)

Where do I live?

I thought some of my readers from other countries might be interested to see whereabouts in the UK I can be found.

Firstly, a map showing where the Wirral Peninsula is in relation to the rest of the United Kingdom. Wirral or The Wirral is a peninsula in North West England. It is bounded to the west by the River Dee, which forms the boundary with Wales, and to the east by the River Mersey. The terms "Wirral" and "The Wirral" are used interchangeably, the merits of each forming the subject of local debate. I prefer the Wirral and 'on The Wirral' to Wirral and 'in Wirral'.

This is the Wirral showing how close it is to Liverpool, sandwiched between the Rivers Dee and Mersey. There are two road tunnels and a rail tunnel under the Mersey connecting The Wirral Peninsula to Liverpool. There is a bridge over the Mersey at Runcorn and two over the Dee at Queensferry.

The roughly rectangular peninsula is about 10 miles (16.1 km) long and 7 miles (11.3 km) wide. At one time it was all in Cheshire and was a Hundred of Cheshire. A hundred was the division of a shire for administrative, military and judicial purposes under the common law. Originally, when introduced by the Saxons between 613 and 1017, a hundred had enough land to sustain approximately one hundred households headed by a hundred-man or hundred eolder. Wirral's boundary with the rest of Cheshire was officially 'Two arrow falls from Chester City Walls', as mentioned in the Domesday Book.

Since 1974 the northern part of The Wirral is a Metropolitan Borough in Merseyside whilst the southern part is still in Cheshire.

The main town on The Wirral is the ship-building port of Birkenhead. Once a powerhouse of the Industrial age, it's skyline is peppered with grand Victorian and Edwardian buildings. Little of the its industry remains nowadays.

I live in Pensby which is a really uninspiring part of The Wirral. Most of it was built up in the twentieth century. Unlike it’s larger neighbour, Heswall, it has no interesting or inspiring history. Apart from a couple of old cottages it has no interesting architecture and its woodland consists of about forty Sycamore and Beech trees on a little triangle next to a playing field.

However, on a good day, I can walk from Pensby to next door Arrowe Park which is a very pleasant woodland and parkland or down the lanes to Barnston Dale which is a piece of ancient woodland. Unfortunately Barnston Dale is private so there is no access to the woods themselves.

Next time I do a posting about the Wirral I shall show some of its tourist attractions.

I wish I were a Jellyfish

I wish I were a jelly fish
That cannot fall downstairs:
Of all the things I wish to wish
I wish I were a jelly fish
That hasn't any cares,
And doesn't even have to wish
'I wish I were a jelly fish
That cannot fall downstairs.'
        G.K. Chesterton

Friday 30 January 2009

Picture Tag

I have been tagged by A Woman of No Importance with a picture tag.

The rules are:
Go to the 4th folder in your computer where you store your pictures
Pick the 4th picture in that folder
Explain the picture
Tag 4 people to do the same

In typical style my fourth picture folder is a folder full of folders so I had to go to the fourth folder within that and then ... Ah well, suffice it to say this is where I eventually ended up...

This is by no means my best Common Lizard photo but I do like the way it is peeping out of a hole in a bank, waiting for me to go away so it could come out and sunbathe again.

In the spirit of tagging, I need to pass this on to more people, so, hoping you don't mind, I tag: A Hebridean in New Zealand (as if he didn't have enough to do); Tales from an English Coffee Drinker (because he's got lots of photos I've never seen); and Helen at home (because she'll be kind and humour her old Dad). (Notice that not being a great one for tagging I’ve only chosen three but ‘What the heck!’)

The journey

Thursday 29 January 2009

Sorry about the memories...

I like Ed Yong's blogs - they make science approachable.

The other day he commented on the research by Veronica Witte and colleagues from the University of Munster in Germany into the effects of a reduced calorie diet.

“Witte found that elderly people who slash the calories in their diet by 30% were better able to remember lists of words than people who stuck to their normal routine. It's the first experiment to show that cutting calories can improve human memory at an age when declining memory is par for the course. “

“The benefits of low-calorie diets have been extensively studied in animals, ever since Clive McCay discovered that "caloric restriction" doubled the lifespan of rats, over 70 years ago. Many studies have found that such diets could help to slow the brain's eventual decline and protect its neurons from the ravages of ageing. But until now, no experiments had confirmed that the same benefits are relevant to the human brain.”

As a final note, Ed gave his wife a quick summary of this research and she said, "Doesn't this mean that people who eat less chocolate will be better able to remember not eating any chocolate? That's sad."

I think it’s even more sad that people who eat more chocolate and rich food are less likely to remember it. The more you eat the less you remember – what a waste of good food!

Thanks for the Memories

Don recently blogged about “ten inspirational songs that have inspired me to hope, positivity, and perseverance”. I’m not sure I could find 10 songs that did that but I thought it was a good excuse to list some songs that have considerable significance for me. I had intended originally to do a short list and explain why they were significant but I had a feeling that would be a bit boring. Instead I have simply gone for a longer list and perhaps the titles will jog a memory in you.

“One Day at A Time, Sweet Jesus” - Cristy Lane
“You’ll Never Walk Alone” – Gerry and the Pacemakers
“Moon River” – Danny Williams
“Whatever will be, will be (Que sera sera)” – Doris Day
“Memories are Made of This” – Dean Martin
“I Believe” – The Bachelors
“How Much is that Doggie in the window” – Lita Roza
“What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For” - Emile Ford & The Checkmates
“Peggy Sue” – Buddy Holly
“King of the Road” – Roger Miller
“Wandering Star” – Lee Marvin
“Sunny Afternoon” – Kinks
“Young Girl” – Union Gap featuring Gary Puckett
“What a Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong
“Those Were the Days” – Mary Hopkin
“Where do you go to, My Lovely” – Peter Sarstedt
“Je T'Aime... Moi Non Plus” - Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg
“I'll Never Fall In Love Again” - Bobbie Gentry
“Sugar Sugar” - The Archies
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” - Simon & Garfunkel
“Pretty Flamingo” – Manfred Mann
“I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” - New Seekers
“Suicide Is Painless (Theme from M*A*S*H)” - Mash
“Amazing Grace “ – Judy Collins

I suppose the fact that there is nothing more recent than about 30 years ago says as much about me as any comments could!

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Lucian Freud

Do you have to like a painting to think it exceptionally good? Do you have to like a painting to consider hanging it on your wall? You might think the obvious answer was “Yes”. But I’m beginning to doubt that. I find the works of Lucian Freud fascinating and I could look at his characters for hours but do I like them? I’m not sure?

This (entitled Girl in Bed) is Caroline – Lucian’s 17 year old mistress who was later, briefly, to become his wife when his first wife, Kitty, divorced him for adultery. I think it is cleverly done and I might even hang it on my wall - but I'm not sure I like it that much. Strange!

Most of his paintings do not name the subject.

It's a good day

It's a good day. The first thing I did when I got up was read the Obituary Columns - and I'm not in them.

Tuesday 27 January 2009


I am scanning our photograph albums into the computer. It is a long and slow job but it does give me a chance to travel back in time. This is a snapshot - if you'll pardon the pun - of the year 1995.

A family holiday at Meer Court, Herefordshire:-

Richard and I cycled along the old railway tracks to Nana and Grandpa's:-

A trip to the Trough of Bowland:-

An unusual self-portrait (plus Richard) using mirrors while having a coffee in St John's Precinct, Liverpool.

A fellwalk in the Lake District with Bryony and Helen:-

Jo and Richard at home:-


In no particular order, and for no particular reason – except that this damp English weather makes me pine for summer – here is a list of my favourite Roses.

Queen Elizabeth
Josephine Bruce
Super Star
Whisky Mac
American Pillar

Monday 26 January 2009

Dewey's Knit-A-Long

I've finished my piece of embroidery for Dewey's Knit-A-Long.

I've been delighted to commemorate Dewey this way and, at the same time, have benefited greatly by confirming that embroidery had no adverse effects on my thumb. So, I shall be back to doing embrodiery as a way of relaxing. (It also means we have another pretty serviette for our collection.) Thanks again to Robin for the idea.

Chinese New Year

The Year of the Ox begins today, 26th January 2009.

2009 is Year 4706 in the Chinese Calendar.

Sunday 25 January 2009

One little Sand Eel

Don of Musings and Misc. Thoughts told a story recently: -

“Once a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf's edge and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide.

The man was struck by the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.

As he came up to the person he said, "You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can't possibly make a difference." The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, ‘It sure made a difference to that one!’"

I was reminded of a day when Jo and I walked along the Bhriagh near Stornoway. A lot of men and boys were fishing and all had healthy catches of Mackerel. Meanwhile, at their feet thousands of sand eels were being tossed up out of the water. When we looked in the water we could see huge shoals of sand eels milling back and forth at the water’s edge – the mackerel were darting in and out feeding on them. Every time an extra large wave came in more and more sand eels were thrown onto the pebbles.

Jo started throwing them back in. Very much along the lines of the Starfish thrower. The men and boys were obviously amused though too polite to show it openly. I was more interested in photographing them, taking the philosophic view that the task was too great and therefore pointless. Nevertheless, I helped a few back in to show moral support to my partner.

Now I wish I had worked a bit harder.

Things NOT to behold

An angry pig
Sodom / Gomorrah (looking over one's shoulder)
The middle of the Gobi Desert without wheels
A Polar Bear's back teeth
White Cliffs of Dover from halfway down in free-fall
The Future
Windows error messages
A garden after weedol was mistaken for fertiliser
A large mushroom-shaped cloud
One's last penny

Saturday 24 January 2009

Amazing things to behold

Wells Cathedral's West front
The Grand Canyon
Old Faithful
Sydney Opera House
Great Gable from Wast Water

Lizzie's smile
Tall ships
The Pyramids
Easter Island's statues
Dawn from Mount Sinai
One's jackpot-winning lottery ticket!

A Philosophy for Life

With the exception of changing Emma's comment that we 'have only one life' to we 'may have only one life' I think the following posting by Fhina (A Woman of No Importance - allegedly!) is a wonderful tribute and contains a great philosophy on life.

The Moving Finger Writes...

Friday 23 January 2009

Cow climbing

I knew pigs could occasionally fly but apparently in Prague the cows climb lamp posts as well!

Ten things I could not do without... (and why)

In no particular order -

A garden
Not just for the flowers and the pleasure of gardening but also for the wildlife it attracts. For me, a pond is an essential part of any garden, however small.

I cannot abide noise and have great difficulty sleeping with any noise around. I love classical music as I go to sleep but, of course, it has to be loud to get through the ear-plugs so unless I’m on my own or having a daytime snooze at GB’s I have to do without it.

My camera
I just love taking photos. I’m sure a psychologist would say they were a substitute for something.... And nearly all my other hobbies tend to revolve around photography in one way or another.

Peanut butter
Not as frivolous as it sounds – I think I am an addict. If I don’t have it on toast for breakfast I have to have some later in the day.

My tablets
‘nuff said

A pen and paper
I am forever jotting down notes and making lists. And I just love brand new note books and jotters. I can happily window shop in a stationers for ages.

My computer
To contact people, blog and store my photos. I also enjoy playing with new programmes but am not happy when the computer plays back.

My spectacles
Until echo-location becomes a human attribute I need them to move without walking into doors.

Comfortable shoes
I find it very difficult to get comfortable shoes in which I can avoid falling over. So my current pair – worn nearly all the time – are Spanish fell boots that are nearly as old as the Spanish fells. They look dreadful and tatty but what the heck...

Books to read
Yes, I know the words ‘to read’ were a bit superfluous since I’m not the sort to put books under table legs.

Ironically my car would have been high up on this list until I became unable to drive. It just goes to show what we can do without when we are forced.

Thursday 22 January 2009

My Memorable Sporting Moments

These are some of the most memorable sporting moments in a lifetime of watching motor sport, football and athletics (with the occasional other sport thrown in for good measure).

The 1982 Grand Prix in which Giles Villeneuve kept bumping wheels with team-mate Didier Pironi

The goals and final whistle in the Final of the 1966 World Cup between England and Germany.

Roger Hunt's England goal against Mexico in the (quarter final?) match of the 1966 World Cup.

Mohammed Ali floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee

Senna and Mansell bumping wheels down the long straight in Australia

Liverpool beating Newcastle in the 1974 F A Cup Final - "I WAS THERE!"

Daley Thompson's Olympic Gold decathlon

Johnny Wilkinson kicking England's rugny team to World Cup glory in 2003

The era of Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram in middle distance running.

The Liverpool v Leeds F A Cup Final of 1965.

Johnny Herbert winning the British Grand Prix in 1995. (I was a member of the Johnny Herbert Fan Club – the only fan club I’ve ever joined - and I WAS THERE!)

The Liverpool v A C Milan 2005 European Cup Final. Liverpool were 1-0 down after 1 minute! By half-time it was 3-0 to AC Milan who went into the dressing room feeling like the cup was theirs. Two amazing goals within 2 minutes had the game back on course. Liverpool equalised and then held on for 30 minutes of extra time. After this, it went to penalties and Liverpool won easily

And, sadly, the deaths of Jim Clark; Giles Villeneuve; Ayrton Senna, Roland Ratzenburger, and Greg Moore.

There is always someone awake...

There must be a finite number of blogs that one can follow – even during a damp and dismal winter when I’m virtually confined to the house by health and the absence of a car. And yet the list of blogs that I find interesting just continues to grow....

No matter what time of day I am on my computer there is at least one of my blogging friends or acquaintances up and about, blogging or commenting. As another new posting appears in the side column of my blog I often try to work out roughly what time it is in that person’s world. Are they a morning blogger or an evening blogger. Or even, are they insomniacs like me, blogging in the middle of the night. For my own amusement, I have an Excel chart showing where people live – perhaps I could extend that to include a + or – hours column.

The one disadvantage of the spread of fellow bloggers (USA, Canada, UK, Finland, South Africa, New Zealand) is that if I go away from the computer for a while - perhaps to do something weird like sleep or read or converse with real people – the unread blog postings pile up. Worst of all, if I’m poorly for a day I come back to find the world hasn’t stopped while I’ve been away and it can take me ages to catch up with what people have been doing.

It is lovely to wander around the world. But, when the Spring comes, walking, gardening, downloading photos and sorting them will complicate the equation. I may have to manufacture some time. Does anyone have the formula for doing that???


Wednesday 21 January 2009

No man is an island

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
John Donne (1572-1631) - Meditation xvii

Yes, I’m feeling a bit morbid today. That happens occasionally when you reach my age. Each new death of someone with whom I am acquainted – either personally or by repute or in particularly tragic circumstances - diminishes me.

I had not really thought about this until recently but in the case of personal friends there is a special poignancy about losing the shared experiences. One might say that as long as the one left behind has the memories then the moments shared are not lost but in a way they are. There is no longer the other half – the part that also may have remembered that particular day of sunshine, that moment when the view from the castle was sparklingly clear, when the laughter in the coffee house was so heartfelt. The same can be said of friends with whom one has lost touch over the years but in that case there is always the hope that one may find them still alive and still with the same view of that shared moment.

When my Dad died in his nineties my Mum quite quickly decided that she didn’t want to bother hanging on in there any more and faded away. It was not necessarily that she couldn’t live without him, I think it was more that she had lost the last of the people who shared her memories. She was in her mid thirties when GB was born and everyone she had known up to that time was no longer alive. A third of a lifetime with no shared memories. Then another third of a lifetime in which the people who survived were so young that they had a totally different view of the events that had taken place. I think that despite being surrounded by a loving family she was lonely in away that only the very old or the totally friendless can be.

That best known piece of John Donne's works, quoted above, was published in 1624 under the title of Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. It was written when he was 52, not long after the death of his eighteen year old daughter and while convalescing from a serious illness. I don’t think someone younger than that could have expressed the feeling in quite the same way.

(Don’t worry – I’ll be back to my usual bouncy self tomorrow! Either that or I’ll keep out of your hair by not blogging...)

My favourites from the Sweet Shop

Edinburgh rock
Thornton's Continental selection
Barley sugar twist
Sherbert lemons
Buttered brazils
Sugared almonds
Turkish delight
Chocolate eclairs
Chocolate raisins
Walnut whirls
Chocolate limes
Peppermint creams
After-dinner Mints
After Eights
Chocolate Orange

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Julie Bernadette Muir 1950 - 2008

Julie Muir has died. I was very upset when I heard.

Julie was equally well known to me as 'Jools' in the days when her surname was Hearn. I worked with her for a year in the late 1960s at Childwall Library in Liverpool and she was one of the kindest and most vivacious people I have ever known. I think I was a bit in love with her in those days - but then she was such a wonderful person it would have been hard not to have been. Any new member of staff was cared for in a way that never occurred to management. Julie would show them the ropes and generally make them feel very welcome. The readers also took to her and her easy manner.

Julie, pictured below in her red leather hot-pants in 1970, married a former schoolmate of mine who had also lodged very briefly in my flat in Leeds. I was pleased because although I didn't know him well what I did know of him was good. So far as I could tell Iain was worthy of her and it seemed a good match. Thirty eight years and two sons later I was obviously right. He has spent the last year as her full-time carer.

After qualifying in Librarianship in Manchester Julie worked for Hammersmith and Fulham where her Under 5's Sessions of music, stories, finger rhymes songs & instrument playing were renowned.

Julie and I lost touch for many years and then around the year 2000, out of the blue, she contacted me through Friends Re-united. Since then we've swapped Christmas greetings and news and the occasional e-mail but at no time did she tell me of the cancer she had first been diagnosed with in 1995. Nor did I know until her death that she had been a volunteer telephone counsellor for Breast Cancer Care.

It sounds as though the memorial service was lovely and it included, of course, Gerry Marsden’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” – Julie was an active and ardent Liverpool supporter. Indeed, everything she did she did ardently, with heart and soul.

I cannot begin to imagine the impact that Julie’s death has had on the lives of Iain, Dominic and Patrick. That Julie has been taken from them seems so unfair. I can only hope that as time goes on the happy memories from all those years with Julie overtake the bad ones that her illness and death may have left.

Monday 19 January 2009


The best tattoo ever:-

(As with many of those photos that arrive in e-mails I have no way of attributing this to its photographer - sorry).)

Our Plan To Take Over The World

I came across a news media called The Onion the other day. No doubt it’s well known to my American readers but it was new to me.

This article truly delighted me...
The above link doesn't seem to work for everyone! The article is at -

Sunday 18 January 2009

Dewey's Knit-a-long

I thought I'd show how I'm getting on with Dewey's Knit-a-long. As you will have gathered I'm not knitting, I'm doing embroidery on a serviette.

Once the Blue Tit has a tail and feet I shall have to start thinking about what background to put in.


So many places are simply seen on our television screens as conflict areas or areas of suffering. Iran, for example, is depicted as an area governed by a repressive Islamic theocracy that is a danger to itself and to others. But lying behind each of those snapshot perceptions are ordinary people and some exceptional countryside. For a different perspective on Iran see the pictures on Dark Roasted Blend.

Saturday 17 January 2009

Rub-a-dub-dub, three blogs in a tub...

I saw Simply Heather's a reference to The Muse's game.

May I therefore offer a mother and bride some of my moments, it's cheaper than therapy.

This can act as my Saturday Sally (or Ramble away from my Chair) for January. And if you understood all that you're very clever.

Me, Me, Me

I enjoy some of those blog postings that make you think about yourself. Jen had one on her blog the other day and I have copied it, inserting my answers.
I Am: very lucky
I Want: an end to bigotry
I Have: a fantastic family
I Wish: the world were not so noisy
I Fear: running out of money
I Hear: a lot of sadness in the world
I Search: to give everything a name
I Wonder: why people fight
I Regret: not asserting my independence more
I Love: harmony, my family, truth, and justice
I Always: try to do too much
I Usually: enjoy myself
I Am Not: healthy
I Dance: when my wife forces me to
I Sing: in the car, to accompany the radio
I Never: forget though I may forgive
I Rarely: argue
I Cry: for the people left behind
I Am Not Always: patient
I’m Confused: by the standards of other people
I Need: to write, to read, to record by photographs
I Should: look after my body better
You, You, You: What do your answers look like? :)

Friday 16 January 2009


I know there are some folk who are still cynical about global warming. It is therefore good to be able to publish indisputable proof that it is taking place...

People are so skilful

It never ceases to amaze me how creative and skilful 'ordinary' people are and what a wonderful outlet the Internet has proved for some of those skills.

Without the Internet I would never have known about:-

All those writers who are clever enough to weave the tales of their 'ordinary' lives in such a way that you have to return to see how they are getting on. It may be a skill with writing style or with storytelling or simply with conveying their affection for their loved ones.

The wonderful photography of Lines and Willter. I have referred to Lines before but check out the photo on this posting of Willter's.

The ATCs of Julie and her friends. In fact, until recently I didn't know what an ATC was. For those who also were unaware of their existence they are 2.5 by 3.5 inch art cards created for trading (swapping) rather than for sale.

The painting skills of so many people. For example, just look at this cactus by Teri Casper. At first it seems a pretty ordinary painting but when you look at the shading and the detail it is really skilful.

The leatherwork of Ukrainian Bob Bassett.

It seems no matter where you turn there are people with special skills. What a wonderful world this is.

Thursday 15 January 2009

I took the House Test

I took the House Test.

It said - You are happy with who you are, and you don't have an inflated sense of self importance. You do your own thing quietly. You don't take up a lot of space. You can't stand community oriented people and annoying "buy local" campaigns (untrue). You prefer to live the best life possible, and that doesn't really involve many other people. You are a calm, contemplative, and smart person. You take ideas very seriously. You look good in a low maintenance sort of way (definitely low-maintenance!) You do the minimum required to be attractive (given up trying to be attractive). You are moved by romance and love. You are optimistic about people, and you love hearing about happy endings.

Wednesday 14 January 2009

The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B

I have narrow ear canals, the trumpet is not my favourite instrument, and I like fresh air. Together these can be a problem.

To deal with the hearing first – I normally have exceptionally good hearing. The ‘comfortable’ volume for the television for other people is very loud to me. However, because I have narrow ear canals they easily block with wax. When one gets blocked my hearing becomes about average and I try to live like that for most of the year to reduce the level of incoming annoying noises. Just occasionally both get blocked at once and it is a nuisance because then I am hard of hearing and it always happens at inconvenient times – as for example at Christmas when I was seeing my two daughters. I was not happy. On this occasion I made the mistake of trying to clear both ears at the same time by using my usual wax remover. It worked (two weeks too late).

Now to the fresh air. I like having windows open all year round. The traffic noise from the nearby road is a nuisance when I am in the house and the assorted noises from the adjacent doctors and nursing home are a real pest.

Combine two cleared ears, exceptional hearing, the desire for fresh air and the proximity of the nursing home and you get – “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B” blasting into my brain at 7.55 a.m. this morning. It was so darned annoying that I had to increase the volume of my Mozart Piano Trio and stick ear plugs in. Some folk are never happy.

Aaron and Crystle

One of my fellow bloggers referred to her computer by name the other day – Evil Edna. It reminded me that GB and Helen both have names for their computers (and made me name mine last time we were all together). GB's laptop, for example, which travels the globe with him is called Palin. Mine ended up as Crystle (the laptop) and Aaron (the desktop). I can’t recall why either name came into being. Indeed, I never really use the names simply calling the Desktop 'The Mesh' and the Laptop 'MY laptop'. Note the stress on 'MY' not just to distinguish it from Jo's and Richard's but to discourage them from laying hands on it. Indeed, I am far more likely to call them something like ‘The Blasted Computer’ or ‘The something-even-worse Laptop’ when they have a mind of their own and do naughty things.

Does your computer have a name?

Tuesday 13 January 2009

My Project 355

You may have heard of Project 365 – posting a photograph every day for a year. I have started my own version “My Project 355” – i.e. I have started late but would like to end on 31st December.

The idea is to post a photo that you have taken every day. The quality is less important than the concept of recording a year in your life.


"Any similarity to any persons living or dead is highly unlikely.."

I came across this disclaimer on the Little Brown Blog and just had to add a variation of it to my sidebar...

Any similarity to any persons, dead, alive, half dead, half alive, moribund or comatose is highly unlikely...

For a moment I worried about whether it was p.c. to refer to comatose and moribund but at the end of the day the latter need something to laugh at and the former couldn't care less - so what the heck. (Notwithstanding which I have to comment that if anyone has a relative or friend in a real coma I do appreciate it is no laughing matter!)

Monday 12 January 2009


This 110 year 320 day-old American man of Native American, African American and Swedish descent — was the 44th oldest living person in the world when this photo by Mirko was published on January 7th 2008. I don't know if he is still alive.

His father stood on the platform next to President Abraham Lincoln as Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. His father was the illegitimate son of Lincoln’s Vice-President, Andrew Johnson, who became President after Lincoln’s assassination.

What Could it Mean

There is a super blog called ‘What Could it Mean’ which takes words from word verifications and asks readers to suggest a meaning. The ‘best’ answer is then chosen.

My contribution for a recent word was rewarded thus but equally good was the word verification word for a comment I left on the blog of the bloggers sister-in-law’s - anonybut.

I wouldn’t want to compete with ‘d’ on a regular basis but I had to put this one on my own blog and ask ‘What could it mean?’

Sunday 11 January 2009

What have these subjects in common?

What have these subjects in common?

The New Jersey Reefers Club
Redneck Mother
Office furniture and parts problem solver-
The Summit at Grand Sierra Resort
Chair height limit stop - Patent 4087071
Kellogg Canada Inc. - Newsroom
Snack foods that are good for you
Eric Knowles - Della RobbiaArt Pottery
Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
Della Robbia Pottery - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Answer – they are the sites that come up when I press ‘Similar Pages’ on the Google Search result for this blog. How weird is that?

Redneck Mother is a blog so at least we have something in common. I sometimes eat Kelloggs Cornflakes but not too many people know that and I don’t have the crunchy nut variety. The blog title Rambles from my chair is presumably what leads to office furniture and the patent for a chair height limit stop. In April 2008 I mentioned Della Robbia pottery en passant in a posting but that’s a pretty obscure reason for linking the subjects. But perhaps the most obscure of all are New Jersey Reefers Club and The Summit at Grand Sierra Resort, Reno’s grandest accommodations (sic).

I love coral reefs and I’ve taken plenty of photos of the sea water tank at Chester Zoo but I cannot recall ever mentioning that!

As I write this I’m being buzzed by a bluebottle that likes the light from the screen. It thinks it’s summer and it thinks it’s a moth. I think it’s about to go to insect heaven. Ironic really – I’ve just posted a defence of insects in the comments on Pictures, Poetry & Prose.

The frost has gone and in its place is cloud (lots of), wind, and showers. Oops – must dash down to the conservatory and check that the bucket is in place to catch the drips from the leaky roof. We’ve only lived here four and half years – not enough time yet to get the leak fixed...

Jo has arisen from her bed and it’s time for me to go downstairs and wash the dishes, have a cup of tea and a chat and maybe get a crossword done.... but I’ll be back.

Google Searching

Isn’t it amazing how often we see things on webpages and just totally ignore them. A classic example is the Google Search. How often have you used it? And yet have you ever really explored the options.

Have you, for example, ever clicked on the Advanced option? Amongst other things it allows you to set exact wording, particular file types and so on.

Then there is the preferences button – that allows you, inter alia, to ensure that Google does not include any sexually explicit sites in its results. Great if you are searching for something like a photo of a Blue Tit (the passerine bird Cyanistes caeruleus).

In the image search there is a useful drop down box that enables you to search for photos, clip art, and so on.

So many handy devices that I often forget are there and which, no doubt, most users hardly ever notice.

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