Tuesday 30 November 2010

Awaiting delivery...

Awaiting delivery of mirror tiles to cover the orange / salmon / gray (the gray being another failed experiment!). The door is now white with an orange surround. That just about sums it all up really. Fitted shelving yesterday. Hoping to fit the new lights today. Fizzzzz - Bang! Now which wire just blew the fuses???

Monday 29 November 2010

Happy Monday - Paraprosdokian sentences

A paraprosdokian (from Greek "para-", meaning "beyond" and "proasdokia", meaning "expectation") is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part.....just read the items below and you'll get the idea. (With thanks to Carol!)

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong.

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

Some people are like Slinkies ... not really good for anything, but you can't help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs.

Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.

I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks.

Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says "In an emergency, notify:" I put "DOCTOR".

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt with "Guess" on it...so I said "Implants?"

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

Sunday 28 November 2010

Orange... or not !

I'm sure you are all waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the experiment in redecorating the kitchen in shades of yellow and orange.

The answer is that it ranks alongside dinosaurs, DeLorean cars, the Sinclair C5, and Betamax videos as among the top failed experiments of all time.

The yellow was approved by the powers that be (i.e. She-who-must-be-obeyed aka Partner-who-lovess-tea). It turned out that Lemon Ice was identical to the previous wall covering - Banana Dream. The orange was not approved of - either by me or Jo! Total disaster.

So it is back to the drawing board. We have a newly painted ceiling (white) and walls (yellow) and parts of the woodwork (yucky salmony orange) but we have to re-think the latter and the tiles. The biggest consolation for me is that in the process all the units have been emptied and moved so at least everywhere is clean and our attempts to grow penicillin have been stopped.

Progress - or lack thereof - will be reported anon....

Friday 26 November 2010

Friday My Town Shoot-out - My favourite shop

This week's subject for the Friday My Town Shoot-out is "our favourite shops". I've had little difficulty picking mine.

It seems to me that shops can be admired for their appearance, the range of goods, some novelty factor or even just their name. But for me by far the most important thing is the manners of the staff. Consequently I have chosen an otherwise unexecptional little chemist shop in Pensby on the Wirral. It is a fairly traditional both in design and stock but its staff and pharmacist are exemplary. Knowledgeable, helpful, charming and always in good humour. That is why this is my favourite shop:-

Why not check out other people's my town shoot-outs this week.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Yellow and orange again

A couple of years ago I painted the kitchen. At Jo's request we painted it yellow and orange. Jo chose the colours. As soon as it was done the conclusion was reached that the colours were not right. I am now in the process of doing it again (mainly because the grease and fumes are horrendous in our kitchen). Again it is to be yellow and orange. Jo chose the paint on Saturday. The yellow is a fractionally different and the orange is different by a slightly larger fraction. Wish me luck.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

£365 excluding VAT

I have poor eyesight. Not only do I have double vision but I have always been very short-sighted. (Though not in the sense of having no fore-sight, I hope.) I recently got a couple more pairs of glasses and in the process discovered that he DHSS kindly gave me £10 off the cost because of my 'disabilty'. The fact that am 'Blind' has, in the process, somehow been made known to the commercial world – presumably either by the optician (naughty) or the DHSS (naughtier still). I know this because I just received a letter with the envelope labelled 'Articles for the Blind'. Fortunately I am not over-sensitive or I might have been a bit upset by this.

The reason for telling you all this is to share with you the contents of the letter. It was an advertisement for the eMAG 43 produced by Optima – 'the low vision experts'. The cost is 365 excluding VAT and with it you get a free Naturalight lamp and (or if you read the smaller print OR!) something that looks like a pair of stereoscopic glasses and simply says 'see Tv'. The eMAG 43 is powerful, lightweight and compact, has a large display and remains so unobtrusive it can easily slip into a pocket or handbag. You can use it flat or fold out the convenient handle. It has just four simple buttons:- on/off; five colour modes; magnification; and snapshot.

By now, hopefully, you will have had exactly the same the reaction as did both Jo and I when we read this. Fine, but "What is it???" We looked again at the advert sheet; we looked again at the order form. There is nothing on it that tells you!

I could be really cruel and end this posting here but I shall be kind and share with you what we discovered when we fed eMAG43 into Google. There are pages about oil field technology and air hockey – neither of which seem particularly relevant. Eventually I found a You-Tube video from an optician (in German which is not exactly my strong point). It seems that Optima are hoping I will send them a cheque for £365 (excluding VAT) for a magnifying glass. I think not – try some other sucker. I may be blind but I can still see through a scam!

Monday 22 November 2010

Happy Monday - the gunslinger

An old prospector shuffled into town leading an old tired mule.

The old man headed straight for the only saloon to clear his parched throat.

He walked up and tied his old mule to the hitch rail. As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, "Hey old man, have you ever danced?"

The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, "No, I never did dance... never really wanted to."

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, "Well, you old fool, you're gonna dance now," and started shooting at the old man's feet. The old prospector - not wanting to get a toe blown off - started hopping around like a flea on a hot skillet. Everybody was laughing, fit to be tied.

When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon.

The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers.

The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air.

The crowd stopped laughing immediately.

The young gunslinger heard the sounds too, and he turned around very slowly. The silence was almost deafening.

The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old timer and the large gaping holes of those twin barrels. The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man's hands, as he quietly said, "Son, have you ever licked a mule's ass?"

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, "No sir..... but... I've always wanted to."

There are a few lessons for us all here:

Never be arrogant.
Don't waste ammunition.
Whiskey makes you think you're smarter than you are.
Always, always make sure you know who has the power.
Don't mess with old men, they didn't get old by being stupid.

I just love a story with a happy ending, don't you?

Sunday 21 November 2010

Happiness is...

Happiness is...

..... having the time to do what you want to do.

..... a hot bath

..... a good book

..... chasing butterflies with the camera

..... a child’s smile

..... log fires

..... French coffee

..... lemon meringue pie

..... 1960s’ pop songs

..... hearing the bees buzz

..... stroking a cat

..... putting the last piece in a jigsaw

..... arriving home after a long drive

..... candlelight
..... the first Snowdrops of the year

..... the smell of a herb garden

..... recording a new moth species

..... a baby’s tiny hand

..... a crispbread with honey

..... doing a good deed

..... berries on a sunny autumn day

..... videos of old grand Prix

..... exploring a second-hand bookshop

..... a Chinese banquet with a friend

..... finding a new ancestor during family history research

..... a warm fluffy towel

..... smoked cheese

..... the twitch of a rabbit’s nose

Friday 19 November 2010

Friday My Town Shoot-out - Temptation

This week's subject for the Friday My Town Shoot-out is "Temptation". I've gone through some of my Exeter photos for today's 'my town'.

Cheese is definitely a guilty pleasure and a temptation. It has a habit of giving me a migraine but there are times when I just cannot resist it.

Cakes, of course, are many people's temptations.

One of my guilty pleasures is photographing people who try to avoid me (or at least try to avoid being photographed by me - sorry Ian!).

It doesn't matter what anyone else is doing, if I see a butterfly I'm going to have to be ignored until I've got a photo I am happy with.

Anything old tempts me....

Motor racing is my guilty pleasure on about sixteen Sundays a year. I plonk myself down and watch the Grand Prix.

As for the ironing - defintely not tempted to do that.

Why not check out other people's my town shoot-outs this week.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

It's not yet Friday but...

The last few weeks - for reasons I have already bored you all with - I have not been part of the Friday my Town Shoot-out. Hopefully I shall be doing it this week but in the meantime if you want to see an interview I gave for that blog, it can be found here.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Classical works used in TV theme tunes

Mr Bean - Howard Goodall 'Ecce Home'
The Vicar of Dibley - Howard Goodall 'Psalm 23'
The Apprentice - Prokofiev 'Dance of the Knights' from 'Romeo and Juliet'
X-Factor - Orff 'Carmina Burana'
Horse of the Year Show - Mozart 'A Musical Joke'
The Lone Ranger - Rossini 'William Tell Overture'
Monty Python's Flying Circus - Soussa 'Lberty Bell'
Onedin Line - Khachaturian - 'Adagio of Spartacus and Phyrygia'
The Sky at Night - Sibelius 'At the Castle Gate from Pelleas et Melisande'
The South Bank Show - Lloyd Webber 'Variations on a Theme of Paganini'
What the Papers Say - Arnold 'English Dance no 5'
Jonathan Creek - Saint-Saens 'Danse Macabre'

Monday 15 November 2010

Happy Monday - Computer problems

Notwithstanding all my computer problems my friend Shèlah sent me the following story. (Not being in the mood for computer humour that's one less Christmas card I have to send this year!!!)

Computer problem in Florida / True story

TECHNICAL SUPPORT : Technical Support, how can I help you?

FEMALE CALLER: 'Last night my computer started making a lot of hissing noises at me so I shut it down. This morning when I turned it on the computer started hissing and cracking, then started smoking and a bad smell, then nothing'.

TECH SUPPORT: 'I will have a technician come over first thing this morning.
Leave the computer just like it is, so they can find the problem and fix it, or change it out with another computer. Give me your address; phone number and the technician will be there just as soon as he can'.

When the technician got there, the lady showed him where the computer was,
said what happened to it, ... this is what the technician found wrong.

Take a look at the pictures... YOU WON'T BELIEVE YOUR EYES ...

And you thought YOU had computer problems!!!

The technician told her: ... 'It must have been after the mouse!'
... The woman didn't think it was very funny at all!

Sunday 14 November 2010


Lesley the Letterist just commented on my recipe blog for apple scones - "I have just tried this recipe with our Cornish local 'Sawpit' baking apples, as we were given a wheelbarrow load of them so I am very keen on apple recipes just now! So glad I found your calm thoughtful blogs, I am enjoying them immensely."

What a lovely comment but, of dear, Lesley, if only you knew! Calm is an adjective meaning peaceful, quiet; particularly used of the weather, free from wind or storm, or of the sea, as opposed to rough. At the moment "calm" is the complete antithesis of Scriptor's world at the moment.

Firstly, I am suffering from the dreaded 'computer chaos'. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago my desktop computer died. My beloved brother GB was kind enough to post me his - he now being an Apple fan - and it arrived safe and sound (at what cost to is pocket I dread to think). GB had installed Windows 7 on it and all my peripheral hardware like scanner and printer are so old that they don't have drivers to support them on Windows 7. Neither did my comparatively new external hard drive or a couple of my favourite programmes.

To cap it all my television hardware wouldn't work with it either. For those who are new to this blog I should explain that I only watch TV about once a week. That is, I only sit down in front of the fire and watch the television - usually on a Saturday evening for 'Strictly Come Dancing'. [Sidetracks for a moment to say isn't it about time Anne went!!!] However, I have a little TV screen in the corner of my computer monitor on which I watch Grand Prix, cookery programmes and quizzes. If anything gets exciting I an click on the little screen and it fills the monitor. I can also take still pictures of any particularly good moment. To be without this was a real hardship. Eventually, last weekend, I managed to install it (though it still won't take still pictures). Hooray.

I suspect most of the rest will have to wait for the arrival of Friend-who-loves-Otters at Christmas. He thinks he's coming for a quiet chat and some Christmas nosh. Think again, you are going to be escorted to the study with a mince pie and an apple juice and locked in until everything is working OK!!

In the meantime, I se that I have just adopted my hundredth 'follower' - Savannah. I suspect that many of the earlier ones have dropped by the wayside but even so it's an interesting landmark to reach.

I took to bits my old computer to salvage any bits tha mght come in useful in the future. Imagine my surprise, on taking the cover off, in finding a moth quite happily living inside. I have yet to identify it (I think it's a Brick) but regrettably I can tell immediately it is not Amphipyra tragopoginis which would have been the most appropriate since its English name is the Mouse Moth.

So, if I got the computer up and running last week-end why haven't I been merrily blogging all week? (The two posts you will have seen were pre-scheduled a month ago!). The answer lies in last February's triple by-pass from which I thought I had fully recovered many months ago. It seems that some of the gunge that got into my lungs had not been properly cleared by my system. As a result I have been coughing and spluttering my way through a few £s worth of tissues this week. (Yes, I know, too much information)

As for the weather - that's been 'orrendous this week. The wind was so strong that on Thursday it managed to blow one of our heavy hardwood patio chairs out from under the table and chuck it on its side across the flowerpots. 

And finally, just to ensure the Scriptor ship's waters were anything but calm this week the Inland Revenue sent me a letter. It seems that their computer has been playing up for the last couple of years and has disgorged a wrong PAYE (Pay as you earn) code for my pension. As a result, will I kindly put a cheque for £2,316.60p in the post. You would have thought they might have let me off the .60p since the error was theirs!

So, to Lesley, and all other kind followers of this blog, I send the following message. Hopefully I am back on track, and life will now be calm (at least for a while)!

Thursday 11 November 2010

Liverpool Biennial – Wooden Crystal, I’m alive and Big Head

Tony Cragg’s sculpture ‘Wooden Crystal’ is one of three of his sculptures that appears in the well of Liverpool Cathedral as part of Liverpool Biennial – the International Festival of Contemporary Art. It is an appropriate venue as Cragg was born in Liverpool.

Made, as the name suggests, of wood, this sculpture is one of three works by Cragg in the Cathedral – the others being in fibreglass and carbon and kevlar.

Cragg says ‘Sculpture is an attempt to make dumb material express human thoughts and emotions’. I’m not sure wood with grain like this could ever be called ‘dumb material’.

This artwork – part of the Liverpool Biennial, an International Festival of Contemporary Art – was designed by Liverpool-born sculptor Tony Cragg.

They are in the well of Liverpool Cathedral.

I’m Alive is made of carbon and kevlar.

Big Head is made of fibreglass.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

More Musical Trivia

Viola players are often the butt of jokes by other instrumentalists in the orchestra. One of these is 'Why do viola players stand for long periods outside people's houses?' The answer: 'Because they can't find the key and don't know when to come in'.

Erik Satie was noted for giving peculiar titles to his works. These included Veritable Flabby Preludes for Dogs'; 'Sketches and Exasperations of a Big Boob made of Wood'; 'Waltz of the Chocolate with Almonds'; 'Three Pear-shaped Pieces'; 'Menus for Childish Purposes'; and 'Five Grins or Mona Lisa's Moustache'.

Some composers included popular songs in their music. Among these are Shostakovich whose Jazz Suite includes 'Tea for Two'. In the 'Carnival of the Animals' Saint-Saens played the Can-can very slowly to represent the tortoise. Best of all is Walton's 'Facade' which includes 'I do like to be beside the seaside'.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic is the oldest operating professional symphony orchestra in the UK. It was established in 1853, thirteen years after the Liverpool Philharmonic Society.

Rachmaninov was not only a brilliant composer but also a fine conductor and concert pianist. On one occasion, at a concert in New York, he was playing alongside the violinist Fritz Kreisler. Kreisler got in a muddle with the music and, panic-stricken, whispered to Rachmaninov 'Where are we?' Back came the whispered reply 'Carnegie Hall'.

Sunday 7 November 2010

Happiness is....

Happiness is....

..... the interval between periods of unhappiness.
Don Marquis

..... an imaginary condition, formerly attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults.
Thomas Szasz

..... having a large close-knit family – in another city.
George Burns

..... like coke – something you get as a by-product in the process of making something else.
Aldous Huxley

..... a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau

..... annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six.
Charles Dickens

..... our being’s end and aim.
Alexander Pope

..... a warm puppy.
Charles M Schultz

..... seeing Lubbock, Texas, in the rear-view mirror.
Country and Western song

..... is your dentist saying it won’t hurt, and then having him catch his hand in the drill.

..... a way of travel not a destination.
Roy M Goodman

One of the universal rules of happiness is; always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual.
Terry Pratchett

Thursday 4 November 2010

Liverpool Biennial – Hanging on to each other

This piece of artwork – part of the Liverpool Biennial, an International Festival of Contemporary Art – was designed by Finnish artist Kaarina Kaikkonen.

In this project she has collected old clothing from around Liverpool and has installed them in the atrium of the FACT building.

The maternal act of doing laundry can be understood as a basic symbol of healing, care and unconditional love.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Musical Trivia

Saxophones are made of brass but they sit in the woodwind section of the orchestra because the are similar to play to the clarinet. The flute is still classed as woodwind even tough it is usually made of metal.

If you go to see a Piano Concerto in concert the position of the piano is thanks to Franz Liszt, one of the first megastars if music. Before his time the pianist faced the audience but he decided to be sideways on to show off in front of his adoring fans.

Anton Bruckner had very low self-esteem and abandoned his first symphony part way through thinking it not good enough. He then began his second symphony which he called his first. Later he got around to finishing his original symphony and he ended up calling it Die Nulte - the Nothing or the Zero.

Keemeth J Alford is said to have got the idea for the start of his famous tune 'Colonel Bogey' from the two note whistle given as a warning by a friend each time he teed off down the golf course.

George Gershwin wrote a love song called 'I'm a Poached Egg' in which the singer compares his feelings without his loved one to be like a poached egg without its toast.

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