Sunday 29 September 2013

News - well at least it's not so depressing as the stuff on the television...

Where I Been

I have been decorating in Junior’s lounge.  He’s also put in a lot of hard work and it’s beginning to look good.  He’s such a perfectionist.  Every join between colours to be so straight it’s like painting the Sistine Chapel.

Partner-who-loves-tea and I also had the occasional break.  On Friday we went to Upton for a coffee and found a new café. 

We were very impressed.  We have started putting every café and restaurant we visit into a notebook with all our comments.  Mills in Upton is most decidedly one to revisit.

And perhaps next time Upton won’t be crawling with police officers looking for clues to a bank robbery! 

Police were investigating possible links between the recovery of a large amount of cash from a house in Huyton with the theft of money from the ATM machine in Upton in the early hours of the morning. Officers attended an address in Huyton at around 6am and arrested a man and woman on suspicion of burglary in connection with the incident.  Police were called to Barclays Bank on Ford Road, Upton, at around 1.35am to reports three men had forced entry to the premises and stolen cash from the machine.   

Police will be investigating if the Upton raid has similar characteristics to a spate of others across Merseyside in which gas "bombs" were used to open the machines.  All very exciting.

Even more exciting was the fact that we had two men out to see about the boiler.  Number one suggested replacing the whole central heating system - cost a couple of thousand probably.  No call out charge!  The second hit the pump with a spanner and got the system going again. - well worth the call-out charge.


If you like marsupials (and who doesn’t?*), my favourite is the wombat. Not only are they vegan and terribly, terribly cute, but also they’re lazy and never make any more effort than the basic required to get the job done, or travel an inch farther than they need to get from A to B. . 

I have decided to be a far more regular visitor to Facebook.  And here is just one of the things I learned from my most recent visit thanks to my friend Jamie in Australia:- 

Wombats have developed an incredible physical adaptation: The reinforced rump. When a predator attacks a wombat, it runs to its burrow and uses its tough cartilage-filled bum to block their burrow (it can crush a dingo's head against the wall of the burrow).  One of Jamie's children has now invented a new game--Wombat Butt.

(* OK, Kate is the exception to liking marsupials.  She learned that when you hire a vehicle in Australia it isn’t insured against hitting a kangaroo.  She learned the hard ward way!)

The Umbrella
The umbrella is said to be one of the longest-lived human inventions and a great example of early design. Both the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians had parasols for sun blockage, and the Chinese developed a collapsible umbrella design as early as 21 A.D.   But who came up with the idea of the umbrella in the first place?

The answer seems to be a frog!

These amazing photos were captured by Indonesia-based photographer Penkdix Palme.  (Permission to use requested but no response received.)

The Garden

I haven’t had any time for gardening but it seems to be managing quite well without my interference.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

The past week

Me and My Shadow
This past week has involved some decorating of the lounge of Son-who-watches-films and a lot of hunting for Ivy. A new batch of reports came in as to her whereabouts but all we have discovered is that there are an awful lot of cats that look identical to her and that most cats will come when you rattle a tin of treats, including an unusual all-white cat and this beauty who was happy to come and chat to us.

I always did have a soft spot for blue-eyed blondes with long hair...   Meanwhile, the search continues…..

The weather has been mixed. The sort where a trip out in a jacket results in one becoming soaked with perspiration and failure to take a jacket results in getting soaked from a heavy shower… It’s autumn. We have been trying to get the central heating boiler fixed but most boiler repair men are not interested in answering their phones. Business must be good if you can do that!

On E-bay I have bought a load of postcards for my postcrossing at ridiculously cheap prices and we also went to my first ever Postcard Fair in Chester. I concentrated on the boxes with postcards for 10p each and found quite a few that were suitable – including a number of British World Heritage Sites which are always popular.

We called in at Linghams to discover a total refurbishment of the café which has been taken over by a business called Toast (which is in the station at West Kirby). The service was good and we shall probably continue to call in there.  Partner-who-loves-tea liked the changes but I miss the old bookish atmosphere and the lovely staff (whilst acknowledging that the  changes make economic sense). Apologies for the quality of the photos they were taken on the phone.

I called in at Arrowe Park hospital for a routine blood test.  There are some changes going on and building work taking place.  Errr - duh!

More Blogs 
I cannot recall which blogs I have recommended over the years and which I have failed to mention. If I have not pointed you towards ‘Reading and Art’ before I should have done.  Bas, its creator, works at the Bibliotheek Noordwest Veluweb (North-West Veluwe Library) in the Netherlands. The Veluwe is a forest-rich ridge of hills in the province of Gelderland. Bas also has two other blogs which are well worth visting –BasBlog and Leesbeelden (Images of Reading) 

Dance Cards - a short promenade

 French Dance Card - 1840s

The dance card was a tradition in which girls either had pre-assigned dance partners for each dance at the event or allowed men to ask them for a dance at some stage of the evening. The pre-assigned tradition was convenient and inclusive. No wall-flowers were allowed at these events. The other dances where the card was blank allowed the girl to pick and choose from the men who asked her.

The only acceptable excuse in refusing a dance was when a lady had already promised the next set to another, or if she had grown tired and was sitting out the dance. The worst indignity a man could suffer was to be told by a girl ‘I’m sorry my card is full’ when that patently was not the case. On the other hand if no men were seeking to get on a girl’s dance card her chaperone (usually an older or married woman) would make it her job to hunt down men to send to her.

 Some dance cards had hard cases which allowed for more ornamentation and durability for re-use; one featured below has a clock attached.

Many had a pencil attached.  (I wonder if the ladies also carried an eraser??)

Others double as fans which were both a fashion statement and an aid to cooling down and ensuring one didn’t ‘glow’. (Horses sweat, men perspire and women glow – or so my Mum taught me.)

 This one featuring mother of pearl is beautiful.

 Whilst this is basic but serves the same purpose.

My favourite is this French one.

 If you want to read more about dance cards why not visit Maggi Andersen’s blog posting here

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Odds, ends and beginnings

Blogs Worth Visiting
 I should make a regular habit of extolling the virtues of some of the blogs I love visiting. I have decided to start today with Cait’s Photos.  I was particularly attracted by one of her postings the other day – about stone. I also love taking photos of groups of pebbles and stones. I can spend a happy hour wandering the shore beneath GB’s house just looking for suitable groups, of which there are always plenty to be found. These are Gneiss (pronounced ‘nice’).

And these pebbles are at Buddleigh Saltertton near where Daughter-who-takes-photos lives.

Another blog I call at regularly is Messymimi’s Meanderings.  As well as keeping us up to date with the doings of her children and her cats, Messymimi’s blog covers the exciting events that happened this day in history (along with the various celebrations around the world – including Fairyland). The events side of it is the blog I wish I’d written (and indeed set out to do but only managed about four days before giving it up).

A Piece about Hair (There's a pun there if you think about it)

From the Victorian Era Fan Guide:-

“A woman’s hairpiece from the mid 19th century. The extravagant hairstyles which were popular throughout the Victorian period called for large amounts of hair which many women did not naturally pos-sess. To make up for this they frequently turned to wigs and hairpieces made from human hair. The demand for hair was enormous and some-times desperate women sold theirs to earn a little money from the growing market. In 1848 8,766 pounds of hair was imported into Britain from France alone. This hairpiece is a ‘ringlet bunch’ or ‘set of side curls’ sewn onto a braid base which could then be attached with the use of hairpins. By the 1860s such additions had acquired nicknames. Long side curls were known as ‘rats’, smaller ones which were placed above the rats were called ‘mice’, the large roll of hair that sat on top of the head was a ‘cat’ and the chignon at the back of the head, which sometimes had a wave of loose hair flowing from it, was called a ‘cataract’ (named after a type of powerful waterfall).”

My Pump has Died 
Sadly it’s not just a case of this sort of pump dying…

I'm glad I checked my money on Tuesday and booked the hotels. If I had checked it today I would have had to take into account the fact that the central heating pump has gone for a burton. It'll be a few hundred pounds, said the boilerman, so you might as well replace the whole system - it's rubbish and it's about 25 years old, he said. That'll only be a couple of thousand. Perhaps we'll just go away in October and freeze for the rest of the winter.

 And the postcards .....
And the postcards keep coming in. Thanks to everyone who has sent me them. I thoroughly appreciate them but have fallen so far behind with my postcard blog that I can’t see how to get it started again. But I am determined that some of the best postcards will get a public airing at some stage. But how to define ‘best’? I think out of about 800+ that I have received so far I have been disappointed in half a dozen or so. And that, obviously, is simply because my taste is not the same as that of the sender and no reflection on their enthusiasm for Postcrossing.

So, to all of you out there who are kind enough to think of me when you pass a letterbox, many thanks!   I trust you look as smart as this when you post me a card!!!

Tuesday 17 September 2013

And about time too!

Me  & You
Sorry about the hiatus. I've been busy checking if I have enough money to go away in October...

Just kidding. Anyway, I am back - at least for the moment.

On the subject of October I have just booked for a mini break for Partner-who-loves-tea and I.  We will be calling at Malvern, Cheltenham, Bath, Glastonbury and having a couple of days staying with Daughter-who-takes-photos and Friend-and-son-in-law-who-loves-otters.  Then, on the way back, we shall have a couple of nights at the Portway Inn in Staunton-on-Wye where we celebrated our Silver Anniversary last year.

We had intended to be away for our anniversary but P-w-l-t's work commitments require her to be in Liverpool.  She is moving the training side of her business out of her Rodney St. premises at the end of the month and only keeping part of her counselling there.  It's going to be an exceptionally busy time for her.

In the meantime we are also decorating and re-fitting the lounge of Son-who-loves-films and, hopefully, we are getting the boiler man to repair the boiler because the colder weather has settled in and Autumn is definitely here.

Ivy is still missing and we keep pursuing sightings (or potential sightings because there are a lot of black cats out there in the big wide world).  I am hopeful that one of these will lead us to her or that she will just nonchalantly wander back in as cats do. 

Those of you who receive postcards or correspondence from me will be delighted to know I am determined to do something about my handwriting.  I haven't settled on a particular style as yet I am just making sure I take care with each letter and keep it legible.  I'm having difficulty deciding on a style that is attractive and yet reflects my individual personality.

So what have you been up to and how are you?

A world of colour
I came across many of these pictures with the note below on a blog but they were not the bloggers own photos so I don't know where they come from and, annoyingly, there was no indication of where the subjects came from. I have put in some of the ones of which I am certain.   I could guess some of the others but I'd rather not just guess them. If you know any of the others I'll try to add the names in.

The look of all the different cultures is so beautiful.







Woodabe (nomadic Niger,Nigeria, etc). 


Be proud for your own culture, be proud for the colour of your skin, be proud for who you are. Protect & respect your own beliefs, culture, traditions, origins, & morality because those are the ones that give colour and meaning to this world.

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