Aunt at the Pub, Birds, Super Repairman, and MasterB

I had a little problem with my car on the way home, meaning that MasterB and I sat in an isolated lane for around forty minutes waiting for the repairman. Actually MasterB lay and I stood. I moved his cat basket from the car and settled him in the shade of a tree.

The repairman would have been quicker had not the person who answered my call, yes Connor, I do mean you, given the address my mobile phone appeared to be calling from rather than where I said I was. It turns out the two are some five miles apart. The repairman, not finding me, called. He quoted the address he had. I squeaked. He took down the details I gave him. He arrived, and despite a distinct lack of underpants on top of his overalls, diagnosed and fixed the problem. Continue reading

Within Reach

A tranquil evening on das Boot. MasterB, a hot cat, is stretched out on the floor; mischief far from his mind. The swans are nibbling and seeking out weedy morsels below the water’s surface; they look like icebergs, or, sometimes, synchronised swimmers.
The Shouty Man is here and I am unsuccessfully blocking out his voice. Somewhere nearby a boy is shouting, and someone else up river is sharing tinny music with us. The sounds carry on the still air. I admit I’d be happier without the Shouty Man or the tinny music. A water tank has just boomed and MasterB has growled and got to his feet. A little while ago a bare chested man paddled by energetically in his canoe.
Although it is just half past eight, I should be happy to call it a day and go to bed soon. Maybe the Shouty Man and his remarkably silent companions will head for the pub.
It’s Mrs Grebe’s turn on the nest. Her two hatched babies have just tucked themselves among her feathers.
Aunt was charmed. I picked her up late morning and we drove through the back roads. She hasn’t been out and about much recently so we made a day of it and the greenery and the fields brought a smile to her face. She exclaimed repeatedly at the beauty of the countryside; the comforting chill of the car. At Reach, I suggested sitting in the pub garden, and we found a table in the shade of a tree by a mass of lavender in flower. There was a light breeze. She pronounced it perfect even before we had established if the pub could meet her gluten free requirements.
I tempted her with a white wine spritzer. Aunt was tea total until Mother and I corrupted her and she discovered a taste for Vinho Verde. However, she settled on an orange and soda and I had a grapefruit and soda. Long, cool and wonderfully refreshing.

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Birds of a Feather

It’s a moot point if this will load. I appear to have an Internet connection, but not a strong enough one to allow me to access anything. But if that is the price of being at das Boot for the first time since last autumn so be it.
The spiders have taken over. I dislodged dozens of them this afternoon, but then I went ashore to chat with some friends and I think they all came back. There’s a huge one making a web across the ceiling right now. There are also lots of irritating insects so I am hoping the spider will eat well tonight.
Das Boot is dewinterised, the tank is full, and the engine has purred for a short while, meaning I have both hot water and and a flushing loo.
I was reluctant to start the engine. Grebes are nesting less than ten feet from das Boot. I was worried about disturbing them and letting the wee ones become supper for the pike whose nickname is Moby. Draw your own conclusions.

However, I was assured the grebes would not mind in the least, and so it proved. They have two babies and three more eggs. They seem to sit in shifts. The one not sitting fussily reinforces the nest with weed. The babies are fed with the utmost tenderness. I am cursing my decision not to bring the proper camera.

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X-Ra(y)ted

I was feeling pretty good while I waited at the Fracture Clinic this morning. Seeing people at the start of their fracture recovery reminded me just how well my wrist has mended. So I sat there, reading some notes, then playing Spider solitaire on my ‘phone, while Lorraine talked on the television screen. Occasionally I did one of my wrist exercises.

The clinic was running late. It always runs late so far as I can tell. A notice reminds you that you should allow two hours for your appointment. There is a constant stream of people who have broken bits of themselves and a finite number of staff to deal with them. Still, most seem fairly accepting, knowing that their turn will come. In the early stages there are new x-rays to be taken, the plaster room to provide fresh strapping, the clinic physio to see. Today I was just waiting to see the consultant for the last time.

My turn came about an hour after the appointed time. The consultant was smiley. He looked at my x-rays; said again what a bad fracture it had been – the word smashed was used, not for the first time; he looked at the x-rays of the metalwork. I asked if I could photograph the screen as I am still waiting for my CD.

So here they are. Or at least some of them.

First up, my perfect wrist, x-rayed some years ago before I had surgery for carpal tunnel.

Perfect Wrist

Perfect Wrist

A fine example of delicate bones fitting nicely together to make this wonderfully articulated joint.

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Here Be Dragons

Poetry group tonight. Our once a month sit round a round table with books and wine and nibbles, reading and listening, and exchanging our thoughts. Mainly sombre thoughts tonight as it turned out. The theme, chosen by Sandra, was dragons and mythical creatures. It turns out there are an awful lot of very bad poems about dragons, many of them for children.

I like Sandra a lot; she’s a good egg, but this theme had me thinking of her less than charitably. Fortunately, among the dross there are some shining wonderful gems. Celia read a stirring extract from Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf, the bit when the warrior is dying. It happens that Sandra studied Beowulf for A level and didn’t enjoy it one bit. We talked about how poetry was killed dead by the way we were taught it; each line gone through, dissected, the images pinned down on the page by our pencilled notes: alliteration, personification, extended simile. Shorter poems might survive as they would be read aloud, but the thunderous rolling words of Beowulf and other epics were too many, and so they were stretched, as on a mortuary slab for our scalpel pens and indifferent eyes.

I had a bit of rolling thunderous poetry myself, an extract from Paradise Lost, Book One, also studied at A level. I probably haven’t opened it for decades, but one remembered phrase sent me back to the text:

so stretcht out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay

Chain’d on the burning Lake

Now I am glad I kept my copy, rereading it opened my eyes to why someone had thought it good thing for a bunch of seventeen-year-olds to read in the first place. It has the wow factor on every page I looked at, and there are volumes of it.

Anyway.

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Of Day Trips and Good Neighbours

Just in from work and sipping some red wine before bed. MasterB said hello to me from under a bush as I came thtrough the garden but seemed disinclined to come in.

I can take a hint.

He can’t stay out too long though, because tomorrow I want to be up bright early, enjoy my coffee and be out of the shower ready to hit the street at eight o’clock when Celia will be ringing the doorbell.

We are off to Ramsgate for the day. I am so excited. I think I went to Ramsgate about thirty years ago. When I say to, I mean through. I certainly didn’t stop there. Now I am revved up about Pugin architecture, Georgian streets, and lunch in a pub with a view of the sea.

Celia and I did our research in the garden under the shade of the pruned cherry tree this afternoon with the help of two guide books, an ipad, MasterB and tumblers of water with mint leaves.

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The Cat’s Whiskers: Contrast

Some time ago, I noticed MasterB was growing a black whisker. rather charming, I thought. Then last week, I noticed he was growing a second black whisker. Intriguing.

Are his white whiskers slowly going to be replaced by black ones? Has he been secretly dying them? Is this something that will extend to his fur? Shall I come home one day to a cat who has changed from ginger to another colour?

Photographing MasterB close up is full of hazards. Or rarther hazard. He does like to investigate the lens with his nose (another reason for getting a robust camera that isn’t going to have hysterics when these close encounters inevitably occur). This leads to rather unfocused results.

You see how I am excusing myself even before posting them.
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Adventures With the Olympus TG 3

Continuing my adventures with my new camera, with which I am so far very pleased, I have a few pictures to post.

The camera feels nice and chunky in my hand. If I remember to switch it back from macro, it focuses well and very quickly. I am slowly (and this will take a very long time I suspect) learning how it behaves in different light conditions. It has passed the white flower test, the one where some cameras just merge all the detail, and I love its snazzy red strap. Yes, I am that shallow.

I am not so keen on the way it charges. I would prefer to remove the battery and not leave the camera open and vulnerable with a lead connected, but I suppose that is a minor point. It woud be less minor if I had a spare battery.

I have accidentally photographed my nostrils, and the physiotherapist at the Hand Clinic (a whole new set of exercises, sponges and stretchy band thing) admired my new toy today.

Although the zoom is paltry compared to many little cameras, it is powerful enough for what I want. After all, I have my big Lumix with its array of lenses if I want to be serious about things.

Above all, I enjoy using it. So it is coming out and about with me, taking pictures of MasterB and things that catch my eye.

Over the past two days these have included:

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