Monday, 26 September 2011

Monday Music on the Virtual Jukebox R.I.P .... R.E.M

R.E.M are one of my favourite bands, although I’ve never taken the opportunity to see them perform live. Now it looks as though I’ve left it too late!

They are 'looking for answers in the great beyond'.

 I think we all are .........


Do you ever feel you are 'pushing an elephant up the stairs?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Where's Wally?

I’ve now been back at work for nearly three weeks, and life is incredibly busy. I have to work flat out during term time, in order to make the most my holidays in France. I expect I’m not alone in this, but it is worth it! 

I also know that many readers who are retired are now so busy that they wonder wherever they found the time to hold down a regular job as well.

Like many of you I'm waiting with a certain amount of trepidation to see the final Government proposals on changes to the pension system.

Anyway, perhaps when you look at this photograph of the picturesque château at Le Châtelier, you will find the time to spot Wally …………………

Monday, 19 September 2011

21 today ..........

Tom is 21 today, and he can now legally buy a drink in Colorado! This will be the first birthday that we haven't shared with him in person, but we will join him virtually, via skype, this evening.

Twenty one years have gone by so quickly, so just to remind us, a few carefully chosen photographs. I looked everywhere for the one in the red polka dot dress and wellies, but I think Tom must have hidden it!

An early cycling helmet! Do you think it will catch on?

Is this where he got his obsession with wearing slippers?

With Rhiannon checking the peaches are sweet!

Trying an ancient tomb for size!

Finding his ski legs!

At the top of the world!

Under 15 English schools cricket finalists - and runners up!

Tom and Ben dressed for whitewater rafting!

With his guitar.

Pausing for thought!

Is Tom in the buggy with Neil Armstrong?

With housemates at Lancaster.

In India ....

A Boulder sunrise .....


Sunday, 18 September 2011

Wales and the Rugby World Cup ......


Last week against South Africa ‘we was robbed’ in the 16-17 defeat.
Today, against Samoa we were a little bit lucky to win 17-10.

As the old saying goes “you win some and you lose some”! I’m hoping we are going to win a lot more than we lose …….

P.S. Congratulations to the BUFFS! The University of Colorado beat Colorado State University 28-14 in the big American Football showdown in Denver last night. So in the words of Max Boyce, "Tom knows 'cos Tom was there"!

All images courtesy of Google

Friday, 16 September 2011

Roof update ....

Thursday saw me at work, Tim in Wrexham for some meetings, the roofers on our roof with our neighbour, Rory, down below supervising the job.

Here is a photograph of the repaired roof.

Tim has a couple of minor concerns about some gaps large enough for birds, and the lining up/join of a couple of tiles. The roof is over 150 years old, amazingly watertight with the timbers rot free. Luckily Rory had some spare tiles, and, although they haven't been able to keep the pattern exact, in that area of the roof it doesn't really matter.

What the experience has revealed is that some of the ridge tiles need to be re-seated. This weekend either Tim will be out buying the correct roof ladders ...... or perhaps we'll get the roofers back!

However, the main thing is that the hole is no more! 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Up on the roof - it never rains but it pours .........

For my virtual jukebox this week one of the songs I chose was ‘Up on the Roof’, written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, performed by James Taylor.

Little did I know that Tim would be spending a good part of the day on our roof. The remnants of Hurricane Katya blew the large Victorian chimney pot off our neighbours chimney, which landed on our roof, leaving a gaping hole.

The velux window had a lucky escape? A big concern is our newly refurbished bathroom, especially if rain gets in!

Rory’s roof was undamaged! His insurers were unable to find a roofer to come today, so with rain likely Tim needed to get ‘up on the roof’ to fashion a stop gap repair.

It never rains but it pours…………  I sincerely hope not!!

Watch this space for news of the repair.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Monday music .......... my virtual jukebox, a day early .....

My virtual jukebox has been posted a day early, on Sunday September 11th 2011, ten years on from a man made tragedy which devastated the lives of so many people, and directly, or indirectly, is still doing so today.

The unimaginable happened, and wherever we were we looked on in disbelief. We can all remember where we were, and what we were doing when the first plane crashed into the North tower of the World Trade Centre. I was at home (I didn’t work full time in those days) with the TV on and I remember ringing Tim at work.

I've chosen a couple of songs played by James Taylor and recorded at the concert for New York City in October 2001, which end with the uplifting 'Up On the Roof'.

Enough from me ........

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Organisation and storage of pics ...or lack of it!

**Thank you to everyone for your comments about this post. Your ideas and systems will be useful. If anyone is reading this post and wondering how to solve a similar problem, read through the comments too**

I thought that we had the organisation and storage of our photographs pretty well sorted....
  • I (or Tim) take the photographs.
  • Download them at home.
  • Store them on our terastation (which is some sort of extra storage device).
  • Date and label the folder.
  • Use them as and when, but keep copies in labelled folders in 'my pictures' of the photographs I've used in my blog posts, so that I can keep track.

Me taking a photograph of Tim, taking a photograph of a tree!

Now all of this worked fairly well until we started to use our laptops on holiday, together with a smaller portable hard drive and one of three cameras.

Now it is much harder to remember 'what is where' and my blog plans have descended into chaos!

This was brought into focus (no pun intended!) yesterday when I was looking for one of the magnificent sunsets we have taken over the years.  I actually mean that the sunsets were magnificent, not necessarily our photographs of them!!

I suppose now that I'm back in the UK I can salvage the situation by saving all of the photographs from France on to the terastation. At least then, all will be in one place, but will that place be where I am? Possibly not ....

Then of course there are the photograph albums and stacks of photographs which have been taken of our family growing up, before the days of digital. I keep promising to scan the more important 'bench mark' ones; perhaps a job for the long winter evenings.

Like this wedding photograph from 1981 ...... Where did Tim get that suit?

Vicki  (Tim's sister) and Phil's wedding in 1998. Tim and I are back left and Rhiannon and Tom at the front. Tom did wear a shirt but changed into his England kit!

Then, do I need a back up of the back up?
How do others manage their collection of photographs?

Continue to watch this space to see some random pics and posts about whatever I can find, wherever I happen to be.. ....

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Le Touquet, and the air display that wasn't .....

We decided to break our journey back from France with a couple of hours people watching at Le Touquet. As we drove over the bridge at Etaples, which forms a boundary with the airport, we saw a line of spectators and cars. Being British, when this happens the correct form is to stop and join them; rather like the way we always join a queue!

The Patrouille de France, the French equivalent of the Red Arrows were lined up with their engines running. You could smell and taste the paraffin in the air.They taxied to the runway, although Tim thought that with the weather conditions they were unlikely to display.

One of the planes did take off, but quickly disappeared into the clouds. Eventually the other planes taxied back off the runway to their parking spots to leave room for the rekkie alphajet to land.

This is what we missed ....

We continued with our journey to Le Touquet which was still really busy at 7pm.

As we walked along the seafront we came across the pilots chatting with tourists. The display was originally  scheduled for 2.30, put back until 5.30, sadly didn’t happen. This must have been really disappointing for everyone.

The queues leaving Le Touquet at 8pm were massive, making us wonder whether we would make it to the shuttle in time.

Sadly we did ……

Monday, 5 September 2011

Monday music, my virtual jukebox ....

I’m back at work and in teacher mode. Use today’s virtual jukebox to learn something about space …

Thanks to Finlarg, via YouTube

Friday, 2 September 2011

A fantastic Saturday stroll .....

A few days ago I mentioned that we had an invitation to join an organised, guided walk from Paulmy to Le Châtelier. We went along, and had an absolutely fantastic time!

The walk was guided by Jim, and the  French translation supplied by Kath. One of Jim’s neighours, Claudette, who has lived in Le Châtelier all her life provided some important local knowledge. After a round of introductions, handshakes and kisses about 30 intrepid explorers (some of whom we knew, and others we were able to put names to their faces or voices to their words) braved the walk. Jim had also promised us some surprises along the way ……….
This walker was rather stoney faced .....

Jim insisted that we walk with someone we didn’t know, and regularly along the route we were required to change partners. The people we met were interesting, and interested.

The walk took us through the grounds of the Chateau de Paulmy which is a centre de vacances for Paris. The former stables has been converted into a lovely home and gite complex. At the gate, our first surprise was to be beautifully serenaded by Patrice Arnould with his lute. You can read more about Patrice here courtesy of Jim McNeill. Patrice, according to Jim, is the moving spirit behind Le Petit Théâtre des Balcons at Ferrière Larçon. We've heard some excellent reports about this and it's on our ever growing list of places to go and things to do. We are rather limited to activities which take place during school holidays - at the moment!

Patrice Arnould......

Along the way we looked at a couple of oak trees, one of which we measured. The trunk circumference was 6.29 metres making it about 600 years old. The height, at 24 metres, was just a metre shorter than the Donjon at Le Châtelier The other oak was a 'stage 4', so might expect to live only another 100 or so years.

The road block we caused as we measured the tree.....

As we entered the village we took a detour to the home of Claudette and her family, which overlooks Le Châtelier. Here Colin showed us a little bit of magic. It involved razor blades, so definitely NOT something to try at home!

 If you look carefully you can see what is left of the toilet.....

Jim had arranged for us to enter the grounds of Le Châtelier to view the grange which is used for concerts, and also by the looks of it, badminton. The walk was peppered with snippets from the history of the area from the 15th century up to the present day. I'm a self confessed historical ignoramous, so am very keen to learn more. In my day, if you opted for sciences at school you were required to do Latin instead of history, meaning I didn’t study any history after the age of 12.
The roof structure ...

The last leg of the journey was to the lovely home of Jim and Sandra. Sandra, with a little help from her friend Julie, had produced a feast! There was wine (as Jim had promised), but also the most delicious nibbles made with fresh vegetables from their garden.

Boudie was keen to join in the fun as she attempted to sing along .....

To round off a delightful afternoon, Patrice, joined at various times by Callie,  Nev,  Jim and Boudie entertained us.

You can watch a video of  'Jim sings Janis' on my Virtual Jukebox. Apologies for the sound quality of the recording.

Patrice, Nev, Callie and Jim sing Janis Joplin ....
All in all a fantastic way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I'm looking forward to the next one .............