Catkins in an unexpected place. Down by the banks of the Thames just by the Dome. For I spent yesterday walking up the Thames from the Dome to the Millennium Bridge. And a very pleasant time I had. Round about a hundred pictures were taken. This is one. There may be others to come.
When you're a duck
You can stand on just one leg,
When you're a duck,
You'll get a twisty neck....
... went the demo version of David Bowie's "When You're a Boy". You don't beleive me? Remember that this is the man who brought us "The Laughing Gnome".
I rest my case.
And Coots can do it too.....probably other water fowl also.......I'll keep you updated.
...and where is the Carnation connection, exactly? Well, you'll have to read on. Why Only Rock'n'Roll anyway? Maybe that was the point, I'm not a big Stones fan anyway. Yet Saturday night found Zee and I queuing in a local pub to see Stones tribute band The 21st Century Stones. We'd arrived at the advertised time but were actually the last allowed in to a very crowded back room. The friends who had recommended the band to us were located stage left and we duly joined them, encountering on the way across the room a tanker driver from my work who'd come all the way from Gravesend to see them.
I've never really understood the allure of tribute bands but I have to admit that as soon as they reached the stage I began to enjoy the evening. Though guitar-wise they started off a bit weakly (Ronnie was stuck on the Norf Circ'lar supposedly) this was wonderful theatre. Mick looked nothing like the real thing but had captured the mannerisms perfectly. The non-smiling Bill Wyman was also wonderfully morose despite the efforts of the others to try and make him laugh. Keef, despite the cigs and a bottle of JD failed to convince... he reminded me more of Marco Pirroni (Adam Ant's side-kick) or maybe Steve Stevens (Billy Idol's same). Theatricals aside, highlights for me were the ukulele/barbershop intro to "Honky Tonk Women" and a truly excellent version of "Sympathy for the Devil" which seemed to go where the original Stones version should have. An excellent evening's entertaintment....highly recommended.
Oh, and Mick threw Zee the carnation. Well, two actually but she gave one away.
Staring contests with frogs. This is what it has come to.....you can just about make out my reflection in his eye on this detail...
What I particularly like about this shot is the way the colour of the Greenfinch and seed seems so perfectly matched. The Greenfinches are far less nervous than other birds.... happily sitting on the feeder for several minutes until they've had their fill. The Blue Tits meanwhile tend to fly in and out of the nearby trees taking one seed at a time.
OK, so maybe not quite as big a news story as a cure for cancer but I think you'll find that if you did a survey you'd find that a significant percentage of the worlds population have, at one time or another, been affected by limping. The residual limp from last week's attempt on my life has become less pronounced but I managed yesterday to cure it completely.
By spraining the other ankle. After all, who ever heard of someone limping with both legs?
Though I admit I do now have a very strange gait indeed. But at least I'm not limping.
NB: To any drug companies reading.... I've already applied for a patent to this idea....
No Woodpecker today as 'twas raining heavily and 'peckers like not the rain. Instead, a picture of what one's Clematis armandii should be looking like at this time of year. About 15 foot of these glorious white flowers glistening in the post rain twilight.
This, we like. Oh yes.
Yes, it's Woody 2 again. And the light was better today so I think it's a better picture than the last... but still not quite right. So there will be more.... well, if he keeps showing up at 4:30 every day there will. What I really need is to be able to get the window open without scaring him off.....
Is the short answer.
No, you haven't seen him before. Just when I was thinking this was probably the best picture I'd yet got of our Greater Spotty friend I realised his plumage was slightly different.... and he's slightly smaller. But still definitely a he.... (the red skull cap is only worn by guy Woodpeckers).
Anyway it's really nice to come home to find him on the nuts just a few feet from the window. Amazing here in the grey old East End.
Well, that's what it looks like anyway. It's frogspawn actually as I'm sure you all realised. For today after many days of croaking, spring has finally sprung and the frogs are well and truly getting it on. There will be no action shots (no FrogsPorn here!) just one of proud dad.
This all brings to mind a nature prog on the Beeb a few years ago in which they tested the hypothesis that deeper croak meant dominant male. They put a croak transformer (which gave a very deep croak) on the back of the teeniest froglet you can imagine and sure enough all the big frogs got out of the way and let him have the pick of the females. But that was probably somewhere exotic. In Leyton it's just a mass bundle with everyone croaking regardless.
One day with a limp/on crutches can be OK. You loll about doing very little and it's quite fun in a strange going-back-to-childhood kind of a way. But by today I am well and truly pissed off with it. I can drive OK and walk slowly with a very heavy limp but everything takes so long. Everyone at work was great (apart from the fact that I had to tell the story over and over again.. don't they read the Blog!) but I couldn't do lots of the things I'd planned today.
Anyway, enough of my moaning... thanks to all for your comments, commiserations and kindness..... as a reward you get a reworked version of what happened. This version was assembled with the help of the very nice man in the Bike Repair Shop off Wood Street.... and it explains the big hole in my foot better than the initial story. He suggested that the hole in my foot was caused by the initial collision with the corner of the car door. The bruising across my lower foot and toes is from when the foot and wheel were so rapidly introduced.....well, it makes sense to me. Though I'm still impressed that the hole in my foot was made without any damage to either my trainers of socks.
Tomorrow: no more foot/wheel/crutch/moaning....
Oh....and Ker-Flunk! is the sound effect, in case you hadn't guessed.
Throughout the centuries, ever since the be-spoked wheel was first invented, man (and woman too possibly) has wondered which is stronger: the foot or the spoke. But how many researchers have had the courage to force their betrainered foot into the spinning bicycle wheel? None that I've been able to find anywhere on t'internet.
But fear not. This is no longer the case. For yesterday afternoon with the willing assistance of some moron who didn't look in their mirror and opened their car door just as I was cycling past we now have the first bit of published research on the matter.
It was a draw. So far.
My rear wheel is well and truly fecked.... I need a new one. My foot is in a slightly better condition but I can't walk without a crutch. Luckily we have a nice retired GP on the corner of the street (who also happens to be my mother in law) who had some of those nice little sterilised sellotape strips with which to pull the two halves of the wound together. Otherwise I'd have probably spent the evening in casualty rather than having a wonderful Italian meal a mere ten minutes hobbling distance down the road.
I do have a picture of the wound (of course!) but since I'm still getting loads of hits for "Broken Femur Pictures Of"(and a few more now) from the SkiBlog I published a year ago, I think I may just keep it for my own record....
Still, If I hadn't broken my leg I wouldn't have had the crutch so I guess it just goes to show the silver lining.....
Five years ago today, just before lunchtime, two little girls with "Northern" accents arrived on our doorstep with the two wonderful people who had been their foster carers for the previous three years. We'd met six year old Kay and eight year old Dee ten days earlier. During the intervening period we'd picked them up from school, taken them to the park(in the rain), cooked some cakes, played computer games, read them bed time stories and ditched our principles and spent a lunch time in the golden arches. I'm still not sure what was supposed to happen in those ten days. It's not long enough to tell if you can "do" parenting but maybe it would have been enough to determine if we were completely unmatched. I don't know.
But, if we found that time strange and stressful what can it have been like for them? Passed on to their third set of parents and expected to believe that this time it is forever... that they even gave us a chance still amazes me.
Five years on Teen Dee is playing Him repeatedly behind me whilst Kay experiments in a wonderfully punky manner on one of my geetars. Is this what we thought it would be like? Don't know....
Anyway, tonight the four of us are out for a meal to celebrate five (mainly) wonderful years.
Oh, and their accents are pure East End now.
One might have expected a shutter speed of 1/125 second would be fast enough to freeze the action as a Blue Tit leaves one's feeder. But apparently not. Then again I quite like this shot..... only his feet are frozen (I put glue on the perch).
Well, you may have just about seen all of the species of bird that visit our little patch. But you haven't seen all of the anthropomorphosized individuals yet. This loverly Blue Tit is called Scwuffy....isn't he cute?
More tomorrow.... tee hee....
OK, so no bird picture today.
It's been displaced by the story of the visiting American Robin and The Sparrowhawk. Crowds of twitchers had gathered to see this rare transatlantic visitor (The Robin). But they were unaware of the UK government's latest weapon in their never ending war against immigration.
Flew in (Well, (bloody fly out again) and ate the leetle Robin. Living Nature as our eldest calls it.....
No? Oh well, it made me smile.
It sounds like a character straight out of LOTR, doesn't it? Not a leetle bird. But, according to my Bird Book this little avian is a Hedge Accentor. And nowhere in the book does it mention that it is more commonly known as a Dunnock or bizarrely (since it doesn't really look much like one) a Hedge Sparrow. I have yet to find anyone who has ever heard it called an Accentor. So with this and yesterday's claims of the Chaffinch being the most common of British Birds I can see I might soon be investing in a new guide soon.
And, yes, there will be more bird pictures tomorrow. It's bird picture week this week (until I get bored anyway).
PS: My spellchecker had Accentor but not Dunnock!!!
Just when you really thought you must have seen all the birds that visit our leetle garden... in flies Mr. Chaffinch. Not a regular visitor to our little patch despite Chaffinches allegedly being the most common of British Finches....indeed, according to less an authority than the RSPB, the UK's second most commonest breeding bird. Their scarcity around here suggests to me that maybe it's common in the sense that my mother uses the word to describe ITV and tinned spaghetti.......... rather than most numerous.
Well my hair, you'll be glad to learn, has now been well and truly cut. Sadly I had to pay and it wasn't at Toni & Guy (see below) but at least it's over with for another month or two. I don't like having my hair cut you see. And the things I don't like about it are:
i) It costs money.
ii) You often have to sit and wait.
iii) The inane small talk.... I'm not going out tonight, I don't follow football and yes I am an intellectual snob.
iv) I won't be happy with the cut because it'll be too short and when I look into the mirror I'll notice once again that I'm not the 23 year old spiky haired guy I thought I was (and never have been).
But today was something of a revelation. I went, as usual to a place called "Johns".... note the absence of an apostrophe. This is, I assume, a joke as they're both called John (not bad, eh?). It's sort of halfway between a traditional barbers (no appointments) and a Salon (they offer you a coffee sometimes). Younger John normally does the dirty deed but today he was busy highlighting someone. Older John was free (no queue!) and directed me to his chair. I prefer older John as he is a man of few words and also (if truth be told) more likely to cut my hair the way I want.
And then the entertainment begins.
For younger John is not happy with his customer. She is 18 months into a hairdressing course and has decided to quit with just 6 months to go.... He has strong opinions on many subjects but never before have I heard him actually berating a customer in this manner.
"It's crazy to quit now, even if you don't go into hairdressing at least you can say you finished something! How did you do at school? Quit that early? What's your CV going to look like if you never ever finish anything?"
And on and on.
Excellent stuff (and not just because he was right!). Handing over my nine quid was so much easier than usual. And, checking the cut in the mirror when I got home I'm sure it's a little spikier than usual. And I think there's even a youthful glint in my eyes (I can dream can't I).
Why were the seven strange folk dowsing with Polos in a London pub? And what was the satanic significance of the seven objects on the bar stool? And why were they comparing their foot ware (or was it a lazy seated Okey Cokey?)
Who knows, but thanks for a wonderful evening all of you. So nice to have faces to put to the words from the ether. Hope we do it again soon.
I do need a hair cut.... I'm probably two weeks past the allotted time. So, when I was accosted whilst staring into the window of a camera shop wondering whether I need another camera (of course I do, cameras are like jam and guitars... you can never have enough), by a young lady from "Toni & Guy" asking if I'd like a haircut as her model hadn't turned up, you'd think I'd jump at the chance of a free haircut wouldn't you?
But it wasn't part of my plans for the day. And us anarchists are a stickler for our plans. So my hair remains untrimmed. But I did get six new keys cut, spend a very pleasant day at Kew Gardens (pics later maybe) and still get back in time to pick up young Kay and cook the supper (despite the District Line being the crappiest tube line ever!). So, I couldn't have fitted in a haircut, could I?
Even a free one.
As if evidence were needed of the continuing decline in educational standards, Teen Dee came home with a letter explaining that the school would be closed for "Moderation Day".
Great. Just what we need......
What's wrong with "Excellence Day" or even "Just above the Norm Day"?
And no offence meant to any Norms who might be reading. Except Cook, who's real name is Quentin anyway.