Our allotment committee chairman phoned me and offered us the other half of the allotment I rent . So now we (Zee, her mum and me) have two whole plots side by side to grow our fruit 'n' vegetables. If we carry on expanding at this rate we'll be able to start claiming farming subsidies (though obviously that means we won't actually have to grow anything.... which would be a shame). It's just as well though as we were beginning to run out of room to grow everything we want to.
So, the polls have closed and the results are now in for the Planarchy Towers Birdwatch 2006. The results will, of course, be forwarded to the RSPB who decided to have their Big Garden Bird Watch on exactly the same day. Lucky, eh?
I was a little sad that the Goldie Looking Finches did not reappear for the poll and even more so that there was no sign of our occasional Wren or Hedge Sparrows. Of most concern though, was the single House Sparrow when last year we had five and the year before eight. This was, though, the most expected change as they have been noticeably thinner on the ground (and in the trees) here recently (a nationwide trend, sadly, I believe). Where our three or four Chaffinches were today I don't know.... only one showed up to be counted. But I was very glad that one of our three frequently visiting Greater Spotted Woodpeckers made a show for the poll... the younger of the two males who had a drink as well as some nuts. Full results along with previous years below (though the counting method has changed I think so the numbers don't relate as well as they might)......
|Great Spotted Woodpecker||0||0||1|
Word of the RSPB bird count has clearly got out to our feathered friends. Everybody wants to be counted. What's more apparently they want to counted at Planarchy towers. How else can I explain the first ever sighting of Goldfinches in our garden this morning? I just hope they come back tomorrow for the official count. Sorry for crap photo... dirty window, sunlight, other excuses etc....
It is, apparently, the most depressing day of the year..... according to this, anyway. Mind you, he is in Wales so that probably skews it a bit. Personally, I'm feeling pretty chipper today and not just because I found this little nest of rubber ducks in the garden either. I just hope they hang around until the weekend for the RSPB annual garden birdwatch....
Zee bought me a bunch of six of these colourful things for use as bird feeders for Xmas. Whilst deciding how best (photogenically, rather than for ease of bird feeding) to deploy them in the garden, I placed just one near the other feeders to see how the birds got on with. The tits found and used it very soon but now it's gone. Nowhere to be found. I'm blaming the local fox. It is, after all, the breeding season and I suspect Mr. Fox has given it to young Ms.Fox as part of the wooing process. Bunch of flowers!
The remaining "flowers" will be glued to a large piece of wood.
Oh, dear... poor Tone. Several hundred metres of graffiti on this canal side walk. It could take him hours! Wouldn't you know it, I'm pretty sure it's in his favourite ex-labour MP's constituency.... gorgeous George Galloway. I rather like it anyway... "Respect," as the yoofs are allegedly wont to say (whilst, very possibly, making physics related gestures).
OK, ear has been syringed... now can everyone please stop shouting? And why does this keyboard make so much noise while I'm typing? Where are my ear plugs? It wasn't actually a syringe so much as an industrial sized pump (nearly as big as the one pictured yesterday probably) but it did the job. The nurse remarked that the other ear (my broken one) was just as badly bunged up and that if I wanted they could arrange an appointment at The ENT department to have that one vacuumed out (can't be syringed due the perforated nature of that eardrum). I said I'll think about it...
My appointment was for 9:20am. So I went and got my bike out of the shed at nine for the mile and a half cycle ride to the surgery. I probably got there between five and ten past. The receptionist was really shocked. "Oh, you're early... err, never mind," she said. Never mind indeed as the previous appointee was late and so the nurse was able to see me straight away. Have things really got so bad that pre-punctuality is regarded as an oddity?
Do you think it was foreseen that in placing a disused sewage pump by a canal in East London, in front of the old Sewage Pumping Station (Abbey Mills), like a random art installation it would become a canvas for the local spray can aficionados?
Maybe Tonee needs to come round here with his jet wash.
Then again maybe not... I think I quite like it.
I casually mentioned last year, in allusion to the unusually low rainfall, that it had not, in whole year of allotment tending, rained on a Sunday morning. This year there have been two Sunday mornings and our allotment visits have been somewhat dampened by precipitation on both occasions. Global warming probably.
Today found me in the sort of shop I didn't know still existed. Well not in London anyway. Dee needed a new school sweatshirt so I popped into the local school outfitters. Whilst there were some uniforms on display in cute little cubby holes these seemed to be those of the various Private Schools. To get a uniform for a public sector comprehensive school one had to enquire and then be taken out the back. Once said shirt had been located I was then given a piece of paper and directed to the payment booth (two feet away) to complete the transaction whilst my merchandise was wrapped.
It's just like the school uniform shop I had to go to when I were a lad. Are they still all the same? As the only uniform supplier in the area I suppose its up to them..... very strange though (although I can't fault the service which was charming).
The picture above? WTF?
Exactly, I have absolutely no recall of ever owning a pair of white trousers. My memory tells me I started my wearing-black phase in about 1977 which carried on until... well, today really. But the evidence suggests this picture was taken in 1986 or '87.....
Even a bah-humbugger such as I finds some sorrow in the dismantling of the Xmas decorations. Maybe it's because I did it all on my own and maybe also because it involved moving several settees around, although they needed moving before the decorations too so forget that bit. Getting the tree up took me about ten minutes followed by Dee spending nearly an hour decorating it. Somehow the dismantling seemed to take a lot longer.
And in only fifty weeks we'll be putting them all up again.
As I said, "Bah," and indeed "Humbug!"
AKA Kitsch part 2.
The original print I have from this photograph taken in 1987 (or '88?) never quite lived up to the actuality that we saw at the time. Step forward decent negative scanner and Photoshop and for the first time in 18 years or so I get to see what the pre-dawn looked like at Stonehenge. Nang, eh?
As for many others I'm sure, Stonehenge was always a stopping point on our night-time journeys to the Scilly Isles when I were a lad. How can you not pull over and wonder for a moment? These enormous stones were dragged all the way from Mars using pre-historic technology! The tradition continued on trips with friends through the 1980's, on our honeymoon in 1991 and once with the girls on a long wet weekend to Cornwallshire earlier this century. I probably have photos from each pilgrimage. But this is my favourite I think.
PS: Still deaf as a post. Or stone even. Thanks for all the tips.
Today I have mainly not been able to hear anything. It's starting to annoy me. Last night was fine as the girls allegedly had a band practice upstairs and I didn't hear a thing. By this morning, however, it was starting to drag and Dee had to write me a message to explain why exactly she was wearing her Converse boots rather than school shoes (incidentally for those concerned about such things, the note was grammatically and spell perfect... maybe it's keyboards that bring out the txtspk).
Those who have known me for a long time might be thinking "But he's always been a deaf git, anyway...". Well, not quite. Since the age of about five it is true that only one of my ears has worked properly but the current complaint involves my so-called "good ear". Zee's ma (a retired GP) has used her earoscope (that is what what they're called in the trade) to confirm that it is just a massive build-up of wax but one that all the usual home remedies (boiling olive oil, wax-boring insects, etc) has so far resisted. Apparently I'll have to go to t'Doctore and get it syringed. I hate that!
The Nativity scene? Akaroa, South Island, EnZee December 1998... in someone's front garden I seem to recall.
This Xmas we reached the stage where many of the presents given were experiences. Thus Zee received a Glider Flying Lesson from two of her brothers, I received a Hawk Experience Day from Zee and a trip to my bother's secret Alpine Skiing retreat from him and the girls gave Zee and me perhaps the most moving experience of all. They had collected together a selection of photos from the last six and a half years, put them into an album and introduced the collection with the following caption.... "To Mum and Dad. We have put this together so you could look at how much we have changed over the years".
It brought tears to our eyes. Lovely.
I'll let you know how the other experiences go in due course.... but they have a lot to live up to.