Do you remember that Zee gave me a "Hawk Experience Day" for Xmas? Well, we took advantage of the late autumn sun and cashed in the day a couple of weeks ago. We had an absolutely marvelous day with the birds and the charming Eddie and his wife Vee who run the Raptor Centre down at Groombridge Place.
Heartily recommended......in fact Zee, my brother and I have just bought a Hawk Experience Day for my father who's birthday was yesterday. I hope he enjoys it as much as I did.
Tomorrow is my birthday when I will be 46 years young. If the weather is good we're going to walk t'River Lea again..... but since the forecast is lots of rain we'll probably end up going to Ikea and buying some furniture we don't really need.
I will also be eating some chocolate.
My Hawk Experience Slideshow here too (and if I'm in the photo, Zee took it!)
Don't they just look good enough to eat? No? Well just as well, they're probably the easiest to identify poisonous fungi... "Red light, spells danger...." ...and how often does a Billy Ocean song save one's life, eh? Nice one Billy (but don't be a hero...or eat any Fly Agaric mushrooms either).
Happy birthday to TeenDee who turns sixteen today!
Amongst her presents was a mug with this picture (taken of her in Corfu back in June). Though the gift was ordered from Kodak UK, the mug, bizarrely, arrived DHL from the US of A. Are there really no photo mug manufacturers nearer to home?
I've mentioned my October birthday collections before but did not previously included Zee's cousin Cee who was fifty last Saturday (and was at school with Paul Weller). We went to his excellent party in a restaurant thingy somewhere in the buildings that used to be Croydon Airport. The band for the night were a rather good tribute band by the name of Bootleg Blondie. Guess who's songs they sang?
Their lead singer claims her real name is Debbie Harris.... so close, eh? I never used to understand the appeal of tribute bands but must admit I've warmed or maybe mellowed to them over the years. I don't think I'd be able to stomach a Clash tribute band but Blondie seem ideal tribute material... good catchy songs that almost everyone knows. They started their set whilst we were still finishing puddings and I admit that I enjoyed the tension apparent on many faces who, it appeared, felt this totally innapropriate. Even after puddings were cleared from all plates no-one started dancing until "The Tide is High", about half way through their first set, when Cee and his wife entered the dance floor. My highlight of the night was, I think, "Union City Blue" which is one of my favourites when Debbie, just like the real one, donned a guitar for the song. Obviously you'd hope for that sort of attention to detail but I was actually waiting for it. Glad they passed my test.
The other highlight, and following on from Kay's odd socks episode of last week, was that Dee went one better and accidentally wore an odd pair of shoes. To be fair they were similar but definitely not a pair. What ever... happy birthday to all the October birthday boys and girls.
You wouldn't believe this was a London garden in the middle of October would you? Well it is.... our garden yesterday morning. This I like.
So, the answer you've all been waiting for.
As Gavin correctly suggested it is indeed situated in the Scilly Isles and as Witchy intimated some sort of traffic cone. It's called the Day Mark and has always fascinated me. It was built in 1683 as a warning of the treacherous rocks of the Scilly Isles that have claimed so many ships. Interestingly it is inscribed with the date 1637... I like that kind of blatant lie. It can be found on the opposite end of the island from all the houses and thus as a child always seemed like a whole day's adventure to get there. Zee and I took most of a day but did walk round most of the rest of the island and stop for morning coffee, picnic lunch and afternoon tea as well. Somehow the whole island seemed a lot smaller.
The Isles of Scilly and St .Martin's in particular was where we almost always went on holiday when I was young. I was slightly worried to go back again after nearly twenty years lest it not be as wonderful as I recalled. I needn't have worried and there will be further pictures to follow.
The ruins that sit close to the base of the Day Mark (and were so good for playing on) are not of a church but rather the former dwellings of the Gig Pilots who lived there. On first sight of an approaching ship they would race down the cliffs to their Gigs. In these boats they would row to the approaching ship and the first to get there would have the chance of guiding the ship through the islands.
How bizarre..... I don't seem to have a picture to go with this post.
Nevermind, yesterday afternoon found TeenKay and I visiting the Royal London Hospital to see a doctor about Kay's feet (which don't, much to Kay's consternation, have wheels on). Our appointment time was 3pm and we arrived in the area about an hour early due to my phobia of lateness and thinking the journey might take somewhat longer than it did. The appointment letter specifically asked us not to arrive more than an fifteen minutes early so we found a cafe to sit in for 45 minutes.
One tea, one hot chocolate, one donut and one bag of crisps later (don't tell Jamie!)and despite the labyrinthine nature of the hospital we were still in the waiting room about five minutes early to be greeted by a very charming receptionist. I'd hazard we were seen about fifteen minutes later and then sent down for an x-ray. We waited about five minutes for that and then after the irradiation, returned to see the doctor again.
I was still in shock from seeing a doctor twice and having an x-ray all carried out on the same day when I realised we'd only been in the hospital for an hour in total. A very efficient and pleasant experience comparing surprisingly well against our recent experience with the private healthcare sector. Nice one NHS and NHS staff!
PS: The picture that should have accompanied the piece was of TeenKay's bescockened footises... I don't think she could have found a less matching pair if she'd tried (as the radiologist commented).