Saturday, March 25, 2017

A beautiful day and just perfect for gardening. I moved the raised bed, first moving the frame after I had dug round and moved the soil to the middle. Frame re positioned to a 'sunnier' spot and then soil into the bucket and many trips later...

Finally all soil shifted, blood and bone dug in and everything ready...

Defences against cat toilet (Harry Potter's lesser known teacher) in situ and wait a bit for spring to be truly sprung before any plants go in. Rest, hot shower and liberal spray of Deep Heat to lower back because it will hurt tonight and tomorrow. Job's a good 'un!

I am planning on one tomato plant and a chilli plant at either end with lettuce and cucumber in the middle. I have also bought a few separate bulbs to go elsewhere plus marigolds and borage. The usual assortment of wild flowers to attract bees will also go into the garden. I have to dispose of the other half of the willow tree and then consider what to replace it with in the forgotten corner. I had looked at a Jasmine yesterday but 5 metres height is a bit too much. I shall haunt the various garden centres this coming week for ideas. All in all I am happy with result but the proof will be in the success of the plants over the coming summer.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

After yesterdays islamist attack and the sad deaths of PC Keith Palmer and others I possibly should say something deep and meaningful but I will link to Bill Sticker instead. I had discussed with Mrs C last week a trip to the old smoke to visit childhood haunts and play at being a tourist for a day. Given yesterdays incidents I think I will as my own 'Fuck you!' to the scum who do this. Mrs C thinks it's unsafe but I am more likely to die as a consequence of my lifestyle than at the hands of a deranged believer in fairy tales and bullshit. C'est la vie et la morte aussi, mais nous continuons...

The widget gets ever bigger and now at seven months old we have to ensure she is neutered. We are having to prevent her escaping outdoors as she is now sexually mature as indicated by the presence of a variety of Toms in the garden and Mindy's howling at windows and doors as she seeks escape. She is also like a whirlwind each evening racing around the house and knocking things over.

These photos were taken just several minutes ago as she clambered all over me and the latter is typical of trying to capture her image. She is very entertaining and very affectionate.

I have two weeks off before I start in my new job and so far I have had a lousy cold and after some tree cutting, an enforced stay of rest indoors as my aching muscles and bones recover. Note to self: I am no longer twenty one years old! I have nearly completed my latest addition to my model collection, an Elefant tank destroyer on the Russian front circa 1945.

This model involved the use of aftermarket kits, a new metal cannon and separate track links. As my skills improve I will eventually look at making dioramas to display kits in but my figure painting has a long way to go. I currently have a Russian BA 10 on the go which I will possibly paint as a Finnish captured trophy of war. I have also ordered a biplane, an Airfix BE2c (memories of my childhood interests!) in Braille scale. Thankfully I now have a new magnifying visor which makes me look like a mad professor but will aid my ageing eyesight. But today will be a day off from the garden and modelling. I have a leaving do to attend tonight as more colleagues are moving to greener and more pleasant pastures. So for today until I go out it will be feet up, tea and watching some movies.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

An absence of three weeks and not a lot to say, hence the absence. The usual litany of work, illness ( Do NOT buy reduced chicken tikka rolls even if the use by date is that day!), looking at the social media bubblesphere with amusement and horror and just the daily grind as winter slowly releases its grip upon us. The above monster Maisie has added further tricks to her repertoire by eating through foil packets to obtain the food therein. I continue to be woken up by the wuss Sherlock in the early hours because of his anxiety about Maisie. All in all it is business as usual as I await a start date for my new job.
I was minded to blog today as I listened to the radio whilst showering and the Clash came on. The presenter blethered on about them and I recall seeing them play live on several occasions.

At the time and even now, they are a band I have mixed thoughts and feelings about. On the one hand they played some very good music and they also opened peoples eyes to new political ideas, for good or bad but, I also considered them a bunch of poseurs and opportunists. This led to some lively debates with friends of whom one was a diehard Clash fan. Listening to this album now brings back many memories but I didn't come to punk until late '77 after I had turned seventeen. We were already visiting pubs and seeing a variety of bands many of which I really cannot recall or there are snippets of memories. One of the latter is seeing a large band in The Dublin Castle pub which had the American lead singer playing trombone! They played a mixture of jazz-rock and blues but for the life of me I cannot remember the name of the band. In fact Camden was our preferred stomping ground to see live music when not travelling up west. Watching The Clash play live was exhilarating, noisy and huge fun as was watching The Ramones, The Jam, The Damned and apparently Blondie. I have no memory of seeing Blondie play live although friends stated I did see them play. I did see them at a record store when signing albums during their first tour of the UK amongst a huge crowd of fans.

Hey ho, memories of youth and a time when the world was fresh, exciting and full of possibilities for a teenager with a rich music scene on my doorstep. I read about how dire the UK was during the seventies. Described as grey and monotone with doom and gloom for the main course and afters, usually from people who weren't born until the eighties or even nineties who have garnered their one sided view from the media. I was lucky in that I happened to be the right age and at the right time and particularly in the right place as London was exciting and there was opportunities galore. As a typical teenager I wasted most of them! For now, I shall luxuriate in revisiting those memories as I listen to punk and new wave from that era.

Monday, February 06, 2017

A trip to the land of the East Saxons and I am recently returned bearing gifts and news of strange portents across the land. Yes, my mother had the BBC news on again and I endured their selected stories for the masses. I stopped off at Beers of Europe to pick up a few supplies on my way back and this should keep me going over the next couple of weeks. Mind you, I am off this week and no need to observe work hours...

Primarily British stouts and porters plus one nod to the USA. I usually buy German and Belgian beers but this time I opted for darker beers and from breweries I don't often see available.

For my week off I plan to get some work completed around the house, throw out the accumulated rubbish including some stuff to the charity shop, some modelling and I have an appointment with human (remains) resources for the new job. It will all be done at a sedate pace as I will be in holiday mode. After the family get together over the weekend it will be nice to put my feet up and relax as well. The 310 miles round trip isn't particularly onerous but when every village has a speed limit of thirty, plus numerous roundabouts and the inevitable agricultural vehicles plus Sunday drivers... I was glad to get home. I did look longingly at camper vans parked up in lay-bys as I passed them and thought how lucky they are to park up, brew up some tea and relax. Hopefully the next time I pop down to see my mother I may be doing the same. Mind you, having been behind a couple of them during my journey I realised they are slow but I guess at my age I shouldn't be haring about in the fast lane. The last time I popped down I forgot to bring my phone charger and I bought a cheap one from the market which, when plugged in blew up. Guess what I forgot again this time?  I charged the phone in the car and otherwise switched it off for a few hours to save the battery plus I didn't want a repeat performance for my Mum's electrics!
I shall crack open a beer, read a good book and put some relaxing music on this evening. Hopefully I will have regenerated my batteries and be fresh for the week ahead.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

                                     The above picture says it all!

The past two weeks of feline wars and little sleep finally caught up with me and I have taken a day off work. The final straws happened yesterday evening with an energetic kitten with diarrhoea decorating the house and an attempt to re home Maisie which could have gone better. Happily the kitten is now recovered although cleaning soft furnishings and bleaching everywhere else has added new fragrances to the house. The re homing involved an introduction to the prospective new house including their dogs... Therein lay the problem as Maisie doesn't mind dogs but the hyperactive pit bull cross wasn't what we expected nor the hamster. We agreed that it wasn't suitable and she came home with me. To be honest, I'd rather keep her and we will attempt to resolve the situation so that all stay home. It might get easier as the weather improves.  So the order of today is a hot shower, lots of tea and, as a consequence of Mindy's bowels, we are in need of more cat litter.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Well... that was a week I have no wish to repeat. The loss of Sandy, a MRI scan not going as planned and a job interview saw my stress levels soaring past eleven on the volume knob. The house feels empty without her presence and lots of things remind us of her. Sadly, her back legs went completely and I had to make the decision at the vet appointment to euthanise her. She had a wonderful life and we spoilt her rotten. When her ashes are returned we intend to scatter them at her favourite spot near the dock.
 The MRI scan did not happen as squeezing my large body into a very narrow tube resulted in a panic attack and I scarpered very quickly. I will focus on gentle exercises and physio techniques to reduce the discomfort because I shan't be attending for any further scans. The job interview is for a hospital liaison post and I have been offered the job. Three days a week and I can cycle or bus to work if required as most of the work will be in A & E (emergency department) or on the wards. Assessing emergency or urgent psychiatric referrals. The days are long and potentially there will be odd weeks where I work four days but I am happy with this. No more case loads and the paper work is significantly less, although targets and stressful difficult decisions are still part of the job.
 So all in all an 'interesting' week which hasn't been improved by the current outbreak of feline wars in the household. Sherlock either hides under our bed or in the garden to escape Maisie who has turned into a monster.  She is asserting her dominance but despite a variety of interventions including felaway she continues to harass and stalk poor Sherlock. Sadly, I think we will have to re-home Maisie because she has started on the other two cats and she is not changing her behaviour. It's a shame because she is a lovely little cat but it may be that she needs to be the only cat in the household. But today the sun is shining and it is relatively mild (Balmy by your standards Scoakat!) so I intend to enjoy the day. I hope your day is a good one too.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

                                    Poor old pooch. Sandy 2003 - 2017. 
      Rest in peace girl, you can fetch all the balls you want now.