starting

It is the start of Easter and once again I am not feeling great. Having been ill at Christmas it is with dismay that I find myself poorly again now. I should think myself lucky, Owl has been very poorly indeed although he is now almost over it. Various colleagues at work have been struck down badly enough to have days off work. It was inevitable that I should not escape fully from these germs. My throat is sore, my eyes are full of cold and I am coughing again. However I think my symptoms are mild compared to Christmas and also compared to others who have been hit by illness in recent weeks. I am hoping I have managed to catch the symptoms quick enough to prevent them worsening.

After coughing intermittently throughout the night I decided to make my way down to the kitchen at about 7.30am on this bank holiday, I feel better for being upright. I fed the cat and made a cup of tea, meaning to return to bed and read for a while. The sun was shining, casting a bright light into the front of the house. Our cat is enjoying the warm sun as she sits on the low window sill. I am in the kitchen looking out at the garden when movement catches my eye.

Could it be?

Yes it is…….there is a starling clinging to the bird treat I had hung up last weekend. Last Sunday I had persuaded Owl that we should have a mooch around the local garden centre. I bought a bird feeder and a half coconut stuffed with fat and seed to hang on one of the trees in our garden. During the week Owl commented that I had wasted my money as no birds had be feeding from our tree. I know that it will take time before the local bird life find our feeder.

So this morning it has been heartening to watch a couple of starlings taking turns at the bird treat and several sparrows visiting the feeder. If I had had my camera to hand I would have take a photo or two.

We have decided that this weekend we will begin working on our garden getting it ready for the spring if it ever arrives.

 

Advertisement

The Gig

Friday night equals music night, we don’t go every week but it is nice to get out and enjoy some live music in our favourite pub now and again. It was about 8 o’clock when we arrived and the band (all 3 of them) were just setting up. By that I mean the drummer in his short blue sports shorts and red t-shirt was setting up all the while chatting to the guys at the nearest table. It is a small bar so his conversation carried to all there. He began by opening up his bass drum to stuff pillows and cushions inside to muffle the sound a little. I did wonder why he hadn’t done this at home. He then proceeded to put his kit together making a big thing of having to guess exactly how high to set each drum etc. Surely if you have been playing for years (he has had his snare drum since he was 12 he is now late 50s) it would be second nature by now.

I was beginning to feel uneasy. The lead guitarist and his daughter (the ‘goth’ bass guitarist ) were now setting up around the drummer, speaking to each other in hushed tones. Finally at a minute to 9pm it appeared that the band were ready to begin. But no, first the drummer stripped off his red t-shirt swapping it for a round necked yellow t-shirt then added sweat bands to his head and wrists. Now in my mind he shouldn’t have done this in front of his audience. He should have gone to the gents or even out to his car, certainly not sitting behind his drum kit.

The music began to resonate through the small room (loudly). By the time the first song was over the Landlord told the band to turn the volume down a bit. The drummer complained to his guitarist that he wasn’t able to hear himself over the guitar sound. A minute or so later the band resumed playing. During the next hour they played some Who, Free, Nicky Moore, Thin Lizzy and various others. The Lead guitar was well played, the bass guitar was well played, even the drums were good. The singing was not so good.

But the worst thing that occurred was when the drummer……………………….

………..decided that he was too hot and took off his yellow shirt. I was wondering what he was going to replace it with. It soon dawned on me that the answer was………..nothing. He played the remainder of the set bare chested. From where I was sitting I couldn’t see the guitarist’s face as it was blocked from my line of vision by a speaker. I could see the drummer but directly in my line of vision was the bass guitarist. I have never seen a musician looking less like they were enjoying themselves. There was one moment when I thought she almost cracked a smile but not quite.

Anyway the band stopped for a break and the Landlord told the drummer that he would pay them up but they wouldn’t be playing a second set. Most of the small gathering of people in the pub had either left or were preparing to leave so there was no point in continuing.

This afternoon we popped into the pub for a quiet drink and guess what the main topic of conversation was. Yes you got it…..the weather, in particular the snow that has descended once again in various parts of the country considerably late in the year. Oh and also the dreadful band from last night.

Private problem

When I got home from work Owl asked me to check the cd player in the car I have been driving for the last 10 days. (Our Chevvy Blazer went into a local garage for it’s MOT).  I duly found a cd which the previous driver had left behind. We drove down to the garage to hand over the disc. I had already made up my mind that at some point in the near future, I would give Owl a surprise.

Ok so pulling away from the garage forecourt  I decided that there is no time like the present. I had earlier studied a map for the route to my chosen destination. I was taking Owl to a country pub that he had taken me to once last summer. I do not know the country roads around here as well as he does.  When I was studying the map I had checked out the route from 2 directions but now I was taking the third route (which I hadn’t checked out).

My husband hadn’t expected me to turn off our usual road home at the point that I did. I was now driving along uncharted territory for me. However I managed to find my way to the lane leading to our destination without saying where we were heading to.  Once Owl realised where we were going he cheered, giving my decision his approval.

Walking into the bar Owl greeted the solitary bar man like an old friend (he was an old friend of his). We chatted for a while, including giving him the news of our recent marriage. We had been there a while when I felt the urgent need to find the ladies room. But before I could make my move, my husband up and trotted off to the gents. I waited for his return before scuttling off on my own errand. Climbing down from my high bar stool (I’m only 5′ short) through the bar, past part of the restaurant, through a door leading to the toilets, pushing through the entrance to the ladies room. I was faced by two narrow doors, by this time I was in difficulty. Opting for the door closest to me I squeezed in beside the porcelain (is it my imagination or are all pub toilet cubicles getting this small these days). Managed to get the door shut (there was only just enough room for my small feet). Tried to close the wrought iron latch only to discover that it slides not lifts. Grappling with my skirt and under garments I slumped onto the seat. It was only then that I discovered I had chosen the cubicle with no toilet tissue!!

Quite a few pubs in this area seem to have toilets that are so small that it becomes a major operation to get inside and then get the door shut, not easy when you are in a desperate hurry.

Returning to the bar we had another drink before heading home for a gourmet meal of cheesy scrambled eggs 🙂

B is for Bananas

The second part in the series of Alphabet posts.

I have a thing about bananas.banana

I buy bananas a couple of times a week or I did until a month or so ago. Bananas are Owl’s favourite fresh fruit. Skater quite likes them too.  I would say that the majority of the people who work in the office where I spend the larger part of my working day all eat fresh bananas. My mother adores them, she will eat them as they are (obviously not the skin), or she will slice them up and have them on cereal or in a sandwich.

banana slicesMashed banana seems to be a favourite too and I mustn’t forget the popular banana cake.banana cake

Another way to enjoy them is sliced and dried like potato chips.banana chip

Personally I don’t like them, I do not like the texture, and I detest the smell of them. I don’t eat them fresh, I would decline banana cake and avoid banoffee pie. The only form I can stomach is the dried chips.

None of the above pictures are mine. I found them online from the following sources. watchpeoplejump.wordpress.com

beautifulbrowngirls.com

http://www.taringa.net

http://www.alibaba.com

The trip

A month or so ago Skater came home from college saying that his course were going on a trip, it would cost £100 he would be away for 3 nights. The three of us have talked about where he was going what he would see and do there. Owl took his son there some years ago.

Yesterday he packed his bag, a very large back pack the kind you see on the backs of those on back packing holidays. He had it crammed full plus another bag and a sleeping bag. I think he was planning to be away for a month not 3 nights.

I dropped him off at the station yesterday evening as he had arranged to spend the night with Elf his girlfriend and her family. They live in the town where he goes to college. Recently the trains between the two towns have been rather suspect and he didn’t want to miss the trip because the trains were not running.

At lunch time today I received his message saying that they had landed in Cardiff. Over the next few days he will visit this place, which should be fun. They will also spend time hereThere will be some filming to do whilst they are away. My son apparently will be dressing as a zombie for this. 

In the meantime Owl and I have the house to ourselves until Thursday evening 🙂

Getting excited

Tomorrow we are off to the travel agents, we have decided that after spending hours online we shall allow someone else to do all the work. We have done our homework so have a good idea of prices and what is possible.

We know that we want to fly to San Francisco for 2 weeks, we know that we want to hire a car preferably a mustang or similar. We know we want to spend time with family who live not far from San Francisco. (the reason we are going). We have a good idea of the dates we want. Late May/early June.

We know we want to visit Alcatraz, Lombard Street and of course Fisherman’s Wharf. We agree that Nappa Valley should be included and Owl wants to visit Sacremento for the State Military Museum. We know that Los Angeles is worth a visit. One thing we both want to do is take a hot air balloon trip.

What I need now are ideas from anyone who knows what they are talking about as to how to fill our time. I am fast beginning to realise that 2 weeks won’t be anywhere near enough time to do everything. Our conclusion is that we shall have to prioritise.

So come on all you good folk of California and those of you who have visited. What are the must see places for a couple of old crocks like us.

Lost and found

For a long time after we moved I went through boxes and boxes of papers looking for one thing. I remember taking it from the mantelpiece in my old house and putting it somewhere safe where I could easily find it because I knew I was going to be needing it.

Once we had moved I couldn’t find it. I searched and searched but to no avail.

Last week I sent off the documents to change my driving licence to reflect my new address and now my new name. I tracked the package and found that it was delivered to DVLA  on Thursday. On Saturday evening we were turning the office upside down looking for something else, when I checked one of my box files there it was sitting on the top. I had found it just a few days too late. If I had found it sooner I could have saved myself £20. The paper part of my driving licence. Years it had sat in the drawer then moved to my mantelpiece but when I wanted it, I couldn’t find it until 4 days after I had given up searching.

We have been looking for the most recent MOT certificate, but now that our car is at the garage awaiting an MOT tomorrow I expect we will find the lost certificate this week.

A Mother’s Day

Now that we are married I need to get my name changed in all sorts of places. My driving licence and passport are currently residing with DVLA along with one of our two marriage certificates. If anyone needs proof of my identity in the next few weeks it will have to be a utility bill plus marriage certificate. Neither of which have my photo and actually since we moved in together I don’t pay the utility bills any more. For several weeks prior to our marriage I have been trying to make a call to my local bank to sort out the paperwork etc that goes with changing my name. I have left several voice mail messages for someone to call me back to make an appointment.

So yesterday (Saturday …the day before Mothers’ day) I set of to visit the bank. I try to avoid the multi storey car park as the way in is one of those spiral ramps not so easy to negotiate in our Chevrolet Blazer. There are two places I could park for a limited time for free. Having queued to get in to town I managed to get in to the first car park, but spaces were a thing of dreams on this Saturday morning. Refusing to rejoin the traffic in the centre of town I took a side street that led away from the town centre. Circumventing the town I arrived at the local Tesco Extra (not the one near to my mum’s house).

Of course I was not the only driver searching for the elusive space. Finally as I was rounding a bend at the far side of the car park miracle of miracles a 4×4 was leaving and by chance I was the nearest vehicle. My luck had changed, I was in. It was a short walk in to the town centre from here (I was planning to shop here later). The bank in this town closes quite early on Saturdays so that had to be my priority. It was on my walk towards the bank that I realised, in my hurry to get out of the house I had forgotten to bring the remaining marriage certificate. I continued on my way as I had a rare cheque to pay in. Whilst there I managed to make an appointment for next week.

Back at Tesco (not my usual shopping venue) it was still heaving with humanity. I don’t think the car parking in town was this bad even at Christmas. I won’t bore you with a detailed account of my shopping. But when I got home Owl had been wondering where I had got to.

Next week Skater is going on a trip to Cardiff with his college, he needs a suitable bag to take with him, his brother Statto had agreed to lend him a bag. We were going to visit Statto last weekend but he was away so we decided to make it this Sunday. Being Mothering Sunday Statto booked a table for four for lunch. I was surprised he was able to book a table at such short notice. We arrived at the house he shares with four fellow students, at about 11am. There was time for us to have a well needed cup of tea and a chat with 2 of  his friends before setting out for our 12.30 booking.

Oh what fun we had, I have obviously been to Statto’s house a number of times in the first year he lived there(last year he was living and working in Sheffield for work experience). However I have never driven in or around the city itself. Owl on the other hand has lived there but many years ago and things have changed. Statto has spent 2.5 years there but doesn’t drive. Can you imagine the confusion of driving through busy streets trying to be in the right lane at the right time in a very unfamiliar place being directed by two people who knew different ways around. Anyway we made it, managed to park in a street close to where we were going to be eating.

I had been somewhat alarmed when Statto had told me he had booked a table in an Argentinian Restaurant. I didn’t know we had such a creature in our fair country. He hadn’t been there himself but had heard good reviews. To be honest it was very different to any restaurant I had visited before. There were people of all ages there, it isn’t the kind of place where you can have a quiet conversation with your meal. Some of the walls were adorned with white corrugated sheets, probably a heavy duty plastic, others were painted with blue sky and fluffy white clouds. There were large squares of grass (obviously not real but prints) on the ceiling among the large chrome lights.

The food whilst not cheap was not over priced, we all chose different items from the menu which heavily featured steak of one type or another. Both my boys tried something that was new to them. We all enjoyed our meal, even above the noise we managed to chat about a variety of subjects. All too soon it was time to leave, Statto was due to play football in the afternoon and we wanted to get back home.

If you get the chance to eat in an Argentinian restaurant I can recommend it as a good experience. When we got home I received a card from Statto and Skater and discovered messages from Pug in snowy Norwich and Prodigal in New York.

Menu from restaurant

Driving shoes

Yesterday when I came in from work Owl was watching Top Gear on Dave. I have no idea how old the show was. Anyway apparently James May had said that you can tell what car a person drives by their shoes. He apparently demonstrated this by looking at a woman and saying that she drove a Nissan Micra which she confirmed was correct.

Ok I concede that this might be possible with some people. But what would he conclude if he met me? I like to wear high heels, although now that I have passed my half century I am more often opting for slightly more comfortable heels perhaps 2″ rather than 3 or 4. But I found several years ago that constantly driving in heels led to the creation of a groove in my drivers floor mat. This began to cause occasional problems with my heels getting caught.

For this reason I have got into the habit of driving in flat shoes which I change out of after driving. Sometimes I don’t bother to change and spend the next few hours in my flats.

Now my shoe habits do not change according to which vehicle I am driving. I wore the same shoes whether driving my late Toyota Corolla or our Chevrolet Blazer, two very different vehicles.  05-01-07_red shoeSP_A0020HELLOMOTODo you have different shoes according what you drive?

After the wedding……

In case you have not realised/noticed/guessed.

I GOT MARRIED ON FRIDAY

Thanks for all your congratulations and good wishes but I expect you are now wondering how we are spending our honeymoon.

Friday evening we spent at home drinking pink champagne. Perhaps you are thinking ah so they are spending the first night as a married couple at home before jetting off somewhere sunny for an expensive 2 weeks jolly in the sun, Caribbean perhaps.

Saturday we didn’t rush to get up, we pottered around, I blogged whilst Owl chatted to his sister. I packed a bag (including a towel) ready for our trip.  It was a somewhat cold day so thick coat and gloves were the order of the day. Did I mention before that our car does not have heating! We were just about to set off when we got embroiled in a conversation over the fence with our neighbour. 20 minutes later we finally got going, so much for arriving late morning. Even though we were running late we decided on a small detour (the village where Owl lived a year ago). His old local pub is under new management so we thought we would be nosy and see what was what.

Walking in we met 4  friends, three of them we hadn’t seen for quite sometime. When asked how we were, we took great delight in telling them we had got married. The looks on their faces when they asked the inevitable question, when? followed by our chorus of “yesterday”, was priceless.

By the time we reached our beach retreat it was mid afternoon. Collecting our new vehicle pass and a second key we made our way to our caravan. We began unpacking everything ready for our first visitors next week. It took a phone call to find out how to turn on the water, just a minor inconvenience. Once we had the tv etc up and running we took the short walk (about a minute) to the main complex for a late afternoon lunch. It was wonderful being in the warm looking out to sea watching the sun with its spectacular golds and pinks sinking below the cloud line. Finally we figured we couldn’t put it off any more and nipped back to our caravan. I lit the fire (this ran out of gas in less than a minute).

Owl then phoned the office again whilst I continued to unpack all the cutlery, crockery etc. Within a couple of minutes we were joined by two of the sales staff who got the gas on and helped with the unpacking and putting away. Once they had gone we sat around the fire trying to warm up. We are so glad we had changed our minds about staying there over night. Back home we had another bottle of bubbly, some strawberry (heartshaped) shortbread and some dry roasted peanuts, cuddled up on the sofa we fell asleep. Waking up at 2am. Not great when you know we have an early start in the morning.

So Sunday morning dawns, we have now been married for almost 48 hours, surely we would be jetting off somewhere warm today. Actually no, we were putting on warm clothes again in preparation for another freezing cold experience. We were later than planned arriving at our destination but still earlier than Petrol who we had thought would have arrived before us. With Owl being a self confessed ‘petrol head’ he was interested in some of the cars we passed on our short walk through the car park and onto the motor circuit. This is where I started to get interested. I am not a petrol head myself but I do like some cars. We were at a motoring breakfast club , today’s event being ‘Pre Tax Cars’. I rather liked the look of this Chevrolet Fleetline, I loved the colour and the sleek smooth lines.

IMG_0220

Here are a few of the other cars I found interesting.IMG_0226IMG_0222There were far more American cars there than Owl had anticipated  I won’t post all the cars I photographed on here as the majority of you won’t be interested so I shall set up a separate page for cars for those of you who are. But first I must tell you that shortly after Petrol had joined us he had asked the question ‘have you been playing the “what is it” game?’ It was not long after this that Owl pointed out a Ford Falcon….I was astonished and immediately and with suprising authority told him he was wrong it was a Ford Fairlane 1963. He was flabbergasted that I should know this………it was actually quite easy, whilst he was looking at the car I was checking out this ……IMG_0271

After two hours checking out all these cars, we didn’t bother with the motorbikes or scooters but we did see a Daimler Ferret.daimler ferret(www.flickr.com)We headed back home after stopping off for a cooked breakfast first.

This afternoon we have polished off another bottle of bubbly.

Tomorrow we are going to James’s funeral and on Tuesday I return to work so no honeymoon just yet. But don’t worry plans are being made.

Where did you spend your honeymoon?  What would be your dream honeymoon?