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.


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.

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.