Less Rush

Today Owl and I went to the cinema together for the first time.

I had suggested it a few days ago and Owl booked the tickets yesterday. We were going to see the film Rush (set in 1970s) about James Hunt and Niki Lauda. I of course as an English teenager had adored James Hunt at the time.

We were both a little excited this morning, stupid I know, we were only going to the pictures, something other people do all the time. But to us it would be an adventure.

After a late brunch we set off. I couldn’t wait, neither could Owl. We collected our tickets, bought a bottle of water to share, found our seats and settled down to wait for the film to begin.


By the time we had sat through half an hour of adverts and trailers I was beginning to feel a little queasy. As the film progressed I was feeling worse. I tried closing my eyes and listening, which didn’t make much difference. I tried chewing on a mint, which did help briefly. An hour into the film I had to make my escape.

Having made the trip to the ladies still feeling unwell I sat on one of the comfortable chairs in the hall leading to the various screens. A young staff member asked if I was ok, she fetched a cup of iced water for me and asked if she could do anything else for me. (A  very helpful and pleasant young lady). After a while Owl came to see if I was ok. He offered to take me home but I insisted he continue watching the film. I sat where I was for sometime before making my way outside. I had just made my way back inside when I saw Owl coming towards me with my jacket in his hand. We had both wanted to have a walk around the marina and boardwalk but under the circumstances we went straight home.

I don’t think I shall be rushing back to the cinema again any time soon.



This week I  have been attempting to deal with my computer issues. I have now installed Open Office on this laptop so that I can get on with my writing. However I have failed to find a suitable solution to the jumping cursor syndrome.  This makes writing anything painfully slow. If I type slowly it doesn’t happen so much but as soon as I forget and start to speed up off it goes again.

After a visit to my bank earlier in the month I discovered that I was still paying for an insurance policy on my former home. Cancelling said policy resulted in a refund. I used the refund to purchase an old apple ibook G3 via ebay. All my sons and my husband use apple macs either desktop or notebooks. So software is not much of an issue. My husband has the discs for office for mac. My new computer has most of the software I could possibly require. One thing I hadn’t considered was that it was built before wifi became popular so whilst I can work on it in Pug’s room which I am taking over as my office in his absence, I will need to plug it into the router in the living room if I need to use the internet. I am considering getting the appropriate hardware to allow me wireless access but that can wait for now.

Because I have been experiencing these issues I have not added any more to my stories/book. However I have spent a lot of time mulling over the kind of book I want to write and what my characters are like. To that purpose I have begun a folder for my characters so I can build up a picture of who they all are. Both physical and personality wise. At the moment I have Billy as the main Character, he is a middle age family man who works from home. I have a few ideas about what his profession could be. Perhaps some of you might have some suggestions.

On another note we have noticed a few more birds making use of my feeding station. Apart from the starlings who are the most frequent visitors we have seen the sparrows again along with a great tit and one evening whilst the starlings were clambering about a flash of yellow swooped by but I wasn’t quick enough to see what it was. I believe it was either a siskin or greenfinch.

But right now as I look out onto our garden there is a robin hopping around on the ground. This is the third time I have seen him today. Yesterday when I came home from work it was pleasantly warm in the garden I decided to take my mug of tea and my laptop outside. I been there a while when Owl joined me. We were sitting in the sun chatting when I noticed the robin on the bird feeder. I wonder where he has been up until this week.


It arrived this morning.

I had to wait until I got home from work.

A few chores to be done first then I could switch on my computer.

Having already opened the package I slid open the drawer, flipped open the plastic envelope and inserted the contents into the slot.

I had to wait a while, probably not as long as it seemed.

Then it began……….

The installation wizard whirred into life.

A few clicks on buttons interspersed with green progress bars doing their bit.

I now have Open Office installed on my laptop.

Maybe now I can get on with the serious business of writing my humorous ditties.

But first I must prepare dinner.


Well this week I have been thinking that I must be jinxed when it comes to computers. Not only have there been ongoing problems with my laptop. But the computer I use at work went wrong too. Is this just unlucky or is it something I have done, I don’t know and if it is then I have no idea what. I don’t recall doing anything different.

Any way an IT engineer was called in, nice guy, he is well liked by us. Not only did he fix my work computer but gave me some advice on how to sort out this laptop. I have followed his advice and now my laptop is in a much better way. One thing I had noticed last week first at home and then the morning my work computer went wrong, my search engine changed to Delta. I didn’t want to change search engine so did everything I could to revert to google. IT man told me this seems to have been happening for about 6 months. It gets onto your computer either in an email or with a download. Once there it will repeatedly direct you to its own searches. He told me that I have to uninstall it and delete cookies otherwise it will keep coming back. So after a bit of work I have got rid of it.

Now that I have gone back to basics with my reinstalled windows 7 I need to find a software program that I can use now that I no longer have microsoft office on my computer. I do not want to pay the price required to get it put back when I have paid for it once already.  I have been advised to install Open office. I have searched online and found a variety of sites offering this package. Each time I have attempted to download these I get so far only to discover that part of the package which is not possible to avoid is the DELTA toolbar. Now why on earth would I want to install this when I have gone to the trouble of erasing it from my computer.

So now I am looking for alternative ways to get an office software onto my computer without including Delta.

It is just typical that now I want to write I don’t have a program to write with.

I also have developed a jumping cursor. I am finding that unless I type slowly my words become scrambled as the cursor jumps around, which is a real pain as I have to keep unscrambling what I have written.

Does anyone know how to solve this?


I’m thinking about new chapters.

Partly I am thinking about new chapters to be written. I have 2 chapters under my belt so far. My plan is to write a collection of chapters each of which could be a short story on its own. But using the same characters will allow me to later put them together, fill in the gaps and turn them into one longer story.

On another front it is time for new chapters to begin for my family.er

Number one son (Prodigal) is trying to break into the  music world on a bigger scale than ever before. His current band New Desert Blues are starting to get radio play time as a new emerging act. In the coming weeks they will be playing a variety of gigs in Europe. Later this week they will be in Bournemouth. Followed by Manchester at the Deaf Institute on 24th & on 27th they will be at Bristol’s Start the Bus, along with Australian Band Cloud Control. Mad dash through the night will next see them playing the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg on 28th.

A day off before they start again, Paris, Brussels and Berlin, again all with Cloud Control . Finishing their stint in Europe in Dortmund where they will share the stage with Birmingham Band Editors.  I wish him luck in this new chapter in his life.

Number two son (Statto) has recently moved to a shared house in South London. He has graduated from Uni and is working doing what he loves, working with football statisics. Whilst looking for and applying for his ultimate career. I wish him luck in this new chapter in his life.

Number three son (Pug) has moved to Oxford to start his degree in Philosophy.  He will be making new friends, learning a new way of life and laying the foundations for his future. I wish him luck in this new chapter in his life.

Number four son (Skater) is continuing the chapter he began last autumn. He is now in his second year of studying creative media at college.

So our household is once again reduced to 3 plus our cat. My husband’s health is improving. I am no-longer the sole driver in our family. I am managing to spend more time writing.

So all in all we are all starting new chapters.

They’re back

About 10 days ago my bird feeder in the back garden was surrounded by approx 2 dozen starlings. Who said they were becoming an endangered species. They were hanging on the suet ball feeder, the peanut dispenser and the wild bird seed feeder. Those who couldn’t get there just yet were milling around on the floor picking up the dropped food.

Our family cat who had been watching from a distance launched herself towards the mass of wings and beaks. Instantly the birds scattered skywards.

Each day since then I have looked for evidence of a return. But the food in the feeders appears to be untouched. Once or twice I have witnessed a lone starling helping himself to the suet ball that has been hanging there since the mass scatter.

I could have been despondent but I knew that eventually I would see a return of my feathered friends. We are now beginning to feel the chill of autumn in the air. It won’t be long before the local bird population need to supplement their diet from feeders like mine.

This morning as I sat here in my kitchen with my first mug of tea of the day movement caught my eye. Small birdlike shapes descending                 on our cherry tree. Gradually these small birds moved out onto the nearby bird feeder. Grabbing my binoculars, I watched as a pair of great tits and a group of sparrows began feeding, soon they were chased off by a small group of starlings. Slowly the smaller birds grew in confidence joining their larger competition back on the feeder.

I am pleased to see the birds back again.


Computers and all that

A few weeks ago my computer decided that it didn’t like me any more.

How could I tell ?

The password that I have been using ever since I got this laptop suddenly couldn’t be recognised.

I had to start using a different profile, one that didn’t have Administrator status. Ok, so I could still use the internet. I could still write.

But I could’t perform admin functions.

It would only be a matter of time before my computer began to break down.

I googled how to get past the password problem.

What I read was not encouraging.

So I decided to re-install windows.

Hey presto everything back to normal …………..not!

Newly installed windows 7 but no internet driver.

Luckily I had just one more day before my son Pug goes off to Uni again.

He managed to rescue my computer, get the internet back and sort out one or two other issues.

All I need to do now is get windows office back so that I can continue with my writing.

By the way I now have 2 short stories completed. It is now my intention to continue writing these short stories all based on the same set of characters. I can then put them together, fill in the gaps and turn them into a longer story/book.

A Sunday walk

Bank holiday Sunday Owl was desperate to get out of the house . He didn’t want to go where he would be recognised. He had fallen during the week and his face was badly cut. We went up to my favourite hill to take in the views and have a drink. I decided not to park in the pub car park but the next one along facing the back of the hill away from the sea and the city.

We had a quiet drink and a chat in the pub garden that looks out over the city. When we returned to the car we sat on a bench to watch a couple of guys with a kite. Not your usual type of kite. This kite was attached to a harness which the guy controlling it was wearing around his middle. He was then stood on a board similar to a skateboard but bigger. I am sure that this has its own proper name but I have no idea what it is. ……it turns out that it is kiteboarding.

Whilst I was watching these two guys, one with the kite and the other filming, they later swapped places. I noticed that there were a lot of dog walkers coming and going through a gap in the bottom corner of the field. I wanted to know what was the other side of the hedge so we took a gentle stroll along the edge of the field and beyond. On the way I took a few photos.

IMG_1163elderberry tree, when I was a child my dad made elderberry wine. IMG_1164not a clue about this one IMG_1165this one I have forgotten

IMG_1167could this be old man’s beard  IMG_1168this is just my old man  IMG_1169   IMG_1174sloe ? IMG_1176  IMG_1177  IMG_1178 kiteboarder.

It was good to get out of the house and into the sunshine for a couple of hours.

It’s all in the duck

Tuesday 11 June 2013

This was to be the day that we went into the city, I was feeling a little apprehensive about this trip. It was about mid morning when we set off yet again on Route 101 this time going south.  We were not sure how it would work going through the toll on the Golden Gate Bridge. As the tolls are taken automatically. Missy M had told us on an earlier visit to the city that she believes rental cars are taken care of. We had it planned we wanted to ride a tram or maybe a cable car. It was a must that we should drive down Lombard Street, or at least it was a must for Owl. I would be happy just to see it.

I set the sat nav to find Lombard street, we were driving along the lower part of the street as we had done on both the previous occasions we had been in the city. I found it on the map but due to the one way system we were directed to turn right then left which was when we began our near vertical climb. I was holding on tight each time we came to a junction. The adrenalin was building up as we neared the crest of the hill. Turning left again we passed the section of Lombard Street that Owl was searching for. Luckily (in my view) there was nowhere to stop so we made our way back down towards sea level and Fishermans wharf. First we needed to find the car park, I managed to find the place we had parked on the first Saturday but it was full! The Parking attendant pointed us in the direction of another car park.

We walked from the car as fast as my little legs would carry me towards Fishermans Wharf where it was our intention to, have lunch, ride a cable car and or tram and if we could take a ride on one of the Duck tours. The first thing we found was the Duck tours, we booked our seats handed over the money $70 between us. It was then that I realised we only had about $10 left. Ok we would find a bank and draw out some more money but first we only had 20 minutes before our trip began. We set off looking for somewhere to buy a bottle of water to share. That 20 minutes flew past in record time and we found ourselves climbing onboard our transport.

IMG_0519  Owl was most disappointed to learn from the driver that this was not a genuine WWII type DUKW. These amphibious vehicles have been purpose built by the company. We enjoyed our ride anyway. There were steep streets like this to climb.IMG_0822 Various land marks were pointed out to us, usually on our right, I was sat on the left! Owl took photos that interested him on the right  like these from China Town reputably the largest China Town outside China.

IMG_0530  IMG_0531  whilst I was enjoying the architecture on the left.IMG_0826 I should have taken a note book to write down all the landmarks that were pointed out to us. IMG_0829  IMG_0830 IMG_0839 IMG_0842 IMG_0844  IMG_0562  going from land to water was much easier than I had expected.IMG_0544   IMG_0546   It was a little un-nerving being on board this land based vehicle puttering around in the bay  passing such huge vessels as theseIMG_0548 San Francisco as seen from the water  near to the Bay Bridge. IMG_0550    IMG_0555  the back of these US Navy transport shipsIMG_0556 In case you hadn’t guessed this is the Bay Bridge as seen from the bay. IMG_0847  IMG_0848  The Giant’s stadium as seen from the bayIMG_0851  IMG_0564  Now the Giants Stadium seen from the road.IMG_0567   IMG_0568  Here is a selection of San Francisco Trams. Did you know that the trams have been collected from cities across the world.IMG_0576     IMG_0864  IMG_0865  IMG_0866 Finally we returned to our starting point. Before doing anything else we needed to find a bank so we could get some dollars. It seemed to me that since we had arrived in USA everywhere we went there were banks on every corner even drive through banks (something we don’t have back at home). So it shouldn’t take us long to find a bank. Or so we thought……..

WE walked along several blocks with no luck so changed direction again nothing so we changed direction again. Going into a camera shop we asked directions to the nearest bank. We were direct towards a shopping arcade 4 blocks to the left. Finally weaving our way between other tourists we made our way to the shopping centre. The bank clerk was very pleasant and helpful but no matter what he tried my bank card was not going to allow us to withdraw any money. However we were able to take a cash advance using Owl’s card. When we came out of the bank we headed back to Fisherman’s wharf for a spot of late lunch. IMG_0580

Owl made a new friend.IMG_0578  He also loved looking at Alcatraz from here.IMG_0583 After much deliberation we decided to eat at Boudin Bakery again before having a walk along the street looking at boats moored up in a small marina, there were many boards up advertising fishing trips. We were going to find a cable car to take us up to Lombard Street but decided to just collect the car and drive up there. When we got back to the car park I realised that it was above the shopping centre where the bank was.


I was hoping that we would just drive past Lombard street and glance down as we passed it but no, to my horror Owl turned to go down it. IMG_0588 I would have had my hands firmly over my eyes at this point if he hadn’t asked me to take photos. Not the easiest thing to do when you are hurtling downhill at speed constantly turning corners but I did my best. IMG_0590  IMG_0591  IMG_0592 It was a thrilling experience and at the end of the day I am glad that we did it but it was scary.


Going through some old documents on my computer I came across this which I had forgotten I had written some 4.5 years ago……



The clatter of studded boots on concrete floors as the players spill out of the changing rooms, on to the open grass, heading towards their allocated pitch. Parents and other spectators standing in groups stamping feet rubbing gloved hands in an attempt to get a little warmer. Clutching flasks of tea or coffee for later.


Nets being hurriedly put up whilst managers and coaches go through the warm up exercises, practicing set pieces, corners, penalty shots and the rest. Numb fingers trying to collect money and write names onto official forms. The shouts of abuse from opposing sides sometimes friendly banter other times intimidation. Persuading one of the spectators to take up the flag and run up and down the side line keeping up with the run of play, taking the flack from spectators annoyed by his decisions.


The man or occasionally woman in the middle all dressed in black with whistle, note book and cards to hand. Good or bad he must be paid, his decisions unquestioned, rarely appreciated, isolated from the masses, a lonely figure, dedicated to the game.


Turning out no matter what the weather, cold and wet, freezing or hot, wind or snow.


These are the things I remember as I receive the text. ‘stay under duvet, game is off’


Turning over in my bed, snuggled in the warmth………that’s ok then.



This was remembering what my life had been like running a youth soccer club for several years, the memories being revived when I dated a local referee, I had planned to watch one of his matches but the ground was too frosty.