Monday, 29 April 2013

Some Archy and Mehitabel Days

I was reading Laloofah’s super  Mehitable Days blog and realised it was ages since I wrote a proper post.  One about life as it is at present.  One that actually used the English language and some moderately responsible grammar.  (Note that last ‘sentence’ lacks a verb!) So herewith is an attempt to bring you up-to-date with life at The Willows - a sort of Archy and Mehitabel Days. 

I have calmed down enough now to write about an incident that happened recently.  On second thoughts, even thinking about it has my blood pressure rising already and I haven’t started writing yet.  Hopefully, by the end of this posting you will be equally annoyed.

One morning the maintenance manager from the Nursing Home at the back of our house came to the front door and asked if we possessed an air-rifle.  Upon our denying it (and him obviously not believing us) we got the story.  Apparently someone was shooting birds whose corpses were landing on their property and it really could only be us or our next-door neighbours, with us (having the much better view of the area) as prime candidates.  We explained that next door was a couple our age and so it couldn’t be them either. I suggested it might be youngsters taking pot shots from a car on the road but the places the bodies were landing suggested that was unlikely. 

Eventually he believed us and we walked around with him to look at the latest delightful evidence.  As we were chatting at the nursing home gateway our next door neighbour’s wife came along.  We mentioned what we were there for and she had no hesitation in admitting it was her husband who was shooting the birds.  Imagine, an 80 year old man killing birds on other people’s property for fun.  The excuse being that they trampled on their plants!  We aren't talking geese or 400lb ostriches here  -  we are talking about blackbirds and pigeons and the odd squirrel.  We have obviously been feeding them too well if they are that heavy!

The Police were called – it not being exactly legal to shoot into nursing homes – but all he got was a police warning.  wotthehell, archy, wotthehell. I am not a violent man but he did get a rather more forceful warning from me that if anything happened to Ivy he would be seeking his teeth down the back of his throat.  We seem not to be on speaking terms with our next door neighbours any more. 

On to events more designed to lower my blood pressure...

I’ve received lots of postcards this last few weeks and also some maps from Doreen.

What I need to do now is expand my study walls in some way so that I can put up the super map of America she sent me and then I can mark on it where my postcrossing and blogging friends live.  If I could push the walls out even further I could add maps of Europe and New Zealand.  Then there’s Hank – I’d need another map for him.  And so on…  Perhaps I’ll just move house it might be easier.  Who knows, if I move to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, next door might have a machine gun.

This week the weather has continued dry.  Today is the hottest day of the year – it must have reached 14°C.  Last weekend I fitted the hose reel (that GB so kindly gave me) to the outside of the kitchen wall ready to water the garden.  The front lawn was so wet earlier in the year that it was flooded for days on end and part of it turned into a mud patch.  Now it is so dry that the mud patch has cracked and crazed like the bed of a dried up lake.  There was a delay between fitting the hose reel and getting the hose on, caused by my head deciding it would prefer to be banged on the bedroom wall rather than allow me to stand up for any length of time.  But on Saturday I managed to fit the hose, despite freezing temperatures and creaky knees, and I hosed the garden down good and proper.  Sunday it rained for the first time in weeks.   wotthehell, archy, wotthehell.

Someone close to me always says there is no such thing as bad weather.  I discovered from Joy’s blog they are echoing Ruskin it seems.

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ” -  John Ruskin

Over the last couple of weeks I have been creating postcards for sale – an idea given to me by Danielle the fount of many good ideas.  I upload my photos to Zazzle and they are sold through Zazzle and I get a (small) percentage) of every sale.  You can see my shop here –

Zazzle has a wide selection of pictures available for sale as postcards and greetings cards and I reckon if I upload one photo a day to my store (which takes no effort really) I should be able to rake in at least enough to buy a Christmas card in 2015….

In case you are wondering why the strange selection of photos I have simply started with one folder and am working my way through it, grabbing any picture I think may be looked for as a postcard.  I may get a bit more methodical one day!

Happy Monday

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Antique Persian Scissors

Here is a picture for Danielle who likes her embroidery scissors  -

Saturday, 27 April 2013


Here's a story from "The Telegraph" that I missed back in March 2011.

"Staff at St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Buckinghamshire have made a little jumper to keep a spineless hedgehog warm. The animal was found by a member of the public in a garden in Bedford and has been named Spudlina by staff as her skin resembles that of a potato. The two year old is undergoing various tests to determine the cause of the loss of her spines and she is currently enjoying regular skin massages with a Vitamin E moisturiser. Picture Jeff Moore"

So that's what a hedgehog looks like under its spines!  Wow!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Book covers

I wonder how many of us pick up a book because of its cover.  I know I often do - in the library;  in the bookshop; and on the second-hand stall.  This was one I absolutely could not resist.  Could you?

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Sacred Earth

I missed Earth Day on Monday but when I saw this on Laloofah's blog 'Mehitable Days' I knew I had to show you it.  There were so many doomsday words written on Monday - true but nonetheless depressing. So it was lovely to find something so positive.

Get yourself a tea or coffee, put your feet up and relax for ten minutes.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Koala kiss

If you go to the ZooBorns site and search for koala it takes you to this set of pages -
 and images like this one of Owen giving his mum a kiss.

How tweet  sweet is that?   And a couple more images from ZooBorns.  Not even a handful of bunny -

It's a good job this is a tortoise and not a turtle.  If it were the latter it would have to be a very small Discworld to fit on its back.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Reading and Art

Having talked the other day (when I showcased Alan Horsager’s work) about pictures whose origins were unknown I came across this one yesterday.

There was no indication where it was from – perhaps it was taken on the set of a period drama? Whoever it is and whoever the photographer was I love it. I have a real soft-spot for pictures of people reading (especially from the nineteenth century).

Delphin Enjolras (1857-1945)

One of my favourite blogs is Bas van Houwelingen's 'Reading and Art' Blog.  Bas is employed as an executive secretary at Library Northwest Veluwe in The Netherlands.  I strongly recommend a visit to his blog. 

 Boris Dubrov - Teaching Torah c 2004

In his research he has found pictures that I know you will never have seen before and if you like art it will set you off on a journey of discovery, finding artists you had never heard of but whose work you will admire. Át least, I hope so.   Enjoy

Saturday, 20 April 2013

West Kirby

A trip to West Kirby

Friday morning was sunny and Partner-who-loves-tea and I played hooky.  (For the origin of playing hooky see my word blog on Monday which basically tells one that no one knows its origins for certain.)
We did our duty and got the Tesco shopping in but then we left the washing in the machine, the phone off the hook (metaphorically) and the computers switched off and headed out to West Kirkby for a breakfast.

On the way we stopped at Fleck Lane to photograph this Grade II listed building.  

It is a mid-19th century well house from before the opening of the local water works in 1877.  English Heritage describes it as a former well house of snecked stone rectangular structure with a hipped stone roof. (Snecked is defined as “Of masonry, with courses broken by smaller stones (snecks)”.)  The entrance has 4-centred head with hood mould with blank shields in spandrels; plank door with studs and strap hinges. Small window with small-paned glazing to rear.  Roof has small triangular vent to front and rear.

In West Kirby we parked near the Fire Station.

We went in a café that we had visited before and had a cake in.  

This time we had a cooked breakfast and Jo had a real Coca-Cola.  There are those who think that draft coke or Coca-Cola from a tin is just as good as Coca-Cola from a cold bottle.  Rubbish!  Add plenty of ice and a twist of lemon and you have a drink that is incomparable.

All these books are wallpaper!   

The café was decorated by the owner’s husband.  He’s obviously quite artistic.  But if we had that much spare wall space it would be covered in real books taken out of the loft.

In my youth West Kirby was a seaside town and the train terminus there shed large numbers of day trippers at the week-ends.  Nowadays there are few signs of those days but the occasional bucket and spade shop still exists.


He’s got the camera out again.”

 “Ok, I’ll smile.


Friday, 19 April 2013

Alan Horsager

Just as one sometimes comes across a special artist the same applies with photography. I recently saw the above photo by Alan Horsager and was inspired to investigate further. 

Alan Horsager is an international street photographer and vision neuroscientist living in Los Angeles, California. Alan began shooting regularly in the mid 1990’s and has shot across a broad range of styles including fashion, editorial, and stock photography. His more recent work is both artistic and personal, and combines street and travel.

"His work as a neuroscientist at the University of Southern California focuses on the study of visual sensation and perception, including the development of sight-restoring therapies using light-sensitive proteins taken from algae."  That sounds like another promising avenue being pursued to help people like myself with neurologically based sight problems.

Having looked at a number of Alan's photos I think this is my favourite -

Alan has a blog as well as his website.

(I know there are an awful lot of pictures out there on the Internet whose origins are not obvious and, like most people, I tend to add those to my own photos to illustrate my posts.  But I don’t know why people go pinching so many pictures off the Internet and failing to acknowledge them when their ownership is clear. When I asked Alan Horsager for permission to showcase his photos he gave the usual response - ‘of course’.  Thanks, Alan.)

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