Sunday, 31 October 2010

Readers on Five Continents - and we're working on a Sixth!

Showed Su the stats page on Blogger yesterday and we got very excited - we have readers from 5 continents, and Su just wrote to a friend in Australia today.  I don't know of anybody working in Antarctica, but please feel free to let them know about us if you do! To celebrate we have added the Blogger stats widget ------>

Su's techno-fetishism knows no bounds, as we were at the Apple Store today playing with an iPad! When you want one, you can always come up with lots of good reasons... Let's see what Santa thinks :-)

Yesterday, coming back from the seaside we saw this very freshly carved sculpture near Bristol airport:-

Today's walk with Bella in my favourite place offered some wonderful views:-

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Urges of a technological nature

Now that we've got next Easter sorted (see previous contribution) thoughts roam to WHAT TO GIVE iM FOR XMAS? We usually arrange a mini-holiday instead of exchanging gifts but after the fiasco of last year's efforts with us only enjoying 2009 festive present a couple of weeks ago (Lisbon) this year he's going to get something wrapped in paper.
He wants an iPad but so do I! Who'll be the lucky one? Watch this space...

Friday, 29 October 2010


The picture says it all.

Another busy Friday after a busy week.  In contrast to work dominating my consciousness, last night we finally decided what we are doing at Easter next year.  We'll escape these shores to Rhodes for a good chunk of time.  We still don't know exactly what we'll do when we get off the plane - probably go to Symi for a while, maybe we'll do some island hopping - who knows?!  Exciting and something to look forward to as the clocks go back and the nights really draw in...

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Still growing!!

I'm astonished that both front and back gardens are still producing flowers and veg!
And here are the pics to prove it. The back garden has got it third flush of geraniums and roses while the front is still sprouting ambition is to get to December without the toms succumbing to the frost. But I've got to plant my onions and garlic and as you can see the beds are still full - leeks, beetroot, carrots and salad greens. Something has to go ..... decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Another day, another flock of birds!

This afternoon we went to Westonbirt in the afternoon sunshine (I promised myself that i would trade this time and work this evening, but now a full tummy and a glass of wine have sapped my resolve somewhat - even though tomorrow is the deadline for something I promised!).  On the way we tok a detour round the Badminton estate - and it must have been playtime for pheasants - we saw 30  - 40 of them crossing all along one stretch of road.  Pity they've been bred just to be shot by toffs...

After an ominous start to the day:-

the afternoon and trees were glorious:-

On the way home we were treated to this spectacular sunset.  Beats sitting in front of a computer all afternoon on a day like this!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


I really, really didn't feel like going for a walk today...wall to wall greyness, drizzle and cold. But Bella is always keen and a fine example to us all! Decided to go up to racecourse as it's the highest point round here and you can get 2.5 furlong stretch whatever that is. Actually it wasn't so bad. A slight breeze, cool rather than cold, rain stopped and Bella found a huge branch to carry round the track so she was happy. The views on a clear day are stunning - three bridges (the two Severn crossings and Clifton Suspension Bridge) - bits of Wales, Somerset and Wiltshire. Today could just about make out Bristol but my reward for being virtuous was the birds! Seagulls by the dozen, at least 100 rooks, swallows/swifts (can't tell the difference) sitting on wires as they do at this time of year and a flock of skylarks dancing overhead. It was truly wonderful. Didn't have pic with me but will showcase pic I took in Lisbon.

Monday, 25 October 2010

System failure!!

Richard and Wendy/Guy comments can't be published - have no idea why but if you want to try again so will I. Hey, that rhymes!

Bright and clear

A lovely frosty morning - so clear and bright.  My first serious wielding of the windscreen scraper this Autumn, before I went off to sit in the garage for a couple of hours with my laptop while they fixed the brakes. Free coffee there, though - and luckily there was nobody else waiting so I could switch off the inane daytime TV they normally have playing. Why do places where you wait assume that you want to see "The Jeremy Kyle Show" or "Cash in the Attic"?!  After that back home, and head down - but now I've had enough of that work stuff.  Bella and I are breaking free ("Free, I tell you!") and heading for the hills while it is still sunny and the temperature's above freezing out there.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

In praise of gardening

Have just been reading another blogster from a favourite Greek island (you know who you are) who suggests that tending ones geraniums etc. is reminiscent of Miss Marple!! Well young man I'll have you know that tending one's flora is a pastime for all and ageist comments are not acceptable!!!!!!

So for all horticulture lovers I've added some pics I hope you'll enjoy (including one that's a bit saucy - not M's derriere but the famous naked gardener as seen on tv and me!)

Today is glorious - sunshine, a few clouds and just a slight chill in the air.....and I'm stuck indoors with a paintbrush. And when that's out the way I really must tackle my very first Open University assignment - aaahhhh!

This is one of my favourites.......

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The early bird...

Well, not that early - up to take the dog out for a walk and pick up the paper.  Bella and I went to the park and enjoyed the early morning sunshine and the way it brought out the colours, as shown in this self (silhouette)  portrait with Bella and her big stick.

The weather then changed, so glad to be indoors with the paper and coffee.  Got news today that I will be having an operation on my back to sort out numb/painful thigh and floppy foot sometime before Christmas - the joys of getting older :-).  We're off to see "The Social Network" tonight - more attracted by the Aaron Sorkin script than the storyline as such (imagine pitching that one - "It's a film about a website!).

Friday, 22 October 2010

Another look at Lisbon

These two images were such a lovely surprise - the top one is graffiti that reminded us of Banksy (maybe it is the real thing!) The other pic was taken in a small craft shop which sold "unusual" items which you will have probably have worked out by now. Also selling toys made from sardine cans. (Lisbon'a a tad obsessed with this fish...we found a shop dedicated to selling different varieties which they would giftwrap for you if
Lovely Lisbon. Wish I was still there apart from the food (tasteless) and the coffee (undrinkable). But one thing they can do is make cakes. And bread. And pastries. So delicious and always fresh.
We are now thinking of spending
our April break touring round
Spain but who knows what will happen next?
I'm tuning into a really good
blog written by a couple who are
touring mainland Greece. Sounds
wonderful....maybe that's what we
should do???

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Pictures at last!

I thought I'd cracked it yesterday - having managed to get a photo of stencil art on tiles published on the blog - so I emailed 5 photos of Lisbon trip from my phone, but Blogger wasn't uploading images "due to maintenance"!  We're now back in the UK (and shivering!!) so I've downloaded pictures and give a flavour of the last 5 days in sunny Portugal.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

POSTCARD FROM LISBON.................

....................with no picture as explained by M the other day.
Weather fab, people lovely, hotel excellent, food c...p!
Home tomorrow.
Su x

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Has Banksy visited here?

Still walking, still sight-seeing.

Another sunny, warm day on our short break holiday. We've looked at exhibitions and monuments and parks and much much more! Both Su & I have taken lots of photographs, so we'll have to publish a photographic special on our return to Blighty (which is predicted to be shiveringly cold to welcome us back). One memorable picture is of police officers riding Segways round a crowded square... Why?! Can they not walk any more? Are Segways faster than a running person? - I somehow doubt it.

While strolling around in this most pleasant environment, Su managed to come up with a fantasy of me being kidnapped, suffering with beri-beri and being whipped by cruel kidnappers while they waited for the ransom to arrive! The question she was debating with herself was would she accept the first offer for the house in order to pay the ransom, or would she hold out for a higher price? Charming! So, just in case it ever happens, I'll get in an appeal to readers for donations to the kidnap fund now! Also, if this is what travelling does for Su's imagination, maybe I should retire to Bognor (NOT!!!) :-)

Monday, 18 October 2010

No pics camera´s gone astray!

Not really! It just rhymed! As I too am in "sun city" I´ve no access to my iphoto collection. But I can see my emails so very pleased to see that items on ebay have sold which helps to pay for next holiday. Also got long, long email from old, old friend who I tracked down on google. She´s heavily involved in local politics in Melbourne (Aus) so if there´s anything you want to know.........
The sun is still shining here and it´s a perfect temperature for being a tourist. After a leisurely stroll down to the river we hopped a ferry across it to take a look at the other side....not much happening there so had quick coffee and came back. Walked back up the hill and now esconced in hotel writing this and drinking white tea (which tastes as if it´s good for me) which is served, gratis, with little cakes at 5 p.m. every day followed by port at 7 p.m. How civilised is that!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Where in the world...

So, after the curry and pint on Friday, plus yesterday's lovely walk with the dog - I find myself in a European capital city in **warm** sunshine. I still haven't figured out how to get Blogger to do what it promises on its Blogger Mobile page, i.e. let me upload photographs from my phone.

So, till then - or until I'm back at my normal computer rather than my iPhone or a foreign keyboard layout, I'm in old-skool text mode. Apologies for that! :-)

Saturday, 16 October 2010

I asked M how to take a pic on this machine - now I know! Today we took advantage of the sun and headed off to the woods - Clutton woods where we used to live. Well not IN the woods but just up the road. In fact they were the best part of living round there and hopefully no one from the village will be reading this! So just in case - I love you all..mwah!!
Today's instalment of escape plan - Symi for 3 weeks in April and NOT going in June. In April we shall walk, walk, walk. We can house-hunt and practice our Greek and walk some more...and then there's our first Easter in Greece. Can't wait.
And a warm welcome to our new followers, one of whom is an old copy-cat. Yes, Norman, you know I mean you!!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Hooray! It's the Weekend...

So, I've survived another block of 5 hours' straight teaching, and talking to lots of engaged and interested final year students ( I must be doing something wrong!:-)!), as well as doing lots of desk-based stuff, but that's enough.  So now it's time to go down the road for a curry and a pint to celebrate it being Friday evening. A good weekend to all our readers...

Thursday, 14 October 2010


How about that! I "borrowed" this from a news site as an example of perseverance paying off.....New York photographer Jay Fine had spent the night in Manhattan hoping to get the perfect picture. He spent nearly two hours in the storm poised with his camera and took more than 80 shots. He said he'd been waiting 40 years to get the picture.
I had intended to go and see a film at the Little Theatre this morning but the lure of the shops got the better of me. Didn't spend much so rewarded myself with a coffee in backstreet cafe I've discovered that has incredibly slow service but incredibly good coffee (and it's cheaper than Costas, etc.).
Came home to find telltale signs of Bella's weak bladder - this is something new and of course it would happen just before we go away. So off to the vet later and hopefully it will be something minor. Just hope dog-minder doesn't mind!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

A Day of Meetings...

Been going from room to room to sit and discuss various matters all day - although I had a drive to Melksham and back as well - and the sun shone again, and I only have two-and-a-bit Film Programmes to listen to, and I am up to date with those - until Friday afternoon! After that, I still have piles of stuff to listen to and to view.  Life's too short!

Yesterday morning at dawn, the view out of the back of our house was this:-

while this afternoon, it was this:-

Lovely, but the temperature is dropping fast now!

Su and I are still talking (of course :-)!) about where and when and for how long and why, so our plans for next Summer are still fluid.  As far as what to do as far as work is concerned, I think I will stay on at UWE a bit longer, and lay escape plans for when I do leave - portable, Internet-enabled money earning activity that does not take all day is what I'm looking for.

I hope that my brother, Robin, can read this now - for some reason he wasn't seeing the blog yesterday.  I threatened/promised I would mention him and Jean at some stage, as well as my sister Jane and hubby Geoff.  One day, I may tell the story here of how we found each other just last year, even though they are both older than me. That was (and is) life-changing!!!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Found out that the house up the road which is smaller than ours from the outside but stretched and extended every which way from the back, is worth £100,000 more than ours!! Let's sell up said M hopefully! Only if we can go and live on a Greek island I replied. Subject closed. Meanwhile we are planning to go to Symi twice next year - two weeks in April and four weeks (well I'll be there but M can only do two) in June. Have found an apartment to rent with views, aircon and heating (for April as it can get nippy in the evenings). Now just have to work out how to get there. There's bound to be a flight from Gatwick to Rhodes but will there be a ferry? Greek ferry companies are a law unto themselves so timetables can't be relied on but have found out that the mayor of Symi is on the board of ANES (a Greek ferry company operating the Aegean) so hopefully he'll be using his influence to keep the island's economy going!
Meanwhile my dog-walking duties continue and today we met one of Bella's friends.
Her name is Lily, she's a labradoodle and absolutely bonkers!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Where were we?

Yesterday, we went to a strange and mystical place, as shown by photos... On the map, it was called W'est-onsup'ermare... Enjoying being in UK with this burst of Indian Summer.  Today's sky is perfect:-

I saw a neurosurgeon today and may be having an op to sort out numb thigh and floppy foot. This may mean time off teaching...

Also, today's blog being written on, and sent from my mobile phone in the middle of this field:-

PS Text went OK from field to blog, but photos need another burst of techno-footling to get to work from mobile phone to blog.  If we succumb and buy an iPad, this will need to be sorted in similar fashion before travels!

Sunday, 10 October 2010


It's 07.05 and still dark. But I've been up since 6! I woke rather dramatically to sound of dog noises - loud whimpering and scratching to get out of the catflap (she knows this will get our attention). It was already too late. Her latest obsession with eating conkers had worked its way through. I tiptoed through the contents of her nether region to get to backdoor, let her out, grab bucket and mop, find bleach, newspapers and kitchen roll, fall to my knees and start clearing the whole lot up. Did I mention that I had failed to find any clothing before starting this exercise? 10 minutes later, sorted and I'm frozen.
"Everthing all right" mumbles M from the comfort of warm bed.
Humph!!!! I decide to stay up now I'm up, stumble around in the dark to find clothes, downstairs, kettle on, watch Nigella whip up a gooey trifle while she's eating toast. Looks familiar - think I'll just stick to my cup of tea. Oh, and Bella's gone back to sleep!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Spinning Head Time!

So many things going around in my head today:-
  • where to go in Summer 2011 - and for how long
  • whether to go for voluntary severance or to stay at UWE
  • what jobs to apply for if I do decide to leave UWE
  • ideas for setting up a business from now, or later.....
My poor little brain couldn't cope with all the possibilities/probabilities/permutations!

So,  time to try out my new walking boots and take Bella for a walk.  We went somewhere new to us - a relatively recently adopted footpath that skirts a local landmark, Beckford's tower:-

Bella didn't think much of the architecture, but she found a decent size stick - so she was happy!

Friday, 8 October 2010

I dream of Symi!

Here are just two reasons why I want to go back to Symi and stay as long as possible. Architecturally it's the most beautiful Greek island I've seen so it's a joy just to look at. I must confess that I've not got further than the beaches via taxi-boats so not familiar with the interior but I believe keen walkers plod round the hills in the cooler months to take in the flora and views. If you want to see more pics go to (link on this page). So the latest plan is to stay for a few weeks next summer instead of travelling round Europe in the heat. Thought M would object but reckon all the talk about trains, boats etc. etc. has exhausted him so lying on a beach for a month sounds about right! Symi also happens to be the most expensive island to stay on so watch this space for what happens next!
And for all you Mad Men fans - isn't it brilliant!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Su's watching "Mad Men" ...

...and feeling tired, so I'm doing a sneaky blog post while she's not looking.

Tonight we went for a curry down the road at out local pub and talked about next Summer's extended trip, so today we're toying with the idea of living on a Greek island for a month.  We also talked abut the possibility of my taking voluntary severance from UWE and drawing my occupational pension (while it still exists under this Government, after today's news of Lord Hutton's forthcoming report..), applying for other jobs in the UK for a year or two, and then thinking what to do after that.  So many possibilities!

We went to see the disappointing film "Made in Dagenham" last night,  which attempted to be feel-good about the dispute at Fords. On the way out back to the car, we saw these roadworks (at night!).  Note the gaggle of men standing around.