Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Another Busy Day

Today I have been really active! This morning I watched "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" at home, before walking with Bella in very cold wind.  Su and I then walked down in to town and saw Anton Corbijn's "The American" (starring George Clooney).  I quite liked it (some great cinematography) but Su wasn't so sure.  On our way home we saw this old fashioned roundabout:-
And that wasn't the end of movie marathon! We have just watched "The Girl Who Played With Fire", the second in the trilogy.  Powerful stuff indeed.

Monday, 29 November 2010

It's Monday.......

The only photographs I could take today would be more snow and ice so I decided to publish this one as a token to a Symi friend who has a thing about dustmen......
Today is more of the same....cold or very cold depending if you're in the sun or shade...that's outside. Or you could come into our house which is either cold, warm or very hot depending on the vagaries of the heat distribution through this 100 year old building. Back of house (north-facing) is the coldest with an increase of temperature as you make your way to the front which can be uncomfortably hot if the sun is shining through the windows. We also have a "cellar" (a space of approx 1 metre in height so no use to man nor beast). The floors are insulated but when that north wind gets going - like today - it whistles round your ankles so you end up with a hot head and cold feet! ANOTHER REASON TO BE LIVING SOMEWHERE ELSE e.g. Heraklion where it's currently 28 degrees! At least it's not raining nor my turn to walk the dog this afternoon............

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Puffed Out

There I was thinking that I was nearly recovered... I took Bella out for a walk this morning, drove us all to Westonbirt this afternoon and walked for an hour or so.  Not much effort for a day, you'd think - but since 5 o'clock I have been fighting to stay awake.  I guess that operation took it out of me more than I thought (nothing to do with my age, of course :-)!).  All photos are from today's visit to Westonbirt and the drive home.

We have come full circle in our discussions about where to investigate for possible futures, and are again thinking of visiting Lesbos, Chios, Samos etc. - but we will not get there now until 2012 as we have filled up next year with plans already (and the balcony discussion continues....)

Saturday, 27 November 2010


At last it's "proper winter" as they say north of Watford Gap. Personally I can't be doing with coldish damp days when you don't know what to do or what to wear. But the trouble with global information I know it's about 26 degrees in Heraklion and it only takes 4 hours to get there - well slight exaggeration as there's all the faffing before which adds another 4 hours if you're lucky. To think this time tomorrow I could be walking on a beach in my cozzy and flipflops before meandering to yonder taverna for refreshments. If the lottery gets the numbers right tonight this might not be just an idle dream.....watch this space!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Independently Mobile Again

Today I got behind the wheel and drove my car for the first time since my operation.  I decided to take Bella for a walk up to my favourite place - and what a good choice it was!  As we drove up the hill, the weather forecast on the radio said "Snow is moving into Wales", at which point it came out in sympathy over Bath.  Light at first, but persistent, so that by the end of our walk, there was an appreciable dusting.

Not the best light to take photographs - I tried to be arty and catch moving snowflakes, but that really is beyond the technical capabilities of an iPhone, methinks! Anyway, Su is off the hook as my chauffeur, just as the weather threatens to make driving around less pleasurable down here in the soft South (apologies to all our readers in frozen wastes of Canada, Scotland, and the North of England for making such a fuss!:-)).  I think we are off to celebrate with a curry down the road in our local curry/pub later on.  Then we can talk about whether getting a balcony will change our lives enough to satisfy our wanderlust!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Escape Plans revisited!

Dragged iM off on another outing today but not so much walking this time! He's looking very well on all the exercise so I must be doing something right. We went down to Chew Valley Lakes again which was quiet and ABSOLUTELY FREEZING. Swift stroll and stick throwing (that's for Bella) followed by hasty retreat to cafe for egg and chips. Gazing out over the water was reminiscent of trips to distant and much warmer lands which naturally led us to talk again of removing ourselves to be elsewhere. Mind you I've really loved being in England this autumn as it's been mostly dry and sunny, not too cold (apart from today) and as everyone knows by now, the colours have been stunning. BUT it's not always like this. Anyway, we decided that we're no nearer deciding what to do so talked instead about converting our bathroom (which has the best view from our house as long as you're sitting on the loo) into a small sitting room with french windows and a balcony. The room which is now iM's office would become the bathroom. Would it be worth the hassle and the money? Well it depends on the cost of course and how long we'd be without a loo!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Walked my socks off!

What a busy day or so. Last night, Su and I went down to a preview screening of "Animal Kingdom", a very powerful Australian film - sponsored by Grolsch, who set up a bar and cheese nibbles on the stage.  Also pictured is Su's poor thumb, which she cut and keeps bashing so it needs protecting from the world.

This morning, Su wanted to road test her new boots, so we walked down into town to see yet another film - "Chico & Rita", an animated Cuban music love story, which was very good.  Great music.  Having had some lunch at home, we then went for a walk to a spot that Su found in a nearby village called Kelston. Nice tasting grapes and a beautiful, cold, bright afternoon...

After coming home, it wasn't long before it was time to walk again - this time down to the local theatre, which had a production of "Doctor Faustus"on.  This did not captivate us, so at the interval it was time to walk again - this time out and home, so I finally have time to do my blog for today (and just about ready for sleep after all the walking!).

How am I going to find time to go back to work when I am completely recovered???? This sentence is especially for my brother, Robin :-)!!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


This may be the saddest thing you've every read but I'm so happy my boots have come back from the makers with new soles and laces! They aren't posh-going-out-in-your-best-togs boots but cost a fortune and I love them!! We're going out to see yet another film tonight so I'll be "christianing" them on the cold streets of Bath.
Been a busy housewife today - cleaning, shopping, etc. - so no time to take any pics today so here's one of Bella in bed with her cuddly toy called Spotty Dog which could really do with a wash..........

Monday, 22 November 2010

Further and further

My horizons keep on expanding today - Su (my chauffeur still) drove us up to Westonbirt and we walked the outer paths of Silk Wood - about an hour or so's walk. Again, even though the weather was fairly grey, some of the colours there were really eye-catching, as in this dog + dogwood picture, and this plantation of conifers. 

Further on round our walk, I saw this tree cross section, which reminded me of a jigsaw piece
and I managed to get a shot of the rarely spotted Su - the snapper snapped!

The day's excitement didn't end there - after I took Bella for another short walk in the afternoon, Su gave me another lift down the hill and I went to see the Mike Leigh film, "Another Year" - worth catching if you haven't already seen it.  It will be nice when I can drive myself again - that should be within the week. We have a busy cultural couple of days coming up, but I'd better leave something for Su to write about tomorrow!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

After the Festival

It's been bliss today. iM got up to take Bella out but brought me a cuppa first. Enjoyed my lie-in but wait it doesn't stop there. On their return iM made breakfast too....what a star. He's now lounging on sofa with his book where I expect he'll spend rest of day! Actually that's not true as I've promised him a Chinese lunch. We go to the only place between here and London or Birmingham that serves up brilliant dim sum. It's in Bristol (see pic of harbourside taken yesterday) and we always go after the lunchtime rush to guarantee a decent table. Can't wait for paper-wrapped prawns, yam croquettes and char sui buns....but I'll have to take Bella out in to the rain and wind first so we don't have to rush back. I was hoping to get outside to plant up some spinach and get those onions and garlic in, but it's so warm in here and so wet out there it'll have to wait until another day.
Randall reminded me he'd not featured for a while so here he is observing the great outdoors before he goes back to sleep.....

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Giant Steps

Su's off at her dayschool today (and enjoying herself if the texts she's sent are any guide), so Bella and I went off for a walk together into the murky, cold day. We must have done a mile or more, and were out for almost an hour.  As ever, even though the weather is grotty, there'a always something to catch my eye and take a picture of. Here's a flock of pigeons who roost on one house roof up the hill from us having a flutter round and round before settling on the same roof again.

Getting into a field that borders some woods, the dull greyness of the day was pierced by the orange of larch leaves still on the trees.

On the way back home I saw penstimmons, snapdragons and an iris still in flower, as well as a good crop of holly berries.

Our tomatoes are still fruiting, 10 days away from December, but not for much longer...

Managed to empty the stove and fill it up without lifting "more than a full kettle's weight"by making about 10 trips back and forth to the coal bin with a shovel.  One less thing to worry Su when she comes home with her head full of arty thoughts! After all that activity, I need a little rest!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Started early this morning (pic of sunrise) after VERY late night reading about Farraday for my OU course (day school tomorrow so homework must be done!). It's all very interesting and once I get going I enjoy the reading BUT I'm a slacker by nature when it comes to all things academic so just as well I'm married to a university lecturer!! (Or not!)

Was driving over to Bradford-on-Avon this morning when I spotted graffiti on derelict hotel wall...took my life in my hands dodging traffic to take this pic so hope you like it.
Went to meeting at local hospice where I'm a volunteer doing life stories with the patients....as usual it was a pleasure to be there as everyone is always so positive and supportive. Afterwards made my way to the biggest plant nursery I've ever been to in Somerset and spent a happy hour fantasising about owning a smaller version or maybe just a bigger garden. Left empty-handed (not like me but want another tree so thought I'd consult iM indoors first) and headed for the village shop I've been meaning to visit for a long time as it's run by volunteers and more importantly it has a cafe.....it didn't disappoint. One coffee and brie with homemade spicy chutney panini later I was a new person ready to do the next thing on my list (damn where's the list?).
Marcus' mate failed to take him out for lunch today so took him and Bella to play in the park instead and bought him a hot chocolate.
Watched the sun go down and the moon rise.....another lovely day.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Expanding Horizons

After getting out last night to the pictures to see "Skeletons" (a quirky, funny film worth seeing should our readers ever stray from the grip of the megaplex - it won't be showing at the local Odeon!), while Su saw "Tengri: Blue Heavensat Bath Film Festival, today has seen me being much more adventurous!

Su drove me down to the river at Saltford - weak November sunshine and a decent amount of walking up and down - my furthest so far (probably a mile or so).  Bullrushes, swan and the weir (another word that contradicts the "i" before "e"rule we all learned at school!) and the inevitable sky/clouds shot are featured.

We then went for lunch, after which I've had to have a lie down to recover from all this activity and to prepare for tonight's outing to see "El Ultimo Applauso" (a Buena Vista Social Club about Argentinian tango) as part of Bath Film Festival,

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Cold, wet and windy........

Now you know why I want to escape this country. It's days like this when the wind and rain are relentless. When everything is hard work - doors flying open or slamming shut, wet dog shaking muddy coat on to white wall, scurrying from A to B trying not to get soaked......I could go on but you get my drift.
But in fact I've had rather a nice time of it.....early walk, leisurely breakfast as iM snoozed on 'til 10ish when the phone woke him up! Visit to Apple store to check out iPads with aged friend who treated me to lunch followed by a swift visit to park with Bella to chuck ball in the rain for half hour or so....not so bad as still purring from Moroccan soup and yummy cake.
Shortly off to see another film. Can't complain really.....well just a bit.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Too Much Excitement!

Yesterday I took Bella out for a 10 minute stroll (no disagreement with Su's terminology in this case!) and didn't fall asleep afterwards (major achievement).  Stephen dropped in with a book reserved for me by the library at work - all about vocoders, lovely! 

Last night we saw an Argentinean film "Leonera" (The Lion's Cage), showing as part of the Bath Film Festival - a good film, even if not exactly a barrel of laughs. We'd bought tickets for 5 films just a few days before my operation was scheduled and I was keen to see as many as I coud (having missed one on Sunday already), so I took a cushion with me and it was OK.  I've paid for all this relative effort though, as I have felt whacked all day.  Still, tomorrow's another day - and I'm due to see "Skeletons" in one cinema while Su sees "Tengri - Blue Heavens" at another.

Even though I've been inside all day, and the day started off extremely murky, the sun came out and shone through our stained glass onto the hall wall - truly painting with light.

I hope to be able to find some brain-space soon, while I am off work, to think more about next steps, beyond the literal physical ones I am a little pre-occupied with at the moment, which is getting tedious - so I must be getting better!

Monday, 15 November 2010


My duties as nurse/provider include dog walks while iM is recuperating so up with lark (or should I say noisy children next door doing races on stripped floorboards any time after 6 a.m. EVERY DAY!) and out with Bella for first walk. When they are like this (see pics) early mornings are a pleasure rather than a chore.....Bella happily sniffing through the leaves for things that interest dogs while I take photographs.
Later went to work (gardening) - also a pleasure as the sun was still shining and I felt warm pruning wisteria and continuing putting this large garden to bed. Still plenty more to do there which may be one of the other gardeners' job if she's recovered from recent close encounter with another vehicle leaving her without her van and bruised ribs which are giving her gyp (hope you get better soon Carol). Owner of garden invited me to lunch where I took pic of her cat "stealing" her water!
Got home to find a much-improved husband and Bella wanting her next walk. As iM had been for a stroll with her earlier we just went down to Alice Park and played ball for an hour.
Now back home with lots more to do - just call me Cinders!!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Out of the Door

I made it out of the front door today - walked Bella down to the bottom of the road by our local curry pub and back again, stopping for a natter with Peter & Marian at Number 9.  Nothing was going to stop me from getting out to see the first of 5 films we've tickets for at Bath Film Festival! The next thing I know, I'm dozing off in a chair as if I had just done a 10 mile hike - this brought it home to me that maybe I will take some time to recuperate:-)

So, Su went to see the film and I went to bed again, dreaming of Easter in Greece (Su's booked accommodation for most of it) and Summer touring around France - really looking forward to being able to walk more easily then and before (but I still will struggle to keep out with Su as she strides it out!)

Even though I've been housebound for a few days, the weather has put on a show.  Here is last night's sunset looking out of our front window up the road, then very different this afternoon looking the other way down the road across to Bathampton.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Meanwhile Bella and I have been walking further afield than usual as she was confined to kennels while owners were concentrating on domestic drama (for new readers please see previous blog). The pics today will be familiar to at least one of our "followers".
Went past there again today on way back from kennels but of course I'd forgotten my camera so these are from mid-week.
Our walk took us across fields along side a river - don't know it's name - but it's in the Chew Valley so could be the River Chew. All rather beautiful - cows with calves, hedges neatly trimmed now the birds have finished nesting and Easyjet swooping down to land at Bristol Airport!!??

Friday, 12 November 2010

Home Again

Many, many thanks to all of you who have sent in comments and well wishes over the last few days - it's been really great being "absolutely out of my noodle" reading all the messages on my iPhone in hospital. The operation went well, and fingers crossed for a speedy and comfortable recovery and farewell to sciatic symptoms. All the staff at Frenchay Hospital were really friendly and helpful.

 Su got me home about 4 o'clock this afternoon and I have been pootling about happy to be out of hospital.  Just taken some more painkillers so will draw this entry to a close before I get too garbled :-)!! Here is the view from my hospital bed for the last day (empty plates did get taken away!!) :-

Thursday, 11 November 2010

I called these pics "before" and "after".

Spot the difference!!!
As you can see today has been taken up with getting iM to hospital by 7.30 a.m. which meant leaving home an hour earlier to travel 9 miles....which meant I had to be up at 6.00 a.m. to make sure iM got there on time! The "after" photo shows a living person who survived surgery and as last seen by me eating shepherd's pie and baked beans to be followed by a minute portion of icecream and a cup of coffee. I have to say it all looked disgusting but as he hasn't eaten anything since last night and is absolutely out of his noodle on
morphine, I suppose anything remotely looking like food will do......He'll be home tomorrow or Saturday depending on all his bits and pieces working properly - don't ask!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Sunny Melksham One Last Time

My last visit to Melksham for the project I have been involved in, and - like every other time I've been there - it was a lovely sunny day!  The day started off with a glorious sunrise over our neighbours' pampas grass and the park was radiant with great clouds.  Spent the day busy and then came home and went straight back out with Su to see "The Kids Are All Right" - not as great as the reviews suggested.  Now watching the much better "Mad Men", which I have finally succumbed to.

Tomorrow's my operation day (very early start!), and I would like to say a big ThankYou to everyone who has wished me well for the op.  Su will be blogging tomorrow and no doubt telling you all how groggy I was when she saw me!