Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Officially Cold Summer!

In the news this morning, officially the coldest UK Summer since 1993, so no wonder we want to spend more time in warmer climes! Here is  the field I see from my office, which has just been mown.  Two years ago, it caught fire, which was pretty scary.  I don't think they use it for hay as so many dogs get walked there...

Took the van into the VW garage in Chippenham today, and they have confirmed my fears - it needs a new gear box, and I might as well change the clutch while they are at it.  This explains why we got it for such a good price.  It needs to be fixed so we can get to those warmer climes, of course (mind you, we'll be in Turkey in just over a month!).  Here is an old VW van that lives just around the corner.

Spent a lot of today painting woodwork. The trouble is that every bit I paint makes the unpainted bits look like they need doing as well, so it has become a long job!

We went out for a Thai meal this evening, wandering around Bath noticing interesting sights on the way to the restaurant and then to the cinema.
 Surprised Sheep #1
 Surprised Sheep #2
 Could be tourists!
 The approach to the Little Theatre cinema, with the grand columns of BHS on the right and a building society on the left
 Sweet shop (closed)
 Must be toxic!
Inside the emporium..

We saw "The Skin I Live In", A Pedro Almodovar film.  The plot is truly amazing (and I won't spoilt it for you - but go and see it!) and it is beautifully filmed, with great music and good acting.
Waiting for the show to start...

Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Had one of those special offer coupons to eat in above public house on the Gloucester Road in Bristol.  I bought it months ago and realised it needed to be used by the end of next week. The menu was enticing so off we went at about midday and the rest of the day just disappeared!  The food did not disappoint and to celebrate I dragged Marcus to Ikea to look at kitchen sinks which, he said, gave him a headache.  Nothing to do with the ale which accompanied the meal of course.

This blog's going out late today. Not just because of the delay mentioned above but needed to go to our street party meeting this evening (in another pub) which has a "space" theme this year. So if you're in the area and you like aliens do come along - all welcome!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Bank Holiday fun!

Walking Bella this morning, I saw this plane trail through the sun.

Later on, I dropped Su into town for a little spot of shopping. When we came back we found yet another neighbours' cat - Monty - asleep on a poor pot of nepeta. He was most affronted when we roused him from his slumbers.

Then it was time for a spot of painting.  As Su located a gloss/eggshell paint that isn't very smelly, I now have no excuses not to crack on with the woodwork.  Maybe more tomorrow - deep joy!

This afternoon, we went up to the Westonbirt Festival of the Tree - everything wooden in many shapes and sizes was on display
 We saw the first autumn croci:-
 And Bella found a decent-sized stick
Since we'd driven up there in the van, we brewed up a cup of coffee and enjoyed hanging out for a while.

Sunday, 28 August 2011


The day started out ok so felt quite positive about "getting things done".  Marcus volunteered (by me) to continue painting the hall, which he did on condition that Bella and I were out of the house. So we retired to the garden to tackle the jungle at the end. Two hours later, and a mountain of foliage, I'd had enough so snuck into kitchen and got a salad together for lunch.  Marcus very pleased with his painting (as am I) as the new stuff went on so well and doesn't smell.  Quick advert here: Santuary paint from Homebase. It's their own version of Farrow & Ball but much cheaper.

We had promised ourselves a visit to Alice Park today as there was a fundraiser for the greyhound rescue charity.  Just about to leave house when rain clouds gathered with a vengeance and by the time we reached the park it was raining. So we decided to go to Victoria Park, which is bigger and has more shelter so Bella got a walk......

No sooner had we arrived then the tropical storm kicked in....

....but even Bella didn't fancy a walk in that thank you very much!

Being a gent, Marcus insisted I remain in the car while they braved the elements so I just took photographs instead.  

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Getting on, plans brewing, unexpected bad news, and a blog milestone.

Up and out bright and early to the Bath Farmers' Market and managed to resist most of the temptations on offer there! We then went for breakfast at Prior Park garden centre before coming home and fiddling about in the van for a while.  We are both feeling very fidgety and footloose at the moment and talking even more about all sorts of possibilities for what to do with our lives. Most of these involve us taking Bella all around Europe with us this Spring/Summer in the van. But we are wondering how she will be able to cope with the heat of a mainland European Summer - we can't put her in kennels for a long period, so might be looking for friends and/or family to help out.  Watch this space....

On a different track completely (the staying in Bath one!), we went down to our allotment with some soil for a to-be-built raised bed.  Picked some chard, got given some marrows and cooking apples, admired the progress of our crops, chatted to our allotment neighbours, enjoyed the view...

We were very shocked to hear today of the death last Saturday of Ruan, the son of our friends Bill & Patsi.  We don't know the details yet, but it is so sad - he is their second son who has died (Eldon died a few years ago). Ruan's funeral is on Thursday. Here is a sunflower I saw on my walk with Bella today as a mark of our condolences. 
On our walk we managed to avoid getting rained on,
 saw lots of tall umbellifers,
 and a snazzy sports car!
Came home to find one of our neighbours' five Russian Blue cats asleep in our front garden (Bella did not spot it!).

We have passed 10,000 page views of the blog today.  Thanks to all our readers.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Surprise, surprise it's raining!

I'm so fed up with UK weather so we're selling the house and taking off asap....
well that's the plan today anyway.
Meanwhile, things to do, people to see. First stop today - garden centre who are selling half-price compost good enough to fill next raised bed (yet to be made!) at allotment.  Pre-first stop - coffee, toasted teacake and a read of local paper with riveting news about village events and changing bus timetables.
Next stop - Sainsbury's for essentials (but forgot to buy bananas) followed by quick visit to allotment to drop off compost. Finally got home in time for event of the day -

THE BAND PRACTICE! Yes folks. Left At The Lights lives on and will be headlining the Raglan Lane Street Party in a couple of weeks time!!

But first they've got to sound ok....

Bella wanted to join in but.....

...we went out for a walk instead and spotted these sunflowers in the rain.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Off in the van again...

Picked up the van first thing from the VW garage, who have serviced it and struggled to fix the gears for the last two days.  As they did not sort out the problem, they did not charge me (full marks for that!) and have referred me to their commercial garage in Chippenham to see if they can sort it out.  I may be looking at a new clutch (better than a gearbox, but still not cheap).  I'll find out next Wednesday... Anyway, the van is still OK to drive till then, so we tootled off to Hailes Abbey near Winchcombe to meet up with Ben and Lena.  We had a long and enjoyable picnic in the van.

Bella got a few bits to keep her going until her tea.

After a couple of hours or so, we managed a quick peek at the Abbey (ruins) and a walk to investigate the nearby campsite, farm shop and bridle path.

We also hopped over  a ditch to scrump a few plums, as so many were lying unpicked.

Drove home through a lovely sunny evening and managed to get the van parked right outside the house. Tomorrow, practising with Bob from Left At The Lights for a short set at the Raglan Lane Street Party on September 3rd - this will be our first performance in well over a year!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

I spend my life whizzing about...... as well as telling you about my day, I thought you could enjoy the pics of where I was towards the end of it....
I woke up much too early (6.00) and by 6.30 ish decided it was time for a cuppa. Marcus mumbled a "g'morning" so he got one too. He then very kindly took Bella for her first outing of the day while I stayed in bed for as long as possible.

MY first outing was Dorothy House to spend time with a very entertaining woman who's putting together her life story in prose, verse, photographs and recordings. Lots of work for me to do but so much fun.  We laugh a lot and the hour we're allowed each week is just not long enough.

I needed my second cup of coffee of the day by then so took myself to favourite garden centre cafe and spent a very pleasant hour doing the crossword (cryptic).

Bought Lena (daughter-in-law) lovely blue campanula for her birthday as we're meeting her and Ben (son) for a picnic tomorrow. Haven't seen them for quite a while so really looking forward to this outing.
Home for lunch and a determination to track down awning clips on the internet. Success at last and was told they are on their way already!  How about that for service...
Off to work garden to water the pots as owner is absent and swift visit to allotment to drop off wood I'd foraged earlier today to help build our compost bins. Marcus and Bella came too and Marcus, being a wonderful, wonderful man, gave Bella another walk.