Saturday, 31 December 2011

Unanticipated Domestic Day

A late start this morning, and out for a morning stroll under an overcast sky.  These berries pierced the gloom.
 This was the view looking over towards Bathwick Hill
These flowers are out early. Lots of buds coming, so let's hope the frost stays away.
This car still has not moved!
Christmas is over for this family at least...
Our guerrilla gardeners have been at work late at night, tucking up the trees and shrubs.  Su says they need to prune them as well!
This is Bella's favourite toy - a Christmas present from Richard and Barbara.  It has displaced Snoopy in her affections, but can be a little difficult for us to spot on some backgrounds..
I have had this guitar case (and enclosed classical guitar) since my 18th birthday. I am ashamed to admit that it has been filthy (with the covering peeling off) for as long as Su has known me. Today, it took me not very long with a damp rag and the two bodger's magic ingredients - WD40 and gaffer tape - to restore its shine and stop the peeling.  A job well done, if some decades overdue.
I did some washing and defrosted the fridge as well as moving some more bits around the house, and sorted the music for tomorrow's Street New Year's Day gathering.  This was displacement activity, because I had yet another migraine aura and subsequent headache, so could not read or look at screens for quite a while. Now I am able to do so, I have found a paper with an illustration which gives an idea of my apparently quite common hallucinations. Being an recovering academic, I have to give an indication of the source as well! 
G. D. Schott,"Exploring the visual hallucinations of migraine aura: the tacit contribution of illustration" Brain > Volume130, Issue6 > Pp. 1690-1703.

Thanks to all our readers for making December  our second highest ever total (unless we get 38 more page views before midnight - which might just be possible, given our recent figures!)

Hope you all have a Happy New Year! 2012 beckons...

Friday, 30 December 2011

A Trip to Deepest Somerset

Moving things around in the house, so what was our former utility area has now become quite a tidy little work space.
All the moving around of stuff led us to think about looking at more furniture, so we went off to Haskins in Shepton Mallet. I was taken with this fetching blue leather number, but Su was not impressed:-)
Shepton Mallet is an old market town with some interesting architecture amongst the 60s/70s/80s neo-brutalism. This is the recently restored market cross
Complete with County of Somerset Regulations
Great timbers in the roof.
This building looks Georgian, with some great detailing above the top floor window.
This dove let me get pretty close before it flew away
Alms houses, arranged around the old church
Funny how the middle statue is much more eroded than its flanking companions
A different style of graffiti to Bath - quite quirky.
An expressive few lines..
Quite a few of these plaques around the town, showing it in more prosperous times.  
This is the same street, with  the same buildings, but much poorer.
Shepton is not that far from anywhere - many people know it because they go through it on the way to Glastonbury Festival, at nearby Pilton. It is also famous for its prison.
After our stroll round, we went for lunch at Kilver Court, a restored establishment and gardens. We did not go in today, as we had Bella with us and they have changed their policy about dogs since we last went.
Had a great lunch, both of us with some spelt.  The owner grows spelt nearby and makes a bit of a feature of it in the cafe/restaurant and the shop.  In there, we saw these nicely designed cycling/skating helmets
They also have a designer outlet (and are next door to Mulberry who are anything but cheap).  Ironic in such a depressed town
Across the road is where Blackthorn cider is made, and lurking in the trees is a giant Babycham deer!
After this,it was definitely time to give Bella a walk, so we drove up to Clutton woods and walked down towards Maynard Terrace where we used to live
On such a dismal day, it was hard to recall its charms, although it was nice to bump into a few former neighbours.
There are plans to build in a green belt field opposite the terrace (it is basically surrounded by fields, which was one of its attractions - and drawbacks - when we lived there).  A local campaign against development was in evidence in a few windows we passed.
Walking back up towards the woods, we were amazed to see that this "topiary" ship is still in existence - not the most impressive specimen!
Certainly away from traffic fumes, this fence post was dripping with lichen
Popped into the Co-op at Marksbury on the way back to Bath, and was not too surprised to see that the Easter chocolate marketing has already started - over three months to go...
Struck by this car registration - why would you choose "ZZZ" as your personalised number plate?
Last day of 2011 tomorrow - a year of many changes for us.  Looking forward to the generous 6 minutes fireworks display at the Rec, which we plan to watch from up the hill on Claremeont if we can stagger there in time:-)!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Vaguely Practical - and Definitely Not

Awake for the bin men at 7.40 am.  I think that's the earliest they have come, although we are told to expect them any time from 7 o'clock.  Unlike some bin men I read about on other blogs, they are not evil! Berries aplenty still on bushes, seen when I tok Bella for her morning stroll.
Bin men not got here yet, although their advance party have been through.
Almost like a country lane, which it would have been not too long ago.  Long term residents have told us how they used to play in the orchards that once covered this hillside.
Bath has some steep hills.  These steps can be treacherous when wet.
Old man's beard, or is it Russian vine remnants?  Su may know...
I finally got the replacement for my old 1st Generation iPod nano today.  Having sent off a 4 Gb one because of possible battery fault, I got a brand new 6th Gen 8 Gb model with extra functionality and much smaller size (watch shown for scale, although I found the iPod has a load of options for watch displays, including one with sweeping second hand...).
Carried on taking down the curtains in the van today.  Found this very sleepy bee in there - and another one found Su a little later!
Not very practically at all, went out for lunch without my money.  So we returned home instead, and I continued working on hanging my first ever door - after all these years!.  It's up, but needs some fine tuning...
Weather seems to be set foul for a few days, so we may not be jaunting off for a few days yet. New Year's Day Party music to sort out, and a few other practical tasks to work at...

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Different Day

Su left me to lie in this morning, so I eventually emerged after 9 - just as she left for town to spend her Christmas vouchers. After breakfast, I was about to go outside and start doing things when the skies opened. This is the aftermath..
Went to pick Su up from town and drive into Bristol for a Chinese lunch, by which time the sun had decided to conform to the weather forecast.
Drove into Bristol to find the bottom of the M32 clogged with traffic, so diverted round to Old Market, to try and get to Dynasty, the Chinese restaurant. This too was clogged, so we decided that we would abandon our attempt until after New Year.  Ended up going to the Rose & Crown at Wick, which we have driven past loads of times but never been in. Noticeable for very low doorways (must be less than 5 foot).
I had a very tasty venison and merlot pie, while Su ended up with multiple double yolked eggs!
The car park has its own period lamp-post
Came home and took Bella out.  Passed this house which always has a painting on display in the window. They change about once a month, and are generally on a nautical theme for some reason.
The light this afternoon was beautiful, making everything it touched glow.
Even the girls' school at the top of the hill - very gothic but lightened today.
What every home needs - a balcony with a multi-coloured lion.
Busy today, with two horse riders and a cyclist - not the hordes of walkers I saw up here on Boxing Day.
Passed the frog sign (and another dirty creepy Neighbourhood Watch one).  Every Spring, this road is closed and volunteers help frogs migrate down the hillside to mating sites (our garden pond included!)
A dovecot silhouetted as the sun started to drop.
View of Solsbury Hill and across towards Box.
Not what you want to find when you come out to your car after Christmas!
After giving Bella her tea, went up the road to meet up with Su and others at Mark and Adge's for scones and jam with port - a very civilised pursuit indeed!