Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Quadriennial Opportunity

Only once every four years is there a chance to post a blog on this date (apparently my due date when my Mum was expecting me.  I would only be 15 if it had been my birthday - and retired already!). We went to see our flamenco concert last night at St Georges Hall in Bristol.  Originally a church, it still has some of original artwork (and the former crypt is now the bar). 
The concert was stunningly brilliant - Juan Martin the excellent guitarist with a great singer and two superb dancers - not much looking at the ceiling once they started! Afterwards we went for a meal in Mamma Mia's, a small Italian restaurant near Trenchard Street Car Park.
This morning was again grey and misty. Su went out, and I spent my morning assembling receipts for an invoice to UWE for last week's teaching and designing a simple letterhead. After lunch, Su's colleague Carole came round to talk about redesigning our back garden - there are big changes afoot, which will be reported here as and when they happen. Looks as if it will be Phase One at the weekend... The afternoon gradually turned bright and sunny, so I took Bella for a walk without a coat for first time in months.
Major works happening around the back of the next terrace up the hill. Not sure if this RSJ has been taken out or is waiting to be used in the rebuilding.
The light was beautiful.
Daisies are coming out. 
A lone crocus flower. 
The light through this hedge caught my eye.
New people moved in to a house on Charlcombe Way on Monday, and have got the tree surgeons in already to clear the rather overgrown patch of land they have. This was their bonfire, sending smoke and ash over a large part of the hillside.
St David's Day tomorrow, and the daffodils are out on cue.  This picture is especially for my brother Robin, AKA "Taff" for some strange reason:-)!
Lovely views over Little Solsbury with a great aircraft trail.
More catkins have burst out - a particularly long example here.
We were a little early for sunset photographs, but caught the pink tinge bathing the landscape.
Passed this hedge in bloom - lovely scent.
Soon we are off to the Little Theatre to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. This has a great cast, and the trailers look entertaining, but it got a pretty bad review in the Observer on Sunday.  We will go and judge for ourselves, and let you know the verdict in tomorrow's blog post

This day a year ago, there was no "this day". The last February 29th was in 2008, when we had not even started this blog, and before we had Bella to even think about after her. We still had our much loved collie, Tempo. This is him photographed after a long burst of one of his favourite activities - diving after sticks in the sea at Wembury in Devon.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Shopping, Picnic & Flamenco

Awake quite early again to another grey and overcast day.  Cup of coffee in bed and some gentle iPad browsing while Su read her book.  She is gradually defeating the sinus affliction and cough that she brought back as a souvenir from Hong Kong.  We are both still feeling quite sleepy, though this may be due to me cutting out caffeine (seems to have stopped my migraines).  A small sacrifice, especially as we drink decent decaffeinated coffee. Took Bella out for our morning circuit past this riot of bulbs in a neighbours' front garden.
After breakfast, it was the joys of shopping at Morrisons for me before coming home, and preparing the van for a trip up to Westonbirt.  The first thing we did when we got there was to tip Bella out to chew a big stick while we brewed up and ate our sandwiches. Then it was off to see what changes have happened since our last visit. This inconvenient convenience is one.
The branches on this tree shone out through the greyness.
The darling buds of February…
This odd-looking tree is a Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis).  It stands about ten feet tall and provides a hideaway when in leaf.
We also read the label on this tree, which turns out to be a Snowdrop Tree (Halesia carolina). Must look at it closely through Spring and Summer to see what its flowers are like.
As ever, the dogwood provided a splash of brilliant colour.
A lovely stand of silver birches. 
Great lichen on a very old maple
Tonight we are off to Bristol to see some flamenco - Juan Martin at St George's (review tomorrow). Looking forward to it!

This day a year ago, I walked Bella in Victoria Park earlyish to take the car into the garage only to realise that I was a week early! Must have been distracted by still waiting to see if my application for severance had been approved…

Monday, 27 February 2012

So Much for Spring

No sunshine this morning, rather shades of Hong Kong weather with a misty, overcast start and then some drizzle later on. Su's iPad hasn't been behaving itself, so I took it in to the Apple Store to get it looked at. No question that it was a hardware fault, and they replaced it for a brand new one there and then.
I'd arranged to meet up with Su at Prior Park garden centre. Walked there via this tunnel by the station where taxis queue - all of them with engines running, so not a very pleasant experience.
This is the back of the station - a grand frontage that most travellers don't see
An example of centre of town tagging on the bridge over the river.
 The view from the bridge looking towards Bathampton.
Walking along Widcombe Parade, saw these computer-savvy legal business signs.
Here is the White Hart, where we have had some very nice meals.
 Croci in full flower.
 Railings that escaped the WWII collection for "tank building".
Handed over the new iPad and had a coffee and a spot of lunch with Su at the garden centre before coming back home to find yet another glove abandoned.
Su spotted this in the local free magazine.  I love it - "No mole, no fee"!! 
Took Bella out for a stroll around Charlcombe Valley. Well I strolled, and she chased after yet another ball she found - and got quite out of puff, but happily.
In the time we were away in the Orient, catkins have appeared on lots of trees. Here are some particularly juicy looking ones.
This day a year ago, Su confessed her plans to get me to consider getting a camper van. It took less than six months to achieve, even if we don't have a big peace symbol on ours (yet! Although I do have a Cuban Che Guevara sticker that needs a home…). We plan to go and spend a large part of tomorrow up at Westonbirt in our van, weather permitting.

Sunday, 26 February 2012


Woke at 4.30, as did Su who got up and made us a cup of tea and some toast. After another couple of hours sleep we finally got up to another lovely bright day.
Walked Bella to get the paper (which I still haven't managed to read all of, along with yesterday's - but we have caught up with quite a few recorded TV programmes). Birdsong all around provided the soundtrack to a lovely Spring morning. Passed the two cars which had removal notices on, and saw they now both have new tax discs - but still haven't moved. The daffodils are also starting to pop up en masse. I look forward to seeing how these regimented ones look when they bloom.
The BT Infinity box that was tagged has been resprayed - wonder how long it will stay so pristine?
Had a slow morning - we both have post aircraft sinuses as well as time disorientation, so playing a gentle bit of ball with Bella in the front garden sunshine was about all I could manage for a while.
Later on we went for a walk up to Charlcombe church. On the way, we saw that the toad- and frog-friendly road closure has started. This doesn't completely stop traffic - local residents come through, and some sneaky non-residents, but it makes the road a lot quieter. A treat after Hong Kong's bustle.
Amphibians welcome.
We sat in the garden of the churchyard, and managed to keep Bella out of the holy well - she keep herself happy chewing sticks.
The apple tree we sat under was covered in lots of lichen, set off well by the blue sky.
The church.
Snowdrops were out in profusion around the cemetery.
Evidence of former railings - maybe they were sawn off for tanks in World War Two?
Winter flowering cherry in full bloom on the way back.
Yet another entrant in my collection of lost gloves photographs.
We have another graffiti artist in operation - somebody very tall, or carrying a stepladder from the height of this tag!
This day a year ago, Su had a dayschool at the Open University building in Bristol.  This was the cue for some dim sum ( a bit of a them these days!) and a wander around the centre in Spring sunshine.  Took in a few sights, including these Morris Men.