Saturday, 31 March 2012

Laid Back Day and Record Blog Month

A long lie-in this morning followed by a leisurely breakfast and read of the paper. Eventually got our act together to go out and do some shopping.  Decided to go to the Co-op at Saltford/Keynsham, stopping opposite this gateway at some roadworks on the way. More tyre patterns in the earth, and a great gatepost.
The joys of shopping beckoned!
Very co-operative shopping trolleys…
Even though the blue skies have gone for the moment, there is still lots of blossom out.
Went for a coffee and a bite to eat at Whiteways Garden Centre, passing through the aquatic section on the way. The fish weren't very co-operative at posing for the camera!
A cornucopia of garden ornamentation.
Who could resist having one of these characters to adorn their garden :-)?
Took Bella for a later walk than usual under threatening skies - some spatters of rain before we left, but luckily no more while we were out. Yet more blossom.
And on the way back home, some more blossom peeking over a tall garden fence.
Many thanks to all our readers. This month's blog has again seen a record number of pageviews. At the time of writing this post, we have seen a 49% increase on last month's number  of 1,697 - itself an all-time record! Any feedback from our readers as to what brought you here would be much appreciated - please leave a Comment on this post.
This day last year, Su went to yoga and then walked Bella on the racecourse. While there, she took a picture of the metal plaque at Prospect Stile ( a much better one than mine from yesterday). A cyclic return almost to the day!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Wot No Sun?

For the first time in what seems like weeks, we opened the blinds this morning to see not a hint of sunshine. This state of affairs continued for a lot of the day.
There was a brief moment when I thought that the mists might part and the clouds might lift, but it was not to be.
These daffodils are coming to the end of their time. Mells holds a Daffodil Fair every Easter weekend - at this rate they are going to have to rename it!
The sky kept teasing us with hints that it would clear up.
Spent the morning getting a connection to Usenet sorted out - only when I did not put in my (optional) ISP username and password, did the application I am using let me download a file. Counterintuitive or what? The assignments from my students in Hong Kong have all arrived - most impressively ahead of the deadline. After lunch, the skies finally cleared. We went up to Bath racecourse for a walk, parking in the car park of the newly refurbished Blathwayt Arms.
You can actually walk the dogs up there on race days, when you definitely would want to stay off the race track.
Coming up towards the finishing line, and the transmission mast for TV footage to be sent from.
A very wide range of enterprises advertise along the side of the track - from Bath Ales to Linen Hire...
Great patterns in this ploughed field. Loads of rooks were working their way across it as we approached. The collective noun for rooks is a parliament - they certainly make as much noise, but probably more sense:-). 
We came up to the far corner of the race course to Prospect Stile, and looked across to Kelston Round Hill.
There is an engraved metal plate inset on a trigonometry point there, showing direction and distances to towns and points of interest, such as the White Horse at Westbury, the Severn bridges, Wells, Kelston MIll etc.
We got talking to a chap from Cheshire whotold us that the other day he had been walking along in a daydream following the rail at the side of the track. He had assumed that would bring him in a circle back to where he started. It was only when he ended up at the road at the end of the race course that he came to his senses and realised that he had been following the rail leading to a straight section of track, rather than the circuit of the main track.  He had a much longer walk as a result, and now pays much more attention to his whereabouts!

The ground at the end of the course is very hard going.
Coming back to the stands, the clouds were most impressive.
Resetting part of the rail alongside the track (not the bit the chap from Cheshire went astray with).
This day a year ago, saw my final year project students for the last time before they submitted their work. Then I put a load of books I no longer needed on a table outside my office for students and colleagues to help themselves to - most gratified that they nearly all went by the end of the afternoon. Came home and did a bit of time on our patch of allotment, meeting this rather distinctive cat on the way.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Blooming Times

Another bright start to the day - but with some clouds in the sky!
As well as a TV keyring, I have brought back a bit of a cold from Dublin as a souvenir. So I cleaned the kitchen floor to ward it off before we went  out for a cup of coffee at Prior Park Garden Centre. Lovely blossom there.
Just by the canal, there was a big crane doing something big-craneish.
Went to the post office sorting office to pick something up, on the way passing this church and more blossom.
Coming along by the river, yet more blossom - it is a great year for it, but not good for people affected by tree pollen.
Went round the Circus on the way home.
Out with Bella, even more flowers have come out.
The first bluebells of Spring - Spanish ones rather than the native variety.  Don't normally see these out until late April at the earliest.
More flowers framed against the sky.
After clear blue skies all day, some hint of more.
This was the satellite view of the U.K. on Tuesday - like an atlas.
This day a year ago, Su endured the joys of shopping at Cribbs causeway, but succeeded in buying a pair of sandals. Later, we went to see a Woody Allen film. Su liked the way the sun reflected off these car roofs to make them look like pools of water.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Back from Dublin

After posting the blog last night, met up with Luke Clancy in the bar of my hotel. We chewed the fat for a few hours and drank too much. He showed me his promotional give-aways for a play he has written - the mind boggles!
Woke up this morning far brighter and bushy-tailed than I had any right to be. Walked from the hotel to the National College of Art & Design, taking photographs as I went.
Great lamp posts in the centre of town.
Not sure what inspired this addition, but it made me smile.
Not sure what this frontage is for, but it's an impressive piece of neo-classical architecture.
St Audoens Church next door.
Graffiti and stencil. Better quality than our local street artists in Bath.
The entrance to the National College of Art and Design. It used to be a whiskey distillery, and has lots of original features still surviving.
You know you're in Eire when the postboxes are green…
Held the PhD viva to a successful conclusion - the candidate has passed (subject to minor amendments). Afterwards we all went for lunch, then I had to shoot off to the airport to catch the plane back to Bristol. Landed early so walked up towards the entrance, where I flagged down Su when she came to pick me up.
We went for a lovely meal at The Carpenter's Arms in Stanton Wick, who are having a Fish Festival at the moment. Lovely magnolia in bloom outside in the dusk.
This day a year ago, had a fragmented day finished off with a quick bit of iPad maintenance for Su, followed by the second part of an 80s Disarmament Campaign based "Waking the Dead". (This took me back to those heady days, when Su & I met). This was after we'd enjoyed this delicious meal (including our own fresh broccoli).