Monday 25 February 2013

Just a Minute

Every Monday evening, while I am feeding Jade by throwing her Science Diet nuts around for her to chase and eat, hubby and I are convulsed with laughter as we listen to various celebrities playing Just a Minute on BBC Radio 4. In case you are not familiar with this game, I’ll explain the rules. The players take turns to start and the starter is given a topic on which to expound for 60 seconds. The others try to catch them out in repetition, deviation or hesitation.  If someone is successful in this, that player takes over the chat, trying to complete the 60 seconds. Points are awarded for reaching the end and for accurate interruptions. After an inaccurate interruption, the point goes to the speaker.

Nicholas Parsons is in charge and tonight the players were the comedians, Paul Merton, Julian Cleary, Jenny Eclair and Richard Herring. Poor Richard came last and Nicholas excused him for not having played before, although I actually found references to his appearances on the panel in June last year.

The winner was Julian Cleary who gave a perfect, and hilariously smutty, full minute on ‘my potting shed’ without interruption. It doesn’t happen very often; it’s really difficult to pontificate for that long without repeating yourself, hesitating or going off track. Anyway  it sounded like he got a standing ovation from the audience, so well done, Julian.

Paul Merton is so clever, he usually wins, but he was wasn’t on form tonight and only came third. Jenny Éclair was second despite a seeming fixation on Marks & Spencers at Marble Arch in London, to which she thinks a visit is a great adventure.

Anyway, it does make us laugh and lights up a dreary Monday when needed. I'm thinking of adding it to the itinerary of our  next family get together, probably at Christmas.

You can listen on line at BBC i-player. Example here.

Friday 22 February 2013

Our Front Garden

When we moved to this house in 2009, the back garden looked like a building site and was a big project for us to deal with. I posted about it quite a bit over the following year or so. Here's an example.

Meanwhile, the front of the house was neglected and it certainly had no kerb appeal. The one redeeming feature was the ornamental cherry tree, though even that needed some tlc.

Eventually my husband started to lift some of the paving stones out there, and immediately hurt his back and had to stop. "Don't worry", he told me, "I'll get back to it." Three years later and I was in despair of ever getting the heavy work done so I could do some planting and make it look as though we cared about it. I had several times left messages for local gardeners and handymen  but never got a call back or managed to even speak to anyone about getting a quote.

Then  just over a week ago someone knocked on the door looking for that kind of work. First he pruned the  cherry tree into a neat shape. Then he took up the old paving stones and dug out the wild bit beyond them. He filled in the tiny pond which had already been drained and was just a hole in the ground. He levelled it all off, leaving a little of the wild stuff around the tree as I requested, and added a low concrete boundary. The final job was putting down a membrane and topping it with shale. And last Friday I was left with this.

I am over the moon. Yesterday I took time off to go out to a garden centre and buy some bamboo edging to go around the tree area and some primrose plants. Hubby is going to build a trough to go under the window and hide the unsightly cable. In the meantime, I really hope I can manage to get out there this weekend and put primroses in the wall and the pot. That will do for a start.


Tuesday 19 February 2013

Sunshine Over Holes Bay

We walked Jade at Holes Bay today. The sun shone and this has been such a rare occurrence recently, I just had to share it. I have to admit that I didn’t take the photo today. In fact it is over three years old. But the views haven’t changed and a photo taken today would be much the same. Our walk was a pleasant interlude in a day spent researching and writing about care for the elderly and the new funding changes proposed by the government for 1917.

Sunday 17 February 2013

Exotic Bird Sighting

pic by Prabhatgupta at Wikimedia Commons

A few weeks ago our area was swamped with twitchers because there had been a sighting of a South African hoopoe nearby. I kept my eyes open but didn’t get a glimpse myself. But this morning when I took Jade to our deserted park, there it was strutting around under the trees and every so often dipping its head to forage for some morsel it fancied. At first Jade saw it too and moved towards it so that it flew off. I thought that was that, then we came round an evergreen and there it was again, this time in the open ground about 10 feet away, giving me a great view of its ruff and striped wings. I stood and watched it for about 5 minutes before we continued our morning stroll.

Monday 11 February 2013

The Start of a Beautiful Friendship?

I took Jade up to London for the weekend  to see Eryn and her mum and to meet Rafi. It wasn't a resounding success. Jade turns out not to be the mothering type. Inside the house she barely tolerated the little upstart living in her second home, and with whom she had to compete for the affections of the three people she considers hers. We had a few growly and chasing incidents, though noone got hurt. It turned her right off her Science Diet nuts, so probably a good thing we were only there for two days.

When we went for walks though it was different. The dogs had a great time running around after each other, and Jade watched the puppy training with interest but turned up her nose at the puppy treats on offer.

The pictures were taken in Nonsuch Park on Sunday morning when we went for a walk in the rain, both dogs wearing their raincoats - first time for Rafi. Wonder how long before he grows out of it. The boots and the hand belong to Eryn, for whom he was performing a perfect sit.

Thursday 7 February 2013

Happy Pic, Not so Happy Incident

I was trawling Picasa looking for an idea for this blog post and, when I saw this one I thought I’d use it as an example of one of my better action shots from last summer. Have to admit I’m not very good at them.

I also thought it was a nice, happy picture. Then I remembered what happened shortly after. Some boys arrived and tried to claim the slide for themselves. At the top of it, the girls got pushed around and eventually Eryn was hit in the face. She came back down the steps crying with her friend, while the boys laughed and took possession of all four slide lanes. 

My daughter wasn’t having that. She marched the boy concerned off to find his mother and complain. The woman was partly at fault as she was supposed to be supervising her child, but was actually found at the café having a drink. However she did come over and make her boy apologise and then they left the park.

It was a shame as the girls had been so enjoying themselves, and this put a real damper on our afternoon in Exmouth. I think it was good thing we were nearby or something worse could have happened.

Monday 4 February 2013

Footsteps in the Sand

After all the wet weather we’ve been having, our decisions about where to walk with Jade each afternoon are based on where there is less water and mud, and the choices are more limited than usual. It’s while since we did the Upton Country Park circuit or went in the woods. Hamworthy Park has a tarmacced footpath bordered by grass or the beach. Holes Bay has one too and we can choose to avoid the grassy areas we sometimes take.

First thing every morning I don my wellies and brave the local park, hoping Jade will not choose to do her business in the muddiest areas. Of course, she is blithely unaware of this and hares happily around just the same as usual. Sometimes I have to wash off her legs and belly properly when we get home. In the afternoons though, after walking we are often doing shopping and other errands, and it’s a pain having to change from boots and shoes in the car, so we try to stay out of the mud.

One of the beaches is perfect when I have trainers or my posh snowboots on, and about once a week we go to the closest one which is mainly pebbly rather than sandy. On Saturday we actually saw the sun, although we couldn’t really feel it because of the wind, but I was desperate to give Jade a really good run. So we went to Sandbanks beach. And she loved it, rushing ahead over the dunes we crossed to get there and then running around madly. I turned west towards the chain ferry that crosses the entrance to Poole Harbour because if I walked the other way the wind blew the sand up into my face.

The beach was crowded with dogs and walkers all bundled up against the icy wind. Except for one couple – a bride and groom who were posing for photographs. All right for the groom in his long sleeved suit, but the bride’s beautiful dress was strapless, leaving her shoulders and arms completely bare. Poor girl must have been freezing and in danger of contracting pneumonia on her wedding day. Of course it could have been a fashion photo shoot, but I doubt it as there was only one photographer and no sign of a support team.

Part of the way back I had to suffer the flying sand. It didn’t seem to bother Jade at all though. Once we got back to the promenade, we could walk up there and it wasn’t so bad. All in all I was walking for about half an hour and Jade spent most of that time running backwards and forwards so she had her good run. I felt good too after my 30 minutes of bracing sea air.

Writing Tip

Add this to your site