For once the weather (almost) behaved itself and the rain held off for our early evening Olympic Torch Relay event. The sky was very grey, the wind was blowing, but the streets were packed to welcome the cavalcade...
You can see from the last picture how hot the torch is, and running in front of so many people must be nerve wracking. This is Maxine Smith who has battled breast cancer, what an inspiration.
There was a large Police presence, especially motorcycle riders. One stopped in front of us, got a special pannier off the bike and had a snack! I thought the people on the sponsor's buses were doing well, they looked knackered from all the jumping and waving they've been doing all day.
I'm still undecided whether it was a once-in-a-lifetime event or a waste of taxpayer's money, but I wouldn't have missed seeing it...
Yesterday was the first of a three day First Aid in the Workplace course. I am being trained up to provide not only emergency treatment, but also to cover in MI. It took me three years of working where I do before I found out that MI stood for Minor Injuries...
So far we have rolled around on the floor doing role play for the recovery position and basic bandaging. Fortunately I have been with a colleague all day, I'm not very good with being manhandled by people I don't know. Out of twelve on the course only three are women, the rest are big blokes from the local quarries. They are all on refresher courses and very capable. Also very funny, with lots of anecdotes.
The trainer is also fun, which makes all the difference. When we were 'doing' nosebleeds she asked us what were the most common causes. Of course someone had to mention nose picking. Ah, she said, I can tell you a good one about that.
Her friend ran into the back of another car at a roundabout, not a big thump and it didn't set off the air bags. Friend hopped out of the car to check on the other driver, only to see his windscreen dripping with blood. She called an ambulance.
As he'd sat in the traffic he had a crafty root up his blower while resting his elbow on the steering wheel. The impact caused his finger to be jammed so far up his hooter it fractured his skull. Let that be a warning...
(Not sure if this link will still be up this morning, but it's very funny!!)
On Sunday I had to do my weekly grocery shop. Things have been a bit hectic around here lately, I'll fill you in one day.
Anyway, I'm in a well known supermarket, at the checkout, tired and sick of standing in the queue. There is a young woman at the till, let's call her Amanda.
Amanda didn't make eye contact, didn't say 'Hello' as staff usually do, didn't get any bags ready, didn't have any manners. She did have filthy hands and a real attitude problem.
After paying, without her offering cash back or saving stamps or all the usual guff I said to her 'Amanda, you don't like your job, do you?'
She didn't bat an eyelid before replying 'No'. 'I can tell' I said 'You didn't speak to me or make my day and nicer.'
She laughed. While picking at the nails on her dirty hands. She really wasn't bothered.
I was sorely tempted to make a comment to The Management. But it's not really my style. I'd tried to tell her in a pleasant way how rude she was being, but when someone isn't bothered they're unlikely to feel threatened or ashamed.
Jobs are hard enought to come by. Amanda, sod off and give someone pleasant a crack at the whip.
He's been in the garden over seven weeks now, at least that's when we first noticed he'd taken up residence. He doesn't really look as if any of his feathers have grown much.
I think birds only regrow feathers when they moult and I'm not sure when that happens in crows, whether it's seasonal or individual. And if he never gets any back, what happens then?
This picture was taken on one of the lovely days earlier in the week but the poor chap stays in his tree come what may, including high winds and torrential rain. I feed him twice a day and put out clean water. He knows where to look for the mealworms, grated cheese and sultanas now. Occasionally there will be a bit of chicken...
It's 10oC and throwing it down. I mean really pouring, torrential rain. The lawns are waterlogged and you really can count the dry days this month on one hand.
It is mind numblingly depressing, day after day of cold and wet with the odd lovely day in between. Didn't it used to be the other way round, in the good old days?
I'm wearing winter clothes again and people are wearing wellies as the roads and paths are awash.
I know other people consider a downpour refreshing or 'good for the garden' but spare a thought for the places, like here, where it is truly terrible, and has been all year. I can't imagine there'll be any hay making going on any time soon...
So much has been spoiled or cancelled already, Jubilee parties to name but one, and next week the Olympic torch will be coming through the town. I do so hope it will be fine, or at least dry, for the occasion.
I'm tempted to disable comments today. I know mentioning the weather is unpopular, well-mentioning bad weather. But this is a web log, a diary of my goings-on, and this weather is curtailing all kinds of plans.
As I was feeding the cats this morning there was the unmistakable sound of baby blackbird from above the kitchen window. Fledging taking place! I think this one is maybe the last out of the nest as the parents have been feeding babies in the general melee which grows underneath this, and look at the size of it!
The hydrangea is quite high up and I'd been wondering how they coped with the descent...
Well, this one took it in stages and could fly well enough. It was very vocal and a bit miffed when mum and dad didn't appear straight away.
Thanks to everyone for the commiserations over the water damage. After the drying out period it's mainly just ugly staining and a mess in the bathroom tiling department. We should be able to do all the repairs ourselves, it's just a bugger that the bathroom was new last year and some of the tiles were broken. Isn't it funny how repairing something takes so much longer than the original work? I think it's just a good job I found the mess when I did and hadn't gone off for the day to leave it seeping.
All is quiet in the garden at the moment, baby has made it to the ground somewhere and taken cover. That just leaves the nest by the back door, the second one in that place this year. There are babies in there as I hear them when the parents go into the depths of the honeysuckle, but they are very well hidden. Crow continues to live in the front laurel...
I nipped out yesterday for a bit of shopping, when I returned the kitchen was flooded. My immediate thought was 'That bloody fridge again!' Unfortunately not. Fridge water doesn't usually drip through the light fittings.
I ran upstairs to look in the bathroom up there, only to find it in a similar state, but more like a sauna, hot soapy water... so up to the top floor where the girls' small bathroom is. Dry as a bone.
Down to the cellar to shut off the water, the electric was already off as the fuses had tripped out. Back up to the middle bathroom to throw piles of towels onto the floor to try to prevent damage to the floor that was only fitted last summer. Back to the kitchen to do same.
To cut a long, wet story short... a pipe underneath the top bath had completely come away from its joint (they're those push fit modern jobbies) and so the shower water from No 2's rather late ablutions was just pouring through the floorboards. All the tiling on a boxed in bit/shelves had to be ripped off to get to it. The middle (my) bathroom is not too bad, the kitchen ceiling is dreadful and the floor in there is cleaner than it's ever been!!
Going to bed with a candlestick was novel, there's still no electric on the middle floor, I'll give it another day to dry out before trying it again. I didn't sleep very well, imagining all kinds of horrors, like the ceiling falling down or the electrics exploding.
The kitchen ceiling will be the new project, it'll have to be repaired a bit and sealed before painting. I hate painting ceilings...
The birds like it when I've been out doing a bit of weeding or cutting the lawn, it makes their foraging a little easier. In this case I was weeding, and tying up roses that have been blown all over the place.
This one was even singing with his enormous mouthful of various titbits for the babies back in the nest. The one that's under the bathroom window in the climbing hydrangea. The one that desperately needs cutting back before I have to do it by abseiling off the roof to get to the top bits.
It almost didn't rain yesterday, there was a bit of drizzle and a cold North wind. But that counts as a fine day at the moment. A colleague blithley told me we are going to get three months' worth of rain in the next three days, then it would be 'great' for the rest of the summer. I'll keep you posted on that...
Last week I got a couple of emails from a well known satellite tv company, the one in fact with whom I have a contract.
The first informed me I was due to have my new tv installed in three days' time, the second requesting feedback regarding the whole experience. These missives had both 'my' reference and contact telephone number on them.
I dismissed them as some sort of spam as they'd spelled my name incorrectly and I've had a contract for years. Then another came and I read it more closely and decided to give them a ring.
After jumping through hoops, singing the National Anthem backwards and making a pact with the Devil, I managed to talk to someone about an account that isn't even mine.
Turns out there's someone with the same name as me, almost. Who has an email address that's the same except for one e being an a in her case. Well, for starters, I didn't think it was possible to get email addresses that were so close in spelling. So close that my address was put into the system and the othe woman didn't actually know when her fitter was arriving. They said they'd call her to sort it out as my saying it was my email that was registered against my account with them didn't count...
Yesterday I got another message, this time saying my (her) account was to be suspended as I (she) hadn't responded to requests for...blah, blah. So I thought I'd cut to the chase and phone her myself, after all I had the number. Only someone has entered that wrong as well, so the poor woman is uncontactable. Unless I email her, I'm pretty sure I can't go wrong there.
I decided to leave it alone for now and when she's cut off the satellite company, the well known one, can explain it all to her.
I do wish I could explain to you just how much fun I had yesterday. I can't seem to find the words, but I did find these people, in my fridge.
Yes, they were on an ice floe that was the size of a small principality, just claiming it for Blighty. Like any self-respecting berg only around ten percent of it was visible to the unconcerned eye. The rest was busy stealthily filling the fridge with its ever increasing bulk. I imagine if it had been left unattended then in a few months I'd only have been able to keep a tube of lipstick in there.
Because I am from pioneering stock I decided to tackle the problem head on. We, the ice and I, wrestled for a couple of intense hours before I'd had enough and, sick of waiting for it to melt into oblivion, I wrenched the lot out. Embedded shelf included. Job done.
I did also throw a bit of anti bacterial in there and wave a cloth at it. In a nod to sanitation. Though I think just ratching the temperature down a few more degrees would kill as many germs.
This is one of the jobs I hate doing, and therefore I'm unduly proud of myself for completing it before the necessary time. That being when the fridge stops working completely due to build-up. Which it does, regularly.
This state of events could be easily remedied by a) not situating the fridge next to the oven and/or b) purchasing a new one.
As regards to a) there is no-where else for it to go unless a complete remodel of the kitchen were to be undertaken and b) I resent spending money on replacing something that still works, albeit sporadically and badly.
I have contacted Chester Zoo and they are coming post haste to collect the pair of rather aggressive polar bears that had the Expeditionary Force cornered before I fortunately decided to Do Something.
Such a dreary day for taking photos, but this little stool is off to its new owner in a while, so it was this morning or never.
This seems to be a picture lots of people like, and I think it's probably the one I enjoy doing most of all. Years ago when I did these on a much larger scale there were a copule of pictures I got to hating the sight of. And people would request the strangest things. Some of the names were a bit, er, different as well.
Maybe it's time to dust off my pencils and come up with some new designs. I used to find it easier when my own children were small as I was surrounded by the right kind of everyday stuff to inspire me. Now I work with grumpy teenagers and my girls are really young women it's slightly harder to get in the groove.
Crafting hasn't been coming to me easily at all of late. I look at my knitting and look away. Not sure what's going on. Being able to part with at least a third of my stash (so far) on ebay says a lot. I have the materials for a couple of sewing projects and I wonder if a change of MO will do me good. I don't sew very often so perhaps it will speed me out of the doldrums. Before I end up with no wool left at all!!
The baby blackbirds still haven't gone very far, though the parents have pretty much stopped feeding them now. There were two together this morning, on the front lawn. They all go back to the laurel in the back at the end of the day.
Laurel seems to be the roost of choice for the blackbirds and I suspect it gets crowded in there of an evening!
It rained all day again today. Despite the weathermen promising a fine, dry and warmer day. I'm not sure I'd describe 9oC as warm, and with the rain pounding everywhere it couldn't be described as fine.
It feels like summer has been and gone, even though we haven't had midsummer's day yet. I hemmed some linen trousers this afternoon, all the while wondering if it were actually worth it. Fingers crossed.
Tomorrow is the last day of the washed-out half term holiday. I've done some reading, cleaned out a couple of cupboards and ebayed about a third of my yarn stash. But hardly been outside due to the weather, disappointing. You can bet we'll walk into school and the sun will come out!!
The gooseberries are about the ony fruit that looks like having any issue this year. Not my favourite, but beggars and all that...
I've never cut the paeonies before, I usually leave them in the garden. But it's not stopped raining all week and a few of the buds have just rotted. The wind is wrecking the rest. So. inside they're coming, bit by bit, so I can enjoy them. These are my favourite of all the colours, in my last garden I had pink ones and though they were lovely, they weren't as rich as these.
At the moment it's raining so hard outside it looks as though it's foggy. I was just watching Crow bobbing around the front garden flapping his wings. Crows like to sit out in rain and maybe he was having a bit of a shower? He doesn't look to have any more feathers, though there's perhaps a glimmer of a tail appearing. That's around four weeks he's spent in the garden so far, at least since we noticed him! Not sure what we'll do if his feathers never grow back, but he seems to be happy enough where he is, with two meals a day laid on...