weekend 25-28 may 2007

Friday night, we went to see POTC3. Far too long, far too convoluted, but still huge fun. Best gag: telescopes.

Saturday say us heading to the Maul on Project Rubber Duck, which was achieved. Great fun looking in toy shops and Baby Gap – very nice to have a grandchild to shop for 🙂 Then down to Costco for chicken thighs, a big gammon, pork fillets, duck breasts, part baked baguettes, baked beans, tuna, kabanos, chorizo, various cheese and more.

the rest of the weekend was ear marked for laziness, some freezer cooking, doing the LibDem data input (which has to be in by Jun 1), some parish newsletter stuff (ditto). But then the phone rang at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

would we like to go to lunch on Monday with Helena, Pete’s sister? Their elderly aunt and uncle were over from Finland. Well, yes – but they live in Worthing, which is a 3 hour drive from here. They did invite us to stay over, but we simply don’t have the time, and then there’s the Tribe

so Sunday saw me frantically carving up meat and squeezing it into the freezer, cooking the gammon, discovering my Treo was doing something very strange and rushing out to buy a second phone (SE 750i), going to a tea party for a couple of hours. All the while with this Mac behaving very badly – kernel crash, locking up, etc.

Monday morning early I tried booting the Mac again – corrupted Virtual PC W2K install [aargh], and it won’t see the external Firewire drive with the backup on it. Aargh. Left for Worthing at 8.40, got there at 1 p.m., had nice lunch, perlmonger went with his family to visit his mother in the home. Then swift cup of tea, and we set off back just before 6, getting in at about 8.40 – great run.

now to rebuild this machine – I hate computers.

we went out

tawny eagle
Originally uploaded by ramtops.

we set off from home late morning, intending to have lunch at Barry Island. Unfortunately, so had everyone else, it seemed, and there wasn’t a parking place to be had.

our intention was to visit Barry Hawking Centre and what passes for their web site says that there’s a cafe, so we knew that *some* sustenance would be available, so we pressed on.

the cafe was closed. The grounds were incredibly dreary, there were hardly any bits of information about the birds, there weren’t all that many birds, in fact – well, not birds of prey (apart from quite a few eagle owls), but lots of hens and swans. I guess the chickens are there to produce chickies for the raptors to scoff, and the swans … well, your guess is as good as mine.

I’d phoned to see what time they were doing flight demonstrations; 12.30 and 3, they said, so we made sure we were there in good time. We hung about the flying area, where absolutely no sign of any birds or flying was going on, so we returned to the kiosk to enquire. “Oh no” , they said. “The falconer didn’t turn up.”

what sort of hawking centre doesn’t have its own falconer, FFS? You have to fly your birds regularly. The place really is a shambles – run down, untidy, and very disappointing.

so, should you be looking for somewhere to go on a day out, may I strongly recommend that you don’t bother with this place .

but there was this beautiful tawny eagle, so not all was lost.

we did other things too – more on that story later.

weekend 3-5 feb 07

bit of a misnomer, really, because my weekend started on Friday night with the Constituency LibDem dinner (or even earlier with a long overdue haircut). I expect most people would expect such a dinner to be the epitome of boredom, but I enjoyed it; these things are much more fun now that I know most of the people involved. The food was ok, but not great – although most people seemed to think it was. What do they eat normally? Main course was a very indifferent duck dish, which just made us yearn for properly cooked duck.

Saturday saw me up and off to inspect our (as in the branch) newly acquired Risograph printer, which has been found a home in Nailsea. We couldn’t have a play, as it has no paper drum (on order), but it’s quite an impressive beast. I nearly didn’t make it as the SatNav couldn’t find the place, but fortunately I’d been wise enough to print a Google Map. Then off to Costco for some bits – they had ducks on special offer, so I bore one home in order to do Proper Duck for dinner.

I got no Private Eye this week – I’m horribly afraid that they’ve finally noticed that I was on a freebie sub – so I went on a hunt for one. Very few people carry it outside city centres; not at Nailsea Tesco petrol station or supermarket, nothing in our village, nothing in Shirehampton (where I stopped on the way back from Avonmouth). In the end I had to head toward Bristol, but I found one eventually.

then home for a bit of catching up on the computer, and the cooking of the aforementioned duck. It was anointed with honey and soy sauce, then roasted, and served with roast spuds, and cauliflower and brocolli cooked in vegetable bouillon.

Sunday was a bit hectic. Especially after some cat (my money is on Iggy) pissed on the TFT monitor in the server room. This initially took out the power to the whole house, and also temporarily buggered the KVM. And the UPS on the linux server seems to have a shagged battery, and the huge beast in the study clearly needs a new battery, and all that took a couple of hours to sort out.

then perlmonger cooked a nice fry up, then we went off on the monthly Village Walk. A lovely day for it, and we ambled round footpaths for a couple of hours. Home to wrestle with PagePlus DTP (not much fun in a Windows VM), and processed 74 photographs taken by P on Friday night – quick crop, tart with Photoshop, etc., then uploaded to somewhere that they could see them. Then we hurled beef in ale (from the freezer) with potatoes and cabbage down ourselves, and went up to the Legion for the monthly quiz, where we form a team called The Aliens with Pat and Dave (WANOLJ). We came 10th – not stellar, I grant you, but it’s only our second outing, and we are just starting to get the measure of it. That’s my excuse, anyway.

and now it’s Monday, and the whole bloody thing starts again …


kestrel : bird on the wire
Originally uploaded by ramtops.

I slept till about8.45, which is almost unheard of for me. We flung back the curtains (well, you know what I mean) to find a gorgeous bright sunlight outside, so decided to go for a walk. Before even a cup of tea had been drunk!

we were out for about three hours – all round the fields on the village circular walk on the north side of the village, through the sheep and cabbage, then down to the farm shop for chicken, black pudding, bacon, gammon and potatoes, then over Weston Road, and through the fields to the railway path (where Pete spotted this lovely lady) and home.

then I made some scones as a late brunch, baked the aforeposted sossidge rolls, cooked a roast chicken and accoutrements, and collapsed in front of “Gideon’s Daughter” which we’d kept on the Tivo, and was well worth a second watch.

and then we dragged our exhausted skelingtons to bed 🙂

weekend 2-3 dec 06

in memoriam
Originally uploaded by ramtops.

another nice one – although we failed to go to etriganuk‘s party due to the horrors of the UK train network, which is a shame; we’d have loved to be there.

Saturday: lazy morning, then a couple of hours round the village taking more photographs for the web site, including some of the Polish Airmen’s Memorial in the church yard. Then we went into Bristol – onnabus! – to buy a new lens for my D70. I wanted an everyday lens with a bit more zoom, and ended up with a Sigma 18-200 which has a) more zoom, and b) not much more weight – weight is a problem with my hands. Two hundred and thirty earth pounds, which is not bad for over the counter sales.

and I bought the Feral Cardigan – this called to me loudly when we cut through M&S on perlmonger‘s last hospididdle visit, but I was good and didn’t buy it. And then sulked mightily until Pete said we’d better go and have another look.

Saturday evening was a tub of mutton and date tagine from the freezer, and X-Factor. Good riddance to the dreadful McDonalds, I say.

Sunday morning I made a batch of carrot and coriander muffins for breakfast, then faffed about for a bit before being Good, and taking the plastics to Sainsburys for recycling, and doing the shopping.

made a pot roast out of a piece of topside and half a bottle of red wine that had gone over a bit, then out on the monthly Village Walk, yomping up very steep and very muddy fields and paths – I found this hard going, and my knees were Not Happy, but at least I did it. I think the glucosamine are helping quite a bit.

home for a rest, and to consume the pot roast, with potatoes and cabbage from the Riverford box – it was utterly delicious; probably the best I’ve made evah. And then – astonishingly – the Jordans sallied forth to meet Pat and Dave (WANOLJ but are known to many of my readers) where we formed a team for the Quiz Night at the British Legion Club in the village. We had a whale of a time, although what inspired Dave to play the joker on the Classical Music round, ghod only knows. We called ourselves The Aliens, and we will be making a regular event of this, I’m sure.

all in all, an excellent weekend.

weekend 5 nov 06

having made vague plans to go Out to celebrate my birthday earlier in the week, I didn’t feel like it on Saturday, so we stayed home (mostly) and started the site for the local LibDems (which I have finally got my hands on). We did venture down to North Street for lunch and veggie shopping. And, for once, the health food shop had four almond crossants left, so that was Sunday’s brekkie sorted.

on Sunday, I woke up with the worst arthritic/rheumatic pains I’ve felt for a long time, and could barely move, so perlmonger was a hero and went to Sainsburys. I finished the web site, and then we did something I’ve been meaning to do for *ages* – we went on the monthly Village Walk. Very enjoyable – through the woods and round the edges of the golf course for an hours and a half. I’d have enjoyed it more had I a) been hurting less, and b) worn proper boots – I assumed it was a stroll through the village, not a yomp 🙂 But we will do it again when we’re home on first Sundays (which are also Slow Food Market days in Bristol).

Harry who runs the walk was looking for a couple of volunteers to help, so we raised our hands – nice to get involved with something like that, and it will get us out into the fresh air.

came home made a batch of bee in ale, (obviously that should be “beef”, but I rather like the idea – not much eating on a bee, mind) cooked a potato and spinach gratin for our supper, and collapsed on the sofa.

nice weekend, in all.

weekend 28-29 oct 06

after fending off a hack attack on Friday night on the server/IP that hosts Newswireless.net, we were a bit worried as to whether we could get away, but it seemed to die down reasonably quickly. We did wonder whether it was a fishing expedition, to see if we were alert and responsive … and our ISP has all the logs, so we shall be going through them later.

on Saturday morning, I strimmed perlmonger‘s hair, and made a batch of banananananana and pumpkin seed muffins, then we set forth for Oxon, bearing said muffins, stopping only to consume a brekker at the greasy spoon on Hotwell Road.

we arrived at Mr and Mrs Keogh’s cottage in Killington at about 3.45, and a very pleasant time was had watching the bonfire and fireworks (with Sarah, Sara and Zara, to name but three – how confusing :), scoffing loads of lovely cakes, having a pub supper and a late natter with our hosts, and Steve and Lynn who arrived very late. perlmonger was extremely social, and fell fast asleep on the sofa, but then he is a very tired old badger at the moment.

Mrs K is a keen gardener, and we left bearing butternut squash, raspberries (in nearly Nov!), spinach, chillis and peppers from the greenhouse, and loads of lovely apples from their orchard. She also did us up a lovely autumn bouquet from her flower garden.

we came home via Dyrham Park, a National Trust property near Bath. Went round the house, and had a good tramp round the beautiful park and gardens, before having a cream tea (hurrah!) in the restaurant. Most of the NT properties close at the end of October, apart from the gardens, so we probably won’t be doing much more before the spring, which is a shame.

so a cracking weekend, once Friday night’s unpleasantness came to an end.