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1 - Up just before 9am. That was a long sleep!? . . ugggh. Sally had been sick in the kitchen. Not a nice thing to have to clear up on waking - much window condensation to mop up too. . .walked late in the strong winds and sunny spells. The calm before the forecast storm? A couple of big ships cruised in and moored in the shelter of the bay . . right then - project for today - attempting to convert the downstairs hall lights into a two way, linked to the new three gang switch in the kitchen. Unscrewed and lifted a floorboard in the PC room and rolled back the landing carpet and lifted the other already loose boards, to give me full access to all the hallway lights wiring. Spent ages tracing which wire was which from the spaghetti which surrounds the radial spurs junction box, writing on the wires with a CD marker pen. It amused me to put the webcam on while I worked, but I hadn't really thought that through because of course as soon as I got serious with altering things, I had to turn the power off! . things didn't go 'too' badly, and I 'just' managed to squeeze a new length of 'three-core-and-earth' cable down my new conduit to the kitchen switch, despite the single conduit already housing two lengths of 'twin-and-earth' for the kitchen-diner lights. Even more of a triumph/relief was being able to join the old hallway light switch wire to the three core and earth, and pull out the old while dragging the new down to the switch through the existing old flat wire channel, which saved having to do any major works in the hallway at all. Excellent. I'll spare the rest of the excrutiatingly lengthy detail. Suffice it to say, I got there in the end (took until around 6pm!!!!), with the majority of the wiring done at the rear hallway ceiling rose, with the front rose acting as a linked 'slave' kinda. I even succeeded in doing the extra work to acheive the bonus of putting in a wire run from that rose, direct back down to the fusebox. With a short temporary run from the rose to the radial spurs circuit, I have in effect acheived the early makings of a 'proper' lighting RING circuit. Yayyy. :o) . with the wind and rain outside, it was pretty much dark by 4pm, and much of the fiddley/awkward, potentially dangerous work had to be done by torchlight!! Nasty. . when I was finally done, had the power back on, and everything was working ok, I felt almost 'elated'! Every night I've been here, having only the one switch for the hallway lights, and often stumbling back and forth from the kitchen in the dark as a result, has been a source of irritation to me. Finally , FINALLY I can put those lights on and off, as and where I need them. Joy! . I don't consider myself at all a 'houseproud' person. I don't clean as much as I should. There are layers of dust and cigarette ash on everything. What I DO expect, nay DEMAND of my home, is that it should at least be 'functional' in a logical way, and much of the DIY work I do is with that aim in mind. There should be lights and lightswitches where you need them (quite literally to the inch), not where they happen to have ended up - and of course power sockets absolutely everywhere (which in this house, I have every intention in the fullness of time, will even include full weatherproof sockets in both front and back gardens for the lawnmower etc.) . . . Incredibly the weather cleared and the breezy evening walk was under a clear, starfilled sky. Despite the clear starry sky, every now and then, the night was lit up by huge silent flashes. Must have been a thunderstorm in the far distance. Weird effect. Sat in BGdns and watched for a bit . . .ate chopped salad with Mum donated ham sandwiches and a little chocolate. . touched base with BB . . TVd until exhausted early to bed not long after 11pm. And yes - I must admit to occasionaly having found an excuse to wander from room to room throughout the evening - turning the lights on and off - because I could. :o) lololol s
2 - Woke around 6:45am, snoozed on then up around 8am. As forecast, it was blowing an absolute gale, although not 'quite' as much rain as I'd feared there would be. Kinda like it was too windy for heavy rain. . PCd reading the news and such, delaying the inevitable. Eventually got all dressed up in my new waterproof suit for the first time and headed out. Hellish strong gusts of wind but thankfully by then, hardly any rain, made me look rather overdressed! The walk back facing the wind was exhausting. Found 10p and a 'too good to ignore' full length of red tinsel wrapped around the base of a lamppost by the wind. (That will likely be the sole extent of my Xmas decorations this year - maybe wrapped around my salt lamp? lol) . . PCd this as the clouds cleared to let through sunny spells . .Mum called to touch base. Apparantly Uncle TJ is out of hospital and back home . .drank a coffee mug of red wine while making up a huge pot of stew. (Diced potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, frozen peas, garlic and a tin of stewed steak in gravy.) . ate a big bowl full with four pieces of thick bread and butter. . . napped until around 7pm . . walked . . TVd . . BB called . . TVd/PCd until early before bed. sd
3 - Up around 8am. . .walked . .PCd . . popped up to the post office to mail a couple of letters . . PCd some more. A little while ago, my bank account was credited with this years interest on my savings account. The balance in that account is of course now so low, I'll never again receive such a large payment (which I had been relying on as a part of my 'income'!), - but this final interest payment included that period of time early in the year when I temporarily put ALL the money from the house sale in Bristol, into that account. Suffice it to say, it's enough to pay this years council tax and water bills, and then some. With a little money in the bank, I've had a growing desire of late to have a go at owning a printer again. I've been surfing a bit recently having a look at what is available and trying to learn enough about them all, not to make the mistake I made with the last one I owned. i.e. - buy a really cheap one, only to find it is far too expensive to run and the ink cartridges are hard to come by! I put in another couple of hours this morning looking at them all, and trying to find reviews etc, etc, but eventually pretty much gave up in total confusion. Sometimes in this modern consumer age, there is just too much choice - and when you don't have much of a disposable income, it's all the more confusing and vital to try and get it right!!! Somehow I persuaded myself I WAS going to throw my money away on - something - so after a little more surfing, somewhat akin to putting on a blindfold and throwing a dart at a dart-board, I ended up on the PC-World website and ordered myself an Epson DX7450 all in one jobby for £49.99 with free delivery. One of the main reasons I eventually ended up going for that one (apart from the sale price and free delivery - and in spite of not readily finding any user reviews for it!) was the separate ink cartridges, and the apparant online availablity of replacements. . Oh dear. I DO hope it'll be ok and I'll actually be able to afford to use it. Does it come with a USB lead or not? Worry, worry !! . . the more I thought about having a printer again, the more I thought about the thorn in my side that my camera has been to me, for SO long now. Only the second digital camera I ever had was a rather ok 3megapixel and that did me fine for ages, but when that went all permanently blurred, being the cheapskate I am, I made the mistake of buying that 2.1 megapixel one from my sister when she upgraded. It is NOT a good thing to actually go backwards like that - and I've regretted it ever since. It's been ok for little reduced thumbnail snaps on here, but pretty useless for any attempts at 'proper' photos. (Hell - even mobile phones can do better than that these days!) Part of wanting a printer is to be able to maybe get creative with some 'proper' photos and dabble with printing some out (all part of intending to actually get out and about a bit next year and explore where I've ended up living, rather than spend all my days working on the house etc.) . It is well past high time I bit the bullet and invested in a new one. . surfed and surfed - closed my eyes and threw a dart, and ended up on the Dixons website (PC World couldn't deliver one in this postcode area for some reason?) and ordered myself a Samsung S1030 for £89 with free delivery!! . . spent the rest of the day feeling awful about having spent so much and desperately trying to justify it to myself. Huge amount of guilt!? Weird - I mean, it isn't as though I spend a lot on myself is it! I am 'allowed' to have a bit of a life aren't I? No. It's no good - I just feel awful about having spent that money. Probably should have bought an oven instead. Damn. Damn, damn, damn. I feel awful! :o( . . .ate another big bowl of stew with four pieces of thick bread and butter . . napped until woken by the alarm at 7pm . . walked . . returned PS ansaphone message and touched base . .PCd a bit of this . . BB called . . TVd . . ate bowls of cornflakes before to bed around 1:30am.
4 - Up around 7:30am. A little good news on the TV. The teacher jailed by backward nutters in Sudan, for naming a teddy bear Mohamhead had been freed and was safely arrived back in this country. They did a press briefing type thing at the airport, which I found nauseating in terms of how the press demanded she and her son pose in certain ways (heads together, holding hands etc.) just so they could get their 'desired/expected' photo opportunity for the morning papers. What seemed pretty obvious to me was that the teacher and her son didn't have 'that' sort of tactile relationship at all, and there was a very clear uncomfortableness/falseness about forcing them to behave in that way. Even the edited BBC TV reports later, only included the touchy-feely false bits as though everyone immediately lived happily ever after. . .walked . .PCd this. .left Sally at home and drove to shop. I've been putting it off and putting it off, but this morning I decided I was going to head for the 'big' town around the coast. When I went there with PS on the ferry a few months ago, I'd found that electrical shop that sold those hard (impossible) to come by brass-effect spot lights, like I want for the living room ceiling to highlight the alcoves either side of the firebreast (my 'low level' lighting, exactly as I had it in Bristol). Despite the inevitable traffic queues and hassle parking etc, I was determined to go and buy a couple. . Passed a lighting store on the way, and quickly managed to park up and walk back on the offchance they may have some. They didn't have any, so that was a wasted effort. .back in the car and stuck in traffic queues for a while before eventually arriving at the sea front of town. Incredibly I passed a couple of parking spaces on the opposite side of the road, not 'too' long a walk from the shops, so I did a quick circuit at the next roundabout and suprisingly succeeded in immediately finding a free parking space, good for three hours! . walked all the way through the busy, oppressive christmas shopping crowds to the electrical store to ask for a pair of the spotlights. A long wait while the guy fumbled around with his stock computer, only to then be told they didn't have any!! They 'may' have some in the future. They didn't know when. They couldn't order any. They didn't know who made them. They wouldn't tell me who imported them!!? Bizarre - and really frustrating. So weird how brass stuff is now SO undesirable. . did a tour of a handful of charity shops but they are different in busy towns, more expensive, and there was absolutely nothing of interest/use to me. What I did find rather 'out of order' in one of them, was a woman at the counter returning something (clothing I think) and waiting to get a refund. (I became aware of it because the woman on the till had to summon the manager to do the refund.) That seems wrong to me with a charity shop. I mean - after all - it's a shop trying to get money for a charity isn't it. I always figure that if you buy something cheap in a charity shop, it's 'buyer beware' and if it doesn't work out for you, write it off as a personal loss and a straightforward donation to the charity. What do I know? . .very quickly became extremely uncomfortable in the crowds of shoppers. Felt like a totally alien environment to me - lots of people all rushing around spending money (I don't have) on 'stuff' (I don't want). I couldn't get out of there quick enough. Returned to the car and headed back out through town to the pet superstore to stock up on dog food. It was my intention to buy a large number of the big twenty four tin packs of Winalot as per usual, to see me through until well into next year. They didn't have any!!! In fact, for a pet 'superstore', they seemed to have a woefully inadequate stock of tinned food. Ended up buying a strange selection of different types for Sally to try. . . Stopped off at the DIY store for some paint and this and that, but mostly to buy several packs of pipe lagging insulation. They only had one pack left in the store! For goodness sake. It's winter, you'd have thought they'd have stocked up on those! Hmmph. .made the rash decision to buy a tripple pack of polished brass, eyeball recessed spotlights, instead of holding out in the hope of finding a supplier of the other type. I'd always wanted to try the recessed type, but because the ceiling joist locations prevent me from placing them where I really want them, I'd decided to try and get the others. With it looking pretty obvious I'm simply not going to be able to get the other type, I guess I'm simply going to have to compromise on where I locate the eyeball type. . . on to Sainsbury's to do a fairly major shop for food supplies etc. . all in all, I was out of the house for around four hours, spent a fortune, and didn't acheive much of what I'd specifically set out to do!! At least I have enough dog/food supplies etc. to probably mostly see me through until next year before 'having' to repeat the excercise. I HATE shopping! . ate ham rolls and crisps . . napped until 6pm . .switched on my back garden outside light (to check on the weather before walking) and the halogen bulb promptly blew! (Unscrewed plugs and swapped fuses to make sure, but definitely the bulb.) Damn! I've only had that up a few months and hardly bloody used it! WHAT a rip off. What are the chances it was made in China? Really has been that sort of a day all round! :o( . . walked in the strong gusts of wind . . TVd . . touched base with BB . . cooked and ate double burgers in a couple of bread rolls . .TVd. Some good stuff on tonight. The next in that series about the power of the planet, the Dimbleby lecture all about DNA, and then a neat program all about the nature of comets. To bed around 1:30am. s
5 - Up around 8am. . PCd a bit of this . . walked . . headachey and didn't feel so good. Tried to think about getting on with doing something, but just couldn't muster the energy. Actually spent a ridiculous amount of time staring at the living room ceiling trying to figure out where to maybe site the spotlights (within the limitations dictated by where the joists are. I simply cannot put them where I really want them.). Impossible to decide. I think I'm going to have to temporarily wire one up and make my decision after I know how they look lit. .raked up leaves in the back garden. . popped up the ladder and removed the blown bulb from the spotlight. Bizarre. One end of the bulb was actually snapped off!? . walked with Sally up to the local hardware store and bought a replacement for £3. Threw some money away on some 'Cillit Bang' (weird how those awful TV adverts for it are SO effective and make you want to try the stuff), to have a go at removing the unpleasant weird layers of grease that I inherited on all the kitchen units. (I suspect the previous owners lived on fry ups - or maybe had a chip pan fire some time?) No amount of normal cleaning/detergent etc. will touch the stuff, so maybe that Cillit Bang will do the trick? . . back up the ladder in a shower of rain and fitted the new bulb. Back working ok. .experimented with the Cillit Bang on a coin, like on the TV advert, as I'm sure most everyone who's ever bought that stuff has done. It really DOES work like on the advert. . . did dishwashing chores but ran out of steam and left further experiments with the Cillit bang for some other time . . ate a large bowl of stew (yes - I am getting sick of the stuff, day after day! One more bowl full to go!) with four pieces of bread and butter . . .napped the afternoon away until around 5:45pm. Woke feeling much better. . . walked . . got under the floor and roughly fitted the few lengths of pipe insulation I'd got yesterday, to some more of the central heating pipes, just to have them out of the way. Part filled an empty dog food sack I'd kept for the purpose, with a quantity of the gravel and dust from under the floor. All that gravel makes it unpleasant and painful squirming around down there, so I have every intention over time, of clearing it all out (even to the extent of maybe one day painting the underlying concrete with garage floor type paint!). I had intended to sneak much of it out in the wheelie bin bit by bit, but I've since realised a better way of getting rid of most of it will be to deposit it in the rear access lane. Plenty of waterfilled pot holes out there, would benefit from some filling in. . sanded the bit of filler on the kitchen wall where the light switch used to be before clearing up and vacuuming a little . . TVd . . BB called. (Would you believe it! Apparantly when she bought her new laptop, she also had bundled exactly the same model of printer I've just ordered! She's never yet used it though! How bizarre.). . TVd/PCd this. Received an e-mail confirming my printer is starting it's journey to me. . PCd, reading this and that on a handful of 'local' type websites, until early before bed. . couldn't get to sleep as the latest storm battered the house, and tossed and turned for ages, and having to get back up for the bathroom on more than one occasion, deep into early. aa
6 - Up around 8:30am. . .walked in my new waterproofs in the strong gusty wind and rain. So - how many times have I worn those new waterproofs? Twice? Three times? The leggings are pretty much fit for the bin already!!!!! Leggings by their very design are always so big and loose, they tend to rub together between the legs as you walk. The thin rubberised construction of these, rather than being smooth as they should be, actually has a fine texture, and with all the walking I do, that texture has immediately acted on itself like sandpaper and worn holes in the legs between the knees (and no - it is NOT because I am knock-knee'd!)!!!!!!!!!! WHAT a waste of money that was! :o( I just don't know what the answer is to trying to stay dry on my long walks in such bad weather. Walk everywhere as though I've just ridden a horse for a hundred miles? :o( I'm starting to understand why the local postmen all seem to wear shorts, even in atrocious and cold weather conditions!! :o( . . returned from the walk and popped out into the back lane with the sack of dust and rubble from under the floor and quickly dumped it in a big pothole . . PCd this. The last e-mail I got about my printer order, included the ability to track the DHL parcel. The latest entry says : "Out for delivery 06/12/07 09:16 EXETER HOME DELIVERY ". I guess it could be here today then? Almost exciting isn't it. lol . .PCd for hours (whiling away the hours waiting for the printer to be delivered) as the wind and rain battered the house, making up a list of 'local' sites to re-visit and read at some point. (Played around on the webcam quite a bit, zooming in on crows and pigeons sheltering from the storm in the trees opposite.) A bunch of those sites seem to suggest the church bells I'd tried to record the other night, do actually play that hymn on a nightly basis!? Is that accurate? I wonder when, then. . ate the last bowl of stew with four pieces of bread and butter . . couldn't hold out any longer and was just heading to lay down for a nap when, just after 3pm, the printer was delivered. :o) Couldn't resist the need for sleep, so just dumped the box on a chair and went straight up to nap. . napped until around 5pm . .opened the printer box and had a look at the contents. Sure enough, as I'd feared, there was no USB cable, and not even any paper to get you started! That seems a bit penny pinching! Read through the instruction papers/manuals. Blimey - they are hard to understand/garbage in every language imaginable! With it fast approaching Sally walk time, I decided to leave getting bogged down in setting it all up until later. . put a bit of paint on the kitchen wall where the old light switch used to be. Not bad - hardly a trace of it visible now . .walked in strong gusts of wind and drizzle . . unpacked the printer, succesfully located a couple of suitable USB leads in my large 'wire/sockets/PC junk' collection, and carefuly trying to follow the awful instructions, eventually had the printer on the floor next to the PC, all hooked up and the mass of software installed. Fancy looking thing it is too. Figured out as much as I needed to, and then went straight for a test print on some old photocopy type paper I had laying around. (When I moved from Bristol, I threw out an absolutely enormous amount of different types of paper I'd been holding onto for years! :o( Typical! ) Printed out an A4 type photo of Sally. Well - it worked, although the print quality on that test was not perfect by any means. Plenty of fairly visible horizontal bands (although that may well be as a result of using completely the wrong type of cheap nasty paper - AND it was a relatively low resolution 1024x768 image, as taken by my camcorder). I can see a drive to the 'Staples' office supplies store coming up in the very near future, for paper(s) and maybe even ink! Welcome to the 'printer poverty trap'! . . BB called . .resisted the expensive desire to print out loads more stuff . . TVd . . ate ham saindwiches with two bags of crisps . . TVd until bed around 1am. s
7 - Up around 7:30am. . PCd. Huh? Received an e-mail from 'Google Search Quality' entitled 'Removal from Google's Index'!!??? "Dear site owner or webmaster of tljones.co.uk, While we were indexing your webpages, we detected that some of your pages were using techniques that were outside our quality guidelines, which can be found here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html
In order to preserve the quality of our search engine, we have temporarily removed some webpages from our search results. Currently pages from tljones.co.uk are scheduled to be removed for at least 30 days. Specifically, we detected the following practices on your webpages:
* The following hidden text on tljones.co.uk: e.g. AvPD,APD,apd,a.p.d.,avoid,avoidant,avoidance,anxious,depression,depressive disorder,dysthymia,sensitive,rejection,personality disorder,mental health,ego,paranoia,low self esteem, meditation,sad,lonely,prozac,lofepramine,fear,panic,inhibition,schizoid,avoidant personality disorder,ICD
We would prefer to have your pages in Google's index. If you wish to be reincluded, please correct or remove all pages that are outside our quality guidelines. When you are ready, please visit:https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/reinclusion?hl=en to learn more and request a reconsideration request. Sincerely, Google Search Quality Team." What that is referring to is some white text I included on the bottom of my index page, on a white background, specifically for being picked up by search engines. My initial reaction to getting that mail was - 'bloody cheek!'. On reflection, I WILL probably just delete it because it IS only there for search engines, but I'm still uneasy about being told what to do with the 'content' on my website by a bloody search engine. Seems to me, these commercial search engines are being allowed to get too powerful. (What was all that stuff recently where they willingly colluded with the Chinese regime to censor available content?) Realisticaly, your average internet user looking for something is going to use a search engine - probably Google - and if the powers that be at Google choose not to include a site in their listings, it simply doesn't exist (apart from other sites linking to it maybe etc.)! That is a pretty powerful position to be in! Bad 'Big Brother' type stuff. :o( (It also appears, if I go to the provided link intending to express my wish to be reincluded, I have to sign up for a Google account before I can do so! Hmm!). . decided to leave the text in place and simply make it visible by changing the colour - and to hell with them. After all - I'm pretty used to 'not existing'! I haven't done for years now. . walked without a coat and got caught out in the rain. Another 'damp' day then! . Just up the road, an old guy who walks a German Shepherd who always seems to want to have a go at Sally, was ahead of me on some grass which I pass. As I carefully approached, his dog spotted Sally and they BOTH strained at their leashes and did that barking at each other thing as though they want a fight. The old guy hadn't seen me coming and was busying himself dealing with part of his poop scoop duties. As his dog lunged in Sally's direction, he was pulled off his feet and taken straight to the ground!!!! Somehow he thankfully managed to hold onto his dogs lead as he lay there! Terribly embarassing for me (and him)! I couldn't even rush over and help him because of the dogs, and just stood a distance away so as not to make things worse. He eventually got back on his feet and indicated he was ok (albeit mud and grass stain covered). Poor guy. Not good falling over at that age. :o( . . .PCd. The order tracker for my camera says 'Out for delivery' so I guess I'll be getting that this afternoon then. :o) So - can't really 'get on' with anything today again then. More sitting around waiting . . pottered around not actually feeling so good again. Briefly lifted a short floorboard in the front bedroom, in order to see where joists and noggins were, with the living room spotlights in mind. Typical - there is hardly a noggin in this whole house and yet there IS one right where I don't want one to be! No matter where I try and put those lights, it's gonna be either impossible or a real hassle. :o( Screwed the floorboard back in place and left things for some other time . . messed around in the back bedroom trying to sort out some of the dust covered junk and unpacked boxes I still have stacked in the cupboards in there. Didn't make much progress but DID coincedentally stumble into my old SLR camera, lenses and unused films, and put them to one side for donating to a local charity shop in the near future (assuming they'll take it. I get the impression they are starting to be inundated with old film cameras.). . cooked and ate four sausage sandwiches and then some chocolate raisins . . struggled to stay awake assuming the camera would soon be delivered. Eventually ended up napping for maybe an hour or so, only to wake all stiff and headachey around 5:30pm. Coffee, cigarettes and annadin tablet and then on to the PC to see what the parcel-tracking-site had to say about me not having received my camera! :o( . .would you believe it! I was interrupted while on-line actually looking at the tracking site, by Sally barking and a ring on the doorbell at 6:30pm. It was my camera! The guy had some tale about staffing and the delivery lady who called yesterday heading off to Disneyland, and how he lives locally so had decided to deliver it etc. Bizarre. Lucky I was in and not walking Sally already. . walked . . TVd and then had a bit of a go at reading through the new camera manual. Oh myyyyyy godddddd. It'll take a lifetime to try and learn all that camera appears to be able to do! . . touched base with BB . . . TVd. ate bowls of cornflakes and chocolate . .TVd until bed around 2am! s
8 - Up around 8:30am to the sound of yet more wind and torrential rain! We sure do seem to have had more than our fair share of late. .walked late in waterproof layers (two sets of leaking leggings, one on top of the other!). Oh my god! Atrocious weather. Got fairly soaked - especially my feet. Somehow the water penetrated both pairs of leggings. The worst part ended up being my hands. Without gloves on, they ended up absolutely freezing! Horrible start to the day and now the forecast is for damaging eighty mile an hour gusts of wind for tonight and tomorrow! :o( . .rang out my socks! . . touched base with Mum. . read up some more on the camera and had 'just' put in the batteries and was about to turn it on for the first time, when Mum called in . .chats and coffee for a couple of hours . . ate Mum donated ham rolls with crisps. .took my first couple of test shots with the new camera around the house The very first shot I took was of Sally snoozing on the floor after having had her usual pork pie treat from Mum. When uploaded to the PC it was possible to fully appreciate what 10 megapixels really means to the image quality/detail. The image on the right of this picture (allowing for a compression factor of 20 when I made this thumbnail - and then the webpage making it 75% quality etc etc) is nearer what the camera actually captured. That is the carpet next to the end of her left paw. You can actually see the dog hairs that cover the carpet!!!!!!! (Yes, yes - I need to vacuum - again!). AMAZING! That really is just amazing to me. . . napped until around 5:15pm . . walked in a brief dry spell with my new camera in my pocket. I think I've learned enough about it to be able to try a few 'Auto' shots. Many ships moored in the shelter of the bay. Hurried on down town to catch a bit of the Christmas parade, which I'd rather thought may have been cancelled due to the weather, but I guess the locals are a hardy bunch used to such stuff. Weird parade. Aimed at the kids really, but it included an eclectic mix of all sorts of stuff, including a few illuminated 4x4 pulled floats. Kilted bagpipers, lifeboat float, BGdns WW2 heritage museum gun toting landrover complete with abused German prisoner of war, large rabbit advertising a steam fair, captivating lady in blue sidesaddle on a VERY well behaved horse, handful of dogs, a couple of donkeys, etc, etc - weird!! :o) Suffice it to say, it was a very good test for playing with/learning my camera. To be honest, I didn't do too well - but not the fault of the camera I think. I was just in the wrong places at the wrong time, all the time. The rain returned JUST as the parade was grinding to a halt in the town car park, so I think they got away with it pretty well. Rushed home in the rain to examine the results of my efforts. Took 'most' of the shots on the full default 10megapixels setting. Amazing detail compared to what I've been used to, enabling much manipulation once moved to the PC. (Predictably, as soon as I'd downloaded them, my PC was warning me of a lack of disc space! Almost 2.5 megabytes PER image!!!!! The camera's internal memory managed 17 shots at 10megapixles, and another 7 at something less (around 5 I think it was) with maybe another shot or two possible. All very satisfactory I think. :o)
. . PCd this . .returned BBs call . . ate half the Mum donated large pork pie with crisps . . TVd until bed around 1:30am. a
9 - Up around 4am to do much battling with the noisey fridge freezer. Ended up returning to bed only to have to get back up to go and bash the fridge again, at least three or four times!! Grrr. Up around 8:30. . walked. Well - it wasn't pleasant out, but thankfully it certainly wasn't anywhere near as bad as they'd forecast. Many ships in the bay. . PCd and had a go at knocking up a birthday card for Sis1, using the printer. Actually found links for downloadable Microsoft Word templates, but my attempts to download them failed when their bloody 'genuine advantage tool' insisted on wrongly reporting my fully registered and legit version of Windows as suspect!!?!! Grrrr . .I eventually used the wording on a card BB had sent me, together with a couple of photos of Sally and I, to knock up a funny one by manually using Paintshop Pro. Set it all up on an A4 type page, with the front of the card in the bottom right hand quarter of the A4, and the inside of the card upside down in the top left hand quarter. Once printed (on some expensive HP photo paper I inherited with the house - without even doing a test print!), it was possible to fold it in half twice, and have a uniquely acceptable, amusing/personal card. I have MUCH to learn about how to do that better, if I can be bothered/afford to. . popped in Mums on the way to the postbox to let her see my effort. . ate half a large pork pie and crisps . . napped until around 6pm . . walked, inevitably experimenting some more with the camera, trying to take some nighttime pictures (lights across the bay, Christmas lights on houses (especially that little terraced one I pass which is absolutely covered in them!) - that sort of thing, without the flash). Seems to do pretty well, but the long exposure time and my shakey arms, seems to prove it absolutely MUST be on a tripod for such shots in the future . . sat in the cold of the front garden with a coffee and cigarettes after the walk - and saw a shooting star again. :o) . . PCd. Felt increasingly 'down' for some reason as the day wore on. Probably the effect of surfing, looking for clipart and ideas for Christmas cards, etc. I just hate all the hassle that Christmas is (even though I don't 'do' Christmas) and especially the cost of the obligation of sending cards etc. . . BB called . . ate Mum donated ham rolls, crisps and some chocolate . . TVd until bed around 1:30am. a
10 - Up around 8am . . walked in the sunny spells. Carried on along the waterside heading for town on the way back, as all the remaining ships that had been sheltering in the bay from the storm, headed back out to sea. Moored in the outer harbor was a small fishing boat that had succumbed to the waves (which actually hadn't been 'that' bad at all). It was severly swamped and apparantly in real danger of sinking! Grabbed a couple of photos, wondering if someone somewhere should be informed. As I set off to carry on walking, the harbor-master boat cruised out to have a look at it, so I guess whoever needs to know already does, although I can't imagine how you'd deal with such a thing. Tow it up onto a jetty and accept the inevitable damage to the hull rather than risk losing it altogether? Dunno - I'm a 'land lubber' and quite happy to stay that way thank you very much. . damn - the batteries in the camera (the duracell-ultra alkalines that came with it) have given up already! Ok - I HAVE been experimenting quite a lot these last couple of days, but that seems pretty quick (not really a suprise based on experience) nonetheless. :o( . . toured a couple of charity shops before heading home to charge some NiMHs to fit in the camera . . PCd a bit of this. Hmmm - with my new toys - this months journal (and my webspace in general) is in danger of grinding to a halt under the weight of too many photos! . . . took Sally and headed out in the car to the out of town Staples store, to check out all they have to offer and to learn about paper and prices and such. Took the 'back' road out, only to pass signs warning of a flood. That'll be all that rain we had a couple of days ago. Everyone in front of me ignored the signs, so I figured it must have drained away by now and followed their lead. Uh oh. It hadn't drained away! There was a 100 foot or more section of road, submerged in a good several inches of liquid mud!! One by one the cars ahead of me happily ploughed on through, so after a brief hesitation to let the waves calm, I confidently followed. I lost my confidence half way through when the car started to splutter and die!!! OH NOOooo!!!!!!!! Somehow dipping the clutch and coaxing the accelerator saw me manage to get through to the other side, with the engine still running. . oh no! Within half a mile there was more water across the road, although not quite so deep. The car in front of me got absolutely COVERED in thick red mud as a car coming in the opposite direction, ploughed on through at a deliberately stupid speed, throwing up a huge wave either side. As he passed me, he was looking in his mirror and laughing at the havoc he'd wrought. PRATT! . I waited until everyone was clear and then gingerly trundled through, ok. . took a good mile or more of dry road before the car thankfully returned to normal and stopped threatening to stall. Lucky escape. So - don't EVER try driving THAT car through any water EVER again! . . drove through the 'not too bad' traffic to the store. . left Sally in the car and then wandered around the store looking at everything, and eventually spending a small fortune (£23.96) on just a bit of paper and some envelopes, marker pens, etc. . .eventually slowly returned home in the awful traffic. That's the hassle living here. With pretty much only one way into the place, ALWAYS traffic queues everywhere. Takes hours just to pop out to the shops and back - especially when you daren't go via the flooded, shortcut back road! It's largely for this reason (and petrol £) I hardly ever drive anywhere any more. . ate a tin of sausages in baked beans, with grated cheese and four pieces of bread and butter. . . napped until woken by the phone ringing, but no message left, at around 5:30pm . .walked with my camera and tripod in the forecast freeze. Carried on down into town to attempt some more serious night shots of the harbor. On the way, I passed where that swamped boat was moored. In the dark it was hard to tell with my little torch, but it looked to me as though the boat was now fully submerged! Determined to return in the morning for another look. . wandered around the ghost-town in the freeze, taking experimental photos on various different camera settings (with one eye on maybe being able to use the images as Xmas cards). . aha. The church played the hymn on its bells at 8pm. . eventually back home around 9pm. Touched base with Mum suggesting maybe she'd like to go for a drive to see Xmas lights, but she was into a TV show so maybe some other time . . PCd photos. Wow - a couple of those worked out real fine. Almost identical in quality to postcards/prints etc you can buy in the shops!! . . messed around for almost a couple of hours seeing if it would be possible to make up a custom Xmas card or two . . BB called . . TVd for a bit but eventually ended up back on the PC until deep into early. Waste of time really - much experimenting but didn't actually acheive anything at all! Bloody cold tonight.
11 - Up real late, after 9am!! . . walked around 10am. Cold, with frost still on the lawns and cars, despite the blue sky and sun. Carried on down to the harbour to see what state that boat was in. Try as I may, I just couldn't see any sign of it - sunk or not!? Carried on into town and decided to wander around a bit taking yet more photos. A couple of 'onlookers' saw me taking a photo and came up and suggested I get a shot 'of that'. Turned out, it was the sunken boat! It'd been towed round into the inner harbor and it appeared that a group of guys were trying to dangerously winch it out of the water!!! Seemed like a crazy thing to try and do, what with the tide going out and all. I reckon it would have been easier if they'd just towed it into shallow water, waited for the tide to go out and then tipped it back over right side up on a winch. I stood and watched for ages as they tried this and that with strops and chains, but eventually they seemed to decide to wait until some other time for some reason (high tide probably), and just left the thing hanging there on the dockside crane, part out of the water upside down! Shame - I'd have liked to have got a shot of that coming out. Too cold to hang around all day . . wandered around the marina taking a photo or two, let Sally have a swim on the breakwater beach, and then eventually headed back home to warm up (via a charity shop to spend £2 on a lampshade for my brass table lamp). I get the impression, that church plays that hymn on its bells almost every hour - but maybe not all night? . . PCd a bit of this and looked at my photos. Damn - this place is SO picturesque it's unbelievable. I can't help it. I'm gonna HAVE to fill my webspace with some 'proper' pictures. .fitted my charity shop lampshade to my table lamp but succeeded in breaking the bulb as I unscrewed it by carelessly holding onto the glass bit! Damn! That was one of those expensive 'curled' energy savers that costs a fortune! :o( . . cooked and ate four sausages with two eggs and four pieces of bread and butter . . napped for a couple of hours . . walked and carried on down town with the camera and tripod again. The sunken boat was still in its crane held strops, but was now sat upside down on the dockside drying out. Some of the Xmas lights I'd photographed yesterday were not lit this evening, so that was fortuitous yesterday. Carried on up to the church and sat on the cold steps with the MP3 player, waiting to have a go at recording the bells chime at 8 o'clock. The street lights DO dim as the bells begin to chime. Half way through my recording, a group of guys walked down the road all chatting and making noise, so I had to abort the recording. Fiddling about with the recorder, I then missed capturing the bells play the hymn, so all in all a wasted effort! Hmmph! Had a go at taking a few photos (all no good) before heading home - a complete waste of time! . Returned by 9pm, in time to watch the next epsiode of the BBC 'Power of the Planet' series (the oceans tonight). . touched base with BB . . ate bowls of corn flakes . . TVd until bed around 1am. a
12 - Up around 8am!! . . PCd this . . walked . .did laundry chores, balanced my accounts, did paperwork, sorted out some junk, downloaded PC updates, etc . . ate ham sandwiches with crisps and pickled onions . . napped . . walked . . TVd . . BB called . . ate more ham sandwiches with crisps, cheese , pickled onions and then a bunch of chocolate . .TVd until bed around 1:30am. s
13 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 8:15am!! . . PCd this . . walked. Stopped off in the store on the way home for milk and bought one of those cheap nasty boxes of Christmas cards, as a 'fall back position'. It's today or never. I'm out of time. Either I come up with an idea for a do-it-yourself Christmas card and get some printed out today, or I forget the idea and just send the cheap and nasty ones. . got the ladder out and climbed up into the attic and brought down my Christmas trimmings suitcase, in pursuit of 'props'. Messed around for hours 'trimming' Sally with Christmasy props and taking lots of photos of her, before eventually deciding that one of them would just HAVE to do. Spent the rest of the day manipulating the images, knocking up some words, and figuring out how the hell to get them onto paper. Reached a more or less acceptable rendition of a card (A4 folded twice - with print on the inside and out) before printing out in excess of a dozen of them onto sheets of the A4 white inkjet paper I bought in Staples.(Sorry - everyone is going to get an identical card!). spent another who knows how many hours, using pretty much the same image (bigger - not cropped as much) to produce a 'special' card (glossy photo paper - folded once) with different wording, mostly with Mum/BB in mind. . would you believe it - Mum called in on the way back from the bus stop. She'd been out shopping and had decided to buy me a fleecy hooded zip up thingy. Nice one it is too - very warm, for sitting around in my ice box of a house (because I'm too much the Scrooge to put the heating on much. Only put the heating on at night after having walked Sally if I can manage it. Can get pretty uncomfortably cold during the day.) Half way doing the first print of her card onto expensive photo paper, I got her to wait while I tried to finish it off. Damn - screwed up under pressure and put the paper through the printer for the second time (to get the inside writing inside the fold), round the wrong way. Ended up with the inner writing on the back of the picture front. Grrr. Had to do it all again. Mum seemed happy enough with it - and actually wanted them both - for different rooms apparantly!? lolol Well - it IS a beautiful (festive) picture of Sally if I say so myself (not the one I've included part of here - although with hindsight maybe it should have been. WHAT a beautiful dog she is!) . . walked . .cooked and finally ate for the first time today! Four burgers in two bread rolls and a big pile of chips followed by a little chocolate . . TVd . . BB called . . TVd until early to bed around 11pm.
14 - Woken by Sally climbing on the bed and laying down next to me in the night!?? There was a bit of a struggle for who got most of the bed before I 'bumped' her off with my rear! . up around 7:15am . . PCd reading the local news, etc. Oh dear - there's been a burglary of a house in my street! :o( . .walked the full walk through the woods. Sat on a seat chatting to the usual crowd of dogwalkers in BGdns on the way back, one of them announced she'd just found a mobile phone and had left it on one of the benches to be found (she knew nothing about them). I couldn't resist wanting to know what type it was, and actually wasn't happy with the idea of the thing just being left on a seat like that. I figured I could maybe play 'Sherlock Holmes' again and attempt to re-unite it with its rightful owner. I went and retrieved it and walked back to the group. It'd obviously been hidden in the fallen leaves for quite a while (through all the recent heavy rain) because the display screen was just a mass of condensation. Seemed unlikely it would ever work again (although maybe, after a good drying out), but of course I had no way to charge it anyway. What a shame. .after a bit of a conversation with those assembled, it was agreed I'd take it home, and do with it whatever I thought was appropriate. . took the back off the phone, removed the battery, sim card and memory stick and dried it all as best I could with tissues. Terrible shame. Seems like a really rather nice, probably expensive phone - with even a 2 megapixels camera on board!! (Sony Ericsson W810i, Orange, 'Walkman'). . tried the phone's sim card in MY mobile phone, but it'd been de-activated so no clues/numbers there. On the sim it actually had printed, 'if found call *****' so I figured there was nothing else for it, and did. Took three calls - got cut off, got put through to an automated system with no real-person option etc, before eventually speaking to someone helpful who understood I wanted to attempt to return it to its owner. She took the long number printed on the sim card and suggested they'd contact the owner and give them my name and address. Rather than that (which made me uncomfortable), I suggested my name and phone number would be preferable, so that was how it was left. . put the phone, all its bits and a small bag of silica gel, wrapped in tissue in my airing cupboard to maybe dry out. . Mum called to touch base . . messed around writing cards/envelopes for ages - pretty much all day somehow!? . .ate ham sandwiches with crisps . . PCd more . . walked - quickly, because on the way to BGdns I suddenly remembered I'd left the small electric heater on in the PC room!! . Something 'going on' somewhere - a police car pulled up by BGdns and an officer leapt out to go and check in the upper gun emplacement before quickly driving off. . .BB called . .tidied up a little . . TVd . . wrote out the last of the cards I intend to send. WHAT a time consuming chore that all turned out to be! If I EVER make the mistake of deciding to print out my own in the future, I think I'd better start in October! BIG dent in the ink - probably more than half gone already!. . ate a defrosted pasty with pickled onions and crisps . . TVd until bed around 12:45am.
15 - Up around 8am . .PCd a bit of this . .touched base with PS to check details about his train arrival time . .walked and carried on to the post office to post the last of the cards I'm sending . . put in a bit of time with a bucket of warm water trying to wash some of the mud splashes from the car windows. Not a proper car clean - just so I can actually see out of the windows again! . spent the rest of the morning tidying up and doing vacuuming and dish washing chores so the place wouldn't be in 'quite' such a state for when PS comes . . . set off at 12:35 for the TQ train station. The seven miles took me 25 minutes, which actually by the standards of around these parts, was pretty good going! Parked up in a 'picking up' parking space which was free for twenty minutes. Precisely on time at around 13:07 the train arrived and PS appeared from a door immediately opposite the station entrance. . parked up on the sea front at Pn on the way back and wandered around the shops a little before ending up in a pub that was advertising a carvery which PS fancied . .PS treated me to a £6:50 beef carvery. Ate my 'chef determined portion' of beef with as much stuffing, roast potatoes and gravy (to hell with the veg) as I could pile high on the plate. A BIG feed. Nice one. I could eat that every day given the chance. . wandered along the sea front for a bit in the cold biting wind before into a sea-front cafe with an upper deck view, for a coffee - again paid for by PS! By this time I'd pretty much made it clear it was entirely up to him what we did and where we went. If he kept on asking me, I'd simply be all negative and up tight about costs, and would simply suggest we go home and have a nap! . . wandered along to the end of the pier watching the fearless hypothermia-immune kite surfers absolutely racing across the waves at amazing speed, before eventually back to the car and then home . . TVd and chats . . .walked and carried on down to the harbour for PS to see the Xmas lights. He bought himself a pasty in a chip shop and gave the remnants to grateful Sally. . ended up in the local pub on the way back for a drink. I'm starting to think that pub is really quite nice - but mostly because it welcomes dogs and especially because it always seems to be empty. What was it? After 8pm on a Saturday night? There were only perhaps three or four customers in there! The place was deserted! (with hindsight, it IS possible it was because the final of the 'X Factor' show was on TV at the time - but they had it on in the corner of the pub for anyone who was interested. Apparantly half of the nights' national TV audience watched it!). had a pleasant glass of red wine - and couldn't help but watch a bit of the awful TV show (mostly because Kylie suddenly popped up on it!). Seems to be a 'girly' show, of interest mostly to women. A not 'too' elderly couple came in for a meal, and sat in a corner out of sight of the TV. The woman kept on getting up and peering around a pillar to see what was going on, and eventually with the encouragement of the landlady, moved to a table right in front of the screen. Her disgruntled husband reluctantly tagged along behind to join her, mumbling resigned disapproval, although I suspect more for the benefit of his status in the eyes of the other male customers than anything else. Funny. :o) . . popped out into the freezing night for a cigarette at one point, and found amusement in ducking in under a hanging basket and trying a quick snap of PS and Sally in the warmly inviting inside, with the camera through the glass of the window. I must have looked a bit suspicious (to say the least!) - just then a police van went crawling past having a damn good look! lol . . back inside, supping my wine, criticising the sad mentality of anyone watching the show - and watching the show, all of a sudden a customer from across the room politely, matter of factly informed me my dog had been sick. Oh NO!!!!! Sally HAD been sick. MUCH!!!! (I know why. When PS had turned up, as always with him, she'd got a bit anxious and started chewing on her rawhide chewy 'bone' thing. Somehow she'd managed to swallow a whole intact long length of it - and that had prompted the re-emergence of the last of PSs pastie - with interest! SO embarassing! Luckily, a couple of poop scoop bags mostly did the business, and the understanding dog owning landlady provided some tissues to enable me to erase all trace from the carpet. Phew. Dogs! Who'd have one! (Apart from that unfortunate incident, Sally was her usual 'can't be faulted', well behaved self.) . . eventually back home for TV and chats . . . BB called . . TVd with biscuits until finally to bed around 3am!! ds
16 - Up around 8:45am . . all walked - and then carried on out to the end of the breakwater in the biting cold wind. Back along the breakwater and then carried on further the short distance across the patch of beach and along the coast to the bleak looking outdoor pool. Poor PS had to keep hanging around as I insisted on stopping here, there and everywhere to play with my new camera. Can't understand how it is he doesn't seem to feel the cold as much as I do? I was wearing four layers, hat and gloves and was utterly frozen. He had on much less and didn't seem to think it was 'that' cold - although I saw the colour of his hands. Looked pretty blue to me! . . Eventually headed back and ended up in the breakwater restaurant (dogs welcome) for an english breakfast and coffee (all on PS!). . back home by mid afternoon. . . TVd but HAD to go lay down for a nap for a couple of hours, leaving PS watching TV and football scores and the like. . woke just after 6pm . . all walked and then back via the store to buy a couple of things . .BB called . . TVd . . ate beef sandwiches with crisps and then chocolate . . .TVd until bed around 2am. s
17 - Up around 8:45am again . . left PS sleeping and woke up real slow. Checked the car started and warmed it up a little . . all walked real late - around 10am!! . .back home for a coffee and then all drove (Sally included), intending to give her a run on Pn beach. Messed up in the traffic somehow (I thought there was a roundabout at the end of the sea front!? There wasn't.) and ended up driving straight on to TQ rather than attempt to negotiate the one way system to get back. Succeeded in finding a free parking space on the seafront, half way between the town and the railway station. Gave Sally a bit of a run on the tiny patch of wind and waveswept sand (grey skies, wind, big waves and so, SO cold!!!) before walking back towards town. On PSs suggestion, we ended up having a cooked English breakfast and coffee at a cafe (sitting at the pavement tables outside in the cold, because of Sally), all paid for by PS again! This weekend has cost him a small fortune - and I'm in danger of starting to enjoy eating lots!! . . returned to the car and drove to the railway station and thankfully had no trouble getting a 'free for drop offs and pick ups' parking space again. Exactly on time again, the train pulled in, shortly after 2pm and PS was on his way. Drove straight home (passed Mum on the way and stopped for the breifest of words) and after PCing photos a bit, slept the afternoon away. It's nice having some relaxed company sometimes, but I can't help it, it sure is nice when they're gone again too! :o/ . . woke around 6pm . . walked and carried on back down to the harbour in the absolutely biting strong wind for more 'Xmas lights' photo taking. Damn it - they seem to have a different lights settup down there every time I go down! The big green one under the tree and part of the sail on the old sailing ship wasn't on tonight. Possibly the destructive effect on the wiring connections of the strong wind. Freezing! . . TVd/PCd, very much in the mood to be alone and quiet. Weird how I always feel the need to 'recharge my aloneness' like that after having been in company . . BB called . . ate beef sandwiches and some popcorn . . TVd until bed around 1:30am.
18 - Up around 8:15am . . walked. The easterly wind had eased since yesterday, but it was still blowing strong and biting cold, and I couldn't resist carrying on down round the harbour again and back to the outdoor swimming pool for what I just knew were going to be more ferocious, picture-worthy waves - especially with the high tide due around midday I think it was. . half way round the harbour by the coastguard station, was a news team from BBC Spotlight doing an interview on the harbourside with the coastguard's union rep. Sat on a not too distant seat out of their way, and took a couple of snaps of them for 'posterity'. Amused me to use the camcorder to zoom right in on them from my distant viewpoint, and I managed a half decent low res still shot of the somewhat embarassed looking cameraman. lolol. Bet he doesn't find himself in front of the lens too often. . slowly carried on out to the freezing, windswept, outdoor pool, and sure enough as the tide was rising, the windblown waves were getting pretty energetic. . Oh my godddddd it was cold out there. Totally lost all feeling in my hands, which made pressing the camera shutter release a real awkward pain in the - um - fingers. Grabbed a bunch of photos with the camera lens poking through the damn temporary fencing that was around the pool, trying to catch the waves (with Sally safely tied to a distant railing). I guess I shouldn't complain about the fencing. If it hadn't been there, I would have inevitably been tempted to stand at dangerous viewpoints in an attempt to get the shot I couldn't and didn't get, and would certainly have been washed away by the occasional REALLY big waves. Only able to go as far as the fence, I just got wet and spray covered - and survived! Waves are hard as hell to capture on a stills camera. Was pretty soon out of camera memory (oh thank goodness!) and headed back, surely on the verge of hypothermia! Absolutely freezing wind! . . PCd with the central heating on, as well as the small electric heater in the PC room . couldn't resist surfing onto the BBC Spotlight page, and attempted to send the pics of the cameraman to them, for him to have as a maybe rare souvenir of him at work. lololol (I worked for the post office for almost twenty years, and the couple of rare pictures of me actually AT work which I have, are remarkable memory joggers to me and kinda 'precious'). . . added a couple more big images to my piccie pics page and PCd a bit of this . .ate ham sandwiches, crisps and some chocolate . . napped for an hour or so, perhaps not so much because I was tired, but more because I just wanted to be warapped in a duvet and feel warm!!! . . PCd this. (Still no contact from the owner of that found phone. So - how long am I supposed to hang on to the damn thing before binning it?) . .watched the local TV news - both ITV and BBC, and did NOT see the interviewer I'd seen filming this morning!!? Errr!?? Well - whoever they were, they were all stood within fifty feet of a BBC satellite-dished van, so it was a reasonable assumption to think they were the local BBC. If they weren't (and if anyone actually bothers to look at the e-mail I sent them with the pics of that cameraman), I'm gonna look pretty stupid. Oh well - nothing new there then! . . touched base with Mum . . walked with the tripod and had a go at photoing some of the more 'ott' Christmas lights on houses in the neighbourhood. Sadly none of the pics can really do them justice. .still cold but less wind and noticeably warmer as a result thank god. . PCd this - at length for ages! . .touched base with BB . .ate sausage rolls with crisps and some chocolate biscuits . . TVd (CSI) until bed around 2am.
19 - Up around 8:30am . . walked and back via town . popped in Mums for a coffee to see the work she'd had done on the replacement of her back garage door. Seems ok. . nasty headache . . TVd/PCd the day away. Actually spent a good few hours surfing and looking at radio scanners and the like. I have it in mind that it 'may' be interesting at some point in the future to try and get hold of some form of radio for listening in to the local coastguard station and the like. Not sure. Catch 22 - I won't know until I've tried, and I don't want to spend a bunch of money on a (cheap-second hand) scanner for nothing. . . walked. Huge hoards of 'kids' were gathered in Bgdns for a drinking/smoking 'party'. As I walked past the lower pill box, a group of them were all stood around as one of them was rolling a joint. Under the circumstances it was difficult to just pretend to ignore them, so I exchanged a non confrontational 'pleasant' kinda word. I've actually never seen so much dope in one go. It's usually in little baggies. THEY had a plastic 'coin' bag full! In excess of £60s worth they said. (I admit to being awfuly jealous.) It's a very different 'childhood' kids seem to have these days isn't it! Not only are drugs and booze freely available to them - but they also have the disposable income to be able to afford it!!??? . . felt a little better than I had been all day after the walk, and ate ham sandwiches with crisps and drank a coffee-mug of red wine. My nasty headache returned immediately I'd drunk the wine - with a vengence . . touched base with BB . . ate bowls of corn flakes and TVd until bed at midnight. d
20 - Up at 8am in time to see the sunrise . . walked and cleared up huge amounts of debris (mostly bottles and beer cans) from around BGdns. Found a big black bin liner - and filled it! Sadly, no signs of any 'coin bags' left behind! :o( . . found an unnopened tin of Carlsberg for my efforts . .PCd and ended up attempting to connect to my broadband connection with the surplus 'TalkTalk' modem PS had let me have. Try as I did (for hours!) no way could I figure out how the hell to get it to connect. Disappointing - I'd thought that would be straightforward - and would enable me to connect the PC in the living room completely independantly of my main PC. Oh well . . . received mail from DS . . . drank half a coffee mug of red wine while cooking three rashers of bacon, three eggs and masses of fried potatoes with a piece of fried bread. Ate much. . . napped for an hour an a half . . walked . . Mum called to touch base and say she'd had a reply to a Christmas card she'd sent, telling her some distant relative I have no real knowledge of, had died - back in February! . . PCd. Received an e-mail reply from that BBC Spotlight cameraman to say the photo I'd sent of him had reached him. :o) . . TVd. Watched Crimewatch. It was the last time Fiona Bruce was going to present it after an eight year stint or some such. Seemed utterly bizarre and inappropriate to me considering what THAT show is all about, that they spent a whole precious segment of the airtime commemorating her years presenting it, and even showing excerpts of past reconstructions in the manner of 'best bits from the show'!!?? Bizarre. . . touched base with BB . . ate chocolate and bowls of co-co pops . .to bed at 1am. s
21 - Up at 8am again. Misty out . . walked. Forecast was for slightly warmer, but it very much didn't feel it!. . PCd . .received my gas bill in the mail!! Yeah - right - and a happy Christmas to you too! I was absolutely horrified at the amount when I opened it - over £100!! It was an estimated bill. Turned out (once I'd read my meter and phoned them up), it was around twice what it should have been! Hah. . . ate corned beef, onion and grated cheese warmed in the microwave and then put in sandwiches with crisps . . napped . .walked and carried on round the harbour to pop a christmas card through Uncle TJs letterbox. Felt MUCH warmer and quite pleasant out (or it would have been if I wasn't overheating so much in my four layers, hat and gloves). . PCd . . BB called . . TVd/PCd until early before bed.
22 - Woken by Sally climbing onto the bed next to me! Snoozed on fighting for space, then up around 8:30am. . . walked . . .PCd a bit . . Mum popped in with food and TV schedules donations . . ate Mum donated ham rolls with crisps . . PCd and confirmed the 128mb memory card from my old camera (which has been living in my camcorder for the last year or more) will also fit in my new camera, giving me storage for around forty plus images rather than just the ninteen on the internal memory. :o) . . .napped. . walked . . BB called . .ate corned beef, cheese, onion and mayo sandwiches with crisps and then some popcorn and chocolate . . TVd the evening away until bed around 2am. s
23 - Up after 8:30am to wipe down all the condensation from the bedroom/living windows. Must've amounted to a pint or so! . . walked in the frosty sun. Did the long walk down through the woods. Seemed like an exceptionally low tide demanding I wander around on both beaches for a while, where it would normally be under water. Found a chunky leather dog collar, which I took home to attempt to salvage despite obviously having been submerged for some time and being a little rusty. Eventually back after having sat on a sunny bench in BGdns for a while. By the time I'd recovered with a coffee (sitting on a front garden step in the sun. SO good to feel some sun!) it was early afternoon already! . . ate bacon and egg sandwiches . .PCd a bit and had a bit of a surf and downloaded some freeware calendar making software to experiment with. . napped . . ML called to touch base. Haven't spoken with him for ages! Caught up on stuff. He confirmed he IS now married, but even more 'mind boggling' than that was, they are expecting a baby!! Also - 'S', the girl who went offroading with us back in 2000 - apparantly she is dead now!!!!! Succumbed to her like of alcohol. :o(. . walked late . . BB called . . TVd . . ate two double burger rolls around midnight. . TVd until bed around 1am. aa
24 - Up at 7:20am, woken by the fridge making 'that' noise, and Sally coming up to the bedroom to escape it. How I hate that fridge! . . PCd a bit of this . .walked . . PCd and ended up aimlessly looking at YouTube play guitar videos etc before finally succumbing to the black mood I've been trying to keep at bay for the last week or more. Ended up feeling real down. Not sure why particularly. Largely 'lack of purpose' based I think. Typical Xmas humbug mood then. . sat around . . ate corned beef and chips with two pieces of bread and butter . . napped . . walked. .TVd and watched 'Pirates of the Caribbean' for the first time. Weird film - and even weirder how that Johnny Depp character was strangely 'likeable' . .BB called . . ate Mum donated ham rolls, crisps, popcorn and chocolate roll.. TVd until deep into early before bed. S
25 - Up around 8:15am . . . walked . .Mum called to touch base . .opened my present from DS. A 'Planet Earth' DVD set. :o). . cut my hair/beard etc. . . walked with Sally to Mums for dinner. Ate huge amounts of roast potatoes, peas, sprouts, pork chop, gravy etc. . rude or not, no way could I just sit around there for hours and I pretty soon ended up returning home to sleep the rest of the afternoon away . . walked late . .Mum called to say Sis1 was on her way down to see her . . touched base with Sis2 . . BB called briefly. I cut the conversation short when I discovered my toilet cystern was over filling and probably dripping out of the overflow! Early indications of the ball cock valve washer needing replacing I think. Ended up getting away with just adjusting the valve screw and lowering the water level a bit to put more pressure on the float etc. Phew. . .TVd/PCD until bed around 4am!
26 - Up around 9am . . .walked late . . Mum and Sis1 popped in for chats . . ate tinned hot dogs with four pieces of bread and butter . . slept until around 7pm . .TVd the end of a Tom Hanks film (Terminal?). . walked after 9pm . . BB called . . PCd and did a little long overdue disc maintenance of sorting out a bit to delete, etc. - forced on me because of the size of all these new ten megapixel photos I'm taking. . ate bowls of corn flakes and TVd just a little while I was formatting a hard disk before back to sorting until bed after 3am. aa
27 - Woken by Sally at 9am . . walked. Carried on walking down round the harbour and ended up exploring, doing a monster walk all the way to Berry Head - down around the quarry and then up to the miniature lighthouse. Turned out the goats were out on the cliff edges again, so it seemed prudent to turn round and head back before any 'incidents' with Sally. Found a pair of what I think are reading glasses. My eyes have got SO bad - I think I may have to keep them. back home via the shop for milk and then stopped in at Mums and picked up my instant gravy she'd decided not to use on Christmas day. . back home around 1:30pm just in time to see yet more barbarism in the name of religion on the news. . . PCd this and photos briefly . . drank a mug of red wine and then microwaved and ate the delicious Christmas day roast dinner left overs, with a pint of gravy. .touched base briefly with Mum and Sis2 before sleeping the rest of the afternoon away until around 7pm . . walked . . TVd and watched the 'Elizabeth' film that was on. Uncomfortable watching a fiction, based on real people and events, but highly thought provoking in a 'psychology/sociology/evolution/civilisation' kinda way!! I can't understand the intricacies of such things. . touched base with BB . . ate a handful of Kipling apple tarts. TVd/PCd until gone 3am before bed. Benazir Bhutto was assasinated this day! sd
28 - Woken by Sally barking at the postman around 9:15am . . walked in the wind. . TV/PCd the day away as the weather turned awful . . napped. Yet more dreams. I've been aware of dreaming a lot lately - and more than once, about 'home' back in Bristol! :o( When I wake from one of those, I'm not feeling very good about things at all. . .ate a banana and a couple of Kipling apple tarts and then walked . .touched base with BB . . ate Mum donated ham rolls . . to bed around 2:30am.
29 - Woken by Sally climbing on the bed at 8:30am. . . walked under blue skies and carried on down town for a quick tour of charity shops, only to then get caught out in a rain shower without a coat . . did dishwashing chores etc . . Mum popped in for chats and a coffee with food donations . . . ate Mum donated ham rolls . . napped. . . walked . . TVd . . BB called . . ate chocolate biscuits and chocolate . . TVd/PCd until early (birdsong?!) before finally bed.
30 - Disturbed sleep then up around 8:15am, to a golden glimpse of sunrise on the horizon beneath the clouds. Headachey . .walked . . TVd . . ate ham rolls and crisps, a banana and some chocolate . . napped until around 6pm. Still a nasty headache!. . walked. Not that cold out and almost no wind made for a pleasant sit in BGdns for quite a while. . I absolutely HAVE to try and get back into a more regular routine of sleeping more at night. Feel as though I'm kinda 'losing control of myself' and am sinking deeper and deeper into - um - 'darkness'. Darkness of mood that is, not just nocturnal. I'm not gonna mess around making new years resolutions I'll fail to acheive, but I DO need to try and make some desperately needed 'changes' to myself, cause I'm really not happy with me right now - to say the least. :o( . . BB called . . briefly PCd a bit of this . .TVd . . ate a microwave curry with bread and butter . . TVd until bed around 1am. aa
31 - Up after 9am! Caught up on a bit of sleep there then! Actually, felt SO much better for it . . walked real late in full weather gear, but managed to somehow miss the rain. Found 6p . . popped out the front briefly and kicked up all the debris in the gutter that keeps on blocking the road drain, and crammed it all into a couple of carrier bags. Added just a handful or two of cuttings from the hedge, which were hanging over the path and threatening to catch passers-by in the face, and then secreted it all in the bottom of my wheelie bin . . pottered around the house all day, cleaning up a bit, vacuuming and doing bed-linen laundry etc etc. .briefly turned the power off and swapped an old 'getting crunchy' light switch for a new one. Blimey - without particularly intending to, I've replaced all but maybe two switches (landing and bathroom) throughout the entire house now! . gingerly used the tumble-drier 'in earnest', for more or less the first time since I've been here (because I seem to have mislayed some of my bedding - so had to get one of the sheets I'd just washed, straight back on the bed)! Bet it cost a fortune in electric so I won't be making a habit of it , but it sure seemed pretty effective. . . ate a tin of baked beans with a chopped onion, grated cheese and four pieces of bread and butter . . lay down to nap but didn't much, if at all, and was then woken by the phone ringing (no message left) around 5pm! Grrrr . . PCd a bit of this. A couple of national news articles caught my eye today - both referring to Bristol! Apparantly in the run up to the New Year, shops in Bristol have sold more alcohol than anywhere else. There was also apparantly an 'incident' in Warmley where someone let off a large 'display' type firework (why is it possible for people to still be able to easily get hold of those?) in an old red telephone box. The thing was completely destroyed and shrapnel was spread over a considerable area! Yep - thank god I'm not in Bristol any more. Full of idiots . . Mum called to touch base . . walked. Stopped of at Mums on the way out and dropped in the pizza I've had in the freezer since I've been here (in fact - that pizza may even have been in my freezer in Bristol - the sell-by date was back in October!). Without a working oven I've not been able to cook it, so Mum suggested (long ago) she'd do it for me. High time I got it out of the way so tonight seemed like a good idea . . did the walk and then stopped in at Mums on the way home to pick up the pizza . .touched base with BB . . the arrangement for tonight was that Mum would call me when she was ready and I'd pop up to escort her down to spend the new year at my place, the idea being that there may be some good fireworks and such to see from the views from my house. All of a sudden Mum was at my door - she'd come down on her own!! . . ate half the pizza - which was actually perhaps not suprisingly pretty rubbery and yucky. . ate half the microwaved Cristmas pudding with clotted cream which Mum had brought down with her . . TVd until getting on for midnight and then called Sis2 (as Mum and Dad have always done for years, to let her hear the chimes of Big Ben at midnight on the TV) . .so much for watching the fireworks from my home. There were precious few - although it was quite pleasant to hear the church bells chiming. Given the 'demographics' of the area, I guess it was hardly suprising there wasn't much of a hullabaloo - most people who live around here are over sixty. . pretty soon escorted Mum back home and then returned to sit around and TV until around 2:30am before to bed. S