Monday, 31 March 2008

A step into the unknown.....

The great computer upgrade has commenced. My new hard drive has arrived and is currently formatting. I may be gone for quite a while....

Friday, 28 March 2008

What to do?

Trying to work with my PC is becoming increasingly frustrating. It has become slower and slower and nothing seems to make any difference. Since I do nothing out of the ordinary on this machine, but have had it for a number of years, I suspect Windows has slowly been littering up the hard drives with all sorts of rubbish.

I've decided that I'll copy a load of files to a new hard disk, and then install Ubuntu Linux to see how that works.....

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

A Good Day

Today has been a good day.

First of all, I have succeeded in untangling the lines of my kite. I took a four line Revolution kite to the beech on Saturday and two disasters occurred. The first of these was when one of the bracing poles came detached and dropped into the sea. It was in the very shallow water and I could see it, but got my shoes, socks, feet and the bottoms of my trousers very wet getting it back. The second occurred when the lines got very, very tangled as they got caught in the dried seaweed on the beach. In the end, I had no option but to roll up all the lines and bring the whole tangled mess back home. I made a start to the untangling process on Sunday, but I gave up as I couldn't see in the evening light and the apparent size of the task had me thoroughly demoralised. Today in the sun, on the extended dining table, I was able to have a proper go at it in good light, and guess what? It all came undone quite easily. In all, I estimate I spent some four and a half hours untangling the mess, so it was not exactly a trivial task....

The second good thing is that phone calls to get a replacement care package for my mother seem to have been successful. I am just waiting for a confirmation call tomorrow. Some growling at a lady in the Adult Care Service was necessary to achieve this, but hey, I must not be thought to be going soft in my old age. My offspring would rip me limb from limb, and I'm not ready to give up being leader of the pack yet.

Tips I have known

Yesterday I took the second trailer full of rubbish to the tip in St Austells. The tip there is small, but has all the facilities one needs, and best of all, at least yesterday afternoon, was almost completely empty. There were two cars there, and one of those was mine. Hence, I was able to empty the trailer in a leisurely fashion, and diligently sort all my rubbish, so that it went in the correct skip. A worker there had enough time and the inclination for a chat, and he explained that it had been busy at 9:00, but had eased off since then.

At home the tip near Bickenhill is almost invariably heaving with people, you need a permit for a trailer, and the staff won't usually be seen doing anything so naff as talking to members of the public.

Monday, 24 March 2008

To worry, or not to worry? That is the question.

I'm not an expert in things medical, but is looks very much as though my mother is deteriorating steadily. She can no longer stand unaided - she can get out of a chair, but once upright, promptly falls over unless she holds on to something. Also, the company who provide her visiting carers have written to say they will no longer do so after 30 March, and so it looks like I shall have to make some calls tomorrow.

All this causes me to worry, and I'm not a worrier by nature. It also causes other people to worry for me, which comes as something of a surprise. However, having had a think and a short pray, I've realised that I can only do whatever I can do, and if that is not adequate then we shall have to face the consequences. None of us may like the options, but at least we still have some.

In other matters, Mum and I are going to have these for supper, and this recipe was sent to me by Firstborn, our beloved daughter. Should they not prove as good as she thinks they will be, I shall have to think of some sanction to apply. Right now, I can only think of shipping her three brothers to stay with her as a suitable punishment (and it is only a punishment if they all go at the same time), but I may come up with others. However, if they prove to be delicious, I shall have to find a purveyor of posh white chocolate buttons (to which Firstborn is addicted) and purchase some as a small reward for her thoughtfulness. We shall see.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Good Friday

This morning was spent clearing some of the rubbish out of my mother's garage. I'm off to the council tip tomorrow morning with a trailer full of stuff.

This afternoon I went to Truro to Boots and thence to Sainsbury's. Both were nearly empty. Shopping was a lot nicer than I expected.

The water level around the coast of Cornwall is rising, but I'm convinced that this is a consequence of the land sinking slightly with the additional weight of all these wretched caravans that still seem to be pouring into the county.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Coming to a motorway near you

Here are some names for you to ponder:-

Elddis, Senator, Coachman, Swift, Abbey, Sprite, Ace, Solaris, Avondale, Bessacar, Lunar,
do they mean anything to you?

If you drive a car on Britain's motorways and major roads, they soon will, because they are makes of caravans and they're beginning to appear in droves. The M5 and A30 were infested with these wretched things weaving along at a steady 54 m.p.h. as I drove to Cornwall today. I didn't see any seriously bad driving, but the number of people who want to tow their own small home behind their car seems to be growing. Jeremy Clarkson will be delighted.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Head of the River Race

Saturday morning was spent watching some 420 crews row down the River Thames from Mortlake to Putney. Because it was easy to get to from our hosts (Thank you, Rob and Sue), we stood in the middle of Putney Bridge to watch the crew finish. Our pleasure at the spectacle - the crews start at 10 second intervals, so there is some overtaking - was enhanced by the weather which was very pleasant.

Once crew no. 385 (St Aidan's College, Durham II - coxed by no. 2 son, Thomas) had finished, we walked along the embankment on the Surrey side past all the boathouses. London Rowing Club, Westminster School, and the various others to sample the atmosphere. It was brilliant. The various crews and their teams created the most hospitable chaos. The boats were being derigged and loaded onto trailers, trestles were put out for the boats to rest on, oars were gathered up and loaded into trailers, post mortems were undertaken, pints of ale were supped, beefburgers were consumed, girlfriends were regaled with the triumphs or disasters of the 20 minutes of intense physical activity, and, best of all, everyone looked happy.

Thanks Thomas, for an opportunity to enjoy the best Saturday morning I've had for absolutely ages. Please enter again next year.

One other discovery that impressed us was the volume of noise that my daughter can make when she shouts her support. The St Aidan's College, Durham 2nd eight looked somewhat surprised by the shout of support as they prepared to paddle back.....

Friday, 14 March 2008

The Garage Monster

How does it happen? Is there some small malevolent creature that gets into my garage while I'm away and makes it the shit-heap it currently is? (and no, I'm not thinking of no. 3 son) I cannot believe the state it is in now and I'm deeply ashamed of it. Now, people who know me will know that it has to be very, very bad for me to be ashamed of it.

Next week, I shall devote the best part of a day to sorting it out and tidying it up. I shall post on Monday evening to report progress....

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Something to look forward to?

At 10:05 tomorrow I shall board the fine Crosscountry service at Truro station which will take me home. At the weekend we are off to London to see the Head of the River Race (details here). Half of me hopes that the wind dies down from what it has been over the last two days... the other (mischievous) half thinks that with some 400 crews heading down the river from Mortlake to Putney, a very special kind of chaos could ensue if there is a strong wind.

After the weekend, our sons will return home for the Easter holiday. Their homecoming is characterised by the appearance of lots of dirty laundry, and a more or less instant emptying of the fridge, and the cars missing from the drive when you want one. Still, for three weeks or so it is nice to have them at home.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

A decent Sunday

I cooked lunch today (see Goings on in Gerrans link on the right) for details. Basking in general praise for the lunch, I went for a walk on a longish beach not far away. There were surfers in the sea, and the usual myriad of dogs being walked as I ambled gently down the beach. I guess that the beach is around a mile and a half long, and it wasn't until I was nearly at the far end from the car that I twigged that the westerly wind had been behind me all the way. I thought it had been easy going. Having reached the rocks at the far end of the beach, I turned round to walk back and rapidly realised that it was quite a strong wind - going back was nowhere near as easy as the outward journey.

Getting home, full of good food and fresh air, it will surprise no-one who knows me to discover that I felt compelled to conduct an hour long investigation of the inside of my eyelids.....

Friday, 7 March 2008

Where do these people come from??

Twice today I have found myself behind characters whose driving simply defied belief. Fortunately on both occasions I was not alone. A queue of eight of us formed behind Mr Black 51 reg Ford Focus. He drove along a normal twisty road at 26 - 28 m.p.h. , despite the fact that is a derestricted road, and hence we could legally do 60 (or is it 50?). The only saving grace was that at no. 4 in the queue was a police car that he had not seen. After 5 miles of this idiot blocking the road, a long gap opened up, Mr Plod put on his blue lights and siren and had Mr Black 51 reg Ford Focus into a lay-by for a breathalyser test. I do hope he failed.....

Number two was a lady in a VW Golf who clearly had no idea how wide her car was. Down a road that varies in width, she unfailingly braked hard, regardless of the width of the road, when confronted by an oncoming vehicle and made little or no attempt to keep well into the left. Once again, Schadenfreude occurred when Mr DHS Delivery Van in a searing hurry to get back to the depot and thence home for Friday night revelry, surgically removed her offside drivers door mirror at a closing speed of 50 m.p.h. (she was doing 10, he was doing 40, maybe 45) without apparently noticing or stopping.

Couldn't have happened to two nicer people.......

Thursday, 6 March 2008

In another "grey" moment today, having driven to Truro with two lists, I got everything from one shop and completely forgot one item on the lists.

My uncle and aunt wanted to go to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August. Would you believe it, when I phoned up the ticket office today to ask why the ticket purchase website was not available, a nice lady told me it was because there was only one ticket for one day available. Tickets went on sale in mid December 2007, and they've all gone.

I can only infer that there are a lot of very weird people around. Why would anyone want to spend an evening outside watch a bunch of military men and women marching and generally doing their stuff? I can imagine nothing more boring (well, a day at Crufts, maybe). I know many will disagree with the foregoing opinion, and , of course, they're entitled to their view. However, I just think the military should be fighting, training to fight, or taking R&R with their families. They should not be a branch of the entertainment business.

Talking of things military, I could not help smiling at the comments made by our red-haired soldier Prince along the lines of "I don't really like England very much". That's fine, son, now Foxtrot Oscar to somewhere you do like and stop being a burden to the rest of us. Oh, and please take your father and his lady friend with you.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Straight talking

An article in the Independent today pointed me to the report in Hansard here (scroll down to Col 825 where the speech by Lord Mancroft starts)in which a Lord of the Realm describes what it is like to be in hospital. Remind me never to be ill in Maidstone....

Our politicians must be encouraged to give this sort of report, rather than the mealy-mouthed, politically correct gobbledygook we get most of the time.