Saturday, 28 April 2012

Late spring

This is the second year in a row that at this time of year I look out and think that the garden has too much purple and nothing else. It's slightly too early for the yellow poppies and the daffodils are all go e. I need some late spring yellow and red to balance the purple.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

April Showers

Hosepipe ban
April showers like they used to be
A month's rain in 72 hours
Still not lifting the hosepipe ban (not that anyone actually wants to use one this week)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Mother Recollection

Getting ready to head into town - need a zip from John Lewis. I looked out into the garden after the rain - the sun was shining on the lush spring green. A blackbird took a worm into the honeysuckle. Maybe she has a nest in there. Looked at my eye in the compact mirror and noticed a couple of grey hairs amidst the brunette tied up in my towel turban. Got a massively strong recollection of mother.

We would catch the 29 to Camden Town and chage onto a C2 which takes you down Albany Road, passes over Euston Road and brings you to Regent Street stopping at Oxford Circus - back route to town dropping off for shopping. It would always include a visit to Ponti's on the corner opposite BHS and the London Fashion College. We'd share a cream cheese and tomato sandwich and an eclair. Only ever half each, never one each (not sure why). Chance for a cup of tea for mum (massive tea drinker) or a milky coffee. Then we'd go to the shops with her mother's money (which is what she called child benefit - don't know why).

I think she and my sister would do the same. Mother and daughter time.

London Bloggers

Template update has raised lots of issues - DG commented yesterday that the updated further reading list is now much shorter than the list of those on hiatus. So many bloggers have stopped or moved onto other things (tweet anyone, Facebook?). Thinking it might be good to bolster my dwindling further reading list i had a look at London Bloggers. It used to be a list of bloggers (mostly personal or themed) by tube station. Now there are fewer listed and a much higher proportion of businesses blogs and adult themed. Less useful to find what I think of as fellow bloggers - interesting, writing or photo driven blogs by individuals about things that interest them (rather than work, politics, about America). So still searching...

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Sidebar sorrows

So now its righthanded rather than on the left hand side (don't know why I prefer it so much being on the left (perhaps I read it more becuase it comes first) I checked through the links to other blogs - both the further reading and haitus sections.

Sadly some of those in the haitus section have deleted what was left of their blogs. I prefer to leave the old archives there because when I've read something for a while it seems like erasing someone to get rid of the link completely. Its sort of like address books - even though I may have lost touch with those whose numbers I have I don't like to chuck them out. Eventually the numbers are totally wrong and there is no way to be back in touch - too many moves, too many changes of numbers. Properly lost touch. It becomes a historical document of all those who you have known at some point. Much like this I've left the names of some of these blogs there to remind me who I used to read - there are some that I went to daily, who I met in real life. I'm not quite ready to erase them from my memory yet. (You can probably tell I am a hoarder by nature).

Happily a couple have stopped being on haitus. So that's nice.

template trouble

Checking back its been 9 years since I started blogging and I'd customised my old template lots - colours, sidebars etc. Liked it and was used to it. But recently there were some hitches. Blogger also changed its user interface making it almost impossible to fix the comments issue without first changing to a new 'dynamic' template. Which basically means they have control not me. I can't figure out how to give the header a subheading which would allow me to make a londoners life back into times italic and smaller than the overall heading. So it looks rather heavy and clunky now. Not at all like it was intended in the beginning to emulate the Guardian. Anyway, maybe I'll learn how or someone will point me in the direction I need to go to try to make changes to the html/css of the template or maybe I'm stuck with it (self taught on the html/css front so its a bit tricky when making changes). Also can't figure out how to get a slide show to work on the header so the little javascript I had above the heading is also gone. One of my fav bits. Its all so much less controlable and therefore less creative. boo hiss.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Dog-walking holiday

Went to Dundee over the easter weekend to spend time with the Sis while her family were away visiting the grandparents (dog not welcome). Spent the days dogwalking with some human activities thrown in. Weather was changeable - sun, rain, cold, windy, spring, winter.

Sis had a massive hole in one boot so we didn't walk far when it was pouring. Dry winter meant it hadn't mattered to replace the fav boots and now that the April showers were coming it was proving difficult to find a new pair, although we did try - visiting many shoe shops including the 'best' of the area in St Andrews. Almost got a pair in the walking shop but despite the longest walk-around-a-shoe-shop trying to emulate the elongate stride of outside eventually they were turned down as too high under the ankle bones with the potential for bad blisters while wearing them in.

Its something I only noticed about dog people when I started having lunch near City Hall - they are a group, they talk (mostly about their dogs) and acknowledge each other and know each other's dog's names. This trip Sis took me to all the best dog walking parks. We met a lot of people in various parks of Dundee and the surrounds. (A couple of trips ago she took me to all the Tescos in Dundee so this was at least an introduction to the outside. Better photo opportunities at least.) All sorts of ages and breeds (people and dogs). Lots of discussion about behaviour, parks, good walking grounds, road sense training...

She has what I learned is a 'swimming spaniel'. Dog that loves the water (unless its in the shower at home - because I kept commenting on the lovely eau de dog that was about him and his blankets she gave him a wash which much improved him) and has to get in wherever possible - beach, brook, puddle. Other dog owners know about this - not all dogs like to get wet apprarently but labradors and spaniels are keen (trying to lock this knowledge away somewhere in case it is useful at some point).

Me, I just like a change of scenery sometimes - large sky, dramatic weather, walk on the beach.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


Up the east coast it is lambing season. Lots of little lambs on the hillsides with their mothers between Darlington and Durham.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

April showers

Then rain - heavy and probably localised because I can see a different sky in the near distance. Tree blossom floats in the down-pouring.
A patch of blue sky in the dark grey cloud.
Rain lightens off.
April showers.
Cluster of people at the supermarket door - unwilling to make a run for it in the rain. Some kids wait for it to abate under a bus shelter. Two of them play fight.
The rain stops but doesn't clear up.
Later it's spitting again. Weather continues to swing between spitting and pouring for the whole grey day. Not enough to fend off the drought.
On the way home, bus windows are streaming. A man rides past on a unicycle.

Flush and leak

So first the toilet stopped flushing easily and you had to pump the handle like mad in the hope that it would eventually go. Then I noticed the brown stain on the dining room ceiling under the bath.

Instead of getting a plumber immediately we opened the side of the bath and were very confused by the totally dry pipes underneath. Investigating further discovered the bath water went by pipe outside the house so probably wasn't the cause of the leak.

Finally called British gas to come and see to the toilet. They changed the mechanism inside. Great flushing restored. But then a drip developed through the dining room ceiling. Called them back. They came on Saturday night. Looked under the bath. Looked at the pipes outside. Took some tiles off in the bathroom to look at a pipe that went to the electric shower (long ago condemned which I haven't had replaced yet). Then had to investigate the ceiling. Stuck a screw driver into the plasterboard very easily because it was sodden. Made a little hole. Then cut a bigger hole. Found a completely soaked beam that was dripping off a nail onto the ceiling. Cut another hole further along the ceiling to see where the leak came from. The culprit was the toilet overflow. Man who changed the flusher also adjusted the level of water to overflow. So it wasn't still leaking. Over a year of leakage to cause the soddenness of the beam.

Called my insurance company who at first were unwilling today for the ceiling and would only pay for the beam. Until I persuaded her that since water was dropping through it had to be in scope.

My learning point here is - don't ignore those brown stains on the ceiling because they are symptomatic of potentially larger problems. Must be a better house owner...