Thursday, 11 October 2012

Can't believe I forgot...

... to post that this weekend, I only went and saved the whole world. No biggie :-)

One of my brother-in-laws is properly expert in board games and is a goldmine of fantastic recommendations. It had never really occurred to me that there are certain things that make a game successful, in particular getting every player to the end without giving up or losing interest. Which explains my absolute hatred of playing Monopoly which I can set myself up to lose within 5 minutes and then spend the next hour of my life watching the slow attrition of everything I own being taken away by the bank.

Amongst the games we now have in our stash is Pandemic, in which four or five players work together to save the world from global disaster. It really is non competitive and the four of us spent an hour really debating how each of us in turn could do our bit to make sure disaster was contained and then cured.

And yes, we did work our way through a fair few snacks to keep our strength up on the way!

I'd say it is best for older children or adults as the rules are a bit detailed, but quite straightforward once you have worked through a couple of turns. Then you just keep going until either you win, or the disaster does.

A similar one is Scotland Yard where you work together to catch a spy,
but that's saved for another weekend!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Monday, 24 September 2012

Chocolate chunks

I made a chocolate birthday cake this weekend, for my nephew. He plays a lot of minecraft so I wanted to make a cube-y cake and stumbled on an idea a bit like this while searching for 'easy cake decorating for numpties' ideas.

I had made some eyes for a cake I'm going to be making later in November so thought
I'd hide a few zombie cubes in the pile. Can you spot them?

Friday, 21 September 2012

Cheeky robin!

I have begun feeding the birds in our garden with a bit more regularity now that autumn is starting, and the little ones have all left the nests. The bird feeders are always topped up but I don't put much on the bird table as it just gets munched by squirrels and pigeons.

But you do have to give credit to a bird that is prepared to find his own way to the biggest stash of bird food he can find...

Look carefully at this food display in our local garden centre - there he is, a pretty clever robin.

I asked at the tills and he comes in every autumn and disappears over the summer. He looks pretty scruffy, but he has a lovely bowl of food left out for him, and suns himself in the open doorway when the weather is nice enough.

And give unwary customers a jump.
Not a bad life, eh?

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Tweet nothings

I know it has been ages and I do wish there was a blog shorthand for 'I'm really sorry, I'm rubbish but please forgive me because look, I'm back!'...

There has been lots going on and I'm sure everyone's summer has been going zoink with either olympomania or olympovoidance. We got right into the swing of it with excessive hours of TV viewing and three lots of tickets. I even bought a red, white and blue t-shirt so I could blend into the crowd. Loved every second of it.

But that's not what tempts me out of bloggy lurking.

Today I have been glued to twitter. I am a terrible lurker there too, almost never tweeting but always following something or other. I have a habit of following people who are topical for some reason: Andy Murray during Wimbledon, Jenson Button during the F1 season, the Chris Moyles Show crew as they built up to the finale this week, Claire Balding during the olympics... you get the picture.

I also follow a few historians, which (I'm not ashamed to admit) started with following Dan Snow. He recommended a few folk, I followed them, now they make up a fair percentage of what I read. And I love them, because some of them do 'real time' history. By this, I mean that they recount historical events in the timeframe that they happened, via tweets.

I first found this last Autumn, as I got completely addicted to the events that led up to the arrest of Guy Fawkes and the pursuit of his conspirators, with subsequent 'questioning' and execution. The chase of the conspirators was brilliant, with them galloping across the country finding places to hide.

Today it has been the Battle of Britain, which has been added to by pictures and comments by the pilots of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. It has really illustrated that the odds faced by the pilots were incredibly dire, that they were fighting in the knowledge that there were no reserves and no backup plan. In one instance, a large formation of Luftewaffe fighters were confronted by a tiny group of Spitfires, and not believing anyone would go up against such a vastly superior force without significant backup, they dispersed and took evasive action rather than taking them head on. And pilots that survived being shot down made superhuman efforts to get to airfields and get back in the air, fast.

The size of our debt to them is staggering.

In real time, it's not just a story - it feels like reporting, and much more engaging as a result.
If you are a tweeterist, these folk are great:

@thehistoryguy (Dan Snow)
@HistoryNeedsYou (doing WWII but also does other periods)

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Scavenger hunt - June 2012

Hi everyone, I do love scavenger hunt time!
This has been a busy month with lots of stuff going on, but this isn't reflected in a
dazzling array of photographs.

Next month I might set myself a theme, like maybe all macros shots,
or possibly just think it through and set a couple up. 
But let's get through this month first:

Absolutely and totally NO INSPIRATION.
This is lego Indiana Jones, who does not have a close shave, but he does keep my front door closed
 Via the key on the end of the chain that comes out of his head. Tenuous, at best...
Not sure what he is reaching out for. Any ideas?
He's poised for action underneath this relaxed exterior.

On the edge.
You'll have to get your binoculars out for this one,
but on the balcony bit on the very top left of this building is a man cleaning windows.
With seemingly no regard for life or limb. Maybe the view of Eastbourne was worth it.

This bit of bird feeder definitely wasn't here yesterday. It was attached to a feeder.
Have I angered the blue tits with an inferior grade of seed?
This calls for investigative action... 

Culprit found. I think I might have to invest in better squirrel defences.
Currently, what I have is a squirrel buffet bar.
FAIL. I thought the jet trail down the centre of the sky was a great way to split the two identical halves,
but failed to notice the BIG FENCE in the bottom right. I have included it anyway,
so as not to pretend I am anything but a numptie.
Out of reach
You might thing this is a bit close up to be truly out of reach, but look closer...
This is a sculpture celebrating walking, by the seaside in Eastbourne.
The channels have stone balls in them, that I assume you have to get your fingers to,
lift up, then drop down again. In practical terms, the only way to achieve this is to break your nails,
dislocate your opposable digit, squash your pinkie then fracture the lot under a falling stone ball.
At night
This week I have mostly learned a lot about Minecraft. One husband, all the nieces and nephews plus a fair smattering of in-laws have become addicted to it. This is the night screen ( in 2 player mode, hence two moons). Night is when you have to go to your house because the zombies come out and explode you.This makes you drop your bits in lava, which even I, as a novice, can see wouldn't be good.
Pretty lifelike, I think.
I has really hoped that our trip to the river pageant would come up trumps for this one,
but as my earlier post indicated, we didn't see actually see the Queen.
However, we did see War Horse on the roof of the National Theatre opposite, who came out just
as the Queen's boat went past. So here he is, the horse that told us the Queen had arrived. 

Well, they are aren't they :-)
Sticking with the zombies theme, this one has got into the spirit of the jubilee.
He seems to have lost part of his head, but the Evatron has made sure he won't be sad
by hanging a lovely string of bunting above his head.  Thanks Evatron.
And that it for this month.
More blogging next month. I'm determined.

Thanks again to Kathy!

Sunday, 17 June 2012


The past couple of weeks have been activity-full but blog-less, which I think is in part due to a crash back to earth post holiday and jubilee.

I should also confess to having had a 'significant' birthday in the midst of it all, which meant the jubilee weekend kind of loomed, flew by and then got cleared away pretty rapidly. Despite not really looking forward to it, it all turned out alright in the end
and the cake was fab.

So, here are one or two highlights...

We went to that there London to see this family and saw mainly the backs of other people's heads, until the rain came and they all disappeared. Flotilla ahoy!

We didn't see the queen but we did see about 999 other boats.

Then I had birthday-ness to see to, which we began with a Mini adventure
That's me off adventuring, with jubilee bunting being borrowed for birthdays.

This was followed up by a special birthday screening of another 1970s classic.
I was a bit worried whether everyone would enjoy it but what's not to like about Herbie, especially with bacon rolls chucked in.

This week was a slice of back to normal which really isn't very photogenic.
Let normal service resume!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Scavenger hunt - May

This month I am EARLY!

I put this down to the bizarre effects of jetlag and an over excitement to look at my own photos of an amazing month. I think I got something for everything and in some cases more than one, but we'll see how we get on...

Good things - the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz.
This film always reminds me of Christmas and eating a buffet (always with mushroom vol-au-vents)
 on boxing day at my Aunty Mary's. All good things indeed.
Small packages - the hugeness that is New York, all looking tiny in the distance.
The tall buildings are the financial district, including Wall Street, and just behind that is the Statue of Liberty, teeny tiny in the distance. 
Fragrance - the smell of success!
This is the new Olympic stadium, from some fantastic seats on the VERY FRONT ROW!
They were from a lottery so none of us knew they were quite this good, and we loved seeing the celebrations for the opening of the stadium. What a summer we have to look forward to.
Yellow 1 - ribbons ties to a church railings.
The USA pays particularly good tribute to their armed services.
Yellow 2 - an NYC yellow cab of course!
Nose - this is never going to work, surely.
The poor chap has a WINGNUT for a nose and no eyes!
Bet he was never picked for the jousting team at school.
Nine - a bus stop on 9th street in Philadelphia.
Front page - text from Abraham Lincoln's first address as president.
He probably ought to have used paper, but this one has lasted really well.
Station - Grand Central of course!
We tried to take some photos of the US Marines off to the left, but they got a bit cross.
Beverage - I love this one.
My breakfast tea matching my view perfectly. It was a fantastic day.
Historic - this is a tree that survived 911.
It was found decimated to a stump as the buildings were searched but has regrown,
and is now part of the memorial. We weren't sure whether we would go to the site but are very pleased that we did. It is FULL of tourists but has been very well done.
Currency - I struggled with this one.
This is on the front of the Rockerfeller Centre, a huge complex in New York built with the riches of the Rockerfeller family. Just goes to show that they didn't think money was everything.
Do you see what I see 1 - this Mini is defying gravity!
Slightly strange standing underneath it to
take a photo, but as a big Mini fan, it had to be done.
Do you see what I see 2 - art.
This is dribbly, splodgy and uninspired. Or is it groundbreaking, original and astounding?
Which would you vote?
I'm going to get in trouble for laughing my way round art galleries one day!

Don't worry, more adventures from the USA will feature in future posts.
It was a truly amazing holiday and we loved it.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been up to!

If you would like to join in, click on the logo below for more info from Kathy, the star blogger who organises us all:

Thursday, 10 May 2012


Last Saturday I won the lucky sod gold medal, by a country mile.

By the power of a very lovely brother-in-law, we got tickets to one of the warm up events in the new Olympic stadium. It was University athletics, to be followed by 'celebrity antics'. When the tickets arrived, they didn't come with a plan of the stadium, so we didn't know where we would be.

We wandered in, found the right section, came down the steps and sat down to this view:

We were on the Very Front Row.
If the long jump ladies had done particularly well they would have landed in our laps.

Lucky gold medal? I graciously accept!

Monday, 30 April 2012

April scavenger hunt

Yet again only some of this list lodged in my head and this morning I was left scratching my head wondering how I'd let two rock band nights go by without a single photo. What part of 'rock' didn't scream out at me as a good one for this month?

So, with apologies for rock in advance, here are my shots:

Our village steam is tiny, but the recent rain has washed down a WHOPPER of a log.
Not sure how clear it is in the pic, but the water is still high and it is stuck on a ledge, so the water must have been huge to get it that far.
Can't live without... I've been scanning more old photos and this is another that was tucked in the loft.
The chap in the middle is my Grandad-in-law in his WW1 regiment, who died in the 30s.
Also qualifies for amazing.
Left? Right? Straight down the middle?
Backwards? Whichever way, they seem to think they are winners!
Coming OUT of the New INN, Winshelsea.
I've mainly included this to show I didn't switch my brain off for the entire month!
I saw this vase on ebay and I treated myself - Royal Copenhagen from the 70s.
Through the power of the collage I have tried to capture the excitement of opening
the package but I'm not sure I'd be convinced if I were you!
You might think this is mainly green, but look, there's a bird on the feeder that isn't brown!
It's our first ever Goldfinch, and very pretty it is too.
On the move
My niece enjoying her second riding lesson.
The horse wasn't what you'd call a racer, but I think everyone enjoyed the trots.
Not often you can say that.
This is probably quite unclear, but by the corner of the pond we have some gravel.
In amongst that gravel are some rocks that I practiced writing on for a wedding last year.
The one on top at the moment reads 'Tim, Melon, Cheese'. What possessed me to write this I don't know.
My fingers after peeling this. All that effort and it was soooooo sour.
The white bits on the soil is hail. Spring - come back!
Poor Fireman Sam. 
I hope the graffiti clearing team did!
Thanks again to Kathy, I hope you have a brighter times very soon.