Thursday, 12 October 2017

Lamb's (lettuce) to the slaughter?

Two beds of succulent winter salad leaves
in the ground.

Each one surrounded by grit,
with two beer traps filled with Guinness,
strategically placed.
Muddy paths jet washed.
All surrounding weed and plant cover removed.

Let battle commence.

Edited to add:
Two torch patrols tonight
 and the enemy's capabilities have not been underestimated.
Both beer traps have been dug up.
One of them moved 30cms and not a drop spilled.
Many, many little black slugs were apprehended while climbing out 
from under the boards.
The leopard slugs were patrolling the paths.
But incredibly it turns out they are the gardener's friend.
They eat other slugs! Who knew?

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Training Day

Determined to get better use out of our Senior Railcards this year,

we decided on an ambitious day trip,

which necessitated a 5 a.m start,

and approximately eleven hours sitting on trains,

because that's what it takes to get to Edinburgh and back.

It was worth it.
I've been hearing so much about True to Life, British Realists in the 1920s and 30s.
No photos allowed but you can read about it here.

So now we've been pretty far west, pretty far east and pretty far north.
Pretty far south will soon get our feet wet,
so it may have to be south west next.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

A trip of extremes 3

I will never forget the blast of heat
 as we stepped out onto the roof garden of the Met,
so deceived had we been by the cool interior.

And there were Adrián Villar Rojas' heatstroke victims,
3D models,

huddled in sparse shade

 and collapsed over dining tables

clutching replicas of objects from the Met collection.

How relieved we were later to find 
the Conservatory garden in Central Park
in the relative cool of the evening.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

A trip of extremes 2

At last an opportunity to browse the stalls at Union Square Greenmarket,
 often described by Frances  on her blog.

Hadn't bargained for the wasp sting but
luckily no lasting reaction.

Chihuly at the New York Botanical Gardens.
I had only ever seen his Rotunda Chandelier at the V&A in London before this.

A regular stop off for coffee was either Bluestone Lane Cafe,
or Jack's Wife Freda near our Airbnb apartment in West Village.
It was a very convenient, if pricey location.

Last year we stayed in Brooklyn and had a lengthy commute
for Manhattan sight-seeing. 
I was grateful to be able to avoid the subway in the great heat.
We were alternately roasted or frozen on the journeys
that made walking too arduous.
Ten miles was an average daily hike,
not always intentionally!

I was pretty struck by the contrast in fortunes of NY residents
we observed on the streets and in the subway,
especially when we saw women begging (panhandling) with children.
A complex issue.

Manhattan was full of the loud, exuberant, tattoed, opinionated, striving young.
I wondered where all the people my age were.
People who didn't litter their reportage with 'like' and 'literally'.
One very elderly woman in a restroom in the Strand Bookstore
eyed me exhaustedly in the washbasin mirror and said,

'Isn't it horrible out there?
The subway is just dreadful.'

 I smiled sympathetically, nodded my agreement,
 and we went our separate ways.
We had a rendezvous at a ramen cocktail bar in Harlem to make.
A young person suggested it and took us there.
We would never have dreamt of going down into the dingy
subterranean bar of our own accord,
but it was really good fun and watching the barman constructing the cocktails
in front of us was like a cabaret act.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

A trip of extremes

A tranquil scene in Central Park on one of the exceptionally hot days
of the record-breaking September heatwave in mid-West and North-Eastern US.

A sunset sail aboard the Adirondack Schooner in New York Harbor -
with not a breath of wind.

The arresting sight of Marine One with its decoy helicopter
and V22 Osprey tiltrotor attack helicopter escort, flying out of Manhattan.

 City life escape to Cold Spring on the Poughkeepsie line
out of Grand Central Station.
The train hugged the Hudson River shore for much of the route.
On the way back I did a double take at the highly fortified walls of
a building wedged between railwayline and river.
Could it be a prison I wondered aloud.
Well yes, was the answer.
It was Sing Sing Correctional Facility.
A maximum security prison confining about 1700 prisoners.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Delete. Delete. Delete.

If anyone wondered where I was,
I have been Kondoing my Inbox.
I had to because my computer said it was full
and could neither absorb nor discharge any further information.

I understood how it felt.

There were 8835 messages there going back eight years.
Of course there must have been many more.
I certainly do delete as I go, but for some reason
these had resisted the routine culling.

It was, and is, a sobering experience. 
All life is there,
from the mundane to the momentous.
There is no easy way to approach this task.
I cannot risk taking out the box wholesale.
I have found some vital documents and some useful contacts.
I have been reminded of happy times and sad.

The computer has dropped a couple of dress sizes
and is feeling more comfortable, but I must press on.
We're aiming for a size 8.
People send funnies, and each of these links was opened and examined.
Mercifully many of them had expired.
Here are a couple that were brought blinking into the spotlight.
You'll notice a common theme:

 Retiree Bathtub Test

During a visit to my doctor, I asked him, 
"How do you determine
whether or not a retiree should be put in an old age home?"

"Well," he said, "we fill up a bathtub, 
then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the retiree 
and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."

"Oh, I understand," I said. "A normal person would use the bucket
 because it is bigger than the spoon or the teacup."
"No", he said. "A normal person would pull the plug out.
Do you want a bed near the window?"


If it goes quiet again, you'll know where to find me.

Also - 32,544 photos.

Delete. Delete. Delete.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Wot! No haywain?*

Overheard one disgruntled visitor saying,
'Isn't there supposed to be a cart there?'.

This was an interesting programme about a possible lost Constable painting
 from the BBC1 Fake or Fortune series.

* See Mr Chad

Wednesday, 30 August 2017


A very happy Bank Holiday weekend with fine weather
and a succession of visits from all the (male) members of the family.
Daughter-in-law and grandaughter on their way back from Edinburgh today.
Younger son returned to New York.
Weather cold and rainy.
Perhaps that was summer's last shout.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Late summer jollity

There's no doubt that summer is winding up.

But the fine weather is holding up

and the colours are intensifying.

So there's still something to bring a smile to our faces.

We went to see a show at the Camden Fringe last night.
My very first new-mum-friend's son, Thomas Joyce, was performing.
He didn't have an easy start in life thirty years ago
but now has a PhD and a thriving sideline as a stand up comedian.
There's one more show tonight in London
and then a late night performance in Edinburgh on the 25th.
Made me laugh. 

Monday, 14 August 2017

I couldn't resist. . .

. . .the dust jacket on this book,

this celadon jug on the bric a brac stall,

a go on this swing.