Tales from Fraggle Towers ~ August 2022

The end of August is nigh, and the official the end of summer. According to meteorological seasons, the first day of autumn arrives onΒ 1 SeptemberΒ and then according to the astronomical calendar, autumn will begin on Friday 23. Oddly, The Meteorological Office, which forecasts our weather (or tries to anway) uses the astronomical calendar. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

My autumn begins when the green leaves turn gold/red/brown and that isn’t happening yet, so I’m still in Summer, albeit the latter stages. August has been full of the drought, and then torrential downpours which did nothing to alleviate the problems drought is causing. Up here we haven’t had too bad a time of it, no hosepipe bans, and the crops and fields look healthy when I’m driving about anyway, though ponds have dried up across the way.

I got the results of the lung screening back, and whilst I haven’t got lung cancer, there’s a different issue shown up which has to be addressed, and is being. My hedonistic past catching up with me πŸ™‚ . I may, or may not write more about it later, but it’s all a bit new at the minute, anyway I’m not at death’s door so yay!

Work has been mad busy as always, there’s a lot of ear wax in this world! I’ve got a week off coming in September which I’ll be glad for, it will be a staycation as no-one sensible would try and look after our cats, but we’re having a night in Edinburgh as the Scale Scotland Model show is on and it’s one of Phil’s faves. We’re only staying for one night and our lovely next door neighbour Cheryl will come in and put food down for them.

August is when the schools shut for summer, and I had Cal and Liddy to stay and took them out for a trip to the Northumberland Zoo whilst their Mum went to a funeral.

us at the zoo
snack break

Liddy loves horses and has riding lessons everyweek, but on bigger ones than this chap.

Mini horse

They loved the marmasets and Cal turned his camera round so the little guy could see himself! πŸ₯΄

selfie

This is a Scottish Wildcat, and the first time I’ve managed to see it as it hasn’t appeared on the other occasions I’ve been, it’s usually hiding, which is pesky, surprise surprise. Caught it at feeding time though.

Pesky Scottish Wildcat

The cafΓ© at the zoo is pants, so I took them to Northhumberlandia which has a nice one, and hadn’t expected it to have 300 Harley Davison riders in it’s grounds. I got chatting to one of them in the cafΓ© queue and he was telling me that most weekends, chapters of the riding groups meet up and go riding to places together. Their next event was the following weekend in Scotland, which is apparently the most anticipated and best of the year.

Angels of Hell, (and Scotland and Wales).

It was nice to spend some time with the kids and they had a sleepover.

Winnie and Lord Vincent have been enjoying the nice weather

Winny and Vinnie

also their assassination rates have gone up somewhat. Winnie has brought home 3 shrews and a rat and left them on our dining room floor mat to be admired, her modus operandi is unknown as they are always perfectly intact with no sign of damage.

a shrew

Lord Vincent is a different matter. He has caught two small mice which he announced by mewing loudly so we’d come and look, but he wouldn’t give them up and ate them πŸ₯΄. Sigh. Vinnie also caught a small bird, parts of which we found one morning in the living room along with copious amounts of feathers. I don’t mind about the rodents really, they’re not endangered species, (well maybe to Winnie and Vinnie), but I hate it when one of them gets a bird. What can you do? They both have noisy bells on their collars at least or it would be a massacre out there.

It was my birthday last week and I got taken out to dinner, to an Italian Restaurant over the train tracks in Pelaw. It’s called the Olive Verde and is above a rough and tumble pub in the main street, it does a small but very nice menu, has friendly staff and the food is good quality and (so far) is reasonably priced.

Happy Birthday to me

The big plus is it’s only a 10 minute walk from home and we were treated to a little sunset over the metro station on the way home.

I haven’t done much with my Fuji, and Sophie has only been home for the Raby weekend but I’ve been employing the iPhone camera and hipstamatic app when necessary, and am still taking my Contax Aria in hand, with a film sent off and one on the go. But I do belong to The Scavenger Hunt group on Flickr where there are 50 items to shoot within a year’s timeframe. I particularly liked my attempt at ‘Spices’.

Spices.

I’ve watched a few films this month,

The Gray Man starring Ryan Gosling.~ Netflix. A so-so action movie, a good review HERE by Dix/Eddie/the Pesky Scot, delete as applicable.
Samaritan starring Silvester Stallone. The reviews I read liked it better than I did- nicely filmed, minimal CGI but hokey script and acting veering between OTT and wooden. Still, it’s Sly, so there’s that.
Dog starring a wonderful dog, and Channing Tatum. Highly recommend it, did I mention the wonderful dog? She is fab, Tatum does OK too. Eddie has an excellent review HERE.
The Railway Man starring Colin Firth, Jeremy Irvine and Nicole Kidman. A true story about a chap called Eric Lomax who becomes a POW in a Japanese POW camp in Singapore and has to work on the Thai-Burma railway. In spite of being tortured for a spurious offence, he manages to survive the war, but suffers PTSD for a long while after, until there’s a reconciliation at the end. (Trying not to do a spoiler but it’s a true story so that doesn’t matter really πŸ™„). Phil had read the book, and felt though it was told in a different way than the autobiography the movie was based on, it was all there, the flashback sequences being particularly good. Definitely recommend. Eddie wasn’t as keen so for a different POV his review is HERE.

So that’s about it, I’ll be back when September ends, so stay tooned.

Tales from Fraggle Towers ~June 2022

Life has been somewhat eventful at Fraggle Towers over the past couple of months. To start with in the first week of June we had a new visitor to the Happy Easter tree

Bob

He was very good at getting the peanuts.

He only visited for 2 weeks, don’t know what happened to him, hope not road kill. There’s lots of greenery and trees across the way from us so I’m thinking he went back there.

I had some time off and went to Leighton Buzzard to be in charge of my grandson whilst his Dad and girlfriend went off to the Isle of Wight festival. It was cool to spend some time with Lewis and we had a fair few laughs along the week. Of course I had to take a million more pictures of him playing football.

Louie

I wish there were a few kids his age around where he lives, but the ones that play footy on the green are a fair bit older and intimidating.

I was amazed at how many Red Kites were flying above the park, and in fact all over the south on my journey down and around. They are gorgeous to watch in flight.

Red Kite

One of the neighbourhood cats has adopted Ben’s house, and so I’ve had Mrs.Miaow-Miaow (πŸ™„) to feed as well. She belonged to one of the neighbours but got chucked out for some reason that’s beyond me.

Mrs.Miaow-Miaow

Although we’ve all been banging on about our 2 day heatwave, the week I was at Ben’s was really hot, so much that other than taking Louie to school, I didn’t go out much for the first couple of days, but sat outside in the shade and made the most of it. On the Monday before I came home I got to walk along the canal (Grand Union) and took the contax with me for some shooting, I’ll do a film friday post with those.

On the Sunday when Louie was off school, I took him up to Milton Keynes and the big indoor play area there

Boy racer
Plants v Zombies

We also went to visit with my friend I haven’t seen in ages, Helen, who lives in Biggleswade and we went out for lunch in the Conservative Club of which Helen is somehow a member without being a Tory supporter. Apparently they’re not allowed to ask you which party you support when you apply to join, it makes parking in town dead easy and the lunches are really good! 🀣

Hels & Lewis choosing drinks.

There was a fair on in the town centre and Lewis went on a flight simulator and the ghost train ~ I don’t think he was impressed with the latter.

Lewis (contax aria, kodak portra 200)
Lewis (contax aria, kodak portra 200)

Then I came home, to my cats

Lord Vincent
Winnie

Phil’s giant tank was coming along, it’s nearly fully built.

Giant Tank

I’ll finish with two life lessons, the first being, if you need a heavy doorstopper, bake a loaf of bread and forget deliberatley leave out the yeast.

Baked Doorstop

the second, if you suffer from old-person weak grip and like a glass of sparkly, long nose pliers are your friend.

Ad Hoc cork removal device.

Hopefully I’ll get July done this week. Maybe.

Tales from Fraggle Towers ~ April/May 2022

I’ve been rubbish at keeping up the monthly Fraggle Towers posts, but hey-ho, life and all that. Anyway here is a potted update on our doings.

April saw Phil and I attend our first gig since the Covid thing began, and we went into Newcastle and met up with Phil’s son Carl and his Missis Karly, to see the band Stone Broken, which I’m sure you’ve all heard of 🀣. Phil and I started out in our regular pub Rafferty’s on Pink Lane, which has cheap alcohol and a floor your feet stick to.

Rafferty’s

The venue was The Riverside, which is beside the river Tyne (not being funny, we have a Lakeside pub that’s nowhere near a lake πŸ™„) a small venue which gets packed. I must admit to a certain amount of trepidation at being stuck in a room with a few hundred people, none wearing masks. I had one on, but it seemed overwhelmingly pointless as I had to remove it to have a drink so ended up maskless too.

Family outing

Newcastle at night is lush for photos

Tyne at night
The Bridge and the bridge.

The Band were great

Stone Broken

and a good time was had by all, plus we didn’t get Covid and die, so result!

Phil and I went back there in May to see a brilliant American Southern Rock/Soul band, Robert Jon and the Wreck and they were fantastic.

Robert Jon and The Wreck

We’ve been checking out a couple of local restaurants we hadn’t been to before, the first one was pretty poor food-wise, though a nice looking pub, in a lovely setting near our wildlife reserve. It was cheap, which was probably why we got oven chips and frozen veg with our main course, Phil had a microwaved pie (soggy pastry) and I got away with scampi which it’s hard to ruin really. Won’t be going back.

The Cock Crow Inn at Hebburn

The other one is called Le Olive Verdi and is a lovely Italian restaurant on the top floor of The Pelaw Inn, had a fab dinner, steak in 3 peppercorn sauce and it came with fresh veg, not cheap, but worth the money, and we can walk there so it’s all good and we will be returning.

clock at Le Olive Verdi

The cats:- Lord Vincent has been his usual zen self, eating, sleeping, sitting under bushes and plodding about.

Lord Vincent

WInnie has been on a killing spree. I came downstairs one morning to find a dead mouse on our dining room mat, it wasn’t mauled, just looked like it was asleep. A few days later Phil found a dead blackbird in the TV room. Then one day whilst Phil was at work she came running past me with something in her mouth, I chased her upstairs to the bedroom where she had something under the bed which was tweeting. It must have got free from her and hid as she came charging around to the other side of the bed whereby I picked her up and evicted her. I couldn’t see anything under the bed and it’s too heavy for me to move so I shut the door and left as I had to go out for a couple of hours. When I came back I could hear a constant tweeting from behind the bedroom door. I opened it and something ran very quickly under a chest of drawers, so I left it alone again. Still could hear the tweeting. I tried again a couple of hours later and this time it ran into the bathroom.

Tweety Pie

I shut the door and waited for Phil to come home. Phil managed to pick him up and gently carried him into the bushes over the road, where, we hoped forlornly, his mother would hear him and come and fetch him, but Lord Vincent had sneakily followed Phil outside and as soon as Phil’s back was turned, well, need I go on?

Finally I came downstairs one day and saw

😳

which was a bit of a shock. I couldn’t believe Winnie had managed to catch this big magpie and get him through the catflap without a sound or feathers being every where and thought he must have managed to get himself in through it. But then when I checked our hedgehog camera, well… you need to set it to a slow playback speed to see it as she’s fast as fek! Keep your eyes on the top right corner right at the beginning.

So she dropped it through the catflap and it must have got away from her pretty quickly. Her ambition is boundless and I dread the day she decides Woody the wood pigeon is her next victim.

Even though she’s lethal, she’s still cute.

Killer Queen

and also makes us laugh

It’s all gravy.

Work is still full on, and I’m busy as a tree. Little Teddy is worming is way into my affections and I take him out for a walk when ever I have 10 mins spare, which is about twice a day. He mainly sits with Lynn our office manager barricaded in as he’s apt to escape.

Teddy and Lynn

Phil’s Giant Tank is coming along, and this weekend is his clubs model show, so I’ll be attending on Sunday to photograph the competition tables and winners for the club’s Facebook page.

phil’s giant tank.

Entertainment-wise I haven’t seen any movies I’d recommend, maybe The Contractor as it has a good cast- Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Kiefer Doodah. It’s a serviceable action movie, but nothing new. Bird Box with Sandra Bullock started out well, and she was great all the way through but there were too many good coincidences at the end. Phil wanted to re-watch Oblivion with Tom Cruise as he got the blueray but we gave up before the end as we’d had wine/whisky and couldnt get our heads around what the fek was going on. I’ll wiki it one day. πŸ˜ƒ

TV has been better, we got through to the end of Ozarks and are currently in the last season of Better Call Saul, both have been outstanding. We are now rewatching the first 2 seasons of Das Boot as the 3rd one is out and we forgot a lot of 1 & 2 as it was a couple of years ago, looking forward to seeing the 3rd, it is excellent.

Reading, well I’ve read all 47 of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series twice, and am starting again at the beginning, I just love these books. I have bought other books in the meantime, but as yet I can’t let go of Wolfe to read them instead. A strange addiction!

That’s all folks. More tales from Fraggle Towers to come, eventually. If/when I remember!

πŸ“· 😊

Tales from Fraggle Towers ~ March 2022

Yep I’m a couple of days late with a ‘tales’ post for March, but c’est la vie. March has been a busy month for us with Phil doing a make-over of our dining room.

stripper
paperer

We had a new floor done too, I can’t remember why but I like it so not to worry.

job done

New music equipment was purchased at the beginning of the month, well not new, Phil rarely buys new as it’s mega bucks for what he wants, he waits until new stuff comes in and then buys stock that’s getting sold at a bargain price in order to make room for the next things. We went off to Stockton on the River Tees for his latest aquisitions, a phono cartridge pre-amp and a regulated power supply. He tries to explain to me what these things do but I just can’t. Anyways we got lost getting there or rather we didn’t but just couldn’t see it, as the building entrance faced the river and the car park didn’t. We spent some time ogling the amazing music systems they had in their upstairrs showroom

ogling
more ogling

and I took a couple of pictures out of the window,

River Tees

The cats have been their usual selves, Lord Vincent has been loving the sunshine we had last week

LV

and Winnie has been bonkers

Boxed Winnie

WInnie has learned how to get up on top of our conservatory roof, and the other morning I woke up at 7.30am to her meowing. Couldn’t see her in the room but when I opened my curtains

let me in!

there she was shouting to come in. Not best pleased as I wasn’t going to work that day so getting up at 7.30 hadn’t been the plan. Sigh.

Talking of sunshine, it’s been a mad month for the weather. Last week was like summer, and then this week we got snow and sleet in between some sunny bits. I’ve been out walking a few times with the Contax Aria, with Sophie away a lot more than she used to be there are now several weeks in between our outings, so walking out into the nature bits around where I live is a substitute. Not a great one, but better than nothing.

Phil’s sister Annette had her 70th Birthday last weekend and 13 of us went out to a local restaurant, The Lakeside (there’s no lake anywhere near it) where she had booked us in for a celebratory meal. When we arrived they had no record of the booking. That was a shock and Annette told them she’d spoken to a chap but didn’t know his name. The place was really busy too. Have to applaud the manager and her staff though, they apologised profusely and went straight into action, managed to find enough tables to cobble together for us to sit at and we were sorted and our orders taken within 15 minutes. Not a bad meal either which Annette’s husband Brian paid for which was lovely of him. Afterwards we went to their house for cups of tea and some birthday cake.

Birthday girl

Annette rang us the next day to tell us that she’s booked another local restaurant, The Green, for Brian’s birthday meal in a couple of weeks time. They asked her why we hadn’t shown up for the booking she made for the day before. 🀣🀣

My Happy Eater tree is in full bloom now, it’s strange to see the bees buzzing about on it in the middle of a snow shower.

The Happy Eater Tree

Unfortunately we seem to have aquired a herd of Magpies who are going through the bird food at a fast pace. I’ve counted 7 of them, ‘seven for a secret never to be told’, which I won’t because I don’t know what it is. Anyway I’m not keen on them but everything needs to eat so I keep topping it up. Sadly the cats are no deterent as Winnie barks at them from the windowsill and Vinnie sits under the tree but they know he’s there and wait until he goes indoors.

I drove over to the coast at South Shields the other day, managed to photograph the sea with a weather front coming in.

Incoming!

My boss was off sick with Covid last week, the guy who works for her the 2 days I don’t had picked it up and then, as he stays over at Brendas when he works for us (he lives in Scotland) she was the next in line. So far I haven’t had it, nor our office manager, we dodged a bullet there as they say.

Well that’s about it for March, I’m glad we’re into April now and looking forward to Spring springing and getting out more.

Tales from Fraggle Towers ~ Feb 22

Most of my photography is being done on film, but I’ve still managed a few iPhone shots, mostly of the cats.

Winnie has a thing for sticks of any description, and apparently spaghetti is in that classification. πŸ™„

sticks

Winnie and Lord Vincent don’t really get on, Vinnie is quite cool and doesn’t bother with her, but she hisses at him and sometimes jumps on him when she’s going past him, but the conservatory seems to be a no-mans land, or at least there’s a truce for there. Yep I know the windows need cleaning!

Another picture of Teddy from work, he’s ao adorably cute but SO yappy, which I’m not too keen on.

Yappy

He’s a cross between a Pomeranian and a Pappilon, whatever they are, and won’t get much bigger than he is.

I took some time out from work towards the end of the month and travelled south to see Ben, Lewis & Charlotte. It was Lewis’s 12th birthday last week but he was on half term the week before when I visited so I could spend more time with him.

That’s Ben’s ‘not another photo’ face!
Happy day!

They have been adopted by a cat who lives in their neighbourhood, Mrs. Miaow~miaow.

Mrs.Miaow~miaow.

It was nice to spend some time with them, but the driving there and back was a nightmare in the bad storms. I stay in a little annexe to a converted chapel as Ben’s house only has 2 bedrooms and I like my own room and bathroom and managed this time to mix up my leaving day, so I was turfed out on Wednesday afternoon when I thought I was staying until Thursday. πŸ™„ I ended up just driving home from 9pm and getting in for 1am.

We’ve only done 2 movies this month, Spenser Confidential, Mark Whalberg, which was a good action romp for a Saturday night, and The Counsellor with Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz. Directed by Ridley Scott we were expecting great things, but it was a bit of a damp squib really.

Phil has started on the redecoration of the dining room, and though it isn’t a huge room, it’s where the cabinets with CD’s, model tanks and a few preciouses live, so they have all had to be emptied and packed away. Steaming off the wallpaper starts tomorrow, thankfully I’ll be at work!

The weather has been fairly abominable, Storms Eunice, Franklin were mega~windy and rainy, I did my night drive up the country whilst Franklin was doing it’s thing, and I think we were supposed to have a Gladys too and we might have but if so it got lost in the news about Putin invading Ukraine. It’s been a sunny couple of days this weekend though so there’s that. But yes, Ukraine. Scary times and it seems to be escalating god knows where. Nothing to do but wait and see, but it’s hard to think about anything else. So that’s how February ends.

Lord Vincent

Corona Chronicles ~ 8

I’ve been back at work 3 weeks now, the first two weeks I did full time hours to clear the backlog of people wanting wax removal. When I returned for my first day my clinic room had been completely revamped!

New flooring, new furniture, everything very minimal and easy to clean. Over the past 3 weeks I’ve de-waxed 146 people. We provide them masks and hand sanitiser before they come in to see me and I am gloved aproned and masked!

The Creature from the Black Lagoon!

The goggles are magnifying loupes with a head light, but I am getting a fancy-pants new one on a headband soon as this one is past it’s sell-by date! So far it all seems to be working well, but I am booked solid every day now so knackered by the end of the shift. I was quite worried when I first went back and didn’t sleep too well wondering if I was going to be infected with the damned plague, but I seem to be OK (so far) and I’m all ‘que sera sera’ now. Have done my best to minimise risk for me and the patient, and that’s all I can do.

In total, 1,415 people who had tested positive for coronavirus have died across the North East’s hospital trusts according to data released by NHS England today. According to the latest figures released by Public Health England yesterday there are 10,535 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the North East – a rise of 7 from Monday, June 22. Still sneaking up.

Our bonkers Prime Minister has loosened the lockdown yet again so people can go to pubs and the hairdressers, which is good for all the people in danger of losing their jobs, but not so good for those that will catch the plague from enjoying this new freedom.The North East where I live is very pub-centric, yes you get a few wine bars in Newcastle but the towns and villages have proper pubs, and Mackem men in particular are known for spending Sunday afternoons down the pub while wifey cooks a Sunday roast so I imagine it won’t be long until the 2nd wave kicks off up here. I can’t see them wearing masks whilst having a beer with their buddies!

Anyway I’m taking no notice of BoJo, will keep at 2 meters or more from everyone and I didn’t go to pubs anyway so they are not on my radar. Not done much photography of late though I keep up with my weekly challenge shots , HERE.

Our wildlife are still entertaining us, Halfmags is still hopping around our front and back gardens, but getting a picture of him now is difficult as he runs like the wind if he gets a sniff of the camera. Hedgehogs are still coming most nights and we’ve 2 trail cameras on the go now for the front and back gardens. They tailed off after the rains started, so presume they were finding bugs and the like more easily with the ground being so wet, but we still get a visitor or two most nights. Sparrows, Blackbirds and Bluetits have all had chicks, and I caught this one having a rest in our empty bird food jar.

He stayed there quite a while having a little snooze πŸ™‚

Phil’s hospital has resumed doing routine operations on non-covid people so there’s a let up for Phil, he doesn’t have to wear the full astronaut gear when he’s doing those, so saying he sent me a text at work today he was doing a covid patient not only dressed up in full gear but also having to wear a heavy lead apron throughout as X-rays were done all through the operation. I can vouch that even wearing aprons, gloves and a mask makes you hot & sweaty so he must have been melting under all that.

The weather is hot here today, and likely to be again for tomorrow, but only for two days with more rain predicted for the weekend, saves me watering the plants I suppose! So that’s all from Fraggle Towers.

D-Day

Today is 6th June and 76 years ago the D~Day landings happened, and it is seen as the beginning of the end of WW2. Back in May last year Phil and I went to France and as well as Mont Saint Michel and Conde, we visited some of the places, museums and cemeteries around the Normandy Beaches. Whilst I’ve been off work die to the Corona thing, I’ve been compiling a book of our travels there, and got it finished this week. I’ve uploaded the PDF version here. A couple of the pages are double spread pictures which get broken up for single page viewing, but the rest are OK. Feel free to have a scroll through!

The Corona Chronicles ~ 6

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last update, really nothing much changes here at Fraggle Towers. The rest of the country has changed though as now people can drive to where they want to go to do their exercise. Social distancing is supposed to be still ongoing, but that’s failing everywhere with public transport packed to the rafters as people who can’t work from home are now supposed to go back to work. My eye rolling is continuous when reading the newspaper, it’s all just bonkers. There will be a huge second wave I’m sure.

I am still mostly staying at home, and Phil is still working in theatres. He went in today and told me the traffic is back to normal, and he saw quite a few groups of people on his way home not doing the distancing. I’m thinking there’s a lot of people who either a) misunderstood what the advice was (easy when the government are such a shambles) or b) just don’t care anymore and are throwing caution to the wind. I keep my eye on the audiology group on facebook where there’s been tons of discussions/arguments about returning to work, the PPE we need for earwax removal and publishing of our governing bodies advice, which boils down to ‘go back to work and do your job but at 2 meters apart, unless you have to do face to face procedures when you have to have PPE’. Quite a few companies are opening up now and going back to doing wax removal, so I’ve done an online course in preparation which is all about PPE, donning, doffing, disposal of and the types you need for all situations. (Passed the assessment 100% πŸ™‚ ) So far my boss hasn’t called me back in, so I will wait and see how she plans to handle it all before I jump.

Before lockdown I was forever on a diet, lots of salads and healthy eating, and a fair amount of walking, but that’s all gone out of the window, and I’m cooking comfort food. Annoyingly I haven’t put any weight on, which is a good thing really, but begs the question, what was all the depravation for??

chef’s corner

This year was supposed to be my year of film shooting, but that’s off now, yes I could do some rolls, but the lab I get them developed at isn’t up and running at the moment, so I haven’t the heart for it, but I’ve got a few instax films to get through as consolation.

I’ve also made a first attempt at making pastry and pasties, corn beef with veg, and chicken, bacon & mushroom, they turned out quite well and the one we had for dinner was so yummy! I am turning into a proper Geordie.

Pasty day

Also made a lamb byriani from scratch, (see chef’s corner above!) which was yummy too.

I will no doubt be appearing on Masterchef or British Bake Off if I keep this up. Not! πŸ™‚

lamb byriani

We have had another wildlife addition to the garden. It started a few days ago with a commotion in our conservatory, and when we looked there was a magpie in there who had got confused tripping about in our blinds. He’s had some sort of altercation either with other birds or a cat, and didn’t have any tale feathers left, with a raw bum where they should have been.

I took a quick snap before placing a towel over him and then Phil lifted him out and put him in the garden. He seems to be OK and runs around really fast, which he has to do because he seems to be on the run from two flying magpies who swoop and attack him when they catch site of him. He is hiding in the Leilandi at the back of the garden, and they couldn’t find him yesterday, but today I saw them swoop into the hedge.

The Hunted One

I haven’t seen him yet today, so they either killed him off, or he’s keeping schtum. The pair of blackbirds who live in there and I think are breeding, are not too happy about it all, and Mr. Blackbird spends a lot of time patrolling under the hedge. We have nightly visits from hedgehogs, 3 different ones last night and I’m keeping the hedgehog Youtube channel up to date when anything exciting happens, mostly they just visit the feeding station, snuffle about and then disappear, but I did get some of the daft mating ritual which went on for 2 nights! There’s a lot going on in our little urban garden!

Hopefully, when the novelty of driving to places for exercise wears off for people, Sophie and I will have a meet up. Unfortunately she doesn’t drive, so it will have to be somewhere in Sunderland, I’ll be all right if I wear a crucifix and a garlic necklace. (Just kidding!! if any Mackems are reading πŸ™‚ )

Well that”s the end of this update, so far so good, and Phil and I are doing OK. We are keeping well, and have our hobbies that keep us busy and out from under each others feet, and we get on really well when we spend time together, but I know that isn’t the same for everyone, so feel quite lucky in that!

Stay alert people! 🀣🀣🀣.

Stay tooned for Monday Movies next week.

The Corona Chronicles ~ 3

Week 3 and things are deteriorating at Phil’s work as the Corvid cases increase in the North East. On Sunday (while social media was posting pictures of people gathering in parks and not social distancing), Phil was seconded to the Intensive Care Unit for the first time, where they have a couple of CV19 cases. First he had to be sent to have a mask fitted, there are 2 types of fitted mask, and once it has been fitted to your face they then test it’s efficacy. Neither mask worked for Phil, and leaked when tested on him, so he had to do without. Back in ICU they had him being a ‘runner’, which means he stands in the corridor outside a cubicle in which there’s a patient being nursed by a nurse in full astronaut gear. She holds up the patients readings and he copies it onto a sheet outside the door, and passes through anything the nurse asks for. The corridor is narrow, no social distancing possible and lots of people in it. By the time he did his next shift, yesterday, it was decided he couldn’t go to ICU without a fitted mask, nor could he do his normal job, as intubating patients in theatre carries a risk of airborne infection and all patients, in the absence of testing, are deemed CV19 positive until otherwise informed. So he is now a runner outside the anaesthetic room, passing through equipment etc to the anaesthetist and Operating Dept Assistants inside. We are, selfishly, quite glad it worked out that way, as he won’t deal directly with patients, but he’s not holding out much hope of the virus bypassing him, 3 of his colleagues are off sick or self isolating, and one of his colleagues’ Mum was diagnosed with it on Wednesday and was dead by Sunday. He came home last night after a 13hr shift completely drained, and is thankful he went part-time a year ago, though he may be required to do more if the staff are depleted too much.

I am cooking nice things to cheer him up! I have been amusing myself with my camera, and yesterday afternoon spent 2 hours doing splash photograpahy. I don’t have the right lighting for it but had a go anyway in a sunny patch in the kitchen, 284 photo’s taken and all got deleted! 🀣 but it was fun trying and making a mess. I tried again today in the garden hoping sunlight would do the trick, and had better results, but still pretty rubbish.

Diving Homer

Because I’d not been happy with the afternoon’s results yesterday I thought I’d have a bash at shooting the moon, but first I tried a shot of Venus, which is really bigger and brighter than other stars and planets at the moment. I don’t have a superduper lens to get any detail of it, but if you click on the picture to embiggen it you can also see the constellation Pleiades (known as the seven sisters) just below it.

rubbish shot of Venus and Pleiades.

the moon was easier πŸ™‚

it wasn’t pink

Also to amuse meself I’ve been creating arty farty abstracts from old flower shots,

helter skelter
portal

that one is my favourite so far.

I haven’t been out much, walked up to the shops and back but it’s a pain dodging dog walkers and kids on bikes along the way. I started a Yin Yoga course to keep me fit which I’m actually liking doing so might stick with it!

The hedgehogs are back and we are getting 2 or 3 visiting in the wee hours, here’s last nights visitors, click on through to the big version on Youtube, you can see the hedgies better, there are a few more there from this week too.

I’m keeping up with my 52 frames weekly challenge over on the universe blog, thanks to those of you who’ve visited and commented, I really appreciate it. This is the link https://fragglerocking.org/project-type/52-frames/

also I’ve done another section for the Photographic anthology here https://fragglerocking.org/project-type/anthology/

(Kim the links might work for you now πŸ™‚ )

and so a little smile to end this one with….

🀣🀣

The Corona Chronicles ~ 2

Well that’s my first week of isolation done, and no symptoms so my clients at work were presumably all clear, at least when they saw me. Phil of course is still going into work. Although there have been 3 C19 deaths at his hospital so far they haven’t had to use the Operating theatre staff, but they are wearing protective eyeware, plastic aprons and gloves to deal with the emergency operations they have to do. When he gets home he heads straight to the shower, puts all his clothes in a bag and they go straight in the washing machine. I open all the doors so he doesn’t have to touch the handles. Any shopping is disinfected and decanted into clean pots where necessary, and the kitchen surfaces disinfected afterwards. Bags all discarded, hands scrubbed with soap. I haven’t been out except once to the local shop and though we shoppers stood 2 meters apart, the corridors are thin and the lad filling the shelves brushed by everyone on his way, sigh.

Last week the nation stood outside their houses or leaned out of their windows and clapped and wooted and banged saucepans to applaud our NHS staff. When we heard it was going to happen Phil said he didn’t need people to clap for him, he needed the NHS to be better funded, have personal protection kit, and for people to stop voting for the Tory Bastards as he calls them. But when it kicked off and we could hear the amount of people on our estate who participated he was quite surprised, and a little chuffed I think. It IS nice to be appreciated.

Luckily we have had some sunny days, even though it was too cold to bask in it, and I turned my camera on now and then and took some photo’s. My blossom tree is shedding petals now in the wind and looks a bit bare, but it was lush when it reached full bloom and I sat and waited for the blutits to come so I could get a picture of one amongst the blossom.

bluetit and blossom

I turned the Helios loose on the tree too,

Last year I bought a Japanese maple which doesn’t like wind and as we had a surfeit of that last year it promptly died, or so I thought, but it appears to be working again so I thought I’d best catch it quick.

Resurrection

Mum’s plant is firing up, I can never remember the name of it, though someone tells me anytime I post a picture of it, it will always be just Mum’s plant in my head.

Just before the red leaves appear, it produces tiny bell shape flowers which the bees seem to love.

Bee bells.

There’s a lot of huge bees around this week, mostly getting trapped in our conservatory and having to be rescued and released. Maybe Queens looking for places to nest. I found one in our water barrel on it’s back, flapping it’s wings and buzzing for all the world like it was having an angry swimming session, I rescued that one too. πŸ™‚

The conservatory plant, another resurrection, is up and running with new leaves

Wait for me!!

and my Mothers Day flowers from Shelley and the kids are still going strong after 3 weeks.

Phil finished his labour-of-love tank last week, most of you have seen the work in process shots I’ve taken along the way last year. He photographs it against a white card backdrop which he tapes to the conservatory table and pegs up on the clothes drier. On Thursday he went to take his shots of the finished tank, and when he’d finished, cleared away the drier having forgotten the tank was still on the table. ‘Oops’ was not the word I and the rest of Gateshead heard as it shimmied off the paper and crashed to the floor.

He’s had to put it all back to rights of course, but was not a happy person for a few days while doing so. All done now though, and the little men in, I’ll get a shot of it when it’s sorted and on the base, (before he drops it hopefully πŸ˜€ :D)

At the weekend we had a video call with Phil’s son and daughter which lasted an hour. It’s a good way to keep in touch and just have a chat and a laugh.

I’ve decided to work on a couple of books of photos I’m planning on doing, and that will take some time to sort, so I’m definitely making the most of the lockdown, just got to decide what I’m going to do, I’m thinking of a book on the castles I’ve photographed for one, arty farty flowers for another, and maybe Newcastle, but I’m not sure which to choose first, if at all. I don’t suppose it matters, they’re only for me.

I am restricting my input of news, reading the paper each morning and hear the odd snippet on the radio, is bad enough and I may have to stop reading the paper and go straight to the crossword, as mostly it’s bad stuff and there’s nothing much I can do about it. Instead of the 6 o’clock news we watch Narcos on Netflix, before that it was Narcos Mexico so I’ve learned a lot about how not to run a drug cartel πŸ™‚ and am not adding Mexico or Columbia to my list of places to visit before I die. Though at this rate I won’t be visiting anywhere except the back garden and my shed.

I started doing excercises last week. Most of the country and lots of people in other countries have been doing the Joe Wicks live stream excercises on Youtube at 9am here. He started doing it for kids, but because he looks like a cross between Jon Snow, & Heathcliffe all the Mummy’s hearts went a-flutter and now everyone’s joining in and he’s getting famous. Yes he gets revenue from adverts on his channel but he’s donating 100% to the NHS so he’s nearly a saint now. I did his workout last Tuesday afternoon, and couldn’t walk without ouching for 3 days, sitting down and standing up was like a knife sticking in my bum, and I’ve just about recovered enough to sit on the sofa and watch him! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=joe+wicks

So week 1 over, and as Phil is not at work today we are planning a walk into the greenery around where we live this afternoon, if the rain holds off, and I’ll take a camera with me. Hope all my pals who visit here are keeping well and sane,

stay frosty my friends!

The Corona Chronicles. 1

Our country is now on lockdown, everything is shut apart from hospitals, food shops and essential services. People have been told to stay at home, and only go out once a day for excercise. We have to stay 2 meters away from anyone we come across, and no more group gatherings, you can gather in two’s so long as you live together anyway! Police will have powers to disperse any groups and fine people who are out and about for no reason. We are allowed to go out for food and medicines if needed, but that’s about it. These new rules were announced last night and about time too, as this country is full of knobs who at the weekend ignored all the advice to stay away from people, went out to public parks, beaches etc in their droves thereby increasing the risk of spreading the infection. So now it’s not advice anymore, it’s do it or else.

There’s been a lot of bad things going on, corner shops inflating prices of necessities to a ridiculous level, teenagers coughing deliberatly into old peoples faces, and social media is full of all the bad, but there are some good things happening, and some light relief so that’s where I’ll be looking and will share anything fun.

In my work I do earwax removal, which means I deal with patients not at a distance of 2 meters, but about 0 inches, so after a lot of flip flopping our governing body, the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists finally told everyone to cease doing face to face appontments as of Sunday night, but we carried on as my boss was on holiday until today and she wanted me to honour the appointments already booked in. Wasn’t ecstatic about that, but I did it, and did everything I could to minimise the risks to the patients, (my clinic has never been so cleaned!) and to home, with me getting through the door, stripping off clothes into a black bag and hot footing it straight into the shower. The last of my patients was at midday today and that’s that, I’m now self isolating, not because I’ve got symptoms, but in case I do within the next 10 days, plus I’m following instructions!

Phil of course is a front line worker, and is going to be having ITU training this week at work, as are all the theatre (O.R) staff in his hospital, as the theatres (O.R’s) will be used for patients on ventilators if the ITU can’t cope. That isn’t happening yet, the worst of Corvid is in London and the South, but it is spreading Northwards and I don’t suppose it will be long until we are in the same boat up here. In the mean time he’s going in this week to do trauma and emergency operating lists.

So what am I going to do with myself under house arrest? I obviously can’t go out on photography outings with Sophie, but I have a few left to post on Sundays over on the Universe blog, and I have books to read, movies to watch, mosaics I can faff on with and photography can be done anywhere. I’m going to concentrate on a photography course I’ve been doing haphazardly, and will continue to blog. We are going to be face timing with our kids and grandkids, and connecting with friends through social media and blogging, (always assuming the people who maintain the WWW don’t go under) and Phil will finish his tank (at last) and has some other projects on the go. We will be just fine with our hobbies. I’ll be attacking the garden too when it warms up a bit more.

I have 2 projects going on over on the universe blog too, one is called 52 Frames, and it’s a web run weekly photo prompt, I’m posting my weekly shots not as a blog post but in the ‘project’ area of wordpress, and you can see that HERE. My other project is an anthology to do with photography and it’s history, covering the different specialties such as abstract, street, landscape etc, and including trivia, whimsy, great photographers past and present to check out and much else to do with photography, and you can check it out HERE.

Now and then I’ll post on here about the goings on in the Wardley universe and the North East and hope you’ll all still be visiting and saying hi. πŸ™‚

Worst thing to happen this week:- My hairdressesr/manicurist Kendall has had to give up work for the interim. I will go grey and have short nails by the end of my confinement, πŸ™€ and it won’t matter as no-one will see me, but I do love my pal Kendall and will miss her.

Best thing to happen this week:- having a positive mental attitude and looking forward to enforced creativity!

My little noddy in the empty carpark at work today.

Stay frosty my friends!