28 June 2009

Brain Scan

Yesterday evening, after returning from a baking hot Oxford, I had a brain scan! No, don't panic! A few days ago Emma, aka. Jaywalker, over at Belgian Waffle invited us all to submit maps of our brains as we see them. So in the spirit of not passing up a bit of gratuitous fun, here is my version of what my brain looks like ...


While this is, of course, mostly tongue-in-cheek there are elements of truth in there too, and it was interesting to sit back and try to work out what really does occupy most of one's brain's processing time. But of course this doesn't necessarily equate with how the storage in one's flash memory card is divided up.

27 June 2009

12 Things I Love About You Meme


12 Things I Love About You Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr meme is to share 12 things we love about our significant other (the clean version, of course!). So here is a selection:

1. Still sexy after all these years
2. Shared sense of humour & the ridiculous
3. Another foodie
4. Love of cats
5. You’re an artist, but science doesn’t overly scare you!
6. Support when I’m depressed
7. Love of books and learning – the more esoteric the better
8. Sharing my interests but keeping your own too
9. Allowing me to be lazy
10. An interest in the esoteric highways and byways of history
11. Shared interest in early music
12. And you’re still here after all these years – tho' I still don’t understand why!

As always these photographs are not mine (except for #11 which is mine) so please click on individual links below to see each artist/photostream. This mosaic is for a group called My Meme, where each week there is a different theme and normally 12 questions to send you out on a hunt to discover photos to fit your meme. It gives you a chance to see and admire other great photographers' work out there on Flickr.

1. So..., 2. Day 225: Cock Soup, 3. Avocado Heart, 4. I'd love a cat ..., 5. star leaf fringed in moon gate, 6. Herbs For Depression, 7. Hf30He63Dg12²Ob276, 8. Florida Fragments, 9. lazy, 10. The Writer's Soul, 11. Shawm, 12. dance class for meerkats

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

23 June 2009

Pearl Letter Day

No, not a Red Letter Day. A Pearl Letter Day. Much better.

Earlier today I realised that today was a major milestone for Noreen and I. Some months ago we were discussing the times before we were married and trying to work out when we actually first "had it off"; we remember it well (as one would) but not the exact date. Noreen went back through her diaries to find that the relevant page was missing! But in the process she discovered that 23 June 1979 was the day she moved into the Chiswick flat with me. So today was christened "Cohabiting Day", and it was 30 years ago today. A pearl anniversary.

The day has been celebrated in a low key kind of way. No cards, no presents, no dinner out. (Would that we had some decent nearby restaurants!) Just a normal work day, but followed by Chicken Salad à la Maison, a bottle of good white wine, a large bowl of cherries between us and a liqueur. Hic! Who knows what an early night (if it happens) might bring?!

And fingers crossed that we make our 30th wedding anniversary in early September.

It's all a bit scary though; we've been married for longer than we haven't! We still don't know how we've done it. We still ask each other "How?". And we still don't take it for granted – which I suppose is part of the secret; it makes us keep concentrating! Even in the more difficult times there remains something magic about waking up next to each other every morning.

Oh and for the insatiably curious, the 30th anniversary of "First Fucking Day" was about ten days before last Christmas and we got engaged on 30th December – but that's a story for another day, perhaps!

And for the even more insatiably curious, here's a wedding photo. (I'm the plonker with the moustache! – you mean you couldn't guess!! And best not ask about the "ear muffs".)


Now how scary is that?!

21 June 2009

The Wisdom of Grannymar

What follows was posted by Grannymar in a comment over at Coffee Helps. Whether you agree with it or not, it is an interesting approach to life which deserves a wider audience if only because it is thought-provoking and adaptable to whatever your spiritual outlook.

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/people (anyway); and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

20 June 2009

Bryan Jackaman Ellis


Bryan Jackaman Ellis, originally uploaded by kcm76.

I've been looking at some old photographs and thought this was interesting.

This is Bryan Jackaman Ellis (16 November 1900-3Q1979), aged 4 in 1904. Bryan was a friend of my parents, having met them Youth Hostelling during WWII. I remember him from my childhood in 1950s as a funny old boy, very Edwardian and ascetic who I thought looked like Mr Punch. He was a confirmed bachelor, with a stammer, who always wore a kilt (I think I only once ever saw him in trousers). He always said he wanted to live to be 101 as then he would have lived in three centuries! He expected small boys to speak only when they were spoken to and I'm only surprised I wasn't required to address him as "Sir", as I believe he had to his father.

When I knew him he worked as a surveyor's mate for the Ordnance Survey at various places in the west country, he always lived in lodgings. He was passionately interested in architecture and steam trains - he would go anywhere in UK to look at a church or ride a rural train line. He spent most weekends off somewhere Youth Hostelling until well after his retirement. Consequently he had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Brit sh Isles; there were few places he hadn't visited at some time or another.

He often visited us at Christmas, staying just a couple of days between other visits to friends, visits to churches etc. I also remember that every week he mailed my parents the latest copies of Punch and Country Life after he had read (and annotated!) them.

Every year he held a birthday lunch, in a different town, on the Sunday in November nearest his birthday. All his friends were invited, usually a dozen or so went along, and between them they stood him lunch; every 5th (or was it 10th?) year he returned the favour. I went to several of these lunches as a youngster; I remember lunching at the newly opened Mermaid Theatre in London (early 60s?), in Cambridge and in Brighton. I think I may still have somewhere my photographs of Brighton seafront from that day in the mid-60s! I also remember the whole group of us sitting in this posh restaurant in Cambridge, rubbing our fingers round the rims of our wine-glasses to make them "sing".

I would have been about 10 or 11 when we went to the Mermaid. I asked if I could have the trout starter (trout was a fabulous beast then and I'd never had it). My father explained that I'd probably get a couple of small pieces of trout on some toast; was this what I wanted; I insisted, determined to try this rarity. When it arrived, much to my father's disgust, I got a whole trout! I've loved trout ever since.

You couldn’t make it up ...

More amusing snippets from recent online BBC News items. If you wrote most of these in a nvel you would be accused of being unreasonably inventive.

11 June
Gabonese have turned out to see the body of the late President Omar Bongo arrive back home from Spain, where he died on Monday (8 June).

11 June
The Rubble Club has been set up to help architects through the "trauma" of seeing one of their creations demolished in their own lifetime.

11 June
A man with a fetish for Ugg boots has admitted using the internet to harass a group of schoolgirls.

11 June
Acer chairman JT Wang strenuously denied any suggestion Acer was copying someone else's invention. "We are not copying," he said in an interview at ... "Innovation is improving on a competitor's product. That is still innovation for consumers' value."

12 June
A burned-out ice-cream van is among 100 works Banksy has installed at Bristol's museum. "This is the first show I've ever done where taxpayers' money is being used to hang my pictures up rather than scrape them off ... many people will say: 'You should have gone to Specsavers'", Banksy added.

14 June
As I went closer, I realised with delight that while they had got the tune off pat, the words were just slightly off the mark. Standing tall and proud, the children were calling on the Almighty to "sieve the Queen and her setter, Victoria." ... A French friend of mine, preparing a few snacks to hand round at an English drinks party, implored her guests to help themselves to nipples.

18 June
"Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything."

19 June 2009

Waiting


Waiting, originally uploaded by kcm76.

June self-portrait for Flickr 12 Months group.

18 June 2009

On Morality

An online contact, who I won’t name, has asked in a posting if it is OK to have a relationship with someone with a diametrically opposed morality; to what extent is it acceptable to compromise to support one’s partner and make the relationship work; and whether this is cowardly. What follows is an edited (and slightly extended) version of my response.

Standing up for your principles (what your morality tells you is right) is not cowardly. This is generally called “sticking to your principles” and is normally seen as “a good thing”. However we all have to make compromises in life and we each have to be comfortable with where we draw the line. Love will distort that line, and where it is in the sand, just as it does everything else. But love is not all powerful and (at least in my view) is not an excuse for casting all morality aside. Each situation has to be assessed anew and on its individual merits. If you are in “this situation” again you may find your compromise is different. You can only make what seems the best decision for you based on the available information at the time; no-one can do better than this.

Morality is a personal thing. Even if you are a strong adherent of a moral code (eg. Christianity) your morality will differ, albeit maybe only subtly, from the code as laid down. If you are like me and make things up for yourself then your morality may well be totally askew to any other morality. That does not mean either (any) is wrong. An individual’s morality is what works for them; and they may have the challenge of moral beliefs which are self-contradictory. (For instance a person could be a pacifist and yet believe that dictators should be overthrown by any possible means.) If one is going to think through ones own morality one has to grapple with such problems – as indeed do more collective moral codes. In addition your morality may change over time as you have new experiences, find new knowledge, etc.

Your morality is not my morality. Accepting those differences is part of being able to get along together and a part of freedom of speech. I may not agree with your morality or views, but I will defend to the death your right to hold and express them – that is part of my personal morality.
The morality which society as a whole has is only the aggregate of all our individual moralities, usually as expressed and enacted by those we "elect" to have these opinions for us – politicians, clerics, etc. Collective morality also changes over time by thinking people like me and you kicking against it where it disagrees with our personal morality; pointing out where we see it as in error; trying to convince others of our view – and often being badmouthed by the likes of the tabloid press in the process.

Noreen (my wife of almost 30 years! Eeeek!) has a Christian belief although not of the "regular church-going" or “happy clappy” sort. I used to share this belief; but my viewpoint as changed. I am now an atheist; I have no belief in God(s) although I do still hold many of the same underlying "do as you would be done by" morals, but expressed differently. Noreen and I respect each others' opinions, and we discuss them openly even though we don't agree about them. This works for us; it might not work for either of us with a different partner; or for any other couple.

You have to uphold your morals in your own way, and that at times may mean compromise. That's fine as long as you don't bury it all and then feel resentful later – that way lies bitterness and trauma like divorce or mental illness. That means you have to be open about your beliefs, be prepared to discuss them and respect alternative views. A partnership, any partnership – sexual, work, friendship, marriage etc. – is a continual exercise in compromise if it is to work. Where there is insufficient compromise for both (all) parties the partnership will fail. And there are no absolute right or wrong answers in life, only the answers that work best for you at the time – which is not the same as outright expediency or situation ethics.

Keep banging those rocks together.

17 June 2009

Favourite Shops Meme


Favourite Shops Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr meme is about shopping: name your 12 favourite shops. This is quite hard for me as I don't do shopping; with a few exceptions (most notably food and shoes) if I can't buy it online I don't buy it. But anyway here is a selection of the ones I do use:

1. Waitrose (UK, top of the range supermarket)
2. Ocado (the home delivery arm of Waitrose)
3. Marks & Spencer (mostly for food as well these days)
4. Any bookshop (better if it's a secondhand bookshop tho')
5. Any produce market (we are foodies; we always cook from scratch; so good produce is always on the schedule)
6. Hiltons (our nearest "wholefood" butcher; lots of organic, free-range and humanely reared meat; seriously good meat; and a wide variety including game too; but not cheap)
7. Amazon (books again, but also lots of other merchandise)
8. George’s (men's outsize clothes with a shop in Chester and an online shop; very helpful; good quality tho' not cheap)
9. eBay (is there anything you can't buy on eBay?)
10. Abebooks (more books! Abebooks is in my view the best of the secondhand book aggregators; watch the postage costs tho')
11. Clive’s (my barber; always a friendly chat; never stressed or hurried)
12. Borough Market (the place in London for fresh produce especially on a Saturday morning; worth visiting just to look! And next door to the delights of Southwark Cathedral)

As always these photographs are not mine (except for #11 which is mine) so please click on individual links below to see each artist/photostream. This mosaic is for a group called My Meme, where each week there is a different theme and normally 12 questions to send you out on a hunt to discover photos to fit your meme. It gives you a chance to see and admire other great photographers' work out there on Flickr.

1. Waitrose's Green Nanas, 2. 28 Days of Gratitude: Feb 1 (YIP), 3. Mussels from M+S, 4. Zafóns Bookshop?, 5. http://www.flickr.com/photos/adevlinphotography/2849393569/, 6. Traditional butchers, 7. Amazon Cat, 8. Gremlin or Mogwai?, 9. Upay with Ebay!, 10. Divine Comedy, 11. In the Barber's Shop, 12. Borough Market

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

16 June 2009

Air Travel

There are two items on the BBC News website today about the airline industry which caught my eye.

In the first it is being claimed that the British taxpayer will end up paying the £9bn cost of Heathrow's third runway because of the "precarious" state of BAA (Heathrow's owners) finances. Labour MP John McDonnell, whose Hayes and Harlington constituency includes the airport, is quoted as saying

We now believe there will be direct subsidy as a result of BAA's precarious financial position and the precarious financial position of Grupo Ferrovial globally (BAA's parent company) and that we will have to actually subsidise the development itself, the construction of the runway and the terminal.

And a junior Transport Minister is also quoted as saying

It [Runway 3] is absolutely vital in terms of our international gateway, vital to our economy, connecting us to growth markets of the future, that has not changed.

Wrong! The third runway is neither necessary nor affordable. It is not necessary because air transport has to contract and become more efficient, if only because of global warming even if there were no world-wide recession.

It is not affordable because the scale of national debt in this country is now absolutely staggering; so staggering in fact that almost whatever any incoming government, of whatever political persuasion, might do we (the taxpayers) are going to be paying off that debt for decades to come. According to Burning Our Money our national debt is now so high it is almost £25,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. What that means is that if every penny of Income Tax we pay were used to pay off that debt it would take at least 5 years just to pay off the principal, never mind the interest. Or expressed another way: average UK house prices are around £225,000, which means you would need roughly 1 person in 5 to sell their house and donate the whole proceeds to the government to pay off the national debt.

How can we afford to build Heathrow's third runway under such economic conditions? We can't.

The fact that this really isn't affordable is further highlighted by the second item that caught my attention. British Airways (BA, not to be confused with BAA) is "asking" its 30,000 staff to work for up to one month unpaid in an attempt to save its financial skin: BA reported a loss of £401m last year. Now my understanding is that any company which cannot afford to pay its creditors is bankrupt; and an employee is essentially a creditor -- they provide something (labour) to the company, under contract, in return for money. I have said for a long time that any airline which tells you it is making a profit is either doing so by non-airline business (selling off property, say) or is indulging in creative accountancy. I fail to see how air travel can be viable at the current fares. And let's remember, BA is not a budget airline; it cannot afford to be; it has an absolutely vast organisation which it cannot afford --as the results show -- even with its current inflated fare structure.

So we are going to build a third runway at Heathrow, which we cannot afford, to prop up a global airline industry which is bankrupt and is now predicted to shrink at around 2.5% this year (rather than show the previously expected 5% rise).

Now tell me again why we need Heathrow Runway 3?

15 June 2009

Seriously Wow!

What a fantastic day! The first day of our week off and we’ve had a seriously memorable day.

We started boringly early this morning with a trip to the dentist. Both of us. For a check-up and a hygienist appointment each. Nothing except a clean for Noreen and one small filling done on the spot for me.

Back home at 10 and a short time to relax before getting dressed up for the afternoon: "Morning dress or lounge suit. Ladies are requested to wear hats." it says.

OMG. But I don’t do dressing up. Does my suit still fit? Well I can just get into this one.

“What are you going to?”
"This is Ascot week."
"But Ascot starts tomorrow."

We have been given tickets (invited if you will) to attend the Service of the Most Noble Order of the Garter in St George’s Chapel, Windsor which is of course a royal, nay a Court, occasion.

“How?”

Well we just happen to know one of the Heralds of Arms, purely socially; he also happens to be Secretary to the Order of the Garter and thus responsible for organising this occasion. Thus it was about 3 weeks ago Patric popped his head over the parapet and said

“I omitted to ask whether you and Noreen could manage the Garter Service this year?”

(He had offered us tickets a couple of years ago and we couldn’t get free from work). I assumed he meant outside to see the procession through Windsor Castle, but no this was to attend the service in the Chapel. Wow! Thank you! Yes, please! We’ll be delighted; honoured; etc.

Our friend Tom offered to drive us the 15 or so miles out to Windsor. We got him a ticket to see the procession.

So off we traipse just before 12.30. Tom had to be in position before 2; we would be admitted to the Chapel at 2, no later than 2.30. We parked in Windsor Great Park just after 1. A long, leisurely, walk up to the Castle. Which gate? That gate. No you’ll have to go to that gate. No not here you need to be at the other (first) gate! Not really surprising with several gates, at least two types of ticket in six different colours; and thousands of security peeps.

It was hot. Need chocolate before blood sugar crashes. Hunt chocolate. Find nice man who keeps chocolate in the fridge. Go to (first) gate (again). Security checks – show passport three times as well as ticket! It’s blazing hot. Finally admitted to Chapel: cooler; a bit. Then the fun begins ...

In march:



the state trumpeters (Household Cavalry);


a posse of Yeoman Warders, complete with ruffs, pikes, halberds and swords; followed by



a posse of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms – aged military retainers with white feather plumes in their shining tin hats. The choristers;



the heralds (in their playing card tabards);



the Knights of the Garter; the Royal Knights;



officers of the Order; retinue; and ...



THE QUEEN.

A blare of trumpets.

Wow we don’t half do this pageantry stuff well, we English. We are in the nave in row 3, just 15 feet from HM – but with a big, burly, prop forward of a Yeoman Warder in the way!

Settle down now children and we’ll have a nice ordinary church service. A couple of hymns (good hymns in comfortable keys for all to sing, and they did), responses, prayers, a lesson etc. The usual stuff.

45 minutes later the procession traipses out again in reverse order. Another blare of trumpets for HM.

Back outside it is still baking; the black clouds roll past. And we get to see some of the procession ride back up the hill in carriages. A few, the older ones, in cars. Some even walk! The military march off. Two squadrons of Blues & Royals and Life Guards in full ceremonials including spurs. The full band of the Household Cavalry covered in gold frogging (see trumpeters, above). A detachment of Foot Guards.

We eventually meet up with Tom. We are all seriously hot and thirsty, so adjourn to the nearest pub for a couple of pints. Followed by a nice walk back to the car. And home for tea and cake.

What a fantastic day. I never thought I would ever get invited to such a royal occasion. And I certainly never thought I would be just 12-15 feet from the Queen. Absolutely brilliant. And it didn’t rain!


[No cameras permitted in the Chapel, so all the pictures are from the web, mostly from Wikimedia Commons.]

14 June 2009

Ghost Stories

Antonia over at Whoopee has asked us to post our real-life ghost stories. So here are my two, not-quite-ghost stories.

Theobald's; Early '60s
I was brought halfway between Cheshunt and Waltham Cross, about 13 miles north of London and just in Hertfordshire. And I actually lived about 5-10 minutes walk from the site of the long vanished Tudor Theobald's Palace – built by Lord Burghley and later exchanged by Robert Cecil for James I’s Hatfield House.

Part of the grounds of the old palace were a local park which I visited regularly so we got to know the park keeper. Behind the park was the early-Victorian Old Palace House, built on the actual site of the old palace.


This is of the back of Old Palace House in the 1930s; it wasn’t a lot different when I knew it. Notice the two Tudor windows salvaged from Theobald's Palace.

By the time I got to know the house it was uninhabited and had passed into the ownership of the local council, so on a Sunday it was under the stewardship of the aforementioned park keeper. Thus it was that we got to help ourselves to apples (gorgeous old varieties) from the wonderful old orchard and also on one occasion to go round the inside of the house.

The house was interesting, but of course slowly becoming derelict having been unoccupied for some years. So it was cold and dank, even on a hot summer’s day. Walking round the house (I guess I would have been 12, maybe 14) we had our small Cairn Terrier sized dog with us. We went up the main staircase to the first floor. But the dog would not, absolutely would not, go up to those stairs. I had to carry her up; she was shaking like a leaf. What it was I don’t know but there was something up there that terrified her. And it did strike me as especially chill.

We never did find out any more, although I have found this on the Paranormal Database:

Location: Cheshunt - Old Palace House, Theobald's Park
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: It was claimed that this building was haunted by a number of ghosts, though details are sketchy
A few years later the old house burnt down; as far as I know it was never concluded whether this was “suspicious” or an accident. Except for a large specimen walnut tree the orchard was grubbed out and became an extension of the park.

Follow the links to find lot’s more about the interesting history of the Cheshunt and Waltham Cross area at British History Online.

Norwich; Summer 1973
My only other experience of ghostly presence was when I was a post-graduate student in Norwich. I was friends with a couple (let’s call them B and J) who, at the time, were devout Catholics and lived in a flat (part of a Victorian house) halfway between the city centre and the university.

One hot summer Saturday afternoon I was working in my lab and B was also working 3 labs along from me. We had agreed that I would eat with them that evening and then we’d go out for a few beers. I finished my experiments in mid-afternoon and B said to go on to theirs and he would follow. I duly did so.

When I arrived J open the door and said “Thank God you’ve arrived I been struggling with this presence all day and can’t banish it”. On a baking hot summer’s day I walked in the door and was hit by this wall of freezing cold – real freezing cold, not just a cool house. It tuned out that J had been beset by this “demon” all day and could not banish it from the house – we were great believers in the power of the mind to control these things. She and I set about working on it together and eventually managed to banish it as far as the bathroom.

B arrived an hour or two later and before anyone said anything his comment was along the lines of “What on earth is wrong; what’s happening?” J explained. As I recall we spent the rest of the evening finally removing the presence from the house. We didn’t resort to bell, book and candle, but we were pretty close to doing so. Luckily the presence never returned.

I would have to say, in all honesty, that I'm fairly agnostic about ghosts and presences although these two events were real enough (horribly real in the case of the latter). As Hamlet observes (Act I, scene i):

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

13 June 2009

Dish of the Day

For once I managed to get off my beam end this evening and do as I always used to: cook tea.

Chorizo with Mushrooms, Herbs and Linguini

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes

You will need (adapt to suit your taste and what you have in the fridge):
  • 250gm Chorizo, cut into sensible sized pieces
  • large Onion, coarsely chopped
  • lots of Garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 400gm tin Tomatoes (or you could use very ripe fresh tomatoes)
  • White wine
  • 8-10 button mushrooms (halved if large)
  • 8-10 good Black Olives, stoned and roughly chopped (I used the end of a tub of fresh Kalamata Olives)
  • 2 good handfuls of fresh Herbs/Leaves (I used some baby spinach, mint leaves and tarragon)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 250gm fresh Pasta (I used Linguini, but any pasta will do)
Fry the onions, garlic and olives until they just begin to brown.
Add the chorizo and continue to cook for a couple more minutes.
Add the tin of tomatoes and a glass of white wine; continue cooking over a moderate heat.
After about 5 minutes, add the mushrooms and herbs plus more wine if needed to prevent it sticking. Season to taste.
Cook until chorizo is done (another 5 minutes or so) and the sauce is beginning to thicken.
Meanwhile cook the pasta until just done.
Drain the pasta, add it to the pan with the meat and mix together quickly.
Serve immediately with shaved Parmesan and a robust red wine.

This was a rib-sticking main course for the two of us (no starter or pudding required) or would serve 4 as a small main course.

Word of the Week

Kakistocracy. n. Rule by the worst, or least qualified, citizens.

Oh you mean like the UK at present?!

12 June 2009

Household Meme


Household Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr meme is about how your household runs; here are some questions and answers:

1. When does your garbage disposal happen? Early Friday morning
2. What special jobs are assigned to other people in the house? All of them if I could get away with i; but seriously we don't tend to assign special jobs, except that I always do the finances and Noreen always does the garbage
3. Who is responsible for bathroom cleaning? Both of us
4. Who cooks? Mostly Noreen these days; but it should be me
5. Who washes the dishes? The electric scullery maid
6. What temperature is your heating set at? Comfortable for nudity, usually about 20 Celsius
7. Who does the washing & ironing? The resident costume curator
8. Who pays the household bills / is financial controller? Me; well most of it anyway. We have our own bank accounts and our own money but I pay most of the bills as I earn the more
9. If you have a garden (or houseplants) who looks after it? Both of us plus Tom the gardener who does the heavier, and more boring, work
10. Do you replace commodities when they run out, or do you keep a spare? What do you keep a spare of? We keep spares of most things we commonly use; like everything from toothpaste to garlic paste
11. When is your heating on; some hours or 24/7? Morning & evening during the week; morning 'til night at weekends; unless it is bitterly cold of course. And yes, our house is naturally warm
12. Are there special jobs done on particular days? Not really except for the garbage and the finances on pay day

As always these photographs are not mine so please click on individual links below to see each artist/photostream. This mosaic is for a group called My Meme, where each week there is a different theme and normally 12 questions to send you out on a hunt to discover photos to fit your meme. It gives you a chance to see and admire other great photographers' work out there on Flickr.

1. Chicago, early morning, 18 April 2008, 2. ColOurs... all of tHem..., 3. Just the two of us..., 4. KC the wundermutt upclose, 5. AKIBA Scenario, 6. day one hundred five, 7. Musketeer, 8. I'm sick as a dog....., 9. Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. --Marcel Proust, 10. What do you call Romanian toothpaste, 11. Good Morning, 12. O.P. (Organizing Principle)

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

08 June 2009

You couldn't make it up ...

Quotes from today's news which amused me ...

Conservative leader David Cameron on Gordon Brown: He can't seem to reshuffle his cabinet but they can't seem to organise a coup.

Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan: If Labour MPs put their terror of the electorate above any considerations of patriotism or democracy, they will do irreparable damage [...] to representative democracy. This is your last chance, comrades.

Labour backbencher Jon Cruddas: Everyone's walking away and taking their bat home with them.

And finally ...

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett is recovering after being injured by a charging cow in Derbyshire.

Really you couldn't make it up!

06 June 2009

Quotes: Relationships

If you don't concern yourself with your wife's cat, you will lose something irretrievable between you.

[Haruki Murakami]

05 June 2009

Bucket List Meme


Bucket List Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr meme is again simple: share 12 things you want to do before you die.

This isn't necessarily the definitive set, but here goes with a selection ...

1. Retire
2. Win the lottery
3. Fix my depression
4. Celebrate our pearl wedding anniversary
5. Have a swimming pool and swim nude every day
6. Be able to afford it (for any chosen value if "it")
7. Have a naturist holiday
8. Have another 3 wishes
9. Get a knighthood (or peerage); not that there's any chance of this.
10. Grow old disgracefully and in good health
11. Become skillful at dowsing
12. Become immortal

As always these photographs are not mine so please click on individual links below to see each artist/photostream. This mosaic is for a group called My Meme, where each week there is a different theme and normally 12 questions to send you out on a hunt to discover photos to fit your meme. It gives you a chance to see and admire other great photographers' work out there on Flickr.

1. retired, 2. 2009: Another Year ...., 3. If my hair looks good that's all that matters......., 4. peach bridesmaids' bouquet, 5. swim, 6. Maybe I can afford it one day!, 7. More for friends, 8. Three Wishes, 9. Gulf Coast Renaissance Faire, 10. By the Waters Edge...., 11. Pendulum1, 12. Immortality

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.