Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Virus Wiped Out

I'm a fairly comptetent user of a computer at home and at work. I'm not sure what goes on inside it, but then I don't need to to use it. Like my mobile phone - I have no idea how it works, but I can use it well enough. My other half tried to log on to our internet banking to see if we'd earned any interest on our 37 pence savings this morning and a strange pop-up box came up which asked us for our account number and our security number. Whoops, never seen that before - my computer had got a virus.

This is despite the fact that we have the full monty protecting the machine, virus thingy, firewall whatsit etc etc. I even did a full scan of the computer yesterday for some reason which took 24 hours to complete and it never found anything.

Anyway, the nice man at McAfee took over my computer and found the little tinker, a new Trojan which had got in somehow, probably with something we've downloaded. It recognises the banking home page, turns it off and provides a little pop up box. It's all gone now, so all is well and my 37 pence is safe.

What a difference in the weather today, yesterday basking in 32 degrees C of sunshine, today 17 degrees of greyness with a chill breeze. No shorts for me today! Even the cats are are in and Jack cat is laid on my desk next to my keyboard fast asleep. Look at the cat hairs on my keyboard, good job I'm not allergic to them. No thunderstorms last night despite the forecast - I had my camera and tripod ready!

Chat soon


Saturday, 25 June 2011

Sun at the Seaside

Today started with dark skies, persistent rain and a decided chill. We set off, a group of friends and I to Scarborough in North Yorkshire for an 'Air Show.' 

We got there just after 9.30am and the place was deserted with parking spots freely available but the weather had started to turn for the better and although the cloud persisted for a while, it turned progressively warmer and brighter as the morning wore on until a full blazing sun appeared late morning.

We did a bit of shopping and stopped off for lunch as the air show was to begin around 12.30 and go on to 5 o'clock. My chicken salad meant that we missed the first air display by a squadron of four planes doing things over the bay.

We caught the next display which was an Air Sea Rescue helicopter from RAF Leconfield in east Yorkshire doing a practice rescue in the Bay of a man thrown overboard from a inshore lifeboat. They are my heroes. Whilst today was calm, imagine sending a winch man down in force 8 gales, mountainous seas and driving rain?

Finally, the afternoon was supposed to be capped off by a fly past of a WW2 Lancaster Bomber. It never arrived - it had broken down. 

Whilst mildly disappointed, it was still a pleasant relaxed day with armed services displays along the seafront, lots of brave people in the sea - actually swimming in the sea and warm balmy sunshine.

I hope you enjoy these few pictures.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Chat soon


Friday, 24 June 2011

My Second Living Room

Today I've risen to the challenge set to me by reader and correspondent Donna OShaughnessy from Illinois in the big US of A, (hello Donna.) Please visit her highly informative and entertaining blog about her life as a "Midlife Farmwife" on a Certified Organic dairy, beef and pork ranch called South Pork!

The challenge was for me to stop teasing with pictures of flowers and show the garden as it is. Well, that's a bit difficult because it's in an L shape, so I thought we'd have a walk around instead and took a few pics as I went along. I think you can click on them to enlarge them.

The first pic shows the back of the house - quite narrow; there's a road on the left hand side behind the hedge. A small fish pond with a waterfall is directly in front of you and I am standing under an old cherry tree. It's quite shady here, but the trees are protected under a preservation order, so I can't touch them although the the Local Authority does look kindly on me trimming them but I still have to apply to lop the branches.

So I've reached the far corner of the house and just take half a turn to my right, the start of the L shape.  There's a larger 1000 litre fish pond to the left with a waterfall, raised and surrounded by a wooden clad wall. In the middle is a pergola, covered in clematis Montana and honeysuckle through which we can walk in to the back of the garden. An old bird bath sits lonely in the grass and a green border with ferns, hostas, rhododendron and robina sits nicely to the right giving shade and a playground for the birds.

As we reach the back of the garden near the greenhouse, we can look back toward the house. Behind me is the greenhouse and shed and to the left a hedge of prickly pyracantha (deadly stuff, rips me to shreds) and you can just see the birdbath in the distance. My fountain is in the centre the base of which is filled with bedding plants and although you can't see them (just one peeping round the bottom left hand side), there are six pots of different varieties of lavender on the other side of the fountain base enjoying the sun and is home to visiting bees and butterflies.

You can see the shadow of trees on the lawn and I have a huge lime tree in the right hand corner out of shot and behind me is a large sycamore and two decorative silver birch trees. It's not too difficult to keep on top of, most of the borders in the shade are covered in a protective layers and bark chippings. The shrubs get a shave from the hedge trimmer in late autumn and the lawn gets cut once a week. 

Today I planted about ten perennial plants I bought from Brigg yesterday to fill the gaps in the borders and above is an old much loved tub with a lovely lilac osteospermum 'stardust' and two different cupheas which also came from the garden centre to add a bit of colour to the patio. The front garden is a triangular paved drive with a few pots of bits and pieces just to break up the monotony.

I hope you enjoyed the journey in my second living room - the garden.

Tomorrow it's a trip to Scarborough, a seaside town in North Yorkshire and about an hour and a half's drive away with friends to see an Air Show (I've never been to one) which is in the afternoon, so praying for decent weather.

Enjoy your weekend


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Shower Dodging

Today, with a couple of elderly friends, we crossed the mighty River Humber (£2.70 each way for the privilege) and visited a large and grand garden centre in Brigg in North Lincolnshire. I'm not going to give them free advertising, but it's a great place to go, hundreds of thousands of plants, equipment, household stuff and fancies and a very good restaurant/cafe which seats hundreds of people - a measure of their popularity.

Brigg is a small village although it's spread out a bit. The name came from the bridge that once stood across the nearby River Ancholme. Famous for its markets and a horse fair, its a very successful market town, a pleasant place to visit.

We bought a few perennial plants to fill some gaps; plants that will come back year ofter year and chosen not only for how they look but that they attract bees and butterflies etc.

Just as we left the garden centre, you have to cross a railway line and guarding the crossing is a majestic signal box, now a very rare sight indeed where I live, save to say there are some remote rural crossings in the East Yorkshire countryside where boxes survive but which few people see. Indeed the level crossing gates themselves are what I remember as a child, not the modern rise and fall barrier types that always get stuck.

I felt tempted to wave to the signalman as we left, but I resisted.

The day has once again been a case of shower dodging and there have been some cracking black clouds about. This picture was taken by my other half while we crossed the Humber Bridge and this view was looking east toward the North Sea.

Hope you are well and enjoying the week. The weekend is due very soon.

Chat soon


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Messing About Near the River

Day three of the holiday and although I'm not going away or doing interesting things every day, I'll post when I go somewhere different locally.

There seems to be an increase in the spiritual things in life too for some reason. For example, I've done a Reiki treatment today in Tickton, a small village just north east of Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Tickton, a small one horse town, used to be on a main road from Beverley toward Bridlington on the A1035 but many years ago, the bridge over the River Hull in the village could never cope with the increase in modern traffic, so they cut the village off with a bypass, demolished the road bridge and today the two halves of the village are now communicable by a foot bridge.

I took some pictures of the River Hull for you looking toward Beverley from the footbridge over the river.

Because I was early for my appointment, I also had a twenty minute wander through the graveyard of the delightful but tiny St Paul's Church in the village. Interestingly, it hosts both the Church of England (it's a daughter church to Beverley Minster) and the Methodists.  The graveyard was full of deliciously scented roses and old as well as new gravestones as tributes to the departed. There were a few gargoyles on the windows to guard the church, but sadly most of them were worn with the ravages of weather over the ages. One did stand out, and here it is.

The Reiki went well and over the last few days I've also participated in my weekly psychic development circle, done a Tarot reading, done a past life regression, done a clearing of karmic debt through meditation, done work on an Archangel, researched Archangels and tonight gave a mixture of Reiki and Angelic healing to a man who desperately needed it both mentally and physically. 

I thought I was supposed to be on holiday!

Chat soon


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Designed Day Out

A lovely day today spent with parents just south of York at a designer outlet McArthur Glen which is located just south of York on the main A64. The weather was typical summer showers, brief heavy downpours and hot sunshine. Even though I'm on a holiday, I don't mind the rain and showers so much, because a) we need the rain; and b) this is Britain and there's nothing we can do about it so why worry; if I'd wanted sun, I'd have gone abroad.

The designer outlet sounds posher than it is. It is indeed fairly modern, immaculately clean and bright and airy. Allegedly, you can get bargains and we saw some supposed knock down prices. Most of the top names are there for clothes and the food outlets on the first floor tend to be a bit too 'convenience food' style for me, non-the-less, very pleasant. There are loads of parking facilities and you can get a 'park and ride' to York city itself which is about three miles away.

I noticed today, the grass verges are full of white, yellow and red flowers (poppies);  forgive me, I don't know what the others are, the white ones are like tall daisies. They gave a brightness to the drudgery of the journey.
I hope you are enjoying your week so far?

The picture above is a flower from my trailing Ivy-Leafed Pelargonium.

Chat soon


Friday, 17 June 2011

Mysterious Eclipse of the Moon

I missed the eclipse of the moon on Wednesday night (15th) due to heavy cloud and rain showers, however, the sunset was a bonus. Here is the first one looking to the east, away from the sunset.

The second was looking into the sunset through some trees.

The weekend is here - enjoy!

Chat soon

Ta ra.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

First Class Film

Time for another film review and this time for 'X-Men - First Class'. Thanks to work colleague and good egg Nick (Hi Nick!) who recommended this one. I went to see this at Cineworld in Hull on Monday night.

Now this film is what's known as a prequel, a sort of beginning or the origins of a well established film series - in this case X-Men starring Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman and many other good actors. The X-Men series of films were very good but prequels in my experience tend not to be so good although there are a couple of notable exceptions including the Star Trek prequel released a couple of years ago. Some bad prequels involved the Star Wars series which were not very good.

This prequel however was very good. Here's the thing - I like quality acting, characters that are built during a film, a good story and as few special effects that is possible before the film gets spoiled. This had all the decent qualities of a film which appeals to a big audience with only one swear word (from a cameo role part played by Hugh Jackman.)

This is about the discovery of a whole species of near human beings called mutants who are scattered throughout the world. Beings who have special gifts, powers but who are clearly different from human beings although to all intents and purposes they look the same. Mutants hide their 'powers' or gifts for fear of being branded 'different'. There are many analogies to modern day issues.

Charles Xavier himself a mutant with mind reading powers and played well by James McAvoy helps the CIA to  combat the threat of nuclear war in the 1960s using the real Bay of Pigs incident by providing assistance from mutants with special powers. He meets and enlists Erik Lehnsherr played by accomplished actor Michael Fassbender, also a mutant but he is someone who is hell bent on revenge against a Nazi, Sebastian Shaw who murdered his mother in a concentration camp played by the deliciously evil Kevin Bacon who himself is trying to encourage the nuclear war between super powers Russia and the USA.

The main characters are ably supported by a good quality cast.

No spoilers here, so you'll have to watch the film to find out how the plot unfolds, but the story moves along apace with good special effects which don't overwhelm the film and this 2D production is rated at 12A.

Recommended with 7.5/10 for good entertainment for 2 hours and 12 minutes which fly by (providing your bum doesn't go numb like mine did!)

I hope you are enjoying your week, more than half way to the weekend!

Looking forward to seeing the full moon eclipse tonight - weather permitting - lots of cloud about right now; if I get any pictures, I'll post them.

Chat soon

(Thanks to the IMDB for the picture)

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Fun on the Slope

I set off this morning to visit my parents in Cottingham in East Yorkshire, about seven miles away to take a few pictures of the village bathed in sunlight accompanied by my son. We set off in glorious hot sunshine with clear skies quite early on, but with the threat of rain forecast later in the day around 1 pm.

As I sit here and write this as tea is cooking in the kitchen next door, it is literally chucking it down. God is throwing water down in bucket loads! The cats, sensibly, are curled up indoors.

Now what does the above picture mean to you? It is slightly confusing because it on an incline downwards away from me although this isn't clear on the picture. In some places it's called a 'service road' behind some houses; some call it a ten-foot (because it's ten foot wide) or an eight-foot (same theory) or a snicket.

It's a slope. It's the 'slope.' That's what we called it when I was a kid. It's a path from Exeter Street in Cottingham towards a footpath that leads you either to the railway station nearby or towards Hull. The Hull University grounds are on the other side of the wall at the bottom which carries a lovely lake, woods and botanical grounds.

Where it leads to is not so important as what that 'slope' meant to me and my childhood friends. My grandparents lived in a house to the left of the picture at the top and I spent a huge amount of time there during my childhood and formative years. The 'slope' was a race track, for running competitions, for barrow racing (a plank of wood with old pram wheels), for rolling pennies and marbles down. You could watch the trains pass just thirty or forty yards away across the gardens on the right hand side of the 'slope,' (and yes I can remember steam trains!)

You could hide in the hedges either side of the 'slope' while playing hide and seek, and we built dens in the overgrown gardens (where there is now wooden fencing.) We drew hopscotch grids with chalk and used stones from the gardens for our throws, we drew faces and wrote funny things. You could reach through a gap underneath the concrete panelled fence at the bottom of the 'slope' and catch tiddlers in the stream that fed the lake in the University grounds.

Ah, joyous and innocent years.

31 years ago in a couple of weeks time, I moved into my first marital house in Exeter Street, just thirty yards from my beloved 'slope.'

Below is just a quick picture of St Mary's church in Cottingham where I got married, and it looked lovely in the sun this morning with the flag of St George flying aloft, probably still acknowledging the official birthday of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth ll.

Hope you have enjoyed the weekend, Monday beckons! My last week at work before a fortnight off.

Chat soon


Saturday, 11 June 2011

Be Careful What you Wish for...

...you might just get it.

An English proverb and very apt because the other day in the blog I was talking about the need for rain. The last couple of days we have had sunshine and showers, almost April like; dark clouds and heavy short showers. My fellow blogger Magnumlady posted a picture from Northern Ireland where there had been hail storms and it looked like a snow scene except the trees were in leaf!

I love the garden after a rain storm; the sun glistening in the drops of rain left on the leaves and flowers, the smell of the dampness being sucked into the dry earth; the dark threatening skies in the background while you are bathed in sunlight. 

I sat in the conservatory today making a phone call and I had to stop for a few seconds because of the noise of the rain on the roof and the unexpected clap of thunder - just one, before the stormy clouds scudded away to the east.

Two young lads, who were not the brightest tools in the box were stood at the top of the ski slope. The first one said, "Ok are we ready to zig-zag down the hill then?"
"Zig-zag?" He replied, "Don't you mean zag-zig?"
The first said, "Well I thought it was zig-zag, but I'm not so sure now. Let's ask that bloke over there."
"Excuse me," said the first man to the bloke stood nearby. "My friend and I are having a disagreement whether or not we should zig-zag or zag-zig down the hill."
"It's no good asking me," the man replied, "I'm a tobogganist."
"That's good," says the first man, "I'll have a packet of Marlborough and a box of matches."

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Chat soon


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Put Your Hosepipes Away!

I was delighted to see my cousin Lynda and her husband Chris over the weekend; they had travelled up from Leicestershire to see my mum and dad and we went out for a lovely tea at a local Italian restaurant in Cottingham East Yorkshire. Also with us was Lynda's daughter Suzanne and her partner Hedley who live in London. We don't see them often and it was a pleasure to chat and spend time with them.

The weather has been okay these past few days with a little more in the way of showers which are much needed and surprisingly chilly nights which are not. No ground frosts thank goodness but the breezes do persist, knocking a few degrees off the temperature. Some really dark clouds and heavy summer showers this afternoon.

Now I'm not a tennis fan particularly, I'll watch it if I have to, you know, but unlike cricket which I could waste my life away watching, tennis does not have the same appeal. Imagine my surprise when I walk in and my other half has Eurosport on the satellite watching tennis at Queens, the forerunner to Wimbledon and Andy Murry is on (he won by the way.) What amuses me is that when he wins, he's British and when he loses, he's Scottish. Bizarre.

I notice once more the stories of potential hosepipe bans are hitting the news. Normally this is annual British Sport: three weeks without significant rain and the hosepipe ban looms. It seems on this occasion, it looks more likely this year. Spring rainfall in the UK was only 86.9mm, the lowest since 1893 apparently. Our friends in Ireland and Western England and Scotland might not agree however, they seem to have had a lot of rain recently.

Here are some tips from the BBC about gardeners coping with the dry weather (click on the link for more info):
  • Scrape back the surface to make sure water goes to the roots
  • Re-use house water, collect rain water
  • For vegetables, step up watering two weeks before eating
  • Water late at night so it's absorbed before evaporating
  • Add a layer of mulch to keep moisture in
  • Don't cut the lawn too short in the summer
  • Put soaked newspaper under crops that need lots of water
  • Use screens or windbreaks to reduce effects of drying winds
Seems to be a lot of work?

Enjoy the rest of the week.

Chat soon


Saturday, 4 June 2011

Liverpool One Shines Brightly in the Sun

I've just arrived home after an overnight visit to Liverpool to see my youngest son who is at the University of Liverpool and it was fantastic to see him again after what seems like ages!

Liverpool is a fantastic city and thoroughly recommended for a visit. The last time we were there, we concentrated on the Albert Dock area which has seen a fabulous refurbishment and on it's own took a full two days top visit. This time, we were walking around the extensive 'Liverpool One' which I think is what you and I would call the city centre. A memorial to John Lennon is on the left.

Liverpool One is extensive, safe, clean, tidy colourful, vibrant and a pleasure to be in. The variety of things to do is good as you might expect and what is a bonus is the architecture. I guess from the revenue from successful commerce over the centuries, there are some massive buildings, gorgeous edifices of different style, variety, size and age.

I did visit a lovely spiritual resource centre on Renshaw Street and it is packed with spiritual goodies of all kinds!

The most impressive I guess is the opera house, vast sandstone building with massive columns at the front guarded by lions. But that's not alone, there are many mini grand buildings like this one, the Adelphi Hotel is unique, square and almost white, there are churches everywhere, some in good repair, some not so good like St Lukes, damaged during WW2 but still performing a function to attract visitors despite there being no roof. As you walk further afield, there are some empty shops and buildings like everywhere else, and I've put a picture of one of them here, the picture house, which must have been very impressive in its heyday.

Nevertheless, there were many city centre staff to keep the place clean, help visitors and despite it being packed to the gunnel's on this lovely day (26 degrees and wall to wall sun) I never saw a police officer or PCSO and frankly there was no wonder because the atmosphere was so positive and the people so friendly.

We paid a visit to the World Museum which was okay and mostly shopped for bits and pieces for the boy. I can now boast I have been in Primark in Oxford Street, London, Carr Lane in Hull and in Liverpool One! I know how to party! 

Below is a picture of leaf cutter ants in the 'insect' section of the museum carrying some cut leaves to their nest along a piece of rope kindly provided by the staff for the entertainment of visitors! 

I like the Liverpool sense of humour, dry and self-critical usually, but there was a sign in a cafe which cheekily read, "A balanced diet is a piece of cake in each hand!" How true! (I was very good, I only had a croissant and a coffee.)

We had a couple of meals at the Childwall Abbey Hotel, a converted Abbey house would you believe, in Liverpool 16, and the food was excellent.

Well I'm home now to be greeted by a gale force wind, 13 degrees and drizzle! How can two halves of the country be so blooming different and only two hours apart.

Enjoy the second half of your weekend.

Chat soon