Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Fiddlehead Appears

Now this is the start of a new frond on my fern. I always thought this highly attractive 'bit' of the plant was a frond too but after a bit of research, I can now reveal, other than to the botanists among you that this is called a crozier or a fiddlehead. Even weirder is the name for the actual process of unfurling into a frond: circinate vernation. Well there you are, you can now amaze your friends with your knowledge in the pub quiz!

Even more amazingly, there are over 12,000 species of fern and the species is only 360 millions years old, first appearing in fossils from the carboniferous period.

Lovely couple of days here in the East Riding of Yorkshire with sunshine for most of the day once the cloud has burnt back to the coast but at least Spring has arrived at last. Time sort of caught up on me really, I didn't realise that by this time, I've normally got my plants out and I am planning planting out this weekend.

Chat soon


Sunday, 13 May 2012

Angelic Weekend

20Cm tall Angel
The weekend has gone - all too quickly. I've seen a great film, had a good time with friends, relaxed at home, shopped and done a bit of domestic stuff around the house. The weather's not been too bad either although it's been a bit chilly in a brisk stiff breeze which has just taken the edge off the temperatures.

The film (I'm not going to do a review like I used to) was Dark Shadows, a Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter and a delightfully evil portrayal by Eva Green. Briefly, Depp is a vampire who was condemned to lie for eternity in the 1700s in a grave. He was accidentally released by some workmen and went back to his ancestral home to reclaim his heritage. The film is both funny, dark and cleverly done by Burton with a decent storyline and apparently adapted from an American TV series of the 1960s which I can't remember ever seeing in the UK. 

25Cm tall Angel
This is a 12A and needs to be and you can imagine how difficult it is for this 18th century vampire to adapt to modern day America hence the comedy aspect to the film. If you like Burton's films then you'll like this one.

I've done the usual shopping bits and pieces over the weekend including some Arthur Bowers multi-purpose compost which was on good offer at the local DIY store and some paraffin for the greenhouse to ward off the effect of late frosts.
Glass Oil/Essence burner

The healing group I normally attend as a healer to every other Thursday night in Hull which offers healing using Reiki and Angelic healing was cancelled last week because the owner of the large house we use wasn't very well. Instead we held a meditation evening at my business partners home and what a fabulous night we had with our group of clients using two lovely meditations. I thoroughly recommend meditation as a relaxation tool and if any of you want to know about how to do it, let me know (by e-mail) and I'll point you in the right direction.

Wind Chime
You may recall I occasionally run a stall selling Angel related things (Touched by Angels) and I set up my dining table today to take some photographs of some of the new bits of stock that arrived recently and I've put some examples on here. You can click on them to enlarge them. It's the first time I've done this and I'm quite proud of the results and I aim to photograph the rest of the stock samples next weekend. I'm currently constructing a website and some of the pictures will go on there.  I had lots of offers of help before Christmas from blogger friends which I was eternally grateful for, but decided to get a grip and do it myself, both for the experience and for the purpose of getting off my backside and doing things.

My profile picture has changed too. An English portrait painter called George Dawes (1781-1829) bizarrely painted a host of Russian generals during Napoleon's invasion of Russia and they have all survived intact. They are very good portraits and my son John adapted one using Adobe Photoshop by putting his own face over that of a general in full regalia. I was so impressed, I asked him to do one of me and here is the result. The original uniform belonged to the man that was airbrushed out - General Konstantin M Poltoratsky (1782-1858) - but I respect his memory by mentioning him here. Clever eh?

'General' Rarelesserspotted
Have a great week.

Chat soon


Saturday, 12 May 2012

Glorious Montana

Clematis Montana
The picture above was taken whist I was hanging out of the bathroom window (not literally you understand), but I thought it gave a better view of the Clematis Montana, one of the most prolific and pretty early flowering hardy Clematis around.

I was reading the Met Office (UK) blog today and a guest blogger gave this valuable warning 

Charlotte Fionda of the Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity wrote:

"Last week was Sun Awareness Week, even though the sun did not appear to be aware of it in many places. This weekend, however, the sun is set to return and most of us will want to get out and make the most of the good weather. It is important to remember that although it may not feel that warm despite the sunshine, the sun is very strong at this time of year."

Goof advice although I guess most of us require treatment for rust. It is interesting to note that East Yorkshire - my part of the UK is no longer considered in drought conditions as all the rain we have had over the least few weeks has filled all the water boreholes which were 20% low.

I hope you've all had a good week, wherever you are.

Chat soon


Monday, 7 May 2012

Technology, Friend or Foe

The weather today (7 May) has stayed dry enough for me to cut the grass. The weather is unseasonably cold for the time of year, but as the old adage suggests: 'ne'er cast a clout till May is out.' In other words expect cold weather snaps and over the last few nights, although we seemed to have avoided them, there have been rural frosts not too far away.

I've been in a contemplative mood these last few days hence why no blog and I'm doing lots of reading at the moment and a bit of tidying up. I'm thinking about a new computer to replace this ageing beast and I'll give this model to my son but looking for a new one is not so easy. Looking for reliability and sustainability and trying to future proof myself by making this new machine last a few years is the stuff of nightmares as technology rumbles ever on. 

Do I go over to the dark side and get an Apple Mac or do I stick with Windows? The trouble is they are all now so interlinked as I discovered when I decided to move into the modern world and get an Android smart phone. The Android stuff is not compatible with Apple and vice versa. My e-mails, Twitter, Facebook, G-Mail account are all synchronised neatly through my phone and on the move, I don't really need a computer - I have the phone. Okay, it doesn't have any Office stuff on it and writing a lengthy report or memo on a phone would be a pain in the ass and a strain on the eyes. 

I was looking at the iPad the other day (on the computer, not physically), smallish, light, simple and clever but no Microsoft Office (or so I'm told) and frankly not too robust looking for someone who is clumsy and has fingers like sausages.

Oh what to do - continue with Dell or move to something like HP; move from a desktop to a laptop; go from Windows to Apple? Decisions, decisions.

In an act of necessity and economic sense, I have decided not to pursue a new camera but to stick with the Canon 40D I have which is a lovely piece of kit and does what it says on the tin. I just need to use it more but it's not exactly the sort of thing you slip in your pocket which is why I am still in love with my Panasonic Lumix which goes with me everywhere. Even my Samsung phone has an 8mp phone on it although it is a little limited - for example on a bright day, it's virtually impossible to see the screen to set up and take shots; cameras are much preferred.

With the help of my son John, I managed to update my phones software last evening which seems to make it run much quicker and smoother and it looks slightly better too. Oh how we rely on technology to help us on a day to day basis. Banking is done on line, I rarely write personal letters any more, "what's your e-mail address?" I don't publish letters, I write a blog, I don't advertise in the newspaper, I am constructing a web site. I talk to my friends and relatives on Facebook (other social sites are available) and if anything exciting happens (no it hasn't) I Twitter it.

All good fun, but a little limiting. It doesn't cut the grass, paint the house, feed me, give me love and  affection, etc. Not that I would want it to.

I'm not complaining really, I have been using computers for over twenty years and the truth is that although they are a pain, I do enjoy them by and large.

You know I don't normally do much in the way of politics, except when I'm in rant mode (another technical term) but have been fascinated by a distinct move to the left of politics with resounding defeats for the Conservatives in this months local elections in the United Kingdom, a socialist President in France (congratulations Sir) and Greece turning away from centre/right politics. Ye the Chancellor in the UK says we must trundle on on our current course, (and presumably ignore the message they have received from the electorate - not very democratic is it?)

I've had a week off work on a bit of a break, back tomorrow - shame. I've rather enjoyed this start of the journey to rediscover myself again.

Chat soon