Photo blogging challenge – Festive

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December 2013 – Festive

I was going to enjoy taking these photos. It was an excuse to get out and about with my camera. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out that way. Firstly, we got our new kitten, that couldn’t be left alone for the first week. Then life events took over and when I did manage to get out I couldn’t find anything that took my fancy, or would make a good photo. We didn’t get to any carol services or Christmas events this year. Mo was poorly with a bad cold, which kept us in all over Christmas and now I have it. Because of this, my photos are all taken in our home, I’m afraid, but they are festive.

One of our Christmas tree ornaments. We bought a lot of tree ornaments especially styled after very old fashioned decorations. We loved the traditional look of them.

tree ornament

This next photo is one of our Christmas Fairies. I have no idea of where or why we bought this, as it’s too large for the top of any tree we would have. We use it as a Christmas ornament.

Christmas Fairy

Running out of ideas, I decided to try and get some fairy lights in. This is the garland on our fire surround. I deliberately blurred the lights, to make it a little more interesting. I like the way they are shining on the wall.

Christmas lights

It wouldn’t be Christmas without the turkey, so here is a shot of ours. It’s a lot smaller than usual, as we always have so much left over and there is only so many ways of eating left over turkey.

Turkey

Lastly, here is a shot of one of the bunches of balloons we have, hanging from the ceiling.

balloons
I really hope I can get out with my camera soon. I miss it!
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Ho, ho, ho!

This is a Christmas post from 2010. I’m reposting it because I haven’t had time to write a new post up and my attempts at capturing our little Jenny in a Christmas ribbon failed miserably.

Have you been good?

I wonder why it was always Mo that was asked to be Santa for the children. Was it because she was more cuddly than the average male? I think so. Fortunately she could drop her voice down and sound like a man too.

There was a well known road, where we used to live, that was highly decorated at Christmas time. They had hundreds of visitors Christmas week, but on Christmas Eve the road was absolutely packed with families who brought their children to see the lights and electronically moving Christmas characters on the rooftops and in the front gardens.  You could see the glow of lights from a distance, so it wasn’t hard to find the road.  They would park their cars and walk the length of the road, and back again.  It was a really magical time.

Santa-2004

We hit on the bright idea, that Mo should dress up as Father Christmas (Santa) and walk up and down the road, handing out little gifts.  We had noted that Santa was the only missing element, and would create the finishing touch.  We went shopping and filled a sack with presents.  We had no idea how this would go down with the residents, who worked so hard every year to put this wonderful show on, but we took the risk.

I made Mo’s face up and we set off.  As we parked the car some people spotted Mo and made tracks over, even before Mo was out of the car.  It was unbelievable!  The children’s faces were a sight to see. We slowly made our way up the road, as families brought their children over to Mo.  As she gave out the presents, the parents would ask where the collection box was.   “It’s free” Mo would say, and then the parents faces would light up just like the children. Not because they were saving money, but because of the ‘spirit of Christmas’ they felt.

Several women made suggestive remarks to Mo, because they thought she was a man.  That made us laugh, though we didn’t let on.

The following year we did it in even more style. My sister also dressed as Mother Christmas.  That was another experience. Mother and Father Christmas, together!  The children were so excited.  Nobody ever asked who we were.

I hope somebody else continued what we started after we moved away.

A Ho, ho, ho! From Mo, Mo, Mo……………..and me

 

A biscuit surprise. Or are they cookies?

We stocked up on coffee pods, for Christmas and Mo wanted to use an airtight container, so she swapped with the biscuit container.  She didn’t stop to think that she would make the biscuits smell and taste like stale coffee pods!

“I’ll get a new container and some fresh biscuits tomorrow” she said, as I dumped the lot in the trash. As good as her word, she dutifully came home with a new container and a large packet of biscuits.

“I don’t believe it! I was especially careful to choose a pack that wasn’t broken! Look what that cashier has done”, Mo said, showing me the top few biscuits were broken. She shook the broken pieces out so the crumbs wouldn’t go into the jar.

Biscuits

She gently tipped the rest into the new container.  Just look at this! Every single one was smashed into little pieces. Have you ever seen such a mess?  What do they do in the store rooms of these supermarkets? Play football with the stock?

Back in the fifties and before the packaging of foods, they used to sell broken biscuits by the pound. Even those biscuits were not like this.

I suggested we make a cheesecake with them, but Mo was not impressed with that idea. The ducks will get a biscuit surprise this Christmas.

Broken biscuits

This isn’t the first disaster we’ve had from that supermarket. We bought a container of cat food pouches that were rancid. We bought a fresh crab, that was far from fresh and would have probably killed us if we’d eaten it and we’ve found many an item past it’s ‘sell by’ date in our fridge, before we had time to eat it. I doubt we’ll be shopping there any more, without double checking everything before we buy it.

We still have no edible biscuits!

Photo blogging challenge – People

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November 2013 – People

When this is posted, I will be away, so can’t view or comment on any of your posts, unfortunately. I hope to get to it on Monday. I am sorry about that.

This month has been a very stressful month for us and I haven’t been able to get out and take photographs for this months photo blogging challenge. I had to grab an opportunity and use my mobile, as and when I could, so unfortunately they are not good quality.

This first photo was taken at the beginning of the month, when we went out for a brisk walk. Lots of people walk here with, or without, their dogs. It’s a lovely long stretch, with beautiful surroundings, so a good walking spot.

walking the dog

Mo spotted this chap, sitting waiting for his wife, while she did the shop, I expect.  He looked like a bit of a character, with his trousers tucked into his socks. I doubt he came on a bike, as he has a walking stick with him and beside, his wife would have to ride cross bar!

shopping

The next photo was taken with my Canon. I noticed these chaps, working on the roof across from our house and quickly grabbed my camera, but taking a photo between the gaps in the vertical blind wasn’t easy. I’m sure one of them spotted me, so I had to stop at one photo and make the most of it. I didn’t want a knock on the door, by angry workmen.

roofers

I had an appointment at the eye hospital. The only other chance I had to get a couple of photos in before I go away, so again, they are secret shots on my mobile.

Sitting outside the hospital, maybe waiting for her lift home?

hospital

A couple of nurses having a break and a chat.

nurses

I’m sorry this month the photos are all a bit rushed and not good quality, but I promise to do better next month.

EDIT

I didn’t get away for the weekend, after all. My back has given out on me and I couldn’t do the journey. So disappointed.

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A five minute DIY job?

Last week, while browsing a mail shot, I saw something that I thought we ought to try out.  An automatic radiator bleeder, for your central heating system. It’s a valve that goes on your radiator to automatically remove any air trapped inside. It only seems to effect one of our radiators, but it’s the bathroom radiator and there’s nothing worse than going up for a shower and finding the bathroom is freezing cold because of air in the radiator.  Then you have to try to remember where you left the little ‘key’, which usually means only Mo knows where it is and she’s out, so you have to suffer the freezing cold bathroom, or wait until she gets home.  It’s a real pain in the winter.

Airvent

Valve

They suggest you have two valves. One in a radiator nearest the boiler and one upstairs. We ordered them and they arrived yesterday. They sent us full instructions for installing them ourselves.

All you need is an adjustable wrench and an old towel to mop up any water leakage. A five minute DIY job, it said.

DIY Mo style.

The first valve is going on the radiator in the kitchen. I’m in the kitchen, making a sandwich when Mo decides to do it. She always picks a weird time to do things.

“Make sure you do it right” I say.

“I know what I’m doing. I’ve already isolated the radiator…….. Quick! Get me an old towel I rush across the room, sandwich half made and grab an old towel out of the cupboard, which Mo throws on the floor to soak up the pool of water. I continue making my sandwich. “I can’t get it in!” Mo says. “It won’t fit!”  I go over to see what’s wrong, still not having made my sandwich.  “See if you can do it!” Mo says, angrily, thrusting the valve into my hand.

changing

“It should fit, I bought the correct one for new radiators and they’re standard”, I say, trying to push this thing home. It was not going to fit. Mo goes out to get the dreaded hammer. This is where Mo usually loses her temper and ends up damaging the thing she is trying to improve. “Be careful! Don’t damage it”.

“Where’s my big hammer?” Mo calls from the garage. I panic.

“Don’t use the big hammer! You’ll damage the radiator”. Mo gets the small one, much to my relief.  “This black rubbery bit is loose and if you press it, you can feel the thread underneath it”, I say. “Maybe it’s some fancy type of washer”.  Mo takes it and starts to hammer it in, while I sweat at the prospects of having to replace the complete radiator if Mo damages it.  I attempt to finish my sandwich, before the bread gets stale.

Whack…whack…whack… “That’s it! I’ve split it now!”

I drop the knife and go over to see what damage has been done. Mo thrusts it in my hands in disgust. “Look!” I take it and, sure enough, the black rubber part is split. On closer inspection, I see something inside the rubber, so I pull on the split, to discover a little tool inside, for tightening the washer once it’s installed. Realisation hits me and I pull off the protective rubber casing to expose the actual valve.

I finish making my sandwich and Mo screws on the now perfectly fitting valve.

Only in our house.

split.jpg

Was this a trick for Halloween?

Have you all plotted together, to not comment on my previous blog post, as some sort of Halloween trick, or is there something wrong with my feed again?

I was forced into changing my blog theme, as the one I used has been replaced by a newer version. I wonder why it wasn’t simply updated? I also added a couple of new plug-ins. The difficult part is guessing what happened between my first post about the new design and my next post.

I did install a Firefox extension, called ‘Ghostery’, that blocks a lot of these unwanted collector’s of information (trackers), that get installed on our computers. I was careful to switch off blocking for all but advertisers, but wonder if it could be that. I’ve now disabled it to see if things are any better.

I really hope I don’t have problems again.

This is the Spirit!

I have never done anything like this on my blog before, but this is special, because it’s family.

This is my great nephew, Fynnjan. He has Asperger’s.

Fynnjan-At-Runway-Studios

Fynnjan is doing something quite special and is looking to raise money and awareness for Asperger’s and Autism.

Although he has never been musically minded, doesn’t play an instrument, or sing in the school choir, Fynnjan wrote a song. His teacher thought it was good and asked him to write some Christmas lyrics, which he did. I won’t go into all the details here, but I’ve put a link to his web site below, if you want to know more.

His dad plays in a band and was in the process of recording an album, so it seemed an obvious move to record Fynnjans song at the same time. His friends at school came along to provide the backing vocals. The end result is a Christmas Single ‘The Spirit of Christmas’. Fynnjan is hoping to raise as much money as possible. All profits from the sale of his single, will go to the National Autistic Society (90%) and his Primary School’s Special Needs (SENCO) Department (10%).

Here is a small clip of his song The Spirit of Christmas ? custom player

If you want to find out more, check out his web site at fynnjan.com

This is what Fynnjan has to say:

Hello, I am Fynnjan!
I am 11 and I have Asperger’s. Last year I wrote a song – ‘The Spirit of Christmas’. This year I recorded it with my Dad’s band, Buzz and my Classmates to raise money and awareness for Autism.

What are my goals?
To raise awareness for Asperger’s and Autism and to show how IMPORTANT it is to have help EARLY in your life if you have Autism. Vital for you and essential for your family and friends.

How can you help?
Pre-Ordering ‘The Spirit of Christmas’ would be an amazing start! It’s up on iTunes Pre-Order NOW.
Click HERE to Pre-Order. Right now I need your help spreading the word far and wide.

Of course I’m not twisting your arm to buy a copy, though it would be great if you could. If not, maybe you could share this, by clicking any of the buttons below. Fynnjan would love to make the charts and apparently pre-ordering is the way to do that.

Photo Blogging Challenge – Fall (Autumn)

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October 2013

This months photo blogging challenge is – Fall (Autumn)

This month was not easy for me, because we have had such a late autumn. We have been going out almost daily to get a particular shot, not wanting to miss the best time to get it. We have a particularly beautiful place that is full of trees of varying shades of red, in the autumn. Unfortunately the leaves still haven’t turned red.  I’m sad about that. I could have posted a photo from the previous years, but didn’t want to cheat.

This photo was taken at the beginning of October, when the leaves were just beginning to fall. We went out in search of conkers. Last year we had none at all, so was hoping this year would be better.

early autumn

Early autumn

We did manage to find some conkers, although they were much smaller than usual.  I strung this one up and waited. If I stilled played conkers, which I don’t because I don’t want bruised knuckles, this would be a good one. It set off hard and strong.

Conkers

This one’s a winner!

I had to take a close up, of course.

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves

This one was taken later in October, when the leaves were golden brown on the ground. I love it this time of year.

Mid Autumn

Mid Autumn

Here we are 29th October and still no red leaves on the trees. Here is a photo I took at one of our reservoirs, where they are at least a deep gold in colour.  Looks like they’ll turn in November this year.

The reservoir in Autumn

The reservoir in Autumn

Some of these photos are secondary choices, purely because autumn is so late this year and it’s also been a very busy month for us. Hopefully I’ll do better next month.

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New blog layout

I just updated and re-designed my theme. I hope you like it, but if you find anything that doesn’t look right, could you please let me know. The text looked so huge that I had to change it to 10 pt. I’m now worried in case it’s too small for other people to read. It was 13pt in my last layout, so you can see why I’m concerned. Your comments would be appreciated.  My aim is to make it more pleasant to read my blog, not more difficult.

It’s so long since I did my previous theme that I had to re-learn everything. Maybe I should change it every month, in order to remember how to do it. No! Not really.

Your comments are welcome – good or bad.

 

London and its treasures.

“Hey! look down there, I can see a sword!”  We all pushed forward peering down into a dark hole.

There was something long laying in the dust and rubble and it looked like it was made of metal. That was good enough for us.  “Cor, a real sword!”

“What’s that over there?” someone said, pointing into an even darker corner.

“It looks like bones to me” said another.  We crammed up against the railing to see better.  “I bet there’s even dead bodies down there!”

The building was an empty brick shell with a gaping hole in the front wall and a large chunk of the ground floor missing, exposing a dark cellar, where these treasures lay.  It was closed off with railings.  The sword looked like it would be such fun to play with.  There were all sorts of things, even clothes, laying around in the rubble, but our eyes were fixed on the sword.

“Look there’s a long branch over there.  Maybe we can get the sword with that.” someone said.  Sandie, being the tallest, and with the longest arms, took the branch and stretched as far as she could.

“It’s no good, I can’t get it.”

“Are you sure” we all cried.

“Yes I’m sure, I can’t reach it. Oh well, let’s see if we can find any more treasure.”

“Yeah! Come on then” we all said excitedly, and went skipping down the road to find another treasure trove.

It had been a warm summers day, and we were roaming around looking for something to fill our day.  Today we had been investigating bomb sites, left over from WW2.

bomb site

Many bomb sites became adventure playgrounds for kids. We spent many a day rummaging around them, looking for treasure. I can’t remember if we found anything of interest, but we had great fun looking.  Kids had such freedom, growing up in the fifties.

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