Thursday, August 28, 2008


I was so pleased when i realised todays Thursday Theme of wheels linked to some more of my US photos.

Ched took me to Coney Island - oh we had such a blast!

And I hadn't realised, until I was thinking about this theme post, how many pictures i'd taken which featured the Wonder Wheel.

We arrived in pretty good weather - warm, a mixture of sunshine and cloud.
And then the sky began to darken

By the time we got to the shore the wheel had stopped turning - all the rides were stopped as the wind increased.

And then the rain started.

It rained and rained

and we had a blast.

This last picture is taken from the train, on our way damply back into Manhattan

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Starting to go through my USA holiday pictures [It will take some time. There are more than few] I took photos of things that I liked (of course) but particularly (on reflection) of things which struck me as "different".

So here is a selection of photos I took on our walks around Nyack, NY, with some suggestions about what makes this so very different from a town in the UK.

Buildings over here are still usually brick or stone, though there is now more use of wood. Possibly something to do with speed of construction. And/or maybe global warming...

I like the colours of buildings in America too, they're more likely to be painted and also, painted in more interesting and varied colours than you'd generally see over here.

Porches. I'm not sure you'd find people in England sitting on their porches....

If we sit outside the house, it will be in the back garden, I suppose its a privacy thing. Although its also a class thing - in poorer and working class areas of cities over here, it would be common in the past to see people sitting out on their front door step, or on the path or pavement. But I bet it happens less these days.

A lot of the roofs struck me as a different shape than we would see over here...

Other things I don't think you'd see so much in Britain:

Maybe more likely in the country. Also, some Victorian/Edwardian houses have shutters - but on the insides of the windows. I have no theory as to why that might be.

The top half of this picture looks very American to me - but the bottom half could have been taken in this country.

(maybe just sometimes on posh country houses...)

turrets (only on castles)

(or occasionally on Victorian follies)

Fire hydrants struck me as different and exotic in France - but now I'm used to seeing them in the US as well, maybe its us in Britain who are different....

And the tangles of overhead wiring all over the place. Most of our cabling goes underground now, this is a very un-British sight....

My final 3 photos here, however, could all have been taken in the UK

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I've been making marmalade, with my dad.

Its a bit of a family "thing" - liking and making marmalade. Except for my sister who's not keen. Which seems downright unBritish, as well as genetically nonconformist.

It is a funny time of year to be making marmalade, distinctly unseasonal - it should be strawberry jam really this time of year, but we're not great jam eaters. Seville oranges are briefly in season in January/February, but when my order arrived I was too busy to contemplate a day of kitchen stickiness, so they went straight into the freezer.

And there they have remained.....

until yesterday.

There are some who prefer their marmalade without peel.

But that, of course, is rather like having steak and kidney pie without the kidney; eel pie without the liquor; toad in the hole without the hole; bubble and squeak without the squeak; dripping without bits. Downright unBritish and not to be countenanced.

Despite that, I did pot one jar almost shredlessly for a special friend

So thats my unseasonal activity.

I hope soon to be engaged in the highly seasonal activity of making elderberry syrup.

Yesterday dad and I took a walk around the local park where I usually pick the berries but I was very distressed to see that a lot of the elder has been pruned back hard and has no fruit at all. Some ripe berries had already been eaten by the birds, and there are just a couple of more shady areas with some fruit, which is still very unripe .....

so, I will be monitoring closely over the next week or two and hoping to out-manouvre the birds in competition for the few berries still to come.

A whole winter without elderberry syrup is also not to be countenanced.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Theme thursday...


Trafalgar Square used to be full of pigeons. And hence full of wings and feathers and little scraggy pigeon feet.

The square was also full of people feeding pigeons. And people taking photos of people feeding pigeons. And people covered with pigeons. And people selling food for feeding pigeons. And therefore full of pigeon shit.

Our previous Mayor of London put a stop to all that featheryshitty nonsense and the Square is now cleaner and altogether more enjoyable.

However London is still full of pigeons, they hang out anywhere they can, and they are quick to clean up any edible messes left behind, as here at a cafe in St. James' Park


St. James' Park is also awash with gulls

ducks and geese


and pelicans

(and of course with people feeding pigeons (and gulls and ducks and swans and pelicans). And people taking photos of people feeding pigeons (and gulls and ducks and swans and pelicans). And people covered with pigeons (and sometimes with gulls. Not with ducks, swans or pelicans. At least not that i've seen) (but sometimes with squirrels). And people selling food for feeding pigeons (and gulls and ducks and swans and pelicans). And therefore full of pigeon shit (& etc. etc.)

But its altogether different in a green and leafy park.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

hair (theme thursday)



less traditional

Dye job

(LG has not, in the past, done the allergy test. She now needs no persuasion from me to do so.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

highs and lows and clean towels

(no pics. but lots of links to other peoples' ....)

The high point of my summer -

my stay in Nyack with Ched:

days in New York city and in Brooklyn,
wanderings in beautiful New York state
and a weekend in the Catskills - all with Ched, and at times also Steve

Our Catskills weekend included a visit to a giant kaleidoscope, and Hippiefest 2008 in Bethel
(pics and vids here and here and here)

Ched's blog has more posts about some of our wanderings, (posts between July 26 and August 8th) and I will post some of my own pictures when I get back to London in 10 days or so.

When I get a chance to start sorting through them.

I did manage not to leave my camera on the plane this time.
This is good.
During my 12 day visit I took over 1,700 photos.
This is not so good.
I think my photography habit is getting dangerously out of hand.

There were other bloggers I'd love to have seen, but sadly couldn't. But I made firm friends with Dennis (after a few days) and with Chedwick himself (after a few more days) and fell firmly in love with Eddie in no time at all.

Lows of the summer have been health-related - trivial in relative terms, but quite miserable at (intermittent) times.

I'd had an allergic reaction to my hair-colour way back in June I think and was left with nasty allergic dermatitis on my ears which at some points have been inflamed and swollen to about twice their usual dimensions, with a range of other symptoms far too unpleasant to be detailed to such nice people as yourselves. I have felt quite freakishly elephant-mannish at times.

Twice I was at the point of full recovery and then suffered a relapse - the second relapse just after my return from the States, which I think was due to hair-dye left on towels in our bathroom after LG's own summer hair-dye experiments. Me being in the US at the time, the towels were left to fester rather than being washed. No comment. LG had learned from my experience and did a proper allergy test, so she was fine thank goodness (and her hair looks great) but I was less careful than i should have been about checking towel cleanliness.....

its clearly not enough to know where your towel is
you also need to know that it is clean.

The old elephant ears were mainly in recovery while i was in the US, I took to wearing little ear cosies cunningly fashioned out of medical gauze and was otherwise pretty much fine and healthy, and no one openly laughed at me. In fact, maybe I have added an indefinable something to the reputation of Brits in New York?

Anyway, post-return from US and post-2nd relapse, the ear cosies evolved into substantial dressings and my system seemed to crumble a bit with various lurgies and infections attacking face neck and eyes.

Its felt rather like a (trivial) greek tragedy with a not-very-hidden moral about vanity and clean towels.

I'm currently blogging from Jersey, Channel Islands where I am lolling about in invalidesque mode and hence finding myself unexpectedly without any inclination or energy to go out (not even to go and take photos on the beach), but with computer time.

We are visiting M's family, and staying with Dizzy, who is a dear friend, too busy to blog these days, and an Ayurvedic practitioner.

How handy - she is providing me with a full ayurvedic care package which seems to be working very well, and which includes a sticky drippy paste on my ears made up of neem oil, honey and turmeric.


I think I may be leaving Dizzy's towels less than clean.....