Saturday, June 30, 2007

Kitty Kaption

OK, I just loved your captions last week, and I picked a winner on the simplicity of the caption.
Carmi walked away with the simple 'Romeo and Juliet'..........perfect.

Here's this week's picture. My cats are so photogenic, they are perfect for captions......this is a very rare picture of the two of them together.

For those that don't know, the multicoloured cat is Pandora (Pandy for short), eighteen next month (about 80 in cat years) and a wonderfully bad-tempered old womancat, the ginger ball of fluff is our rescue cat Charlie, who is two (about 25 in cat years), at least twice her size and has very few social graces and absolutely no idea how to treat a ladycat of Pandy's advanced years.

So - captions, please :-)


Friday, June 29, 2007

Flood-hit UK braced for more rain

Britain is set to be hit by more heavy rain following severe floods which killed at least four people.
Forecasters say up to 50mm (2in) of rain could fall in parts of the country on Saturday, and the Met Office has issued an early severe weather warning.
More than 3,000 properties in the UK have been flooded, it is estimated.
Fire crews have rescued around 3,500 people this week. The Fire Brigades Union has described the rescue effort as the "biggest in peacetime Britain".

FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack said the fire service had received more than 7,300 calls to flood-related incidents on Monday and Tuesday, and warned it was being stretched to the "point of collapse".
He accused the government of underestimating the scale of the flood.
Hundreds of families in the worst-hit areas are still unable to return to their homes, and thousands are still without power.
However, more rain is predicted.
There is expected to be rainfall of 15-25mm (up to 1in) on Saturday, although some places could see 40-50mm (up to 2in).
BBC weather forecaster Jay Wynne said: "Today it's a pretty reasonable day. One or two light showers. There will be some rain overnight.
"The main event is going to be this weekend. There will be plenty of wet, windy weather across the country on Saturday.
"It could be quite nasty. The good thing is it's not going to be a stalled weather front where it's stuck in the same place. This system will be moving through."
This week's floods have been most severe in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the Midlands.

The Queen has expressed her shock at the devastation caused by the flooding. She said her thoughts were with people who had lost family, friends and homes.
And Prince Charles intends to visit flood victims on Friday.
One of the flood-related deaths occurred at Hessle, near Hull, when Michael Barnett, 28, got stuck in a drain.
In Sheffield, Peter Harding, 68, died in floodwater after leaving his car.
In a separate incident in the city, 14-year-old Ryan Parry was killed when he was swept away in the River Sheaf at Millhouses.
At Pershore, Worcestershire, county court judge Eric Dickinson, 68, was found dead in his submerged car.
The Environment Agency has in place 10 severe flood warnings and 52 standard flood warnings.
Story from BBC

Apparently, the West is facing the brunt of the new wave of rain tomorrow ..........[battens down the hatches]

Nice weather for ducks........


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Good News All Round

Just been visiting some blogfriends and it's good news all round.........

Bobkat has blogged that her mum is still improving after a long and tortuous stay in hospital and is going home very, very soon.

Minerva continues to improve, showing Big C the door in grand style.......

And our very own Naomi, tucked away in her Beverley Hills home, is celebrating her 76th birthday tomorrow......OK, do we have enough bloggers to give her the birthday bumps??
And in the birthday spirit - tomorrow is Bobkat's birthday and she's got lots of games on her blog to help celebrate. Here is my giftie to her - delicious triple chocolate cake with fresh strawberries...........

Flowers and congratulations all over!! Go on, visit and say hi :-)


Monday, June 25, 2007

Fit to Bust

It has rained here constantly for over 24 hours (well, it is Summer in Britain!), and my Oriental Lily has been sucking up the lovely rainwater.......and now the biggest bud is simply straining at the seams.......

Not to be outdone, my Oriental Lily has some lily companions - another reliable annual bloomer is my precious Day Lilies. The bulbs were rescued from under the shed and planted to see what they were....
Yet another bud ready to burst into bloom......but each flower of this lily will only last 24 hours - hence the name.

My Race for Life

You can still show your support and donate to my successful Race for Life in support of Cancer Research UK here.

This will stay at the top for a bit longer, read down for newer posts.

Here I gave an overall perception of the Race for Life in Swindon, this post is all about my personal Race.
We arrived in sunshine, albeit a little cold, and I had high hopes that the weather would hold off, but black clouds started massing on the horizon as we waited for the whole shooting match to kick off.

There were women everywhere; fat women and thin women, old women and young women, women in shorts and women in trousers. With all the women there were men; husbands, fathers, brothers and sons.
By the time the aerobic warm-up started there had to have been 4,000+ people in the paddock. The rain held off until the nice athletic man started taking us through the aerobic warm-up (that was fun and energetic!) and the rain started......and it bucketed down. Before long the event had become the biggest wet t'shirt competition in the world with 2,000 women prancing around in soaking clothes.....and laughing! Yep - laughing.
Some were trying to do their routine under umbrellas and others, like me, threw caution to the winds and let themselves get soaked and thoroughly enjoyed every moment. I threw a glance over my shoulder and all the men were huddled under the Sun Smart pavilion (I love the irony of that!) sheltering from the downpour.

Then the race began in earnest. Women gathered around the start, runners in front, walkers behind, saying farewell to loved ones - reminiscent of families being parted by war or illness....and this is when the whole emotion of the day hit me. I had no husband to say goodbye to - or to wish me luck. When given the option, MB elected not to accompany me, so CK came instead. There was no less support - in fact, probably more. CK hugged me tight and wished me luck and I left with his final words ringing in my ears 'Remember - DON'T RUN!'......

As I quick-marched around the course, I had little chance to admire the grounds of Lydiard Park. I couldn't look up for too long because in front of me were a forest of back plaques, with names of those loved and lost enscribed on them. So much heartbreak. I also noticed they started to come loose and fall off after the first kilometre. About half way around I felt for my back plaque and found it had also come off in the rain and exercise.
The route was spotted with pink back plaques like mine, with names and dates on. They weren't litter, so much as memories proudly carpeting our route. Even though they have probably been cleared by now - the names of family and friends are indelibly engraved into the grounds of Lydiard Park by the feet of 2,000 women desperate to help rid the world of the evil that is cancer and keen to ensure their loved ones didn't die in vain.

As I crossed the line, the clock showed 54 minutes and 26 seconds. I wanted to complete in less than an hour, and I did it. I just marched across the line, walked straight into CK's arms and burst into tears.

Prego asked if the tears were emotion or exhaustion - they were definitely emotion....after a cup of coffee and a five minute sit down I was still wired and ready to go again........ :-)


Sunday, June 24, 2007


This is my oriental lily, bought on a whim a couple of years ago. I do nothing with it, I just watch it grow from nothing and bloom every year and then prune it back to bulb every autumn. I have five or six bulbs in the pot and each plant has one or two blooms annually.

Every year at this time, the leaves are luscious and green and the flower buds are taut and shiny, full of the potential of the bloom. I end up checking them almost every day to ensure I haven't missed a thing - and this year I hope to catalogue the emergence of these beautiful flowers. I love that this bud is so ready to burst that it takes on the gentle hue of the petals inside.

I was going to blog a 'before and after' post here, but I'm not going to - you're all going to have to wait with me to see what my beautiful lily is going to produce.......


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Kitty Konversation

Again, in the spirit of our blogfriend Carmi, I offer a photo for you all to think up a caption - click on it to biggify.
On the left is our Charlie, all fur and fears, on the right is a neighbour's cat that we call Bengal (because she is one!) who comes to visit often. They can regularly be found nattering through doors and windows, Charlie being an indoor cat.

Go mad!!

The last caption I threw up was here and I picked a winner, Leigh over at Relocated Writing with;

'She waits until you're fast asleep and then she eats your feet!.'

That one made me laugh out loud.


ps - actually, Mrs A had accidentally trodden on nettles in bare feet while under the influence of some lovely fruit wine - and Vic was administering Germolene to ease the pain.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

All About Racing For Life

You can still show your support and donate to my successful Race for Life in support of Cancer Research UK here.

As I mentioned below, yesterday started cold and wet and it had actually rained pretty much non-stop for 24 hours before the race.

I picked up Cyberkitten and we headed off to Swindon. This was a huge undertaking for me, completely out of my own comfort zone. Being in a strange place doing a strange thing with strange people.

The place, Lydiard Park, was fantastic. I chose it because I didn't want to slog around the Bristol Downs (which I know well) and who wouldn't choose a lovely country park to run/walk in.....?

With half an hour to go there were over 2,000 women and girls gathered with their cheering squads (husbands, families, babies), wearing everything from expensive running kit to pink pyjamas. The predominant colour was pink - pink shirts, pink shorts, pink hair, pink sneakers. The women/girls were from all walks of life and all backgrounds - all joined together in one cause.....the support and the memory of friends and family affected by cancer.
The back plaques said it all:
'I am racing for life for:'
My dad
My sister
My mum
My friend
My brother
My baby
and a million names.
It was impossible not to get choked up to see all these women and their families supporting the research to stop this terrible disease. Each woman and young girl touched, in some small or big way, by the heartbreak of cancer. Some little girls were wearing favourite party dresses, some were wearing angels' wings. Their mothers were wearing mementos of their loved ones, some even with photos of lost relatives printed on their t'shirts.

This was not a Race per se. It was not to the swift. It is not an event where the lesser competitors are discounted. This was a day of dedication, of love and of devotion. And remembrance...

More on my personal race tomorrow.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Racing For Life

Today is the day I am racing for life - well, walking help raise money for cancer research :-)

Today I am proud to be a number - I am number 565 in this race.......I am racing today in the name of our friend Minerva........and everyone - because no one is immune to this terrible scourge....And the Biggest Blogger (ie the biggest online sponsor) is our very own Hollywood Star, Naomi - who gets top billing on my shirt......

with my guardian angel CK on my shoulder......But then everyone who sponsored me does get a mention.........
If you still want to sponsor me, you can do this online......Click here.

I'm off to Aginoth's straight from the race, so I'll scrounge a laptop there to report in :-)

Update - done it! And in a respectable 54 minutes and 26 seconds......


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Empty Vase

Yeah, I know - you've been bored to tears about the Black Knight lately......
I have gone overboard over a brief friendship, that is most probably already forgotten in my dark hero's mind......
I know why........

A friend in my office has just entered her eighth month of pregnancy. She is tired and cranky and blooming.......

And I am just wild with jealousy. And empty. Cold inside. And empty.

Then Alex, in his guise as Black Knight, came into my life briefly at just the right time. He spoilt me and flattered me just for a moment in time - and took my attention away from my barrenness and increasing age just for a while.

Anyway, that's enough of Knights and valour for now. I have a Race for Life to complete this weekend and a friend to help celebrate a birthday with.

So - time to paint on a happy face......

Update - it's 6.30am on the day of Race for Life......and after 16hrs(ish) of almost constant downpour the rain has finally stopped [crosses fingers].

7am: [peers out of window] nope, still raining......gonna be an interesting day.....[packs waterproofs and towel]


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

You meet the nicest people...

..on this interweb thingy........
While looking for photos from the Wychwood Joust on the internet, I stumbled over a shot that was definitely 'my' Black Knight, and, following the trail, I found myself here looking at this post.....
and blow me, if the post didn't direct me to this nice chap's photo gallery!

"sheesh - I wish my helm fitted better.......!!"

White Knight [whispering]: "So, I knock you down and beat the living crap outta you?"
Black Knight: "Can't I win today? Got my eye on a doxy over there - you could make me look good!"
These and many more excellent photos (of all sorts of things!) can be found over on Paul Dunning's blog, so follow the link above and say I sent you :-)
Oh, and I am actually IN one of his photos........
Thank you, Paul :-)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Good Knight, Bad Knight

OK, for all you joust fans who have been wanting to see the Knights from the joust I attended the other week (or just curious!) - here is footage from YouTube of the Devil's Horsemen at Glamis Castle 9 months ago. Since then there has been a slight cast change.......

Black Knight - Gerard Naprous - who didn't take part in the joust this month
White Knight - Alex - now the fabulously darkhearted Black Knight

So - see White Knight, think Black Knight.......and yes, he really is that quick with the battle-axe....(resists urge to repeat the joke about mothers-in-law!)...

So, until I see the lads again to ask them it's over to you....

- d'you reckon it's better to be the victorious but rather Goody-Two Shoes White Knight or the defeated but eminently intriguing Black Knight?


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Piratical Potential

Now I know TV today is weighed down with reality gameshows, and I really do have issues with most of those - but I have found a gameshow I am enjoying.

Pirate Master is a new game show offering from CBS where the game is to be pirates following clues to treasure and keys which will, in the end, lead to $1M prize.
Add in voting off players, actual activites (rowing, swimming, running - thinking even, etc), a real schooner (The Picton Castle) and the island of Domenica as a setting - this is a fun game show.
The life on board is extremely unfair - the Captain and his two officers get all the money and good food, whereas the scabrous dogs just get gruel and deck swabbing duties. Sounds about right! Won't be long until Cap'n JD is mutineed right off of that ship......

We have just had episodes 1 and 2 here in the UK and it is shaping up well. I have even identified my favourite game players (luckily both still standing after two votes).

Go Azmyth!!

Go Louie!!

Good premise, excellent ship, good strong competitors, fantastic location.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Caption Competition

I have apologised to many, many people and cursed myself for not taking any pictures of the joust, us medieval people, the Knights, my own favourite Black Knight, the horses addition, the Aginoths and Vic 'n' Pete forgot to bring their own cameras. I'm so desperate for pictures, I have asked the Horsemen if there are any photos available of the weekend in general.
But I did take one 1am after the before-mentioned girly night out.
I had drunk two bottles of blackberry wine, Mrs A had demolished two bottles of apple wine and Vic had cleaned out two bottles of plum wine (yummy, yummy English fruit wines) - so needless to say we were, to say the least, merry. We had chatted with and danced with old knights, bold knights and stableboys and were just beginning to feel our age when Pete (Vic's husband) came to find us at 1am and shepherded us drunken lairy girls back to camp where he and Aginoth were babysitting.
Then began the storytelling, the raconteuring, the boasting........and the falling over and lying down.......
So, in the spirit of our dearest friend and magnificent photographer, Carmi, I submit this photo for suggestions for a caption........on the left in the red dress is Mrs A, on the right in green is Vic....
Just one proviso - this is a 'family' blog, so keep it clean(ish)!

Friday, June 08, 2007

How to Win Yourself a Black Knight

When you decide to sew a favour for the Black Knight - make sure he knows - and be first to tie it on his lance!

When you meet up with him after a whole bottle of wine each on a girly night out - endeavour to appear more sober than your female drinking companions.

When he offers to return your favour 'drenched in the blood of his enemies' - accept the offer freely!

Whenever he gets within hearing distance during the joust - yell 'Huzzah, the Black Knight!!' as loud as you can, leaping up and down.

When he blows a kiss across the jousting field - wave sweetly.

Remember to stay in character and address him as 'good sire' - it'll guarantee a smile.

When he bends down from the carriage to kiss you farewell - demurely offer your cheek.

Then, when you are home and back in reality - dream of your Black Knight and the spark of romance to brighten your days.

And yes, you romantic blogger-type people......all the above happened at the joust I went to.

Did I take photos? Nope - of course not.....I never think of things like that - and anyway, I never carry my camera in kit. A medieval woman toting a digital camera just looks wrong. But I have asked Gerard if any decent photos were taken of the event.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pain, Much Pain

I do not like dentists. Dentists, I do not like you.

OK, enough Dr Seuss........

I am terrified of the dentist.
After atrocious treatment as a teenager, I have spent the rest of my life in fear of dentists in general and the treatment they dish out.
I have broken one dental nurse's fingers (when she foolishly offered to hold my hand during a root canal), one dentist actually knelt on my chest to stop me trying to leave the chair, I have bitten dentists and I suffer terrible panic attacks with heart palpitations. Gas and Air is not now allowed in the UK, instead Valium is used as a sedative. I can't take Valium, it makes me suicidal. So I am restricted to Beta-Blockers to reduce the panic attacks and heart palpitations.
I have a bear that comes with me to all my dental treatment, even just check-ups. His name is Albert and the poor fella really gets the stuffing pulled out of him when I have any work done.
My current dentist has learnt the hard way to do the work as quickly as possible, and not to stop unless I actually grab him (which I have done in the past!).

So, I was horrified today when I broke a filling in one of the big deep molars at the back of my jaw.
I fought back my nausea and went to the dentist, and he quickly drilled out the broken filling, tidied up the tooth and refilled it.
I wrenched poor Albert every which way, I screamed, I cried, I kicked and I howled........but my dentist resolutely kept working on me.

Oh, the pain! When the novocaine wore off, the pain was immense. Because the molar was a big one, and the filling needed a post (a metal spike in my jaw), there was a lot of work done on the jawline and the resulting pain was unbearable. I am now writing this under the influence of Ibuprofen (pain relief).

Where's my bed.......?

I promise - a proper post tomorrow.........perhaps I will tell you about my short but memorable friendship with the Black Knight :-)


Monday, June 04, 2007

A Letter

Dear Gerard Naprous,
Thank you very much for a most enjoyable weekend at the Wychwood Stud as the Living History element to your Medieval Jousting Fayre.
I enjoyed the restful atmosphere, the opportunity to watch the Horsemen in action and to make new friends. I knew about the
Devil’s Horsemen and it was a thrill to work alongside them and meet them and your fine horses.

Dante the Lloyds Bank Horse

It was also generous of your staff to allow us to sit in on the banquet entertainment and we must congratulate you on your Jester; he was excellent, so funny and an fantastic entertainer. We did comment that we should hire him for our own annual Company banquet!
The public were very responsive and keen to learn about our lives as medieval people, making us think what a shame we weren't greater in number. They were fascinated by how we actually lived the experience, right down to the food and the games the children played. I think they appreciated it even more being warmed up by the joust which put them in a medieval mood, so to speak.

I would suggest for future events that the two elements of the event are slightly more intertwined. Although we mingled in the crowds for the joust each day to great effect, the horsemen didn’t really come up to the medieval village except Alex on the carriage, and he didn’t get a chance to stop.
Speaking of Alex, I was pleased to see him play to the crowds and respond to me in character, both during the joust and also while driving the carriage. He was, in addition, a fine black-hearted Black Knight. I wanted to thank him especially – he was very kind and it was nice to meet him.

In fact, I had such a good time over the weekend I really didn’t want to leave, and immediately put my name down for future events involving the Devil’s Horsemen.
Many thanks for the opportunity to take part and I hope to see you all again soon. In the meantime, I must start making favours in readiness.

[In fact - I had such a good time I neglected to take any photos (except a couple for Aginoth)!! :-( The ones used here are taken from the Devil's Horsemen website]