Wednesday, May 30, 2007


G. has put up lots of photos from the last few weeks. From his mum's visit, to my parents' visit, our trip to Devon and our big day in London visiting friends. If you want to take a look-see, click here!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Digging it up

I did a fair amount of work on Saturday on the allotment. Which was good timing, as it poured rain most of Sunday and Monday. Not really weather condusive to being outdoors, at least not when it will also involve a lot of mud.

The first crop I had sprout from the earth was rocket/arugula. I was very excited about it, but I was less excited to find slugs or birds had eaten nearly all of it. Plus with the new weeds growing up right beside it, it was tough to see what I had left. In the end I decided to call it quits and start again. So now with newspaper down for mulch, fresh weed-free compost and slug pellets strewn about, I might have some rocket again in a few weeks. The only thing that I planted that was surviving still was radishes. I'll have to head down later today and see if the newspaper stayed in place or if my fresh compost all got washed away. I can accept the fact that gardening isn't as simple as sticking in a few seeds and sitting back to reap the rewards a few months later, but too many set-backs will be discouraging. At least I can enjoy the company of the other allotmenteers. Everyone I've met has been really friendly, with a couple offers of letting me use their equipment if I need it. V's wheelbarrow has definitely come in handy several times.

I shall of course post here when I finally get something out of it that is edible.

P.S. I'd also like to thank my sister-in-law and hubbie for sending me some gardening books for Christmas. They have proved invaluable, so thanks again R and T for them!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bank Vacation Weekend

This is the Spring Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK. It's always the last Monday in May. I made my little joke in the post title because it always came up when I was teaching business English in Germany. In German, there is one word for when you take several days off out of your job (Urlaub) and another word for when it's an official public day off (Feiertag). It was confusing for them when I told them that they could call both "holiday" in English. Of course this was normally for the beginners, who really only needed to get their heads around one word. For higher classes I would explain that in Canada, you would take 2 weeks vacation, but that July 1st was a holiday (Canada Day, just so you know for your next pub quiz or trivia night). And then I would explain that in Britain they would take 2 weeks holiday and then Christmas Day is a bank holiday. A very strange concept to someone from the outside; I still have difficulty with it myself, never mind the Germans.

I mean, why is a bank holiday and not a Post Office holiday? The other difficulty the Germans had with the concept is that nearly every holiday is a Monday, rather than the actual day of the commemoration. What I mean is that in Germany, May 1 is a day off and is a holiday and it doesn't move. If May 1 is a Wednesday, that's the day the shops and offices are closed. It doesn't move to the next convenient Monday. If May 1 is a Sunday; too bad no extra day off for you; you miss out that year.

Another tough one for me is that most of the holidays (in England at least) are just days off, there's no basis. This weekend for example is officially called Spring Bank Holiday, although it's apparently originally from Whitsun (aka Pentecost) but you would never know that nowadays. I thought it was originally from Queen Victoria's birthday, but apparently not. Why would I think that? Well, because the 3rd Monday in Canada is actually called Victoria Day. And it's an official (bank) holiday. I find it amusing that the "colony" still has a day off to celebrate the birthdays of a dead monarch and the official one of the current one but the birth country of those monarchs doesn't.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Cookham Tale

The Tarrystone Players are a local theatre group in Cookham. So named after the Tarrystone, a big rock at the end of the High Street where legend has it, people used to wait around (or "tarry") before doing some sporting competitions. During the Cookham Festival,the Players had an open-air performance of The Pardoner's Tale from The Canterbury Tales. G, my mom, G's sister, Lena and I walked down to watch it. It was a lovely evening and a fun way to pass an hour or so. Here are some pictures and a snippet of relevant text or a comment for each.

Tell us some moral thing, that we may lear
Some wit, and thenne will we gladly hear
"I grant y-wis," quoth he; "but I must think
Upon some honest thing while that I drink."

I don't actually have a bit of text for this picture, I just liked that he had his empty beer cup upside down on his head. He could be a Hasher.

More wondrous signes of empoisoning,
Than had these wretches two ere their ending.
Thus ended be these homicides two,
And eke the false empoisoner also

Just a comment, that the top dead guy looks a bit too enthused about encroaching Death.

And well-earned applause from the audience.

Tarrystone Players website:

The full Pardoner's Tale and Prologue:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Empty Nest

It's just me and Lena today; all our visitors left this morning. It's great having visitors, but it's nice to have the place back to ourselves as well. It's a tiny house, and having 5 full-grown adults plus a baby in it makes it tight. So I'm taking today to relax and to fully recover from a cold that suddenly cropped up on the weekend. To amuse you in the meantime, here's (yet another) cute shot of Lena.

I call it, "All Eyes and Soother".

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Just a quick filler post to let you know that I am not on an undercover mission to infiltrate into British Parliment and mind control Gordon Brown. Although I'm sure there are a few who would like that. We've been away in Devon for a week and we still have a house full of guests, namely my parents and Lena's Aunty C. In the next few days I'll have updates of my allotment, our visitors, and some pictures from a bit of the Cookham Festival. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Day at the Races

My parents are here and we went to Ascot yesterday, along with some of the girls I know from our NCT class and baby massage. It was just a regular race day, not the Royal Ascot that everyone knows about. None the less, most people were really well dressed, the ladies with hats and the gents in suit and tie. I wonder who all these people who were able to take the day to go to the races. Certainly most of them were not new mothers or retirees like us. I suppose many could be just taking the day off work or there with some sort of corporate do. But I have my suspicions that a lot of the people sitting in the boxes (rather than down on the main floor with us plebs) were the type who can afford to not to work.

Ascot was interesting and the new building since renovating is very impressive - spacious and light. But outside it was pretty chilly in the shade and that was the side where the races were. If it hadn't been so windy, it probably would have been tolerable, but with that wind, it really wasn't comfortable. So anyone heading to Ascot, I hope you have something warm to wear if it's not a hot day. That or you are sitting in a box.

Sadly, we weren't big winners at the races, but it was fun none the less. Now I can say I've been to Ascot, but I wouldn't necessarily rush to go again. Of course if someone offers to take me to Royal Ascot, I might be up for it. I'm always up for an occasion to wear a big hat.