Monday, June 22, 2009

Jasper the Spaniel at 15 weeks old.

I finally managed to get the whole set of pictures uploaded onto Flicr. Something had gone wrong with the uploader so I had to wipe it off and reinstall. I'm sure Picasa works better than Flickr, but I don't think Danielle can use Picasa with her Mac, and I'm too lazy to upload pictures twice.

So here is the web address for my Flickr Account.

And here is another picture of Jasper just to keep you going.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Jasper at 15 weeks

I did not think that I would write about Puppy Jasper again, not until he was a good deal older anyway. Then I took my camera outside with me this morning and took some pictures. He has grown up so much in the last three weeks that I thought that I weould record this change in the blog. So here we go. Here is a picture of Jasper just three weeks ago at 12 weeks old.

I mean you can see that he's still a puppy. But look at him now.

You can really see the dog that he is going to grow into. I found this picture quite exciting.

I had a few other thoughts about the little so and so today as well. Especially when I found him merrily digging his way down through the rockery on his way to Australia. I am quite sure that he has his own agenda, but I wish I knew how to stop it. This evening, having rebuilt the rockery. (I did it standing up, very slowle, as I still cannot kneel down.) I discovered that he had dug a hole in the middle of the lawn. I say lawn but it is really a clover patch.

He manages to get up to naughty things every now and again. He is never going to sit on the chairs we said. Came into the room the other day and, yes,

At least he looks a bit guilty, wouldn't you say!

One last picture. He has loads of toys, but what does he get the most fun from? An old plant poy holder. But Oh does he have fun!

And he fills your days with joy.

Puppies leave paw prints on your heart

and on your kitchen floor, dining room floor, even the floor of the shower (and I haven't worked that one out !)

I'll try and upload all the 15 week pictures to Flickr. If I succeed I'll put a link to the page on the Blog!
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

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Schools to rethink 'i before e'

Some obey and some disobey (pic:

The spelling mantra "i before e except after c" is no longer worth teaching, according to the government.

Advice sent to teachers says there are too few words which follow the rule and recommends using more modern methods to teach spelling to schoolchildren.

The document, entitled Support for Spelling, is being distributed to more than 13,000 primary schools.

But some people believe the phrase should be retained because it is easy to remember and is broadly accurate.

Bethan Marshall, a senior English lecturer at King's College London, said: "It's a very easy rule to remember and one of the very few spelling rules that I can remember and that's why I would stick to it.

I before E except after C when the sound is EE
and sometimes followed by:
or when the sound is A as in neighbour and weigh

"If you change it and say we won't have this rule, we won't have any rules at all, then spelling, which is already terribly confusing, becomes more so."

Judy Parkinson, author of the best-selling book I Before E (Except After C), told the Daily Telegraph it was a phrase that struck a chord.

"There are words that it doesn't fit, but I think teachers could always get a discussion going about the 'i before e' rule and the peculiarities of the English language, and have fun with it. That's the best way to learn."

The guidance is being issued as part of the National Primary Strategy for under-11s.

Spelling bee
Spelling bees are very popular

It says: "The i before e rule is not worth teaching. It applies only to words in which the ie or ei stands for a clear ee sound. Unless this is known, words such as sufficient and veil look like exceptions.

"There are so few words where the ei spelling for the ee sounds follows the letter c that it is easier to learn the specific words." These include receive, ceiling, perceive and deceit.

The document recommends other ways to teach pupils spelling, like studying television listings for compound words, changing the tense of a poem to practise irregular verbs and learning about homophones through jokes such as "How many socks in a pair? None — because you eat a pear."

Some education experts have supported the government and questioned the effectiveness of the rule.

Jack Bovill, chairman of the Spelling Society, said words such as vein and neighbour made it a meaningless phrase.

"There are so many exceptions that it's not really a rule," he said.

He added that it would be helpful if spelling was allowed to evolve.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Parking problems

This comes under the heading of, "I found this and thought it might be of interest". This one I found on Google's Easter Eggs page. Go to, type Google Easter Eggs in the search box and click on the "I Feel Lucky" button.

Auto Antics

Think parking is tough where you live? In Westenbergstraat, Netherlands, drivers apparently have to park on the sides of walls (Google Earth coordinates 52.069207,4.3139865).

A Rainy Day in Olde Glossop

A panorama showing a rain cloud on the rightImage via Wikipedia

Oh boy did it rain yesterday evening! Despite the BBC Weather Service telling us that it was raining at 8 am yesterday morning (it wasn't - at that time we had the curtains closed to cut down on the sunlight!). Nothing stops the BBC Weather Service. Once they get it into their heads that it is raining, they keep on telling you that it is.) It did not rain all day, but about 9 pm I noticed that it seemed darker than it usually is at that time of day in this part of the year. The rain had started. I can only think that somebody had told God that the BBC had been predicting rain at this time, in this place and He decided to get straight with the BBC.

It rained and it rained and it rained. It was one of thhose rainstorms that you read about, you know, "Plixford, Lincolnshire gets the whole of its rain for 2008 in 7 minutes!". Actually, that is an exaggeration, we probably got all of our rain for an average 2 hours in 10 minutes - but it seemed a lot at the time.

I went into the kitchen to get a coffee - Pat was out being a Trefoil Leader (I think) - and I thought, "Why is the floor wet, has that damned puppy turned his drink bowl over again?" I am horrible am I not. You, dear reader, being an intelligent person, have worked it out faster than me. It was at that moment that I heard the "plink" of a drop of water dripping from the middle of the kitchen ceiling, onto the floor.

He looks up in horror. <> As you have guessed I saw the kitvchen ceiling ever so slightly bulging downwards. Two cracks run across the ceiling that was only replastered ten months ago. From the point of the dip in the ceiling, water is dripping!

Thinks, "Can we stop the ceiling coming down??"

I should be called Bob! I grab a bucket from the garage, grab a favoured paring knife (Long slim pointed blade!) and dig a hole in the ceiling just where the drip is coming from. Hey, don't knock it. The ceiling is still in place, there is now a stream of water coming from the ceiling that looks like the cold tap running. But the ceiling stays in place. It's just that it now features a large hole in the centre. No, I have not taken a picture, but I might!

Anyway, with a bit of luck our local Roofer, Alf, will come and have a look at it today. No doubt we are now going to have to buy a new roof for the kitchen extension, but, hey, what is life without the occasional mishap.
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hobson Moor Road

So, let's start with what happened yesterday. Well, I went to Leyland. Russel & his Dad gave me a lift in their beautiful, ten year old Mercedes Classic. If you bought a ten year old Foord it would be a bit rattly to say the least, but this was a beautiful ride. Plenty of room for the leg, it was very nice.

We went to Leyland for a meeting where a group that I belong to were making a presentation, and it all went remarkably well. We were congratulated on our work and had a splendid time. So a really useful experience. Got home for about 6 pm. Pat had been to a Guide meeting in the Lake District and she got back maybe half an hour later. Jasper had spent the day with Alan and Val, their dog Barney, various cats and a lovely garden. We went to pick him up and he was so tired he just spent the rest of the evening asleep.

We blew a couple of weeks diet by having a Chinese meal from our local takeaway with a very pleasant bottle of White Wine. (It wasn't French I fear, Danielle, but it was very light, very pleasant and pretty perfect for a warm summer's evening.

Today has been another nice day. I went back to Church this morning for the first time since my accident. It was a shorter than usual service with no clergy at all, run by the people who had been on the Alpha Course. I enjoyed bits of it and other bits I didn't but then that is life.

I suppose that the biggest problem was that I wasn't really comfortable. I still cannot bend my leg more than about 20 degrees at the knee and if I push it more than that it does hurt. So I found it quite difficult to sit comfortably in the pew. It's really quite a good job that it was a shorter service as I might not have managed to sit still much longer. Maybe I should behave more like the little kids who believe that appropriate behaviour in Church is to run around screaming during prayers. Cynical, moi?

This afternoon we took Jasper for his first walk on Hobson Moor Road. It is only a couple of miles away from out house, it's nice and flat so I was able to manage with my sticks, and it has superb views. Because I was carrying the two sticks I only took a few pictures using a little pocket camera, so I'm not sure just how good they are. Here is a view, if I get manage to insert it.

If you look carefully, you can just see our Church, just to the right of the centre of the picture and about half way down. To be honest, you can't because the picture is so small, but I think that you can also find all of the pictures on Flickr and you can see a bigger copy of the picture there. It's quite funny. When you are down in the valley the Church really stands out on top of the hill, but from up there, on Hobson Moor Road, it is not so outstanding! Hmm. Interesting.

Here is a picture of a bit of the Road. It really is not all that impressive, but we rather like it and it makes a nice, and easy, walk for a puppy.

Which brings me back to the puppy. Jasper the Spaniel is now 14 weeks old. It is very easy to think that he has not grown since he first came to live with us, what, six weeks ago now. But he has grown a great deal. Unfortunately I did not measure him when he first came to see us, but the bed that he used to sleep in one corner of, is now full of Spaniel. And he is going to be big. Here is a picture of Jasper, today, at 14 weeks old.

So he had a good walk with the two of us, then I reached a point where I had gone far enough and Pat went on ahead. After about five minutes I saw the pair of them coming back, with jasper dragging Pat along. He still needs to know where we both are. Ah well. So here is the picture of Jasper towing pat towards me. You can't blame him, he's only a puppy! He doesn't know any better.

I ought to say that one reason why we like Hobson Moor Road so much is because it is nice and flat, and as such it was one of the places we took Rufus in his later years. He had his very last walk there on the last day of March in 2008. So bringing Jasper here somehow seems an appropriate thing to do. I'm ever so soft, am I not!

That will do for tonight. See you soon, maybe even tomorrow. You can find the rest of the pictures at the following address:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

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When I Am Old.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens,
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old
and start to wear purple!

Jenny Joseph
I love this one. It is really fun!
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I found this today. I like Deepmemo - it is an application that allows you to clip pieces out of web sites and send them straight to your blog. I like it very much. You can find it at but it does not work with Safari. So to get it to work on a Mac you would have to be using Firefox.
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I grow old . . . I grow old . . .
                I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
And this quote comes from .................
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A Saturday in June

I seem to do this often. Turn on the laptop and look at the Blog and wonder why I've done nothing for, what, 6 weeks. This is just ludicrous because I actually like the Blog and regard it very much as a private diary. I thought thta sitting in enforced idleness for so long, with the leg, would allow me to do all sorts of things. Read those hundreds of books that are piled up, watch a miriad of films that are stacked on DVDs waiting to be watched. Certainly I would be writing the blog every day.

I've done none of it. I still have not read one book in the last six weeks. I've watched about half of the movies I wanted to watch, but not great movies, just tat. Well, that's the sort of Movies I like. I often read Danielle's Blog with its mix of eclectic this, that and the other, and wish that I was more like that. To add to the turmoil, I realise that once again I haven't kept up with the Blog.

Today I have too little time. I'm off to Leyland with a group of friends for the afternoon, my first real trip out since the accident. Pat has already left. She's has gone off the Ambleside for the Regional AGM of the Trefoil Guild. That's what you get for being County Chair of Trefoil, you get to go off the an AGM in distant misty Ambleside.

So puppy Jasper, who is now 14 weeks old but essentially looks the same as he did on Day Zero, is going to spend the day with a friend. He doesn't know it yet, but it is going to be an eye opener for him. Puppy Jasper is the reason that nothing else has got done. Until the last two weeks he could not go out, so he has had most of his exercise around the home, and that takes up one's attention.

Ah well, at least I've made a start on the recreation of the Blog. Hopefully I'll return to this tomorrow. We'll see.
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We had a meeting at work yesterday, and it was the usual yada, yada, yada. We have a few problems that need to be addressed, but for the moment they are being solved with band-aid solutions. One person suggested fluorescent Post-it notes, someone else suggested white-out, I don't remember what some of the other suggestions were. We will try them and they will work for a while. It's just the usual growing pains, of course, but trial and error... However, at one point in the meeting I glanced across the boardroom table at one of my co-workers, and she was sound asleep. She was sitting up straight, her hands folded in front of her on the table -- asleep. It was all I could do to keep from laughing.

Today she said to me, "Did you happen to notice that I nodded off during the meeting yesterday?"

"Yes, it did not escape me entirely..."

Today I found ten excuses folks can use if they get caught sleeping at work:

1. "They told me at the blood bank this might happen."

2. "This is just a 15 minute power-nap like they raved about in the last time management course you sent me to."

3. "Whew! Guess I left the top off the liquid paper."

4. "I wasn't sleeping! I was meditating on the mission statement and envisioning a new paradigm!"

5. "This is one of the seven habits of highly effective people!"

6. "I was testing the keyboard for drool resistance."

7. "Actually I'm doing a "Stress Level Elimination Exercise Plan" (SLEEP). I learned it at the last mandatory seminar you made me attend."

8. "The coffee machine is broken."

9. "I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve work related stress."

10. "Darn! Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a solution to our biggest problem."

Number 4 is my favorite. Now it's late, and I'm off to get some sleep.
I found this snippet on a blog that I really enjoy, called "A majority of Two". I like the snippet, even though I suspect that it is not new. I wish I was as good at blogging as this person. Maybe I'm just lazy!
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