Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Again

I wasn't going to write anything today, but then I thought, "Just when you're getting into the habit of writing in the blog most days it would be a shame to miss out the last day in January"

So here I am. Jasper and I, and Pat as well today, just went for a short walk today. I forgot the camera so there are no photos on todays blog. We went over old paths, but had time to let Jasper have a good run around on the school field. Don't worry, he had already relieved his inner tensions, and anyway I was armed with a large array of black plastic pooh bags. He ran, and he ran and he ran for about ten minutes, then came to enjoy a fishy treat and was caught. So I took him around Hadfield for the rest of the hour.

He is limping ever so slightly this evening, so maybe yesterday's 7 mile walk may just have been too much for him. It was nearly too much for me I tell you! So I think that tomorrow he can have a quiet day with just a short walk and we will see if his limp is gone by Tuesday.

Tomorrow I start my Adult Education Class on Digital Imaging. I don't even know what it is as yet, never mind whether I'll be able to do it, but we'll give it a go.

So another quiet Sunday, no meal out this time, just me cooking Spaghetti Bolognese. Aparently, SpagBol should really be cooked with Tagliatelle! However, since I dislike Spaghetti as much as Tagliatelle, they are just too long and I end up always making a mess with them. So I make it with pasta Spirals. Maybe it should be called Spiralli Bolognese instead.

Right, enough, see you soon????  I hope so!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Broadbottom, there and back again.

It has been suggested that I am becoming addicted to walking. In some ways I think that is right. I started out quite resenting the time that the walking was taking up, but, especially on nice days, I find I'm really enjoying it. So, when today started crystal clear and bitingly cold, I wondered where to walk today.

Hadfield, the village where I live, is, if you like, on the right hand slope of the Longdendale Valley. On the opposite slope are the two villages of Mottram and Broadbottom. Mottram is where we go to Church, and it's a lovely village. Broadbottom is, perhaps, just a bit more industrial in nature, but that was a long time ago now. I decided to walk to Broadbottom and see what time I got there, then I could decide whether to walk home, or get the train, for the Manchester Train come through Broadbottom on it's way to terminating in Hadfield. Useful!

The route I chose looked easy, following a road along past the Communal Waste Disposal Site (The Tip) and then went past the Sewage Works and eventually into Broadbottom by way of an area called "The Hague". Sounds wonderful, doesn't it. With just a few words you think you know what it's going to be like. but it isn't. Have a look at this.

This photo was taken about two thirds of the way to Broadbottom. Way away in the distance you can see Hadfield. (You'll see it better if you double click the photograph!) But isn't this gorgeous. It was one of the most pleasant walks yet. I do feel so lucky to live where I do. I can be in manchester in about 40 minutes by car, and I live in the middle of all this beauty. How lucky can you get. Nor is it hurt by having a walking companion like Jasper the Lunatic Spaniel who enjoys himself wherever we go.

Anyway, I got to Broadbottom in about 75 minutes. really happy with that, so I thought that I'd walk home again, but by a different route. That's where things went wrong. Basically I made two bad choices out of ignorance and effectively rejected shortcuts in favour of going the long way round in both cases. As a result I had to walk up one of those long, slow hills that really kill you, especially when you are still suffering from a weak knee, as I am. Having walked up the hill I then had to walk along a really long, hard road. I think that Jean Paul Sartre was probably thinking of the road from Charlesworth to Gamesley when he wrote "La route est dur". It certainly was today. Then when I got to gamesley I followed the wrong signpost for the Trans Pennine Trail and ended up walking all the way around a fairly extensive housing estate.

All in all the walk took three hours today. jasper got home and collapsed in a corned and slept for an hour. For an 11 month old Loony Spaniel that is going it.

So I will certainly walk to Broadbottom again, but next time I shall find a different road back. By the way, I was so happy to discover that using the photographic mode in Google maps let me discover that a road that was shown as not being continuous, was actually one piece of road. Now all that I need is for the GPS mapping system on my mobile phone to actually work for me next time. Today it decided to run out of battery power just at the moment when I really needed it. Just my luck.

I thought I'd just stick another nice scene in for you to have a look at. I just cannot remember what that long hill is called, but it's pretty neat. Unfortunately the sun was strong and quite low, which accounts for the glare at the right hand side of the picture. I take a lot more photographs than I show on the blog, so I think that I may have to start uploading more of them onto my Flickr and Picasa Accounts so that you can see, and criticise them more easily. I'll have a think about that, and let you know when I decide.

I was talking about talking books yesterday. Two of my recent favourites have been "Storm Front" and "Fool Moon" by Jim Butcher. I have to say at this point that I am, and pretty much always have been a fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I was actually part of the organising committee for a British SF Convention when it was held in Manchester around 25 years ago. The two book above concern two of the early cases of one Harry Dresden who is a real wizard working in a variant of modern day Chicago. I really enjoy the books, which are enhanced by the reader, James Masters, (He played Spike in the TV version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) who really reads them well and adds enormously to the stories. After I wrote my blog last evening I was looking on the Internet and started browsing. I found Jim Butcher's web site and that led me to Amazon. There I discovered that three of the stories have been made into TV films, but they haven't been shown on this side of the pond, or not as far as I know. However, they are available on DVD and Amazon were selling all three together for just 11 pounds. I decided that had to be a bargain, so I ordered them. I've got an email this evening telling me that they have been shipped, so there is another thing to look forward to this week.

Have to go now. Jasper is walking round with his legs crossed so I must go and take him a little walk up our Close so that he can use the doggie facilities. (The grass on the other side of the road.)

See you soon.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Today was the most beautiful day. I got up just after 8 am and sat looking out of the window at the blue sky. When I went to bed last night it was throwing the rain down at the ground and I thought that my idea of taking the Lunatic Spaniel for a long walk along the Longdendale Trail was just blown out of the water. Then today, it was just so perfect that I had to go walking out into the countryside. I was out by 9.30. The picture above is taken about 2.5 miles along the Longdendale Trail, just as you descend to the dam that cuts across between the Valehouse and Rhodeswood Reservoirs. The picture above shows the bottom end of Rhodeswood. I took this picture at about 10.45 am and Jasper, the Lunatic Spaniel is actually tied to the signpost that you can just see in the bottom right of the picture.

Here is a picture of Jasper, on his own, just so you can see him. 

You'll notice that despite the sun that was shining so nicely today, the rain that we have been having lately, following the deep snow we had not so very long ago, have left the paths as very muddy. Jasper loves this. You can see that his "feathers" and feet are more black than white which is very much how he likes it. As he lies here at my feet as I write he is back to his pristine whiteness. I used to wonder where all the mud went to, until Pat pointed out that it falls off him and into the carpet. Ah well, that's what vacuum cleaners are for, I guess.

The Longdendale Trail follows the route of the old railway that used to run from Manchester to Sheffield by way of the Woodhead Tunnel. That tunnel closed in the 1960's after a fire destroyed the integrity of the tunnel and the railway line beyond Hadfield began to fall into disrepair. We came to live here in 1983 and the railway line was fenced off and totally unused. I cannot remember when they transformed it into a walking trail, sometime in the 90's I think, but I'm not sure. However, it is a wonderful place, even though it still bears all the hall marks of a railway line! It is long and, on the whole, very straight. Still, that makes it good for walking along. It has been reforested in parts which makes it very comfy on a hot day in summer, when we get them that is. However, on a cold day the wind whistles along the trail, steered by the embankments of the old railway line. It was very, very cold at times today, but warm when the sun was shining.

Today I walked along the trail for 2.5 miles and then turned off to return to Hadfield along a road that runs on the other side of Valehouse Reservoir. The picture above shows the route just before we turned off. So I guess we did about 5 miles in total today and, with stops for photographs and chasing rabbits (I took the photos and jasper chased the rabbits, though the rabbits are a good deal better at running away from him than he is from chasing them. Still we both had a lot of fun.

I must admit that I am really enjoying these extended walks with Jasper. He enjoys them as well and is spending a lot of time sleeping today, so I guess that is a good sign. 

The walks also give me an excellent opportunity to listen to my talking books. I love reading and talking books let me read and have a good walk at the same time. I get my books from Audible and I always choose the full versions. I often have the same book playing while I walk that I am reading at home and since the readings are word for word I can synchronise between the two amazingly well. At the moment I am listening to a book called "A Talent for War" by an American Science Fiction author called Jack McDevitt. It's a book that I chose on spec, as I liked the write up that Audible gave it. I am ever so glad that I did as it is a very good book, well written and well read. It is set some 9,000 years in the future, but like all good SciFi it really talks about the world as it is, and people who cannot get along with other people. But it won't suit everyone. Jane Austen it is not, though I love Jane Austen too. 

Anyway, that brings me back to the present. I need to finish this so that I can log onto Audible and download some more books for when I finish this one. These longer walks mean that I am finishing books ever so much faster than I was doing. I used to listen to them on the way to work, but now that I don't go to work ..... Anyway, I'll leave you with one last photograph, this one looking back down the Longdendale Valley, along the length of Valehouse Reservoir.

See you soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I started my current phase of watching my weight some five weeks ago now. Joyce, one of the nurses at our Doctor's Surgery, told me it was time that I lost weight. Well, I am very, very, very heavy at the moment. I won't tell you how heavy, but it is scary. Maybe not in the league of the World's Fattest Man, but pretty scary. Anyway, I decided that I really needed to do something about it, but for the first four weeks, despite trying half heartedly, nothing happened. Then I decided that I needed to get walking. So for the last ten days I have been taking Jasper the Lunatic Spaniel for extended walks around our valley. So far I manage to average between 90 and 120 minutes each day.

I live in a village called Hadfield. Don't get gooey eyed at that, it isn't your typical English village with dancing round the maypole, it's very much an Industrial Village which may well date back several hundred years but really owes it's growth to the Mill working days of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Hadfield is at one end, and quite high on the side of the Glossopdale valley. Glossop is what, maybe two miles down the valley. There are lots and lots of Public Footpaths around, so I have started to investigate them.

Above is a photo of Glossop Brook which runs along the floor of the valley. I went along a path from our house that drops down into the floor of the valley, meeting the main road from Manchester to Sheffield at Dinting. As I took this picture the huge viaduct that carries the railway over the valley is right above my head. A huge brick structure that dates back to the days when the railway carried on along the Woodhead line into Yorkshire. Those days ended in the late 60's and most of the old railway line is now the Longdendale Trail. More about that another day. But just at this point the brook caught my eye. I rather like this picture. It's gloomy, but then the day was rather gloomy too.

I came out of the path at Dinting and turned left to walk along the road into Glossop. I have probably only walked along this road a couple of time in the 25 years we have lived here. Isn't it amazing what you see when you are walking that you don't see when you are in the car. I hadn't been on the road more than 10 minutes when I saw these two buildings.

Neither of them really seems to be inhabited at the moment, but it's the building on the left that intrigue me. It might even have been a shop once upon a time, but I cannot see it ever having been welcoming. Still, that's two intriguing buildings in a week. Walking is paying dividends it seems.

Now this is a very different house but it shows a feature that I find very interesting. Bear in mind that I'm not an architect, or indeed anyone who knows anything about buildings, but I just like certain things. This house is further up the valley than my village, in another village called Padfield. Not a misspelling, I assure you. This house is on the corner of Post Street which is a really steep hill going up to the top of the village. But look at the corner of the house, which is, by the way, very much lived in and obviously well loved. The corner of the house is curved and this is a feature that is very common in Padfield, Hadfield and Glossop as well. I have no earthly idea why they built these buildings like this, but they did. You may notice that the windows of this corner house are a lot bigger than those of the terraced house next door. One reason for this may be that it housed the "overlooker" from the Mill that was built further down the street. That was quite common in the 19th Century, to put the overlooker, or "foreman" on the corner of the street so that he could be incharge of the workers at home as well as at work. Some of the owners of 19th Century Mills liked to think of themselves as guardians of the public morals. Ho hum. The other reason for the big windows could bve that it was a corner shop, but I don't really think so, the windows don't have the look of shop windows somehow.

A little further along the road I went up a side road and discovered a public footpath that runs alongside the old railway line heading into Glossop. You'll notice that I've started taking my little pocket camera with me every day. I've got a very nice program that stitches individual pictures together to make panoramas, so I tried it out. Here is the view from the footpath down towards the main road into Glossop. You can see it was a horrible day by this time, drizzling away. I was quite thoroughly soaked to the skin by this point, but both Jasper and I were enjoying ourselves. I don't know how much you can see in this picture, but I think it looks quite good.

By the way I ought to say that when I went to see Joyce on Tuesday, to be weighed, I had lost 4 kilos or 8 pounds in the previous week. So I guess that all this walking is not doing me any harm at all. Certainly I plan to keep it up. So I'll keep walking, with Jasper, my camera and my walking pole and this weekend we will walk out of January and into February. Already it's getting lighter in the evenings, it's now light till just after 5 pm. Already I'm just beginning to see the first signs of the bulbs springing up from the ground. Before you know it , it will be spring! Now isn't that something to be looking forward to!

That reminds me. I haven't quoted my absolutely favourite poet for ages. Here is the first verse of the poem "in just" by e.e.cummings. If you have never read any of cummings poems (the non capitalisation of his name is not an error by the way) then I urge you to try him. He may be an acquired taste, but I love some of his imagery. Anyway, here's the first verse of the poem. The second and third verses go in a different direction, so I'll just ignore them for the nonce. In the meantime, I think that tomorrow I shall take my Spaniel along the Longdendale Trail and maybe, weather permitting, I'll get some nice pictures of the countryside. See you soon.

in Just-
spring       when the world is mud-
luscious the little lame baloonman 

whistles       far       and wee 

and eddyandbill come 
running from marbles and 
piracies and it's 

when the world is puddle-wonderful 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Reflections on a Sunday Morning

I'm going to have to be quick today. I'm skiving off Church. I should be there, but some friends invited us for lunch and, though they said that we could take Jasper the Lunatic Spaniel, I think it is asking too much. However, it would be unfair to lock the little boy away in his prison cell, sorry crate, for the time it takes to go to Church and then lunch as well. So I'm skiving off. I shall take him a decent walk, though not the length we have managed the last four days, and then get ready for lunch. So I cannot waste time.

I do not know how I do it, you know, I write a post and correct it when Daniele tells me what I've got wrong, and I still get things wrong. Ah me, it's what comes of being English. She won't comment on the blog itself, but sent me an email. I really enjoyed reading that email and so I'm going to quote from it here, so you can get a flavour of our conversations. " "Square" in France, has a different meaning from the English word. It means a little park...So, the place is "Le Square du Ranelagh". It's the same with what you call gallery is a museum in France! In France, a galerie can be a private shop where you can buy art works, or a big corridor in a castle, a manor or a museum... like "la Galerie des Glaces" in Versailles. By the way, les Anglaises, refers only to women.. A male, is un Anglais.. Take your pick. About Bon, ben... Don't forget the comma between the two words, to mark a pause.. and I forgot to tell you that ben is pronounced bain...
So if you say it without making a pause between the two, it might mean "have a good bath!.... French is a difficult language!" I've made one or two further corrections to yesterday's post, but anything else can stand.

Mind you, I think that English is just as difficult a language, and we have just as many words that have multiple meanings. Mostly because we've stolen them from French. Maybe if I enjoy going to evening school for Digital Imaging, (which starts for me a week on Monday, though it started for everyone else about three weeks ago) I can start doing Beginner's French in September, or maybe "French for the merely stupid". Or I could do like the lady I read about last week. In order to make sure that her son grows up speaking good French she has sent her 9 year old son to live with a family in France for six months. In that time the boy will call, and treat, his French "parents" as Maman and Papa and will have almost no communication with his English family. No email, no phone calls, no letters. Drastic perhaps but I bet he comes back speaking beautiful French. Now, I wonder if Pat .........

I only took one photograph yesterday. I walked a route that I often walk and nothing really caught my eye, except this one little building by the side of the main road. Have a look at this.

I've seen this building many times before and never really stopped and looked at it. It's obviously quite old, built of stone, not bricks. The door is planked up and looks to be nailed shut. All the windows have white cloths over them, except the top floor. I don't think anyone can be living there now. But there are big, strong stone lintels over the doors and windows. Between the tarmac pavement and the front wall is very old cobbling. It exudes an air of fatigue as if it is a little tired of it's decline into old age. But I think it has a real story to tell. I think that it is a weavers cottage from the days before weaving moved into the mills. It stands opposite an area that was once full of cotton mills, so in the early days it would have served them by weaving goods that were spun in the mill sheds. A big house like this might also have been the home of an overlooker or floor manager in the mill.

At the moment I have no answers, just questions, but I just might try to find out a little more.

Ah well, not the world's best posting today, but it will have to do. Bye bye for now!

Bon, ben (pronounced bain). Fait des beau reves!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Le Manege de Monsieur Barre (Corrected Version)

I realise that I haven't written anything for a week so I thought that I needed to write something. As it does, something caught my eye, so I decided that it would be the subject for the day. I wrote that yesterday, and, as I expected, I got some of the details wrong. But thanks to my very good friend Daniele I can correct them and get them right in this updated version of the blog.

A few years ago we were visiting with our friend, Daniele,  who lives outside Paris in France. One day, she took us to see an exhibition of Monet's Waterlilly paintings in a little gallery. The Gallery is called the Musee Marmottan and you can see a picture of the Museum just above. You can find this Museum at 2 Rue Louis Boilly, 75016 Paris, France. You can phone them on 01 44 96 50 33 or go to their website at

(Thank you very much to Google maps and the Internet in general)

I have to say that the Monet painings blew me away then, and I still find his paintings sublime, but that is not the point of the post.

When we came out of the Gallery I can clearly remember there being a small park at the bottom of the street that the gallery was in. Daniele tells me that the park is in Le Square du Ranelagh, I don't recall that, but I do recall being amazed by what looked like a clockwork roundabout that was running there. It looked so odd and very much out of time that I remembered it.

This morning I took Jasper Spaniel for a walk into Glossop because I had to go to the Adult Education Centre. I'm very interested in taking better photographs and thought that it might be interesting, now that I've got some time, to go on a Photography Course. Of course there aren't any. But there was a course called, Computing: Digital Imagery, so I thought I'd give that a try. It might be fun.

I love looking at the photographs taken by really good photographers over the years and this is one thing that the Internet seems to be very good at, images. So, this afternoon I was looking at some of Robert Doisneau's photographs. I am particulary taken by a photograph I found called "Baiser Hotel de Ville 2002" which is lovely. I do like the way that he gets the central figures to stand out from the background, and yes, I do realise that it is a reworking of an older photograph.

But while I was looking at this website, what do I find

but "Le Manege de Monsieur Barre" of 1955. Do you realise that when this photo was taken I was just four years old. (By the way, when I first wrote this yesterday, I mistakenly used the word Menage, instead of the correct Manege. Later that day I got an email from Daniele that pointed this out, as follows."By the way, under the photo of the roundabout in your blog, you wrote "ménage" instead of "manège" and it means something else. "Faire le ménage" means doing the housework... but it can mean marriage as well.. So it changes completely the meaning of the photo...le ménage de monsieur Barre would mean Mr Barre's marriage..." or, I guess, it might mean Mr. Barre's Housework, and that puts yet another spin on the picture.

I'm not even sure if this is the same little roundabout that we saw in Paris that day, but it does, at least, remind me of it. Daniele also pointed out to me that she has not seen the little Roundabout (By the way, another name for this would be "Merry Go Round") working for some considerable time, apparently it was run by two old ladies and, I guess, if it hasn't been working then the possibilities might be grave. Isn't it awful when something that has been working for a very long time just ceases. Sometimes I wish I had a time machine!

Probably when she reads this, Daniele will write me an email that begins..... " You stupid boy ......" But I can take it, I have broad shoulders, .............................. and a broad tummy .......................... which is why I've taken to going on 2 hour long walks with my doggy in the pouring rain. (She wrote me the email, and the title line read "You stupid boy" but she was just kidding. I love my French Friend very much!)

Ils sont fous ses Anglais, totalement stupide.

Ah well.
Bon, Ben
Another day
another blogpost.

See you soon.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Deux artistes ou/or Two Artists

I am utterly smitten by those who have artistic talent. I used to be able to sing quite well, but age and twenty years of smoking have taken their toll on my voice, but that was it. Pat, my wife, has taken up painting and is really very good, despite her oft repeated claims that she isn't. I am envious of that. I've tried one or two crafts, but I don't think that I have the patience for them. So those who have talent and real artistry fill me with amazement. So I thought that I would write about a couple of artists that I know, today. At least it saves you from another paragraph about the weather in England. By the way it has been raining on and off for two days now, so the snow is rapidly disappearing. By Tuesday we'll have the newspapers complaining about flooding!

My friend Danielle's son, Boris, is a really talented draftsman, and artist. I must say, by the way, that he is no longer called Boris, but rather BORRIS. An interesting name change and obviously plus cool que l'autre nom. But anyway. I really started admiring Borris' work a few years ago now, I simply don't remember how long. But his mother and I were having an extended conversation by email at the time. Sometimes my conversations, like this blog, can be a bit surreal. I had read something about the french penchant for hunting just about anything that swims, crawls or flies at certain times of year (probably all 365 days of it, truth be told.) This conversation had wound around my liking for piggy things, a forthcoming visit to france by air from Manchester, the recurring phrase "pigs might fly" and the probability of being shot down by some French hunter sitting on top of the Tour Eiffel.

Then out of the blue, Boris sent us a picture that he had done. We have it framed, hanging in our kitchen and it is still one of my favourite pieces of original artwork. I took a photo of it this morning but the photo does not look too good. I obviously didn't do a good job of photographing it. I might try again later and amend the blog, but for now, this is what that piece of work looks like.

I was, and still am, greatly taken by the way that the young artist has captured my wife and I as the passengers in the plane! What is fascinating is that, several years later, Borris is still drawing anthropomorphic pigs. I would urge you to look at Borris' Blog at where you will see a great deal more of his excellent work. I like to think that maybe I had a tiny hand in introducing him to this piggy theme, but I am sure that I am kidding myself. You should also have a look at Hippolyte et Jeremie, which you will find at and which is, itself, quite surreal! Have a look, you'll see what I mean.

However, the reason for writing about Borris today is the fact that he is just about to have his first Graphic Novel published in France. Called "Lutte Majeure" it is, I think, published by Casterman and comes out at the start of February. It is available through (I did try to buy it by way of, but despite admitting that the book existed it had a notice saying "but we don't know if this book will ever be available in the UK" or some such.) In this internationalised world that we now live in, I was quite happy to purchase it from Amazon France, and I do believe that the French Postal system is probably capable of getting the book to me.

Don't get me wrong, my French is not very good and, like most BD titles it will be filled with colloquial French, so I probably won't understand it, but I will sit in my archair and look at Borris pictures with wonder in my eyes!

So, anyway, here is an opportunity to support a young and very talented artist. Even if you hate pigs, buy the book, just for fun, you might like it!

The second artist I thought I'd talk about lives in a different world, literally. Hollywood. I first met Charlie when he joined my Lodge, probably about three years ago now. He is a smashing young man, full of life, good humoured and unfailingly pleaseant. At the time he said that he "made films" for a living. So I sort of pictured him making little short films and putting them on the Internet, or some such. He has been away, out of the country, for quite a while, but I bumped into him at our Ladies Night Dance just before Christmas. We got chatting and I asked where he was currently working, expecting him to say somewhere in Europe, for the last time I knew where he was I think he was in Prague. But I was quite taken aback when he said that he was working in Hollywood.

Actually, as a little aside, Charlie is partly responsible for restarting my blogging. He actually admitted that he read the blog and said he liked it as it kept him in touch with home. I think he was probably just being nice, but it was kind of him to say so.

I asked what film he was working on and he told me. The he said that the film starred Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman and my ears pricked up a bit. I really rate those two as actors. I was even more impressed in my own little way to hear that Frances de la Tour, who starred in that seminal TV comedy "Rising Damp" so many years ago, also featured in the cast together with Michael Gambon. Well I suppose he will have to find more work now that Dumbledore has kicked the proverbial bucket!

Then I was even more impressed when I started seeing trailers for the film over the Christmas Holiday. The film is called "The Book of Eli" and it is another entrant into what seems to be a group of post apocalyptic movies that are coming out at this time. There was "2012" at the end of last year, "The Road" a couple of weeks ago, and now "The Book of Eli" fits in with them.

I think that the film opened in the UK yesterday, and I must admit that I am very tempted to go and see it, as much because of Charlie's involvement as because I want to see the film. Mind you, I looked the film up on IMDB just to see what Charlie's title was. He told me that he was Second Unit Director which sounds very posh indeed, and I just wanted to see it in print. No mention on IMDB, I found "Freedom" (Mr Washington's Body Double" and "Safari" who is probably the bloke who purchases Mr Washington's cupcakes, they mentioned the Make-up filler artist and the Foley Artist (and yes, I do know what the Foley Artist does. They should have a bumper sticker that says "Foley Artists do it with half coconuts") but no Charlie Parish. I sent him a message on facebook and apparently you have to tell IMDB that you have a credit in a film. You probably have to pay them as well. Such is life.

However, to continue the theme of this blog, this film "The Book of Eli" is now on release in the UK and the States, and it may even appear in the arthouse cinemas in France pretty soon. So for Charlie's sake, go and see it. As he said in his post, you might even enjoy it. Yeah, I must go!

So that, I think, is it for today. Hopefully, more than two people might read today's blog and decide to help a couple of fine, young artists. Who knows?  See you soon!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Blogger's Dilemma

I'm just including this cartoon from the 4th November 2006 from Cox & Forkum, because I like it and I wanted to share it with a slightly larger audience. As far as I know only Pat and Danielle ever read this blog, though Charlie Parish tells me he reads it, so this will be a test, to see if he really does read it at all. Still, that is three extra.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

This cartoon was first published on 5th December, 2006 by Cox and Forkum. I came upon their website the other day.  At the moment I don't really know anything about it, except it features political cartoons and as far as I can tell it allows the free use of it's cartoons in blogs. That seems ever so friendly of them and I do hope that I have not misunderstood the instructions.

The only issue for me will probably end up being that it is quite clearly an American site and the cartoons tend to match up to American issues and the American world view. So I might not use their cartoons very often. That doesn't mean that they are not appropriate in some cases. I mean, the cartoon above tends to mesh in very nicely with my attitude to global warming. If we are seeing global warming, why have we had more snow in my village than I can remember in twenty five years.

Oh yes, I know, the global warming experts have lots and lots of answers, usually beginning with "You must not confuse climate with weather.", or "You have to consider weather patterns over several years, not just a couple of weeks." Thrice damned scientists always have an answer that doesn't make sense to me, at any rate. Richard Dawkins is another scientist who I have little or no time for, either, but that's another story.

As a Historian, which I am, let me just point out that in the middle of the 17th Century they had a series of very cold winters when the River Thames froze. There are numerous pictures of Frost Fairs held on the middle of the river. Not being a scientist I do not know what the hell that proves, but it tells me that the weather changes all the time.

I still think that at some point they will decide that the whole global warming thing is a load of old tosh, and then they'll just come up with a new theory. A bit like that period in history when everyone "knew" that the sun orbited the earth, which was flat. That knowledge extended from the core group of scientists that existed at that time. Later on they decided that it was actually the other way round and they then decided that the first group of scientists was wrong and they were right.

20 - 20 hindsight is a wonderful thing to have.

I'll put my soap box away now, shall I. Bye Bye for tonight.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A high wind from Jamaica (Sorry, no, that should be Leningrad!)

I got up this morning and looked out the window. Against all the evidence I had hoped that the world would have changed. An overnight thaw, was that too much to ask for. YUP!  The last thing that I saw on Television last night was the weather forecast. "More snow can be expected tomorrow, mainly along the east coast from Dundee to Felixstowe" (or to put it another way, all along the eastern coast of Britain from top to bottom.) "But what will be worse is the icy wind that is going to drive across the country coming in from Russia."

What have we done to the Russians lately to deserve their wind.

Anyway, I looked out the window and it looked the same as it had done the day before. White!

About 10 am Patricia asked me if I'd seen the icicle outside the kitchen window. So I had to go out in the snow to get a photo. It's an awful photo because you just cannot see the icicle. It's that picture at the top of the post. If you look carefully the icicle is almost perfectly line up with the centre bar of the window and as such you just cannot see it. However, take my word for it, it was spectacular, almost 4 feet long, or about 120 cm. Hanging from the gutter, straight down. I could not go and take another picture because as soon as I'd photographed it, I knocked it down. I would not want it falling off and hitting Jasper, it would go right through him.

I thought that was a spectacular winter photograph until someone sent me a powerpoint. You know how people find powerpoints, I do not know who creates them and equally I don't know who has the time to find them and send them out, but I was impressed by this one. I was particularly taken by this photograph of some ice covered cars. I don't know where they get weather like this, probably Miami, but I was impressed.

I took Jasper out onto the field where he had another extremely good run around. He is certainly enjoying the snow at the moment, though he does suffer terribly from the balls of ice and snow that he gets in his coat from running in the powdery snow. I managed to lose his lead as well today. He did a poopsie in the middle of a patch of untrodden snow, about 50 yards away from me. As I've said before, I am a great believer in picking up after my dog, so I went over to collect his little donation. While I picked ip up, I put his lead down, it's one of those hard plastic leads with an expanding tape. When I had picked up the poo I looked to see where he had gone and, typically, he was running around a good way away from me. So I set off to follow him. Two minutes later I realised that I didn't have his lead, I'd put it down, in the snow. This thing is big and bright red, but could I see it, no, lost in the snow. It will turn up when some enterprising lad trips over it while playing football. But how do you lose a dog lead like that. If jasper is a noolie then I'm a right plonker!

Anyway, I think that will do for the moment. Unless I think of something else to say. See you soon, tomorrow, the day after, or maybe July. Who knows! Have fun.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sno' Joke

The theme as you can see is once again snow. I just watched the news and they had a picture on showing the whole country, from space, and it is just white. Quite amazing really. They also had a bloke on saying that of course this was all the result of global warming, but I just don't believe him. How can this level of snow be the result of our climate warming up, I mean, honestly.

So, anyway. I got up this morning and thought about clearing the driveway. The snow is still some 40 cm deep on the drive, well everywhere actually. If I clear the drive I still won't be able to get the car off the drive because the snow at the top of the drive is just as thick and I am not clearing our corner of the Close. So it can stay as it is for the time being. To add insult to injury, it has been so dry and cold since the initial snowfall that the snow is very powdery and difficult to clear with an ordinary shovel.

I took Jasper the Spaniel out onto the local field again. He had the time of his life. I'm still quite unstable on my left knee, which was set back when I slipped quite heavily on wet grass a few weeks ago, before the snow started. So I'm having to go carefully. So I go out with dog lead and poo bags, walking pole and camera, but only two hands. So rather than taking the big Sony camera, I've been taking my little pocket Canon, which takes good pictures and, fortunately, is quite good at taking pictures of spaniels running past you at full speed. This was a piec of snow where it was quite shallow, a rareity I assure you, so he was floating on the surface. Most of the time he was doing his "Spaniel Bounce" to move through the snow.

What I call the Spaniel Bounce is most often seen in Summer in fields full of long grass. said Spaniel disappears into grass and will then be seen bobbing up and down. Jasper has not yet had a chance to bob up and down in long grass, but the last three days he has demonstrated his ability in snow, so he'll survive.

Me. I just struggled for the most part. Snow that is 42cm deep and is soft is very difficult to walk through because you have to lift your leg really high at every step, and my left knee still struggles to lift as high as it needs to as easily as it needs to. Fortunately I was able to take a leaf out of King Wenceslas book for part of the time, and follow in the footsteps of someone who had done much of the heaviest work for me.

Apparently, last night it reached -18 degrees C not far from here, just over the other side of Stockport. It would seem that tonight could be just as cold. So the chances of all this snow going any time soon would seem to be remote. Ah well. Another day, another Taler!

Hope everything is a good deal better where you are, dear reader, if there is actually anyone there at all.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Here is another little free and downloadable application for mucking about with Photographs. Similar to the one I pointed out some time ago, but it was mentioned in WebUser Magazine, which is one of my favourite reads. Since it is downloadable, I'm not sure that it will work with your Mac, Danielle, but you can have a look.

Anyway, if anybody else ever reads this, have a look, it may be worth your while.

The address is

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

When I woke up on Saturday Morning, (this is last Saturday and was, I guess, January 2nd in this the first year of the new decade) it was to discover that a giant had used an icing sugar shaker to lay down the finest, thinnest, most gauze like layer of snow on the ground. I thought nothing of this. After all, on the Sunday before Christmas we had been hit by some 4 inches of snow, so a little Icing Sugar on the ground was nothing.

About three quarters of an hour later, just before 8 am, it started to snow, heavily, and it just kept on snowing for most of the day. By about 12 noon on saturday I went into our front bedroom and took this photo. Now I'm not soft in the head, I know that the 5 or 6 inches of snow that we had last Saturday was nothing to what they get all winter up in Northern Norway or Lapland, but we live in Glossopdale in the the North West of England. You just don't expect to get snow like this, not twice in one week anyway. So what is all this twaddle they've been going on about in Copenhagen in recent weeks. GLOBAL WARMING!!!!!! I've lived in this house for twenty five years and we have never had a winter like this one, not in my time here. So if we are seeing a 2 degree rise in global temperatures, why is it still snowing like this???

Okay, some clever brain is going to come up with a reason about changing weather patterns, but it is only about a year ago that they were telling us that Britain was going to have Mediterranean stle weather patterns due to global warming. Does it look like this in Greece at the moment.

I wrote that last night, finishing just as the Broadband Connection decided to give up the ghost. I went downstairs and had a cup of coffee whilst listening to the weather forecast. "There may be some chance of snow along the southern edge of the Pennines."  We aren't actually on the Southern Edge of the Pennines, we are on the western slope of the Pennines a bit to the North. Oh well, we might get a bit more snow.

I think that it must have started snowing just after I went to bed. When I got up this morning the snow was deep, for me. As I say, the Finns and Norwegians will be sitting around their log fires, killing themselves laughing about the way that a little bit of snow brings England to its' knees. Looks like a lot of snow to me! My next door neighbour just tried to go out in her 4x4 (or SUV if you are reading this in Murica). She got nowhere and after 5 minutes of engine revving, she went back inside.

Let us see if I can add a photograph of the back garden this morning. Now what do I press ......

Oh well, I've got some pictures in there. I took these at 8 am this morning, and it looked really bright, but now, looking at the pictures again, it looks like I took them in the middle of the night. By the way, in the third picture you have also got a shot of jasper the wonder Spaniel. He adores the snow, he seems to think that it has been put here just for him, and maybe he's right!

The last few days have been wonderful for jasper. We have been going onto the School Field. The school is just behind our house and the field is on the other side of the school. There is this huge field, and I do not exagerrate this time. It is pretty well fenced, but it is so big that I can afford to let him run free without too many anxious moments. Don't worry, by the way, I always go well supplied with poo bags. We follow the old adage of leaving nothing but footprints and taking nothing but photographs. I wish that every other dog owner followed the same dictum, then I would not get shouted at by mean spirited bigots who hate dogs.

I've taken  a number of photographs of Jasper on his walks out in recent days, but they are not always clear since he travels so fast that all that you tend to get is a rather blurred impression of something Spaniel-like. Let us see what I can do though, just to bring today's diary entry to a close.

Hopefully, I'll be back again before too long, but the last time I said that I didn't write anything for 5 months. See you soon!

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year

Oh dear. I've come to the conclusion that I am just hopelessly lazy. That's what it is. When I came out of hospital last April, with my leg in a cast, I was convinced that I would be so bored that I would keep this blog up to date. But I didn't. I cannot say that I do lots of useful things, I don't. So where does all of the time go to?????

I think that I waste time. I get up later than I used to do, almost two hours later. Even if I get up earlier for some reason I don't get stuck into something, I just wallow around watching the Television. Too much TV and all that it is doiung is addling my brain. No, I have got to get going. So I must try and keep the blog up to date, for who knows who may be reading it. Actually, that's one of the reasons for being so useless at writing in the blog, the feeling that nobody at all is reading it. 

I am so happy to have stopped working. I am now sort of retired, though the fact that I'm not even 60 yet gives me pause for thought. I will soon be in receipt of my pension from the Government by way of the "Teachers Pension Agency" but I'm becoming increasingly worried that it won't be enough to keep us in the style of life that we want to be accustomed to. So I really do want to get another job. Lots of my friends say, "Oh, it'll be easy. They're always looking for Supply Teachers to cover for absences. But that is exactly what I do not want to do. Having been a teacher, I've seen how the students treat Supply Teachers, and I will not be treated like that. So I'd rather find something else I can do. Besides, If I teach then anything I earn could be taken off my pension. But if I do something else, such as stack the shelves in Tesco, then it won't affect my pension at all. So I need to think about the life of a jolly shelf stacker.

Right, enough waffling, write something worthy!

Maybe a bit later. I think I'll go and see if Tea is nearly ready. It is my dear wife's turn at cooking. I made us a Chicken Curry yesterday evening, so she is doing something today. Since the New Year has brought a new diet with it, I am really looking forward to my Evening Meal.  I'll let you know.