Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Why I changed my camera

I have two cameras, one of which I keep in the car "just in case". That is the elder of the two and has an irritating glitch - which was partly what made me decide to buy a new one. The problem can be seen in both yesterday's pictures, but is even more obvious in this picture of Venice. There is a dark blob in the upper left section of the picture, beside the pointy bit of the tower. It is particularly annoying in this shot, which I would otherwise like very much. It was taken as long ago as March 2007 on our one and only visit to the city. We took a boat to a small island and went up the tower of the church of San Giorgio Maggiore from where there is a terrific view over the city. Here we have the campanile and the Doge's palace with the domes of the cathedral behind it, and numerous towers of the churches across the city. In the distance are the snow-covered Dolomite Mountains, and there is a row of gondolas tied up in front of the palace.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009


There's a better chance of it being seen here than on Facebook.

Roman camp

The Roman camp isn't really. By which I mean that it isn't Roman - it predates the Romans and was built in one of the ages, though I can't remember if it was stone, iron or bronze age. And no, I wasn't around to witness the construction. It is roughly circular, about 100 yards in diameter, and is on the summit of a hill overlooking Brighton and the sea. The camp originally had a ditch around it inside which was an earth rampart, with the living area inside that. The ditch and rampart still exist - at least in part - and the rampart provides a popular walk. All around the camp is a golf course. On a fine day I like to walk across Thirty-nine Acre Field, through the wood and across the golf course to the camp - which is what I did this afternoon.

The ditch acts as a trap for many golfers.

The view from the camp looking approximately southwards across Brighton to the sea (into the sun!).

Monday, 28 September 2009

Another old chestnut?

One of those old country customs which is new to me was mentioned on the letters page of tomorrow's fish-wrap. Spiders can't abide the smell of conkers, so a few placed in a bowl in a room will keep the spiders away. I must start looking for conkers as Mrs S can't abide spiders.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Back home, but bucketless

Couldn't find a suitable bucket, but the weather was very kind to us. None of those 30+ temperatures, but in the low to mid 20s every day. Just one cloudy morning, otherwise bright blue skies all day every day. The wisteria had gone absolutely mad and needed a severe haircut!

Friday, 18 September 2009

That's all for now

I'm off to have supper, pack the case and then the car, and relax for a while before bed. Then off to la belle France in the morning. Back next week or sometime.

Red Arrows over Brighton

The first I knew of it was when I heard the roar of the jets overhead so I was unable to go down to the seafront to watch the display. There are videos on the web, but not as good as this one, shot over New York last year.

Mrs S wants a bucket

Yes, really. We already have several, but she wants another. Those that we have are all in use in one way or another: two have small gardening tools in them - trowels, secateurs, gloves etc - so that they can be easily carried around the garden; two (including one large builder's bucket) are full of pears I picked a few days ago; one is in the kitchen cupboard and is used, believe it or not, to carry water. But in any case, all those buckets are made of plastic and what Mrs S wants is a metal bucket to put over the rhubarb to force it. I have tried looking in all the usual places - DIY stores, garden centres etc - but although I can find metal watering cans, there are no metal buckets. There are metal planters which would do the job, but at £22 or so I baulked at buying one of them. So, next week, while we are in France, we shall scour the second hand shops to see if a suitable bucket can be found.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

At the vet's

Took the dog to the vet today for her annual jabs. He (the vet) has a nurse called Kat, presumably short for Katrina. When she answers the phone she always says, "Beech House Vets, Kat speaking" and one day I swear I'll reply, "Can I speak to dog, please?" but she's probably heard that one too many times already.

Hilarious hounds

Do dogs have a sense of humour? I rather think they might: mine certainly seems to have one. When we are out for our regular afternoon walk, usually in the local woods, we have to take a tennis ball. Most of the time she is happy just to carry it, but every so often she drops the ball three or four yards off the path and runs deeper into the woods. She then lies down and waits for me to throw the ball. But there are times when she waits until I have nearly reached the ball before rushing up and grabbing it before I can get to it. It really is just as though she is teasing me.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A good meeting

Met yesterday with a couple of people from a local company which wants to be involved in sponsoring the Lions' fireworks display this year. They will pay for four (or maybe five) quarter page, full colour ads in the local paper, which has to be worth at least £5,000 and probably nearer £6k. Not bad for a 45 minute meeting.

Got it!

Tautology [noun]: the saying of the same thing twice over in different words.

That's the word I was trying to think of several weeks (months?) ago. And it really has taken this long for me to think of it. In fact, I didn't actually think of it myself - I read it in the newspaper yesterday.

OK, OK - it's just a bit of fun!

My pirate name is:

Dirty Sam Kidd

You're the pirate everyone else wants to throw in the ocean -- not to get rid of you, you understand; just to get rid of the smell. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Dame Vera Lynn

Astonishing that Vera Lynn, at 92 years of age, has reached number one in the CD albums charts this week. The Old Bat bought a copy today when she was doing the weekly shop, so maybe we will have helped keep it at the top.

Monday, 14 September 2009

I'm not sure why I've done it, but I have signed up to Facebook. The trouble is, I'm having to puzzle out how to use the site. It doesn't seem as intuitive as, say, Blogger. And anyway, why would I want yet another place to inflict my thoughts upon the unsuspecting (and uninterested) world?

Sunday, 13 September 2009

First Lady

Another book I thoroughly enjoyed - First Lady by Michael Dobbs. I still recall the television adaptation of his excellent House of Cards and I have now read most of his books, the most recent (apart from First Lady) being The Lords' Day. Great stuff.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Inspiration needed - again

I need to have Jungle Jottings ready before next Saturday so that I can get it out as soon as we get back from France the following weekend, but I am completely lacking in inspiration. At the moment I have just four pages, and that includes a couple of large white spaces! This could be a tough few days.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Updating the update

Phew, what a relief. Having let the machine rest for 24 hours, I switched on this morning and it went through the automatic repair program, so all is up and working again. I do back up all my files to a stand-alone hard disc and thought that by plugging that into the laptop I would be able to access them easily. Not so. The automatic back-up only backs up new or altered files each day, so tracking down a file that was last used when? is not easy. I'm changing the system and will make a diary note to do a complete back-up on a weekly basis so I shouldn't have that problem again in the future - provided I stick to the plan.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Update - and then...

So that all went pretty well. Madam Mayor took tea with a few of the Lions, then met our oldest resident in her flat (she - the resident - was thrilled) and we went on to another of the developments whcich the M had never visited before. She specifically asked for an invitation to see the rest at a later date. She also expressed great interest in the Message in a Bottle scheme and we are to set up a press photo op of us presenting her with a bottle in the Mayor's parlour or something.

But this morning everything went pear-shaped. Well, perhaps not everything. When I switched off the computer yesterday it had auto-updates. They load down and the computer automatically switches itself off when they are finished. Switch on again this morning and stages 1 & 2 configure, but stage 3 starts, and then the computer reboots itself - and stage 3 starts configuring all over again. Then the computer reboots and so on. I tried pulling the plug, I tried starting in safe mode, I practically threw the damn thing out of the window ...

Fortunately I have the laptop, but the work I want is on the other machine!!!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Hey ho

Time to don the glad rags, the best bib and tucker, my Sunday-go-to-meeting suit. The Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City of Brighton and Hove is to visit the Lions Housing Society this afternoon to see a couple of our developments, and as the chairman is unavailable it will be up to (or down to) me to escort her.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

First draft

Rather earlier than I expected, the first rough draft of Diamond Geezers has been finished. There is still work to be done: I know that somebody has a copy of the family tree of the club showing all the clubs sponsored by Brighton and their subsequent sponsorships. I hope, too, that the secretary has records of past members. Although I have all their names (I think) and the month and year in which they joined the club, in many cases I only have the Lions year in which they left, and sometimes not even that.

Another thing I must do is write to the local rag in the hope that readers will send me their memories of what Brighton Lions have done and how they have been affected.

Meanwhile, I must print out what I have and start correcting and improving it.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Today's useless information

Somebody (and I can't for the life of me remember who - if I ever knew) has been doing some research and has discovered that when a cat pats its owners leg to gain attention, a male cat will usually use its left paw and a female its right. Seems the same applies to dogs.

The alternative solution

I was right: there is another way of dealing with the problem of the drain. The contractor has agreed to dig a new trench beside the old drain and this will minimise the inconvenience to all involved.

It's not often I'm right, so I'll blow my own trumpet as loudly as I can!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

What a week

This really has been one of those Lions weeks. Monday (August Bank Holiday) saw many of our club - but not me - at Seaford for the local Lions donkey derby. They were selling books and running the pig races. Tuesday there was a zone meeting (no less than 30% of our members turned up), Wednesday our monthly dinner meeting, Thursday a Lion from Menton was in town so Pete and I met him for a drink in the evening, yesterday evening was sent preparing for the book fair this morning, where I shall be heading very shortly.

Yesterday there were also problems with the Housing Society. There has for some time been a problem with the drains at one of our properties and the solution, it seems, is to dig up the existing drain and relay it. I know nothing about these things, but our chairman runs a building company and does understand them. He told a meeting of the tenants that while the work was going on, the front door would be inaccessible and our manager arranged for the lock on the community room fire door to be changed and all tenants to be given keys. But what about the postman? And how to visitors announce themselves if they can't get to the entryphone? But at least the tenants were told there would be no interruption to their toilets etc. Then at 5.30 yesterday I got a phone call from the part time office assistant (she works Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday mornings) to tell me that a) there would be a pump running outside the block 24 hours a day at 90 decibels and b) the tenants would not be able to flush their toilets at some times. The chairman is away in Spain and the manager left for ten days holiday on Thursday, so it is down to us to sort the problem. She offered to type letters to all tenants calling them to a meeting in the community room on Monday morning which she would run and at which the contractor would be present to explain the situation. I told her to go ahead. Then, at 9.00 yesterday evening, she rang again. The tenants would be unable to flush their toilets at all during the working day. I took an executive decision and told her to stop the contractors from doing anything until the whole matter had been reviewed: there must, I thought, be another solution, even if it means laying a completely new drain a few feet further out from the building.

We must wait and see.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Tit for tat

I was amused by the story in the paper about the mayors of two neighbouring Parisian suburbs. In an attempt to reduce traffic congestion, one mayor declared a street a one-way street. The second mayor was annoyed that this increased the congestion in his suburb, so he made the part of that street on his territory a one-way street as well - in the opposite direction!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


"Azincourt" is the name of Bernard Cornwell's last book which I have just managed to borrow from the library. I hadn't realised until I started reading it that the place English know as Agincourt is known to the French as Azincourt. This is a small town, or maybe just a village, in Picardy in north-west France whereas the place known to the French as Agincourt is in north-east France. I am so far just half-way through the book, but it is as easy to read as all Bernard Cornwell's other books have been, and is a great way to learn some of the history of England!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

What a nuisance

While I was doing my initial research into the history of Brighton Lions, I discovered several articles in the on-line archive of our local rag which I copied into my notes. Among those articles was one published just before the 1998 carnival in which the carnival queen was named as E.P. When I reached that year in the first draft of the written record, I dutifully copied the details from the article.

It suddenly occurred to me a day or two ago that one of my daughter's friends was carnival queen one year. I couldn't immediately recall which year, but delved through old photographs until I came up with the ones that showed H.F. with me. I was President of the club that year, so it was easy to check which year it was. And it was 1998, the year the Argus said E.P. was carnival queen!

I assumed that I had mistyped the date when copying the article, only to remember that I had used cut and paste. Better check the article, I thought. But the paper's on-line archive has been thinned and none of the articles I had found before are there any longer. I shall have to go the the reference library in town to see if they have back numbers on file.