My Blog List

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Wheelie Bin Tidy Up

We have two large wheelie bins and a small courtyard to put them in and the yard also performs as a garden, car-park and cat refuge.

The first attempt to enhance the bins was a stick-on strip of camouflage. You can, of course, ignore camouflage and make them stand out with stick on sheets out of this world like  cottage gardens .
Some people stick their numbers on them but no-one around here seems to be interested in bin-theft and we can rely on our bin being back there after the bin-men have been.
Eventually these green (not "green") stickers go blue and anyway we have just spent a jolly hour or so ripping out the ivy that is invading the decades old, privet hedge. Having it as a camouflage on the bin seems inappropriate to say the least.
The next attempt at enhancement involved the willow screen. So natural looking! So easily it disintegrates! True, that it took a couple of years to disintegrate but the gradual decomposition, starting at the base (it's upside down in the pic)  and fragmentation meant that repairs and sweep-ups were continuous.
So this is the present solution. Note that I speak with little future conviction. Here's why.
It arrives like this. The instructions are wordless. There is an inconsistency in the number of screws reported to be needed and those provided. It wavers in the wind and there are two bits of everything because we have ordered the DOUBLE, to fit two bins. Is there a left and right?

It's a two person job. One has to hold it and the other has to wield the electric screw driver. Someone has to have read and absorbed the diagrams. Someone has to know where to put the 39 screws used so far. It's a good idea if your brick paving is fairly level...

It's really great when you find that the bin fits even if you have it the wrong way round.
Then you join it to the other side so that the recycling bin can go in there too. it is really great to have a screw driver gun. They put screws in, in a jiffy and take them out pretty quickly if they have put in the wrong screw or put the right screw in the wrong place.

Eventually it all looks like this and the other stuff is off to the skips.
Because the old stuff did fit in the Meriva to go to the skips I won £5!
The new wheelie bin screen has already been rained on and has coped well.
Cheers for now,

Sunday, 24 May 2015


The Imperial War Museum at Duxford has a marvellous collection of old battle planes from the earliest days. DJ is admiring one of the last flying B-17s but sadly it is only used for display flights.
We were due to fly in this...A De Havillande Dragon Rapide on a sight-seeing tour over London. The plane seats eight. Plenty of room for us all!!! No moving about, Please! No air-conditioning, no flight attendant, no toilet and the lucky woman in the front seat got to shout any messages to or from the pilot. Only an hour there and back so off we go.

We climbed quickly over the fields and headed south. The plane is so small that we all got a window seat and could keep an eye on the altitude, the passing scenery and the engines.
We came in over the Thames downstream and flew over the Olympic venues...
The Millenium Dome, the Isle of Dogs and The Thames Barrier.
Then, moving upstream towards the centre of town we hovered over Buckingham Palace (right in the middle of the pic), Green Park and St James Park and then turned to view all the amazing new structures that have appeared on the scene recently. The Queen may have been at home but if so she was busy and didn't come out to wave. We all spent a lot of time looking down and pointing. It's possible others on the ground may well have been looking up and pointing too.

This is the Shard across the river from the Walkie Talkie and others. I have a link here if you want to check your knowledge of the skyscrapers.
We swung back and forward over the river...So much to see. Pretty difficult to talk because of the noise level so there was a bit of nudging and pointing all the time.

We went out of London westwards towards Heathrow airspace and then swung north.

And then eventually headed home over the M25

Because there was to be a big Air Show this weekend, lots of pilots were out practising their routines and stunts. We shared a lunch table with the pilot of this Curtiss Hawk. He finished his gammon steak in yorkshire pudding and then took off to do some incredible stunts, low flying and rolls.
Another pilot was learning how to fly a Spitfire. I gathered he was a trained stunt instructor but had not flown a Spitfire before.

And I'm pretty sure this is the last flying Bristol Blenheim rehearsing its flight.
A great day out! The weather held, the flight was superb and the show was great.
Cheers Gillian

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


After a lovely stay in Tossa we caught the bus to Barcelona for a few days of sight seeing and urban culture. I find Barcelona to be an incredibly noisy and busy city and this impression was enhanced by the location of our hotel on the Gran Via.
But this makes it super easy to get around. Some small change, a ten-trip metro ticket and a good map held the right way up are all you need. No! not quite true...comfy shoes, a walking tour marked out, a secure bag and a sense of direction are all very helpful.

The Palace of Music of Catalonia is one of the most highly decorated Art Nouveau style buildings...

...with exquisite decorations and ornaments. All signs and notices are written firstly in Catalan, followed by Spanish and then any other. I find the Catalan written form to show a strong relationship with French and DJ says that its spoken pattern is quite Spanish but the words aren't quite as his ear expects.

Bullfighting is now banned in Catalonia but continues in the rest of Spain. The Arenas has been transformed into an amazing shopping centre but...

La Monumental still stands as a museum of bullfighting and is mostly unspoiled and splendid artifacts are simply displayed.

So much more expensive to sit in the shade!

The last time the bulls would be in the shade!

We ate Spanish, Italian and Chinese food while we were there and forsook the expensive hotel breakfast for the fresh juice and stuffed croissants of the cafe on the corner. They also welcomed us back to watch the second half of the football (Barcelona v Juventus) with coffee and brandy for less than 5euros.

We found the Santa Caterina Market and bought tomatoes and grapes for far more than 5euros !

And we left the hams in the shop.

Last but not least we went on a tour of the Sagrada Familia. We had a wonderful guide and were shown around the best bits. Unfortunately the lifts were not operating that afternoon and nor was my camera. A particular shame because the sensibly pragmatic Spanish allow all people to take photos of everything and use flash whenever necessary. In many ways it was better because I was able to listen and look and so learned much more.

The weather was great for ambling around town and mild enough to eat out on the pavement in the evening.

But there is so much more to see and the cable cars to ride and the musical fountains to enjoy so we shall return. The fountains played to pop music and were not as majestic as they had been before.

Plenty more to see and do and interiors of buildings and galleries to experience.

Cheers for now

Sunday, 10 May 2015


Last year we visited Tossa de Mar on the Costa Brava as part of a tour. This year we returned to enjoy more of it and stay in a delightful hotel we had noticed down on the beach.
Tossa is an old fishing town and much of the Mediaeval section remains within the old walls which provided protection from pirates. We walked around the narrow streets and along the cliff-top path and drank cold wine on the terrace of the bar near the top.
.The weather was kind to us and we scrambled the rocks and walked all the lanes

The beach was just beyond the hotel which could be easily found by using the two palm trees to guide us home.

The hotel had originally been built as a holiday house for a wealthy family and was designed by Antoni de Falguera but is now a small hotel .
The windows are marvellous and the lead lighting inside is brilliant.

The winter sitting room has an immense marble fireplace...

...and the afternoon tea room has a wonderful ceiling.

Our own room had lovely views out to sea and of the terrace where we spent some time.

All the decor has been maintained and the gargoyles still function but it didn't rain to demonstrate.

It can get very crowded and we were there for the Mayday holiday but the rest of the time it was mostly well behaved school visits and we had no trouble sauntering around.

Tossa is a fair way from Barcelona Airport, but once the bus has reached the outskirts of that sprawling city you are almost there. Girona is a handier landing place but we were stopping in Barcelona as well. It is a really lovely town. Places to eat abound, the views are magnificent and the lanes are treasure troves of shops. The "Old Section" is quaint and there are very few English pubs, bars and cafes. In fact the commonest "foreign" languages on signs are French and Russian.
There's a patch of blue sky outside right now so I hope the spring weather is well on its way in.
Cheers for now