Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A nice day.

Mutterings continued.

I spent most of the afternoon in a meeting taking notes but that's ok.

I must have got cold in the night as I woke up to find a blanket I had folded up on the end of the bed over me. I certainly don't remember doing that.

The Bad Astronomy site. Lots of fun, I like his take on the Hoax Moon Landing rubbish.

Monday, November 29, 2004

This time of year.

Mutterings continued.

Apart from the occasional cool days and even cooler nights we get, possibly the only good thing about this time of year is the blooming of Jacarandas. Driving home yesterday through the older suburbs of Bentley, Victoria Park and Como, there were lots of lovely lavender and green blobs everywhere you looked. On the down side, Jacarandas are filthy buggers and drop their flowers which turn to mush. Those flowers which don't fall turn into hard berries which fall on your car if you happened to be parked under the tree.

They look nice, but.

I support The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus and you should too.

Nothing exciting in the letterbox today - just some spam from a bank begging me to have one of their credit cards and some bumff from Qantas explaining why my frequent flyer points won't get me as far as they used to.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Sultry Sunday.

Mutterings continued.

The weather, not moi.

Last night's episode of The Muppet Show had Alice Cooper as the guest and was very amusing. The MST3K was incomprehensible, just the way we like them, and the Storyteller episode was charming. Had Bubble from Ab Fab and Seen Been (or Shawn Bawn).

And we had delicious risotto for mains and very healthy berries and mango for afters. And a not so healthy ice cream/chocolate/hazelnut toblerone thingie for after afters.

Most disappointed - I've found some stuff on the BBC home page that I'd like to buy but the buggers only ship to European counties. Darn. I wanted to get the Complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (MP3-CD) for 14 quid. Amazon.co.uk have the Tertiary Phase cd cheaper than the BBC (cheaper by 4 quid!) so I've just ordered that. I heard a couple of episodes while I was in Huddersfield and want to hear the rest. I'll have to order the Primary and Secondary Phase cds at some stage as my tapes are very old and have been played to death.

I called into the Gosnells Markets on the way home from Dad's today. I avoided the English lolly shop and went instead to the hippie tree-hugger shop and bought some incense.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

A Warmish Saturday

Mutterings continued.

It was certainly warm in the car. Oh, how wonderful it will be when I get a new ve-hickle with air conditioning. Went to the Good Guys in Cannington to see what they had in the way of portable air cons for the flat. After the couple of hot days we had they sold out!

Tried to do a bit of Xmas shopping this morning but didn’t get very far. Picked up a couple of things and a birthday pressie but I have loads more to do.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I had lunch with my old, and I use the word advisedly, school friend Genette and her daughter. We caught up a couple of weeks ago after 30 years and discovered we have friends not related to Kent St SHS in common.

I’m off to dinner at L and R’s. I’m taking a very healthy dessert. And if you believe that have I got a bridge to sell you.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Windy Friday

Mutterings continued.

Another week has gone by – scary how quickly the time goes. This morning was spent at the launch of the 7th edition of the Code of Practice for the Use of Animal in Research by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Sounds dry but was very interesting. No, really.

We had a lovely drop of rain last night (so yah boo sucks! to you, Gary). And tonight is looking promising on the weather front. Windy, but.

For overseas readers, a treatise on the peculiarly Australian (mis)use of the word “but”. From The Age newspaper:
“Ending a sentence with the word "but" has been hailed as a distinctive Australian linguistic trait. Not that you'll find it in the grammar books, but.
The "final but" phenomenon, as linguists call it, has flourished informally here for many years, primarily in Queensland and northern NSW. "It is quite a distinctive marker of Australian-English, and it seems to be spreading into different age groups," says Jean Mulder, a linguistics professor at Melbourne University. "So it's quite likely it will stick around."

Professor Mulder says: "Part of being Australian is having this unique way of using language. If a 'final but' develops as a marker for Australian-English, well that's what happens, and it is kind of nice."

I don’t use it in my normal conversation, however when I do, I use it to indicate “however”. This isn’t a correct definition of the word “but”, but.

I’ll stop now.

My old DVD player has eaten a brand new Cadfael disk. I put it in, the player started up, ground to a halt and then refused to open its trap and my brand new, unplayed St Peter’s Fair is stuck in there. Rob.....!!!

I saw an interesting doco on the History Channel last night about the Gemini and Apollo missions from the point of view of Mission Control. It was sad seeing MC deserted and riveting watching actual footage of the Apollo 13 earth re-entry. They had calculated 13’s coming back on line after black out to the second and watching the faces on the guys in MC as the minutes kept clicking up and no response from Apollo 13.

I can’t remember which mission it was but on Xmas Eve the astronauts took footage of the earth rising over the moon while reading from Genesis. Moving stuff, especially watching the tough as nails MC guys reduced to tears.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Problems with Blogger

Mutterings continued.

I have been having a lot of problems with Blogger lately and am looking for somewhere else to transfer this blog. I wrote this lot on Wednesday night but Blogger managed to lose it and this is the first time I've been able to actually write anything.

From Wed:

Not too bad out there, pretty warm inside - looks like I'll be sticking the fan in the doorway to get some cooler air in here. And it's not even summer, whine, whine.

The mailbox was full again today - set of brochures from Ford about the car I want to buy (Fiesta LX, Five door hatch, colour Aquarius, interior Ebony Twill), the Foxtel guide for December (it gets bigger every month), loads of junk mail.

We had a bit of excitement in the flat last night. As I was going to bed I noticed a very large moth fluttering and flapping its way around the bedroom. Milo and Gus wanted it! They were following its every move, demanding that I get it down from the ceiling for them. I finally got it cornered near the window, threw a shirt over it, bundled it up and threw it outside. I hope it's ok. I'm not frightened of big moths. Spiders yes, moths no.

This afternoon was spent in the Animal Ethics Committee meeting. I took the boss's new laptop on which to take the minutes, put all my necessary files on a floppy and discovered 10 minutes before the meeting was due to start that modern laptops don't appear to come with floppy disk drives. Seems they're an optional extra. *sigh*

From the It Had to Happen files, from the New Scientist:

"A COLLEAGUE recently bought a new VW car and was very pleased with it,` until the engine suddenly stopped on a busy main road, with the dashboard showing the cryptic error message "EPC". An emergency call brought a helpful service engineer, complete with laptop. He plugged it into a socket hidden down near the pedals, then waited while Windows crawled into life and diagnosed the fault.

EPC, it seems, stands for Electronic Pedal Control. Instead of a mechanical linkage between the accelerator pedal and the engine, the car has an electronic sensor that detects the pedal's position and sends it to the engine. There had been a "communication problem" between the pedal and engine, the engineer explained, which the laptop had now reset.

"It should be fine, but take the car to a garage for a permanent repair as soon as you can," he advised.

Our colleague agreed to do exactly that, but for peace of mind he asked what to do if the engine stopped again before the car had reached a garage.

"Turn off the engine, take out the ignition key to shut down the electronics, and restart", the engineer explained. "That should do it."

Feedback has been driving cars for over 30 years, many of them old bangers, and never once has the mechanical link between a pedal and the engine broken. The same goes for our colleague. Is it really progress if a vital link breaks down in a brand new car and can be repaired only by shutting down the electronics and rebooting? Perhaps "close all windows" should be part of the recovery procedure."

Remember the "If Windows Made Cars" email doing the rounds??

Can't remember if I've posted this before. If I have, well, it's worth another look. The Nigerian Bank Scam draw.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Mutterings continued.

Another sticky, icky day. It rained, very briefly, this morning and thunderstorms and a cooler day tomorrow are forecast. Yay.

I've just sent myself an email from my mobile phone. It probably cost a packet but it does mean I can now access the piccies I've taken with the phone. And blackmail people. Bwahahaha.

Somehow I've got myself onto the Reader's Digest snail-mailing list. I've now received two bits of rubbish from them that are covered in exhortations for me to open them - "Certified Despatch", "Time sensitive documents enclosed and sealed", "Enclosed information is for sole and exclusive use of adressee". Yeah, me and millions of others.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Mutterings continued.

Hot AND sticky. Not a nice combination (the weather I mean!).

An amusing comment in a Sunday Times review of a film I don't wish to see: "Hollywood, in its quest to never make an original film again, throws the larger-than-life Queen Latifah behind the wheel as the cab driver and someone named Jimmy Fallon out of Saturday Night Live – where he's struggled for laughs – into his debut film as a bumbling cop who has lost his driver's licence."

Hmm, the Amazon.com website has an ad for a Philips Heartstart Home Defribrillator. Hours of fun for the whole family. "Features:

The first and only defibrillator available over-the-counter that can be used by virtually anyone with the materials included - one body.
Easy to use with guided interactive voice instructions - "Up a bit, down a bit, are you even listening to me???"
Safely delivers a shock only if needed - where's the fun in that??

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Hot Sunday.

Mutterings continued.

Quite cool here in the flat.

I've had a busy couple of days; yesterday was my younger niece's 21st birthday party. It appears that "fashionably late" these days means 10pm when the invitation says 7.30pm. I was there at 7.30, which means I had to help out and be a guinea pig for the punch. Mmmmmm, coconut and vodka.....

And my older niece has just become engaged to a lovely chap called Carl. Looks scary but is a real sweetie.

And today I went to Dad's for lunch. He was at church (or whatever it is the Salvoes call their services) so I had to make lunch. Well, he made it, I just had to finish it off. Called into the Gosnells Railway markets on the way home and got the plate stacker racky thing for the cupboard I've been looking for for a couple of months and some evil, but in a good way, Walker's crisps from the English lolly shop. Beef and Onion, Roast Chicken and Smoky Bacon. No Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, sadly, though they did have Worcestershire Sauce, a flavour I haven't got up the nerve to try. Also bought some licorice squares - $1.10 for 8! I remember when they were a cent each. Of course, this was before the invention of the automobile and electricity.

Friday, November 19, 2004

I've decided to become a born-again Luddite.

Mutterings continued.


All week at work I have tried to satisfy the needs of main shared printer. First it wanted a new waste toner bottle - NOW! - so I got one couriered. Put it in, only to have another error message come up on the panel - it wants an Oil Kit. NOW! So I had one of those couriered. Put the oil kit in. Got an error message saying that it now wants Cyan toner and a clean. AAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rang the supply people, asked to have ALL FOUR TONER KITS delivered today (as I know damn well that as soon as I put the cyan toner in, the fucking machine will want the red, or the yellow, or the black); response from them was, "We had to send out an oil kit by urgent courier to someone today." "Yes," I replied. "That was me."

Stupid printers. Stupid technology.

A further rant, this time about the abuse of the English language. Bit of a hobby horse of mine, but it's so satisfying to discover others who are willing to have "a bit of a spray" (thank you, Roy and HG). "When Don Watson wrote Death Sentence last year a torrent of letters and emails began from people rebelling against managerial language. We are fed up with building our capacity to develop synergies with key stakeholders.

Here at Weasel Words we intend to cascade this vision, leverage off our leadership initiatives and invite you, as team players, to engage in a strategic partnership and commit to the challenge of resolving the issue of impactful language."

From the We Were Tougher Back Then files:

From the Guardian, "Over the Pennines now to the Manchester Evening News - and another
plague of popups, worse than Whitby's. Having zapped them, in a way which reminds me of that old Space Invaders game as you try to whiz
to the little 'kill' box in the corner before yet another one pops up, there are goodies to be found on the current newslist.

For example, those long-standing friends of the journalist, "university researchers", have established that the frequency of violence is more than 10 times greater in nursery rhymes than in TV before the 9pm watershed. Well spotted, the guys from the Archives of Disease in Childhood. I remember living in a more or less permanent world of kidnapping, murder and ingenious ways of snipping people up when I was aged between two and six. Worse, it was gift-wrapped in beguiling images of gingerbread houses and boys living a life as pirates on a coral island.

The MEN highlights the light-hearted treatment of a serious accident in Jack and Jill, the callous stereotyping of Simple Simon and even -
maybe a bit peripheral, this - the allegedly incurable aggressive syndrome of the Grand Old Duke. The researchers add: "Other episodes
which caused concern included placing a baby intentionally in harm's way by placing his or her cot in a tree top. A social services
referral would undoubtedly follow." That's Rock-a-bye-Baby, if you hadn't guessed."

Today's youth are obviously more impressionable - I was brought up on Grimm's Fairy Tales, a grimmer, more blood thirsty bunch of stories you wouldn't want to read, and I've turned out perfectly normal. Ok, so I occasionally threaten to take to the computers and printer at work with an axe, but who hasn't felt like that from time to time?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Pay Day Thursday.

Mutterings continued.

My wordy lordy yes it was cold last night at Scarborough! I was demanding, in a quiet way, that the owner of Peter's Fish and Chips put the heaters back on. Silly me for not wearing warmer clothes, I guess.

I got home this arvo to find the door mat resting up against the wall - a not-so-subtle sign that a parcel has been hidden behind it. It was some lovely art deco posters I'd ordered a few days ago from All Posters. I'm surprised at the speed they got here as mail from the US can be very slow.

Friday tomorrow - week one post hols is almost over.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Wet Wednesday

Mutterings continued.

It poured with rain this morning - lovely! Well, perhaps not for the keepers and grounds staff who got very wet, but it was nice to be inside with the windows open listening to the rain.

Thanks for Rob for letting us know about the H.O.P.E. webpage. It's great to see that others can't understand why Paris Hilton is "famous".

Off to Scarborough tonight for dinner with TUS. I think Fish and Chips are on the menu - I'm still into the comfort food, I'm afraid. I had salad and tuna for lunch so I think this balances out. Ahem.

Lots of Xmassy type junk mail in the letter box. And a Post Office flyer which I don't consider junk mail as it combines two of the great loves in my life - stationery and postal stuff. When I was little I used to walk home from school via the local post office agency, stand on my schoolcase and watch the ladies behind the counter. Lord knows what they though of me but I thought they had the most glamorous job in the world. I got a post office set for Xmas one year; it had letters and stamps and all sorts of things.

Sad Post Office Fan Girl.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A cooler day.

Mutterings continued.

21.9c, a nice wind, the promise of rain. Much better.

I've just come back from having dinner with Dad. He's moved all his stuff into the new place and it all fits better than we thought it would!

When Animals Strike Back:

"Beavers keep stolen cash
From correspondents in Greensburg, Louisiana
November 16, 2004

BEAVERS found a bag of bills stolen from a casino, tore it open and wove the money into the sticks and brush of their dam on a creek near Baton Rouge.

"They hadn't torn the bills up. They were still whole," said Major Michael Martin of the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office.

The money was part of at least $US70,000 ($91,000) taken last week from the Lucky Dollar Casino in Greensburg, about 50 kilometres north-east of Baton Rouge."

"Snake charmer quits after 24th bite
From correspondents in Kuala Lumpur
November 10, 2004

IT was the last fang for Malaysian snake-charmer Bidin Mat Hashim when a cobra bit him in front of a Korean television crew. After 24 snakebites in a 50-year career, he's calling it quits.

Bidin, who has been handling snakes since the age of 15 and appeared regularly on television, told the New Straits Times: "I have given serious thought to it and have decided to stop, once and for all."

You think after the second or third time he would have got the hint. The snakes don't like him.

Monday, November 15, 2004

I hate summer.

Mutterings continued.

I know it's not summer yet, I'm just getting the whining in early. First day back at work and no aircon for the foreseeable future.

It was parcel day today. On Friday I received a card from the Bentley Distribution Centre advising a goodie was waiting for me. As they have most unsociable hours (6am to 3pm) I had to wait until this morning to collect the box. It was a pressie I'd ordered for Bro and SIL for Xmas. That's one gift down.

And waiting on the doorstep this afternoon was the Cadfael box set I'd ordered way back in May. I'd given up waiting and sent DVD Soon an email to cancel the order.

With the 3 Cadfaels, this means Derek Jacobi has raced to the lead in the representational DVD stakes. It's 13 for him and 7 for Ian McKellen.

Apparently I have unjustly maligned our bird life. I made the comment last week that the Ring-necked parrots that tried to steal our sandwiches at Serpentine were Eastern States interlopers. I have been informed by Leece and Rob, who knows these things, that they are in fact native to WA (the birds, that is. And Leece and Rob, come to think of it).

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Sticky Sunday

Mutterings continued.

30c today - not a heatwave as Perth temps go but not pleasant. I went to Dad's for lunch and helped him move more stuff to his new place and put up the curtains.

Yesterday was spent shopping, doing as little housework as possible and then tripping up to Leece and Rob's for homemade pizza, fruit tarts (healthy!) and a brand new MST3K (which included a short so appalling we couldn't bear to watch the end of it!).

Cliches that really bug me - "Not on my watch", usually spouted by some political hack who seems to think he has super powers, and "24-7", when they mean, "24 hours a day, 7 days a week.". Sure, the latter phrase in longer but "24-7", like "Downsizing" and "Corporatisation" reeeeeellly bugs.

I was dismayed to learn that the model of car I have my eye on has just won an award from the RAC - I'm hoping this doesn't meant a surge in interest from the car buying public and I have to wait to get one! My car loan has been approved, I just have to wait for my brother to get back from t'North to do the negotiations for me. Gift of the gab, has my brother. I'm tossing up between silver and pale metallic blue.

Friday, November 12, 2004

A busy day.

Last day of long service leave, spent it driving around the country side. I picked Dad up this morning and we drove to Serpentine Dam for a picnic. We sat down at one of the picanic tables near the lower carpark and were immediately set upon by magpies and Ring-necked Parrots. Bloody feral interlopers! I think Gus FeralCat has been teaching the parrots the fine art of stealing food as the cheekier birds land on one shoulder and then walking across you until they reach the hand with the food in it. Gus has also been known to do this.

After driving back to Gosnells through some very nice countryside, most of which had been clear felled, we went to Seaforth for Dad to complete the paperwork and take possession of his new unit. We met the Chaplain, a very nice man called Paul (appropriate). Then it was to the chemist to pick up Dad's shooting up paraphernalia (he's diabetic), to the bank to pay his first rent payment for the new unit and to the curtain shop where we picked up some very nice second hand curtains. Sea Green, thermal lined, $45. Bargain. I shall be spending the evening threading curtain rings onto them.

Stratford Upon Avon.

I love this place. There are some gorgeous villages nearby that I could happily call home, Shipton Upon Stour being of them.

The Nuffield Library at the Shakespeare Centre makes available video tapes of RSC performances. The quality isn't the best and I believe it's criminal that more isn't done to preserve the performances. I booked the 1995 Richard III with David Troughton, a role for which he won the London Critics' Award. It was performed at The Other Place, an interesting white box of a theatre. Four walls and a minstrels' gallery make for interesting set design. John Nettles played Buckingham. All the court, other than Richard Gloucester, wore dull colours. As Gloucester he was dressed as a jester in reds and blacks but completely in black as King Richard.

At the conclusion Richard repeated lines from the opening speech as well as lines from Henry VI, "Torment myself to find the English crown.", "Hew my way out with a bloody axe.". The final line was taken from the seduction of Anne speech earlier in the play, "All the world to nothing!"

On the 11th I took the car back to the still harried woman at Hertz Stratford. That morning I'd met a friend of the B and B owner who was very interesting to talk to. At S-u-A station I got talking to a lady from Edinburgh (rather, she got talking to and at me) - she bought me a cup of tea and it was a very pleasant way to wait a couple of hours for the train.

Below are photos of the very nice room I had at the Sheraton Skyline near Heathrow. For what I paid, the room should be damned nice!!

My room at the Sheraton Skyline Heathrow

My bed

And the very nice desk and drapes. Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre Posted by Hello

Warwick Castle

Sunlight on the bars

The Warwickshire countryside

My B and B in Shipton Rd, Stratford-upon-Avon Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Wet(ish) Wednesday

Another day of mixed emotions. I picked Mum's ashes up from Karrakata Cemetary this morning. Had a bit of a weep in the car.

And at lunchtime I met up with a schoolfriend I hadn't seen in 30 years. It's frightening to think you haven't seen someone in a generation, if that makes sense. We talked for about 3 and a half hours and are meeting again in a fortnight, this time with photos!

And speaking of photos:

The first shows Cap'n Rob taking us out of port and First Mate Leece hoisting the mainbrace, unfurling the mizzen and focusing the fo'castle, while making us all a nice cup of tea.

Cap'n Rob and First Mate Leece

The Floating Caravan Posted by Hello

More Portmeirion Pics.

Portmeirion (where else?)

The Archway

Number 6 (the Shop)

The Dome

The Folly

The Lawn Posted by Hello

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Rainy Day Tuesday.

A mixed day. I received a lovely card from Shirley W and David "The Meadoes" M today , as well as a very thoughtful email from Pat Stroud. Thanks guys.

And I also got a cheque for $315.23 from the Tax Office.

On the downside, I went to get my prescription for my asthma medication filled, only to be told I had brought in an out of date script, and I went to test drive a Toyota Echo, but realised I had left my driver's license at home.

I picked up the last set of holiday snaps today and have scanned most of them in, some of which are below.


I was planning to stay at Brambleberry House, a lovely B and B in Halfway House near Shrewsbury however the owners were off on their hols and the place wasn't available. I'd figured that Shrewsbury was close enough to Wales to make a nice jumping off point for Portmeirion. I decided to extend my time in S-u-A and drive to Portmeirion from there. It doesn't look very far on the map, but lord knows I've been caught enough times and should have realised that short distances in the UK equate to long driving times.

It took about 4 hours to get there, however I passed through some of the most glorious landscape of the Snowdonia National Park and the Cambrian Mountains, and picturesque villages with interesting names such as Llangurig, Ffestiniog and Penrhyndeuraeth.

Some of the photos of the Village will look familiar to Prisoner fans; I'm afraid I can place only a couple of them.

The Portmeirion postbox into which I deposited a few posscards.

The Tower

The Gloriette.


The Dome

The Lake

The beach where Rover used to hang out.

The Ladies

 Posted by Hello

Monday, November 08, 2004

Muggy Mundy

We had a look at the unit that the Salvoes have offered Dad at Seaforth Village. It's much bigger and nicer than we were expecting. There's even a nice little garden at the back, big enough for Dad to grow his veggies. There's a decent sized double bedroom, combined dining/lounge, kitchen with gas oven that's at a height where residents don't have to bend over to open it, and separate laundry and bathroom. He's really happy with it and we're hoping the activities at the hostel will help fill in his days.


After leaving Ash in Middlesbrough, I travelled south west to Huddersfield to stay with Nick for a couple of days. We travelled into Bradford to meet with up with a couple of his friends, Glen and his wife Chris. They're a lovely couple. We were hoping to go to the Museum of Motion Pictures, TV and Photography but it isn't open on Mondays. Sigh. We had dinner at the Kasmiri Indian restaurant and then took a drive to the "World Famous" Mumtaz restaurant. I say "World Famous" as that's what they call themselves however I'd never heard of them.

Nick and I went back to Bradford the following day to have another go at visiting the Museum. They have a repository of British tv programs from the 50's onwards and it would be great to have a day to watch all the stuff that is otherwise unavailable.

Bradford Town Hall 1

The Bradford Town Hall is a huge Victorian Gothic building.

Town Hall Tower Posted by Hello

Whiny Dalek Posted by Hello

This rather whiny Dalek was in the foyer of the Museum.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Penultimate weekend of freedom

Mutterings continued.

Hard to believe but I go back to work tomorrow week. It's been 9 weeks since I went on hols and a hell of a lot has happened.

Visited Dad today; he cooked roast chicken and vegies for lunch. Last Thursday we called into Seaforth Village, a retirement centre/hostel run by the Salvation Army in Kelmscott, to take Mum's name off the list and to put his name on. We were expecting a long waiting list however he got a call on Friday afternoon saying a unit was available from next Friday. This has put him into a bit of a panic as he still has 8 months left on his current lease, however we think the owners will understand (they sent him a condolence card when Mum died) and let him out of it. He's very lonely and needs companionship during the day.

Travelling tales.

I have already written about the disaster that is my attempt to negotiate Sheffield. To recap: "I will never, never, ever drive into Sheffield ever, ever again. Unlike last time, we got into the city ok, found the hotel, found the car park. This time we couldn't get out and ended up driving where no cars are meant to drive - the tram tracks. We were rescued by a lovely man from Supertram who said consolingly, ''You're not the first, you won't be the last. Trucks have done it, buses have done it. Don't worry about it.'' After realising that I was was heading towards the abyss (ie oncoming trams) I ended up on the footpath outside a bank. Ash went for help, I sat in the car looking for all the world like a getaway driver trying not to look suspicious."

So much for Sheffield, now for Derek Jacobi. Some reviews of his performance as King Phillip of Spain in Don Carlos:

The Stage Online

The Observer

The British Theatre Guide

The Rotherham Advertiser

Some King Phillip quotes that stuck, "I like surprises.", "I want a man", and "Gerroff!"

Michael Grandage, Associate Director of the Crucible, has resigned and will be replaced by Sam "Son of Timothy" West whom I saw in Richard II.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Travelling Poss 2.

Dad and I went for a drive through the Swan Valley, past all the vineyards, wineries and expensive houses. He and Mum used to live nearby in Midland; it's where they met about 50 years ago.

And then I did a trawl of new and second hand furniture stores looking for a tea trolley on wheels. No luck, though I'm sure they must be out there somewhere.

I made the mistake of calling into Freedom Furniture - that wasn't the mistake, wandering into the Mikasa factory outlet across the car park was. Mikasa have made some lovely art deco style crockery in the past and I was taken by a design called Angles. The 20 piece dinner set was *cough* $210. A tea saucer alone was $9 and that was the factory price! I headed for the clearance table and found another really nice design called Soho Loft which features nice angles and curves and didn't cost $210. The original price was $200 and I got the last set in the shop for less than half that. Not much less than half, mind you, but for the first time in my adult life, I have bought myself a complete set of crockery. Where everything matches.

More Scotland - the Falls of Bruar.

The Falls are about 16k north of Pitlochry. "The woodland surrounding the Bruar gorge is a living memorial to the poet Robert Burns, who came here in 1787 to admire the waterfalls. At that time the steep slopes were bare, so Burns wrote 'The Humble Petition of Bruar Water' in which he urged the Duke of Atholl to plant its bleak banks with trees. When the poet died in 1796, the duke created a 'wild garden' in his memory, planting the riverbanks and establishing paths and bridges." And it's still pretty spectacular.

 Posted by Hello

 Posted by Hello

Adjacent to the Falls is the House of Bruar, a commercial enterprise which sells very expensive woollen garments, furniture and more kinds of ginger and Turkish Delight than I've seen in one place. And the Ladies toilet was definitely worth a visit - no plastic rubbish bins or metal hand towel dispensers here, just tres tasteful wicker baskets.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Quite an expensive day. I bought some summer clothes, 2 pairs of sandals and the Shrek 2 DVD. On the not so expensive side, I called into JB's and picked up Duran Duran's latest single and some very cheap blank video tapes. I thought they were $2.25 for a single tape, so I got two. Turns out it was a three pack for $2.25. Bargain.

More Scotland:

Pitlochry is a lovely town about 13 miles north of Birnam that we drove through on the way to Blair Castle. We took the looooong way round due to being thrown off track by a diversion of the A9 - turns out it was the old A9, not the new A9, and it had been washed away in the recent floods. We saw lots of sheep on the road and amusing hand written signs such as "Sheep do not understand the Green Cross Code". It's true, they don't, the buggers were all over the place. We didn't stop at Pitlochry on this occasion, we'd decided to give the town a good going over the following day.

Blair Castle doesn't look like your average pile of bricks. It was sold by the current Earl of Athol in the late 70's, so, unlike a lot of working castles, the family doesn't live there.

We wandered around the Castle and grounds and watched in amusement as a duck tried scrumping plums from a tree in the Hercules Garden.

Dinner that night was at the Atholl Arms in Dunkeld. We ate in the sitting room as the restaurant was full. It was very olde Englishman's club - deep leather chairs, open fire, that sort of thing.

Blair Castle Posted by Hello

Pitlochry, second visit. Although very touristy, Pitlochry has a nice air. We visited the Rennie MacIntosh shop where I could have gone mad buying stuff that would get broken on the way home.

We had lunch at the Old Armoury restaurant; Ash had read some very good reviews and they were justified. Lovely food, well priced. Our waiter was Australian (no getting away from us!).

The Old Armoury Posted by Hello

Old Armoury Posted by Hello

On the way back to Birnam we called into the Old Mill Tea Shop, a cafe in a working water mill. The flour milled is used in the cakes and other goodies sold in the cafe. We had carrot cake with ginger and it was delish.

Loch Ness. The following day we drove up to Inverness, turned left and down to the Loch Ness visitor centre. After seeing the price of admission we decided to have lunch and a mooch around the very tacky tourist shop. Loch Ness is part of a series of lochs that run north east from Inverness to south west at Fort William. One of the lochs is Loch Lochy.

Loch Ness Posted by Hello

Loch Ness 2 Posted by Hello

Loch Ness Visitor Centre Posted by Hello

We drove back via the north shore of the lochs, with water on one side of us and mountains on the other. It was lovely watching the mist rolling down the mountains, not so lovely when it rolled down onto us.

Brooklet Posted by Hello

A pretty picture; can't for the life of me remember where I took it.