Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Quick Trip to Woods Hole

Today The COG and I and Mother of The Bride drove to Woods Hole. There, we picked up Son of and drove all over the Falmouth area, had a nice lunch overlooking the ocean (actually Vineyard Sound), and then drove around some more.

These pictures are from last summer, so imagine them much colder and less green. That's Nobska Lighthouse in Woods Hole, supposedly the most photographed lighthouse in America.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Want.......

Iris Apfel's Qing Dynasty skirt - Silk damask, brocade, satin with silk and filé thread embroidery.

The rest of the outfit - meh.

I Want.......

Sister May's Hat. Felted Wool.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wall Transfer Clock

This is a wall transfer I put up on the wall of our kitchen in Brighton. It looks painted on, but it's removable transfers. The clock part hangs on the wall, but the picture is flat to the wall. There were extra birds so I put some on a nearby door frame and one on the fridge and one on an electrical outlet.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Goth Men

Sister Rose has just posted a blog about a wonderful place called St. Bertrand de Comminges, notable for several lovely churches, Roman ruins and a beautiful location in foothills of the Pyrenees.

On reading about the history of the church, however, my attention was arrested for a moment at the name Bertrand de Goth. I immediately pictured something like this and giggled.

I had to search the internet for a suitable picture to express my Inner Vision and it was quite a fun search. Lots of stuff for Goths out there. I was particularly struck by something called 'Lace-up Gothic Death Pants.' I won't show the picture because, in this case, the Inner Vision is better than the real thing.

My only excuse for this silliness is that I live near Salem, where Goth is King, and it would not be impossible to see 3 or 4 pairs of Lace-up Gothic Death Pants in a single afternoon.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


This is a photo taken from the plane, just before we landed in Boston. That's Cape Ann sticking out into the sea, and the light curve of sand behind it is Cranes Beach and behind that is our house. As we have no Super Powers, we can't see it, but we know it's there.

So much to do, so little time.

I haven't time to write much today (and I've failed dismally in my vow to write every single day this month) but here is something fun - a Manga Face of your own. Click Here and click the flag that represents your language to get in.

I haven't had time to perfect mine, yet.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pantless, again.

The Winter Look, no pants, big boots. I do not understand this look. No one looks good in it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Walking Home after The French Chansons Show

The Pavilion at night. Really rather splendid.

Vive La France

This week there is a music festival in Brighton - the Second Annual Vive La France Music Festival. There are events in several venues and representatives of several different styles of French music - French Techno Pop, French Chansons and Folk Music, and some other kinds of music we know so little about that we just class them as 'music for people younger than us.'

I don't believe I've ever mentioned it before but The COG is a Francophile. This is why, last night, I found myself sitting on concrete in the sub-basement of an old Victorian industrial building - a sub basement probably formerly used to hold coal, but now a bar called 'The Basement'. We were there to see the French Chansons part of the festival. It was a small room - I counted about 60 people in it and 15 of them were sitting on the stairs. The rest of us were on two concrete tiers on two sides of the room, or on the floor.

We saw three acts, quite varied mostly pretty amateur but in a good way. The first group - Les Zuts - was just a bunch of French local guys who performed 3 SErge Gainsborough songs. Really enjoyed them. The second group - Francois and the Atlas Mountains, was a bit more professional and did a long strange song called le Peau. Which I liked. But the last act someone named Marina Celeste, formerly of Nouvelle Vague. She was a hot ticket - adorable French woman-child type. Tonight she is performing in a much larger venue - one of the top performances of the festival.

She began with a song about Une Frivol, which, she explained, is a girl who drinks too much alcohol and likes too much the men, when she has drunk too much. She followed that with a song called Orgasm Addict. Then, other songs, mostly in English for some reason. The climactic song was memorable. She shipped off her sparkly dress, revealing a tight black tank dress underneath and began to whip her hair around and dance on the stage while she sang a song called, apparently, Too Drunk to Fuck. That's pretty much all the lyrics, too. It was actually lots of fun to watch, but it made me reflect how times have changed since Serge Gainsborough and Jane Birkin's song Je t'aime... moi, non plus. was banned in England.

But, we had a good time. Even if we were 30 years older than the next oldest people there.

These are the houses in my Neighborhood.

Actually, it's the next street over, which I love. All bright colors and tropical plantings. Reminds one that Brighton is a seaside resort. Our house is supposed to be repainted this year and I'm wondering about requesting a color that isn't white. Blue, maybe, or Aqua, or Terra Cotta.

Update: The Pantsless Look...

has not disappeared. As illustrated in this photo. It's a bit less obvious in winter, because many girls are wearing long parkas that just covers the bum and knee-high boots.


Wednesday we went to London. We went first to get our theatre tickets and, then, by a happy chance, we found ourselves outside the National Gallery at Trafalgar Sq. So we went in, had a lovely lunch in the café and then spent 2 ½ wonderful hours browsing.

Highlights: The COG had just read a book, The Judgement of Paris a comparison between Manet and another painter who was more famous in his time. So he got to see lots of Manet’s works- especially one of a firing squad that had been cut up by Manet, but put back together Cezanne. And, for me, the 17th century portraits. I love portraits, all of them. And for both of us, all the paitings we've seen reproduced about a million times. Velasquez and Turner and Stubbs' horse, and the Seurat Bathers at Asniere (?). Phenomenal.

After that, we went to the matinee of The Misanthrope starring Keira Knightly and Damien Lewis and some other people. It was lots of fun to be there, to see all the people, to watch the performances etc. As a play, not perfect, but still we enjoyed it tremendously.

Daughter of asked if I had stood up and screamed 'Damien, I love you.' I did not. Though, I am still sad that his tv show, Life, got cancelled at the end of last year. And The COG didn't stand up and scream 'Keira, I love you,' either. In fact, his reaction to her was that she was so thin it was worrying.

I am pretty sure it was in the same theatre where Sister May and Daughter of.. and I saw the premiere performance of A Walk in the Woods starring Sir Alec Guiness and Edward Herrman, a long time ago.

After the theater, we walked aimlessly around London as it grew dark and I took this picture of Big Ben. Finally, we had a lovely dinner in a bistro-type restaurant. Quite a special meal, much better than our usual. Then, home to Brighton on a late train.

A very good day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mildew and Fish and Chips

We had a lot of work to do today and it was a beautiful day and we wanted to be outside, so we alternated fun and work. The big tasks of the day were to continue the mildew cleanup. Fortunately, our new Ikea couch has removable, washable covers. Unfortunately, you have to take the sofa apart - remove the arms and legs - in order to get the covers off. Then, we washed them in the new washer/dryer, which is wonderful except.... it takes 3 to 5 hours to do a load (this is true, not an exaggeration). And then, they come out so wrinkled you can't actually use them, so we have already learned to set the 'dry' for the lowest setting - 'iron ready', which is damp.

After some work, we strolled along the waterfront today to the other side of Kemptown. The light reflected from the sea was wonderful. The temperature was in the 40's and sunny. We got tickets for the train to London tomorrow and went home to work some more.

Tomorrow, we are going to see Keira Knightly and Damien Lewis on stage in The Misanthrope. Also Tara Fiutzgerald and... maybe Dominic Cooper. At home, we put another load in the washer and then walked along the seafront in the other direction, and down to the Brighton Marina which is a ghost town. Badly hit by the recession.

Then, home again for more work. While the COG painted the anti-mildew stuff on the walls, I finished hemming all the curtains. And then we put the covers back on the sofa, which is still in pieces because we want everything to dry out as much as possible before we go.

Dinner was fish and chips, bought from the local chippy, on the floor of the living room, since we couldn't sit in the back room. And to make it all more fun we had artisanal beers. The COG drank Banana Bread Beer, which, yes, since you wondered, was actually made with bananas and tasted of bananas. It was.... interesting. It might be fantastic with a curry or some Thai food. I had 'Dreckly' which is a bitter ale from an old Cornish recipe. I liked it. We also had mushy peas and we did not have a pickled onion, even though I had ordered one. But it was good and kind of festive.

Now we are in our local pub using the internet and drinking more beer. It's a funny pub, there's never more than a couple of people here - mostly they are always pretty much the worse for wear (as Georgette Heyer might have said.)

We are anxiously awaiting results of the Massachusetts election. It just doesn't bear thinking about.

Monday, January 18, 2010


This is where we were yesterday - walking along the chalk cliffs above the English Channel. It was sunny and very windy, though not too cold. It's hard to describe how beautiful this is. It's something about the texture of the cliffs, the grass walks, the chalk scattered on the ground, and it's impossible to capture on film. Along the way you could hear the wind, the waves on the shingle beach (pebble beach) and the occasional sound of sheep and cows who were gazing peacefully all around. We came home really tired, but content. It was a good day.We had lunch first, in a pub - The Golden Galleon - then walked. I don't know why the Golden Galleon is named that, but the town of Seaford has a long seafaring history - Viking attacks, smugglers, raids by the French etc. It is the site of one of the Martello Towers built during the Napoleonic Wars.We took the bus, which picked us up at the bottom of Eaton Place, deposited us in front of the Golden Galleon (which is adjacent to the Seven Sisters Country Park) and the set us down at the bottom of Eaton Place on returning to Brighton. It was great service, too, we only waited a few minutes each time.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A panoramic view of one side of Bruswick Crescent, a typical architectural feature of Brighton and Hove. It was named for Caroline of Brunswick - whose marriage to the Prince Regent was notoriously bad- inspiring lots of comparisons to the Diana and Charles' marriage.

Spring Promise.

Daffodils sighted this morning. I tried to include some of the buildings across the street in the photo so you could see that this is the same street on which the snow/slush photos I published earlier this week were taken.

We had a night of rain that washed away all the snow and slush. Now it's grey and gloomy but the grass is green and the daffodils are starting to come out. And it's in the 40s, so quite warm.

Yum! Exotic Gourmet Treat

What a treat! Lamb Balls for sale at a local meat market. Yes, really.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Washer/Dryer of Our Own.

Today we bought a washer dryer. I cannot tell you, words can not express my happiness. All the times we've been to England and the thing that has caused the most irritation is not having access to a washer. Even now, we have to wash the slipcover of our sofa (mold!) and it will be easy to do with our own washer and a huge hassle if we had to take several hours and do it all at once.

I can't load a picture - the internet is not working well enough - but I have faith that all of you can imagine a white washer/dryer. We used one of these in a flat we stayed in. You put in dirty clothes and they come out clean and dry. Is that great or what!

Aside from that, today was calm and fun. Rain overnight washed all the snow away. Everything is operating normally now. We walked through Kemptown, crusing a couple of antique stores and stopping for lunch at a restaurant called Here (where Sister Rose and I used wifi last summer). I had mushroom and stilton soup and homemade bread. The COG had a mezze plate with hummus, baba ganouj, feta, roasted peppers and homemade bread. Very nice.

Then, off to the other side of Brighton to buy the Appliance. And we walked home from there, very slowly, dawdling, shopping, wandering a bit. We bought some sausages at The Brighton Sausage Company and had them for dinner. We still haven't found a good wine shop, so we tried another one. It wasn't The One, either.

Now we are in a pub again, and the COG has just read me a headline 'Double Amputee Named Top Skydiver of the Year.'

What can I say to follow that?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Seed Art for the Sweet Tooth

Spotted in the window of a candy shop in The Lanes here in Brighton - a portrait of HM Elizabeth II done in jelly beans. This is the same candy shop where Sister Rose and I bought a lot of wine gums this summer.

The window frame in the upper left is a reflection from across the way.

Pavilion in the Snow

Thanks to the magic of Autostitch, here is the Pavilion in the Snow. It's not a perfect picture, but I don't have time to redo it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Holiday on Ice

It's cold here- the wind off the sea is icy. All the sidewalks are treacherous - uncleared and the packed ice created by freeze/melt cycles is slippery. I took this picture today while we were on our way to the supermarket.

Our journey was completely uneventful, despite weather warnings at every step of the way, starting with emails from Aer Lingus starting 2 days before we left. When we checked in at Boston, they warned us. When we checked in at Dublin, they warned. But everything was on time.

However, when we got to the flat, we discovered that the furnace had gone out at some point. We know it was quite a while ago because the walls of the back room are covered in mold and mildew. We had 24 hours without heat, but it wasn't too bad. For one thing we are sandwiched between two heated flats and for another thing, we bought a plug-in heater. And for a third thing, we are pretty hardy folks. But this afternoon it was fixed by a repairman who looked about 12 years old.

This morning we went to Asda, a giant supermarket owned by the Walmart Evil Empire, and bought cheap clothes to apply bleach to the walls in. The COG bought pajamas. I bought sweats. And we bought lots of cleaning supplies. We will probably clean tomorrow, and then the room will need repainting. But it's a small room with no moldings, so it will be easy and quick. And now we have painting clothes so we can paint other rooms as well.

We are in an internet cafe now, as we haven't figured out what to do for internet in our flat. I did buy a Sim card from a different carrier, so now I can use a phone in the flat. So, gradually, we are figuring things out.

Today's calamity is that I lost my glasses. I know I lost them at Asda, but they havent' been turned in. I'm pretty upset because I really liked them, but Sister May has already called my eye doctor and they are sending me a new prescription so I can get some contacts here. I wouldn't need them, except we have tickets to the theater next week to see Keira Knightley and Damien Lewis in The Misanthrope. I need to be able to see that.

That's all for now. More later.

Different Day, Same View

This was taken Monday Jan 11, 2010.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

We are heading for Brighton today. It snowed there Friday and causing lots of problems. We've been told by the airline to expect delays and flight cancellations. If we can get out of Boston to Dublin, we might stay a day in Dublin, if the flight gets cancelled there. We don't know what to expect once we get to Brighton.

But what is really on my mind is the hours of bullying by security precautions we will have to endure before we get there.

This picture was taken right in front of the second flat we had an offer accepted on. It's only 3 blocks or so from the one we finally bought. I still feel a pang when I walk by it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

After: The Guest Room

Finally finished the guest room. Well, it's not actually finished, it still needs some primping, but it's 80% done. The Before pictures were posted on Jan 1.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Forgetfulness - Billy Collins Animated Poetry

My beloved friend, Lulu, who is 94 1/2, is failing. She is still very much herself, but is so frail she is almost transparent. She has been having some days when she is very confused. It made me think of this Billy Collins poem, Forgetfullness, which is funny, but also touching.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Did I mention we have a ghost?

A ghost cat, that is. Courtesy of my neato autostitch program.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'd Rather Be Reading

The COG has remarked (more than once) that my gravestone should say 'Just wait until I finish this chapter.' And, I guess that means I'm a Reader. I pretty much always have several books on the go.

Right now, I am listening to 'The Domesday Book', by Connie Willis, which I've already read and which I am loving, again. Part of my brain is in the middle ages all day long. I'm close to the end and I'm putting off finishing it because then it will be done.

I'm also reading a mystery by Kate Ellis, and a book called 'Changes in the Land; Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England.' On my Kindle, I've got a new Charles Todd book - another mystery. And there's a cookbook called 'A New Way To Cook,' by Sally Schneider that I've been reading while I eat breakfast. And there's a Georgette Heyer by my bed that I read before I fall asleep. Right now it's 'The Reluctant Widow,' which I have probably read 20 or 30 times cover to cover, with many many more times that I just dipped into it. And I'm probably forgetting a couple of others.

Wednesdays are big book days for me. In the morning at least twice a month I sort books that have been donated to the Friends of the Library. We have 3 book sales a year, when the books we've sorted are taken out and sold. I also maintain a book cart at the library of the best, newest books which we sell for $2. What a bargain! And a couple of times a month, there are Wednesday night Friends of the Library Board meetings, or library programs.

I've just come from a Board meeting.

And now I'm going to read my Kate Ellis mystery.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Possibly the worst job in the world

Here's something to make you feel grateful - you don't have to clean the windows on the Burj Khalifa, Dubai - the tallest building in the world. It's 2716 feet tall and sways up to 5.5 feet in the wind. By comparison, Wikipedia says that the Empire State Building is 1250 feet, and the John Hancock Tower in Chicago is 1127 feet.

I think the pictures speak for themselves. But if you want to see the view the window cleaners have from the top,

Click Here for a video from the BBC.

Monday, January 4, 2010

What First Generation Feminists Do When They Retire

I sent Son of COG a box of Christmas goodies for his office. He told me that they were impressed. He said he was as surprised as they were. He told them, 'This is what first generation feminists do when they retire.'

I laughed about this when I was kneading this bread. I make most of our bread these days. There is nothing more satisfying than fresh home made bread. And the smell of bread baking in the oven... divine.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 3 of January Blogging Challenge

The problem with blogging every day is that I need to think of something interesting to blog about every day. Here is what I have done, today - nothing worth reporting.

1) Made pancakes for breakfast
2) Filled and ran the dishwasher and washed all the pots and pans etc. from a large holiday meal last night.
3) Made coffee cake for the Son of to take home.
4) Did the grocery shopping
5) Wrapped banana bread, leftover ham, and the coffee cake for Son of to take home.
6) Finished reading a book, a mystery by Peter Lovesey.
7) Finished all the painting in the guestroom. Finally.
8) Made dinner for the COG and Dog.
9) Wrote this blog

The COG wanted me to go snowshoeing with him this afternoon and I would have liked to, but the painting had to be finished in daylight. He came home with some lovely photos. I stayed home and painted.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rumours Denied

Despite photographic evidence to the contrary, The Bride did not spend New Year's Eve in Venice at Piazza San Marco. She spent it with The Cranky Old Geezer in Massachusetts.

A New Toy

The kitchen sink is not the New Toy.

The New Toy is a cool autostitch panorama program for the iphone. This was The Bride's first effort - 7 photos stitched together to form one photo. But you can use a huge number of photos. When Son of showed The Bride how to use it, he took 16 pictures and he said that he has used even more than that.

The neatest thing is pretty subtle. It's a kind of faux HDR. By stitching photos exposed for the snow covered branches outside the window with photos exposed for the inside of the kitchen, you can get detail on both.

$1.99 from the Apps Store -search for 'Autostitch Panorama.'

Friday, January 1, 2010

January 1, 2010

So I've committed to blogging every day this month, but I'm not sure why. I guess I just like a challenge. Today, I am going to paint the guestroom. I posted last year about color choices. I believe the final count was 18 possibilities. You can see some of the 'test strips' mottling the walls in the pictures.

What I finally did was to go into the paint store and just choose a color I hadn't tested, from a paint chip. I wanted a color less green than Philadelphia Cream, less grey than Standish White etc. And Hepplewhite Ivory was the winner. I guess you could say it was an 'off the wall' choice. But I'd prefer if you wouldn't.

What you see here are before pictures. Or, actually, in the middle pictures, because all of the woodwork was dark wood - stained but never sealed by previous owners. Simply painting the woodwork white has made a huge difference already. And took forever - like 5 coats and it's still not perfect. Nor is it likely ever to be, while I am painting.