The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cardbox 46465 - My Brain Hurts

I think I got a little overambitious with my word learning strategy.

Trying to keep my cardbox under control and go through another 500 'new' words every day. And a cardbox for anagrams and hooks - still seeding that with the 4 letter words.

It lasted about a week.

I could cope with the 7s but the 8s were killing me.

I decided to cut back to 250 new words a day, alternating between 7s and 8s.

And yesterday I had a day with nothing new added at all.

Just about to go through the next 250 8s to hit the 23000 mark.

I may stop there. Or I may not...

On a different but related note I have just had Marisa phone to arrange John coming to film me again. You are in for a thrilling treat of seeing me clearing my cardbox while lounging on the sofa. Hmm... I wonder if they will be allowed to show me rolling and then smoking a cigarette :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Glamorous Life of TV

John from the BBC phoned me a couple of weeks back with an idea for his documentary. A test of word knowledge between a scrabble player and Alan Yentob - only problem being it would have to be filmed in London, would I be up for it? Afternoon of Friday 16th - I checked Paul's diary. Peebles bridge congress but he said he wasn't going, so I said okay. It still had to be confirmed that Mr. Yentob would be willing and available.

I had an exchange of emails and phone calls last week to sort out my train tickets - I really didn't want to do the whole thing in one day and had semi-organised a weekend visiting MIL/FIL on the Friday after filming and then on to see Jackie (school friend) on the Saturday, coming home on the Sunday.

I had not received the tickets in Thursday's post so phoned up. Marisa wasn't around but the lady I spoke to said she was sorting it and she would get right on it and send me the booking reference for me to pick up the tickets from Berwick station. Email arrived shortly afterwards - booked on the 6.43! aaargh! But I had a flexible return ticket with a seat booked on the Sunday 1 p.m. train. I drove in to Berwick to collect the tickets just in case there was a problem - I wouldn't like to have to sort it out the next morning.

Up at 5.40 on Friday - just enough time for a coffee before Paul drove me to the station. I arrived at Kings Cross at 10.40 and it was a short trip on the tube to Borough. So I had an hour before I was due to arrive and decided to walk. I really should have printed out the map Paul had sent me but I had written down the instructions so got completely lost several times. Against popular opinion everyone I asked were extremely friendly and helpful so I eventually arrived with 10 minutes to spare.

Not the glamorous TV studio you might imagine but a rather rundown small terraced house. I buzzed and went in only to be greeted by a young man who asked me what I wanted. I said I was there for the scrabble doc and he told me they were actually filming it around the corner. So he escorted me to another equally unglamorous building.

I went in to a large white-washed room, that was empty other than for Lynn Murphy, who I thought was setting the test, and a few tables and chairs. She said she hadn't actually set the tests but had checked them over for suitability. We joked that they had selected the room to make us feel at home, reflecting the image of scrabble being played in church halls.

John phoned Lynn saying he expected to arrive in about 10-15 minutes time. I used the time to keep working on my cardbox. He duly arrived with an assistant who he sent off to get us some coffee, sandwiches and crisps for lunch. There was then a wait for the cameraman and soundman to arrive. The life of a TV assistant seems to involve getting lunches and standing on the corners of roads looking for cameramen :)

They arrived and started setting up. John outlined what he wanted. It was to be done as if we were sitting an exam. 50 words that we had to mark as true or false, and then a series of word definitions and a multiple choice of 4 words where we had to say which one matched the definition. Then an anagram quiz with Lynn holding up big boards with the letters on. Finally an interview between Alan, Lynn and myself.

It must have been nearly 1.30 p.m. when Mr Yentob actually arrived.

So we were given our instructions. Wait outside the door and action! We walk in and walk side by side down to the desks, shake hands and sit down. Lynn gives us our exam papers. You may turn over your papers and start...

And then they wanted to film it again in profile with Alan glancing over at me as if trying to look at my answers. And us giving each other dirty looks...

For the anagrams part it is decided that as soon as an answer is spotted hand up in air and call out answer(s)... And this is repeated several times with different camera angles.

At the start of the interview we are given our results. I won't spoil it but I could have done better. But I didn't make a complete eejit of myself (unlike in the anagram section where I probably look like an over zealous schoolgirl with my arm shooting up in the air - 'Me, Miss. Me, Miss...Oooh. I know the answer'). If I appear to be shaking in the interview it is not from nerves but by this time I am freezing cold and shivering. I am not allowed to put my jumper on for continuity :(

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Baby Bird Winded by Window

I was sitting studying in the sunroom when I heard a bang. Another bird mistaking our windows as a short cut.

I wandered over in the direction of the bang and saw this little chap/chapess lying stunned outside. A baby thrush I think. It was still alive, legs twitching and on its side.

By the time I fetched the camera it had sorted itself out and was sitting quietly, still a little dazed.

It has now gone - hopefully of its own volition and not courtesy of one of Margaret's cats...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Extension Part 40 - The End?

So it is our fourth anniversary of moving up here today and you may have thought with the lack of posts wrt the extension that it was all done and dusted.

Well, it almost is.

It was finally signed off by building control a couple of weeks ago. Most of the minor niggles we had (a list had been compiled) have been fixed. We still have a small leak in heavy rain through the bottom of the patio doors and rendering around the bottom of the utility room to be completed. And the lock on the utility room door is to be replaced. We have had the final bill but have a couple of outstanding queries on it to be clarified. But we are now using the sun room, having moved in the three piece suite we brought up with us. And the washing pulley in the utility room has been well tested.

So last week we moved our aging washer dryer from the kitchen to the utility room. And on testing it we found that it tripped the circuit breaker every time it got to the spin cycle. To be fair it had started doing that on occasions before we moved it and it was 13 years old...

Then we moved the dishwasher from its storage in one of our garden sheds in to the kitchen. On testing that it made the most horrendous noise. I guess the dishwasher was about the same age as the washing machine and four years in a shed haven't done it any favours...

So we spent some time on the web looking at kitchen appliances as we also want another freezer for the utility room.The one I had earmarked when we were planning the utility room is no longer available. Appliancesonline seemed to have a good selection of choices at reasonable prices.

Armed with a list we went to Curry's yesterday. They had none of what we had selected. However, they did have a dishwasher that I preferred to the one on our list albeit more expensive.

Unlike my previous experiences in such stores there wasn't a sales person in sight. Eventually a lady appeared. Paul asked her if their promise to beat any price found elsewhere by 10% applied to online sites. No. He ventured that we were looking to buy several appliances, giving her an opportunity to engage us in a sales negotiation. She didn't rise to the challenge so we left.

Back home we set about finding an on-line site for the new dishwasher. Pixmania came up trumps, and it was 50 quid cheaper than Curry's and 10 quid cheaper than our original choice from the web. With that extra tenner I have upgraded the washer dryer to a much better one - it was on special offer, reduced from 480 to 360 quid. They didn't have the freezer we had chosen but we decided that we could live with a smaller (and significantly cheaper) freezer that we had looked at in Curry's - there are just the two of us after all and it really is only needed to cope with the excess of gooseberries/strawberries etc. and for when we have people staying.

So the order went in yesterday afternoon. And, in a bizarre twist, we find that pixmania is a 'partner' of and it will all be delivered by - Curry's!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Words, Words and More Words

Apart from a brief interlude to transfer the plants that haven't made it into the garden yet into sturdier pots before winter sets in it has been studying all the way this week.

Too much I think. My head feels as if it is about to explode.

I have got through the next 1000 7s and 8s by quizzing from list and only adding in to the cardbox the ones I wasn't 100% sure of. Although some have been leapfrogged straight into cardbox 3, 4 or 5 depending on how uncomfortable about them I was.

I started an anagrams and hooks cardbox last week, just seeding it with the 4s at the moment.

Yesterday I started revising/retesting myself on the 7-8 INGS. I hope to finish that off today.

But my brain doesn't seem to want to engage. Struggling to clear my cardbox.

It is off to the Four Nations tourney tomorrow. This year England is hosting - Allan is planning to pick me up at 7.15 a.m. for our journey down to Chester. An early night tonight methinks.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

A Year in the New Garden

Veggie Patch:
11-28 April: De-stoned and mucked
9-10 May: Topsoil added
13-14 May: Potatoes planted
1-Aug: First tasting
1-Oct: Dug up another two rows and dug over the soil. Still got 3 rows to harvest...

Herb Patch:
9 May: De-stoned
10-May: Topsoil added
9-Jun: First herbs planted
7-Jul: Lavenders planted
4-Oct: Weeded again...

2-May - 12-Sep: De-stoned
15-16 Sep: Weeded and dug over again
22-Sep: Muck added
22-23 Sep: Started digging out bed on north facing wall for a cherry tree. This may not happen as I have hit sandstone not far below the surface, so will depend on how much I can actually dig out...

Raised Planters:
9-14 May: Topsoil loaded
10-11 May: Lettuces planted
24-25 May: Cabbages, cauliflowers and onions planted
Been weeded multiple times and needs doing again...

LB extension:
<-LB12 6 months ago/now->

Planting has started on the lower half of LB9-LB11.

All bulbs are now in.

LB8 is still untouched other than multiple weedkiller sprayings.

Roll on next spring...

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