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


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cardbox 42123

Top 19500 7s and 8s reached this morning. Plodding onwards slow and steady.

Causeway team is coming together. Paul Allan, me and Mikki Nicholson are definites. The rest of the team will be two out of Mark Nyman (rated 196) and Ed Martin and Neil Scott (tied on 193). I don't know if that will mean a play-off of some sort between Ed and Neil if Mark takes his place - which he says he cannot confirm until September. It is a little unfair on them having to wait...

Elsewhere many congratulations to Vannitha on winning the Malaysian nationals. This gives her a spot in the Malaysian WSC squad alongside Suanne. The women are coming :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Not Suitable For Vegetarians

Some animals were 'harmed' in the making of this jam...

From punnet to pan...

From pan to pot...

From mess to me :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Home Alone

Paul is in Washington playing bridge for the next week or so.

I am now settling into my routine.

Dogs have been walked.

Dogs have been fed.

Cardbox has been cleared.

Yesterday was a first. I actually got picked as the lucky respondent to a freecycle offer. Assorted Kilner jars. They are actually Le Parfait 'super' jars and I need to get some new seals, which I have found are available from a few sites on the net. And the very large one is broken in as much as the metal clip is missing from the lid but I will find a way of using it. Maybe try to grow and pickle onions next year. All in all I am very pleased with them.

I swapped a jar of alpine strawberry and a jar of wild gooseberry jam (in photo) for Margaret's redcurrants yesterday, which she then helped me pick whilst we had a good natter. They need processing today. Maybe freeze some rather than use them all for jelly.

And I'm waiting for the rain to stop (hopefully this afternoon) as the raspberries up the road need picking sooner rather than later.

I don't know if it is just the very strange weather we have had this year but everything seems to need harvesting at the same time this year and I am failing to keep up with it all.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cardbox 41180

I hit the 19000 mark for 7s and 8s this morning. Should be on track for the top 20000 in time for the BMSC. Unlike Henry I am adding them in at a rate that I can keep on top of, especially with the grotty weather at the moment stopping me even contemplating working in the garden...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Water Garden

We had about an hour of thunder, lightning and torrential rain yesterday. Apparently worse is predicted for tomorrow.

My herb bed became a canal.

I weeded the fruit-bed-to-be on Tuesday afternoon and then resumed digging it yesterday prior to the rain. I gave up because it was already too muddy. I then watched it filling up like a moat.

The water had all drained away by today.

I decided to battle the remaining weeds in the back today. I have done the middle raised bed, the area at the front of the veggie patch so I can now reach the potatoes and made a start on the remaining topsoil pile before it started raining again...

Luckily it is not just the weeds that have loved this weather.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Leonard Cohen at Brooklands

Leonard Cohen is class.


Nearly three hours of pure joy.

Thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend. Great catching up with Lucy, Garry and the girls.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

UK Masters 2009

Allan and I drove to Carlisle on Friday where we stayed in a B&B, picking up Mikki the next morning. We arrived with plenty of time to spare but none of our rooms were ready.

I drew Mikki for game one and after he started with TRAPEZE for 106 I was never in it.

Things flowed much better in game 2 against Phil Appleby. We gave our racks to Stewie but it doesn't appear to have made it online. Maybe will be used for the magazine...

Against Martin Harrison my play of IODYRITE to go 120 up was hit with R(E)FASTeN to be 29 down. There were 2 left in the bag and the Q was unseen, with only one place to directly play it. I decided my only hope was that Martin had picked it so I blocked the spot with FADE(R) to go 3 behind - phew, I didn't get the Q...

A win against Allan and my spread was positive for the first and only time of the whole tourney +1!

I lost the next 2. Adrian hit me with 4 consecutive bonuses, a smaller loss against Jared.

A high scoring game against Lewis. This is annotated on centrestar.

Next Paul Allan. I open with YAP and Paul bonused with CAVATIN(A). Holding AEGNOWS I tried GOWAN(I)ES, knowing GOWANY, but alas it is not allowed. Paul then tried COT(T)AGY but it is only allowed with an E. I balanced and bonused the next go but Paul then went on a scoring spree which I could not match.

So, end of day 1 and 4-4 but mega negative spread.

Another thrashing at the start of day 2 by Wayne - it could have been soooo much worse had I not played out with AZURINE for 131!

I followed it with another no-hoper against Paul Gallen.

And then Phil Robertshaw, who was having a much worse time than I was. Phil opened with COWED and I immediately played (C)OWBANES. Phil plays the 9x IRI(S)AtES but B(A)UhINIA gave me a 1 point lead. I completed the hattrick with LAZULIS. Phil caught me back up on move 9 with RESPITE. A nervy pre and endgame by us both - I had the Q and was ensuring that there were always two places to dump it whilst scoring with my other tiles. This proved enough to hold on for a close win.

Game 12. Neil started and gave me the I I needed for F(I)REHALL, unfortunately ending one short of the triple for a measly 65+5. Neil immediately plonked an S on the bottom with AMBLES for 84 :( My pickup was 6 vowels and a G so I was forced to dump while Neil followed up with steady scoring. I was hanging in there and a 4x of DIG(H)TED got me back within touching distance, and I was rewarded with a good pickup. A bonus each two moves later but TOXI(N)E for 63 gave me the edge.

So, now 6-6 and strangely still in with a chance - no-one was blitzing the field.

The next game against Kevin was a cracker. I really thought the gods were on my side when I extended BE to BEGORRAH. But it was not to be. A loss by 1 point...

Ed Martin in the next game. I kept getting a 100+ lead and Ed kept catching me back up. But luckily he couldn't overhaul me.

Last game, Craig Beevers. He changed tiles. I changed tiles. He changed tiles. I dumped tiles. He bonused. I bonused. He bonused again :( I caught him back up on move 8, but he was scoring well and another bonus by him on move 12. A playout bonus by me merely reduced my losing spread, which was pretty irrelevant in the grander scheme as it was mega negative by now.

So the end of a very strange Masters. The top 3 were all on 9-6, and I was 14th only two games behind. I had two nine timers played against me and I won both those games.

Congratulations to Jared who won his first ever major/'A' division - not a bad one to start with.

Thanks to Phil A for organising and Stewie for TDing.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Back In The Groove

Normality has returned. Well, until I go away again on Friday.

Cardbox is back under control. I am being paranoid at the moment - recent experience has led me to add in all the 7s with 2 Vs or 2 Ws...

Alpine strawberry picking has started. Just over 2 pounds last week that I converted into jam with about 10 minutes to spare before Allan arrived to whisk me off to Carlisle on the first leg of our journey down to Stone and the UK Masters. (More on that in a later post). Just under one and a half pounds this evening before the rain drove me back inside, leaving a couple of patches unharvested.

Weeded the herb bed yesterday and got all my lavender plants planted in pairs dividing it into equal sections, with herbs in between - still got two 'herb' gaps waiting for me to transplant some chives from LB4 and I haven't decided what else yet. I will also plant some mint in a pot and that will go on the end to hide the drain cover. And then I need to stop Jen walking all over it :(

This afternoon I worked through the drizzle weeding LB12 (again) and a bit of LB11. Even Paul noticed how much better it looks. I dug out Reg's daffodils and planted the hosta and iris from the Paxton plant sale and the second daphne from Edrom nursery in the gaps that created.

I really need to spray again as the bindweed is coming up all over the remainder of the LB extension, but rain is forecast in varying amounts for the foreseeable future.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Words of Interest - BLIPVERT

Just come across this beauty, entering the charts at number 18611:

A very short advertisement on TV

I wanna play it...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Back Home

Paul had been very sneaky in telling me that Chris (tiler) would be starting this week.

When actually he started last week.

And finished about half an hour before I got home today.

I decided that I was too tired to drive home from Colin's yesterday, having had only about 4 hours sleep on the planes having been up for the best part of 34 hours.

The slate tiles look great - really pleased that Paul finally agreed. The rusty colours complement the wood beautifully, and the variations of the tiles works well with the simplicity of the rest of the room.

The utility room is also finished. We went for 'some imperfections within the box' quarry tiles - we decided we could live with that for the utility room as they were much cheaper than 'perfect expensive' quarry tiles. They look fine.

The garden has got carried away.

It is impossible to see the rows of potatoes as they have grown so much and are now flowering.

The raised beds need weeding but it does not seem to have restricted the growth of the cabbages and lettuces.

The LB extension needs to be sprayed again - the weeds have had free rein.

Hopefully I will get out there this evening when it has cooled down a little.

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