Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Nothin' much goin' on

Just a quick post in case you think I've died or something. I haven't, but I've not much to post about, so this is just a place-holder. Sorry. Most of my blogging time, as I've said before, is now taken up with C# programming, but that is paying dividends as the work I'm doing is being taken seriously at work, and hopefully I'll eventually move into a full-time programming rôle, but you know this already.

The weekend was rather frantic, with much charging about. The first thing we had to do was tie a cotoneaster horizontalis back onto the gable end of the house. This shrub is about 8 feet high and had self-set in the dirt by the cellar window around the time we moved in. We've never given it any support, and it's cheerfully grown against the house wall, but in the heavy recent rain had collapsed across the path which leads past the garage into the back garden. Since that's where Jenny brings her motorbike, it had to be sorted out. I put up a couple of horizontal wires, and hopefully all will be well. I think we might give it a haircut on a regular basis from now on.

In the cobblers, picking up some shoes Jenny had had repaired, we found a card advertising an art exhibition in the next village, so took that it, but I'm afraid we were not impressed. I think my stuff is better, and these were proper artists, apparently.

I'm planning to join Herts Visual Arts Forum and apply to take part in next year's Herts Open Studios event, but so far have done nothing about it. There are 3 of us interested in joining up; Peter, of Peter and Julia, is a potter, Jacques, of Jenny and Jacques, whom I've not mentioned before, turns wood on a lathe, and me. We figure we could hire a venue between us, and keep each other company while the crowds avoid us. At the very least, it would give me a deadline for whatever I'm working on. Right now, having finished Lorna's head, I'm planning a cubist kneeling nude, but Jenny is not encouraging me much. I plan to ignore her.

I have a piece of wood called paduck, about which I can find very little. It's an African hardwood, not dissimilar to mahogany, but with a redder tint. My piece is about 75cm long, 30cm wide and 10cm thick. I've sketched the outline using a piece of garden chalk, but haven't actually started carving yet. Maybe Thursday.

Once back from the art exhibition, we loaded stuff back into the car. The saga here is that I swapped the car last Wednesday. I'd never been entirely satisfied with the Mazda 6, though it went well, and when I saw the paint blistering up just in front of the driver's side rear wheel arch, I decided it was time to replace it. Biting the bullet, I've bought a Toyota Avensis. I paid the same for it as I did for the Maxda when I bought that, but it's a year older. I am very much happier with it, as I was confident I would be, having driven one in Australia when we were there last year.

I didn't actively choose a top of the range model, but that seems to be what I've got. 2.2 litre diesel T-Spirit with leather upholstery, satnav, the biz. Yesterday the computer told me I had averaged 53 mpg! Oh yes, and my favourite - automatic windscreen wipers. Whatever next?

Anyway, we keep a basket of stuff in the boot - fuel can, screen washer & sponge, rubber gloves, warning triangle, all that sort of stuff, held in place with a rubber bungee so it doesn't crash around the boot all the time. And kites. You have to have kites in the boot. I think we've got 5 at the moment, one of which, a basic stunt kite, we've never successfully flown. It just goes in a big, rapid semi-circle, before crashing to the ground and dismantling itself. After rebuilding and trying again a dozen times, I got demoralised and gave up.

So when I changed cars, I had to take everything out of the old one and then load it all into the new one. It's surprisingly time-consuming!

Saturday afternoon we also noticed we have a pair of house martins nesting. More than a decade ago I put up a couple of artificial martin nests, but they were studiously ignored for years. Last year we saw some birds taking a little interest, but nobody nested there. This year, we can hear the chicks as the parents swoop up and feed them from the entrance. Entranced is the right word; we just love having them there and are determined to encourage more.


A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Very impressed with the sound of the new car - getting top of the range when someone else has paid for all the extras is pretty good. (BTW my new car is still going well - though possibly I shouldn't have said that!) I love house martens too - we had those when we lived in Wethersfield. Lovely. M xx
PS. I think you should definitely get into the art collective.

Rob Clack said...

Dear Margot, thank you so much for your many kind comments and I hope your new car is also still going strong. Like you, I always feel a teeny bit cautious when telling friends how well it's going! Just asking for trouble! 'Cept, being an atheist, I don't believe in any of that stuff!

Can Bass 1 said...

I had a car, once. Now I have a bike (and believe me, I'm no fan of wind and therefore kites).