Monday, June 29, 2015


I have to say I am rather pleased with Bubba's portrait so far.
I worked on it today and found it was all falling into place quite easily.
I feel that he is almost looking at me from the painting now.
It needs to dry quite a bit before I can continue.
At the very least he needs whiskers.

The weekend.
Friday evening we always grab something to eat while we are out.
Nothing dramatic, just some chips in the mall, or a sammidge or noodles.
This time we went to Noodles for noodles.
I ordered that which I generally order which has no meat or peppers in it.
I don't eat meat and I can't eat peppers.
Oh was one of those days.
Philip said the girl had a problem understanding him when he placed the order.
I remarked that it would be interesting to see what I got is always mine.

When it came, the server announced our dishes, which were correct - that was a good start.
When I tried eating mine, however, mine was not.
It was a completely different dish and it was full of peppers.
I would be very poorly if I ate that.
Philip grabbed it and took it back.  They promised to do the right one this time.
This, of course, meant he would be eating his while I waited  I don't mind that but he does.
I waited, and waited...and waited.
Eventually, it came out with a flourish and she announced it proudly.
It was the right dish but they had added chicken to it.  Loads of chicken.

Back it went.  The manageress came to see me, full of apologies.
By now  I had gone off the whole idea and told them not to try again.  She said they had new people in the kitchen who were still learning,..,blah, blah,,blah.
I didn't make a fuss. I just told her I didn't want anything and she refunded the cost. They also gave us two awful rice crispie, sticky, yukky bars by way of a treat.
The possum seems to like them.

Saturday we stopped for brekkie at our favourite brekkie haunt.
Again, I asked for what I always have and got completely the wrong thing.
Apologies were made and a proper eggy sammidge appeared.   They also gave us the first, wrong one to take home.
My our possum is doing well this week.

Saturday evening I was taking no chances and cooked a pasta bake.  At least if I cook it I stand a fair chance of actually getting the right thing.

Lastly, I saw this sign outside a local veterinary clinic....


Well it made me chuckle anyway.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Jogging along.

We met Gary at River Rhythms.
The band this time was called Uprising.   We weren't expecting much after last week.
Well, we were wrong.
This band were amazing.  They were excellent musicians, the singer was good and they did some brilliant songs - stuff we knew.
Even Philip enjoyed it.
He was singing along too.
They had a very good vibe going, high energy and making jokes about each other.
We needed this after our pants week. When Donna and Lauren are here we will see if we can find where they are playing.  I think they would enjoy it too.

Bun Bun is back.
I love seeing him hanging out in our garden.  He must feel fairly safe there to be out in the daytime.
I do hope the hawk doesn't come around.

This little bugger has found the squirrel corn which is on the fence.
He shimmies up there without any trouble and then strips that corn before the squirrels get a look in.
Look at the size of his cheek pouches.  He, or she, must have a big family to feed.

The Kaleidoscope Dragon is framed and ready to go to its new home.
I will be sorry to see him go.  I spent a long time getting him finished.
But, onward and upward.

I have started a portrait of Bubba.
I didn't know if I would be able to focus enough but I managed to do this underpainting today.
I did the background a few days ago.  It doesn't show in this photo but the background is done is a pearly, almost metallic, finish.
The underpainting of Bubba is done in acrylic.  I will probably do some of it in oils too.
If, and it is quite a big IF, it turns out alright, then I will use it for my Christmas card this year.
I have a back up if it all goes pear shaped.

Alan phoned last night.  He sounds happy enough.  He has moved into larger accommodation, which I am sure, is much better for him.
It was good to have a chat with him.  Of course, on the one night he phones, Philip has to be late in from work due to traffic on the way home.
Still, they had a good chat too.
Two weeks from today Donna's cats, TommyJones and Elsie will arrive.
We have to pick them up from Chicago airport.  I am a bit worried about how the trip will affect them and how long it will take to integrate them into our pack.
But, they will be spending their first couple of weeks in Lauren's bedroom before any meeting takes place.
Donna and Lauren should be arriving on July 15th.
I say should because although Donna's visa is due to arrive tomorrow, Lauren's is delayed. This is partly due to a bit of melt down in the embassy's computers.
Donna is hoping she doesn't have to change her flights as that will cost more money.
Fingers crossed it will be sorted out soon.
Maybe it is just a ruse to send us their cats?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bye Bye My Boy

We made the decision Tuesday.
Bubba has gone to The Rainbow Bridge.

Rainbow Bridge
'There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows, hills and valleys with lush green grass.
When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water and warm spring weather. All the animals who have been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent; her eager body begins to quiver. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated.'

At 17 years old people will say he had a 'good innings', but it also means we have had him for such a long time that being without him is horrid.
Plus, having to make the decision was a nightmare and we feel like the worst traitors on this earth.
I just hope he has forgiven us.

He was everybody's friend, people and cats alike.  He loved the orphaned foster kittens and became their mother substitute for the 3 months they lived with us.
Our girl kitties just put up with the little buggers, but Bubba loved them.
Every year he watched the Super Bowl with Alan.
He was my sweet, gentle boy and I miss him terribly.
The girls are all discombobulated.  Looby Loo, who was devoted to him, is so frightened.  She is starting to look ill.
I do hope she doesn't get sick.

Bye bye my dear old friend.

Philip got rather drunk Tuesday night.
I couldn't bring myself to eat or drink anything.  I have a feeling I might have a couple tonight though.

Friday, June 12, 2015

First of the season

On Wednesday it was the first River Rhythms (free live music in the park bring your own booze) of this season.
In the past couple of years the first two weeks have been cancelled due to bad weather.  We can get some pretty fierce storms at the start of summer over here.
Last year they had scheduled two really good bands for those first two weeks, which were cancelled, meaning we didn't get to see them.
It seems this year they decided not to put the best ones on first.
I think they put the worst one on first.....or I bloody hope so because we won't want to see anything worse than this lot were.
Again, I am sure they were all brilliant musicians, but their songs were so dreary and miserable I was worried about anyone in the audience, who might be depressed, going home and cutting their wrists.
Every song was a long whine.  It seemed to be some sort of mix of Indian and Arabian music.
They looked mismatched too.
There were 8 in the band and each one looked like he should have been somewhere else.
It ranged from the guy at the back with his coolie hat and very long dreads, to the guy at the front, on the guitar, wearing a suit and tie and looking like he had come straight from work.
Most were the attendees.

This guy had some pluck.
Swanning around in a Harley Davidson t shirt and a skirt.  Oh I expect he would have said it was a kilt but it looked like a skirt.

Looks like Charles Manson was enjoying himself.
I hadn't realised they had let him out.
The band seemed to be right up his alley.

Some people excel at hats.
This one was brilliant.  I would have no idea where to even go to find a hat like that.

Maybe the hat lady was trying to compete with Mr Dreadlocks and his hat.
It would be tough to choose between them.

It is bad when one of the mounted policemen bogs off and leaves his horse behind.
Just look at all the happy, smiling faces here.   Oh they are having a whale of a time.

Well, we stayed until almost the end, but it got to be that one long, wailing song drifted into the next until you couldn't tell if one had ever ended.
We had caught up with Gary and all his news, so we decided to call it a night and go home.
It had started as a very warm evening but turned a little chilly later.
On Thursday night, Jazz in the Park, which is across the river from River Rhythms, got rained off.
It has always seemed before that our Wednesday event got cancelled and then Thursday would be great for Jazz in the Park.
We stopped going to Jazz in the Park some years ago when it got too crowded, too difficult to park, too many rules and regulations and you were no longer allowed to bring your own booze but had to buy it from them.
River Rhythms is much more easy going.   More characters there too.

Bubba isn't doing so well again.
I fear the decision will have to be made next week.
Poor old boy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Many a slip

Here is a friend of mine from when I lived in Ashford.
He was a next door neighbour many years ago.
He had been working in California for 7 years when a few weeks ago he had to leave as the time on his visa had expired.
He'd had a fabulous time in California, skiing and snow boarding in the mountains, hiking, climbing, water sports etc.
I felt so sorry for him when he had to leave and return to the UK.  I felt even more sorry for him when he told me his company were sending him to India.
Wow, what a culture shock that would be.
He was sent to work in the south of India, the hottest place, where they are currently having their hottest and most humid year. He will be there until at least Christmas.
Oh dear, I thought he would be ready to quit.
He did sound rather down about the whole situation, but started sending pictures back which were a world away from California.
Anyway, he seemed to perk up a bit and then he sent this photo.
He had got himself a part in a movie being made where he is living.  In this photo he is learning his lines.
He is playing a foreign
He had a blast.
Hollywood to Bollywood.

What a brilliant attitude.  He didn't want to go there and could have sat around moping but instead he has been exploring his surroundings and also got into a movie.
He says he will buy the DVD just to see his name in the cast list.
I don't know that I could have stayed so positive, but the fact that he is making the most of it quite cheered me up.

I spoke too soon regarding the Middle Ages course I am taking.
It is still going quite well but the lecturer this week is a bit of a nightmare.
She speaks so fast and with such a thick Spanish accent that it is hard to follow.   I thought it was just me but there has been a bit of a furor in forums about it too.
You can slow the videos down but that just warps the sound and doesn't make things any easier.
They seem to have lost their way on content too, another subject people are getting bent out of shape about.
This week is all about religious relics and their containers.  Oh well, I didn't know anything much about the subject so it is good to learn these things.
I shall be interested to see what sort of mark I get for this course.

After a bit of a scare with Bubba on Thursday, the old boy has bounced back yet again.
He was rather poorly and it looked like we were going to have to make the decision on Friday.
Philip even let them know at work that he may not be in.
But, Thursday night he settled down on the bed with us, started purring and dozed off on my shoulder.
I told Philip there didn't seem much wrong with him and he agreed.
He is 17.  He is thin, a little wobbly, very forgetful and looks a lot like Worzel Gummidge.  But, he isn't going anywhere just yet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Hocus Pocus

I am still really enjoying my latest course run by the University of Barcelona.
It is about the middle ages and the way witchcraft, prophesy, alchemy and all other classes of magic were viewed by the people and predominantly, the religions.
We have covered a lot.  Different countries and cultures and, surprisingly, different religions.
The Christian thoughts on paganism and particularly, witchcraft, I think we are all fairly familiar with.
Witch trials and the Spanish Inquisition are not new subjects to us.
But, I have been intrigued by the Muslim take on it.  They have a different outlook on 'magic'.
I didn't know much about Islam and I won't pretend to know a lot now, but I do know more and I do understand them more.
Amazing what a little education will do.

One of the lecturers is really sweet.  He looks about twelve, but then I saw that he is a Doctor of something historical.  Amazing.
I am sure he could get half fare on the bus.

I was a wee bit miffed this week though.
Apart from the usual lectures and tests, we had to do an essay.
I am always up for an essay.  I pride myself on knocking together a bloody good essay.
It was on an Arthurian theme.
We had required reading to do first.  Ok...King Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere, Merlin ....that doesn't sound like much of  a hardship.
Well, the required reading was pants.
It was a translation from a French romance about Lancelot and Guinevere.
Not a trace of Merlin.  I thought, as this course is about all things 'magical', that he would be the star of the story.
It must have been his day off.  In fact there was no magic in it at all.

The writing was heavy going and clunky, but I read it.
I then did the essay.........oh and it was such an essay.  We were asked our views on Lancelot's behaviour and asked to give examples.
I spent a couple of hours just on the first draft.
I was really happy with it though.  I knew I would go back and tweak it now and then before the submission deadline.
That evening, perchance (getting into the olde worlde lingo here) I looked at the discussion forums.
Good job I did.

There was a huge hoo haa going on because the essay appeared to require a certain number of words.  I can't recall exactly but it was a couple thousand I think.
Everyone was up in arms as apparently it was a mistake and all they wanted was not an essay, as we know it, but just a couple of paragraphs.
I think they said no more than 1200 characters....not words....individual letters.
This worked out to be so tiny that no one could believe it.
They eventually got a member of the university staff to confirm.  They wanted two short statements.
Bloody Nora........I had written loads.
I had gone into great detail and done about 20 times what was required.  Not only was it too much but it would be marked down for being too much.
So, I had to back to it and chop out as much as I could.  In the end it was rubbish.
I still could not cut it down enough and nothing made much sense any more.
I scrapped it and re wrote the poxy thing.   I am not happy with it.  I am not sure I covered all that was meant to be covered  because I didn't have any words left.
Oh well, apart from that one hiccup it is being run really well.

Donald and Daisy are visiting more and more.
Here they are enjoying the late sunshine of the evening.   I love hearing them quack outside the window.  We are lucky to have them.

We bought this fish for the Art Deco bathroom wall.
It is quite big, around 10 inches tall, possibly more, and I just love it.  It was only about $15 (10 pounds).
I added the bubbles because I could.