Monday, 27 September 2010

Stargazing And A Caravan Fire

Just lately - now I've got a new super-zoom toy - another of my other gentle pastimes has  has been rekindled, namely stargazing. Not the serious stuff, I'm not bright enough for that, but the easy to notice things like the phases of the moon and the planets that can be seen just by looking up.

To help with this I started following Jodrell Bank on Twitter, they tweet and re-tweet and I was lucky enough to have checked just at the right time on the MW zinc ii for us to dash out onto the veranda [no, we're not posh, we're just at the caravan], to spot the International Space Station passing over. I've since used the website heavens-above to follow the ISS and visible passing satellites.

I also downloaded a program called 'Stellarium', this shows all the stars and planets and where they are at any given time. You can fast forward and zoom in amongst other things, which was a great help for spotting the four largest moons of Jupiter through my telescope - 13 years old, in pristine condition, recently hoiked out of the cupboard it had been banished to shortly after purchase [a surprise Christmas present from the grumpy old man] and taken to the caravan where the lighting conditions are far better than at our winter abode.

Anyway, in-between taking photos of the squirrel, birds and some very obliging fungi [they tend not to dash off while I'm composing my shots] during the day and the badgers at night - although I've still not managed to get the elusive fox or owl to stand still long enough to have their pictures taken - I've taken some [not brilliant but wonderful for me] pictures of the moon and a few blobs of Jupiter and her largest moons.

I was tiptoeing the other night among the slugs to get a close up of the badger noshing on peanuts when he suddenly shot off [they can move fast] as he had been disturbed by a WHOOSH! He made a hasty retreat along the fence and into the dyke. The cat was in a state of panic too. We couldn't work out what would have made such a strange noise so late at night - most normal people [wimmin] were in bed snuggled up with their electric blankets while the others were watching football on the telly.

Then I spotted the flashing blue and red lights and smoke, oh heck, right where the gas tank is [or so I thought]. Yes one of the fire engines plus the ambulance were there but the fire was a caravan further down the site.

Of course, being nosy I went to investigate, well I was already dressed in my bright-cream-fleecy-stop-up-late-when-it's-cold-to-take-photos pyjamas over my normal flimsy bed attire. Some people gave me a bit of an odd look as they turned up to see what was happening, because there I was, armed with my camera. I explained that I'd been taking photos of the badger but I'm not sure if anyone believed me - our caravan neighbours are used to seeing me with my camera at night but I don't go far with it [not needing to] - they probably thought I was some sort of opportunistic ghoul who likes taking disaster photos.

We all stood around in the drizzle, comparing caravan insurance that we'd had to pay at the beginning of the month. And agreeing that we hoped it was a caravan that belonged to 'she who must be obeyed' - not out of spite, but if it was an owned caravan, then there's always personal stuff left inside, whereas if it's a site caravan, it's only fixtures and fittings.

We've since found out that someone was staying in the caravan but were out at the time and the fire was caused by an electrical fault - it was actually a bimbo's hairdryer with an intermittent fault, left plugged in - as you do [not]. What was left of the caravan has now been taken away to caravan heaven.

We've also all had to pay for an electrical check that we didn't need. But someone - in the right place at the right time has made vast amounts of dosh, charging £25 for approximately 8 minutes work, umpteen times over a few days [with a Leicester telephone number, so not local but cheaper than advertised onsite] - unfortunately, having retired the GOM is no longer certified to do any electrical work, even though he has the technology ... which I heard about, oooh, every time he saw another victim friend to harass tell his tale of woe to ... bless him.

Did I take any photos of the caravan on fire? Well of course I did, I couldn't miss an opportunity like that now could I? I'm as ghoulish as the next person ...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Name Confusion

I was asked to print a copy of 'A Game Of Bowls' post for our next-door-but-one caravan neighbours, as they'd read Betty's copy and wanted their own - sad people. Anyway, I'm quite obliging and to save myself having to get the printer out again in the near future I decided to print a few of my posts - the ones that didn't involve Asda because no-one in their right mind wants to read my rants about them.

I saved them in 'Word' before printing as it was easier to get more tripe squeezed into one page. I noticed along the way that I hadn't gone back to remove all the offending ampersands [&] as I'd promised. I did a bit of that while I was copying and pasting so couldn't help reading a few of my own posts. Even I had a titter occasionally because I'd completely forgotten about at least half of them [just as well sometimes].

One in particular made me laugh when the grumpy old man had started calling me Judy. I reminded him of this last night and asked him if he could remember why he'd taken to calling me by a different name.

'Well,' he said. 'When you get a bit older, you start to forget names ... Anyway, you're nearly as bad as me - just look how often you call me Twat' ...

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Roundabout Open At last!

I've been told that The Roundabout is open!! - although according to my neighbour [who has been that way], the road markings are strange. Two arrows straight to Heanor and no hint of a right arrow to Cromford Road. I don't suppose they really want anyone going around it until Asda opens ... because that's what it's there for - SHOPPING! - not to make life easier for us ...

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Asda's Langley Mill Roundabout To Open ... One Day!

After interrogating a poor unsuspecting chap - who isn't so unsuspecting, and is by now used to us questioning him - while he was putting up a notice to say that the footpath to the bridge was now open [two days late as most of RG Groups notices]. We think we managed to get the information we wanted about Langley Mill's roadworks:
  1. The tarmac is to be laid tomorrow.
  2. The white lining will be done Friday.
  3. The road will open, ooooh sometime after that - presumably when the paint is dry. So - um, later on Friday then? ... Or, Saturday? Er Sunday? Next week? ... When Asda opens? [8th November]
Apparently, and I can't quite remember where I heard this [yes I can, what a huge fib!]. It's the council that's been holding things up with the roundabout. I presume they must have had a very good reason seeing as they know [or should know] that the children are now back at school. Cromford Road wasn't open for 3.30 this afternoon [as it has been lately], so people had to turn around at the bottom of Bridge Street to go back to join the queue to get onto the A610 - not a lot of fun and an enormous waste of time ...

Saturday, 4 September 2010

A Game Of Bowls

Ahem, we went bowling yesterday ... and that's the very last time I refer to all those old dears in off white 'uniforms' as a 'bunch of decrepit geriatrics' - oh, I ache! I have muscles in my legs I wasn't aware of. There were old codgers beetling up and down after their balls - 'bowls', I was oft corrected, to which I was to reply 'but they're just deformed balls!'

My team won, totally without my help. We were being taught to play by our caravan neighbours who play most days throughout the season at Skegness. I was partnered by John and the grumpy old man by Betty, this meant that I could chat to her at one end and grumpy could bore him at the other.

I often got to place the mat as my partner was good and we kept winning, this also meant I got to chuck my ball first at the distant white speck aka 'the jack' - see I'm learning. I was also to learn things like 'bias' and 'jack high' [yeah, I thought that was cards too].

Like any poor loser/worker I blamed my tools, or in this case - bowls [woods, oh yes!]. They were too light being size 0's, I really wanted to try 2's but they were already out, grumpy had 3's, and bugger me - he was good at it, I mean really good - was I jealous? Not a bit, he's got to be better than me at something. So ... no, I'm not in the least bit bothered, not jealous at all, I don't know why I mentioned it really - it was just that I needed to fill up this paragraph that I'd already started [t**t!].

Of course [yes, I'm still in excuse mode], I would probably have played better with a screen around a good portion of me to blot out the view of my derrière when I played my bowls. Now why I should think anyone is interested in the size of my gluteus maximus is a mystery, because Skeggy is the big bum capital of the east coast in summer and mine seriously isn't that big [no it isn't].

It didn't help that the opposition standing next to me and giving me excellent advice - 'aim for the darker green patch' or ' the vibrant green bit' [depending on which end we were playing from] - is very slim and petite. She approached the mat with graceful, fluid movements and sent all her bowls in a perfect arc toward the jack. Whereas I lumbered up like a Russian shot putter, madly dusting my bowl as I went - giving me time to have a sneaky look around to make sure there were few, if any witnesses to the eclipse that was shortly to occur.

Unfortunately, being more aware of my bum instead of concentrating on the job in hand meant that instead of taking my time, I just lobbed the bowl to get rid of it as fast as I could, often sending it straight down toward the jack instead of curving it. This resulted in them frequently dribbling out of play and occasionally to nestle comfortably amongst the bowls of the neighbouring players - yeah, yeah, OK. I've done with the feeble excuses now.

I was to finish our game with a stagger and handshakes all round [and a hug from the grumpy old man]. Oh heck! It was m-i-l-e-s back to the car. When we'd finally got there [a few minutes later] and I'd draped myself somewhat melodramatically over the passenger seat, I realised my left leg was still hanging about outside [yes, it is attached before you ask]. I begged it to lift itself up and in - it completely ignored me so I gripped the hem of my shorts and dragged it in. The GOM - usually big on sympathy - said I'd be fine after I'd had a couple of paracetamols - PARACETAMOLS!!  - I wanted walking sticks or preferably a Zimmer frame.

Betty and John arrived back at their caravan shortly after us. They asked today if we'd gone straight out as they didn't see us again. Well, no they wouldn't, I'd rushed into the caravan - after having more severe words with my legs about how long they were taking to mount the steps - had a hot shower [no bath to soak in here] and then tottered down the caravan going 'oooooh, owwww' to plonk down in front of the telly to do a bit of crocheting - making the cat a bright orange and fluffy pink blanket as punishment for turning me into a zombie while she was missing.

And this pathetic wreck of womanhood was achieved with just over an hours play. What made it worse was the knowledge that our fit neighbours have regularly played for several hours, come back at teatime to immediately start a bit of intensive - on your knees - weeding and lawn edge trimming, whilst I was to be found watching them lazily over the top of my book from a sun lounger ... yawn.

'Will we be playing bowls again?' I hear you ask, you bet we will - just as soon as I've recovered - in about a month's time. Oh yes, and when I've got me a big portable screen to hide my a**e ...

Friday, 3 September 2010

Langley Mill's New Roundabout

Oops, sorry neighbour. I wrote this and forgot to publish ... bad blogger.

I've just been told by a very reliable source [my good friend and neighbour] that:
  1. The footpath on Bridge Street is to open on Monday.
  2. Asda's roundabout should be fully open Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the weather for laying tarmac.
  3. The turning circle/private car park will remain until RG Group leave in 7 weeks.
  4. There's a big fence going up along the new footpath.
Photos will be taken [and inserted] when we return home on Wednesday - hopefully using the new roundabout ...


8th September Update:
  1. Yes the footpath to the bridge is open. Nets will be reinstalled on my windows [oops] -  I'll put my nets back up
  2. No, Asda's new roundabout isn't fully open ... I can only assume that if they were depending on the weather for tarmac laying [as some of us were told], then they must be using the 'don't like fresh air' variety of tarmac.
  3. BT is still very much in evidence at the end of Cromford Road, shall we blame them and their chamber?
  4. The fence is huge, almost as high as my bedroom window, I don't like it Asda - move it!