Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Where's me flagpole?

This is the officially adopted and recognised flag of Yorkshire.
Any resident or business in Yorkshire can now fly it from their flagpole without having to first obtain planning permission!!
Best crack on with painting the flagpole at McArthur Towers!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

ABC Wednesday - B is For.....

After last weeks criminal activity (Attempted Verse - guilty as charged!) I have concentrated my efforts on a more mundane subject for 'B'!!

Busy Lizzies!!
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Visit the ABC Blog here for more Bloomin' Marvellous 'B's
Or, if you prefer, visit Mrs Nesbitt's Place and link via Mister Linky

Monday, 28 July 2008

More Macros

Click each picture for a closer look.
A rose in the sun....
Another rose - but I didn't see the black-spot on the leaf 'til now!!
A bee having a pollen bath on our Mallow - this was as close as I dared go!!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Weekend Wandering

Weekend Wandering - David McMahon over at Authorblog has posed his weekly 'wandering' question:

The question is: What do you want most out of life?

It would seem that my answer to this often asked question changes with the advancing years. For example, when asked this in my teens and early twenties I might have responded that I'd like a house of my own, a family and a decent enough job to keep that family financially secure.

In my early thirties I'd obtained the house and a partial family - in that I had been married - but the job and "full" family evaded me. Until, that is, the age of 36 when the job of my lifetime came along and the following year the daughter of a lifetime joined the fold. The question "what do you want most out of life?" had been answered. Happiness was complete, surely?

Well yes, and no. With age a different set of priorities form in the mind. Now there are different needs and wants. A daughter to consider. What kind of future will she have? What can I do to make sure that she remains as happy and healthy and secure as she is now? What kind of inheritance will I leave for her? What do I wish for her? What does she want for herself? Endless questions, endless challenges - and this is my answer to David's question:

"I want to remain able, for as long as possible, to come up with new answers to what I want most from life. I want to be challenged to seek solutions to needs in my, and my family's, life, and I want to never lose the desire to attain goals of benefit to the family.

I believe it's called 'living' - and I want to do that for as long as possible!"

Saturday, 26 July 2008


I've had my camera for just over a year now - It's a Sony Cybershot DSC-W50 - I don't think the model is still in production. I bought it for it's neat compact appearance and the fact that it suited my budget at the time. I'm not a professional photographer, never have been, never want to be and therefore never will be, but I was fiddling about with all of the little dials and buttons on the camera and found that one of them switched on a 'macro' feature. I just had to give it a go and merrily danced - well "happily meandered" would be a better phrase perhaps - around our place yesterday morning snapping images as closely as I could without ruining them. I was quite pleased with the results. See what you think.

A close up of our apples (they may, or may not, be Discovery!)
Our kitchen taps from about two inches..
Some tiny (alyssum(?)) flowers on my knee... And finally, for Mrs Nesbitt, (no, not the Gin!!) our duck measuring spoons!!
I'm off to fiddle with the dials and buttons some more - wish I could find the Instruction Manual for the camera - I might have just sparked up an amateur hobby!!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Sky Watch Friday - Some Inky Blackness...

I'm not the best photographer in the world - or even in my household for that matter - but I wanted to capture the very last of the day's heat. After I'd taken this I realised that the glow wasn't coming from just the setting sun alone, but also from the local steel and chemical works!! How beautiful is that!!??
My, how we laughed at my foolishness!

For more Sky Watchers visit the Sky Watch Blog.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

ABC Wednesday - A is for...

The new crime of "Attempted Verse" which I expect to be found guilty of after this little gem! (What could be worse than Attempted Verse?!) Anyway here goes:

ABC Wednesday is here we see,
For today it begins with its Round Three,
There’s twenty six letters for us to find
This ABC Wednesday will play on your mind.

Mrs Nesbitt’s the host of this weekly blog,
For her it’s as simple as falling off a log.
Though many of us will toil all day,
Until we discover an interesting ‘A’.

Well as you can see, I ain’t no poet,
From this little verse, you’ll surely know it.
And try as I might to make it rhyme,
I’m just pleased to say “It’s ABC Time!”

A new departure for the Third Round of ABC Wednesday, this week beginning with the letter A – ABC Wednesday now has it’s own blog which can be found here.

If you wish to participate please email Denise (Mrs Nesbitt) and she will add you to the blog-roll.

Monday, 21 July 2008

It's Not Sky Watch Friday, but.....


It would seem that summer has finally arrived - not a cloud in the sky and temperatures are on the up!!! (QUICK!!!! Touch wood, touch wood....)

I think I'm becoming...... Right Wing!!

I don't like to discuss my politics - suffice to say I am an open minded individual who looks at all of the promises and lies and makes a judgement when the time comes. In most of the general elections held since I was 18 I have voted Labour - based on the fact that I either couldn't stand the Government of the day (18 years of Conservatives got a bit boring and decrepit), or that Labour seemed to be doing a decent job of the economy etc.

I also have a strong sense of social justice - in my teens and early twenties I was almost as red as Ken Livingstone in the fight for the working class - I read the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists - all of that stuff, and in the main agreed with it.

BUT - (see how big that BUT is?) age has me viewing a very different picture. These days I don't see people mistreated by society and cast out because they are unemployed or of poor educational standard* - these days I see scroungers, living off the back of my enormous tax contribution, living on benefits to which they are only entitled by the "system" and not for any real or moral reason - (*I do still see these people, but they are very few and far between.)

These days I see (especially where I live) able bodied young adults, cashing their giros for god knows how much cash supposedly to feed and clothe their enormous families,) stacking their supermarket trollies full of cheap 'budget' brands, endless bottles of fizzy pop and microwave burgers, topped with two or three crates of beer or lager, then heading to the fag-counter for a hundred Benson's, pulling out wads (and I mean wads - much more than their giro just gave them I'm sure) of cash and handing it over without so much as a grimace. They are dressed in designer sports wear, the girls have the latest clothes and shoes and enormous cheap gold earrings, the boys have the best hair do-s of their generation, designer trainers, speaker phones, ipods, Wii's etc. They walk around the estate as if they own it, bringing disruption to other residents with their late night (and daytime when / if they're awake) antics, showing no respect for anything or anyone, including themselves. They are quite capable of work, they just don't have to. The state pays for them to live the life of Riley. The state pays their rent, their council tax, their health costs. The state pays for their milk, fruit and veg and then gives them some cash for other things - usually spent on beer, fags, cheap gold earrings or another tattoo. They have no responsibilities, they have no respect, they have no need to provide for themselves. The state pays. Their parents taught them how to 'work the system' in the late eighties and early nineties and to them it is now a way of life. I do not blame them. I blame the 'system' for allowing it to happen in the first place.

So I was very pleased to hear yesterday that the government was considering another overhaul of the welfare system which forced people to work for their benefits and which brought about the introduction of benefits being a stepping stone into employment, a temporary benefit to help you find work. Yippee!! At last a sensible fresh approach I hear you cry, except that this isn't new Labour thinking at all, this isn't even a fresh idea, this was the policy bandied about in the late eighties by the Tories and called something like "Workfare" a policy to which I was vehemently opposed, and it's this that makes me think I'm becoming more Right Wing in my old age.

Of course it will only work if they make some provision so that the genuine cases aren't hounded out of the system - which seemed to happen with a similar overhaul of the Incapacity Benefit system a few years ago!!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Weekend Wandering

This week's Question:

Do you have an item of clothing that you haven't worn for more than a year?
Quite simply - YES!
I have clothes which I bought for my holiday to Cyprus in 1991 - still hanging in the wardrobe - unpacked in 1991, washed and hung in the wardrobe, there to remain forever it would seem.
I also have clothes in there which were bought about 18 months ago but never worn due to the fact that I lost so much weight during my illness. They will be worn....... eventually, I suppose.
See more answers at Authorblog.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Hot July Brings Cooling Showers....

Had the worst torrential downpour of the summer so far today - garden was under two inches of rain within twenty minutes.
So much for hot July!! What a bloody awful summer it's turning out to be!

The Horns of a Dichotomy....

Here's a dilemma to ponder - all suggestions greatfully received.
I work as a business adviser - advising businesses on how to start, develop, grow, downsize, invest, train staff, lose staff, obtain grants etc. - I've been doing this for the past seven years, though all in all I have almost twenty five years experience in this field. My employers are (indirectly) the Government. I have a decent salary, pension scheme, health insurance (quite handy recently) and more importantly seven years protected rights with the same employer. On the downside my company is funded by central government and is almost guaranteed to be 'abolished' after the next UK General Election, two years or so from now.
Here's the dilemma:
I've been advising a start up company for the past six months who have probably one of the most revolutionary web based ideas I have seen for many a year, it is almost guaranteed to be a commercial winner on both sides of the Atlantic, and eventually worldwide, and is attracting a lot of funding (I'm talking £Millions) through my support and the uniqueness of their 'product'. They have now offered me a job as business development director, with a percentage shareholding in their venture. Sounds like a 'no brainer' right?
BUT WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Bearing in mind the highlighted word above?
As for my medical concerns - both parties are aware of my condition. My current employer has shown, by their actions, that they understand the potential for periods of ill health. The 'client' has also shown some understanding of this through rearranging funding meetings when I've been off ill to dates when I can attend.
As far as conflicts of interest or clauses in contracts debarring me from taking up employment with a client's business - there are none. Indeed in the past six months no fewer than three of my colleagues (even my immediate boss) has left to take up employment with one of their clients - so it seems to be 'the done thing.'
Before posting your answers I have to tell you that I have made a decision - but can you guess what it is??????

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Sky Watch Friday - some fluffy loveliness..

No, it's not cotton wool.

More fluffy loveliness or dark marauding blusteriness at the new home of Sky Watch Friday

What does My Name Mean, actually?

Thanks to Denise for this one - I have to say that this is quite an accurate despription of my personality - and Mrs Nesbitt can vouch for that! (Cant you Denise? (pay you later lol!!))

What Gary Means

You are deeply philosophical and thoughtful. You tend to analyze every aspect of your life.

You are intuitive, brilliant, and quite introverted. You value your time alone.

Often times, you are grumpy with other people. You don't appreciate them trying to interfere in your affairs.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something.

You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense.

You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.

You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in.

You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising.

You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care.

Rising Food Prices (MSN News 160708)

The price of some food staples has shot up over the past 12 months as global commodity prices have hit record highs.
The average family shopping bill is up by more than 20% on last year according to figures released this week by the website It found that a typical basket of 24 staple items, such as bread, milk and eggs, now costs around 21% more than in July last year. If you add the increase onto a typical £100 weekly shop for a family of four, households are spending an extra £1,092 a year on food.
The research named and shamed Sainsbury's as the supermarket with the biggest price hikes - the 24 food staples have gone up by 25.7% over the past 12 months.
We all tend to notice if prices rise, especially if the rises are so steep. But there is another, more subtle, way that manufacturers can protect their bottom line: they can give us less for our money.
A jar of mayonnaise, for example, might shrink from 600g to 550g. You wouldn't notice, would you - especially if there was no discernible difference in the size of the jar.
Or what about a bag of nappies? Last summer you might have bought a pack of 96 nappies; now you might only get 92.
It's the incredible shrinking groceries!

The phenomenon has been dubbed "short sizing" and has already hit the shops in America.
Short sizing is perfectly legal. There are some exceptions, but manufacturers can generally sell you as much - or as little - as they like, as long as the net weight is displayed somewhere on the packet. But just because it's legal doesn't make it right. Consumers don't want to be short-changed, especially not in the current economic climate.

We don't want to pay more and get less. Nor do we want a price hike to be disguised by a weight loss.

Shoppers might think it is harder for manufacturers to short size customers with products that are sold by number. You might notice, for example, if your pack of 36 Weetabix suddenly shrank to a pack of 32. But what if the manufacturer keeps the number the same, but cuts the size of each individual Weetabix? Or you might still get six yogurts in a pack, but each one might be that much smaller.
Keep an eye on products that are sold by weight. Would you really be able to tell if a packet of pasta shrank from 500g to 475g? Or what about a ready meal? The portion size could get smaller and you would barely blink an eye.
Foods that are made from wheat, flour or dairy products are particularly vulnerable to short sizing because these ingredients have risen sharply in price, making it harder for manufacturers to protect their margins.
Remember that manufacturers are clever. The packaging is likely to remain the same size, making it harder to detect any changes. So make sure you check on the net weight before you buy.

Extracted from: The incredible shrinking groceries - By Naomi Caine. Courtesy of MSN News
Read the full article here.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

ABC Wednesday - Z is for...

I umm'd and ahh'd for a long time about the letter Z. Where in the world could I find a Z?????
So I went out the back to the downstairs 'smallest room' and whilst contemplating my blog I saw this door, with its Z shaped support frame - Ah! Perfect, I thought.
Then Emily pointed out that there was a Z in the 'A' frame of her swing. I couldn't see it at first but she persisted and was eventually proved right, so I snapped it before I lost it. Clever Emily.

For more superb letter Z's visit Mrs Nesbitt's Place

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Sky Watch - & Some Waves

For this weeks Sky Watch I had intended to capture the wonderful coastal resort of Redcar on the North East coast of England (I work there) and perhaps some wonderful waves crashing on the golden sands with the sky as a backdrop, it was going to be a stunner!!

Sadly, I forgot my camera so you'll have to make do with these waves instead - at least the sky is real!

For more sky watchers visit Tom at Wiggers World.

Not Sexist.

Scientists have discovered that the standard computer mouse design is not always compatible for use by women. It seems that they just don't find the feel of the traditional mouse comfortable, and many complain that it is obviously a male design from a male dominated industry.

They have come up with a revolutionary new style of mouse which, they say, fits perfectly with a woman's lifestyle.

Scroll down for an image of this new "Lady-mouse" in action.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

ABC Wednesday - Y is for...


Yellow Antirhinums, Yellow Bag, Yellow Banana, Yellow Pens, Yellow Sun.

For more Y's words and images visit Mrs Nesbitt's Place

Steroid Effects

I try not to mention my condition too much on this blog - I suffer from Crohn's Disease - but I thought the difference between these two photographs (taken just a few months apart) was quite striking.

The first picture was taken in December 2007 during a period in my life I'll never forget, what I now call my 'pre-diagnosis stage'. I thought I had cancer. I'd gone from 12st 8lbs down to 10st 3lbs.

The second picture was taken in March 08, after diagnosis, about four weeks into my first course of steroid treatment - very high dose (eight tablets per day.) A side effect of these steroids is "Moonface Syndrome" I'm showing signs here - but can you see the relief on my face? I didn't have cancer. My weight at this stage had crept back up to about 11st 6lbs (I'm now a respectable 12st 5lbs!!)

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Friday, 4 July 2008

The Squirrels of Stewart Park.

Found these friendly little fellows on a recent visit to a local park. They were particularly friendly (probably because we had lots of fruit to spare!) and came right up to our seat, much to the amusement of Emily, who'd never seen squirrels so close.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Sky Watch Friday - Storm a brewin'

Two days of glorious sunshine had to end somewhere - and here's where it ended!!
For more sky gazers visit Tom at Wiggers World

Total Gookledegobb!!

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid tooCna yuo raed tihs?
Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
Asboltuely fnatsaitc, he?

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

ABC Wednesday - X is for, erm, X is for....ahh, I know...

Xyloplastic ornaments!
(Google it above!!)

I don't know about you, but wifey and I love to collect 'genuine' wooden ornaments.

You can imagine our horror and dismay when we discovered these two purchases were xyloplastic imitations!!

For more "X" Rated posts visit Mrs Nesbitt's Place