the art gallery

floral arrangement in the snow

There’s something WI flower show about this image or maybe even the Chelsea Flower Show. It would be a hugely expensive display to put on at Chelsea because of the cost of creating the artificial snow and stopping it from melting in June, or whenever they hold it. I’m not so bothered about the WI. They could arrange a flower show to suit. Not that I’m a member, obv. It would be quite easy for them to say “lets have another cake competition ladies” and to sling on a frozen flower exhibit/competition at the same time. They must have lots of baking competitions. That and knitting. It’s what they do, how they roll. That and calendars but we won’t go there…

There particular flower pots are better presented frozen and covered in snow because that way you can’t see that they have had the proverbial stuffing knocked out of them by footballing kids (also rugby and cricket – whatever the weather and time of year).

I will leave you with a message of hope. I hope it starts to get a bit warmer, melts this now and lets the flowers start growing again.


3rd law

The third law part 15 – the fireside chat

Sitting here by the fire listening so someone else’s choice of music. It’s ok. He has similar tastes to me. Bought some smokeless fuel from B&Q this morning. Some packaged “instant light” stuff. It’s not right. Coal should be delivered on the back of a lorry and the bags emptied straight into the coal hole. We don’t have a coal hole any more. It went along with the pantry. Sacrificed for a side extension – two bedrooms a garage, utility room and downstairs toilet.

I’m not complaining, just sayin’.

I occasionally think about getting a coal bunker and taking delivery of a proper load. We used to have one when I was a kid in Wales. I remember Mam used to lie in front of the fire. Then when we moved to the Isle of Man the house only had electric radiators which weren’t particularly effective and probably expensive to run. Mam then used to lie in front of the radiator, behind the settee!

Mam and Dad moved house around ten years or so ago and the new place is warm as toast. So warm in fact I get too hot there. Ours is a big house and quite draughty which you get used to. The fire when lit is a real luxury to have. We don’t really need it. When the house was built central heating was the domain of the rich and our house had a fireplace in both downstairs living rooms. The one in the TV room is long gone, it went at the same time as the coal hole.

I think most people don’t have open fires anymore though they always seem to shift a lot of coal at the Garage on Burton Road so perhaps I’m wrong. They don’t have their purchasing right though because they keep running out of smokeless first. Considering that the garage is in a smokeless zone you wonder why they even bother with the proper smoky stuff.

I know I know, people travel into Lincoln and pick up coal on their way home. They should get themselves a coal bunker then. It’s a much cheaper way to buy coal.

Dunno what got me going on coal, other than I’m sitting here enjoying the company of the fire. It’s ‘orrible out there. Drizzly with the promise of hail and snow later. Bring on the real stuff. The big flaked deep drifting hole up for the winter stormy weather blotting out the sun snow. Ya have to lurve the stuff. Never mind about the aftermath. Enjoy the moment.

Anyway it isn’t snow at the moment it’s drizzle as I said. Rain is a bit of a pain if you are a bespectacled individual as I am. I used to think it would be a good idea if someone invented windscreen wipers for specs but thought that they would probably not be practical due to their being too heavy. You would think that problem could be easily overcome in these days of advanced technology wouldn’t you. Doesn’t appear to be the case.

If you are not a wearer of glasses it is hard for you to appreciate the total freedom represented by walking in the rain, face up to the heavens and letting the water run down your face. I take off my glasses sometimes to do it. Freeeedommmm. I was just imagining doing it then in case you were wondering.

Mind you don’t get me wrong I like the rain though there comes a point after forty days and forty nights where one does look forward to a bit of sun. There’s nothing quite like a summer’s day in the back garden, sipping a glass of something cool. The best bits about those kind of days are the evenings. It’s not often we can sit out in the evenings here. Maybe a week’s worth in a year. We are too far North. It’s good when we can though I do suffer from mozzies. They love me. The answer is to sit around the firepit – the smoke keeps them off. It’s worth ending up smelling of woodsmoke and it is easy enough to have a quick shower before going to bed. It’s back to the fire theme by the looks of it which wasn’t deliberate. Stop arson around Tref.

I’ve moved now from the living room to the kitchen where I am cooking roast pork for Sunday dinner. I’ve followed Michel Roux Junior’s tip for getting good crackling which is to pour boiling water over the skin of the pork before putting it in the oven. You have to dry the skin afterwards obv though as I think of it not all of you may have realised that you have to have dry pork skin to get good crackling. Especially the vegetarians amongst you who have no real need to know that information.

Might come in handy in a pub quiz one day though that does assume that you frequent such forms of entertainment. I don’t like pub quizzes myself because I have no idea about TV soaps and football which it seems to me is what half the questions are about. I have watched one episode each of East Enders and Coronation Street just so that I could educate myself about the genre, if that’s the right way of putting it. Must have easily been 25 years ago now. I doubt much has changed. Characters come and go and from what I can gather come back again. Woteva. Get a life people.

The other thing about pub quizzes is that some teams have loads of people in them which unfavourably stacks the odds against the smaller teams. I did once go to a Scout Group Family Quiz on a Saturday night in the Bailgate Methodist Church Hall of all places. Not my idea of a thing to do on  Saturday but one sometimes has to make these little sacrifices for the sake of the family. On this occasion Anne had to take one of the kids home at half time so I kept up the honour of the Davies’ and soldiered on for the second half. Blow me down if the first set of questions wasn’t about the Bible. Being a rampant non church goer married to a Sunday School teacher I felt helpless. I also felt that it was fair game to phone home to find out the answers to some of the questions which is what I did. Eyebrows were raised but when challenged by the Minister I explained and of course he, being a good Christian, understood and accepted the situache.

Pub quizzes are not helped by the fact that they are in pubs. Obvious I know but what I’m trying to get across is that when I’ve had a drink or two I get even worse at the quiz. It doesn’t really matter though sometimes there is a lot of cash at stake. I’ll never make my millions at pub quizzes.

I do occasionally buy a lottery ticket. Maybe two or three times a year. It is very rare for me to even get one number right. It has certainly been years since I won anything. Since the first year it came out I’d say. I think I won a tenner the first time I played it but not very much since. It’s how they get you hooked. Didn’t work in my case witnessed by the three times a year entry level. I do sometimes see people queuing up at garages to spend tens of pounds on tickets though. Probably those who can least afford to do so. Ah well.

I bet on the gee gees once a year when they run the Grand National. I’m sure it’s the same for most people.  I never win anything, or at least don’t get all my money back. I quite like going to the races themselves as opposed to watching them on tv and we have been known to go to Market Rasen for a day out. Usually the budget is a fiver a race but we’ve never had cause to pop the champagne.

One year we had to get a tractor to tow our car out of the mud! Didn’t have the Jeep then. There’s something about a race meet that is different to when you watch it on the telly. I suppose for one I have usually got a bet on at a meet which won’t be the case for the telly – except of course the Grand National. You also get the real life atmosphere, roar of the crowd, thudding of horses hooves – y’awl understand?

I’ll just go and put some more coal on the fire… 3rd Law part 14 here. 3rd law part 16 here.

the art gallery

Two swans flying over a snowy field

Today I saw two swans flying over a white snow-covered field. I didn’t get a picture as I was on a train and they would in any case have been tiny white dots in the shot. However it isn’t difficult for you to imagine the scene and mentally appreciate the art of it.  A few dark hedgerows and trees criss-cross the vision but mostly it is gleaming white and the magnificent pair of birds are an interesting dynamic – the only moving part of the picture..

poems winter series

The gentle snow

The gentle snow fell,
brushing my cheeks
laid bare, the light caress
of a cold lover. Emotionless.

Miniature flakes
filled the sky,
icy promise.

the art gallery

train journey south through snowy fields


Life’s a struggle

Life’s a struggle, when you are a paperboy and it has been snowing all night. As I drove out to get some coal in the Jeep this morning I passed a paperboy trying to make headway on his bike. It somehow made me think of the Pony Express and how the mail must get through.

In this case it wasn’t just the mail. It was the Sunday Times, Telegraph, Express, News of the Screws and others. This doesn’t quite bring the same sense of urgency especially as I long since stopped taking a Sunday paper in favour of reading it all on the internet.

Returning with a boot full of fuel and birdseed I saw another paperboy laden down with a heavy shopping trolley. His face was a picture of grit and determination, the attraction of payday on a Saturday outweighing the obstacles to getting the job done.