Sunday, October 28, 2007

How the wind buffets and spirals this day
While birds brave the updrafts to steal food away
The trees in expression holdfast their leaves still
And branch tips submit to the seasons strong will

Friday, October 26, 2007

Weekly Six 21st - 28th October 2007

This weeks six concentrates on some great moments over the busy past couple of weeks, hence this feature being absent last week! It's been busy both socially and on the work front and has heralded some great moments.

Item 1: The North York Moors

First off is our visit last weekend to the North Yorkshire Moors (correctly referred to as the North York Moors) to visit some good friends who relocated to that part of the country earlier this year and it was absolutely stunning.

It was our first visit to see them and to that particular part of the Moors.

We like to make the most of our time in the great outdoors and every holiday is usually spent camping in Scotland or Wales but these past few weeks have reminded me just what there is available within England and at a much shorter distance.

I think Scotland will always be my favourite part of the UK (followed by Northumberland) but our trip to the Moors, and recent visit to the Peak District has encouraged us to get back to more weekends away in the beautiful countryside nearly on our door step.

I didn't take too many photos in the Moors as we were busy chatting and enjoying the views and beautiful sunshine but I got a couple of good scenic ones and a few good group shots (with catalogue poses!) which I will not be posting! This is my favourite. (C & L thanks again for a top weekend, see you soon!)

Item 2: Halloween

Halloween is a holiday I have only recently developed a wish to mark in our house. Some of this has to do with the prospect of doing something fun for my nephew.

This week my sister and nephew came to stay and so we had an early party to mark the occasion with rubber bats hanging from the ceiling, flashing Frankensteins' monster dolls, bubble and squeak for tea, pumpkins and sparklers, games and car races, and a ghost hunt. It was a wonderful evening!

I also have a Halloween bucket in the hall full of sweets waiting for the 'trick or treaters'. We usually get a few accept for last year when our doorbell stopped working unknown to us! The year before I ran out of sweets and had to give out apples which I felt really bad about...although the parents seemed quite pleased!Happy Halloween!

Item 3: A Right Royal Day Out

I had a very interesting day at work yesterday. I attended the opening of a park I have been involved in the restoration of.

The park was opened by the Duke of Kent and following introduction to him, with curtsy, I walked along a section of the park with him and told him about the trees and the various methods we had employed to return them to good health following a 70 year period of agricultural land usage and absence of any such required tree care which had left the park somewhat ravaged.

He was very nice and quite interested which was good. I have never met a member of the Royal Family before and was quite relaxed up until 15 minutes before when I started to worry about fluffing my lines and noticed a large swarm of flies hovering about 2-4m above me in a column! I was standing near recently applied tree mulch and grassland and I am sure it wasn't just me but never the less, not what you want meeting royalty!

I am happy to say it all went well and the local paper chose a picture of me and the Duke for one of two pictures in the newspaper article so I guess that's my 15 minutes of fame! Anyway here is a picture of me and the Duke! (Image Credit: Sam Williams)

Item 4: Tree of the Week

I have been looking at at lot of these trees recently in many forms, the Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa).

I have done a lot of work with them over the past few years as I manage several woodlands of predominantly sweet chestnut coppice or with a high sweet chestnut mix. The woodland pictured here was full of lapsed coppice, i.e. it had been left un-managed and the size of the multi stemmed re-growth was excessive and trees began to fail.

We had the woodland coppiced and the timber went to help build classrooms at a local educational facility.

The woodland has already begun to regenerate and we have planted it out with a mixture of oak, thorn, ash, birch and hazel, much as it was before the sweet chestnut began to dominate.

Sweet Chestnut trees are beautiful. Their leaves are striking and when they fall create a beautiful mat to walk on through a woodland, as do beech, and their fruit is prolific and very tasty when roasted, if you can get them before the squirrels!

If you have any near to where you are now is the time to harvest the nuts and get roasting.

Item 5: The A-Z of Music

Ok, so B......well there's The Bee Gees who I think have to be acknowledged; as you may remember I am a big John Travolta fan and there are obvious connections in Saturday Night Fever (top album!) but they have been consistently brilliant song writers and performers for years. And they thought Kenny Everett's impression of them was funny so extra points for a good sense of humour...because it was really funny!

There are the Bare Naked Ladies who I also feel deserve a mention. I have to say I am really only very familiar with the album Gordon which is blinding, if any one has other recommendations about them I would be happy to hear.

But hands down my B has to go to Mr David Bowie.

My sister has always been a big fan and I was lucky to be able to share in her excellent musical tastes and records while growing up. Thus David Bowie has been a favourite of mine since an early age.

I think of him as a proper song writer, up there with Bob Dylan, and someone with his own totally unique approach and style. And I think there's is something for all occasions in his back catalogue. (Image Credit: Star Pulse)

Item 6: Practical Household Uses For Vinegar Ref. 41.3

Ok, I am including this one as it made me laugh!

Champagne Vinegar - To make homemade champagne vinegar, store leftover champagne in an open, widemouthed (frog) jar at room temperature. In a few weeks it will be vinegar.

Isn't that brilliant! Ok, so I expect that champagne vinegar is very expensive, and possibly that there are amazing things you can do with champagne vinegar, but I know there will never be any leftover champagne in our house!

I am going to look into champagne vinegar and will post more soon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rain Fall

Rain falls this day
and washes the dust and the debris away,
as I am soothed by its’ temperate patter,
its’ trickling sway.

Fruit of Yew

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day - 15th October 2007

Greetings! Well Blog Action Day is here! I am very excited and am looking forward to going off to other participants sites however first need to complete my own postings! My apologies for the lateness in the day but I had an early night last night, due to an early start this morning and this is the first moment I have had to blog.(Much to my disgust!)

So, blogging about environmental issues...I have given this a lot of thought. There are so many things I could write about: don't leave your TV on standby, unplug the phone charger when the phone is not charging, turn the tap off when you are cleaning your teeth, but we all know about these by now don't we?

The environment is pretty much a daily issue in the UK and I expect in many other countries. We now all know there is an issue, we may debate whether we are responsible but surely we must all agree that whether the changes we observe are as a result of our actions or not we live in a wasteful society with room for improvement.

We have identified a problem and it is our duty to try and fix it. Maybe the Earth's environment is changing as part of a natural trend but is burying tonnes of non degradable rubbish in a hole in the ground as a method of waste disposal really a great idea?

Ok, lecture over. My recommendation to mark this event is this: try and eradicate one chemical from your household to mark this day. There are so many eco ethical products on the market, pick one and use it from now on. If it doesn't turn out to be the one for you then pick another. Any change is good change and small changes by many people make a big difference.

My personal recommendation would be ECOVER who produce a brilliant variety of household cleaning products that really do work. They are a worldwide company and can deliver refills thus saving on containers! Or, just type eco ethical products into your search engine and see what comes up. I have found a whole heap but many of them are UK only so it is perhaps better if you look for yourself.

If you have already eradicated all chemicals from your life then good for you and give the money to Greenpeace instead!

I do not believe that looking after our planet has to be totally life changing for the individual, but if the individuals make the small changes the results will be life changing for the planet. Thank you.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Blog Action Day - 15th October 2007

I came across this via Macs Niece at Caged Minutes. The idea is as follows:

'On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.
Blog Action Day is about MASS participation. That means we need you!'

If you are interested please follow this link, or click on the button. My thanks to Macs Niece.

Click Every Day

You may have noticed 6 new buttons on my blog in the left hand menu that say click every day. If you are unfamiliar with these they are basically a link to another site where if you then click the big button you donate to various charities for free. The deal is that for every click they receive their sponsors donate to each charity. You are therefore just two clicks away from: providing reading tuition and free books for children, providing free health care for children, helping to preserve endangered habitat, helping to provide a free mammogram for someone, providing 6 bowls of food for rescued animals, or giving free food to someone who really needs it.

If you can spare two clicks please pick any buttons of your choice and help these worthwhile charities for free! Thank you!

Charlie Dore - Pilot Of The Airwaves

I would like to dedicate this one to the DJ Steve Wright.....I don't care I love him!

RUSH Spirit of Radio

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Weekly Six 8th - 14th October 2007

Item 1: Practical Household Uses For Vinegar Ref. 7.1

An easy way to periodically clean out soap scum and disinfect your washing machine is to pour in 450ml (2 cups) of white distilled vinegar; then run the machine through a full cycle without any clothes or detergent. (1001 Practical Household Uses for Vinegar 2007)

Item 2: The A-Z of Music.

This is another new and hopefully regular item….well at least for 26 weeks! I have recently compiled a list of favourite artists for every letter of the alphabet. It was not easy and some letters ended up with several contenders! This weeks letter is of course A and I am afraid for me there is only one A in the music world……oh pants I just thought of another. Ok but AC/DC aside (sorry guys) this weeks A is ABBA!

Now I don’t feel I can leave it there as I am a big AC/DC fan, both with and Bon Scott and Brian Johnson; although Bon Scott was not the first lead singer with DC, I think most will agree he was the best. But there will certainly be no shortage of rock bands in this A-Z and I hereby pledge to preserve the A spot for DC the next time I do this!

So ABBA. Where to start! I have been listening to ABBA since I was a small child courtesy of my Mum and Dad’s records and have remained a fan ever since. They are kings of pop…in fact I feel their music is almost too good for pop, certainly by todays standards! Their harmonies are beautiful, their rhythms infectious and their songs timeless. All Hail ABBA! (Image Credit: Get ABBA)

Item 3: Song of the Week

As you may have read I saw Rush at the weekend. This weeks song is one of theirs; they played it at the gig and it also encompasses a great love of my life, the radio. Have a read of the words:

Rush - Spirit of Radio
Begin the day
With a friendly voice
A companion, unobtrusive
Plays that song thats so elusive
And the magic music makes your morning mood

Off on your way
Hit the open road
There is magic at your fingers
For the spirit ever lingers
Undemanding contact
In your happy solitude

Invisible airwaves
Crackle with life
Bright antennae bristle
With the energy

Emotional feedback
On a timeless wavelength
Bearing a gift beyond price ---Almost free...
All this machinery
Making modern music
Can still be open-hearted
Not so coldly charted
Its really just a question
Of your honesty

One likes to believe
In the freedom of music
But glittering prizes
And endless compromises
Shatter the illusion
Of integrity
For the words of the profits
Are written on the studio wall,
Concert hall
Echoes with the sounds...Of salesmen. (Lyrics by Neil Peart)

There are many songs singing praise to radio and the faceless DJ who gets us through the day. Pilot of the Airways, Charlie Dore is another favourite of mine.

I listen to Radio 2 throughout the day, every day, especially when I am out on site. I do lots of travelling for work and from Wogan to Evans (Or some days Kennedy to Harris!) it is a real joy. Good DJ's and good music have become an excellent travelling companion and have also got me through some tough times whether I am stuck in traffic or just having a bad day. All Hail Radio!

Item 4: Location of the Week

Sunpat and I usually trek off to Scotland or Wales for our holidays each year. We both greatly enjoy the great outdoors and take ourselves off with tent and supplies to immerse ourselves in it for a couple of weeks.

Last weekend a friend who we went to see Rush with suggested we make the journey to the venue by Snake Pass in the Peak District, a place I have not been to for many years and somewhere Sunpat had never been.

We eagerly took the opportunity to make the journey via such a scenic route and discovered this!

The last time I was here we drove through the pass without stopping. I remember it always being dramatic and beautiful but over the years I had forgotten just what surrounds the pass and this visit has inspired us to make some shorter trips throughout the year to the Peaks to explore further.

It takes approximately 7 hours to get to Scotland and around 4-5 to get to Snowdonia in Wales. The Peak District at a 2 hour journey can provide us with the environment we seek but at a distance that suits the odd weekend away. I am itching to get out there and try out our new tent and get some camping in if we can before winter sets in but I'll have to keep you posted on that one.

The Pennine Way also crosses the Peak District. It is a walk I have long wished to undertake however as you are looking at approximately 3 weeks walking it is a little hard to fit into a normal working year. We have discussed it though and hope to fit it in either next year or the year after.

We have been invited to undertake a motorcycle tour of the arctic circle countries with a friend next year. He has recently passed his motorbike test and is planning a bike and camping trip for a couple of weeks. It is an arranged tour and he has invited us to come along. It would be fabulous and I would love to go. Obviously it means us sitting our bike tests. Another item to keep you posted on....
Items 5 & 6 are going to be courtesy of You Tube this week so I can share my Radio appreciation tracks. I hope you have a moment to listen to them and enjoy them.

As a final note I would like to say today is also an important day of note - Happy Birthday Mum!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Shine


Passage to Bangkok

Greetings! Just a short word from me to say top gig last night and, the icing on the cake, Rush played one of my favourite songs, Passage to Bangkok from the album 2112 which made my evening.

For anyone who is not familiar with Rush here's a quick intro to the band: Geddy Lee, Bass, Keyboard and Vocals, Alex Lifeson Guitar and Vocals, Neil Peart Drums.
(Image Credits: Global Bass, Guitarz For Ever, Hughes & Kettner, respectively.)
They all, sounded awesome and the sound at the venue was good too, (Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield) although as usual it was a seated concert and they really crammed us in. The last Rush gig I went to (Birmingham) the sound was ropey and the chairs were narrow and hard. Last night the seats were padded but seriously close together! Why can't we just all stand and dance!

The highlight of the night as anticipated was watching Dr. Peart at work on the drums!

We have two more gigs booked for next month, Porcupine Tree and Nick Harper. Anyone out there got any music planned?

Anyway, off to listen to some Rush for now. Keep Music Live!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

And the meek shall inherit the earth...2,3,4!

I am going to see Rush again tonight! My life is filled with music whether it be playing via my head jukebox or my computer and I could not live without it. Music touches something very primal in me and can make my soul soar and then in an instant reduce me to sobbing, obviously dependant on the song. I am a big fan of live music and go to as many gigs as I can manage clocking up performances by pink floyd, jethro tull, rush, steely dan, albert lee, johnny winter, crash test dummies, all about eve, yes, hayseed dixie, hawkwind (featuring Arthur Brown), nick harper, roy harper, bob dylan, freak power, stereophonics, dweezil zappa (featuring the world famous Ray White) and little feat to name but a few.....ok to name the best few, there are some suspect bands but I guess that just depends on your tastes. Unfortunately most of the bands/ artists I would like to see are deceased but I enjoy making the most of this spell of ageing rock bands returning to glory. I have recently decided that if I could travel back in time I would travel to 1st January 1970 and then spend a decade attending gigs! I am grieved not to be able to include the likes of frank zappa, stevie ray vaughan, ac/dc (with Bon Scott), jimi hendrix (he just made it to 1970), the doors, free, deep purple, janis joplin, the who, bb king...you get the picture. I know some of them are still gigging and some of them still gig in the UK so who knows, maybe I'll be able to add a few more to my list in this decade although to have seen them in their day would have been awesome. If you have seen any of these guys and wish to gloat feel free! In the meantime I leave you with a quote from frank zappa - music is the best. (Short and simple!)
(Image Credit: Google, Album Fly by Night, Rush 1975)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Silmarillion

Calling all Tolkien Fans. My very good source of book reviews and blogging tips at Between the Covers has reviewed The Silmarillion. For anyone who has not read it yet or like me is finding it an early struggle, have a look at Coversgirls review. I am on my way to take up the story as we speak.

This is the first edition published in 1977. For any Tolkien enthusiasts...or Middle Earth enthusiasts, it's a must.

Also, check out the Tolkien Companion. It answers lots of those questions!

Happy wondering. (Image Credit - Tolkien Library.)

Four Legged Friends Reading Challenge

I am taking part in the Four Legged Friends Reading Challenge, as created by Kailana at Kailana's Written World, in memory of her beautiful dog Sandy ('Rascal') pictured here. (The small, darker creatures front and rear are called Atra and Miko.)

Please follow the links above for extensive details or to join in;
in brief the challenge is to read 3-5 books where animals are the main focus of the book, main characters or certainly very influential, (Who am I kidding......it is impossible for me to be brief!) before the 26th Feb 2008 and review them on your blog!

Sounds like a top idea to me so I have been searching for some books to read and have come up with these. I have only heard of one of them before and am looking forward to getting my teeth stuck in.
  1. Life of Pi, Yann Martal (Bengal Tiger, Orangutan, Hyena, Zebra)


  2. The Lost Pet Chronicles: Adventures of a K-9 Cop Turned Pet Detective, Kathy Albrecht (Weimaraner)


  3. Whale Song: A Novel About The Greatest and Deepest of Beings, Robert Seigel (Humpback Whale)


  4. The Loops, Nicholas Evans (Wolves)


  5. The Enormous Crocodile, Roald Dahl (Crocodile)

So, I had better get reading! Looking forward to reading everyone's reviews and my thanks to Kailana. (Image Credit: Kailana)

Black-headed Gull

This is the Black-headed Gull, Larus ridibundus, although at this time of year they do not have black heads.








The birds develop a darkened, to be accurate chocolate brown, plumage over their head for the breeding season; it's breeding plumage.

By the end of the year all that is left of the breeding plumage is one dark spot behind each eye as seen below.










Like all Gulls they seem to be masters of trajectory!
They have distinctive dark red bills and legs.
These Gulls are found predominantly in land and are commonly seen following tractors across open fields.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cygnet.

On Saturday I went to the local reservoir armed with two bags of brown bread and a camera.

It's a favourite past time, both the purchasing of the food and the administering! And surrounding yourself in a flock of hungry birds is an awesome experience. Nature up close and personal!

I also spent the early morning buying more bird food for the garden inhabitants. I greatly enjoy getting in the supplies, and had the added bonus of a money off voucher and a free bag of daffodil bulbs this time.

Anyway the flocks at the water were very generous with their images, and I had a great time watching as well as photographing. There will probably be more pictures over the next few days! (Still working on the song by the way.)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Weekly Six 1st - 7th October 2007 - Happy Birthday In The Pink!

In the Pink is 1 year old today! It's been an excellent blogging year and I have greatly enjoyed developing this blog. I have found that having this as an outlet has encouraged me to pursue my existing hobbies and develop some new ones to.

I have also made contact with people all over the world via their blogs and look forward to seeing their postings and sharing a small part of their lives. This has been a most worth while pursuit for me.

In light of this I have decided to use this weeks 'weekly six' as an opportunity to re-post some of my favourite items from the last 12 months, and comment on some significant factors relating to this blog.

Item 1: Verse

Since In The Pink began I have written many poems, and posted most of them. I enjoy the exploration of language that writing brings. I have re-read the poems that have been posted so far and chosen this to re-post. (If you want to read more of my 'literary ramblings' click on the verse tag here or in 'In the Pink Labels' left hand column.)

These words I place upon the page bear witness to the telling,
of time and space I occupy, and moments that I dwell in.

Of experiences interpreted with mortal imperfection,
of sporadic impulses bereft of all direction.

Of paths that I have ventured down seeking illumination,
of venom that I have endured to recreate sensation.

Of countless souls encountered, of faces memorised,
of deeds born of pure intent, of some intent disguised.

Of dreams that I have realised and dreams yet to be?
The exploration of my fate, the rationale for me.

These words I place upon the page bear witness to the telling,
of time and space I occupy, and moments that I dwell in.

Item 2: Image Gallery

Now this was a tough one, so many pictures! I am currently using my favourite photograph as my identity image, I have therefore chosen 'Portal' as it comes a close second, not for being my favourite photograph but one of my favourite images derived from a photo I took.


This is a picture of a puddle, however I found other aspects of the picture as I played around with it and it now appears to me a portal into another world. I like images that can be perceived in multiple ways.



I have a friend who paints his photographic images to achieve a distorted aspect of the original image and it is most effective and mood creating.

I would like to think that my photographic ability has improved over the past year and look forward to further developing my artistic eye! There are many fabulous photographers displaying their work on the Internet, including some of the bloggers I visit, and I thank them all for their inspiration and unintentional 'composure tuition' by way of example.

Item 3: Inspiration

I would like to dedicate this item to the namesake of this blog, and her partner in crime. I have not posted images of them before however, they have been an integral part of my life. I give you Mojo and Pink.

Item 4: Previously Featured Weekly Six Item

For this item I have gone back to the first weekly six I ever did, and the song of that week, Sailor - Girls Girls Girls.

I originally wanted to include a weekly song item that may relate to a favourite song or just a song that had been at the forefront of my mind at that time. This song relates to memories of me and my sister visiting our grand parents at their home and antique shop in Felixstowe. It was played a lot on the radio at the time and my sister and I would sing to it when it came on.

I searched for this song for a number of years and was delighted to find a copy that I could link to my blog for all to enjoy.

My thanks to Jamglue for providing the entire song free of charge and if you have a moment have a listen, I defy you not to at least shuffle your feet to this one!

Item 5: The Birds & the Garden

The birds who visit my garden have indirectly made a considerable contribution to this blog and provide me with company and entertainment outside the window as I type.

This year has been very fruitful in the chick department. The Starlings and Sparrows both started nesting in March and have been producing clutch after clutch ever since. We still have some juvenile birds of both species, mouths open wide, strutting around the garden demanding service and learning how to eat the food themselves!

Now we are coming to the beginning of our fourth year in this house, managing our land organically and aiming to encourage as much wildlife as we can, we are really starting to reap the rewards.

We have crammed in as many trees as we can and are pleased to note that our new neighbours are doing the same! Trees are good for birds, the more and the bigger the better! It is commonly noted in urban areas that when large trees are removed on mass, or managed at lesser heights, there is a considerable reduction in song bird populations and an increase in predator birds.

I am greatly looking forward to next spring to watch all of our trees and plants develop further. We may even get some bookings for 'hotel lacewing and ladybird', and 'hotel butterfly'. I am sure that their small purpose built houses just needed a bit of weathering in!

Item 6: Inspiration Part II

The inspiration for the address of my blog is the title of a favourite song of mine, The Crash Test Dummies - Two Knights and Maidens. I have looked previously but cannot find a link to a complete version of this on the Internet and so have looked up the guitar chords instead!

They are a little tricky so my final item is going to be a little delayed however I am going to learn to play it and post a video of me covering the song as soon as possible! I am not sure who will end up regretting that more...you have been warned!

Well that concludes the weekly six. I have had a lot of fun looking back over a year of posting, so much has happened and this blog provides such an effective link to many occasions. Here's to year two!! And if you are reading this Blogger, thanks for a top service!

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