Wednesday 19 February 2014

Chance to win 50 books!

What a great prize! Fifty books!

Win with National Book Tokens.

Gratuitous photo of Fizz looking very grown up and ladylike now.

Monday 17 February 2014

Look Up!

My daughter reminded me that the International Space Station would be visible last night but of course I forgot to look and missed the first crossing. I did however see it just under an hour later, not as bright as it would have been earlier and for a shorter time. Still, it was exciting in a geeky kind of way and weird when it just suddenly vanished.

And it was a beautiful clear sky last night, well worth going out just to see the gorgeous moon, stars and planets.

The ISS will be back this evening (17th February) – visible in the UK and very bright I believe. In my location it will be visible at 5.44 pm for 4 minutes at 43 degrees above WSW and will disappear at 12 degrees above E. It will be visible again briefly at 7.21.

Wherever you live in the world, you can look up when it will be possible to see the ISS at NASA Spot theStation. And you can do real time tracking at ISS Tracker and you can see what the astronauts are seeing right now at Astroviewer.

You can even get an app for your phone for spotting it.

And if the sky floats your boat (or flies your spaceship), Planetarium is a great site where you set your location and it will come up with a map of the sky above.

Happy Space Station Spotting!

* * *

Nothing to do with space stations - just a couple of gratuitous photos of my ladies chilling. Harley's not really as big as she looks in the bottom photo. She's still quite petite. And Fizz's feet aren't as big as they look in the top photo either!

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Help! Any Camera Experts? Twitchers?

It was lovely last weekend. Sunshine, blue skies – too good to hide away at home.

I took my camera out with me and it appears to have developed an annoying blob! I don’t know if a bit of sea spray got onto the lens or what, but I’ve tried cleaning it with a microfiber cloth to no avail. Anyone have any ideas on what to do – apart from get a new camera?

I watched the birds scurrying around on the beach.

Oyster catchers.

Herring gulls. He wasn’t scurrying. He was paddling.

There were lots of these little birds which I think are Turnstones (the one in the photo is obligingly turning a stone or it might be a shell), but someone out there might know better.

But what is that mystery small grey bird? Anyone know? I’ve been through my RSPB book of birds and I can’t find anything like it.

Also saw a nifty bit of parking.

Big boat comes in (ignore the blob!).

Big boat turns round.

Big boat faces opposite direction.

Big boat parks – sorry there isn’t a photo of that, but it was taking such a long time to reverse and it had to go quite a way once it had turned. I was sitting on a bench watching and despite the sunshine it was chilly and I was getting a cold bum.

It used to drive one of my teachers mad that we all referred to the ships as boats and she was constantly correcting us and making us repeat the sentence saying ship instead. They say if it has one deck it's a boat and if it has more than one it's a ship. Or a ship can carry a boat, but a boat can't carry a ship. My dad was in the Royal then the Merchant Navy from a boy to the day he died. He called them boats.

We have a lot of mystery family photos, but my son has managed to identify a few. He's doing a series of posts telling the stories of family members during WWI. I had always wondered about the wistful looking boy in the photo and now I know more about him, William Frederick Victor Wells. You can read his story and see the photo at the Department of Diagnostic Genealogy. 

Saturday 1 February 2014

February Giggle!

Happy February!

Last year Susanjanejones started it all by doing a monthly giggle blog. Then Lynne Hackles joined in (Lynne also has a book out, Racing Start, read more about it here). What a great idea, I thought, but I could never think of anything to giggle about.


Last night we found Madam Fizz in the laundry room.

“Why are you in the sink?” I asked.

“Duh! Because I am,” she replied with a sulky teenage look.

“But you must have a reason,” I said.

“Watch and learn, Mother,” she said. “Watch and learn.”

A little while later my son came downstairs and said he could smell burning coming from the kitchen.

We checked it out and found a puddle on the worktop underneath the boiler and a strong smell of burning coming from the electric sockets – which were fizzing and spitting!

While the men rushed round turning off electric circuits and mopping up water and poking around the boiler trying to find the leak (one brandishing a chair in case he needed to shove the other away from the sockets in case of electric shock - all highly technical you understand and please do NOT try that at home), I deduced that it was rainwater being driven in the flue by the fierce wind.

My suggestion was met with doubtful looks.

However, since the rain cleared up, the water has stopped pouring down the wall… just saying.

Harley prefers books to sinks.

 And when they’re not chasing each other up and down and round and round, the ladies do love each other really.