Saturday, June 27, 2009


What is it about the ukulele? That little instrument of Portuguese ancestry born in Hawaii in the 19th century that's become one of the 21st century's musical celebrities.

Do yourselves a favour and listen to the wonderful Mic Conway talking about his favourite instrument. It's only on for a week so GO NOW.
Thanks to Coral reef for the pic Click on it to go to her beautiful paintings

Saturday, June 20, 2009


It's Friday night, we've both been working like crazy.
Ricardo's been trying to finish a staircase for a friend in Norwich that has been going on and on, he's been home late every night and looks very weary. We have a hectic social schedule too with French lessons on Tuesdays, bell ringing on Wednesdays, choir practice on Thursdays and usually a dinner or two out with friends during the week. Phew it's exhausting and we are rarely home.
So when our friend William (see previous posts) asked us to come over and have yet another night out and dinner on his boat, we were a bit reluctant. Knackered really to not put too fine a point on it. But something happens when you step onto Will's boat, maybe it happens whenever you step onto any boat. Your shoulders drop an inch or two, your breathing slows. Maybe it's the rocking motion, maybe it's because of the ancient landscape that surrounds you but you really really relax.
When I write down "dinner on Will's boat" you might think plastic boat, plastic cutlery, gin & tonic up on the bridge but that's not what it's like at all. Will's boat is magical, it's an experience you could never buy. That part of the river is completely deserted, it's tiny and lush and green and very, very quiet.
I've spoken about the boat before it's made of a crazy patchwork of pieces cut from old caravans, painted army green on the outside with a red cross on one side. Here's a picture of it birthed up a few months ago, you wouldn't recognise it now, the greenery almost meets overhead.
It's painted inside like a fairground ride by Will's friend Piotr.

There is a wee wood burning stove on board and we cooked Aussie style burgers 'with the lot' including pineapple slices and beetroot....(I know, I know but you should try it). The only problem while we cooked was that Ricardo's legs were getting hotter and hotter, at one stage we smelled something burning, luckily it wasn't his pants but a log of wood resting on the outside of the stove. Yikes. (Will's not big on health and safety). We dipped it overboard to put it out.
Will's dog Humphrey Bogart came along and could smell the burgers! Humphrey is a labrador and would eat until he exploded.
He wasn't the only thing to smell the burgers! Being on a lower-than-eye level with a load of very curious cows is kind of scary really. They're quite large beasts and there were no life jackets on board.
Check out this absolutely huge specimen
Luckily we got past just in time.
A truly magical thing happened though as we lay becalmed in a rather skinny bit of river. Will was trying to punt us out but we discovered the boat had turned 180 degrees and instead of going downstream we were struggling to go back up stream. Under a branch sitting quietly with it's head under its wing was a kingfisher. Usually these birds are just a flash of colour as they scoot out of sight but here it was not more than a meter or 2 away wobbling sleepily on a twig. I took a few pics but you might have to blow them up to see it. It's just a small coloured ball of fluff really. Amazing to be so close to such a creature

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sunshine on the soles of your feet

It's no wonder 'The English' are obsessed by the weather. When it's sunny it's so spectacular. It's been a week and a half of Crap weather and today was back to beautiful.
I went to visit my friend Kate today. She's kind of a recent friend and I've never been to her house before. She had asked me for lunch and when I looked up her address on Google maps it came up as being in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere. Guess what, that's exactly what it's like. She and her brother share two tiny semi-detached cottages down a bumpy track with no sight of any other buildings. There was washing drying in the sun, caesar salad with lettuce and radishes out of the garden,and elderflower cordial on cushions in the back garden. It was almost too hot to sit out there but we soldiered manfully on.

Monday, June 01, 2009

More birthday

The birthday continued this weekend. (At this rate I think I could cope with a year of birthday celebrations).
As well as mine, we had William's and also Humphrey Bogart, William's dog (Humphrey was 100!). Here he is cutting the cake.It was the most beautiful day out but there was a lot of fun to be had inside the boat With Clarissa and the Zebedoodle and our lovely friend Grace. It was one of those times when your friends from very disparate groups all get to meet each other and you're hugging yourself as they actually GET each other the way you wish they would.

We went out in the boat on the sparkly water. There were just thousands of Damsel flies, and dragonflies some iridescent green and some blue. It was absolutely heavenly.
P.S. Not my photo click on it to go to the link