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Harder than it looks


Same church as yesterday, but a whole lot higher and harder than it looks. It costs a pound to go up the church tower, and I got three steps up and chickened last time. This time I was determined.

The staircase is stone and just barely wide enough for one person. They have men with walkie-talkies stationed at both ends so two people don’t get into the tower at once. The risers are steep and the stairs are wide enough for less than half of my big clown foot. There’s a big-ass rope and you pull yourself up that sucker all the way to the top.

Truth is, it’s so narrow, I don’t think you could possible fall far. But it’s scary as shit.

I had a terrible fear I’d get up there and be unable to come down (I have a history of this, ever since I got myself up that fire observation tower in 1967 and got stuck), but for once it was easier down than up.

Maybe next year I’ll hang around and get more pictures.

September 8, 2015 — 10:41 pm
Comments: 12

Can’t you hear the Kum Ba Ya?


From the last church flower festival we went to — possibly the last one of the year. We are down at the short end of the season now.

I feel a little cruel running with this one. These ladies were, after all, just making a joyful noise (and doing a respectable job of it, on the whole).

Only…aren’t they precious?

September 7, 2015 — 10:31 pm
Comments: 10

Let’s end this week on a kitteh


(Picture credit: Onkle B).

Sorry for such a lackluster week. I’ve done nothing but sleep and look forward to sleep for days.

Must be a change-of-seasons thing. It’s turned cold here. Summer is over. We’ve got the heat on tonight. I’ve broken out the hoodies and fingerless gloves. I am bummed.

Still, it’s Friday. Good weekend with much lovely Z’s to you all!

September 4, 2015 — 9:20 pm
Comments: 15

Hey, I just report the news


The headline: Salmon Spawns on Obama’s Shoes

The quote: “You see that?” Obama declared Wednesday as he gripped a fish with two hands. “Something’s got on my shoes.”…Generally you don’t want fish spawning on your feet. He said the local fisherwoman who accompanied him said the fish was “happy to see me.”

There’s video. Knock yourselves out.

September 3, 2015 — 8:40 pm
Comments: 6

Seven years later…


These are cobnuts. They are a variety of hazelnuts (or filberts, if you prefer). They aren’t dried, though — they’re served wet in their little wrappers, so they’re only available from about August to October.

Love me some cobnuts. Uncle B planted a cobnut tree not long after we moved in. It’s grown into a lovely, full, bushy thing. Healthy? Fer sure. Productive? Not so much.

This is our entire cobnut crop for 2015.

September 2, 2015 — 9:29 pm
Comments: 10

Non-drowsy, my ass!


My eyes have been kinda itchy lately, so I took a Cetirizine. One seven hour nap later…

Oh wait — these aren’t the non-drowsy kind!

Sheesh…I hope I can sleep before work tomorrow…

September 1, 2015 — 10:39 pm
Comments: 6

So ends a fair weekend in wrath


So after two lovely days of long weekend, a day of thunder and rain. Sucks to be a vacationer, but I was glad of a day of snooze and indolence.

And so I give you Dungeness lighthouse in rain. Dungeness — AKA the Fifth Quarter — the whole of the sticky-outy bit of South Kent is for sale.

Most of it, anyway. Much to the consternation of those who love it. This includes us, though we are too far away to visit very often.

Still, not to worry. It bounds a nuclear power plant, a nature reserve and a lighthouse. It’s not going to see any development in my lifetime.

August 31, 2015 — 9:51 pm
Comments: 5

The tombstone whisperer


I spotted this pair of tombstones in a beautiful secluded churchyard at a flower festival over the weekend. This kind of skull-and-bones graveside iconography is very common in Puritan New England, but very uncommon indeed in an English boneyard.

I asked someone if they knew the story of the stones, and they directed me to — I’m ashamed to say, I didn’t catch or, anyway, don’t remember her name. She was in a tent selling books at the other end of the churchyard. She’s the local lady-who-knows-everything-about-the-stones.

As I walked up, she was complaining to another old dear that she was going to have to sell her motorcycle (a Honda 90) because ever since she turned eighty, the arthritis in her left leg prevented her propping up the bike at a stop. That’s such a shame, the other old lady said, you’ve been so mobile.

We fell to talking about the stones. Most of them are cut from granites and marbles and other stones that just melt away in the elements. Year on year, you can see the inscriptions fading.

She made a bit of kit — she described it as an old cider barrel, about 18″ across. It’s blackened inside, cut flush at one end and at a 45° at the other (I’m not entirely clear which end she looks down). She holds it against the stone in raking sunlight. She says it sometimes takes her hours of staring down the barrel, but sooner or later she’s able to decipher them all. At least, she hasn’t failed yet.

I was so engrossed, I forgot to ask about the two stones in the picture. Get this. This old dame bombs around the English countryside on a motorcycle visiting ancient country churches (oh my god, some of these places are so beautiful) to sit for hours staring at the stones. This is what she does.

I want to be this lady so bad.

Good weekend, all! This is our end-of-Summer long weekend, but I’m sure I’ll be around Monday as usual. Unless I buy that lady’s Honda and vanish down a country lane forever.

August 28, 2015 — 8:18 pm
Comments: 3

The fat lady, singing her heart out


That’s it. It’s over. Pack up the grill. Oh, there are one or two more flower festivals and fetes, but we mark the end of the Summer when the circus comes to Rye.

I’ve posted about the circus before.

In fact, I posted a picture of this lady last year (excuse shitty cellphone pic; we didn’t take any real cameras tonight). I was delighted to see her back again. I’m telling you folks, this fat gal can swing a hula hoop!

It was fun. Most important, it was back again one more time. It’ll be a sad summer, the first one that doesn’t end in the circus.

August 27, 2015 — 9:54 pm
Comments: 8

Terms and conditions may apply



Okay, I don’t know if this applies. I got this (^^^) in the mail this afternoon, but I can’t find a similar offer on their website. So maybe they’re just mining people who have been members and quit. I’m not sure how you take advantage if you’re not one of those people, though there doesn’t appear to be a special code or anything.

Have you done the ancestry.com lark? It’s the best of the for-pay genealogy sites. But it’s incredibly expensive, per month or per year — especially if you’re an American or some other flavor of colonial and you need access to international records. On the order of $30 a month or more.

This is cheeky of them, because your human brain sifting through their records transforms their raw data into something big and important and far more valuable. You are building their commodity for them.

But here’s the thing: they know that. So when you drop your membership, they don’t delete your data. All your family trees are still there and you can look at them all you like, you just can’t add to them while your membership is lapsed.

So you can join for a month, beaver away at it like a bastard, and then drop it before you get charged for another month.

Even better, you get two weeks free to start. I signed up over my birthday, when I knew I would have free time, and pecked away at it for fourteen days and then canceled. I got a lot done and it ain’t cost me squat. I shall probably take advantage of this free weekend, too. And why not?

August 26, 2015 — 9:20 pm
Comments: 12