Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)



Sadly, not Lee Marvin. But I was very,very happy to open the door to the Iceman who did cometh.

Our fridge didn’t seem as cold as it ought to have been.And the freezer was icing-up alarmingly.The biggest concern was that the wine took ages to be drinkably cold!

Having been ,shall we say, a little ticked off with the payment arrangements of the crew who replaced my oven door (basically, they wanted payment to the workman who was sent to do the job.No invoice, no receipt and no facility for card payment.Do I have feckin’ eejit stamped on my forehead?)¬†* I was not about to hire them.

But I still had the number of the chap who replaced the fridge door seals a few years ago and one brief phone call later…he said he’d order new seals, call me when the seals arrived and also check the other workings of the monster then. We had a holiday looming.Still tied to the Palace apron strings, Australia declares a holiday, in June, to celebrate the Sovereign’s birthday.Which is in April, but never mind the logistics…

So the shopping/cooking malarkey was trimmed to daily purchases and rather a lot of stuff was dumped from the freezer. Baked beans on toast, anyone? ūüôā

All was well: the seals arrived the day after the holiday and were installed the day after that. Iceman defrosted the iced-up lumps with a dead-handy steamer gizmo.

Much quicker than a hair-dryer! And the thermostat was pronounced “fine” and that was that. Iceman has a hand-held card validating thingy which printed a receipt and I turned my attention to wielding a can opener…**

We’ve been having showery weather on and off for weeks.Gardens, of course, are romping away.As are the rotten weeds. But it’s not all bad news! Cursing a particularly tenacious weed and burning from the sun, I called a halt and came indoors for a cold drink and a little blog-reading.First up, Marie, over in Harlem…BINGO! She’s been foraging and look what’s edible! Yes, I’ve had a little nibble of the raw leaves. A bit too fuzzy for my liking, but I’ll definitely make use of it, lightly steamed. How hairy? About the same as older leaves of the herb borage¬†So, if you have Galinsoga taxing your vocabulary, try sending it to the kitchen, not to the inner circle of Hell.

Trimming the ferns and jasmine back from the edge of path is a constant task.It’s easy enough and sometimes I have help…


Geiger, being “helpful.” ¬†She’d taken a short cut through the ferns and scattered petals all over the path.


And the jasmine.  J.officinale, I believe.


It’s Saturday in my world. And that means that in a few hours a happy Band of Brothers ¬† ¬†Bloggers will be converging on The Zeddary.¬†¬†Unable to make the trip this year, I’ll be drinking ¬†¬†thinking of you.Cheers!

* I refused to comply with this idea and drove over to their office the following day and paid.

** Not really. I keep pasta in the pantry and linguini-and-tomatoes with salad saw us well-fed.




Edited to add another link relating to woad.Scroll down.

Yes, folks, I am home again. Been home a few days, in fact, but somewhat busy.

Have ¬†I really not written since ¬†the New York segment? ?? Apparently. I expect I was having so much fun, racing about the countryside, meeting other bloggers, making new friends, learning, first-hand, about tortoise biology….Others have written about the blogging house party in Norfolk so I’ll skate over that lavatorial episode.

Instead, I’ll jump ahead to my cross-channel quickie.

I flew to Toulouse to spend a few days with Ange¬†in a lovely old farmhouse in the country. My first time in the south! Hard to believe that in all my years living just across the “sleeve” I never got that far south!

What treasures I missed! Still, I did make up for some of that and have certainly whetted the appetite for more!

Ange and her family live just outside the village which, once a month, at midnight, is closed to vehicular traffic for this little parade.   click the top image


Foolishly, I, with TWO cameras, took neither, not realising quite what we’d see as we drove into the village late one night!

The logistics of moving an A 380, albeit in its component parts, are mind-boggling. And not a little hold-your-breath scary! But I’m so pleased to have seen it, being a bit of an aeroplane freak.

And the next day we headed for Carcassonne (passing the Airbus parts in the workshop yard on the way!). I think my earliest knowledge of Carcassonne came from a jigsaw puzzle depicting mounted knights riding up to the castle. Not quite as forbidding today, it’s still an impressive place. The winding, narrow streets are (as you’d expect) a tourist mecca, with, sadly,some of the merchandise marked “frabrique en Chine.” But look carefully and you can still find items produced locally.Or, at least, in the Eurozone. This, I think, is vital, given the fiscal mess so many places are in.

But let’s keep politics out of this!

Sorry.Can’t! Political clout has always played a part in history and the next place I visited was no different.

The Toulouse area owed its prestige and wealth to the humble plant,Isatis tinctoria,  from which an all-important dye is derived.We visited to learn more.


Ange’s son, assisting in a demonstration* Note the greenish colour of the cloth-this will dry blue.


Blue bunnies. Erm…just what is in those carrots!


Blue doors and shutters at every turn…

IMG_0139And, apparently, blue cars!

And just to show that I’m not completely besotted by blue, here’s something black…

black petunias

Petunias! Aren’t they gorgeous? Madame,the cafe “Rouge Gorge” owner said she had planted red-and-black,to complement the decor, but the frightful early summer of cold rain made the reds revert to a faded white and pink. But these beauties thrived.

Had enough of France? OK…back across the Atlantic ¬†for this:

subway ladies

A block-mounted print of one of my friend, Victoria’s, subway paintings. See her site and Etsy shop for more. Some of you already know that I have other work by Victoria and it was lovely to see her again on this trip. We cruised a couple of exhibitions and wandered around East Village haunts and talked a lot! This little gem now hangs above my desk.It puts me in mind of Degas. What do you think? Thanks, Victoria.

Of course, it would not have been New York without my favourite guide...but that’s for another post!

And I think the cats ¬†have something to say, too, now that Estorbo’s people have restored his password and are home with him. For an armchair safari I can highly recommend this blog¬†and this one.

* Aeration/oxidation is an important stage in the process.See this link  for more information.
I’ve found a link to the lyrics of a song I have been known to sing, first, at school and later at parties. ¬†



…yes, I do! Hotter than a jockey’s saddle, but hey! It’s New York.

So very different from my first visit! IMG_3825

Trees with leaves! And the banner, above? Some of the roses on my friend’s terrace. I do have some other pics, but I’m a bit pushed for time, so here’s a small amusement for you…

Wylye Girl, over at the River Cottage (no, not Hugh get-yer-hair-cut) has a post about ageing and how to tell whether you are showing the signs of same. It amused me, possibly because I am approaching that time of life when people expect one to show such signs. Unless, of course, you’re like me and quite happily get on a bike (eventually!) and pedal around Central Park. (no photos of that, I’m afraid. Daisyfae and I were intent on not being taken out by a herd* of skate-boarders.More later…)

Anyway, while you wait to hear more about my cycling adventure, see how you score. This is an Anglo-centric quiz, but I’m sure you can adapt it for your own locale. These responses are mine.

…came across some new research that claims to have found the top 50 signs that you are getting older so I thought I would see how I stacked up against them, so here goes:

1. Feeling stiff. Yes, but some things have been stiff for years.

2. ¬†Groaning when you bend down. No. Might groan if I can’t bend!

3. ¬†Saying ‘In my day’. Probably.

4. ¬†Losing my hair.¬†Yes, to the extent that I no longer tear it out when ranting. The cats are looking a bit mangey…
5. ¬†You don’t know any songs from the Top 10. ¬†Didn’t even know there still is a Top Ten!

6.¬†Getting more hairy (nose, ears, eyebrows, etc).¬†I notice they don’t mention the Menopausal Moustache. So neither shall I!

7.  Hating noisy pubs. Yes.

8.¬†Saying it wasn’t like that when I was young. Does repeating #3 suggest the author is getting old?

9. ¬†Talking a lot about joints/ailments.¬†What is “a lot”?

10.¬†Forgetting people’s names. Like the new James Bond? Or the fellow who wants to be my next MP?
11.  Choosing clothes and shoes for comfort rather than fashion. Honey,comfort has trumped fashion for more than 40 years.It is possible to have both, y;know.

12. ¬†Thinking policemen/teachers/doctors look really young. ¬†Well, given that most who are older than I have retired…

13.  Falling asleep in front of the TV. Oh, yes.

14.  Needing an afternoon nap. Only at weekends when we have leisurely lunches involving wine (sorry, Z!)

15.  Finding you have no idea what young people are talking about. I often have no idea what ANYONE is talking about

16.  Struggling to use technology.  Like DVD recording and electric can openers?

17.¬†¬†Losing touch with every day technology and tablets. see #16 ¬†Oh,wait! Maybe they mean the pill kind of tablet? Forgetting to swallow them. Um, yes. But only because I forgot to pack them…

18.  When you start complaining about more and more things.  See! Repeating questions again!

19.  Wearing your glasses around your neck.  Good God! No. When I need them, I need them in front of my eyes. Not dangling around my navel.

20 .¬†¬†Not remembering the name of any modern bands. ¬†I’d also like to forget that I heard some of their music.
21. ¬†You avoid lifting heavy things due to back concerns. ¬†Hey! That’s not age, that’s the wisdom that comes with age. Says she who was side-lined 6 months ago!

22. ¬†Complaining about the rubbish on television these days.¬†Doesn’t seem to have any effect ,does it?

23.  Misplacing your glasses/bag/keys. Does it count if you did these things at 20?

24.  You move from Radio One to Radio Two. For me, that would be like switching from Triple J to Classic FM.  (All radios Chez Dinahmow  have been tuned to Classic FM for 20 years.Sad.I know)

25.  You start driving slowly. Start? With constant roadworks and heavy traffic slow is the norm (except out by the golf course!)

26.  Preferring a night in with a board game rather than a night on the town. I wonder if this is not a typo?     Broad? Bored? Knight?

27.  Spending money on the home/furniture rather than a night out. Probably.This is a small town.

28.¬†¬†You talk to colleagues so young they can’t remember what an Opal Fruit¬†is. Who the bejeezlehoop has conversations about Opal Fruits? In my day (!) colleagues talked about a)other colleagues b) the boss c) the chances of snagging a Saturday date.

29. ¬†Taking slippers to a friends’ house.¬† Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

30.  Listening to the Archers. Blimey! Is that still running? No, never did

31. ¬†Falling asleep after one glass of wine. Define “glass” in terms of size

32. ¬†Never going out without your coat. I live in the tropics.Don’t have a coat

33.  Getting bed socks for Christmas and being genuinely grateful. Pretty unlikely.On both counts
34. ¬†When you can’t lose six pounds in two days any more. Wouldn’t you need to be bulimic?
35. ¬†Gasping for a cup of tea.¬† Not me. I’m a coffee gal.But I still don’t see that tea-drinking qualifies one for an Old Fogey award.

36.  Taking a flask of tea or coffee on a day out.  Nope

37.  Joining the WI. Here, that would be the CWA. And my answer would still be no.

38.  Taking a keen interest in the garden. Less keen than when I had a much bigger garden and much younger body

39. ¬†Spending more money on face creams/anti-ageing products. I don’t spend any money on such things. Probably why people think I’m old!

40. ¬†Taking a keen interest in Antiques Roadshow. No. I have a lot of “old” things. And one of them refuses to throw the rest of them away.

41. ¬†Taking a keen interest in dressing for the weather. Again with the “keen interest.”No, I don’t

42. ¬†Putting everyday items in the wrong place. My bone folder in the pantry does NOT count. That’s not an everyday item…

43. ¬†Obsessive gardening or bird feeding. Not obsessive.And I don’t feed wildlife (unless in rehab.Them, not me!)

44.  Really enjoying puzzles and crosswords. Nope. Too busy.

45.  Always driving in the slow lane or under 70 in the middle lane. No. see #25

46. ¬†Consider going on a ‘no children’ cruise for a holiday.NEVER! sprogs or no sprogs.

47.  Your ears are getting bigger. Are not!

48.  Joining the National Trust. Why?

49. ¬†Drinking sherry.¬†Hmm…the elderly ladies whose tipple is sherry have probably been drinking it for years in the belief it would not make them tipsy.So, no.

50. ¬†Feeling you have the right to tell people exactly what you are thinking even it it isn’t polite. It is seldom polite.
* is there a collective noun for 200+ skate boarders? Herd suggests Serengeti wildebeest, which certainly was what it felt like the other day!



Well, there has been more dashing about the countryside. I spent an interesting few hours on Tuesday with a blogging friend.After a bit of a kerfuffle with tube trains (they have a lot of kerfuffles, it seems!) we met at London Bridge and kinked our necks looking up at The Shard 

There was hail in that black cloud! So we nipped in to London Glassblowing for warmth and shelter!

And saw some beautiful exhibits…

Then to an exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum; an interesting display of (mainly) fabrics by influential women in the post-war period. All you Mad Men fans will know what I’m talking about.

I went down to Wlitshire again last week and spent a couple of days with Ziggi,walking dogs and talking and laughing.

Back to London for some clean socks then off to Buxton ( that’s oop north, in Derbyshire) to join Andrea Joseph¬†and some of her sketching friends.

Well, that was a blast! Initially, I’d hoped to go over Sheffield (in Yorkshire; do try to keep up!) the following day to meet another group of Urban Sketchers, but I just couldn’t manage to get a suitable train back to London. So what a surprise to find Lynne Chapman and her husband had driven over to Buxton!

I did feel a bit “minnow in a pike pond” at first, but they are all such lovely, friendly and encouraging folk I did manage to get one or two sketches done. This was from Buxton Museum (a great place!)

The sketching finished with the usual sharing of the day’s efforts at a great little cafe.The staff had reserved a corner with sofas around a table for us. And I understand the baked cheesecake was superb! I met some truly gifted people, saw some inspiring sketches (all those curly pipes on that French horn!) and finished the day at a restaurant with (another ) Lynne and Andrea.

Thank you, all you Northern Urban Sketchers. May your summer arrive soon!

And tomorrow I’m off to see Ziggi again. But first, there is a somewhat urgent matter of laundry…




Five years ago, about the time I started this blog, one of the commenters seemed to have the same ¬†(completely bonkers?) sort of view of this world as myself. I thought, vaguely, maybe we’d meet, some day, if the planetary alignments were ever right. A bit like buying lottery tickets…

Anyway,that thing called Life threw all manner of curves our way and the meeting was pushed onto the back burner, along with all the  other metaphors.

Well, guess what? We made it! And, blimey! doesn’t one of us look fantastic!

Yes, she did have to lend me some wellies. Very fetching they were, too. Posh green ones, like what proper country folk wear. None of yer old K-Mart rubbish. Oh, no…

In fact, I’m so fond of those wellies I think I might just go back to Wiltshire and borrow them again.

Off to Fenland today to meet another “blast from ¬†the past.”

I’ll leave you with some ¬†pretty pictures. Though, personally, I think the one above takes some beating. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†



…not immediately obvious!

If I ever work out how a man with a shovel (or even a pizza stick or a poison-squirting thingummy!) indicates the replacement of a light bulb I’ll be sure to let you know!

And just look at the manpower required these days by WHandS* ! Not so long ago a chap would arrive with a ladder, shinny up and change the bulb and be off to the next ¬†job. I suppose all these shiny-shirted men make the employment figures look good…


I’ll be heading off to school in 45 minu¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†shoot! 30 minutes!! So I don’t have a lot of time to tell you about the next installment of Travels With Dinah.

But I am planning more travels. Oh, yes! And this time, I’m unlikely to be stuck in a blizzard! This is just enough information to make some of you bolt the door and hide and for others to turn a witch-y shade of green.

And The Metropolitan Police thought the Olympics would be a headache? Hah!

No more details now. I’ll tell more when the time is right. Rotten little tease, aren’t I? ūüôā



* Workplace Health and Safety.



Well, it can be.

Many people in this sometimes crazy world of blogs meet each other, form lasting friendships, share more than cyber-words.

One of my first blog readers was the irrepressible Ziggi, who blogs from far-off (from me) England.

Ziggi and I may never meet (but we are leaning on our significant others to orchestrate this!), but last week I did meet her elder daughter who is kicking up her post-grad heels with two friends before settling to working for a living.

On their way to the tropical playground that is (sort of!) my backyard, the girls stopped here for a night.

Long of fang that I am, I felt so envious of their trip, highly-flavoured with tsunami alerts (Fiji), missed flights (New Zealand), deliciously dangerous sky dives and rapid-rafting (yes, NZ again), all laced with, possibly, more alcohol than I could cope with. Maybe not!

It’s not that I didn’t get up to some pretty daft shenanigans when I was younger (c’mon! we all think we’re bomb-proof at 20!). But these days, there seem so many more opportunities.

The actual travelling bit, for instance. Back in “ye olden days” we bussed, sailed 6 bunk, lower deck on liners, bummed lifts with kids who had cars or hitch-hiked.

But Kirsty,Jess and Lucie have hired  a ratty old VW campervan.

Preparing to head north.

We had a couple of hours on Friday morning so I took them to my local beach…


And up to the “pub with the million-dollar-view”

Note to ¬†Ziggi: I did tell them it was quite a long drop onto some nasty rocks…


After a light lunch, I waved them goodbye as they headed for Airlie Beach, that Whitsunday youth magnet. I hope I meet them again some day.

Oh, yes! They were tickled pink to be asked for ID at my local liquor outlet. Why was I not asked to prove I am over 18?

There may be another “break in transmission” as I get back into the print studio. But I’ll be around to read what all you others are up to!