Saturday, 4 June 2016

Cocktails, containers and chickens.


It's been a bit of a mixed week really.

We had a lovely bank holiday weekend. I began with Friday off work taking advantage of a long weekend.  I met with a couple of extras work pals and we settled into a gossip filled catch up fuelled by gin. Until cocktail hour was announced and we partook of some far too many of these:


Bloody disgusterously horrible !!

On Saturday my bestie picked me up in her red sporty number and we escaped, Thelma and Louis style, to our fave getaway for brunch in the sun and much coffee. Unfortunately she had a bit of a hand cream incident and I nearly spat my coffee over the table in a most unlady like manner.
 Sigh.  We revert to being 12 years old sometimes.

Sunday was spent filling more planters. We're nearly finished now and then the big tidy up operation can be started and we can begin to enjoy the garden again.  It's like a lumbar yard crossed with an obstacle course out there at the moment and I can't wait to be able to just sit and enjoy it.  Not that any of the hard graft has been done by me I'm ashamed to say. I just can't do physical work any more so apart from some painting and planting that's the sum total of my contribution.

Here's some random pics anyway including our new Cerunnos plaque.  I love it!

Aliums and yellow poppies have colonised this corner but I love that.  

First rose of the year smells amazing.  

And lots of buds ready to pop too.  It's always a show this one.  Flowers it's head off all Sumner with frequent dead heading and light pruning. 

Big Bird (aka the predator cos of the clicking noises she makes) having a dust bath. 

Chickneequa being nosey. 

Millie aka Meggan (sic) after the girl on the Exorcist film and her eldritch screeches. Butter wouldn't melt. 

The other two are broody, have been for weeks and no doubt are inside sitting on stolen eggs laid after first swoop this morning.  

I've put myself on a plant buying ban. 

Apart from these beauties that is...... 

Happy weekend!


Where are we today then readers ?  Some ancient ruins in the background, clear blue skies?  Yep, today children, we're in Birmingham! Victoria Square to be precise.   It was far too nice (and far too bloody early) to be sitting at my desk yesterday morning so I wondered around the square and took some pics of the sculptures for you.  Aren't you lucky?!  

The above pic shows a corner of the town hall (where the columns are) and the war torn battlements in the back ground are the remains of the old library. Of course they spent millions on the new one on Broad Street didn't they?  But the less said about that... 

Moving on we have the grand old lady who gave the Square it's name when it was renamed in 1901. It was plain old Council House Square previous to Victoria Square.  This statue was originally marble but it weathered considerably and was re-cast in bronze ..     

As happy as ever!

  Apparently she unveiled the original statue in 1901  And died a few days later.  She was obviously not amused at all. 

Coming down the steps we are faced with the statue which divided opinion greatly when it was installed. Anthony Gormley's "Iron: Man" stands some 6 metres tall and represents the industry of the area.  Rumour has it that he was hidden from view when Princess Diana officially opened the newly refurbished square some time ago.   

I feel I should have Black Sabbath's tune of the same name playing in the background of this post.  Tee hee. 

Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all,
Or if he moves will he fall?
Is he alive or dead?
Has he thoughts within his head?
We'll just pass him there
Why should we even care?

Read more: Black Sabbath - Iron Man Lyrics | MetroLyrics

One wonders if the fact that he is listing gracefully to one side is a nod to the drunks of Brum. ;)  I rather like the old fella personally but then I'm a bit strange too!

Well would you look at this shameless hussey comely maiden reclining topless in the morning sunshine.  
Well really!
She's a sturdy bird - weighing some 1.75 tonnes.  Modelled on me obvs.  This installation (she's been called some things in her time I  can tell you) was once a huge water feature with fountains. Known by locals as the "floozy in the jacuzzi"  and designed by Dhruva Mistry, who won a competition to design a water feature for the site, the formal name for her and the pool in which she once resided is The River.
This is a popular meeting area. In days past it was a favourite place for weary shoppers and stifled office workers to cool their feet in the fountains.  The area houses the German market in November and December and gets so ridiculously busy you couldn't swing a Bratwurst!  Floozy regularly gets decorated with anything from tinsel and santa hats at Christmas to strategically placed traffic cones come Friday night.
floozy in flattering post. 
Unfortunately the water feature element of the piece sprang a leak, initially costing £30000 in repairs.  Once repaired it leaked again and was found to be irreparable and so in 2015, Floozy's jacuzzi became a flower bed!

There is an inscription around the rim of the pool which is taken from a TS Eliot poem 'Burnt Norton' which reads as follows:

And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.

Isn't that lovely?  

Here we have the other part Mistry's installation.  Simply called 'Youth', this is another bronze  sculpture.  

The whole of the design is actually made up of four sets of works, being The River, Guardians, Youth and Object (Variations) which come together to represent youth and eternity.

Here are The Guardians.  They take features from a variety of animals.  That commonly known lesser spotted bald bloke for one.  I personally prefer to call them Thing 1 and Thing 2.  

The obelisks are just that really.  Just sandstone structures approx 7 feet tall. They're just there.  I hadn't realised they were actually part of the installation cos I'm obviously a philistine so here is a pic of one of the glorified lamp bases. I do hope you'll forgive me for not photographing them both! 

So there we have it. A whizz around Victoria Square without leaving your arm chair. I do spoil you!

See you soon. 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

A productive weekend

Well mom's eye op was cancelled.  There had been an admin error and she shouldn't have been offered a Saturday appointment as her op is slightly more risky than a standard cataract op.  Ah well.  after being up at 6, out at 7, hospital at 8, breakfast with my brother at 9, we had collected her and took the opportunity to go to Lidl shopping on the way home.  By 11.30 I was home and unpacked so the rest of the day was spent dodging showers in the garden.

Today has been more of the same. The sun was beaming in through our bedroom window this morning so we decided not to waste the day.

Lovely fella has been a DIY dervish and has been beavering away on the deconstructed pallet planters.
Tommy Walsh got nothing on this fella!

Heres some progress pics. The garden looks like Steptoe's yard at present but I'm trying to see the bigger picture.

We shall get there.

It will be so much easier for me to manage the garden when it's all done especially as my arthritic joints aren't getting any better.

Thanks for dropping by today.  Hope your weekend was a happy one. It's a four day week for me this week. Ever so slightly happy about that!

Lots of plants still to plant out. Mostly from last week's boot sale. 

First coat on. This one is going to be pink

Heuchera 'lime marmalade'

Hosta 'drummer boy'  

Salix tree, baby lupins, wegeila and a baby acer. Need a couple of lavenders for this one.  Slugs you are not invited!
Love the colour of this heuchera.  It's a trailing one
called 'redstone falls'.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Friday Bleatings

Today I am mostly:

Wondering where the man in the navy blue polka spotted tea dress with matching converse trainers and white ankle socks was going when he rushed past me at lunch time. 

Pondering the reason why everyone under the age of 25 is attempting to dye their hair silver grey when I am fighting a constant battle to drive back the 'white roots of doom' so that I don't look as though I have a) a white halo or b) bald patches. 

Laughing at the note on the Pret serviettes which says:  "This napkin is 100% recyclable, but if Pret staff get all serviette-ish and hand you a huge bunch of napkins (which you don't need or want), please give them the evil eye.  Waste not, want not."

Keeping my fingers crossed that the washing machine behaves itself over the weekend.  Last night (at 11pm) I had a 'washing machine incident' which involved a baking tray, a washing up bowl, a mop and much sweariness.  And my clothes for today were locked inside.  Sopping wet.  And no, I couldn't wear something else.  Luckily I was a domestic goddess in the absence of Lovely Man (who had rather selfishly taken himself off to work.  After draining the machine I ungunked a very gunked up filter.  Not one of the nicest things I've ever had my finger in.

Wondering if the aged parent's second cataract operation will be first on the list tomorrow morning so we can get home at a reasonable hour of Saturdayness.  We have to be there for 8am.  I didn't know there were two 8 o'clocks on a Saturday.

Is it gin o'clock yet?

Monday, 16 May 2016

Please be upstanding ...

For I have been awarded a Liebster blogging award by the very lovely J of fame!  Thank you very much my dear.

I shall attempt to do what I'm supposed to but hey - this is me we're talking about and its bound to go horribly wrong!

So I think I have this right....

Link back to the blog that nominated you so that the wondrous world of blogging can expand its readership. (Think I've managed that above).

Post a photo or badge of the Liebster Award.

Um...hang on.....   Ooo!   Tadaahhh!!

Answer ten questions posed by who nominated you - ooh ok - hang on then - here we go:--

1. Tea or coffee?  Coffee. Skinny decaff mocha by choice if you're offering!

2. Bath or shower?  Shower.  Bish.  Bash. Bosh.  Quick and easy.  (we don't have a shower and its the bane of my life!)

3. Book or Kindle?  Two years ago I'd say book.  Was HORRIFIED by the thought of books being replaced by reading devices. What sort of witchcraft was that?  However Lovely Man bought me one as a surprise birthday pressie and I've loved it ever since.  I shall never stop reading actual books tho - but the Kindle is handy for travel and for internet access too. 

4. Real or fake Christmas tree?  Real. As long as they're rooted.  I'd rather have a fake one if they're unrooted.

5. Christmas or Yule?  Yule.  Proud Pagan am I!

6. Starter or pudding?  Starter.  Garlic everything with artisan bread and balsamic.  Yum!

7. Cup or mug? MUG!!  There's nary more than a tooth full in one of those cup thingies!

8. Favourite flower?  Hyacinth for scent.  Daffodillies for cheeryupness.

9. Up to the table or couch dinner?  We always eat lap-dinners but I do like a meal at the table whenever I can prise everyone away from the telly

10. If you had the chance to go back in time, when would you choose and why? I'm struggling with this one as I'm not one for looking back and can't think of why I'd want to.  I shall say 1977 cos I LOVED that era - but I'd like to be about 18 years old and not ten!

Ooh I quite enjoyed doing that. 

I'm now supposed to nominate another five blogs but I won't do that because I know some peeps are a bit anti - so I shall merely post links to some of my very favourite blogs which I never miss reading, even if I don't comment much. 

I shall post ten new questions for anyone to play along that would like to. 

1.  Weight Watchers or Slimming World?
2.  Chocolate:  Milk or Dark?
3.  Prosecco:  Overrated, overpriced fizz or new favourite tipple?
4.  Gerard Butler or Tom Hardy? (Swoon - I couldn't choose!)
5.  New James Bond:  Idris Elba or Tom Hiddleston?
6.  Holidaying abroad or in the UK?
7.  Farm shop or Supermarket?
8.  Europe: Are you an Inny or an Outty?!
9.  Favourite month?
10.  Favourite outfit?

Going for a lie down in a darkened room now!

See you soon!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Under the bridge.

It's five pm in Birmingham city centre.

Commuters are running for trains, glad to leave work behind for the weekend. The hideous behemoth which is the Selfridges building sits like some weird alien space station; glinting smugly in the evening sunshine, wringing another few hundred pounds out of eager shoppers before it closes.

 Less than a hundred yards around the corner, this is happening

Behind nearly every upright under the covered walkway between New Street Station and Moor Street Station is a bundle of carrier bags, a stained duvet or simply a pile of cardboard.  These are all bed reservations for the evening.  No-one moves them. The owners leave their worldly possessions to reserve their space safe in the knowledge that no-one else will steal them or take their pitch. 

The homeless situation in Birmingham is out of control. It's been a complete shock going to work in Brum after 20 years away to see the extent of it. 

It makes me so sad.