Harry Potter in Oz

Yesterday morning, before I spent the whole afternoon writing the post on The Hawk Conservancy Trust, Jackie and I followed Becky, Ian, and Scooby to the Beachcomber Café at Barton on Sea.

The angelic, ageing Jack Russel – 17 next month – earned extra Bonio rations and heaps of admiration on the day of our visit to the trust, by controlling his bodily functions for nigh on 13 hours alone in the house because of our travel delays. We searched the house for evidence of leakage or dumping. There was none. I don’t think any of the rest of us could have remained so contained

We were also proud of the fact that he showed no desire to sit at table, which could not be said for a number of younger dogs.

As usual, speckled starlings perched in a row on the fence waiting for

a sight of likely pickings.

In the evening the four of us finished off the Indian Takeaway meal from the day before yesterday. Ian drank Peroni, Jackie chose Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

Becky spent some considerable time battling unsuccessfully with the interface between our TV and the You View box. She did, however make it possible for us to access Players and Apps from the TV. This will satisfy us until we obtain a replacement device.

This morning she continued offering her undoubted expertise by connecting me to Skype and showing me how to make screenshots during a rather frenetic video link with Malachi, Orlaith, and Sam in Fremantle.

There was competition for books to be thrust at the screen. Sam is currently reading the Harry Potter series to Orlaith who explained that they were her brother’s books. Mal had read them all in a matter of a few weeks when he was five. He is now on the teenage spy series, Cherub, by Robert Muchamore.

Dance routines were performed to the strains of Australia’s number one record. There was some rivalry for the prime screen shot.

My two grandchildren engaged in wand sword fights.

Orlaith donned her Harry Potter outfit

and snuggled up to her Dad for her bedtime story. Then we said goodnight. They are, of course, seven hours ahead of us.

This afternoon I uploaded Jackie’s pictures from the Hawk Conservancy Trust. Here are a variety of falcons in their environment.

She photographed the crowd focussed on the vulture landing beside them;

and watching the displays,

such as Ben with his vulture,

and the bald eagle coming in to land from two miles away. The smudge on the top right of the second image is one of the first heavy raindrops that poured from the suddenly looming clouds.

This evening we dined on minty lamb burgers, creamy mashed potato, crisp broccoli and carrots, and tender runner beans. Jackie and Ian drank Hoegaarden; Becky drank Straw Hat rosé, and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

Planted In The i-Mac

Bee on marigoldDespite there being little sun and a quantity of intermittent rain today, bees were busy harvesting nectar from Jackie’s plants.

This afternoon I walked through Minstead to Football Green; up to and through the grounds of Minstead Lodge; down Seamans Lane and skirted Suters Cottage; to emerge from the forest on Running Hill just below Lower Drive.  (Memo to self:  if you venture into the open woods in sandals after a couple of days’ rain you will get your feet wet.)

Minstead Lodge’s horses were favoured with fly-sheets.Horses and donkeys  Their companion donkeys were not.  Maybe they are not as plagued by the little nippers as are the larger animals.

I moved into 29 Sutherland Place in July 2007.  Soon after this, a small child pointed out the camera integral to my i-Mac computer, and that this was a wizard way of taking your own picture. Derrick, Heidi, Alice and Oliver Much fun was had by Oliver and Alice in particular, and many hours were spent playing with the special effects that could be achieved, especially if you were prepared to pull funny faces.  On 30th July, Heidi, Oliver, Alice, and I had a very fruitful session.  I seem to have cut my chin shaving.

By 15th November 2008, Oliver had become quite proficient. Oliver sepia This I discovered some time later when I found a couple of dozen mixed colour, and distorted effect pictures planted in the computer.


By December 2009, Louisa had persuaded me into Skype, and I believe I actually took picture number 23 in the ‘through the ages’ series whilst I was Skyping her.Derrick 12.2009                        I was certainly speaking with her on the phone.

The coriander garnish decorating Jackie’s tasty savoury rice that she served up with her delicious chicken jalfrezi, accompanied by popadoms and paratas from a little shop in New Milton, was in bloom. Coriander bloom garnishThat is the result of growing the herb in pots and not using it quickly enough.  It does mean we will have plenty of seeds for next year.  With my meal I finished the Cotes du Rhone opened a day or so ago.

Have you ever coughed or otherwise breathed in at an awkward moment when eating, and wound up with a pea firmly lodged in a part of your respiratory system?  It usually irritates somewhere between the back of your throat and your nostrils, until eventually you blow it out into your handkerchief.  Well, I’ll let you know in good time whether mine of this evening is a grain of rice or indeed a pea.

Ron Sveden from Massachusetts once ate a pea that ‘went down the wrong way’.  Jackie read out his story from BBC news the other day.  It was in August 2010 that he was rushed to hospital with a collapsed lung.  He feared cancer until the doctors informed him that he had a pea plant growing inside his lung.  If I should be nurturing a paddy field I will report that too.