Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, this morning I can look out of my window and see the beginnings of a well sorted summer garden. Having got all my plants in over the Bank Holiday weekend we then had a couple of mild days with rain to water them in nicely. Unfortunately though I think one of my cucumbers has bought it - we had a day of strong wind which seems to have given it a real battering but I'm endeavouring to use my vegetable vet skills to bring it out of it's cucumber coma! But I can now see some of my seeds struggling through the soil and my red hot pokers are starting to 'poke'.

As I'd worked hard most of last weekend, Adam decided it'd be nice to have an early evening drive out on Bank Holiday Monday. We needed to post some letters so we went via back roads to the village where I spent the first 26 years of my life - Coltishall. It's only five or six miles up the road but since my mother and father moved a few miles further north to the market town of North Walsham back in 1999, we tend to drive through it rather than stop. Typically, as it was a Bank Holiday, one of the roads through was closed for roadworks so the traffic was diverted (not that there's a huge amount of traffic) and also, just as typically, the diversion signs were here, there and everywhere but gave little information. Fortunately we knew where the little back lanes were to lead us to the post office but I pity any poor visitors/holidaymakers, they probably ended up somewhere between Devon and Yorkshire!

By going along the back lanes I have to admit I was saddened by three things.

When I lived in the village the banks were full of brambles, crab apples and basically native hedging but since I last went round that way, all the hedgerows had been stripped. I spent so many happy years walking and cycling there, grubbing through the cow parsley and nettles on the banks to pick the blackberries and crab apples.

The second thing I noticed was that an old wooden five bar gate across a meadow had been replaced with one of those hideous metal ones and the kissing gate attached to it to enable use of the public footpath had been taken away and a wire stock proof fence had been placed along the edge of the meadow. I assume this is to stop yobs and idiots who don't control their dogs from getting to the bullocks that are normally in there but it's somehow taken away that idyllic country feel from such a beautiful area.

The third thing which dismayed me somewhat was that a pretty little 1920s house, painted pale pink and set in its pretty little cottage garden complete with apple trees had been knocked down, the plot had been flattened and cleared and a large new house was under construction. The house had been built by a Mr and Mrs Girling who had a daughter. After Mr and Mrs Girling died, their daughter who had remained a spinster continued living there until she died a couple of years back. I'm sure Miss Girling would have been devastated if she'd known her lovely little family house and her beautifully tended garden had been razed to the ground.

But at least some good came out of the 'diversion' - I've now decided to have a stab at writing up a few notes on my childhood memories. I think I've been fired by the fact that I'm currently typing up some memoirs for a retired surveyor and estate agent and also I want to try my hand at something akin to a biography, which hopefully will lead me to starting on my first novel (thanks George for the inspiration there!!).

The rest of the week has been extremely hectic work wise but, in these hard times, it's good to know that at least I'm earning a living when so many are struggling.

Wednesday was my birthday - I worked all day but we decided to order a kebab for a treat. We use a Norwich kebab house that delivers to our village for an extra £1. Again, being ever frugal, we order the special meal deal which means we get two portions of fries and salad, a bottle of coke and a huge tray of mixed kebab meat/chicken. We only use one portion of the fries and eat about half the meat which means we can then freeze the remainder of the meat and reheat the second portion of fries for dinner the following day!!

The rest of the week has been busy but at least the weather's been good. I find myself feeling really smug on hot summery days as, working from home, I can wander off down the garden when I want to, do a bit of watering and (as I did yesterday afternoon), have a nice drop of lager and lime to ensure I keep cool, calm and relaxed to cope with the extra work.

Adam and I should have been in Southwold (Suffolk) today to help celebrate Adam's mother's and my birthday but Adam's mother wasn't able to come so it's been put off for a further week. Still, it gives me a chance to catch up with some work, do a bit of research into my next article (another murder tale) and maybe get started on my 'biography'. I'm also expecting my sister to phone and make arrangements to drop in as I didn't get to see her on my birthday. She's got a 10 year old son (my one and only nephew) so we'll probably take a walk out in the sun through Spixworth Park. Not your swings and roundabouts type park but the grounds of the old Spixworth Hall Estate - plenty of running around space and a wooded area to poke around in (and that's just for us adults!!). The lovely thing is it's just a couple of minutes' walk from our house so we don't even have to use the car.

Well, time to have a clear up around the house in case the family come in to land without a prior appointment!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I Can't Believe It's a Bank Holiday!!

After a really hectic week of working 8 til 6 - plus some, I was so relieved to get to Friday; our fish & chip night! Not that we buy them from the chip shop. Being related to the 'Tight-Wad' family we begrudge buying fish and chips from our local chippy which are running in grease and cost three times the price of 'home made', so we chuck Captain Birds Eye into the oven with Mr McCain and they normally come up with quite a good meal between them!

Saturday saw me busily delving around in my flower beds, bum in air, trying to prepare the soil for planting up today (Sunday). Adam had a pal over for the day and he likes to use my PC - they play online computer games together so, having finished out in the garden I ended up on the Wii (again!!) playing tennis and doing my half moon and triangle yoga moves. I was extremely impressed as Connie the Wii Console told me I now had a physical age of 32!! Not bad for an old 'un!

Following the departure of Adam's friend Nick, as the evening was so nice and warm we took a quick trip out to Coltishall - a village nearby, and where I grew up - posted our postal vote forms for the elections at the beginning of June and then took a leisurely walk along the river bank before heading home for dinner. Unfortunately, however, I daren't do a body test today as I rather over indulged last night - a huge skate wing with chips and, at Adam's insistence(!) a load of fried onions and tomatoes as he'd done too many to fit on the plate with his rib eye steak!! We then followed that up with another Tight-Wad recipe - a lemon torte from Asda (cost us the princely sum of £1!).

Feeling extremely replete and lazy, we decided we'd watch a DVD - the latest Batman movie; have to admit I found it so exciting I fell asleep at about 10.30 so went to bed and, as luck would have it, my second favourite piece of music was playing on the radio - Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis by Vaughan Williams so the day didn't end too badly. The only real downside was the fact that I learned I was allergic to cucumber plants.

I found the other day that my fingers on my right hand were itchy and had come out in a rash so, being typically me, I decided to keep sticking my hands into the various plants I had growing indoors to see what happened. Discovered that sweet peppers, courgettes and statice were fine but I shoved my hands into my cucumbers, so to speak, and ended up with a vegetably transmitted disease. Of course, my mother, neighbours, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all thought I should immediately dial 999 and call out all emergency services to tend to my pimples, but having put a load of lavender oil onto said affected area, I'm still alive and kicking today and not a pimple in sight.

I was relieved to find that today dawned bright, sunny and warm, so, having indulged again at breakfast time with toasted crumpets, lashings of butter and strawberry jam (thought I'd need something substantial to sustain me for my gardening!), I set to and I'm now free from pots on the windowsills. I'm just hoping that Cleo doesn't decide to roll around on the plants I so tenderly planted up - but c'est la vie - if she does, she does. I don't suppose we'll starve if we lose the odd courgette or cucumber.

The only blight on my otherwise relaxing day was the fact that Barmy Blackbird seems to have returned, or possibly son of Barmy. Last year we had a male blackbird that gave the distress call from various roofs and aerials in the vicinity during daylight hours throughout the whole of spring and summer and even took to dive bombing anything that moved - including me, Adam, Cleo, all our close neighbours and even cars that passed in front of the house. We couldn't imagine that he'd actually survive until this year as we thought he'd be caught by something or run over but today he's been twittering away at me but, as yet, hasn't taken to dive bombing - Alfred Hitchcock's birds spring to mind. I keep imagining next summer - three or four generations of Spixworth's Barmy Army lining up on the TV aerial ready to run kamikaze missions, complete with flying helmets and goggles.

Anyway, I'm now indoors feeling more than a tad grubby so quick rub down with an oily rag, into PJs and then down to prepare a slightly healthier dinner. Yes, I DO feel guilty at my lack of willpower over the last few days so it's going to be rabbit food tonight - a lovely(!) healthy salad with nerry a chip or fried onion in sight!!

And tomorrow? As it's Bank Holiday Monday it's bound to be pouring with rain - we just couldn't be lucky enough to have three good days could we? Don't be silly; of course not - I've got a load of washing to do as I've been spending my normal housework hours in the garden!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Feeling My Age - Plus Some!

It's been a long old week. Business has been 'brisk' to say the least. Been working 8-6 most days with just enough time to down the odd cheese and marmite sandwich - all of this work being property related; so seems things are finally moving on the market. My advice, if you want to pick up a bargain, now would seem to be a good time to buy - property prices are lower than they've been for years but there's light at the end of the tunnel.

The Wii regime is still going strong but I got a mite depressed by doing the body test every day so decided to limit that to once a week, but now getting into the yoga and muscle workouts, plus of course the hula hoop and step. Unfortunately I still can't control my feet - when I'm 'stepping'. I find myself tripping over the Wii balance board. I can't quite work out how they expect me to keep an eye on the TV screen to see what the next move is AND find the board with my feet. Same with the yoga. Connie (my Wii trainer) instructs me to follow her moves and then tells me to move my head so I'm facing in the opposite direction. I obviously need surgery to have a third eye inserted somewhere behind me (no rude comments please!). Still, despite my lack of third eye, I can now become a 'half moon', a warrior, a chair or a palm tree at will.

On Tuesday we took delivery of a new Freeview/Hard Drive/DVD player to run in tandem with our original Freeview/recorder. On opening we found that it was broken, contacted the supplier who arranged for it to be picked up on Wednesday afternoon and replace it, at the same time, with a new one.

On Wednesday morning Adam had an eye appointment at Specsavers. As Norwich isn't keen on cars we took the bus in. Living out here in the wilds our buses aren't always that reliable. Admittedly we're fortunate enough to have one every 30 mins (in theory!). Unfortunately it seems First Bus think we're all farmers out here who are, in all likelihood, going to take our chickens or pigs to market so they send us the oldest, dirtiest buses in the garage which have a tendency to break down just shy of the village. We've therefore taken to getting the previous bus to that which we should need. For once, the earlier bus was on time so we spent a leisurely half an hour wandering round the market where Adam instantly headed for the butchers section to visit Mr Pickering the Sausage Man! He's quite a celebrity in Norfolk (Mr Pickering, not Adam) and is often heard on Radio Norfolk.

We then arrived in good time for Adam's eye appointment. What an experience that was!! We normally visit a smaller practice but the guy decided to sell up and move to Lowestoft and, as Adam normally buys contact lenses online, he thought it would be better just to go for a 'quickie' check up, get the prescription and then do his own thing. We went to the main reception desk who immediately sent us upstairs to the next reception desk. That reception desk sent us to another waiting area where a petite young lady in equally petite mini skirt, beckoned a grinning Adam to join her at an open plan computer 'station' some 6 ft or so away. She then proceeded to go through all his personal details - name, age, address, telephone number, medical conditions, etc. So what's happened to privacy? Any weirdo who dropped in for a free eye test on the State could now be privy to all this information - I'm just waiting for a heavy breather to phone on our ex directory number or come knocking on the door and start talking about his medical conditions.

Adam was then taken to another open area where his eyes were tested. He then returned to me and was then taken by a guy (not wearing a mini skirt you'll be pleased to hear!) into another room to do the final eye test to determine his prescription. The only good thing about the experience was that Adam was able to pick up a pair of 'emergency' glasses for £25. Yes, he can now walk proudly down the street donning the new specs, tapping on people's shoulders and quoting "You should have gone to Specsavers"!

Following our Specsavers visit we ventured through M&S and ended up buying one of their Chinese meals (a real bargain, just like the real thing from a takeaway but half the price). Then off to the bus stop to get the charabanc home, diesel fumes and springs up the bum as we went over the speed humps at no extra cost!

On Wednesday afternoon our replacement Freeview, Hard Drive with DVD player arrived intact. Adam set it all up and found it worked fine until he tried to use it alongside the telly and our previous Freeview/HDD twin recorder. He found that the remote controls conflicted which meant we COULD use the new item - we had sound for the TV programme and could record ... but unfortunately we could only record the channel we were watching. We then discovered that we could watch a DVD but we had to listen to the programme we were recording. Useful eh? So, once again, Adam contacted the company we'd bought it from, told the nice lady all about it who was very apologetic and arranged to have it collected on Friday morning.

Thursday was pretty uneventful except for the fact that the cat decided to bring up a fur ball while I was eating my Shreddies - a bit of a turn off first thing in the morning but that's yer luck. During the morning we did notice a couple of volunteers from Hillside Animal Sanctuary out in the meadow behind the house checking the 'stock proof' fences so presumably during this coming week we'll be having some rescued horses out there. They obviously didn't do a particularly good job though as that afternoon, when I went down to make a cuppa, I looked out of the back door - did my eyes deceive me? I thought I could see highland cattle out there in the distance! My first reaction was to phone Specsavers to make an eye appointment for myself but as this seemed a little radical I grabbed the binoculars which we keep to hand in the study upstairs for bird watching and took a quick squint. They were definitely highland cattle - three of, two medium sized and one small, one with incredibly huge horns! They'd obviously come through a break in the fence somewhere between the meadow and the next door farmer's bit of 'set aside' (basically a bit of scrubland with various bushes).

Friday dawned cold and wet but I didn't have time to look out at it much as I had foot on pedal, headphones glued to earholes and hands working 90 mph on the keyboard due to an overload of details for new houses onto the market, etc, etc. Having finished work at around 6.00 I took a quick turn around Triond to find out what my mates were doing and managed to find some really interesting new friends. I then joined Connie on the Wii and turned myself into a half moon and a warrior for quarter of an hour and then watched a DVD before deciding to call it a night at around 10.00 and went to bed with John Brunning (DJ on Classic FM) and to start my new book. C J Sansom - a Tudor murder mystery.

Now, this morning, up with the lark. cup of tea, out to the local Co-op at about 9.30, back with top up bread, milk, cheese and washing powder - and freshly baked Danish pastries, of course! Seems Adam and I have now hit the 'OAP' entry zone. We found ourselves shopping with older members of our community. They obviously have the foresight to get into the Co-op before all the younger people with their unruly kids. It's far more pleasant and relaxing than later in the day so suspect we'll be doing it again.

Following that, home James, kettle on, coffee made, Danish pastry on plate and up here to blog for a bit before I start on the day's household chores.

So, that's my week so far - but there's still a good day and a half left so who knows, I still have time to become a Wii chair or palm tree or to book my surgery to have my third eye implanted!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Weekend Wind Down

Thought the weekend would never arrive. Funny how a shorter working week due to Bank Holidays always seems longer than a normal one!!

I've been having fun this morning trying to get the new Triond widget installed on my blog and think I may have done it but I'll have rely on my blogging pals to let me know whether or not it works. It SHOULD lead my friends to my latest articles so you can keep an eye on what I'm writing about.

The cat's still not too well. We've come to the conclusion that someone's put down some sort of weedkiller or fertiliser that isn't animal friendly as she seems to be back to her normal self after a day indoors but as soon as we open up the cat flap she comes down with diarrhoea and sickness. Following her recent 'confinement' we allowed her out last night and, once again, she's picked up the lurgy so we're going to be hanging around the house all weekend to keep an eye on her. I'm just glad I've got loads of hobbies that don't involve travelling!!

Hence my relatively early blog while I'm having my mid morning coffee!! Don't know why I didn't start a blog up before as it's like chatting to a neighbour over the fence - I can just talk about the most ordinary of things and have a bit of a laugh to brighten the day.

Despite our downer this morning with Cleo being ill, Adam made me laugh. He's into homebrew and decided to make an early start this morning in getting it into his gallon plastic containers. Having filled one with hot water to fight off any bugs, he put his hand over the spout and gave it a good shake, forgetting that the steamy water would make the thing expand. Needless to say he took his hand away from the spout and the water spurted everywhere!!! As he said, just as well the water was warm and not freezing cold. I really should have run to his aid but I was doubled up with laughing.

He also had me in stitches last night when we were doing our WiiFit programme. Following on my 71 hula hoop spins Adam thought he'd outdo me. Talk about a whirling dervish - it was hilarious watching him from the rear!!!!!! But have to admit he did outdo my 71 spins twice over, although I don't think I'll be following his example as we can be seen from the road 'strutting or jiggling' our stuff'. Our lounge window looks out to the front of our property and our telly is in the corner of the room so our exercises have to take place slap bang in the middle of the window. All I can say is, thank goodness our road isn't very busy or we'd be having the men in their white coats turning up on the doorstep at regular intervals.

That reminds me of when Cleo first joined us back in 2003. Having picked her up from the RSPCA one Sunday afternoon, she immediately found her favourite spot at the end of the sofa and was soon curled up asleep. Unfortunately she decided she'd wake up in the early hours of the morning and have a quick tour of the house - basically this involved flying up and down the stairs at great speed and jumping on every level surface she could find (including the bed!). She finally seemed to settle down by about 2.00 in the morning and we'd just dropped off to sleep again to be woken by a male voice. Adam's alert far quicker than me and rushed off down the stairs. I heard him talking to someone and then he came back to the bedroom. Cleo had somehow managed to dial 999 but thankfully had also managed to hit the speakerphone button at the same time. The male voice was someone from emergency services asking us which emergency service we wanted!! Adam then had to try and explain that our new cat had phoned and we didn't actually want emergency services. Wonder how many calls they get of a similar nature!!!!

And thanks George for making me laugh yesterday with your comment on my Ascott Martyrs article. I have to admit that I hadn't really thought about Fanny Honeybone - bet she'd get called a few choice names at school these days!!!!!

Anyway, I'm now about to 'blog off' and have a bite to eat but, if I get bored later I might come back to you all for a 'chat'.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hot Off The Press

Well, here it is my friendly blogger bods! A link to my latest masterpiece!!

Following yesterday's blog I'm pleased to report that my WiiFit has now confirmed that I've lost 1 lb in weight, my fitness age is 5 years below my real age, I've finally managed to master the hoola hoop - from a lousy 10 spins I managed to top 71 in 1 minute last night, and I'm top of the leader board on step aerobics (although the latter is no real great achievement as my only opposition is Adam who's a muscular 6'1" hulk so not too light on the tootsies)!! Once again I tried the aerobics/alcohol combination and it certainly seems to work for me!!!

Today didn't start off particularly well. Cleo the cat, who'd had a horrible stomach upset for a couple of days but seemed to have recovered last night and managed to polish off a bowl of tuna, seems to have got diarrhoea badly again this morning. We've decided that she's probably taken in some sort of fertiliser or weed killer so we've now confined her to barracks for a day to ensure she doesn't take in any more. She's not happy with the idea at all and scowls at us when we go near her, but then it's no picnic for us either - as Adam so delicately puts it; it smells as if we're living in a sewer! But unfortunately there's little else we can do - at least while she's shut in we can keep an eye on her and, if she gets any worse, we know where she is and can drive her to the vet at a moment's notice.

Well stomach thinks the throat's been cut so must away to the kitchen to get my Wallace & Gromit lunch - cream crackers and cheese before embarking on my next tranche of typing. Hopefully I'll have time this afternoon to get on with my new crime/murder article.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Never a Dull Moment

So the May Day Bank Holiday despite a promising start on Saturday, turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. I'd hoped to get cracking in the garden as my runner beans really needed planting out. I'd had them growing in a large pot on the bedroom windowsill but they were slowly creeping closer to the ceiling and I was beginning to have concerns that I'd wake in the middle of the night and find Jack hiding under the quilt between me and Adam, grasping the goose that laid the golden eggs and the words 'fee fie foe fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman' emanating from the roof!

However, Saturday's gardening was put to one side as Adam's mother, who's a widow in her mid 80s had to have her cat put to sleep. Naturally she was devastated. Despite the fact she lives next door to Adam's sister, she felt the need to keep in constant touch with us by phone as unfortunately Adam's sister and brother in law are not 'cat people' and we're very much 'feline friendly folk'. This contact had to be undertaken long distance by phone as she lives in Earls Colne in Essex and we live some 80 miles away in Norfolk. Of course, we didn't begrudge her the time but we had thought we'd have a couple of lovely days ahead of us but, Sunday began dull and windy as did Monday.

By Monday afternoon I decided I just had to do something with my triffid beans so I donned wellies and fleece and spent a couple of hours out there in near arctic conditions. While I was out there I'd noted my Busy Lizzies were more like Droopy Doras as they were becoming pot bound so decided to risk putting them in the ground too - what's the betting we have some really hefty frosts in the next few days?

And then, back to work yesterday morning. I thought I'd have time to get to grips with my latest gruesome article as normally things are pretty quiet work wise following a Bank Holiday but I can only imagine that the dire weather was nationwide and all my clients spent the weekend indoors catching up on their dictation. In between work was no go too - my long haired cat had a bout of diarrhoea and sickness so any spare time was spent on hands and knees on the vinyl floor in the kitchen washing her nether regions!! Needless to say she was thoroughly cheesed off with us and , from the glares she gave us during the evening, obviously felt utterly humiliated.

However, all has not been lost. I've managed to put together a short article on another subject which I hope to have published over the next day or so and I'm still hoping that things will quieten down so I can get to grips with my more detailed article. Watch this space!

The only ray of sunshine over the weekend was the fact that I've apparently lost 17 years off my age! I'm still trying to keep going with the WiiFit on a regular basis and, following a couple of G&Ts on Sunday evening I found that I was able to keep my hips swivelling and keep the old hoola hoop going for about 30 seconds whereas normally it would drop round my ankles after about 3, and I also managed to keep rhythm with the step aerobic exercises. Obviously the alcohol lubricated the muscles. So, I'm pleased to inform you that despite being 48 I now have a fitness age of 31. Think the moral of this story is that it's better to exercise when you've downed a couple of gins than to do it completely sober!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What a Week!

What a hectic week! Typically I wanted to get some research done for some future articles but, as luck would have it, half of England suddenly decided it was time to put their properties up for sale so I was inundated with work. Fortunately I did find time to continue with my Wii Fit programme - conversely however, somewhat unfortunately it assessed my age at 63 midweek (and I'm only 48!). But by yesterday (Friday) I'd got that down to 43 and finally seemed to get my sense of rhythm with the 'step' class, but I still can't master the hoola hoop. Reckon my hips are just too big to accommodate the hoop!!

We had a restless night midweek which probably aided my premature ageing! At about 1.00 am our cat came into the bedroom at breakneck speed and whipped round the room like something possessed. Having put on the bedside light, I could see her at the bottom of the bed with something decidedly furry in her mouth. Instantly thinking it was a rat I got my partner, Adam, to get out of bed and investigate while I quickly disappeared under the covers. The cat let go of said furry friend and Adam discovered it wasn't a rat at all but a poor, frightened but still very lively baby rabbit. So, up I got to try and get the cat away from baby bunny while Adam got dressed. By this time the rabbit had entrenched itself under the bedside table so Adam had to get down on hands and knees to pick the poor thing up before taking it downstairs and placing it under the hedge at the bottom of the garden. Having checked the following morning there was no sign of the rabbit either dead or alive so we're hoping that it found its way home across the meadow. Watership Down eat your heart out!!!

I did find time during the week to email Gordon Brown on the 10 Downing Street webpage to ensure my voice was heard on the Gurkhas' plight. I hadn't been aware that there was going to be a major rally until my 'friend' George Whitehead pasted his blog the previous day. Thanks George for pointing it out. I still can't believe that the government would be so short-sighted as to deny the loyal and devoted Gurkhas access to our country and yet allow into the country all manner of layabouts, criminals and terrorists willy-nilly who are a constant drain on our welfare system. The Gurkhas are far too loyal to expect money for nothing and their settlement here could be a great asset to us.

The other main topic of conversation at the moment seems to be swine 'flu. It seems we're constantly being exposed to peculiar diseases from foreign climes which leads me to believe there's some divine being telling us that we shouldn't be travelling so easily from our native lands to far distant countries. If we do travel outside Europe I would suggest that everyone, on returning to the United Kingdom should undergo six months in quarantine!!

Adam and I have always considered that it's all very fine and dandy people having long haul flights here, there and everywhere but these are the very people who constantly bemoan the fact that we should be eating organic food, recycling and trying to save the planet. They obviously can't see the wider picture that by flying they're not only polluting the atmosphere but also promoting the need for larger airports which take up so much of our beautiful landscape. Add to this the noise pollution factor and it's relatively bad news all round.

Adam and I live in a village relatively close to Norwich Airport but we seldom had major aircraft noise. Due to the fact that we were a stone's throw from the RAF Coltishall air space, they were unable to fly close to our house. However, the government, in their wisdom, decided to close the base which was the last fully functional Battle of Britain base. When RAF Coltishall was in existence we could expect to wake up to the sound of birdsong and look out onto clear blue skies, but since the closure we've noticed that the blue has now turned decidedly 'streaky' due to vapour trails as more and more airports from the Midlands and beyond make use of that space. The helicopters from Norwich Airport also seem to enjoy taunting the village - they fly in extremely close to the houses thereby infringing on our privacy as well as our ear 'oles! In fact, during the summer months we find ourselves having to close the windows before making a phone call.

We no longer need worry about missing vital clues from Midsomer Murders or Marple, however, as we've invested in a hard drive recorder. This has been a sound investment, not only because we can pause 'live' programmes and start them up again when the helicopters have gone over, but we've now got into the habit of recording absolutely everything so we can zip through the adverts. By doing this we're finding that we can watch three one hour episodes of CSI or Criminal Minds in about a couple of hours. Which, of course, leaves us more time to get back on the Wii Fit and do a bit of exercise - well, maybe not!!!