Sunday, 25 October 2009


The man and I went to Jersey last month; can't believe it was that long ago! Neither of us had ever been to the Channel Islands, so it was a chance to do some real exploring...

Travelling as foot passengers on the conventional from Portsmouth took us just over 9 hours to get there - having now experienced being on a ferry for that long, I wouldn't recommend it for a second trip. First-time round was fun, but not something I want to do on another visit. And there certainly will be another visit!

I absolutely fell in love with the island. It has all the best bits of British and French living rolled into one. Everyone speaks English, the place names are French, and whilst the currency is Pound Sterling, they print their own bank notes, including £1 notes! :-)

Life seems a lot more relaxed there; though that might be down to us having been tourists! For such a relatively small island (though it is the biggest of the Channel Islands), being 9 miles across at its widest point, there is masses to do there and plenty of places to visit - we didn't have nearly enough time there...

There were three highlights of the holiday for me:
First was discovering the harbour village of St Aubin - absolutely gorgeous - I want to live there!!!

The second highlight was meeting up with an old friend for the first time... Yep you've guessed - a friend I'd met online but never face-to-face. We met through an internet forum site for lovers of fantasy and science fiction about 7 years ago. He lives in Jersey with his fiancee and two children, and is a very talented singer/songwriter and published author :-) - take a look at We went for a meal with him and his fiancee and his children and we all got on like a house on fire :-) We went back to their house afterwards and he treated us to our own private concert :-)

The third highlight was visiting Mont Orgueil Castle:

You won't find a castle in a better location... The man and I both agreed that it was one of the best we'd ever visited - and between the two of us we've been to a few... On a clear day you can see the coast of France, though unfortunately when we were there the visibility wasn't quite good enough, though it was certainly hot and sunny enough. It's one of those castle with lots of random staircases leading off to places you might otherwise miss - very fun to explore!

To finish, have a Jersey cow:

Monday, 14 September 2009

So, I've still got a job!

Yes, that's right folks, I'm still one of Britain's lucky - i.e. in employment. I've successfully made myself so indispensable that my manager's been forced to up my contracted hours from 31 to 40 per week - *rubs hands in expectation of a bigger pay cheque to come*

The mister and I have also worked out that I'm due a tidy sum in tax rebate - Yes, I'd better repeat it: *speaks slowly to ensure comprehension* ~ Money back from HMRC :-)

I should really offer apologies for depriving you of my unique style of blogging for so long since my last post... Things have been really quite hectic over the last month or so, and whilst I've had many intentions of picking up the keyboard during that time, I never really made it to writing anything.

As some of you will be aware, my dear sister got married just over a week ago, and I got the only bridesmaid job going. My sister looked as stunning as I knew she would, and my brother-in-law (I love saying that!) scrubbed up quite well too - he even trimmed his beard. Imagine a more human version of Chewbacca, and you've got him. Talking of Chewie - he does a scarily accurate impression *grins*

I know someone might be interested in the flowers and other arrangements...

and this was my bouquet - my sisters was the same but bigger...

My sister also made her wedding jewellery (which I benefited from too, as she made me a pendant, slightly smaller and slightly different to match hers):

All in all a good day was had by all, and the mister and I will be celebrating it all over again in a couple of weeks at their 'Just Hitched' party.

Talking of the mister; we're off on holiday in two days :-) Off to the most southerly of the Channel Islands, Jersey ~ land of the jumpers and potatoes. Whilst we're there we'll be meeting up with an old internet-based friend of mine (who I've never met face-to-face), who's a published author and singer/songwriter with two albums :-) He's also a bit of a poker player. See this website if you're wondering who the hell I'm talking about...

Anyway, will try not to leave such a huge yawning gap between posts next time...

'Tis time to make packing lists :-)

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The end of unemployment and the Job Centre (we hope!)

Yes, that's right folks, I have a job.

*waits whilst the huge gasps of shock and squeals of delight pass*

I'm starting next week as a Sales Assistant at that well known and much loved pharmacy Boots. The branch I'll be working in is one of their tiny village-sized ones, so there won't be too much shelf-stacking or too many customers (!) I will however get to sell drugs over the counter and organise prescriptions, so the added responsibility will be very welcome. I also get the sexy white and navy uniform again... *thumbs up*

I think we'll all agree that at the moment any job is worth having. This will also mean that I can go into the Job Centre tomorrow and do the two fingers dance *grins*. However, I will also need to ring up the council and tell them I'll be eligible to pay council tax again... *groans*

Ah well. At least in future people can ask me "How was work?" again - I've missed that!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Why is everyone getting married at the moment?

Yes, you guessed, it's the wedding time of year / life.

Tomorrow my cousin Robert is getting married to Sarah (whose legs the man admires very much).

Next week the man's close friend is marrying her man, and a certain group of people, under the name of 'The Bristols', will be playing at their reception...

Then on the 5th September my sister is getting married, and I'm the one and only bridesmaid.

Why can't people be considerate to us poor people who are still at the 'in a relationship' stage, and spread their weddings out a bit more?

Ah well, much fun and good food/drink will be had by all no doubt!

I have two very pretty dresses to wear, and some fantastic shoes... :-)

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Woodcocks and Nightjars, yeah?

Last weekend was an exciting one, not least for the good company I was keeping, all squished into my small abode...

For once I was able to be the host (or hostess technically), and to show these nice people around my local patch (i.e. the fields and the riverside walk), and introduce them to the joys of Ludshott Common.

Many butterflies and moths were seen on the field edges during our walk on the Saturday afternoon, including: Comma, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Ringlet and I think a large Skipper. Patronise these persons blog-type ramblings for pikkies...

Oh and the man and I also saw a Marbled White on the Sunday afternoon - shortly before the Wimbledon final - a good omen it turned out to be (Good old Roger) :-)

Saturday evening was spent doing the National Trust Warden-led Nightjar walk, with the aim being, surprisingly, to see Nightjars... Which we did. Very well. We also heard them. Lots. :-) And they were well worth the aching back I was suffering from. Other avian species seen which were a second life and year tick were Woodcocks :-) - they have long beaks. Good silhouette views were seen of them in flight. There was a nice sunset too.

Monday I was off again to Somerset to see my Grandma who's not too well at the moment, and on the way was surprised to see that Lesser Black Backed Gulls apparently like the company of the pigs opposite Stonehenge...

Today was more babysitting - started at 7:45 this morning.....ouch.

Oh and the Grey Wagtails on the river appear to be hiding at the moment, or at least when I walk by...

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Several 'Beautiful Demoiselle' Damselflies seen on my river!

Yes, that's right folks, there is something exciting on my local river, the Rother. A couple of days this week I've had cause to walk into the cetnre of the village, which involves crossing the small road bridge over the river. I've paused for a few minutes to look at the river to see if there were any exciting flighted things down there and saw several of these: (not my photo!)

I described them in great detail last night to the man, who now owns a field guide on these interesting insects... Everything fitted, the flapping of the wings like a butterfly, the habitat, the appearance and the distribution... :-) Certain people should be able to see them for themselves next week!

Also of note were a pair of Grey Wagtails on the same stretch of river, I'm getting to be more and more of a fan of this bird... Apparently they have the longest tail of all the Wagtails!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Ingrebourne and Rainham...

This weekend was spent 'dahn in Essix' with the man.

I got extremely tiddly at the Crown on Friday night and felt rather groggy in the morning when the man woke me up with tea... Blame his father for buying me doubles...

Saturday was the day of the man's concert, so whilst he was off warming up and practising the old vocal chords, I was with certain family members of his watching and groaning over the Lions v South Africa match... We lost, in case you didn't know... But the second half had some damn good rugby.

The concert itself was pretty good, two other music connoisseurs came too, and agreed that the half in which the man was performing (Mozart's Requiem) was far better than the purely orchestral half... At least one of the violinists was VERY off, and there was a rather cringe-worthy moment with a French horn... Apres the concert I lost my shoe on the wet pavement, and we adjourned to the Victoria to eat peanuts and drink ourselves merry, whilst avoiding the croonings of the awful 'singer' in the bar... Bread and cheese were then consumed in very generous quantity whilst I admired a very nice Streptocarpus.

Sunday was lie-in day :-)
(this deserves a line all to itself)
In the afternoon I stole the man's car and explored the Ingrebourne Valley, whilst he and these people were suffering in a very hot and stuffy rehearsal studio...
I absolutely fell in love with Ingrebourne. The wild flowers and butterflies were fantastic, as were the sheer variety of damsel flies. Birds of note which I identified were: Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and hundreds of Long-tailed Tits with some Blue Tits mixed in... Also got a great view of a Wren with a beak stuffed full of fluff :-) On the butterfly count I got: Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Large White and Small Blue. Damsel flies were blue, green, red, black and white striped, and that one with the black splodges on the top wings - ask the people with the book... All very pretty though.

Rainham was done with this person, being a fellow scrounger off the state... Nothing hugely exciting was seen on the bird front, although we got some great views of Reed and Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings. There was also an obliging female Blackcap and many Whitethroats. I also got a good view of what I'm certain was a Stonechat (having since conferred with the appropriate text). There was also one life and year tick for me - a Mediterranean Gull - which is so exciting it isn't even in my pocket-sized RSPB Guide to British Birds which covers 174 species - obviously not enough... The Little Egrets were on fine form, and there was one female mallard who had 10 quite large ducklings with her! - well done Missus!

I got excited over damsel flies and the wild flowers mainly though. I'd purchased prior to starting the circuit a proper field guide of wild flowers of Britain and Northern Europe, and it came in very useful! Many of the plants I knew, or if I did not know them, I could at least take an educated guess at their family - many pea family plants there! An exciting find was a Dark Mullein, with delicate yellow flowers with vibrant purple anthers... :-) I was able to have an erudite conversation with a nice old chap who chatted to us a couple of times, on this particular plant... :-) I think I came across like I knew what I was talking about (which I definitely didn't!).

A new butterfly sighting for the year was a Woodland Ringlet (see this person's blog for pikkies), which I don't recall ever having seen and identified before... Meadow Brown were out in strength, as were the Large and Small Whites. We also found ourselves a Peacock and a Cinnibar Moth.

However, in the whole of Rainham we never saw a Water Vole! :-( Heard one munching some reeds and one point, but no sighting at all... Pity, they're cute little things...

And now I am back in sunny Hampshire and awaiting some news on a potential job interview - Mental Health Paralegal in Guildford - I had a phone call about it whilst eating a sausage sandwich at Rainham yesterday... *crosses fingers*