Summer 2010-1

I'm away on another short trip.  I haven't yet decided whether or not to write this email.  Well obviously, I have decided to start it but if it will get sent is a different matter.

Although if you are reading this I obviously decided to send it out.  What a waste of words all that was.  But I'm not going to delete it!  I wrote it!   It's engraved in stone.

I'm on the road again.  That's a link.  Click it to listen to the song. It might work. It might take a while to start though.  (Maybe you shouldn't bother....)

First I'll bring you up to date
on what's been happening at home.  I have finally decided that I WILL start work on the repair of the balloon instrument. That's the one been sitting beside the TV for over 2 years.   Definitely, I will start it.  Soon. I've decided.

However I really did do a couple of things.  The wall under the main beam of my garage was showing a crack,  presumably because when I built it I had not reinforced enough under the beam.  So I raised the beam using 4 supports and built a column which I filled with concrete.  It was actually quite a lot of work but I neglected to take photographs of the work.  Here is a finished photo.   Of course, in the photo I have yet to take out the supports.

Doesn't look like I did much but I had to cut out all the old blocks and replace with concrete, and you can barely see the new column.  Oh well.  I didn't do it to be photogenic.

Before I bough my house there were problems with damp in walls.  A ditch was made all around the house, a drain was put at the bottom of the ditch, and the ditch was then filled with largish gravel.  This seemed to work, but not terribly well at the front of the house, there were still patches of damp in the walls.  I noticed in heavy rain, the water was not draining through the gravel as it should.  Over the years earth had filled the spaces in the gravel so it was not operating fully as a water barrier.  I dug out all the gravel, several tons of the stuff, and noticed that the ditch had been dug too far from the house.  There is a concrete path in front of the house, water was running off the path and into the earth below instead of into the gravel and then the drain.  So the ground stayed wet and the walls stayed wet.  So I extended the ditch towards the house, washed all the gravel, and put it back.  Took about a couple of months, working about an hour in the morning and evening.  It gets too hot during the day to do heavy work like that. For me anyway, and there's no rush. It's not as though I've other stuff waiting to be done! 

Here is the start.  The thing standing against the wall is the sieve I used to wash and clean the gravel. The chairs and the sun lounger are the things I use in between working on the gravel.

And here is a slightly later stage.  There's a lot more still to do.  Notice the barbecue has now arrived in the garden.

I bought a new camera with 26x optical zoom.  Wow!

Here is a photo I took behind my house.

If you look carefully at this photo, way in the distance about half a mile away, you can just about make out a whitish line just to the right of the barn more or less left centre of the photo.  It's really hard to see.

This is what I got at full zoom.

Paparazzi here I come.  But, better.  I worked on it, just a little, using Irfanview. 

You can even count the tiles on his roof.  And you can't even see the building on the main photo.

The camera is an Olympus SP-590UZ.  Cost me less than $400.  There is a newer model but it doesn't have a viewfinder.

We had baby swallows again.  Here they are.


I think they tried for another brood, I later found 3 dead babies under the nest.  But the first 3 were OK as you see above.

We had kittens, it was planned.  Eleanor wanted a cat for Paris, Pica was obviously too used to the countryside to live in a Paris apartment, so kittens it had to be.  Pica you may remember is actually Eleanor's cat.  Eleanor was to have first choice, and wanted a girl kitten, then I would choose a boy, then Eleanor had friends who wanted kittens 3 and 4. 

We had 3 kittens.  One was stillborn.  Pica had trouble feeding the remaining 2 and soon after I took them all to the vet one died. So here is the remaining one.

Here he is in a tree.  Older by now.

He's got this great way to get down.  It never fails.  He climbs to the end of a branch and cries until I rescue him.

Pica, his mother, hates him.  She growls when he goes near.   I think she's scared of him too. I know that's not normal. She only comes to the house to eat, and then she prefers to be fed on an outside window sill, too high for kitten to reach.  Eleanor has now spent the summer travelling, in between looking for a job, and now thinks kitten is too used to living with a garden to go and live in an apartment in Paris.  I guess she's right.  Also, it's now looking like she'll need to work overseas for a while more, there are limited opportunities in Paris for specialists on Human Rights law and those that do exist want more experience.

So now he's with me.  And travelling with me.  Gives his Mum a bit of a break, and I like his company.  And he's now got a name.  Little Cat the second.  He's got some big boots to jump into but I'm sure he'll make it.

This email is already far too long and I haven't yet started on the account of my trip!

Continue to Summer 2

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