Some Good News, Some Bad News

The good news is that I’ve got my first website commission.

It’s for the place where Amanda is now working, and although it won’t be a big money-spinner it’s good to have the opportunity to add something to my CV.

The bad news is that we lost our “Little Big Girl” this weekend. 😦

She hadn’t been quite right lately and she passed away on Saturday.

I’ll miss my little friend who kept me company while Amanda was at work.

If there’s one thing that will get me back to my blog it’s a good laugh

It’s been quite a while since I posted anything on here because I’ve been spending most of my spare time on my little project ( but I had to blip back here just to share this with you.

American TV viewers may have seen it before, but it still deserves another airing.

I think Charlie Sheen rocks! 🙂

Stay well!

Just wave the “little finger”

I haven’t been on here for a while because I’ve been concentrating on another project, but I came back to the old “HN” today because I wanted to comment on a blogging friend’s latest post.
After that I thought I’d refresh my memory about what some of my more recent posts had been about, (“Recent!? That’s a laugh!”), and I watched the Youtube video again in the post “It’s not the words, it’s what you do with them“.
When the video finished Youtube brought up some alternatives for me to view, as it does, and I watched this one.
Being someone who has been hit by a car who’s driver wasn’t paying full attention I found it quite moving. But most of all I liked the message at the end of it.
I hope when you see someone driving like an idiot you too will wave the little finger!

It’s all Double-Dutch to me

Amanda will occasionally tease me by “cursing” me in Chinese. This I accept.
But this evening, in the kitchen, she muttered something that I didn’t understand and when I asked her what she had said her reply was “Oh, it’s ok… Not even Mandarin speakers would have understood that. It was in my local dialect.”
What ?!
My few words of Mandarin, (my name, “Nihao”, and about five items of food), don’t stand a chance of helping me to understand her when she’s blabbering in Mandarin, but now I’m expected not to understand her in some strange dialect too !
That woman expects too much of me. 😦

Times are hard

Right, that’s it. Either that hamster starts paying rent or she goes !

A few days activity break, or how to discover you have one dangerous wife

We had a great few days away at the Calvert Trust near Keswick last week with some members of the Fife Headway group, even though we were playing “dodge the rain” a lot of the time and, to be honest, the food left a lot to be desired.

After we arrived on Monday afternoon and got ourselves sorted out and fed we were kitted out with appropriate waterproof clothing and backpacks for the week. This was a good move !

Calvert Trust, Keswick

Calvert Trust, Keswick, Lake District, England

Easy strolling territory

Easy strolling territory

Tuesday morning consisted of a nature walk along an old, disused railway line.

This was a good surface for the less mobile among us to negotiate with their wheelchairs and mobility scooters. I also quite appreciated the fact that it wasn’t too challenging as my back hasn’t been my best friend of late.

Everyone seemed to enjoy it and there was plenty of flora and fauna to keep people interested.

Tuesday afternoon we loaded ourselves up into one of the minibuses and were taken to the stables.

Amanda had been looking forward to this part the most as she had always wanted to ride a horse. She picked her favourite in the stables and was lucky enough to be allocated that one by the staff.

I was too heavy for any of the horses they have there and wasn’t really interested in being taken around on a trap so I kept myself busy performing my duties as official photographer. Amanda had a good time as the group was led gently along the lane and around a couple of fields, although the second group got soaked through as yet another downpour struck.

Amanda on horseback for the first time

Amanda on horseback for the first time

Then came the scary bit…

One of the barns at the stable complex was set up for archery and, having tried it out a few years ago, I was keen to get started. John, our instructor, went through the basics with some of us and allocated the equipment. Then seeing that I was reasonably capable he concentrated on tutoring some of the others in the group.

When Amanda and the rest of her group returned from riding he gave them their instructions and everyone had a few arrows practice. John then suggested we have an archery competition and we were divided into two teams. Amanda and I were in the same team but unfortunately we lost. I still say the other team were cheating because they were using a crossbow mounted on a stand whereas our team had to do it properly.

However… there were two large targets at the end of the room and slightly in front of them a small, styrene target suspended from a beam in the roof. John had said at the beginning that the small target was worth a mass of bonus points, but we had all forgotten about that during the competition.

With the competition over Amanda said that she was going to try for the small target and, given that she had been firing off some fairly good arrows, I thought she might stand a reasonable chance of hitting it with one of a set of three.

Don’t underestimate a woman who has never done archery before…

Amanda's three arrows

Amanda's three arrows in the hanging target

Amanda hit the small target with her first arrow, missed it with the second, then hit it again with the third.

Having collected her arrows she then proceeded to put ALL of the next three in it, including one in the small blue centre spot which had only ever been hit seven times before. As soon as an arrow is sticking in it, of course, it swings around and the weight of the arrow makes it come to rest at an odd angle, thereby making the next shot more difficult.

I think I’d better watch myself in future… this woman is dangerous !

My only question would be “Why couldn’t you do that in the competition ?!”

On the Wednesday morning we had an excursion to Lake Windermere and took one of the steamers from Ambleside to Bowness and back.

We had a hour or so to wander around at Bowness and while we were there a full, low rainbow appeared like a bridge across the lake. This was really strange because it was 11:30am and the sun was quite high in the sky behind us so why the rainbow was so low and flat puzzles me somewhat.

Low rainbow at Bowness-on-Windermere

Low rainbow at Bowness-on-Windermere

Amanda and some of the group above Bassenthwaite Lake

Amanda and some of the group above Bassenthwaite Lake

Wednesday afternoon was supposed to be the Orienteering but, due to the weather and the abilities of most of our group, it was abandoned in favour of another nature walk.

This time John took us up to the top of the hill behind us and we strolled down the forestry track and in through the back of the centre.

There were plenty of different types of fungus and plants to see, and we saw a kestrel and some red squirrels. Something for everyone.

Oh yes, and there was the scenery.

Thursday. Abseiling. (Or “Rock and Rope” as they like to call it).

This was another thing I had been looking forward to because it goes against my fear of heights, and what’s an activity break without a challenge or two ?

Unfortunately we’re not talking high up in the great outdoors here because the centre is serving people with varying degrees of disability, so this all took place in the sports hall.

Amanda was just like a monkey, of course, taking everything in her stride. I wasn’t.

I managed the rock climb (slowly), the abseil (twice), and then tackled the “winch yourself seat” suspended from the ceiling, but no way was I going to do the swing from one end of the room to the other. No way !

Tom way above his comfort zone

Tom way above his comfort zone

The "other" boat

The "other" boat

The afternoon was listed as canoeing, which was another event I was looking forward to. As the weather had improved so much that day I assumed the alternative, sailing, wouldn’t come into play.
Despite the fact that Bassenthwaite Lake was like a mill pond in places and there was hardly any breeze to be had, sailing we went.
I started off feeling a bit miserable about the change of plan but actually ended up really enjoying it.
We were again split into two “teams”, in identical boats, loaded up (or should that be “boarded” ?), and towed out into the lake whereupon we were given some basic instruction in sailing techniques and told what was expected of us.
As I was sat at the back I was involved in the steering.

To cut a long story short not only did I really enjoy it but the instructor commented that he had been watching the way I was constantly fine-tuning the direction and said that I seemed to have a real knack of being able to hold the line just off the point at which we would be facing too much into the wind. He even suggested that I really should take up sailing because he was sure I would be good at it.
How one would know one is “good” at sailing without being in a competition I wouldn’t know, but the session has certainly sparked an interest in me so anything is possible for the future, as long as I don’t have to remember how to tie knots.

We headed back home on the Friday morning having had a really enjoyable and entertaining few days and the whole group would like to say a big “thank you” to the members of the Dalgety Bay Round Table whose efforts in the Edinbugh Marathon and other fundraising made the whole trip possible.

Further information and pictures will appear on the Fife Headway website early next month.

Short break

We’re off in the morning with our local Headway group for a few days “Activity Break” in the Lake District. Nothing too strenuous, I hope.
It looks like the weather is going to be fairly horrible, so the orienteering will probably be a slow, muddy trek. 😦
This is where we’ll be.
Back Friday.
Stay safe.

Hits – What do people expect from me ?

Prompted by Kelly’s list of search engine hits on her blog I thought I’d have a look at my own and see what inspires people to visit the old Honorarynewfie.
The all-time record goes to “who said honesty is the best policy”, but here’s a selection of the finest of the others and, me being me of course, I can’t let them pass without a little tongue-in-cheek comment.

some dislikes – and you ended up on my blog…. thanks, all 3 of you !
some dislikes. – You can’t fool me… that’s you again, isn’t it ? I recognise the style
some of sacagawea’s dislikes – Dunno… go ask sacagawea
communist velociraptor – politics must be older than I thought…
velociraptor on bicycle – … and bicycles
sleep weasels – or there’ll be no toast for breakfast (anagram of stoat, get it?)
not environmentally frinedly – nor particularly good at spelling, but I like you
name two things you would have to interpret – easy, Spanish and French. Next !
disadvantages of traffic jam– don’t you know already ?!
what does bicycle mean in china – Um… don’t tell me, it’s on the tip of my tongue… I know it… I know it…
how many cyclists in china – This is Honorarynewfie, not Wikipedia
old englishman – Guilty as charged, M’lud
us travel assenvironment – strangely enough “assenvironment” was going to be the subject of my next post
abba dont remember – it’s their age, bless
“delicate bits” – you came here for that ?! No, I can recommend a much better site….
who said honesty is the best police – I don’t know, but it was a cop out – How on earth did that point at this blog ???
zombie bicycle – Imagery… a modern remake of Thriller with everybody on BMX’s, and you know that bit where they all jump up at once ?… go for it !
farmeromer – farm aroma… love it ! Haha !
on farmerama how do you go to night time? – you just look up from your computer and find it’s there already !
congratulation on japan earthquake – Thank you, but in fairness I can’t take all the credit
old english man – is that the guy with the sheepdog ?
could you survive an intense love making session with a dog – No ex-wife jokes allowed
farmerama bald eagle – :O Hell’s teeth, what level do you have to reach to get that ???
i’m sorry i haven’t a clue sean connery – That’sh perfectly all right, shome would shay
φαρμεραμα blog – It’s all Greek to me
astronomy – I hope my humble little blog was able to answer all your questions, but if there’s anything you’d like me just to go over again for you…
eaten by a bear – and still Googling ? There’s nothing some people can’t do !
the world greatest eagles vs sheep – Big ones; very big I would think
abomination – I love your blog too

and there’s a plethora of hamster-related material…

golf hamsters – I swear I’ve never made that connection
hamster tyre – would be as a spare for on the “golf” ?
the biggest hamster sheep in the world – hamster sheep ?! I’m not having that running around in a ball all night in my living room !
would a hamster run at night or day – Yes
amanda the hamster – No, Amanda the wife. Pay attention, there will be a test later.
how fast are hamsters? – I’m sorry, because of falling educational standards these days it has to be multiple choice… at least a) very, b) not very
ow many miles do hamsters run in a day? – shouldn’t that be “amsters” ?
how far do wild hamsters go every night – all the way, mate, all the way !
how many times does a hamster run on its wheel over a 10 hour period? – Why, specifically, 10 hours ? I’ll tell you 24 hours, you do the maths. (Lazy sod !)
how far does my hamster run – how should I know, it’s your hamster
what do hamsters do at night – Ooo… hamster-type things, you know…
how do hamsters know day and night – One is dark….
how long should hamsters run – Until their little legs ache, then they should unwind with a hot shower, a rub down and some sunflower seeds
how far does an average hamster run – an average distance… Doh !
tapewarm in hamster – So that’s how to get that tape warm. Thanks. Here Hammy !…
how long can hamsters travel – until their passports run out
do hamsters far? – Now that could be one of two questions….

It’s not the words, it what you do with them

Once again I’m grateful to Cheri for the inspiration for a post, and for some deep thought.
While catching up on some blog reading today I followed some suggested links from one of her posts and came across this short, inspiring video.
I’ll let you watch it before commenting further.

Read the rest of this entry »

While the wife’s away….

Amanda in KLM Business Class

Amanda in KLM Business Class

Amanda has had to go back to Nanning for a month to see the family. Her Dad’s not well and has been asking her to go back so now is the best time as she has found a part-time job in a care home which she should start about a month from now once the disclosure paperwork has gone through.
When we were online checking her in for her flights we were picking her seats and I spotted an available seat where I wouldn’t have expected one to be offered for her.
Not giving her the chance to say that she would prefer her “normal seat” (window, just by the middle exit) I said to her “Oh, there’s a good one, grab that !”. As it was late at night and she’d had a long day she was in no mood to put up much of a struggle so the deed was done.
She was more than pleasantly surprised when she boarded the flight at Schiphol, and had to check with the cabin crew two or three times that a mistake hadn’t been made.
I just got a call from her in Chengdu and she says she slept all the way. That’s the first time ever! Given how busy she has been over the past week and how tired she was when I left her at the airport in Edinburgh I’m so glad it worked out that way for her.
It’s also the first time I’ve ever been able to get an upgrade for anybody, despite years of trying, so I’m pretty happy about that too.
Now, while the wife’s away, I’m hoping to be able to get around to a few blog posts that I’ve been meaning to do for a while. They’ll be somewhat varied so there should be something for everyone. 😉

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