Monday, 19 March 2018

If We Get Over Haldon......

We left Red Mel's apartment in Bristol early yesterday.  Not quite as soon as I liked as no-one else seemed to appreciate the urgency of my mission to get home before the worst of the snow.  Louis dithered in the bathroom whilst I popped out for emergency supplies from the local convenience store.  I was already carrying blankets.   Finally, with the bikes on the back of the car we set off.  I refuelled on the way out of Bristol.  If we were going to be stuck anyway at least I'd have enough petrol to keep the engine on so we could be warm.

Driving on the motorway was okay but the snow came down heavily as we were passing Exeter.  Haldon Hill is a high point around here.  A notorious place where people routinely get stranded in snow. Once over that I knew that we'd stand a good chance of getting home.  Or at least to a mate's house in Newton Abbot.  Our worst case scenario wasn't terrible either.  At least we had prawn sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies and Melton Mowbray pork pies!

The usual two and three lane highway was reduced to this.  Pretty but hairy.  I drove slowly, in first gear a lot of the way.  At one stage my leg started shaking with fear but I'm not sure why I was getting the collywobbles.  There was no way I was going to crash at the speed that I was going with not another car in sight.  Finally we made it down the hill.  It was then another ninety minutes before we got around the ring road and home to Brixham passing vehicles that had been abandoned in earlier flurries.  A normal two hour journey took four and a half.

Louis' school has called a snow day.  I'm not going anywhere and am delighted to have an impromptu admin day to catch up.  I've had enough driving bravery/stupidity for one week!

Sunday, 18 March 2018

A Weird One

Snow is falling in Bristol.  My mission today is, if it is possible, getting us back to Devon safely and soundly all in one piece without bumping into anyone else.  We will leave after breakfast and travel as slowly as we need to.

I'm sharing an odd picture today.  It's to illustrate the weird, wacky and wonderful things that can be seen in everyday life if we're paying attention.  Red Mel made us a roast chicken when we arrived on Friday and then left the pan to soak in which she'd cooked roast potatoes in goose fat.  This is what I discovered in the morning.  It wouldn't look out of place as a fabric design!

Saturday, 17 March 2018


One of the things that I've given thanks for this morning in my 'Little Book of Gratefulness' is my Saris bike rack.  It's so lovely to be able to drive around with the bike on the back of the car without the fear that the whole kit and caboodle is going to drop off any minute.  Here's Little Blue in a random country lane yesterday.  I was heading up to Bristol straight after my visits for a weekend of cycling with Red Mel so I'd  popped the bike carrier on first thing in the morning.

It's my weekend with Lou.   There's a notable absence on the back of the car of his bike.  That's because he's grown out of it.  He's shot up over the last year.  I decided to get him a new one for his birthday and give it to him a fortnight early.

In the scheme of 'want, need, wear,  bikes are a 'need' in my book.  Once we've parked up when we're away in the motorhome  they become our only means of transport.  For a teenager without motorised transport they're essential too.   But how was I going to surprise him with a new one to use for the weekend?

'How stupid am I!' I said, when he got into the car at the school.  'I forgot to bring your bike.'  It seemed like an unfeasibly massive oversight on my part but Lou bought it.  My reputation for being a bit dippy is legendary.  'We'll have to hire a 'Boris Bike' when you're in Bristol.    I told him.  'That's okay.' he said.  'My one's too small anyway.'

We pulled off the M5 into the car park of Halfords.  'I need some oil for the car.' I told him.  'You'll have to come with me and help carry it.  There's two heavy containers.'  A little debate ensued about why I needed to do my own servicing but I got away with it.   I showed the guy at the checkout my e-order number.  He directed me upstairs to the bike department.  'Why are we going up there?'  asked Lou.  'I've no idea.' I replied. 'Perhaps it's health and safety.'

'I'll carry one and you carry the other.' said Lou as we were waiting for our collection.  I couldn't believe that I was still pulling off such  a preposterous story.  At that moment this funky bike arrived out of the storeroom, ideal for a tall teenager.  'I think you've got the wrong thing mate.'  said Lou to the shop assistant.  'She ordered oil!'.

Friday, 16 March 2018

A Little Thought About the Cosmos

I know the astonishingly inspirational Stephen Hawking was an atheist. But do you think that the fact that he passed on Pi Day and Einstein's birthday might have convinced him otherwise?  I like to think that he was wrong on this one and now, free of his physical restraints, he is up there listening to all the lovely things that are being said about him.  RIP great man. 

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Bordeaux with my 'Boy' Friend

For way less than the price that it costs for my next rendez-vous in London with my chum Aril from Gnat Bottomed Towers I've booked a flight for an exciting minibreak in October.  Not alone this time, or with a teenager in tow but with.... a man.  Now before you get all excited let me say that it's only  Mr Metrosexual and not some previously undisclosed beau .  Since he retired he's been twiddling his thumbs. He's on his own a lot in the daytime while Ruff Stu runs his increasingly successful hairdressing salon.   So we've been talking about a little holiday together for some time.  The momentum has increased following the success of my bargain break to Malta and Portugal.

I've told Mr Metrosexual that he must camp it up and make it absolutely clear that he is my gay bestie rather than my partner.  Pink sequinned hotpants perhaps?.   Rather than trawling those dating websites again I've asked the universe to manifest me a boyfriend. If he turns up in the wine capital of the world I want it to be abundantly plain that the normally staid looking Mr Metrosexual and I are not an item.  We've been mistaken for a couple too many times before and I don't want to take chances.

We decided that we wanted to go somewhere that neither of us had been before and so I trawled Skyscanner for suitable destinations.   Porto, our first choice is out.  It's number one on Ruff Stu's wishlist   and he got stroppy when we suggested that we might be off  there without him.   So Bordeaux it is.    The Lonely Planet website describes it as one of France's most exciting, vibrant and dynamic cities.  It looks amazing.  There's contemporary art, river trips  and of course all that lovely vintage slurp!  I'll share the details of our chi-chi apartment later down the line once I've found one on AirBnB. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

That's Not a Monobrow!

Here's the highly sanitised version of Frida Kahlo in Barbie form.  Barely a nod to the monobrow, no lip hair and bleached skin.  It got me thinking.  In the highly unlikely event of Mattel making a Barbie doll of me would they ditch the grey hair and remodel me as a  straight up and down size 8 with unfeasibly skinny arms?  I would be very cross!

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

C12H22O11+ H2SO4 + 1/2 O2 ---> 11C+ CO2 + 12H2O + SO2

What a geeky title!  I thought that a good idea for a post might be sharing a totally impressive  experiment from my school days.  So I had a little think back to those times when, as a three science girl, I spent rather a lot of time in labs.  There was the Van der  Graaf generator trick where the entire physics class touched hands and passed on an electric shock, jumping and jiving as they did so.  That was a good one.  But this impressive chemical reaction kept popping to the forefront of my mind. 

It says here that this is a home experiment but I don't think so.   Even during my risk tolerant childhood of the seventies chemistry sets didn't contain anything anywhere near as exciting as concentrated sulphuric acid.   A teeny piece of magnesium ribbon, oh so pretty when it was set alight, was as dangerous as it got!