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 ♉Things you are doing to amuse yourselves.

Please share things you are doing to amuse yourselves.

Un-locked in ZA       16 June

When lockdown was imposed in Cape Town, it was made illegal to sell or transport alcohol and by the time it was eased, pre-lockdown stocks were running very low in a certain household in Claremont so stocks needed to be replenished. Love the way the sun is shining through those bottles of white!

  Delivery this morning from our local wholesaler...


   Love the way the sun is shining through those bottles of white!

From Ben: Film teaser made at home.       11 June

Teaser for short film made in lockdown where Janey plays a ghost.

... trailer for Ben's film   L O O K I N G  O U T   ... COMING SOON ...to a website near here!

From Chris: Scanned negatives       10 Jun

I lie ... well you all know that! That is why I'm inserting this post here and not higher up where it should be. [by date] You can read about the glass negatives below [and beyond] but they have kept me very busy in lockdown. So much so that I have made a completely new page just for them. [not ready yet] The trouble with setting up the scanner has been that I have also had a go at rescuing the old, now dry, but once sodden Cribbit logs AND I've been having a go at the few negatives that survived the sinking in hopes that I might be able to resussitate more from the 'precious logs'... It has been time consuming [good] frustrating [bad] and mentally wearing [also bad] ... so a bit of an hiatus caused by lethargy and cabin fever.

From Chris: Scanned negatives       15 May

On ♉   10 May I posted some examples of scans I had made of a collection of glass negatives that I have. I have done a few more to-day in the hope that someone might recognise where they were taken. Some seem to be in a walled garden and some possibly on holiday. There is a castle [which I don't recongise, an ivy covered cottage, beach scenes and what I think is ♉Gelert's grave near Beddgelert. The Marine Hotel seems familiar but I can't place it though it looks like North Wales to me as well.

I cannot remember how I came by them, most likely it was in either North Wales or Hastings!

See what you think and get back to me with suggestions. Maddeningly, the beach ones are badly out of focus and underexposed so I have not had much success in trying to scan them.

  I think we can certainly say that this is the Marine Hotel, but where? [Feels like North Wales]

  Picnic at a castle, but where?

  Foliage covered cottage

  In the garden but probably not at the cottage above.

  My guess is Gelert's grave at Beddgelert



  It is beginning to feel like the West Shore, Llandudno. Looking across the Conwy estuary.

I now have good reason to believe that the castle is Caernarfon so the pic above is very likely looking across the Menai Straits towards Ynys Môn.

Thank you Michael for your reply to my query about Gelert's grave and for putting me right about the castle, I can't tell you how pleased I am about this!

I'm putting your email to me below:

Thank you very much for this Chris

It is without doubt Gelert's grave - the three stones are visible and the fence is right. There is only one tree in the photo - all the photos I have seen show two - but different ones at different times. The direction the photo was taken and the quality of the image makes it look very bleak. It is impossible to date unless I find more dated photos with one tree, but I suspect that your guess is that it is late 19th century.

The photo of the castle on your site is Caernarfon.

The image on your site entitled 'As always, less is more' is almost identical to a sketch in the Snowdon visitors' book for the early 1850s entitled 'View from the summit of Snowdon'

From David:       13 May

David has got caught out by the classic sewing machine problem ... that is that takes rather longer to get the machine to work than it does to actually sew anything with it but I'll let him regale you with the way this works!
I'll just add a handy DIY repair tip of my own though which is: 'After you have tried everything you can to fix the damn thing, just make sure that it is so thoroughly broken by your 'repairs' that it is completely un-fixible now or at any time in the future.' This will save you a lot of heart ache.

There has to be a good reason for the re-cycling bin being bigger than the landfill one.
David tells us:

On the success side of things we have my service of Ann's sewing machine. 3 things causing huge annoyance: no reverse gear, bent needle threader and a bobbin spindle that looked like it should be movable upright but in fact became detached when persuasion was tried!

The no reverse gear issue was the most tricky as it involved removing covers and panels but having done so and spotted what should have been moving but wasn't, a drop of light machine oil enabled a spring to do its work to shift the reversing gear into position. Hey presto - fixed!

While the covers were off it was possible to see how the bobbin spindle worked and in fact it wasn't supposed to rise to the vertical at all. So it was refitted as had originally been intended, but now with greater understanding.

The needle threader was a tiny, and barely visible, hook that had become bent. Careful use of tweezers reformed the little hook and bingo - needle threading worked. Not a bad evening's work and we await further mass production of Ann's very elegant fabric plant pots.

  Ann's very elegant fabric plant pots.

Bread baking has continued on a twice weekly or so basis and the best loaves produced come from your Greek yogurt dish Chris.

400gms of flour fits just nicely and lasts as long as we need. To be honest, although I feel I have the method reasonably well sorted, and get open, bubbly sourdough loaves, I don't think I actually enjoy the bread all that much. It does tend to be more chewy than a nice mix of white and granary flours and yeast. Will I go for the hat-trick (1st prize for bread) at the village flower & produce show later in the year? Will there be a show at all? Time will tell.

  Bread baking has continued on a twice weekly or so basis .

Biscuits were always on my to do list and I've made a few batches of DIY hobnobs:
100gm plain flour, 1tsp baking pwdr, 100gm oats, 75gm castor sugar plus melted: 10gm butter, 1tbsp syrup,2tbsp milk.
Mixed and formed into biscuit sized rounds, baked for 15mins @160degC (fan oven) .... lovely !

  Biscuits were always on my to do list and I've made a few batches of DIY hobnobs.

Less successful has been my foray into art. I started wanting to sketch with a dip pen and ink (inspired by Charlie Mackesy's book The Boy, the mole, the fox & the horse) and that I have done, with some limited success. However, the Buckinghamshire Adult Learning art tutor, now working on-line for the summer term, is venturing into watercolour clouds and sky and I'm sensing why I wanted to just sketch with a nib pen! And as for charcoal ... how I'm supposed to draw clouds and sky with a piece of black, burnt wood, is beyond me! It's back to the dip pen for me from now on.

  how I'm supposed to draw clouds and sky with a piece of black, burnt wood, is beyond me!

Mr T-part       12 May

One of the first words tw learned when he was a child was 't-part'. This was because he was always wanting to take things apart, so much so in fact that we used to call him 'Mr T-part'. That and the fact that he always had a screedriver in his hand. The first time he crawled was so that he could get his hands on our hifi system which soon had to be moved much to his disapprobation.



  Things haven't changed much

Man with scanner from chris        10 May

Just bought a [new to me] computer from ♉Laptops Direct. I am a long standing customer of their ♉refurbishment department and have been very pleased with all the computers I have had from them.

Working for a long time on my [refurbished] laptop was getting to be a bit of a pain, even with a separate keyboard attached and our old tv roped in as a [blurry] monitor, it was not ideal. I started out looking for just a refurbished monitor and then soon decided that for a little bit more money I could get a complete system. Decided on an integrated unit made by Dell. [It's built like the proverbial brick shithouse so may even survive what I might do with it.]

When Jim and Terry and I were on Cribbit in ♉   Paddington Basin a few years ago I remember looking through the window of a call centre or something, with lines of desks populated with just this same set up, perhaps the very same one.

Of course it's all very well buying a new system but there is lots to do before its operational. As shipped their systems come with windows 10 and the first thing I do is delete it and install Ubuntu, this went very easily and I like the increase in speed over my old setup.

Doing these write-ups has also meant that I have needed to get the scanner up and running again. I've been playing with it to-day and figured out a way to scan in some old glass negative plates that I have, by using Rosemary's daylight simulation lamp and turning off the scanner lamp. Yes there is plenty to keep a boy busy all day!

I have no idea about the provenance of these glass slides nor even where I bought them though it might have been in Hastings. The box they were in was labelled '19 century negatives on glass' which probably doesn't mean anything. There are two brands of slides in their original boxes, these are '♉Barnet orthochromatic plate, from 'Elliot and sons Ltd, Barnet' and from '♉The Imperial dry Plate Co Ltd, Cricklewood.'

Most seem to be have been taken in a walled garden of some sort, some are on a beach and one is of a ruined castle. So see if you can recognise the venue when I put up some more. Now I have a system for doing this I will scan in a few more later. The ones that are easiest to see unaided are a bit over exposed, the paler ones more revealing when scanned.

   Just bought a [new to me] computer

  The slides in their original boxes

  With two of the darker ones taken out

   Transformed from negative, thinking that photographing them might be quicker than scanning

  Scanned at 600dpi


  Scanned at 1200dpi

Roger and Susan go to Hawaii        9 May

  I am obsessed with Hawaii at the moment!

We decided to book up with Aloha Wiki Wiki travel, flying again with Arm Chair Airways private jet.
We were welcomed by one Hawaiian Maiden, strict distancing guidelines were maintained so no garlands put around our necks.
We opted for the waterside hut with Spa facilities, which had superb views and fabulous beach towels. Roger and I were a bit disappointed in the social distancing Lomi Lomi Massage, as the pole got in the way! I Managed to see an amazing Hawaiian Sea Turtle while Roger was ironing board surfing!!
Also enjoying ‘Sex On The Beach’... Cocktails (by the glass this time). And of course I purchased a Hawaiian shirt 💓 Very excited to see two of the Hawaii 5-0 task force ♥️♥️
To add to our Hawaiian adventure, This is my all time favourite piece of music ♥️♥️ Hawaii 5-0 love it ❤️❤️ It’s also my ring tone😜
hawaii.jpg   ♥️♥️ Hawaii 5-0 ❤️❤️

   I Managed to see an amazing Hawaiian Sea Turtle

  Roger was ironing board surfing!!

  Very excited to see two of the Hawaii 5-0 task force

  Enjoying ‘Sex On The Beach’... Cocktails (by the glass this time).

Now off for a snooze in the cocoon swing.

Aloha and ‘E noho mālie’ (Stay Safe) 😍

The tTs construct a mystery item       27 April

The tTs made good use of their public holiday in busy construction activity.


  All the bits ready... needs welding:


  Girl welder

  Welded, and ready to be constructed, but what is it:

  Well it is a table without legs of course...

  Note the minions sock. Also if I write “it is” too quickly here it autocorrects to “idiot”.

My appreciation of autocorrect has just gone up! Please don't move on to more ambitious conjuring tricks though ... like cutting the lady in half. Oh and BTW I thought movement of alcoholic drinks during lockdown was prohibited ... even those with no visible means of support.

I see that Roger and Susan were out your way yesterday, too bad they couldn't join you for a braai, see below.

Roger and Susan go on safari        26 April

Day ..!!! After recovering from Jet Lag on our return from the Outback. We booked up with ‘Home Safari.con’ and again with Arm Chair Private Jet Airways.

After a smooth landing, we set off across the lawn, we encountered a lion luckily he wasn’t hungry, no sign of Tarzan, either must have been with Jane so we made it safely to the luxury accommodation but not under canvas just Under the duvet.

Found an excellent African wine, Chardonnay Ataraxia. Chamonix Reserve, which I will be having by the neck of course (my Vincent friends will know this is true to form).
Relaxing by the camp fire eating the local cuisine (not sure what it is, but tastes good maybe it’s an experiment)!! lovely view and sunset

  we encountered a lion.

  Found an excellent African wine, Chardonnay Ataraxia. Chamonix Reserve in our luxury accommodation.


  Relaxing by the camp fire eating the local cuisine.

From Ben:        27 April

Ben has written a screen play for a short film competion. 60 seconds to save the world, ♉The sting.

♉The sting was on Instagram last weekend for a 60 sec competition about sustainability. It was going to be filmed but couldn't due to lock down so the director animated it at the last minute. A bit rushed but it works I think. He is going to develop it further.

sixtysustainableseconds1.png sixtysustainableseconds2 sixtysustainableseconds3
  ♉The sting

From Roger and Susan        9 April

Day 27. We decided to book a trip ... with ‘Down Under Travel’ flying with Arm chair Private Jet Airways.
We touched down in the outback adhering to social distancing (easy as no bu.... here) No Skippy (Bush Kangaroo) or Wombats.
Been welcomed by the Koalas, but no sign of Crocodile Dundee no Didgeridoo either but have purchased a boomerang (but it won’t come back)* Stubbies on hand to have a cold one, and tucker by the eucalyptus tree.
Can’t decide if we visit the Wolf Blass or Jacob Creek Winery yet. Or just sit by the Billerbong!
So G’day, put another prawn on the barbie
Stay Safe Cobbers (Friends)
*The more mature peeps will remember the Charlie Drake song, you tube it

  Have purchased a boomerang. Stubbies on hand to have a cold one, and tucker by the eucalyptus tree.

  eucalyptus tree

  Been welcomed by the Koalas

  No Wombats.


Inspired by Val's contribution        18 April

Recently Rosemary had a family zoom session with three of her children and four of her grandchildren, with nine of us it was lively and chaotic as you might expect.

They decided that they would like to do it again but next time with a bit more structure and in fact, it was suggested that they should have some sort of competion. Lots of ideas were floated including one from me which was to play ♉   'racing demons' a card 'game' [more like 'fight' to the uninitiated] and of course completely unsuitable to play on line. [Which is why I suggested it: no wonder they regard me with suspicion but that I was just trying to be amusing.]

Then Val sent me this Matt cartoon so now I think we should play monopoly with Matt's new rules. [Not being much of a monopoly fan I think the new rules would suit me very well for regular play as well.]

  Matt's rules

From chris, an extract from one of my daily emails to my kids        10 April

don't know why but my default music entertainment lately has been ♉Afro live radio, a global village.
They have a really restricted play list and i'm getting to the point now where their favourite songs are becoming my earworms!! But that I don't understand a word of them!!! Sometimes I get 'mandella' like right now but mostly nothing much recognisable otherwise.
I like the rhythms and it feels jolly and happy so no worries there its just uplifting.

So tell us what you use to cheer yourself up!

These pages are intended as a little light relief from the seriousness that is all around at the moment.
They are intended to be crowd funded, don't worry, I'm NOT asking for money, just something far more precious, your contributions.

It doesn't matter if you feel you can't contribute, just have a look around but please email me to let me know even if that is all you have done.

So please send me things: photos, tales, nicknames, links, anything!!!! BUT PLEASE SEND IT

Please feel free to share the web address with anyone you think might like it! AND encourage them to respond and contribute as well.

I'm putting these pages together rather quickly so please alert me to bad grammar, spelling and non-sequiters .... not that the rest of the website is free from these either.

Please use my email address:
to contact me, I am afraid you will have to copy and paste the above for security reasons.

By the way: I will never publish, give away or sell your email address or personal details.

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