Posted on February 28, 2011 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay15 Comments »


I don’t know about you, but I often think that the beauty of a place is in the details.

Take the Olive Branch at Clipsham, for example.  Lovely chimney pot, isn’t it?  Perched up there on that quaint old tiled roof?  Just lovely. And yet …


The building itself, while clearly old and quaint, somehow lacks impact.

We took some friends there to eat in November 2009 – yes, that’s how long it’s taken me to do anything with these shots.  It was the first time for them, but we’d had dinner there before, many years ago.  We thought we’d give it a try, because we remembered it as quaint but with excellent food, and we were not disappointed.  The food was excellent!

And quaint?  Well, I’ll leave it to you to decide.

This is the first thing that meets the eye on walking in at the door.


Since it was a chilly, grey day, the terrace tables weren’t open, but I’m guessing on a nicer day they might have been.  And it’s a lovely idea to make a feature of the offer of a blanket and a cushion, isn’t it?

Another little display, just along the passage from the baskets was a long and venerable wooden bench with a multitude of little black iron lanterns on it.  I’m guessing these were for terrace use, too, when the light begins to fade and you start to wonder what it is exactly that you are eating.


The wine rack?  Not sure about that.  Maybe it’s for storing bottles to be used on the terrace, to save the legs of the waitresses – or maybe it’s there to be used as an umbrella stand!  Possibly, this one is simply for decoration.

What a great meme this is.  I love riffling through my files to find unused pictures, and it’s just as much fun to visit Frog Ponds Rock and take a look at what everyone else has found!  Why don’t you go and see, too?

Posted on February 26, 2011 in Life, the Universe and Everything, The Home Front by Jay9 Comments »


Yes, our house is decidedly chilly.  See that little fan heater?  That constitutes one quarter of the heating arrangements for our entire house, one of the others being a fixed plinth heater of limited capacity in the kitchen and the rest being two more free-standing fan heaters which consume electricity with as much moderation as a five-year-old confronted with a large box of Thornton’s.



Yeah, well, we had one of those last night, but today the wind is strong and in the wrong quarter and I know that if I light the fire the smoke will come billowing down the chimney, achieving two things: one, I will end up coughing and wheezing pretty damn quickly, and two, the monitored ADT fire alarm will go off multiple times, resulting in increasingly irritated phone calls from said company while we desperately try to air the house, which is something you don’t want to be doing when it’s cold outside and you have no central heating.  We’re actually waiting for the chimney guy to install a spinning cowl to try to solve that problem, but in the meantime …

Today we have this, instead.


Now you want to know why we’re relying on these forms of heating in the first place, don’t you? Well, it’s simple.  We have run out of central heating oil.

Oh no.  Nononono.  Not through simple carelessness, not really.  You see, we have an arrangement with the oil company called a ‘top up’ deal.  We pay a fixed price for the oil, and in return they come around and top up our tank regularly, before we’re likely to run out.

Did they do that?  No, they did not.  And eventually OH decided that it had been a long time since we had a delivery and perhaps he’d better check, since this winter has been unusually cold so far.   And lo!  The tank was showing ’empty’.

Naturally, the oil company did not feel it necessary to stir themselves unduly on our behalf, and while they said they’d try to get to us before the weekend, they did not in fact do so.  Work late?  Sorry mate.  Make a special trip because it was their fault we were that low?  Uh-uh.

And so here we are.  We ran out of oil completely yesterday and the boiler stopped working (as they do), and we are now halfway through a very chilly weekend.

Hopefully, the oil will arrive on Monday, but don’t hold your breath.

Hopefully, the wind will veer around away from the west tomorrow and we can light a fire to help keep us warm, but don’t hold your breath on that one, either.

If things get desperate, we’ll drop the lovely Sid off at his holiday home at his former trainer’s place and book ourselves in to a hotel.  And I’ll be very tempted to send the bill to the oil company.

Do you think they’ll pay it?  Just … don’t hold your breath.


Here we are again on Sunday evening and it’s time to shake the old neglected files and see what falls out, because today is Sunday Selections day!

This week thought I’d go with fruit. Not only because my stomach is growling at me, but also because I take these pictures of fruit and have no idea what to do with them. You see, fruit is so photogenic, and so pleasing to the eye that I want to preserve that bloom, that dewy freshness, and even (though it’s sadly impossible) the smell. Well, if I can’t actually record the smell of a fruit hamper, perhaps I can bring it to mind?


I bet your nose is filled with the scent of grapes, oranges, banana and pineapple now, isn’t it?  With a hint of passion fruit and melon.  Mmm!

And talking about calling things to mind, this next picture kind of reminded me of a fruit basket.

I took it when I was packing away the Christmas decorations last year, and I remember thinking at the time that the little bunch of green and gold sleigh bells was very reminiscent of a bunch of grapes.  Of course, the baubles could be apples, oranges, peaches .. you name it.


Don’t try biting into any of that because you wouldn’t like it. Besides, I’m watching you … all three of me. Tee hee.

Now. See if you can tell whether this next one is real fruit or just decoration.


Shall I tell you?

It’s actually a bit of a cheat, because it is real fruit, but it’s disguised.  It sounded so lovely that I had to buy some but in fact it was very disappointing and I didn’t eat it all.

Have you guessed it?

It’s dried blackcurrants in a yoghurt coating. Sounds delicious, smells delicious, but … nah. I wouldn’t bother!  Nasty, gritty, tasteless stuff, so it is.

Anyway, pop on over to Frog Ponds Rock when you have a minute. There are more dusty old photos being unearthed over there, even as I type!

Posted on February 19, 2011 in Johnny Depp, Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay15 Comments »

Picture 66

I should be used to it by now, I suppose. The rumours, the denials, the confirmations, more denials .. but I don’t think ‘the word’ has been this wrong, this late, for a long while. True, the Depp publicity office never actually confirmed that Rango would have a premier in London, but the Mark Boardman site isn’t usually wrong. It’s what we obsessed– dedicated fans usually use when planning our campaigns … uh … trips.

But there you go. The Rango premiere in London … well, there isn’t going to be one. Right up to a couple of days ago, there is was in black and white – well, white and black, if truth were told – and my head was spinning with possible plans and who I might go with and how we might manage, trains, hotels, etc. And then I posted a link on a Johnny board to the details and someone said:

‘Um … there’s nothing in that link about a premiere!’

Whaaaa – ??

I looked, and sure enough. Nothing. Just a quiet mention of a ‘screening’ on Saturday 26th with no stars in attendance. Have they no consideration? At this late date, people will have booked hotels! In London!!

Oh, wait … some of you probably don’t know about Rango, right? Well, it’s a cartoon movie in which Johnny voices the main character, who happens to be a small green lizard.  Why does that remind me of something?  Anyway, it actually looks quite good, and I would have loved to have watched the filming, and not only because I could sit and watch Johnny Depp sit silently ploughing his way through ‘War and Peace’, or simply staring into space.

This is far, far better than that.*

See? And don’t you just love that giggle?

So. What exactly is Johnny Depp doing now and where is he? I think that’s what we all want to know, isn’t it? Especially after watching that little gem.

Well, Pirates of the Caribbean No. 4: ‘On Stranger Tides’ is due out this year in May. Everyone is looking forward to that one, especially since ‘the word’ is that they’ve dropped the convoluted and incomprehensible storylines in favour of a return to the simplicity and charm of the first one. But can we trust ‘the word’? Who knows? Still, let’s face it, a movie with Johnny Depp in it is still a movie with Johnny Depp in it, isn’t it? And Jack Sparrow is very decorative indeed! So that’s all right then.

But what is he doing right now? Let’s see. His next project will be as Barnabas Collins in ‘Dark Shadows’. We’re all pretty excited about that one, as you might imagine – and I never even saw the original series! Anyway, if you want news and updates about this one, there is a blog where you can get your fix.  It even has pictures of Johnny in it – and, of course, more up-to-date news than I can give you. However, this is still in the ‘casting’ stage, so I doubt if Johnny is actually working on that, although he might be hanging about with his buddy Tim Burton and giving his input on various things.

We’re all still waiting for the appearance of ‘The Rum Diary’, which is the film of a Hunter S Thompson book of the same name. That one was shot ages ago, but has still not been released. Perhaps they’re hoping for an Oscar? Who knows.

After that? Well, we were going to be treated to The Lone Ranger with a Johnny Depp version of Tonto, which would have been huge fun, but sadly this one has disappeared from the lists.  It used to be right there on IMDB as ‘(Rumoured) pre-production’. Many people are quite .. sad … about that. Well, OK, verging on ‘screamingly annoyed’ if the truth is told. But there you go. Life is full of disappointments.

And then there is something called ‘Triple Frontier’ being whispered in the halls of Filmdom. This is an action/adventure story which takes place on the borders of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, and that’s all I can tell you about that one, except that – if the rumours are to be believed – Tom Hanks will be in it too.

So .. where is Johnny right now? When he should have been girding those delightful loins for the screaming fans of London?

Well, wouldn’t you like to know?

Yes. And so would I, dammit!


* This video has disappeared once. If you come by and it’s not there, check back because I’ll be keeping an eye open and I’ll reinstate it if it happens again.

UPDATE: Since posting this, I have been informed by a member of the Johnny Depp Zone forum that Johnny Depp is currently following the Vanessa Paradis tour and has attended gigs in New York and LA over the last couple of days, so it’s a fair bet that he’s in LA right now … Or is it?

Anyway, it’s good to know that the man has some time for family stuff now and then, isn’t it?

Thank you JDZ!