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For those who have been puzzling over the picture I posted yesterday – go here for the solution!

Are you ready for this?

I can’t decide if it’s an easy one, or a difficult one. Hmm.

I suppose it depends on what your habits are, whether you have one in the house, or even if you’ve ever seen one. But surely everyone has at least seen one of these?

They come in all shapes and sizes, although the ones you can get for your home tend to look very much like this. They all work in the same way, anyway.

This, as you might have guessed, is just a part of something bigger, but … well, you have to disassemble it each time you use it so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Is it always metal? Yep, I believe so. Is ALL of it metal? No.

I expect most of you have it by now, but anyway, that’s all the help you’re going to get. Come back tomorrow evening (UK time) and see if you’re right. This time I’m scheduling the post so you won’t have to wait till I remember.

Don’t forget to check out the other Macro Monday offerings, over at Lisa’s Chaos, but I can’t promise you’ll find other puzzles there. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t!

Posted on November 10, 2012 in Life, the Universe and Everything, The Home Front by Jay11 Comments »

I just thought I’d let you all know why I’ve gone a bit quiet again.

I am Not Well.

A few days before going down to London, I picked up some kind of bug. Nothing too serious, just the usual cold-y feeling and lack of energy. I thought, ‘Gimme a few days, and I’ll be just fine!’ And I really hoped so, because, well, because we were going down to London to see our friends, Paola and Umberto!

I talked to Paola on Skype and told her I wasn’t feeling too good, and she told me not to worry, because she had a little cold, too. So I bundled up warm with several layers (‘come una cipolla!’ said Umberto, amused, likening me to an onion) and I managed to really enjoy those few days .. and unwisely, perhaps, spent most of them walking. And talking.

Now, I don’t know whether anyone has tried this with a sore throat, but I do not recommend it. You see, it was all very well at the time, but when I got home, and my voice had dwindled to that of a 101-year old lifelong smoker and gin-drinker (neither of which I am) I began to understand the wisdom of the usual advice not to talk when one has laryngitis, but to rest the old vocal cords.

My vocal cords did not get rested, they got thrashed. And now they’re on strike.

I have had many sore throats in my life. It seems to be one of the places a virus likes to settle, in me, just as with OH, they like to snuggle up nice and warm in his sinuses. This one, however, has been acutely painful and rather demoralising, and it is making me cough, which then makes my throat even more sore, and that makes me cough more. And that, my friends, is what we call a Vicious Circle.

So, unable to take any of the usual cold medications, I have resorted to Manuka honey lozenges, green tea, paracetamol and codeine. And thank heavens that my acid reflux isn’t playing up at the moment, because I’m sucking down mentholated sweets as if they’re going out of fashion.

Hopefully, I’ll start to feel more the thing, soon. At the moment, I’m as weak as a kitten with all this coughing and have to sit down after emptying the dishwasher in case I fall over. It’s pathetic.

With all this lack of energy to move around, I’ve spend quite a bit of time on the computer playing silly games, but also taking up the research of my family history again, which has been fascinating. I’ve managed to track down a few more of my Scottish ancestors, one of whom seems to have been a big noise in an ironworks and colliery and another of whom was a horse-dealer (which sounds a bit like ‘used car salesman’ to me). It’s also been fun looking on Google street view at some of the places they lived – one of them, in Gloucester Road, London, was one of the most imposing and beautiful six story terraced houses I have yet laid eyes on.

Sadly, of course, they’ve now lost their lower two floors to shops. They would originally have had a ‘street’ level, probably with a flight of steps up to the front door, plus a basement.

One amusing find, while looking though ancient census records, was this house in Holborn, London.

The records for this particular house stretch over two sheets, and comprise a man and his wife and child, and then a list of at least two dozen women aged between thirty and forty years old, some single, some married. And – I’ve never seen this before, in all my years of record scrutinising – scrawled across the space where the enumerator was supposed to list each person’s profession or occupation were the words -

“Cannot obtain any more information”!

Hmm. I wonder why?

Thankfully, the Ellen Green listed here does not seem to have been the relative I was looking for, although she wouldn’t have been the only skeleton in the family cupboards.

To finish, I’ll just tell you that I did manage to fast on Monday – not having much appetite anyway – but missed the second fast of the week because I was drinking so much tea and sucking so many lozenges that a) I was consuming more calories than I should anyway, and b) too much menthol on an empty stomach will lead to a very unhappy stomach. And anyway, I was in need of cheering up!

Hopefully I’ll be feeling better by Monday and can start blogging again properly.

Posted on November 4, 2012 in Life, the Universe and Everything, Oddities by Jay13 Comments »

I thought you’d all like a nice, easy Macro Monday puzzle today, and to be honest, I’m all worn out after my jaunt down to The Smoke, so it’s all you’re getting, anyway!

I’m not getting any younger, you know!

So here you go – take a look at the picture, decide what you think it is, and pop your answers in the comments and I’ll come back tomorrow evening and post the picture link so you can all see how wrong you were how easy it really was.

Clues?  Clues?? You want clues with this easy-peasy little puzzle?

Oh, alright then.

Pretty much the whole world has these – or at least, their equivalent.  They’re pretty everyday sort of things – I mean, you’re not exactly going to be keeping them safe to pass along to your kids.  Though by all accounts the Hungarians have this tradition where …

… But you don’t need to know about that, do you?  Just take your guess, and wait till tomorrow, like good little bloggers.  ‘Kay

Well, well … there you go! It WAS easy! Most of you guessed kind of correctly, but one of you is a real star and guessed exactly: please put your hands together for Shooting Parrots! Well done, that man!

Credit also must be given to the following people who, probably suffering from the handicap of Not Being English, guessed correctly, but in a generic kind of way. That is to say, you guessed correctly what they were, but not what type they were. Congratulations to all of you: Herman Turnip, Houndstooth, Lori, Jientje, Molly, Ron, and Rob.

So, here’s the answer, as promised.  And yes – as pretty much all of you rightly divined – they are delicious. Or … they were delicious. They’ve all gone now, of course.

See you next week? I hope so!