Thursday, January 29, 2009

Double Book Launch, Monday 26.1.09

Well, how pleased I am that I made the effort to attend the double book launch held on Monday. I had to travel from Ireland and really wondered whether it would be worth it. Thankfully, I pulled myself together and got my butt on the planes and trains. I took a photo from the plane to show the snowy hilltops:

A complimentary glass of wine started the proceedings. Then we were royally entertained by a duo, one on guitar and vocal, the other on flute and sax. They were quite superb and I was happy to be promised some more after the readings. Sadly I can't remember their name but I'm sure Denyse will advise me. I also did a bit of 'mingling', something I wouldn't have had a hope of doing a few years ago. I met other bloggers and we chatted and laughed and drank!

the musicians

Then it was time for an introduction from Denyse followed by the readings. Denyse is a striking lady with inner strength and beauty, a gorgeous face and very clear voice. Important to me as I am deaf. I wear an aid in my right (best) ear but if people mutter or cover their mouths, I'm lost. Denyse explained some of the problems she has, being an 'Aspie'. How she suffers from sensory overload and has learnt the skills of communication including making eye-contact, 'because that's what people like'. I was fascinated by this and also that she has consciously learnt to modulate her voice to make her public speaking more acceptable.

DJKirby with Christopher I King behind. That light was such a nuisance! I have no idea what setting I had the camera on but the photos were very grainy and dark. I must read the instruction book one day...

The 2 books we had come to see 'launched' are 'From Zaftig to Aspie' by DJ Kirby and 'Motorbikes, ducks and crispy sweet apples' by Christopher I King. I had heard much about DJK's book through her blog and reviews but little about the other book. I knew that the author was very shy and might or might not read at the event. Well, he did and introduced his reading with a quick burst of stand up comedy! He read the Prologue and it was utterly intriguing. Having no idea what the book was about it certainly whetted my appetite and now I am the proud owner of a signed, personalised copy.

DJK followed up by reading an excerpt from 'From Zaftig to Aspie' which I had to have too. Another personalised, signed copy. Gosh, I hope they both become very famous!

I was somewhat worried about the other item on the programme, a rap! Well, as a general rule I hate rap. Casdok had written the words about her son and how he is often treated by the world. We had a copy of them on our table and they were very thought provoking. Then Daren Callow performed it. Wow! It was probably one of the best live performances I have seen in a very long time. He had a little piece of wizardry which he operated with his foot. This thing recorded each little section of music and put it on a 'loop'. Gradually, all the recorded pieces built up into what sounded like an amazing full sized band! All the time Daren was performing the words in between. It was a bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time, only ten times more difficult as far as I could see. The thunderous applause went on for quite some while and Casdok had recorded it and had a good cry too! Afterwards, Daren was selling copies of the CD of the Shrek Rap, signed by Casdok and himself, all funds going to Aspberger related charities. They should make quite a bit. Phew! Of course I had to have one...

'Shrek Rap'. Words by Casdok, performed by Daren Callow

I sat beside Helen 'Fiction is Stranger than Fact' Hunt, a lovely lady and then discovered that two of the other bloggers at the table had met my daughter DK and LeatherdykeUK at some book club in Manchester! More chatting ensued. The duo played again. Troy of the 'Wordless Wednesday' captions on DJK's blog was also there, Leigh and Carol 'not only in Thailand' Burns. I should have moved around more but the conversation was too much fun to move. Also there was spare red wine to be had...

I was aware that my last train was at 10.40ish so had to drag myself away. I was very lucky to catch a taxi cab just a few yards up the road or I would never have made it. It turns out the driver was born in Ireland, though you wouldn't have known from his accent. I did catch the train thanks to his speedy driving and had the carriage to myself. I read a good part of Denyse's book on the way back to West Worthing, smiling to myself while reflecting on a most fulfilling and entertaining evening.

Some other photos:

Having a good laugh! I am so worried I will get the names wrong...

DJ Kirby

I rather liked the clock - The blackboard note says 'Welcome to Roses Vineyard for this Double Book Launch'

Denyse in conversation with Troy (see below) Look at that lovely hair

Troy and Denyse

As I had the carriage to myself...

A couple of young girls did run through the carriage. One of them turned to me and said, 'Wow, I love your hair'. I thanked her of course.

As I hadn't eaten I was pretty hungry and just caught the Turkish restaurant before they closed. Small chicken kebab was a perfect end to a perfect evening.

25 Things About You from Ces..

Ces has listed her 25 facts about her, so here they are, in case you haven't seen her blog. She is a wonderful artist, so DO visit.

Now BT the Crafty Gardener, (she is really a serious gardener!) tagged me for this meme to list 25 things about me:

1. I had a very happy childhood.

2. My first best friend was my Mother. I miss her terribly.

I loved my fifth grade teacher and was so proud to be seen with her. I had a crush on her. She was beautiful, smart, intelligent and spoke English with a beautiful diction. She also happened to be my sister!

Once my mother chided me for dating the United Nations. I had Australian, Iranian, Nigerian, American, Chinese and Filipino suitors. I met them at the university and after I graduated from college and they all proposed marriages.

I refused to marry the Filipino even though he was my friend in high school and had an enormous crush on him, was intelligent, very handsome and hardworking because I did not like his surname. In English it meant "depositor".

I dated a handsome man who was a contestant for Mr. Atlas. Alas, he was not intelligent and I found him very boring. He also shaved his chest. He lived with his parents and grandmother and I joined them for an Italian dinner. It was a very interesting experience.

I dated a Jewish doctor who asked me if I was willing to convert to Judaism. I told him I was not very religious.

When I was a teenager, a boy follow me home. He asked permission from my mother to see me and since he was a neighbor Mother asked me if it was okay with me. I talked to the boy and soon found him very boring and not very intelligent so I set up the ironing board and started ironing clothes.

I knew I was going to marry my husband before we first talked to each other. When I saw him, the first thing that came to my mind was "Oh my God, I just met my husband." He was the only one who did not propose directly to me. After seven years I told him either to marry me or stop talking about marriage and children with me.

I packed my things, quit my job and moved to the south. My mother was very upset that I was with a "the man" for two days and we were not married so I told him that we should get married that day. We did and since we made no preparations I left my engagement ring in the apartment. I cried because I missed my friends and family.

So we got married again in the Philippines in the church but I forgot my rings in the states so we had to borrow a teenager's ring and it had a skull design. My sisters were very disappointed with me. They told me that I act as if everything was just a game but I have been married to my husband for 22 years, going on 23. I finally started wearing my rings because the paramedics did not believe me when I told them that I was married.

In nursing school, a resident was interested in me and even though he was not the best looking man, I was flattered with the attention. One day we were resuscitating a patient and he finally declared the patient dead. He wrote on the chart "Prounced dead at (time). I told him that the patient still had a pulse and had Cheyne-Stokes respirations. He modified his charting and wrote "postpone pronounced dead." I immediately stopped paying attention to him.

13. I cry every time I hear "O mio babino caro" and Madama Butterfly. I love Christmas carols.

I am a clothes horse. My clothes get wrinkles just from hanging in the closet. Once, the closet bars broke and I was buried in clothes and had to be pulled from the clothes pile by my husband.

15. I have a penchant for wearing my husband's silk ties and vests.

I like to wear men's clothes sometimes. My daughter thinks I am weird when I do this. She claps her hands when I wear skirts.

17. I keep the stockings and scarf industry in business.

18. The best way to drive me away is to be needy and demanding.

I hated floor nursing because I was bored with taking care of the same patients everyday, that is why I moved to the ER where I was able to multitask and care for different patients every hour.

20. I am very intense but I do not like psycho babble.

21. When I love a song or cd, I play it over and over until I am sick of it.

22. I love to cook.

23. I love dishes and beautiful table settings.

24. I love sharp knives.

My mother was my first teacher. She taught me how to speak Spanish and told me about the great art masters. She loved reading the National Geographic. She was a very intelligent woman and all the neighborhood women looked up to her. When I was sick she played with my hair and whispered a prayer on top of my head. She knew all the herbal treatments. She was also kind, egalitarian and altruistic. A few years ago, we were sitting in the back of the car waiting for my sister. There was a beggar in front of the store. I told my mother that some people refuse to lift themselves up from poverty. My mother hastened to tell me that no one wants a life of misery, even the beggars. They have lost all hope so she told me either to give him alms or ignore him but don't criticize him for he did not ask anything from me. I got out of the car and gave the man fifty pesos. He was so shocked. My mother just smiled. However, she refused to give the aetas or negritos money. They were the aboriginal people of the islands who were stoned when they came down to the city. My mother gave them refuge at our house. They stayed in the garden. Mother told them that she will give them food, clothes and money but they had to bring something to barter like plants so they would be equal partners. She learned how to speak their language. My mother was a polyglot.

It's so interesting hearing about other bloggers, isn't it?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

25 Things Meme from LeatherdykeUK

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.

Well, I've fallen at the first hurdle, because I haven't a 'notes' bit on my Profile Page. Can't tag 25 people (not in r hand corner of the app) so I'll just do it here and hope for the best.

1. I have always worried far too much about what other people think of me. I know it but I can't change it.
2. I am very much a 'Jack of all trades, master of none'.
3. I eloped with my first love and later first husband. We went to Hastings. My father traced us the next day and dragged me back home.
4. I did ballet, with my brother and sister, until I was a teenager. My brother got into the Royal Ballet School. I didn't.
5. I performed in Choirs, Amateur Dramatic Societies and Operatic Societies. I did theatre in education for a while with a sort of professional society. When we made any money, I was paid. My favourite part was 'Anna' in The King and I. I loved it and felt like a star. On the Sunday after the run had finished, I was on my hands and knees washing the kitchen floor. Back to reality with a bump.
6. I don't read anywhere near enough since discovering the joys of computer, blog, facebook.....
7. I have a 'shaky head' and although I'm told it's not Parkinson's Disease, I have a dread of it..
8. I regret not having gone to university. I had the qualifications but became pregnant instead.
9. I played the violin for 6 years at grammar school. I had an incredible violin which my father bought me from a member of the orchestra in which he played at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. My teacher used to borrow it when she played in morning assembly. When my first husband and I were broke, I sold it for £100. I never dared tell my Dad.
10. I once managed 11% for a maths exam. Algebra. Amazing that I then worked in a bank.
11. I drink tea and coffee a lot. I am not a big fan of alcohol and always found it hard to find a drink I liked until I discovered Gin and Tonic. I'd still rather have tea.
12. I adore chocolate. Preferably milk and unadulterated. No nuts, bits or bobs to spoil it.
13. I have performed on stage hundreds of times but have never had the courage to do karaoke.
14. I am never happier than when I'm in the garden, preferably tackling 'big' jobs like bramble clearing or ivy removing. If I'm really down, a spell in the garden will often cheer me up. I hate planting bulbs.
15. I had a great childhood and feel very lucky. We had Christmases where we sang carols round the piano, usually played by my wonderful Granddad from Keighley, Yorkshire.
16. I aspire to produce something 'crafty' that is good enough to sell. I'd love to be an artist but just haven't got it. That is not false modesty, just fact. I often think things I make look as though they've been made at school! I am the world's biggest pessimist.
17. I am a bit of a slob and live in trousers (the pair I have on have darns in the knees), t-shirts and sweat shirts. If I go to the shops (which is very rare), I'll put on clean clothes! Trousers, t-shirt, sweat shirt........ I've never spent much on clothes. It always seems a terrible waste.
18. I love Puccini and Madame Butterfly is my favourite opera. I know it almost note by note and cry when I listen to it or see it live. I shall have the ending played at my funeral.
19. I am a terrible procrastinator. (I left that one in from Rachel's answers).
20. I am hooked on stationery. I will buy pens even though I have too many. And felt tips and craft materials, all things sticky and dangly. Pretty papers.
21. My parents were quite 'old' and died in 1980 and 1987. I miss them both and regret the hurt I caused them. I should have made them proud.
22. I must be getting old as I have started wearing bigger pants and 'comfortable' bras.
23. My first husband and I made love on a picnic table by 3 nuns bridges, Thetford, Norfolk. (Well, I had to have one naughty one)
24. I was hospitalised 3 times by the same man.
25. I am a terrible one for 'the grass is always greener'.

Oh, and I don't know 25 bloggers. So

Life at Willow Manor (Willow)
The Weaver of Grass
Big Blue Barn West (aims)
garden delights (Arija)
From the House of Edward (Pamela)
The Hermitage (Rima)
Home Thoughts Weekly
Cris, Artist in Oregon

That's all I can muster! I know this isn't the proper way to do it so I'll let them know individually!

Friday, January 23, 2009

An Ungodly Child by Rachel Green

I thought I'd have a go at writing a review of Leatherdykeuk's first novel, An Ungodly Child. I am by no means a professional but have written as I found.

An Ungodly Child, by Rachel Green

This is the debut book by Rachel Green. I found the story totally believable in spite of the fact that it involves demons, angels, fallen angels and it could all happen in anyone's street or neighbourhood. I have since found myself looking out for odd characters and inspecting their feet. Wondering...

Rachel's wicked sense of humour permeates the whole book and on occasions I was laughing out loud. Or groaning at the odd pun! A superb story, well drawn characters, especially Harold Waterman (is he really the Anti-Christ?) and Jasfoup the demon, oh and Devious the imp. Also Harold's wonderful mother Ada. We hear much about her and what she gets up to - well, the mind boggles! Not forgetting Uncle Frederick at Laverstone Manor. Well, I could list all the characters.

Harold and Jasfoup stop for tea on every occasion, a delightful and very English thread that runs throughout. I thoroughly recommend this easy to read
novel and look forward with baited breath to the follow up. There is one, isn't there? Or two?

An Ungodly Child is available at Amazon UK and can be found at some Waterstones and WH Smith stores, or they will order it for you.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rain and More Rain 21 Jan, 2008

Will it ever stop? At least it has been slightly warmer today though the rain has been incessant.
Jim emptied a wheelbarrow on Sunday and now it is almost full with water. It's like a mini water feature! Where the builders have been dumping stuff and digging holes and making little hills, all the holes are now ponds! We quite like it and are considering keeping it.

I took Buster to the wood in spite of the rain. At least it is partially sheltered in there but very muddy and slippery.

Otherwise I have been catching up on blogs and chatting to my daughter on msn. I read Leatherdykeuk's book, An Ungodly Child, which I started before I went to the UK and finished while over there. It's one of those that's difficult to put down. I'll write a proper review if I can, I'm not really very good at that sort of thing but will do my best. It's a great book, buy it! That's my sort of review! Available at Amazon UK and can be ordered from Waterstones or W H Smiths.

I did take my camera today and as usual took too many photos, but had fun playing with some of them in Photoshop. I have turned some of them into poster form, but they really need to be full size (click on any of the photos) to appreciate the change.

The water in Lough Graney has risen during the past week. These fence posts are usually on dry land.

Puddles, reflections and dripping rain pools

The red rowing boat almost gone now. This is done as a poster

Semi submerged bushes and trees, the white house on the opposite shore can just be seen

A rather splendid rock

Lime green mosses plus a dark leaved holly

The wood, looking up from the lake. In poster form.

Beautiful, fresh mosses, rotting leaves and a single dark green ivy leaf.

Across the lough to Flagmount! I hope it's still there anyway

Moss and Fern covered trees at the edge of the Lough. Click on it and it will be clearer. The bottom branch is in the photo below, computer enhanced as a poster

This tiny trickle has become a raging torrent

Lichen, computer enhanced as a poster

My favourite

2 lonely bull rushes and Flagmount briefly appeared

The path turned into puddles

I love the superb colours of this rotting fungi

Finally, Buster computer enhanced. It reminds me a bit of 'painting by number'

Tomorrow we're off to Ennis to put down a deposit on our wood pellet boiler and get Irish number plates for the car. Exciting stuff!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lazy Day, Tuesday 20th Jan, 2008

When it's so cold it's so good to snuggle back under the covers, isn't it? Well, we did so today.. Of course Stanley had died down in the night so I tried the super pressed something log Jim had purchased from Aldi. 'Light paper under the white line next to the arrows'. Were there any arrows? Of course not. Ah well, I persisted with the electric lighter, which promptly ran out, then found in the drawer a cigarette lighter K or Rachel had purchased for someone but then couldn't take back to the UK!! Thanks! That worked a treat and the 'log' burned happily for some time. In the meantime I lit the calor gas heater. Buster just loves this and I have to move his bed in front of it and there he bathes in the heat until it gets switched off.

Jim appeared not long after me and we sat around chatting for hours, still in our dressing gowns! What a pair of dossers. Eventually, Jim braved the cold of the bathroom and I followed. God it's cold in there. I stayed in the rest of the day. Having approached the bathroom, I realised what a mess it was in and spent the next hour or so cleaning and tidying. So at least I achieved something!

Jim headed out to the barn and chopped wood for the ever hungry Stanley. He then took my camera and Buster for a walk around the meadow. It snowed/hailed/rained on and off. Not enough to settle, sadly, just enough to be cold, wet and miserable!

We then sat in the kitchen/diner and watched the Inauguration of the new President, Barack Obama. How emotional it was too. I think it was fitting that we watched most of it on our black and white 6" portable television!! We did, however, decamp to the snug to watch the rest in colour. Fabulous speech and such an atmosphere of joy came across so clearly. I could almost have wished to be an American today.

I did then manage to do my ironing and watched Holby City, which seems to be getting a bit silly lately. Afterwards there was a frightening programme on knife crime in the UK. One of the stabbings had been caught on CCTV and it was just so shocking it made me gasp.

A selection of Jim's photos taken today:

Snowy hills through hazel catkins

Snow on the distant hills of Tipperary

The bottom of our meadow and snow on the hill called 'Maghera'

Gorse thinks it's Spring, the hills of Flagmount know it's Winter

Buster and what's left of our cottage!

These robin photos are my favourite. Well done Jim


When you take Buster up to the meadow he charges about like a lunatic at times and it's quite hard to capture the movement, but I think Jim did well in the following:

Flying Buster!

Maybe we'll achieve more tomorrow!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inflated Buster? Woodland Walk and Woozles

I had to laugh when I noticed the front of Lidl's pamphlet today:

It sounds as though he's about to blow up! As it happened, Buster did have a swollen eye and I suspect Sandy lashed out at him for being a pest once too often and scratched just above Buster's eye. By tonight it has gone back to normal thankfully.

Winter has struck with a vengeance. Today we've had snow on the hills, hail, rain and a bitter, biting wind. I went to get the post from our box outside the gate and thought I'd freeze. We spent most of the day indoors keeping warm. Jim valiantly battled the snow and went down to the orchard to bring up 2 barrow loads of wood. Buster went too and kept looking up at the odd flake of white powder coming down towards him. I stayed inside and sorted out the Christmas cards. OK, a bit late I know.

Later on, we realised Buster hadn't really had a walk so I heroically took him to the wood. I wore 2 cardigans, a thick coat and my new balaclava type hat! I was certainly warm. Oh, and the red spotty wellingtons of course. The ground underfoot was really muddy and slippery but Buster didn't care and had a fantastic run. He does love that wood.

I didn't take my camera as it was raining and a bit dark. Of course when you don't take it....
In that odd light before the rain falls, the mosses were vibrant in their shades of green. Lime, sage and emerald stood out brilliantly against the dark dying leaf floor of the wood. Several trees had fallen into the lake, which itself was dark and moody. When the raindrops came, they plopped off the trees into the water, leaving ever increasing circles where they fell. The 2 bullrushes remaining were today deep in water and around them the water was momentarily still as a mill pond. The red rowing boat jutted out above the water line as if to say 'I'm still here'.

The rocks Buster and I normally climb over were all but submerged under the then choppy waters of the lake. Buster had a paddle and a drink but didn't stay in long. We turned back and once again ploughed our way through the muddy tracks. I cut a route diagonally through the wood to go back to the car. It was steep but less muddy and Buster and I played fetch with pieces of stick. Buster is pretty hopeless at it really, but enjoyed the chases. I picked up some fallen twigs, covered in lichen. It comes in so many shapes and forms and the pale green of the lichen stood out in the fading light. I took a photo of my 3 sticks at home:

I am going to dry the top two and see how they turn out. I am so glad I made the effort to get outside. I really enjoyed it.

Just now it's sleeting and the ground is covered in little round white stones of ice mixed with some snow. Buster ventured out and so did I, but only a little way!

Footprints in the snow. Is it a Woozle?

Just to remind us all that there is still a child in our hearts. You cannot read this without smiling:

chapter three

In which Pooh and Piglet go hunting and nearly catch a Woozle

We start this chapter by meeting Piglet for the very first time - hello, Piglet! Piglet, like Rabbit, doesn't seem to have a proper name, although we are told that his grandfather was called Trespassers Will, which was short for Trespassers William, and he knows this because a sign next to his beech-tree house reads Trespassers Will.

Piglet is just brushing some snow from his house when he spots Pooh, who is walking around in a circle. Piglet asks Pooh what he is doing, and Pooh says that he is hunting and tracking something, although he doesn't know quite what he is hunting and tracking, and he'll have to wait until he finds the something to find out.

The way that he is tracking the Whatever-It-Is is by following some paw-marks in the snow, and when Piglet sees the paw-marks he gets very excited. Piglet, as we shall see from later stories, is generally quite an excitable animal, and sometimes rather nervous, but he can also show bravery that belies his tiny size.

Piglet is excited because he thinks that they might be tracking a Woozle. A Woozle! That really would be exciting! Can you imagine! A Woozle! (No, I don't know what a Woozle is either, but if Piglet says that it is exciting then we shall put our faith in Piglet.)

Pooh says that it might be a Woozle, or it might not, and Piglet joins in with the tracking and walking in circles to see if they can find out for sure. And after a little while Pooh stops walking, and says that it's very funny, but there are now two sets of paw-prints, which means...well, what does that mean?

"This...whatever-it-was...has now been joined by another...whatever-it-is... and they are now proceeding in company. Would you mind coming with me, Piglet, in case they turn out to be Hostile Animals?"

Luckily for Pooh, Piglet has nothing to do until Friday, and anyway he wants to find out whether they are really following a Woozle, or indeed, as Pooh points out, two Woozles, and so Pooh and Piglet set off together to do just that.

The Woozle, or Woozles plural, seems to be going around a little group of larch trees, so Pooh and Piglet go round the larch trees too, and Piglet tells stories about his Grandfather William, and Pooh wonders if perhaps the Woozle they are following is a Grandfather instead, or maybe two Grandfathers, and if so whether they can keep one of them.

Suddenly, there is a revelation - Pooh stops and points to the ground!

"What?" said Piglet, with a jump. And then, to show that he hadn't been frightened, he jumped up and down once or twice more in an exercising sort of way.

What Pooh has spotted is that there are now three sets of tracks - they are now following three separate Woozles or Grandfathers! But in fact, Pooh has noticed that the new tracks are different from the old tracks, which means that they could be dealing with two Woozles and a Wizzle, or even two Wizzles and one Woozle. Who can say? They must continue to follow the tracks.

And they do so, although by now they are feeling a little worried, because of the large number of animals involved, and the possibility that one or more of them might be of Hostile Intent. Piglet rather wishes that his Grandfather was there to help them, and Pooh has a little dream about happening upon Christopher Robin, entirely by accident, and only because he is rather fond of Christopher Robin, not because they are in need of Help.

And then...Pooh stops again...for there are now four animals in front of them! Yet another Woozle has appeared! And Pooh resorts to licking the tip of his nose to try to cool himself down, because he is now so hot and bothered.

"I think," said Piglet, when he had licked the tip of his nose too, and found that it brought very little comfort, "I think that I have just remembered something. I have just remembered something that I forgot to do yesterday and shan't be able to do tomorrow. So I suppose I really ought to go back and do it now."

So Piglet goes off to do his very important thing, very glad to be Out of All Danger, and luckily for Pooh Christopher Robin arrives right at that moment. Christopher Robin has actually been sitting up in a big oak tree and watching Pooh and Piglet as they walked round in circles.

Christopher Robin asks Pooh what he was doing, as Christopher Robin has watched Pooh walk round the trees twice by himself, and then twice with Piglet. And Pooh sits down and thinks about this for a little while, and then he tries putting his paw into one of the tracks, and then he stands up.

"Yes," said Winnie the Pooh.
"I see now," said Winnie the Pooh.
"I have been Foolish and Deluded," said he, "and I am a Bear of No Brain at All."

And what has Pooh realised? Well, that he and Piglet have been following their own tracks around the tree, and there were never any Woozles, or Wizzles, or Grandfathers to be worried about.

But Pooh doesn't need to be too bothered by his revelation, as Christopher Robin assures him that he is the best bear in all the world. "Am I?" says Pooh hopefully. And then he cheers right up, and remembers that it is almost lunch time, and goes home for it.

We should note that the events of this chapter are recorded on the official Winnie the Pooh Map, where you can see the little group of trees, the paw-marks in a circle, and the label Where the Woozle Wasn't.

Utter Brilliance.

Coole Park

When we got up today we didn't have any electricity! It'd been so stormy I guess it blew down some poles somewhere. Listening to the (battery) radio, thousands of us have an 'outage' as they call it in Ireland. Jim suggested we go to Coole Park and take Buster for a walk. It was raining but we wrapped up warm. By the time we were ready to go, the electricity was restored and the rain had stopped.

As we drove to Gort and beyond, the sky was blue and the sun even dared appear. Buster had a wonderful walk and behaved himself beautifully, waiting for us when we called him and not jumping up at anyone. A marked improvement. Jim took a small digital camera we had bought some time ago but not used and took a few photos. They made me laugh!

Several trees had come down. Here am I most inelegantly stepping over one of them!!

Buster was rewarded with a 'sweetie' for coming to me. Sexy wellingtons aren't they?

I'm not sure what we were both looking at here

The lake was pretty full today and very choppy. A bench for Denyse.. (DJKirby)

I'm not sure what I was laughing at - maybe the fact that Jim chopped off Buster's nose!

The Turlough looking like a rough sea. Splendid clouds above

Just to prove the sun did shine - a moody shot by Jim

It did get very windy at one point and hailed but it didn't last long and the sun soon shone again. We stopped at 'Supermacs' on the way home for a coffee and burger. It had been a day of car rallying at Galway and half the teams came in, luckily after we'd been served. They all seemed to have a team haircut, shaved at the sides and a bit longer on the top!

Back home and it was all hands on deck to gather wood and keep Stanley going as it's a very cold evening. Buster was zonked out for most of the evening but then woke up wanting to play. He brings his toys to you one after the other and shoves them in your face!

We watched 'Dancing on Ice' where celebrities learn to ice skate with a professional, a bit like Strictly Come Dancing only on ice. It's amazing what some of them achieve in the short time the show is on.

Later we tuned in to the final of The Masters snooker tournament. It was a very exciting final and Ronny O'Sullivan just managed to clinch the title for the fourth time. He is such a character but has suffered badly from depression over the past few years.

Almost 2am and bedtime soon. Keep warm everyone.