Thursday 28 March 2024

The British Car Museum

We were up near Kennilworth for an exhibition of miniatures: Anita wanted to downsize her collection, and we went to sell some.  It was held at the National Agricultural Exhibition Centre at Stoneleigh.  I didn't know there is one.

While we were there I checked out the local area on Googly maps and saw that on our way home we would pass the British Motor Museum.   I wouldn't call myself a petrol-head but I do have a passing interest in cars, so we decided to take a look on our way.  We were both impressed.

We thought the building was new, it was in such good decorative condition, but we were told that it had just celebrated its 30th anniversary.   And the cars were immaculate.   I didn't see the old Rover models that I used to drive, but the Queen's old rover was there, and the Queen Mum's limo too.   In fact most cars had something of special interest about them; the first and last production E-Types, for example;

There was some humour too.  Lady Penelope's car, not far from Dell Boy's.

Well worth a visit, even if you're not a petrol-head.

Saturday 23 March 2024

Wildlife pic

My long-term readers are aware that I'm slowly creating a portfolio of pictures and videos to support my application to become a BBC wildlife photographer.   In a similar but related vein, here is a picture I captured last week, of a Spitfire taking off frem HMS Daedalus, Lee-on-Solent, near my sister's place.

Friday 22 March 2024

The greenhouse

Springtime is the time for planting garden seeds, for veg and flowers.   Anita tends to get upset when I put seed trays on the wooden ledge of the conservatory window.   Despite my best efforts with newspapers and cling film, the moisture always penetrates down to the wood, which means that some repair or maintenance is always needed when the seedlings eventually go outside.

If there's one thing that England does better than France (at least around here), it's garden centres.  There's one near where I used to live, that used to be called Abbey Nurseries but has changed its name.   I often go there for a browse when I'm in England, and this time I spotted a small greenhouse designed for seed trays.  It has four shelves that take five trays each - plenty for me.  At 50 quid, I bought it, well worth it for all the grief saved.

The frame comprises metal bars with plastic joiners; its not going to survive a hurricane, but it's in a sheltered place beside the house so it should be OK.  The shelves are a lightweight metal grille, strong enough to hold seed trays or small pots, and the whole is covered in a ripstop plastic sheet that zips up.  It is tied to the wall and will benefit from thermal intertia too.  I assembled it without the help of the instructions that were hidden in the folds of the plastic cover, as I discovered later.

I have stapled the bottom of the front sheet to strips of wood to give it some weight and to ease the job of rolling it up - it can clip to the top bar for when it's too hot.   It even has the first of the season's tomato seeds planted in it.   Fingers crossed!

Thursday 21 March 2024

A visit to the Spinnaker

The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth is the landmark that catches the eye as you enter the port by boat.   It's also pretty visible from a long way around on land.   Apparently, it was intended to offer more interest than it does, with more floors, a restaurant and an outside lift.   I'm not sure what ran out; motivation, money or technical expertise.   Apprently, they couldn't get the outside lift to work, and the only way up these days for visitors, is by internal lift.  Shame, that would have been quite something.

However, they do high teas on one of the platforms, and we booked to go with my sister and brother-in-law, since none of us had been there before, and it was something interesting to do.   The views of portsmouth are spectacular, and the high tea is excellent.  Nicely cut sandwiches, clotted cream scones, and sweet cakes are provided to eat, and a choice of drink (we chose tea, natch).

The human eye compensates for the tint in the toughened glass that stops visitors from jumping off, but the camera does not.   So these views of the city look a bit odd, but might give you an idea.

There is a glass floor too, from which you can look down the framework.  Shoes not allowed.

Wednesday 20 March 2024

Old stomping grounds

I used to ride my bike to Warsash, and then walk along the beach or clifftop to Hill Head, and on home from there.  So I enjoy going down to Warsash when we are in England.   This time I went from the village centre out to the spit where there is an old gun emplacement in concrete.

Many years ago when I was an air cadet, we organised a "night excercise"; taking turns with one team defending it and another attacking it.  I'm not sure we learned anything, but it was good fun.

I don't know who Jo Oliver was, but he or she was responsible for this excellent little border garden beside the road. 

Tuesday 19 March 2024

Good steak

We're just back from England, a visit to friends and family, plus some downsizing of Anita's miniatures collection.

Mum's in a bad way.   We visited her on Monday and by Tuesday she had forgotten that we had been.  She has full-time live-in care at home, which seems to me to be an ideal solution.  Her carer is a sweet young lady, and she is surrounded by familiar things in a place she knows.

My sister recommended a restaurant for a meal together that evening, and I was most impressed by her local Miller and Carter steak house.  I don't think I have ever eaten a better steak, not even in the USA where they know a thing or two about beef.   Good call.

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