Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Street Performers on La Rambla in Barcelona

La Rambla is the avenue that goes down from Catalunya Square to the Port of Barcelona. It's lined with shops, restaurants and cafes, and it's where people go almost any time of the day, but particularly in the evening. There's always something going on in the central pedestrian area of the road, and the street performers were quite spectacular.

Tuesday Morning

I've been back from my short trip to Barcelona for four days now, and still haven't posted pictures or spoken about my trip. So that's my priority for today.

I went with a friend and we caught a flight from Heathrow Terminal 1 (not 5 - phew!) on Monday morning last week. We'd used the online check-in system, and were very pleasantly surprised by how efficiently it worked. We arrived in Barcelona, and were checked into our hotel and out and about in the town by 2 pm.

Barcelona is a beautiful town with wide avenues that have a central walkway as well as standard sidewalks. The architecture is quite amazing, and for me the highlights were the Gaudi buildings with their distinctive wibble wobble appearance (called organic). But that wasn't all. The museum, the art galleries, the sights and sounds on the street, and St. George's day - all will be revealed.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Adieu Janey

This morning my daughter Christina took her rabbit Janey to the vet, and the vet put Janey to sleep. She'd gradually been losing the use of her back legs for the last couple of months, and things got really bad about a week ago. The vet had tried giving her anti-inflammatories, but even though they helped a little, they didn't do the job. The vet felt that things could only get worse and that Janey would suffer. She was six years old. She was the sweetest thing and we're all so sad that she's gone.

Baby Janey

Janey and Hooli were great pals

Janey liked to run around.

Christina loved her to bits.

Sweet Dreams Janey

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Love Sewing?

For anyone who loves to sew, here's the perfect website. It's called Burda Style and it has lots of patterns that you can download and use for free.

That 'wake up' cat again!

Warning Label Generator

Check out this great site. You can make your own customised warning labels. The one above is a label I made. It was so easy.

By the way, the message is aimed at myself. I thought sticking one inside my wallet would be a good idea.
Or how about making a street sign on the sister website. Here's my Martian Streetsign effort! Once again, very easy to do.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Play, Learn, Plant Trees

Here's another fun website where you can have some fun and learn, and at the same time do some good. Similar to the Free Rice website, this one is a general knowledge quiz which donates a leaf for each correct answer. 15 leaves make a branch and 20 branches make a tree.

The website is called Answer4Earth and currently splits its donations between two non-profit charities, Trees For the Future and The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation.

Have fun. Earth Day 2008 is on April 22: this would be a great way to do something for our planet.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Cats Poo Coffee Update

has an animation that he made about Kopi Luwak coffee. It's very funny and worth a look.

Daniel Humphries has actually tasted the coffee! Check out his very entertaining blog account of how this came about.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Design a Green Bag Contest

This contest is only open to US residents, so I can't enter, but I thought I'd do a post about it because it's so green. Kroger, the US Grocery Store chain, is running a design-a-reusable-bag contest. Anyone living in the USA over the age of 13 can enter one bag design per day. Here's the link . Entries can be submitted until 5 pm on May 23, 2008, so lots of chances to enter.

They also have a page about Earth Day, with great ideas about adopting a greener way of life.

Cats Poo Coffee

Peter Jones, the London department store, has started selling coffee made from palm civet cats' excrement, for £50 ($100) a cup. I checked it out, and it appears to be the real deal. See my article about this new blend which goes by the name of Caffe Raro.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Artery Cloggers Alarm

I came across this website about the worst artery cloggers in America. Seems to me that a lot of these chains are international. It's quite alarming.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Earth Day 2008

April 22 is Earth Day 2008. The first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970, and was a massive protest about the levels of pollution in the USA at that time, and brought about many changes to US Environmental Legislation. Since then Earth Day has become an annual, as well as an international, event. Nowadays it is more of an educational and inspirational date, as well as a festive occasion with Green Apple Festivals being held in several US cities.

For more information see my Earth Day 2008 article.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Another Weather Update

I think the weather has thrown everything at us today. So many flights were cancelled at Heathrow and Gatwick, mostly because of the bad weather.

I drove up to Sheffield this afternoon with my son. After our snowy start, it had thawed by the time we left and it was a nice clear afternoon with sunshine and dry roads. By the time we reached Sheffield there was the occasional bit of drizzle, but nothing to worry about.

At about 5.30 pm in Sheffield, it started to snow. It didn't settle at first, but it was very heavy with large flakes, and here's how it looked on my way back south.

Still inside Sheffield at around 5.50 pm....

Just outside Sheffield at 6 pm.......
Back in Milton Keynes at 7.45 pm....

About halfway down the M1 the weather started to clear, and as you can see by the time I was in Milton Keynes the sunset was promising a good day tomorrow. Let's see if it keeps its promises.

Snow Again, Thaw Again....

Snow Again....
Thaw again......
Drip, drip, drip.
That's the weather today, so far, and it's only noon here. The sun is out now. What else can nature chuck at us today, I wonder.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

The Rookery

I sometimes see rookeries as I'm driving my car, but they always seem to be someplace where I can't stop, or if I can stop, I don't have my camera. Today everything fell together. I spotted a good rookery, I had my camera with me, and there was a laybye quite close where I could park the car.

I'm fascinated by the fact that rooks make their nests close to each other, and return to them year after year. It looks quite amazing when all the trees are bare, to see these nests with the rooks flying back and forth and grouping together.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Conversations with Flowers

My daughter Natalie has opened an Etsy shop. It's called Conversations With Flowers and she already has some beautiful things displayed for sale.

She has some limited edition prints, and some cards, as well as some cute hand made badges with pictures from her paintings.

A barrowful of bulbs

I've been taking advantage of the nicer weather to tidy up the flower beds in my front garden. I've dug up all the montbrecia in one of the smaller beds, and put a few clumps back in after planting a Jasmin that my mother gave me, and replanting a bleeding heart that I had planted too far back originally. This is what's left over, even after giving the equivalent amount of bulbs to my next door neighbour.

So I think I'll pot some of them up and hopefully people may want some later on. They look gorgeous when they're in flower, with orange flowers growing up a stem.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

April Fools Day

I hope everybody escaped without being tricked today. I took my son to the dentist, and while I was waiting for him, I read today's Daily Telegraph, and there was an incredible story about penguins in it. Here's the link. It gave everyone in the waiting room something to chuckle about.

I was told that someone at a local radio station was taken in by a group of hoax callers who phoned in reports of a major traffic jam due to hundreds of toads hopping about all over the road.

As for me, I didn't fall for any tricks. Or at least if I did, I haven't found out about it yet!