Thursday, 28 July 2011

Don't worry - it's only a photo-blog about Oxford

'Where the bloody hell have you been?' I hear you cry.

In know, I know ....... I don't call you, I don't send you flowers, and I haven't visited your blog in days.

You may feel like admonishing me, but consider this - you should view me as your low-maintenance cyber-girlfriend. How ace is that? Even better ... because you haven't seen me in the flesh, you can pretend that my bra size is 40DD (for those not au fait with bra sizes, just imagine a large front-rucksack).

Let me explain my lack of recent blogging activity a little further: The last few weeks have involved incredible work commitments (resulting in two broken nails - working for a living is pants), combined with having house-guests for the last few days. Net result: I haven't been able to get anywhere near my bloody blog.

For the record; if I had my way, I would spend my days drinking Bolly, reading books in the garden and having takeaways delivered. Instead I feel like a packhorse (but better manicured and without hoofs). 

So, because things have been rather hectic, I am going to do a photo-blog today. That means loads of pictures without me waffling on.

Here goes ......................

The guests that came to stay with me were my ex-partner's parents (yes, yes, I know it is weird, but we all get on marvellously). They are also Izzy's Grandparents (unsurprisingly). I call them the out-laws for comedy value.

Sunday 24th July - The rellies turned up late in the afternoon

Pic.No.1 The outlaws arrived and Steve (my ex-partner), me and Izzy took them for dinner at the Talkhouse in Stanton St John

Pic.No.2 This is me at the Talkhouse. Shortly after this picture was taken, I ate so much that I wanted to vomit like a Roman

Now, I know I promised that this was a photo-blog, and that I should be keeping my mouth shut, but I can't help asking your opinion .... the pictures above were taken with an iPhone, whilst the pictures below were taken with a Canon S95. Can you tell the difference in quality?

Monday 25th July - Entertaining the Rellies

The rellies got up early (8.30am). I was so shocked that I left them to forage for breakfast in the kitchen whilst I slept (I don't 'do' mornings). Not only did they successfully forage, but they also took Izzy shopping to buy her a random present (how cool?). And they didn't come back until early afternoon.

Pic.No.3 When Izzy and her Grandparents eventually returned, I discovered that they had treated her to a huge Barbie Camper Van. Izzy nearly spewed with excitement

Pic.No.4 Whilst Izzy and the rellies were out, I kept myself busy by photographing a leaf

Pic.No.5 And then I gained sustenance from a 'Ready Meal' for lunch. Yep ...... I did not cook this, it came out of a packet. Thank God for Marks and Spencer

When the evening descended, me, Steve, Izzy, and the rellies chilled out around the kitchen table, telling stories and listening to folk music. It was good.  

Tuesday 26th July - Me and the Rellies explore Oxford

On the final day of my rellie's visit, we drove into Oxford city (about 10 minutes from my house) to do some exploring. After living here for a while, it is easy to forget that Oxford is one of the most spectacularly-amazing-architectural cities in the world ..... so doing touristy things makes you appreciate it's beauty afresh.

Pic.No.6 This is Izzy (bottom right) and her Grandparents in the High Street, Oxford. High Street is not a particularly good example of Oxford's architecture actually. Don't worry though, I have got loads of other random pictures...... read on!

Pic.No.7 This is a random picture of a UK Post Box on Merton Street, Oxford

Pic.No.8 An Ancient (approximately 500 years old) stone house on the corner of Magpie Lane and Merton Street in Oxford

Pic.No. 9 Another ancient house in Merton Street, Oxford. Look at the cobbled pavement and road .... How old is that? [Answer: bloody well old]. As a clue, the windows help determine the age of a house - in the case above, the windows are set in stone (a technique called mullion windows) which was first used about 550 years ago

Pic.No.10 Another picture of houses in Merton Street, Oxford. Here you can quite clearly see the cobbled pavements (sidewalks) and road. Looking at the houses, I would estimate that they were from the Georgian (1700s) period (they have large wooden window frames)

Pic.No.11 A picture of Merton College Tower , Oxford

Pic.No.12 This is Izzy in one of the tiny Oxfordshire alleyways that can be found dividing many of the ancient buildings

But who cares about architecture scmarchitecture? We had arrived at the end of the day, and everyone was hungry, so Izzy and I marched to 'Pizza Express' without further ado.

Pic.No.13 Pizza Express in Oxford is located in a small, quaint courtyard just off the main shopping street

Pic.No.14 Once inside Pizza Express, the Outlaws looked happy with the menu

Pic.No.15 The building which houses the Oxford 'Pizza Express', is hundreds of years old and they have preserved all the original features ..... like this ancient fireplace with a bulging wooden panel above

Pic.No.16 Just look at the beams around the window and the ones holding the roof up - they are bloody enormous! It's hard to imagine that they are at least 500 years old

Pic.No.17 This is me. To be honest, after three minutes of posing for the out-law photographer, I was thinking; "hurry up and take the bloody photo you bloody git"

Pic.No.18 Finally, Izzy and I break ranks after becoming bored of posing for photographs .... all I had to do was whisper in ear; 'do the rabbit'

And after I had scoffed my 'Calabrese' Pizza (highly recommended if you have a taste for hot spicy food), we all headed off back home.

Pic.No.19 Walking back to the car via Merton Street, Oxford. You can see Izzy, her dad, and her Grandmother on the pavement to the right

Pic.No.20 Grandmother takes Izzy back to the car so that we can drive home

After a lovely weekend with the outlaws, I've now got only 2 hours to pack for a trip that I am going on tomorrow.

Yep. tomorrow I am off to a music festival for four days. It is called Camp Bestival in the county of Dorset. There are loads of activities for Izzy, there are load of cool band performing for me, but the downside is that I will be living in a tent like a feral goat.

So dahlink.... that might mean no blog posts for the next four days. Please don't abandon me! And I will be back round at your blog once I get back.

P.S. What is your favourite building?
Annie (Lady m) x
Tell me what you think by leaving me a comment otherwise you will find a fly in your soda

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Random stuff from the countryside ... the air smells like cow-arse

Bloody hell, what with all this work that I am doing at the moment, I feel like I haven't been out and about for ages. It's shit ..... and I am sure that my trusty Canon S95 camera will start decaying into a rusty heap if it doesn't see the light of day soon.

'Enough of the rusty camera crap', I hear you cry, 'what the blazes has been happening in Oxfordshire?'

Well, Friday was the end of Izzy's school term and she officially started her six-week summer holiday.

Six weeks! I ask you - how the devil is one supposed to keep a child entertained for such a lengthy period? In the olden days it was easy; whenever you had a spare child knocking around, you just sent them down the coal mines. Not only were they out of the way, but they were earning money to boot. Double marvellous.

Unfortunately, conveniences such as coal pits no longer exist today.

As if that wasn't bad enough, kids are now more demanding. Let me demonstrate; by the age of 6, they have spent countless hours in front of the television watching adults make dicks of themselves in the name of child entertainment (Mr-I-want-to-stab-you-in-the-face-Tumble proves the point). Kids these days have grown up with the idea that it is the job of adults to act goofy in order to provide their entertainment.

Pic.No.1. This is Mr Tumble. Whenever I see him, I have an urge to twat him in the face with a spade

In the olden days, you would never see Mr-Victorian-Father prancing around like a nob to keep his kids entertained ...... no sireee, ...... back the, kids were seen and not heard.

Anyway, enough of Mr-why-can't-I-get-a-girlfriend-Tumble. The entertaining of Izzy during the summer holidays will surely fill many pages over the next couple of weeks.

Back to other stuff.

I decided to take random pictures around my house and garden; for no reason at all, other than I didn't want my lovely Canon S95 to seize up.

Here you go ........................

Pic.No.2 This is the gravestone of the dead bloke in my garden. Naughty George pissed on it, the git. You can even see the angle of his trajectory

Pic.No.3. This is Izzy's secret playhouse. It is squirrelled away under trees at the bottom of the garden

Pic.No.4. This is my wonky shed, squirrelled away in another corner of the garden. It was built decades ago, and I call it the 'Leaning Shed of Oxfordshire'

Pic.No.5 I told you that I had nothing to do - just to prove the point, here is a picture that I took of one of my chimneys

Pic.No.6 Blimey, the mutt looks like he is about to tuck into my hand. Maybe he is a cannibal dog?

Pic.No.7 Whenever I hold out my hand, NG puts his paw into it. A number of years ago, I had a spaniel called Pippa, and whenever I pulled out a gun (a replica semi-automatic), she would fall on the floor in a dead manner. It helped me get boyfriends

Pic.No.8 NG ruined his cuteness by re-arranging all his fleas as soon as the photo-opportunity ended

Pic.No.9 Here is a gratuitous picture of my favourite reading corner. It isn't related to the rest of the post in anyway

Just in case you were wondering where Izzy is, she has gone away for the weekend with her dad. Which left me free to go gadget shopping ..... and man alive, have I bought some meaty gadgets? More to come in a separate post.

So dahlink, if you had to change one thing about the last weekend, what would it be? (that was a psychologist question)
 Annie (Lady m) x
Tell me what you think by leaving me a comment otherwise your heel will fall off your shoe in a critical scenario

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Sad stuff (Amy Winehouse) and squirrels

Bloody hell. I was listening to the news today, and it reported that Amy Winehouse had died. She was someone who had been omnipresent in the UK newspapers for nearly a decade; initially for her breath-taking talent as a singer, and latterly because of her personal troubled life, fuelled by addictions.

The thing that shocked me the most, was that I had forgotten how bloody young she was. She had packed so much into her short life, that it was hard to believe that she was only 27 when she finally died. Blimey, she was only a wee slip of a girl - someone's daughter - lost to the disease of addiction. It's such a waste.

Pic.No.1 The very talented Amy Winehouse shortly before her premature end

Whilst reading the reports of her demise, I found two things that were particularly interesting.

The first related to the fact that she had died specifically at the age of 27. As such, she informally became part of a pantheon called the '27 club' (also known as 'Forever 27'), which is a group of talented musicians who have struggled to come to terms with their fame and have died (mainly due to their addiction disease) aged 27. This group includes Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones and Kurt Cobain.

The second thing that I found interesting, was a excerpt from an interview that she gave a number of years ago, where her hopes and dreams seemed poignantly conventional: “I’ve always been a little homemaker,” she told an interviewer. “I know I’m talented, but I wasn’t put here to sing. I was put here to be a wife and a mum and to look after my family. I love what I do, but it’s not where it begins and ends.”

That to me, is the real tragedy.

So after all that sad shit, I decided to cheer myself up. You know .... find a ying to balance the yang, or a grape to counteract the olive, or a dog to kill the cat. 

And from past experience, the best way to do that is to Google 'squirrels'. No matter what life throws at you, it can always be remedied by collecting comedy pictures of squirrels.

Pic.No.2 Commando squirrel utilises Bluetooth technology

Pic.No.3 Tramp squirrel collects used butts to store in his shopping trolley

Pic.No.4 Gonad squirrel wants to drive a Ferrari but can only afford a Toyota which has led to squirrel inferiority complex. Instead of an expensive car, he has bought the license plate 'BIG NADS' which he hopes will pull the lady squirrels in lieu of a Ferrari

Pic.No.5 A handy addition which details the nutritional information should you want to scoff one of our furry friends

Pic.No.6 This one reminded me of Izzy's dad, Steve. That's what he does if he is stuck in a traffic jam on the way to a restaurant. He is such a girl

And finally, my piece de resistance ...... a video of horny squirrels having a threesome. I think us humans could learn something from this. No need for foreplay, just go in for the headlock and follow it up immediately with doggy-style action. It is really efficient and leaves all parties with plenty of time to watch their favourite soap-operas.

Vid.No.1 Pornographic squirrels *warning - do not watch if you have a delicate disposition* Viewing time: 1 minute

So dahlink, how is your weekend going, and what are you up to? And what are your views on Amy Winehouse? 

Annie (Lady m) x
Tell me what you think by leaving me a comment otherwise a squirrel will try and boff your leg with no foreplay as a warning

Thursday, 21 July 2011

It's like an action movie in the village

It was 8am this morning and there I was minding my own business, trying to extricate a Polly Pocket from the toaster, when I heard a very loud knock at the door.

'Blimey,' I thought to myself, 'who the devil is that at such an ungodly hour?'

I made my way to the front door, and opened it (accompanied by Naughty George woofing vacuously) only to find fifteen Chinese men wearing shades standing there.

As you can imagine, it is rather unusual to find fifteen chaps on one's doorstep on a Thursday morning, let alone fifteen chaps of a specific ethnic origin. So I did what every self-respecting 'Daily Mail' reader* would do; I assumed that I had offended the Triad (ahh! There is nothing like a bit of gratuitous stereotyping). 

I looked at the head bloke nervously: "I think you have the wrong address," I stuttered.

He looked at me with a puzzled expression, "we have come to turn off your electricity," he said in a strong accent.

"Eh, what do you mean?" I asked.

"We are working on the power lines outside and need to turn off your electricity for safety reasons," he replied.

Pic.No.1 The power lines in my back garden. As you can see they are archaic. Big fat wires suspended in the air by wooden posts

I sighed with relief - I hadn't unwittingly been a drugs mule on my last trip abroad: "How long will the power be off?" I queried as I showed him and four of his mates to my electricity meter.

"All day," he grinned, holding up two critical-looking wires, "I'll call you when we are ready to re-connect."

And so he left. And it was with grim realisation that I realised that I had no wi-fi, no hairdryer, and even worse, no kettle for cups of tea. It was diabolical.

But hey, I am as resourceful as a Sherpa behind enemy lines (except that I don't eat raw rabbits), so I telephoned Steve who lives in the village and asked if I could work at his house for the day. He reluctantly agreed, and within half an hour, I was drinking his tea and scoffing his biscuits. Marvellous.

At around 4pm, I got a call from the Electricity guy to say that they were ready to reconnect my house. I hotfooted it back through the village to find a similar scenario to the one that greeted me that morning; fifteen Chinese guys standing in my driveway. I have to say, it is rather disconcerting; my driveway isn't designed to hold crowds.

I let five of them into the house, and as they were beavering away with various wires, I asked them if the job had been successful. Indeed, the scale if their presence in the village indicated that the job had been approached with devastating efficiency.

"Yes," nodded one affable chap, "except for one minor incident that we have to report."

"What incident is that?" I asked with curiosity.

"We knocked the chimney off your neighbours house," he replied casually.

"Bloody hell!" I exclaimed, "was she [the neighbour] alright?"

"Oh yes," the chap nodded with a grin, "she was reading in her garden, and it missed her by a good foot."

"It's good, yes?" another chap interjected, also with a smile. 

"Errr, kind of," I replied.

Pic.No.2 The ex-chimney. The repair job was that good, you would never guess that there used to be a chimney there. Well, except for the black plastic bag covering the hole

So there you have it dahlink. Who says that living in the countryside isn't every bit as exciting as London? How is your week panning out?

* Note: I don't really read the Daily Mail. I would rather chop my own leg off with a rusty blade.
Annie (Lady m) x
Tell me what you think by leaving me a comment otherwise your chimney will get knocked off by over-enthusiastic workmen.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Addicted to Taxidermy ..... it's dead good

Remember I did that post called 'when taxidermy goes wrong'? Well since then I have been wrestling with trying to understand the thought processes that go on inside people's heads when they decide to stuff animals.

Maybe they can't bear losing a beloved pet ....... maybe they have stood in one poop too many ........ or just maybe they love wildlife, but prefer the low maintenance variety. Whichever way you look at it, people who stuff animals are raving mentalists.

So imagine my excitement today when I happened upon (via the internet) King Mental, the mayor of Mental City; one Baron Georg Haaz from the Czech Republic.

During the 1940s he had over 200 mutts living at his castle, and he became so attached to 51 of them, that when they eventually snuffed it, he commissioned Mr Taxidermist to give them the old 'horse-hair up the bum' treatment. You think I am joking ......... have a squiz at this ....................

Pic.No.1 'Lie Down!' Now I know what it is like to have a good dog

Needless to say, King Mental's collection of ex-dogs is a major tourist attraction at the castle, especially given the freaky thought that the dogs are over 70 years old. And there was me berating Naughty George for stinking when he hasn't been bathed for a couple of years.

Pic.No.2 Castle Bitov in the Czech Republic, where King Mental lived with his strangely inanimate mutts

Pic.No.3 Rover partakes in some planking

Un-bloody-believable. And whilst I am on the subject of stuffed animals, I couldn't resist adding some more pictures from my 'when taxidermy goes wrong' collection .........

Pic.No.4 Ahhhhh ...... Moggy ..... just as we'd like to remember him

Pic.No.5 Look at this bobcat - it's like you are with him in the Borneo

Pic.No.6 I can't find any words for this one .... seriously

Pic.No.7 Raaarrrrr!

Pic.No.8 That lion looks like Bill Bailey, and what's with the rabbit?

I hope you enjoyed our foray with nature dahlink. How is your week going?

Annie (Lady m) x
Tell me what you think by leaving me a comment otherwise you will find a stuffed guinea pig on your doorstep

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