Thursday, 23 June 2011

"Suddenly" - Billy Ocean, 1989

Our bird feeders have been very popular places lately, and John and I really enjoy watching the birds. I was watching the feeder just outside our kitchen window this afternoon, especially enjoying the baby sparrows and baby great tits being fed and watched over by their doting parents.

Not long after I snapped this photo, something awful happened. A sparrowhawk swooped into the hedge, grabbed one of the baby sparrows, and flew off with it. Before leaving the garden, the hawk sat on top of the roof of our bird table with the struggling sparrow in his/her talons. It glared at me, and then flew off with the helpless little bird.

I was stunned. OK. I know this happens, but I'd never actually seen it myself. And as you might imagine, there have been no birds in our back garden since...not even when I refilled seed feeders early this evening.

Now, I know the birds will return. But it has still been very unsettling.

I guess it's just like our lives. We're rocking along, having fun, thinking everything is all right. And suddenly, something awful happens.

It's nature, reminding us that we're not in charge. No matter how much we think we're in control of our lives, we aren't.

Janet

Sunday, 5 June 2011

"Shades of Gray" - Robert Earl Keen, 1997

I'm in a battle with a squirrel. He/she eats the food put out for the birds, spills seeds out of the hanging feeders, and chases the birds away from the bird table.

I've been trying all sorts of things to stop the squirrel. So far, what has worked best is putting chili powder on the feeders and on any seeds that are set out for the birds.. According to the RSPB, it's ok for the birds -- apparently they can't taste it. I would have been terrified that I was hurting the birds by doing that, but obviously not. Whew!

So this afternoon, as I was washing dishes in the kitchen, I saw my little nemesis creeping into the garden. I decided to take no action but to just watch and see what the little bastardo did. I was confident that the chili powder would act as a deterrent.

He/she sniffed around the ground for quite some time before making a move....



He/she then climbed up onto the bird table (and that's when my camera batteries ran out...), but was turned away by the chili powder. He/she spent a little time hanging onto the peanut feeder but then, I suspect, tasted the chili powder spread on there, too. He/she dropped back onto the grass. So that's when I made my move, bounding out the kitchen door to chase the little demon away.

And that's when the squirrel headed for my bed of strawberry plants, stole a little stem of tiny green berries, and then headed for the nearest tree.

After all my efforts to stop the squirrel from eating the birds' food, he/she ate MINE!

Damn...

Janet

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

"A Tale of Coincidence" - Joe Locke, 2001

One of the new members of our sales team at work asked me last week if I could talk to him about options some time, as he wanted to understand better how our energy industry clients might use them. So he came into my office this morning for his lesson. We discussed options for about 45 minutes.

As I'm now in an office on my own, I listen to my DAB radio all day (either BBC Radio 2 or BBC 6 Music). Of course, I turned the radio off while my colleague was with me.

When he left, (hopefully) feeling much more confident that he understands how options work, I turned the radio back on. Lauren Laverne's show was on 6 Music -- I was tuned into 6 Music since Ken Bruce is on vacation all this week.

The song playing was the band Gomez's new single.

Its title?

"Options"

Life can be so amusing sometimes!

Janet

Friday, 27 May 2011

"Bus Ride" - Marco Benevento, 2008

This morning, I had to take my beloved Audi S3 into the dealer for her annual MOT and whatever service she needs (she only has 23,600 miles on the "clock", despite being almost 8 years old now). As I really don't need a car today, I took the Stagecoach 59 bus back home from Oxford Audi rather than accepting a courtesy car for the day.

I have a great fondness for the 59 bus. When I first moved into the village in 2003, it was my method of getting to/from work in Oxford; I didn't have a full UK driving licence until mid-2004. It's not a quick way to get back and forth, but it's an interesting route. I learned a lot about the countryside and area villages through all those 59 rides.

So my ride this morning brought back a lot of memories. It's quite a feeling to be propelled through the narrow country roads in a bumpy metal tube on wheels! This morning's ride was especially exhilarating, as the driver was running late. As a result, the countryside just flew by the bus windows...




I was also reminded why England is referred to as the "green and pleasant land"...




But most of all, I enjoy weaving through the area's beautiful villages...




Janet

Saturday, 21 May 2011

"Happy Birthday" - Stevie Wonder, 1980

It's John's birthday today. I am so glad you were born, my love!!!



I love you,

Janet

Friday, 13 May 2011

"Our House" - Madness, 1982

To make the song that's the title to this blog really perfect, we'd have to change the lyric to "Our house, in the middle of the fence..."

For John's birthday in May 2009, I bought him a birdhouse. Not just any old birdhouse, either, but a sleek almost Scandinavian-type house.

We hung it on the fence at the side of our house, where it's safe from predators...and where it can be seen from several rooms in our house.

We waited, but no birds took residence. Nothing happened during the balance of 2009. And nothing happened during 2010.

But a few weeks ago, I thought I saw some activity around the house. A few days ago, we got our confirmation. A blue tit "couple" have taken residence in the house! We suspect they are either building their nest or perhaps taking care of their eggs. We haven't seen or heard any evidence that there are actually any baby tits yet. But it's been terrific to watch the little bird-parents dart in and out of the little hole in the front of the stylish house!

This morning, I brought my camera into the study and decided to see if I could get some photos. I got very lucky. Take a look at the following sequence of three shots. You'll see that I didn't raise the mini-blinds (you'll see their shadows), as I didn't want to be seen through the window.

You can click on each image to see it in a larger size.









Janet

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

"All Hail the Prince" - Winthrop Douglas, 2011

Last Friday was the "Royal Wedding" here in England. The bride and groom had beautiful, dry weather all day. That was good.

In our neighborhood in North Oxfordshire, the residents of our two cul-de-sacs had a street party after the wedding, to celebrate the day off work we were given because of the big day.

While the weather was apparently fine in and around London, we had a thunderstorm during the middle of the afternoon...complete with crashing thunder...and hail!

Take a look at my photo below (which you can click on to make full-sized):



Apparently, only some of us in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire had the severe weather. Oh well.

You know what? It reminded me of Texas weather!

Janet

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

"It's Still There" - Emiel Van Egdom, 1989

For those of you who have been dying for an update to an earlier story, here you go!

Following quite a few days of disappointment, I spotted the blue sock again this morning. Yes, it's out of the tree and is now on the path, resting on a plastic shopping bag.




Did somebody take it off the tree limb, carry it off, and then reject it -- throwing both it and its carrier bag back down on the path? Or did the sock make its own way over to the discarded bag, hoping against hope that somebody would take pity on them both and take them home?

I shall, of course, keep you posted!

Janet

Monday, 18 April 2011

"Sitting on Top of the World" - Mississippi Sheiks, 1930

Regular Lord Celery readers might remember that some time ago I took a photo of a ladybird/ladybug I found in our house, eyeing our jelly beans.

Well, this evening, when I was watering some of the plants in our back garden, I spotted more of them. They were perched on top of some cornflower-blue-flowering plants that were already planted in the flower bed when we moved into the house...sorry, I don't remember what kind of plant they are.

So I grabbed the camera to take a few photos. They are so beautiful, and I love how they are sitting near the highest point of each plant!

And if you'll look at the third photo closely, you'll see that there's a third little colorful girl/fellow on top of the bud as well!



Janet

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

"Getting Older Every Day" - Big Bill Broonzy, 1940

For many reasons, I'm really starting to feel my age these days. As a result, I seem to be paying more attention to all that "You Know You're Getting Older If..." stuff.

I heard a really funny one on BBC Radio 2 the other day. I'm pretty sure it was on Ken Bruce's morning show.

Somebody suggested that you know you're getting old if, when you listen to the Beatles' song "She's Leaving Home", you realize that you are identifying more with the parents than with the daughter!

"Bye, bye..."

Meanwhile, I seem to have developed a craving for BBC Radio 4 on weekday mornings. And I no longer subscribe to "Rolling Stone".

Yikes. I'm turning into a grownup!

Janet

Monday, 11 April 2011

"Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)" - Perez Prado, 1955

One of my favorite signs of spring has just happened. The dwarf apple tree that we planted in our garden four years ago, when we first moved into our home, has started to bloom. Despite our dreadful weather in December, it looks great...unlike the Russian sage plant in front of the house, which has well and truly croaked.

Life is getting better. There's light at the end of the tunnel after all!

Janet