Monday 31 January 2011

31.01. Letter from Iraq

I got an email late last night that I thought I would share with you, as a follow up on my post from last Friday regarding scams. The email couldn’t have come at a better time, since I promised to write more about scams and hoaxes. This email is a new twist on the Nigerian scam, but has better grammar (less spelling errors!) and is more contemporary I suppose...well, you can see for yourself, I am copying the whole lot here below:

Sunday 30 January 2011

30.01. Dregea pruning

Hi, I thought I would give you an update on how my garden is coming along. Considering it’s still January, it’s quite a lot happening out there! Yesterday I finally got started on pruning the dreaded Dregea sinesis, the plants that cover the arch in the middle of the garden. If you have read my previous posts you will know that it is the one thing every year that I really am not looking forward to do...for several reasons; one being that the plant emits a sticky sap when you prune the branches that itch when it hits bare skin, and the sap is also nearly impossible to get out of your hair. The sap is meant to go down into the roots in the winter and leave the plant dormant until the spring, but my plants never read that book, they are full

Friday 28 January 2011

28.01. Microsoft scam

Have you heard about the Nigerian Scam? Or maybe you have heard it as the Nigerian Letter or the 419 fraud? Or what about the Nigerian bank scam or Nigerian money offer? Anyone with an Internet access is probably nodding now! All these scams are modern versions based on much older scams, like the Spanish Prisoner and the Black Money scam. The modern 419 scam originated in the early 1980s as the oil-based Nigerian economy declined. Unemployed university students first used this scam as a means of manipulating business visitors interested in shady deals in the Nigerian oil sector before targeting businessmen in the west, and later the wider population. Scammers in the early 1990s targeted companies, sending scam messages via letter, fax, or Telex. The spread of e-mail and easy access to e-mail-harvesting software significantly lowered the cost of sending scam letters by using the

Tuesday 25 January 2011

25.01. Full moon

Someone sent me an email the other day saying a belated Happy New Year and went on to say “hope you had a great holiday!” What holiday? Have I had a holiday? Oh, the Christmas holiday we were all supposed to have had, that’s what she meant. You see, people who work tend to say things like that; have a nice Christmas holiday or Easter holiday....or just... have a nice week-end, for that matter. I know it’s just a matter of speaking for most people, and for them it is days off work and important time with their friends and family. But for me and a lot of people in my situation there is no difference at all between weekdays and week-ends. And there is no holiday at Christmas or Easter; the days are spent exactly the same way as the rest of the year. Sometimes I think about this, when a complete stranger at the till in Asda or some other supermarked has just greeted me ‘Have a nice week-end’ when I paid for my different life is when you no longer work, no longer take part in what most people will consider ‘normal life’. Hmm...this was today’s piece of philosophical

Sunday 23 January 2011

23.01. Bonsai

I promised you some news about the foxes in my garden, forgot to tell you about it yesterday so here it comes: last Friday the owner of the house next door came round to do an inspection together with a building contractor; the whole house next door is going to be renovated and they were going through the list of what needs to be done inside as well as outside. I was outside in my garden and couldn’t help overhearing their conversation so I asked which one of them were the owner of the house; the woman confirmed it was her and I told her about the foxes and how they have taken over the whole garden there, partly because her tenant is not

Saturday 22 January 2011

22.01. Tree pruning

I didn’t get outside to do any gardening today, it’s been one of those days where every time I decided to go outside it started to rain again. Finally I gave up and whizzed my vacuum cleaner around the house instead. Probably more sensible, since I can’t remember last time I did it...I think it must have been in the middle of December but I’m not you probably understand, my vacuum cleaner is not exactly in action every week in my house! I did

Friday 21 January 2011

21.01. Busy week

Hi, I haven’t had time to write for a few days, it’s been a very busy week with two hospital appointments this week and one appointment last Friday. It’s made me realise how much time I spend on all these hospital visits; not the actual time in with the doctor, because that might be just 20-30 minutes, but everything else can take up most of the day. Some of the hospitals I go to I can drive my own car, door to door, which is a great time saver, but the hospitals I go to in Central London I no longer am able to go to by public transport, so I need to go by hospital transport. It’s not possible to drive by own car to Central London, as parking is impossible, and anyway, for some reason, disabled parking permits are not recognised in Central London, the only city in Europe where the Blue Badge is disregarded! And even though

Sunday 16 January 2011

16.01. Early arrivals

I have been outside in my garden today too; it’s been a mix of all sorts of weather – even a bit of sunshine, but the rain kept away...only just, I did have a light drizzle a few times. I had a good look around today, to see what’s emerging, and I think most things are fairly early this year, despite the cold period we have had. That’s not necessarily an advantage, as we might very well have another cold spell or two, and small shoots or early flowers might get ruined by the frost. But they do look lovely when they emerge, these early arrivals often bear flowers before the leaves emerge, so the plant can concentrate on only one thing at the time. It is stressful for them doing this at this time of the year you know! Both plants I found in flower today are like that, flowers before leaves, here is the first one, a lovely scented Viburnum

Saturday 15 January 2011

15.01. It's not raining!

It’s not raining today! Yeah! Well, small things make me happy :-) I have been outside in my garden for over 2 hours today, clearing up mostly, and I have managed to get almost half of the long beds done. I have taken out dead twigs and leaves from last year’s plants, and thrown away all the other strange things I find in my flower beds. Today I found: 4 vertebrae of different sizes from an animal that can only be a cow or something of similar dimension...don’t ask me how the cow got in my garden...I assume it didn’t climb over and die here, I haven’t found any other I guess I have to blame those bloody foxes again, for dragging their dinner into my garden. Somewhere in the neighbourhood, someone is either feeding the foxes or being rather casual with their rubbish. I also found two cable ties, something I find quite often in my garden; usually the ones made of metal, but today they were black plastic. It is the birds that bring them into the garden, they use them to build

Friday 14 January 2011

14.01. Still raining

It’s been raining and raining and raining for what seems like forever. I get so fed up with this weather, and it’s going to rain the whole day today too, but tomorrow it seems like we are going to get a small let-up during the day. I can’t wait to get out in my garden and do a bit of clearing up. I got quite a few plans for things that need to be done by the time most of the plants start to wake up for the spring, it is just so much easier to do things when the beds are almost empty and I don’t risk stepping on small plants emerging out of the ground. However, all this rain has made the ground pretty saturated, and any kind of digging is rather heavy work! Speaking of rain, it is quite common to have a lot of rain in the beginning of the year here in London, so it’s not as if we have any unusual weather, just me being fed up....but sometimes we do get more days in a row with this than normal. Have a look at this 10 day forecast I have saved from January 2010, it is a screen print, no cheating. Pretty depressing

Wednesday 12 January 2011

12.01. Famous quotes

Hello again, I have had a couple of days off, but I am back today. “I'm pleased to report that I had no problems this week. I only had issues, opportunities, challenges and valuable learning experiences.” Well, quite appropriate words with regards to my week, but unfortunately, the words are not mine; I found them on the internet some years ago. I can’t tell you who said them originally; the quote was without a name. I often come across quotes and elegantly put sentences, and I try to copy them down in a document for later use, especially those where I can find an author. Some of them end up on my greeting cards, as short quotes can be quite suitable for things like that. But I do like to use quotes where I know for sure who said them,

Sunday 9 January 2011

09.01. Packing up Christmas

I decided to put away the Christmas decoration today; it’s something I always put off for as long as I can, usually until someone makes a comment about the fact that I still have my Christmas decoration up...and then I reluctantly put it away. But it’s only 9th January today, so I’m not that bad this year, I have been known to keep it until last Sunday in January :-) On the other hand, I am not one of those who drag the Christmas decoration down from the loft in October and has the whole house wrapped in flashing lights with a nodding Santa outside the front door. No, my decoration is a bit more subtle than that, and nothing comes out until

Saturday 8 January 2011

08.01. Garden stroll

I had a brief stroll in my garden today, brief because despite the bleak sunshine it was rather chilly. I was curious to see the state of my garden, after barely having seen it for snow for weeks, and also not being outside much because of the low temperatures. In normal winters, i.e. winters where the temperature is between 5-10 degrees most of the time; I will be outside in my garden most days when it doesn’t rain, at least for an hour or so. It will be too cold to sit down of course, but I will usually be taking some photos, tidy up a bit and generally

Friday 7 January 2011

07.01. Foxes

The foxes have been very active outside my house during the night  this week. Being a typical owl myself, I can’t help hearing them when I sit late at night at my computer. Their bloodcurdling howls are the stuff of nightmares and if you have 3 or 4 foxes roaming your neighbouring streets at the same time, it can sound really eerie at times. If you have never heard the sound of the foxes, here’s a sound bite for you, just press the play button. (If you

Thursday 6 January 2011

06.01. Frosty conditions

Last month was the coldest December documented for the UK since nationwide records began 100 years ago, the UK Met Office has confirmed. However, the first analysis released of global temperatures shows 2010 was one of the warmest years on record. How mad is that? Well, OK, I know that the UK is just a poky little island in a corner of Europe, and people here don’t even consider themselves living in Europe...but that’s an entirely different matter, and could be a topic for a whole post on it’s own...but what I am trying to say is that I realise that on a global scale, UK, or even Europe is not a big part of the World. But still, you might say, it’s here we’re living, and when the weather is behaving like an unruly child, it’s us that gets affected. I am used to cold temperatures and wintery conditions; being from Norway originally, I have shuffled more snow than I care to remember – and one of many reasons why I

Wednesday 5 January 2011

05.01. Half full or half empty

Do you know the expression “Are you a glass half full person or a glass half empty person?” I can still remember when my grandfather explained this expression to me and my younger sister and brother – I must have been about 8 or 9 years old at that time. The expression really appealed to my already rapidly growing practical sense back then, and I have referred to it many times over the years. It’s an expression one can hear used in many different circumstances, and I heard it just yesterday on the BBC1 TV series ‘Silent Witness’. It made me decide to use it as a topic for today’s post. So, what are you? Is your glass half full, or half empty? Of course, you might say like Bill Cosby is supposed to have said; “it depends on whether you're pouring, or drinking...!” Me, I consider myself a half full person, and for people who knows me and knows what has happened to me over the years, that might sound like a contradiction, but perhaps having a reasonable positive outlook in life is what’s keeping

Tuesday 4 January 2011

04.01. A creative day

I am constantly doing things I don't know how to do, that's how I learn how to do them. That's how I have learned to do most things I am doing these days, at least anything involving a microchip - which would be most of the electronic equipments in my house. No, this is not going to be a follow-up of yesterday's post about gadgets, I am just reflecting on what I have been doing today...I have done something I didn’t know how to do; I wanted to embed a slideshow of photos into a post here, and when I started out I had no idea of how to do that, didn’t even know if it was possible, and it has taken me quite a few hours to first sort out a suitable slideshow...for which there are hundreds and hundreds of on the Internet, most of them require a fee of some sort, but a few are completely free of charge. I found one eventually which I downloaded the template for, found some suitable photos on my computer, made the slideshow...and then I got to the difficult bit: how to embed the slideshow into this

Monday 3 January 2011

03.01. Gadgets

Did you see the news yesterday about the fault on some iPhones, a glitch that stops its alarm clock going off, leaving many people oversleeping on the first two days of the New Year? It made me start thinking on how dependent we are of all sorts of gadgets today. Well, I am anyway, are you? I do use my phone as an alarm clock, but I still have an old fashion alarm clock too – an electric one though, with battery back-up. Mind you, my phone is probably not

Sunday 2 January 2011

02.01. First of January....done

I blinked a couple of times, and suddenly 2010 was gone. How did that happen? Did the same thing happen to you? I wonder how many hours there are in a year...let me see...well, I mean hours available to do things, any kind of things. Considering I no longer work, I should have quite a few available, shouldn't I? Somehow it doesn't fee that way. So let me see if I can get this right, I wasn't an A student in math, but I wasn't too bat either. So let's do this per week first: there are 7 days with 24 hours, so that's 168 hours in a week. I sleep for around 9 hours every night so let's knock off 63 hours straight away...I can be quite inventive in my dreams, but I have yet to produce anything useful during my I am left with 105 hours per week. I eat 4 times a day; eating and food preparation all together is about...well, it depends really how inventive I am in the kitchen and for how long I sit down when I have a meal, but 3 hours give or take per day, is probably not a bad estimate, all in all. So that's another 21 hours off and I'm left with 84 hours a week to spend. That's exactly...TWELVE HOURS per day.

Saturday 1 January 2011

01.01. Welcome!

Hello, and welcome to my brand spanking new blog. And, hey, Happy New Year to you! Did you have any New Year resolutions? Nope? Neither did I, but I did promise myself to finally get started on a personal blog, something I have wanted to get myself for a long time; so her it is: MY BLOG. Awfully long, white empty space...but I suppose I will soon fill it up with all the exciting things that go on in my life... Not! Well, it’s not as if the Internet hasn’t been filled with rants from my corner already, I do have an 11 year old web-site which I regularly update with snippets of things that occupy my mind at the moment, especially on my garden section. But a whole blog, just for myself – well, that’s a new thing to me. I do hope this blog can eventually develop into a bit of a conversation with my visitors, so please leave a comment if