The Last Days of Thunder Child

The Last Days of Thunder Child
War of the Worlds - spin off adaptation novel.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Do You Believe in Cutting Out the Snacks and Sauces for a Nice Fruit Salad.

Do You Believe in Cutting Out the Snacks and Sauces for a Nice Fruit Salad?

At work, when the local health visitors came, we had the regular blood test done checking for cholesterol levels and obeseness. I was diplomatically told that I had a 8% chance of a stroke and at 55 I had the body of a 57-year-old. My good cholesterol was too low and bad cholesterol was too high. At five foot eight inches, I should have a body weight of eleven stone, seven pounds. I was fifteen stone and six pounds.

Basically, I had become a fat git who needed to cut done on the pork life and get some exercise in. This was about eight weeks ago. I knew I was pushing it and this was a wee bit of a wake-up call.

I was eating hardly a thing during the day, at work, but when I got in I always had a big dinner and from that moment I was always motoring. I would eat my dinner and sit down in front of the TV and continue eating crisps. nuts, ice cream, chocolate. The weekends came and it was large donner kebabs with chilli sauce and chips, then Guinness and red wine.

Nothing was done in moderation and when I say crisps, it was a whole family pack of six bags during the night. It was getting ridiculous.

I started the diet as soon as I got home. Also, our local doctors have a dietician come every few weeks and the health visitors booked me in to see her. 

Well, I decided to cut out all crisps and other things I spoke of. I took one wrap to work with a couple of plums. Sometimes apples or oranges. When I got home, I eat a smaller sized dinner, often tuna steaks and salmon dishes as I do like fish. When I went to see the dietician, first off, it was two weeks after the health visit. I was down to fifteen stone. A loss of six pounds. I saw her again ten days ago and I was fourteen stone, six pounds. I got on my scales this morning and I'm fourteen stone.

I've found my old, 34 waists jeans can fit and I'm also beginning to feel good about myself. Also, I've found I'm enjoying meals more. The dietician showed me a number of things concerning five a day fruits. I've found that fresh fruit salad is gorgeous. She also said that I need to have dairy products in moderation, but not to cut them out. Therefore, I use a small amount of low-fat Greek yogurt on top of the fruit salad bowl. 

My wife and I went out picking blackberries that seem to be growing everywhere. Also kiwi fruits, mangos, plums, blueberries, bananas and apples from the supermarkets. Once I've eaten my dinner, I no longer snack. I'm not hungry and I'm not craving anything either. I'm just getting more encouraged by the gradual weight loss. I keep asking myself why I took so long to get around to doing this. I think the health check visits are a good thing. 

Oh! I almost forgot about a cross-trainer that I use to burn off around 100 calories. That is not much every day, I grant, but it all adds up and if one did want to do rapid weight loss then perhaps a longer session would do. I'm sticking to 100 calories a day on the cross trainer for now.  

Do You Know I've Never Burnt A Salad?

The one thing I can do, without burning it, is a delicious mouth-watering salad. I decided to do one today with chopped red onion, celery, tomatoes, peppers, oak leaf lettuce, feta cheese with honey and mustard topping. 
Just before I tucked in, I once again decided to snap it on the mobile and email it to my computer. Just so I could download it and show it to all you wonderful people out there.
Sadly, it's gone now. 
Long live the feta cheese salad,
Long live the feta cheese salad.
It's gone to the big salad bowl in the sky.
I've been watching my diet of late because we had the health check people come around. I'm 5' 8" and weighed 15 stone 6 pounds. I should be 11 stone 7 pounds for my height. That is what I've been told. I've managed to loose 1 stone and 6 pounds. So now I'm on 14 stone. Still, 2 stone plus to go.

Have You Ever Tried Soft Chili Cheese on Baked Mushrooms?

At the risk of sounding a bit like Sam I Am, I would like to ask if anyone has tried soft chilli cheese baked on large mushrooms?

I was feeling a little peckish this afternoon and decided upon raiding the fridge for something to fill a little gap that was developing in my stomach. I had bought four large mushrooms and picked up some soft Bavarian cheese earlier in the day while out and about in the village.

I took two of the large mushrooms and baked them in the oven with sliced Bavarian chilli soft cheese on the top. Once baked I looked down at the succulent little beauties and my mouth began to water. I sprinkled some white pepper over them and was about to dig in when I thought, "stop!"

I decided to take a snapshot and let everyone else see how yummy they looked. I have to say they were as delicious as they appear. In fact, they were gorgeous. Therefore, when next in the supermarket go for a pack of large mushrooms, a soft cheese with some chilli or chives or some other add-in. 

Not a bad little delight.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Dotty Dog Dotty, the Nature Hides, Dragonflies and Birds of Prey

Dotty, our lovable mongrel bitch, is a complete fruit cake when she thinks she can get out into the fields for a good long run. She knows when we are planning our visit to the bird hides and begins to start yelping and whining - fearful that she might be left behind. 

We can't say, "Calm down Dotty, you are coming too." Because that will make her even more excited. She will start to bark her head off with excitement. Our cat, Bob looks on with an expression that seems to say, "What's the big deal."

Inside the car, she knows we mean business and then the barking starts. We can't shut her up for the first few moments as dotty Dotty the excitable dog just can't contain her excitement. It takes about fifteen minutes to drive to the nature reserve and  dotty Dotty settles into a combination of heavy panting a whining.

Once there, we escort her over the bridge by the pumping station, and she is off. She zooms up the bridal path below the dyke where various bird hides look out across the fen towards the distant spires of Ely Cathedral. Carole and I walk for some time allowing dotty Dotty to get her over excitement out of her system. Eventually, she does and we select a bird hide to look out of.

Inside, Dotty settles down while we open the shutter windows to do some bird watching and talk about all sorts of things. We have coffee and a few cheese and biscuits too.

We spotted many birds of prey from Buzzards, Marsh Harriers, Kestrels and Hobbies. Also swans and Goldfinches too. Some of the snaps are below.

A Shop of Fine Wines and Whiskies with a Picturesque Riverbank Stroll

Carole and I decided upon a trip to St Ives where a car showroom was. I am thinking of buying a new car, so we had a look at some. We left with some thought on what we might like but did see one vehicle that ticked many boxes.

Afterwards, we decided to walk around the town centre of St Ives. It is a typical picturesque English town and I've mentioned it before on other blogs. We stopped at a small cafe and had a panini each with a cup of coffee. Afterwards, we decided to walk further along the high road and out of the town centre. We usually cut down an alleyway leading to back streets where our car is parked.

I said to Carole. "Let's skip the alleyway and walk along the main road. I think there is at least one more alley further up and closer to the car park."

Carole agreed and as we strolled along we came upon a wine supermarket. The shop front was modest to look at with a display window either side of a central doorway. However, upon looking through the open doorway, we noticed it went back a very long way with row after row of wine shelf displays.  

I decided to go in and have a look around. It was like an Aladdin's cave for wine lovers. There was everything from all the various wine making nations of the world. I then saw some of the various spirit displays and looked at the fine whisky selections they stocked. Some of it made the eye widen with delight and repulsion. There seemed every type of scotch whisky, but there is a particular Irish one I was looking for. A good old regular Irish Whiskey. I found it easy among the Irish stocks.

As for the one that made me grimace with a touch of repulsion, well... ?

I might be writing unfairly because I never tasted such a thing and being an Englishman, I don't like to sound unpatriotic. However, English whisky does fill me with doubt. I'm of the opinion that it should be left to our Gaelic neighbours. I might be wrong, but I would not chance an English whisky against Irish or Scotch. Even as an Englishman, I'm shuddering at the thought. Heaven only knows what Scotsman or Irishman might think. I would add that some of them were priced at usual levels so it was not cheap or over expensive.

Carole called me over to look at one bottle of whisky that was well over £1,000. I suppose one would be very worried about drinking that. It would be more of an investment I think. We continued looking around the establishment and I was delighted by the selections of French red wine. I have earmarked a fine box of six Clarets for nearer Christmas.

Before leaving, I bought a bottle of my favourite Irish whiskey as I do have a soft spot for this particular tipple. One might notice that Scottish whisky is spelt without an e in the word, but Irish has the e (as in whiskey) I think American whiskey does so too.

We continued to walk along the main road passed the museum and saw the river make way towards the road. Neatly running along parallel with us as we walked the lovely river bank. We found the next alleyway that came out directly from our car park. However, curiosity had the better of us and we decided to explore further along the river. Up to an old church and a walkway bridge.

It was a most scenic stroll before we went back to the car and drove back to our little hamlet town of March. We spoke of options concerning the car along the way.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Sight and Sound of Ambient Things.

Our bedroom window overlooks the raised decking of our garden. My wife and I sit here. She likes doing her Sudoku book puzzles and I like reading and messing about with multimedia. Sometimes we talk about minor little things but we do enjoy the garden in the summer.

My wife Carole is always doing things to enhance the garden and she is keen on various types of plants from perennials to fruit trees and shrubs.

We bought a nice water feature earlier in the year and now we have it on all of the time. We put pot plants about it at the edge of the decking while the water gently trickles down the tipped old pots effect of the fountain and waterfall. It's a joy waking up in the morning because the water feature is usually gently trickling away amid the terracotta pots and the array of plants.

Carole is usually up before me when I have rest days from work. She turns on the water feature from the bedroom and then goes straight out into the garden and lets out the ducks and the chickens. I gradually wake up to these nice little sounds of nature and know I have a fine day ahead.

Bob - the wild furry Rag Doll cat comes bounding in and meowing for his first feed of the day, He is a great old lump and is probably one of the laziest cats in the world. He seems incredibly laid back too. He never goes far and wanders about among the ducks and chickens, usually giving them a little room as he goes about his business. He is disinterested in them and the ducks take no notice of him either.

Also, Dotty our highly strung and excitable dog comes bounding in for a fuss too. She is always happy and loves to be around people. The dog and cat take no notice of each other and Dotty, like Bob, gives the ducks their space when she goes out into the garden to check the perimeter. Carole and I call this Dotty patrol. 

She will kill any rat or mouse she comes across. The mice are attracted to the chicken and duck feed and come in from the farm fields across the road. Sometimes she catches them, but the little field mice are very quick. We've had two rats try to set up home by the shed near the chicken coop, but Dotty got both. She also manages to catch the odd mouse now and then.

Bob, the cat, catches voles and brings them to the garden door sometimes. We are always surprised by this because Bob is such a fat old lump and can hardly move. He has none of the gracious ways that one usually associates with a cat. When he scales the garden fence, which is six foot high all the way around, he always looks as though he just made the jump. When he drops from the fence top upon the decking, he has the finesse of a hippo trying to be a ballerina. He hits the floor with a splat and then just gets up and waddles off.

Carole planted some sunflowers seeds as we were both keen on getting some big sunflowers going. However, our ducks ate them. They wander the garden freely. We had them in the chicken coup but the matriarch chicken started pecking the drake. Once this started all the other hens ganged up on the drake. We decided to move him and the three girl ducks into the garden and put their duck house here too. 

We also had a smaller redundant chicken coup here. Since the duck move, there is also a solitary chicken wandering the garden too. This new addition is because Carole suspected the other chickens began to gang up on this single chicken too. I don't know, but this is what Carole is convinced of. 

Then there is her rabbit called Willow. He likes to bound about in his little garden space. His raised hutch has a ramp leading down into the enclosed bit of garden and there is also four guinea pigs too.

Because we only had one sunflower seed left, Carole put chicken wire mesh about it for protection from the ducks. I laughed at such antics at first. Then she showed me the shoots sprouting up. This was only a few months ago. Now the sunflower is taller than me. We are delighted with it.

Now the sunflowers are taller than me.

Ducks doing their duck things.

Marsh Harriers and Ice Cream

I was off of work today - the second day of my four days rest cycle. The weather was glorious so my wife and I decided to drive out to Hunstanton in Norfolk. My youngest son Ryan came along too as he has been staying for a couple of weeks. There were a few little traffic jams along the way, but once there we went to the little town centre in Hunstanton for coffee and pastries. Along the grass cliff top, we looked out to sea. I took the odd photo here and there.

After the coffee, we went back to the car and decided upon Wells Next the Sea. Another seaside town we wanted Ryan to see. I could not resist a minor diversion to the bird hides of Holkham Hall. I always like to see if I can get a few snaps of the Marsh Harriers.

Inside the bird hide were three men bird watching. They were very sociable and were talking of buzzards far off by a church spire where Holkham Hall Estate is - beyond a line of trees. It was quite far and on the other side of the approach road, we had travelled by car, beyond the marshland.   

I asked if anyone had seen Marsh Harriers and they replied they had not up to the present. I sat down and looked out with my camera as a Marsh Harrier suddenly flew low over the marsh. I called their attention to this and we all four eagerly looked through our various scopes.

I was clicking away with the 70 - 300mm Nikon lens. One of the bird watchers commented that the lens must be good. I had to reply that I never usually got good shots, but was able to enhance on my computer to get one or two shots of reasonable worth. and put them on my blog called Retro Brit. One man wrote it down. So I hope he gets a look at this.

I got about 60 - 70 shots of the Marsh Harrier and then bade the three bird watchers farewell. From here my wife, Carole, my son Ryan and I went to Well Next the Sea for an ice cream. There is a shop there that does a variety of flavours. We walked around the small quayside and then went back to the car and made our way home. All in all, a nice beautiful day out.

The shots were, of course, at some distance. However, there are a few images that are clear.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Vivien - The Vintage Fire Engine.

While at work today, I drove past Wisbech Town Hall and saw the famous vintage fire engine called 'Vivien.' This vehicle was in service around Wisbech from 1932 to 1963. It was named after the Mayoress in 1932 and was one of the most up to date fire engines of the time. Fenlanders were very proud of her and even though she has long been out of service, Vivien is kept in fabulous condition. She often suddenly appears before an event. We are wondering if she'll be going to Sandringham on Sunday 11th because there is an event if vintage cars, falconry etc.

She was attracting a lot of attention and as I parked my van to about my work, I could not help taking a quick snap on my mobile. She still has her starting handle at the front.