Friday, 30 July 2010

Sustainable use of wood!

I have put up a couple of previous posts about our impending acquisition of some nice furniture.   We have now got the lot and some photographs of that follow. 

Before getting to that I was most impressed with some comments made by Evan Dunstone who leads the workshop which made the stuff.  He was talking about the sustainable nature of their operation:
  • they use a relatively small amount of carefully selected wood;
  • very little nasty glue is used (cf veneering or particle board operations); 
  • relatively little power is used to drive the 'human-scale' equipment they use; and
  • the product lasts for many, many years - longer than the life of the purchasers.
 Anyway to business.  The images show the furniture where it is.  It is being used and is brilliantly comfortable! Well the bits we sit on are, and as the books and CDs haven't complained about their new accommodation I guess they are also well satisfied.!

I will start with the lounge setting.
This shows a clearer view of one of the single Werriwa chairs and the lovely little table.  In case anyone has a close eye for detail, the game on the TV is the Bronx Bombers against the Tribe, and runner gets thrown out at 1st!
I have included the dining chairs before, but they are worth including again.  (The table isn't part of this set, but being jarrah did inform our choice of wood.)
the next two shots are of the CD case and two of the bookcases in Frances study.  (In case you wonder about the crosses on the wall beside the bookcases, we like the designs so tend to collect them as souvenirs when we get the chance.  We failed in Cusco!)

I will conclude with a couple of images of detailed jointing in the upper part of the CD case - note the head of a Cambodian King- and the seat-leg joint on a 2-seater Werriwa.

Election update 30 July 2010

During the past week few days has been a bit of bubble and babble as expected.

It started with a story in the Canberra Times that Mike Kelly was a shoo-in for the seat with 61% support.  This was good to see, but my inbox included an email from his campaign saying "These things can change. Keep the pressure on."  That evening the TV news contained a story that the Liberal guy was an extremely good candidate and well qualified etc etc.  I like to see balance: it prevents complacency!

The babble element got more pronounced on 27th etc with the schlock horror revelation that Ms Gillard asked a few questions in Cabinet about some policy or another.  It seems that in the world favoured by the media no-one asks questions!

There was also some publicity given to the fact that Ms Gillard is not a Mrs, but fortunately for my sanity they seem to have realised no-one in Australia other than the troglodytes of Family First or the WA Branch of the Liberal Party gives a drat.  Given the living arrangements of the Leader of the Greens, it would have been nice to see them come out (good phrase, that)  in support of her living her personal life as she chooses.  However, they didn't.

The Mad Monk was managing to keep himself, and his colleagues under, under control.  Even Tuckey and Randall have been quiet (or at least not covered in the Eastern States media)!

By 28 July the Coalition was down to $3.65.  A colleague has suggested that this was due to whoever in the ALP was doing the leaking of Cabinet documents getting a bit of the action on the opposition.  They also mentioned, in the same breath, the phrase "rats in the ranks'.

We have noticed that the news on SBS is as determinedly against the ALP as the Murdoch press.  This is a major surprise as the ALP is far more supportive of immigrants (the natural constituency of SBS) than the Liberals.  Perhaps the Weasel chose well in appointing the head of SBS?  I was out in the evening of the 29th but Frances turned the news off when it featured:
  • 3 old ducks from the Salvation Army; followed by
  • Cardinal Pell
raving on about Julia Gillard being an atheist.  I anxiously await them giving coverage to Baron Bannside expressing his views on the Mad Monk's Catholicism.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Driving on Black Soil

mI have read and commented on a post by Denis Wilson after which he suggested that I might have a tale to tell.  Indeed I have but it is a bit too long to tell as a comment.  Plus it needs some photos.  So here goes.

The tale actually takes place in Tanzania, not the Darling River Run.  It started with us arriving at Mikumi National Park (about 3 hours drive West of Dar es Salaam) on Christmas Eve 2001

We passed a pleasant afternoon cruising around the Park looking at the game.  Then we had a very nice evening meal at our accommodation and retired for the night. listening to the rain beat down on our tent (actually a luxurious canvas walled apartment).  The next morning we hired a guide who took us around the park pointing out when to go fast through mud and when to engage 4WD in our Nissan Patrol.  We drove through a large herd of buffalo, which was a tad worrying.  However the presence of patches of black cotton soil was the main reason for concern.  An excellent day despite the amount of water around.

At the evening meal much fuss was being made of a young Swedish couple and their small children.

The next day we planned to take a final spin around the Park and then head further West to Iringa, and spend the night there.  We set off and went along nicely until I decided that a narrow track looked too boggy so turned round and retraced our tracks.  Bad idea.  We got halfway across a patch of black cotton soil and sank.  This was about 10am.  Being idiots we didn't have a shovel or a rope but just tried to gather some vegetation to stack under the wheels.  The only effect of this was to graze my hands and embed some black cotton soil therein (it had stopped festering within a few days).  We were stuffed, but in an area where lions, buffalo and elephants could be expected.  So we sat in the car and waited.
 After an hour a couple of locals turned up.  They didn't have a rope either but said they'd report us to the Park HQ when they got there.  After another hour another two locals turned up without a rope and after another hour two more ropeless folk arrived.   We then had a 2 hour wait for the next rope-free car to arrive (we are now at about 3pm and looking forward to a night in the Park).  About 3:30pm a Rav4 load of Danes turned up: they:
  • made room for Frances and headed off towards the HQ; and 
  • checked every car they crossed with if they had a rope.

One did and was despatched to pull me out.  Which was accomplished PDQ.  As I headed off towards the HQ a troopie full of black persons appeared: they were the park staff come to extract me.  Oh well, they'd tried so some funds (aka baksheesh) were passed over.

Getting to the HQ, Frances had been talking to the Park manager - a nice lady built (as Alexander McCall Smith would say) 'on traditional lines' and it emerged there was a cheap hotel in Mikumi village.  The manager lived in the village so we offered her a lift and decided to stay at the pub - the Genesis.  We had a couple of beers and a buffalo goulash (shouting the manager a couple of G and Ts).

In the course of this she told us about the Swedish family who people had been talking to at the lodge.  They had gone out on Christmas Eve and got bogged a bit further down the road  from where we had turned back.  Despite the search efforts of the Park staff the family spent the night before Christmas stuck in the car in the pouring rain with no food.  In the morning the father decided he had to walk as the babies were getting stressed: Park staff found him walking through the herd of Buffalo, 5km from the car.  Damn lucky!

I think we stayed at the Genesis about 4 more times.  Not a great hotel - the totally non-absorbent nylon towels were a talking point - but quite cheap and the buffalo goulash was excellent.  They also had a fundi (tradesman) who washed all the mud off the car and out of the wheel arches!

We fast forward to Christmas 2002.  We (and our daughter and her partner) were at Saadani NP which was right on the coast about 100km North of DSM.  It was some 60km off the bitumen, of which the last 10km were across a black cotton soil plain.  On Christmas Day there was a huge thunderstorm and, on Boxing Day when we were about to leave, we asked the manager of the lodge we were staying in about the condition of the road out.  He asked a couple of his drivers and got the response "barabara kufuta".  He grimaced and said "Its not good" (we subsequently found that the response meant "The road is erased.").  He sent the guys out in front of us and told us to follow them which we did.  As we had narrower tyres and a less powerful motor we got bogged a couple of times but they just applied a snatch strap and off we went.
When we got through the black soil they shook hands, accepted a little baksheesh and we went about our business.  After about another 10 km the road was blocked by a fallen tree (blown down in the storm).  Fortunately a mzee (old bloke) turned up with a panga (machete) and cleared a path for us. More baksheesh.

Then we got to an area of road works in red soils which I didn't reckon I could get through (as it had been completely ploughed up by the construction traffic) so headed up the side of the road into someone's shamba (smallholding).  Unfortunately they had some mango trees right on the edge of the embankment above the road so I had to reverse.  This resulted in the car sliding sideways down the (very steep) embankment scaring the everything out of us.  As we sat there working out what to do some lads turned up and said "Drive down there and we will push you through the mud".  Which we did and they did and more baksheesh.

After a tad over 3 hours we got back to the bitumen and then only had 700km to go to our next accommodation at Lake Manyara.  Due to all the mud jammed into the wheels etc we couldn't, initially, go over 80kph due the wheel shake.  However, centrifugal force did a good job of balancing the mud and we soon back up to TZ normal speed (about 130kph).

Our daughter reckoned Africa was a bit tough for her taste!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Native flowers get in on the act

After yesterday's foray around our garden, today we went for a Wednesday Walk in the Queanbeyan escarpment/Cuumbeun Nature reserve area.  Quite a few species were flowering.

Acacia genistifolia

Astroloma humifusum

Cryptandra propinqua

Dillwynia sieberi

Grevillea lanigera

Hakea decurrens

Hovea heterophylla

 Leucopogon attenuatus

Melichrys urceolatus
And finally a couple of fungi.  OK they aren't flowers, they aren't even plants, but they grow in the soil (most/many of them).
Ramaria sp.

The Green Skinhead (Dermocybe austroveneta) which is a Fungimap Target species!!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Spring flowers begin

Although we have had reasonably solid frosts for most of the mornings since we returned from England a few flowers are beginning to emerge.

It is particularly pleasing to see a daffodil in flower up the drive.  There are about another 1800 (or so I am advised) in various stages of emerging from the ground in various places around the premises!

Closely related to the daffodils are of course the jonquils.

Always early starters are the Violets (in this case not the native ones, which I must go and search for) and Snowflakes (which seem to have presented themselves in the wrong order.- but I am sure you can work out which is what).

In terms of shrubs we really only have two in flower at the moment.  These are a Hebe (purple) and a nice green Correa (finally an Australian native).

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Election update 25 July.

I have just rturned form a Veterans Handicap race.  As I came back past the roundabout at Yass Rd in Queanbeyan there were a row of about 6 young persons holding up signs promoting Mr Gazard.  Ihave seen that in the US in the past, and also Brendan Nelson did something similar as a way of saying 'Thank you" to his electors when he left office.

The markets are basically staying where they were, although the coalition had moved out to $4.25.

There have been a few interesting events on the radio news this morning:
  • The Liberal Party in NSW have disendorsed some character (see image to the left, ex ABC website) who complained about his opponent being a Muslim.   ABC radio then carried a comment from the disendorsed one raving on about how Muslims shouldn't be allowed in Parliament.  It does make one wonder about their preselection processes!
  • The Liberals have also announced that they are going to cut immigration.  Unfortunately it appears that economic conditions have already done this for them, so they are looking like chumps.
  • The ALP has announced a cash-for-clunkers scheme, and also tax allowances for people to improve the energy efficiency of commercial premises.   WRT the latter, I hope it is better managed than the home insulation scheme!
  • The Greens have been fulminating about the ALP plan to have a consultative forum about climate change.  It seems that consultation is not what the Greens are interested in: if anyone is still listening to their announcements they seem to be doing a good job of shooting themselves in the foot!!
Overall it seems to me like business as usual.  I still reckon that $4.25 is very good value.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Birding webcams

Of course, with these sites make sure it is daylight at the site when you wish to access then!

I have just followed a link from Denis Wilson's blog to a webcam at an Osprey nest in Finland.  Spectacular images of an adult sitting on the edge of the nest with two fat chicks in the nest!

I then tried to look up the Falcons of Water St in Manhattan.  The camera has been turned off for the season, but the news is rather good with 4 eyasses fledging this year.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Election update

The Bungendore Mirror delivered yesterday also considered that there are only three candidates apparent thus far.

I was surprised that the Family First people haven't put someone up on the stump yet so checked their website.  I was even more surprised to see that they make no mention of the Federal Election on the site, let alone have a list of candidates.  The part of their site dealing with NSW read like a personal promo for the leader in that State including his pronouncements about the 'confronting burqa' and the problems of alcohol.   I have no intention of including a link to this site since it might encourage them!

The nice Mr Gazard has mailed us out a letter ranting about the waste of money and spiralling debt.  If he is so concerned about financial efficiency and not wasting money why did he also include a leaflet and reply paid envelope about postal voting since the Electoral Commission sent us the same information 2 days earlier?

The Mirror coverage includes photos of Mike Kelly and David Gazard with the Leaders of their parties, which must have delighted Mike Kelly since being photographed with the Monk would have to be only slightly better than being snapped with Dubya.  They didn't have a photo of Catherine Moore: presumably the Green's Budget doesn't extend to taking photographs of candidates!  They conclude with the market, at  their deadline, quoted by Centrebet. For the benefit of readers, as at 6am on 23 July it is:

Mike Kelly $1.32
David Gazard $2.90
Catherine Moore $26.00
Any other $81.00

Interestingly they don't field for all electorates: presumably someone has had a punt for this one.

Overall, they quote the ALP at $1,23 and the Coalition at $4.00.  The one thing I would bet on is that those odds get closer together as the campaign continues.  I am surprised that the big end of town hasn't snapped up a lot of the $4:00 action, but perhaps they are still busy gambling on the stock market?

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Don't need to be a fireman ..

.. to know which way the flames blow!  With apologies to Mr Zimmerman (and, indeed, the Weather Underground)!

It being the middle of Winter, a nice cold and (more or less) calm morning it was time to light up "the pile".  For those who do not have the benefit of living in rural Australia that is the name given to the heap of flammable stuff one accumulates over a period of time.   It is usually:
  • Things that are too small to bother chopping up for the indoor fire;
  • Weeds that are too nasty to risk spreading through the compost bins; and 
  • Whatever is left over from last years fire!
This year had the added bonus of
  • the really rotten (or white ant ridden) components of a heap of building wood further up the block that I should have lit up about 3 years ago (the better bits will be sawn up as kindling); and
  • some treated pine offcuts from the step rebuilding process.
For once the weather forecast was stable and delivered as required.  So I was able to rely on having warned the RFS (and about 7 nearby residents) of my intention to create a pyroclaust and lit up about 9:15am.  

Herewith a photo of the pile, and my best feature, as I caused ignition.  Being an ex Boy Scout I did only use 1 match, but despite my agricultural background, I didn't stick an old tyre underneath to make sure it got some heat in it!.
As will be evident from this 10am shot it soon developed some heat of its own.
 As usual matters soon calmed down (although the column of smoke was probably visible from several kms away) and by 11am this was the situation.
The next two images show noon and 5pm.
It will probably quietly smoulder and reduce in size over the next few days.  I'll keep an eye on it but with cold weather, little wind (and me having thoroughly soaked a metre wide perimeter) it won't go anywhere.

I'll finish with a shot of the blaze at its height.  I'm not the sort of person that really gets off on fires, but I thought this close up shot (about 10am) was pretty attractive.

Monday, 19 July 2010

An election is coming on

Australia is heading for a National Election on 21 August.  I suspect I will be putting up a few posts about goings-on in the campaign.

This could be quite interesting.
  • The previously elected Prime Minister has been booted out by his own party, and replaced by Julia Gillard who seems to be doing rather well in his place.  
  • The Leader of the Opposition - one Tony Abbott aka the Mad Monk - is not the sort of person from whom one would buy a used car.  Nor even a new car, still in its wrapper.  However the average punter in the street may be able to be persuaded by the Murdoch Press (see Dennis Potter's comment) to ignore more backflips than a season of Cirque du Soleil.  
  • The mantle of third party is now held by the Greens: a party widely seen as "for the environment" but who spat the dummy on the Emissions Trading Scheme in the hope they could get something better.  This is slightly more stupid than them announcing a plank of withdrawing Australian troops from Afghanistan (but that comment reflects the importance I attach to the ETS - in terms of world affairs the Afghanistan decision is more important, and even more stupid)!

All politics is local, so at this point I will say that I will be helping out the ALP candidate in this campaign (which given my record in supporting politicians is possibly the kiss of death).  We have three candidates that I am aware of at the moment.

Australian Labour Party:  the candidate is the sitting member Mike Kelly.  I have met him a few times (including at the previous election, while I was handing out how-to-vote cards for the Greens) and he is a really pleasant guy.  He's also very hard working and damn smart.  Onya Mike.

The Greens:  the candidate is Catherine Moore who should get elected if stamina is the metric.  She has stood for just about everything at every level of Government and has succeeded in getting elected as a Palerang Councillor.  It is probably symptomatic that when I first clicked on the link to her website as linked the immediate message was to vote for a Greens Senate Candidate (and Bob Brown's image is far more prominent that Catherine's)!   I'd say she has Buckley's.  

The Liberals:  The candidate is one David Gazard who seems to be presenting himself as a nice family guy living in the Burra (NSW - not the copper mining town in South Australia).  Just the sort of garbage one would expect from a Lliberal PR staffer and A/g director of the ACT Liberals - even though he lives outside the ACT!  It will be really good to see this guy go down, both for this seat in particular and because it should deal with the Mad Monk also!

Game on guys!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Hanrahan rules OK?

For those not familiar with major landmarks in Australian culture I will extract below a few verses from "Said Hanrahan" by John O'Brien.(I commend both the link to the full text of the pome (sic) and the brief biography of the poet.)

"If rain don't come this month," said Dan,
  And cleared his throat to speak -
"We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
  "If rain don't come this week."
And every creek a banker ran,
  And dams filled overtop;
"We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
  "If this rain doesn't stop."
"There'll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
  There will, without a doubt;
We'll all be rooned," said Hanrahan,
  "Before the year is out."

The point of this outbreak of literature is to set the scene for me commenting that we have probably had enough rain for a little while.  This comment has been occasioned by us being sufficiently recovered from jet lag to embark on a little work in the garden.

It is the easiest I have ever known to pull up weeds, if that is the sort of thing you enjoy doing.  My preference is digging the garden to get it ready for planting stuff.  There was certainly no difficulty in inserting the fork.  However, extracting it was somewhat trickier both due to the suction of the soil and its weight.  The 'clods dripped water when eventually raised.

I was reminded of the black soil plains of Tanzania. (The image was taken by Frances - I was driving the white car.)

Saturday, 17 July 2010

The small dog gets through a hole

While the small dog was on holidays she refused to use the doggy door (about 20cm in diameter) available to her and Zoe (the host corgi).  This was even after she had been assisted through it, and seen Zoe use it.

When told this tale of wilfulness we suggested that she would have been through it quick smart, had a rabbit been on the other side.

This afternoon we had her on a rope near our red shed, underneath which she had found rabbits in the past - until I blocked the entry holes.  Rabbits had recently dug a new hole about 10cm in diameter in a new spot.  Here are pictures of the small dog proving the correctness of our suggestion.  I think her chest must be close to 10cm in diameter as at one point of the emergence process she had to lay sideways to get out!

The holes have now been blocked since things with less that 4 legs (in fact about 4 less than 4) also tend to live under there and we do not want small dog playing with them.

A few days later she demonstrated that she can also deal with relatively large holes: in this case a burrow made by an echidna who foresaw meatant on its menu.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Tales of Queanbeyan

When we lived in the ACT it was common to hear the City of Queanbeyan referred to in a negative way.

Since we have moved to Carwoola where Queanbeyan is 'town' while Canberra is 'that place' we have found that the people of Queanbeyan are extremely pleasant and helpful.  Not always of the upper socio-economic strata, however.  I think each of the first four tales below illustrate both the struggles faced, and the humane approaches adopted in dealing with, reality not seen often in the ACT.

My first visit to town after returning from the UK was quite interesting:
  • In the Post office a Person of Southern European Appearance (PSEA) was involved in deep discussion with a staffer, while another, older  PSEA was sitting off to one side in a wheelchair. It emerged that the younger PSEA was attempting to get the older guy access to his pension payment.  This seemed - due to bureaucratic bullshyte imposed on the PSEA and the Post Office staff - to require the old guy to have an Australian driving license!  In the past his country of birth had punted the cash straight into a bank account but that was no longer the case.  I have no idea how he was going to get his pension money.  Well done managers!
  • in a supermarket there seemed to be an emergency in which a member of staff approached a customer (who definitely looked as though he didn't own a great number of BHP - or any other- shares) with the words "Excuse me mate , do you have a minute .." after which they both disappeared for a bit of privacy.  When the customer had gone through the checkout the store manager rushed over to the checkout person and asked "Did he pay for the axe?"
  •  At a servo (service station) there was a lot of debate going on at the register.  After the sad looking customer departed the cashier explained that he had just paid for $80 of petrol.  Unfortunately he had inserted this into his DIESEL 4x4. I empathised greatly with this having recently been driving a diesel car in the UK!
 A couple of days later the woman in front of me at a(nother) supermarket mentioned to the cashier that she only had $nn so let her know if her goodies looked like blowing that limit.  They didn't by $3, but the request was obviously not unknown to the cashier!

There is one example of extreme optimism in town.  A new servo has opened.  The owning company is BP!  I cannot imagine anyone buying fuel from that company while there is still a memory of their incompetence in the Gulf of Mexico.

Assessing water flows in Whiskers Creek

This post covers a few thoughts about how to assess the rate of flow in Whiskers Creek where it goes under (or occasionally over) the drive into our property.

I originally had a range of designations based upon the proportion of the pipe which was 'filled' by the water. However this was very difficult to assess (and even when flooded the pipe was only 50% full). So I developed the set of designations below. The words were chosen so as:

  • to have relevant meaning; and
  • to be able to be sorted into a relevant sequence.
After a while Frances commented on the use of the sound of the water as an objective means of distinguishing between trace and light flows. So that is included as well.

At present we are finding the Visual and Aural measures are correlating well.

The basic assessment is made in the morning each day when we first cross the creek, either in an exercise walk or driving out. If however the road is flooded later in the day I will use that as the measure . I will also use flood if it is obvious, from the vegetation, or debris left on the road or erosion of the road, that the creek has flooded overnight but dropped to 'heavy' flow status by the time we get there.

Depth at mouth of pipe(mm)
ZeroPipe dry
tracewater dribbling out of pipe
< 2
LightWater running out of pipe
< 25
running water audible close to pipe
HeavyWater gushing out of pipe
25 +
Running water audible 30+m
FloodWater flowing over road
running water audible @100m

  I will, from time to time - perhaps every 6 months  - summarise what has been observed.


Thursday, 15 July 2010

Frogmouth update

They reappeared in my GBS site on 30 March and I have been able to locate them on about 60% of days since then (20% of the time I have been away and 20% they have been elsewhere).  In the main they have shuffled between three roost trees at about 5 day intervals.  Interestingly, when using the tree that was their favourite last year, the male has usually roosted about 3m higher than the female, while in the other two trees ( a little further from the nest tree) they have snuggled together.  Last year my observations didn't begin until 8 August but they also snuggled while in the favourite tree and on Tuesday this week they were in the favourite tree, but together in the high roost favoured by the male.  I hesitate to suggest their thoughts are beginning to focus on the calendar but I will be keeping an eye on the nest for signs of refurbishment.

This morning they were roosting near our gate and as we approached (an event that usually causes one of the birds to briefly open an eye before returning to sleep) a Brown Goshawk passed by.  The male bird reacted instantly :I have never seen a frogmouth look so alert in daylight!  Both eyes wide open and the bird in a very upright position facing out from the tree with every feather expanded so that it seemed as big as possible - completely different from the camouflage posture.  From its flight path I do not think the Goshawk had frogmouth on its mind but had it done so I suspect it would have had a change of mind!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Rainfall (again) and flooded crossing

We got back from England, where it it is supposed to rain all the time but was beautifully sunny, to find that there had been a couple of spells of sogginess in Carwoola.

Rain was again forecast yesterday (13 July), expected to start in the evening.  It was cool (maximum about 10 degrees C) and cloudy/drizzling all day.  Then it bucketed down as we retired for the night.  From the state of our drive (and the surrounding vegetation) Whiskers Creek had obviously flooded during the night, but was merely at 'Heavy Flow' status when we went for our morning walk at about 9:30.

By 7am on the 14th we had totalled 42mm for the event.   This gave us a total of 441mm for the year so far (which can be compared to the year total of 484mm in 2009).  Extrapolating from the ratio of July totals  to annual totals suggests we could be looking at about 875mm for the year as a whole.

This chart shows the monthly totals since we moved here.
While the water over our drive is well gone, I thought it likely that the crossing over Briars Sharrow Rd might offer some photo opportunities.  As the Council staff had previously advised me, they have removed the gates over the crossing (which the idiots just drove round anyway).  So someone chewed a couple of hero pills and tried it with a conventional car: I hope they were able to get out safely themselves <after viewing this blog a member of the Council staff has advised that the occupants were safe in body, if not sound in mind>!  From looking at the "tide mark" on the road the water was at least 30cm higher at the peak!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Back home

Frances and I are back in Carwoola after a very enjoyable trip the UK.    In due course, when I have got over the jet lag, I'll put a link directly to my trip blog.  Currently the version of this which I compiled as we went is linked in a sidebar.

While we were away the small dog was looked after by a very kind friend who has a corgi.   Here are a couple of photos she provided, proving that Tammy also had an excellent holiday.