I've found another source of original Dr Who programmes, a channel on Freeview - Horror. Honestly. I don't know how they came up with that classification for Dr Who. He was primetime Saturday evening family viewing all through the sixties and seventies, even part of the eighties until the anti-Whovians in Programming at the Beeb had him moved to a mid-week evening and finally succeeded in pulling the plug. OK, so it's sometimes a bit scary. Whole generations grew up behind the sofa of a Saturday evening, but "horror"? So I record the programmes and skip the ads and "Other programmes we are showing" bits - they appear to involve zombies. Dr Who is definitely in the realms of Sci-Fi, with the odd forage into Fantasy, but Freeview don't appear to have dedicated channels for those!
What all this has served to demonstrate is that Dr Who - The Original Series had important things like plot, occasionally plots, and character development. OK, so the main plot of each set of programmes was that someone/something was trying to take over/destroy the Earth or wherever the Tardis had rocked up this time, and the Doctor stopped them. But the plot in each story had time to develop, heck, they even had time to pad out the last story I saw (sorry, can't remember the title) with shots of Tom Baker and Lalla Ward running around central Paris! There was none of this ratcheting up the tension and difficulty for thirty-five to forty minutes then 'twangle' and suddenly, often 'just like that' the Doctor has it all in hand and sorted as they do with the modern series!
All this was done on a tight budget - as you can see in the sometimes wobbly sets, the homemade air of some of the costumes and the often limited locations, although they may have pushed the boat out for the Paris story. Or they may have been clever with the camera and had Tom and Lalla running around somewhere else entirely and much more cheaply! Come to think of it, they had a cameo appearance by John Cleese too. Maybe the production team didn't eat that time! It turned out that I'd seen the last few minutes of the story back in the day. I think by then I had a Saturday job and didn't get home, by bus, until the programme was almost over.
Something else I noticed was the sexism. From Jon Pertwee's casual addressing of physicist Liz as "My Dear", although any scientist would be a bit behind the cutting edge compared with the Doctor, to the female companions being pretty and dressed, or even undressed, in certain ways. Mentioning undressed of course Louise Jamieson's Leela springs to mind. The wild woman only somewhat tamed by Tom Baker, always ready with her knife and wearing very revealing skins. There was Peri's famous cleavage with Colin Baker. And what was with the schoolgirl look sported by Lalla Ward with (again) Tom Baker? I do not want to even think about the psychology involved there!
Then there's the way women are usually only ever sidekicks or assistants and either young and pretty or older and marginal. Come to think of it, Romana was a Time Lord, isn't it about time Dr Who had a female incarnation? Or is Time Lord gender fixed even if appearance isn't? I could go on about the gender stereotyping, but shan't. Others could do it so much more eloquently - and probably have. I shall merely say that the burgeoning feminism of the nineteen sixties and seventies obviously bypassed this programme. Possibly because the programme makers thought that the majority of their audience was young and male, or maybe were male themselves. Hmmm.
Whatever, I think I shall continue to record and watch these Original Series adventures, if only to spot the odd 'famous name' actor, or the small group of less known actors called upon each storyline, or the 'wobbly' bits, or just because I quite enjoy them.
Do you enjoy Dr Who, Dear Reader? Do you remember, or have you discovered a source of, the Original Series?
Y'all have a good day now!
Aujour d'hui le soleil brillait, which isn't actually as unlikely as it might sound for a Bank Holiday Monday. Cue crowds down the various (very pebbly) local beaches and walking along the Front. Actually I almost prefer pebbly beaches to sandy ones, provided the pebbles aren't too big. They're comfortable(ish) to sit on, if Really Uncomfortable to try walking over barefoot. And you don't get sand in everything, which is a big consideration. Maybe they're not so good with children. Children like to dig and build sandcastles. You have to have a very fine grain of pebble to be able to do that! Having written which, sand really does get everywhere with small children. I use a tip my Mother-in-law passed on for getting sand off feet when you want to put on socks and shoes to go home. Get off the beach (obs) sprinkle talcum powder over sandy feet, brush off sand and talc. This Really Works (thanks M-i-L) and can make life much easier and more comfortable.
The other thing to watch for on at least two of our beaches is the 'wake wave'. Locals who frequent the beaches know about this. Ships will be coming out of the harbour, along the beach - amazingly close in because that's where the deep channel is - turn to starboard and head out to pass the sea forts and the eastern end of the Isle of Wight. By the time they come level with the sea forts the wake they generate will be coming ashore, in quite big waves, even though they're proceeding slowly. Locals do not sit that close to the sea, even on a falling tide! Ships coming into harbour tend to hang a turn to port off one of our beaches then head along the channel, their 'wake waves' tends to come ashore sooner.
It can be deduced from this that Readers are not advised to try swimming off at least two of our beaches. Mainly because, with the shipping channel running close in, the sea gets Very Deep quite quickly and you'd be well out of your depth. You'd also stand a chance of being run down by a ship about its lawful business - some of them find it hard enough noticing, and avoiding, sailing yachts and dinghies, let alone swimmers (or drowners). Beaches to the east tend to be flatter, still pebbly, and less steep once one gets into the sea. Bathing from them is possible, just remember that May has been chilly-ish and the sea will still be cold.
Of course, if you really must have sand for your beach trip then you could always go to Hayling Island. But not on a Bank Holiday. Hayling Island, as its name suggests, really is an island. Access is by a single road bridge (with a narrow and very-scarily-close-to-the-traffic cycle lane) and two main north-south roads, unless of course you have a personal yacht and can sail into one of the little anchorages. A few moments thought will show the Reader that this one bridge and two main roads will provide a real bottleneck and maybe, if you insist on visiting, you will wish to time your arrivals and attempted exits accordingly. There used to be a ferry between the eastern end of the city/beach and Hayling Island. I'm not sure whether it's yet back in action. There has been some doubt as to whether the required upgrade in facilities would be worth the traffic - for all there are a lot of people who use it to get to school and work. Do not attempt to cross the channel in a boat of your own unless it has a powerful engine. On a falling tide you could be swept out to mid-Solent in no time and the local RNLI get a bit miffed having to rescue idiots! If you do have a powerful engine then watch out for local seals and porpoises and try not to damage them.
Having dissed Hayling Island for its lack of access, except by boat, I feel obliged to add that access to 'our' beaches isn't much better. There are at least three main roads into the city - which is also, mostly, on an island, but they suffer from rapidly narrowing to ordinary city streets and any traffic light systems only seem to make matters worse. There is rail access, which doesn't actually get you to a beach, though it's not too much of a walk, provided you know where you're going. Otherwise you'll probably end up in (what 'they'd' like to think is) a major retail outlet where they track you progress via your mobile phone. I switch mine off if I'm going there! Not that they sell that much of what I might like to buy. That's the trouble with 'retail outlets' - a lot of what is on offer looks like stock they've not been able to shift in other stores nationwide!
Hmmm, so, beaches out. Maybe a visit to a local garden centre, then a potter round the yard. The forget-me-nots (Myosotis) are almost over and the dandelions could do with dead heading, if not actually digging out! Yes, I think a gentle potter around the yard is in order. Y'all have a good Bank Holiday Dear Reader! What have/did you choose(n) to do?
Last week the various rail unions decreed that there would be a rail strike from 5pm on Monday (Bank Holiday Monday) to 5pm on Tuesday. This was in support of a claim for increased wages. After all, the reasoning went, it's been a long time since we've had a wage increase. Inflation has been low maybe, 6% down to 1%, over the past few years. That said food prices have, apparently, shot up and our members' take-home pay isn't going nearly as far as it has. So. We. Will. Strike.
Various people reliant upon trains to get to and from their work sighed and started reviewing alternative modes of transport - buses mainly. (But that's another post) H worked out a couple of ways of getting to work, by bus, with, he hoped, reasonable overlaps to cover changing buses.
I thought that the rail unions had shown particularly Bad Timing. We have a newly elected Conservative government with a majority who, traditionally, don't 'like' the trade unions. They're planning to bring in tighter legislation covering union ballots to strke as it is. Plus the rate of inflation has been coming down for months in a row. This week we apparently hit a negative rate of inflation and various financial people were wheeled out to say that no, we haven't entered the dreaded Deflation (yet). Fret not, the rate of inflation will be back on target (around 2%) later in the year. Or so they say.
Either way holding a strike to 'negotiate' for a higher wage increase in a time when inflation is at its lowest for forty years strikes me as silly at best. But there we were, there was going to be a rail strike. The rail unions were flexing their muscles. You could practically hear the new (majority) Conservative government flexing theirs and thinking, if not actually saying, "Yeah. Bring it on!"
The last time trade unionists took on a Conservative government was in the eighties. Then it was the National Union of Mineworkers versus Margaret Thatcher - to simplify. To further simplify - the results were lockouts for the miners, bussing in of miners (who would work) from other areas, a protracted strike over the winter of 1984 during which miners and their families went hungry, and running battles with the police - also bussed in from non-mining areas. Think the strike scenes in Billy Elliot (film). Eventually most of Britain's coal mines were closed as buying in coal from overseas was found to be cheaper than having it dug 'at home' and most the membership of the NUM found themselves out of a job. Mrs Thatcher had seem what the miners' strikes in the seventies had done to the country and the then Conservative government and had decided that it wasn't going to happen on her watch. She broke the NUM.
The present Conservatives are still anti-Trade Union and definitely anti-strike. They were already questioning the validity of the rail unions' ballot for the strike. Some may even have been looking forward to breaking the rail unions. Then around lunchtime on Thursday last one of the rail unions announced that it was calling off its strike. Later in the afternoon the main rail unions - National Union of Railwaymen and ASLEF - made a similar announcements. They are back in 'negotiations' and the government are going to have to wait for the showdown. Should he want to, because he's booked the day as leave just in case, H should be able to get to work on Tuesday as per, more or less, normal.
Which is, on the whole, a comforting thought. What will also be a comforting thought for those who have gone away by train for the long weekend is that there will be trains available to bring them back home in time for work on Tuesday. Or maybe it won't be a comforting thought. What do you think, Dear Reader?
Either way, y'all have a good day now!
Right, an American knitting (and other crafts) organisation has twice gotten it wrong in as many days. So here is my guide to pouring, and poring, because they are different.
i) Pore - noun, very small opening in, eg: skin.
ii) Pore - verb, to study carefully. eg: the student pored over his books, or, I pored over summer cardigan patterns yesterday. Not to be confused with
iii) Pour - verb, to issue or make issue in a stream, eg: to pour a cup of tea.
So now you know, Dear Reader. I know, in the words of Adge Cutler and the Wurzels, "Don' tell Oi, tell 'ee!"
The world famous Chelsea Flower Show is on this week. I've been 'visiting' c/o the BBC. Gardener's World has also collated a series of pictures of various gardens. Pity they forgot to include details of which the gardens were and by whom they were designed but . . . THE flower this year appears to be an orange geum - in the picture with the trugs. You know how nearly every garden each year seems to have one particular flower, Dear Reader. There are also deep red thistle-like flowers (can't remember or can't spell the actual name, also in picture with trugs) and quite a few very dark bearded irises. The first picture is of the Dark Matter garden, a concept garden. Quite how much it conveys the concept of actual Dark Matter is probably a moot point. I'm not that keen on all the rusty metal in that particular garden. I'm not that keen on rusty metal in any garden, but there you are.
Remember that Saturn is 'in opposition' tonight and can be seen rising in the east at sunset, moving on round to the south to be a 'golden star' in the constellation of Scorpius around midnight. That'll be clahds and 'ahses in between permitting. Happy viewing, Dear Reader.
*Nips off to answer door* Ooh look, it's the cotton yarn I ordered yesterday. Time to go measure up and consider things like tension and wanted sizes. Y'all have a good day now!
Did you see the Venus/crescent moon conjunction last evening, Dear Reader? It was sporadically cloudy here, guess where, as well as the 'ahses in between, so I'm taking other people's word for it! Apparently the next thing to watch out for is Saturn in 'opposition' (opposite the sun as viewed from Earth. Yes, I know, from where else would we be viewing it?) tomorrow night, consequently the rings will be good and visible - always assuming you have (sturdily supported) binoculars or a telescope. Naked eye viewing will show a bright light. Anyhew, should the skies be clear where you are the place to look is in the east at sunset and through to the southern skies at midnight for a golden 'star' in the constellation of Scorpius. If it is clear to the southeast, in Sagittarius, you might even be able to locate Pluto - that will be a telescope job. Happy viewing!
Finally, after a lot of poring over various patterns and yarns I have chosen and purchased the yarn to knit a summer cardigan.
To whit Grace, by Drops Design. In Drops Muskat cotton DK yarn, in colour no 03, mint green. Yup, I chose that colour, even though there are forty-eight to choose from. I also bought the buttons they suggested - because they're sort of rhombic-with-rounded-corners in shape and I don't know which dimension would fit the buttonholes knitted as suggested. Otherwise I might have bought some round buttons.
Drops Design is a useful site, housing as it does hundreds of knitting and crochet patterns for everything from knitted/crochet ornaments and toys to full scale sweaters in plain yarn, aran style, lace or colourwork. The DK blue marl with colourwork yoke cardigan I knitted a month or two back was a Drops Design pattern. I'm hoping Grace knits up as nicely, though I think I may alter a few things, like the body length - so I don't 'sit' in it, and the circumference - so it fits.
Drops itself, the yarns, are a good range of reasonably priced yarns in various fibres from wool and alpaca to linen and cotton, plus viscose, nylon and acrylic. They come in four-ply, DK, aran, chunky, super chunky, and a wide range of colours - for all you can tell about an actual colour from your computer screen! The only disadvantage is that they're bought via the post, or some delivery firm. So you can't just leap into knitting as you might with yarn and a pattern you'd purchased at your LYS - always assuming you have one. But there we are, you can't have everything. Where would you put it?
My order should be in the post today or tomorrow, allow for two days in postage, so delivery should be Saturday or Monday, all being well. Just as well I have some more socks on the go, for SiL this time, like the ones I knitted Niece, to last me until then. I'll let you know how it goes, whether you're interested or not, Dear Reader. It is my blog after all!
And Finally - you know that big computers generate a lot of heat. For years they've had to be kept in climate controlled rooms, meaning excess heat has had to be pumped out. Now various firms are starting to use computer servers and the heat they generate to heat homes and businesses. And high time too. Hmmm, where coud we get a server/radiator? Would it fit into our home? And would it have to go on an outside wall or could it be installed in a fireplace? There's a thought.
Y'all have a good day now!
Apparently the astronomical event for this evening is the sight of the crescent moon directly below Venus - look west at/after sunset. As with any other astronomical viewings, this will come courtesy of the 'ahses and any clahds which may otherwise be in between. Happy looking, Dear Reader. I don't know about where you live, but in these parts sunset is around 9pm, and rather north of due west - 'ahses in between all the way!
A different kind of star spotting - the Cannes Film Festival is on. Cue lots of film stars and would-be film stars in Big Party gear, flash bulbs popping (does anyone use actual flash bulbs these days?) and the occasional film showing. Cue also a minor furore over whether or not there is a 'dress code' for women attending gigs. Apparently ushers have been seen turning away women not wearing high heeled shoes, including film producer Valerie Richter. She has part of her left foot amputated and can't balance in high heels. Hmmm, the height of some heels makes me rather wonder if anyone can walk in them - apart from professional stilt walkers!
Anyhew, Ms Richter was eventually allowed in. She could in all fairness have taken her left shoe off and waved her foot at the offensive ushers, just to demonstrate her point, you understand, Dear Reader. The ushers, ushers not being famed for a sense of humour, would probably have taken offence at that and called Security or something. Apparently a spokeswoman for the festival organisers has said that ushers have been 'reminded' that high heels are not part of the dress code for women. So maybe now they'll be allowing in women in flat shoes, though I'm not too sure about Emily Blunt's recommendation of Converse trainers, particularly with a Big Night dress.
Hmmm, maybe now I could be admitted to a Film Festival showing, seeing as I've not worn any kind of even remotely high heel for more years than I care to think about. Well, when you're six foot tall you just don't need to, which is just as well as I tend to 'fall off' any heel more than 1/2" to 3/4" 'high'. Now all I need is the fancy gown, and a trip to Cannes. Ah well, maybe I'll wait til the films are shown on TV - with all the fast-forwarding to avoid ad breaks that involves!
And there we are, Dear Reader. Y'all have a good day now!
There now, the 'reputable' travel company, having screwed £3,000,000 out of one of its subcontractors, has given half the money to a children's charity. Probably in the hope of removing some of the recently garnered tarnish from its name, also leaving it with a net win of £1,500,000. The parents of the dead children recieved much, much less in 'compensation', though they may by now have recieved the 'letter of apology'. Readers may still wish to book holidays with firms other than Thomas Cook, which, by all accounts, was started by a really reputable gent who took his responsibilities seriously. How have the mighty fallen . . .
That'll do. Y'all have a good day now!
Il pleut. Encore. Ah well, I suppose we need it. And no, I'm not even going to try turning that last sentence into French. I know my limits!
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The Knit British website for today is about Jamieson's of Shetland and the woolly goods they produce at their shop in Lerwick - including photos of yarns in the most amazing range of colours and colour combinations, all grown, shorn, spun and dyed, then some knitted or woven, on Shetland. Oh, those greens! Le sigh! They have three pages of just DK colours! I'd been wondering about visiting the Shetland Isles some time during the bird nesting season, now I have another incentive. Though, fortunately or unfortunately, Jamieson's also do mail order, and will provide the would be knitter with colour charts (for a price) containing real yarn samples so that you can really get an idea of what colour a particular wool might actually be. Yay! and w00t!
I could start a small savings account. With what? You ask, Dear Reader (or even H). Well, how about the £6 per week we don't spend on socks which hole at second, or first, wearing because I've knitted good, solid, cotton mix yarn ones. And reinforced the heels and toes a couple of times. But one must be reasonable. I have sufficient jumpers/cardigans so far. H rarely wears his, he's been in short sleeves for a few weeks now, and I'm not sure other members of the family would want woollen jumpers. Woollen socks, yes. Jumpers? Hmmm. Ah well, maybe I'll just look at the colours. Oh, those blues* and purples. Encore Le sigh!
Just a thought - you know how dolphins seem to enjoy riding the bow waves of ships? Well, Dear Reader, what did they ride before self-powered ships came along? I mean, could sailing ships go fast enough to generate a suitable bow wave?
Which will be enough for the nonce, y'all have a good day now!
*Apparently the world's favourite colour is blue. I think YouGov mean that most people state blue as their favourite colour. I go for green, I think, though purples and blues come a pretty close second. How about you, Dear Reader, what's your favourite colour, or group of colours?
Just in case you hadn't heard, Dear Reader, there was another big earthquake in Nepal on Tuesday, 7.3. The one just over two weeks previously measured 7.8. So what little recovery had begun has been set back still further. Now I know that this world is broken and that bad things happen, but honestly . . . Is it any wonder some people, and peoples, never seem to get out from the very bottom?
Meanwhile a record number of British beaches are facing 'poor' water quality assessments, mainly because the EU changed the criteria as to what constitues 'clean' water off a beach. Now I realise that we have come on a fair way from pumping sewage out to sea on the falling tide - even round here that has been, mostly, stopped - since the 1980s would you believe? Trouble is that when it rains hard, as yesterday, a lot of 'stuff' can get washed into the sea. Particularly in places where storm water drains and sewers are mainly one and the same pipes! That's not including stuff which gets washed into the sea by direct rain run-off. Just think, if there's a seabird breeding colony near 'your' beach then wet days could wash an awful lot from the colony and render 'your' beach a lot less than 'clean' - and there's nothing you can do about that. In most places sewage treatment and disposal is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the twenty-first century. Stuff is no longer being dumped into the nearest river or bit of sea - which is a Good Thing. In fact river water quality is on the up - as evidenced by the increase in otter sightings around the country, sometimes even in cities. For example an otter has been seen fairly regularly at the City water mill in Winchester. Mind you, the Winchester City Mill is on the Test, a well known trout stream. So perhaps otters there aren't such a surprise after all.
And it's Exam Season - for universities at least, though sixth form colleges and schools will be following suit soon with 'A' Levels and GCSEs. Some universities have organised various stress-busting activities for stressed out students. I dunno, back in the Bronze Age when H and I were at university you had to cope with exam stress as best you could, on your own or with friends. Stress-busting sessions - either from the university itself or the Students' Union - were just not organised. Come to think of it, I don't think such events occurred back when S was at university either. Considering the number of exams one had/has to pass to get into university I'd have thought that most students might have developed their own coping strategies. Though I must admit the bouncy castle and the puppies sound like fun, and as for the knitting sessions - told you knitting is good for you, provided it's not too complicated!
Mentioning knitting, I finished the red socks for Mum late on last night. Hmmm, maybe knitting before exams isn't such a good idea. You really do need your sleep too! Ah well, I shall have to decide on another colour yarn and someone else as a recipient. Y'all, meanwhile, have a good and fairly stress free day now!