apel: (California)
The sky is on fire. #nofilter

We're finally having some California winter weather. It's rained, hailed and thundered today. The clouds make for interesting sunsets.
apel: (trail)
We had a lot of rain in December. We really needed it. The rain brought the drought level down from exceptional to extreme. Keep in mind that we need to get all our annual rainfall during December through March. Summer rains are negligible here.

These two photos were taken only a month apart. The difference is easy to tell. This is from November 23. It had already rained some, so there's some green grass along the trail in the foreground. Just a month earlier, all the annual grasses were dead. That's normal for that time of year.
Winding Trail

I went hiking again on Christmas Day. There's now green grass all over the hillside and also on the hills in the distance. But you can still see grey tusocks of dead grass in the foreground. Hopefully we'll get more rain. By the time the rainy season is over, the new grass should cover the old grass and be full of wildflowers.
A month later.
apel: (Default)
We drove to Eastleach in Oxfordshire and walked along the river Leach. It was a very foggy day, as you can see in the photos below.

We started by crossing the river on a clapper bridge, called the Keble bridge. Clapper bridge construction is very simple: you simply place uprights in the river and plop down your flag stones on them. Technically this is one step up from mere stepping stones.
Keble bridge over the Leach
Wallpaper, feel free to use

Another view of the river itself. There is a house on the left in the photo, although it may be hard to see. Our walking guide said that the path was lined with daffodils in spring. We could see their noses peaking up. It's probably absolutely lovely here then. Today it was a tad nippy.
River Leach by Eastleach
Wallpaper, feel free to use

At the end of the path, there's a gate to St. Michael and St. Martin's church. There were some very old gravestones in the churchyard with carvings of fat little angels.
St. Michael and St. Martin's church in [livejournal.com profile] ruralphotos

Leaving the village, we walked along a track on the east side of the river. That's where we found this beautiful ash tree.
Ash tree
Wallpaper, feel free to use

To return, we had to cross the river. I loved how subtle the photo of the old bridge came out, so I turned it black and white.
Bridge over the Leach
Wallpaper, feel free to use

Colour version of the bridge in [livejournal.com profile] waterflow

As we got back to the village, the sun was starting to think about setting. It coloured the fog orange.
Copse of trees near Eastleach Turville
Wallpaper, feel free to use

Black-and-white trees in [livejournal.com profile] landscape.
apel: (snail)
Walking from the station to the office in the rain, I came to wonder about this.
[Poll #1043235]
apel: (garden_inthe)

Garden 27 June 2007
Originally uploaded by Mjausson
When I got off the tube this afternoon, it was sunny but there were very dark clouds visible to the west. I knew I'd have to walk as fast as I could or I'd be drenched. It was spitting by the time I was halfway through my 20-minute walk back home. By the time I was 50 yards from the door, the spitting had turned into large drops. I ran and the downpour started right as I was walking through the door.

The photo of the Pink Border in my garden is taken 20 minutes later when the worst of the downpour had calmed down.
apel: (mellow)
I'm sitting on Kieron's couch, LJ:ing on his PC. My laptop decided to sulk on Friday. Unfortunately that meant I couldn't work, so I'll have to leave at 2 to go home and put in the 3 hours I was supposed to do on Friday. I felt rather guilty about that, not the least because my PM called me on Friday and said that the client had been frantically trying to get in touch with me to arrange a meeting next week. But today when I was finally able to access my work email, there was no email from them there. Besides, I called the client right after getting off the phone with the PM and left a voicemail. The client didn't call back so maybe the house wasn't on fire after all.

In the afternoon I got glasses. Two pairs, one of which has Armani frames, for less than £250. The other pair are shades. I'm very happy with both. Kieron likes them too.

Yesterday morning I got the embarassing rattle from exhaust fixed at a garage here in Cheltenham. They didn't even charge me. A good start to the day.

Then Kieron and I had a picnic at a lookout point near Stroud to test my new glasses. Unfortunately the Met Office was right about the heavy rain, so we went for a drive in the countryside afterwards. Miserden was particularly cute. Nearby Sudgrove looked to have some very nice walks, and easy parking.

Today we've been domestic. I've used my steam cleaner to clean the windows. They were filthy. Now it looks as if somebody dialled up the wattage on the scarlet pelargonium on the balcony. Cleaning the windows is the "low-hanging fruit" of household chores. Kieron has been washing and dusting and stuff. He took some of the things I brought. He particularly liked the candle holders. Being a typical Pagan, I had rather a lot of those. Next week I'm bringing the candles.
apel: (hand)
This has been a rather productive and domestic day. My plan for this weekend was to garden but it's been raining way too much for that. The jungle in my bay window will have to stay there for another week and get even junglier.

I've vacuumed the hallway and bathroom. That may not sound like much of an accomplishment but unfortunately it is in this flat. Somebody shampooed the carpet and didn't rinse out the chemicals properly so the carpet is just sticky enough for anything small like a lose thread to get stuck to it. I have to sit on my bum and dry brush the carpet with the vacuum cleaner brush attachment to achieve anything.

The washing machine is on its fourth load for the day. It's almost done. I've also filled up the car and washed it. Now you can see out of the windscreen. Before it was full of bugs. The rear wiper blade is coming apart. I'd better get a new one, next time I pass Halfords.

The last hour or so, I've mostly been relaxing and painting my nails. Now it's time to go to bed.

*waves*

Mar. 10th, 2007 07:43 am
apel: (cheltenham)
Maybe I didn't need that much sun screen after all.
apel: (snow)
Lamp in snow
Wallpaper, feel free to use

Update: I made it in to work around 10.30.
apel: (garden_inthe)
Snow on my garden this morning
Wallpaper, feel free to use

I know it's not a lot but it doesn't happen very often so it's got to be documented. It was still dark outside so the light comes from one of those nasty orange street lamps. I tried to compensate for it -- hence the washed-out look.
apel: (train)
Right now most tube lines are part suspended. Only East London, Jubilee and Waterloo & City have a good service. And W&C is cheating by being very short and entirely under cover.

The situation on British Rail is worse. A lot of trains are canceled due to high winds. Some stations are also closed. In London, notably London Bridge and Ealing Broadway.

Brrr!

Nov. 2nd, 2006 08:32 pm
apel: (cranky)
This morning when I saw the white coating on the grass, I went into denial. "Surely that's just dew. It's only the beginning of November" I said to myself. But when I had to scrape the car windows, I had to admit it. It was frost. A good thing I had taken my (not-terribly-stylish-but-nice-and-toasty) fleece jacket.
apel: (attention)
It's been by turns raining, hailing and thundering here today so my gardening plans were scuppered. Luckily it's cleared up a little now in the evening so I was able to get the plants I bought from the car and put them in the garden. There are three white Campanula carpatica, a pink begonia and a pink chrysanthemum. They're still in their pots and will stay there until next weekend.

Instead I've been pottering around, doing chores and stuff like that. Also spent quite a bit being social online. That's always nice.

The weather is turning chilly and it seems that summer is over for this year. I'm even pessimistic enough that I bought two long-sleeved shirts at boden.co.uk. According to the forecast it's going to rain more tomorrow, on Wednesday and Thursday. Have I said lately that I'm not overly keen on rain? I know we need it but I still don't like it. Bring back the hot weather of July, I say.

I'm not really looking forward to work tomorrow. It's getting really tedious with the constant schedule wrangling. Worst of all is that I'm made out to be the bad guy when the real problem is that my employer doesn't put its money where its mouth is. For now I'm getting better at setting boundaries but I'm not happy.

My holiday is fast approaching. That is something I'm looking forward to. I'm not expecting great weather but it's going to be very interesting to see all those places I used to frequent many years ago. Next weekend is the last weekend before the holiday. As luck would have it I have two dentist appointments that week so I'm working from home on both Monday and Friday. That's incredibly handy because the two hours plus I'd normally spend on the tube, I can instead devote to laundry and packing. I just hope that the overly zealous restrictions on hand luggage are lifted by then. How am I supposed to survive a three-hour flight without a book?
apel: (grain)
I used my heating pad tonight for the first time in quite a while. The heat wave is over, for this time.
apel: (snail)
That's good for the garden but should I dress for the rain or will the Met office's blazing sun and 25C come later in the day?

V. Tired

Jun. 6th, 2006 09:45 pm
apel: (attention)
This morning my breakfast tasted awful. This was because last time I shopped at Fresh & Wild, they didn't have any oatmeal. So I bought barley meal instead. I don't think barley meal is bad, actually. It's just that in combination with the soya meal and oat bran in the smoothie it didn't taste good at all. Bleh! So I ended up nuking some chicken in tikka marinade and having that for breakfast instead. That worked really well.

It's been very intense in the office today. A major application is due for launch soon and it's eating up all my time. Unfortunately this time hasn't been scheduled so there are conflicts between the project managers. I of course want to do it all but I have to admit that it's not possible. Tomorrow I'm doing stylesheets all day. That's at least scheduled. Hopefully that's the only thing so that it doesn't get as intense. My calendar is full through mid-July.

The weather has been very pleasant the last few days and on Saturday the meteorologists think we'll have 28C. It's nice that it's finally summer but I worry about the garden. Although on the weekend I found out that I'm allowed to use a hose to fill a watering can. I think I'm going to do that on the weekend. The 2-litre bottles just don't cut it.
apel: (red signal)
Today hasn't been as painful as I thought it would be but it was very hard to concentrate. Work didn't go too well. I did get some stuff done, in fact probably more than others who seemed to be mostly chatting, but not nearly as much as on a day when I've slept enough.

When I got home I played around a bit with photoshop and watched Law & Order. Now I'm tired and thinking of bed. Tomorrow I've got to go to the Post Office to get my packet before noon. It's supposed to rain even though the sky was very clear today. Not even the usual London smaze.
apel: (train)
It's very hot here in the office. It's hot outside too, even summery. When I was walking back from lunch the sun on my neck was very pleasant. I didn't even wear a jacket. The max temp today was forecast to be 25C. Tomorrow it will be slightly cooler and on the weekend it's going to rain.

We need the rain but I'd rather it rained during the week and was sunny on the weekend. I need to garden. I've got two more bags of manure to spread out and I want to empty the compost bin too.

I got a While-you-were-out card in my letterbox yesterday. It's probably plants. I wonder if it's from T&M or Gardening Direct. On the weekend I was rummaging through likely places but I couldn't find any record of having ordered from Gardening Direct. That's a bit worrying. On the other hand, if no plants arrive I guess I'll get them from the garden centre instead. That's more expensive but the plants are bigger so per area unit it's probably not much difference.

I'm waiting for access to an application that I'm supposed to fix the stylesheet for. It was due this morning but I hadn't received anything in my inbox when I got into the office and when I walked over to the PM he acted all surprised that I needed anything. He had a calendar event with a list of the things I needed but I guess he hadn't looked at that.

I think I need to make the point with him that when he has my time scheduled, he needs to make sure I've got the assets the day before. If he relies on the vendors to get me stuff on time, he'll be forever rescheduling and never releasing anything. He's relatively new so hopefully I can still get him to change his way of working.

Still, I've been using the unscheduled time productively, working on my presentation about compelling web content. It's well underway now. I'm going to talk a little about usability in general first, then about text and finally about images. The main presentation will be in Power Point but I'm going to print out some things to put up on the walls, I want to give handouts and we'll do exercises during the session. It will be like a training session. Hopefully people will actually learn something.

Tonight is the FPM's leaving do. I'm not sure how long I'll stay. It's a school night after all.

On the train this morning, some idiot had sprinkled what looked like cereal all over the seats. I swept off the seat before I sat down but I think I still got some spots on my trousers. They're are khaki and the slightest spot shows very well.

Just found out more about today's scheduled activity. Apparently the PM had been pushing on the vendor for 2 days and they had done all they should do. But somebody in my team hadn't read her instructions so things were missing from the page. Modern web technology is so complicated and if just one little bit is missing, it all falls apart.

We're rescheduling for mid-May. That's a slot that somebody else cancelled a few days ago. Apart from that lonely day, my next open slot is on 5 June. Of course that includes my holiday at the end of May. So really I'm just booked solid for 3 weeks.
apel: (Default)
apel
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