Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Telephone problems - You might just need new batteries

I love chatting to people on the phone. Sometimes for too long - but recently I started to have problems even with short calls, or even just pressing the 'green button' would cancel the call. If you want to know the answer, by pass the following witterings and reminiscences and go to the last paragraph!

I really thought we would need to get a new telephone system. Well we have got used to 'systems' which means several hand sets, and charger stations, with answerphone, intercom etc.
If it was just me, I was thinking that I would have liked to have reverted to a standard plug in phone, with no batteries, and I can't remember when that was. Even our 'emergency' phone which is just a plug in has a battery for the memory function.

For sure my parents had the straight forward phone when I was really young. Just like learning your name and address, our telephone number in Mauritius : 939, is etched in my mind. I guess there were less than 1000 people connected to the system then. It soon changed to 43939, and the number kept growing and growing, as more and more people connected to the system. I can't remember what sort of phone it was, but I think you had to go through a telephonist.

In those days, children very rarely got to speak to anyone on the phone. Just in my lifetime, it has changed from this, to many children having their own mobile phone, and being able to be connected where ever they are. This is nearly as big a technology jump as the ones my grandfather lived through, well perhaps not so great, but it effects many more people on a daily basis. I was staying with my grand parents and I remember being kept awake by my grand father to watch the first man land on the moon. My grandfather was really excited, and I remember him explaining to me that as a a young man he had read in the papers about the Wright Brothers taking to the skies in a flying machine and in his own life time men were now travelling and landing on the moon. I guess there will be scientists out there, who would say that if it wasn't for the race to the moon, then we would not have satellites, and therefore super efficient telephone and computer systems owe much to the 'space race' .

So I started to look, and thought I would like a really simple telephone: one that just plugged into the phone socket, with no batteries etc. Then I thought eeekkkkkkkk I would have to look up numbers each time etc etc.

Having surfed the net and got pretty overwhelmed on what was out there, I reverted to the mind set of:

Is there a problem, can it be fixed, how can it be fixed, what must I do to fix it, and do then do it!

I found out that new batteries were needed. They only last between 1 and 3 years. I searched and searched for the original type of battery, but the new telephone systems take different powered ones. You need special batteries, and then you have to find someone who stocks them. I found a site on the web: Commutech which explained the symptoms and need for battery renewal, and had the type of battery I was looking for, though it was a generic type. The postage was free, and they were with me within two working days.

I was telling my friend Marie-Claire about this, and she said she wished she had known this as a relative of hers had just gone out to buy a new system, as she had been having the same problems. So if you read this, do pass on the message that if your phone is performing poorly then most probably new batteries will solve the problem, and hopefully there will be fewer phones being thrown away.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

78 Derngate, A day out to Northampton

On our Italian Holiday, we met and chatted to other guests at our Hotel, and spent some cheery hours with Mel and Annette. These 'gals' live in Northampton, and suggested we would like '78 Derngate'. Mel even reminded me of it and sent me a link.

Last Saturday morning, we pondered on what we would do that weekend, and since it was lovely and bright, a run out in the car, and a visit to Northampton was No 1 for the day. I downloaded the details and looked to see where it was on Google Maps, and off we set. I even sent an email to Mel, and for once kept my mobile on, in case they wanted to meet up.

I map read, as there were lovely sounding names of villages on the way, and they lived up to expectation. The Warwickshire countryside was rolling and we met very few cars on the road, right up to the outskirts of Northampton. There we negotiated the roundabouts....well, Swindon, has plenty of them, and parked up.

As we walked down the Street towards the Park, on the left hand side opposite 78 Derngate, I was taken with the block of flats called Bedford Mansion. The curved glass in what I take to be stairwells reflected the bright blue sky. This 1930's Art Deco Style block of flats, has a central area where there are three balconies, which taper up. I wonder whether there are any flats with original fittings?

Opposite is 78 Derngate. It is a narrow house, close to a large park, and I understand that at the time it was built, where these very stylish flats now stand,there were fields. The trust has taken over a row of houses, and this avoids entering by the stylish front door. This opens straight into the living room/hall. The house is 'one front and back', but four stories high on the back, with an attic for the maid in the roof space.

We were not allowed to take photographs inside, but there is an excellent virtual tour of the house on their website. Instead I chose a couple of postcards, and these have already been posted to friends.

We waited for a guided tour, and managed to book a table in the bright white dining room, with a view over the park. It was interesting to hear a little why this house had been redesigned by Macintosh for the Bassett Lowkes.

There was so much of interest that we spent the whole day there. Mr S spent some time looking at the Bassett Lowke models of various engines including steam locomotives, displayed in tall glass cabinets.

In their gallery space there was an exhibition, with artists present. I chatted with Kumi Middleton about the wonderful and unique bags she makes, she had some inspired by hedgerows. I was so taken by more than one, and guess what....Mr S presented me with this one. The rose hips and set on some fibres which remind me on old man's beard. The inside is lined with pretty Japanese patterned fabric.

As we went back to the car, we saw the Guildhall, and also peered into the local museum. There is certainly much more to see, and Northampton is certainly on our list for a return trip..

Autumn Walk through Coombe Abbey Park

Its just over three years since our move, and it was time to explore another delightful place. The sun was bright, the air cool and crisp, and far too nice, to tackle those very last few jobs on the house, so out we went.

I had to get out the map, and do a bit of map reading as we had not yet even driven past the site. We arrived fairly early, and by the time we had walked round the park, there were plenty of groups enjoying the site. The bird hide, overlooking the lake, had a large group of small children in it, enjoying their picnic lunch, so we decided to return there another day. Except for the big house being used as an hotel, Coombe Abbey Park reminded Mr S and I of Lydiard Park in Swindon, as both were owned by the Local Authority, had good wooded and open walks suitable for Winter time, and a visitors centre.

Along the many paths through woodland and grassy areas, we stopped and gazed at the wide range of fungi, some very bright, others very big, and these tiny ones in the hollow of a sawn off tree stump, caught Mr S's attention.

At the end of our walk we stopped and had a drink at the Visitor's Centre Cafe sat in the sunshine, and we could have done with sun umbrellas it was so warm.

We went to have a look at the Abbey and found out that if they are not overwhelmed with guests, they do serve drinks including coffee to casual visitors. We shall return for lunch soon. The inside is full of copies of Medieval items, with interesting nooks to sit in.

Kenilworth Knit and Natter outing to Alli Palli

Its just over a year since our 'Leader' set up the Kenilworth Knit and Natter Group, and in that space of time we have enjoyed some very good workshops.

The latest big venture was organising a coach to take us to the London Knitting and Stitching Show. We worked hard to get up numbers and our outing was made possible by having members of other craft groups such as the Leamington branch of the Guild of Embroiderers, family and friends join us.

As usual I was a little overwhelmed with just how busy London was, how much the traffic clogged up the roads, and the multitude of people. I realise that this quiet corner with wonderful countryside and people is where I belong and feel the happiest.

As usual the exhibitions where original works were staged were inspiring.....

The show was so big, that I am sure that I must have missed out some areas. Linda who is an expert smocker missed the smocking stall, so I here is a picture of a 'smocked' Christmas Decoration.

I just had to go and have a sit down, and spent a few minutes too many waiting for the coffee machines to be filled with water, I gave up in the end, and went back into the hall for a final look round....and then I grabbed a ready to you cup of Americano coffee from a 'mobile' stall in some far corner, manned by a couple of ladies, and it was the best cup I've had for many a long time.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Arrivederci Sorrento

Yes, the holiday was superb. It seems ages since we arrived back. I've downloaded pictures, reviewed them and dumped many. Around the house all the little things which remind me of the holiday, also remind me that I have yet to write up my blog.......there has been a block, because I fear that I will never be able to do the holiday justice.

Today I have done two things which I have been meaning to do for some time, so now I shall at least put some jottings down. Once this is done I'll feel free to continue with my small updates, and when I am moved, I'll edit this entry.

We flew with Thompson, and enjoyment started on the flight.... with the delightful safety video. It really made you look. Mr S and I have talked about it quite a bit, and he even found it for me on You Tube. Unlike the plane we flew back in, which was fairly old with no screen on the chair in front, and excruciating lack of leg room for Mr S, the outward bound flight was very comfortable, and the time passed very quickly.

We arrived at our Hotel and found it to be very comfortable and with a good view towards Vesuvius from our balcony. On the hotel's website, the location is described as quiet, well it was a way out from the Town, but quiet it was not, as the road outside the hotel was busy all the time.
With good shutters and doors, you could shut out the noise. In the end we went with the flow, and traffic watched whenever we sat on the balcony, marvelling at the Italian driving and the many very fit cyclists who used the road for speed trials.

Each morning I would wake up and look out to check on the crater.......

We have been to Sorrento before, 17 years ago, our 'rest stop' for four days, whilst we were on the 'Grand Tour'.

This year we had two weeks in this lovely spot. Except for one, all our outings we planned and went on using local transport: buses, trains, ferries and short 'cruises'.

The only official Thompson trip we booked ourselves onto was the day out to Paestum.

On the way we had a stop of Salerno. The day we arrived was the Feast of St Matthew, and there was a huge congregation at a special service, as the Cathedral is dedicated to St Matthew. Mr S and I found it embarrassing and rude of the guide to still continue through the main body of the church, and were relieved to find ourselves down in the wonderful crypt, where it is said are the remains of St Matthew. There was only a scattering of locals there.

The whole area was exuberantly decorated. What touched me most was that there were some parishioners there, and as I waited by the exit a lady asked me where we were from in very good English, and also welcomed me to the Church, and said that she hoped we had enjoyed this wonderful place. She was no guide, or official person, only a lady come to the Church for the special day.

Before catching the coach again, Mr S and I stopped off for a coffee and cake, and I spied a very small green grocer, and I just could not resist getting some of my favourite fruit. They were sun warm, ripe from the tree, and just ready to eat. I cradled them on my lap, and by the end of the day there were all eaten up.

Surrounded by its 5th Century BC walls, Paestum, where Greek Temples tower above other remains, together with the adjoining National Archoaeological Museum, was the highlight of our holiday.

My eyes were opened to the superb craftmanship of the Greeks, as demonstrated in the displays of sculpture, pottery and glass.

What astounded me most however, was the collection of Gaudo Pottery found at a Paleolithic site a kilometre away from Paestum, during the building of a second World War airfield. The lighting was very low in the area, but I tried to take a picture of one of the large display cabinets.


According to the description in the museum this Gaudo pottery dates from the IV to III millenium BC, and were created using the coil technique. The vessels were superbly shaped and decorated by textures which were crisp. I had never seen anything like this.

In comparison to Herculaneum, and Pompeii, this site with the museum, was far more enjoyable, without the very large number of tourists.

Just a short walk away from our hotel, a cobbled road and path tumbled down the Capo di Sorrento to a rocky outcrop, where the ruin of Villa Polli stands. There is a small cove almost completely cut off from the sea. Mr S and I sat there looking at the Roman brickwork which looks like honeycomb and wondered whether at some time there was a large bridge across this area.

As the fortnight progressed, we knew we were getting more adept at the steep hills and therefore fitter, as the walk down to the promontory became our short leg stretch from the hotel. When we returned we got into the habit of going straight into the bar and having a couple of cool glasses of pear juice.