Monday, November 29, 2021

Unexpectedly Sunny


Yesterday turned out to be much better weather-wise than I thought it might. Not only was there no snow, there were barely any clouds. It was cold, though, and I think we froze again overnight. The forecast this morning is calling for "potential disruption due to snow and ice." (Mostly ice, I'm guessing.)


Olga went out the door early yesterday morning and began trying to "bark down" the squirrels in the trees. She's normally not a barker when we're at home, and all I could think of was the poor Russians probably trying to sleep upstairs, so I went out and collared her and brought her back inside.

I cleaned for part of the morning, tackling another slightly moldy spot on the wall near the back door. I think I realized why those spots are damp. It's not entirely indoor humidity -- the woodwork around the top of the brick wall on the outside of the house is badly deteriorated. (A piece of it fell off yesterday, revealing rot and a hole beneath.) So I wrote to the property manager with photos and said they may need to do some maintenance. I suspect rain water is getting into the wall.

Meanwhile, our new dehumidifier should be at school waiting for me to pick it up. Woo hoo!


Olga and I went to the cemetery in the afternoon, and in shady areas there was still frost on the ground. I wonder where the turaco is hiding out? We never see or hear it in the winter. The ring-necked parakeets, on the other hand, are everywhere and despite their tropical appearance don't seem bothered by the chill.


On the way home, Olga and I found the world's smallest bicycle abandoned on Finchley Road. Perhaps its owner outgrew it.

I also read for part of the day -- my latest Newbery book, "Tales of Silver Lands" by Charles Finger, from 1925. They're short folk tales allegedly collected by Finger as he traveled in South America, though he doesn't explain where many of them come from and by and large they are shatteringly boring. (I fault Finger, rather than the stories themselves, which I'm sure were lively and interesting when told at the source.) This book has a reputation for being one of the driest Newbery winners so I knew it would be a challenge. It's palatable if read in small doses. Like medicine it must be taken sparingly.

48 comments:

  1. Olga is eyeing the bicycle and planning how she can comfortably take it for a ride.
    With central heating, I am surprised there is any damp in English housing.

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    1. Well, we have radiators -- is that what you mean by central heating? They help but they don't eliminate all the damp, especially when the house is closed up.

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  2. You wouldn't have had to purchase a dehumidifier if the flat had had some proper ventilation installed in the form of bathroom and kitchen fans. By the way, the Chicco Red Bullet does not appear to have any pedals so it is not going to be zooming forward like a red bullet any time soon.

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    1. I didn't even notice the bike is pedal-less! I took a look at the fan situation and the bathroom wall is VERY thick -- about 12-14 inches. I wonder if that's why there's no fan. It does have a window that opens, so that helps, at least in milder weather!

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    2. Call that thick? In Yorkshire some older houses have walls that are three or four feet thick. I don't think an installer would have much trouble drilling a suitable hole through your wall but given the past sluggishness of your landlord and landlady, I can't see it happening any time soon.

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  3. My bike!!! I’ve been looking for it for ages. Without pedals, it wasn’t very useful. But with pedals, my knees would have hit my chin. The tree shadows on the building are enchanting. I admire your diligence with those Newbery books. I would think there would be regulations about the presence of black mold in rental properties.

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  4. I love how the sun, reflecting off the unseen side windows from the brick building lends 'windows' to the white building. Beautiful.

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    1. I'm glad you noticed that -- that's exactly what first drew my eye to that scene!

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  5. Those bikes are called strider balance bikes. They're for small children before a real bike and instread of training wheels, the kids balance themselves with their feet.

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  6. It looks like a circus bike and Olga is pondering joining them.

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    1. Anything to get away from this crazy dude and his ever-present camera.

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  7. Yes- Pixie has it on the bike! That's how Levon learned to ride a bike so early- by practicing on a strider balance bike. They are wonderful for little kids.
    Our day today looks much like the one you just had. Chilly and clear and beautiful.
    Steve- if it were me trying to read all of those books I am not sure I would manage to actually finish. I think I would get to a book like the one you're currently reading, attempt it and throw it across the room screaming, "WTF??!!" Except in real words. And that would be THAT on the project.
    You are a perseverer.

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    1. It's true -- when I set myself these challenges I stick with them. I'm not sure whether it's wise, but that's what I do!

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  8. I find almost all folk tales boring too - but often in writerly circles that's not allowed - you are supposed top love them and get all poetic about the myths and metaphors. Bollocks I say...

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    1. If there are metaphors in these stories I'm not seeing them. I suppose they were exciting in the days before radio or television or newspapers or the Internet, but now we can do better!

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  9. I seen little ones zooming around on those bikes - they are popular here.
    We have clouds today and I know I have to get out for a walk but it is chilly too! I have to quit whining and just bundle up and go! Ugh!

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  10. "Shatteringly boring" is pretty darn boring. I applaud you for plowing through. I love those late fall shadows!

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    1. LOL -- they really are shattering. I am dying.

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  11. There are no pedals on that bike. Oh, I see, a strider bike. Never seen one. Minnie is a barker. Any other dog, cat, possum, you name it and she's going nuts. I wouldn't think a book that was that boring would get a Newbery prize.

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    1. I think the standards were different back then. There weren't many competing books, and the ALA committees always like books with a multicultural twist -- so the Latin American angle would have given it a boost. (Though I wonder how authentic it is.)

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  12. I've never heard of a strider bike. I love learning something new.
    We had one of the foggiest days on Sunday, not a hint of light brightness anywhere all day. I miss the sun in winter.

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    1. I'd never heard of a strider bike either! I hope someone picks it up.

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  13. my motto is more of the "suffer ye not". I generally read the first chapter of a book and thumb through to the end, read the ending and then if the book measures up I will read it, time is too short.The strider bike is so cute, I would have taken it home and decorated it. Our little two year old neighbor girl has one, so small !

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    1. That's an interesting approach -- but doesn't it take the wind out of your sails to already know the ending?

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  14. Love that photo of Olga checking out her possible new ride. I think she decided it was a no.

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    1. Yeah, she definitely gave it a thumbs-down. Or would have, if she had thumbs.

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  15. The ice on those leaves says it about the temperature!
    That's a neat little balance bike. Pity that it's just been left. So much better than those with stabilisers.

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    1. I bet someone will pick it up. I should see if it's still there.

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  16. That photo of Olga and the bicycle is a gem. What a lovely day!

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  17. Dang it, Steve.... ruining Olga's morning fun like that! I'm sure those squirrels needed a talking-to.

    The shadows in the top photo are excellent!

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    1. We can't figure out why she just barks and barks. It's not like that's going to help capture the squirrel. Sheer frustration, I suppose.

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    2. My thought is that she wants to make sure YOU know it's there and that IT knows SHE knows it's there!

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  18. But will children read it in small doses?

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    1. I suspect children wouldn't read it at all!

      It might be a book parents could read to their children, one story each night. But I bet the kids would roll their eyes. (Certainly today's kids.)

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  19. I know you are attempting to complete a challenge by reading them. But my patience for dry books is miniscule these days and I just throw them in a pile of books to donate and move onto another book... hopefully better.

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    1. I very seldom quit a book. Once I've started I push on through, because sometimes they DO get better.

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  20. Replies
    1. Thanks! The light was just right in that picture.

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  21. Life's too short to read uninteresting books!! What would it take to get you to give up your project? Well, I admire your persistence anyway :)

    A strider bike - I never heard of that before. Makes a lot of sense to start out riding on one of those. I hope whoever owns it knows where it is.

    Always enjoy the Olga pics :)

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    1. Oh, I'd never give it up now. I'm too close to the end. I think I only have about ten books left.

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  22. There are no pedals on the little bike. Maybe Olga is trying to figure out how one made the bike go. Have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

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