Tessa's Tête-à-Tête
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Recent Posts:
September 2005


Battle of Britain

Fertility Treatment

The Plumber's Tale of Woe

Learning to Read and Write

Bureaucracy Gone Mad

What is Really Happening in New Orleans

Hurricane Katrina

The Tooth Fairy Forgot to Come!!!

August 2005

More Surgery!"

How I Met Michael Rennie (1909-1971)

"The Sixth Lamentation" - An Excellent Book

French Onions

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)

I'm Recovering Well

Well, I'm Glad That's Over!

Just Me Prattling

The Russian Mini-Submarine

Amazing Animals: The Sturgeon

The Tower Subway

Surgical Pre-Assessment

July 2005

The Coal Delivery

Spyware and Anti-spyware"

Getting Enough Sleep?

An Insidious Cancer

Americans First on the Moon

"The Lion King"

Update on my Biopsy

Have I had my Head Buried in the Sand?


Animal Intelligence

Fl./Lt. Dennis G. Hornsey, D.F.C.

The English Language

London Bombs

Marriage Advice?

My Biopsy

A Message for the World's Leaders

June 2005


A 'Perfect' Day

Amazing Animals: The Emperor Penguin

Crowned on this Day in 1509

A Sweet for a Special Occasion

King Solomon's Mines

Father's Day

Tiger, Tiger....


Cockroaches and Human Fertility

World's Best Character Actor

Computer Decisions

Food for Thought


World Ocean Day

Daft as a Brush (or Two)

Douglas Jennings, RAF Evader During WW II

Lord of the Rings

Driving Me Mad

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Saturday, 19 February 2005
Boys and Their Toys
Topic: Miscellanea
Well, my husband is really over the moon with his early birthday present, the Hitachi Portable DVD Player! We went out today to buy some little external speakers for it and now it sounds really good. He is still playing with it upstairs trying out music CDs and film DVDs.

I would never have thought of getting him that if we hadn't gone shopping together in Portsmouth last Thursday. It is a brand new model out this year and I saved about £75 in Allders closing down sale (don't bother going there, it was the only one). Even the chap who sold us the little speakers today commented on how nice it was!

Posted by Noviomagus at 18:28 GMT Post Comment | Permalink

Friday, 4 February 2005
A Tale of Woe!
Topic: Miscellanea
Oh, dear! I have been so very good and careful not to use naughty words in front of the Grandchildren until yesterday - and, they just slipped out.

Stephanie and Elliot were eating their supper and we were drinking coffee and eating a biscuit when I crunched on something in my mouth. A stone in my biscuit? No, it looked like a piece of tooth filling, and a second piece. I prodded my teeth with my tongue - it felt like a huge hole. "Oh, dear. A filling's come out", I lamented. "That will cost a bit!" Poke again with my tongue. "What a nuisance!", I said resignedly. Then, out they came, two sad sounding naughty words attributing my woes to a gory hades. OOOPS. (My husband told me later that Elliot's hand shot up to his mouth!) I did apologise straight away and said 'sorry, I shouldn't have said that' or words to that effect but, what is said is said. Naughty Grandma! (Perhaps I'll say that next time I feel like using an imprecation: "Oh, Gory Hades" - I must practise that!)

I had only seen the Dentist four weeks ago for my six-monthly check-up and he had replaced a lost filling then. Now yet another tooth falling to bits. My tongue was getting quite sore rubbing on this one so I rang the Dentist's Surgery this morning to make an appointment and got one 50 minutes later! Friday is his 'emergency' day - one piece of good luck. Got my bike out and pedalled off down the town.

Half an hour or so later and £55.00 poorer, I stepped out of his door feeling much more comfortable. A 'robust, intermediate filling' he called it. I will have to make a decision next June whether to continue with it and hope it lasts, have the whole tooth filling removed and redone, or go for a nice new crown. Better start saving up!

Posted by Noviomagus at 17:42 GMT Post Comment | Permalink

Tuesday, 21 December 2004
A Philosophy for Life
Topic: Miscellanea
Ponder on this.

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When class began, and without saying a word, he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks right to the top, rocks about two inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full and they agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The students laughed. He asked his students again if the jar was full and they agreed that, yes, it was. The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

"Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children - anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed. The pebbles are the other things in life that matter, but on a smaller scale. The pebbles represent things like your job, house, or car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff."

"If you put the sand or the pebbles into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, material things, you will never have room for the things that are truly most important."

Pay attention to the things that are critical in your life. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal. Take care of the rocks first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities, the rest is just pebbles and sand.

Posted by Noviomagus at 13:01 GMT Post Comment | Permalink

Saturday, 18 December 2004
A Senior Moment
Topic: Miscellanea
OOPSWell, I did a silly thing this evening. I know, we all do silly things from time to time but mine was really quite daft!

I was cooking our supper - baked haddock, broccoli and cheese sauce. I put the fish in the oven, grated the cheese, put the broccoli on to simmer, made the sauce. The timer went, I took the fish out of the oven and started putting it on our plates. Stopped dead in my tracks: "Oh, no!", I exclaimed. "What's happened?", called out my husband rushing to the kitchen. "I've forgotten to cook some potatoes!", I said dramatically, with an expression of stunned dismay.

What did he do? He just creased up and roared with laughter! Well, I had felt quite mortified at my lapse but I had to grin a little as well. Kept everything warm and flung a few potatoes in the microwave. Twelve minutes later, we were sitting down eating whilst a second small batch of potatoes was cooking. The broccoli was perhaps a little soft but nothing was really spoilt.

I must admit I've done worse. I can remember preparing a small Sunday roast many years ago. I always use the slow cooking method, so in it went into a cold oven. Switched the oven on and left it to cook. An hour or so later, I return to find a completely raw joint. I had put it into the small top oven alright but I had switched on the lower fan oven! We had a very late dinner that day!

Posted by Noviomagus at 01:32 GMT Post Comment | Permalink

Friday, 3 December 2004
The Language of the Future
Topic: Miscellanea
Do you know how many languages are spoken on Earth?   No, neither did I until I found out yesterday that it is around 6,800. Sadly, a great number of these languages are dying out and some will be forgotten completely in twenty more years. Apparantly, linguists believe that as many as 90% could be gone by the year 2100. I wonder how many more languages there were in the past? How many in the whole of human history? Millions possibly. I suppose that, as early peoples gradually spread around the globe, the common 'Mother Tongue' diversified. Dialects appeared. People did not always live very long so isolated family groups of hunter/gatherers may have been very young and the young invent new words. In New Guinea, for instance, each tribe in each valley has its own separate language.

It is interesting that the rules for language and grammar appear to be fixed deep within our brains and that they follow the same set of rules for all of humanity. I remember seeing a programme on television some years ago about Nicaraguan children in a home for the deaf. They were fed and looked after but not taught language. Perhaps you remember seeing it? Well, like children everywhere, they wanted to communicate their feelings and they began to use a crude form of sign language. It was very basic to start with but as younger children learnt from the older children, they started to use more elaborate signs and, as more youngsters learnt, they eventually created a really sophisticated sign language with its own grammar. The process evolved over some thirty years and this facility for true language only developed in the very young children - the older children never progressed beyond their basic signing. The same happens to hearing children who are deprived of real human contact when they are young - they can never learn to speak fluently - and so-called 'wild or feral children' manage no more than a one or two words or sounds. It seems that the speech pathways in the brain have to form very early or it is too late. It is very important, therefore, to talk to our babies from the moment of their birth.

So what is happening to the world's languages? To our shame, some indigenous languages were repressed. Australian Aboriginal and Native American children were sent to schools in the 19th century and forbidden to speak their native tongues. Empire builders colonised the Americas, then Africa and India and forced the diverse people there to speak English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch or whatever. Other languages have died or are about to die with the last member of their tribal group.

In the Western World in the early 20th century, the crystal set radio was invented. The BBC was born in 1920 and early broadcasters in the United Kingdom spoke the 'King's English', with the perfect enunciation of the upper-class, lah-di-dah, we used to call it! (Did you know that in the early days of radio, the BBC News Reader's had to wear Evening Dress to read the News Bulletin!). Nowadays television reaches even more people and, although the variation of language and pronunciation that you hear is wide-ranging, the result is that many English dialects, such as the old Sussex dialect, have completely died out. The same has probably happened in other countries, too. Then, as technology advances and new inventions appear, new words are invented. How many languages use the word 'Computer' for instance?

What will be the prevalent language in 2100, I wonder? I suspect most people will speak English as a second language. But it could just as easily be Chinese or even Klingon! Now that's a thought.

Qapla'!   Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam!

P.S. Did you know that you can GOOGLE in Klingon?

Posted by Noviomagus at 17:41 GMT Post Comment | Permalink

Thursday, 18 November 2004
Try This
Topic: Miscellanea
The brain is an amazingly complex organ which controls everything our body does from breathing and walking to seeing and hearing. We like to think that our consciousness is always in control but sometimes the brain foils us. Take this silly exercise which arrived in my Inbox last night:
How smart is your right foot?

This will boggle your mind. And you will keep trying at least 50 more times to see if you can outsmart your foot, but you can't.

While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.

Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand.

Your foot will change direction.

How strange??!
Well, I couldn't do it. I thought my husband might be able to because he can do that other trick of patting your head with one hand whilst the other hand rubs your stomach in circles - but he couldn't either. Can you do it? Perhaps a Jazz Drummer could do it? Or an Organist? I wonder...

Posted by Noviomagus at 00:01 GMT Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink

Wednesday, 30 June 2004
Unwanted Nuisance Calls
Topic: Miscellanea
I smile now every time the telephone rings! I was SO fed up with all the marketing calls we were getting. First it was junk mail, then spam emails, and then intrusive, time wasting telephone calls. It seemed like hundreds of them every week! I registered with the "Telephone Preference Service" but it takes a while and depends on business using their 'don't call' lists. I could have had 'caller display', but why should I have to pay to know that 98% of my calls are unsolicited marketing calls? Our old analogue answering maching had packed up about three months ago and I had not been able to find a replacement. So, I was using British Telecom's free answer service for when I was on line or out of the house. I even thought of buying a new telephone. Then last Saturday, when I was not even looking, there it was, a stand alone digital answering machine sitting on the supermarket shelf. It gives us great satisfaction to hear it saying, "Thank you for calling"!

Posted by Noviomagus at 00:01 BST Post Comment | Permalink

Wednesday, 10 March 2004
Have a Chuckle!
Mood:  silly
Topic: Miscellanea
Hubby heard this on the radio today. Go to Google and type in 'Weapons of mass destruction'. Click on 'I'm Feeling Lucky'. Smile - You'll get a funny 404 error page! If you follow the links, don't spend too much money!

Posted by Noviomagus at 00:01 GMT Post Comment | Permalink

Thursday, 19 February 2004
A Strange Dream
Topic: Miscellanea
Had a very strange dream about a futuristic airshow going on over our back garden! Lots of strange aircraft passing by in formation - some really huge. Very interesting. I think I must be watching too many episodes of "Stargate SG1"! (It's a great show!).

And How To Keep Your Customers Happy
Never did get a reply from Freecom about my Traveller. After a week, I emailed them again to say I would appreciate an answer. Got a reply very quickly asking me to resend the original information. Wrote again on 11th. Given up now. Very rude of them not to reply, it would have only taken a couple of minutes or less to send a email saying 'sorry, unable to replace your machine as out of guarantee'.

Posted by Noviomagus at 00:01 GMT Post Comment | Permalink

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