Sunday, 30 March 2008

In The (British) Summertime When The Weather's High

(Thanks to Mungo Jerry, just in case you didn't know)

Yep there it is, we've put our clocks forward an hour and have officially put Winter behind us. We'll see if the weather systems have got that message LOL.

The hospital are continuing to make mum as comfortable as possible. They are steadily increasing the pain relief to try and bring it under control. Her consultant visited Friday- he feels the bone strengthening treatment is now having very little benefit and has suggested it should be stopped. Instead he recommends concentrating on pain control.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Palliative Care

The doctors have been struggling to bring mum's pain under control in recent weeks. She had a meeting yesterday with a specialist at the Palliative Care clinic in Wokingham.

We heard last night they have made a place available for her at a specialist care hospital in Reading. She's going in today for up to a week, maybe longer to try and find the right combination of drugs.

Mum's due to see her Oncologist next week for a review and hopefully assess how the radiotherapy went but the specialist yesterday did say they were beginning to run out of options.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Good Friday

Despite my upbringing in first the Methodist and then Baptist church, I'm not at all sure whether it is the form to wish people "Happy Easter" today or on Easter Sunday...

I guess without Good Friday we wouldn't have Easter Sunday so I've kind of made my own mind up. Today marks the day when a man called Jesus was put to death by the Romans. The Bible teaches that he gave his life willingly and that three days later he came back from the dead.

Happy Easter everyone. Don't eat too many chocolate eggs in one go.

(I've been enjoying the BBC's The Passion, telling the Easter Story. It's a co-production with HBO, so the "transatlantically challenged" might get a chance to see it. Well worth it.)

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Season Four

The unofficial Doctor Who News page ( is reporting that the BBC has set Saturday 5 April as the launch date for the next series of Doctor Who.

Might explain why the schedules for series two of (spin-off) Torchwood have been bumped up a bit, with two new episodes this week. No news yet on any of the official BBC sites as far as I can see.

Can't wait to get back on board the TARDIS.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Vellum Blue Dolomite

Have just uploaded images to Webshots of my latest college work. Please take a wander over there and have a look.

Work in Progress

I'll be posting images of the finished pots I brought home from college shortly. In the meantime I thought I would share pictures of my current work in progress. These are two pots I threw on the wheel last week and left in the wet room to dry a little, to leather hard.

Last night's work was non too taxing: turning away excess clay from the bases to form decorative foot rings and then, as I think I mentioned last week, distorting the pieces away from the regular round form. Hopefully you'll agree they look quite good.

Here's the end results...

These are now back in the wet room to dry out more, before firing. College is now closed for an extended break firstly thanks to Easter and then due to the faux-Easter break in April, so I won't see these baby's again for a good few weeks.

Arthur C Clarke, 1917- 2008.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Not Quite a Winning Streak

I don't suppose two wins in a row counts as a run, perhaps a mini-streak..?

Yesterday Reading FC went down 2-1 away against one of the current top form sides, Liverpool.

A valiant effort from The Royals.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Harry and Terry

Recently Warner Bros confirmed that the final Harry Potter film- The Deathly Hallows will be split in two parts and released something like 4-6 months apart. Good move in my view. It's a big book with a lot going on and many sub-plots to be tied together but also it is the big event of the entire range (obviously). So there'll be even more antisipation over the concluding half of the tale.

Elsewhere yesterday, top selling Disc World author Terry Pratchett announced his intention to donate £500,000 ($1m) to Alzheimer's charity for research. Having been recently diagnosed himself, Pratchett used an event at the Alzheimer's Research Trust annual conference to highlight the poor state of funding for treatment and research.

The author was diagnosed late last year with early-onset dementia. There are 15,000 people in the UK with this form, which strikes the under 65's. Stangely the NHS has said that at 59 Pratchett is too young to receive the drug Aricept free of charge, so he must fund his own treatment. In total, an estimated 700,000 people in the UK have Alzheimer's. Although this figure could well be higher- in an earlier radio interview the author had said that often people just describe "having a Senior Moment."

At the conference he is reported as saying "I've given up my driving licence because I didn't feel confident driving. And if I've got something inside out, it's a little bit puzzling getting it the right way round again." Later saying "The curious thing is that writing goes on, although the typing doesn't."

Pratchett said in his speech (that was widely reported on UK TV and radio) that "It is a shock to find out that funding for Alzheimer's research is just 3% of that to find cancer cures." The Alzheimer's Research Trust says that just £11 per patient is spent annually on research into the disease, compared with £289 for each cancer patient.

Makes you stop and think doesn't it?

Read the full story at:

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Ceramics Night Out

Thought I would post some pictures from last night's Ceramics Guild meeting. We meet around 6 times a year for an evening of discussion with a professional potter, who has kindly given their time to visit us. About twice a year we also have a "Potter's Day" where as the name suggests, a Potter spends a day with us. Everyone contributes food and a good time is had messing with clay.

Yesterday's guest was London based Katie Adams ( who spoke about her personal history and influences, ably supported by a range of images of her work over the years. The second half of the evening was devoted to a demonstration of her techniques.

Here can be seen some stages involved in the production of a jug: (top) centering and opening out, (above right) lifting or pulling up and (below) adding decorative effect with a scalpel. So as not to bore everyone, I've not included forming the spout, turning the footring or pulling the handle!

Obviously a small amount of "cheating" was required for the purposes of the demo: Katie brought a leather hard piece with her- so she could add the pulled handle and decorate- plus a range of her finished work.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Here's One I Made Earlier

OK I guess you probably had to have been brought on that great British institution known as Blue Peter to get that...

Returned home early from college last night Pot-less and with a bad headache. Why do I get so many on a Tuesday? I can confirm however I have glazed work in the kiln, so all being well I'll be posting images- no matter how good or bad- next week. Also managed to throw a couple of new pots before giving up. Once these are leather hard I'll turn the bases and then I might try distorting them in some manner. See what effects we get. Maybe more on that next week.

So there I was last night feeling sorry for myself sitting on my bed with a glass of soluable Solpadeine in one hand (maybe wine would sound better? LOL) when on tv came the first episode of the new Bionic Woman. I'm afraid I'm old enough to remember the original. For some reason as polished as this one is, it somehow lacked a certain charm and playfullness that maybe my befundled memory has conned me into thinking was present in the earlier version. Maybe the remaining 7 episodes scheduled on ITV2 will show a marked improvement? Mind you I hear audience figures in the US dropped away before the writer's strike and that it is unlikely to be recommisioned for another series.

On a similar note, the BBC has confirmed April will see the return of Doctor Who to our screens. Yea- can't wait! Sontarans, Agatha Christie, Pompeii, Billy Piper and maybe Davros, creator of the Daleks..? My money's on series 4 starting during the (late) Easter school holiday.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


Mum's been in a lot of discomfort over the weekend, following her radiotherapy on Friday, so Dad gave the hospital a call yesterday.

Apparently there's two ways to administer the dose she received. Either 5 low power treatments or one big one. Can you guess which she got? Mind you, no one bothered to mention this at the time. Dad was worried about the level of pain she now had but also didn't have a clue when they were due back for more.

Seems the pain and sickness is perfectly normal given the level of treatment. Nice to be told.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Not a Good Day to Come From Manchester

Today's footie results.

Manchester United 0 - 1 Portsmouth

But perhaps more importantly:

Reading 2 - 0 Manchester City.

Puts The Royals up to 13th out of 20 teams in the Premier League. That's better- well done!

Friday, 7 March 2008


Mum has returned from hospital, where she received her first new treatment on her spine. She's currently feeling very sore and washed out; hopefully that will pass quickly.

She's due to visit her consultant again on Monday 31 March, where they will map out her on-going treatment plan.

It's Friday!

Seems like it's been a long week somehow. Let's hear it for the Weekend!

Looks like the weather's going to be great. Maybe.

Just a thought: has anyone else been enjoying Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles?

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Hump Day

Mum had a consultation this morning. She's returned home with four tattooed target marks on her back! She starts her new course of radiotherapy this Friday afternoon. Not sure at this stage how many or how frequently.

I got to help out at Little Lad's Preschool this morning. What fun! Making Teas and Coffees for the staff and cold drinks for around 20 kids. Oh yeah and model making with Play Dough, building Train tracks, painting and helping with dressing up. Afterwards the two of us went swimming and then lunch. The afternoon was a little quieter with some quality sitting still and a visit to look at the animals at a local Garden Centre.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Come On The Royals!

No, nothing what so ever to do with a certain Prince doing his duty for his Grandma and Country...

Today marked the end of a run of eight straight defeats for Reading Football Club, The Royals. They beat Middlesborough away 0-1 with an injury time goal from James Harper. Nice.

Reading are still in the danger zone and could still face the drop at the end of the season but this might just be the turning point. Finger's crossed this is the start of a change of fortune. Well done boys!