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  15 December 2012

Navel gazing

Its been a month since my last blog posting and although its been a busy time, one might say that it has been a bit short on bloggable news around here. So here are some snippits about what others who have accessed cribbitDOTnet lately have been looking for and where they went to. One can't help thinking that some will have been bitterly disappointed.

Its always nice when we get 'referred to' from other websites and this post gives us a way of returning the honour so do try some of the links below. We seem to have rather a lot of friends in Russia though and just why is a mystery, though whether they are really friends is another matter. See what you make of the first two entries and just ask if you would like some more.



Here are some search strings, followed by where they went to, the number following the hash #, is the placing of the search term in the search engines list if known.
JUDGE AND BARRISTER      jasonrecent
things that can be made on a lathe     theBloG2012
New York City subway map 2012     adhamnewyork
lead flashing abuting render     donkeyshed
bingley grammar school     lom2012
stoupa paintings     theBloG2012
adham #1     adham
delay not invincible hosts music #2     theBloG2012
solution for wrinkles on hands back fingers     coccondiments
Jason lee dear     jason
how to make a crib out of fancy bread dough #1     cocbreadandpastry
nyc subway map 2012     adhamnewyork
uk traditional liverpool recipe for bunloaf #21     sj2007
stoupa 1950s     lom2012
sloe gin, plum & almond tart     cocdesserts
adham fisher #12     adham
taxi stoupa to athens #49     stoupa

Some popular search terms and the number of times they have been requested in the last month
stoupa   5
credenza   5
magnet+fishing   3
narrowboat+cribbit   3
book+characters+fancy+dress   3
pie+chart+and+sample+conclusion+of+vending+machine   2
adham+fisher+newcastle   2
basic+boat+control+panel   2
sloe+gin+plum+almond+tart   2
retreats+built+on+a+slope   2
individual+learning+plan+example+for+apprenticeship   1
operational+delivery+glossary   1
jason+lee+dear   1
retsina+restaurant+pictures   1
cribbit.net18november2012   1
tom+ford+sunglasses+anoak-0057   1
paddling+ducks+hunstanton   1
merangue   1
gnome+blog+tom+leadbeater   1
british+big+cat   1
old+greenford   1
gordons+wine+bar   1
patball+game   2
allotment+tool+store   1
naked+womens+privets   2
cribbit.net   2
missee+lee   2
noddy+dressing+up   1
sample+apprenticeship+ilp   1
adham+aso+crime   1
lizzieroger   1
web   1
the+chandos+arms+oakley   2
wrinkletect+treatment+wash+cosmetics   1
chris+leadbeater+crib   1
cribbits+cheese   1
jim+beam+glaze+pubs+recipe   1
how+i+make+the+mask+homer+simpson   1
brentford+tandoori   1
hazel+cribbit   1
apprenticeship+completed+review+form+sample   1
is+mace+the+same+as+bicarbonate+of+soda   1
ye+olde+lift+bridge   2
bingley+grammar+school   2
david+hockney+portrait+paintings   1
broadshaven+hat   1
adham+fisher+nikki+huber   1
noddy+and+big+ears   1
cribbits+site+officiel   1
ravioli+press+cutter   1
nb+cribbit   1
taxi+stoupa+to+athens   2
shard+london+from+gherkin   1
adham+fisher   1
queens+paintings+david+hockney   1
david+hockney+portraits+in+suits   1
john+maltby+gallows   1
carinya+narrowboat   1
schoolstaff+1981   1
stoupa+1950s   2
harry+potter+privet+drive+4+front+door   1
eelman+at+potter+heigham   1
hovis+factory+greenford    1
blackadder+costume   2
hovis+greenford   1
big+cat+sighting+in+cheddington   1

  16 November 2012

Cecilia Bartoli

I went to see Cecilia Bartoli at the Barbican last night. An enjoyable evening and a remarkable performance from her as usual, despite complaining of having a cold. Somehow she can fill the space in the Barbican Hall acoustically. The hall was packed to its capacity of 1943. In fact, I got the last ticket on the internet, just one seat, 'up in the gods'.

She performed pieces from her latest DVD, Mission which showcases the music of Agostino Steffani (1654-1728).

In the clip below, she is wearing the same turquoise dress she wore to the Barbican. Look out also for the music director Diego Fasolis, he directed with much vigour, standing at the harpsicord and leaping all round the stage to make his point to the players.

She was supported by the kammerorhesterbasel.

The evening started with 'Alarico il Baltha (1687) - Schiere invitte', no it didn't mean much to me either but helpfully, the programme notes had the words in Italian and in English.

Delay not,
Invincible hosts,
come fly
to your violent deeds.
noble Rome,
already overthrown,
amid carnage
and ruin.

Well Cecilia swirled onto the stage in that turquoise dress brandishing not a kalasnichov but a tambourine. Her exhortations to despoil and rapine probably not the sort of thing one would appreciate in a guest arriving at our summer party, either in fancy dress or not.

  11 November 2012

Christmas presents

Santa is busy in his workshop making Christmas presents at the moment. What he is making this year is a secret but you may remember the nice piece of oak, that featured in a recent issue of Little Old Man Weekly, well that might just have something to do with it. Meanwhile the workshop is filling up with streamers of oak, the waste that is produced when these things are made on the lathe. Hint: More is taken away than remains.

In the interest of secrecy, there will be no pics of this year's production line but here are last year's offerings.

The candlesticks Thomas made for his friends

My pestle and mortars

  23 October 2012

Raising the thatch

We are about to have Monodraught light pipes installed in the flat roof between the extension and the cottage. In order to fit them, I have been cutting back the thatch above the flat roof to give access. Originally, the thatch was resting on the roof and now it is about 10cm clear.

I'm told that the traditional tool for trimming the bottom of thatch are hedge clippers. Well NOT with ours I can tell you, try chain saw as the tool of choice.


A compost heap worth of straw.

Space for access.

  24 September 2012

Cider with Rosie

This weekend we have been with Ann and Jim at the East Harptree Festival. We had a great time with ceilidh with Rapscallion, a play, zumba, yoga, circus acts and an architerctural tour of the village and lots of other activities.

Rosemary relates a tale from when Becky[age 6] had just started primary school and came home to relate, around the family dinner table, ALL the facts of human reproduction in great and accurate detail. Matthew [age 4], took all this in, removed the thumb from his mouth, and said, "I don't believe you Becky", "Its true, isn't it mum?" said Becky from whom she received an affirmative. Matthew considered this for a few moments and then declared: "I'd rather knock a wall down"

Well for those with similar nervous disposition, The East Harptree Fesival provided a useful 'get out' activity in the form of dry stone walling. Rosemary and I took this one on, she because she has plans for a garden wall and me to avoid the dangers of zumba.

We assemble and survey our task

The first row had been put in for us

Steve shows Rosemary her rocks






The essential tools of the dry stone waller: Lump hammer, trowel, gloves and cider

A layer of mortar is put in the middle to consolidate and bind the core filling




The secondshift arrives


Hadrian would be pleased, the breach repaired and topped off

Rosemary lays claim to setting that one

Some links to performers and events:
East Harptree Festival.
Chew Valley Gazette.
AsOne theatre company
The cabinet maker's daughter, play.
The Invisible Circus, high wire act.
Tip Top Chaps
Arborista tree surgeons

  5 August 2012

Warner Brother's studio tour

While Sj was with us, we went to the Warner Brother's studio tour, The Making of Harry Potter. Sj is of course a mad HP fan, I am not, and that probably over estimates the exent of my fandom.

Having said that, I did enjoy the studio tour and decided that it was worth its, what seemed to me, high entry fee. I always enjoy a look behind the scenes and an insight into the techie bits of how things are done. I was also astonished by the quality and detail of the props, aspects which it seemed to me were completely lost in the final footage. The films, especially where there are effects, look gloomy, underlit and just as if they had been computer generated and not filmed in a 'real' set.

The Great Hall at Hogwarts School

Sj enthralled, she considers herself to be a member of Slytherin house

Behind the facade

Of course the ceiling is added separately and electronically

Sj outside the iron gates of Hogwarts School, will they let her in?

Cj contemplates the real scientific instruments bent to resemble magical instruments

Who could ever watch the film and see the event for which the trophy was awarded?

How fantastic for a design team to have to design graphics and newspapers for a different world

Products too

Sj gets to drive with cheesy grin

4 Privet Drive

Beautifully made sculptures

Safe to approach without the CGI see below

Cj wonders if he is looking in a mirror

Does she REALLY need a new broomstick?

Sj loved the models, 'Making models is something I would REALLY like to do'

Moonlight over Hogwarts School

Walking around it soon became apparent that the set is itself a set. It misses the activity and mess it would have if it was being used. While looking round, I remembered two entries from Sam Pepys's diary about his visits backstage and when I got home managed to find them, you can smell the grease paint and the smoke from the lighting in the extracts below.

Saturday 5 October 1667

....... I to my tailor's, and there took up my wife and Willet, who staid there for me, and to the Duke of York's playhouse, but the house so full, it being a new play, 'The Coffee House,' that we could not get in, and so to the King's house: and there, going in, met with Knepp, and she took us up into the tireing-rooms: and to the women's shift, where Nell was dressing herself, and was all unready, and is very pretty, prettier than I thought.

And so walked all up and down the house above, and then below into the scene-room, and there sat down, and she gave us fruit and here I read the questions to Knepp, while she answered me, through all her part of 'Flora's Figary's,' which was acted to-day.

But, Lord! to see how they were both painted would make a man mad, and did make me loath them; and what base company of men comes among them, and how lewdly they talk! and how poor the men are in clothes, and yet what a shew they make on the stage by candle-light, is very observable.

But to see how Nell cursed, for having so few people in the pit, was pretty; the other house carrying away all the people at the new play, and is said, now-a-days, to have generally most company, as being better players.

By and by into the pit, and there saw the play, which is pretty good, but my belly was full of what I had seen in the house, and so, after the play done, away home, and there to the writing my letters, and so home to supper and to bed.

Monday 19 March 1665/66

...... and after dinner we walked to the King's play-house, all in dirt, they being altering of the stage to make it wider.

But God knows when they will begin to act again; but my business here was to see the inside of the stage and all the tiring-rooms and machines; and, indeed, it was a sight worthy seeing.

But to see their clothes, and the various sorts, and what a mixture of things there was; here a wooden-leg, there a ruff, here a hobbyhorse, there a crown, would make a man split himself to see with laughing; and particularly Lacy's wardrobe, and Shotrell's.

But then again, to think how fine they show on the stage by candle-light, and how poor things they are to look now too near hand, is not pleasant at all.
The machines are fine, and the paintings very pretty......

  12 July 2012

bug cat net for crib

I'm very pleased with the Site statistics link from the website, some might even say obsessed. I especially like the 'recent visitor map' option.

Another favourite is the 'recent keyword activity' option which produced this gem this week.

bug cat net for crib

I'm glad to say that this poor victim of search engine logic only hung around for 'less than 5 seconds' as told to me from the 'visit length' option.

You can access all these yourself [and more, as they say in America] from the Site statistics link on the homepage and also from the right hand menu.

It did make me wonder though just what the search engine had discovered in the website to make this a good suggestion. Some things come immediately to mind:

big cat
strawberry net
Then I tried a Google search of just the website: 9 results (0.24 seconds)

  1 July 2012


At the end of June, Thomas, Rosemary and I went to Amsterdam to meet up with Sarah and Ivo. Sarah had just arrived from the states and was to be taking an extended trip into Northern Scandinavia with Ivo before joining us back in the UK for the last two weeks of July.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon, dumped our gear at the hotel and headed across the
Vondel park to the blue boat rhondfart pier where we met Sj and Ivo. An enjoyable rhondfart cruise and then we were off again for a rijsttafel at restaurant blauw at the other end of the park.
Friday we took the train to Utrecht to meet the pair again and to kayak the canals of Utrecht. To our surprise, we covered 5.8 miles in our 2 hour journey.
Saturday we went to the Van Gough Museum and then tw and I headed off to the Albert Cuyp to forage for bike locks and Indonesian ingredients, We were very pleased with our purchases coming home with Ketchap Manis, Krupeuks, various sambals and a bunch of heiler longe beans.

Very long beans

No doubt we will get Sj's Sj visits version of this about this time next year but this will have to do until then. When we got home, the first thing we made with the Dutch ingredients was Babi Ketjap.

Our view of Amsterdam is....


and bicycle baskets

Cj has to figure out how this one works

This one doesn't work

bloga6 and this one is a bit doubtful

could be a bit Dali

No brakes but yet they stop

Two up

Three up

Three up


Where do you park them when the streets are full?


on a boat

If I lived here this would be mine

Then we went to Utrecht by train so we could kayak the canals there

Hey! I do the contre-jour umbrellas

To Utrecht





The panoramic view from where we had lunch


This time with ...errrr... boats

  17 June 2012

Meandering in the Mani.

I'm just back from being in Greece with Terry and Roger, this is by way of a quick taster while I write up the rest properly in the Stoupa pages. Progress on that will be directly proportional to the amount of rain we have which looks like I may get the write up done rather quickly.

Our base was Terry's house in Stoupa in the Southern Peloponnese on mainland Greece near to Kalamata.

Our activities consisted mostly of what Terry calls 'fossicking around' . This being eating, drinking, and actual fossicking, Terry is a keen bird watcher and Roger a botanist/photographer interested in flowering plants. We also like foraging around the markets for food, cooking and eating it and dealing with the official business required when you own a car and a house in a foreign country.

I enjoy all these activities especially when they are set in such scenery. Which is just like Wales, but hot and without the rain, though that could easily be a line from Lenon's song 'Imagine', and a good example of an oxymoron if ever there was one.

I really like being in Greece. It seems to have retained something that we have lost in the UK. The people are friendly and little old men can express themselves with numerous little contraptions and eccentrices.

I have a store of Little Old Man Weekly items to be produced in due course. Lampshade, katrolschijf , scarecrow, guano deflector, security gate

I've come home with some new recipes as well which will be linked to from here soon. Slow roasted leg of goat, octopus in red wine, moussaka variation, zucchini, aubergine and cheese balls.







Car annual emission test


  30 May 2012

Sexual dimorphism in dogs

We have heard recently of concerns about sexual dimorphism in gnomes. I'm pleased to relate that there does not appear to be need for any such concern when it comes to dogs as evinced by this dog in the next door's garden of our holiday home in Hunstanton.


Reclining dog letting it all hang out

  11 May 2012

Serious problems in North West London

Moving my moorings has given me a new view of North West London. We have already had a rant about Ockham and Auriol Drives on the Greenford pages. Now we have Gnomes and men living on their own.

I have discovered a serious infestations of Gnomes, near to Greenford Station:





Rosemay is always going on about single men having a nice time on their own on their canal boats. Well around here they can do the same sort of thing in a house.


  2 May 2012


During a weak moment at this year's MIT Mystery Hunt, Sj got convinced that she could run an upcoming puzzle event in the Boston area come the spring. Well the spring has arrived and so has DASH or "different area same hunt" to the cognescenti.

You can find her descriptions of the competitions in her Live Journal account of the MIT Mystery Hunt and of being the convener and running the day in her Live Journal account of DASH.

To encourage you to follow the links above, there are two pics below and a puzzle for you. Just why are her helpers wearing parrots?


Her stalwart team and errr parrots


The milling contestants

  23 March 2012


24.4 degrees in the barrel and we had our first lunch in the garden of 2012. Made a seafood pizza and washed it down with a glass of Argentinian Malbec wine.


Garden lunch 23 March

  3 March 2012

Lucian Freud

I went to the Lucian Freud       exhibition   at the National Portrait Gallery   yesterday. It was fantastic, that man was a genius.

I've managed to surf up some of the paintings that I liked but they don't do the originals justice.

This was my favourite. I liked this because although most of the paintings were of nudes, they could hardly be called sensuous but I think this one is. It's the artist's naked foot pressing on the tube of paint that I like.

Painter and model, 1986-7

The several studies of his mother were really good too. I like this one as it combines youth and old age, and has a beautiful rendition of the hands and a skewed perspective.

Large interior, W9, 1973

Also in the exhibition, were two photographs of Freud at work, one painting The Queen and the other painting David Hockney

Painting David Hockney

The finished article, David Hockney

David Hockney calculated that his portrait took 130 hours to complete. When Hockney did Freud, his portrait took two and a half hours.

What I liked about the second photograph, of Freud painting the Queen was that Freud had put on a suit to paint the Queen. But then the Queen had put on a tiara.

Painting the Queen, in a suit

I also enjoyed his last paintings, done when he was in his 80s. Especially the way his representation of the flesh mirrored the background of the sitter.

Freud and wallpaper become one

  1 March 2012


It's very nice to find the weather warming and a feeling of spring in the air. The grass also seems to be getting the same feeling as it has started to grow again. This is all very well but neither of the mowers I use at the allotment is operational. The bodywork on the Mountfield is OK but the engine doesn't work. Well the engine works but it is the pathetic recoil starter that has failed which amounts to the same thing. Frank's has a remarkable engine, its a Briggs and Statton, and starts first pull every time even though it lives under a leaky sheet on the allotment. Unfortunately, every time we use it, a bit more of the body falls off, to the point that it is getting to be dangerous.

My spring job has been to take the engine and grass catcher off Frank's mower and put them on our body. After all this, true to form, the Briggs and Stratten roared into life on the first pull. I'm hoping it will also enjoy having oil in its sump as well.

The disappearing body

Engine transfered and grass catcher installed

New brackets and block to hold the grass catcher

  26 February 2012

The 'doing' weekend

Last time Honda and Vikki stayed with us they said that sometime, they would like to have a proper go at spinning and turning, then we thought of some other things that they would like to do as well. The idea of a 'doing' weekend was born. Finally, we managed to find a weekend when we were all free and spent some time to-ing and fro-ing emails to choose our activities.

-----Original Message-----
From: vsmart86
To: Dr Tom Leadbeater ; Chris Leadbeater ; Honda Moose
Sent: Tue, 10 Jan 2012 9:12
Subject: Re: Doing weekend...

And what are we doing?? Suggestions include:

walking the dog... ?
baking bread
woodpecker song and other hearty (drunken) rhymes
driiinnnnkkkkiiinnggg as well then
some sort of garden related 'bowls' game - botcha

We convened Friday evening and settled into a Greek meal with a metze of:
Hummous, guacamole, Kalamata olives, Greek salad and home made Bread . This was followed by a Mousakka and accompanied by Retsina for those who like it, and red wine. Retsina may be an acquired taste but there are those who like it a lot despite the difficulty of enumerating its bottles.

Saturday was a workshop day with an evening meal of asparagus starter followed by roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. allotment cabbage, frozen beans and roast potatoes.

Sunday the dog got its walk, or more properly, Honda got his! Josie set off at a great rate with Honda hanging on for dear life to her lead, his black coat last seen disappearing into the far distance of Worminghall Road with his little leggies trailing behind.


Thomas shows Honda the correct angle for the roughing gouge


Off he goes, chips a-flying


Vikki takes on the great wheel


Followed by the bobbin and flyer wheel


Then a quick outing to the allotment to give my gnome a view of the work he has to do


Evening meal

Our summer parties usually end with the 'late night crew' sitting round the fire and entertaining themselves in a good old fashioned way, without a television. This always includes a round or two of 'Prince of Wales' We are pretty pathetic at this but it's always good noisy fun with lots of elbow pointing , accusation and outright confusion. The links are to two websites with the rules of this game which used to be a regular feature of fraternity parties in the 60s when I was at Cortland.

Also mixed in with this are renditions of old rugby songs, which I learned learned during a misspent youth playing rugby [badly] at Winnington Park Rugby club when I was 16. The woodpecker song being a particular favourite. This linkincludes an MP3 so you can sample it for yourself, [mercifully]


I shoved my finger in a woodpecker's hole,
And the woodpecker said, "God bless my soul,
Take it out, take it out, take it out,

I removed my finger from the woodpecker's hole,
And the woodpecker said, "God bless my soul,
Put it back, put it back, put it back,

Other verses:
Replaced/turn it round/REVOLVE IT!
Revolved/turn it back/REVERSE IT!
Reversed/in and out/RECIPROCATE IT!
Reciprocated/speed it up/ACCELERATE IT!
Accelerated /slow it down/RETARD IT!
Retarded/once again/REPEAT IT!
Repeated/twist it round/RE-ARTICULATE IT!
Re-articulated /let it go/RELEASE IT!
Released/pull it out/RETRACT IT!
Retracted/the other hole/RE-ALIGN IT!
Re-aligned/pull it out/REMOVE IT!
Removed/take a whiff/REVOLTING!

Also, not related but requested, were the words for the 'unobservant birds' poem. Whenever tw or sj passed by something that I thought they should have noticed I would remark, 'What these unobservant birds have never noticed is that.....' As I re-call, this was quoted as recently as last summer on Cribbit's summer cruise.

The full version is:

The Common Cormorant -- Christopher Isherwood

The common cormorant (or shag)
Lays its eggs in a paper bag,
The reason you will see, no doubt?
It is to keep the lightning out.

But what these unobservant birds
Have never noticed, is that herds
Of wandering bears with buns
Come steal the bags to hold the crumbs.

  10 February 2012


I have been working on tw's clock these last few days. It was made by our ancester Thomas Leadbeater, though he spells his name 'Ledbeater'. Spelling has never been a strong thing with us Leadbeaters, well this one anyway.

My parents bought the clock for me when I was in the States and it was in a very sorry state when they got it. Like many longcase clocks, it had been 'adapted' to fit in a damp, low ceilinged cottage. This had been done by roughly sawing off the bottom of the case and then nailing ordinary softwood skirting board to the bottom to cover the wet rot and woodworm damage. It was missing winder, pendulum, weights and one weight pulley. Luckily, my father had 'modernised' his old longcase clock by replacing the mechanical movement with a nice plastic electric quartz one. This meant that pendulum, weights and winder were surplus so were soon commandeered for my clock.

At the time, we were living at Rookery Cottage and that had the same problem of low ceilings. As I had to replace the whole of the bottom of the clock, I made it so that the clock would just fit between the floor joists at the cottage. In truth I also spaced the joists with the clock in mind.

Once tw bought his own house the clock went with him but as his ceilings are quite high it always looked out of proportion. We kept saying that 'one day we will do something about the bottom of that clock'. Well that time has come! Last week I made a base to extend the bottom section and it now looks better proportioned.

This was also a good opportunity to repair and replace several other bits of unsatisfactory casework. Like door hinges, door lock and bits of moulding.

The movement had also suffered over the years and cleaning and re-assembling it has occupied me these past two days. I'm now waiting for some replacement parts to complete the job. Expect another post when it has all been done.

The movement was reduced to a pile of cogs and spindles and then scrubbed in household ammonia followed by a chromic acid bath.


A pile of bits


Putting it back together


Plate back in place


The whole movement re-assembled

  4 February 2012


The re-modelling of the bathroom and lobby with several new doors has necessitated the turning of new knobs to fit them. This has triggered Rosemary to express her disapprobation of all the 'phallic' shaped ones that grace other locations in the house. Now, I would be the first to admit to her much greater cognisance of knobs and their diverse shapes than ever I could aspire to myself. So I must bow to her greater knowledge and merely wonder at the many sacrifices she must have made to gain such comprehensive knowledge.


This one does for our door knocker


Hard won knowledge


Hat and coat pegs


Bedroom hangers


Shaker hangers


New bathroom cabinet knob

Bearing in mind her strictures about the shape of new knobs I crafted this one pudentically.


Pudentic knob


  7 January 2012

Introducing LEXA LEA!

Our family gatherings are always enlivened when Alex is with us. Her good humour and zany gifts providing much amusement. My mother, despairing that she hadn't got a REAL job, variously remarked: 'That girl should go on the stage' and 'It's a shame that she can't find a job where dressing-up is a requirement.'
I don't think my mother had heard of Disney World.

Well it has finally happened! Alex has been doing Sally Holloway's Comedy Course which finished with her end of course stand-up act in Hastings on 22nd November.

And now you can see her for yourselves on youtube .

And she is still here on her own page at cribbit.net.

Alex sings the mop

Alex sings the mop

Website links