Saturday, July 22, 2017

Titanium Implants No's 6 and 7

A long time in the planning. Upper left 4 and 5 have been on the endangered list for over two decades; since 1991 to be exact when UL5 was crowned.

UL4 went a long time ago and UL5 was fitted with a cantilevered crown to help bridge the gap. That clearly puts strain on the root as there is a rotational component.

Note also the two dots at the top of the roots. They are little pieces of silver from root canal work I had done in the late 1970's under a general anaesthetic in John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

Eventually, earlier this year, the root cracked under the strain and had to be extracted. The game plan had always been two implants when the inevitable happened.

There was a wait of three months to let the site heal and allow for some bone regrowth. Once the wait was over the implants went in under sedation, as with all previous implants. Another period of healing for osseointegration where the bone and metal bond.

The next stage is to cut through the newly re-grown flesh and bone to extract the temporary, stainless steel, centre screws. Then the posts (or abutments as they are correctly termed) were, temporarily, inserted for the taking of impressions and casts.

They are replaced with "mushrooms" around which a more shaped gum will form while the casts are sent off for the lab work of making the crowns.

Finally the grand finale: extract the "mushrooms" and fit the abutments and crowns. Rash declared himself happy with the result.

It still feels a little odd with teeth filling the hole that my tongue has got used to over the last six months but that will pass. I am pleased that I will still be able to chew my steak when I am 103. A wise investment.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bryan Ferry at Hampton Court

Hampton Court. Wednesday 21-June-2017.

Yet another band ticked off the musical bucket list - artists to see before *they* die. Roxy Music was part of my college soundtrack: "For Your Pleasure" and "Stranded"; then solo "These Foolish Things" and "Another Time, Another Place". Clearly Roxy Music are unlikely to reform but it was a safe bet that Bryan's set would include some Roxy tracks.

So glad they added this extra date so we could get to see him.

We had a champagne picnic in the grounds beforehand.

As always, I love this place. As concert venues go a five centuries old royal palace ain't bad.

The band were wonderful, the backing singers were excellent but the sax player was superb, she rightfully feature heavily in many of the songs. It made me appreciate how much the saxophone was a key component of the Roxy Music sound.

Listening to Bryan sing Do The Strand I twigged that the lyrics mention Quaglino's where we have dined several times. Of course back in 1973 it meant nothing. Now the penny drops.

A review of the first date from The Express which could equally apply to this date:

"Backed by a fabulous band - playing a funky The Main Thing from Roxy's final album Avalon - Ferry sauntered onstage to play a long set of solo hits and Roxy Music classics. At 71, Ferry still cuts a dashing figure with his flop of dark hair and elegant suit. As the opening notes to Slave To Love played, a snake-hipped Ferry rolled back the years as he transformed the Palace Base Court into an outdoor disco playing hit after hit." [Full review Bryan Ferry opens the Hampton Court Palace Festival in grand style]

"An elegant evening of music under the stars - with more than a dash of style - to celebrate the 25th Hampton Court Palace Festival." Couldn't have put it better myself.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Simple Minds at The London Palladium

London. Saturday 27-May-2017.

Simple Minds weren't on my musical bucket list - artists to see before *they* die - but no reason not to go see them.

The London Palladium, like many of London's West End theatres is an architectural gem - apparently a Grade II* listed building.

It was billed as 'Acoustic Live '17". Turned out it wasn't that acoustic. The guitars were acoustic rather than electric but miked up and amplified, and all the other instruments were as normal. It was apparently as much an opportunity to showcase new rearrangements of the songs.

An excellent review and lots of pictures from Naomi Dryden-Smith on Louder than War:

"Any nagging worries about the implications of “acoustic set” (for those who haven’t heard the album) are dispelled within the first minute with the arrival of Cherisse Osei who, bathed in gorgeous golden lighting, fills the place with astonishing tribal drumming, marking the beginning of New Gold Dream. The whole place is on its feet from the very start, and Simple Minds spend the next couple of hours demonstrating that acoustic doesn’t mean unplugged, but merely “rearranged”
A fantastic gig from start to finish, comfortable familiar nostalgia revamped and energized to appeal to a new audience. Definitely one to go and see if you can catch the tour."

Seems like a number of the audience recorded songs and have loaded them up on YouTube; here's one:


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Other Place 07 - Furniture Assembling

Cisternino, Puglia, Italy. Thursday 25-May-2017.

While we were away the kitchen worktop was fitted which looks great but I forgot to take a picture. However the main feature of this trip was getting furniture into the place. Plus buying all the lights for every room so the electrician could come in and fit them.

When you are two stories up centuries-old narrow winding stairs there are two options with furniture. Flat pack that goes up the stairs or pre-assembled and winch it up the outside. Fortunately the builders scaffolding and hoist are there until the end of the month.

Most of the furniture were pre-ordered from Ikea for delivery the day after we arrived. Two wardrobes, two chest of drawers, two bedside cabinets, two hanging rails and a bed. At least I didn't have to carry all that lot up two flights of steep stairs. The poor delivery driver looked well puffed by the end.

By the end I was getting pretty slick at assembly. Thank goodness for the power screwdriver.

The sofa was a different matter. It was delivered a couple of days later and came as a piece. It had to go up the outside - a scary thing to watch.

The hoist is rated for more than the weight of the sofa but even so it is not a spectacle for the nervous.

Once on the terrace it was a bit of a manoeuvre to reverse it into the small bedroom and back out through the kitchen and dining room, across the landing and into the living room.

A week later a sideboard from Calligaris went up the same route. All very stylish and in one piece.

It was not all work, there was eating and drinking. One difference between London and Cisternino is that here you actually know the name of the person who made your Easter egg - Antonietta Pinto founder of Chocolab. We've met her and she's the sister of the brothers who run Bar Fod across the piazza. Buona Pasqua.

That's the Limoncello and Arancello started. I have made Limoncello before using Chris's recipe but this is the first time I have made Arancello.

We'll be back in a couple of weeks to complete the recipe by adding the syrup.

While we are away at least one of the bathrooms should be installed and the boiler up and working so we can actually move in. We will be driving down with a car stuffed full of all sorts on a three day road trip and now be based there for the summer.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Other Place 06 - Kitchen Fitting

Cisternino, Puglia, Italy. Thursday 30-March-2017.

This whole trip was planned around the installation date for the kitchen.

The basic layout is a U-shape. Key to the design is to separate the oven and hob. The hob is in the foreground facing into the room so Mary can cook and talk to our guests at the same time.

The back of the units are covered with dummy doors so that you are not looking at the bare backs of the units.

One downside of buying a non-designer kitchen was that Conforama could not supply the worktop. The walls are too irregular, they only do basic walls with straight lines and 90 degree angles. We had to wait until the units were in then get the local marble merchant round to measure up. Part of the challenge is to play Tetris with the pieces of the worktop to cut them all from a single 270cm by 325cm composite slab.

All done ready for the worktop, hob and sink.

Up on the terrace the water tank is waiting to be plumbed in. All the houses in the town have rooftop tanks as the water supply is turned off at night. It will be hidden behind a low stone wall for aesthetic reasons.

The terrace walls are below the one metre legal minimum. Our initial thought was to put trellis attached to the planters. Now we are thinking we will put a proper metal railing - awaiting a quote for that.

The next visit we plan to move in. As long as the water is connected the loos will work and we can always boil a kettle for a flannel wash and go to Trullo Azzurro for a shower later. Exciting times.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Paul Young's Los Pacaminos at Half Moon

Putney, London. Friday 24-March-2017.

This was supposed to be John Lee Hooker at Under The Bridge but that was cancelled due to "unforseen circumstances" so we invoked Plan B.

Paul Young has a wonderful voice and I remember his early singles "Love of the Common People" and "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)". Since those days he has eschewed pop music, the charts, and stardom for a back-to-basics approach and low key gigs in pubs and nightclubs. He apparently formed this Tex-Mex band back in 1993.

I went with friends Grant and John for meal beforehand at Hudson's just a few doors along. Described on Google as "Easygoing, family-friendly neighbourhood restaurant with outdoor seats, serving global comfort food." I'd second that.

Paul is the one with the grey stubbly beard and the check shirt.

I enjoyed the music well enough although Tex-Mex wouldn't be top of my preferred musical styles. The band were clearly having a good time and that adds to the atmosphere.

There was a support act then they did two sets so we certainly got our money's worth.

An enjoyable evening.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Omar Puente Cuban Jazz Quintet at Ronnie Scott's

Soho, London. Friday 17-March-2017.

Mary and I went with her friend and ex-colleague, Cristina. Another person we have introduced to Ronnie's.

An evening of energetic Latin music with eating and drinking. What more can I say.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

North Downs Way 07 - Hollingbourne to Charing

Kent Tuesday 14-March-2017.

Rather than heading home after reaching Hollingbourne, we stayed over at Leeds Castle to make it a 2 day walk. Very pleasant accommodation in the stable yard. We dined in the Castle View Restaurant and were very impressed with the quality of the food and the service.

Part of the deal with staying in the castle B & B was free entry into the castle. In the morning we were able to wander the grounds before the crowds arrived which was very delightful.

Once the castle opened we did the full tour, for free. A fascinating castle.

After lunch we took a taxi back to The Dirty Habit for an afternoon's half day walk. It being spring there were flowers. No idea what these are.

But I'm pretty sure these yellow chaps are primrose.

At this point the NDW joins the Pilgrim's Way for the nine mile walk to Charing. Much easier going which was a relief after the day before but downside was that the scenery was much less stunning than previous sections.

Not for the first time a bit of a brisk walk towards the end to catch an imminent train and avoid a long wait.

This leg: 8 miles
Total so far:104 miles

Monday, March 13, 2017

North Downs Way 06 - Cuxton to Hollingbourne

Kent. Monday 13-March-2017

As we get further from London the longer the train journey to our start point. By this stage it made more sense to make it a two day trip. We chose the B & B at Leeds Castle as the venue for our overnight stop.

We were due to take the train to Cuxton. That involved a change at Strood (Kent) for a 4 minute train journey and a 1.5 mile walk. So we jumped ship at Strood into a taxi that took us to the point on the NDW where we had finished the previous leg, all of which gave us at last a 30 minute advantage. Just as well given the day we had ahead.

Almost immediately we crossed the Medway Viaducts with a fine view of Baty's Marsh, shortly followed by Fort Borstal  -  part of the original young offenders institute.

Another lovely sunken lane.

This is an ancient landscape. We passed Kit's Coty House - the remains of a Neolithic chambered long barrow constructed 3500-2800 BC.

The White Horse Stone - another neolithic relic.

A long day through varied scenery with lots of ups and downs. The last stretch was especially hard work as the ups and downs continued which put the pressure on.

We were glad we started early otherwise we would have been stumbling downhill through woods in the dark.

We made it to at The Dirty Habit in Hollingbourne at 6:30 for a well earned pint. Our destination was off-path to Leeds Castle for our overnight stay so having done 18 miles already, and it being dark, we summoned a taxi to take us to the castle.

This leg: 18 miles
Total so far: 96 miles

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Other Place 05 - Furniture Moving

Cisternino, Puglia, Italy. Saturday 11-March-2016.

This trip was all about furniture - moving it and buying it. In part this was caused by retro-fitting air-conditioning into Sotto-Le-Stelle. Knowing that was going to create a lot of dust we started moving as much as we could across to the new place.

The scaffolding is down at the front showing of the freshly scrubbed frontage - all repointed and freshly whitewashed. The neighbours wisely chipped in to have their middle floor walls done at the same time whilst the scaffolding and city permits were in place.

If you look carefully you can see how Saverio has picked out the pillars between arched windows - a nice touch.

It was market day while we were there. The stalls start in Corso Umberto I, past our front door and down Via Regina Margarita. We get a good view from the roof.

First up was moving stuff from Trullo Azzurro to the apartment. Saverio has an amazing, heavy-duty cherry picker which he used to grab the fridge freezer from the courtyard. We also moved a double bed which we replaced with twin beds from Conforama making the accommodation at Trullo Azzurro more adaptable.

Everything came up via the back terrace.


The fridge

Even the plant tubs from Sotto-le-Stelle

We bought a couple of Ikea chest of drawers so we could move most of our clothes over. Once we'd filled up the small bedroom Saverio sealed up the room with a plastic sheet while works continued.

It appears that there was a leak from our small terrace into the flat below so we had to have it re-tiled incorporating a waterproof membrane.

Removing the old boiler has revealed a bench which is now covered with stone slab and is a real sun trap.

The interior is also proceeding apace with the painting under way.

Next visit is timed to oversee the kitchen installation.