Tuesday, November 10, 2009

GPS Toy, Birds by the Thousand.

I have a new toy. I ordered it from Worldstart.com a couple of weeks ago. It is a GPS system which works on your laptop and I believe will also work on my Palm, but probably not as it has no external connections to either the internet or a phone line. However, having loaded the software I spent lots of time messing about with the programme. It is called Earthmate GPS by Delorme and it cost me - wait for it - about $40 Cdn. Not $250-$300 or more, which most people pay for a regular GPS system. OK so I have to have the laptop with me, but then mostly if we were travelling any distance to unknown destinations, I would have it with me anyway. Having only received it yesterday afternoon, I have not yet tested it in the car, but plan to do so tomorrow as we are going to my doc in Cambridge, that is a 20 - 30 minute drive so I can try it out and see what happens. Mind you the software is for 2008 and they already have 2010 out, but lets face it, streets don't get changed that often. Its not like we are driving to strange places all the time. I made a discovery this week that there are Parakeets in England. Parakeets??? To me they are a tropical bird, not a regular in extremely un-tropical England. They estimate there are something like 20,000 of them and the fruit farmers, in particular, find them to be a damned nuisance. A friend sent me a link to a Daily Mail article on line about the plague of Parakeets, click here if you would like to read it. There is a legend that this began when they made African Queen in a London film studio and some parakeets escaped (that was in 1951). I personally don't remember seeing them but Matt thinks he did see a pair many years ago; he lived near an orchard which would definitely have attracted them. I also discovered that egrets visit Britain too, another bird I think of as being in the Carolinas and points south. I have already been staggered to find Canadian Geese in France. They do travel around these birds, don't they? My final question, why on earth did they make African Queen in London? Here's a simple enough recipe which can be used as a side dish for any dinner although these are being recommended for Thanksgiving. Matt has been doing something similar with plum tomatoes, olive oil and basil leaves for several years. Baked Parmesan Tomatoes EatingWell Magazine 4 servings A sprinkle of Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil transform tomatoes into the perfect side dish. Or try sandwiching them between slices of your favorite whole-wheat country bread. INGREDIENTS 4 tomatoes, halved horizontally 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano 1/4 teaspoon salt Freshly ground pepper to taste 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Have a great day.


  1. It does not surprise me about the parakeets. I think there may even be a crocodile somewhere in a river in England.

    I have a GPS for the Paris Metro. It was invented by a woman and I believe that the Brits and Americans have now bought the system from her for the London tube and NY subway.

  2. Loads of ring necked (AKA Rose ringed) parakeets in all the London parks, noisy so and so's too! Also plenty around Black Prince, Margate etc. Haven't seen any round here yet but it won't be long.

    Little egrets are common place now all over Sheppey too.

  3. They have parakeets in Germany, too. It made me quite homeick to see them:-)I didn't see any in the UK, though.

    Wow, I want one of those little GPS thingies. Will ask at the local electronics store.

  4. Interesting that these parakeets are well spread around. Didn't know egrets were quite commonplace either Mike. You would know of course. How come you don't paint them?

    As for the GPS, you could send for one from Worldstart.com I expect Satima, you should check it out.

    When I lived in London I could have used a GPS for the underground. Always had trouble figuring out where I wanted to go.