Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Running to Stand Still

There's a U2 song from the Joshua Tree album with that line and it is exactly how I feel at the moment.

Although this year as I don't have a job anymore I am more infront than last year.... or the year before.... it still feels like there is much to do and not much time to do it.

I went shopping with a friend recently to Leeds and the weather was foul, really cold and wet. Thankfully Leeds has some lovely indoor areas.  The Victoria Quarter is the best.  These are two shots from there.

 Yes, that is a piano

The choir in the second shot were singing and encouraging people to join in so my friend and I belted out 'Oh Little Town of Bethlehem', properly singing, not singing like you do at a wedding.

It was fun and in the slight warmth of the arcade with the carols ringing round it was impossible not to feel Christmassy, despite the wind and sideways rain.

I hope you all have a good one, that you manage to relax and that Santa is kind to you xx

Friday, 11 December 2015

Life gets in the way....

Crikey it feels like ages since I blogged.

We've had three birthdays since last time and now we are heading to Christmas. The tree isn't up, cards received are unopened in a pile and I still need to make a list of presents to buy.  Hmmm not much to do then.

Anyhoo, I thought I'd share a recent conversation......

My daughter was talking about her mate taking apart his Apple iPhone. She was seriously impressed with his ability to take the phone apart, but far more impressed with how small the screws were....

"Mum I've had bogies bigger than those screws".

You think you bring them up right and then........bogies......???

These are the flowers my step-daughter bought me for my birthday.  Lovely.  Those cabbage things are really pretty, but I have to say they don't last very well.  Are they really some sort of cabbage?  I should probably google it..

And finally a cat in a box... just because......

(he's a house cat who is the size of a dog and who likes to go for walks on a lead - hence the harness)

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Pebble collecting

I called my blog pebble collecting and then made scant reference to pebbles thereafter.

So now you get to see pebbles......

This is the story of these pebbles, the smooth pebbles.

Many years ago we took a trip to the Ardnamurchan Penninsula.  It is a remote part of the Scottish mainland and the most westerly part of the mainland of Britain.  You get there on 30 miles of single track road with passing places, or you did when we traveled there 25 years ago.

We stayed at a cottage that looked towards Rum, Eigg and Muck.  The location was remote but beautiful.

As it was Scotland we took advantage of our right to roam and did a lot of walking.  On one of those walks we came upon a cove where the beach was sand and pebbles.  It felt like no-one had stepped on that beach for thousands of years.  It was remote and as I recall we got to it down an awkward gully.

The sound of the pebbles washing up and down on the beach was mesmerising and as I picked up a couple of the pebbles I was amazed by how smooth and soft they felt.

I stood and looked at all the pebbles and chose these three.

They are my favourite pebbles.  They are reassuring pebbles that feel like they have had a lifetime of rhythmically washing back and forth on that beach, slowly accumulating the restful solitude of the landscape.

To me they are more than pebbles, they are a link to a charmed place of solace.  Maybe that's the reason why I keep them next to my bed and why, each time I hold them in my hand, I feel a sense of the calmness of the beach from whence they came.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

A Random Ten

Inspired by   Bother - I wanted that to say 'Annie' but I'm not that good.

Anyhooo random bits and pieces.....

1. I went with my daughter to see Fall Out Boy and really enjoyed it.  None of my friends have heard of them.  I am therefore officially cool (yeah right......)

2. My fingernails are getting beyond the ends of my fingers which is an unusual state as usually they break before this point.  I'm not sure whether to file them or paint them.  I was going to take a photo but my fingers looked pudgy and not at all elegant so I'm not going to.  I'm thinking painting..... it may improve the look of them

3. The phrase Inspector Corner of the Yard makes me laugh, every time

4. I went to see Doug Scott do a talk on climbing the South West Face of Everest.  I found out he was from Nottingham.  I was born in Nottingham and my husband likes to say that  the only thing Nottingham is famous for is Robin Hood..... "and he was a Yorkshire man".  Ha.  Now I can throw Doug Scott back at him.

5. I used to do a lot of rock climbing

6. I used to bite my nails.  Works if you do the above.....

7. I get ridiculously excited when I see a buzzard over our house.  It's only in the last couple of years that they have come to populate this area.  There are lots of red kites nearby but we haven't seen one over the house yet.

8. I was speaking to a lady over the phone as I had locked my pin on a card.  I said I had previously used our first ever phone number for my pin and she laughed and said she did the same (and we were almost exactly the same age).

9. I currently have two knitted items and four crochet items on the go.  This is a significant reduction from earlier this year.

10. I don't like cooking or baking.  I only cook because I have to eat.  We are doing lots of trips to the hospital to visit my father in law so we are eating a lot of sandwiches.  I actually am happy with this, although I may need to extend to making soup as it gets colder......

I'm enjoying reading other random posts, although I have nothing of any educational value to share in mine....... sorry x

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

A Trip to Wharram Percy

One day we decided that as it was warm and sunny and all the jobs were done, that we would take a drive.

But it was a Saturday and on a warm and sunny day the roads tend to be busy so we took my little fiat and a map and decided to take a drive avoiding the main routes.

We set off towards the coast, thinking Bridlington or Scarborough or Filey.

We drove through villages that we never knew existed, on empty roads, with the windows down and the wind hurtling through our hair.  We turned off the radio as we couldn't hear it..... and took in our beautiful Yorkshire countryside.

We eventually came out on a road towards Brid, just before Fridaythorpe, at a point where you can take the official scenic route to the coast.

On this route you pass Wharram Percy, a medieval village, or rather the remains thereof.  We have driven this way so many times and never stopped but as we were on bit of a pootle we took a detour.

There were a dozen cars in the car park....... unexpected.....

And you absolutely cannot see where the village is from the car park.  You head down a path into a sheltered valley bottom where you cross a stream and walk up into the area of the village.  It was excavated for many years, with a farmhouse on the site being the base for the archaeologists.

This link gives you more information.

On a sunny day it is a lovely place to visit.

We studied the graves and put together the story of a family from the names and dates.
We looked at the boards provided to see the layout of the village
We went into the church through one massive door.... I thought people were smaller then.

And finally I dipped my toes in some cold as ice water from the pond, just what was needed on a hot day.

 The church has been both bigger and smaller than these remaining buildings, dependent upon the time, the population in the area and the money available.

 There were no words on this tiny little cross, at least none that I could make out.
This is the massive door.  I'm 5ft 2" so you can see it's big.  My feet are wet on this photo and as I didn't dry them my sandals were damp all day.....

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

My favourite flower (of the moment)

This is my favourite flower of the moment  
The humble alstroemeria 
A bunch in the local supermarket is only £2
I have them in my bedroom 
I like the pink ones best
The colours are so delicate

Monday, 28 September 2015

Down to the Woods

I have lived in this house for 18 years and never entered the local woods.

I heard tales of needles, heard people on dirt bikes and at one time the police helicopter spent a LOT of time hovering over the woods.

A wood has the capacity to be a very scary place, think of Grimm's tales.  Bad things happen in woods..... or so the tales go.  So although the wood clearly provides an excellent habitat for the local wildlife I have never felt the urge to enter it for some reason.

Until this weekend.

One of my goals for this year was to make some sloe gin and for that you need sloes.  I did some research and found that sloes are in the wood.  I asked my husband whether I should go sloe hunting in the woods one day.  His response was to wait until the weekend and we would go together......  that says something I think.

So on Sunday we went off like an aged Hansel and Gretel into the woods to search for sloes.

And do you know what it was nice, really nice and not at all scary.

The sun was shining, which always helps and although there was a lot of rubbish at the point where we entered the wood once you got some way in the paths were clear and the dappled sunshine through the trees was a delight.

We saw a family out dog walking and some girls on horses.  We did some tree spotting, saw some butterflies, scared a bunch of rabbits at the edge of the wood and generally had a lovely walk.

When we came home I said that I was sad that we hadn't gone into the woods before.  It genuinely had not entered my head before to do so and that is all about the myth of the wood and the tales that people have told both locally and historically. So now on a nice weekend morning we have vowed to have a walk in the woods, to see the changing of the seasons on our doorstep and enjoy this space that is visible a stone's throw from our door.

Oh.... and we collected a small bag of sloes as well so a result on all levels don't you think?

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Circle of life

Last weekend when out in the garden we saw a sparrow hawk fly quite low overhead.

It was circling, clearly looking for prey.

Just before it got to the wood it plummeted down like a stone.  We waited but it didn't come back up so it must have caught something.

It was quite exciting and something I haven't seen before.

Then this morning I went into the front garden and in the corner there were feathers, not in a ring, but all in a small area. I knew straight away that the sparrow hawk had taken the blackbird that frequents our garden. I speak to him (or her) when I'm hanging the washing or weeding, or I did.

I know it is the circle of life and all that but I feel really sad that my little blackbird friend is no longer.

On a happier note next door's sparrows are providing some excellent entertainment.  The sparrows have a nest in next door's loft and at this time of year they are roosting in the bushes in our garden. They are like a bunch of kids squabbling and sending bird feed everywhere and doing a great line in teasing the cats by flying by just out of reach.

I think I will take a cup of tea into the back garden to hear them chattering to cheer myself up.  And the garden is looking pretty good at the moment so all in all some warmth from the sun and the sparrows should do the trick and lift my mood.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Rugby league..... party on

Okay, now don't just turn away because of the title.......

If you follow any team in any sport you will know the highs and heartache of that particular pastime.

In our house we follow Castleford Tigers who had a sensational season last year.  I won't bore you with the details but what I will say is that life was better because they were winning.

They were even on the news when they got to Wembley as half the town went to see them off!

Okay, it's a small town but seriously there were a LOT of people went 'darn t'lane' to see them off.

We went on a bus organised by a pub in town.  Actually I think there were nine buses and at 7:00 am there were lots of people milling about in town waiting for buses and wishing they had visited the loo before they left the house.

We didn't win at Wembley, Leeds Rhinos (arch rivals) won, but you wouldn't have thought it on the bus on the way home.  I think this club is known for singing and having high spirits, even as a crushing defeat looms.  I have seen the fans doing a conga round the stands when the team have been on the wrong end of a drubbing.

So, not for us a gloomy bus journey home.  No we had several renditions of Sweet Caroline (the song played at the end of each game), there was talk about the team, the highs and lows of the game and of course some incredibly witty banter among the fans.  It was a great day out.

This year we're not at Wembley so we have decided to have a Challenge Cup party.  It will not involve half the town, but it will involve plenty of beer, plenty of banter and plenty of friends.  We are an eclectic mix who range in age from 20's to almost 70, this is just some of them.  Let's hope the sun shines.......

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


I was sweeping the drive outside the front window, to get rid of the dust and dead petals when I noticed a small black lump on the floor.  When I looked closely this is what I found.....

It is, I believe, a Pipistrelle bat.

We have them round here and I'm not sure what happened to this one but it was there on the floor all dried out, but still with its teeth and furry body intact.

I measured it, because I thought it may be a baby, but that is the size of a fully grown bat.  There was no indicator of exactly how it met its end.  Maybe it lost a fight for territory, I don't know.

I felt sorry, because bats seem to be quite an unusual sight these days.  We do get them at dusk round here as we are close to a wood.  At one time, when my daughter was younger, we would all sit on the front doorstep watching them flap around the house.  At that time there were four or five that we used to see quite regularly.  Sometimes they used to swoop in very close.

I think I need to make a point to have a look at dusk to see if I can see the bats again.

I'm not at all happy that the very last bat that I have seen is a dead, dried up one.....

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Historic Dockyard and Spinnaker Tower at Portsmouth

We had a beautiful day to visit the Historic dockyard.

There is a lot to see and it is definitely a whole day out.

This was a new exhibit, a first world war ship..... which wasn't open.  We were gutted as this was what we really wanted to see.  But I felt more sorry for two elderly chaps who had a connection with the ship and who had made a special journey.  When we looked more closely at the literature it did give the opening date but it wasn't at all clear if you just skimmed the leaflet.  Poor show.

However we did the Victory, which is a great ship to go round, especially if you are small as you don't bump your head at all.  The guides on board are very good and knowledgeable, making the story of the ship come to life.

We did the Marie Rose, which I haven't seen before.  All the artefacts in the museum are real, I think there were 19000 recovered.  The tales of the people that worked on the ship and reconstruction of their faces were incredible.  I was in awe of the amount of stuff recovered and the tale that all those items told in such detail.  I didn't take any pictures, but I wished that I had taken one of the building it was housed in as that was impressive.

I loved the patterns of the tracks for configuring the canons on the Warrior.

And as the Americas Cup was about to take place there were the different team vessels (catamarans?) being loaded in and out of the docks.

My daughter and her friend visited the submarine across at Gosport (the guide asked why they weren't laid on a beach somewhere) and we had planned a return for the tour of the Navy Dockyard, but when we went back it was closed because of the Americas Cup.

It is  great day, or couple of days out but it is expensive if you want to wander at will and visit all the attractions.  The ticket we bought lasts for a year but it is unlikely that we will be back within the year.  Thankfully Caravan Club membership got you two for one so it was half of what it would have been!

If you are in the area you must do the Spinnaker Tower.....

I have no idea how high it is but on a clear and bright day it is fantastic.  I like a glass floor (CN Tower, Blackpool Tower, Spinnaker Tower).

The views are amazing.....
Looking towards the Historic Dockyard.
Or just looking out to sea......

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


I've been away......

We went on holiday but before that I just didn't seem to have time to sit down, organise thoughts and actually put together a blog.

So..... The holiday........ We holidayed in this country, near Portsmouth in fact.  We have a caravan and we had stopped at a site on the way back from France last year and decided to go back. As the daughter is 16 she gets to take a friend and they stay in a tent.

Before we left we had seen two weeks of glorious sunshine and after a five hour drive we arrived in the rain and it continued to rain all night....... Suddenly a UK holiday seems like a very bad idea.

But actually it was ok most days.  I wore shorts for all but one of the days and it was warm, really warm most of the time.

So what did we do? (Prepare for a photofest.......)

We visited the Sammy Miller Motorbike museum.  Sammy Miller MBE owns and runs the museum with a band of enthusiasts.  He is a famous, nay legendary, motorcycle racer who won the British Trials Championship 11 years in succession, as well as a mass of other trophies.

My daughter and I were looking at all the cups and trophies that were displayed there; as she was completely knocked out by the sheer number of them and the fact that he was so very good over so many years; when he came over to us and said that a younger man had worked very hard to get all those and that each of them represented about 50 miles of riding. At that we were even more impressed. It is a genuine treasure trove for a motorbike enthusiast, run by a legend of a rider who is passionate about restoration and the sport, as well as being just a lovely man.  While we were there he was riding one of the exhibits up and down the lane.  If you are at all into motorbikes you have to, have to visit. Seriously, you do....

Boscastle pier.  It has some installations for making sounds down its length.  Some you can't utilise properly because they've had bits removed (vandalised basically), but you can play "Oh I do like to be beside the seaside" and a selection of other tunes on there.  It's fun and there is a long windbreak so if it's windy on one side you sit at the other.  Clever....

The D Day museum and Overlord Embroidery.  This is the tank outside the museum which is the same as the one used in the film Fury, which we had recently seen.  The Overlord Embroidery is a fantastic piece of art and much bigger than the Bayeux.  Well worth a visit and if you are short like me you can enjoy the tunnels without bumping your head.

Monkey World.  Ok, this is a drive from Portsmouth but we were 'down South' so we decided to go for it. I saw no monkeys at all for the first 15 minutes and was beginning to wonder if we had made a big mistake but soon we got to see some chimps and from there we saw a LOT of monkeys, including these Limas, who were enjoying Cheerios (who knew?).

This is the home of T.E. Lawrence (also known as Lawrence of Arabia) Clouds Hill, It was more of a weekend retreat than a home but it is where he occasionally lived and nearby is where he died.

When we turned up here my daughter and her friend were completely non-plussed, so we bought them ice cream and they sat in the sun while we had a look.  It is owned by the National Trust and is as Lawrence had it, other than the books which they are trying to replace over time.

It is a tiny gem of a house and just worth popping into.  Especially if you are in the area.  It is very close to the Tank Museum and Monkey World.  His garage is almost as large as the house, as that is where his motorbike, the famous Brough Superior on which he met his death was housed.

I haven't read any Lawrence but I enjoyed our brief visit here.  It was indeed a retreat and had a calm and peaceful atmosphere, just what was needed after a day at Monkey World.

Finally for this post a picture of my cream tea after a very competitive round of pitch and put.  We spent a couple of hours on the course near Portsmouth and it was great fun.  This cafe is called the Tenth Hole and so after a game it would be rude not to stop for a bite surely?

All the food looked delicious and I was happy because the scones had fruit.  Result.... on the cakes at least, I lost in pitch and put.....

More to come about the historic dockyard and Fort Nelson.  Bet you can't wait.....

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


In the evening the scent from the honeysuckle is heady and delicious

It is right outside the back door and if the door is open it wafts in 
and fills the kitchen with its warm fragrance
I love its quirky flowers

And so do the bees

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Loving Classic Cars

On Fathers Day we took ourselves off to Harewood House to visit the Classic Car Extravaganza.  That wasn't it's official title, but it could have been.

I like cars, as a child I would spend hours in the driver's seat of my Dad's car pretending to drive.  When I was 14 my Step-Dad had an ex-army long wheel based Landrover that he let me drive around a field up near Leeds Bradford Airport.  And whilst that nearly put me off driving forever it didn't put me off cars.

So when we were browsing the Yorkshire Post on Saturday and saw that there would be classic cars at Harewood it was an obvious choice.

It was absolutely full to the brim with fancy new cars and a massive range of old vehicles, I'm sure not all of which would be called classic.  Mini Metro.... classic....? I think not.

I sat behind the wheel of cars I will never ever be able to afford.  Cars that cost more than a house.

 Some of them I could barely see over the steering wheel and could not get out of without some help.  Yes, fancy electric BMW that was you.
And on one, the Jaguar F type, I adjusted the seat for me and then the battery seemed to go flat so when I got out only children could get in.  It was funny to see big blokes trying to squeeze in and then having to admit defeat. No photo of that fun unfortunately.

The classic cars were in fantastic condition which is a testament to the owners who lavish time and money on them.
There were some lovely little minis.  
This was one of my favourites (I love the Gulf blue).  
I only saw the one Fiat 500 but what a beauty. 

This french number was voted the most beautiful car by car designers at some point in time.  When it came out it must have been so futuristic.  It was in great condition throughout.

Then there was the classic Aston Martin.

The General Lee, for all you Dukes of Hazard fans

An escort RS, taken for my husband who had one when they first came out.  
He is more of a petrol head than me

And a Lotus (Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious) which we liked a lot.  Ignore the dippy red-head...

I actually have an MG midget but it needs restoration and that takes time, money and more importantly needs space.  So one day, probably when I have finally retired from work, I might get to be one of the people sat with their pride and joy in the sunshine while people like me pass by and oooh and aaah at their cars.  I look forward to that day.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Whoops..... how to increase your blood pressure

Yesterday I bumped my husband's car.

I was driving as he was wearing a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours...... no don't laugh....

We approached a roundabout there was nothing coming and so I accelerated.  Unfortunately the chap in front of me didn't move.  I think he was on the phone.

Husband yelled "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?",

I slammed on, everything in the boot crashed into the back of the back seat.... and I nudged the back of the car in front.

I fully expected him (other car driver) to pull over and accuse me of all the usual.  However, he didn't, he just kept on driving.

When we passed him on the motorway he had a phone thingy in his ear and was clearly speaking to someone.  The first thought that went through my head was "did I actually hit him?"

But when we got home there were marks on the front of the car. Not major dents but evidence none the less.

My husband returned the heart monitor......

He is expecting a call from the hospital any time soon.........

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The New Regime..... part 2

I have discovered what it takes to make me happy at home..... music and sunshine.  Not much to ask now is it?

I have managed to connect the ipod to a music box thing in the living room and so now a selection of songs can blast out at me and the cats as I pootle about doing jobs (what am I saying...... I'm working really hard....obvs).

My husband has also sorted me out my own itunes something or other..... identity ...... profile ...... whatever.  I can now do my own playlists and buy music and just generally have fun with the tunes.

So now when I am at home doing anything I can sing my heart out and nobody can complain because cats just don't have a vote.... no sir....I've heard them sing and they are way worse than me.

Today the sun is shining, the bedding is on the line and I am enjoying a bit of Ed Sheeran.... who is asking me to 'Sing'.  That boy knows me too well........

Monday, 1 June 2015

The Red Arrows

Last week we were away in Lytham St Annes.  A lovely place if you have never been.  It is close to Blackpool but in reality is a world away.

While we were there we saw that the Red Arrows doing a display at South Shore in Blackpool, so we decided to venture up there.  The weather was grey and cold when we set off but by the time we arrived and found a spot the sun was out, hurrah!

What a show they put on and what talent they have.  I was completely giddy and in awe but managed to take a few photos to share..... enjoy x

 Fantastic, I think you'll agree....?