Saturday, December 29, 2007

Venturing Out

We decided to celebrate feeling slightly better by venturing out for the first time in a week. Paul had been as far as the local shop a couple of times but I hadn't set foot outside since last Saturday. We drove to Trentham and parked at the quieter car park near the Monkey Forest and walked down along the lakeside.

It was cold and breezy but bright. Underfoot was quite muddy some of the mud bearing evidence of recent deer passage. Their tracks were leading off towards the new clearings. We didn't walk too far today and once we reached the clearings we turned round and headed back.

There were plenty of people out and about and a lone canoeist on the lake swirling around on the still water. The gulls were gathering around something they had found on the far side of the lake.

I love this little spot where the bridge goes over the stream as it enters the lake. We headed towards the lakeside cafe and sat outside clutching hot coffee (it still doesn't taste right to me) and watched the world go by.

By the time I took this last photo the sun was out and more canoeists were out on the lake. Families were feeding the ducks and a lone magpie (good day my lord) was doing a strange kind of 'backwards, forwards, side ways on and back again' jig on the fence right in front of us. It was time to go home.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Lost Christmas

I would say that it hit me, like a bolt out of the blue, on Saturday afternoon, after an early shopping trip to the dreaded Tesco and following a nice lunch. I have only vague memories of Sunday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and yesterday as I spent most of the days in bed, unable to read, visions flashing by on the small upstairs TV screen, as I lay in some sort of Actifed induced haze, coughing - constantly coughing, until my throat and stomach and chest hurt. I coughed so much one night I pulled several stomach muscles and had to use the Deep Heat spray as well. I never did get round to putting back the curtains I'd taken down to launder; we never managed to cook the 'Chestnut and Red Wine Pate en Croute' ready for Christmas Day and I finally got round to washing the kitchen and conservatory floor this morning - you will have gathered from this that those were the last preparations I had to do for Christmas and that both Paul and I had been floored by the dreaded flu virus. Meanwhile, the fridge is still full of food I can't eat. Paul seems to be ok on the eating front but at the moment I can't bare the taste of coffee, which is unlike me as I love coffee, the idea of toast turns my stomach and I can't contemplate eating any of the plum pudding, cake or cookies we made. For three days I think I existed on grapes, little oranges and yoghurt.

As I lay in bed I vaguely remember watching some television. Carols from Kings on Christmas Eve for a start. I also remember dozing, on and off, through something set in an hotel where people fell through ice on a pond and someone's ashes were used to stuff the turkey - at this point I switched off - did I actually dream that? When you are laying in bed with nothing to do you can be tempted to watch some strange programmes and I was so mad at myself for giving up on 'The Old Curiosity Shop' but I did at one point feel really ill and dizzy during it so am hoping it will be repeated - it looked good. High points? The Sittaford Mystery - a gloriously atmospheric 'Marple' and amusingly yet another strange hotel. Christmas Cooks during which poor Oz Clarke seemed to be under the influence or fighting off flu, or something. Jamie's Christmas at Home I howled as he giggled at his black pepper trick on Genaro - see I told you I was easily amused. Christmas Corrie - the 'olds' continue to delight, their observational, dry repartee worthy of Bennett or Wood - well done the script writers and well done the actors. Especially Blanche - she is priceless. I loved the Christmas dinner scenes in Roy's Rolls the comic timing of Roy's missing of Hayley's calls reminded me of the old Whitehall Farces. I really like Becky and her scenes with Blanche are great - keep them working together please! Another character who has great comic timing is Clare, not tested so much this year, but I've never forgotten her scene from last Christmas day whilst outside her front door the Platt family are having one of their usual angst ridden fall outs over David, spilling out onto the street in their frustration, she opened her door, deposited her black bag in her wheelie bin, turned to the rabble, smiled and uttered the immortal line 'Having a Nice One?' and disappeared back inside again.

Well, I can't say we've had a nice one, I just hope everyone else has. I'm off now - still a bit woozy and coughing as well as ever. I have books and magazines to read, people to phone and cats to cuddle - for some reason they don't like coughing. I may be back to normal come New Year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Greetings

Wishing you all a joyful, peaceful Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Memories and Intentions

For the last four weeks I've been roaming all over the world with the locations on people's mail. I won't go into the technicalities of the job but suffice to say it has been very hard but interesting work. From 6a.m. in the morning the post I was dealing with came from all over. First in was usually Teeside which took me around Gateshead, Newcastle and Middlesbrough. York and North Yorkshire would join in giving me happy memories of Christmas visits to York and summer holidays on the coast around Whitby, Robin Hood's Bay and my favourite places on that coast Staithes and Saltburn. The west coast would then join in and off I would travel around Morecambe, Southport, Blackpool and Formby (again more holiday memories) and then to Liverpool and Manchester. Scotland would soon follow and my imagination was captured by some of the place names, although I've never been into Scotland further north than Edinburgh and Glasgow. I've directed mail to the Isles of Mull, Lewis, Islay and North Uist, to Glencoe and Culloden and places like Kirckaldy, Auchtermuchty, Muckle Flugga and Bridge of Don as well as Edinburgh with it's regions of Morningside and Portobello. I'd never felt any connection with Scotland leaning rather towards Wales in the knowledge that ancestors on my father's side came, way back in the 18th century, from the Forest of Dean and the Welsh borders but a few years ago I discovered that my great great great grandfather on my mother's side of the family was, according to the 1851 census, born in Fifeshire. I've since done more research and using naming patterns and family occupations I think I'm sure this ancestor was born in Dunfermline. I was particularly taken with names which I later discovered were in the Kingdom of Fife, places like Cardenden, Pittenween, St Andrews and the gloriously named Coal Town of Wemyss and Coaltown of Balgonie. So memories and intentions all in one through a computer screen and I've now decided that one day I want to visit all these Fifeshire places and see what they are really like. I hope the Christmas mail I've dealt with gets to its destination - I think the one addressed to 'No 4 Callanish' will but I'm not so sure about the one addressed to 'Robin Hood's Well, in the layby, on the A1'!!

Christmas Reading

One of the joys of Christmas Day is to curl up with a good book. After lunch is over and all the debris cleared away I like to settle down with a glass of wine and something interesting and festive to read.

This year I've chosen a couple of books, well in fact, one of them chose me. First up is 'A Victorian Winter' by Judy Stevens. Judy is a former colleague of mine and she has put together a wonderful collection of seasonal stories set in and around the town of Spalding in Lincolnshire. The book was given to me by a friend in the summer and I've been very good and saved it to read over the Festive Season.

My second choice is a ghost story. I don't normally read ghost stories but this one is written by one of my favourite authors, Susan Hill. I'm a big fan of her Simon Serrailer novels and I can honestly say that her other ghost story 'The Woman in Black' frightened me more than Peter Ackroyd's 'Hawksmoor' and that's saying something.

I also have a glossy magazine or two to leaf through so there are plenty of things to enjoy if there aren't any good films to watch on Christmas Day.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Feeling slightly Festive

By the time we'd finished work at 2pm. I was ready just to crawl into that bed and draw the curtains snugly around and go to sleep. This week has certainly taken its toll. We have one day off tomorrow and then we have to work nine days in a stretch until the work is done; then it is all systems go to get ready for Christmas. We were determined to get to the 17th century Christmas event at Ford Green Hall this afternoon and we did manage it. The rooms were newly decorated with fresh greenery, the little coffee shop was busy and the smell of oranges and cloves from the pomander making room was gloriously festive. In the main hall the table was set and the musicians, an ensemble called Forlorn Hope, were in front of the fireplace ready to entertain us with a selection of period tunes and few later seasonal ones too.

I managed to take one or two photos of the hall itself but none of the musicians. Paul has put some photos of them on his blog. In the meantime here are a few corners of the hall.

Even the spinning wheels were given a festival feel.

and the staircase too.

The hall itself is a gem in the middle of the city sprawl. It is one of the few surviving buildings of Stoke's pre-industrial past. The timber framed section was built in 1624, as a farmhouse, for Hugh Ford a wealthy yeoman farmer. The building remained with the Ford family for about 200 years. In the 18th century the brick extensions were added and in the 19th century it was turned into two cottages. It was purchased by the City Council in 1946 and is now one of the four splendid museums in the city.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Cake, Moon, Bears in a Bath and Green Teeth

I really wasn't going to make a Christmas cake this year but I had enough dried fruit left from the plum pudding to make one, all I had to buy was ground almonds and glace cherries. When I'm baking I always use the Be - Ro book. I have two copies, both quite old and torn with pages stuck together here and there, but I always find them so reliable. I remember when I was a child my Mum having a copy with a brown front cover with a family on the front. I have a square 'centenary' edition and a later blue one. I wonder what happened to the old brown one? The cake turned out rather well and is now stored away for icing later.

This morning I had to pop onto the back garden to retrieve the wheelie bin and get it ready for collection. The moon intrigued me so I decided to try to photograph it. Not a great photo but it was only about 7a.m. and still quite dark. Apparently the moon early today was a waning crescent.

Later in the morning we had to pop up into Hanley to sort out the bank problem I spoke about in a previous post. The bank admitted being at fault and all is now resolved, thank goodness. Whilst Paul dealt with that I was trying to find a star shaped cookie cutter. On my perambulations around several shops - no joy in finding one that wasn't too small - I came across these little chaps in BHS - a bath full of bears!

Then it was up to the outpatients department at the hospital for Paul's blood test where I overheard the following conversation in the seats behind me between what sounded like a little girl and her grandmother:-

Shall we go for a cup of tea when we're finished here?

Yes, and can we have some sweets as well?

No sweets today because of your teeth, anyway, you haven't brushed your teeth today.

I have!

You haven't!

How can you tell?

Because your teeth are green.

No, they're not.

No one will kiss you if your teeth are green!

I had to smile.

I'll be working from tomorrow morning through until Sunday morning 6a.m. until 2p.m. each day so may not have much time for writing until my next day off on Monday. I'm still hoping we can get to the 17th Century Christmas event I mentioned in my last post so I may report back on that next time.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Welcome December

Well, it's the first of December and although Christmassy things seem to have been around since the end of September, I've been trying not to get too distracted by it all until now. I love Christmas and all it entails but I don't like how it all begins so early that we miss out on other seasonal pleasures. I know we probably want to buy cards and start on the baking and present buying well before now but I'm sure we can do that without having 'Mary's Boy Child' and 'All I need for Christmas' blasted in our ears in supermarkets and shopping precincts from early November onwards - it takes away the magic of it all - especially for the little ones. My only preparation so far has been to make a plum pudding, to buy card blanks to start printing out our cards and stamps to post them with. I've also made a list of presents to buy and will start that next week.

We hope, if work allows, to visit the '17th century Christmas' event at Ford Green Hall next weekend and also the Mummers' play.

This time last year we spent a couple of days in York which was wonderfully festive just at the right time; here is their tree from last year - I wonder if they have the same one this year?

Another thing we usually do in early December is to visit Little Moreton Hall and listen to the festive early music played and sung by the colourful PIVA. This, more than anything else, puts me in the mood for the coming festivities although, because of work commitments we may not have time this year which is a shame because I will really miss seeing them.

I took this photo of holly at Little Moreton last year. I wonder if it will be full of berries again this year?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Just don't trust them!

Because we've both been working hard this week, getting up at 4.30a.m. to start work at 6a.m. and getting home in the afternoon we'd not registered the fact that tomorrow was 1st December and the day the mortgage payment will be taken out of our bank account. As we've only just started our seasonal jobs with Royal Mail we don't get paid until next week so needed to transfer some money from our building society to our bank to cover direct debits. We withdrew our money from the building society and went straight to the bank to pay it into our account. The queue was snaking across the length of the building and only two windows open. We filled out our paying in slip and joined the queue. A member of staff was walking up and down asking if people were just 'paying-in' so we said yes we were and she said come with me and took us to the shelf where people write out their details on payment slips. She took our money, counted it out and put it and the slip in an envelope and sealed it. We asked for a receipt but she said the bank now had a policy of not giving out receipts. We said we needed to know that the money had gone into our account. She said it will, see, I'm putting it in this container, it's perfectly safe - she seemed to think that we didn't trust her with the money - not that we were anxious to know that we wouldn't become overdrawn. We said again that we needed to know that the money would go into our account today. She assured us that it would be in there 'within the hour' - it was about 12 noon. I was still concerned that we had no receipt but there was no way we could get one, so left it at that. After lunch we went for a walk and got home about 3.30p.m. switched on the computer and checked our account - the money hadn't gone in. We tried to ring the bank - no reply. The helpline tried to ring the bank - no reply. We were given another number to ring, they couldn't get through to our branch, then they cut us off. Our branch doesn't open again until Monday so now I have all weekend to worry about what has become of our money and to feel angry that a) we were not given a receipt and b) the member of staff who had seemed helpful was actually quite deceitful and c) that we will now have an overdraft.

Grr...... just don't trust banks especially those who have a policy of not giving out receipts and who instruct their staff, under the guise of being helpful, to fob you off with false information. We have been with this bank for 26 years - I don't think they will have us as customers for very much longer.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Stirring Sunday

I love this little church at Ilam. There it stands, with its slightly 'higgledy-piggledy' quirkiness, the flat topped Thorpe Cloud in the background. One of my favourite views I think. We walked here this morning by the river, had coffee at the National Trust cafe and chatted, down in the village, to a local lady about the church, the school, the traffic and the weather before setting off back home via Leek and Cheddleton.

n the Church year the last Sunday before Advent is traditionally called ‘stir-up’ Sunday and it is also the day for making Christmas puddings. The term 'stir-up' is taken from the first line of a prayer said on this particular Sunday which begins “Stir up, we beseech thee, oh Lord.” I’d heard of stir-up Sunday but hadn’t realised where the name actually came from and had assumed it was used to mean stirring the puddings and making wishes.

When I was a child my mother made her Christmas pudding on November 5th
– Bonfire Night – or within a day or two after. I expect that in today's world many people, like me for the last few years, buy their Christmas puddings and there are so many tasty ones to choose from. This year though, I decided to make a pudding mainly because I found a great recipe in last Saturday’s Guardian Magazine for a 'Plum' Plum Pudding.

This pudding is rich in prunes and fresh plums as well as the usual currants, raisins and spices. Once I’d weighed out the ingredients and chopped the prunes and plums it was so easy to mix together and steamed away happily for three hours. It is now stored away in a cool place and will be steamed for three more hours on Christmas Day.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Nottingham Memories

I took this photo of Wheeler Gate in Nottingham this morning because many years ago I used to work on this street. The building on the left, now a fashion shop was a book shop in the early seventies. I used to work in its offices on the upper floor over the shop. Our little department was responsible for ordering, invoicing and preparing books for local libraries. My particular responsibility was for the children's section and I remember having to type up for invoices and date sheet inserts the titles and authors of many books. Some of the titles that stick in my mind were things like 'Biggles Sweeps the Desert', 'The Eagle of the Ninth', 'Stig of the Dump' and 'The Cat in the Hat'. One of my favourites was 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen' - I got quite good at typing that one up very quickly. I loved working in there, every day was interesting; the people I worked with were a fascinating and stimulating mix of ex librarians and teachers, students and 'resting' actors. I only stayed just over a year but I've never forgotten my time there so when I walk down Wheeler Gate I have vivid memories not only of working at the shop but also of our out of work activities as well; memories of us all queuing to watch the ballet up in the gods at the old Theatre Royal and running up the stairs to get the front seats. Memories of leaning out of those windows over Wheeler Gate to watch the students march by with placards protesting against, amongst other things 'Thatcher the Milk Snatcher'. Of the overpowering smell which pervaded the back stairs for days until workmen uncovered hundreds of dead rats under the floorboards of the old Furrier's shop next door. One of my happiest memories was just before one Christmas when we'd been to a performance at the Playhouse and came out of the theatre to find a winter wonderland of crisp white snow and we walked arm in arm down to a pure white slab square to get taxis home with the snowflakes falling under the twinkling lights, the snow crunching under our feet and the clock on the council house striking eleven.

I heard it strike again today as we went into the upmarket arcade underneath.

Another of my favourite Nottingham streets is Bridlesmith Gate. Along there is one of my favourite shops - The Token House - I can't visit the city centre without going in just to look and sometimes to buy.

We discovered a brand new alleyway we'd never seen before although I'm sure that many years ago we'd been to a restaurant that used to be down there. How things have changed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Look Back in Time

I mentioned in my post on Castleton that I had been tempted by a book in the bookshop there. I have been dipping into it since I bought it and thought I would share one of the entries with you.

The book is 'A Country Woman's Journal' by Margaret Shaw. The journal, hidden in a drawer for over seventy years, is full of drawings and comments for the years of 1926 to 1928. Here is Margaret's entry for November 13th 1927:-

'It snowed for sometime in the morning, but such wet snow that it did not lie at all. While I was planting bulbs in the afternoon a fat Robin came and sat with me, perching on the bulb bags, and hopping about the newly turned earth. One moment I saw him with a worm quite two inches long, the next instant it had gone completely! He then sat in the Holly Tree and sang to me.'

I've decided that I'm going to read through the entries at the same time of the year, as each page is full of interesting comments and illustrations. Here is the page for last week....

When she was 15 Margaret's family moved the thirty miles from Beaulieu to Selbourne, in the same county of Hampshire. Her family bought The Wakes the house where the famous naturalist the Rev. Gilbert White had lived and worked. His work and the house had a profound influence on her and her love of nature and the countryside grew.

The book is a facsimile of her diaries so they haven't been enhanced or altered in anyway - they are just as she left them hidden in the drawer.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Today of All Days

I'd just like to link you to this blog today. It's the blog of a grandson of a WWI soldier, written through his ancestor's letters home and set in timescale, so if you want to learn all about Harry Lamin and his experiences start at the oldest post and work forward. I found this blog fascinating because William Henry Bonser Lamin (Harry) was born 1887 in Awsworth, Nottinghamshire and my grandfather Alexander Joseph Limb (Joe) was also born in Awsworth, three years earlier in 1884. I wonder if they knew of each other?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pretty Umbrellas or Les Jolis Parapluies

These umbrellas attracted my attention at the French Market in Hanley yesterday. I was going to take photos of some of the other stalls there but something happened to my camera and it just wouldn't take any more photos so I will have to describe the others stalls. There were pretty pink and blue quilted eiderdowns and throws, beautiful soaps from Provence, loads of garlic, wine and calvados, olives, cheese and bread. The smells were divine. I was tempted by the soap but ended up buying just two bulbs of garlic to remind me of holidays in France.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Lunch at Ladybower

We arrived at the Heatherdene car park near the dam in brilliant sunshine. I think it may have been one of the warmest November days I have ever experienced. The autumnal colours in the trees and the bright blue of the water were stunning and my photos don't do justice to the clarity of the light or the still atmosphere of the day. We took the walk down towards the dam crossed the road and then walked across to the opposite side.

We took photos and watched the little fishing boats bobbing about on the still water then walked back and ate our packed lunch of cheese and watercress sandwiches and the last of the devil's cake. The final port of call on our way home was the David Mellor factory shop in Hathersage. They had some great craft pottery and desirable kitchen equipment as well as the wonderful cutlery made on the site but this time my purse stayed firmly in my pocket. The Round Building factory is on the same site. Two or three years ago we met up with friends and went on a factory tour, organised for the Heritage Open Days weekend; it really is very interesting and the round building is as impressive inside as out.

After a good look around we set off towards Bakewell, Monyash and Hartington getting home at about 4p.m. just in time to bring the cats in, close the cat flap and 'batten down the hatches' as the fireworks started as soon as it was dark - I think they are very pretty at a properly organised event but the random garden ones I don't like - especially the very loud ones, so I joined the cats in jumping at each loud bang - I didn't end up under the bed with my claws stuck in the carpet though!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Breakfast in Castleton

The last time we visited Castleton in Derbyshire it was on a very hot day in the June of last year - here is my post from that time - yesterday was very different but still unusually warm for the time of year. We set off on our favourite route through Ipstones, Longnor, Tideswell, Miller's Dale, Bradwell, Hope and down into Castleton. I see that last time we had breakfast at the Nags Head, this time we had coffee and toast at the Three Roofs cafe before taking a leisurely stroll round the village.

We passed this little bridge on the way up to Peak Cavern.

We didn't go into the Cavern; we'd both been down there before on trips from school many years ago. We wandered up the path towards Speedwell Cavern and then back down into the village.

We spent ages in the bookshop and came out with a book each, so much for trying to downsize, and one for a present. I hadn't intended to buy anything when we went in but somehow couldn't resist. Paul found a scientific paper on Pterosaurs that he hadn't been able to find before, so he was very pleased with his purchase and I have the most beautiful facsimile of a 1920s nature journal which I will write about later - I spent hours pouring over it last night.

We left the bookshop and went back towards the car park having a quick look in the Heritage Centre on our way. Then we set off to drive back towards Hope and up to the Ladybower Dam of which more in the next post.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


After the mellow mood of yesterday, today has been a day of doubt and frustration. Perhaps tomorrow will be different again.

Taken today at 4.30p.m. from our front garden

The Devil's Cake I mentioned yesterday was so easy to make and is delicious. The 1st November means 'Happy Birthday' to my friend P and my brother-in-law M - hope you both have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spooky Soup

I turned once again to my favourite cook book, Rosamond Richardson's 'Seasonal Pleasures - Recipes from a Farmhouse Kitchen' to find a recipe for pumpkin soup. She didn't disappoint me.

Her recipe serves 8 people so I halved the quantities. I also substituted the butter with olive oil and the double cream with half fat creme fraiche.

Spooky Soup

2 large onions, sliced.
2 oz butter

1lb pumpkin flesh
8oz turnip, sliced
12 oz carrots, sliced
3pts vegetable stock
salt and pepper
ground nutmeg
half pint of double cream

Saute the onions in the butter in a large saucepan until they soften. Cook for about 10 minutes but don't let them brown. Add pumpkin flesh, turnips and carrots and stir until the vegetables are well coated with the onions. Cook gently for five minutes to soften them, then stir in the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for fifteen minutes, then liquidize to a puree. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg, Stir in the cream. Heat through and the soup is ready to serve.

The smell of freshly ground nutmeg is wonderful.

The finished product served with chunks of Paul's home made bread and glasses of apple juice. It was very tasty and there is some left for tomorrow.

Paul couldn't resist reliving his childhood and made a face in the hollow pumpkin, so tonight I'm going to put a candle or tea light in there but first I'm going to make another of Rosamond's Halloween recipes - Devil's Cake. I'll report back on this one tomorrow.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Which Way?

Ever since the ban on smoking in public places came into force earlier this year I've noticed that hardly anyone stands inside the bus station part of the Longton interchange anymore. This bus station, just opposite the railway station (hence the use of the word interchange), is a modern state of the art building paid for by Tesco as part of their huge Tesco extra store on Baths Road. This store has been extremely popular with visitors and the car park is always full as, like most other towns, the complex also includes Matalan, Argos and Next outlets too.

The approach to the complex has recently become fraught with problems for pedestrians as the powers that be are demolishing an unstable building at the Times Square end of The Strand just opposite the Town Hall. This means that those of us who walk have to cross to the opposite side of the road and back again to get round it. The other way is to walk along Baths Road and up by the bus station. The only trouble with this is that the gap between the wall behind Argos and the glass walls of the bus station is not very wide and more often than not blocked by people standing smoking whilst waiting for their bus.

Whilst walking this route I've also noticed that the small wall backing on to the car park is full of Tesco employees sitting with their cigarettes - well away from the store - but causing as much of a fug of smoke as you would have got in an old pub tap room. It has become quite a meeting place with lots of merry banter and I wouldn't be at all surprised to one day see one of them clutching a pint pot of beer and nibbling a bag of crisps or pork scratchings. I just have to take a deep breath and rush by until I'm in the middle of the car park and then breath.

The only other route is from the back of the store, past the car wash and under the railway via a tunnel and on to a back alley which passes some old derelict pottery works complete with weed covered brick bottle oven, before coming back out onto the main road. I've been this way a few times but earlier this year I read a book by local author Priscilla Masters wherein the murderer, held and tortured his victims at the top of this old factory building and whilst held there the heroine could just see, through a chink in the boarded up windows, the cars in the Tesco car park. This has added an extra dimension to my uneasiness of walking this way.

So, demolition site, smoking circle, or possible scene of crime scenario, which would you choose? I'm getting quite good at holding my breath :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just by Chance

I took this photo this morning from the window at the top of the stairs, across the hedge into next door's garden. I saw the ginger cat playing with the empty coconut shell bird feeders, it wasn't until I zoomed and cropped the photo that I saw the other tabby cat behind keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings. Yes, it is our Tommy Tank. As you know from my posts earlier this year Tom was very ill and we nearly lost him so it's great to see that he can still get up into trees.

This week has been quite strange. Paul has been working very odd hours whilst training for his new job and I've been recovering from banging my head and spending most of Sunday afternoon and evening in the walk-in hospital followed by A&E. Sunday isn't a good time to sit in A&E waiting for your name to be called. I was surrounded by young men in shorts or track suits with swollen knees or ankles - all injuries sustained whilst playing football in the Sunday league. We spent two and a half hours at the walk-in and three at A&E - but, thank goodness - no lasting damage done. I think today is the first day I've felt almost normal again.

In the middle of all this we had an offer on our house from couple two. Unfortunately they wanted us to reduce the price by four thousand pounds, as we've not long since reduced it by six thousand we thought this was a bit much as it would certainly lessen our options on any property we want to buy so we have had to say no.

We were going to go to Pumpkin Day at Ryton Gardens on Sunday and I was hoping to take some pumpkin photos for next week but as Paul has to go up to Bradford on Monday for more training I don't think it would be wise to drive so far the day before so we are planning to perhaps have a gentle stroll somewhere instead.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

An Apple a Day

Today is National Apple Day so I thought I would share these photos with you - aren't apples wonderful?

This is the apple barrow outside The Country Larder at Trentham retail park.

Most of the apples are local grown.

We bought a couple of spartans, a couple of red delicious and a couple of coxes - oh, and a bottle of cider too, made with cox apples.

I used one of the coxes to make an apple cake.