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.