Monday, 31 August 2015

A stitch in time, takes all day

Hello. I'm a bit late tonight. I have been sewing like crazy all day, working on the bag of many colours. I was hoping to put the pics on here tonight, the bag is finished, but the photo's do not take well with a flash, so I'll have to take more tomorrow in the daylight. I took it with me to Crafty Club and worked on it, then sat all day at the computer watching catch up while I stitched. 
There were some interesting programmes on iplayer. First Dragons Den which I like, some crazy business ideas are pitched in the hope that the Dragons will back them. One woman was offered the full amount by Peter Jones but he wanted 30% of her posh drinks business. She wouldn't go more that 25% so the silly woman turned him down. Big mistake, she had a good product and he could have done wonders with getting it out there in the stores. Then I watched a documentary about Anthony Hopkins, what a nice man, and very talented, and another about Omar Sharif. After that I watched two episodes of the Bake Off programme, not the whole programme but the Extra Slice follow up programme. I like Jo Brand, she makes me laugh. And after that I watched a documentary about Frank Sinatra, I never knew he sang a duet with Elvis Presley, then followed by a Doris Day documentary. I stopped that half way through it because that was when I finished the bag, and had to make a phone call. Next I have to clean Heidi's litter box out, and walk Rocky, and feed Bugsy, then maybe I will go to bed. 
A house is not a home without a cat. This is Mayze waiting for me to come home. She is a sweetheart mostly, but she has bullied Heidi in the past. I wondered if that was what made Heidi poorly. Heidi is much happier now she has her own territory in the living room, and Mayze is keeping out of her way. 
We've had some smashing sunsets over the last few days. As usual I rushed to the back of the church to take some snaps overlooking the river.

Love the reflections in the river. There are some houses which overlook this view, wish I could afford one, they are much more expensive than mine. Wouldn't it be lovely to be able to sit on a balcony and watch the sun go down.

Walking back up the street, I turned to see if it was still there, and it was.

Got lots to do this week, dog walks, dentist, and getting ready for the holiday, and cleaning house for the cat sitter. Rocky is by my side, tail wagging, he wants to go out, so I'll say toodle pip for now. Thanks for popping in.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

De cluttering, sharks, cake recipe, blogging, and Scottish mountains

Hello and Good Morning.
I have been meaning to write this post for the last week, now I am ready. Last Saturday I did something a bit silly, I spent wasted some money on two Saturday newspapers. It was a spur of the moment thing, I thought it might be quite exciting to re visit the past when I used to buy a mega size newspaper every weekend which would then last the whole week. I religiously read it from cover to cover to get my moneys worth. Now, of course I don't buy newspapers at all, and it saves me a fortune in time and money.

Anyway, I thought I would share my review of last Saturdays Guardian, cost £2.70, and a cheapie version of the Independent called 1 on Saturday,  cost 50p, apparently it's the essential weekend briefing, in their words. When I first opened these papers my initial thought was crikey, it's all a bit above my intelligence level, but I stuck with it and found to my surprise that there was a lot of interesting stuff to devour and hopefully store in my little brain.

I'm not one to stick with a lot of long drawn out waffling, my interest quickly subsides and I move on to the next thing. You might be like me and give up on this waffly post, I wouldn't blame you. However if you wish to stick with it I will tell you what caught my eye in these papers, and if you read this you won't have to go out and buy a paper, thus saving you money.

Starting with the Guardian, I have included links to the articles by the way. Tim Lott writes about chucking out the lovingly crafted detritus created by his children, from lolly sticks, papier-mache  and suchlike. He laments the fact that adults no longer make home made gifts for their friends and family but would rather go to a gift shop and spend on tat. Yes, sad indeed. The article is an interesting take on the topic of de cluttering, and gives food for thought on what you actually need to keep or what you should throw away. The article is here.

Another Guardian article, this time from the Travel Supplement. There is a new North Coast 500 mile drive around Scotland, in answer to America's Route 66. Kapla Kassabova checks this out over a four day drive in an old Landrover with partner and dog, starting at Inverness. It highlights lots of stopping places, interesting sights to see, places to eat and sleep. I almost wish I was there, but I would be walking of course, such a shame to whizz past that wonderful scenery in a set of motorized wheels. For more details on the route here is the full article.  For even more details go to the North Coast 500 web site. Some great pictures on there. 

Are you still with me or have you buggered off somewhere else, ha ha.

What's next? Let's move over to The Independent. This next article makes me quite angry, me being an animal lover and all that. Kathy Marks writes a piece about the shark attacks in New South Wales which have killed quite a few surfers in recent months. Whenever this happens a public meeting is called and last week 200 surfers and business people have voted for a cull of Great Whites. They say the uncertainty of surfer safety is deterring people from going into the water, which is affecting local business because people are cancelling their holidays. Well chuffin bad luck is all I say. One simple solution, keep out of the water. Ok I have never been there so I don't know how important surfing is to the residents and holiday makers, but bloodshed is not the answer. Kill a few and there will be more to take their place. My view is that the oceans belong to the marine life that live in their waters, it is their territory, and we encroach on that at our peril. Find another activity for people to do, on land. Read the article here.

Another one from the Independent, this made me laugh. Emma Lunn writes, Can bloggers be legitimate critics if they are taking money or getting free produce? Apparently there was a spat between a blogger and a cake shop owner, which went viral after the cake shop owner felt they had been bullied by a blogger, or blagger as she liked to put it. They both put their side of the story on their own blogs, the cake shop also has a blog. The social media spat opened up a whole can of worms, with the biggest question being, can you trust a food review when the writer got the grub for nothing? My own personal view is no you can't. Read the story here.  And through the power of the internet, here is the story on the cake shop blog. Remember this is a business. And to balance it out, the story from the blogger, also a business. You can form your own opinion.

If you fancy a bit more cake, this caught my eye in the Food section of the Guardian. I don't use my oven because it costs so much in gas, and cooking for one is much simpler on the hob or in the microwave, with the occasional grill being brought into use, so a cake which doesn't need baking seems appealing. Ruby Tandoh presents this recipe which I won't go into here, but burnt honey and vanilla cake looks lipsmacking gorjuss. I doubt very much that I will be trying it though, I don't have any vanilla bean paste, raspberries, or home made caramelized biscuits, and I try and steer clear of double cream and runny honey. But if you fancy giving it a go the recipe is here. It serves 4 - 6, another reason why I would not make it, I would pig out on the whole lot in one go. I can't be trusted.

Well I think that's a mixed bag of stuff in today's post. I won't be buying another newspaper, if I want to read a real one I can go to the library and it will cost me nowt.

Thanks a lot for popping in. It's Saturday, Heidi is looking quite good, she is a lot brighter, has a healthy appetite, and is very playful in the mornings. She still sleeps a lot, right next to me, in her bed on the table, so things are looking good. Rocky is waiting for a walk, and I want to go to town, so I'll sign off. Enjoy your weekend.
Toodle pip

PS. Disclaimer. I wasn't given these papers, I bought them  ;o))

Friday, 28 August 2015

A visit to Tattershall and Coningsby

Hello. I started this post last night, but tiredness overcame me and I went to bed. So this morning, fully refreshed, I resume. 

It was a lovely sunny morning so me and the pooch went out today. I am running out of local places to visit so each trip is a little further afield from the one before. This time I headed south through Lincoln and along a 'B' road through Metheringham and Billinghay, and made a stop at a picnic area for lunch. On then to Tattershall. I have been past many times but never had time to stop. The castle is visible from the road, so now is my chance to have a look around. I went in the church first.
The Collegiate Holy Trinity Church is 180 feet long. All the windows are clear glass, except for the large coloured glass one in the Great Eastern Window.

There is a warm welcome inside. Ladies serving cups of tea and cakes, and lots of bricabrac stalls. It looked a bit like lots of charity shops selling donated goods, all clustered together at one end. It was free to go in so I bought a packet of scrumptious home made oaty biscuits.


If you look at the map the castle is only a short walk away. The trouble is that once you pass the entrance at the Gatehouse it is hard to push the buggy through the deep shingle surface. Rocky had already had a walk up to this point, and he was struggling to walk through the loose stones, but I persevered and pushed him along on the grass where I could. 
The castle is a National Trust property, access is free to the grounds but there is a charge to go inside. The Gatehouse has a shop where they would like you to spend your money, either buying goods or joining up. I didn't want to do either so I bypassed that and took a path to the side. Besides there wasn't room for a buggy inside there. 
There is a moat around the castle and to get to it you have to cross this small wooden bridge. I don't like the look of those supports underneath it, the whole thing looks a bit dilapidated and could do with replacing. Parts of the moat are also full of reeds.

Aaahhh, I can see water there. Apparently the view is very good from the top if you want to climb the stairs. There are six floors, 149 steps.

The castle is built of red bricks, by Patrick Cromwell, between 1434 and 1447, as a display of his wealth and power in unstable times. For more information you can look at the web site.  It was a warm sunny day, and nice to see the families out with their children. Lots of space for them to run around in.

View of the castle from the churchyard. 
Next I thought we would take a look at the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight  exhibition at nearby Coningsby. Oh dear, I forgot to check that, no dogs. I went in and asked if they could make an exception for an elderly dog in a buggy, but the computer said no, so we had to be content to walk along the outer perimeter for a short distance and peer through the wire fence.

This little gnat was buzzing around, landing and taking off several times, I think they were rookie pilots practicing. 
Then it came down and landed, taxiing to it's parking slot.

The pilots climbed out and left it in the capable hands of the ground crew for inspection and maintenance.

I reckon this plane is strategically placed to block the view from the many enthusiasts poised with their zoom lens cameras along the fence. I spoke to a man and he said it was the same one in this exact spot he had seen on his previous visit, weeks before. 

The man told me that these two planes are kitted out with radar, the dishes on the top pick up signals from other aircraft while patrolling the skies. Like an early warning system.

Here is a link to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

After half an hour of standing and watching, and not much else happening, I decided to go back to the car. Earlier I had heard the boom of several Spitfies taking off, and hoped there would be more, but no luck. Plane spotting needs a lot of patience, maybe it's not for me, ha ha.

Time for a nice steady ride back through the Lincolnshire countryside, with the usual battle through the traffic at Lincoln. A nice relaxing day out, it's good to get out of the house now and again.

Looks like another sunny day today so I'll say Toodle pip and thanks for popping in. A bit more hedge trimming to do, and playing in the summerhouse. Catch you soon.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

JUST DO IT

Hello. Apologies if you are eating, maybe read this after you have finished your meal. A question. What is the most important thing in your life. Most people would say their kids and their family, their other half, followed by pets perhaps. What is at the top of the list for you? I admire those that love other people more than themselves, it shows a compassion for their fellow human beings, and should be applauded. I admire those people who go through traumatic experiences, and somehow come out the other end to pick up the pieces and carry on with their life. It is very important to build up a resilience to all the unpleasantness that might come our way.

So what am I waffling on about? For me, the most important thing in my life is trying to maintain my reasonably good health. If I were to fall ill I would be the worlds worst patient, I would moan and groan that I can't do this or do that. I would sit around and become a right miserable and crabby old witch. I would feel sorry for myself, I would be depressed saying why me, why has this happened to me. I don't want to become that person, so I try hard to look after myself.

Our NHS offers free healthchecks, eye tests, tests for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and bowel cancer. And if we have any other concerns about something which is not quite right with our bodies we can make an appointment to see a doctor. We are lucky to have this service.

I was reading in the newspaper that people ignore the test for bowel cancer because it is too much faff. I don't like faffing too much because it wastes time, but this is one faff I am happy to put up with. It could save my life.

Here are some figures.
Cervical screening has 79% take up, breast cancer screening 72%, on average only 54% of the target population accept an invitation for bowel cancer screening, with only four out of ten taking up the offer, according to the charity Beating Bowel Cancer.



My test is ready to put in the post. If you get one of these, don't bin it, don't leave it lying around to think about it, don't moan that it's too much faff.  Ok, it's not very nice to mess about with your own poo, it stinks, you might feel sick, but for goodness sake, it's only the waste matter from all the food you have noshed. Put a face mask on, open the window, spray some perfume around, it only takes a minute or two. If  your health is the most important thing to you, JUST DO IT. If not for yourself, do it for your loved ones who will be left behind if you die.

Thank you for reading. Come back soon.
Toodle pip