Monday, 31 August 2009

A visit to Epworth Show

We've had nice weather here today, a bit blustery but warm and sunny with no rain. I decided that me and Ben should have a couple of hours at the Epworth Agricultural show, I say a couple of hours because I'm not sure if the old boy is up to doing any more due to his wonky back legs. He could probably manage one circuit of the field.

Getting him in and out of the car is no easy job. The footwell isn't big enough for him so his entry and exit has to be through the back door of my estate car. This is a bit too high so I had the idea of making some steps for him. I got the wheelie bin laid down against the back bumper, and a big plastic storage box upside down next to it, and covered it with a piece of carpet, this made two steps up. He was a bit nervous but with some biscuits scattered inside as an incentive, he managed to haul himself in.

In previous years I have never seen anything of the show because I was always working on my stand selling fancy goods and giftware, so it was nice today to have an amble around. Ben thought it was wonderful to sniff so many other dogs, and hoover up the bits of food that people had dropped. His prize find was a whole sausage.

I met a few people I know, my friend Polly was a judge in the dog show, Anita and Alan with their rescue Labrador, another friend with her Dalmation, and some people I know showing their classic cars. I took a few photo's.

There were three alpacas, haven't they got lovely faces. Nearby was a lady with a spinning wheel demonstrating how to spin the wool.
This shire horse decided to do a whoopsie, the man leading it is waiting for it to finish before he moves on.
Bernese Mountain Dog. There was a team of these dogs, each one had a wooden cart full of flowers to pull.

This Morris car has been chopped in half and converted into a mini truck, it has exhaust stacks on the back.

I was very impressed with these fabulous blooms in the Flower and Produce tent.

We both enjoyed our visit to Epworth Show.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Handsome boy

I have a lodger for a week, my best friend Ben is staying with me. He is a lovely steady old plodder, so gentle and kind, he gets on with anybody. Don't you think he is a handsome boy?I have to make a few alterations while he is here. He knows there is cat food about and would demolish it given the chance, so I have to move their three trays from the living room into the bedroom. This confuses the cats for a couple of days, they look at the empty space and say, 'Ok, what have you done with it now?' Then I have to put a barrier across the bottom of the stairs so Ben can't sneak up when I am not looking.

He is a crafty old so and so. Yesterday I hadn't seen him for 20 minutes and panicked when I couldn't find him anywhere in the house. I looked out into the garden, and there he was, enjoying a sniff around the hedge bottoms. My garden is not fully secure, goodness knows what might have happened if he had wandered further. The only way he could have got out there was through the cat flap, I was amazed because I thought he was too big to go through it, but I suppose, where there's a will there's a way. Now I have put the cat scratching post in front of the hole so the cats can still squeeze through.

Bugsy and Lilly are fine about Ben being here, he has been brought up with cats so no chance that he might fight with them. But Freddie has gone a bit sulky, he stands his ground and threatens Ben. This is his territory and he doesn't like it being invaded by some alien from another planet. Freddie will hiss and spit, and lash out in an attempt to drive Ben away. Poor Ben retreats because he is such a gentle soul, and I have to be vigilant and make sure Freddie doesn't go the whole way and jump on him.

What fun and games I am going to have for the rest of the week. At least I can take Ben to his own house for a few hours to give Freddie a stress break. Ben also needs some restfull times because he is not so good on his back legs. We can't go long walks any more, just several short strolls around the nearby churchyard. Yesterday the Church was open so we called in for a chat with some of the ladies who were doing the flower arrangements.

Everything will have to be worked around Ben this week, so I won't be going far. I don't think it's right to have pets and then keep them locked up for hours on end. The cats are more independant and don't need constant supervision, so I can go out for a long day, they are fine till I get back. And I always have my nice neighbour to help out.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Not much good at clothes shopping

I watched one of those reality programmes when I was dog sitting at my friends house the other day. What was it, Ten Years Younger, or something like that. There was two women who looked a lot older than their years, one of them had the full works under the surgeons knife, and the other had non surgical treatments. They both had their teeth fixed, hair done, and were fitted out with a whole new wardrobe of clothes, and both were delighted with their new image.
I suddenly realised that I have let myself go a bit just lately, and looked much the same as the before version on the tele. Today I decided to do something about it, a visit to a few charity shops should kit me out with some bright new clobber. My friend was delighted when I told her, she said, you always wear baggy clothes, which is true, I like to be comfy. It was my intention to get some colour into my life instead of the drab dark clothes I usually wear.
Anyway, the Oxfam shop had a sign up saying all clothes 50p, I went through all the racks, and found this, a nearly new fleecy jacket. Perfect and what a bargain.

Then I went to the Scope shop and found another bargain, just what I want, another pair of walking boots. I tried them on, perfect, well broken in by the previous owner, so hopefully no blisters for me. A snip at only £2.
I also found another nice jacket, a bit thicker than the other one, perfect for dog walking in, almost new and a good make. At £3.50 I felt it was good value.
I also bought a pair of brown cord trousers for £3, very smart. When I got home I found that both the jackets are reversible, so that's a bonus. So that's me kitted out for winter.

My new image looks like it is not going to materialise just yet, I just can't find anything that is cheap and fashionable, and warm and comfortable. I am not much good at clothes shopping :-(

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Zippy bag

Blimey, I've just noticed that this is my 200th post, think I ought to celebrate, I'll crack a can of cider, ha ha. When I started the blog I thought I might do it for a year. One year of frugal living, money saving, and how to live within your means. I've had plenty of practice. I had an operation last year and needed twelve weeks off work to recover, then lost my job and became unemployed in October. You could say my enforced retirement started ten months early, rather than the actual date three months ago. But here I am, eight months into my blog, and always something to write about. Life is grand.

This is my latest bag, made out of fourteen zips I got from the Scrapstore. It is quite small, 18cm x 13cm, so it's more like an evening bag. I was limited by the colours I have, and the metal zips make it quite heavy, but it is all hand stitched. The handle has a leather stiffener inside it and is covered with the same fabric as the lining, from a dress I got for 20p at a car boot sale. I am going to put a simple press stud on the inside to fasten it, as inserting another zip along the top would make it too bulky.
The colours on the photo's are a shade lighter than the actual colours, and on the other side the zips are in a slightly different sequence, there is two blue and one pink. It looks quite trendy and quirky, maybe Iwill have to have a night out to try it.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

On top of the world

The weather forecast is wet and windy for Wednesday, so I thought I had better take myself off for another day out today. I fancied going to Bradford and Saltaire, looks pretty interesting, art galleries etc, but I noticed in the brochure that there is an arts festival on next month, so I think I'll wait till then. Now, where to go where I won't be battling my way through zillions of holiday makers? Derbyshire again? Plenty of big open spaces, maybe a bit further than my previous trip to Hathersage. Studying the Ordnance Survey map I see there is a reservoir with a forest on one side, hilly terrain, and a maze of footpaths surrounding it. Perfect, I printed off the maps.

I arrived at Bamford at 12 noon, and found my first footpath down a lane, then turn left between a big old mill and some modern houses. This is what I found, magic. A pond with ducks, water tumbling over the weir and over the stones, and a footpath through it made of rocks and wooden boards. I lingered a while listening to the rush of the water and enjoying the sun, a great start to my walk. I carried on over the wooden bridge and into a field.

All the signposts were very well marked, I decided to follow the Derwent Valley Heritage Way a short distance past Yorkshire Bridge, to the dam at the bottom of the Ladybower Reservoir. My plan was to walk the route anti clockwise along the waters edge for a while, then turn left through the forest, climb the hill out the other side and return via Win Hill, and the village of Thornhill.

As I stopped for a few minutes at Yorkshire Bridge, dark clouds blew overhead and decided to release a few hundred gallons of water, I dived for cover underneath some large trees. I don't like to be laden with a heavy backpack on a day out so I just take the bare essentials, food, drink, camera, phone, shorts to wear if hot, sweatshirt to put on if cold. I wouldn't go out walking if there was going to be continual downpours, the odd shower here and there is not a problem, I just find some shelter. If I get wet, so be it, it's only water.

The clouds blew over in a few minutes and gave way to brilliant sunshine as I reached the dam over the reservoir. This photo is looking south, down onto the water works, away from the lake.

Then I turned round and took a photo looking to the north over the water.

I walked a good distance following the curve of the reservoir on my right and the forest on my left, then turned left up a steep bank through the trees. I thought I was at the top and my first instinct was to turn left but then after checking the map I realised if I did that I would miss Win Hill, so I climbed even further through more trees untill I reached the open, heather clad hills. The view was fabulous.
There was a lack of signposts up here, maybe the sheep or the wind had knocked them over, so I followed what appeared to be a well worn wide path through the heather, in the direction of a mound of rocks, this looks like it could be Win Hill. Getting closer I could see the path up to the top, wow, how exciting, I was thrilled with a big grin on my face. I looked back to admire the view and savour every moment. Following me up was a couple of young fit and healthy looking guys running after me, I couldn't believe my luck, ha ha. I stood aside and they passed. Alas they were not running after me, but looked like they were on a training programme, they turned round and dashed straight back down again after reaching their goal. My ascent was a lot more leisurely, I ambled to the top taking care not to loose my footing on the uneven rocks, oh dear forgot to pack my crampons :-) Looking down at Lady bower Reservoir.
Looking the other way towards Castleton and Hope. It was very windy, nearly got blown off. I feel like I am on the top of the world :-)

It was downhill all the way now. A couple more photo's before I reach the bottom.
As I got back into Bamford at 6pm I saw a big house with a notice board at the front of the driveway, I stopped for a nosey. It was a Quakers House, and to the side of it was a communal garden I couldn't resist taking a look. It was laid out like allotments, I don't know much about Quakers, but I believe they share their food. It was in a lovely setting, down a private lane.

I don't think I will get another day out for a week or two, I have some dog sitting coming up. Ben is an old dog so it will only be short walks close to home. Still, it will give me a chance to do some research and find more places to visit.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Not buying veg

The veg garden is still providing me with lots of food, I am pleased to say. My cucumbers are doing really well, and now at last I have some tomatoes. Most of them are still green though so it looks like I might be cooking and freezing a lot of them.

I took the cover off the brassicas today to weed underneath them and to put some fresh canes in to keep them upright. The sprout plants are massive and looking healthy, and there are some cabbages coming along. Thankfully the net curtains over the top has kept the butterflies off.

I still have beans in abundance and have started to freeze them, but the courgettes have slowed up a bit. I pulled some onions and had three for my dinner tonight, they went in the steamer with the potatoes, beans, and broccoli. I've still got some carrots, beetroot, and turnips left.

I have made a new salad box, in a washing up bowl, the last one has just been dumped on the compost heap. They last me ages, I just keep picking a few leaves for the meal I am having, leaving the rest to grow.

I won't be buying any veg for a while yet, that's unless I see something I am not growing, at a very cheap reduced price, ha ha.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

A bridge not too far

I had Ben overnight last night, my friends dog, so after a quick walk round the churchyard I took him back to his own house. I get the feeling today is going to be a walking day, but I'm not sure where to go. It's too late to make it a full day out so I think it has to be somewhere not too far away as I don't want to drive for miles. I am only ten miles from the Humber Bridge, and it is a sunny morning, seems like a good idea to walk across it, and explore the other side. I need a map, thank goodness for the internet where any map you want is free. Of course they don't let you have the whole map, but that's fine, I only want the bits of where I am going to walk. I printed off six sections and stuck them together.

At 12 noon my car was parked on the south side of the River Humber, near the footpath up onto the bridge. This is the start.On the bridge, a little way along...
Now I am over the other side, looking down onto the country park, the old windmill and the pub/restaurant, That's the A63 out of Hull on the right which leads onto the M62 across the Pennines to Liverpool. This part of the north bank stretches as far as Goole. I walked as far as you can see, along the waters edge.
The path is part of the Yorkshire Wolds Way, which leads onto the Trans Pennine Trail, and is suitable for walking and cycling. Looking back at the bridge. As you can see the shore line is pebbles, rocks, and mud, not a good place for a paddle, ha ha. I sat on the rocks and ate a sandwich. I carried on past North Ferriby then turned right onto a footpath through Long Plantation, which goes through the woods, then turned right into the village. I like to spend a few minutes of contemplation in a church, I am not religeous but it seems appropriate to say my thanks for such a lovely life. I wrote a little prayer request and hung it on the tree, for Henry, my friends dog who is having an xray on Monday, I hope God prays for animals.
The bridge seems an awful long way away now, stretching over the water in the distance, I walked towards it along the road. I wanted to walk back over it on the eastern footpath to get a different view, but they had closed it due to roadworks. So with my head down my pace quickened as I tackled the final leg of the walk. At 5.30pm I was back in my car, pleased with my half day out, I estimate it to be about 13 miles.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Double bonus bargains

I got a double bonus today. Firstly I decided to cash in £10 of my points vouchers, and get £20 back, at Tesco Customer Service. You can only do this in certain departments, you can't spend them on general food. I thought it might be a good idea to get a few bottles of wine.

My six bottles, three red and three white, came to £23.68, then I got a multibuy discount of £1.19, and the £20 off left me with £2.49 to pay. Yippeee, wonderful. I know I spent money in Tesco to get the vouchers, but they don't make anything out of me because most of what I buy is special offers or reduced to pence on the last date, so I consider my vouchers as free gifts.

The second bonus was this...
Found on a reduced trolley tucked away at the back of the store at the end of an aisle. Stackers filled with nails and screws. Each pot screws into the other, five in a stack with a red lid and handle on the top pot. Guess how much??? 5p a stack, amazing. I bought all seven, you cant have too many screws and nails. Great bargain find.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Catchup day

I've been a bit busy these last few days, tied up with dog sitting. One perk of that was I found blackberries in abundance while out walking Henry. They are now as juice in my refrigerator. I don't like the bits in blackberries so the best option for me is to add water, cook them for a few minutes, and put them through a sieve. It takes a bit of time to do squash them all down to mush, but I really can't stand the pips. No point in blending they would still be there.

I'm having a catch up day at home, the lawn looks more like a meadow so the mower will have to come out soon. I try and leave it as long as I can between cuts, this reduces the amount of electricity I use, sorry I am not buying a hand mower there is too much lawn.

I shall have to go to town in a bit, bank and pay a bill. I shall also pop in the Arts Centre. There is a wonderful exhibition in there at the moment, worth a second look, and I have a voucher for a free cup of coffee, got to claim it before the end of the month.

In between these jobs I have to walk Ben a couple of times because his owner has gone out for the day, and night. I might bring him here for a while so he wont be lonely. He can come into the garden with me while I do a bit of weeding. Must go, loads to do. Oh nearly forgot, I am making a small bag out of zips, will post pics when it's done.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

My home made shoe rack

A few good guesses there, but you're right, I dont have a TV, although it could be used for one. Here it is.....

A shoe rack for my porch, so I don't have to go searching for my shoes. I made it to fit the recess underneath the window ledge, the front door is on the left. It could be used as book shelves as it is strong and sturdy, or in the greenhouse or potting shed. Or it could be used for tool storage in the garage. You could make it taller, wider, or deeper depending how many pallets you had. You could make it smaller and stand it on a cupboard against a wall. I used batons (free from work) to hold it together but you could improvise with pallets. I got the varnish for a few pence on the last day Woolies closed down.

It's much better than the chip board stuff you buy, it will last a lifetime, never need replacing. Anyone else going to have a go?

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Still scratching your head?

Sorry, I've been busy for a couple of days, bringing motorhomes back from Malvern. The 'object' is assembled, I have started to varnish it, but I have to go out dog sitting now. Here is a taster pic to keep you in suspenders.

Maybe it will get finished later :-) It's a hard life being a pensioner, ha ha. Busy busy.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Blisters stop work

Almost there, six more pieces 27.25" x 4". Just have to assemble it now, then varnish it. I've had to stop because my right arm is aching and I have blisters on my right hand from all the sawing and the screwing of the screws.

Friday, 14 August 2009

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

I picked up a few leaflets from the library the other day, to help me plan my days out, I study them on my dining room table over breakfast. I am thinking I need to travel a bit further afield. The leaflet for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway looks interesting, so after making my packup I drove to Pickering, arriving at 11.45am. I checked the timetable and saw there was a train leaving at noon, so I quickly legged it to the station from my free parking place in the street on the edge of the town. Just made it with a minute to spare and plonked myself down opposite a middle aged couple and soon started a conversation. There are four stops before the train arrives at Whitby. I decided I didn't want to go that far because I wanted to get some time walking as well, so I got off at Grosmont, the last stop before the end. This is Grosmont.... it's a silent 's' by the way.

I noticed that they were moving the engine on the front and went to have a closer look to get a better shot, isn't it lovely, so exciting.
Then I had a look around the engine sheds, and treated myself to an ice cream, before I set off walking back to Goathland, the station before this one, it's just under four miles. The path follows the old railway line and runs alongside the river and the new track. Parts of it were very steep, at one point I could hear the chug chugging of the train but couldn't see it because I was deep in the woods, very frustrating. There are still remnants of an old bridge, big stone pillars in the middle of the river where the rail track was wider than the pathway. The water running over the rocks in the river was a great attraction for the children scrambling over them. This is a place called Mallyan Spout. I arrived at Goathland by the side of a big hotel opposite the church and sat on a bench for a bite to eat. The sheep are not penned in and are left to wander all over the road. Goathland is where they film Heartbeat, which is called Aidensfield in the series. It is very touristy and commercialised, it's a shame the shop fronts had awful special offer, and bargains stickers all over the windows. This is the train approaching the station that I caught back to Pickering.

I arrived back at 6pm, had a look round the town, the church, and the castle. There isn't a lot left of the castle, mainly just ruins, there is a path that you can walk around the perimeter. On the way home I called in to see my friends Alan and Janet with the cattery and had a coffee and catchup with them. A fantastic day out on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

The next step

I am taking my time with this so all my measurements are accurate, and hopefully it will stand up straight and won't be wonkey. Step three. Screw the pieces together like so....The distances between the batons dont have to be all the same, but the two pieces must be matching. I picked up another pallet today from the back of Wicks, they have a help yourself pile, so I have enough now to finish it to my original plan. It's looking quite good, are you any warmer yet? Something usefull, for indoors :-)

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Step two of the pallet project

Step two of my pallet wood project. Cut four pieces from a large pallet, 30" x 4". I used the long six foot pallets and cut two pieces from two slats, avoiding the nail holes. Sand them smooth. Then cut six more batons 12" long, the same as the first two.I'm not making much progress here due to my dog sitting, but I hope to get on with it tomorrow. The wood looks lovely when sanded smooth. Sorry, you will have to make some more guesses as to what it will be, it isn't a table. I'm going to look for some more pallets, because this could be the start of a new hobby.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Huge dinner

I have got such a lot of veg in the garden at the moment, my dinners are getting that big I have to eat them out of a pyrex dish, ha ha. I have just eaten steamed potatoes, courgettes, runner beans and broccoli, with a tin of veg soup over it. It was lovely. I am going to have to start freezing the beans, I can't keep up with them, as soon as my back's turned there are loads more :-0

Monday, 10 August 2009

The gas man cometh

I've had two men in my house today, it should have only been one. The first one came at 8.30am, he drilled a hole in the outside wall, put a camera into it, and sealed it up again. At 11am another man turned up, I said, 'You don't need to look, someone has already done it.' The company had sent two men to do the same job.

It's all part of the Warm Front grant I am getting, to fit a new boiler, have my cavity walls filled, and some more stuffing put in my loft. I thought it would be swimmingly easy, but I have hit a couple of glitches. The loft insulation people wouldn't go in the loft because they said there is asbestos up there, they said I had to have it removed first. The gas surveyor said don't worry about that, we will sort it for you when we fit the new boiler. Now I have found out that the boiler I am getting isn't very reliable and no one has a good word to say about them.

After some research on the internet it seems the boilers are notorious for breaking down at around two years old. I rang the company and said I want another make of boiler. I rang them twice, and sent an email with a link to the site where I found the information, then they rang me and said the manager would ring me. I wonder if he will ring tomorrow.

What a pain all this is, I can't be bothered, I just want an easy life. I suppose I should be pleased really that I am getting this work done for nothing, but I don't want the disruption. Ah well, I might be a bit warmer next winter, that's if I want to pay more money on my bills to switch it on.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Pallet Project

I've been knocking a few bits of wood together today, actually that's not strictly true, I have been measuring, sawing, sanding and screwing a few carefully selected pieces of wood together. I've made a start on the Down The Lane Pallet Project. I previously posted about taking apart some pallets, now I have decided what to do with them. This is it so far.
Take four clean pieces of wood 29" x 3", and two batons 1.25" square.

Screw the batons to the four pieces, at each end.

You end up with a piece 29" x 12". This is the top. I am not going to tell you what it is yet, you can guess. I know what it is going to be but I am making it up as I go along. The only clues I will give you is that it will be something usefull for indoors and it will be varnished. Oh, and it won't be too complicated, I am not an experienced wood worker :-)

Friday, 7 August 2009

City day out in Leeds

I've had a city day out today, took my car to Leeds, parked on the ring road and got the bus into the centre. I love my days out, grabbing the opportunity whenever the weather looks ok. The number 163 bus dropped me in New York Street, opposite the Kirkgate Market. This is a massive indoor and outdoor market with traders selling everything you can think of. I had a browse and if I was shopping for food I would definately get my fresh fruit and veg there, plenty of bargains to be had. Three bags of cherries for £1 and 24 peaches in a tray for £2. Sadly not today, this is my sightseeing day.

I bought one of those picture maps from a machine for £1, it gave me two copies, and try as I may, I couldn't sell the extra copy for 50p. The map was invaluable for finding my way about. The Victoria Quarter was lovely, all the old shop fronts very tastefully modernised, I tried to imagine what it might have been like in the old days with the horse driven carriages clattering along the cobbles. Now it is pedestrianised with beautiful ornate ironworks and a glass roof with the sun beaming down. I couldn't resist going into Harvey Nicks, just to gasp at the extortionate prices. Looking around the ladieswear, I was shocked to see a shapeless piece of fabric that looked like a throw draped over a hanger, price tag £1,000 :-0 I asked the nice young man assistant if anyone paid these prices. He said indeed they do, and showed me a coat priced at £3,500, I was gobsmacked, people definately do have more money than sense. I could get something like that from my Hospice Charity shop for a tenner.
Strolling along The Headrow, I came across people playing chess with giant pieces, on the pavement outside the Town Hall. They had a little audience of others waiting to take their turn.

I went into the Library next door, which leads onto the City Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute. There was an amazing display of the Leeds Tapestries, depicting life in and around Leeds from days gone by. I spent a good hour looking around the exhibitions, I love modern art and trying to work out what was going through the artists mind at the time of creation.

I wandered around City Square, a lovely area with fountains and statues, old and new buildings side by side.
The Corn Exchange has a tastefully restored interior, a vast space with a coffee lounge on the lower floor, shops on the ground and upper floors. It was a shame that most of them were empty, a sign of the present economic climate I think. Looking up at the ceiling you would think you were underneath an upturned boat. Parts of the Waterfont have been transformed from ugly dock warehouses into modern blocks of flats. The old style renovated buildings, and the new and modern are side by side, with cobbled pathways and outdoor eating areas joining the two. I walked over this Centenery Footbridge. There's lots more to see in Leeds, I'll go back there another time.