Sunday, 28 October 2012


On Saturday I went to York to visit a young friend of mine from the Czech Republic who I met when we were doing German at Manchester Uni and haven't seen her for a while. She's just moved over there from Sheffield area.

I had to go from a station about 6 miles away because of huge renovations at Stalybridge meaning that no trains at all can go through on that route, so I got TH to take me as I wasn't sure how safe the car park was.

Going into the waiting room I was amazed when I saw this beautiful stone fireplace, which could have graced a manor house. There was also a picture of Huskisson and other railway scenes which I would have photographed but didn't want to appear a geek in front of the other passengers.

It had snowed overnight in York and the pavements were wet and lying leaves made them very slippery to walk on, almost as bad as ice.

My first stop after a coffee and toasted teacake was to look at the cathedral, which was looking good in the sunlight with thankfully still leaves on the trees to make a nice photo. Then I noticed the little train which takes visitors to the Rail Museum.

In a little park area there is a monument which I believe is to the dead in South Africa 1899 to 1902. I've been to York many times and never taken notice of it.

I then went into the little streets to check the location of where we were going to go for a coffee, and a bite to eat. It was still there, a little quirky eating place, very brightly coloured with lots of writing ont he outside, called El Piano. It serves Vegan and Vegetarian food, gluten free etc, but it just mainly has such interesting stuff to eat and the surroundings are so unusual, we sat next to a baby grand piano! I forgot to take a picture of the outside, as it is quite a memorable place and serves all sorts of South American food and for the first time I ate corn bread (I think) or was it polenta? Anyway my friend had chocolate made with coconut milk and she said she had never tasted chocolate so nice.

In addition to Betty's which are all over Yorkshire, there is a Little Betty's, which many years ago I went in not realising its fame. Nowadays I'm too careful of my money to go there, where you queue for almost an hour to pay over the odds. Here are pictures of them both.

The last one seems to have cut off the bottom, it doesn't look so cut off in my photo album. Just note the different types of building. I am sure that Liberty's used to be where The Edinburgh Woollen Mill shop was.

I think that's enough of York trip for today, otherwise you will be bored reading about it. I found a nice building I've never seen before, so I'll post those tomorrow.

Although it's only 21.53 I feel as if I've been up for hours, and I actually had a lie in until correct time 10.00, as I was so tired after my adventures yesterday.

Friday, 19 October 2012


I'm really getting on with my ripple blanket (well small blanket) and I really like the colours. It feels so soft and I can't wait for it to be finished, apart from crocheting around the edges and covering up all the ends. I did try to do a 'farmers binder twine join' on the wool but it wouldn't ply together and looked very untidy so I gave up the idea.

I got the idea from Attic24 blog, which is a wonderful showcase of all Lucy's lovely work. I must admit to not having the room for all the stuff she manages to do but I felt I simply had to make a ripple blanket or blankette maybe it should be called.

Merlin is modelling my blanket. Isn't he gorgeous?

Today (Thursday) started off fine then the skies darkened and I took the opportunity before it rained to go out into the garden and re-plant my fig tree in a pot to contain the roots. I also planted very roughly, some border plants from Fiona in Yorkshire and moved a shrub to a better place. I planted a Lavetera plant in a place that would make a fine show from my conservatory window. I have lots of those yellow rod plants which give such a lovely colour in the summer but sadly they are so very intrusive I am trying to dig some up. The roots are very compacted and so I just dug a lump up, turned it over and left it to get the wind and air, then I will shake up the soil and dump the roots around the back of the shed. I'm going to have a mountain of old plants round there, but as I can't see them I'm not bothered.

The garden looks as if I've been over it with a JCB, the lawn is sodden and I went all over it with my size 3 clogs, digging soggy soil which was twice as heavy as it should have been. I'm mad, should really have been doing housework but I got it into my head to do this.

The weeping pear needs pruning too and I'm going to ask next door's brother in law to do it, as he's a tree surgeon. It needs doing properly as it's got a bit knarled underneath by my very inept chopping.

Merlin seems quite back to normal now, he was charging up the stairs and down, then back up again, letting off steam, then he was back to the flaked out position in the conservatory for the rest of the morning. Peace! It was just so nice to see him running around.

In a bid to make my laundry drying a bit more efficient I've been thinking of ways to dry the washing in the winter. The only place is at the top of the stairs, on the gallery. However it's a narrow passageway and I thought my TH might walk into it as he's very tall (you see, TH?) So this morning after a look at the internet, came across some things - a larger version of a radiator rack, only this could go on the straight bannister on the galleried landing, with a piece of wood tacked on the front, to give support for the bracket so it keeps straight. Then had another idea! Wait for it, I can't believe how simple this is - I have a curtain rod which is adjustable from one size to another, which you twist to fit the window aperture. I rushed to find it and tried it on the landing, perfect, although I can't put a sheet or heavy stuff, it will do all that little stuff that takes so much room. All the heat rises up there. I have looked on Amazon and they sell them there so am going to buy two more. Some of the options I have looked at were over £50 and then would have required fitting, as TH is busy at the moment. So, tomorrow I order one.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Well first of all the good news, Merlin seems to be showing improvement. After literally lying on the floor persuading him to eat or lap beaten egg, I put some egg into the chopped up chicken I had cooked for him and - he ate it, then wanted some more. He then went out a couple of times, ran up the stairs and does seem to have improved. I'm going to do some more home cooked chicken for him as he loves it, just to build him up a little.

Don't animals worry you, they're just like kids, except they can't tell you what's wrong with them.

I'm just posting a couple of funny photos of Merlin, who decided to share the cardboard box that a teddy bear was in.

The following paragraph should be after the photos but when I typed in the text, it came out in the text I had used for the captions, I can't be bothered to work it out just now so will investigate another time.

I don't pretend to write a frugal blog, as there are many more people qualified than me to do so. I have my own versions of economy and do read other peoples. There are some things I don't do, as I don't like meat myself, will occasionally eat a little chicken, so I don't have cheap and easy recipes to show you, just try to make the best of what things I have. However, I just thought of something that I wonder if people power might well work if organised properly.

My Mum was telling me of the days when she was young, it was somehow known that tea was going to to up in price. Now in those days folk used to keep lots of stock of tea and sugar. She said that everyone (don't know how it was decided) decided not to buy any tea for about two weeks, as they didn't really need it. And somehow tea came down in price. I don't know how true that is, whether it was just coincidence or what.

Now, if everyone didn't use their central heating for just one day, I wonder what that would do for the energy companies? I don't have my heating on yet, although I can see from the outlets that a lot of my neighbours have. I have the gas fire on for about half an hour in the morning when I have my elevenses, if I am in, then similarly in the afternoon, then put it on at tea time, turning it on low.

Personally I don't think my neighbours would put themselves out or be inconvenienced but lots of people might but how could such a thing be organised? Facebook, Twitter?

I just put something on Facebook about the above (edited afterwards) and one person suggested that simply turning down thermostat every day would result in them losing more 'trade'.

If I lie on it it might go away

Cardboard boxes are supposed to be my property. What's this animal doing in it?

Sunday, 14 October 2012


On Saturday we went for a drive to the Yorkshire Wolds, of course the reason for the visit was to look at a very large piece of kit, ie a chassis for TH's vintage 4WD.

Where we were going was just past York on the A64, in the direction of Driffield, just past Stamford Bridge, where I believe King Harold met King Harald of Norway for a battle in 1066. The bridge itself is a beautiful bridge with little places for people to stand and it is controlled by traffic lights, as only one vehicle at a time can pass.

We found the village which had a green and a main street with a couple of little roads off it. There was a stream ran through the middle. It was a typical British village and the house we visited was so cosy and beautiful but I believe in Winter the wind comes almost straight off the North Sea, being only about 30 miles away, over the limestone edge of the beginning of the Wolds. I always thought I wanted to live on the East Coast but have since had second thoughts as I believe the last few winters have been really bad. Maybe the other side of the country.

I've just added this bit - we were treated to a lovely lunch of home made soup and bread, my soup was sweet potato and rosemary and it is the nicest soup I have ever tasted, the bread was dried tomato, made by hand, not machine and there was also bread with walnut. It was so light and melted in the mouth. I hope we visit there again. How hospitable some people are, we were going to buy something and the first thing the lady said was, "come in, you will at least want the toilet after driving so far" then offered us lunch too!

Our poor little cat hasn't been at all well, not eating and just sleeping. I will take him to the vets tomorrow if he hasn't made a marked improvement. I do worry so, he seems to be a bit confused too. He is about 15 years old not and I so hope we aren't going to lose him just yet, as he is so loved by us.

I love cloud formations, we were just on our way back but it bucketed down on the way home on the M62

This was a bit closer to home.

Our beautiful cat, Merlin! Sorry it's a bit dark, I hadn't edited this one.

That's it for today. I did manage to have a very short bike ride to the centre today, to get some chicken to give to our invalid. He sniffed it but didn't eat!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


I don't mean ME bike racing! Last weekend was the Cycletta event sponsored by Victoria Pendleton which I had been intending to ride. Unfortunately with going over to the Isle of Man, not taking a bike and the terrible weather following, I felt I didn't want to do the ride. Of course, I could have gone along very early on the Sunday morning and entered on the line but hadn't even prepared my bike.

However, there was another event I went over to watch. It was an invitation race where two riders ride a distance together. There is an older rider and a younger one, the younger one paces at the front most of the race then the elder one takes the pair to the finish. This event is a memorial race in memory of Johnny Helms a cartoonist for Cycling Magazine for years and years. He was also well known in walking and caving magazines and did cartoons for many organisations. He was in our club and I knew him from being a little girl.

Well, of course I was wishing I'd participated in Cycletta but after thickish fog early on, the day turned out very sunny.  I met lots of old (in age and time of friendship) friends, some of them my Mum's age. It was great to have a chat with them all, what a lot of collected cycle racing talent there was. How cycling keeps these people so young.

Sadly I was not able to take photos as like the idiot I can be, I had forgotten to put back the SD card in my camera.

I had an area in the garden, one of a few areas, that annoyed me, as it just looked sour and week-ridden. I decided to mix some compost with it, dig it in and plant something. However, the builders had left me a few legacies - three huge chunks of cement. They may even have come from the Ordnance Factory, which was on the site before all these houses were built.

Here are a few photos to show a sort of before and after. I found the bricks in a 'useful corner' behind the garage. There's still lots of stuff to use up.

I forgot to take a photo of the real before, before I dug over.

There was another large rock out of shot

That was the way I put the bricks in before thinking of how to do it.

I really need this tree pruning this year.

That's better, put the bricks at an angle but ran out of foundation bricks and then had to make do with bits. The tree is a fig tree. I must remember to protect it in the winter.

Merlin was lying on the window sill yesterday and when I went to look, he had his head on my Ugg sandals. He at least thinks they are comfortable.

Well, that's all for today, not a lot to say really but I am proud of my little gardening effort. The gravel you see on the picture of garden was laid by me and I had to dig up the grass which was a complete mess when the conservatory was built years ago, I'd just put up with it. It's difficult to do everything in the garden when you have to do it yourself.