Saturday, 26 December 2015

BEETLES AND BOOKS

Hi there from a very damp but not now raining, North Cheshire, on Boxing Day. I hope you all had a very good Christmas, in the way you wanted to spend it and that means not subjecting yourself to untold toil in the kitchen when you didn't want to! I decided to speak up about this last year and as it was really our 'turn' to entertain at Christmas, decided that we wanted to stay at home. Our kitchen and dining 'alcove' are both very small and there's not much room either to entertain nor to cook multiple dishes and have dishes hanging around. I felt horribly guilty about this, as I do feel I 'ought' to offer but as I am now at the time of life I shouldn't be doing things I don't wish to do, took the bull by the horns. Don't know how it went down but there it is.

Yesterday we visited our son, daughter in law and little granddaughter, who is now nearly 15 months old. She's not quite experienced enough to open Christmas presents but she thought the curly wrapping tape was very interesting the way it sprung back when she pulled it. She did a lot of pulling a sausage dog which played music around, poor dog came off the road and was dragged sideways but she kept pulling. She loved pulling the cats tail but naturally, Dude didn't think much of it.

Then we went to visit my Mum, who thinks the same as we do and is happier to stay at home so long as we go to see her. She is very limited in her foot and probably eats less than granddaughter. We returned home at about 3.30 and then had our 'Christmas' dinner, quite a special Cottage Pie for husband and a veggie version of same with Quorn, for me. It is a recipe I found in Country Living magazine a few years ago and its called a perfect Ragu. I added some lentils to the recipe to give it a bit of crunch with the veggies in it too. Very nice - and better still, there are more of same in the freezer for another time.

I've been reading lots of Len Deighton spy books over the past few months - Game, Set and Match, then the two sets of three books which followed that trilogy. They are fascinating to read and as I've always been interested in the cold war and its stories, and in particular Eastern Germany, (as I visited there before the wall came down), they have keep me occupied. I just couldn't begin to resume them, as they're so complex. You probably can't buy them in book shops but Ebay - there are plenty opportunities.

I've also been re-reading a Joanne Harris book, Gentlemen & Players, a very dark tale of events centred around a boys' elite Grammar School. Strange things happening relating to an event 13 years or so ago. I love trying to work out who dunnit! but I admit to being stumped. There's always something you miss in a book like this. If you're a Joanne Harris fan and haven't read this - do so.



Now to the Beetle - I decided to give the Beetle a little drive the other day, Christmas Eve - it was a nice day, the sun was shining, it needed some fuel. As the poor thing has sat there for a couple of months without moving, well you've guessed it, she wouldn't start. Firing on three cylinders was mentioned (or was that me?) Well, it will need to be sorted as I can't have her breaking down on me even if we can get her going. Moral of the story, do not leave old cars there without exercising them every so often.

Well, this was an unplanned (???!!!) post, I was going to write one about a visit to AVRO Heritage Museum at Woodford, where we went last week and I took LOTS of photos - but that will have to wait until next time.

Next week a friend who has spent Christmas in Cyprus, is back in the Poynton area of Cheshire and I'm going over to see her at her sisters. Funnily enough that's really close to the AVRO museum but sadly it won't be open when I go. I wish you a very Happy, Healthy 2016.

If I follow your blogs, many apologies for my very intermittent comments, I just don't seem to have the opportunity to read blogs for ages and I have missed such a lot. I'll have to spend a few hours catching up with you.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

MORE Air Shows - Apologies

Well it's been a while but there has been a lot going on which has been time consuming, leading to much juggling and still not much time to do a great deal.

We have been trying to go to as many air shows as possible to see our wonderful Vulcan XH558 fly in her last season. You might not understand but real enthusiasts and members of the Vulcan To The Sky Club are very emotional when they see her fly and it is a real heartbreak to realise that she won't be flying after the end of this month due to various reasons, mainly the pulling out of technical support.

That said, we have been to Rhyl Airshow, where it was a wonderful day and even though I sprained my ankle rather badly early in the day just stood on a stone, we managed to enjoy it. We met a wonderful guy who had been in the crew of a Vulcan during her active service flying life and he was so very interesting.

There was a V Tour of the country paying tribute to where all the V bombers had been and still were in various forms. Our choice of venue was Barton Airport (or Manchester City Airport it is now known as). Vulcan performed a magnificent show for us all.

We then went to Southport Air Show where the planes excelled themselves but the two highlights of the show were the Red Arrows flying in formation with our lovely Vulcan along the coastline, so majestically many tears were shed and the atmosphere was so emotional. Then Vulcan peeled off and did her own display, which was by far the best one I have seen. The Reds flew off to Warton to refuel and then came back later to do their own magnificent display.

There was also Blackpool but I'm getting confused as to where we were when!

The airfield at Barton Airport, it is literally grass

I only took a couple here, as I just wanted to watch her fly

This was the lovely Karl, who told us all about his Vulcan exploits. This was taken at RHYL airshow

Another at Rhyl

You can see - this a tank, at Southport

This is a board which will be on display at the Red Arrows base, and the planes are made of the same metal as a real plane and there are rivets which are authentic rivets. We were given the opportunity to place a rivet in a hole. Mine of course was on the Vulcan but was just at the beginning of the wide bit. Really proud I managed a rivet gun and this will be on display.

These are The Blades, all ex Red Arrows pilots

This sight was unbelievable and so very emotional. Just look at that perfect formation.

And then !!!!

The end of a perfect day


Of course, there was the Northern Tour, for which we returned to Barton. Sadly, although Vulcan came directly over us at very high speed and right over our heads, to climb rapidly, before turning to fly along parallel to Manchester Ship Canal, then crossing over near Lymm, onwards to Woodford etc, she was so fast, that she had gone before we had had a really good look. It was incredible to see her so big right over our heads before climbing though. I so wanted her to do another circuit more slowly.

Well, you will be all Vulcanned out by now. I am sorry if I've bored you with all this and emotion too but maybe you find it a little interesting.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

A FLYING VISIT (NOT QUITE) TO THE ISLE OF MAN

Hah, another post! What am I playing at? Well, if I don't post now I will probably forget and there are a few nice photos.

After we returned from Leominster we went up to Blackpool to see the air show, particularly the Vulcan, another post about that at a later date. Husband had said he would go over to the Isle of Man to visit his Mum and step dad and also see his brother who had been in hospital for over six weeks with pneumonia. I said I wasn't going as I couldn't really leave my Mum for almost a whole week. However I relented and thought I'd leave it until the 11th hour, see how she was and then go over just for a couple of days on my own.

The day before I went, Mum seemed as well as expected so I booked my sailing on Manannan who sails from Liverpool and told husband to pick me up when she docked. The train I took to Liverpool was absolutely deserted once it had dropped off a lot of passengers at Warrington, it was the Transpennine express too - maybe everyone had gone where they were going to and it was a quiet part of the day. I was going to get a bus down to the Pier Head but a guy on the station told me I could get the underground almost to Pier Head. It was like going into the very deepest tubes in London but it was only two stops.

There are such a lot of new buildings down near the waterfront now, mixed in with the existing ones. I am not sure what some of them are - anyone who know, please let me know? I've put a few pictures on.

The sailing was as smooth as glass and we arrived on time at Douglas where husband was waiting for me. We were all going out to dinner that night at a pub/restaurant at Crosby. A good time was had by all and it was a treat for me as we don't eat out very often. Husband had already been to see his brother before meeting me. After the meal we drove over to Peel on the way back home and stood looking out to sea at the harbour. Apparently whales had been seen the other day in the distance. We didn't see any.

The next day we went for a little drive, visited Niarbyl which means Tail of Rocks in Manx Gaelic, where the tide was in. I have never seen the tide in there, every time it has been out and you can see the tail quite clearly. The white cottage is uninhabited but it was featured in a film about Ned (a lottery winner, and I can't remember the exact title). I brought back three flat rocks which had lovely vein markings on. We then went over to The Calf of Man, one of my very favourite places. I have been over to the Island on a little boat and it is really something like adventures of The Famous Five on a Treasure Island, that is if you have a good imagination and are still a bit of a child at heart. There currents there are very dangerous and we saw a yacht trying to go through The Sound but even though it had sails and engine power, it had to turn back. After tea and scones at the Sound Cafe, we went back towards Douglas to see his brother again at the hospital. We had to go shortly after an early tea, when I discovered I had left my favourite, new jacket (with the Vulcan badge on) at the hospital, as we had been kicked out of the room whilst they did some blood samples, we couldn't really go back and sit down because of the equipment and so I didn't go back to sit on the chair where my jacket was, so forgot it. After realising it, we had such a little time to go back to the hospital to collect that husband got away with driving very fast on a very windy road, me shutting my eyes as I hate driving fast, we made it, I ran down the corridors, retrieved my jacket and we were at the harbour in time.

I could go on about the journey but I won't, it's nothing special, a decent sailing over and then a very quiet drive back along the M6 from Heysham.

Here are a few photos: I hope you like them. Of course, when I started to take photos, I realised I'd flattened my battery at Blackpool air show and hadn't remembered my charger, so I took photos with my phone. I hope they're OK.


I liked the contrast of the old church with the new buildings

I have no idea what that new building is behind what I think is a pump house

Birds on a feeder, but there is no view, there are usually three mountains from the kitchen window.

Niarbyl, (tail of rocks) and our Stag in the foreground

'Ned's' cottage! See how that chimney stack is leaning?

View over hills along the coast towards Port Erin. I have walked the Manx coastal path and ascended and descended all those peaks, quite steep they are too with a backpack. See the little cottage on the left? I bet that gets all the weather, probably used to store fishing stuff in nowadays.

Isn't that gorgeous? I love that place, I've just noticed the cone, how unsightly it is!

Currents

Oh, er, I was standing on a slope, I look a bit deformed. Notice my jacket.

I'm not sure if you will be able to see this. I'm posting it anyway.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing these pictures.





Monday, 31 August 2015

A TRIP TO A CLASSIC CAR AUCTION AND BIMBLING AROUND LEOMINSTER

I have completely lost track of time and have been running round trying to fit everything in and just realised I have never posted anything about Leominster. You may read on here posts which are completely out of sequence. Never mind, just put it down to my age.

Husband was asked to go and look at a couple of cars for a customer of his, to use whilst K is fettling one for him. He wanted me to go down with him and I tried to find somewhere to stay. At the last minute I found somewhere and so down to Leominster we went. I was looking forward to seeing The Wrekin on the way down but not so, the weather was dull, drizzle and a very low mist. In addition the road I was used to taking, ie through Whitchurch to Shrewsbury has now been bypassed and I just didn't recognise anywhere past Cholmondeley Castle.

We arrived at Brightwells early in the morning and found a few cars for K to look at, I wandered around looking at things I was interested in including a gypsy caravan which apparently had a reserve on it of £30.00. It was horsedrawn and I've just realised I didn't take a photo of the front of it. 

I then decided I'd had enough of watching K grubbing around under bonnets and under cars so walked into Leominster to have a good old mooch around. I wasn't disappointed, the approach along a road, then a pretty path along the River Lugg (there I've got that in, I had previously never heard of that river). The path took me past the Priory Church and parts of it are Norman.The Abbey houses the last surviving Ducking Stool, which was last used to duck in 1817 when Sarah Leeke was wheeled round the town in it but she was spared a ducking as the river was so low.

Then I walked into the town, which consists pretty well mostly timbered buildings, all higgledy piggledy and lovely. I mooched in a few charity shops, bought a couple of balls of wool very cheaply and some amazing Lakeland Polo shirts for K for work and found somewhere to have a coffee and a snack. 

People down there are so lovely to talk to and have the time to chat. I decided I wanted to live there! 

By this time my feet were pretty sore as I'd only got normal socks in my shoes and could have done with cushioned ones. I'd not brought any other than the same I was wearing so found an outlet shop (more walking) and bought two packs of two each. I managed to change socks in some toilets. I then walked back to the auction, which seemed a long way coming back because my feet were hurting. I had to walk as K never answers his phone, in fact it was locked in his car! We had a cuppa before leaving and then drove back into the town to where we were staying, which was er, well, OK but a bit musty, at least the bed was clean and very comfortable and we had a little sitting area and a TV but it served the purpose well enough as it was a very old building. For one night I'm not really bothered.

In the morning, back to the auction and I had another look at the cars K had decided to bid on, had a cup of tea and walked back into the town for another look around. Then when I'd had enough walked back to the auction for more tea and something to eat as well.

K decided that the Triumph Stags he had gone to look at were not worth buying even though the reserve was high and the customer opted to bid on a Triumph TR6 which he went overboard for but now loves it! All the details were sorted over the phone and the customer wanted to come down again the next day and bring back the car.

So, that was it, we drove back, the weather was good but there was an awful traffic jam for miles, due to road works on the only way down, through Craven Arms. I saw the Wrekin on our right and yes, it was just as I remembered. The old road must have gone the other side, as I distinctly remember it being on my right as I was going SOUTH.

So, that was that, K went down again and they brought the car back up. Here are a few photos. Well, sorry there are a lot of photos, so I'm not going to elaborate, they look out of order but I took some of them the next day or on the way back. Hopefully I will keep my enthusiasm going and try to post another one soon, as we've been out and about to air shows!


































Wednesday, 22 July 2015

PLANES, CLASSIC CARS AND A RECUMBENT CYCLIST END TO ENDER

Hello there, long time no post but I've been busy and also majorly stressed, sorry if majorly is not a real word!

This post is completely out of sync as I've got interesting stuff to record a few weeks ago but this one is fresh in my mind.

Today we visited a car show at the viewing area of Manchester Airport and watched planes taking off and landing whilst we sat around with friends enjoying a chat and a cuppa (we always take a camping stove for fresh tea). We looked at some planes, long ago out of service but showing how they were constructed and various bits of information about them. We stood under the wings of Concorde in the hangar where she rests whilst looking at memorabilia for sale and crafts for sale.

My face is burning with the sun and wind although I didn't sunbathe.

This evening I visited a friend, who was hosting a guy I had met briefly many years ago, and was now cycling down the country from John O'Groats to Lands end (yes the wrong way around) on a recumbent bike in aid of Dementia. We had a fabulous evening and laughed the whole time, and I had to cycle home the long way around because of travellers parked up near the underpass on the way I came in. This man's name is Richard Cresswell and the charity is

http://richardcresswellsculptor.com/jogle-4-dementure/page/2/.......

take a look at his blog if you're interested. The post where he mentioned Chris and Jill is the couple I mentioned and I provided the photo of the lady whose trike was in the museum.








This was one half of our Triumph Stag stand, we were at a 90 degree angle to those.
For those who don't know this plane is announced on its arrival, landing, taxiing and taking off by a commentary from the loudspeaker. It is generally called "The Big One" and lands at around 11.30 am and takes off again at around 2.30pm.


Well, this post was written a couple of weeks ago and I'm only posting it now. There are some more shots soon but maybe not in this order as definitely one post is BEFORE this one!
 

Monday, 8 June 2015

A VISIT TO THE BOAT MUSEUM, ELLESMERE PORT

I did promise a post about this, so here it is.

Our car club had boycotted a car show because the organiser had told us we couldn't have any space in a previous show so it was decided to pay this visit.

Ellesmere Port Boat Museum has lots to see for many people and in the summer they organise events which involve children to make it more interesting for them.

You arrive to find plenty parking and there is an entrance hall where you can find all sorts of literature and books to buy in addition to a very reasonable cafe. Outside there are a couple of old working narrow boats which have traditional living cabins which are tiny because the majority of space was taken up by the cargo. I went down into one of the cabins and the stove was giving out a very welcoming warmth. The blankets on the bunk made me feel quite at home!

A bit further on is a room absolutely full of engines, taken from various boats of all sizes. I found that quite interesting as they were all polished up and the brass shone. On certain days the engines are actually working so you can see them moving. The temperature in that room was a very welcoming warmth and as it was a very cold and windy day, cosy.

We then went over a lock to look at some very old boats which were completely in ruins and hopefully one day they will be restored. There was a concrete boat tucked away somewhere, and apparently these were built during wartime (sorry I can't remember which war) when wood was scarce. They were very heavy boats but did actually float.

Another large building held a selection of hulls showing the different types of keel and there were also open air 'workshops' showing models of men doing certain jobs relating to the industry. There was a tiny narrow barge which had a cutter on the back and this went down canals cutting back growth that was encroaching into the water so the working boats didn't get snagged on the undergrowth. It also kept the canal clear and was not allowed to overgrow.

There was a marina for visiting boats which could dock overnight. On the other side was a modern hotel and new apartments had been built. Quite a nice outlook looking out on the boats.

My husband was very interested in an old ICI boat, a huge thing which used to take raw materials to the ICI works at Northwich. There was another large boat which had been floored in and the public are allowed to go down into it and look at various things of interest, like what cargoes were carried.

A row of cottages which ranged throughout the ages had been restored a short walk away and we went and had a look around them. It was very interesting but a bit frightening when you remember some of the stuff on display. Made me feel a bit old (well I am really) but it does make you realise how little you really NEED some of the things in a house that are deemed absolutely necessary today, like renewing kitchens and bathrooms because they are 'dated' and after moving into a house, everything has to be changed. When I was married we did change a lot but only because nothing had ever been done in a lifetime. Nowadays I still have my original kitchen and bathroom in our house which was built in the 80s as they still function and I've got other things to use my money for and I'd prefer the money to remain in the bank than waste it like that.

Anyway, that was a brief over-view of the museum and here are a few photos - again there are a lot! We went into the cafe afterwards for a coffee and I had a cheese and onion pasty!

I'm sorry but I'm not putting the photos in where the narrative describes them as there seem to be so many and I'm going to get myself into a mess if I try to. I want to keep this a complete post without splitting it up.







This was from the 50s

And this!







Add caption






See, it looks as if I've been crocheting madly for this shot!