Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Just Mooching

Today I'm stuck indoors waiting for our new bathroom 'vanity unit' plus basin to be delivered. It sounds very grand for what is essentially a cupboard. The delivery time is specified as anywhere between 7:30am-5pm, so quite a range really. I've decided that it's probably a good opportunity to muck the house out but, before I start on that joyful task, I thought I'd take half an hour to drink my breakfast smoothie and clear my camera. Last time I did this, I managed to knock said smoothie over, spilling forest berry coloured fluid all over the carpet, so I'm being extra careful today!

Not a lot has gone on in the past few weeks. I drove L and all her belongings to her new flat in London. This was easier said than done. Not the actual driving - that went surprisingly smoothly, it was the parking that was the issue. Finsbury Park seems to be mostly permit holders only, so we had to park illegally whilst we threw everything into the hallway and then drive to the park itself and walk back to sort it all out. We had lunch in the little cafe and then walked around the lake. It was lovely and we were surprised to see 2 cormorants (at least I think that's what they are) fishing. There were terrapins too, which were so still that initially we thought that they were models. Apparently, some London parks are having to remove terrapins from their ponds as they can attack the ducklings. These didn't look active enough to catch anything, but maybe they lull things into a false sense of security before pouncing.



Last week was our local appley jamboree. Actually, I shouldn't poke fun at it, I just can't help comparing it to the Apple Day at the Botanical Gardens in Cambridge which was magnificent. This year, ours had grown to 2 stalls and a juice pressing bar in the market square! To be fair, the pressing was actually quite fun to watch and I'm sure that the local pigs enjoyed the left over pulp.

The market place was also home to a French Market last week. I had a little pootle round and everyone was very friendly but I didn't buy anything. The cheeses looked yummy, but R and I have turned vegan for 'Stoptober', so I resisted those. I was also quite tempted by their baskets, but closer inspection revealed that they were made in Madagascar which, despite their history, didn't seem quite in the spirit of the thing. 


R and I went to the cinema to see a screening of Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Did anyone else catch this? It was brilliant. A few years ago, we took the girls to Stratford Upon Avon to see David Tennant in the role and I though that his performance would take some beating, but this was even better. I especially loved the part where he is dressed as a soldier, playing in a fort. The only slight dampener was when we realized that there was a school trip from the girls' old school there and we found ourselves sitting next to their English teachers. I had to try very hard not to fidget!
Last weekend, R and I went for a little brum in Bridget the Midget. We didn't have a destination in mind, but suddenly found ourselves driving by the Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery. Well, it would have been rude not to have gone in!
It was actually very popular, with far more people learning about gin on a Sunday afternoon than you would have expected. For the admission price, you received a tour of the distillery, including the glass houses where they grow examples of the botanicals used, and a gin cocktail in the bar, made for you personally to match the smells which had appealed to you most in the aroma testing room.




In the aroma room, you picked up a card and had to punch between 3 and 7 holes in it by the names of the botanicals that you preferred. R could only find one that he actually liked, although he was rather partial to the smell of the hand gel that we had to apply before entering the distillation room!
Here are our cocktails. Mine was a mixture of gin and prosecco and R's was gin, lemon and something else which I forget now. Whilst it was quite fun smelling the botanicals, we both agreed that we would have preferred just an ordinary G&T! R only had a taste of his anyway as he was driving.
Well, that's all for this week. Sadly, there's no sign of the delivery van yet, so there's nothing else for it - I'll have to get the vac out and make a start! Have a good week.
Toodle Pip for now. x

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

September

Hello, my lovelies. Long time no see. It's been a while since my last post and there are a couple of reasons for this: Initially, it was because E was home and I didn't want to waste time blogging; then, it was owing to the fact that after I had taken her back to uni, I drove all the way home, opened the rear car door to retrieve my bag ........................ and realized that I'd left it on her bed in Bristol! We had already stopped in the city centre for lunch, so the idea was that I would just drop her at her accommodation, have a quick cup of tea and come home. Not wanting to leave my bag in the car whilst we unloaded, I had left it in her room and just popped my keys in my pocket while we did multiple trips to and fro. Then, naturally, I hugged her goodbye, hopped in and drove merrily home. Realizing my mistake, E had tried to ring me, but my phone was, of course, in my bag - along with my purse, my camera and the rest of my life. Bad words may have been uttered! I thought that I would have to do a return trip to collect it, but, fortunately, her friend was going to Bristol to see her the following week and she kindly carried out 'Operation Bag Retrieval' for me. I now have it back and all is right with my world again! 

L is back from Vietnam and Cambodia and has had a brilliant time. She had kept us updated on most of her activities via Skype, but kept some of them - eg. the renting of a motor bike! - to herself so as not to worry us. Though out at the moment, she is home until Thursday, when I will drive her to her new flat in London (trying very hard not to leave anything behind!) in time for her to start her pupillage next week.

Anyway, as I've finally got an hour to myself and am in full possession of my camera, here are a few photos from the past month:

'Yerma' at the cinema. Having only previously seen Billy Piper in Dr. Who, I was very impressed.
 E and I went to an open air cinema nearby. The film was 'Notting Hill' - R didn't fancy coming, but we loved it.
 There was a little rain before the film started, but, luckily, it soon cleared up.

 I have a glut of beetroot. If anyone knows any good beetroot recipes, I'd be very grateful - there's only so much Borscht a person can eat!
 Our green woodpecker returned. Sorry for the blurry photo - he was quite a way down the garden:
 A double first for me - trying to knit socks toe up and also using the magic loop method. I'm normally a dpn girl, but I am rather enjoying it:
 Working on my 'Exploration Station Shawl' by Stephen West. I've never tried to knit Brioche before and had fortunately put in a lifeline before starting that section. I say fortunately because I have since had to rip it back!
The day before E went back to uni, we decided to visit the local county show. R decided against it as he thinks that it's the same stalls in exactly the same places every year. To be fair, it was, but without someone with us pointing that out every 5 minutes, we had a lovely time!
 
 
 




 Our Mexican lunch at Wahaca in Bristol before the bag debacle: 

...............and finally, Hamish in his beloved cardboard box. Back in March on Mother's Day, the girls bought me some beautiful Narcissi bulbs which came in a huge cardboard box. I gave it to Hamish to play with for the day and before I knew it, it had become a permanent fixture in the kitchen. He did a bit of renovation work, chewing holes to make multiple exits and when he had it exactly as he wanted, we added his fleecy blankie and he has slept in it ever since. A few weeks ago, that box finally gave up the ghost and so during a trip to our local Homebase, we acquired another one for him. He is currently in mid-renovation again. I feel that we spoil this rabbit - I mean, who wouldn't want a great pile of chewed cardboard in their kitchen?!
Anyway, that's all for this week. I hope you are all enjoying the start of autumn as much as I am. We lit the stove for the first time on the Equinox. I would have taken a photo, but........ well, you know!

Toodle Pip for now. x

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Hastings

Hello my lovelies! Is it just me or is there more than a whiff of autumn in the air today? We had a mini heatwave over the weekend but it seems to have cooled down again now. I'm not disappointed though as autumn is my favourite season. I feel as if I should be out buying stationery for the new term!
I've had an interesting week. It started with E and me dropping L off at the airport for her 5 weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia. I was more than a little nervous waving her off but a few people made lovely reassuring comments on my last post, and I have since had a few Skype messages from her and she is having a brilliant time, so I'm feeling a lot better about it.
Thinking that E would be terribly sad to drop L off and then just come home, we decided to have a mother/daughter jaunt to Hastings for a few days. We chose Hastings for several reasons - firstly, being at Gatwick airport, we were half way there already. Secondly, E is studying The Norman Conquest as one of her options next year and had never been, and, finally, because R and I went there pre-children and had a wonderful time.
We chose a small hotel on the seafront and spent 3 gorgeously sunny days (I had packed for cool weather and regretted not taking my shorts!) pottering around Hastings and Battle. Here are a few of our snaps:
The view from our room:
Part of Hastings Old Town. We discovered a vegan cafe here and got chatting to a lovely girl from Australia. She had been solo travelling since February and Cambodia was, apparently, her favourite place - you can never have too much reassurance! 
Crazy golf on the seafront - she thrashed me!
Battle Museum - this was a little gem:
The museum gardens:

The oldest Guy in the country. Battle was once famous for making gunpowder and was the source of the gunpowder used by Guy Fawkes and the others in their attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament:
The Gatehouse:
The battlefield today:

Beekeeping in the Abbey gardens. He was chatting away to the bees as he worked:

We paused halfway round and went to a little tea shop, The Nook, for refreshments:
William insisted on an Abbey being built on the battlefield to atone for the loss of life. The altar was sited on the spot where Harold died. The field was on quite a hill and initially the builders started it further away on flat land. William was furious and insisted that they tear it down and start again on the actual spot.
The Novice's room. Again, the tall ceilings are due to the hill - the room above was the dormitory which ran the length of the building. Consequently, the roof of the rooms below changes height with the slope:
Hasting's pier:




E rescuing jellyfish:
Hasting's Castle:
The funicular railway up to the cliffs:
We had a brilliant few days and would heartily recommend it as a great place for a weekend break. Other happies this week include:
Enjoying my sunflowers:
Penny, practising her perching:
......... and a trip to Westonbirt Arboretum with a my friend, S.
The treetop walkway:

Again, this is a fantastic place to visit. It was so beautiful and would be even better when the leaves start to turn more. It's a great place for children too, with plenty of cafes, 2 circular walks and wide, flat paths for them to ride their bikes/scooters. There's also a Gruffalo Trail and an activity centre.

Anyway, that's all for this week. Enjoy the last week of the summer holidays. I'm just off to attack the laundry pile!

Toodle pip for now. x