Wednesday, 27 July 2011

a week in photos

Much as I'd love to spend a while waffling on about what I've been doing this week, I just don't have the energy right now!

So, here's a selection of photos so you can see what I've been up to... celebratory cakes, learning new wall-building skills (and finding out that putting cement on with your hands, er, isn't a very good idea), disco balls and fabulously painted ceilings, an evening trip through beautiful countryside to an old haunt (and an old friend), a walled pub garden, a whole-city free music festival, a picnic in the park, and a lavender cake in a little London cafe.

And trains. Lots of trains.

Speaking of which, I've got to be on another one in 7 hours, best go to sleep....

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Today I have been mostly swanning around looking like a bit of a pillock.

And being glad that this is (hopefully!) the third and last time.

And eating jam roly poly and custard, because you can't possibly expect me to spend the entire day looking like that without treats.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

sneaking up early (and hula hoops)

Would you just have a look at this adorable Viennese butter kiss I had at the Women's Institute yesterday morning! So tiny, and so perfect. That wrapper! Just when you start to think the WI is all jam and sturdy fruit cake, they pop something like this in to surprise you.

(although on the whole I do prefer a piece of sturdy fruit cake myself).

Anyway, that wasn't what I came here to tell you. I came here to talk about getting up before everyone else gets up.

Because that's what I've just done.

As it happens, there's only one other person here to get up before - and I do often get up before him, because I work a long way away, and he often works in the evenings rather than the mornings. But that's everyday getting up before someone.

This is sneaking out of bed trying not to wake them up.

I have no idea why it felt like that this morning, but it did, and I like it. I like that feeling of slipping downstairs, trying not to make the floorboards squeak (utterly impossible in this house, I tell you), looking around at the mess of camping equipment and wondering if you can tidy it before he wakes up, trying to catch the boiling kettle before it starts whistling tooooo excitedly, and then drinking tea and sifting through yesterday's photographs, remembering that I actually sneaked in a little fun project while he was having a nap yesterday afternoon.

(I should point out that obviously I do fun things when Peter is awake too, but there's something quite exciting about a furtive bit of sloping round with the house to yourself, not entirely sure when you're going to be disturbed).

So, shall I show you what I did yesterday?

First of all, I opened ALL the curtains and windows, so I could see and hear the rain.

Then I put Pride and Prejudice on the tv.

Then I pulled out the two bits of plumbing pipe I bought the day before and made a collapsible hula hoop.

Yep, that's right. I LOVE hula hoops. We have one hanging in our shower. But that one's a little bit too small for proper hula hooping.

I've got a friend with a HUGE hoop, it's so lovely to twirl round in, but there's just nowhere to put it round here, and it won't fit in the car for camping trips (if we ever manage to get on any, that is).

So I wanted to make a collapsible one.

I think the guy in the plumbing shop was a little bemused, but he played along gamely, even when his mate came into the shop while he was trying to bend the pipe round his waist.

The two blokes in the hardware shop took my requests all in their stride - they're used to me ambling in saying 'have you got any magnets? I'm trying to attach them to cardboard fish' and the like, so this was perfectly ordinary.

So - one length of waste pipe (cut in half), two easy (well, reasonably easy) quick-connector things, one roll of black electrical tape, and one roll of jaffa tape (*love it*) later, and I'm all set - for the princely sum of £8.

Have you got any idea how difficult it is to photograph a hula hoop?

Or how many dusty mirrors I have in my living room? (a lot, it appears).

(obviously it's entirely necessary to keep one's wellies on while making hula hoops - just in case)

So - by the end of Pride and Prejudice, and the end of the roll of jaffa tape, and the end of Peter's afternoon nap, I had myself a nifty tiger-striped hula hoop.

That just about twirls round in the living room, as long as there's nobody else in there too.

I wonder what little mini adventure I can get up to this afternoon while he's asleep??

Speaking of which, I should probably wake him up with a cuppa in a minute - we're off to our current favourite little cafe for breakfast treats and he won't want to miss that...

You up to anything exciting today?

Saturday, 16 July 2011

an(other) attempted camping trip

Here's me, at 11.15 last night, standing in the toilets at McDonalds, a place I haven't been seen for at least 13 years.

We were attempting to go camping in the Yorkshire Dales, altogether more pretty than a service station on the A1M, but, well, life kind of got in the way, as it does.

We'd planned to take our car, and sleep in it (because it really is Most Cosy for sleeping in, our car), but, well, it was making a rather peculiar noise, and the garage advised us not to take it anywhere far away because the wheels might fall off.

(those may not have been their *exact* words, in case you were starting to panic, but they had a similar effect, and we decided not to go)

Anyway - last minute, we realised we could get a lift with some lovely friends, which involved an hour of dashing round the house, finding tents, figuring out what to sleep ON (the futon out of the car seemed a bit extravagant for a tent), and generally packing.

And then, hooray! we were off.

For an hour and a half, at least, until there was a loud bang, and lots of smoke. And an hour standing at the side of the M1 (which was kind of like a mini (and very bad) camping trip itself.

The whole thing turned faintly ridiculous when we spotted a bloke walking towards us down the hard shoulder of the motorway (!) and then realised we knew him!

Anyway, the RAC man towed us to the industrial park, where we spent an interesting half hour drinking insipid tea and reading the Knaresborough Post.

Finally got back home about half past midnight, after a ride in a GIANT exciting rescue truck.

I'm thinking that somebody, somewhere, doesn't want us to go camping this weekend...

(still, plenty of other exciting things to get up to, and it'll give me a chance to catch up on a few blog posts of things I've been meaning to tell you about!)

Sunday, 10 July 2011

weekend adventures (and more spring cleaning)

Another weekend of fun and frivolity here. I do love the summer, altogether more sociable somehow than the other seasons.

Anyway, I've been trotting about all over the place! Hopped on a train for a mini adventure on Friday night to see the lovely Fay, who was only an hour or two up the road rather than the usual 13 hours away. Couldn't miss an opportunity like that! And I do love train adventures, especially ones to new places, that involve meeting some new people too. Altogether a jolly evening!

Then up early on Saturday morning to take part in the local park run - didn't take photos (too busy puffing and panting), but this is going to become rather a regular Saturday morning feature I think. I had a lovely time galumphing along at the back with an extremely cheery fella getting fit again after a triple heart bypass (yep, that's how slowly I was going). Anyway, he was very jolly, clapping everyone who went past us (which was, er, everyone), and also very chivalrous, and let me go before him through the finish funnel, so I wasn't *quite* last, which makes a nice change...

Then off to the WI (of course - can't let running get in the way of cake eating!)

And then a wedding! Busy as bees here!

So, after the wedding we sloped off for a little sneaky duck feeding...

There really is something Extremely Jolly about feeding ducks, I find. Their little beady eyes, their little legs waddling over when they detect the slight rustle of a paper bag, the gentle little quacking noises...

We finished off Saturday with the most glorious buffet, and a whole load of dancing (and then a nice cup of tea, of course).

Today has been rather more sedate - one of those days when I wake up slightly grumpity and petulant and decide that EVERYWHERE is a Complete Tip, and despite it not having bothered me for days and days, declare that Something Must Be Done - right now.

You know, one of those days.

Peter, fortunately, had a pre-arranged musical project happening downstairs, which pretty much restricted my flurry of activity to the attic so my banging and crashing and cursing didn't disturb the creativity in the kitchen.
The attic has several purposes in this house. I work at home several days a week, so my desk is up here, and the printer. It also houses all my sewing related paraphernalia, and assorted things-that-don't-live-anywhere-else. And it houses the spare bed.

So... I started by pinning up these ludicrously ancient and daft curtains that we found in a house that a friend bought (she declared she couldn't live with them, and I squirrelled them away with some vague plan for a skirt - which fortunately never happened). Bravo! A place to hide things - point 1 on the list of vital things for tidying up.

The shelves are looking a whole lot better too.

Of course, there's still several miscellaneous bags and boxes of things-that-need-to-find-a-new-home, but we're down to 2, rather than 8 or 9.

And you might notice that you can't see much of the floor in these pictures...

I also discovered just how much stationery I own.

A lot.

I had planned a little bit of sewing, which never *quite* happened. Maybe next week...

But I've had a lovely pottering day sorting things out, tearing things up, stashing things behind curtains, and I'm actually looking forward to spending the day up there tomorrow.

Hooray for spring cleaning whims I say!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

a little amble around blog land

It's an absolutely gorgeous evening here, and I've just been for a Most Marvellous run across the hills (which makes it sound far more strenuous and gazelle-like than the huffing and puffing around the local hilly park it was...). I'm all excitable and full of beans now, so while I wait for my tea to cook I thought I'd take you on a little tour around the strange hotch-potch corner of blog-land that I hang around in.

First of all, a confession. I don't actually subscribe to or follow any of these blogs - I actually haven't yet figured out how, and a seized by an irrational fear that my inbox will fill up with messages telling me to go and read such-and-such a blog, and I'll never get anything done.

Well, I never did say I was entirely sensible.

So, the way I mostly keep track of the things I read is using that blog list over there -------->

Which isn't to say that they're the only things I read, oh no. But they are the things I keep coming back to. They also keep changing, you might have noticed... Depends how I'm feeling at the time, and whether I've irrationally decided to have a clear out, or whether I've just found something new and am all excited about it.

The list is in order of who's posted the most recently - so when I pop in here I can see if anyone's posted that day, and pop over to have a look. Does anyone else use their own blog to keep track of their life?!

(this isn't going to be a giant blog review of who's-best, rather a little look at some things that I like and how I found them)

So, let's start at the top, shall we?

This is the blog that prompted me to start my own blog. I have absolutely no idea how I came across it in the first place, but it's a lovely mix of tutorials for things like soap making, writing about simple living, and the occasional pep talk. I remember reading the entire archives (er, I think I was avoiding writing my phd at the time...), and then writing to Rhonda telling her how inspirational she was. She wrote a lovely email back, and I've read her blog ever since. There's a whole forum attached to it now too.


Well, so much for that lengthy amble! The phone rang, and now the tea's about to come out of the oven, and we'll have to continue this little trip round blog-land another day! I was looking forward to that too (although I'm looking forward to food perhaps a little bit more....)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

oh! weekend!

The weekend started with a rainbow on the living room ceiling.

A bunch of garden wild flowers, herbs, er, assorted weeds, were galumphed across the city to a garden party (which housed much more beautiful flowers, but everyone was very nice about it)

I did manage to stop myself squealing with excitement on spotting the picnic table, but only just...

See that green stuff in the white bowl with the blue spoon? Fresh peas and cottage cheese. Try it - it's absolutely divine.


I'm also not sure how I managed to stop myself from eating ALL of those little fairy cakes, but I did.

Only just, mind you...

Sunday was a slightly less sedate affair, involving far more children - my youngest nephew's second birthday. Two, already! No idea how that happened (clearly - since I nearly won the World's Worst Auntie Award by FORGETTING his birthday...)

Lots of splooshing around in water, of course, and my eldest nephew, aged 5, asked if he could borrow my camera for a while...

Do you know, I might just do a whole post full of his photos, not only are they fabulous, but a cheery insight into what a 5 year old thinks is important ('I don't want to take pictures of people, Auntie Jenni, I'm taking pictures of things...')

LOTS of chocolate dinosaurs, of course (resulting in a few very chocolatey beards)

And fuzzy felt, and an impromptu beach on the living room floor..

Ooh, and speaking of beaches, a wrong turn on the way home found me at the seaside! I honestly don't know how it happened, really I don't, but I took full advantage of it and stomped around on the sand for a while. The sea was far too far away, and I felt a little like I was in a giant sandpit, but I'm pretty starved of beach round here, and I'll take anything I can get.

Oh I'd SO much love to live by the sea

I really don't know how it's taken me to Wednesday to get round to posting about the weekend, I had SUCH a lovely time, such a cheery variety of things happened, every one of them marvellous (yep, even falling asleep in the back of the car at the service station, that was marvellous too...).

and now it's nearly next weekend! And a wedding is looming (not mine, I hasten to add). Best dust off my party frock...

Friday, 1 July 2011

ooops, there I go again...

Oh dear, yes, that's another cafe.

Betty's in York this time, super-posh, queues out of the door, waitresses in aprons calling you 'madam' (madam indeed!), and £3 for a pot of tea.

Needless to say I don't go there very often!

But they are well known for their delectable cakes (and piano player, no less), and this was for *work*, don't you know, so I had to. No avoiding it at all. Absolutely none.

No cakes on this day for me though, it was SO hot, we'd walked a long way, and it was the middle of the working day (ahem), so lunch it was.

Poached eggs on toast (£5.95! Gosh) - with the toast cut into little triangles with the crusts cut off, no less. Very tasty it was too.

Just not too often...

anyway.... it's been absolutely GLORIOUS round here lately, it really has.

I've been walking around the hills and fields pretty much every evening I can, this is so close to home, and it's so quiet up there, you can see for miles, and watch the sun setting, and I always come back feeling so peaceful and like everything's right with the world.

Can't beat that feeling really.

Exciting weekend plans afoot here, mostly involving lazing around in the sunshine I hope. Hooray! Are you up to anything exciting?