Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Library

Yesterday I took my books back to the library and chose a few to bring home with me again. 


When did libraries get so friendly?  Whilst there yesterday I had a mince pie, a free one, courtesy of the library.  I could've had a hot drink too had I wanted one. 

As children my cousin Sylvia and I spent many, many happy hours in our local library but in those days we had to be quiet.  Not anymore, children play, chatter and do crafts, completely unhindered by anybody telling them to sshhhh!

I haven't been a member of the library for a long time and things have changed, for the better I might add.  It's not that I ever stopped reading but that I've been buying my books mainly from charity shops.  However, recently I've re-joined the library and am loving it.  Sadly though, libraries are under threat in these times of economic crisis and are closing down at a steady pace throughout the country to save money.  Such a shame!


Friday, 30 December 2011

Towneley Park

On Wednesday Caroline, Trev and Charlie along with William and I took a ride over to Towneley Park. 


I wanted to take a look at all the Christmas stuff that I knew would be on sale in the park's garden centre.. 


I really don't need another thing in the line of Christmas decorations but when things are half price it's hard to resist and, big spender that I am, I bought these two lovely little baubles for the tree.


Charlie had great fun in the play area.   He loves these diggers.


The last time we were here in the summer Charlie could hardly reach those controls.


He's grown a lot it would seem and is doing better with them now.  A helping hand from his daddy is always welcome though.


After time in the play area for Charlie we strolled up towards the very imposing Towneley Hall.  Actually it was a bit cold for strolling and the rain had started to come down so hurried, would be a more accurate term to use.


What we needed was shelter from the cold and windy, rainy weather.  Our destination therefore was the converted stable block, above, which is now the cafe.  We enjoyed a hot drink sitting by the window with this lovely view to admire before we once again braved the elements, spent a little more time in the play area and headed back home. 

“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”
Anthony J. D'Angelo

Who cares about the weather when you're with good company!


Thursday, 29 December 2011

Christmas Catch Up

Well, can you believe Christmas has been and gone?  No, me neither.


I've been neglecting this blog over the holidays but things are beginning to calm down now, so here I am playing catch up.

On the Thursday evening before Christmas Day Caroline rang and asked me if I'd like to go out for a quick Starbuck's with her, Trev and Charlie. Of course, I said yes.  The little outing also involved a quick look round just a couple of shops.  Fortunately there was nothing any of us were wanting to buy. Thankfully Christmas shopping was all done for us.


I had the Eggnog Latte at Starbucks.  It was delicious!


Christmas Eve we all, (except Caroline's husband who was working) went for a wet and windy walk round the lake.  Above, Nicholas saw me with the camera in hand and promptly pulled his hat over his face!   Little monkey!


Here's our littlest grandson, Charlie.  As well as a wet and windy afternoon it was cold and I think Charlie was feeling it!


We stopped at the cafe at the far side of the lake for a warming hot drink.  I caught Gary and Victoria looking a bit glum in this picture.  They weren't, they were just cold.  Having said that, our surroundings were very grim looking.  The sky was so grey and it rained on and off but I for one enjoyed the walk and there were lots of other people out doing the same thing too.


Just a few images from Christmas and that I think is it for today.  My daughter has just turned up with her boys, George and Nicholas, and they want me to play!


Sunday, 18 December 2011

We've got snow.

It's a man thing.  As soon as it snows they're all out there with their snow shovels having a great time. 


Or at least it looks like they're having a great time!  I'm glad they seem to enjoy it because we live at the bottom of a hill and if these neighbours didn't all get out there and work together shifting all the snow it'd be a whole lot more difficult getting up that hill in our cars.

I hope it doesn't stay around too long though.  Snow can easily outstay it's welcome to my mind!  It always looks so pretty though.


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

If you do stuff stuff gets done.

Well, today I got stuff done and it looks like I'm going to have Christmas in the bag by weekend!  I have been known to still be traipsing round the shops on Christmas Eve in previous years, but not this time, thank goodness.

One of my jobs today was to go to The Post Office and get my Christmas cards sent off.  As a matter of interest I post cards to Ireland, Wales, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and France as well as some much closer to home. 


Anyway, in and amongst my errands I made time for a coffee in a favourite coffee shop at lunchtime and this was the view (Instagram image) I had as I sipped my latte and read Sunday's paper with it.  Yes, last Sunday's paper.  The Bear Cafe doesn't provide daily newspapers only weekend ones for its customers.  No problem there for me, I prefer a Sunday paper, there's always more in them.  The view was a bit dreary, it's very cold and very wet in these parts just now.

This afternoon I watched George's school Christmas play.  It was called Pirates of the Curry Bean, not exactly Christmassy but it was funny and entertaining.  8 year old George was a sailor in it, he looked really cute.  Last week I watched Nicholas and Charlie in their concerts too.  I also attended a Police Carol Concert with Caroline last week.  That was a good night, the singing was loud and enthusiastic accompanied by the Police Brass Band.  What more can one ask?  That's it for another year now though.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Lunch at the Lake


Yesterday I had lunch with these two lovely ladies.  We called it our Christmas Do.  Just the three of us, in the restaurant by our beautiful local lake.  A light lunch, laughter and lots of chat.  We had a whale of a time.


Insomnia is still bugging me.  I decided to do something useful instead of reading in bed this morning.  I got up before dawn and wrote out my Christmas cards.  I've read somewhere about people who suffer with insomnia so much that some nights they don't even go to bed and instead do housework and other productive things.  I'm hoping I don't get that bad!


Online shopping.  I bought some goodies from The Body Shop recently.  They had 50% off everything for one day only last week.   Now that was my kind of shopping!


I don't usually have a colour theme with my decorations but this year I'm going with red and green as much as I can.


And lastly, one little dog who is always hungry.  This photo was taken at about 10 p.m. last night.  Muffin wanted his supper.  I know he's eating too much these days and putting weight on, but he's getting on in years and he just stares at me until I give in.   So, sooner or later, I give in.  I can't stand that staring business!

All pics taken with my iPhone.


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Skating and the City

Bright and early this morning William and I along with Victoria and her family set off to catch the train into Manchester.  The purpose of the visit was to take the boys ice skating at the open air rink in Spinningfields.


Neither of the boys had ever been ice skating before and both needed a bit of help to get going.  Nicholas hit the ice first- buttocks first, that is!


George gets a helping hand from his daddy.


And so does Nicholas.


And then a bit of help from a sturdy penguin.


George takes a breather with his mum.


William and I took a breather in a nearby coffee shop.


Then before too long George (centre of the photo) found his balance and was off on his own.


Even 4 year old Nicky Noo got the hang of it before the 45 minute session was over.  Both boy's jeans and gloves were wet through when they came off the ice.  Next time a spare pair of trousers in a bag for each of them will be taken along.  I'll bet there's a few bruises to be found on their little bodies tomorrow!  Gary might have the odd bruise too, poor man, even he took a tumble!

After the ice skating we walked back into the city centre through the crowds of shoppers and the very busy Christmas Markets.  I have posted photos of them here and here over the last couple of years.


Amongst the street entertainment today was this "human statue".  He was a bit different to others I've seen before.  He looked like the wind was blowing his clothes away.  How they stand still for so long I do not know.  I couldn't do it.


The Manchester Wheel.  I've been up in that a couple of times and I have no desire to go up in it again.  I'd much rather have my feet on terra firma.

It was a fun day, something a little bit different and just right for the season too.


Monday, 5 December 2011

This is what... looks like in my neck of the woods today.


It's the middle of the afternoon with the temperature at 39 degrees.  It's cold, windy, overcast with intermittent showers of rain and we've got a light scattering of snow.  It's also invigorating, wild and wonderful and just right for taking the dog a walk.  And that's what I've just done with my older daughter and her little dog.

It's also good to be back inside drinking a cup of hot coffee.


Saturday, 3 December 2011

This and That.

I've been playing with my new toy lately.  All these pics were taken with my iPhone.  All but the first one was taken with the Instagram App.


This photo is a photo of George and Nicholas's school photo from September.  I think it's one of the best school photos I've ever seen, of anybody, ever.  There are more, all excellent too, but this is the only one I took a picture of.


Been reading my Scott Kelby digital photography books. They were a Mother's Day present a couple of years ago, I read them a lot and have learned a lot from them. 


This picture is of my mother as a young woman.  I think she was maybe 21 or so when this photo was taken. I think she looks beautiful!  The original photo is sepia with quite a bit of damage.  I've tidied it up in Photoshop Elements, turned it to black and white and I think it looks a lot better now.


I went Christmas shopping on Wednesday.  I could not have picked a worse day.  Millions of public sector workers were on strike that day and it seemed like every one of them was on the M60 motorway going in the same direction as me.  In fact they were all going to the same place as me - The Trafford Centre shopping mall.  I spent more time in the car in traffic jams than in the shops.  In the end I drove right past the Trafford Centre, it was packed to overflowing, and went to John Lewis at Handforth Dean.  Unfortunately John Lewis was also overflowing with opportunistic shoppers.  But, I found somewhere to park and went in the store.  Did I buy anything?  No, not a sausage!  Hence the photograph above.  This parcel was ordered by Caroline over the internet and delivered right to my doorstep.  No fuss, no wasted time and no fraught nerves.  Now, that's the way to go Christmas Shopping!


Christmas decorating has commenced in my home, albeit in a very small way.  It's a start though.


Insomnia is bugging the life out of me just lately.  Wonder if this strong coffee has got anything to do with it?

Oh, and I'm liking my new toy.


Saturday, 26 November 2011

When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple

Well, not a lot of any great importance going on round here but I still thought I'd put fingers to keyboard and report anyway.


An assortment of stuff here to say the least.  Starting top left and moving on clockwise. 

  • Last weekend my lovely sister in law, Brenda, gave me a sweet little Wedgewood bud vase which matches the little vase she gave me some time ago.  Also, showing are my two winter cyclamen, aren't they lovely?  They were just £1 each from Morrisons.  Good value don't you think?
  • William, busy repositioning pictures and my Portmeirion plates on the kitchen walls for me.
  • A little reminder of what's just around the corner.
  • I spotted this little Father Christmas night light in Costco yesterday and had to bring him home with me.
  • I paid a visit to Housing Units and rather liked this leather sofa. I think we'll be buying a new 3 piece suite in the New Year.
  • This afternoon my girls came round with their boys to visit.  The boys turned my dining room into a zoo.  I play the zookeeper, George and Charlie are monkeys and Nicholas is always a guard dog!
  • Gary came round a little later with their little dog. 
  • It's a mad house here at times.
  • I wouldn't have it any other way.
  • The little Father Christmas and the Wedgewood vase are my Simple Pleasures this week.


Yesterday afternoon I snagged a couple of bargains.  The frame was £5, you'd pay a lot more than that in somewhere like John Lewis.  I found this one in a curtain factory shop.  I had no idea they sold things like that.  The book was 40p in a local charity shop and the Guinness As Usual mug was in the same shop.


Guinness is a favourite tipple of mine and that's why this little cup caught my eye.  When I discovered it was actually made in Ireland and was only 30p I brought it home with me.

So, why the title?  Well, I bought the purple fleece you see in the picture yesterday.  When I came home I changed out of my "good" clothes into some more comfortable clothes.  I reached into my drawer and chose a purple sweater to wear and what was I taking off? - yep, a purple sweater! 

The poem Warning, When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple by Jenny Joseph immediately came to mind.   Click on the link to read the poem, - I'm sure it'll bring a smile to your face.


Monday, 21 November 2011

Llandudno and Betws Y Coed

Friday night when William got home from work we loaded up the car with all the paraphernalia needed for a weekend away and drove down to north Wales for the weekend to visit with William's sister and her husband.  They live only an hour and a half away so it's a very comfortable drive after a day at the grindstone.


Here we are, Saturday morning, on Llandudno beach.


And here's William with his sister and brother in law tucking into pie and chips from the chippy.  Brenda is just about to crack open a flask of hot coffee.  That was our lunch on Saturday and boy did it taste good in the bracing sea air after we had done a fair bit of traipsing around Llandudno's shopping streets!  Traipsing which included a Craft Market and an Antiques Fair.

We had a full day Saturday.  After taking in Llandudno, at my request, we made a visit to Jackson's Garden Centre at Dysserth for afternoon tea.  I have mentioned this Jackson's in a previous post.  Not only is it in a beautiful countryside setting, they have a lovely restaurant and sell all sorts of gorgeous interior decor stuff and of course just now it's jam packed full of Christmas goodies.


By the time we were leaving Dysserth the sun was setting and putting on a spectacular show.  Shame about the overhead cables, I know, but the sunset was so beautiful I had to include it.


Sunday, Brenda and Arthur took us inland to breathtakingly beautiful Betws Y Coed, a little town and a magnet for tourists, in Snowdonia National Park.  We have been here several times over the years but never in autumn.  It was a sight to behold for sure.


Brenda and Arthur beside the rocky River Conway which flows right through the centre of Betws Y Coed.


My pictures don't do it justice.


If you are ever in north Wales take the time to visit Betws Y Coed, you won't be sorry you did.

As our visit drew to a close a look inside St. Mary's Church seemed a good way to finish the day off.  Our car was parked in the church car park.  Quite properly, it's a pay and display one.   Anyway, William and I had just completed our tour of the church when we heard a magical sound.  A male voice choir was practising in the church hall!  I dashed to the car to get Brenda so that she could have a listen too.  Wales is renowned the world over for its history of singing and male voice choirs.  Shivers went up and down my spine as I stood and listened.  It was one of those moments I'll always remember.