Sunday, 30 December 2012

A Run Down of the Run Up to Christmas.

Well, my blogging has been very scarce in recent weeks.  A combination of not much to report and not much time to report it in.  Just like everybody else in the run up to Christmas I had plenty of stuff to do which kept me away from the computer.  As well as the usual shopping, cleaning, decking the halls with boughs of holly fa la la la la la la some fun things happened too.


Early in December I spent the afternoon with George in his classroom working on a craft project.  The project being a collage based on the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s album cover.  George’s class had recently been on a field trip to The Beatles’ Museum in Liverpool and had had a whale of a time.  While we worked on the collage a large screen showed the photos from that outing and there was Beatles music playing in the background.  It really was a fun afternoon. 


At Christmas time I like a glass of sherry, Croft Original Pale Cream Sherry, to be exact.  This was my first one of the season.


I collected Charlie from school a couple of times and took him home.  Here he is outside his front door with his Stop Here Santa sign.  Was there ever the slightest chance that Father Christmas would not stop here?  I don’t think so!


All three of our little boys have been poorly on and off this month.  The day this photo was taken George wasn’t well.  But, like me, both my daughters are firm believers in the healing powers of fresh air.  A gentle walk on a cold, crisp and dry day.  What could be better to help rid George of his germs?


On the 14th I met my lovely cousin, Sylvia, in Manchester.  Our intention was to browse the Continental Christmas Markets.  Sadly the heavens opened early in the morning and never closed again that day so we  briefly skimmed through the market stalls and made a beeline for cosier, cheerier, indoor establishments.


Of course we had a couple of pit stops along the way.  This one was in Starbucks on St. Ann’s Square.  We like it there because the markets with all the hustle and bustle are right outside and clearly visible through the windows.  We have been boycotting Starbuck’s because of their UK tax issues but things seem to be getting sorted on that front so our consciences allowed us to give Starbucks our custom once again.  Note how we shared our cakes.  That’s our upbringing showing through.  Sharing was very important in our childhoods.  Our mothers insisted that we shared everything we had.  Quite right too!  My mother called it “wacking”.  I haven’t a clue where that expression originates and I think my mother was the only person who ever used it.  My mother would’ve been happy to know that we had “wacked” a sandwich earlier too.


On the weekend of the 15th Charlie slept over at our house when both his parents were working.  Bright and early on the Sunday morning we took him to our favourite cafe in Hebden Bridge for breakfast.  Ceaseless rain made it impossible to take him to the park or anywhere more suitable but he had a good time drawing in the cafe and we enjoyed it too.

Somewhere round about this time I had a Christmas lunch with my sweet friends and walking partners, Vanessa and Diane. I wish I’d got a pic of them. We had a great afternoon together, laughed and talked nonstop almost ‘til the cows came home. There was also an outing with my lovely friends and neighbours John and Lesley to a different Christmas Market. Another wet and windy freezing cold day and no pictures from that day either.  What’s the matter with me?  I had a camera with me on both of these occasions!

Now onto the 17th and another trip into Manchester.  This time with my daughter Caroline…


… for Christmas Afternoon Tea at The Midland Hotel.  This was my Christmas present from Caroline and Trev and couldn’t have been a more right-up-my-street present.  There was champagne and mulled wine, finger sandwiches, fancy cakes, scones and clotted cream, endless cups of tea and a pianist playing away in the background.  It was a little oasis of calm and tranquility.  Perfect!


All good things come to an end and all too soon it was back out onto the wet streets.  This month seems to have been full of nothing but rainy days.


Closer to Christmas now on the 22nd Caroline and I went to the theatre to see Irving Berlin's White Christmas.  What a treat that was.  The  cast was excellent.  The songs familiar.  The tap dancing super duper.  A real crowd pleaser.


On the 23rd George and Nicholas came round to make mince pies with me.  I got crafty this year and prepared well for this event.  I measured the ingredients out and shared (or should that be wacked?) them between two bowls and had two rolling pins lined up for the two boys.  This worked out really well and I must remember to do it again next year.  Charlie had been with me on the Friday and we had made fancy cakes together.  All fun stuff and getting closer and closer to Christmas Day.


In the afternoon of the 23rd William and I went along to our local park for a carol service.  It was cold, very cold in fact, but dry for once.  The brass band played merrily and the small crowd sang heartily.  We came away with Jingle Bells jingling in our heads.

This Christmas I have been able to “visit” my sister, Maureen, thousands of miles away in her home in Arkansas and see all her family too.  Several times we’ve hooked up and spent time together.  Shown each other our Christmas decorations and seen each other’s happy smiling faces.  All this courtesy of iPhone’s FaceTime (video calling).  Isn’t technology fantastic?!


And finally, I just had to take a picture of this pram in the park.  It’s a proper pram!  You don’t see many like this any more.  All babies were pushed around in prams like this when my girls were babies.  I would’ve loved to give this pram a little push but I didn’t know the owners and they might have thought I was bit nutty if I’d asked them if I could please push their baby around the park in that beautiful proper pram!  It is lovely though isn’t it?

Of course I’m writing this a few days after Christmas so it’s too late to wish everyone a Merry Christmas but I do hope that everyone did have a Merry Christmas and that a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year is just around the corner for each and every one of us.


Sunday, 9 December 2012

I didn’t think …

…I had anything to report but when I started to look back over the last few weeks of my photos I decided I’d got plenty to make a post out of.  I didn’t know whether to start with the newest or the oldest happenings but have gone with the newest first.


Sunday last was a lovely winter’s day.  William and I wanted to go somewhere but somewhere not too far away.  I suggested Towneley Park.  We could look at all the Christmas decorations and plants etc. in the garden centre and then have a walk through the park for that all important exercise and breath of fresh air. 


I was disappointed with the Christmas decorations in the garden centre.  They seemed to have been thrown together rather than artistically displayed which is what I like to see. 


Anyway, no matter, we still had that brisk walk in the very fresh air and a light lunch in the cafe.  Usually we would’ve sat outside the cafe but it was very cold and those chairs are made of metal.  A bit too cold for our derrieres.  I noticed the hardy folks who were seated outside had come prepared and had brought small sheepskin mats to sit on.


Saturday night we drove over the icy tops of Blackstone Edge into the small  village of Mytholmroyd to see their Lighted Lantern Parade.  It was a happy, vibrant parade led by a New Orleans type band.  The leader with his umbrella trimmed with lots of lights.  All the lanterns had been made by the locals in schools and other workshop locations throughout the borough.  It was good and I’m glad we made the effort to go and see it on a freezing cold night.


George slept over on the Friday night and I taught him how to play Rummikub.  He soon cottoned on and loved the game.  So much so that he wanted to play again as soon as he rose from slumber the morning after.


That is, as soon as we had made and eaten our pancakes .


Like I’ve said before these little boys only ever want pancakes for breakfast at my house.


It wasn’t too long before Victoria came to collect him.  Nicholas came with her and he and George both made themselves useful by mopping the kitchen floor for me.  Apparently it’s necessary to strip off nearly all one’s clothes in order to mop a kitchen floor.  I didn’t know that, did you?


Another walk around Watergrove Res with my girls and our dogs on a nippy November blue sky day.  Looking down the hill to the road where we started the route.


..and looking up.  We live in a hilly part of the country but that doesn’t matter so much when it’s blue skies all the way!


I have even made time for a bit of scrapbooking recently.  This page remembers a crisp autumn afternoon in Towneley Park with Victoria and the boys.  The top left photo shows five year old Nicholas skipping.  Not all little boys can skip can they?   You should see this little boy.  He can skip!


Recently I found a wool shop that was a little off the beaten track.  How would you like this scenery for a backdrop when you looked out of your office window?  I know it would please me no end and for a lucky few in Mytholmroyd, (that’s where the wool shop is), this is what they’ve got.  Looking at it now the scene is very autumnal.  Not anymore it ain’t.  I drove over this route Friday morning and these hills had snow on them.


Monday, 19 November 2012

One Of Those Catch Up Posts.

Just wanting to keep up to date with my iPhone pictures so here is a selection from the last month or so.


  • George had a sleepover - we made some little fancy cakes together.
  • Another sleepover for both George and Nicholas.  We played Ludo. That’s Nicholas’ hand in front of the camera.  Little monkey!
  • Charlie ready to go home late one afternoon.  He wanted to take Tiny Tears with him :-)  Tiny Tears belongs to his Aunty Vicki.  Father Christmas brought her many moons ago when Victoria was 18 months old.  Unbelievably Tiny Tears still has her original tiny dummy in her mouth!  Is also wearing clothes I knitted for her all those years ago and the yellow blanket he’s carrying is one my sweet sister-in-law Brenda crocheted for Victoria before she was born. 
  • Each of the boys planted a conker.  They are outside in the garden now.  I wonder if any of them will grow.  I’m not holding my breath.
  • Shopping trip and lunch with my girls.  We had lunch in The Salt Cellar – we like it in there.
  • On a little outing with Lesley to Hebden Bridge we both got a bit of a shock.  We spotted the Naked Rambler.  The poor man is obviously a troubled soul.  I ask you, who in their right mind would walk about, all year round, naked in Great Britain!?  We don’t exactly have the weather for it do we?  The authorities keep throwing him in prison but it strikes me that a psychiatric unit might be of more help to him.


  • Charlie tucking in to a soft boiled egg and toast for tea. This was Friday night just gone and Nicholas was sitting opposite Charlie eating the same thing.
  • Also on Friday night it was Nicholas’ turn for a sleepover.  He helped me make the pancakes.  As often as these boys have had breakfast here I can’t remember a time when they haven’t asked for pancakes.  They just love ‘em.
  • Eating the pancakes with granddad.  I like how Nicholas has got his arm up around his granddad’s shoulder.
  • Saturday morning I got the train into Manchester, which incidentally was 45 minutes late!   It’s never much fun waiting for a delayed train but Saturday was particularly frustrating because I had arranged to meet my lovely cousin, Sylvia, to attend an 11 a.m. Coffee Concert in Manchester Cathedral.  Luckily and with only minutes to spare we actually made it just before a young classical pianist, Albert Cano Smit, was introduced and the concert commenced. 
  • It’s that time of year again.  The Continental Christmas Markets were in full swing.
  • And last but not least a sneaky picture of a man at rest.

Until next time,


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Seaton, Beer and Fish & Chips.

Even though we weren’t going home until the Saturday of our final week in Sidmouth it was necessary that the awning was down on the Thursday.  We wanted to take it down without the added hassle of rain and according to the weather forecast Thursday was going to be a dry day.  Happily the forecast was right and a dry day it was and the awning was down, folded, cleaned up and stacked away in the car boot by lunchtime with no major hiccups.  This was no mean feat as the putting up and the taking down of awnings can be one gigantic pain in the posteria!


That wasn’t the end of it though.  William then set to with a bucket of hot soapy water and a brush and gave the van’s exterior, roof included, a good old washing down.  All this work took quite some time but when it was finished it was time to play.


Play which included a bracing walk along the beach at Seaton.  I love the crunch of the pebbles underfoot – Muffin not so much, so one of us usually gives him a leg up.  Good job he’s not a big dog!


The colours of the sea and sky were magical.


Just magical.


The streetlights were on by the time we got back to the car.  The sun was well on its way to the antipodes and the streets were deserted.  From Seaton we drove into Beer and bought fish & chips for supper.  We could’ve eaten in the restaurant, it was all but empty, but decided against it sticking with tradition instead eating the piping hot chips and freshest flakiest of fish sitting on a bench in the village.  The atmosphere in the village was so different from the summer months – quiet, calm and cold (let’s keep it real – it was definitely cold!)  The salty chips left us both with a thirst so we called in The Dolphin for a drink before hitting the country lanes toward Oakdown.


One last picture of the sea off Sidmouth prom - just because I like it. 

Despite the cold weather or maybe because of it our last holiday of the season was a good one and I’m already looking forward to doing it all over again in 2013. 

Before I fall asleep tonight I’ll be counting my blessings and our holiday home on wheels will be one, very big one, of them!


Thursday, 8 November 2012

The End of the Season

It doesn’t seem possible that the 2012 caravanning season is over but it is.  For us anyway.  I suppose for those who tow their caravans then the end of the season comes when they see fit to end it.  For us, permanent pitch people, last Saturday was the last day.

However, end of season or not, end of October beginning of November or not, cold, windy and sometimes rainy weather or not, William and I have just had a really good week’s holiday down in and around Sidmouth, east Devon.


We hit West Bay at the start of the week on Sunday.  The harbour was practically empty.  Summer sailors had all taken their boats home and the harbour seemed forlorn with no happy little boats bobbing up and down on the tide. 


A good brisk walk along the sea front is always a pleasure.  Even more so in windy weather for me.


I love it when the weather is fresh.  William’s expression is telling me that to him it was just plain cold!  I think it was at this point that we took refuge in one of our favourite cafes overlooking the sea…


..where I whipped out my new toy, my Kindle Paperwhite and had a little read while William read the newspaper.  I’m loving my Kindle PW – so much lighter to tote around and much less bulky than a paperback.   I carried it around in my handbag wherever we went.


Naturally, Budleigh Salterton was on our itinerary and another lovely day for it too.


Beautiful seafront to stroll along.


It was the end of the season for beach huts too.  In the main they were all locked up and lots had already been dismantled and shipped off to who knows where for the winter.  It was news to me that lots of beach huts are carted off and stowed away for the winter.  I presumed they stayed in situ but apparently not.


This is Poppy.  Isn’t she adorable?  The daintiest, smallest and cutest Bassett Hound I’ve ever seen.  Mind you I haven’t seen that many of this breed of dog in real life, ever.  We came across Poppy in a back street of Budleigh being walked by her owner.  Dog owners are friendly people don’t you think?  Always happy to stop for a chat.  I like that.

IMG_1531biPhone pic

Late afternoon heading for home we stopped off at this little treasure trove of a place, full of furniture and interior decor goodies. 


IMG_1529biPhone pics

A rustic, warm and cosy welcome awaited inside with not just one but a choice of two woodburners to sit in front of and drink a coffee.


The perfect place to stop on a cold autumn afternoon.



Friday, 26 October 2012

Autumn Colours.

Mother Nature really has put on a spectacular show of colours this year.  Perhaps that makes up somewhat for the rainy summer we had.  Sad to say this year summer was the wettest one we’ve had in decades!


Anyway, I just wanted to post a couple of photos I snapped yesterday when Victoria, the boys and I were in Towneley Park.


We had a lovely afternoon.  Okay, it was a little bit chilly but pleasantly so.  Just chilly enough to enjoy warming our hands on a hot coffee and to enjoy a hot snack, still al fresco though, at the cafe with the above very-easy-on-the-eye view.

I have more pictures but I don’t have the time to wade through them just now.  I’ve had a busy day today packing, doing housework and other stuff before William and I hit the road in the morning for the five hour drive to Oakdown.  It’ll be our last holiday of the year in Devon and we are both eager to get down there and enjoy it.



Thursday, 25 October 2012

Malham, North Yorkshire

Malham in north Yorkshire is beautiful, there is no other word for it!  William and I had the fun of exploring it for the first time last Sunday.  I really don’t know why we’ve never been to Malham before, it’s only an hour and a quarter away from us, but I do know we’ll be going again! 


It is so very pretty.  Mind you, it’s set in the Yorkshire Dales National Park so I wouldn’t expect anything else.


Fortunately for us Sunday was a blue sky day so we saw Malham at its best.  We really couldn’t have picked a better day.


Wide open spaces along the way.


A walk was what we had in mind so we took the road out of the village and followed the footpath to the spectacular Malham Cove.  Apparently the last Harry Potter  film featured a camping scene that was set atop Malham Cove. DSC_6725b


Ancient little footbridge across Malham Beck.  I was in my element.  I absolutely and completely love this English countryside of ours!


Our destination - the humongous limestone cliff which is Malham Cove.


See the arrows in the pic above?  The minute speck at the end of the top arrow is a person!  The arrow below is pointing to a small group of people who must have nerves of steel and also be slightly bonkers.  Rock climbers.  William and I both had the willies just watching them!


After the walk and back in the village some sustenance was needed.  We only had a light snack and a pot of tea but boy, did it taste good in the fresh air and…


…with this view to feast our eyes on.



A couple of quaint village pubs complete the picture.


And finally, a few welcoming A-boards we saw dotted about the village.  You know you’re in walking country when you see signs like these.

Yep, Sunday was certainly a lovely day, exactly my kind of day in fact.