Saturday, 30 June 2012

Searching for peace

Not world peace, or anything as deep and meaningful as that, but just a quiet space.  In a house full of all of us, it feels very difficult to find a space for me, in which I can be quite, read, study, think or pray.

There's the bedroom - not "my bedroom" because it is shared, of course - I am not the Queen!  Last night is a case in point: the EFG and the FH were watching tv in the lounge, and the YFG had gone to bed, and was asleep.  I thought I would sneak off upstairs to work on some new ideas for the fundraising, and to just have some thinking time.  I might as well have announced to the world that I was off, for within 5 minutes, they had both joined me, and were now watching tv in the bedroom.  The FH was in bed, and the EFG was sprawled across the foot of the bed, and they were making comments on the programme they were enjoying.    All thoughts of thinking (yes, that is a pun!) had gone out of the window, and I huffed and puffed a little, made a comment about going to sleep being easier at Paddington Station, and settled myself on the edge of the bed and went to sleep.  I do go to sleep easily, I know.

I had a conversation this morning with the FH about this, and he said he needs to have the tv on for a little whilst he settles himself for sleep.  Mmmm.  I am wary of making too much fuss about the tv because I am very conscious that at his age and with his medical problems, he does need relaxation, and watching tv constitutes his relaxation - he doesn't read, and anything else he does involves activity, like gardening, which he isn't always up to doing.  He CAN read, by the way - but he won't read fiction, and seems to find reading a chore, so I don't push it, but I do buy him books for his birthday/Christmas sometimes about railways, people like Fred Dibnah, or the British coastline/countryside, which he will dip into occasionally.

And the lounge is a busy place, most of the time.  There's a tv in there, which is in use most evenings, if not for the tv then for the Wii, or to watch a DVD.  The FH and the girls also use the laptops in the lounge, sometimes, and they pop in and out if they are doing something elsewhere.

The little room which was a dining room once, and might have been an office for a while, and is now rather scruffy and cluttered, has a computer in - the one I am on now - but there is no real desk space, no room for a comfy chair, and the piano is in here - so folk pop in for a go on the piano now and again, or to perch on the piano stool whilst they chat.......

I think "A room of one's own" [as Virginia Woolf called it] is required!  Not sure where to find one of those, though, and I have no room in the garden at the moment, or I would acquire a cheap caravan!  I sort of miss having the motorhome parked in the garden, as I did disappear into that a few times, which is what made me think of a caravan, but I imagine that might be quite chilly in the winter.

Some days, I long for everyone to go out and leave me alone!!  I am not a terribly sociable person, and I am very happy to be left in my own company for hours at a time - I don't pine for people around me, although I am always pleased to see them on their return.

Friday, 29 June 2012

The verdict...

They certainly did like the vinegar cake - I sliced it into eight equal portions so that there were two pieces each for them and they have eaten it all!  The FH says that they really enjoyed their afternoon, and spent time sharing memories and telling stories, as older chaps are wont to do.  I think they will be looking forward to getting together again in a week or two.  I shall have to think of a different cake for them.

I'll be back posting again tomorrow - I hope you are all enjoying this glorious sunshine that we have had lately, but I have been thinking particularly about those who have suffered the horrendous floods this week.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Vinegar cake update

I made the cake this morning, and it looks great - the proof will be in the eating tomorrow, though!  I cooked it in a sandwich tin, and it isn't a very deep cake.

I made a couple of adjustments to the recipe - I realised that there were no spices in the cake recipe, and to me a fruit cake without mixed spice or cinnamon just doesn't smell right, so I added some!  I do appreciate that this was from rationing times, so perhaps they were in short supply back then, but I have plenty in the baking cupboard so it wasn't a problem to me to add some in.  The smell whilst it was baking was well worth it!

The other slight change was that I used just raisins because I had a pack that needed using, rather than using mixed fruit.  Because I thought that perhaps the raisins could do with some company in there, so to speak, I chucked in half a dozen chopped up cherries too.

Once it was out of the oven, in about 45 minutes, I glazed it over with some runny honey, and it looks good. The chaps will eat it tomorrow afternoon, and hopefully they will approve - fingers crossed xx

Spending time

The FH is planning to go to see one of his older friends tomorrow afternoon - he is going to pick up two other older gentlemen and they are all going to the house of the fourth for afternoon tea, and a cake which I have been asked to provide.

So, what kind of cake do older gentlemen like?  The FH has suggested a sponge, but I have to admit that I am leaning towards a fruit cake, and I have found a new recipe I would like to try on one of the blogs in the blogroll.  Rationing Revisited has posted a fruit cake made with vinegar, and I am curious to try this....

I am encouraged that the FH is planning this and he has been facilitating more outings for these friends - none  of them have transport and rely on others to take them out and about.  I think it will be beneficial for the FH as much as it will be for them!  He brought them to the Strawberry Tea at the chapel on Saturday and they had a wonderful time and really enjoyed themselves - it made such a difference to their weekend!

I'll let you know how the cake turns out - I have all the ingredients in stock so it will be just a matter of baking it this morning.  I have a busy afternoon/evening - an appointment with the EFG an hour south of here at 4pm, a meeting for school from 6-8pm, then the EFG's art exhibition (I'll catch the last half hour), and finally picking up the YFG on her return from a trip to London today - she is going to see "The Woman in Black" with the drama department - they are due back about 9pm, apparently.  We saw the film sometime ago, and the play looks scary!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Curry report

Quick post to let you know that the family tried the first batch of Elaine's Curry in a Hurry recipe sauce last night.  I popped some frozen Quorn in the pan, with a little oil, added some chopped pepper that needed using up, and then added some defrosted sauce and some boiling water.  Some rice cooked in a saucepan alongside and within about 20 minutes, supper was on the table.

The feedback I got was that the girls liked it but that the FH thought it could take a little more kick, but since it was the first time they had tried it properly, I was pleased with how easy it was to use, and I can think about spicing it up a bit more for the FH by using some of the additions which are suggested in Elaine's original post.

Monday, 25 June 2012

A drive in the Fens

I have been to the far north of the circuit tonight for a preachers' meeting, and I have had the most lovely evening - the drive there was through the fields and the roads were lined with hedgerows, so I saw a few pheasants peeping through, and some kind of bird of prey, perhaps a small hawk, at the side of the road, attacking some carrion.  It was very brave, or else just dedicated to its meal, as it didn't flinch as the car passed within inches of it.

The meeting passed very calmly and reflectively, with prayers and devotions at the beginning, and then the business of the meeting.  The chairman of the meeting was one of the circuit ministers, but not one I have ever seen lead a service or a meeting before, and it was moving how he spoke and prayed for some preachers who have recently died.  I would like to attend some of his services before he retires next summer.

The ride home was beautiful.  The part of the Fens I went to is quite picturesque, and I half wished we lived up there - I passed by houses with orchards, where sheep are grazing under the trees, wee veg plots by the side of the road, and more than a few cheeky brown rabbits nibbling on a front lawn.  The biggest treats were saved for me, though, when I was nearly home, when a fox crossed the road in front of me and leaped into a ditch, and not half a mile farther on, I saw the glorious sight of a barn owl swooping along, following the line of a ditch.

I have had an amazing night, with great company, and wonderful views and sights - and all completely free!  How blessed have I been tonight?!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

We have a winner!

Back on 25th March, I launched a little giveaway to celebrate the 1000th post which was upcoming at the time.

Apologies for the delay in drawing the winner, but life gets in the way sometimes.  I have a little bundle of gifts for the winner, acquired and collected over the last few months, and drawn from all sorts of places, in memory of my mum.

All the comments' authors have been put into a pot and the winner is ..............Arwedd!

Hope you check back and see this, Arwedd, as I don't know how often you stop by, but I need an address via a comment (which I won't publish, of course) please, to send the parcel.  If other readers know Arwedd, perhaps you could point her in this direction!

I won't spoil the surprise by showing people the gifts, but perhaps you would share them once you have received them.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Strawberry success

After the usual gymnastics this morning, we had to give Ballet a miss this afternoon and head home quickly to help at the Strawberry Tea at the chapel.  About forty tickets had been sold so we were expecting a good few folk to come along, enjoy a good sing song session with a local musical act, and then tuck in to lots of tasty sweet and savoury treats, with strawberry as the main theme of the puddings!

The children at the chapel, including the YFG, took part by singing some of their favourite hits by Christina Perry, Adele and others whose names escape me.  The YFG and her friend also played their piano pieces from their exams yesterday - the friend did Grade 2 and the YFG Grade 1 yesterday afternoon at the same exam centre nearby.

The actual act were a husband and wife team who really entertained and got the atmosphere moving!  One old chap of ninety said it was the best "do" he had been to in fifty years...I was delighted that he enjoyed it so much.  My dad came over for the afternoon and was pleased to see his granddaughters involved - the EFG was the musical director of the girls' group and in charge of the arrangements.

The event raised £200 in profit, which was an excellent start to our efforts.

I am giving a lot of thought to the recipe book plans, which will take some work.  I am especially grateful to those of you who have sent supportive messages and emails, including some recipes already.  Thank you!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Making a difference

Tonight I want to just record the successes of one little girl from Argyll & Bute who has had amazing responses to her blog about school lunches.

Her blog, Never Seconds, has publicised the work of a locally based charity, Mary's Meals, which works to provide school lunches in 16 countries around the world for the poorest children.  When I made my little contribution, the total was around the £11,000 mark - this weekend they are heading for £100,000!!

This 9 year old girl has truly made a difference!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Longest day

The 21st June has indeed been a long day!  The lesson observations and interviewing started at 9am this morning, and I left the school at 6.30pm tonight so even if the day had been gloriously sunny and bright, I wouldn't have seen it anyway, but since it rained pretty much all day I didn't miss much....

We have had a productive day, and thank goodness we were able to make some appointments - I am so relieved.  One of the new teachers is a very bright and bubbly student who should be an NQT in September, and she looks about 14, but she taught a really inspiring lesson and totally captured the children's attention.

Tonight we have had a church meeting and discussed how we are going to start raising this £600 a month.  We agree that it is going to be a challenge, and we are going to do our best to get somewhere towards the target.  An event a month is going to have to be the aim, and we are going to have to work hard to do that.

I would like to compile a little recipe booklet which we can sell at local events as well as selling online as an e-book, so I am going to start thinking about an angle to theme the recipes on and what to call it.  If YOU have any recipes you would allow me to include, I would be very grateful, and I would be glad to include the web address of your blog, if you have one, as well as your name as contributor.  All ideas on themes also welcome - if you are a cookbook freak like me, what sort of cook books appeal to you?  For me, it is a toss up between a good cake and bake book, and a collection of cheap family meals for everyday.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


That's the theory, courtesy of an educational establishment in Leeds.....

Trouble is, life gets in the way sometimes!  When there is no deadline to meet, those "C" jobs never quite make it to the top of the list.  Faced with short notice things to deal with at school, the regular commitments to gymnastics and church events, and the daily minutiae of laundry, housework and cooking, as well as transporting daughters from A to B, the coursework which is the Faith & Worship course has been sadly neglected.

Things have got to change.

In terms of priorities for me, that course is actually an A+ priority.  It needs to be elevated to the higher rankings of the lists on a weekly basis!  I had a meeting yesterday morning with the course tutor and we agreed that I will take a 3 month break beginning in September from taking services, and that I need to go elsewhere to actually do the studying - and where better to go than our own church?!  I have arranged with the steward that I will work in the church on Monday mornings - away from the distractions at home.

And then there is the fundraising....our church has to find a contribution of £600 a month for the next year to send to the main circuit funds as our share of supporting the local group of churches, called a circuit in the Methodist church.  All ideas are very welcome, as we are having a church brainstorming session tomorrow evening - this is going to be quite a challenge, as we have never had to raise this much before, and we are a small congregation of only about 15 people, with several children.

But first, tomorrow, I am hoping to find some new teachers for the school - a full day of interviewing and observing 5 candidates.  The chosen ones we take on have to be Good, not just the best we can find.  If we can't find Good ones, we won't appoint this time.  The right ones are out there somewhere, and we will just have to find them.  Exciting times indeed!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Over the line

The EFG has finished all her exams - she is thrilled and keeps walking round the house, saying, "I'm free!" tonight.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Feet up on Sunday

That list of jobs of Saturday afternoon got half done - the sermon had to get written to be delivered on Sunday morning, of course, and the washing did get hung to take advantage of the weather.  But the curry in a hurry?  Seems I wasn't in that much of a hurry to battle with chopping another couple of pounds of onions....but that is still on the list to do.  The front lawn still needs cutting, and so does the back one now - we have been putting rabbits out on the lawn in the dry weather but I doubt that they can cut the whole lawn and it is raining today anyway so there won't be any rabbits out.

The FH came to church in the morning with us, but then he went to an Open Farm Sunday event in the village and followed that up immediately with a beekeeping group meeting, and landed safely back at home by about 4.30pm, quite exhausted!  So tired was he, in fact, that he retired to bed by 6pm, and declared himself too tired to eat, and went to sleep.  He's still asleep this morning.....he admitted last night that he thought he had done too much yesterday and ought to pace himself better.  Mmmm.

The EFG is on the home straight now with her exams - just Statistics today and Maths tomorrow - and then she is free, pretty much, until the 30th August.  Results day is 23rd August, and on that day's news hangs her immediate future, so we have to be sure to keep the day free to go to school for the results and then to arrange whatever needs arranging!  She has signed up for a free trip in July with her current school to go to the University of East Anglia in Norwich to have a look around and learn more about what university can offer.  I think she is already pretty determined in her plan to go to university to study science, but perhaps that will motivate her further, or help her to refine her ideas.

I've got my check up at the dentist this morning, so I am off to do a little housework before then.  It is raining here so it's a good opportunity to catch up with some hoovering and tidying, again!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Bloggers for #shareniger

Clicking on the button at the top right of the blog will take you through to a post at Patch of Puddles, where you can read all about the project Merry is running to sponsor children in Niger through WorldVision.

The usual sponsoring system is a substantial contribution but Merry has organised us to each contribute just one quarter of the amount needed to sponsor a child, which is much more manageable.  The project to date is able to sponsor 8 children, and is aiming to get enough support to manage the ninth as well.

Thinking about the whole situation of these children and their mothers in Niger is heartbreaking, and £6 a month is a small commitment for me to make - and I have promised to do it for a year.  That is all Merry asked.  £6 can make such a difference for them, and for me, it is not going to break the bank - it isn't in the budget yet though!!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

What to do?

The ironing? Making more curry now I have the chillis? The sermon for tomorrow? Start preparing the tea?  Cut the front lawn?  Hang a load of washing?

Getting off here would be a good start, so I'll see you all later - hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Costing out the curry

Looking at the curry base recipe I made successfully last night, I have estimated it cost me about 16p a portion.  Here's how I worked that out:

2lb onions [bought a 5kg bag from Lidl for £1.99] - 40p
4cm piece of ginger - 9p [Tesco]
6 cloves of garlic - 22p  [Lidl]
3 green chillis - 27p  [Lidl]
1 tin chopped tomatoes - 31p [Lidl]
25ml oil - 3p [Lidl]
1/2 cup chopped coriander - 35p [used half of a live plant from Tesco]
1 tsp salt - 2p [App Foods]
Spices: ground coriander, ground cumin, turneric, garam masala - bought large bags and used small amounts so I am allowing 31p for spices, but this is probably an over-estimate - but it rounds the total nicely!

The original recipes suggests that it will make 20 portions, so that would be an excellent 10p a portion, but I have packaged it in existing tubs I had, and it has provided me with 4 tubs.  I know that 3 people will eat each tub, so that makes 12 basic portions at this stage.  I don't know whether there would be leftovers so I am not going to bank on those just yet, but that would increase the number of portions.

The other benefit of this is that I know exactly what is in the sauce; no hydrogenated anything, no fancy preservatives, only honest basic foods and spices.  

The FH tasted it last night and his comment was, "That tastes Good!" so I take that as a positive sign.  I think that curry will be on the menu this weekend so that the guys can test it out.

Costing this out proves that in the long run it compares very favourably with any bought sauce - the cheapest jar in Tesco is their own "discount" brand at 79p a jar.

I have enough of everything else bar chillis to make another batch or even two, so I will be picking up more chillis somewhere today, and then I will be making more over the weekend.  It makes sense, whilst I have the fresh garlic and coriander and ginger.  I love the way that this base can be used to make different kinds of curries just by varying the ingredients that are added when the final dish is cooked - take a look at the original blog entries to see some of the variations.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

We've been inspired!

 The EFG has had a study day at home today, and after doing one too many past papers, her brain needed a break, so she made these little beauties this afternoon, inspired by a picture at a blog called Geek Sweets.  She made tiny mini cakes, but I think they look fab.  Tonight we are going to visit a friend who has just had a baby so I think she plans to take a few along for the family.

 Here's a closer picture of one of them - the tiny marshmallows do look like popcorn!

 And I have been totally inspired by Elaine at MFin3 to try her Curry in a Hurry recipe.
I was lucky in that the local Holland and Barrett have larger packets of the spices and they were on BOGOF so I have plenty for future curry sessions - the FH will be pleased!!

 And this is also inspired by the MFin3 website - home made vanilla essence!  This is not quite as instant as buying a bottle from the shop but the savings are there to be had.  

And all it took was a small bottle of vodka and two vanilla pods.  And lots of time!  It will have to be shaken regularly, and left to mature in a dark place, alongside the sloe gin (which is maturing Very Nicely Indeed!).  

We're off to see the baby now, but curry sauce making will commence on our return.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Not spending

The temptations are flying at me - an email from the Book People, catalogues from Lakeland and Bravissimo - but I am not buying, so they are going in the recycle bins, both on the computer and in real life.

I have been inspired and enthused by several people just lately and I am feeling another challenge coming on.  Our challenges here make me work harder, but I am also needing to work smarter and achieve more, rather than plodding from day to day and not having much impact on our goals.

Part of the trouble is that I seem to spend my days doing things for other people for little or no recompense, so whilst I am sure I am doing good generally, I am not doing the family any good.  We are not moving our family goals any further forward, and so that is my challenge this time - I plan to do one thing each day which moves this family forward.

Just a little snag with that.  We haven't got a family plan yet.  Guess that it is the first step......

And my birthday list - all those things I want to do before I turn 40 at the end of September?  I never quite got round to making a proper page and a list on here for those, but I have a few in a notebook, and I can quite happily report that I have lost a stone since the start of May, so that is one thing moving in the right direction - yippee!!

It may be a bit quiet on here for a few days whilst I sort myself out now, because I have to do some thinking and planning....keep waving occasionally though, as I am still here, and will be back shortly.  Let's hope the sun shines for a day so I can sit in the verandah in the sun whilst I ponder - I wish.....

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Back to basics

Checking through Elaine's recipes at her blog (mentioned yesterday) I found a couple that I thought the family would appreciate.  The FH loves malt loaf, so I tried out her version of that, and the YFG is a big fan of cookies - you know the kind, the ones that the supermarkets sell at over a £1 for a bag of five!!  The peanut butter chocolate chip cookies promised to hit that particular spot for her, so this morning has been a kitchen baking time, and the smells have been amazing!

I am not being mean by not making anything for the EFG - she is continuing with her weight loss programme!  She enjoyed a week off from it last week whilst we were away, and I am hoping that all the walking she did will mitigate the indulgences a little.  I weighed her on the day we went, and I will not be weighing her again until Friday; on 1st June her weight loss stood at 2 stones, so I am immensely proud of all she has achieved so far.

As for the finance review - that should be on the cards tonight...

Monday, 11 June 2012

Monday musings

Not a lot to report today - a fairly run of the mill kind of Monday!  I did so much washing at the weekend that it took me all morning to do the ironing, and now I have to pack it all away into the airing cupboard tonight....not my favourite job at all.

This afternoon the YFG had an extra piano lesson, as she is taking her grade 1 exam next week.  She's doing OK but she'll have to keep practising hard.  The EFG went to school for a maths lesson today, and will go for the morning tomorrow.

Tonight I have had a blitz on the room that was once the dining room, became a sort of office and then degenerated in to an untidy storage space (dumping ground!) and have removed three bags of rubbish from there - hurrah!  It isn't great yet, but it is a definite improvement on what it was before I started....

I found a great new-to-me blog last night, and it is great!  Not only is the writer based in Cupar where we used to live, but she is also on a major money saving mission - and doing a fantastic job.  I am going to be trawling through it this week for new ideas and recipes.  I'll be adding her to the blogroll later.

I missed doing the end of May financial review because we were on holiday but I would like to report that the holiday spending was within the budget!  The sealed pot money (about £141) covered all the entry fees to the various places we went, the ice creams and treats, the postcards, parking charges, and the gifts we brought home for our friends!  I was very pleased with all of that.  The food for the week came out of the normal grocery budget, as we ate pretty normally, and the diesel is also within the usual fuel budget.

In place of the May review, I am going to do a half yearly one instead - so I hope to get that done tomorrow.  I am optimistic that it will be in line with some of the predictions, as I know that although we have spent £3K on new cars and about £1000 on the holiday, we are still just over £700 better off than we were at the beginning of the year, so we are doing something right.  I have to work hard on making some savings or I won't make the savings targets for the end of the year.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A day at home

After the excitement of the holiday, I have needed a few days to wind down again!  I sent the FH out to Lidl yesterday for some fresh fruit and veggies, and today, no one has been anywhere, not even to church.

I had a very easy morning, and then I notched it up a gear and cleaned out the chooks - the red mite are back and we had to go for a complete spray job as well as a few touches of creosote - that took all afternoon.  Tonight we have had a relaxed meal of baked potatoes, just ironed what is needed for school, and had my feet up watching Inspector Lynley again.

Hope you have had a good weekend.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Bridlington holiday June 2012

Bridlington June 2012
We left home at about 2.15pm, loaded to the gunnels, with everyone jammed in to the car!  We had just about got room for everything, but only just…Once on the road, it seemed to be that everyone else was on their way as well.  The traffic was heavy all the way. We got stuck in roadworks in Wisbech before we even left the region, and then we hit very heavy traffic getting through Lincoln on the A15.  Lincoln took nearly an hour to navigate, and it was bumper to bumper all the way.  We did, however, get some wonderful views of the Cathedral from the roadside, and the girls sat in the back of the car with cameras poised most of the way. 

The Humber Bridge

Through Lincoln, we were straight up the stretch of Ermine Street to the motorway which led us to the mighty Humber Bridge.  The views there were great, and I thought of Ilona and her walks, which usually end at the bridge.  

Once over the bridge, we headed for Beverley, and saw the beautiful Minster very briefly some way away.  Soon after that, we were on the road towards the coast and Bridlington was on the signposts at last.

When we found the outskirts of Bridlington we started to look for a supermarket.  There was no room in the car for any provisions beyond a few snacks for the journey, really, so we needed to get basics for the evening meal and breakfast.  I caught sight of a long low building which I thought had a typical supermarket style roof, so I turned off the main road; we were slightly disappointed to discover that it was in fact the District Hospital!  However, the road looked promising so we continued and found Morrison’s, and Aldi.  We chose Morrison’s and had to come to the cabin with the carrier bags packed on the laps! 

The cabin is tucked away in a corner of the development, and has a lovely, quiet aspect.  There is a kitchen/dining/sitting room, a lovely open plan area, with a door to the decking at the front and a door to the hallway.  We have all the mod cons we could ask for – Tv with Freeview and DVD player, radio/CD player, dishwasher, fridge, freezer, washing machine, electric central heating, etc.  The girls are sharing the front bedroom with the en-suite bathroom (shower over bath) and the FH and I have the back bedroom which has an en-suite shower room.  There is a separate cloakroom (ie toilet) as well.  The beds are lovely, so comfortable! 

Heritage Park lodges

We cooked our meal last night and then spent the evening unpacking and reading all the brochures in the cabin, trying to make a shortlist of things to do this week.  
We also unpacked.

I slept amazingly well this morning, but woke at the usual time, 6.40am, and then couldn’t get back to sleep, so I read a book and waited for everyone else to appear at 8am.   I had breakfast with the girls and then the FH managed to rouse himself by about 9am for some bacon and eggs. [I tucked a box of eggs under my seat in the car as there was no way I was going to buy eggs when we have so many at home!] Then I had a leisurely bath in the girls’ bathroom – it is a P shaped bath, and takes an age to fill so I didn’t indulge in too much water. 

The girls and I left the FH relaxing whilst we went off to Bridlington to find Tesco for food and diesel.  We found it, but the traffic in the middle of Bridlington this morning was murderous – but then it was Saturday morning on a Bank Holiday weekend, so I should have expected it, I suppose.  Lunch was next on the agenda, and so we headed home.

The FH had no desire to go anywhere today; I think that the journey and the preparations over recent days had tired him out.  We went out in the afternoon and left him watching the racing on the tv.  I took the girls to Flamborough Head, and we walked along the cliff tops, looking at all the birds nesting on the sides of the cliffs – I was SO excited as I saw my first live puffin!  Lots of photos were taken and we really blew away the cobwebs up there.  I drew the line at climbing the lighthouse, but we bought some postcards, and I sat on the clifftop and rang my dad.

At Flamborough Head

We were too late in the day to go to the model village at Bondeville in Sewerby, so we passed that for today and carried on in to Bridlington’s North Promenade.  We parked the car and walked along the prom, seeing the sights.  A man had four donkeys on the beach, giving rides, and then the lifeguards from the RNLI were patrolling another area where lots of children were playing in the sand and paddling, but it was rather chilly!  We paid for a parking permit for an hour, so we walked for half an hour, then got ice creams and walked back.  We found a cinema showing “Snow White and the Huntsman” which the YFG wants to see, so that may happen later in the week, especially on a rainy day. The tide was coming in and the YFG enjoyed standing close to the railing and feeling the spray from the sea bashing against the sea wall.

We noticed Bridlington’s fishing heritage celebrated on the wall along the prom where lots of fish were moulded into the bricks – cue photo opportunity for the camera operators again!
North Promenade, Bridlington

We have come back to the cabin and put all the photos on to the laptop so we could show the FH a slideshow of where we have been and what we have done today.  He is asleep now, and the girls are watching Ratatouille on the tv.  They both brought some homework with them, so more of that may get done tonight, but after all the sea air I have breathed today, and all the walking we have done, I will not be late to bed tonight!

Sunday got off to a slow start as we all slept in until 10am, no doubt as a result of all the glorious sea air we enjoyed on Saturday!  After slowing coming to, we had some breakfast in a leisurely manner, and surveyed the weather.  It wasn’t good, and it seemed like an indoor kind of day was on the cards, so we went off to John Bull’s World of Rock, a few miles away.  

Unfortunately, we chose the wrong day for a tour of the factory, so had to be happy with a mooch around the shop, and buying a few wee gifts for the friends back home.  We were thrilled to find it possible to buy a stick of rock with “Uncle” written through it so we snapped one of those up for UJ straight away!

The amazing river pageant on the Thames took up the rest of the afternoon and I was sort of glad that it rained here in Yorkshire so that we were here to watch it, as it was a really thrilling spectacle.

Later on the girls went for a walk to find a postbox to send their postcards and they were gone for about an hour.  We settled in for the evening after that and generally relaxed.

Today dawned as most Bank Holiday Mondays in England do – wet and dismal! It was raining when I came through to make the first hot drink of the morning, but then it cleared up a little and raised my hopes.  By the time we were all eating breakfast, it was raining again, and our plans were more uncertain by the minute.  Thankfully, by 10.45am, there were blue skies and we packed a picnic and headed out.

Sewerby Hall

Not too far from the cabin is Sewerby Hall and Gardens, including a little zoo.  We were there for about 4 hours, enjoying the exhibits in the Hall, the beautiful formal gardens and walled gardens, the parkland and the views of the sea.  I could have sat there watching the world go by for hours.  The girls were busy with the cameras all day, taking lots and lots of gorgeous snaps. 

Gateway to the courtyard and The Town Crier - a local actor

Inside the house is a historical exhibition covering all sorts of things – the history of the farm lad in the East Riding of Yorkshire, the chap who invented the bouncing bomb, lots of stuff about the airships, and a fascinating exhibition of Amy Johnson and her Gypsy Moth.

Beautiful walled garden at Sewerby

The Council own and run the house now, and when they took it over from the Graeme family in the 30s, she came and opened it in 1936, just a few years after she completed her 19 day flight to Australia in Gypsy Moth – how inspiring!

Formal gardens at Sewerby

Home beckoned for a while, and we enjoyed soaking up a little of the sunshine this afternoon sitting on the decking with our reading books/homework/revision, before the FH took the girls off to get fish and chips for their tea. 

Tonight we are watching the Diamond Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace.  The FH is not that keen, and keeps making derisive comments about the singers, but the EFG, YFG and I are enjoying it.  He will enjoy the marching and pomp of the ceremonies tomorrow morning as the Queen attends St Paul’s Cathedral for her thanksgiving service, so he will have his time then. 

We still have some wet weather activities up our sleeve, but we are hoping that we do get some more sunshine before the end of the week.  We are almost half way through the week and it is relaxing and I am enjoying being away from the phone, the internet and the demands of normal life!

We have been to the Bondeville Model Village today; at least, the EFG, YFG and I have been out.  The FH is having an at-home day today after all that went on yesterday – he isn’t up to a cracking pace and has to take things one step at a time. 

Valentine Abbey at Bondeville Model Village

The model village was pleasant enough, but perhaps a little disappointing in some ways – it looked somewhat tired, although we did love the tiny houses and staged scenes outside the hospital, the pub, the hotel and the harbour, for example.

Three churches in the village, so we made sure we took note of the Methodist one!

 It is a brilliant concept, but for something that took us less than 45 minutes to look around, it was not cheap, costing £8 for the three of us.  Yesterday’s trip to Sewerby House cost £14 in comparison and offered a lot more and that was for four people.  The girls took lots of photos to share, and you can clearly see that a lot of the models would benefit from a small repair or lick of paint here and there. 

Once we had looked around there, we decided to go into the town of Bridlington.  We parked in the station car park and walked about half a mile or so down the road to the town centre.  We were in the modern town centre, not the historic old town, and it was an eye-opening walk around.  We were shocked at the number of shops which were boarded up, closing down or empty; Bridlington unfortunately seems to be a struggling town.  Quite how M&S manages to stay open, I am not sure.  The buildings are mostly occupied by fish and chip restaurants, which of course are testament to the fishing heritage of the town.  There are some shops, but they are limited, and the charity shops have taken over a lot of the spaces – we didn’t count them but there were plenty of charities running shops here that I had never heard of – far more than the basic Cancer charities, Heart Foundation and Age Concern.  We walked through the little shopping mall area, avoided a Talktalk representative, and then an O2 chap on stilts, and mooched towards the harbour.  It was fascinating to watch some boats in dry dock areas being painted, and there were quite of lot of small boats sitting on the mud as the tide was out.  From here we could see the glorious beach of the South Promenade area, which looked beautiful, golden and huge!  A far larger expanse of beach than we had seen at the north end of the town.   We sat by the Harbour and rang home but UJ seemed not to be in, so I then rang my dad and had a quick chat with him.  He is going on holiday on Friday so we won’t see him when we get home as he will already have left.

The girls and I came home to the cabin and found the FH still watching the coverage of the Queen’s Jubilee today – the parade from the Cathedral and the lunch at Westminster Hall, and then the balcony appearance later on.  He is still resting and has his feet up.  The girls have gone off now on a circular walk of about 4 or 5 miles, I think, so they should be back in the next hour or so, quite worn out!!

The YFG rang to say that they were on their way back, so I set off for a wander in the hope of meeting up with them.  The YFG rang again to say that they were lost, couldn’t access the golf course to get back to the cabin, and were on a bridleway to Danes Dyke – what should they do?  Knowing from the signposts where Danes Dyke is, I told them to carry on along to the Dyke and I would meet them there in the car.  I had to hotfoot it back to get the car, and drive off to the car park at the nature reserve which is Danes Dyke.  Once there, we had a few worrying moments when we were in contact on the phone but neither party knew where the other was!  After a while, we sorted ourselves  
out and met up, very relieved indeed – and thankful for mobile phones!

This evening we have eaten and are now relaxing by the tv, books and knitting and the laptop at hand – no internet access but it is useful for typing this in Word, playing Solitaire, watching DVDs, and showing slideshows of all the day’s photos, so I am glad I brought it along.


Another long lie in this morning, well deserved after all the walking yesterday!  The FH was the last to surface just after 10am.  It was raining hard when we got up, so we didn’t rush around.  Plans for the day included the tour of the rock factory and then on to a Birds of Prey and Animal Park.  On arrival at the factory, we found the tour area closed for lunch, which dampened spirits as much as the rain, so we continued up the road to the animal park.  This was more interesting as there was a large complex there, with a cafĂ©, bird of prey and animal centre, a big play barn/soft play centre for the wee ones, and a Factory Shop.  I had a poke round in there with the girls, firmly reminding them that anything purchased has to fit into the suitcases, and we found a couple of bargains.

Probably the highlight of the week for the FH - a family of meerkats
Walking round the animal centre, we were thrilled to find a family of 6 or 7 meerkats (they kept moving!) which were just gorgeous.  They looked well fed, and had a huge heap of land where they had tunnelled down and made themselves quite at home. 

"You keep watch that way, I'll watch this lot over here!"

We hoped to watch a flying display but to start with the rain came down so heavily that we had to go indoors and just listen to the falconer talk about the birds but when the rain cleared up about 15 minutes later, he put on a fantastic flying display with a variety of birds – we really enjoyed that. 

A rare hybrid bird which flew majestically after the rainstorm

The sun came out to complete the picture and we sat there quite happily watching that for about half an hour.

The handler showing people the bird's beautiful plumage

Since the rock factory was on the way home, we gave it one more chance and were successful in finally getting in to see the rock and chocolate areas.  It was rather full of people due to the inclement weather, so it wasn’t possible to ask any questions or talk to the people who were so busy with other tourists, but it was fascinating to see two men (with serious biceps!) manhandling huge pieces of the rock into huge rolls, and then they were put together and the regular rock we usually see extruded.  A couple more purchases from the factory shop and then we were on our way back to the lodge.

Once home at about 3.30pm, we had lunch, and relaxed.  My hips are struggling with all the walking I have been doing and the ball & socket joints are causing me some pain so I hopped in a hot bath and have had my feet up ever since in an attempt to be fit enough to walk around again tomorrow.  The FH has been lucky with his ankles and even though we brought along a crutch for him, but it seems that it may be me using it before we go home if I am not so lucky.

This evening we have watched a DVD and now are enjoying our regular fix of Lewis, although we have been disappointed to learn that it is the last in the series!


This morning dawned damp once more, but we didn’t let that deter us from a day out on the last day of the holiday.  The destination of choice was Burton Agnes Hall, mid way between Bridlington and Driffield.  A slight detour got us there, and we were very impressed with the outside of the house, and when we went inside, we weren’t disappointed.
The courtyard at Burton Agnes, with plant sales, cafe and London Bus art gallery

The girls were thrilled to be able to continue their photographic record of the holiday, and there were loads of amazing items within the house which they wanted to snap.  The house was built in the first Elizabethan period, and reminded me a little of Kentwell Hall in Suffolk.  The family in which it has passed down all these years still live in part of the house, and are very involved in running the Trust which owns it. 

Front of the house at Burton Agnes

They have also developed an inspirational walled garden, which we loved.  The flowers and vegetables in the garden are much further on than we expected, and chatting with one of the gardeners, he shared that the wall keeps the garden a week or so ahead of the local area; even his own garden in the village is not at the same stage yet.  Having giant chess sets, draughts boards, hopscotch and quoits within the garden just adds to the things to amuse the children.  There is also a large maze, but I wasn’t feeling up to getting lost in that as I was walking with a crutch to support my hips as all the walking we had been doing in the past few days had given me some pain. 

The formal water feature in the garden

Friday, 8 June 2012

We're back!

We are back from the Yorkshire coast!  Lots to tell and pictures to share, so be prepared for some long posts over the weekend.  Back soon xx

Friday, 1 June 2012

All packed

The baggage has been packed, the house is tidier, the map book is at the ready, the directions printed off (no sat navs here), and I think we are just about ready.

The YFG has to go to school this morning so she is bustling about getting herself ready for that, but the rest of the gang will be making last minute preparations for our holiday.

The new-to-us car will also be fetched this morning, although we are not using it for the trip.  I have some eggs to deliver, and then I think that will be just about that.........the YFG will be home about 1.45pm and we will be ready to leave!!

I will be taking the laptop with me but I have no idea where and when I may get access to the internet, so I will write the posts and save them, and then post them when I have the chance.  The blog may be very quiet for a week if I don't find any access, as I don't use a dongle.

I hope you all have a lovely Jubilee week, half term holiday, etc, and I look forward to catching up with all your news when I get home.