a weekend with family


Clare (daughter) and Harry (GrandToad) came up to spend a few days with us. They arrived on Friday, and after settling in and having some lunch, we took ourselves off to our local Pearson Park; we’re lucky enough to live just over 5 minutes walk from there. We took the scooter we bought for Harry a few months ago, and which lives here. He’s now just about grown into it, so he scooted all over the place, and then we headed for the playground, and he spotted … THE ZIP WIRE. So he had several goes on that, aided and abetted by GrandPete, while his mum hid her eyes 🙂  Then home, for shower, Mars Attacks with GrandPete, then lamb curry and bed.


On Saturday, Rackaback were dancing out at the Hull Folk Festival, in the company of the Raving Maes, Makara and the Thieving Magpies.Now, Harry loves watching Rackaback, and is a good little musician, so we asked him if he’d like to play with the band during the day. He said he’d wear the (little) tatter jacket that Debby made, but he didn’t want a hat, or face paint, so we said sorry – them’s the rules. And he caved 🙂 He played tambourine for every one of the dances, and also went round with our collecting bucket, standing in front of  people, pretty much demanding money with cuteness – we’ve never raised so much! I think the side would like to have him there at every dance out! It was a long day for him, but he never flagged, bless him. We went home to sausages and baked spuds, and an early night for all of us 🙂


On Sunday, we took Clare and Harry to the National Armouries at Leeds, which is just a fabulous place to visit. My daughter and grandson have clearly inherited my love of sharp shiny things, and we were all most covetous. I really, really want the horned helmet given to Henry VIII by Maximilian I, but I doubt they’d let me have it. Really, an hour down the motorway and free entry made this an excellent value day out, and we shall go again. Very highly recommended. We came home to a picky tea of bits and pieces, Galaxy Quest and then, when Harry had gone to bed, a glass of wine. Which turned into four (I think) bottles between three of us, dodgy 80s music on the Apple TV and, I’m sorry to say, dancing during the later hours.



Clare and Harry set off for home on Monday rather later than they had planned, due to Not Feeling Very Well. Pete and I took the GrandToad back to the park for a bit to give her some peace, and fed him a chocolate ice cream, then after lunch off they want.

A lovely weekend with family, doing things we love with good friends – what’s not to like?

However, this horrible coldy thing I’ve got came back with a vengeance during the afternoon yesterday, I couldn’t speak, my throat was closed up. Went to bed at 8, as I was falling asleep on the sofa. And this week I need to crack on with my Breaking Bad obsession, as the final episode is looming, and I must catch up!

a weekend in Scarborough

Scarborough at dusk

We currently have no car, for reasons I won’t go into here – that’s the subject of another post. So with the bank holiday weekend looming, and both Pete and myself desperately in need of a break, I did a bit of Googling and a bit of organising, and we took ourselves to Scarborough on the train. It’s dead easy from Hull – no changes, and £18 odd for a 5 day open return. So we picked up the 9.47 on Saturday morning, having collected coffee from the station shop to accompany the scones I’d brought for breakfast, and chugged our way north.

When we arrived, we checked into the Admiral guest house in West Square, just opposite the station. The proprietor put us in a room on the top floor – a long way up, with pigeons scuttling and scrabbling; quite Hitchcockian. But clean, comfortable, and £49 a night B’n’B. And an excellent breakfast to boot, and free wifi.

NomThen we caught a bus to Whitby – £6.90 return each. The double decker struggled with some of the hills, to the point where we wondered whether we might all have to get out and push, but we made it. We wandered all over the town (but not up to the Abbey because of my Knees), had a toasted sandwich in the George, while we wanted the last half of the Hull promotion excitement, had (well, *I* had), gin and lavender ice cream (yes, it was; it was sublime), and generally a good time. Then we caught the bus back, had Greek food in the George Michael in Scarborough (I kid you not) and a bottle of red, and then wandered down to the harbour, and had quite a lot more to drink in the Golden Ball. Which meant that I floated back up all the steps on a cloud of red wine 🙂

On Sunday, we had planned to take the train to Filey and walk back, but my stomach threw one of it’s very occasional wobbles (down to medication, I think), and decided that being too far from a loo was less than optimal. And that walk is 10 miles … So we ambled around Filey, had coffee in the Bronte Vinery, ate a Trek flapjack for lunch, and then I felt a bit better, so we decided to try the walk. But I only managed about 4km before exhaustion overcame me, so we walked across Blue Dolphin caravan park and called a taxi. Which took ages, but arrived eventually.

Went back to the hotel and had a couple of hours kip, then we went to the Hong Kong chinese restaurant, which looked like a throw back to the 80s, but whose food was surprisingly nice. Lamb in yellow bean sauce, salt and pepper pork, and 8 way duck. And then a very early night, as we were both exhausted.

Monday was Scarborough day – we walked about 8 miles, and my Fitbit says we climbed 60 flights. All the way from the station to North Bay, up the hill to the castle, and round said castle (well worth a fiver, believe me), then down through old town, fish and chips on the sea front (which was *heaving*, then down to South Bay about as far as you can go before you leave the town and back up the hill again.

4.30 train home, which was busy from Scarborough, but Bridlington station was awash with travellers – cannot understand why Northern Rail didn’t put another carriage on, as lots of people had to stand. And a taxi back to the house, because we could. Absolutely lovely weekend.

So a few days without the car were, in fact, better than with, given where we were. Scarborough parking is difficult to find, and expensive, and public transport round there is reasonably plentiful and not too expensive. But I wouldn’t like to be without a car all the time – roll on next week.

However, we will be investigating various rail options for future weekends away, because, to be honest, I’d rather sit on a train than in a car these days, and it makes you think about what to do and where to go.

More photos here at Flickr.


As part of my new and absolute determination to get my weight under some sort of control, I have bought a treadmill from eBay. It wasn’t easy to shoehorn it into the house, but we’ve done it; it helps that it folds up. I’ve made a little nest on one of the bookshelves where my iPad keyboard/stand can sit, and am embarking on The Sopranos while I run.

Early on Saturday morning, I gave it its first real go – and did 4.1 miles in 58 minutes. Not, I think, to be sniffed at.  And then, because it was such a gorgeous day, Pete and I decided to go up and have a yomp at Flamborough. In fact, we turned off to the car park at Danes Dyke, and did the circular walk there. I managed the *exceedingly* steep steps down to the beach, and actually sprang up some of the ups, so I’m definitely getting fitter. There were snowdrops, and primroses, and even a handful of early daffodils; spring is definitely on the way. And there was mud. The bridle path was impassible if you didn’t have hooves and long legs, or at least proper boots, which I didn’t – I was wearing my wonderful Easy Walker boots, which are the most comfortable thing I own. But their grip is not as good as a proper walking boot. Sadly and painfully) I have plantar fascitis in my left foot, and these give me brilliant support, but I cannot get orthotic insoles into my leather hiking boots, so they’re a no go at the moment.

We also walked down to Flamborough village, and had a very nice bacon and brie baguette; well, I did – Pete had a tuna and cheese confection. All in all about 5.5 miles, I think. Map should be embedded below, but is here for those whose browsers are being difficult.

On the way home, we stopped at Hornsea Freeport, which was once a factory producing the glorious Hornsea pottery, and is now a raft of outlet shops, and had a look at walking boots for me that would both accommodate the necessary insole, and allow mud traversal. Bought a pair of Egret boots from Mountainwarehouse, and wore them all round the house yesterday (after I’d returned from a 3m round trip to Aldi, long way via Pearson Park :), and they seem perfect. There are loads of lovely walks round here, so I’ll get the use out of them.

And we watched Submarine, which is utterly wonderful. I commend it to you.

weekend 15/16 october 2011

Bridlington south beach

October? How the hell did it get to be October?!

The weather forecast for Saturday was lovely, so we decided to believe it, and headed up to Bridlington. I love Brid – it’s a nice little town with a lovely beach, both north and south. There’s a new park and ride, so we pulled in there, to find they charge £3.50 per vehicle – quite refreshing after Bristol, who charge per person, which is just the maddest thing if you’re trying to discourage traffic. During the summer, this entitles you to a ride on the Road Train, which I’ve never been on, but as it ends in September that’ll have to wait till next year. But we caught the bus, which deposited us by the harbour.

We had a mooch round the town – I popped (or nipped) into the local SpecSavers and got my new photochromic glasses adjusted for fit, Pete bought a pair of shoes [faint]. We can’t actually remember, either of us, when this last happened, as he simply doesn’t understand shoes. I resisted several nice pairs, because I am wanting a concertina. Yes, I know. We had lunch in a little cafe, I bought some knitting wool on the market, and some enamel cookware in the wondrous Boyes, then we walked back the mile and a half to the car park along South Beach, which was entirely lovely in the sun.

We stopped off at the fish shop in Skirlaugh, and bought two coral frags – our ration for the month. Pete was out with mates in the evening, so I had a reality TV fest with Strictly and X-Factor.

On Sunday I woke up at 9.30 –  unheard of for me – not feeling very well at all, with a sore throat and a real muzzy head. I made breakfast (in the Remoska – worked beautifully!), then laboured over a beef casserole, and that really finished me for the day. Poor Pete was working – urgent job for a client – but having had to wake me a few times, he eventually sent me to bed at 8, and I slept right through till about 7.30 the next morning. Still feeling a bit groo, but on the mend now.


weekend 25/26 june 2011

The road goes ever ... oh
The road goes ever ... oh

Poor Pete worked most of Saturday, as we had been running around on domestic stuff for a bit last week. I cleaned the kitchen, did a run round Anlaby (pet shop, returning buckets to someone we borrowed them from, Morrisons), and watched some tennis.

Sunday dawned *hot*. We went over to Skirlaugh to look at an aquatic centre, then over to Albrough (where the photo was taken) – frightening how the coastline is collapsing there. Despite huge red warning signs about the cliff collapse, and huge warning signs about unexploded ordnance on the beach, a gaggle of women were still determined to clamber down, but thankfully they decided not to.

We headed across to Withernsea, a smashing little seaside town. It was full, so we went over over to Paull to have a pint and a sandwich in the Humber Tavern. Good news! – crab salad on the menu. Bad news! – crab salad crossed off the menu. Ordered a prawn sandwich. They don’t do sandwiches on a Sunday. Sigh. Drank a pint of Tetleys and shared a bag of dry roasted peanuts with Pete. Came home and ate an apple. Not, perhaps, a healthy diet.

Slumped for a bit, then tried rockscaping the big tank, and Pete tidied up all the wiring onto a wall mounted block. Constructed a nice Thai stirfry with the raw prawns purchased from Morrisons, and then a blackberry and apple crumble with blackberries ditto. How I miss my brambles at the bottom of the Long Ashton garden.

And that was it, really. Today is HOT.

Oh, and forgot, i think, to mention that we saw Ukulele Orchestra of GB again on Thursday. In Hull! – so rare to actually manage a gig without travelling 80 miles 🙂 Fab as always.

weekend 11/12 June 2011

Yesterday, big carb-free fry up for breakfast, then walked into town, saw X-Men: First Class (fabulous – best of the bunch),  dash in the rain to Ferens Art Gallery for a cup of coffee, and a look at the photographic exhbition (interesting, but badly lit), then home for chicken stir fry. And we made a start on The Shadow Line, which really is rather good, particularly Rafe Spall, who is terrifying.

Also changed the fish tank water, and moved it out of the fireplace, so we can see it better now. We want a bigger tank! and I have my eye on one on Ebay, but there’s no rush. God knows why they’re all so ugly, though.

This morning we sallied once more to Frisby Aquatics, where we bought two new plants, some stripy stones, three White Mountain Minnows, and a cleaner fish (total:  £15:10). All looking much nicer now.

Pete cooked dhal for lunch, and we have just been slumped on the sofa for the afternoon, in front of the fire. I’m watching Mad Men, and Pete is currently making cheese scones for supper. We’re supposed to be going to a showing of Inside Job, but it is absolutely vile out there, and I suspect that we shall remain slumped in front of the fire.

quick update

For our own records, really. Another bank holiday weekend – Saturday Pete went out on a 26m bike ride, while I tackled the ironing mountain. And beat it.

Sunday, I tested the fish tank, which we set up on 25 April – we deemed it acceptable, so went over to Frisby Aquatics to purchase fish! I’ve been in there a few times, buying tank chemicals and asking advice, and always been very pleased with their service, so we have determined we shall use them always, not least because they’re nice and local. They recommended that we start with one for a week or so, and we brought home a Siamese fighting fish in black, with a lovely blue streak in his tail. He was briefly named “Pteppic”, but we have, I think, settled on George as a collective name for the fish, singular or plural.

George seems quite happy in his tank, is eating his fish flakes, and entertaining Ron and Henry a treat 🙂

After settling him down, we walked into town and had lunch in the Handmade Burger Co. We had a meal there soon after it opened, and weren’t hugely impressed; I actually complained about my chicken being cold, and they gave me a refund which was quite impressive. They also gave us a 2 for 1 voucher, so we decided to give them another shot yesterday; they are much improved, but the service is still quite slow, and whatever they brought me in a mug, it wasn’t coffee! Then we went and saw Pirates of the Caribbean 4, which wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected – but it was far too long, and a lot of it was far too dark for my tired old eyes to see clearly. We were bad, and had both an ice cream (Ben and Jerry Cherry Garcia – om *nom*), and a large bag of Maltesers between us, and in fact we didn’t have any supper at all, we were so full.

Yesterday we’d planned to go for a walk on the coast, but it was chucking it down in the morning, so we didn’t. Instead we walked the long way round to the other side of the city, and back a different long way, purchasing a mop and bucket at the mid point. A rock and roll life, ’tis true. Before going out, we put a shoulder of lamb in the slow cooker, with aubergines, sweet potatoes and butternut squash, red onions, mustard seeds, onion seeds, garlic, ginger, chilli, turmeric, cumin and coriander seeds. And tomatoes, lime juice and coconut milk. Pete made some little fenugreek dumpings to accompany it and it was exceeding nice. Followed by strawberries and ice cream.

Last night was quite frenzied, discussing almost the same thing with *almost* the same people in three different online media – it got quite confusing, and my keyboard melted 🙂 And that was it. Back to the grindstone now.

trudging on

Took a couple of things to the framers in Anlaby – a mooooose (well elk, really) tea towel that Pete brought back from Helsinki, and was far too nice to just use, and a Paul Kidby sketch of Rincewind which we bought in Glastonbury about nine years ago, and has been rolled up in its tube ever since. I therefore have no idea how it got a couple of creases in it, but never mind. This place also frames tapestries, so I shall take my aubergines up there next week when I go to collect these pieces.

Also went to Fields to take advantage of their 1lb of sossidges for £1 – we bought four sorts of sausages, two of their stonking Cornish pasties, and a beef and stilton pie, which has been stowed in the freezer.

We picked up my fish tank from Beverley first (yay! fish tank!); it’s only a teeny tiny thing at 30cm cubed, but it’s enough for now, although I’m a tad worried that it might prove to be totally addictive. I can’t even start getting the water balanced yet, as it’s going in the fireplace that Stu and Rich knocked out over the weekend, and it only got the cement in there today, but no matter. I’m really quite excited – I’ve wanted an aquarium for years, and now I have one.

Then we went to Morrisons and did a megashop – not done one for two months; “what do we need?” “everything”. So we bought everything then came home and pretty much collapsed, after making a valiant attempt to tidy up. It doesn’t look much better, but everything that can be put away has been.

Can’t remember, really. Potted up some plants, took a Bargeful of rubble to the tip, lost the indoor watering can, went to B&Q (yes, again), called into the fishy place and bought some plants and sand for the tank, and Looked at Fish.

Today, I was brave and went to the dentist. And in fact it was OK – he’s a good dentist, and gentle, and I’m not nearly so spooked.  Took my bike there – first trip out this year, which is shocking I know, and went the long way round; about 4 miles, and my word, I can feel it!

— weekend 19/21 March 2011 —

The last few days have involved first fix electrics, covering absolutely every bloody thing in Yet More Dust, after I’d cleaned it all up. We went to Ikea while they were here, and bought a kitchen sink (which we now don’t like) and various bits and pieces such as a new rug for the dining room, and so forth. Got home to find total chaos, and they had discovered dry rot in the kitchen floor. Aargh.

Got someone in to have a look on Friday morning, who quoted us £850 to fix. Got someone else in on Saturday morning, who quoted £995. Both of them said they could do it this week, but the dearer chap phoned back on Sunday assuming we wanted him to carry out the work, only to be told that we could find no trace of him on Google*, he turned up in a plain van, had no business card, and we weren’t about to hand over a grand to someone with no public presence.

On Saturday we took the rubble to the tip, where we picked up a load of wood for the stove from someone who was about to dump it (hurrah), went to Asda (which was manic), then home via Anlaby to visit the inestimable Fields. We bought pasties (no longer Cornish), three sorts of sossidges for the freezer, a hand made Shepherd’s Pie and some pork stuffed with basil and ricotta (I’ve got no kitchen, OK?), and some cat bikkit that the Tribe particularly like from the pet shop up there – haven’t seen it anywhere else.

I spotted an ad in the local freesheet for a cats/kittens Open Day for Beverley CPL, admission cat food, so we bundled up the tins of Breeder food from Makro that the Tribe liked until we bought lots of it (sigh), and took that over to Woodmansey. We hardly saw any kittins, but no matter – the fud has gone to a good cause.

Then we drove over to Paull and walked a couple of miles along the foreshore; it was a beautiful day, and hardly anyone about, and we really enjoyed it. Then we went and had a Sunday roast in the Crown Inn in Paull, which was very nice. Home via B&Q, where we bought Danish oil for the worktops, and some spotlights to be wired into the external light point, and some spare bulbs for the lamp beside my end of the sofa in the living room, which turned out to have been unplugged …

The plumber came to do his first fix this morning – he very kindly rearranged everything so that he could run his pipes under the floor before DryRotMan did his stuff. Which he is now saying he might not be able to to until Saturday, which means messing the plasterer about again. However, we now have no water downstairs apart from the outside tap, so we have to wash up in the bath. I am never, ever doing this again.

It’ll be lovely when it’s finished.

*Not strictly true – there were two or three ads on Loot, none of which were for timber treatment.

weekend 12/13 March

It feels wrong, somehow, to witter on about our trivial lives in the light of the appalling scenes from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami; I don’t have anything to say on that – it’s all been said in a far more eloquent way than I could.

Still, just to put a marker down for my own history, weekend was more kitchen-related expeditions, Reg Meuross in Elloughton, and not much more really. I’ll be glad when the kitchen is finished (build starts on 28th), but it’s all a bit ridiculous to whine when we could be homeless and shell-shocked on the other side of the world, so I won’t.