weekend 11/12 sept 2010

autumn leaves

Autumn’s arrived with a vengeance, hasn’t it?

There was loads going on in Hull last weekend – the Freedom Festival, including music, street theatre, and a lot of drink taken, it seems; the city was heaving. There was also a local derby rugby match, and the Heritage Open Doors. The latter was the one we opted for.

We cycled down to town, locked the bikes in Victoria Square, then adjourned to Ferens Gallery for a cup of tea, via the Tourist Office for some literature. Then we wandered all over the city, looking in various splendid buildings, and round the Marina. We gave Queens Gardens (renamed for the weekend as Freedom Gardens) a miss, as there were security guards on the entrances and we just couldn’t be bothered. Lunch was in Level, one of our favourite cheap’n’cheerful eating places.

I don’t much like crowds, but I wish now we’d gone back later in the evening – the fireworks and other stuff going on looks spectacular. Still, there’s always next year 🙂

On Sunday, we cycled over to East Park, with a detour through the Garden Village. East Park is lovely – huge, with a nice lake, and a small animal enclosure. Lovely sunny day when we set out, but while we paused in the cafe for a hot sossidge roll (remarkably well priced a £1 each), the rain started, and we pedalled back in the wet.

Supper was rice and pea risotto, which was spectacularly nice, followed by rhubarb with almond sponge topping, ditto. And we watched Kill Bill 2, which was extraordinary.

weekend 5/6 sept 2010

Smile please!

Pete has been suffering from A Lurgy, so we weren’t sure whether our planned day out to Lincoln’s Day of (Morris) Dance would come to pass, but he felt OK providing he didn’t have to drive, so off we went.

I love Lincoln – I love all mediaeval cities like Norwich, Chichester, Salisbury, York etc. We’ve only visited once, but it’s going to be somewhere we go regularly, I’m sure. Quite possibly in a fortnight, as there’s a bird of prey display at the Castle, and we found someone who can mend our barometer too!

We gawked in the expensive shops – I fell completely in love with a handbag in a lovely shop where they didn’t seem to mind a bit that I couldn’t afford it, but just brought out different colours for me to try 🙂 We had tea from bone china cups in a little tea room, toiled up and down the hills, decided once again to leave the Castle for another day (see above), and spent quite a bit of time at the Lion and Snake, watching the dancers, particularly the Raving Maes, who I’m thinking about applying to join (although the costumes are probably a bit young for me!)

We had a distinctly indifferent lunch at the pub, and I may well complain to the chain: 35 minutes to produce a couple of sausage baguettes, with a couple of teaspoons of cold caramelised onions from a jar, no cutlery until after the food arrives, *and* a deep sigh when I asked for salt, does not please me particularly. Nor did the advertised “mayo” – no idea what it was, but mayo it most certainly wasn’t. Nice day out, mind, and we bought a couple of splendid stuffed mushrooms, which are destined for tonight’s supper (nice Mr Butcher was quite happy to keep them for us while we wandered round).

supper 5 sept 2010On Sunday, I got up fairly and went for a bike ride – 12.82 miles around the north of the city, to Anlaby Common and thence on to Kirk Ella and West Ella, and home. There are *hills* around there – it’s just on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds, and it was hard work, but I did it all, so was dead chuffed (and puffed). Came home and ate bacon and egg and sossidge for breakfast, then constructed a huge vat of goulash, and some molten chocolate puddings, for supper with friends. Very sorry to say that they had to cancel due to ill health, so I hope they’ll be well enough to come and eat with us soon – there was enough goulash to freeze! As it happens, I started coming down with the Lurgy last night, and Pete and I were in bed by 9 p.m., so it may have worked out for the best …

Team Waste 2010

sunset reflected in the kitchen window

It’s a lot further to Team Waste Summer Camp now than it used to be (it’s held up a hill, outside Carmarthen in West Wales), so we set off at 9.15 on Thursday morning, and arrived at about 5 p.m, having stopped for lunch near Llangollen, and for fuel and a chocolate frenzy at Newtown. Oh, and sweeteners, 270 odd of the 300 of which Geoff kindly hurled across the kitchen floor on Thursday night 🙂

It was, as always, a supremely enjoyable few days, but … odd, somehow. No Rick’n’Jacqi, no Rox’n’Dave, no Benjamins, no Sleeps. And it felt as though we were all getting old, which we are, of course.  I didn’t even do much cooking – just a big chorizo and chickpea collation for Saturday lunch. We brought home a bottle and a half of the two bottles of whisk(e)y we took, whereas normally we’d be out for emergency supplies of Bushmills on Saturday morning, and also the litre of dark rum – no Dark and Stormies this year, for some reason.

It was also bloody cold at night – my sleeping bag has been judged and found wanting, and I shall be donating it to some unfortunate charity and buying a new one before we go camping again!

After promising ourselves we would do it for the past thirteen years, we actually went out and about a bit – on Saturday morning we took ourselves down to Llansteffan, hiked up and around the castle, then a couple of miles along the very gloopy beach, encountering a second hand book sale (oops) en route, and on Sunday we took a good hike along Pendine Sands, which is just gorgeous. The latter was prompted by a rip in the outer skin of the tent, and thus an emergency run to a tenting shop for repairer stuff.

We managed to get away about 9.30 on Monday morning – much earlier than I’d have liked , time wise, as loads of people hadn’t surfaced to be said goodbye to, but … We planned to stop again at Llangollen and look at the aquaduct (what did the Romans, etc), but so were seemingly hundreds of other people, so we’ve promised ourselves an overnighter there later in the year – it looks a charming place. Got home just after five, to find that Samantha and John had accustomed the Tribe to a style which they are going to want sustained – seriously, guys, a HUGE THANK YOU, for cat sitting above and beyond any feasible expectation.

Today we’re spodding – photos on Flickr, a trip to Sainsburys as we had run out of everything, much laundering, cat fussing, etc.

And of course, massive thanks to Caere Campbell for yet another cracking party – should we do it again, do you think? 🙂

weekend 21/22 august 2010

the Kestrel plantI cycled off into town at 9 a.m. to go and be Polite to O2, who had pissed around for four days attempting to port my SIM info from old phone to new – ’twas a lovely morning, and I went and returned via the long way round. And the phone started working 2 hours later, which is just as well, as I shipped off the old one to its new home that morning.

After that, we set out for Castle Howard, an extremely stately home. I only had the iPhone with me (I’m currently between cameras, having sold my SLR and a big lens), so it was an interesting experience to use it as my only camera – it works really quite well once you learn how it functions. Set here on Flickr.

We came home via Malton, a lovely market town, and bought Yorkshire bacon and sausages and *huge* eggs for a Sunday brunch, and some bits from the bakery too. Nice day out.

Sunday was quite domestic; I did an 11 mile cycle before breakfast (!), then we went to Sainsburys and Waitrose for comestibles for Summer Camp (first time I’ve been to either* since we moved here!), did a mountain of ironing while watching A Man for All Seasons, once of my favourite films. Pete went out for a bike ride himself during the afternoon.

So not overly exciting, but there you go. Summer Camp on Thursday – hurrah!

weekend 13-14 august 2010

shoes on Hornsea beachNot overly exciting, really. Walked into town on Saturday afternoon, had lunch, prodded some camera shops (have sold my DSLR, and am looking for something smaller and lighter to replace it). Went to see Inception, which was very good indeed, but didn’t live up to its hype for me.  #3 on IMDB? – oh please.

The story was well thought out, but nowadays I find, by and large, there’s far too much CGI in movies which I presume they do just because they can. Given I’m currently reading Charlie Stross’ Merchant Princes series, there were altogether Too Many Worlds in my head, and I found it all quite difficult.

Walked home along Anlaby Road to West Park, where there was an Event taking place, but we didn’t care at all for the band on stage, and came home to soda bread toast and Marmite.

On Sunday, I finished constructing chicken soup, and also made a batch of coriander chicken and slung it in the slow cooker. We decanted some soup into a thermos flask, and packed it up together with chiz’n’onion baguettes, apples and cereal bars, and took ourselves off to Hornsea.

Started off at the shopping village, and bought me a new warm jacket (mine is far too big now, and Summer Camp is upcoming; you need a warm jacket at Summer Camp). Then we went to Hornsea Mere, had soup and sammidge, and set off to walk round the lake. You can’t – well, not without long waders. So we took ourselves down to the beach, and walked for a few miles. 55 minutes going out, into a ferocious head wind, and 40 back (I said it was ferocious). Lovely weather for a robust stroll, though I was glad I was wearing proper stout walking boots – lots of streams running down that beach.

Home to coriander chicken, dhal and rice and a slump. And that was that.

Oh – there was a letter from the Eye Clinic on Saturday, saying that I have “some background retinopathy”. Which is directly contradicts what they told me in April – same test, different department.  $deity knows, but it’s worrying …

Tom Jones and bagpipes

bagpipers at the gates of dawn^H^H Withernsea CarnivalAfter a rather delicious breakfast of drop scones with strawberries and cream, we loaded the bikes onto the car today – not a simple task, it transpired. This is the first time my new bike has been on the rack, and it didn’t fit so well as the old one, but Pete managed it in the end, and says he has the hang of it now.

We trundled off to Withernsea, on the coast, unloaded the bikes and set off towards Easington. My word, I’ve been spoilt; Hull is flat, and the gentle hills round the coast really made me struggle, although I only dismounted once.  We did 12.5 miles, and you can see the map here. I still don’t understand why it was mostly uphill, with the wind blowing in our faces on the way out, and mostly uphill, with the wind blowing in our faces on the way back too.

On our return to Withernsea, we walked up the beach as far as we could, but the tide was coming in, so we didn’t get far. We wandered off for a cup of tea, and encountered the Withernsea Carnival;  very interesting talking to the Holderness Falconry Club, and seeing all their lovely birds – how I’d love to do falcony. Might go to some of their meetings.

Next up was – and you won’t believe this – a bagpipe band playing along to a karaoke track of Tom Jones It’s Not Unusual. It actually was quite unusual, and I’d really rather not hear anything like it ever again. We hurried on in search of tea and a scone, which cost us the princely sum of £2.70 for the pair of us.

Home again, and into a hot bath for me, to easy my creaking bones, then a chicken and mayo sandwich for supper.

Monday tomorrow …

weekend 17/18 July 2010

Red Arrows

We cycled down to the waterside early on Saturday morning, and spent most of the day there, watching the clipper boats come home, and enjoying the vibe (but not the rain and wind). Red Devils parachuting, and Royal Navy Black Cats doing daft things with helicopters too, and horde of people. Wandered up into town part way through for tea and a scone at Ferens Art Gallery, and checked out some rucksacks, as I need a bigger one. Evening was spent watching An Education, which was excellent, although we felt the ending was a copout.

We had planned to go cycling on Sunday, but it was really windy, so we took ourselves off to Burton Agnes Hall, making use of our Historic Houses Association membership. A beautiful Elizabethan manor house, still lived in by the same family who built it at the turn of the 17th century, with some stonking art collected by various denizens over the years – Matisse, Gauguin, Constable, August John – and they’re still collecting. The current inhabitants have young children, and use all the house when it’s not full of visitors, and it shows – it has a really nice feel to it.

There’s also a beautiful walled garden of an acre, with veg, fruit and flowers, board games marked out on paving slabs, various ponds, etc., a woodland walk, and lovely parkland. We shall go there again.

As it was so close to Bridlington, it seemed churlish not to go and see the sea, so we did that too, and had a brief stroll on the beach after consuming the compulsory fish and chips (I was good, and picked the batter off mine).

This week holds a big push to get a site finished, a proposal for a new biggish site, and the Driffield County Show (we’re skiving off on Wednesday, OK?).  And more blood tests, which I’m a bit worried about, because I haven’t really been very good of late.

weekend 10/11 July 2010

How on earth can it be July 2010?  I don’t know where the century has gone …

Nothing too exciting this weekend. It was punctuated with visits to feed, water and entertain Starsky the rabbit – we have a reciprocal agreement with his Blobs; we rabbitsit, they catsit. On Saturday morning we cycled over to Anlaby Road to return the bike saddle I bought last week, and exchange it for a saddle bag. It was exceeding hot, and we decided to do no more cycling that day. Instead, we took the car (shock horror) to Makro to return the inkjet printer we bought just before Christmas. However, I cannot lay my hands on the receipt, and their invoice query system was down, so that was a wasted journey.

On Sunday, after checking on Starsky we went over to Walton Street Market, and bought some of their cheap plants – there’s now a window box of geraniums, and two pots of ornamental grass and marigolds, under the front window. After lunch, we continued on with the Avenues Open Gardens, and bought a load more plants while trundling about. The gardens have really inspired us to get on with our back yard – it’s not a bad size, and if we clear it up and plant it nicely it will be transformed. Especially if we get rid of the sodding palm tree that Gavin planted – anyone know how much a tree surgeon costs?

Spent a couple of hours when we got home getting stuck in – between us, we removed the huge fern, grubbed up most of the yellow poppies and other unidentified general Stuff. The composter is now officially full, and there are two more containers of garden waste to dispose of. Pete also cleared out all the weeds that are growing between the paving slabs – this is an endless task, so we’re going to plant some thyme between the cracks. He popped over to deal with Starksy, while I swept and tidied up, and did the watering, then we had pasta with mushrooms for supper, and slumped in front of Julie and Julia – didn’t finish it, but I think the Julia bits are much better so far.

Not sleeping well due to the heat, and we have Pete’s mum’s funeral in Sussex this week.

weekend 4/5 July 2010

We had quite a Hull-based weekend, really. After hurtling up to Chants Ave (library, greengrocer, dry cleaners, yet another run of clothes to the charity shop), we cycled down to the Architecture Centre, to a lecture/workshop on “What is Hullness?”. This was really interesting, particularly when we got to the workshop/discussion element, and they provided a free lunch too. I ate too much; I’m dreadful at buffets, I just graze and graze, and I must learn to stop. We met some nice people, including some from the Hull Civic Society, and I will send off a cheque for membership for that later today.

After that, we went down to the bit of derelict docks that you can walk around, but it’s no good with bikes, so we cycled from The Deep down to the passenger ferry terminal. This path goes all along what used to be thriving docks and is now architect designed waterside living, or some such. Actually, it’s quite a sympathetic development, and it’s a lovely ride down the edge of the Humber; it was a beautiful day, the birds sang, the water lapped. Once we got to the terminal, we couldn’t quite see how to get past that bit, so we cycled back up Hedon Road, which has an excellent pavement cycle path, but there was a very strong headwind in that direction!

We stopped in at the discount kitchen place we’ve been meaning to stop at for ages, but there was one guy there who was clearly very anxious to lock up and get away, and they weren’t very exciting anyway, so we trundled on home. 11.25 miles in all on two wheels that day.

After the huge lunch, we weren’t very hungry, so we just had cheese and crackers and fruit for supper, and very nice it was too.

On Sunday, we did the monthly mega catfud run, then had a snack lunch before sallying forth to the Avenues Open Gardens event. The Avenues are a set of roads with beautiful Victorian houses, fountains on the crossroads, etc (why do people always think that Hull is ugly? It has some gorgeous architecture), and most of them have huge long gardens. We managed about 65% of them this week, in three hours of walking, and then gave up and came home for a nice cup of tea – we can finish the rest next weekend. All quite fascinating, including the astonishing house at 206 Park Avenue, which has a humungous garden, including a swimming pool surrounded by water lilies, and a steam train running around. Only a tiny train, but still …

A cracking weekend, all in all – hope yours was good!

weekend 26/27 June 2010

just the one (duckling)

Out and about, we were. Pete has always maintained that a chap needs only three pairs of footwear – Docs for every day, black lace ups for formal and decent walking boots. He simply doesn’t understand the need for shoes, although thankfully does not attempt to limit my collection.

However, on Saturday he was muttering about “not having any light footwear for warm weather”, so we sallied forth to Hornsea Freeport, a rather posh name for a collection of outlet shops. Sandalish items were purchased,, with the assistance of the emergency fifty pound note; this was given to Pete years ago as remuneration for going to a focus group at Colston Hall, and has sat in a drawer in my office ever since as an emergency fund. Read on to see why we needed it this weekend.

We also bought him a pair of flipflops, something I have been trying to persuade him to do for years. He’d never tried them, and doesn’t like them, but these were in his favourite shade of green, and only a fiver, so he said he’d give them a go. He wore them to nip (or pop) to the CoOp, and is now undecided as to whether they are the spawn of the devil, or the best thing after bare feet. Time will tell.

From there, we drove down the coast, stopping at a beach or two, until we arrived at Burton Constable Hall and Gardens, a house of completely barking decor and Things, with a lovely park and lakes. Remarkably good value at £6 a head, we went round the house, and then a longish walk around the lakes. Most enjoyable. It’s part of the Historic Houses Association, which we shall be joining; we’ve let our National Trust membership lapse, as they don’t have much in this area, where HHA has quite a few houses.

Saturday evening was Doctor Who, The Beiderbecke Affair, sausage baguette and tea.

On Sunday, we’d planned to take the bikes over to Holderness and do some exploring, but a) it was far too hot, and b) I have pulled a muscle in my chest, and it’s remarkably painful. So instead, we went and did the Paull Heritage Trail (which is actually just a walk of about 3 miles around Paull, but very nice nonetheless), and then had lunch at the Royal Oak – blue cheese burger. I had a pint of mild beer which knocked me out completely, so I slept for most of afternoon when we got home. The rest of the day was just slumping, really, because it was just Too Hot.

The preceding week has been a bit meh; I lost my wallet on Tuesday – I had it when I walked into Tesco Express, and it was nicked from my bag by the time I got to the checkout. I never have liked Tesco. So we cancelled bank and credit cards, walked over to the swimming pool to get a new card, drove over to Ennerdale to get a new gym card, realised I couldn’t get a replacement driving licence because I had no cards, phoned the insurance company (who never have phoned me back – bunch of shysters), reported it to the police.

On Wednesday morning someone phoned, who had picked the purse up on Beverley Road!  £55 in cash gone, of course, but everything else intact. We whizzed over to North Hull to collect it, and they wouldn’t take a penny for their trouble, so that was nice. Phoned the police again, phoned the bank but too late to cancel the cancellation, so we were without cards for the weekend. We cashed a cheque (how quaint) on Sunday, but it didn’t cover Pete’s newly discovered shoe buying habit, hence the break out of the emergency £50.

Then on Thursday, we heard that Pete’s mother had died. I never knew Lea, as she had succumbed to dementia just as Pete and I got together, and I only met her once, after she had gone to live in a nursing home. She hasn’t recognised Pete for years, and he had said goodbye to the woman she was a long time ago, but it’s still a shock when it happens. We’re just waiting to hear now about funeral arrangements.