Sunday 29 March 2009

Longer Daylight hours

I love this weekend - because we put the clocks forward which means the daylight lasts longer. I'm very much an outdoors sort of person and hate being cooped up. Today, we went on a walk that we often do with friends. It is an amazing walk as you start off almost in the heart of the city, but end up (very quickly) in the Peak District. Sheffield is a very green city and has some lovely parks. The world and his dog seemed to have teemed into them as the sun shone brightly today (although we did see a smattering of snow under the walls as we neared the Peak District). We started off in Endcliffe Park in the city. The walk weaves through several city parks along side a river called the Porter Brook. Although you would never guess from how it looks today, this is actually where the Sheffield cutlery industry started. I guess at one time, it would have looked very industrial, but today its just beautiful woodland. There is still one of the old industrial units (the Shepherds Wheel) in the woods, and it is open as a museum on occasions(but not today). At the top end of the walk, the views of the city and beyond are absolutely stunning. On a clear day (and this was) you can see Lincoln Cathederal. We finished off our walk by saying hello to a field full of Alpaca's and then returning back through the woods to the park. This walk is made even better by the quantity and quality of Cafe's along the way. One of them is an old 1940's nissan hut with bags and bags of character. Another (Woody's on Ecclesall Road - posh shopping road) - serves the best breakfast sandwich (The Full Monty) for only £2.50!!! and its enormous. Hope you all had a good weekend.

Friday 27 March 2009

Story Telling Quilt

Ages ago, with inspiration from a blog I found whilst blog hopping, I started to make a Story Telling Quilt. Its great, because it uses up all the odds and ends from other projects. The idea is that you snuggle up and use the pictures on the quilt to make up your own story's. Its also brilliant for teaching colours, shapes, counting etc etc . I lost momentum and didnt finish it as I didnt have anyone to give this to. But this week - through my blog, I found the perfect person, so I whipped it out of the cupboard and completed it. I know that it is going to a good home. Hope you all have a great weekend - I have lots of walking planned - whatever the weather (its brass monkeys here at the moment!!) xxx

Thursday 26 March 2009

More Wool

Many thanks to the gardening genius that is JuliaB - you correctly identified the purple sprouting broccoli that I had completely forgotten about. I knew that there were peas in the mix, infact I thought that they were all peas, so I was most suprised when they looked different - ah well - lesson learned. Managed to make it to the wool shop in Wentworth eventually and bought a hank of recycled sari's. Has anyone done anything with recycled sari's? I'm looking for inspiration. It really is an Aladdins cave in there.
Does anyone recognise my library book bag?

Tuesday 24 March 2009

2nd Senior moment of the week.

I might need your help in recognising what is growing here. When I planted them, I felt sure I would remember what they were!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What we made so far this week.

So far this week, we have made:
Double Chocolate Muffins (Young man made me these in Food Tech (Cookery to us oldies!) and very nice they were too.
Breakfast Frittata - made this Monday morning using leftovers from Sunday's big breakfast and also took some to work for lunch with a salad.
Lavender Hearts - Hubby accidentally "felted" my best bit of Monsoon cardi, so its now becoming Christmas presents!!
New camping blanket has been started - using the colours that can be found in the sea in Cornwall (well thats the plan at this stage)
Another neck roll - this one is to be worn like a polo neck jumper - but without the jumper part. Might use this myself as Spring seems to have come and gone around these parts.
Not bad to say its only Tuesday! (Would have been a lot less if I hadn't lost the football match tickets on Saturday - every cloud has a silver lining!!!)

Sunday 22 March 2009

Cusworth Hall

We took my Mum out for Mothers Day today. She had never been to Cusworth Hall in Docaster, so off we went. My hubby's grandad had been "in service" at the hall and there was a picture of him on one of the slide shows. They had opened up "below stairs" (always my favorite bit) since we last went. It used to be owned by the Battie-Wrightson family - who - like many other large family's lost their fortune when they handed it down to an errant son and heir who gambled and chased loose women. You can't help but think if fortunes had been handed down to the oldest daughters instead of sons, most large houses would still have been up and running in spectacular fashion. Cusworth is very pleasant. Its owned by Doncaster Council and free to get in. Apart from the kitchens, the rooms house display cases full of interesting Doncaster "stuff". It has a very nice tea room - and they serve Horlicks which is always a bonus when you have to sit outside and the weather is on the verge of reverting back to winter. There is a lake at the bottom of the hill, and unbelievably, 2 very chavvy looking lads were having a swim!!! They bring 'em up tough in Donny!!
If you click on the last piccy to enlarge it, you will see my very favorite sign that spring is here - Frogspawn. It takes me back to being a little girl - we always had a jar of it on the back window ledge. I look for it every year. One of the ponds at Cusworth must have had over a hundred frogs milling around the ton of frogspawn that was wedged into the reeds. It was great to watch, and for me, I dont think the photo is too bad either. Ive dropped mum off at home, as Peter Kaye says, she likes to get home and get settled!! Ive set the timer to watch "Monty Halls great escape " at 9pm - really great series and very tasty geezer too! Thought I'd leave you with my sons card to me for Mothers Day. We always make our own cards, and he had written on the front:
Even though:
You shout
You argue
You boss us around
You make us wash up
You steal the remote
You make us watch relocation relocation
You know................................
(on the inside)WE LOVE YOU REALLY
Yes, I think that sums me up very well.!!!

Saturday 21 March 2009

Big big Thank you.

Can I just say a very big "Thank You" to all who have dropped by, and all who have left comments on my new blog. Its been like having you all drop round for a cuppa. You are all a totally inspiring bunch of amazing ladies. I look forward to you all dropping by again. (But when do we do the housework??)

Angie of passed this on to me and I would like to award it to Noelle at who inspied and ecouraged me to start my blog.

Smoke that in your pipe Jamie Oliver

Now thats what I like to see - men in the kitchen. Actually it was the young man and his friend cooking our Saturday night curry - and very tasty (and healthy it was too). Don't believe all you saw on Jamie Oliver's Pass it On - some of us in Rotherham don't live on Chips and Cheese!!!!
Senior moment - Today I had a very senior moment. My friend sent us 4 free tickets to watch Sheffield Wednesday play some Welsh team. Hubby couldnt go, so being a good mother, I decided that I would take the young man. I also invited his mate and his mates dad so that we didnt waste the freeby tickets. Now I have not been to a (proper)football match since about 1972 and it is not my chosen way to spend a glorious sunny Saturday afternoon, but I entered into the spirit of things. I popped the 4 tickets into the back pocket of my Jeans (they all saw me do this) and off we went. When we got to the gates of Hillsborough - the tickets were not there.!!! God alone knows where they went, but they were no longer in my jeans pocket, or in any other pocket or my bag or my purse. We walked (the 2 mile or so!!) back to the car to see if they were there - but they were not. Now on a scale of 1-10 as far as disasters go, to me this was probably 0.5, but to the men/boys (who were all very very silent in the car on the way home) it appeared to be about 9.5. Thankfully the game ended in a very boring 0-0 draw, so as far as I can see I saved them all the bother of watching a very tedious game. But none of them are talking to me yet. "Get used to it" is what I say. No matter how you younger bloggers try and convince me, 50 is never going to be the new 30. Now I know why SAGA holidays are so popular - they look after the tickets for you!!!!

Friday 20 March 2009

Work in Progress

I thought that I would show you my WIP. Its a crochet blanket for when the camping season starts. Ive been at this since about October, and its great because I can pick it up and put it down whenever. It hasn't cost me anything yet either as I decided to be very thrifty and just use odds and ends. My mum remembered that she had some balls of wool - she never throws anything away. There's wool in this blanket that can remember where it was when JF Kennedy was shot!!! But its not looking too bad and its growing ok too. And can you spot what had arrived when I got home from work? I have a subscription to Cornwall Today - and there is a feature in it on moving to St Ives!!! I take that as a sign! Time to pour another Sloe Gin and let the weekend start here.
Ive also amended the comments slightly as some of you were having probs commenting, and Ive added my email address - so there is no excuse. Its been lovely catching up with you all this week - Ive been all around the country from this PC. Technology is amazing (when it behaves!)
Have a great weekend all - the weather looks set to continue.

Thursday 19 March 2009

Sunset, Sunrise

Yesterday was a beautiful day - more like late spring and too nice to "play in", so once I finished work at 3pm, and hubby got home early from a course he was on, we pulled on our walking boots and walked over the fields. We found ourselves at the pub for a quick snifter (Pint of Guiness for him and a glass or Red Wine for the lady) and then shared a beautiful sunset on the way home.
I woke early this morning and poked my nose out of the bathroom window to see if the spring weather was continuing. You can't really tell from the photograph, but the sun was a huge bright orange ball, and had a trailing of cloud across it like when the pirate ship goes back to Neverland in Peter Pan. Moments like this make my day.
The very best sunsets though, are over Clodgy point (St Ives)- as viewed from Porthmeor beach, after a hard days sunbathing, surfing, rock pooling, pasty snacking, sandcastle building etc as I'm sure many of you out there will agree.

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Summat for nowt.

I love foraging for food. Natures own food fresh from the hedgerows tastes out of this world. As the year progresses, I shall take you on my foraging trips, but for now, you will have to make do with a (really bad) photo of the remnants from last year. In the glass is my Sloe Gin. I had never tasted this until a neighbour told me how to make it. Its very moreish! The bottle (that looks as if it contains a urine sample!!) is what is left of my Elderflower cordial. Very lovely addition to a G&T but almost equally lovely with sparkling mineral water. I also have Damson Pickle (a la Delia Smith recipe) , a few jars of Mixed Berry Jam (my own concoction using Blackberry, Elderberry and Damson) and some Apple Jelly. This year I am going to have a bash at nettle soup and nettle beer (never used nettles before). Last year I made loads of Elderflower champagne - highly explosive - but so refreshing. I dont think I left it long enough to become alcoholic, but it was one of the nicest drinks I have ever tasted. I know some of you are foragers, so I am looking forward to trying new things that you suggest as the year goes along.
PS You may have noticed the heart shaped bit of wood I thought I would include in the picture. Hubby found it in the woods and carved our names on it and gave it me on our wedding anniversary. We have lots of heart shaped things around here - but no heart shaped diamonds !!!

Sunday 15 March 2009

Mr Darcy could come calling.

Many thanks to Noelle, Clare and Angie for leaving me lovely comments on my blog. I like having cyber friends.
This photo was taken on New Years Day (hence the frost) and is of Wentworth Woodhouse up in the village. It is a privately owned house now - the last male Fitzwilliam heir was a bit of a one with the ladies and liked to gamble and lost the family alot of money. After reading "Black Diamonds" it would also seem that there is a bit of panic amongst the only 2 remaining female heirs (both childless old ladies) about certain illegitemate offspring that may have a claim to the estate. Apparantly in the 70's, they ordered "papers" and historical records to be burned. They destroyed so much evidence that the fire burned for days! The guy who lives in it now is a recluse, and so no one ever gets to look around it which is a real shame. It was once part of Sheffield University for a while too. Before the recluse bought it, it featured in "Wives and Daughters" (which I think was by Mrs Gaskell) You get to see a lot of the outside of it, and the grand, marble salon is also in the film. I'm sure you agree Angie, that Mr Darcy would certainly come calling.

Sunday sorted

Not a great picture I'm afraid, still getting to grips with all the dials - and with my old eyes!!! But you get the idea. I found myself at a loose end this morning. Hubby working all weekend (which I hate) The Dancing Queen had gone off to her Dance Class, The Young Man was still in bed, so I made a delicious bacon, cheese and onion panini, full pot of coffee, and settled down with my recent library book, Hughs Rivercottage Family cookbook - breakfast Alfresco - the best start to the day. Once the Young Man had arisen, and couldnt find any friends to entertain him, I decided that he and I should go for a long walk. We walked for 3 hours and enjoyed conversations about Playstation3's, cars, Jeremy Clarkson, jobs he wants to do when he is older (anything with a "geo" in the title) the subjects he is going to take at school next year(he will be year 10 then), the new and revolting flavour's of Walkers crisps etc etc. Whilst I could not add an opinion about most of the topics (!!!) I really enjoyed his company and realised that he and I don't get to spend all that much time on our own together these days. It was lovely. We got back home and I baked Lavender Shortbread - I had saved some lavender from last year and had been infusing it in sugar. It was delicious.
You may have noticed - as did the hubby on his return from work - that not much housework has taken place here this weekend. I did point out, and this is a little known fact, that it is actually against the law to do housework on sunny weekends. Well it is in my world anyway.

Saturday 14 March 2009

Wentworth Village

I live in South Yorkshire, a county not famous for its beauty, however there is some, and I shall endevour to show you the best bits. I can walk across the fields to the very pretty village of Wentworth - once home to The Earl Fitzwilliam. The village is still owned by the Fitzwilliam Estate, and the houses are mainly rented out by the Estate, apart from a few that are well out of my price range. You can't go wrong for Tea Rooms, proper pubs, a garden centre and the eagle eyed true knitty nora's may have spotted "Wingham Wool Works"(1st picture) - Barns full to the brim of the best wool and knitting paraphanalia from around the world. They even spin and dye their own. Fortunately it was shut today, so I managed to escape without spending anything. The sky was blue, but it was very breezy. The garden centre is housed in the former gardens of the big house, and has some lovely little formal gardens to walk round. The summer house is home to a photographer, and there is even an old bear pit that housed real "Dancing Bears" in the 18th century. I recently read "Black Diamonds" by Catherine Bailey which is all about the fall of the Fitzwilliam dynasty. It was very good and I think it would make a great BBC costume drama. Talking of which, I am currently loving " Larkrise to Candleford" on Sunday evenings, followed by the "Victorians through Art" featuring Jeremy Paxman, whom I have a bit of a "thing" for!! Enjoy your weekend. xx

Diane's most wanted

About once a week (sometimes more !!) I google "ST IVES estate agents". This is what I need this week:

Can anyone lend me 79K until the credit crunch is over/I win the lottery/discover I am the long lost love child of a rich man?

And on the 3rd attempt!!

Well!! After 2 false starts HOPEFULLY here I am!!!

Ive missed my morning on the sofa with James Martin to get this up and ready. Its been 1 step forward, 2 steps back!! but here goes.

I'll start by showing you a bit of my knitting. I used to knit loads, but I think ive lost a lot of patience over the years, so now I stick to the very simple. Ive knitted lots of these for presents as they are a) quick to do, and b) very cheap to make. They take 1 ball of chunky wool (managed to find this Rowan wool for £1 per ball in my second home - Dunelm Mills) big needles (no 9) cast on around 18 stitches and rib until you run out of wool. Add a button that I sew on firmly (no button hole) and pop it over your head for a cosy neck warmer. Voila