Wednesday 29 April 2009

Busy Week

I am having a very busy but totally great week so far. On Monday, the dancing queen and I went to see "Flashdance" the musical at Sheffield Lyceum theatre. It was fabulous - go and see it if you get chance. The entire cast were excellent singers and dancers. We came out wanting to don our leg warmers!! We love musical theatre (when its good!!) and we go as often as we can afford to. A night at the theatre is a perfect night out for myself and the dancing queen. We have seen Evita and Cabaret recently and we have also got tickets for Westside Story in a few weeks time.

I am addicted to Martin Lewis's Money Saving Expert website - especially the "freebies" forum. I have used this site for a couple of years now - its totally amazing what you can get for free. One thing that we regularly get is free cinema tickets. We usually get free tickets for all of us (and our friends too) at least once, and often twice per week. On Tuesday we went to see the 3D film "Coraline". What an experience - it was totally amazing. I now want all my movies to be in 3D. The story is very wierd, and a bit scarey for smaller kids, but it was so wonderful to watch.
I'll tell you about some of my other freebies another time, but it is truly amazing what you can get "for nowt".

This evening we took a stroll around the last of the lakes on the Wentworth Estate (there are four in total). It was a lovely sunny evening and perfect for a quick walk. I'm having a great week, but the ironing is pile is mounting!!!

Sunday 26 April 2009

Sunday Morning Walk

My hubby worked nights yesterday, so was in bed for most of the day today. Dancing Queen was dancing, and the young man wanted to stay in and watch the Grand Prix. I found myself with no one to share the beautiful morning with, so can I share it with you? I decided I would go for a long walk and take some photographs of a couple of the Wentworth "follies" as I had promised you earlier in the week. The follies are spaced out on the furthest horizons from the big house. I couldn't resist taking a picture of this fabulous topiary in one of the cottage gardens.

I walked through The Old Building Yard and couldn't resist a look in a few of the shops. Lime Tree Interiors is scrumptious and The Emporium Antiques shop had some interesting pieces in. (A Union Jack leather pouffe might be worth a second look on payday)

This is the "Needles Eye". It is rumoured that the gentlemen from the big house and their friends used to race carriages through the eye of the needle. There can't have been much room either side.

Then I walked through a carpet of bluebells. There really is no other blue like bluebell blue. I realised recently that blue and green must be my favorite colours as my home is decorated in these colours. Whilst in Wentworth, I noticed that they had moonstones in the gem shop. Apparently blue means I am "Romantic" and green means that I am "normal". Most people who know me would say I have a romantic nature, but only I think I am normal - its every body else thats weird!!!

I don't particularly enjoy walking on my own, I would much rather have a companion - What's the use in finding an almost heart shaped stone when my lover man isn't there to share a kiss with.

From needles Eye, I walked towards the tiny hamlet unimaginatively called "Street" - it literally is a street. My next destination is Hoober Stand - thats the building poking out of the tree's in the distance.

Most of the houses in "Street" are still owned by the Wentworth Estate, but I did notice that this particular one was for sale. It has great views from the back, and whilst there is a road through the village, it becomes unsuitable for vehicles just after the houses, so it is a very quiet little spot.

This is the plaque on Hoober Stand. If you double click, you can read the inscription. It has recently been restored, and I am sure that it is open during some weekends in summer for you to walk to the top.

Wherever you go in South Yorkshire, you can usually see Hoober Stand. We could see this from our walk through Endcliffe Park the other week when we stood on the edge of the Peak District. When young man played Sunday morning football a few years ago, there weren't many pitches around the county, and even into Derbyshire where we couldn't spy this monument.

I hope you enjoyed my Sunday morning stroll.

Saturday 25 April 2009

Garden Party

Yesterday was my Mum's 70th Birthday, so I hosted a garden party all day for her family and friends to visit. Fortunately we were blessed with a beautiful sunny day. Guests were invited to drop round between 11am and 5pm (I handmade the invites but forgot to take a piture!!) and my sister and I served salads, sandwiches, a selection of cakes, cream teas, tea,coffee and champagne all day. My mum had made up a photo albumn using all old photographs and featuring every guest that had been invited. Some of these photo's were really old, and every one loved looking at it. My Grandad (Mums, Dad) had been a woodcutter (working on the estate at Wentworth) for most of his life. This must have been extremely hard work, but when he came home at night, he also kept a small holding, mainly crops which he ploughed with a horse and cart. The photo's of this could have been straight out of Larkrise to Candleford. After 5pm we were joined by a few very close friends and although Mum, my sis and I were all shattered, we continued on until 11.30pm!! My 2 very best friends M and L were fabulous. They helped clear everything away.

For the Garden Party, I dug my Grandma's Tea Set out of the loft. Why did I ever put this in the loft in the first place??!! It has 12 cups and saucers and 12 side plates and it is so pretty. It not going back into the loft

Sorry about the bright light in the corner, but I prayed for the sun to shine and it did. This was taken at about 6.45 am just as the sun popped over the fence. (We did place a warning on the trampoline stating that it was used by pensioners at their own risk!!). I also brought out the 2 crochet blankets I had recently completed, as a bit of a joke really (as hubby says they look like they should be in an old folks home). It amused me all day to see the older ladies pop them over their knees when the sun went behind a cloud. My cousin had her eye on the St Ives blanket!!

I got chance to use some of my lovely old table cloths. Most were my Grandma's, but my sister bought me this for £5.00 from a small antique shop a whoile ago. On the label, it said that it had been embroidered in an air raid shelter in 1942 near Chatham Docks. It is so beautiful and I wonder about the lady who made this every time I use the cloth.

The birthday girl arrived at 8.15am in a limo !!!courtesy of a friend of my sister. She had thought that I was going to pick her up, so she had a shock when this turned up.

I took photographs of her friends and family throughout the day, and the dancing queen printed these off and made them them into a little albumn before she went home. Several of her friends rang me when they got home to thank us for a wonderful afternoon. It was really hard work - but I enjoyed every minute of the day, and I know she did too.

Tuesday 21 April 2009

Snooker City

We thought that we would take a walk around Sheffield to see what was going on with the snooker. Whilst I'm not a snooker fan, it does bring a lovley buzz to the city centre and offers different things to look at. They erect a large tent type building in the middle of Tudor Square and this is where the commentators film from. You are allowed to wander in and out of here and watch/partake in demonstrations on a full size snooker table. We got to see Dennis Taylor and John Parrot whilst we were in here.

Nothing to do with snooker, but I couldnt delete it once I had added it, so here is the dragon in the Millenium Galleries made out of Sheffield Cutlery !!!

We had gone to see the latest work of one of our favorite artists Pete Mckee (his website is on my sidebar). He was chosen to be artist in residence last year for the snooker. He is exhibiting in the foyer at St Pauls Hotel. The Winter Gardens at the side of the hotel has a snooker related art exhibition too.

This is the Lyceum theatre - you can just see the large screen to the left of the picture that relays the live snooker.

And this is the Crucible theatre where the snooker actually takes place.

This is the city's latest car park!!! I think it's nickname is the sugar cube, but we call it the cheese grater. Its very fancy!

My date with the worlds dishiest bloke.

Hubby and I both had a day off work today, so we decided to go on a "date". We saw the kids off to school, packed a flask and a full tear and share brioche, and headed on out. I had been interested to read Lyn's account on her blog (over at Everyday Life) of some of the Saddleworth Villages - just across the Penines from us, and as I had never ventured over this way (ever) I thought that this would be a good place to go.
The scenery as we travelled across the moors was spectcular to say the least. It felt as if we were driving across the surface of the moon in some parts.
We arrived in Uppermill, a really pretty little town, and we walked from the town, along the canal to the entrance to the tunnel. The canal tunnel apparently is over 3 miles long and cuts through the Penines. They dug it out - over a period of 16years, using only dynamite, picks and shovels. We stopped a couple of times en route for coffee and Brioche . The towns in this area are completely surrounded by the high moors. I did think that sunrise must happen later than anywhere else in Britain here, and sunset earlier.
This is the entrance to the tunnel, and the blue plaque was to Thomas Telford who they had to drag in to finish the project when the original engieer died before the tunnel had been finished. We had a great day, so many many thanks to Lyn for the inspiration ( Ididn't find Jeans shop though, so I'll have to go back for another look!!)

Monday 20 April 2009

Too nice to play in.

When I came home from work today, it was much too nice to play in, so after an Alfresco tea, we went a walk through the park in Wentworth to the lakes.

The stable block is the first building that you come across in the park - its enormous - equally as big as the block at Chatsworth house.
Dotted around the edge of the park are several "follies" (i'll get some close ups of these another time). The Fitzwilliam family knew how to spend!! They also have an Estate in Nothants - the Rockingham Estate (associated with the Rockingham Potteries) and they also have a shooting estate in Ireland. They also own a lot of the Moors over in Derbyshire around "The Strines" and still own land in Scotland.
At the bottom of the Park are a series of fishing lakes. Whilst we were there, a couple of very large carp were jumping right out of the water. We also saw a Kingfisher which I haven't seen around here before. What I loved most of all about our walk tonight was the silence. Just the birds singing and no traffic noise. Heaven.

Sunday 19 April 2009

I could have been a star.

Hi All, Hope you have had a good weekend. This morning was the first cricket match of the season for the young man, so Dad and I sat in the absolute freezing cold for 4 hours watching and supporting him. His team had a great match and they won, so it made up for the cold. All the parents joked about how the sun would come out as soon as the match was over, and low and behold it did. We got home and I put the dinner on - a bargain turkey from Waitrose bought late on Easter Saturday (top tip from "Cottage Smallholder") and shoved in the freezer till now. Should have cost £24 and cost £8.00. I love a bargain, and it will feed us for the week!! Whilst the turkey cooked, we went for a walk across the old coal tips - now a lovely unspoiled area.

The coal mine that had been here in the past had been used as a location for a couple of movies after it had closed down. One was "Pit Ponies" a disney film, and the other was "The Price of Coal" which was written by Barry Hines. I remember auditioning for the part of the miners daughter one afternoon at comprehensive school (we didn't have a choice, the headmistress made us all go). Barry Hines had been my English teacher when I first started there, but he left to pursue other avenues shortly after. It was a few years after "Kes" had been made into a film (also shot around here - i'll photograph some of the locations at a later date). I was auditioned by Barry Hines and the film director Ken Loach. I remember being disapointed as I had gotten it into my head that he was the one who played Ken Barlow in Coronation Street (Bill Roache). Anyway, I was scared to death, but managed to get into the final 3!!! On my final audition, I was far more relaxed, totally over acted, and lost the part to a girl called Jayne Waddington who was very shy at that time. And that was the end of what could have been my brilliant movie career. I could have been having Meryl Streep around to share the turkey!!! Actually, its a good job I didn't win the part. I was about to leave school, and had secured a position in the office at a local opticians with the fantastic starting salary of £14.50 per week (my friend got £16.50 on the dole!!) I would have had to give up the job, and my mum said that she wasn't going to let me do that as jobs were hard to find in 1976. My mum still tries to clip my wings even though I am nearly 50!!
Anyway, the colliery is no longer there and the area has been left to go back to nature. The hills are covered in cowslips, forget-me-nots, comfrey, teasels, bluebells etc

One of my favorite plants for "foraging" is just about to bloom - the wild garlic. It has a very distinctive garlic/onion smell and usually grows by rivers or streams. You can use all of this plant. The bulb you can use as you would a garlic bulb. The leaves can be chopped very finally and added to mayonnaise or salads, but my favorite bit is the white flower which is totally edible and looks amazing in salads. It tastes just like garlic butter. Be warned though that all of it is much stronger than ordinary garlic, so avoid eating if you are out on the pull later!!!

Friday 17 April 2009

A girl and her shoes.

These are my favorite forms of footwear! My trusty wellies, walking boots, and Brasher sandals for summer. Not for me ridiculous teetering heels and strappy sandals. I have to wear "normal" footwear for work, and when I go out, but given half a chance, I would live in these. I work in an office and always have (inspite of my careers talk at comprehensive school where I said that it was the last place I could ever see myself working - more of which later)but my ideal job would see me working in my wellies. I would love to work outside, perhaps in a walled vegetable garden. A few years ago, I was a team leader for a large bank. Our department specialised in telephone loans. I took the job after having 4 years off being a stay at home mum. It fitted in at the time with hubby working shifts, and meant that I didn't have to have a childminder. I worked very late evenings and weekends and had a part time team of other mothers and students. I loved my team, they were great but they were rubbish at selling the insurance on loans for which we had targets. My manager once took me into her office and tore me off a strip. She said that I didn't display a "passion" for the insurance product (well observed, and please feel free to shoot me should I ever display a passion for ANY insurance product!!). I was very much a square peg in a round hole. My current job is in administration for an IT company. The company is ok, and the people I work with are ok, but I still feel like a square peg in a round hole. I am determined that my kids get at least a stab at doing a job that doesnt seem like work to them.

And also - looked what arrived today in the post. My monthly subscription to Cornwall Today (featuring some heart shaped crafts!!) and a copy of Yanks from PLAY.COM bargain at £3.99 - I shall positively relish doing the ironong this evening!! Many thanks to Lyn at
Everydaylife (see sidebar) for reminding me about this most wonderful and heartbreaking film.

Tuesday 14 April 2009

St Ives Blanket

Yah! Another blanket finished. The colours in this blanket reminded me of the sea in and around St Ives, all blues and greens with some white for the foam on top of the waves. Of course I shall be taking this on my camping trips this year to wrap up and sit outside when the sun goes down, but I hope its going to be that hot that I dont need it ( a girl can dream!!). A good thing about blogging is that it encourages me to finish off projects that I start, as in the past I was queen of the "started, but not finished" project. Most of the wool in this blanket came from my Mums stash (she hasn't knitted anything in the last 30 years or so!!) so apart from 2 balls of dk, its virtually a freebie!!

Monday 13 April 2009

Easter Sunday and Monday

The weather man predicted a fine and sunny day on Sunday, so we thought that we would take the opportunity to try and erect the new tent that we bought (this now makes 5 tents!!!). We headed off to Clumber Park in North Notts as we knew there would be lots of space. Turned out everyone was doing the same thing. The dancing queen didnt want to accompany us today (this is happening more and more and hubby and I cannot get used to it. Up to now we have always done everything and gone everywere together.) We didnt do too badly. Erecting a tent serves to highlight how badly hubby and I actually communicate with other, and also highlights that we both have a short fuse!!! Anyway, within half an hour we were up and away, and it rained!! We ate out picnic in the tent, took the tent down, and it stoppped raining! I hope that this isn't an omen. I love camping, and all I need for a great summer, is time off work, my tent and (hopefully this year) some sunshine.

After the picnic, we took a walk around the lake. As we had space in the car, the young man decided to invite 2 of his friends. 3x13 year old boys, did not make for a very leisurely afternoon, but they were very funny.

Today (Monday) hubby had to work, so the kids and I took a short trip (2 stops up the motorway) to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. We come here often as it is very close, and also free to get in (can you see a pattern emerging here?). I love it as it has wonderful indoor galleries, but the main sculptures (Henry Moore's and Barbara Hepworth's etc) are all exhibited in the outdoor spaces of the park. I think that this is a perfect setting for these type of large sculptures. You can easily spend a full day here - and the cafe is one of the best I have ever visited. We didn't visit the cafe today as it was very full, and we are trying to save money, but if you ever get chance to visit, I can highly recommend it. The weatherman had forecast rain, but this was actually the sunniest day of the weekend (there's a pattern emerging here too!!!).

Hope you all had a good weekend, xxxx

Saturday 11 April 2009

The Chip Butty Walk

This was todays walk - We do this walk often as it isnt far to drive out to. It's only 6 miles out from Sheffield and the kids like it as half way round you can get an enormous chip butty from Grindleford old station cafe. We started off on the Longshaw estate (National Trust) and walked down to Padley Gorge. This is a very popular spot in summer with families picnicing on the side of the stream.

This is the railway tunnel that runs from Grindleford to Dore and is over 3 miles long. The railway runs from Sheffield across the Pennines to Manchester.

And here is the old station cafe. The menu is vast and they do a PINT!!! of Horlicks for £2.05.

The said chip butties - note that I only had a childs portion (still plenty though!!)

Then back up the very steep hill to the Longshaw Estate. You can't look around the house, which I believe was an old hunting lodge as it is now split into apartments.

We called back at Hathersage on the way home and I had to stop at the David Mellor cutlery factory to see if they had any bargains in the gorgeous shop (they didnt). I had forgotten tha as well as being a silversmith and designer of cutley, David Mellor also designed the traffic lights that we have here in the UK today. Its a great little centre if you ever get chance to call as it also has a lovely looking cafe (mental note to self - must try and incorporate this into next visit).

Hathersage also has an outdoor swimming pool - a fabulous Lido that the locals were making the most of today (it was sunny, but there was a freezing cold nip in the air, but we are tough up north!). Its a great setting for a swim.

Hope you are all enjoying your Easter break. I'm back at home now with that lovely tired feeling that you get from a long and lovely walk. The tea is on, and the vin rouge is opened. Bliss.