Monday 31 August 2009


Well the early start that I had envisaged didn't materialise, but eventually we got our act together and headed out into the Peak District. We parked in Stoney Middleton, which I have to say does not look very appealing from the roadside, but once you head into the village itself, the houses and settings are truly beautiful. They seem to have an obsession with things heartshaped in the village!!

We walked from Stoney Middleton down to the village of Froggat which is on the river derwent. It was then a very steep climb back up to the pretty village of Eyam.

A bit out of sequence - and I couldn't get it to budge!!! but the line of rock at the top of this picture is Froggat Edge. The leaves on the trees are definately on the turn. The village of Eyam is sadly famous for being the only place outside of London to suffer from the plague in 1665. It is thought that the plague was carried in some damp cloth that was sent from London to a young man who was the Tailor in Eyam and the first to die. A lot of the houses have plaques telling the sad tale of the occupants who died. I did notice that a lot of the families lost all the family members apart from the mothers - this proves that even in the 1600's, mothers were still not allowed to be ill!!!

The villagers decided that to stop the disease from spreading, they would quarantine themselves and not many of them actually left. This is called the boundry stone and neighbouring villagers would bring food and medicinal supplies to leave here. The people of Eyam used to fill the holes with vinegar and leave the money in the vinegar to kill the germs!! It must have worked because to my knowledge it did not spread outside of the village.

After a quick pint at the pub (the hill had been very steep so we deserved it) we headed back to Sheffield. Can you see what a gorgeous purple colour the heather is on the moors at the moment.
We stopped off at Padley Gorge - the cool water was heaven on our feet after a day in walking boots.

Back to work tomorrow.

Sunday 30 August 2009


The next village on from Wentworth, is the old mining village of Elsecar. All the mines around this area were owned by the Fitzwilliams of Wentworth. Elsecar is quite rundown in parts, but a lot remains of it's historical and industrial past, and it's worth a visit if you live close by. Elsecar Heritage Centre is housed in the old pit yard. Fortunately, many of the older buildings here have been well preserved, but have changed their purpose many times over the last few years. The building below used to house the Earls private railway station, and photographs used to be exhibited showing various Kings and Queens of England arriving at the station - such was the importance of the Fitzwilliam family. It was a science museum at one time, and now it houses a kids indoor play area, but the fabric of the building is still the same as it was when it was first built.
The yard houses a fantastic antiques centre and bottle museum. Its more expensive than a car boot sale, but still not too pricey and they have some wonderful items. They also hold auctions here too. It also has various craft shops - some good, some not so good, but the card making supplies shop is huge and worth a visit.
It is also home to a steam railway that runs most weekends - they sometimes have celebrity visits from Thomas the Tank engine!! They have an enormous old engine shed that has been refurbished that hosts events such as plays and exhibitions. It was the "Mind, Body & Soul" weekend today. I peeped through the window and it looked fantastic!! People were having Reflexology etc (heaven!!) It also has a couple of decent tea rooms.

Further along the railway line is the Newcommen Beam Engine - apparently the only one left in the UK that is still working in the same location as it was built in.

We walked along the Dearne and Dove Canal. This is the canal basin. It was fed originally by the large reservoir in Elsecar. At one time, the "Res" had a beach of sorts and Elsecar became known as "Elecar by the Sea" as local families headed here to enjoy the fine weather. The canal used to send Coal from the mines far and wide, but these days it is totally unusable for boats.

It is however host to an abundance of wildlife. Whilst on the walk, we saw an enormous caterpillar, a heron, a kingfisher and if you double click the photo below, you may be able to spot (in the middle) one of the biggest dragon flies I have ever seen. Let me know if you can see it.
A lot of the houses that the Fitzwilliam's built for the miners still stand. This is locally known as "The Bun & Milk Club". It now is private apartments, but I think they used to dispense food to poorer families from here.

This row of pretty miners cottages is called "Reform Row" They are very small and the doorways are tiny.
The old flour mill on the side of the canal is now home to a stain glass manufacturer.

If you do visit Elsecar, make sure it is on a weekend, as nothing much is open any other time, and it makes a great place to visit in conjunction with Wentworth up the road.
I haven't done much crafting over the summer - preferring to be out and about when the weather allows, but I purchased some very nautically coloured wool in the John Lewis sale earlier in the year, and occasionally I have picked up the knitting.

Hope you are making the most of the Bank Holiday weekend in the UK. We had a major lie in this morning with bacon butties for breakfast/brunch (hence the "local" walk!!) but are planning a longer walk tomorrow if the weather holds. xxx

Thursday 27 August 2009

Bestowed with gifts and freebies

One of the side effects of blogging, and something I hadn't realised would happen, is that you sometimes receive lovely things through the post from bloggy mates. The lovely Lisa recently sent me a perfect little heart shaped white stone that her family had found on a beach, and a buttony heart that she had made just for me. Many thanks Lisa, these were totally unexpected and made my heart sing when I opened both packages.
And then Collette in a moment of madness decided to give away hundreds of hexagons because she was overwhelmed by the amount of projects she had on the go. So they found their way to my house!! That'll keep me out of mischief over the winter! She also sent me a fabulous red felted heart (modelled in a previous post). Many thanks Collette
Hubby and I went for a walk this evening and gathered a few Damsons. Last year I made Damson Chutney ( a Delia recipe from the tinter), but I made so much, that in spite of giving jars and jars away as presents, I still have loads left. So this year I am going to make Damson Gin (as well as Sloe Gin). If you find me "slurming my worms" you'll know why!

We also risked wasps, nettles and brambles to gather some more blackberries for the freezer. I remembered a poem my Grandma taught me:
In the Hedgerow, plump and sweet,
Blackberries ripen and ready to eat.
The Nightshade berries are ripening too,
But DON'T eat those whatever you do!!

I was inspired by Nina to have a go at Blackberry liqueur - its almost ready!

Ive been really lucky and bagsy'd free tickets for myself and a few friends to see a free preview screening of "Julie & Julia" before it is released. I don't know if any of you have ever used but it is excellent for getting to see films before most people have even heard of them (we saw Slumdog Millionaire 7 weeks before it was released!). You print your own ticket so you don't' have to queue and they just show the film - no annoying adverts. Films usually start at 6.30pm. And its totally FREE!
We don't get much time to watch TV at our house, but lately I have been loving:
* the Gryff Rhys Jones "Rivers" series - so so interesting.
* The new series of Coast - always fascinating.
* Jam and Jerusalem - so funny and touching and perfect for Sunday evenings
* Who Do You Think You Are - Kim Cattrell came across as so lovely and the story was so moving. I bet the family up in the north east nearly died when they found out the truth.
Many thanks to all who continue to leave me such lovely comments. I really do appreciate each and every one. And a continued thanks to all you gifted and talented and clever people for providing me with inspiration. xxxxx

Monday 24 August 2009

Sutton Scardsale Hall

Everytime we head down the M1 I am intrigued by this place. It is just visible from the motorway just as you get into Derbyshire, and so last time we headed south, I insisted on getting off the track and find out all about it. It turns out to be owned by English Heritage and is called Sutton Scarsdale Hall . We found it easily and there is no admission fee. Its very spooky to walk around - the dancing queen (who is also the Queen of Halloween) would love to hold a party in it!! It was "whole" until 1919, and then it just was left to go derelict - so sad.

If you enlarge this picture by double clicking, you will see it has a very prestigous neighbour - Bolsover Castle - also owned by English Heritage.

Saturday 22 August 2009

I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar.....

Friday night saw us packing up a picnic, loading up the car with chairs, brollies, thick jumpers and heading out to Clumber Park in North Notts for an 80's Concert. The line up was:

T'Pau - or rather Carol Decker from T'Pau still sounding great and looking utterly fantastic for her age (almost 52!!). Must email her and ask for top tips!

Go West - I used to play their "LP" (ask your mum Michela!!) all the time.

Belinda Carlisle - also looking fantastic.

ABC - disappointed that Martin Fry didn't wear his gold lame jacket, but they sounded great.

and finally, and by far the best, Sheffields own - Human League. Whilst Phil Oakey has lost all of his trade mark hairstyle, he and the girls all look so good and took me right back to a time when a Friday night out involved:

1. Getting ready listening to Alexander O'Neal "Critisize" LP playing full blast whilst drinking a nice glass glass of Lambrusco!!!
2. Blow drying my permed hair with my head upside down, spraying it with "Elnette" whilst still upside down, and then throwing my "big hair" back and spraying with even more Elnette.
3. Lying down on the bed to pull the zip up on my super skinny size 10 jeans.
4. Buttoning up my silky electric blue oversized shirt, belted at the waist, with the biggest shoulder pads (loved shoulder pads!) and turning the collar UP!
5. Applying matching blue eyeshadow - lots of.
6. Clipping on the most enormous earrings (you couldn't wear pierced ones as they were so heavy you ended up with deformed lobes.)
7. Popping on my super white stilleto's and off I went, trip trapping around Sheffield.

I looked and felt fabulous!

Anyway, the concert was great. The sun shone and we didn't need the brollies, but the thick jumpers were required later when the sun went down. I loved all the people that had turned up in 80's fancy dress - 1 lady was dressed as a Rubix cube all night!!
The evening finished with a fantastic firework finale.
I'm off to a 75th birthday party this afternoon, and tomorrow I am scaling the heights of the ironing pile! Enjoy your weekend. xxxx

Friday 21 August 2009

Berries, Barbies and a CanCan dancer

Its been lovely of an evening for a stroll this week. The Blackberries are just ripening, so on my walk, I gathered a few tubs,
Raided my orchard for some apples (I only have 1 very small apple tree, but I refer to it as the orchard - delusions of grandeur!!)
and produced Apple and Blackberry Crumble. I still use my school recipe for this, but I substitute half of the flour for porridge oats, and I sweeten it with honey instead of sugar. We ate ours with Double Cream! (and she wonders why she can't lose weight!)
It seems quite a few of you have been doing the same!!
Do you remember me telling you that I have "Womble" tendancies? Well this is my latest "find". Camping used to be for families that needed a cheaper holiday, however campsites these days are full of families who look as if they have spent a small fortune on equipment. Often, they buy a barbecue to use for the duration of the holiday, then dump it so they dont have to bother cleaning it or transporting it home. This vision in pink had only been used once before I liberated her from by the huge wheelie bins - much to the disbelief of hubby and the young man who just rolled their eyes at me. If its good enough for Kirsty Allsopp......!!!!!
And finally, I came home from my holiday to find this total and utter beauty had flowered in my absense. She is very tall - almost 7 feet and her flowers remind me of the skirts of CanCan dancers. I am a huge fan of Hollyhocks.

We are off on a big night out tonight - another open air concert so I hope the rain holds off. Enjoy yourselves - the weekend starts here!!!

Thursday 20 August 2009

Blogger Date

Today was a very special day for me - I met my very first real live blogger!! I met Lyn. Lyn had emailed me and told me she was coming through to Sheffield, and did I fancy meeting up after I had finished work.

The cakes were very sickly, but we managed them!!!


Lyn had made me a fabulous corsage and I am going to wear it tomorrow. She also bought me a lovely heart. Thanks Lyn, I love them!!

I told Lyn that I was a bit wary at first about meeting another blogger because:

A. I know someone who blogs, and the persona they portray in their blog is nothing like the person they really are.

B. I had a French penfriend in school (old fashioned blogging!!). Whilst the rest of my class got to go and stay with theirs, my mum wouldn't let me go. I gave my friend a present to take for "Sylvianne", but it turned out that Sylviannes family were the "bugsy" family of the town and no body went near them for fear of catching nits!! There was never indication of this in the letters - perhaps something got lost in translation.

C. As my 14 year pointed out, Lyn may turn out to be a paedophile, rapist, murderer, sex trafficker.

We did the sensible thing and met in a public place and told everyone where we were going, and fortunatley she turned out to be none of the above - infact she is very very lovely. We both wore handcrafted brooches to make ourselves identifiable (many thanks Collette for mine - more of which in another post.) I felt like I was going on a blind date!! We nattered and gossiped for ages without drawing breath and never had a pregnant pause!! It was like talking to an old friend and not someone I had just met. Many thanks Lyn, I really enjoyed it and hope we can meet up again soon.

We had picked a really busy day to meet in Sheffield as Mr Bono and his U2 band are appearing at a massive concert at Sheffield Stadium. I passed the venue on a very crowded tram on my way home and I have to admit that whilst I can take or leave U2, I wished I had bought tickets - it looked really exciting. Its hubby's first day back at work after our holidays today, and as luck would have it, his first day back involves working at the U2 concert which will enable him to see most of the concert for free!!! And he calls that working!!

Tuesday 18 August 2009


On Sunday, I decided that as I was going to be cooped up all week at work, we would forget about the mountain of chores that needed doing, and we headed out to one of my favorite places nearby, Chatsworth House. I love Chatsworth. There is something for everybody. It was extremely busy - the busiest I have ever seen it! (the Duke and Duchess must have been rubbing their hands together!!), but there is so much space that you can always find a quiet spot. We decided to do the "Stand Wood Walk" which takes you up to the hunting tower and away from the crowds.
The Hunting Tower is where we were heading. The view of the house from half way up.

The water channels that run from the lakes at the top to feed the fountains and waterfalls.

One of the lakes at the top of the hill.
The Hunting Tower itself - now available to rent as a self catering holiday home from Chatsworth. I'd love to stay here, the views from here are spectacular.

Another one of the lakes, and another holiday cottage.

I noticed loads of Fungi dotted around. I love the many different types of Fungi that starts sprouting at this time of year.

It only cost £2.00 to park all day, and if you can resist the many splendid tea rooms, and the totally gorgeous gift shops, and the extremely upmarket farm shop, to say nothing of the magnificent house, gardens, farmyard and play area, then it can work out quite a cheap day out!

Monday 17 August 2009

More Norfolk pictures

We spent a lovely day in Cromer. We ate Cromer Crab - which was delicious. I have a fondness for Victorian piers.
We all commented that a lot of Norfolk reminded us of parts of France - especially the Ile de Re where we visited last year as that too was very flat. Although this photo was taken in Cromer, I felt it
looked as if it could have been taken in France. I hope you appreciate how far I had to walk to take this photo for you!!
My favorite beach was at Sea Palling - however on our first visit, they had suffered a plague of Ladybirds - literally millions of them and it was very uncomfortable. They had all gone by our 2nd visit though.

We spent a lovely day in a motor boat on the broads. The houses were very spectacular along our route. I thought that this would make a great "Gin Palace" What do you think Blueberry Heart? Might be a bit risky near the waters edge!!!
This was our trusty vessel. Hubby and I had an easy day as the kids drove it most of the time.
My favorite day out was a canoe trail but I have no photo's of this yet as I took a disposable camera - ever the "Realist" I thought I might fall in!!! As luck would have it, the other 3 got a canoe to paddle in together, and I got lumped in with the instructor!! Very young, very fit, very tanned nice young man - he could paddle and steer it all by himself!! so I ended up with not much work to do. I glided along in very serene style, feeling slightly like Mini haha!! They took us on the Trinity Broads which don't allow boats with motors. The wildlife was stunning.
We had spectacular sunsets every night.

We visited Great Yarmouth one evening as we had never been. We didn't stay too long. The only positive thing I can say about it is that it has a great beach and it was sunny. They were holding some volleyball championship that the young man found interesting.
We also had an evening stroll around Norwich which had some lovely old streets. It seemed to have some great shops too. I'm not much of a shopper (perhaps I would be with more cash!!) and hubby always manages to get me to the shops seconds after they close too - a skill he has perfected over the years!!

We hired cycles one day and went to How Hill - about a 14 mile trip in total, but all very very flat - my sort of cycling!! The "Hill" bit is a total misnomer. It is apparently the highest hill on the Broads, and stands at just 12 metres above sea level. I thought you might like to see the patchwork in the bedrooms in the Marshmans cottage that is there.

How Hill is very tranquil. We had a great day out (but I couldn't get back on the bike the next day - not even with all my padding!!!).
Horsey Mere (National Trust) was lovely too. There are lots of these old windmills dotted around.

We walked to the beach at Horsey. When we go to St Ives, I get very giddy if I see a seal in the water. Imagine my utter delight at the sight of these little beauties on the beach!!
I stopped counting at 100!!!! They were gorgeous and not at all bothered about us being there.

And hurray!! this is my 100th post!! I didn't realise I had that much to say!!!