A long time ago – well, it was August – we went to Mabelthorpe on the east coast. It’s a place I’d never been before and one to where the poet had long promised to take me. And so, one breezy Saturday, we headed over there so he could at last say we’d been.
I can’t remember much about the day now, other than it was warm enough to eat our picnic outside on a bench. Oh yes, and we looked all over for a letterbox and the only one we found didn’t seem to be in use any more.
He took a few pictures, though. So here, for your enjoyment, is a small and colourful selection:
It’s been a long while since I was able to blog about life on the farm, we have been so busy.
And, actually, we’ve not been able to spend very much time in the garden due to the weather.
It’s either been too raving hot or absolutely persisting it down.
However, we have started to harvest and eat our garden produce. The first batch included garden peas and strawberries, but yesterday the poet went out and cut our first calabrese (broccoli).
The plum tree had an accident last week in some very high winds, and the top of the tree ended up in the fish pond. Thankfully it missed the fish, and it’s plums we wouldn’t normally be able to reach anyway.
Next up, we think, are the potatoes. They’ve finished flowering so should be ready to come up soon.
We also have cauliflowers that are almost ready.
Only a week or so ago the poet was strimming around the raised beds when he stumbled across the new white peahen sitting among some stingers.
We’ve labelled her Lady Penelope, because she kept herself away from the other peahens. She turned up one day after another storm, liked it here and decided to stay.
When he moved her slightly, to make sure she was still alive, he discovered four peafowl eggs. So we left her to it along with a few stingers for cover. We have foxes, badgers, squirrels and rats and we didn’t want any of them to know there were eggs there.
Two days ago I was mortified to see that the eggs were all broken, but when the poet gave her another nudge, they’d hatched! We told the farmer and for the rest of the morning the farm kids kept running up to have another look.
In the end, Lady Penelope and family went missing … but I found her on the track behind our house sitting on four lovely, fluffy little chicks. Aww.
For now we’ve nicknamed them Alan, John, Scott and Virgil, but in case there are any girls in there, we’re reserving Tin-Tin and Tracy!
Yesterday, while Penelope was trying to steer a car away from her brood, she jumped off a low wall and landed on one.
It was a little stunned and struggled to keep up, but the last we saw, Mum was waiting for all of the chicks before going anywhere.
We’ll be keeping a watchful eye on them all, but especially poor little Number 4.
On Friday we travelled over to Sheffield for the first of three days at the Tramlines festival. The poet didn’t take his camera, so these pictures are all from his mobile phone (apart from the nabbed poster).
There are mixed feelings about this annual event. We think it’s great for Sheffield, and the taxi drivers and businesses agree that it’s a lift for them once the students have all gone home (there are two universities in Sheffield and a huge student population) and before the football (soccer) season starts again (they have two football teams too). Others think it should be a free event, as it was when it first started, and will boycott it, insisting on going to only live gigs that aren’t included in the program.
Whichever your opinion, it really does have to be good for business and for live music.
We got off to quite a bad start because we headed over to City Hall, where we thought we had to exchange our tickets for wristbands. We queued up there for over half-an-hour – apparently, they ran out of wristbands! – but when we got to our first main event, we then discovered we could have gone straight there.
We wasted quite a lot of time and additional taxi fares doing that. And then, to add insult to injury, they didn’t even check our wristbands at the main venue. And they were only checking women’s handbags. They didn’t seem too bothered about rucksacks or duffel bags.
The headline act we wanted to see was over at the Ponderosa main stage, the Libertines. And yes, he really did turn up. The weather was very kind to us – it didn’t start to rain until we were ready to leave. The sound wasn’t great, and the band were pulled off mid-song at one point. But the crowd didn’t seem to mind.
On Saturday afternoon, we went back again, again to the Ponderosa, this time to see Toots and the Maytals. We didn’t get any pictures of these because we were there with family and when we weren’t listening to the music, we were chatting.
Toots was my favourite part. They’ve been going for such a long time, yet he had so much energy and a fine, fantastic voice. Again, nobody checked our wristbands, but we did see armed police today.
Sunday teatime we were back again, this time to see the poet’s godson in his band the Kavaliers. They were playing the Tramlines fringe at the Rocking Chair.
They did a short set, which gave us time to have a quick chat and then make our way to Devonshire Green, where the next and last band we wanted to see were playing.
We arrived about 45 minutes early and decided to nip into Pizza Express for a quick tea. The waitress said it could be a 30-minute wait, but if we knew what we wanted and got our order in before a hen party that had not long arrived, she’d see what she could do.
She managed to serve us within 15 mintues … but within that time and the time it took to eat a quick salad, a queue had formed outside the venue that trailed all the way up the road.
We waited for 25 minutes in this queue, in pouring rain. The Coral were due to start at 7:45pm, but they held on until 8pm. We missed the first two songs, but landed a nice spot with a good view.
What a mistake the organisers made in putting the Coral on at Devonshire Green and not the main stage at the Ponderosa. Some people we queued with said there was hardly anyone over there when they left, and here were we with the queue still snaking up the road long after we finally made it in.
We had a great time at this year’s Tramlines. I do think it could have been slightly better organised in places, and security should have been much, much tighter. Next year, however, if it clashes with the crime writing festival at Harrogate again, as it did this year, we might give it a miss.
Pugneys always used to be a favourite dog walk for me, but then every time we went there were just too many other dogs, and too many people. It gets very busy.
However, there’s a castle at Pugneys too, and the poet wanted to take some pictures and we decided to combine it with a walk around the lake. Had we known how much more busier it is these days, we would have just done the castle. But even the castle was a bit of a disappointment this time.
Anyway, we started our walk, as ever, in the main Pugneys car park – this used to be free, but now there’s a charge.
I noticed there’s a charge to use the dog shower now as well. I don’t remember that being the case before.
The poet did take a picture of someone in a speed boat, and he took a picture of the train. But as we didn’t get permission from either the man in the boat nor any of the children on the train’s parents, I don’t feel inclined to share any of those here.
So they’re all scenic shots this time.
Saying that, I’ve just seen on the official website for the park that watersports, apart from pedalos, have been suspended due to a lack of support personnel … since 12 June. But the man in the boat seemed to have been doing something to the buoys, so perhaps he was staff.
The last time we went to Pugneys, we took a look at the path up to Sandal Castle and decided against it. My fitness level at the time was so rubbish I couldn’t even face the short walk as it was up hill.
This time, it was very hot and I was in trainers, not even walking boots. And this time the dog had more trouble than me, stopping once to sit in the shade and cool down a little.
When we got there we were quite disappointed. Not only was the visitor centre closed, but so was the bridge and the staircase up to the main keep.
Some adventurers had climbed up from the moat, but that really was too strenuous for me. Apparently there is a structural problem, health & safety strikes again.
We were so disappointed with so many things that we decided we really don’t need to come again, which is a shame because it’s not far away in the car.
We did, however, walk exactly 3 miles, which was apparently 8,500 steps, and I burned 381 calories.
I wasn’t sure what to call this one. It wasn’t really a “day out”, but nor was it a “holiday” or a “walk”. It could be classed as an “event”, but as I’m not really reviewing the event, I thought that would a bit of a misnomer too. So I called it a “day out”, even though it was really almost two days out.
We did have a house/pet sitter booked, but at the last minute we decided to take the dog with us and ask the farmer next door to see to the chickens. The cats are fine for just one night. They have and use the cat-flap and we were able to feed them (and the chickens) before we left.
Fortunately for us we were staying at the Grand Hotel, which is very pet-friendly. It only cost us an extra tenner to take the dog, and we were even allowed to leave him in the room while we had our breakfast the following morning.
Our room at the Grand was up on the fifth floor in what they call “the circle”. I’d seen some pretty dire reviews of this wonderful old building, but we didn’t have any complaints whatsoever, other than it was a bit warm in the room. But on the hottest weekend of the year so far, that wasn’t a huge problem, and anyway, the Grand has windows that even open and everything.
We also have a picture of the view from our room, but I think it’s still on the poet’s phone … if he sends it to me, I can add that here …
For tea we dropped down into Scarborough, parked on the quay, and found cheese burgers and chips.
While we were at the show, we hired a pet-sitter, Pet Assist, a lovely couple who were happy to take Rufus at short notice. We dropped him off at teatime, and they said they’d be back at the hotel when we got back from the concert.
It took a while for them to find our tickets at the box office, but it was okay, they found them eventually. The show was supposed to start at 7pm but we got in at 7:10pm and there was hardly anyone there.
The support band was the Slow Readers Club. They were okay, but we were a bit concerned that we couldn’t see a keyboard player yet keyboards featured on almost every song …
We went for an ice-cream, but before we knew it, the main event was on. So we dashed over to see the Charlatans, and we had quite a good view.
We thought the large screen was great, though. And I thought that Tim Burgess had a lovely smile when he was singing.
Of course, we couldn’t go all that way to a Charlatans gig without bumping into an old friend of the poet’s. These two have known each other for a long time, since they worked together.
The friend and his wife have been married for only a little while longer than us and it’s always nice to see them. They live a bit further south to us, but they try to come to Monkey Dust gigs when they can too.
There followed much drinking, singing, dancing and general merriment, and we even grabbed an unsuspecting bystander to take a team photo – she did a good job!
We had a lovely time, and the dog was pleased to see us when we got back to the hotel – not too late for the dog-sitter, we hoped! The following morning, we had a hearty breakfast, packed the car (which was in the multi-storey car park), and had a walk along the front. It was very hot, though, so I stayed in the shade while the poet did our shopping, and then we headed home.
We were back by lunchtime, but what a lovely time we had.
After a very up-and-down year so far, I’ve decided to leave Slimming World.
I managed to lose half-a-stone (7lb), but then kept putting 2lb on then losing 3lb, putting 1lb on and losing 0lb.
And then I had to go onto a “white/bland” diet, which pushed the syns through the roof.
We cook a lot of meals from scratch and they (SW) make it very difficult to calculate the syn value, plus they seem to advocate a lot of processed food or ready-made food that we, personally, prefer to make ourselves (such as jams, jellies, breads, etc).
So it stopped working for me and, to be frank, I couldn’t justify the cost any more. I’ve also cancelled the magazine subscription, but apparently I have that for three more issues anyway.
Before I terminated the account, I did hit my gold activity award with SW, so it wasn’t all a waste of time. And I’ve pretty much managed to keep that half-a-stone off (and on, then off, then on again …).
I know a lot of people have lost a lot of weight with SW, my mother-in-law included, who lost 6 stone (84lb), and some friends of ours who each lost at least 4 stone (56lb).
So I’ve decided to just stick to healthy, unprocessed eating as much as possible, and I’m cutting down on the aspartame, instead preferring to try and curb or lose my sweet tooth a little.
In recent days and weeks I’ve been busy publishing books – in paperback and on Kindle. The idea is to get all of my back-catalogue available as books by Diane Wordsworth.
Tales from Baggins Bottom: best bits book 3 is the latest to become available and can be found in paperback for £5.99. The Kindle edition will follow shortly.
If you go to my “buy my books” page you can follow the link, and you’ll also see all books currently available.
ALL of the Diane Parkin books are now retired and have been replaced with Diane Wordsworth versions. This one, however, is brand-new.
I’m currently publishing Twee Tales Too on Kindle, and then I’ll be adding Tales from Baggins Bottom Best Bits book 3 to Kindle too. Once they’re all on Kindle, I’ll look at publishing them all on multi-ebook format as well.
I may seem to be quiet at the moment, but that’s mostly because I’ve been busily publishing books and ebooks.
In the past few months I’ve published a writers’ guide and I’ve republished two anthologies from the old days at Baggins Bottom. And in the past year, I’ve republished a novel and a collection of short stories.
I’m currently in the process of publishing book 3 from Baggins Bottom and the ebook for Twee Tales Too.
Hop along to my “buy my books” page over on the writing blog to find out more. You can skip straight to the link here.