Christmas market

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Quakers’ Bottom (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Well, that was a weekend-and-a-half – and we had it as a holiday too.

We started on Friday with a trip out to the Christmas market in Matlock, which was very well-organised and laid out, and parking was free after 2pm too, as it is throughout December in the town on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. And, of course, the dog was welcome too.

We bought a small box of fudge for me and a ginger beer plant for the poet, and he nipped to one of the local shops to get us something to eat.

I had a fancy for Whitby scampi & chips, which was available inside the market at £6 for 7 pieces, plus extra for chips. At the local chip shop, scampi and chips cost only £2-odd! The poet had fish and chips and the dog helped us eat it all.

We chose a car park halfway between Matlock Bath and Matlock town and a had a nice, easy walk down and back. There are photographs, but they’re not on the computer yet, so for now we have another one from the Quakers’ Bottom walk last week.

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When we got home, we took the cat to the vet (again). She was only there a few weeks ago needing an emergency operation to close up a mysterious hole that had appeared in her side, and now she had a lump at the base of the scar.

The vet wasn’t very worried about it, though, and stuck a needle in to drain most of it. She thought it must be a reaction to the internal stitches and said it would probably go away on its own but we were to monitor it into the new year.

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The poet really wasn’t feeling very well on Friday either, but he didn’t want me to miss out on the Christmas market and he wanted some fresh air. But on Saturday morning when he woke up he was so ill that he cancelled Saturday night’s gig. I’ve known him to be very poorly and still not cancel a gig, but when he lost his voice as well, he didn’t really have a choice.

We managed to find another band to take their place Saturday night, and then we had a bit of an idle day and evening, and the same on Sunday. But yesterday, as he had another day off work booked, we went to Meadowhall to do the Christmas shopping and he did really well.

We had to keep going back to the car to drop things off and we did stop to have something to eat too – and book our table for mad Friday next week. And when we got home he was ready to drop as well. But we got all but about 2 gifts (apart from each other’s), including something for each of the pets, so we were very content with that.

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All over the weekend we had a bit of a Harry Potter-fest. I’ve read the first book, watched the first 2 films, and played the first 3 or 4 games on Xbox, although I may have abandoned the 4th one as it was quite hard. He’s never seen any of them, or read any of them. So when I saw that the box set was available on Sky Movies for free, I talked him into watching at least the first one … and we ended up watching all but the last one so far.

We won’t be able to catch up with that one tonight as we’re going over to his parents in Doncaster to keep his dad company while his mum goes out for her annual Christmas meal with some of her colleagues. We’ll watch the last one tomorrow night, I think.

The poet still isn’t feeling great and could have done with not going to work this morning. But at least we’ll just be sat indoors this evening.

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I’ve had a busy morning so far but don’t seem to have achieved much.

Saying that, I’ve pitched for 3 new jobs already and have another 10 to consider, I’ve done some pro-bono email work and I’ve done the daily competitions. I’ve also had a bit of an email-fest as I forgot to turn on my out-of-office auto-reply and had a few messages I needed to at least respond to.

I also cleaned some parts of the bird table – one of the feeders and 2 trays. They need a good jetwash and some disinfectant throwing at them, but at least it’s cleaner now than it was so I don’t have to worry about the birds catching any nasty germs.

All I have left to do today, now, is some editing. I have 2 books in I want to finish before breaking up at the end of next week.

Long weekend

IMG_4002aHad it been a much nicer day last Saturday, this would have been a cracking picture. As it is, I still love the way he caught that water droplet on the bottom of these berries.

We have tomorrow until Monday off. I was going to schedule this to post tomorrow, but decided to do it today instead. I already scheduled a post for the gig list for Monday morning. I hope that one works.

Tomorrow, we were going to Lincoln for the Christmas market. I’ve never been to Lincoln and I’ve wanted to visit the Christmas market ever since I moved up here 12 years ago. And tomorrow, we were finally going … until I found out that they don’t allow dogs.

Now, the Lincoln Christmas market is being held in the town centre, i.e. a public, open space. So I didn’t understand why they won’t allow dogs. And so, as you do, I asked, expecting them to say something along the lines of “Oh, it’s in the castle grounds and they don’t allow dogs in the castle”, which would be fair enough.

What I didn’t expect was “Because they’ll get under everyone’s feet” and “Why would you want to take your dog anyway” and “Leave your dog at home [alone, for 8, 10, 12, enter figure of choice here hours]”.

Well, if it’s simply because it gets unbearably busy, then wouldn’t a more pertinent announcement be something like “While the market is being held in a public place, it does get very busy so we don’t recommend you bring your dog”? That would have been fine.

But to ask me why we want to take our dog anyway, and why don’t we just leave him home alone for hours, like what they obviously do, is out of order. That’s like me asking why they’d want to take their child or someone who uses a wheelchair. It really is none of anybody else’s business why we want to take our dog anywhere. All I was asking was, why aren’t they allowed?

After several hours of to-ing and fro-ing, and not a single organiser from the Christmas market bothering to reply, someone suggested Matlock Victorian Christmas market instead.

So I researched it, and I called them up and they said “The only place we don’t allow dogs is in the food marquee”, which is the usual and reasonable response. And when I told her why I was asking, she said they “wouldn’t dream” of trying to ban dogs from their town centre.

Guess which one we’re heading for instead. And, weather permitting, we might have some more pictures to share next week. I don’t think I shall ever make it to Lincoln now on the back of this recent experience. Not ever. And, to rub salt in, someone else said that they would also go to the Matlock market instead, for the exact same reason.

I don’t know what else we’re doing over the weekend until Monday, apart from a gig Saturday night over in Doncaster – surprise, surprise. We might try another walk, we may do the regular weekly shopping, or we may have another go at putting the garden to bed for the winter. But on Monday we’re off to Meadowhall to do our Christmas shopping.

So that’s another 2 x 4-day weeks on the trot.

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, make sure it’s a grandun. 🙂