We’ve been moving house – again! (*** mini rant alert x 2 ***)

OFFICEI went AWOL again, didn’t I? Sorry about that. All is well, we’ve just been moving house again, and I had a lot to do before the internet was switched off at the old house, and then they went and switched it off a day early. By the time it came back up, I had another lot to do. But now I think I might be catching up a little.

We’re spread between 2 houses at the moment. We thought it might be a good idea to keep both properties on at the same time and move in gradually. But now I’m not so sure that was the best thing. It seems to be dragging out the process rather than getting it all done in one go.

The first priority, as ever, was to get my office up and running. So even before we had the keys we had to go and choose office furniture. The office has been in action for almost 2 weeks now. We just need to fetch some curtains over to finish it off. I’m on the ground floor again, quite close to the front door, with a beautiful view across the garden to the farm we’ll be living on.

My old office furniture has gone into the poet’s new studio and his computer followed. We still have to bring the studio/music equipment over and that may be happening this evening. Then we had to get his computer connected to the internet as well, and that’s what we did last week.

We moved the spare bed over (in pieces) so we could sleep over if we needed to, but the fridge-freezer is still at the old place and when we came to use the cooker at the new place, the thermostat wasn’t working. Result – burnt dinner and a melted tray (it was a shop-bought lasagne). So last Friday we also went out and bought a new cooker and hob …

… are we ready for a mini rant?

<mini rant>
So we were in Curry’s, looking at ceramic hobs and the assistant asked if we had any questions. I asked if our lovely copper-bottom stainless-steel practically brand new Prestige pan set would work on the ceramic hob. She not only said that yes it would, but then went on to talk us into buying an induction hob instead.

We arrived home with our brand new cooker and hob, which the poet fitted (he’s also an electrician). But when we came to test the hob, OUR PANS DIDN’T WORK.

I did a bit of a Google and discovered that induction hobs really don’t like the copper bottoms, and it was a well-known issue amongst induction-hob-owners the world over.

To say I was a bit livid is putting it mildly, and had I NOT asked the question in the first place, I would have kicked myself. But I DID ask, and I WAS told that YES, my pans would work on all of their hobs.
</mini rant>*

On Saturday, then, we had to go out and buy a complete set of new pans. We had to be back at the new place by 1pm, though, as Sky was coming to fit our new telly. We were going from Sky HD+ to Sky Q 

… and guess what … I have another mini rant!

<mini rant #2>
When I was talking to Sky on the phone, the one question I asked was “will we still be able to watch our recorded problems when we have Sky Q?” The answer was not only a resounding “Yes!”, but we were also talked out of having another mini Q box fitted at this time with the discount included because our old box would still work.

Now this discount is worth about sixty quid. So we discussed it and decided we’d pay the full installation amount if we found we needed the extra box in the future, i.e. after we’d finished watching everything on our old box.

When the engineers arrived, they offered to take our box back so we’d get a further £10 discount. But we said we were going to keep it and use it alongside our new Q.

“Er, no you’re not,” said one. “You have a new Sky dish. There’s no connection for the old box …”

Diane (politely but icily): “Excuse me?”

He repeated himself and I’m afraid I had to leave the room. I mean, I’d ASKED again!
</mini rant #2>

It really is me, isn’t it?

Anyway, we now have Sky Q working beautifully at the new house and Sky HD working at the old house, and we’re frantically watching what we can before this Saturday, when everything moves to the new house.

But I tested the oven yesterday with some old staples, and very successfully baked a dozen cherry buns and a dozen white choc chip cookies (the poet said they even tasted like cookies …). Then the poet tested the hob yesterday evening and made a chicken dinner, frying the chicken breasts in one of the new frying pans as we didn’t have any foil to bake it in at the new house.

We settled down to watch a film on the telly too, and he was delighted to find that the new Q links to his YouTube account so he can now watch his subscribed videos on the big telly instead of on his mobile phone.

So all is well, but we still have a lot to do. We move the big stuff over this Saturday, and then we have a week to bring over anything that’s left and to give the old house a good clean.

If I disappear again, you know why. 🙂

*<mini rant> and </mini rant> nicked quite blatantly from Twitter, Facebook and NaNoWriMo mate Steven Chapman.

Walk: Clumber Park

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Bridge over Clumber Lake (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

New Year’s Day dawned bright and relatively clear and we wanted to kick off our new “regular walking regime” with an actual walk. But where to go?

We wanted somewhere a bit flat (because we’re just starting). We wanted somewhere near water (because we both like water). We wanted somewhere the poet could have a go on his new “spotting scope” (because it was his new Christmas toy and he wanted to play with it). We wanted a National Trust property (because we’ve paid for it). And we wanted somewhere fairly close-by (because we didn’t want to spend the limited daylight hours at this time of year driving and only an hour of daylight walking).

So where to go?

Our choices included Nostell Priory (but we weren’t sure what would be open), Calke Abbey (but that might be better visited on our way back from Birmingham one day), and Clumber Park (but we’ve been there before – lots of times). We settled for Clumber Park for the flatness, because we know there’s birdlife, and we knew it would be empty … And anyway, as there’s a path all the way round, I wouldn’t even need my walking boots …

Ho ho ho – how wrong were we on those last 2 counts?

So we packed our picnic, packed the car, and headed off. Within 45 minutes we were there.

And it was PACKED.

And very, very MUDDY.

We had to go through 2 different checks to get in on our membership cards and then drove around for a while, in the regular car park, looking for a space. And we found one that was just being vacated.

Clumber Park has lots of facilities for visitors, including bicycle hire (and power cycles), gift shops, nature trails, things for kids to do, several cafeterias, a church, a walled garden – I love the walled garden but (a) the dog isn’t allowed, and (b) it was closed on this visit. The dog, however, is allowed everywhere in the grounds SO LONG AS HE’S KEPT ON A LEAD … there were a number of other dog owners there who really need to know that this applies to them as well.

(Mini rant alert) If there are other people about, especially children, or other dogs, or livestock, or signs that request it, we always keep our dog on a lead. He’s not vicious, but he is playful. Very playful. Quite excitable. And a nuisance. So when other dogs come up to him that aren’t on leads to sniff at him, he may think they’re coming to play and he goes into play mode. But if that’s not what they want, they can go into snap mode – and that causes our dog to go into snap mode too. He also has a massive BARK. And then it risks getting nasty. OUR DOG IS KEPT ON A LEAD FOR A REASON. Please respect that when you see other dog walkers around. And please, please, PLEASE respect the signs. They really do apply to you too. Those who don’t keep their dogs under control risk having dogs banned from that attraction for ever – and that really isn’t fair on those of us who do keep them under control. (End of mini rant)

So anyway, we headed off across the lawn to the lakeside and started our walk. By this time I had put my walking boots on … and my gaiters, as it really was very wet and muddy underfoot, with path-wide puddles up to the ankles in some places. It was incredibly busy and we tried to keep to the grassed and wooded parts, where we saw a rhododendron coming to life after the autumn hibernation and a white squirrel. There were grey squirrels playing too, but the white one was quite a treat.

The poet took pictures of the ducks, the geese, the swans, the other waterfowl. He took pictures of the surroundings. He took pictures of us.

About halfway around, just over the first bridge, there was an ice cream van and a snack bar. We’d left the picnic in the car but I needed some sugar to get me back there. So we both had mince pies, I had an ice cream, and we shared a bottle of Coca Cola. The dog was far too excited to have anything, especially as all of these hundreds of people were obviously there just to see him! (And in fact, some of them were!)

I checked MapMyWalk and we’d done just under 2 miles, so that didn’t feel very good.

We walked a bit further to where the poet could set up his telescope, and we stayed a while to see what he could see through that. We met a labradoodle and a jackshit (a cross between a jack russell and a shiatsu!). The lab was yampy, the jack was very sweet – and quite quiet for a jack.

By the time we got back to the car we were ready for our picnic. The weather had stayed dry and we’d walked more than 4 miles, but the dog was filthy and needed a good rub down before being allowed back in the car. He had a big, long drink, helped us with our picnic, and then fell asleep.

The walk was nice and flat, if muddy underfoot. It’s further than we’ve walked just lately but it was doable. We were both stiff when we got out of the car at home 45 minutes later, and I was quite achey the following morning (so was the poet, but his was gigor mortis). But it was a nice, easy walk to start with and had plenty to see and do on the way around.

MapMyWalk

clumber park mapmywalk

 

Raking the moon (and a mini rant)

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More of the skating mallards on Wormy’s Lake. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We feel very privileged to live where we do, and we’re very happy to pay for that privilege – and pay well. As with everything else in the history of this blog, I’ve used nicknames of people or places in my life to maintain some privacy. I’m generally very open, but not when it concerns others whose blog this isn’t, unless I’ve already asked their permission. And I’m the same on Facebook, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, the lot.

This is why we call the lake at the end of our lane “Wormy’s Lake”. It’s a privately owned lake that Leeds & District Amalgamated Society of Anglers owns the angling rights to, and the poet has a Leeds & District ASA fishing licence that entitles him to fish there – along with about 2 or 3 other anglers on a busy day. But the actual lake is private property and has trespassing warnings all over it. They don’t even hold matches there. And it’s a bit too close to where we actually live for me to be revealing any map co-ordinates to the world and his wife. Oh yes, and we call it “our lane” because it’s the lane where we live. Isn’t that normal?

Someone has not only felt the need to go out of their way to find out where we live (when all they had to do was ask, as others have done privately), but they’ve also gone to the liberty of trying to tell others where we live too. This is all very odd to us and, actually, smacks of either stalking or sour grapes – and many people we’ve told agree. We made a very conscious decision to move to where we live now, for many, many reasons that are not really anyone else’s business. And – actually – we made sure we got it. We’re also very proud that we did get it. We’ve had a pretty nasty slog to get here and we’re bloody pleased that we did. If that makes us smug, then so be it.

We will continue to enjoy our new surroundings and I will continue to bore folk with tales and pictures of our surroundings. If anyone doesn’t like it, they know what to do – or what not to do. DON’T come here; DON’T watch; DO press the hide or delete button. But reveal our private details to anyone and we WILL take it further.

*** end of mini rant ***

We’ve had another very busy week with the poet away in Germany for most of it. Then yesterday he was “over the hill” in Manchester again, and this morning he’s on his way to Sheffield. This afternoon we go to pick up his new car, which we spent a couple of hours last Saturday deliberating over. And this evening, we’ll do the shopping.

There’s a busy weekend on the horizon too. Tomorrow it’s the Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival. I have been going to this biennial event so many times since I found out about it and tomorrow – I hope – we’re going to finally make it. On Sunday we’re off to Birmingham to see my parents, and Monday we’re off to Doncaster to see the poet’s parents and his daughter, and to celebrate his grand-daughter’s first birthday.

Our fruit and veg boxes are due today. They weren’t there when we got up this morning, but I think they were early last time because of the snow. When we do the shopping, we’ll buy stuff to complement what we get. And that means we may also squeeze in a trip to a farm shop over the weekend.

Workwise, I have to get my head down now as I have some very pressing deadlines all coming in at once and one of them is a very big job.

What are you up to this weekend?