Kaleidoscopic migraine

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Slaithwaite moonraking festival (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I experienced what I believe to be (having Googled it …) a kaleidoscopic migraine.

I’ve had migraines before. They usually start with my peripheral vision starting to recede into tunnel vision. And if I don’t get to lie down in a darkened room before the tunnel vision becomes pin-pricks, I get a terrible headache accompanied by nausea.

I was in the middle of an electronic edit yesterday when my peripheral vision started to go, and I thought, ooh eck (cos that’s how they talk oop north). But I carried on because I wanted to finish the job … until the kaleidoscope of lights and shapes started to hinder my vision so much I had to go and lie down in that darkened room anyway.

When the poet nipped home for lunch, he took one look at me and knew there was something wrong. I avoided cheese and chocolate, and went back to bed when he went back to work. And within half an hour, it was all over.

As I say, I’ve Googled it already (with apologies to those of you who hate to see that as a verb!), and I’m pretty certain it was just a migraine. Has anyone else experienced something like that?

I did manage another couple of hours on the electronic edit before taking the dog for a walk around the lake, and something from that walk must have stuck at the back of my mind. Because this morning I woke with the idea for a story almost fully formed, centred around a lake that’s tucked away and almost forgotten. I don’t know if it will be a short, 1,000-word story, or if I might be able to make it something meatier. But it’s the bones of a story and before breakfast it was in my notebook. I’ll leave that one there for now, to percolate.

This morning, also before breakfast, I already emptied the dishwasher and filled it back up again, put one wash through and sorted the next washload ready (I’m about to go and put the first on a spin before hanging it out and putting the second load through), fed the pets and emptied the kitchen bin. It’s a glorious day, but with my workload I only have time to hang two lots of washing out today, and fetch them back in again, of course.

But I didn’t get to my desk until 10am, and I still have lots to do. I have that electronic edit to finish and a hard-copy proofread to start, I want to do some more short story brainstorming work, I have invoices to raise (hurrah!), and a dog to walk. On top of that, we have to be out by 6:30pm this evening for a gig on the other side of Doncaster, so it’ll be a rush for tea too.

Tomorrow there’s another gig, in the centre of Doncaster this time, so we can’t go far tomorrow. If it’s as nice as today (and I have my shorts on today, it’s so nice), I’d like to get another two washloads on the line and maybe a short outing. Then on Sunday we’re visiting both lots of parents.

What’re you up to this weekend?

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?

Our lane in February

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Our lane. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Last weekend we went for our first walk of the year down our lane. It’s usually flooded but has been quite snowy, slushy and icy more recently. This was a lovely spring-like day with the sun shining in a blue sky.

There’s a working farm down here, a 17th century manor house with farm buildings (one of which is ours), a pair of houses that are semi-detached, and a bungalow at the end of it.

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Snowdrops. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The first thing we saw were the snowdrops. These are the first we’ve seen this year, but then, we haven’t been out much and they may have been there a month already.

There are some old chinese lanterns along here too, but they’re long past their best. We also think they may have been dumped there by man as they don’t tend to grow naturally in the English countryside … do they?

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Holly. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

All of the berries have gone from the holly, but it’s still looking quite splendid. This lines the lane all the way down to the end, and probably beyond. It’s a beautiful deep green, very lush, and a great place for the woodland birds to hide in as we walk past.

The poet’s learning how to use his camera at the moment and I think he achieved the desired effect with this picture. He’s getting quite good at blurring the background now.

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Mallards skating on Wormy’s Lake. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The main purpose of the walk on this occasion, apart from to blow away the winter cobwebs, was for him to assess the lake, to see if it’s ready for fishing yet. Unfortunately it was still very much iced over, with these ducks paddling on the top.

There weren’t many birds on the water and he says the fish won’t be biting much either. So he’s filed the data away for another time.

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Lord Rufus loving his walk around Wormy’s Lake. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

They’ve started some clearance and we’re not sure if that’s so the people who live in the bungalow can see the water, or whether they’re maintaining it for when it can be fished. Because there were no anglers, however, we were able to let the dog off his lead. And he had a proper bostin time, running along, exploring the undergrowth, and even coming back when we called him. He’s getting a lot better.

We won’t be walking along the lane this weekend. Tomorrow we’re going to look at a new car for the poet as his is up for renewal, we’ll drop in on his parents while we’re over there, and tomorrow night he has a gig in Doncaster.

Because of that we’re going out for our Valentine’s Day meal tonight. We’re going Italian. Then on Sunday we’re off for a bit more of a walk to break in his new boots and for him to try out his camera some more.

What are you up to this weekend? Hope it’s a goodun. 🙂

In our veg box this week

fruit boxOn Friday we had our first fruit n veg box delivery. All the produce in these boxes is organic, fresh, in season, and local where able. Our delivery was waiting for us on our doorstep when we got up. I think that’s excellent service. (We’d told them we live on a farm so the doorstep would be perfectly safe if we were out. It was nice of them not to wake us.)

In the fruit box we had bananas, kiwi fruit, a pineapple, oranges and apples. So far we’ve managed a banana each and 2 apples. It’s all slightly under-ripe, so none of it will go off before we have chance to use it. (Apart from the apples, which are British and therefore out of storage.)

veg boxIn the veg box we had potatoes, carrots, parsnips, swede, savoy cabbage, chard, avocados and portabello mushrooms. We’re saving the roots, tubers and avocados, as they’ll keep. But we used the chard in a quiche at the weekend and in a stir-fry. Quite a few of our Facebook friends helped out with suggestions for the chard. Some of the cabbage went into the stir-fry too, as well as 2 of the mushrooms.

On the whole we were very impressed with both the contents and the service, and when we worked out how much the produce would have cost us in the supermarket, when you also take delivery into consideration (and lack of food miles, etc), we think we were actually quids in. Our next boxes come a week on Friday.

Saturday was a busy day for us. We headed down to Birmingham fairly early on because the poet had to be back for the band’s first gig of the year in Doncaster. And he had to be there for 6:30pm. So we did a couple of things for Mom and Dad, headed back, had a quick tea, and off he went. I followed 90 minutes later on the train. After setting up, he came to collect me from the station at the other end. It was a private party so there was food on – pie, chips and mushy peas! Very working-men’s-club. I was very disappointed that the cake wasn’t cut – and there were 2 birthday cakes so they could have spared a slice. But it was a nice gig, and we picked my car up from the station on our way past.

Sunday morning we were up very early … well, “very early” for us on a Sunday morning following a 2am finish the night before. Wentworth Garden Centre was hosting its regular monthly farmers’ market and we wanted to subsidise the fruit and veg boxes with meat and cheese, etc. This particular market is there the second Sunday of every month. I’ve been before, a few times, and I know if you don’t get there early they run out of stuff.

It was the poet’s first visit and we went armed with a single shopping bag. We got there for 10:30am and already a lot of the samples were all gone. There were about a dozen stands – honey, eggs, cheese, meat, water buffalo, venison, fish, chocolate, bread, cake, jewellery, soap. Some of them had travelled from as far away as Halifax and Harrogate; others had only come from Barnsley.

I was pleased to see the chocolatier still vending there. Melanie’s is a family run business from Cudworth in Barnsley. I’ve chatted to the owner, to her husband, and to one of their fathers before now, and they always have something interesting to say, such as chocolate shouldn’t be kept in the fridge as it loses its sheen. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the bulk of the stock was chocolate hearts with messages iced onto them. But we were happy with a slab of dark chocolate for him and a slab of white chocolate for me – I usually get chocolate buttons so the slab will make a nice change.

Another former favourite of mine is the water buffalo. Buffalo is lower in fat than beef and, to me, tastier than ostrich but not as rich as venison. They had steaks and sausages for sale and various burgers, but we plumped for regular bison burgers. From the regular meat stall we bought a Barnsley chop for him (it’s a double-sided chop) and a lamb chop for me. We also bought chicken fillets, one of which went into yesterday’s stir-fry with the chard, mushrooms and cabbage.

Recently we watched Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast on telly, and we learned about pullet eggs. These are the first eggs a new laying chicken lays, and they’re often wasted or shipped to make powdered egg because they’re smaller than the medium and large eggs favoured by supermarkets. “They won’t have any here,” said the poet. “Oh yes we will,” replied one of the farmers. And, sure enough, they had loads. So we bought a half-dozen for the grand total of 50p!

We bought freshly baked sliced bread and a giant Swiss roll cake, rapeseed cooking oil with garlic (as rapeseed is grown prolifically by British farmers), and a concentrated hoisin sauce – the latter, again, for our stir-fry. We also bought cheese – from Coverdale and from Wensleydale. Good old Yorkshire produce.

When our shopping bag was full, we headed back to the car. We will probably return, but we think there may be other farmers’ markets on our own side of the M1 that we’d also like to try. It was less than 20 minutes drive away, though, so no reason why we shouldn’t go back.

It was nice to have a stroll around the stalls on a frosty, sunny morning. The fresh air did us so much good that when we got home we took the dog for a quick walk around Wormy’s Lake to see what the fishing might be like yet. (It isn’t, it’s still frozen.) And when we got home we baked 2 quiches (mushroom and chard, and quiche lorraine).

This week, then, it’s more or less back to normal, apart from a dental appointment for the poet this afternoon. I have a book to edit and 2 books to check author revisions against. But I also have a novel to start copy-typing – and a backup to do every Friday! Today I’m typing a draft of a short story too, so I’m still busy.

How was your weekend?