Sunday, 27 November 2022

Christmas Lights

It was the annual switch on of our small town's Christmas lights on Friday. We used to take Daniel and Eleanor when they were young, and Mick and I went on our own back in 2016. We've missed a few years so I thought it was time we went along again. Daniel and Jasmine came with us this year, I think Eleanor and Jacob might have come too if it wasn't for the fact that Eleanor was rehearsing with her amateur dramatics group, it's almost time for the show to start and she's playing the lead part in Sleeping Beauty this year.

The whole Main Street is closed off to traffic and the festivities start at 5pm. We didn't go that early so I don't know what other entertainment was on the stage, but we were in time to see Santa Claus and the Leeds Rhinos mascot, Ronnie the Rhino, having a dance off.

At other times, Santa was dishing out gifts to children.

It's such a lovely community event for people of all ages. The local businesses get involved too and I love to see how all the independent shops decorate their windows. This is the local florist's window.

The market stalls were set up all day and there was a good mix of things on offer, mulled wine and hot chocolate being sold on one stall, children's toys on another. There were candles and wax melts, cakes and sweet treats, Christmas baubles, all sorts of things.

There was something for the daredevils too, this High Roller ride was set up in the car park and there were plenty of takers, though you wouldn't catch me on anything like that.

Ah, hook-a-duck, that's more my thing. I remember Daniel and Eleanor each winning a goldfish from the hook-a-duck at the Christmas lights event a very long time ago and they both lived for years. They grew and grew and we kept having to buy bigger and bigger tanks for them, they must have outgrown about four or five. I'm glad to see that the only creatures which could be won on this stall were of the fur and stuffing variety.

The thing we came to see, the light switch-on, happened at 7pm. They're not the best if I'm being honest, but they add a little cheer to the town and we could all do with a bit of that at the moment.

The night was rounded off with a brilliant firework display which went on for quite a while and thrilled the children. It was a lovely community event and I'm glad I went along.

Are there events in your community in the lead up to Christmas and will you be attending them?

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Down By The Canal

Monday was the coldest day of autumn so far this year, it was quite bracing down by the canal where we chose to walk.

We parked by the bridge. Looking in the direction we were going to walk, there were quite a few boats moored by the waters edge.

It looked very bleak in the opposite direction, not a boat in sight.

This is the Aire and Calder Navigation, the canalised section of the Rivers Aire and Calder, which was built to connect Leeds to the Humber and the North Sea. There was a boat selling refreshments the last time we were here and we could have definitely done with a warm drink but alas, we had to make do without as it had packed up and gone.

I love to read all the names of the boats as we pass them. This one is called Marcel. Behind the trees is the River Aire, the canal and river join together further along.

Lemonroyd Lock. Locks allow a canal to go up and down hills by altering the level of the water. If you look carefully, you can see the different water levels in the canal and the lock chamber.

We turned off here into the woods. We were glad we'd worn our walking boots as it was quite muddy.

The tunnel goes underneath the railway lines. We decided to head back from here as it looked as though it was getting even muddier.

We'd passed the marina on our way out, now we were passing it on our way back. Some of the boats look really cosy with smoke rising from their chimneys.

A boat had just come in and this family of swans were eagerly looking for any goodies which were on offer. They didn't find any. One of the cygnets is missing from my photo, there were four in total. I didn't realise that cygnets would stay with their parents so long, they were around the same size as the adult swans, but apparently, they leave between the age of four to ten months, in late autumn. How sad to think this little family will part company soon.

I'll leave you with a photo of a cormorant which came swooping down and landed just ahead of us. I think it must be a juvenile by its colouring, though I'm not entirely sure.

Although it was nice to get outdoors for a walk, I was glad to get home again, it was just so cold. It poured down not long after we arrived home so it was a good thing that we set off when we did and didn't leave our walk for later in the day. It's supposed to warm up again now getting to double figures by the end of the week. That's fine by me, I hate the cold weather.

Saturday, 19 November 2022

My Journaling Plans For 2023

I've kept journals in one way or another for many years now, though I'm always trying out new ways to record my ramblings. This year I've been using a Hobonichi Cousin.

It's worked well. At first I wondered if I'd manage to journal every single day, and also if I'd manage to fill up an A5 size page, but I have on both counts.

The Hobonichi is actually a planner rather than a journal and I did wonder how I'd fill up each section to make use of the whole book. There is a full page for each day of the year and this is where I do my journalling, but there are other sections too. I used the yearly section, which has just a line for each day of the year, to record my step count and I decided to use the weekly layouts to record reading, crafting and walks throughout the year.

The monthly sections never got used at all though.

I have to admit that writing in an A5 journal every single day of the year and filling up the whole page is quite time consuming, and as much as I've enjoyed using this Hobonichi, I've decided to go back to using my old journal, which is just an A4 undated book which I write in as and when. This book has been used since 2006 with years off here and there as I've tried out different journals, but in the end, I always return to it.

Who knows, after a year off writing every day I may try out a different journal again. Time will tell. Do you journal? What do you use to journal in? Do you write every single day or just when you have something to record?

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Solar Socks

My Strictly Sockalong 2022 socks are finished and off the needles. Ali from the Little Drops of Wonderful podcast hosts a knitalong each year which runs alongside Strictly Come Dancing. Those taking part knit a pair of socks and I think this is the fifth year that I've joined in.

This year I used some yarn which was sent to me all the way from Australia by my lovely friend Susan from Granny Smith's Quilting. It's by Maximoo yarns and is in the Candy Store Ruins colourway. I think it's knit up beautifully.

Here is a close up of the pattern. It's called Solar by Gill Slater, it's a free pattern on Ravelry. I haven't used it before but it's well written and very easy to memorise, it's given a lovely result. It looks really nice when it's stretched out a little, as it will be when being worn.

You can see all the beautiful colours in the yarn

Sometimes I put a different heel in a pair of socks from the one given in the pattern but I followed the instructions here and I'm very pleased with the finished item.

This is the first knitting I've done this year and it's definitely given me the urge to knit more, in fact, I may have already cast on something new. Watch this space.

Friday, 11 November 2022

A Room With A View

I know nothing at all about E M Forster, I haven't read any of his books, but I picked up A Room with a View from the bookshop in Whitby when we visited earlier this year.

"In a sunny tale of love and liberation, Lucy Honeychurch is transformed by the characters she meets on her first trip to Italy: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, lower-class Mr Emerson and, most of all, his passionate, unconventional son. Returning to her traditional home and family, Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of her experiences in Italy and the repressed morals of English middle-class society - a conflict personified in the two very different young men she finds courting her attention.

Sundrenched and optimistic, and exploring many issues at the heart of Edwardian life - radical thinking, women's suffrage, the constrictions of English social rules - this is a brilliantly witty love story."


I'm afraid to say that I just didn't get on with this book at all. If I were in the habit of abandoning a book half way through, I would have done so with this one. I didn't like the writing style and I found some of the conversations very hard to follow as it wasn't made obvious who was talking. I found myself going back to the beginning of paragraphs trying to follow the dialogue, and I'm not sure I even worked it out then.

I found the story itself rather boring and I'm afraid of all the classics I've read so far this year, this is the worst. I shan't be reaching for another Forster novel in the near future.

Monday, 7 November 2022

Laundry Day

I can't believe that I'm still hanging washing on the line in November. The weather is still rather mild and so, while ever I can, I'll continue to dry my washing outdoors.

I don't think you can beat line-dried washing for freshness, and it saves on energy costs too. At a time when many people can't afford the cost of running a tumble dryer, these mild days are a blessing.

I stripped the bed yesterday and got it pegged out first thing. Of course, we were forecast rain later in the day so I brought it in just after lunch time as were were going out and I didn't want it to get wet again. It only needed an airing indoors. Getting the washing outdoors for even a short spell saves having it hung around the house wet or having to use the tumble dryer.

I know some people use the tumble dryer even during the summer months. What about you, are you still pegging out or are you drying indoors now?

Thursday, 3 November 2022

My Advent Calendar For 2022

I've had a yarny advent calendar to open during the countdown to Christmas for the last few years now, it's become a bit of a tradition. In fact, I often have more than one as I've been involved in quite a few swaps too.

This year, I've gone with the Charity Advent which is organised by Helen at Giddy Yarns again. It's a bit different from the advents offered by most other yarn dyers as it's a collaboration and each mini skein is dyed by a different dyer. Thirty Five UK dyers are on board this year, each supplying one of the yarns for the 24 day advent or 12 day countdown box. It's fun to try yarn from dyers I've never bought yarn from before. I also like the fact that money raised from these advents and countdown boxes is donated to three charities, Shelter, Action for Children and Reengage.

I'm not taking part in any swaps this year so I shall have just this one advent calendar to open during December. Has anyone else bought a yarny advent calendar, or any other type of advent calendar?

Sunday, 30 October 2022

A Halloween Wedding

The skeletons are awakening at Lotherton Hall.

Waking from a long, long sleep.

Creeping from under the ground.

Be careful walking around the grounds or you might just lose your head.

We often visit Lotherton around Halloween. One of my past posts shows you a Spooky Halloween in the woods, but this year we decided to attend the wedding of  Lord Lesley and Lady Cynthia. They certainly arrived at the venue in style.

Come with me inside Lotherton Hall where we'll find out if it's death do them part or if there's too many skeletons in the closet.

There were quite a few unsavoury guests.

Other guests were a little more refined.

I think some guests were just taking advantage of the fire. No doubt it'll be back to hot water bottles when they go home, saving on the energy bills.

I'm not sure but I think this bird may have tweeted its last.

Lotherton always put on a fantastic Halloween event. This year, the Spooky Skeleton Trail is back throughout the estate, there's skeletons in the woods, the gardens, Wildlife World and the house. There's even the lost village of Lutherington. This year, there's also an after dark event, Skeleskare. The skeletons of Lotherton come to life! This event contains live actors, light and sound effects and is not suitable for under 8s or timid children. Eeek, what about timid adults.

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Halloween At Temple Newsam

It's getting rather spooky at Temple Newsam Farm and anyone visiting over the Halloween period may get more than they bargained for.

There's witches a plenty.

What's this?  Goblins in charge of the carriages, whatever next.

Make no bones about it, there's scary goings on in the laundry. Eeek, there's a mangled hand!

The Dairy. The skeletons are milking it now!

What a fun day out. This is just a taster of what's on offer, there's lots more to see too and the younger visitors were loving it when we were there.

Saturday, 22 October 2022

Temple Newsam Home Farm

Following on from Temple Newsam Centenary Celebrations, included in our 6p admission fee was entrance to Temple Newsam Home Farm. I don't have to be told more than once that I can go and see some animals.

After Leeds City Council purchased Temple Newsam back in 1922, work soon began on creating a state of the art milking parlour at the Home Farm site with the aim of supplying tuberculin free milk to the schools and hospitals of Leeds. By the 1930s, a herd of pedigree shorthorns were producing 70,000 gallons of milk a year. Leeds City Council continued to operate this dairy until 1968. A decade later, in 1978, Home Farm opened its gates as a visitor attraction and has since been recognised as being one of the largest rare breeds centres in Europe. The Vaynol is a unique population of cattle. The herd was established in 1872 in Vaynol Park, North Wales, adjacent to the Isle of Anglesey. It was maintained there as a semi-feral herd until 1980 when it was moved to a series of locations in England. It has never existed in large numbers. The main herd now resides at Temple Newsam and a small subsidiary herd has been recently established in Lincolnshire as a precaution against disease outbreak.

There were quite a few animals to see in the farmyard and farm buildings. One of the barns houses guinea pigs alongside traditional farm animals.

Cute goats, more intent on eating than posing for photos.

More cute goats. They'd found a spot of sunshine and were taking a rest.

The pigs are my favourite bit of any farm. This is Mabel, a Saddleback.

We then went further afield into the paddocks where we saw more sheep.

There were more goats too.

Some were happy to stay by their shelter.

Just look at the apples on this tree. I wonder if they get fed to the animals.

The highlight of my day was seeing this lovely mummy pig and her piglets.

The piglets were running around playing with each other, and they kept coming over to the fence wanting us to scratch their backs. They even laid down for a tummy tickle. They were just like puppies.

This piglet is trying to eat a twig. They kept us entertained for ages.

Of course, a visit to Temple Newsam Farm wouldn't be complete without a visit to the donkeys, such gentle souls.

They weren't very interested in us on this occasion though, I didn't even get to stroke either of them.

Why is it that goats have to climb? Hmmm, no table manners!

What a lovely day out we had.