Friday 31 May 2013

Challenge Update - May

My 2013 challenges are:-

1) Watch one old film each month.

2) List five items on Ebay each month.

3) Have a date night with Mick each month.

I've seen Gone With The Wind numerous times in the past, but it's the film I chose to watch again for May. I absolutely love this film and thoroughly enjoyed watching it again, it's one of those which you can watch over and over and never tire of. That Scarlet O'Hara is a madam though.

I'm still listing five items on Ebay each month and they're selling well. I always list when it's a free listing weekend, no point paying to list the items if you don't have to. I'm surprised by how many free listing weekends there are, they're usually every fortnight. They were never this regular when I used Ebay for selling before.

This month, we had A Date At Lotherton Hall which also took in Lotherton Hall Bird Garden. Although we've been to Lotherton Hall many times, we still enjoy visiting.

We've had a rainy week so far, but the sun is shining today. The next few days look set to be nice, so enjoy the weekend, whatever you're up to.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

First Photos

I thought I'd show you the first photos I took with my new camera. I used it properly for the first time when we went for a walk in Bluebell Wood, a few posts back, but beforehand, I'd tried out the camera on my favourite model.

I think they came out rather well. Of course, it could just be that Archie's got the cute factor.

Monday 27 May 2013

A Sunny Bank Holiday Weekend

I can't believe how lovely the weather's been this weekend. We've really made the most of it so far, and as the sun is continuing to shine today, I'm going to spend some time at the allotment.

Yesterday, we stayed close to home with another trip to Lotherton Hall. We parked the car, spread some blankets on the ground, and I read my book while Mick, Daniel and Eleanor knocked a ball around with a cricket bat. Many families had the same idea as us so it was quite full, but there was plenty enough room for us all.

After a while, we decided to go for a wander. The formal gardens are just starting to fill out now. They can look a little bare in winter but they're stunning in summer. Here's Mick and Archie taking a look.

The trees, beech hedges and topiary give the gardens lots of structure.

The frothy cow parsley is everywhere just now.

And so are daisies.

As soon as I got my new camera, Eleanor snaffled my bridge camera and is enjoying using it. I'll show you some of her photos in another post, she's a more natural photographer than I am.

Archie has to be on his lead in the formal gardens so afterwards, we went to the back of the hall where there's lots of fields and he can have a good run.

The sun was beating down, it was really hot and I've got a bit sunburnt.

Archie had a borrow of Daniel's sunglasses. I think he was a bit relieved to have the sun out of his eyes, he was quite content to lie there and pose in them.

The deer were quite close to the fence, they're often much further away than this.

I love these vans which we came across parked up, so bright and colourful and lots of fun.

We've been lucky with both May bank holiday weekends this year, especially after the weather we've had thrown at us so far this year. If only it could last a little while longer.

Saturday 25 May 2013


We've spent today in Holmfirth. It's somewhere I've wanted to visit for two reasons, firstly because I wanted to have a look in Up Country, a yarn shop which stocks Rowan and Debbie Bliss, and secondly because it's somewhere I've never been before.

Daniel and Eleanor didn't want to come with us, it's getting more and more usual for them to stay at home when we have our days out now. At eighteen and nearly fifteen, they've got their own agendas, so off we toddled on our own.

Our first port of call was Up Country. To say it was a disappointment would be an understatement. I had hoped that as a stockist of Rowan and Debbie Bliss, I'd be able to see a good selection of colours in each of the ranges but most of the yarn was in bags, and there didn't seem to be many colours to choose from.

Holmfirth itself is geared towards tourists. It was the setting for BBC's Last Of The Summer Wine, and has an exhibition dedicated to the show, though we didn't visit it. I've never actually seen the programme, though it's one of my dad's favourite shows and he even watches the repeats when they're shown. We saw the Holmfirth Tour Bus, but as we've never watched Last Of The Summer Wine we didn't bother looking out for the sights from the show.

We did stumble upon Sid's Cafe, and a few other tea rooms which were cashing in on aspects of the show.

Holmfirth itself is very hilly. I've been suffering a bit with my back and it didn't do it any favours. I found I had to have a rest on a bench part way through the day, a sign of me getting old no doubt.

There's some lovely little cobbled areas with lots of shops, and more tea rooms, tucked away behind the main streets.

It's nice to be able to say I've been, but it's not somewhere I'll be in a rush to go back to, although it was a pleasant enough day and at least the sun was shining.

Thursday 23 May 2013

Blood Brothers

Eleanor and I had a fabulous night out last night at The Grand Theatre in Leeds. We went to see Blood Brothers.

This was the third time I'd seen this musical and I loved it just as much as when I saw it the first time. Maureen Nolan played the part of Mrs Johnstone on this occasion, but I've also seen Bernie Nolan and Linda Nolan take on the role. This was the first time that Eleanor has seen Blood Brothers and she really enjoyed it too. I'm so pleased that she enjoys the theatre just as much as I do, it's lovely that we get to have these nights out together.

The Grand Theatre was built in 1878 and the first performance staged there was Much Ado About Nothing. It closed in 2005 for a major refurbishment, opening again over a year later. The theatre seats 1550 at full capacity.

The show started at 7.30pm and the curtain didn't come down until 10.20pm, we certainly got our money's worth. The acting was superb, and those Nolans know how to belt out a tune. It certainly deserved the standing ovation it got at the end.

Monday 20 May 2013

Bluebell Wood

I finally managed to get out with my new camera and test it out, though only on it's automatic setting. I went to the local woods where I walk Archie, but there aren't many nicer places to be than here when the bluebells are in flower.

It's not a huge wood but it's big enough to walk a circular route and give Archie enough exercise.

I don't know what Archie was up to here but he's looking pretty sheepish.

The bluebells are just stunning, they're such a gorgeous shade of blue.

It's such a shame that the bluebell season it so short, though if it were any longer, perhaps they wouldn't be quite so special.

I wonder how many woods in the UK are named Bluebell Wood, there must be hundreds.

Like most flowers, the bluebells are later than usual this year owing to the prolonged cold spell.

It looks like this fallen tree has been here for years, the plants are growing all around it.

The ramsons or wild garlic is in flower at the moment too.

There's a hole in the trunk of this tree and if you stand very still and don't make a sound, you can watch a little bluetit go in and out. It's nest must be in there.

Here's the little hole. You wouldn't even know it was there unless you saw the bluetit popping out of it.

I love this photo showing the three stages of a dandelion, the flower, the seed head and the stalk after the seeds have blown away.

There was Lesser Celandine dotted around the woods too, it looked lovely intermingled with the bluebells.

We have to walk through a farmers field to get back home. Archie loves to run through here.

I think Archie's cheesy smile tells us that he enjoyed his walk.

I'm going to enjoy learning how to use my camera.

Friday 17 May 2013

Blanket Update

I thought I'd give you a bit of an update on the two blankets I'm in the process of crocheting.

As today is the 137th day of the year, my One A Day blanket now consists of 137 squares. I haven't thought about how big I'd ultimately like it to be, I'm just continuing with it until I think it's big enough. It's twelve squares wide, and this time next week will be the 144th day of the year, so it will be a perfect square as it will also be twelve squares long.

Daniel's Ripple blanket now has six colour repeats, so that's sixty rows in total. There's still quite a long way to go with this one.

I'm really enjoying both blankets. I'm not someone who has lots of projects on the go at any one time, but I have to say that it's great alternating the two, though I don't get a good run at the One A Day blanket as I'm only crocheting one square for it each day.

As you can see, they're two totally different blankets, but I love them both.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

A New Toy

I often get given money for birthdays or Christmas which I put aside until there's something I really want to buy with it. I'm always very careful what I spend it on, so it can sometimes be years before it actually gets spent, by which time, more money has been added to it.

I had accumulated quite a bit of money this way, and after reading blogs for years now, and seeing the wonderful photos which people share, I decided that I would invest the money I had saved in a new camera, not just any camera but a DSLR.

I haven't got the first clue about photography, I don't understand a thing about it, but I'd like to learn, so after reading up about different models on the market, I've treated myself with the money I'd got saved to one of the more basic models. I say basic, but I'm sure there's more features in this camera than I'll ever use.

I just hope I manage to work out how to turn it on.

Saturday 11 May 2013

Skipton Waterway Festival

Last weekend saw the annual Waterway Festival held in Skipton. It runs over three days on the May Day bank holiday weekend, so we decided to have a drive over there on Sunday.

This year, for the first time, there was a park and ride which meant we didn't have to hunt for a car parking space in the centre of town. The car could be parked at the Auction Mart where there were a fleet of vintage buses to take us right to the centre of the action. The park and ride which was funded by Yorkshire Water was free, but we made a donation towards the upkeep of the lovely buses.

There were lots and lots of boats which had sailed in to Skipton to attend the festival all lined up along the edges of the canal. Many sported bunting, and many were decorated to reflect this year's festival theme of cartoons.

I loved this Winne the Pooh boat, it had so much going on.

There was even a hunny inspired picnic at the front of the boat.

You couldn't fail to miss this Yellow Submarine boat, it was so bright and cheery.

We walked along the canal looking at all the effort which the owners had put in to decorating their boats, there were some fabulous creations.

I couldn't help but sneak a peek inside this boat as all the crochet goodness caught my eye.

I don't think this boat is sea worthy, it's a flower planter at the side of the canal.

As we sauntered along the canal, we came to the water wheel at High Corn Mill. This is a renovated mill which now houses shops and businesses. The mill now provides power, via the National Grid to twenty local buildings.

We often see ice cream vans, not so often ice cream boats. It looked to be doing a roaring trade.

Eleanor decided against an ice cream, opting instead for a snow cone from one of the festival stalls.

There were lots of events throughout the course of the day including a raft race. We watched from the canal basin and cheered on the contestants.

The Furness Morris Dancers kept the crowds entertained.

I loved their waistcoats, each one is different and hand sewn. They depict a scene relating to the area where the wearer comes from.

It was a great fun packed day with a carnival atmosphere. Different bands played to the crowds, who joined in singing and dancing in the sunshine. It was lovely to just sit and watch.

There was something for everyone there, including craft and retail stalls, catering units, children's activities including a bouncy castle, climbing wall and trampolines, and the RNLI Lifeboat.

The candy floss was very tempting, but I resisted.

Birds of prey are a regular attraction at these kind of events and I always make a beeline for them. This is a Buzzard. That beak could do serious damage.

This Little Owl is our smallest species, though it's not native to the UK.

All in all we had a wonderful day out. The sun was shining, there was plenty of entertainment and as we took a picnic, we didn't have to spend a penny, except for petrol to get there. I shall definitely mark it on my calendar for next year, it was a thoroughly good day out.