Saturday, 22 October 2016


Thank you to those of you who suggested using nail varnish remover to get rid of sticky label residue.

I wore my new boots last night, but the price sticker was very stubborn. Dan remembered the tip and hey presto, a quick rub and it was gone!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Hero Product

I very occasionally talk about my favourite possessions, the things that really make things easier for me. For the other items so far you can see herehere and here.

Today it's the turn of my measuring cups and spoons.

The measuring spoons are particularly brilliant as they came from a Christmas cracker! I do have a dessertspoon sized one but it's elsewhere as I use it to measure out laundry crystals. 

I use one or more of these every day, it saves messing about with scales as I know what I need for whichever grain or pulse we're eating that day and all that kind of stuff. They were probably the best tool I had when I lost 42lbs in weight a decade ago, they help me to reach things from deep shelves, and of course I use them as a cat scaring device when they get too close to the birds. 

Now I think of it, the chopping block is important in our world too, as well as using it for the intended purpose it's bit enough to cover the hole in the worktop!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The Start Of Something

I know it's early to be thinking about the December Festival, but this little make is for the charity shop, not for me so it needs to be finished in good time, and by the start of next month I'll be dreading the whole event and won't be in the mood.

I'm making a festive wreath. I've wanted to make one for a while but don't need one for here as 1. I probably wouldn't get round to using it 2. my Mum made me one. 

I made a start in the gloom yesterday and this morning I've started to adorn it with flowers

The hoop cost £4 and the glittery ribbon was 49p, I'm after some gold beads, hopefully a necklace will show up at the shop, and I may be able to have a look in the button box for some extras, everything else will hopefully come from my stash so with any luck it will cost less than a fiver.

I am in two minds about making something to hang in the centre, what say you? Any other advice welcomed.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Baby It's Cold Outside

Cold War, nuclear winter that is. 

I wanted to visit the recently revamped York Art Gallery and ceramic arts centre, but whenever we plan to visit York we never seem to quite get there. So to sweeten the deal and make sure we didn't end up somewhere more exciting instead I suggested we visit the York Cold War Bunker. For anyone familiar with York but not the bunker, it's in Holgate, just off Acomb Road, really easy to find and right on a great bus route, but it's also walkable from the train station and city centre if you're reasonably agile. 

At just before 10am the gate slid open and we were allowed inside. 

The bunker was operational, on a voluntary basis, from the 1960's until 1991 but only in active service, thankfully, during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. 

All tours are guided, and it's a good thing, our guide Emily was so knowledgeable and made it far easier to understand the what, how and why of the situation. The York bunker is the only bunker remaining in this state, although others are still used for other purposes. Smaller, three person bunkers are dotted all over the country, this larger 60 person bunker existed to collect all the information from these smaller sites and report on them. 

There was enough food, water and power for 30 days, after that the volunteers would have to leave the bunker and face whatever was left of the world!

I don't want to give too much else away in case anyone chooses to visit. 

We were on the first tour of the day at 10am, there were four other people which made it a really nice group size and easy to see everything in the bunker, when we left at around 11.15 there were well over 20 people for the next tour, so it may be worth bearing in mind. Including Gift Aid the bunker is £7.90 to tour, but is an English Heritage property so if you're a member it will be free entry, well worth the money, I can imagine we'll visit again.  

We walked into the centre after that to the gallery, which although I enjoyed it and the space is now a vast improvement on what was there before, I would have been a little disappointed to have to pay the full admission price of £7.50 (it's free with the Art Pass), although I am probably being a little hash there as they have done a brilliant job and there are some great pieces in their collection. The current exhibition Flesh is excellent, if not always pleasant viewing! It has made me very excited to see the Ron Mueck Artists Rooms at Ferrens Art Gallery, Hull as part of Hull 2017 Capital of Culture. 

To top off an excellent day we stopped in Harrogate on the way home for provisions, thanks to a heads up from Pensive Pensioner we swiped our loyalty card as spends over £10 are rewarded this weekend with bonus points. We struck lucky and "won" 5000 points which I think is worth £25! I could be wrong but I think 500 points is £2.50. What a bonus! 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Home And Away

The final questions for now. 

This was the first question to arrive, and the hardest to answer, history is not my strong point, I know shamefully little about history in general, in fact I always say all I know about the 20th Century comes from the Billy Joel song We Didn't Start The Fire! Still, I'll do my best and I do thank Sam  for making me think so hard. 

Would you talk more about your town or village - unique aspects, history... what brought you there or has it always been home?

Until I was asked this question all I knew about the history of St Anne's on the Sea was that it grew out of a fishing village in the late 1800s, is a planned town aaaand that's about it. If you say to anyone from outside the area that you live in St Anne's no-one will have a clue where you mean, if you say Lytham St Anne's people will have a small chance of knowing, if you say "it's next to Blackpool" pretty much everyone will know! Luckily for me someone else has done all the hard work and provides a nice potted history here.

Having had a little read around it appears that the town exists purely to make money! It was developed for people to spend time at the seaside, relax and play golf. Which, to be honest is the reason people come to visit even now! The main thing St Anne's is known for is golf. The Open has been held at Royal Lytham & St Anne's eleven times, most recently in 2012. Even when I knew nothing about golf at all I knew that Seve Ballesteros won The Open after playing a neat shot from the car park in the 70's, well that was here!

What brought us here was work. Well, I have always wanted to live near the sea and when a job came up over this way we went for it. We've been here for 6 1/2 years and hopefully we'll be here for many more. It's very quiet and peaceful but it's easy to hope on the train or into the car to get to the motorway and off to wherever we like. 

Another tough question came from here, Mamas Mercantile. 

Where would you like to go on holiday if money were no object?

This is so difficult as I'm not really a holiday person, but I've given it some thought and have come up with two visits (well, probably more like seven visits) to the same country. Firstly I remembered an idea my friend Em has suggested to us. Em is from Croatia but lives in Germany and she has invited us to take a road trip with her from her home near Hamburg to pick up her parents in the south and off to their holiday home in Croatia. Of course I would want to visit a few other places too, I would love to visit Berlin, I believe the vegan food is fabulous, and there would be lots of art to see. Speaking of which we'd have to visit Dessau and Weimar to explore the Bauhaus sites (both UNESCO World Heritage sites) we would have to cross over to Cologne as we have friends there too.

The second holiday, and something we have discussed in the past would be to attend the Four Hills ski jumping tournament. This is an annual event that takes place over New Year. We'd start in Oberstdorf, Germany, moving on to Garmisch-Partenkirchen then cross into Austria to Innsbruck and finishes, just before my birthday in Bischofshofen. That would be ideal for me, just about 10 days away with lots of fun in between!

Thanks everyone, it's been lots of fun, and surprisingly difficult to think about these things, a great week.  

Thursday, 13 October 2016

The Furry Family

Today's question comes from Melanie from follybird.

When did you adopt your first bunnies and what made you decide to do so?

The buns we have now are not our first buns but they are our first rescue rabbits, before them we bought two rabbits. The first one was the most beautiful black Rex, I saw him in a pet shop in the teeniest cage where he's be put on his own as he was being bullied by the others. He was soooooo gorgeous and he loved me so much We only had him for a very short time (10 days) and I don't even have a photograph of him. One night he was running around and I noticed that he had a huge wound on his side, we bathed him and took him to the vet the following day where he was treated but he died.

I was utterly heartbroken and even though that was in 2003 I can't think about it without crying and I still have his little mirror and bell hanging in the pantry. Yes, I should probably deal with my emotions about it but there you go! Straight after that we got another rabbit, another Rex, she lived with us for 6 years, she was just short of her 7th birthday when we had to have her pts as she had E. cuniculi. She was amazing, loved nothing more to sit up on the sofa with Dan or otherwise be involved with whatever we were doing.

The longer we owned rabbits the more we learned about how many were in rescues and how they were treated etc so when you know better you do better and we vowed we would only rescue in future which is how we ended up with this pair. They had been in rescue for almost a year because Big Grey had a very weepy eye and I think people were put off by that, fearing it was a dental problem and would cost a lot of money to deal with, so we adopted them as no-one else wanted them!

They were just over a year old when we adopted them, the rescue manager thinks they were bought as Easter buns then dumped when they grew up. They were found by some children in a locked hutch in a wooded area with no food, so it took a while for the rescue to get them back into shape, they actually won an award as most memorable pets of the year! We brought them home in 2009 and they've been here ever since. We are very lucky where we are that our vet is a rabbit specialist as I think Big Grey probably wouldn't be with us were it not for that. 

So, in some senses it's been a bit of a sad tale, but they are so wonderful to be with, even though this pair are very much together and not all that fond of us at times! I know some vegans are anti-pet but I always say that the day no-one abuses animals and leaves them in need of care then that's the day I will happily never adopt a companion animal again. Until then if I can give someone a nicer life than they had before then I will!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

All About Me!

Thank you for your questions, should anyone else like to ask me something then feel free. 

The first question today is from Marlene

Where would you want to retire to?

This is such a great question as where we live now is a place many people choose for their retirement, if we don't stay at the coast I think we will almost certainly end up in a city. I have a couple of answers a probable and a dream scenario. 

If money were no object (and assuming we are healthy etc) we would very much like to have a flat in the Barbican complex in London (Grade II listed). 

As we are in the land of dreams I would choose to live in Speed House which is one of the terrace blocks rather than a tower. The reasons for this choice are lots of practical things like being connected to places, lots of people around, near to a cinema, theatre, library etc. Others are more... concrete

As with all Brutalist buildings, it's not for everyone but I love it (architects - Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, structural engineers - Arup & Partners. Lots of nice pictures in a Dezeen article here and lots of details about the various aspects of Barbican life at Barbican Living here.

As I am not a millionaire I think we are more likely to end up somewhere like Manchester, again as it's well connected, lots of things going on, galleries, trams to get about, good food, lots to learn etc. 

And I would get to spend lots of time around Manchester Oxford Road station which is a very beautiful Grade II listed building and it's so lovely to step out of there and into the action (architects R Headley and M. Glendinning, 1960). I totally understand why people retire here but I think we might like to be in the thick of things a bit more when we're older. 

Question two is from RachelRadiostar

What would be your last meal on death row?

Hmmmm, I think I would go for a huuuuuuuuuuuuuge sandwich, some really nice bread probably ciabatta with smoked tofu, chestnut puree, stuffing, cranberry chutney, coleslaw and roast squash, followed by coconut and cherry almond milk ice cream.

Now I'm hungry, but thankfully have no desire to be anything other than a law abiding citizen. 

Finally for today a question from the brains behind one of my absolutely favourite blogs an exacting life

Besides They Might Be Giants - what other bands (an music generally) do you like, and what bands have you seen play in the last couple of years?

They Might Be Giants is indeed my favourite band, and I am a big fan of New Wave in general so I enjoy The Go-Go's, Devo, Violent Femmes, B52s etc. In the car we listen to a lot of Arctic Monkeys, The Smiths, REM, The Black Keys and all that kind of stuff.

Here's a song I like to sing to Dan 

In the past couple of years along with others I've seen TMBG twice, The Levellers, Two Door Cinema Club, lots of local bands, Philip Henry and Hannah Martin (a very brief flirtation with folk music). Earlier this year we saw Bill Ryder-Jones who I love love loved!!! We saw Eagulls a couple of weeks ago too, that was a lot of fun. We're going to see Super Furry Animals in December *yay* and that's all I can think of for now!