Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

It was a dark and stormy night

And wasn't it just! The wind started at around 1am and woke me up. Then the wind started howling and I had to get up at about 2 and pull the windows shut. Then the rain started and the wind picked up. The Builder has gone deaf in his left ear and slept through all of that, only waking at 3 when he had turned over and could hear the whooshing and roaring. Marlo just ignored it all - until the bedroom door started banging. ( I had pulled the bedroom window closed but not actually shut it and the wind had pulled it open again). It was definitely a disturbed night. It's still very blustery and wet. I am glad I am warm and cosy in bed with a cup of tea and not rushing about getting ready to go to work.

Tuesday morning, Tupton

We are off to Salisbury later today. I hope the wind has dropped by then!

Tuesday evening, Salisbury

Monday, March 30, 2015

Matlock Bath

Matlock isn't really all that far from here. It's a pretty place and we hardly ever go there. When we do, we usually pass through on our way somewhere else, saying to ourselves that we really should go and have a proper look round one day. We still haven't done that

Matlock Bath I think I've only been to once, about five years ago, on an abortive attempt to see the autumn illuminations. We never even pass through it.

It possibly wasn't an ideal day to go yesterday. It was absolutely pouring down.  But we had a plan with Tabitha, Gareth and Cally to go out and see the tiny aquarium, so we went despite the weather.

I have long felt that Matlock feels very much like a seaside town.  Matlock Bath looks exactly like a seaside town. Once that is marooned about as far from the sea as it is possible to be in England!  Even in the rain it was very cute.  We have devised another plan to go back in the summer, on a day when it isn't raining, and to have a proper look around.

Matlock Bath in the rain

Full of Penny Arcades, pubs and fish and chip shops

You are only lacking the sales of buckets and spades!

In the meantime, we very much enjoyed the aquarium.  An excellent use for an old Victorian swimming bath

Next time we go, we'll eat in one of the pubs or cafes or fish and chip shops.  Yesterday, we went home and had lamb three ways instead

Crumbed cutlet, meatballs and souvlaki-style steak

Someone appears to have commandeered Gamma's slippers!!

On leave from work this week.  We currently have a plumber in the kitchen fitting a new kitchen tap for us.  We are hopeful that he will fit a new outside tap as well.  We thought it might be slightly amusing to have taps that actually work!

Friday, March 27, 2015


As you can see, I have changed the design of the blog.  It was looking (to me, at least) a bit cluttered and a bit dated.  I hope you like the new design. I think it looks brighter.

The photo at the top was taken last spring, on Dunston Road, near the Dunston Hall garden centre we go to quite regularly. I intend to change the photo from time to time to reflect the seasons.

Last day at work today before a week and a half off. I have turned off all my wake up alarms :-)  It seems a bit strange to me to be having Holy Week rather than Easter week off, but it's The Builder's mother's 90th birthday next week and we are heading to see her to celebrate.  Can't do that while I'm slaving over a hot library!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

It turned out to be quite a foody weekend, a little to our surprise.  We had no real plans and had assumed we would potter about at home and not go out much or do very much.

But on Saturday we headed to the Garden Centre for a few bits and pieces, and then to Marsh Green, where we took delivery (by appointment - we didn't just rock up on the off chance) of a box load of a whole hogget (meat from a sheep of between one and two years of age). The butcher had thoughtfully prepared it in packets suitable for two eaters, so no huge roasting pieces that take a week for two people to chomp their way through. He had also beautifully labelled each packet, which were ready to pop in the freezer.  After carefully packing it away in the freezer, we headed out again, this time to the Nettle for a lovely Saturday Lunch.

It's ages and ages since we were last at The Nettle. I think they thought we had run away. Although it struck me as a bit odd that they asked not where we had been (it's not unusual for us to reappear at this time of year after a long absence; we are often in Australia and the Far East in January/February), but rather if one of us had been ill! It won't be such a long time before our next visit.  We are going for The Builder's birthday eve dinner.

On Sunday we hopped back in the car and took ourselves off to Chatsworth. We had a nice potter around in their garden centre, and a pootle in the farm shop and a lovely drive through the estate.  We don't go out there as much as we used to.  Marsh Green sells many of the same sort of things (although obviously not the Chatsworth branded goods). It's not as big, but it's much closer. The one thing that Chatsworth has that Marsh Green doesn't is a good fish counter.  But that, apparently, is coming soon.

We went home and had a lovely piece of slow roasted lamb shoulder for our Sunday roast.  The butcher did a good job of cutting joints just right for two.  There is a bit left for tonight but not enough for a full shepherd's pie.  I am going to have to eke it out with LOADS of vegetables.  Just as well we bought lots over the weekend!

The Builder went to the hospital today to have his blood stickiness measured and has been told he doesn't need to go back for that any more.  He's been handed back to his GP and doesn't need to go until April 8th. He does have to go back to the hospital this week. He has to go for scans of his abdomen.  They want to see if they can find out why he got the DVT in the first place.  They may not find out, but they want to eliminate the possibility of nasty, hidden diseases.

In his spare time, he continues to paint the kitchen :-D

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cally is four

It was Cally's birthday on Saturday.  And she went to two birthday parties, neither of which was hers!

She did have a birthday celebration, though.  Loads of grown ups rolled up in the early evening to party on her behalf.  Most of them stayed for pizza and merriment, but The Builder and I went home after she went to bed.  No pizza and merriment for us (well, maybe a little bit of merriment).

Grown ups gathering

Birthday fairy

What's in the package,  Freyja? 
Hello, Kitty :-)

Birthday cuppa

Grandma Stella and Grandpa Tony gave Cally her new rug

It looks like lots of fun

Cally's little bed

Birthday Fairy Cally has turned into ...

… a scary green  dragon

Uncle Ginger

Deep in conversation
The Builder and I made a vigorous attempt to go to a pub for lunch on Saturday. The Rutland was so full I don't think we would actually have got in.  Apparently Chesterfield Football Club was playing at home and people were carousing prior to the match.  We thought about going to The Nettle, but it was getting a bit late.  By the time we would have got there it would have been close to the end of the lunch service. So we went to The Wingerworth instead.  That was heaving too - no real idea why.  They did eventually manage to give us a main course, but the wait for dessert was much too long, so we went home without it.  It didn't matter.  There was cake at Cally's party in the evening.  She and Tabitha had made it.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Dining Room








Teddies' Corner

Friday, March 13, 2015

We've started on the kitchen

Looking out the kitchen window

This is what the kitchen cupboards look like right round the kitchen
This set of cupboards is to be tackled first

The Chief Painter and Decorator has started updating them 

The doors (painted gold) will be added shortly
The three cupboard doors are in the porch, drying.  We'll probably put them back up this evening. And The chief Painter and Decorator has started on the single cupboard below these.  It might be a while before we get to the original cupboard above. It's right next to the stove and it and the stove hood will take a gargantuan effort to clean them well enough for painting!!

I hope you are all impressed by just how tidy these cupboards are - at the moment :-D

Monday, March 09, 2015

Peddler Street Food Market

This weekend saw the third Peddler Street Food Market. We enjoy them a lot, but the Friday manifestations get going too late for us to go after I finish work, and it's not big enough to make it worth coming all the way from Chesterfield for on a Saturday afternoon or evening. So we try to tie it in with something else. Like an afternoon shift at Bishops' House instead of our more usual morning shifts.  And that is what we did on Saturday.

I must say that I quite like doing the afternoon at Bishops' House. It gives us the morning to get a few things done at home, and generally there are more visitors on Saturday afternoon than there are in the morning.  Although, having said that, the stats showed that there had been quite a few visitors in the morning this weekend, including a couple from New Zealand! And we had our fair share as well.

After we closed up, we headed into the Sheffield City Centre to the Peddler market, where we drank a glass of wine each (fizzy wine for me :-) ) and ate wontons and pizza and buttermilk chicken and chips and had a nice potter about.  I might have had another glass of fizzy wine.  The Builder, in his guise as Chauffeur, did not have another glass of (still) wine. We had just got back to the car, tummies nice and full, when I had a message from Tabitha to say that they and Freyja were just arriving.  So we turned round and headed back.

It had been Cally's birthday party in the afternoon.  Her birthday isn't until next Saturday, but she has already been invited to three parties next weekend.  She had hers a week early (and is now absolutely convinced that she has turned four.  She must have done.  She's had her party!!!)  There was face painting at her party, amongst other fun things to do

Bat Cally
Freyja is a hippo :-)
There were quite a lot of people at the market that we knew.  We ran across some people from work, a few SHU students, my former Japanese teacher, and Simon.

We didn't need anything more to eat or drink, so we headed back to the car and trundled home.

I managed to get out into the garden on Sunday morning and do a bit more digging of the side flower bed.  The Builder, in his guise as Chief Painter and Decorator, has now all but finished painting the dining room.  There is a bit of touching up to do, and one very small piece of skirting board that got completely overlooked!  I'll be able to start putting things away again very soon.  And we have now turned our attention to the kitchen.  The Chief Decorator has done the window sill already and is now doing the upper cupboards on the right hand side.

We've emptied the crockery cupboards for ease of decorating.  The contents are all over the kitchen benches.  No room for cooking.  Take Away seemed to be in order.  I remembered that when Tabitha and Gareth are at our place (when we are not) they use the Just Eat website for ordering food.  So I registered with them and ordered two helpings of fish and chips, which arrived in good time and proved to be ENORMOUS!  I've kept some back to reheat for dinner tonight! I can't remember ever having ordered take away food for delivery before.  It was kind of fun!

Bat Cally off in search of yummy things

Me and Freyja the Hippo

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

It was such a quiet weekend just gone that there is almost nothing to report.  I hardly even remember Saturday!

The weather was beautiful.  A tiny taste of Spring.  I got out and did a bit more digging in the flower bed along the fence - usually known as the shrubbery.  I had decided that once I had dug it over I would transplant the hollyhocks there so they could be supported by the fence.  I dug a hole, turned away to dig up a hollyhock - and when I turned back there was a duck in the hole, and three hens scratching around beside her!  I think they think that my digging is entirely for their benefit :-D There are certainly plenty of worms in the soil - although not as many as there had been before I started digging and the ducks and hens came to see what I was doing.

The Builder, in his guise as Chief Decorator, carried on painting the dining room walls.  In order to disguise the pink, he put a couple of coats of white paint on

followed by the yellow, and the brighter yellow glossy paint for the wood

Lindsey says it's a bit bright, but bright was what we wanted (the room doesn't get a lot of direct sunlight) and I think it will look less bright once we've got the furniture back in place and time has faded it a bit.  We've now shifted the everything away from the opposite wall and the Chief Decorator has started painting it white. He's pretty much ready to start the yellowing of it.

We have also, now, embarked on revitalising the kitchen, which is perfectly functional but looking very dated.  We don't want to go to all the expense of a new kitchen when this one works perfectly well.  A couple of coats of paint and all should be fine.  I hope!

Speaking of The Builder, he's now down to visiting the hospital twice a week and his INR levels, which were too low, are now a wee bit too high. But apart from that his circulation seems to be improving.  Now we just have to fix his back!