Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Monday, April 27, 2015

In the end, last week went by quite quickly.  All of a sudden, it was Friday once again.  And Friday didn't have time to loiter. I went out at lunchtime - and then went home :-)

Yummy noodles in Wa Ding.  Mixed veg for Freyja

Garlic and beef for me
This is what I was drinking. It was a mystery drink - and really very tasty
Saturday was Gareth's birthday and he, Tabitha and some friends took themselves off to York for what appeared to be a rather grand pub crawl.  Clearly this wasn't a Cally-appropriate outing. So The Builder and I swung by Cally's house before her parents took off and picked her up and headed out to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park,  It was something of a pity that the spring sunshine decided that it did not wish to accompany us. But we were fortunate that the very heavy shower that came to visit us came just as we were about to head home again.  We sheltered in the gift shop until it went away!

It wasn't ideal weather for a picnic
But at least it wasn't raining
And it's *always* appropriate weather for ice cream!

A huddle of lemurs

There are two polar bears.  More are, apparently, coming


Back at our place, in the warm and dry
On Sunday we had a family celebration of Gareth's birthday. Cally and I spent Sunday morning baking birthday cupcakes and preparing a veritable feast for lunch. We also talked to Grandma Stella and Grandpa Tony on Skype, and then to Belinda and Sage, then Matt and William, and told them all about our visit to the zoo.  Cally's favourite animal was the polar bear.  Mine was the lemurs.  But I'm not sure what The Builder's favourite was.  He didn't ever tell us

Tabitha, Gareth and Freyja arrived in Chesterfield at about midday. And then we had our magnificent birthday feast

Gyoza and crispy tofu

Tempura vegetables and baked rice

Then we had the cupcakes that Cally and I had baked, all decorated for a birthday

All the visitors, including Cally, went home around 5:00.  And I settled down for a nice snooze. Cally had been awake since 5:45.  It is true that we are also usually awake by that time - but not usually up by then on a Sunday morning.  I had been quite busy throughout the day.  A snooze seemed appropriate.  The Builder had also been busy - but he had an evening snooze rather than a late afternoon one.

It was a good weekend. I think we all had a good time.

Marlo definitely had a good time.  Lots of laps to snuggle up on

Monday, April 20, 2015

Time Passes

I had rather expected last week to go V E R Y  V E R Y  V E R Y slowly. The week before had been a three day working week.  The week before that had been a no day working week. Last week was a five day working week and I had thought it would be a bit wearisome and a bit long.

In fact, until around 10:00 on Friday morning, it whooshed past so quickly that I hardly saw it. Nothing very interesting or exciting happened (or if it did, then I didn't notice it!). But whatever did happened happened in a blur.

Then it got to 10:00 on Friday morning and time more or less seemed to grind to a halt.  It felt like the longest day ever!! It took for ever and ever and ever to get to going home time.

Then it was time to go home. And then the weekend vanished in a brief puff of smoke!!!

It was quite a pleasant weekend, mind.  The weather was lovely.  A bit chilly and cloudy on Sunday morning, but apart from that very pleasant.  We did a bit of shopping and a bit of gardening and a bit of pottering.  The Builder watched the Grand Prix. We did a bit of eating and a bit of drinking. Nothing exciting, apart from the fireworks on Saturday evening, celebrating the opening of the new rugby and cricket club house down on the recreation ground.  I watched them from the bedroom window. Other than that, nothing particularly noteworthy.  But I did rather enjoy it.

So here we are, once again, poised on the brink of a Brand New Week.  I wonder what this week has in store for us.  I wonder how quickly it will go by.

Marlo enjoys sitting in the sunshine, on the little wall around the fish pond.  He sits there, and he sleeps there, and he stretches out there.  I don't think he enjoyed it quite as much on the day last week when he rolled over - straight into the pond!!  Fortunately he got out again with no trouble.  But he was a bit wet.  I wonder what the fish made of it all :-P

Friday, April 10, 2015

Birthday Feasting

It was The Builder's birthday yesterday.

We had intended to go to an Italian themed evening at The Nettle on Wednesday evening in celebration.  Bea and Steve intended to come with us.

Alas, the Italian themed evening had to be postponed. So Bea and Steve came to our place and we had an Italian themed evening of our own.  I left work a little early so I could prepare, and we had seafood pizza for a starter, with lasagne and various salads for our main course.  I departed from the Italian theme for dessert and we had chocolate sponge with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream instead.  It was a birthday celebration.  You almost have to have cake!

The Builder and I went to The Nettle for dinner last night instead.  They often have tasty fish dishes on the specials board on Thursdays. And they didn't disappoint.  The Builder had what looked like a fantastic cod with prawn risotto for his main course.  I had sea bass with a prawn and vegetable stir fry.  And there was a plate of chips on the side for us to share.  Fish and chips, Nettle style :-)

The weather remains glorious. Temperatures in the high teens and sunny and fairly still.  Alas, it is forecast to get cooler, windier and wetter over the weekend. I do so want to get my flower beds properly dug over!

The Nettle, on a spring evening

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Oh - I meant to say

This is the view from our kitchen window as it was last November:

And this is how it is now:

Apart from the fog, do you notice anything missing?

Spring has Sprung

The weather on Monday and Tuesday was absolutely glorious in our little corner of the world.  So much so that I put on a short sleeved shirt yesterday!  We spent the afternoons sitting on our patio in the sunshine, minus our jumpers!

We did get out and about a bit. We had to take Marlo to the vet yesterday. Not only had he run out of his arthritis medication but he has also acquired an abscess under his chin which has made it very hard for him to eat.  We are not sure whether he has been fighting with another cat, or perhaps a country rat.  We found a dead rat in the flower bed yesterday which might have been the culprit.  But it doesn't really matter where the injury came from, something needed to be done about it.  So that relieved my bank account of a nice wodge of money!

We've been into town and had lunch in a pub. We've pottered about and visited the allotment. We have done a tiny bit of tidying and clearing. But no further painting of the kitchen. The Builder will get on with that on days when the weather isn't good for gardening.

And now I am heading back to work after nine days off (if you include the weekends). I even remembered to turn all the Get-Up-And-Go-To-Work alarms back on.  Not that I needed them. The blackbirds start singing from about 4:00 and wake me up!

Click on the primroses to look at Spring in our garden

Monday, April 06, 2015

A Quiet Easter Weekend

Good Friday was Very Quiet Indeed - which I suppose was appropriate :-)

The Builder was in a very frail state on Friday.  All he ingested all day was a couple of glasses of water.  He dozed, wrapped in a blanket, in his chair for most of the day.  He can't have been well: he refused the offer of a glass of wine and slept through his favourite television programs.  I was beginning to worry about Bishops' House on Saturday morning!

Fortunately, he woke up feeling very much better on Saturday. He drank his usual cups of tea and coffee.  He had breakfast.  And he was feeling better enough to drive into Sheffield for our stint at Bishops' House.  It was just as well we went.  We had LOADS of visitors.  The house was closed on Sunday and I think that people who had visitors staying with them for the Easter weekend thought it would be a nice little place to take them, while pottering around in Meersbrook park and having tasty munchies in the various cafes dotted about outside the park.

It was just us on Easter Sunday for the Easter Feast. We had the traditional Easter Lamb (not spring lamb; it's a bit too early and anyway we prefer hogget or mutton). My planned Easter chocolate cake though had to be abandoned when I discovered that we had run out of cocoa.  I had the ice cream and the chocolate syrup already made.  Then I remembered that we had some bananas in the fruit bowl.  What to do with bananas, ice cream and chocolate syrup …. ?  Hmmmmm.  I also had some chocolate sprinkles.  Banana splits make an excellent Easter dessert :-D

I have today and tomorrow at home, then it's Back to Work.  Must remember to put the alarms back on tomorrow

Friday, April 03, 2015

Salisbury - and a 90th birthday party

The weather was awful on the way down to Salisbury on Tuesday. The high winds and heavy rain showers lasted most of the way down.  We drove slowly and carefully!  But by the time we got there, the weather had cleared to a glorious spring evening.  Still windy but at least we had blue sky and sunshine. The new people at the Old Mill have done up the back garden and installed a huge charcoal grill.  Alas, they are only doing their barbecue menu at weekends during the spring.  I have every intention of heading back down during the summer to give it a go.  In the meantime, I made do with agrilled steak indoors for dinner.

Wednesday was also warm and sunny. We walked into Salisbury after our excellent breakfast to do a little light shopping and to acquire some sparkling wine and sparkling not wine for the birthday toast later in the day. Then we walked back to the pub and off loaded.  And then we turned around and walked back into Salisbury. We pottered around a few more shops and had a nice walk and then headed to Wagamama's for an early lunch. And they had mochi ice cream.  I LERV mochi ice cream!  I quite enjoyed my yaki soba noodles as well.  And then back to the pub, change into our party clothes, and head to Nunton for the birthday party.  (12,500+ steps on my step counter on Wednesday :-D )

It was The Builder's mother's 90th birthday on Wednesday and her daughter Marie and daughter in law Jenny had organised an afternoon tea celebration in the dayroom at The Orchard, where Gwen has lived until she went into hospital last November.  At the moment she is living in a care home while being assessed to see if she can return to independent living. (We are hoping she stays where she is - she is positively thriving there. This, unfortunately, means the social workers think she'll be OK going back to her unit. We do not think this is a good plan!!).  The party, though, was an excellent plan.  Lots of people from The Orchard and from Nunton itself came to celebrate.  Jenny and Marie had prepared an excellent spread for afternoon tea. Gwen had a lovely time.  So did we all!

Happy birthday, Gwen
No dinner for us on Wednesday evening!

We took Gwen out for a light pub lunch before heading home on Thursday.  This was an excellent plan from the point of view of extending the birthday celebrations a little.  It was a dreadful plan from the point of view of getting home again.  We had completely failed to take into account that today is Good Friday and that lots of people were heading away yesterday afternoon for a long weekend away, or even for a week away.  It took us almost six hours to get home. It usually takes around three and a half.  The traffic on the M42 was at an absolute standstill pretty much for the length of it.  We should have gone home in the morning. Or stayed until today.  Oh well, we got home in the end.

The poor Builder has been struck down with a gastric upset.  He had been hoping for a peaceful night slumbering after driving for all that time yesterday.  Alas, he spent most of the night in the bathroom.  (I was blissfully unaware of this until I woke up this morning after a very peaceful night slumbering.) We are not sure if he has picked up a bug or whether it was something he ate. I don't think it can have been what we had when we got home last night, though.  We both ate that and so far I seem fine.  Fingers crossed he is better for tomorrow and that I don't come down with it. We are supposed to be opening Bishops' House tomorrow morning and I suspect that replacement volunteers will be thin on the ground  this weekend!

Click on the cathedral to get to the Salisbury photo album