Sunday, 18 January 2015

Every day is a special day...

Until I become the 'mother of the bride' at the wedding of Rhiannon and Stuart at The Ashes, Endon, near Leek.

Exciting times ahead, and counting...:o))

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

E day…

Embroidery day. I was persuaded to sign up for a free motion machine embroidery course run by Jo Hill, a very talented local textile artist. Now anyone who knows me will probably agree that I have the creativity of a gnat and the sewing skills of a nanognat.

Undaunted, I dug out my old Brother sewing machine which we bought in 1983 for £239. Amazingly we paid less than one hundred times more for our house!! I gather that it is now possible to buy a very good machine for less than £70. In fact the darning/free-motion embroidery foot cost £12.95. All that remained was for my resident sewing machine mechanic to service the machine, to blag assorted bits of fabric from friends, have a quick practise using the foot, and I was ready to turn up at Tixall Village Hall full of hope and trepidation.


I thoroughly enjoyed the day, although it must be said, that with the creativity of a gnat and the sewing skills of a nanognat, it wasn’t always easy! My friends were all very helpful and supportive towards each other. These are the same group of friends that I walk with every Tuesday. Some are very talented and artistic.


As you can see we are all of a certain age!




Our work…


Some lovely pieces. My favourite is bottom right, simple with lots of the free motion embroidery for the plants and the barbed wire. Needless to say it isn’t my work! Well done, Sue M.

Which do you think is mine?

Well, this is it. One of those times when I wouldn’t recommend you enlarge the pic!


Not so Q.E.D…

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Look who we bumped into (2)...

Blogging on the move!

We've had a lovely day with some very good friends and nearly neighbours, both here and in France.


There was some debate as to whether this should begin at 6.30, or whether we should revert to French time - meaning we could start at 5.30! In the end great restraint was shown and we began at 6.45.

Got to go as we are having a 'rest' before the cheese!

Thanks to Chris and Sally for taking the photographs. Next stop France....

Friday, 2 January 2015


Posted from my iPad, hence the changes to the usual format. I have to log on with my computer to adjust the size of the photographs.

January 1st.

In our bit of the UK the sky was grey and gloomy, temperatures were mild and there was light drizzle. Hardly the day with which to welcome a new year. 

January 2nd

Today, the weather is cooler, sunny and bright. We've taken our Christmas lights and decorations down, and all that remains to be done is the big, post festivities clean up!

However, the clean up will have to wait until tomorrow. This afternoon we are walking and eating with a group of friends, but before that I need to make a date and apricot, croissant and butter pudding, which will be our contribution to the meal.

The croissants...

Dates and apricots soaking in Cointreau and Amaretto...

The pudding will also contain cream and white chocolate, but with a nod towards healthy eating will be served with low fat creme fraiche!

Watch this space...

The finished pudding...

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Look who we bumped into… and good wishes for 2015…

On Monday we braved the icy roads to drive to Ashbourne, where we had a table booked for lunch at the Okeover Arms, in nearby Mappleton. We’d intended to go early,either to have a look around the shops, many of which are the small independent type which I prefer, or make the most of the crisp, sunny day to walk around Ilam, Thorpe Cloud or Tissington. Well, that was the plan BEFORE we realised that our central heating wasn’t working.

Tim had a fiddle, but beyond an initial flare the boiler didn’t seem to want to fire up. As we didn’t have much time we decided to buy a couple of fan heaters and an oil filled one from Argos, to keep the chill at bay whilst we called out trusty heating engineer.

This meant that there wasn’t time to call the engineer, shop or walk before lunch.

The drive was fine, with just a few patches of black ice, on roads which were fairly quiet. Our lunch companions had a more difficult drive, having to detour on to major roads to avoid the more direct route along un-gritted lanes.

We had a delicious lunch and before we knew it we’d been there for around three hours, chatting and eating. We were too busy eating to  photograph the food but it was tasty, hearty fare, at very reasonable prices. My fish,chips and mushy peas were wonderful – something I rarely have, but thoroughly enjoyed.

Our companions… Nick (who researched the venue), and Jean.




Tim and I will be dog sitting, Rhiannon and Stuart will be celebrating with friends in Manchester and Tom in Thailand. For them and all of you a couple of versions of Auld Lang Syne by Paolo Nutini. Like Paolo, my preference is for the traditional version. What do you think?

Finally, all that remains in 2014 is to wish you all a

happy, healthy and peaceful 2015.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

A jolly good Christmas…

We’ve enjoyed a good few days with family and friends, interspersed with some relaxation, a sprinkling of snow and more than a sprinkling of naff seasonal films!

Christmas day with Rhiannon and Stuart, who put on a wonderful Christmas dinner with every trimming imaginable. We were also given a doggy bag of leftovers to bring away – the kind of thing you do for the oldies! Dinner was washed down with La Renaudie wines.



Les chefs extraordinaire…


and the lovely Christmas cake (made and iced by Stuart) we were given to bring away.


On Christmas Day and Boxing day we walked our neighbour’s dogs, and also went for a walk at Dimmingsdale, on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border with our friends John, Maureeen and Poppy. Sadly, my camera didn’t walk with us! Luckily we arrived home just before the snow arrived. The Ashbourne area was particularly badly affected.






There has been a shopping trip to the sales with Rhiannon, and another walk today. The roads through our village were treacherous so we decided to walk along the canal.











This chap seems to crop up everywhere. It’s almost like he’s following me!


Tomorrow, weather permitting, we shall be eating lunch with some special friends. Watch this space…

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Greetings and a 400 celebration…

We’ve had a busy couple of weeks meeting up with family, friends and neighbours for pre-Christmas celebrations. We’ve spent an inordinate amount of time at the ‘trough’, but have enjoyed some delicious meals and sparkling company. No doubt there will be more to come before the decorations are taken down!

I went back into school for the first time to have Christmas lunch, only to discover that the place hadn’t ground to a halt without me! There were lots of new faces, facing old, and new challenges. What was clear, from their total exhaustion, was how hard my former colleagues continue to work on behalf of the pupils.

We are spending Christmas day with Rhiannon and Stuart, and by the look of the preparations they are making we’ll enjoy a wonderful meal and good company. We met up early yesterday for a long Skype call with Tom who will be spending his Christmas in Thailand.

Wherever you are…

Whatever you are doing…

However you are celebrating this time of the year…

Whether celebrations are more difficult because of loved ones who are no longer with you…

Tim and I send you our very best wishes.

Christmas Robin hires

A photograph taken by Tim at a coffee stop on a recent walk.

Finally, a few pics (taken by me, by way of apology for the poor quality!) over the past couple of weeks.

A weekend in the Cotswolds…



A muddy walk…



A gathering of the Brotherhood clan for a sibling supper…


Our sitting room…




My Christmas cake – a change from the usual marzipan and icing…



A reflection of a lamb, which has so far escaped the Christmas table. I doubt it will be so lucky come Easter…


The Mailbox, in Birmingham, taken from the roof of the architecturally acclaimed new library…


Finally, a selfie taken on the library terrace. What a difference a year makes!!