Fun Stuff

After the migraine

Last weekend I was felled by a migraine, I didn’t get the shawl finished as I’d hoped. I’ve spent most of the week asleep or wishing I could sleep.

Blaze of Glory was completed on Wednesday. It’s not yet blocked as I type, but I can’t do that until I’ve managed to rid the place of the smell of vinegar (yes, again!). Once I get it blocked and gorgeous I’ll post a photo.

I couldn’t believe it this week. One thing after another. If it wasn’t migraine it was stress headache. When that did finally clear thanks to total avoidance of caffeine and chocolate and much rest, I came down with a cold.

I started to feel properly human on Friday, so I boiled 30 eggs. You see, pickled eggs are remarkably easy to make and tasty to eat, and best of all; they’re a free snack on slimming world. So, 30 eggs, two large jars from IKEA, two pints of distilled vinegar and I have some fantastic snacks awaiting me, ready to eat in around three weeks. Happy days!

Finally today, after coating the cats in diatomaceous earth (good flea treatment and non toxic), I descended on a box of Bramleys I optimistically bought just before I got so ill. The vinegar pong around here is due to the fact that if you add sugar and dried fruit and salt and pickling spice to apples and boil it all up, it will blend down to a cracking five pints of brown sauce with the nicest little kick I’ve tasted in a while.

I think that’s all my cooking projects for a little while but I have knitting and crochet and sewing projects merrily awaiting me so I suspect they’ll keep me busy for the foreseeable future.

Take care one and all.

Side note, it’s the 75th anniversary of the night that Coventry was blitzed, so I’m saying a private prayer for those who remember and for those who don’t but have been affected by it since then. Only a few weeks ago a huge bomb had to be dealt with not far from where I work.

Father, Forgive.

Categories: Food, Fun Stuff, Life, Plans | Leave a comment

Quiet Sunday in September

I’ve been doing normal sunday things today. Well kind of. I didn’t do much knitting and I was annoyed by that as I have projects I really want to get on with but can’t because this silly scarf is still on my pet pair of short needles. Rah.

I’ve been mentally preparing for the high winds expected tomorrow when the remnants of Hurricane Katia arrive tomorrow. I’m pretty sure it will be nowhere near hurricane force but we haven’t had serious wind that required met office warnings for years so I’m a bit bothered about it.

On the subject of knitting, I’ve just looked across the room and seen a completed project that needs to be washed and dried and mailed to its new owner. Talk about chasing tails.

There is one tiny fact that I noticed today. Someone else has begun calling me Rae. I really do like being called Rae, and I nearly hugged the person in question for doing it, except that they would probably have fallen over backward with surprise if I had. *short pause to picture the scene and chuckle*

I was proud of Stephen tonight, he did a really good job of speaking in the evening, all about the love of Jesus. He put his own angle on it and I thought it was great.

Categories: Church Event, Fun Stuff, Life, observations | Leave a comment

Trevedra Farm and what I did there

I’ve just come home from a camping holiday. It was shorter than I usually go away for, just a few days instead of a full week plus travelling but there were good reasons for doing it this way this year – like the fact that on a bank holiday monday the train fares can be 300% higher than on a normal day. Crazy but true. I needed to save money so in spite of desperately needing the holiday I cut it short and went a few days later.

Trevedra Farm is a working farm and campsite next door to Sennen Cove and right around the corner from Lands End. They’ve built a new reception building that houses the onsite shop and a cafe (the burger van of previous visits is no longer in use). They also added to the shower block – there are now more utility sinks which is a very good thing, it’s a popular site and you can be queueing up with your pile of pots and plates if you time it wrong! They have signs up saying they prefer to improve rather than repair and the changes since my last visit definitely bear that out.

My brother Paul came with me this year. Mum and Dad dropped us at Liskeard train station and we made our own way down Cornwall from there. The perspective you get from the window of a train is pretty good, you see a part of Cornwall that you would never see from a car, certainly not while driving said car. From Penzance we got the bus down to the campsite, Paul sat upstairs getting the best view, I minded the bags downstairs!

It was great taking Paul because he’s not been camping in a very long time and it was nice to see things through his eyes. The fact that we are so close to the sea is something I’m used to but it was amazing for him to be able to wake up and see it in the morning, look over at tea time, look for Longships after dark, try and see the Isles of Scilly through the haze.

The friendliness you find on the site always lifts me. People on their way down to the beach to surf will smile and chat although if they’re after a particular tide it may only be a smile. The people camping each side of us always chatted for a few minutes at breakfast time, people on the way to and from the tap would chat too.

Anyway, on Thursday we walked round to Lands End on the coastal path armed with food and camera and binoculars. It’s not far but on a hot day it feels longer than it is, but we walked there taking pictures as we went – and just happened to see the helicopter land on Longships for maintenance work – and then walked around the attraction itself before walking back again. The coastline along that short stretch is amazing, well worth making sure of a camera for.

On Friday we were still footsore from the hike so we took our food and our sunburn down onto the beach and relaxed. Well, I did, Paul went in the sea and enjoyed the waves. I managed once again to be less than thorough with my sunlotion and having burned my face on Thursday, I burned my legs on Friday. Bad Plan. The only way off the beach here is up a flight of steps. Trevedra is only about quarter of a mile from the sea, but it is just above 100 metres above sea level. That’s a lot of steps whichever way you look at it, and sunburned knees do not like bending, trust me on this point!

Mum and Dad picked us up from the campsite on Saturday morning and we went to St Micheals Mount for a while before heading up the county to Liskeard and a family barbecue. I’ve miscalculated coming here before. There’s only one day per week that the island is closed to the public. Guess which day that is? Yep, Saturday. All the shops were shut, the house was closed to the public and the ferries that run when the tide is in were not running either. We did walk around and take some pictures of areas that we could see but it was galling not to be able to eat in the tearoom there, or be able to show the gardens off. Still it was a nice day, we ate on the island and admired the view and then wandered back across the causeway long before the tide returned.

Dad drove us across most of Cornwall before reaching Liskeard, I think he just wanted to see a bit more than he usually does, which was fair enough. The barbecue went on well into the evening and gave us all chance to catch up with people we hadn’t seen in almost a year and then in less happier circumstances. Stephen gave an amazing demonstration of skipping, almost everyone climbed what is now known as the family tree, the small ones showed off their latest jokes and songs and dances.

Then it was into a real bed and a chance to try and sleep through painful sunburn. It was an exercise in futility but worth trying regardless

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Catching up

Its been a long time since I posted last. There has been a mix of reasons for that, starting with seasonal depression and going on through long shifts and just trying to have a social life of any kind.

The improving weather has helped a lot, I’m coping well and needing less sleep at night now. Sheer bull-headedness has helped me push through more of it. I’m discovering that by keeping on going I have developed stamina generally, and from needing to spend my days off in bed I now feel capable of getting up and doing something about the housework. Today I managed to get the vast majority of my housework done and my washing is hanging outside in the sun.

One of my main coping strategies is to knit. Anything from scarves to sweaters and beyond. for some reason that I don’t quite understand it seems to calm me as well as boost my mood. I’m quite a social knitter, so the projects I take on tend to be simple enough that it’s harder to make mistakes. I do have more than one project on the go, so if one starts to get complex I can put it away until I’m alone to work out the pattern without distractions and pick up a simpler one in the meantime.

One thing I miss these days is cooking. I often work 12 hour shifts and believe me when I say that at the end of one when I’ve cycled nearly an hour to get home I don’t want to do any fancy cooking! if it takes more than ten minutes I don’t do it. Fancy stuff has to wait until my day off.

I need to get my camera out more really. I want to start doing a regular picture-only post, which I suppose means that I need to post a big more often! We will see what happens. I want to try and be more versatile and do more than read, knit, eat and sleep if I’m not working.

Right, the sun is out, there’s coffee in the pot and I’m going to combine the two. Take care.

Categories: Food, Fun Stuff, Life, observations | Leave a comment

A different kind of Christmas

Today has been a first. I’ve never done paid work on Christmas day before, but today not only did I work, I worked 12 hours.

I wasn’t sure how it would be, maybe painted on smiles, a bit tense, fretting about all sorts of ifs and buts. Nothing like it. We had a fantastic day and even had time to mess about in the snow after lunch (there is photographic evidence but not on my camera!)

So many families arrived bearing gifts and children and smiles. The home was busy and it was so good. It felt to me like as the day went on the place became more alive. Father Christmas arrived with a gift for each resident. They seemed to think he was someone on staff, but no one could remember his name if he was 😉

Anyway. Far from Christmas day being awful because I was working, I had a carol dedicated to me on national radio, I had a great time with the rest of my team and I had a gut-busting good lunch with it. Straight after lunch a group of nurses and carers ran outside and larked about in the snow and just relaxed and were silly together.

It’s not a massively long post tonight but I wanted to share how good the day has been. I didn’t have the time to stop and call friends and family but in a way it didn’t seem to matter. I’ll see a load of them tomorrow anyway and have another great day, but one that doesn’t start at 6am for a change.

Stay safe in the snow guys and have a great week this week.

Categories: Food, Fun Stuff | Leave a comment

Real And Wild behind the scenes

OK, I wanted the last post to give some of the meat of what Real And Wild was about, but I missed a few things out, the post was simply getting too long and I didn’t want everyone to get fed up.

What I really want to do is try and convey some of the funny moments, some of the humanity if you will.

On the way to Birmingham, Marygrace and I decided that while jeans were practical, several weeks at slimming world meant really we needed belts to keep them at a decent height. Going into Sainsbury’s to look for them was fruitless, and to cap it all Maygrace left her phone in the Ladies, and didn’t realise til we rocked up at the campsite to book in. I hopped out to find Kristina, she charged off… to find that some honest soul had handed the phone in.

While we were pitching our tent there were huge amounts of laughter aimed at tent poles left in Sheffield and (worse still) tents left in London. These situations were fixed, people helped people, phone calls and people who can spend a while driving to collect spares saved the day.

Then for Marygrace and I there was the issue of food. We are following Slimming World and we didn’t want to go off track. Taking our food along wasn’t too much of an issue, how to store it and more importantly prepare and cook it was. Cue Janet, who stored it and prepared each meal in time for us to collect it at the right time, and made sure our ice pack was frozen to keep breakfast cold in the tent overnight. Janet was a star for us.

In terms of practicalities, so many people pitched in to help for an hour, or a day or overnight and a stalwart few worked the whole time. The security team, who worked in shift round the clock, the tent team who took care of the tent in the same way. The caterers, some working at it all the way through the weekend, some coming into teams for half a day. People on cleaning teams, getting a grip on the Marigolds and the Anti-bac spray to keep the toilets and showers from being a health hazard (this was done by several teams and usually a team only did one day’s duty). The welcomers and stewards, checking people into the marquee and keeping things neat and tidy and safe for everyone else. The music group and the leaders of teams, villages, outdoors events, evening events, seminars. So many people contributed to make RAW the life changing event that it was. It would be impossible to name everyone who did something so I won’t attempt to, but if you were at RAW and you contributed in any of the ways mentioned above, please consider this my way of saying thanks!

I know who I’ve missed out, the Bus drivers. We had several rather silver haired Men who drove double decker busses to get the teams for RAW outdoors to their locations. They fairly obviously were not under 35 as the majority of RAW-ites were, but without their help we would have been pretty stuck!

Mornings were very funny. People could be heard squealing as they managed to mistakenly pick the one cold shower (i managed to find one that was warm enough to use to get properly clean even if I didn’t hang around!) Then, being a large group of girls, there was inevitably the few who could not survive without essentials such as hair straighteners, and there was also quite a bit of inventiveness regarding charging phones, from sharing chargers to standing on chairs to reach high up sockets.

Due to the rain which arrived with pretty decent regularity (and not always with regard for any event about to happen) the lights in the main marquee cut out several times. The sound, thankfully, carried on working, but several times the lights went out for a few minutes, met by cheering as they came back on again.

I was particularly pleased to see the determination of one young lady. She arrived in a wheelchair. She was determined to camp, and camp she did, albeit with a bit of help. A portaloo was moved down from where the rest of them were lined up so she didn’t have to go so far. A ramp was put together at high speed to get her up the slight bank at the side of the campsite, a couple of friends were always on hand to help get her everywhere she might possibly want to go, including downhill to the campfire on the second night, so she could join in the general consumption of marshmallows and toast her face. She did have quite a bit of help, but none of it would have been worth it if she hadn’t been determined to join in and make something of the weekend.

This was an event that had some leadership, all events need leadership and organisation, but it would have been a complete waste of time if the people arriving for the event hadn’t got stuck in. Practically everyone participated to a high degree, coming out of comfort zones in a big way. It was life changing for more than just me.

Life-changing? Yes, it was. You see, I’ve carried around a big issue for much of my life, something I couldn’t forgive and let go of, and it had turned into a resentful, bitter thing that kept letting me get depressed if that makes sense. Over the weekend as I kept making the concious decision to join in and let the life around me in, I found that I let it go, and it was as easy as breathing out, or putting down a too-heavy bag of shopping. Maybe it’s small, but it’s something I knew I needed to resolve. I didn’t know it would happen over the weekend, but I’m so glad it did.

In lots of ways I didn’t want RAW to end. I’ve seen much protest, people wanting to go back now the event is over. I think what is important now is making sure that what we learned is applied. For all the short nights and damp mornings and inconvenient rain, RAW was great, life-giving; but it doesn’t mean much if we can’t go home and apply what we absorbed. We might as well have simply gone on holiday, and to be brutally honest, I wouldn’t pick a Birmingham suburb as a holiday location!

Bless you all.

Categories: Church Event, Food, Fun Stuff, observations | Leave a comment

One day I will learn

Fountain and Nelson's ColumnOne day I will learn how to live life without wearing myself out completely!

I went to London on Saturday to join the Jesus army’s London Day. It was great. Full of colour and sound and life and friends. I didn’t take loads of pictures, but that’s just me. I live life at the time and kind of forget the camera dangling from my wrist like a Wii remote from a tired child’s!

I did take some pictures though, which is just as well; three days after the even I’m still worn out in spite of having done the minimum and trying to rest as much as possible.

We gathered at Hyde Park Corner to start and made our way through Picadilly Circus and on to Trafalgar Square. As is normal on such occasions, there were whistles and horns and dancing people and flags and banners and loudpseakers and stuff. I’m not doing it justice here at all!

Trafalgar square had a large stage set up at the foot of the column and from there a variety of dramas and dances were portrayed for the great and good of London to witness.

I have to confess that by the time we reached the square I was pretty tired. I had breakfast at 7am, and we reached Trafalgar square somewhere around 1pm. Nothing to eat before I got there, and not much to drink, having tried to travel light on the march. I snacked on my packed lunch over the next several hours, but didn’t really find somewhere I felt I could sit and tuck in properly. I did find friends to chat to around the square and was able to give one in particular some very real help in terms of pain relief.

It wasn’t a bad day, but I’m realising as I record it that much of it is coloured by the fact that I was tired then and haven’t managed to shake it off now. I did desperately need to be able to find one person to sit and chat with, and while I was able to chat with people, there wasn’t really one proper spot that I could sit that wasn’t covered by a person or by spray blown from the fountain. Hark at me whinging at my one-day-per-year trip to London!

I’ve been resting since then, I stayed in bed all day Sunday; and yes, for those who wonder, it did feel wrong not going to church. I’ve got to sign on tomorrow, but I could really do with staying home and resting some more!

Enough whining from me, I’m going to resT up and see if I can shake this cold bug thing that’s grabbed me lately (yes, thats a lot of why I haven’t posted sooner and am in such a poor me mood now!)

Take care.

Categories: Fun Stuff, Life, observations, Travel | Leave a comment

What a weekend

I’ve just got back from Blackpool. I went to meet Jim and Helen and some of the other friends I’ve made by visiting their chatroom. Given the timing I was rather apprehensive. It was Dan’s 5 month anniversary a week ago and today it’s his 29th birthday. I’d had a hard several days before I left and I was concerned that I’d cry all the time and spoil it for everyone else; but I’d promised to go and I’d got the bus ticket, and I wasn’t going to waste the money. Besides, there’s the sea close by, that’s always a good place to go.

I woke up stupidly early on friday morning. I’d set the clock for 4:30 but my bodyclock kicked in at 3am. I decided to get up as trying to get the extra 90 minutes would have left me feeling awful and would probably been a futile exercise anyway. I left for the train station at ten to four in the morning. Left me tell you that right after mid-summer, dawn arrives at 3am and by 4am, sunrise is looming.

Anyway, you don’t need to hear the mutinae of how my journey went, save that it was long and sunny and I started another knitting project on the way and had a lovely chat with the lady across the aisle from me.

I could give you a blow-by-blow account of how it went, but there’s no need. I was met, provided with coffee and made to feel welcome. Through the afternoon more of the chatroom people arrived and were met with a full mug of something. Helen is more than a chatroom host, she is a tiny dynamo always with one eye on making sure the people around her have what they need.

Food was set out and one by one we vanished to get changed for the evening. Then things went a little wrong. You see, we had planned to have the chatroom running exactly as normal but to set up a working microphone so that there wasn’t umpteen laptops trying to run, we could have just one projecting the chatroom on to a screen and we would talk to the people in the room and they could type responses. Except that the server had a power surge and some components got fried. The owner of the website we use promised to be up all night until the problem was fixed, and bless him, he did exactly that, but it was too late for out planned party online. The next best option we had was to record what happened all evening, store it, and then broadcast it another night.

So we had a good night. Singing hits of all kinds, eating and drinking and generally putting names and ID’s to faces. I’m not going to relay everything, it would take too much time and space here, but I will say that Helen had to send me to bed when I finally fell of my chair and started dosing sitting upright on the kitchen floor against the cabinet, when I’d been awake 21 hours.

Saturday morning Jim proved that he has more talents than simply providing music for chatrooms. A full cooked breakfast for about 10 I think it was. It went down well. Then Helen kicked us out to go down the seafront or go into town, whatever we felt like doing; while she cleaned the house up and got ready for the second evening of the weekend.

Saturday night was less formal and the chatroom was up and running as it should be, so we did very much the same again, singing, eating drinking and playing jokes on people.

I haven’t laughed so much all year. I’d been concerned at how my mood would be, but it was very quickly obvious that I didn’t need to be, that these were good people. I was able to forget what has been happening and just think about the moment.

On sunday, breakfast was a muted affair: Jim was on to Lunch. One of the guys had won the quiz that is run on a weekly basis, and said that instead of the normal prize he’d prefer a cooked sunday lunch. So we got sunday lunch. Boy, did we get sunday lunch! It was gorgeous.

After lunch, the departures began. Some people had long journeys and there was the football match as well, so cars and bags were pack and people waved off. My coach wasn’t til the evening, so when the football started I whipped off down to the beach again and wandered along taking pictures and watching the birds and generally enjoying the quiet and watching the tide go out. It was far too short, even if it was 2 hours; but I had to get back, the match was over and my coach was going to go whether I was there or not.

So ended a great weekend with good people. Jim, Tink, Don, KD, Paul, Cal, Ady, DerbyDog, Matty, TechVac, thank you for making it so good.

Dan, as always, I love you. Happy birthday to you, my own personal angel and sunbeam. I hope I did you proud this weekend.

Take care!

Categories: Dan, Food, Fun Stuff, Life, Travel | Leave a comment

More snow

It was lovely to have snow on my birthday, really it was. I had a lovely day and felt really special. I’ve had gifts that showed me that the giver had thought of what I’d like and shopped accordingly.

I even got a couple of texts from two people who know reminding me that it was snowing on the day I was born!

We had bucks fizz followed by a full English breakfast, and after a quiet but enjoyable day we went out and had a meal at an Italian restaurant, which was really nice.

The journey home was a bit of a nightmare, my train broke down, so I had to wait over an hour for the next and missed my connection, and only caught the next train to my destination by virtue of the fact that it had been delayed by 5 minutes.

I walked to work 3 days last week, and my hips and knees protested for the next 4 days, I really could do without any more snow now til spring, but no, there’s more falling as I type. Wonderful. Hopefully this batch will only be a thin layer and will melt away soon and leave is with the crocuses and snowdrops we like to see!

Now, right this minute, I’m going to collect a cup of coffee and hang up some clean washing, probably in the reverse order, but that’s next!

Take care and stay safe.

Categories: Food, Fun Stuff, Life, observations, Rants, Travel | 1 Comment


Or rather, the post-Christmas muffin-top you get when you try and put on your work jeans that fitted fine three weeks ago only to find you have to lie on the bed to fasten them!

I wasn’t best pleased at that, they’ve been cutting into me something awful today; partly because I’ve gained weight after all the feasting we did over Christmas and partly because it’s so cold I’m wearing long leggings under my jeans at all times!

As I said just before New Year, one of my promises is to regain control over my eating habits and eat correctly 90% of the time so that I stand a better chance of reaching a healthy weight.

Change of subject now, I have rediscovered a delight of cold weather. Walking home after work through falling snow. It was absolutely beautiful. I did have to walk; the bike put up it’s usual protest about the weather and wouldn’t co-operate with me, but it didn’t really matter because I was looking at the falling snow and the light patterns and listening to the stillness.

Happy winter, and stay safe, wherever you are for the next 24 hours.

Categories: Fun Stuff, Life, observations, Travel | Leave a comment

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