Friday, 22 January 2010

Good things seem to come in threes!

....... and that certainly seems to have been my recent experience!

My First Good Thing:
Back in December I entered a competition set by Monica at to work out her favourite modern art sculpture at Meijer Gardens (easy - there were several photos of a bright orange 'thing', which was 'Aria' by Alexander Liberman!) and to identify where the lyrics "Caw! I guess it was alive!" came from.
I spent ages trawling t'internet in search of that flippin' quote ........I finally found it on YouTube done as a song called Mounted Animal Nature Trail by the Arrogant Worms (most amusing!)

Anyway, the upshot of my sheer stubborness not to be defeated by song lyrics from an obscure Canadian band meant that I was the very lucky winner of 'The Painted Garden - a year in words and watercolours' by Mary Woodin.

It's beautifully illustrated book as you can see from the photo below. It's a cracking good read, but you can also just dib into it for the sheer pleasure of looking at the paintings and picking up little snippets of useful information such as 'plant crocuses near lavendar to stop the birds pecking the petals' - a real gem! I love it ...thank you Monica :)

She also sent me some very scrummy 'Twilight Delight' dark chocolate, which I thoroughly enjoyed and which made me re-evaluate my relationship with American chocolate! Me and Hershey Bars have never really bonded!
My Second Good Thing:
Around the same time, Diana at offered a limited edition print of one of her paintings to celebrate her anniversary of 3 years of blogging. I was obviously up there amongst the best begging letters in her comments box (oh how I can grovel when I really, really want something!) and was honoured to be chosen.

She sent me this lovely print of 'The Train Station', which is hand signed and numbered - but I can't tell you the number right now as the print is away at the framers even as I type. I'm hoping it'll be done within the next few days and I can't wait to get it back! I know exactly where I'm going to put it - which wasn't where I first thought of, but doesn't involve redecorating!!!
Sadly my photo really doesn't do it justice though.Thank you so much Di, I'll treasure it and care for it :)

My Third Good Thing:
is Himself!
This will seem obvious to regular readers as Himself is the star in my firmament in all things tea house (and lots of other things too ....... ooops, starting to wax a bit lyrical and soppy here, but you know what I mean!)

ANYWAY, the reason this time is non-tea house related! For ages now we've had an old clock in the hall which Himself found on ebay. (the clock, not the hall!) It came out of the old Vauxhall car factory and was the master clock used to regulate all the other clocks in the factory as well as the clocking on/off machine. He did some fancy electronic magic to make it work, but really wanted to find a slave clock to run off it.
(ignore the mushy pea green hall ....NOT our choice, but there's no point in decorating here until we've done everywhere else!)

Having finally found a slave clock on ebay, Himself discovered that one clock had a 30 second motion and the other had a 1 minute motion. This called for even greater electronic wizardry so, whilst we'd got the hatches battened down during the great snows, Himself got to work and produced this thing of beauty...........!

The end result was that the slave clock in the kitchen is now wired into the master clock in the hall - so we now have two clocks that actually tell the same (and correct) time! The clock suits the age and style of the house and fits in beautifully. It's also made of the same type of wood as the renovated servants bell box which is in the kitchen.
I'm chuffed to bits with it ...and Himself!

What en excellent start to 2010!
Ooops, forgot to mention that I'd promised First-born I'd give a little plug to her Etsy shop, . She makes gorgeous things out of reclaimed and vintage materials, and all her packaging is recycled. Here are a couple of examples of her work:
A handstitched patchwork cushion

..... and recycled envelopes made into notebooks.
Pop in and have a look! Thanks :)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Trudging home in the snow.

In a moment of madness I decided to enter the January Picture This Photo Contest on the blog. Why? I have no idea - I blame the mulled wine!
But anyway, here is my entry:

Almost Home!

Winter for me is about our family having fun together in the snow, then warming up in front of the wood burning stove whilst drinking hot chocolate.
The photo is First-born starting the long slog up our drive to our warm house and that hot chocolate - enough to make anyone smile! And, yes, the backpack was full - and quite heavy.
We had braved the elements yesterday (thermaled up to the eyeballs, naturally!) and walked and slid our way down to the local shop for in a (not very) epic expedition for emergency supplies ..... milk, eggs, crumpets and a trashy magazine! Needs must eh?!
Below is a photo of the topmost part of the very steep road down to the shop. The photo does not do justice to how steep this road actually is. We NEVER drive on it even in the Land Rover when there is any amount of ice or snow. It wiggles down the hill to the main road at the bottom - with no flat bit to stop any sliding before you get there!

A red cotoneaster hedge en route.

I have never seen our telephone wires so iced up!

I was going to enter this photo in the competition, but the other one made me smile more! :)

Ceefer cat is totally unimpressed by the snow!

The animal prints are actually on the ice on the pond.

I had to rescue the brassica cage before it broke this morning.

Last-Born and her friends built a new snowman yesterday as they had decided that the remains of the old one was just "too freaky"!

Is it just us that thinks he looks like a gargoyle?!

.....or maybe a left over angel from the 'Blink' episode of Dr.Who? Oh let David Tennant come rescue me with his sonic screwdriver and the Tardis!!!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Winter walks .....or ' Back to the Thermals, Part 2' !

Traditionally we have usually spent Christmas with our extended family and New Year has always been for friends. This year was no different and 10 of us had a jolly pleasant night at our house seeing in the New Year, singing 'Auld Lang Syne' (badly, in my case!) with the wonderful Pete being dispatched outside with a lump of coal to do the 'first-footing' as the bells stopped ringing!

Tradition also has it that we go for a walk on New Year's Day to blow the cobwebs away off we went!
It was a very cold day and was threatening rain and snow so we went to the nearby Linacre Woods. It's owned by the local Water Authority and is a series of 3 small reservoirs in a valley surrounded by trees (no....really!)
The ground was rock solid underfoot but some icy remnants of the recent snow made walking a little precarious at times - especially downhill. We started from the top car park, but what goes up in Derbyshire must inevitably come down...and back up again!
We circled the top resi', staying up high ........

before dropping down and round to the retaining dam wall to look down on the middle resi'.

Quite a lot of the reservoir was frozen, causing mayhem for the birds and amusement for us!

Himself and Pete inspecting one of the overflow channels!

Fascinating eh?!

Looking down the middle resi' from the overflow channel.

The bottom resi' with the plughole just visible

I had a lovely photo of most of the semi-circle of the plughole but Blogger kept turning the photo through 90* and made it look really weird, so I eventually gave up in disgust you'll have to settle for a bit of the plughole instead!!!

Saturday was grim - cold, sleet, snow - NOT the day for going out, but Sunday dawned with glorious clear blue skies and crispy snow - just the day to go out to the Dark Peaks for a decent walk! Curiously enough, the Gnomelets didn't want to come, so me and Himself donned our thermals yet again for a trek on our own- but first we had to get off the drive!

Ceefer cat was not impressed by our desertion of him!

We drove up to the Curbar Gap car park, with the road being like this most of the way ....oh I can get smug about having a Land Rover some days!

Leaving the car park we had to choose ....left for Baslow Edge or right for Curbar Edge? (or straight down the salt road to the village pub?!)

We went up onto Baslow Edge first and gazed longingly at the pub in Curbar village in the valley (well I did anyway!)

snow dunes up on the top

It was bitterly cold at minus several, plus the wind chill factor made it minus even more, so we did a circuit that took us back to and across the road, up onto Curbar Edge ......

...where the sheep knew where the sheltered spots were.

Both Baslow and Curbar Edges, along with Froggat Edge, form a horseshoe shaped gritstone outcrop that is famous for its climbing. Many Everest expeditions trained here - and as a young child I loved our Sunday family trips out here to go weasling and bouldering. Later, as a teenager, I spent many a happy hour climbing on here - never to Everest standards, but I wasn't bad...especially considering I'm only 5ft2 and my climbing partners were all around 6ft!!!
We followed on with family trips here and both Gnomelets have bouldered here many a time. I swear First-Born has glue on her feet - or is part spider!

The gritstone used to be used to make millstones and there are many incomplete or broken ones dotted around up here as you can see in this photo. The perfect ones were taken back to Curbar Gap, then down the salt road to Curbar and Calver villages down in the valley or across into Cheshire to the mills there.

Having finally gotten cold enough in the minus lots wind, we headed back to the car park
....and home for some mulled wine!
What a lovely way to end a glorious day!

Happy New Year and may all your days be as wonderful as this was :)