Saturday, 31 December 2011

Tree Huggery

We've had a relatively quite Christmas, not too much "Brinsleying", plenty of walking and catching up with friends.  I've started making a new range of tote bags and Col has been dismantling the shed in order to move it over to Brinsley.
Col's currently pondering setting up a joinery business, which has always been his long term goal but the reality of doing it seems a bit overwhelming at the moment. We'd set up the name TreeHuggery because we'd always thought that it would work well for both joinery and arts and crafts, and suited a couple of hippy vegetarians who love the outdoors and don't have a television!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas Past and present and future.

Well Christmas past has been different as I was made Redundant on the 22nd of this month,so a bit of a downer to start with. Yesterday the big red fellow had been and emptied his sack. Loved the gifts we got and thank you to all.  We went for a walk locally and then had dinner late.  Today we are off for a walk with friends and then to my folks. 
Hopefully the new year will bring a new adventure and a new job

Merry Christmas to all


Monday, 19 December 2011


Well we now have a toilet, a floor and a damp proof course in "the wreck".  The "embankment" of earth, from where we dug out the earth under the concrete floor, has now been taken away.  Col has spent this weekend taking out the upstairs floors (they lean about 4 inches), and so we're a long way from having a habitable house.  Col keeps scaring me by saying things like "well, we could always boil the kettle for hot water, if it gets to the point where we have to move in"  - but seeing as we dont even have a floor where the bathroom should be, let alone a bath, moving in  any time soon seems a bit impossible.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

World Aids Day

I did my first craft stall on Saturday at a community event for World Aids Day.  I wasn't quite sure of what I would sell, or how much of anything to take, consequently I had a manic panic for a couple of weekends beforehand  adding lots of Christmas decorations to my collection.  Although it wasn't a hugely busy event, I was really pleased with what I managed to sell and the interest that I got in my work - I'd taken some felt along with me to so that I could use my time wisely, rolling some felt balls for a project that I'm doing for my textiles degree (a rug inspired by rust) and it was really nice to be able to chat to people about felting and explain how its done.  Apparently felting has been discussed by Kirsty Allsop on TV (we dont have a tv so didn't know).  Kirsty has been showing how to do felt with felt needles which are really barbed, another way is to agigitate the wool with water and soap, despite some advice suggesting it needs to be really hot, cold water works just as well and is a more gentle way to treat the wool - its really relaxing too.
Thankfully I'm only making a sample of the rug, rather than the whole thing, so I havent got a lot more balls to roll, but it got me thinking about making a bobbly scarf or a corset - watch this space.....

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Nativity Plays

Ken Bruce was chatting on the radio today about Nativity Plays.  Someone emailed him to say that their little boy had been given the role of Joseph, and when he'd knocked on the door of the Inn to ask if there was any space he was told that there wasn't, and that it wasn't his (the inn keepers fault), Joseph ad-libbed back that it wasn't his fault either ....
I emailed in with my friends story ...  Her daughter was disappointed that she'd only been given the meagre role of shepherd in the school Nativity Play, so my friend tried to console her that she might get a better role next year - only to be told "Don't be silly we're doing the Nativity this year, we won't be doing it again next year"....
Oh, shes got a lot to learn.....

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Laid today

A big thank you to Peter and Jonno for laying the concrete floor today, its finallly in.  It took one and half hours "barrowing" to get in 4 cubic meters of concrete into the house - we now have a level floor and I've had a night off, but my mind is already ticking over about what I need to do now.  My next job is to replace all of the lintels, and then it will be the attic conversion, with all of the associated RSJs and reroofing.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

And he painted matchstalk men

Me n Col went to the Lowry exhibition at the Djanogoly Gallery today, which was incredibly interesting.
I'd never realised that most of his pieces were painted from memory, the sketches that he did in situ were real rough sketches - one was only a couple of inches big on the back of an envelope.  I'm still smiling about the fact that on one occasion he went with a fell painter to the Lake District where they stood in front of Skiddaw to paint, and at the end of the day, the fellow artist looked at his painting and was astounded to see that instead of capturing the beauty of Skiddaw he'd been creating a Salford scene - the kind of story which typifies Lowry's contrariness (sea scapes with only sea and sky, no beach or boats)  and sense of humour (men fighting outside a shop called  A.S. Windlers).
I'd also been under the mistaken impression that all of his matchstalk men were featureless "ants", but many are quite funny; drawn deliberately with buck teeth, or without chins or teeth, and many of the faces are captured again and again. 
The white backdrops that he often favoured were initially done in childish defiance to his teacher who critiqued his pictures as too dark (some of the churches are so dark it is difficult to see their features), and his reductionist and niave style is used to create dramatic red eyed subject matters.
That said, Col spent most of the visit critiquing the frames  .....
Definately worth a visit

We've got floors (almost)

After what feels like months of digging out the old concrete floor, that had broken up due to a reaction with the sulphur underneath, we're nearly at a stage where we can start pouring the concrete in, and we'll have the luxury of having floors all over again. Only this time they'll hopefully be level - the house had moved so much over its lifetime that there is 5 inches of drop across the length of the house.
We've still got a lot of work that needs doing before we can move into the house; damp course, electics, a bathroom and a kitchen (currently we dont have either), although some things like a new roof and windows can be done after we;ve move in.
Yesterday Col was talking to a neighbour and found out that the road has had subsidence twice in his lifetime for 2 different but local colleries - cant imagine how gutting it will be if we get everything just right and it happens a third time.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Nearly there, thank goodness, I want my house back...

Only a few more decorations and bags to make, and then I think I'm ready for my first Craft stall.  I definately need a workshop, I cant see the floor in the attic for scraps of material, buttons and templates , things have started to escape from the attic into the bedroom downstairs, and the dining room table has been converted to a dress rehersal while I try and work out the best way to display my wares

Friday, 18 November 2011

How to tempt Pat into a bodice

I feel like I'm showing off a bit, but I'm  happy, really really  happy, with the news I got today. Some of my textile degree course work has been show cased by the Open College of the Arts.  Its always something I thought would be lovely if it happened, but never expected that it would actually happen to me.  I'm always so insecure about my work, that its really made my day to have been chosen, and the lovely comments have made me feel on top of the world. 
Here's the link if you fancy having a look.....

How to tempt Pat into a bodice

Thursday, 17 November 2011

No Use Crying Over Spilt Milk

Col and I are continuing to work on the house in every spare moment, but we're getting so tired....
Cols work as a joiner means that he's used to manual work, but it also means that he's spending a whole day at his job and then coming home and starting work all over again.  My office job has ill prepared me for labouring, and having found that I'm useless at wielding a sledge hammer, and dig much more slowly than Colin I'm usually the one taking the buckets to the skip, and doing wheelbarrow duties etc, obviously this isn't as hard as what Col is doing, but as someone who is pretty sedentary during the day, its coming as quite a shock to the system.
The other day I was so tired that I managed to take a carton of (soya) milk in the car, and over to the house, without realising that I hadn't put the cap back on the carton - doh!.  When we got there I realised that I had an empty carton and a footwell full of milk.  Luckily soya milk doesn't smell quite as bad as rancid cows milk, but the car is a bit whiffy at the moment, and I've decided that I need a night off!

Countdown to a new sewing machine

I'm getting ready to do my first craft stall at a community event for World Aids Day in Beeston. 

The invite was unexpected and v short notice, consequently I'm feeling quite stressed and am now rushing around to try and get lots of little stocking filler Christmas items to sell.  Having never done one before I'm not sure how much of things to take, nor am I sure what kind of reception my work will get.  Its funny what a deadline will do for motivation; having generally played about with ideas aimlessly for months, my very short deadline has really focused me to get things done - just a shame that my sewing machine has decided to play up at this precise moment...... Hmm can see what any profits will be going towards!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Blood Splatter Analysis

It looked like blood splatter patterns, but actually it was port.  Anybody walking into our kitchen would have seen me n Col with red smeared hands, and port coloured stains up the walls, over the cupboards and dripping across the kitchen floor.
Even Dr Watson would have struggled to make sense of what happened tonight......
Colin had wanted to see how much port was remaining in our oak cask port barrel, and rather unwisely decided to test the depth by sticking a knife into the hole in the top of the barrel.  Then even more unwisely he let go of the knife and dropped it into the barrel.  At this point its probably best to explain that its quite a big barrel, when its full it holds about 20 bottles of port, and at this moment in time it was probably about half full. 
Obviously the knife couldn't be left in there, so after decanting the port into all of the available bowls and jugs that we had, Col set about trying to get the damn thing out - easier said than done....
Think of a blacksmiths puzzle using a big oak barrel and a pair of pliers and a crochet hook, using a high powered head torch with a barrel thats still got the last dregs of port in it, so that every time it moves slightly, there is a whole Hammer House of Horror special effect scene as its runs down your arms on to your hands, splashes across walls and floors, and dribbles like a baby.
Three quarters of an hour later, Colin, the king of puzzles got the knife out, three quarters of an hour after that we'd nearly cleaned the kitchen - although I do worry that we've missedt some porty stains  in some obscure place, and that when we sell the house, the new owners will wonder what went off .

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Getting ready for Christmas

It's still only Autumn, but it feels like winter will be coming soon.  The trees are almost bare, my runs have now turned into muddy off road affairs and I've started having porridge for breakfast!
With all signs indicating that I ought to be thinking about Christmas, I've been making a few decorations - now we're doing the house up in Brinsley and my loss of an income is iminent, money is particularly tight.  The last few days have seen me weaving stars using string and twigs, making tree decorations and drying out satsumas for garlands.
The satsumas garlands, which should be the easiest to prepare, are perhaps the most challenging, they just need to be left in a warm place for a nice long time so that they can dry out without burning.  Last year when I'd popped out for a run, Colin thinking he was helping, whacked the oven up high.  I came home to the smell of marmalade and a selection of crisp black oranges.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Strippers, Seals and Sand

We've just had a lovely rest from "Brinsleying" by having a weeks' holiday in Norfolk.  I think it will be the last holiday for a few years as both time and money are now both in short supply, consequently we were determined to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing holiday while we could and spent most of our time enjoying the scenery and the last of the years' sunshine;  taking walks, admiring the work of local artists and enjoying Norfolks cream teas.

Most of our walks were in North Norfolk, close to where we were staying, and making use of the peddlars way - but one day we ventured down the coast as far as a place called Horsey, it looked like this would be a disappointing trip because the villages were much less picturesque than where we were stopping but it was definately worth the trip -  Horsey beach gets loads of seals playing about in the sea right near to the waters edge - after about 30 or so we stopped counting, 'couldnt believe how lucky we were. We read that later in the year (between dec and feb) the beach has to be closed so that they can safely have their pups. We didn't taken any pictures of the seals cos we didn't think that we could do them justice, so we just enjoyed the show that they put on for us playing in the surf.


Jac thought she'd found the highlight of her holiday when one of our walks went past the Saracens head and the chalk board outside was advertising Morston Mussels - she thought she'd stumbled across an upmarket pub with a Chippendale act, before quickly realising that she'd be a pretty disappointed as a vegetarian as all she was going to get would be a limp bit of fish in a shell - doh!
Colin and Jackie

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Brinsleying (noun, verb and adjective)

There's a really good book called the Meaning of Liff, by Douglas Adams. In Liff there are many hundreds of common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no words exist.
On the other hand, the world is littered with thousands of spare words which spend their time doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places.
Liff is a dictionary which manages  to get these words down off the signposts and into our vocabulary, where as Douglas Adams puts it "they can start earning their keep in everyday conversations and make a more positive contribution to society".  In other words Liff is a "dictionary of things that there aren't any words for yet"; all the words listed are places, and describe common feelings and objects for which there is no current word.
My favourite examples are Motuspur  which is the  fourth wheel of a supermarket trolley which looks identical to the other three but renders the trolley completely uncontrollable.
and Melton Constable (n) A patent anti-wrinkle cream which policemen wear to keep themselves looking young.
So why am I telling you all this?  I've taken to describing our activity at our new house in Brinsley as "Brinsleying"  Brinsley  (v) therefore is the act of hard physical labour while seemingly achieving nothing at all.

I'll explain more Brinsleyisms as they happen

Disaster area

A bit over the top I know. But the Brinsley project looks like a disaster area at the moment we currently have no electrics, no gas very little plaster, no plumbing and the roofs now got to come off . I hope this is going to be worth it.... oh and the concrete floors yet to come up..

Jac's buggered today after spending nine hours cutting and burning the rubbish timber that has come out , never mind we have filled nearly two builders skips of plaster and brick.

I need bed for a week to rest up I think and I'm sure the mucks now more an addition to my skin than the little sun tan I had.


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Its not going well

I'm really struggling to put a lining into a dress - I'm not a dressmaker and 3 dimensional thinking has always been problematic for me. 
My strategy to this problem is to leave it to one side and come back to it later, consequently i've gone back to my drawing course, which is normally a source of calm and relaxation, but this module has been particularly difficult for me - when it hasn't been about capturing fine detail (I'm very expressive, but not detailed) its been about drawing animals, and nextdoors cat just won't sit still

Friday, 23 September 2011

Save our Countryside

After a battle to stop the government from selling up our forests, they are now proposing that our greenfields and countryside are used to create more housing stock.  It feels like madeness, there are plenty of brown field sites available for building on and there are plenty of houses for sale that are unsold because people can't get mortgages.  Taking away our green spaces for houses that are built on projections that aren't necessarily correct and that can be built elsewhere seems a crime. 
38 degrees have set up a petition to try and stop this.
Its not often that I use the blog as a soap box but this is really important to me.  All of the things that are important to me; running, walking, wildlife, scenery, inspiration, a place to feel uplifted and calm and just being away from urban life could all be removed in the next 10 years.
Please click on the link above and sign the petition and forward it on widely.
Thank you

Book Vandal

Over the last few days I've posted quite a few things on Freecycle (a website where you can give things you no longer need to other members, and request or be gifted things from others).  I really like Freecycle, although a few people are really greedy in what they request or don't feel the need to say please or thank you, the majority of people are really nice and are really happy if they get a few glass jars for chutney making or some green house glass.
Along with a load of other things I'd posted (such as big old cathrode televisions that we found in the garage at the house we've bought, and crafting items) I'd posted a few of my old social policy text books.  I didn't really expect anyone to want the social policy books and not wanting to waste them completely, I had a flash of inspiration and  decided that the covers might be useful collage material.  Of course it was only after I'd torn the covers off and started cutting them up, that somebody requested the books, and I had to sheepishly explain that they could have them but that they were now naked..  I think we made each other laugh; I had the lovely response, "don't worry, its like people, its whats on the inside that matters" and then laughingly got told that they'd not met a book vandal since they were at school.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Bag Ladies

I've been making a few bag ladies, I'm hoping to sell some at a craft fairs and through Treehuggery

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

From Condoms to Pompoms

We've been a bit quite on the blog for the last couple of weeks, mainly because we're busy renovating the house but also because I'm busy writing a book.  It's all about  why I've decided to leave my job in teenage pregnancy at the county council, and start up "Treehuggery" an arts and crafts business upcycling reclaimed materials. I'm planning on calling my book "From Condoms to Pompoms" - and heres the introductory paragraph.

Up until the moment I opened my car boot to search for my locking wheel nut, the mechanic at the garage had been smiley, pleasant and helpful towards me; it seemed that he’d recognised the awkwardness I felt as a lone woman in a garage. It was only as he explained that in order to check the tracking he would need my locking wheel nut, and as I started to shuffle through my boot full of boxes of assorted sizes and flavours of condoms, that his smile began to fade. Seconds later, any fa├žade of a smile left his face completely, when, in a bid to try and explain things and make them better, I gestured towards the boxes, now all over the garage floor, and said “It’s ok, it’s for my work”.
It was at that point that I realised that what’s normal in the world of sexual health, isn’t normal in the rest of the world.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Hats off!

Well the first few days of September might still feel like Summer, but I've been busy thinking about Autumn and Winter and making some hats that hopefully I'll sell through craft fairs and through Treehuggery
I love trying to upcycle things and applique makes this really easy the flowers are samples from experimental dying and weaving, and hand rolled felt balls in the centre.


Wednesday, 31 August 2011

What have we done

In our attempt to live the dream a la the Good life we've bought a house in a more rural location with quite a lot of land which will mean I can have workshop for my textile work, a patch of land as big as our allotment outside of our back door, a space for chickens and fields from which we can run at the end of the road.
Its all sounding pretty idyllic so far, but as with most things the good life doesn't come easily, the house is in a horrendous state and needs gutting completely to make it habitable - it still has the old bakelite switches, it has a body shaped lump in the concrete floor where the concrete has blown and is very very damp.....

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Giant Ladybird

Its not every evening that you sit sewing at your window  and think  a hot air balloon is in danger of landing on your street - it was so low that I could see the people in it and hear them talking too .... Hopefully they will make it to the local park (Granby Park) which could also be a surprise for the young people who tend to gather there in the evening...

Sunday, 28 August 2011


The Potatoes not the painter, or though he could paint on the side of these big beauties. I've been lifting some of the main crop potatoes today along with cauliflower, spinach, the never ending supply of courgettes and beetroot.
Harvest time is great, fresh food all the time and 10 minutes of road time not hundreds of miles of flying time. Looks like we could end up with some great Pumpkins as well there is a huge one at the moment and plenty of others growing on steadily. Roll on Halloween.
Now to go rest my back the physio would kill me if she new what I've been doing as I was told to take it easy. Oops


Friday, 26 August 2011

Double Zero

My first Zero is that of my Zero Balancing treatment, again it has left me feeling less tight and achy and more relaxed. After the problems of last week's 40 mile run that I pulled out of, my body was in a right state and needed relaxing then hopefully soon I can resume training.

My second Zero is in the form of Zero running till I feel no aches and pains I've been told that I didn't give my body time to recover after the 24 hr (Thunder) run and that it basically collapsed when it became fatigued. I now realise I need to build some time in to my schedules to relax and let my body recover.

A lot of articles I have read in magazines and on the inter web tell you that you learn much more from a bad run than a good one . I definitely have learnt a lot.


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

All wrapped up

I've made a load of Christmas presents this year, and have now started making recycled gift wrapping - gift bags out of old comics and newspapers - rafia for the handles.  Hopefully I have enough time to collect interesting articles and comics to match the recipients interests.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

40 Miles ....too much

Well I headed off this morning to the Ultra peak race ,organised by Rory Coleman and Jen Salter. As always a well organised event starting at Cromford meadows along the canal for a mile ,then heading up the High peak trail (with quite a few steep sections). It then cuts along to the Tissington trail heading back towards Ashbourne. After this it goes through Osmaston and Markeaton Park .
Well to cut to the chase; 30 miles in at check point 3 I pulled out . My first DNF mark. To be honest I think doing this race so close to the Thunder run was a little naive and that my body had not recovered properly and so my thighs turned to lead and I struggled to lift my feet this caused me to keep catching my heel . The problem I developed above the outside of my ankle became an issue so I ended up walking probably 3 miles to the check point and calling it a day.
Legs feel better for having them raised and cold showered and the ankle didn't swell up ,so I think stopping when I did may have prevented a long term injury. Sad not to have finished but another 10 miles could have finished me running for a while so I know I made the right decision.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


For the second time in 2 weeks I have got stung by a wasp while out on a run.  While I like to think that we were both flying towards each other, at 70mph, the reality is that I would have been plodding around at 8.30/9 min miles, and to be honest I'm feeling a little victimised, and sore.....
Cols 40 mile ultra is on Sunday so he's been on a taper for the last couple of weeks, and has been out on slow runs with me  - made even slower by having to stop and perform minor surgery extracting wasp stings.
Hmmm who said that running is good for you

Thursday, 11 August 2011


We've done really well for not having slugs in our back garden this year; the reason pet toads!  This evening we had 2 little ones in the greenhouse (the big one we normally see was not around).  We didn't dare disturb this one from his comfortable perch on the watering can, watering the tomatoes will have to wait until tomorrow.

Thursday, 4 August 2011


Not quite finished yet, but here's the first of what I hope will be a series of woodland textile pieces.
This is inspired by the oil painter Maya Eventenov whose oil paintings of silver birches are really built up and textured.  I decided that it would be interesting to look at woodlands through the medium of textiles; burning back the bark, scrunching up leaves, painting on the moss etc  
I think my next piece might be a snowy kissed woodland, but to be honest I've been so inspired doing this that the possibilites seem endless....

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Too hot to run

Col did the local league race last night (only 2 days after the thunder run).  I'd decided that it was far too hot to race and would have a gentle plod along the canal.  Even running along the canal was hot and clammy, fortunately on the way back I managed to have a sneaky rest by fussing a friendly cat  - he was really pleased to get fussed (even rolled onto his back to have his tummy tickled) and I got a nice little rest without even having to pretend to stop and tie my shoe laces - everyone was a winner!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Thunder Run ..TR24..

This weekend saw me and some of my fellow Ilkeston running buddies tackle the Tr24. This is a 24hr relay event, held at Catton park. It was a well organised race with some really friendly people attending. To cut to the chase we won't be high up the rankings but for the six of us we managed to complete 26 ,10 kilometer laps in the 24 hrs.

Hope to have a go another year and maybe at some time have a go at doing it solo.

In two weeks time I'm signed up for the Ultra peaks race ,a 40 miler from Cromford to Derby along the High peak, Tissington and Bonnie Prince Charles Trail


Thursday, 21 July 2011

Apples are not the only fruit

Our little apple tree has gone ballistic this year - its sprouted hundreds, if not thousands, of really decent sized apples.  The kids next door but one have been busy scrumping, we've given loads of way, I've made umpteen jars of apple chutney (about 60 at the last count), and baked oodles of apple crumbles and scones and yet still they keep coming.  I'm beginning to wonder if I should have a go at brewing scrumpy.  Jack

I've been framed

Colin has very kindly framed my King of the Mountains picture - as with the picture, the frame is made from reclaimed materials, I think it may have been from old chair legs, and finishes the picture off perfectly.
Its being collected tomorrow, I hope there's plenty of space to hang it, its huge!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

King of the Mountains

I've been working on a collage of the King of the Mountains jersey for a cyclist friend  - its still needs framing, but apart from that its finished.  Its been a nice project to do because I was told that as long as it was a picture of the jersey and that it was "different" and not like anything  that anybody else might have  I could do what I wanted.

Its been lovely making fabric samples and seeing it come together, its mostly made from reclaimed materials; maps, bits of cycle chain, old plastic folders, dyed tissue paper  etc,  I'm hoping that he likes it, and just really pleased that I've managed to get it finished while the Tour de France is still underway.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A quick draw

Last night saw Colin go off to Carsington to run one of the local league races - he did really well, running quickly (as always) and coming in first for Ilkeston running club and eleventh overall.  I took the lazy option of staying at home and doing some sketching, I really do like running but find the competitiveness of races really stressful, I know it shouldn't be because when I run, like with sewing or drawing, I can become totally absorbed in the activity and completely forget everything else, not only that but when I'm sketching with charcoals or pastels I can become just as messed up as I can on the muddiest of runs....

I've not sketched for a while, and so am a little of practice, but I'm hoping to get back in to it.  Here's a couple from over the last couple of days.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Scarecrow relays

Today has been a mixture of Relay racing at Belper Derwent relays which saw a good turnout of four teams for Ilkeston . This was achieved by some of us running two legs for different teams. Our ever present Mr Sharratt (I'll cycle beside you and give you a drink when you need it. If I don't get lost.... see blog about hilly 100) came up with the names for the teams     Crosby,Stills,Nash and Young. 

Not sure how we have done yet as I came away before every one was in so that me and Jac could do the second part of the mixture and walk the Scarecrow trail at West Hallam. Very impressed with the scarecrows and the Well Dressings and a lot of people were still there when we arrived even though it was late on in the day.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Lions and Tigers and Bears

That I'm easily more scared than the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz, wouldn't be too much of a problem if only I didn't have such an active imagination.
Earlier this week there was a very sad news story about a man living near Eastwood who had a heart attack after being bitten by one of his many King Cobra's from his King Kobra Sanctury.  Apart from being horrified by the needless death, I was also horrified because the house we're hoping to move too is in a village very close to Eastwood, and I've always had a fear that an escaped snake could find its way into my house by flipping up the letterbox with its tail and slithering in  - and am now in a constant state of high alert thinking that the empty house we're going to buy has an escaped King Cobra waiting to pounce on me.  Colin has tried to reassure me that the house is currently too cold and damp for a snake to be active, but in my troubled mind that is even worse, because we'll open the door to find we've woken up a hungry, grumpy snake.
My hectic Friday night hasn't made my nerves any less jangled either  - on going down to the allotment to water the plants, I had a very narrow escape with a wasps nest hidden behind the water pipe, and then later that night, trying to relax with a glass of wine under the apple tree, I got hit on the head by a falling apple.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

All cried out

My last ever day of training before I take redundancy and start the good life trying to make and sell crafts.
This was a session showing workers how to use baby simulators so that they can use them with young people and highlight some of  the realities of becoming a teenage parent e.g having to put the baby's needs before socialising etc, with the aim of providing an experience where the young person starts to consider the age at which they may want to become a parent.
The babies are quite an entertaining training tool to use, and generally attract some weird looks when the participants take them out over their lunch break; In one session I facilitated, a participant was standing in a supermarket queue caring for her "baby" when its arm fell off - completely traumatising a small child standing further back in the queue ....

Sunday, 26 June 2011

I've been Zero'ed

I went to the masseur on Friday ,and was offered a session called Zero Balancing. To quote Louise who performed the treatment ."Zero Balancing is a hands-on body and mind therapy to release tension held in the bones and deep joints of the skeleton".  It felt at first like she was doing nothing, but as the treatment went on I was so relaxed and virtually asleep. I was told to rest up for a couple of days so no running at the moment and it's glorious outside (that's the down side). The plus side is I do feel energised and free from the aches I normally carry around with me and I now  want to get running again which for a while I have felt a lack of motivation to do.

I have started to put an itinerary together for races I want to have a go at. Some I have done before (Notts 50k), quite a few fell runs (including the stanage struggle) and a couple of ultra marathons (one being the new ultra peaks 40miler). Hopefully the energy will stay but I'm back for another Zero balance in august.


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

This week is recycle week.  I decided to try and have a bit of clear out by using up some scraps of materials and making a few throws -

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Out foxing the foxes

I have been noticing more that foxes are out in the daylight hours. On our run yesterday while skirting around the old ski slope at Cossall a young fox darted across my path, and then today walking through the grounds of MFN we saw a young fox wandering around. As soon as it saw Jac it was off (don't know why). Jac thinks it because she runs so fast and that she would out fox it?
At the moment we are seeing lots of young animals and birds on our runs. It's a convenient reason to stop and take a break. Running's great but you do have to take the time to appreciate the surroundings.

We were having a discussion today about what to call a dog. It came about after bumping into a friends brother with his new rescue puppy. We thought for a jack Russell , Russell or jack would be good and Bernard for a St Bernard. Standing on a park shouting jack Russell if you had a pair of them would get you some strange looks.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


I took my watch strap, which keeps breaking, to the Cobblers today hoping that they might be able to fix it for me, and save me the cost of having to buy a new watch strap.
Not only did the very nice man at the cobblers mend it for me, he wouldn't charge me for it either.  It was only when I asked him a second or third time if he was sure, that he suggested I make a donation to the charity box instead.  How lovely was he? 
Thank you Timpsons
I also got some really helpful advice and tips from  the man at my local sewing machine shop when I popped in to buy a darning needle (I'm wanting to do some free embroidery),  and had a nice chat with the librarians about a book I'd borrowed which I was returning.
It makes you wonder where we'll all be when the supermarkets and the internet manage to close down our town centres and high streets.  None of the helpful advice, conversations and kind deeds will be available online.  It kinda reminds me of the lyrics in Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi"  "You don't know what you've got till it's gone"


Monday, 6 June 2011

Oh coots

It's a bit hectic at the moment. Firstly we are entering a busy period at work so long hours. Secondly we are in the process of looking /selling up. Thirdly we are trying to keep on top of the allotment, it's taking some to keep it watered this year as last year it was only partly dug over.   With regards to the allotment we have most things in and just salad plantings at regular intervals.

On a plus side and not hectic, going down to the allotment is providing the chance to see the young coots growing up at the moment they're a bundle of fluff. While watching them the other day we were informed that there are a couple of red kites in the area and a buzzard.

The fell race on Friday was good in a sadistic way. Legs definitely felt it especially the quads. I had a great ascent (hill climbing is a strong point) but I was left looking like I was going backwards coming down by one guy. Think I got a 28th position in 50.29 minutes for a 6.2 mile race. Not bad for a first attempt .