Thursday, 11 September 2014

a week of two halves...

I am a bit of a cold body and the recent drop in temperature had me grumbling and reaching for woolly socks. Rapidly followed by an urge to knit more woolly socks! I'm trying to have something of a self imposed restriction of buying more wool but a rummage in the box under my bed (one of the places I have wool stashed!) turned up half a ball of sock yarn and some 4ply that I think I've had for years and years. These are only for me so I thought they'd be a reasonable enough pairing.



Had forgotten quite how satisfying knitting socks is - and if I don't get distracted (ha ha ha!) I can knock them up quite quickly.

Then, just as I had resigned myself to the idea that summer might really be over, I went up to Yorkshire to visit a friend last weekend and realised I had completely misjudged what clothes to take!

She moved to Knaresborough recently and this was the first chance I'd had to go up there. It is a really pretty place which is still decorated with yellow bikes and bunting from the Tour de France. From the Castle parks the view was lovely over the river...


...and it is close enough to the Dales to be in easy reach of beautiful countryside, even more lovely bathed in warm late summer sunshine...


We walked up to a stunning spot above a reservoir (I think it was called Ambers Crag?? Might have misremembered that!) and it was so nice to have a bit of 'up'. This is something that I do really miss walking in Norfolk - there are some lovely views, particularly at the coast, but there is truly nothing to beat that sensation of working up a bit of a sweat and getting a bit puffed to be rewarded with this...


There was very little breeze, even at the top, and we sat and ate a picnic in gorgeous warm sunshine. The heather is perhaps a little past its most vivid best but still lends a purple-pink haze to the hillside...




There is an amazing feeling of space up on top of a hill, even a relatively small one like this - I felt I could see for miles...



I took the train up rather than the drive and was very glad I had - with the exception of the tedious wait and Peterborough (sorry Peterborough, but it really is the most boring station to spend 45mins at!) the journey was easy and way more relaxing than a 4 hour drive would have been.

So Monday saw me at Knaresborough's pretty station, heading to Leeds for the trip home.


Now, I have to confess I wasn't completely sure I wanted to kill a few hours in Leeds - it's not somehwere that has even been on my 'must go to' list and I didn't have any expectation of what to find there.

But I thought it was a really beautiful city - full of lovely architecture and friendly people. And now it definitely is on my 'must go back to with a bit more time' list! I picked up a heritage trail walk at the station and sort of followed it to look at the lovely Potts clocks on various buildings around the city centre - but actually got very sidetracked by the stunning Victorian arcades...


Norwich has one, very lovely, but dwarfed by these both in size and intricacy of decoration. Quite breathtaking. I'm guessing the glass roof of this one may be more recent but the colours were so impressive, particularly with the sun streaming through...



And as for the markets...I could have spent hours wandering around in here. Hall after hall full of colourful displays - I honestly think you wouldn't need to shop anywhere else if you lived here! I saw pretty much everything form household electrical goods, to beautiful displays of fresh fish, from yards and yards of cloth to bakery goods and fresh fruit and veg...


I had the nicest Eccles cake ever for 55p and couldn't resist just one ball of wool... Well I had to, it was half the price of even the market yarn stall in Norwich! 

A bit more wandering took me up to Leeds Minster...


...and then I stumbled across a tiny coffee shop on the way back, for a caffeine top up and briefly rest my legs and scan the map (though I have to say it was a bit dark in there - my poor old eyes are not fab in dim lighting! Makes me feel a bit ancient when I have to peer at the small print!). Good coffee though!


Just time for a walk via the beautiful civic centre buildings...




...and a spot of lunch 'al fresco' outside the art gallery...


...before heading back to the station for the train home. Fair to say, was completely taken with Leeds. 

And...it was still summer in Yorkshire!

Bliss.

S x

Monday, 1 September 2014

fundraising update...

Today is officially the first day of Global PF awareness month so the teddy bear is in full Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis finery now, ready to go into work in the morning...


The APF logo is meant to represent the scarring in the lungs, which looks a bit like 'honeycomb' on a scan. 

We have also, as a team, agreed to take the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' for the charity... it will take our breath away for just a few moments, some of the people living with this condition struggle for breath all the time.

We have a just giving page at www.justgiving.com/teams/RespNurses and I hope we will be able to make some contribution to this cause.

I'll let you know what the bear ends up being named! And I may even post a pic or two of the cold water shower...

S x

Friday, 29 August 2014

a bear called...

I don't often mention work on here - perhaps an effort to keep this entirely separate, perhaps because it rarely seems relevant in this context. But this week there has been a teeny crossover, unusually, between my crafty unwind time and something close to my heart on the work front.

I am involved with a couple of charities for people with lung conditions, British Lung Foundation and Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis.  Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is a condition which results in scarring in the lungs, reducing the normal stretchiness of the lungs and making it difficult for oxygen to get into the body. Sufferers have progressive worsening breathlessness which affects all their activities. The cause is unknown, there is no cure and it causes 5000 deaths a year in the UK. 

September is 'global PF awareness month' and activities are on worldwide to raise funds and awareness of this devastating disease. We have a few things planned, one of which is to have a 'name this bear' competition'. He (or she?!) needed something to link him to the campaign so I have spent the last couple of evenings knitting him a jumper in APF colours - just have to add the lung logo now...


I knitted this in the round, from the bottom up, and added in the sleeves as I went. I'm not sure it is completely even as I had to do a bit of 'on the hoof' shaping to account for his considerably fatter tummy than chest! There was definitely a bit of guesswork involved but overall I think he looks quite smart! If a bit sad-faced...

Any suggestions for names for me to throw into the competition??!

If anyone is interested, there is a very moving video on you tube made by the wife of a sufferer which illustrates how this condition affects not just the person with the condition, but also their families. I hope raising awareness will help to focus the attention of those commissioning healthcare services and funding research.


Makes you count your blessings.

S x

Sunday, 24 August 2014

birthday food...

How do those little people turn into such big people so fast?! Today my 'baby' is 21. Doesn't seem possible.


Some lovely friends took us out Friday evening for a special meal and they brought his dessert out like this out for him...


It tasted amazing too!

Last night we had a night at the cinema for the launch of the new Dr Who series (he's a big fan!) and today he and I shopped and had tea in a quirky little cafe in Norwich...


Love the lamp made of teacups in the background...


and these scones were warm and delicious! I had lavender scones with cream and lemon curd - a whole new take on a cream tea...


I'm guessing this may not be your average 21 year old lad's idea of the best way to spend his birthday - disadvantage of end of August birthday, everyone busy on August bank holiday, but I hope he's had a nice day. Tonight he's out with his brother so I expect that will rate highly, love that they enjoy each other's company so much.

Definitely all 'grown up kids' now!

Yikes. 

S x

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Beeston hill...

It has definitely felt a little bit more autumnal this week so it seemed essential to make the most of another lovely evening. I started off just driving in vaguely the direction of the coast (this is Norfolk...to be fair, that means anything from about 10 to 5 on a clockface from Norwich!) then when I got up to the North Eastern bit of the coastline I had an urge to go 'up' so I drove West along the coast road until I got to Beeston Regis, Sheringham. 


Beeston Hill is one of the highest points in the county, at a 'mighty' 60-odd ft above sea level. Now I appreciate that hardly counts as a 'peak' and it is also known as Beeston Hump or Beeston Bump, so we have no delusions of grandeur!
Nonetheless, as you head up there it gives you a great view over the town and the coast...



This bench had a little plaque to commemorate a couple who loved to spend time here - what a lovely spot to sit and breathe the sea air...


Looking inland you can see across Beeston & Sheringham to the North Norfolk countryside - in spite of common myth, lowland but not entirely flat!


This was one of a number of wartime 'Y' posts - wireless intercept points where messages from enemy shipping were picked up and sent to the Bletchley Park decoding centre. Seems a far cry from the relative tranquility of the place now.

As I walked back towards the town the sun was getting lower in the sky and looked as though it was streaming through the gaps in the clouds...




There were still a few people on the beach, including one fairly small boy with this lovely kite...


I hadn't really noticed the wind turbines in this shot until I got home and put them on the computer; rather like the juxtaposition though - the static uniformity of the turbines with the freedom of the kite, both harnessing the wind. And actually, I quite like wind turbines anyway, something quite beautiful about them - though I know not everyone feels the same!

Surprisingly difficult to capture a kite in reasonably strong breeze, particularly with somewhat excited small boy on the other end of the string! Neither were exactly keeping still!


I do  love the seaside...


Hoping for more sunshine tomorrow...

Sx

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

banishing Bertha...

Sunday saw the remnants of 'Bertha' pass through the county. I think we got off pretty lightly in Norwich really but there was an awful lot of the wet stuff! At one point the wind was blowing so hard that even with a fast shutter speed I couldn't avoid a bit of blurring as the fuschia waved about madly. A lot of them ended up on the deck but it seems that these delicate looking little blooms are pretty resilient. And I have to say this plant has given the best value - it started flowering in early spring and has been covered in colour ever since, with nothing but neglect from me!


At one point it was raining so hard that it sounded as though a bath was being emptied down the side of the house! Not sure the gutters were up to the job! Those lines on the picture below are rain, just coming down in what my mum used to call 'stair rods'. (never quite understood the connection between rain and stair rods but there you go, linguistic quirk perhaps?)


I discovered its pretty tricky to capture raining on the window, even when there's lots of it!





At one point there was a break in the rain and we took the opportunity to nip into town for a few things - before long the sky was heavy again...



I just managed this shot of the castle before the heavens opened again...


and as we headed home, we came across this huddle of hardy tourists. So loving that brolly!


Within just a few minutes the skies had cleared and the sun was trying to show through again...



Something very fresh about raindrops glistening on the plants...



All in all, I thought Bertha was a pretty mild mannered hurricane, at least by the time she got to us! Hope you all got away with no more than a drenching.

S x