Be yourself

Be true to you...with a little help
make the connection
say what you feel
and smile, more

Word for 2011

My word of the year is TRY.
I give up too easily,
I don't start because I think I'll never finish,
This year if it looks interesting,
if it looks worthwhile,
if it's something I always wanted to do,
well, this year I'm going to TRY
and lets see how much more I can achieve

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Polite Notice: snow chains compulsory

Just a thought, but after seeing the country grind to a halt, slithering in snow,  I couldn't help but hark back to last May in northern California.....................

Donner Pass at 7,700 feet.  Road cleared to go.

Well, seems like a good idea to me - get those chains on U.K!

Many thanks to all well-wishers, I'm on the mend, s-l-o-w-l-y, and don't make me laugh!  Outch!
pamela x

Edited to add
Yes it's no easy thing I know.  Over in California we did see long laybys especially for putting on/taking off tire/tyrechains.  Notices indicated they may only be required for a short distance but were compulsory.  The roads over the high passes in the High Sierra had deep channels gouged out by the heavy trucks with chains.  Even in the south above Los Angeles in the mountains we were in snow (and 'Thunder Blizzards') at 5ooo feet and on the drive down to the valley floor we passed many vehicles heading upwards, stopping to put on their chains.  When we reached the first set of traffic lights at the bottom  of the mountain all the cars pulling up (including us) shed a small avalanche of snow each off their roof as bemused locals wearing shorts and sunglasses strolled past in the midday heat (32c) lol!  Very memorable!
I remember the Blue Circle wagons from when I lived in Weardale.  We were snowed in up a number of times up at Tunstall Valley (so beautiful, sigh) and it was the Water Board vehicles that used to clear that road eventually for access to the Resevoir and Treatment Plant, if I remember rightly.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Snow Joke and Gratitude

Hello folks how's it going with you this week?  Sorry about the slowness to post.  I'm back now after short respite.  

Wowza.  Britain experiencing the EARLIEST WINTER snowfall for 17 years.   That'll be in autumn then, chortles;)

Lots to write about but let's go for a story in pictures eh? 

Leaving Durham City (my driver had a two hour tailback on the motorway to get to me, a twenty minute journey normally) firstly negotiating the icy sign of gritting activity here

Passing shot of Durham Cathedral under glowering skies...........
City streets deserted as the nearby motorway groans under thousands of vehicles going nowhere. The traffic jam extends north, past the angel of the north and the Metrocentre and into Newcastle).  Looks like the gritting lorry got through here ok though.

And Durham Castle, part of the University and steeped in tradition

Both sit on an 'island' promentary surrounded by the River Wear, part of 'The Land of the Prince Bishops', county Durham's tag-line to attract the tourists land of the prince bishops

Dormant life under snowy blanket

Redwing or Fieldfare?  

Back home and greeted by sweet cyclamens under their fluffy duvets

Err, who left the bikes out? going nowhere-else for some time I shouldn't think.....
Cold-snap here for awhile apparently
And this was just the first snow-shower, gulp:( Pretty though

So there you are, travel today only if ABSOLUTELY necessary.  Well it was......
There's no place like home.  And hospital isn't it.  Although my visit to short-stay surgery did give me the opportunity to write lists, LOTS OF LISTS.
Six and a half hours sitting in dressing-gown and slippers in a draughty waiting room gives time for plenty of planning!  I managed to detail at least fifty thrifty must-do's concerning lamps, planters, wall-hangings, window-dressings, mobiles (the hanging-from-the-ceiling variety not the where-did-I-put-it-this-time or the forgot-to-charge-the-bl****-thing-again variety) all doable whilst lounging about on enforced no-lifting-carrying shopping bags, laundry or cooking FOR THREE MONTHS type rest. The key theme is 'Be thrifty, use what you have' to make new house beautiful.  Easy.  Have been hoarding REALLY USEFUL stuff for years.    

And after surgery a sleepless night, usefully occupied by drafting  proposal for future research and writing-to-earn-money

Here's hoping.

And if you'll indulge me, I'm dedicating today's blog posting to all the nursing and surgical teams working their magic to put me right.  With extraspecial thanks to an amazingly dedicated night nurse M and a wonderful post-op recovery nurse S (sadly we learned this morning S slipped on ice trying to get to work and has broken her arm) get well soon darling and thanks for your skilled and loving care :)

Bye for now, stay safe
pamela x

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Why 'Magical Meadows'...?

Hello folks, how are you going?  Hope the week's going as you'd hoped;)

Edited to add - I'm so sorry for the fonty sillyness below.  Grrr.  Font gremlins.  Please bear with me, I'll try and clear it up soon, but not right now - or I'll miss my bus;)
Edited (much later) to add - let's try this again, and yes, I missed my bus anyway, sigh.

A couple of people have been asking why I chose to name this blog as I have.  I thought you might be curious too.  I know I often am when I'm a bloggy visitor.  Sometimes the answer appears self evident, sometimes it takes a couple of visits and the penny drops.  Sometimes, well, darned if I care -  just enjoy!

I set up this blog on the spur of the moment.  Been brewing in my mind for sometime.  Put on hold until I 'had time' to 'do it perfectly'.  But (a bit like bloggy lurking, flitting from link to link, you're not sure why or how you got where you got) there came a tipping point when I blinked and the deed was done - and so easy! (no 'cooling off period' ho ho) (and not perfect either, hey ho).

So, not a great deal of preparation (none!) on design or content.  And the title.............?

A bit like the character in a movie, a spy or somesuch (grrr, I can't think of a single example....) when caught in the wrong place/wrong time scenario and forced to give name, searches her surroundings and fabricates an alias from a neon sign, shop window, newspaper headline.  Still with me?

When blogspot asked for blog title I rolled my eyes, muttered curses, thought briefly 'I give up', and then realised my eyes had rested on a pile of mags and periodicals nearby.  You know what I'm talking about, 'How to live your dream in a (flippin' mind-numbingly expensive) Country Idyll', 743 7,430 ways to get organised and save time (yes I know - don't read articles like this!) a zillion tips to save money (likewise - don't waste money buying mags like this!).  Also, more usefully, our county's Wildlife Trust (do subscribe - save important habitats forever!), other conservation eco-mags, etc.etc.......

Resting on the top of this aspiring, inspiring and eclectic mix was a delightfully pretty paperback publication entitled "MAGical Meadows...and the Durham Magnesium Limestone".

Job done.  I claimed it at once.  Typed 'MagicalMeadows' into the relevant name/your/blog box clicked once and launched myself into the bloggysphere.

Ahh you say.  Lazy girl.  But let me tell you, there was good reason for my choice.  It wasn't only panic-buying!  It is where I live.

I love where I live.  The north-east.  It's an area discounted by many as boring, industrial, post-industrial, lacking character, lacking imagination.  Actually, it has everything.  Rich in history.  Spectacular scenary.  Wonderous wildlife.  Everything.  (well apart from some tasty vegan eateries and a branch of Wholefoods, but hey,  nowhere's perfect).

Pass through with a stranger's eyes, what would you see?  Take a look.  Small 'ex-mining' pit villages, hemmed between motorway, mainline railway, 'A' roads and backlanes.  Rows of back-to-back terraced streets, allotment gardens, churches and chapels.  Post-war (i.e.1950's) 'New Towns',  market squares, factory units, charity shops, community halls, quarries and mine-workings.  Supermarkets, shopping malls, pubs, clubs, war memorials and schools.  Sounds quaint? or grim? Both or neither, depends on your perspective I suppose.

But underpinning all - geology.  And linking all, on the surface - natural 'corridors'.

Little pockets of wonder -  bird sanctuaries, ponds and streams, copses and woods, hills and moors, and meadows.  Here comes the sciensy techy bit ........ 
“MAGical Meadows are the wildflower-rich grasslands found on thin soils overlying Magnesian Limestone rock.  In the UK Magnesian Limestone is restricted to a narrow band which stretches northwards from Nottinghamshire into Durham and Tyne and Wear.  The geographical position of the Magnesian Limestone acts as an ecological bridge between the chalks and limestones of northern Britain.  As a result magnesian limestone grassland contains unique assemblages of both southern and northern calcareous (lime-loving) plants.  Many of these plants are close to or at the limit of their natural growing range including Bee Orchid (Ophrys aptifera), Bird’s-eye Primrose (Primula farinose) and perennial Flax (Linum perenne).
Completely unique to east Durham and Tyne and Wear is the magnesian limestone grassland community containing Blue Moor-grass and Small Scabious (Sesleria caerulea – Scabiosa columbaria).  This community is not found anywhere else in the world and is both nationally and internationally important.”
Described as rare, valuable and unique, this habitat has been exploited and industrialised for millenia.  Species have perished, lost forever, more still at risk.  Conservation is imperative.  The quarries and their surrounding lands are crucial, little oasis in a desert of industry, at risk of infill with waste and effluent.   
There is no more beautiful, breathtaking or peaceful habitat on a summer's day.
And it's where I live. 

So there you are, just in case you were wondering.  And even if you weren't;)

Thanks for visiting.

pamela x

P.s, love to know, how did you choose your bloggy home? 

P.p.s., underpinninglinking ..... hey - it's a patchwork thing!  Even more apt, for a crafty sort of lass wouldn't you say?!

(say hello to 'Radio Blanket circa 1994, thrifted yarns, made up as I went along, all on a circular needle).
Edited to add - the second edit worked, result;)

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Some small concerns ..........

Hello All

Before I start, I need to say something.  I don't have big ambitions.  At this point in my life (our lives) I (we) feel we deserve a warm and comfy nest, within which I (we) can work, relax, and be ourselves, surrounded by the activities and belongings we appreciate and enjoy.   We've worked hard.  Maybe we hanker after a special house in a special location, with a bit of land.  Maybe we'd love to express ourselves being self-sufficient, frugal and grounded, raising vegetables and caring for chickens rescued from a terrible fate.  But that's not going to happen just yet.

We're headed towards that land called retirement.  Our series of temporary homes, rented and unlovely, had to end.  Our resources were drained.  We have but a few working years left.  We needed a better base from which to function.  We didn't want grand.  Or expensive.  Or fashionable.  Our style is friendly, coloured by necessity.  Our last chance to fix things popped up.  We jumped and grabbed.

Well, it's been tough.  I dare say it's been fun in parts.  The main difficulty is in getting over the disappointment of things not being straightforward.  We really needed a quick move, get settled in, down to work.  This house started as a bargain purchase, sale completed in TWO weeks!  needing JUST a quick tidy-up and move-in planned within another two weeks, and now? The wiring was deadly.  Completely re-done.  Completely redone means floorboards up, walls and bricks and plaster down.  Complete mayhem.  An earthquake.  Disaster.  We've found ourselves on a merry-go-round of re-doing, re-placing, re-newing almost everything.  

Now I'm looking at twelve, no, twenty pots of paint, rolls and rolls of lining paper, brushes, rollers, skirting boards, beading, tiles, ............ and that's before I start on curtains and carpets.  Oh, and we need a bathroom,  and the hob, oven and extractor fan have been condemned and, beyond redemption sadly, have been taken to the tip.  The window frames are rotten.  And we have no central heating or hot water.  The boiler was condemned too.  The quotes are laughable.  A rocket to the moon is more achievable.

I'm managing to stay focussed on the end result (I do the decorating and so can visualise our finished 'home') , it's finding the energy that I have a big problem with.  I get tired very quickly.  The last two weeks have been really difficult for me having to be sitting in a cold dark house unable to do a great deal whilst electricians, plasterers et al made a big noisy mess everywhere.  Then left me to clear it up every night!  Not. happy. me.

Meanwhile, in Haiti they no longer even have tents.  They.  have.  Earthquake.  Cholera.  Hurricane.  Disaster.

Get real pamela.  Count your blessings.  Do something to help.

And put your back into the flippin' wallpaper-stripping.  Winter's coming.

Thanks for listening folks x

HAITI the facts
Impact of the 12 January earthquake
  • Two million people living in the most affected area
  • 220,000 dead
  • Over 180,000 homes damaged or destroyed, 1.5m homeless
  • There are now 19 million cubic metres of rubble and debris in PaP – enough to fill a line of shipping containers stretching end to end from London to Beirut.
  • One and a half million people living in camps including over 100,000 at critical risk from storms and flooding
  • There are over 1,100 camps and 54 of these are home to 5,000 people or more
  • Over 600,000 people have left their home area in Port-au-Prince and mostly are staying with host families
  • Nearly 5,000 schools have been damaged or destroyed

Friday, 5 November 2010

Anyone coming out to play.....?

Hello folks

How are you this bonfire night?  Had a quiet night in myself.  Big aerosol factory fire near us today, had enough smoke, flames, bangs and whistles thank you very much.  Veg chow mein and apple crumble for supper, very nice, all gone.  Snacks prepared for tomorrow's slog in the batcave.  White shirts gleaming on their hangers for next week's worker.  Car packed with bags of rubble, stripped wallpaper and various detritus ready for drop off at tip first thing.  Sugar soaping and ceilings to wallpaper weekend ahead.  Sigh.

What to look forward to?  Hmmm.........

Dates in my diary!

November 23rd
Will be joining coachful of lovely o.a.peeps on christmas shopping day outing to Leeds.  Personally would love to be hitting the charity shops, department store habby departments, vegan health food type shop.  But only if I can sneak away whilst peeps have lunch.  Any tips on goodies from locals in the know?  Anyone free for a coffee?  P.s. I can't walk fast or far.

November 26th - 28th
Knitting and Stitching Show Harrowgate.  Sounds delightful.  I've never been to a big crafty show (maybe I'll get supplies needed for My Big Project - discuss later).  I'm excited, and scared.  Any advice?  P.s. Am in the north-east and don't drive, car-share anyone?

Oh and I'm very pleased to say I'm hoping to be included in the quest by to provide winter clothes and toys for 1,000 little'uns.  Hope I wasn't too slow to catch the boat on that one.  Take a look there might still be room for you too!

So then, a few treats to look forward to after all;)

No fresh photo's today so here's another one from last November in the English Lake District....

You're very lucky if you live over there (I used to, sigh).

Well,  I'm off for a shower and an early night now.  I'm hoping to post about blogging soon.  It's been a good experience so far.  But one or two snags.  I'm hoping for tips and advice.  I'll sleep on it.

Night-night all.

pamela x

p.s. any look-forward-to dates in your diary?

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Small Rewards ......

Hello folks, how are you?  Had a busy day?  Well now......

After a day at the batcave......

all a girl

a sit down in the fresh air with.......a nice cuppa........ooh that's just lovely........;)

while she ponders what to do with the latest leavings discovered at number twelve, yes, it's another pair of dirty dusty lightfittings...........hmmm......paint or polish?

And she wonders what this evenings forage to the big DIY emporium might yield.  And where she's going to find the energy from.  She's going for lining paper, masking tape, brushes and ceiling paint but is hoping for some bargains and some inspiration.

And she expects she'll return home with at least ten things that weren't on her list.

Well, here's hoping this trip out is followed pretty closely by a long hot shower!

Better get on with it then.  Leaving you with leaves, the indoor foliage variety not the golden glory that is autumn in the north, hope you likey;)..............

Thanks for visiting, byebye for now.

pamela x

P.s. since you ask - mine's rooibus with soya milk, and on occasion an added teaspoon of demerara, thanks! (Oops sorry Clare and anyone else who's in the dark rooibus is also known as Redbush tea from South Africa originally - infact I was introduced to it by my lovely friend Sara who was from that great country!  You can now buy it everywhere).

Just wondering, what's your tipple of choice?

Monday, 1 November 2010

Happy November .....

Hello folks and welcome to November's first posting.   I hope you had an
enjoyable samhain/halloween/all.hallows.eve/potato picking week/half term break/celtic new year........

Here's my trick.............
Scary eh?  What a shocker!

And here's a treat.........
Much better.  Just lovely!

Thought I'd start marking the first day of each month with a 'New Month's Resolution'.  What do you think?  A sort of theme to carry throughout, to help achieve the bigger aims and objectives more easily, and with a bit less stress and a bit more fun.

Over the weekend I've considered a number of different resolutions.  I also did a fair bit of browsing in blogland.  I got some great ideas.  I know I should be 'counting my blessings' more than I do ( a great theme throughout the bloggysphere).  But what else could I resolve to do which would
  • make my current situation more bearable (more enjoyable would be overly optimistic)
  • get over my strong and deeply held tendency to procrastinate
  • push me to finish those works-in-progress which haven't made any progress in recent history
  • get us moved into number twelve sooner rather than (much) later
Hmmm.  I'm also noting the several folders, scraps of paper, print-outs and notebooks lying around the place.  All holding various IMPORTANT information, plans, shopping lists and checklists regarding the work ongoing at number twelve and the packing-up over here.  And remembering we couldn't find the vital IMPORTANT INFO....... we needed yesterday when deciding on a bathroom design.  (we'd both come up with different measurements for the bathroom.  But that's another story.  P.s. I was right! heehee!)

So November's resolution is self-evident really.

Therefore (tonight)

  1. I'll be compiling an IMPORTANT INFORMATION station, in the form of a looseleaved folder with an index and plastic pockets.  All the quotes, contact details, receipts, etc. in one place.  Organised.  And...... 
  2. I'm (finally) putting together the scraps of fabric/paint colours/favourite magazine pictures into MOODBOARDS for each room (probably) in a separate folder.  I'll carry this around with me so thrifty finds won't be lost (unlike like the curtains I walked away from last week 'cos i wasn't sure if the colour was right or if they'd really 'go' with the (vague) plan I had in mind.  I dashed back later when the penny dropped - perfect absolutely perfect!!! - only to find they'd . . . gone.  And you know what thrift shopping is like.....I'll search and search but will never find the same or similar, ever.  Sigh.
So there you have November's resolution is to use my new system AT ALL TIMES to better project manage the ongoing house move situation.

Now I would credit the source of these inspired organisational tools HERE normally.  Forgive me please as I just can't trace the links.  I believe and were probably involved so thanks anyway!  But if anyone feels left out let me know please x

 Oh yes, about those unfinished projects....................oops.  Another time.

So, what would your resolution be?  Or is once a year enough?
Must dash, meet up soon
pamela x