Sunday, 20 January 2013

Different weekend....

Out in the Snow

Do you like our Snow Cat?

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Well, we didn't have the weekend we'd planned.

We were meant to be off to Oxford to visit with Greg in his new flat. He wanted to take us to the Pitt Rivers Museum - which is meant to be full of weird and wonderful exhibits brought back by intrepid Victorian explorers. Things like shrunken heads and body art and other wonders. Nathan wanted to take me to Mission Burritos as he loves the Mexican fast food they do and I wanted to go to Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant which Greg says is pretty good.

However all those plans went awry with the arrival of the snow. We did hope for a while it might not be too bad but halfway through Friday we decided we'd be safer staying at home.

Poor Tracy had a hair-raising journey to the library. It usually takes just 8 minutes - it took her 45 minutes in the snow. Then when she'd been there for just half an hour the boss called to say the libraries were closing. So she had to drive back home again! Luckily she was okay :-) She'd had one customer in that time - who seemed shocked that the library was closing - she didn't think it was that bad!

So we spent all of Friday indoors looking at the white stuff through the windows.
Outside the French Windows

Through the kitchen window

By Saturday we were fed-up of staying indoors and wanted to enjoy the snow a bit and get some fresh air! So we went out for a walk - over the marshes to May Bank and The Victoria pub. This is a busy place - but when we got there the car park was empty. Reassuringly, the lights were on so we went in and the was the wonderful smell of carvery. Sat atop the gleaming stainless steel was a huge turkey - complete and as yet uncarved. There were a couple of other people in there and the bar and kitchen staff. So we took of out hats and gloves and scarves and outer coats and sat down. It was lovely. We had warming drinks - I had some of Stone's Ginger Wine and Nathan has Christmas flavoured beer - called Frosty Bells. Quite suited to the conditions I think you'll agree :-)

We did go for the Carvery and it was delicious. it was so nice and warm in thee we didn't want to go back out into the cold. We lingered by the Quiz Machine and tried to win some money out of it by playing Monopoly. Sadly we didn't make a profit - mainly due to not knowing who won the FA Cup in 2008 and which baseball player had the best average in 1998.

It was fun though! Then we steeled ourselves, wrapped up again and went back outdoors to make the trek home through deep snow. We were quite disappointed that no-one had built a snowman on the Marshes - there was so much of the stuff. So, when we got back home we went into the back and built our own Snow Cat.

Today (Sunday) we once again have stayed in. We haven't been to Cheadle or Stone to see parents. I Skyped my mum and dad - so we could see they were fine!

I am just a bit worried as it has begun to snow again and I have to return to work tomorrow. I find it very scary driving in snow and ice but Nathan has said that he'll take me if it looks bad.

Hope things are okay wherever you are!


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Snow - good or bad?

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Well snow is certainly pretty - but as we are meant to be driving down to Oxford this weekend I'm not so sure I love it that much. :-)

I do have Friday and Saturday off so if it gets too bad we'll just have to snuggle up in front of the fire and catch up with some Dexter. That is my current favourite TV show and I still have a long way to go to catch up to the current series. That's a GOOD thing - so many more episodes to look forward to. Nathan and I are just finishing watching both Dr Who and Torchwood from the beginning. Well - since Christopher Eccleston (my fave Doctor)  - not Patrick Troughton and all those....

We've had a few boiler problems recently - and had to call our the Glow-worm man in the end. He fixed the problem - then turned it off and got us to sign a form saying that we know it is not quite right and it's our responsibility if we switch it back on. Of course we did - and it is working so much better now!

It seems that the problem is that the gas pipe supplying the boiler is not the correct diameter - too narrow. So that could potentially mean that if we had the heating and hot water going - it could lessen the supply to the hob. If we'd left something cooking on there then the flame could go out only for the gas to come back through later when the heating was off. This could be dangerous - unless we keep an eye on things when we are cooking them. Which we do anyway - so I'm not too worried.

We will have to get the problem fixed though - otherwise we won't be able to have a new boiler fitted - or sell the house! A job for summer I think. We have no idea where the gas pipe goes between coming in at the front of the house and popping up by the boiler right at the back of the house - so it could be a very messy job (pulling up my tiled kitchen floor and/or my solid cherry wood floor in the lounge and hall) So it could be costly too - looks like this summer won't be the one where we go to Las Vegas either.

Still - something to work towards and look forward to for a little longer :-)

In Library news we had another famous poet at my library. This time it was John Lindley - the Cheshire Poet Laureate. He was so nice and friendly. Sadly I didn't get to go into the session with the Keele Poets - as it was a day when we were open. However he looked very happy when he came out and said that they were a great group. He asked where they could go and get a coffee - so I directed them up to The Bush pub. There are no coffee shops in Silverdale. I think there's a gap in the market here....

So, I think the session went really well. I think Nine Lives of the Cat is my favourite poem I've read of his.
I discovered also that Julia Donaldson had written a blog about when she came to Silverdale - have a look here.

Colin and Dilys on the occasion of his birthday.
I wonder who we should invite next??

We had a celebration this week - it was Nathan's dad's birthday on the 12th January. We went to The Crown in Stone and had a wonderful meal in their Holland's Restaurant. Very English fare - I had braised steak - which was so tender, N and his mum had lamb chops and the birthday boy had steak pie. All served with seasonal vegetables and delicious dauphinoise potatoes. Yummy.

On the health side of things - I am feeling great. I have a couple of appointments in the first week of February. one is with physio - so he can check whether I have been keeping up with my exercises! The other will be my check-up.

Hope all of you are keeping well - and warm!


Sunday, 6 January 2013

More festive photos

Playing games at Dom and Sharon's

New Year's Eve hats!

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I am writing this on my new (very small) laptop. Thanks to my parents :-)
It is a great Christmas present - much lighter, smaller and quicker to fire up than my previous one. That is twice the size, really heavy and takes so long to get going you have time to go and have a shower while waiting for something to happen. It must be over 7 years old - which is positively geriatric for a computer these days!

The new one is an Asus - with touch screen and Windows 8. The most impressive thing though is that  - it fits in my handbag!! I am very impressed :-)

My dad popped his tiny memory card from his camera into it - and it downloaded over 150 photos on less than 10 seconds - and put them into their own folder.

So I thought I'd share a few here....
Enthusiastic Party Popper Action!

Laura, Nathan and Me toast the New Year


Friday, 4 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Christmas at The Wheatsheaf

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Happy New Year to you all. I can't believe that the Festive Season has been and gone. I have to take my Christmas tree down this weekend.

For now though I'm relaxing in bed with a big box of Dairy Box chocolates. I was just thinking - while I tried to choose one I actually like - what they used to be like. I loved them when you got Turkish Delight and that wafer one. All those flavoured creams ones too - they were yummy!  There is nothing like that at all! All praline and truffle. I don't think I'm sophisticated enough for these :-)

Mr C telling me about his Christmas :-)

Anyway - I am back at work properly now and we have been really busy today. Seems like everyone is getting back to normal. it was great!

Mr C was in telling me about how well his New Year has begun - with winners on the horses!

 Next week we get all the classes back too - and the Poets are starting off the New Year with a bang - by having another Poetry workshop - this time with John Lindley, Cheshire's Poet Laureate.

Parents at Christmas :-)
Dominic, Sharon and Sarah modelling their Christmas jumpers!

I had such a lovely Christmas Day - it was so stress-free going out for lunch. I have to say that The Wheatsheaf in Cheadle did a fantastic job. It was wonderful. They seated 13 of us in our own area with plenty of room and the Christmas Tree. They even took photos of us all and put them on their Facebook Page. The food was so nice - thee was a free Buck's Fizz on arrival and four courses, including a cheese platter for everyone. They even coped with a vegetarian and a vegan! Hopefully Nathan's parents didn't feel too outnumbered by the Ashtons! It was great to have everyone together. :-) I really enjoyed it.

Also had a wonderful birthday - on New Year's Eve. N took me to see a film that I've been dying to see - The Life of Pi. We saw it in 3D - and it was breath-taking. Especially the opening sequences from Pondicherry Zoo. I just wanted to reach out and pet the animals. It was amazing!

I was so happy to see that the film stuck very close to the book - which we read in the Silverdale Book Group some time ago.

It was quite a feat! Nathan loved it too - it was very thought-provoking. Great stuff! I would recommend it.

Had a nice birthday party at my parents on NYE too. We saw the New Year in - in style!
I am sure that 2013 is going to be a great year!

Now I just need to finish these chocolates - then I can get back to healthy eating!!