Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Steam train celebrations

Whilst dotting out and about enjoying what little sunshine we have we ended up at Pickering (again!) and went to look at the steam train that had just pulled into the station. The first couple of carriages had been suitably decked out for a private party, I assume a ruby wedding from the sign on the front. What a wonderful way to mark a special occasion! It is my parent’s golden wedding in four years time and they took on board (no pun intended!) the idea of booking a carriage or two to celebrate with friends. They’re not really loud party people so this would suit them down to the ground – and it would feel very posh having a whole carriage (or two) to oneself 🙂


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July so far

At the end of June I received some excellent news; one of my oldest friends had safely delivered her first baby. It wasn’t the easiest birth but both were safe and well. I organised to go to London so that I could see the baby. I haven’t included a photo because I forgot to ask permission, although I don’t think I’d be allowed as New Mum isn’t a fan of social media. However I can report that he is very tiny, very cuddly and only cries when wet/hungry/cold/hot/uncomfortable. A perfectly placid child 👶

London is rather a long way to go for one day so I (and my bank balance) decided to spend most of two days travelling (I went by coach) and have two days. H, with whom I was staying, took the Friday off and we went to Canterbury and Whitstable. I’d never been to either place and I had a wonderful day. Canterbury had a lot of lovely little shops and I could have spent a fortune, an urge only repressed by the fact that I had to carry anything I bought onto the coach. Whitstable was a lovely place. We didn’t go into the town but to a place just outside. There we dined at the elegant Marine Hotel

After dinner we had another walk along the front, admiring all the beach huts. I was filled with beach-hut-envy!

H and I spent a wonderful time planning our fantasy beach huts! They would be at least twice the size of these beach huts and very luxurious.

Here are a few of my favourite ones…

I love the Art Deco look of this one, in particular the green and cream colourway.
There will always be blue skies here.

Blue and white was a popular combination for beach huts. It looks so fresh and summery.
This one made me smile because our local psychiatric unit was called St. Luke’s until fairly recently, although we decided that this hut belonged to the Scouts.
Beach huts from begin, showing the sea.
Walking along the front we saw some splendid houses but I only took a photo of one (remiss of me, I know). This house would have been perfect if Monsieur Poirot decided to holiday at Whitstable. It is so 1930s, not a curve in sight! One very modern house, we were somewhat horrified to notice, had a floor to ceiling window in the bathroom!!!!!

When I did my post holiday accounts I am very glad that I have no big financial plans for the rest of July. Instead I have a long list of books to read, crafting to finish and a rather late, much needed spring clean to complete.

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A Grand Day Out

The plan for today was to go to Saltburn to see the yarnbombing, watch the Christmas Truce reenactment, have fish and chips and look at all the other things that were going on. Due to absolute lack of parking anywhere in the town and our lack of forethought to use the train we had to resort to Plan B. It still involved fish and chips, at the fish and chip cafe in Sleights but instead of the seaside we went up onto the moors. A visit to Grosmont so that Mum could see if there were any steam trains in (there were). There is some lovely landscaping around the station at Grosmont.


There is also a lovely memorial garden to somebody who, I assume is either a founder member of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway or somebody who devoted a lot of their life to it. Whoever he was it is a beautiful way to be remembered.


Notice all the lupins in the background? I haven’t seen lupins, or similar old fashioned flowers in gardens for many years. I would love to have a garden where I could grow old fashioned flowers and herbs successfully. Our soil is very heavy clay; excellent for tiles, not so good for plants.

I found a facsimile book of the Spitfire manual 1940, which I bought for my Granddad. He was Ground Crew, not a pilot, but he will still be interested. There was also a facsimile of the Land Girls handbook which looked interesting.

When we had finished looking at trains (Mum) and books (me) we drove on to our favourite ice cream van, just off the main road between Beck Hole and the Hole of Horcum. I love the view from the little pull off. Sadly I was buying ice cream when a train chuff-chuffed along the railway line in the bottom of the valley but even minus train steam it is beautiful.


We then drove home via Pickering and Bilsdale. Even though it wasn’t the day we had planned it was a lovely day out and a nice way to end the half term holiday. Back to work tomorrow, which I know won’t be as bad as it feels right now.

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Pixieanna Goes To Town

So, what have I been up to since my last post? I’ve done a fair bit of blogworthy stuff but sheer laziness has meant that I haven’t posted.

During my Easter break I went to London (well, Eltham really) to help a dear friend celebrate her birthday. It involved seeing old friends, meeting new ones, delicious food, cocktails, amazing views of London by night, chips on the beach and toiling up to the top of Dungeness lighthouse for more amazing views (we think this is the model for Demon’s Rocks lighthouse in the Famous Five book of the same name) I also discovered a new-to-me bookshop, Hatchards on Piccadilly. It is my new favourite shop for new books.

I was back in London a couple of weeks later to help my niece celebrate her 5th birthday. My sister made rude remarks about the fact I was happier making tea and organising food than being in the hall they had hired. I pointed out the well known fact that I do not do children en masse until they reach the age of 16. I think I have been deputed to organise the 16th birthday party!!

Work has been mad and crazy as we have finally had our Ofsted inspection (the Government education standards people, for my non-British readers) We got a grade 2 (Good), which we richly deserved as most people had pulled out all the stops to improve what needed improving and to keep the good stuff at a high standard. Everybody is tired now and can’t wait for the holidays.

Since we have been having a spell of good weather I have got outside into the garden, enlarging my collection of herbs, planting pots full of flowers and refreshing our very tatty hanging baskets


Today I had a day off, thanks to a cancelled class and my having lots of lieu hours to take. As the forecast was chilly with rain and storms I shelved my original plans and did boring things like collect my prescription. I had a mini rifle through a couple of charity shops and found a lovely jug which I thought would look nice with flowers in it. Sadly, on the way home I popped into my local Post Office, which has a very heavy door. The ignorant get going in infront of me let the door swing back and in catching the door to prevent being smacked by it, the door caught my shopping bag. I heard a sickening thud and I mentally cursed the very rude man for his action. When I got home and inspected the damage, only the handle had broken off. It was easily fixed with superglue but there are a couple of chips in the previously perfect glaze and it makes me sad to see it spoiled. Oh well, it will still look pretty with flowers in it but I am either getting old or people really are becoming more selfish and ill mannered.

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Dress how you damn well want!

Inspired by Retro Chick ‘s latest post (www.retrochick.co.uk) I was set to thinking about how people see others, in respect to their dress. I like to think of myself as pretty non judgmental when it comes to how people look but I am sure I make subconscious judgments about people based on their clothes. In my world view going outside of your own garden in your pyjamas is unacceptable. I have been known to dash to the bin in my PJs when I think the binmen might turn up while I’m dressing, but going to the shops/school run etc is just Not On. It only takes five minutes to wash your face, yank a brush through your hair and pull on jeans or joggers and a top. Where did the going out in PJs come from? It strikes me as pure laziness and not having respect for yourself. (To any of my friends who do this, I still love you and all your flaws :-*) I sometimes see people in the street and long to give them a makeover – nothing radical – simply replacing ill fitting clothes with well fitting and in colours that suit them.

I always used to dress to suit my own taste and style, yes there were a few disasters but that’s part of growing up and discovering who you are. Then medication caused me to pile on weight and life caused me to lose myself. I fell into the ill-fitting jeans/t shirt/ponytail all the time trap which is fine if that is you but it isn’t me. Yanking myself up by the bootstraps I cut my waist length hair into a layered bob, rediscovered  my eyeliner, lost 3st and found my own sense of style once more.
I dress to please myself which means dresses of all lengths, but with a leaning towards tea dresses and circle dresses for everyday, classic jersey dresses (mostly Boden ebay bargains) or skater dresses for work and either cigarette, Capri or wide legged trousers. My jeans are slim fitting, because that’s how I like them. I do have a couple of pairs of boot cut jeans and cords but I don’t wear them very often. Going out I will wear “wiggle” or pencil dresses but I haven’t quite worked up the courage to wear them during the day – other than pencil skirts. Maybe getting some sucky-in underwear will make me braver! People often say I look dressed up when I think I’m just dressed normally. Today is a “slobbing clothes” kind of day and I’m in a pair of plum coloured, boot cut cords, a somewhat faded black, long sleeved tunic top and my favourite cardigan which is actually knitted from a 1950’s bedjacket pattern. That kind of outfit may be dressed up to somebody else.

I think what I’m trying to say that everybody has the right to wear what they damn well want but it is my opinion that everybody should respect themselves enough to wear well fitting clothes that suit them, whatever their style…….and leave the pyjamas at home!

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New boots

I have a huge problem buying knee high boots. Although I am below the average size of a British woman (size 16) I have very fat calves. I rarely find knee boots that fit in ordinary shoe shops, they simply will not zip up. Pull on ones are a bit better but they’re rather thin on the ground. Knee high boots from shops for the fuller figure, such as Evans are too big and baggy around the calves. So when I got the small financial benefits of working extra hours I decided to look around for a pair of boots that fit. I ended up at Duo (www.duoboots.com if the link doesn’t work)who sell footwear based on measurements rather than standard sizes. Shoes and ankle boots are based on the width of your foot, while knee high boots come in standard shoe sizes but they have up to 21 calf widths. I gaily measured my calves, filled in the form and my bank account was distinctly poorer for it. The first lot I received were too small because I’d measured my calves too low down, so I watched the measuring guide video clip and measured again. Precisely one week after taking the unsuitable pair to the courier collection point my replacement pair arrived.


They are beautifully packaged, in a very strong box, much stronger than the usual shoeboxes. Each boot was stuffed both foot and calf to keep them in shape and they were lovingly wrapped in tissue with a leaflet with instructions on care.


The outer boot is lovely glossy black leather, really soft and the quality feels wonderful. The linings are also leather, buttery soft and a pale gold.


They feel wonderful on my bare legs, they don’t rub at all, although I am more likely to be wearing them with tights or leggings. Some of the reviews complained that the ankles were too small but I didn’t find it so. Either my ankles are slimmer than I thought they were or those reviewers had ankles that are much larger than mine. The fit on my feet was very good too, my feet tend towards a narrower fit but the cut of the boot feet is on the narrow side too so no problems there.


As all who know me are aware, I am addicted to heels, although nothing too high. These are described as ‘mid heel’ and are a comfortable height for walking in. They give me enough lift that my stunted growth isn’t as noticeable and I merely look dainty and petite……at least that is my intention and please don’t disabuse me of that!!!

These boots were really out of the budget that I had set myself, but they are worth every penny and are worth the effort of being skint for a month. The quality is superb, the customer service is excellent and with suitable care these boots should last a good few years. That will mean the cost per wear will be an absolute bargain (and also give me plenty of time to save up for my next pair!)

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Today I made my annual batch of
butteries. I usually make them near Christmas but with visitors and not finishing until 21st December I thought I’d get ahead.


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