Friday, 29 June 2012

What a Doughnut!

Assorted best seller doughnuts from Krispy Kreme
Doesn't time fly when you are having fun? I placed these pictures on the blog nearly a fortnight ago, got busy with something else, saved the page and completely forgot until reminded by a blog follower that I hadn't posted for a while - thanks Linda!

Well there's nothing too much new other than summer has arrived in the UK at last but due to an unusual flow of the jet stream, we are subject to westerly Atlantic fronts bringing occasional thunderstorms and torrential rain and many parts of the UK are being subjected to flash flooding. Although locally we haven't had flooding, residents in this area who were flooded five years ago this week following unprecedented levels of rain will be looking nervously at weather forecasts. 

Doughnuts (or donuts depending on which part of the world you come from) above were a father's day gift and don't they look good? I have to say that in terms of taste, some of them didn't quite live up to how they look. I've no great experience with doughnuts, but I like soft fresh doughnuts, sweet and light. Some of the above were almost bread-like which wasn't quite what I expected. Needless to say, before you ask, I only had three over two days, the family ate the rest.

As a child, my mother occasionally had a treat from the local bread shop Skeltons (long gone) of an apple turnover. This was a clam shaped doughnut with stewed apple and cream in the middle. I loved the jam donut, a round rock shaped doughnut with delicious strawberry jam in the middle and as a very rare treat, a chocolate éclair, a long slim doughnut with cream in the middle and a covering of chocolate on top. By the way, they were a fabulous bakery and their freshly baked Danish loaf was stunningly tasty.

Everything is very green and bright outside and plants, shrubs and trees are growing well but the flowers just need some sun to bring them out. It's certainly warm enough and on a night it's been a sticky, humid 18 degrees; the fan might have to come out. I even meditated on the patio a couple of nights ago it was so warm.

My friend Linda's daughter Helen decided that her two pet goldfish, Arthur and Merlin, really needed a new home and a better life than to be swimming around in a tank. So in a short ceremony, having offered to accommodate them in the small pond, I let them loose among goldfish cousins and rudd half cousins. After a few moments of sluggishness and no doubt shock, they happily swam off and a fortnight later, they seem to have integrated and are eating happily with the rest of them.

A small goldfish being released into the pond, either Merlin or Arthur

It's a busy couple of weeks coming up starting with Cottingham Day on 7 July (in the East Riding of Yorkshire) and my angel stall is getting an airing in the craft fair. On the same day, in the evening, I'm covering a paranormal investigation in Lincoln. In the week after, I am travelling down to Hampshire for a 4 hour meeting which takes two days out of my life because it's a day travelling down, an overnight stay, a workshop and a long day travelling back. In context this is nearly 250 miles and 4 hours each way at the speed limit without a stop. In reality, I have to drive around London on the M25 and will need a couple of stops so just travelling takes the time.

Oh joy!

Chat soon


Monday, 11 June 2012

Umbrellas Out!

A busy few days and dodging the rain showers has meant that my grass is desperately overgrown and I can't get on it to cut it. I've been to one wedding evening (I wasn't very well), and yet another wedding evening, I've done a day at a local Hospice summer extravaganza to try to help them raise money and many other bits and pieces. I've even cleaned someones carpet using one of those new fangled carpet cleaners - it worked well. I've been to Derbyshire on business and the Queen's had her birthday.

Well the jubilee celebrations are now at an end and life sort of draws back to some normality, except that it's Euro2012 football tournament and as I write this, England have just drawn with France 1-1. Now although I did ten years on the committee of the local Boys League and I am on the board of Directors of the East Riding County FA, these days I am more interested on how football is run than the actual game itself.  When I was a kid I supported Hull City AFC which as the nearest local team and my dad was a junior there in the 1950s. These days I remain firmly neutral and to be fair, its great. The only team I 'support' and by that I mean I really want them to do well, is my national team, England. I follow Hull City in the news and watch for the results, but that's about my only interest in them now although of course I hope they do well.

I've never been to the national football stadium at Wembley either the old one or the new one and I don't think I have the passion to go to be honest. Given a free ticket, I might get myself there one day - I might put it on my bucket list.

I was never very sporting, I never had the stamina to run about for hours on end. I played a bit of cricket which I enjoyed tremendously, and I love cricket to watch and even now, I rarely miss any cricket on the TV or radio if I'm in the car. I've been to Trent Bridge in Nottingham to see an England test match (I think it was against the West Indies) and I've been to Headingly (Leeds) to watch England versus Australia which was abandoned after a vandal broke in on the night after I went and daubed the wicket in oil to protest against a miscarriage of justice! Idiot! 

Its a bit noisier now at test matches but I have to say I love the atmosphere that is portrayed on the TV, lots of singing, dressing up in fancy dress on Saturdays and great coverage. Different from the stuffy old days. I wish I had the time to go these days; you never know, I may do.

Chat soon - stay dry


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Postcards from Cleethorpes

Cleethorpes Victorian Pier
Sunny Clee. On the North East Lincolnshire coast, co-joined with Great Grimsby, Cleethorpes sits on the southern bank of the Humber looking out over one of the countries busiest, most dangerous estuaries. 

The town is a busy vibrant place with lots of nightlife although some wish it hadn't, but that's the way of the world these days and it could certainly do with some investment in its business areas, none-the-less its a nice place and has pleasant parts of the town, particularly in its residential areas.

The tide goes out leaving rippled wet sand and lazy buoys
I just went for a ride out, just half an hour away from home, across the magnificent Humber Bridge where I could see the Jubilee Flotilla (Humber style) adjacent to the southern banks of the Humber with the tug boats pumping gallons of water high in the air in tribute. The air was clear, there were few clouds and the evening was still. The car radio was broadcasting the Jubilee concert on BBC Radio 2 and it was fun and entertaining to listen to. I parked up on the sea front between the Leisure Centre on my right and the Victorian Pier to my left and just took in the atmosphere and the river scene.

The Greenwich Meridian runs through the town which means that Cleethorpes is zero degrees longitude.

Huge ships including one of the European ferries were travelling out to sea on the outgoing tide in the deep channel closer to the north bank of the river and several ships were anchored in the mouth of the estuary, presumably waiting for the next high tide to come in to one of the many docks on the river. 

The Spurn Point lighthouse on the north bank of the Humber was crystal clear.

I don't think they caught much, evening shadows draw the day to a close
A powered hand glider swooped noisily along the shore line doing acrobatics, twisting and turning to entertain the few families and wanderers that sauntered along the promenade. A young couple were fishing just in front of us until the tide went out so far, that all that was left was the rippled wet sand. 

Powered hand glider touring the beach
The two ancient forts that stand alone in the river guarding the Humber were highlighted in the late evening sun which bathed everything in golden light creating shadows and contrasts. 

Built in 1914 as protection for the river and its trade and traffic during the first world war (but ironically not finished until 1919), Bull Sand Fort lies adjacent to the north bank and Haile Sand Fort (slightly smaller) lies just south of Cleethorpes. Now disused, they were once the home of guns and soldiers and were regularly attacked during the two wars.

The name Cleethorpes is probably made up of clee - meaning clay and thorpes meaning village or hamlet. In 1801, the population of the village whose main interest was in fishing not surprisingly,  was just 284. Today, the population of this seaside resort  is over 30,000.

If you come from Cleethorpes, then you are known as a 'Meggie,' but no-one is sure how that name came about which is a shame. There is a rail link to Cleethorpes and an easy motorway and trunk road access to and from the west.

I hope you enjoyed your weekend; here in the UK, it's been a four day long Bank Holiday weekend to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the reign of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth ll. It'll be a shame to go back to work tomorrow albeit for just a three day working week!

Chat soon


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Feel-Good Times Required

A spell of warm weather has come and gone and it was very pleasant while it lasted although most of it was spent in the office but the effect on the garden has been wonderful and has really brought things both into flower and created new green growth. A birthday has come and gone spent with friends and life goes on apace.

Although I can't explain this at all, life is a little unsettling for people who are sensitive at the moment. This has been going on for some time and everyone I speak to who I know is sensitive is going through a soul searching time. This has inevitably meant that our spiritual activities and concentration has increased somewhat as people seek some calm and answers to personal questions.

In the UK, this has not been helped by a particularly long damp grey season and a huge increase in uncertainly on the political scene. Even if you are not political or are not particularly interested in politics, it affects all our lives, not just here in Blighty, but globally.   As costs and taxes increase, employment becomes more tenuous, pressures on families that are not well off is biting and pressures on public services cutting front line services to those who need it most makes people feel nervous.

Brightness and relief comes from people. People who are kind and considerate. People who are thoughtful and compassionate; people who give hope and comfort in a way that is either tangible or intangible. The human spirit, for as long as it has free will, coupled with the elements of love, has the ability to overcome he worst of uncertain times. I have said many times that friends are a crucial element of our lives - be that as a close personal friend, or the good neighbour who keeps a look out for the vulnerable, or someone who cares for their environment or community taking into account the needs of individuals within it - they are so important to us.

Friends of course also include family because families should be friends within the unit. To share the good and not so good times, to offer the support where needed and to show that certain level of understanding that often only family can show should be the minimum goal for us all.

A chink of light in these strange times is the Jubilee celebrations this weekend in the UK. Although the weather is mixed, street parties, people getting together and having fun is happening all over. Bunting is abound in most streets you walk down and it's not just about arguments over monarchists and anti monarchists, whether you are a citizen or a subject - its people, communities and a country getting together.

This is an important year for the UK: the London 2012 Olympics proper is just round the corner and the Olympic torch is already winding its way around the country, through towns and villages; England is participating in the Euro 2012 football championships being held in Poland and the Ukraine. The English cricket team have started the summer's sport well with a series win over the West Indies although a greater challenge against South Africa is coming up.  Championship Tennis at  Wimbledon arrives in June and the UK have a potential contender in Andy Murray.

Sport means more than most people believe. When the country is doing well in sport, there is a feel-good factor around, a bit like when you get good weather, the country has something to believe in and relax with.

All my plants are in the ground now or in baskets or tubs and they are all doing well. Begonias and petunias, geraniums and dahlias and a few perennials are growing well. Sadly, I just watched the weather forecast a few minutes ago and there is a risk of a frost overnight Monday into Tuesday although this will be largely confined to open countryside.

Anyone who uses a phone to send texts will inevitably use slang or 'text speak' - abbreviations to save finger tapping (for example, a topical one is LOL - Lots of Laughs). However as I am now officially in mid fifties, here is some senior slang used by senior citizens:

ATD: At the doctors;
BFF: Best friends funeral;
FWIW: Forgot where I was;
GHA: Got heartburn again;
HGBM: Had good bowel movement;
BYOW: Bring your own wheelchair;
CBHI: Covered by Health Insurance
FWP: Friend with pacemaker;
JFO: Just fell over;
LMWO: Laughed my wig off;
MDPBD: Must dash, pacemaker battery dead;
GGLKI: Gotta go, laxative kicking in!

Chat soon