Sunday, 30 September 2012

Full Moon Rising

The full moon rising in Hornsea, East Yorkshire (Saturday 29th)

A glorious sunny day in East Yorkshire on Saturday allowed the grass to dry and it got its first cut for three weeks. The leaves are already starting to come down and there are subtle changes in colours in the trees as the richness of the green gives way to more muted colours.

It's been a busy old time with my in-laws Diamond Wedding celebration and a card from Her Majesty the Queen with her congratulations too!. Well done Ken and Iris. Their family got together to arrange a super evening celebratory meal and they were picked up by a 1952 Humber classic car - made in the year of their marriage.

I haven't been too bright recently with a sore throat and a mild cold so I took my car in for it's MOT on Saturday morning and decided to walk back home from the garage. It's about half an hours walk and although it was crystal clear wall to wall sun, the wind was cold. Walking along footpaths I noticed that the Hawthorn bushes and trees were absolutely full with berries, more so that ever I can remember. 
Hawthorn in full berry, a winter food store for the birds

Yet my colleagues at work who make their home made booze are bemoaning the fact that there are no damsons or sloes to make gin with this year, the damsons being virtually non-existent and the sloes, what few there are, being mushy and unusable.

A little bit further along is Hessle Haven, a small tributary which feeds water off the land into the mighty River Humber. I haven't seen a ship tie up there for a couple of years now, once a landing place for timber, it became a pick up point for scrap metal to go abroad, now the Haven is a storage place for containers and lorry parking. The ships have long gone. There used to be a few leisure craft in the haven, occasionally being worked on by dedicated men on a weekend, now most of them have rotted and their skeletal remains are sinking deeper into the silt.

A boat no longer loved or cared for in the silt of Hessle Haven
Hope you have enjoyed your weekend.

Chat soon


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Pick me a Winkle

Prompted by a weird text from my friend Linda who admitted to having eaten a frog and squid in her life (yeuk!), I just wondered what was the strangest thing or combination of foods you've ever eaten? Despite having eaten frog and squid, Linda baulks at the idea of eating snail. Well I haven't eaten frog which she says tastes not unlike chicken and I had squid once and thought it extremely tough and rubbery and have never touched it since.

As a kid however, I have had winkles. 

Winkles? Now I don't know if this is an English delicacy or a Yorkshire delicacy in particular, but winkles are a little mollusc which lives on seashore rocks and they graze on algae so they do do us a favour. They are quite small and look like a tiny snail - here's a picture:
They are generally boiled, sold in small paper bags and then we prized the meat out of the shell with a pin. There are all sorts of unkind things said about them - that they look like huge bogies (out of your nose) but although small, they were quite tasty.

Now, I'm not a faddy eater but I don't experiment with food too much although I don't mind trying new things that come along now and then.

Again, as a kid, I used to eat strawberry jam and Cheddar cheese sandwiches. Now I loved them, but some people think that's odd. I've heard of pregnant women being addicted to all sorts of strange foods including coal!

And my final confession is when I was a teenager, I used to smoke (shame on me - something I really regret although I did give up over  30 years ago) cinnamon sticks that we bought from the chemist. Bloody disgusting now I look back, but a lot of people who were not well off used to smoke all sorts of rubbish including my dear departed friend Jack who even smoked dried privet leaves and other concoctions from his garden clippings and was heartily sick as a consequence.

So here's the question - what's the strangest thing or combination of things you've ever eaten?

Chat soon


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Can you Show me the Milky Way?

I don't have a bucket list, (things to do before you 'kick the bucket') but there are some things I would love to do and one of those is to see the Milky Way. From this country, it's impossible because of the light pollution, but from some remote places in the world, it is possible to get magnificent and unobstructed views. I am placing a couple of links here, one to some time-lapse photography which shows it beautifully and a photograph taken in Australia above taken by Mike Salway and to view his site from where the picture was taken, click here.

Excerpts from Temporal Distortion Extended Cut from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

I hope you enjoy this short movie and to see it in its full magnificence, please use your full screen to view it.

As autumn and winter approaches, it's time for me to get my camera out of hibernation and start snapping night shots of the sky. I know nothing of the science of the Universe save for what a layman knows, but it doesn't stop me being fascinated by the beauty and sheer scale of its magnificence and mystery. I've followed the adventures of the Mars Exploration Rovers and aside from the arguements about cost and benefits, it's been nothing short of compelling viewing. We have a small telescope which will also come out shortly, I just wish it wasn't so damned cold on a night!

I am in the process of planning with my three good friends Linda, Helly and Phil, a new and exciting venture, a Mind, Body, Spirit and Craft fair. This is a monumental task but its starting to come together with some gusto with stall holder responding to our invitations. The administrative burdens behind this should not be underestimated, but it should be a great event which can be enjoyed by all the family. 

It's at the Atrium at the Prospect Shopping Centre in Hull on Saturday 24 November 2012. The Atrium is the first floor of the shopping centre which used to be a magnificent food hall. This closed down about three years ago and was tidied up and mothballed when the owner of the food outlets went out of business. Now it hires out for events and we have it for a day. So more news on the planning of this as it rolls along. So far, we have therapists, craft stalls, an astrologer, psychic readers, healers and others too. Watch this space.

This weekend has seen quite a contrast for me. On Saturday, my business partner and great friend Linda Lee and I did psychic readings and psychic drawings at a garden party held in the village of Cottingham in East Yorkshire where two neighbours open their gardens for stalls and events in aid of Dove House Hospice, a charitable organisation in Hull which provides help and assistance for those suffering with life limiting illness as well as supporting their families.  The weather was magnificent with wall to wall autumnal sunshine, sadly with not enough people coming and enjoying what was available, but at least our little service of the psychic and spirit provided a tidy donation for an excellent cause. The contrast was today, Sunday, a day of rest and reading.

Our work at home to convert the garage to a bedroom and utility rooms is going on apace and the garage is now just a distant memory. The 'garage bedroom' is now plastered and the back room behind the garage which is also being converted into a bedroom is starting to take shape too. There is more plumbing and electrical work to do and plastering, but the main construction is completed. The dust and dirt is driving me potty, but I guess it'll be over soon and we can start decorating and cleaning through.

I hope you've had a great weekend wherever you are, the weather here has been quite kind to us and the working week beckons.

Chat soon


Saturday, 8 September 2012

Put That Light Out!

Barbed wire and the shadow of the imposing guard tower discouraging escape

What a fabulous late summer weather we are having here in most of the UK with temperatures this afternoon in my garden a comfortable and very sunny 23 degrees Celsius. It's not quite an Indian Summer as by definition, that occurs after the end of summer proper which in the UK I believe finishes at the end of September - who cares - a lovely day!

Recently, a very good friend and I visited Eden Camp in North Yorkshire. I know some of you enjoy reading about the various places around where we are here in the UK and this is another tourist attraction, a museum, built upon the real life of it's former past, a prison of war camp. Located just north of the town of Malton, Eden camp nestles uncomfortably close to an electricity sub station, in beautiful rolling countryside. 

Built in 1942, Eden Camp was a prison of war camp for German and Italian prisoners of war. The museum is built out of the original 'huts' that housed the prisoners, brick built edifices that survive today. The tour starts at hut one and takes you through a journey in time from pre-war (1939-45), throughout the war and shows some subsequent conflicts too up to the modern day. But more than just a time line, there are many many aspects of life depicted of the ordinary person left at home as well as the soldier, aircrew and sailor and other services who supported the country such as the Land Army, Civil Defence and Local Volunteer Defence Force.
Just a tiny number of the 'huts' which comprise the Eden Camp Museum
 There's lot of reading to do and thousands of photographs to see on display boards as well as displays of life in war time which is in itself fascinating and replicas of shops and homes and a bomb damaged site. This is an award winning site and it's not difficult to see why. There is ample parking, a very good canteen/cafe which is quite large, the only advice I would give you is this, if you catch a coach trip as we did, you could be queueing for meals for ages, so if you took packing up or a picnic, there are plenty of places to eat outdoors.

Just a small part of a display about what was available as medicines at the time of war.
I remember Sloan's Liniment (it stank!)
The site really does contextualise what an horrific time war is for any nation and the hardship that it goes through must have been experienced to be believed, but it's important that we do understand what conflict is and that the lesson is that we should try every conceivable means to avoid it.

A memorial to Bomb Disposal Units
The six acres of living history that is Eden Camp is suitable for disabled people (including braille sheets and an audio guide) and there is free parking. There are excellent first class roads to the site. Dogs are welcome too and at £6.00 per adult and less for concessions, this is good value for money and is thoroughly recommended. Their website can be viewed here.

Chat soon