Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Town Monday - The Changing Coast of England

We have just returned from a week away in Scratby, which is a small village on the coast of Norfolk, Its a pretty little place with lovely beaches and very little commercialisation (I hate the smell of fish and chips wafting onto the beach, there is none of that!!) The horizon and landscape has changed with the arrival of the countries very first commercial 'wind farm' The thirty massive turbines are out at sea and can be seen from miles away.
The turbines really shift, I took the above photo in an effort to show movement in the blades, I am not sure I have been totally successful!

The full story is below these photos.....

From wherever you are on the surrounding beaches you can not fail to notice these monsters. I have taken a few words from the web site of the company E-ON who installed them.
Scroby Sands is one of the UK's first commercial offshore wind farms. Commissioned in March 2004 the £75 million project generates enough energy to supply over 30000 homes, saving the emission of 67802 tonnes of carbon dioxide, nearly 600 tonnes of sulphur dioxide and nearly 200 tonnes of oxides of nitrogen each year.
Community Involvement.
Each year we fund the annual Caister Lifeboat Fireworks display. We are also closely involved with the local schools and have taken part in events using Scroby Sands Wind Farm to explain mathematical concepts to over 100 year 9 pupils. Many schools have also enjoyed beach talks by the team that manages the wind farm on a daily basis - explaining how the site was constructed and how the wind power will help to meet the UK renewable energy targets.
So these off shore wind farms are a sign of the future, a move towards clean sustainable fuel. I would really like a smaller version in my garden!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

All about Crabbing!!

I have been told that I have become a crabbing 'bore' Well you know how it is you go on holiday and something catches your imagination, this time it was CRABS!!! (I think it could have been worse!) So on this holiday the kids had a couple of crabbing trips, the first on the docks at Gorleston. Emma had been out and checked out a few places the night before and thought this would be a good spot. It was except when she checked it out the tide was in and the water was only a few feet below. By the time we got there the tide was out and the water was a good 18 feet below were we were, that plus a high wide wall made it difficult to see what was on the end of the line.
Beth had the biggest haul, 6 crabs in one hit, she even managed to land 4 of them after the mammoth distance she had to drag them out of the water!!

Beth and Emma hoping for a nibble on their bacon.

Game on..... Beth, Emma and Chelsea all hauling in their lines.

There were three little ones on this piece of bait.

Say Cheese!!

Emma is the crabbing expert, she was able to teach the girls how to stop them from running away and how to pick them up safely. Although they were both a bit wary to start with they soon got stuck in. Chelsea had the biggest, a one clawed green crab that was around 5 inches wide across the body. We threw them all back in to fight another day.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Crabbing in Yarmouth!!

Today we have been crabbing in Yarmouth with Carl, Emma, Beth and Chelsea. We have caught 47 so far and they are still going strong !! It's a beautiful day and we have been sunning ourselves !!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday and the rain arrives

Well it was going to happen the rain that is. It arrived last night with thunder and lightening quite spectacular. This morning we headed out to Wroxham Barns which was good for all of us the girls got to walk around the farm, they fed baby lambs by bottle and all the other animals . I got to look around the craft barns. I made a purchase for my new bathroom there was a guy doing stained glass work, so I have ordered three star shaped light catchers in shades of brown and cream we will collect them on Friday.
This afternoon mum and dad arrived so we went out for dinner with them this evening we will meet up with them tomorrow. If the weather is ok we will take the girls to the pleasure beach

Monday, May 25, 2009

Marvelous Monday

Well another bank holiday except this one was hot and sunny. We started the day with a couple of boot sales, followed by the girls swimming. And topped off with a crab fishing session. During the day I had a lesson on watercolours from Emma so I spent a while painting flowers, well I say painting but it was more copying from a book not quite an artist yet !!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday is Sunny day !!

Today has been a scorcher we were surprised to wake to beautiful blue skies and hot sun. I was up bright and early and was showered and sitting on the patio by 8.30am ! I decided to cook dinner for everyone so I went to the shops for supplies. During the day we popped into Hemsby and then back to Scratby beach . Tomorrow they forecast rain :0(

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sunny Days

Well we have had a nice first day away done lots of holiday things ice creams,beach, arcade, swimming and shops all on day one ! Tomorrow we have a boot sale on the agenda. It's been nice looking after baby Bobbie who has been so well behaved !!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Spring Bank Holiday

Well a Bank Holiday usually means rain rain rain, but the forecast for this weekend and the following week is good, excepting a bit of a blip on Sunday so fingers crossed. We are off to sunny (hopefully) Scratby, which sounds a bit like a disease that you don't like to admit that you have. I have had today off work to sort things out, the list of those things is endless. I have cleaned out the budgies, hoovered, packed, filled the car, checked the water and oil. So far so good. Had a quick look at the tyres and found a huge nail in one of them. So I had to get that fixed as well.

Hunny is coming with us so we have had to swap luggage around and and load the car to allow enough room for her in the back. She doesn't usually like travelling but this time she is keen to get in the car, I have had to shoo her out a few times. I have had her in the garden brushing her, all in an effort to reduce the amount of hair that she will leave everywhere!

I think I am just about ready, I have a birthday card to finish and post and I must sort out the shoes and drinks for the journey.

Today is also special for another reason, its Carl's last day at school, he has to go back for his exams but no more lessons. Where has that time gone?? its only five minutes since I took him off to reception to start in Mrs. Greeners class. He is now closer to 19 than 18 !! He has really enjoyed his time at Nicky B and he has come on leaps and bounds. When I think back to those dark days when he was sent his secondary school allocation, the only child in his class not to get a single school on his list, the only child in his class to ever be allocated the particular school that he was given. It was awful. We approached Nicky B and asked if they would take him. We had only discounted it as we felt it was too far to travel, we had liked it and liked their ethos and pastoral care. Lucky for us the decided to take all the children who were baptised catholics off of the waiting list and run with half an extra class. Its the best thing that could have happened for him. Beth is there now as well and loving it!!!

So for the next week I will be attempting to update my blog from my iphone. I am going to try and do photos and everything, don't hold your breath!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Busy Birthday Week

In my family the birthdays seem to all cluster around the same few months. May/June and October/November. The advantage is that if you have a birthday in those few months that I am more likely to remember it as I really make the effort because I know there are so many of them. On the down side it gets expensive!

So this week I have three and next week another two. I have started on the card making and have made a lovely subtle card for Madeline (I know she doesn't read this as she is a technophobe!!) I really have to make sure that she remembers that she is about to reach the big
FIVE OH a whole 9 months ahead of me!! All I need to do now is find an appropriate or should that be an inappropriate present for her. I know she love shabby chic so I spent ages last night looking up web sites and only managed to send my brain into melt down!!!
Today I have a case at work which is going to be unpleasant I have done all my home work and will just have to hope that I can sling enough mud to make some of it stick, fingers crossed.
Have a nice day out there in blogdom!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I am getting old - Official.

So what are the signs that you are getting older?? This is my last year as a 40 something, I can remember thinking to myself as a child that when the year 2000 came along I would be 40 and that would be unbelievably old, at that time old to me was 19!!
Last night we went out with friends for a Chinese, we had a lovely evening but conversation got around to where the time had gone. My friend Madeline and I have been friends since reception class, around 45 years ago!!! Our lives have moved along similar paths, school, boyfriends, jobs, marriage, children and now we are dealing with children moving on (although we have Beth so it'll be a few more years yet!)
Way back when we were teenagers, we did the things teenagers did, went for nights out in Watford at the infamous nightclub 'Baileys' where we got in before we were old enough and witnessed such spectacles as Gary Glitter setting fire to his shoes (shame he didn't finish the job then and set fire to himself completely) Alvin Stardust lost his shirt sleeve to an over excited Madeline!! Davids Essex, Cool and the Gang and loads more.
They have long gone and we are into middle age and the things that we find exciting have changed, no more wild night clubs, we prefer gentler things, The Chelsea Flower show, dinner at the pub, looking around garden centres. More shocking is that I am finding fun 'doing' the garden. I love roses, I love the traditional plants lavender and the likes. I find myself going out there more and more fiddling with bits trimming this and weeding that.
So that is the sign, developing a liking for gardening and growing plants where none has existed before!!
To illustrate what I mean I am sharing with you my favourite roses, The red one is called Dublin Bay and the pink one is just that a pink one, anonymous but pretty!! The prettiest rose is yet to come , a double coloured one called oranges and lemons, I'll leave you to work out what colour that one is!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pretty Flowers.

The Clematis have bloomed!!!!
Tom has a Clematis obsession, last year we bought three from a local garden centre and he has been out there nursing them since then! They were bargain basement clematis, so we didn't have any idea what we would get colour wise, all we knew was that they were large flowered.

So we have one pink stripy one.

One purple one with a very interesting double purple middle.
The third one is yet to flower.

These little flowers have appeared on the other side of the garden . They are cute, I like the trellis fence in the background.
All week I have been keeping an eye on our pigeons, they had a neat little nest made of twigs in our fir tree just outside the back door, they seemed quite settled and secluded. This morning I went out to check on them and they were gone, the remains of a couple of eggs were on the ground. It wasn't because they had hatched as the eggs still had yokes. I suspect the Magpies had been back and chased the pigeons away and plundered the nest. Nature is horrible at times.
Earlier in the week Beth took part in a drama festival at The Barn, They 'did' Ernie and his incredible Illucinations. Beth was Ernie and had a fair few lines to learn. She was very nervous but it went off very well and they gave a very good performance.
Beth has also been doing exams at school which have been interesting, so different from last years SATS. I think they have not been as easy as she was hoping for, just have to wait for the results. On a positive note she has been selected for a place on Watford Football Clubs Playing for Success Course at Watford Football Club (strange that!!!) She is one of 12 selected out of 180 children, based on good behaviour and enthusiasm. Its once a week for 6 weeks from 3pm until 7pm, with a Dominos Pizza thrown in! They have a state of the art computer suite that they will be using and they get to meet the players and play football!!! Take a look at it here.
So the weekend is here and I have the prospect of a great morning tomorrow filling in tax forms and University forms, my kitchen table is covered with them, I really can't wait!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Two Posts in a Day, whatever next?

I am really liking my new iphone, I had toyed with the idea for a while I kept talking myself out of it, but its really quite good. I like being able to use a qwerty keyboard, it has made my texting a whole lot better. I like the contacts bit, although in getting that sorted out I managed to delete all my previous contacts, so if you are a friend please text me and sign it with your name, that way I can get you back in my little black book!! (I have managed a few of you via Facebook)

Well the past few days have been busy both at work and at home. Way back in February as a bit of an impulse, we were passing DFS in Sunderland (just 250 miles away!!) when we decided to look at the sofas. (Ours was on the way out and I was sick of the recliners jamming and the cushions sagging) So the plan was to look and see if there was anything we fancied, well we did see something we fancied and the salesman was good and managed to get us to part with our cash. This new suite of two sofas and a footstool arrived yesterday. The two guys delivering couldn't get it through the front door, even though it was smaller and considerably lighter than the last one. They couldn't get it in either the front or back door, in the end they had to take the double glazed window out of the living room and lift them through the gap. (I had to prune my rose to allow them to get in!) Anyway we are very pleased with the sofas, they are comfy and actually smell of leather. I hope they last longer than the previous set!!

Trying my iPhone!!

I am trying out my new toy my iPhone . So far so good lots of great features . I am liking it lots

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Town Monday - World Domination.

Thinking about My Town Monday, I started to think of something I could use as subject matter. I was beginning to think that I had covered just about everything, when I realised there is a whole area of 'stuff' that I haven't touched on - Shopping, a national past time. We in Hertfordshire can boast to being the home of the international Supermarket Chain TESCO's
Above is a photo of my local Superstore, Tesco Extra, at Hatfield.
So a brief history of one of the UK's most successful and possibly one of the most controversial shops.
Tesco plc is one of the largest retailers in the world, operating more than 2,300 supermarkets and convenience stores and employing 326,000 people. Tesco's core business is in Britain, where the company ranks as the largest private sector employer in the United Kingdom and the largest food retailer, operating nearly 1,900 stores. In continental Europe, Tesco operates in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, the Republic of Ireland, Slovakia, and Turkey. In Asia, the company operates in Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. Through, the company ranks as the largest online supermarket in the world. The company also offers financial services through Tesco Financial Services, which controls 4.6 million customer accounts roughly divided between credit cards and car insurance policies. Through the more than 100-unit Tesco Express chain, the company ranks as the largest seller of petrol in the United Kingdom.
Early History.
In founder John Edward (Jack) Cohen's day, a retailer's product line was comprised of whatever could be housed in a tiny stall. In 1919, Cohen invested his £30 stipend from his World War I service in the Royal Flying Corps in stock for his small grocery stall in the East End of London and began his career as a market trader. He soon became a successful trader in other London markets outside of the East End and also branched out into wholesaling for other market traders. In 1932, Cohen officially founded Tesco Stores Limited. The name was originally that of a private-label brand of tea Cohen sold, created from the initials of T.E. Stockwell, a merchant from whom he bought tea, and the first two letters of his last name.
Over the next eight years, the company grew rapidly, as Cohen opened more than 100 small stores, mainly in the London area.
By 1976, Tesco operated nearly 900 supermarkets and superstores on the "pile it high, sell it cheap" formula that Cohen had imported from America. The firm's management found that the effectiveness of this strategy had deteriorated over time, however, leaving the company with uncomfortably slim margins and a serious image problem among consumers. While Tesco had been preoccupied with opening as many stores as possible and loading them with merchandise, the company had missed important signs that its market was changing and had come to value merchandise quality over quantity.
Tesco had to take action to raise the profile of the company (this is where they started to look at world domination as an ambition!!) or they would go out of business.
By the beginning of the 1990s, Tesco had 371 stores in England, Scotland, and Wales--150 of which were superstores--and the company had become one of the United Kingdom's top three food retailers. The early 1990s saw the culmination of Tesco's fight for market share fueled in part by a two-year £1 billion development program launched in 1990 which added about 60 new stores and more than 2.3 billion square feet of store space. By 1991, Tesco had become the largest independent petrol retailer in Great Britain. Four years later, the company reached the number one spot among food retailers in terms of market share.
In 2000, Tesco launched its e-commerce business, Tesco .com, one of several new business developments that propelled the company's financial growth during the early years of the 21st century. The company's grocery home-shopping service quickly developed into the largest of its kind in the world. While its retailing services segment gathered steam, Tesco turned to developing its nonfood business. The company began stocking electronic products, toys, sports equipment, cookware, and home furnishings in its stores.

So why is this successful store disliked by some people?? Well they have a habit of not always fulfilling their obligations, they buy huge amounts of land close to town and promise in return for planning permission to build a store to provide a community asset such as a swimming pool or sports centre. quite often once the store is built the promised asset doesn't appear causing much bad feeling all around. If they fail to get planning permission they do nothing with the land and let it fall into decay and disrepair which in turn reflects on the rest of the area.
I, actually quite like them and their products!! (and their loyality card which means free holidays!!)

Lazy Sunday afternoon.

I seem to have been busy all weekend but have nothing to show for it. Yesterday Beth went to Whipsnade Zoo with Laura and Scott, Carl was working. Beth didn't get home until 10pm!! She was really tired and had caught the sun on her face!
Last night Carl had a fancy dress party to go to, he didn't want to drink and take his car, so Tom dropped him off in St.Albans. I had a bad feeling about the party, I don't know why really and I text him to tell him to be careful. He phoned back to say he was staying over and all was well. Anyway I had just got back from collecting Beth when he phoned and asked to be collected, there was obviously something wrong but it was so noisy we couldn't hear him. So I collected him and it seems that there was a drunken female there, someone in his class who regularly gets smashed and can't look after herself. (How scary is that???)Anyway this party was no different and she managed, while flailing around to hit Carl and knock him over, she landed on top of him and smashed his camera. (His new trousers were also ruined with stains from her drink which won't come out) He quite rightly was not happy and remonstrated with her, she started crying and he was the bad guy all of a sudden.
So what really ticks me off is that the whole situation could so easily have escalated, she was in no fit state to look after herself and could quite easily of accused him (and any other passing male) of anything. Although his friends wanted him to stay he said he was past caring by then and just wanted to come home.
Now he is a camera down and as he takes after his mother its one of his most important gadgets!!
Its hard being a mother, I want to go and tell the girl how dangerous it is to get into such a state where she doesn't know what she is doing. Carl would like his camera replaced, which I can't see happening so its a lose lose all around.
We are getting new sofas on Tuesday so we have had to do some sofa swapping today. Can't wait until they arrive. (I hope they last longer than the last two and I hope the place we have bought them from don't go bust!!)
Off now to collect Beth from her friends house, and prepare for the week ahead.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Saturday!!

Today is one of those very rare days. I am off work, Tom is off work, Carl is at work AND Beth has gone to the zoo with Laura and Scott, peace at last.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Nesting Update.

Well we do have a pair who are busily making their nest right outside my back door, so close that I can see them from my computer desk. I managed to snap a shot of one of them on the roof, over the weekend I plan to try and catch them in the tree.
I will say this for them, they are very ambitious!! You should see the collection of HUGE twigs that have fallen to the ground under the tree. I am surprised that they are able to fly with them, but they have some are sturdy twigs 20cms long! (mind you they have hit a problem with them that long, they can't get them into the nest site through the bushy tree, hence the pile on the floor underneath!!)
I am sure we will get used to hearing them plod across the roof, but at the moment they still make a noticeable racket!!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hot of the press......

We have pigeons in our fir tree!!! Its a good news bad news situation. I like it that we have a nest that they are actively building and that there is a pair of them cooing in the tree, BUT the bad news is that they are landing on the conservatory roof to then hop into the tree and they sound like a herd of fairy elephants!!!
Hopefully they will have babies soon.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Beautiful Bluebells

Yesterday we took the dog for a walk over in the Woods behind Panshanger Airfield. The bluebells were glorious, the woods were carpeted with them and their scent was was on the breeze. The only problem was that it was quite a dull day so the photos don't really reflect their true beauty.

Hunny ran ahead and must have run miles and miles. When I checked my photos she was missing from just about all the shots, she was far too busy chasing squirrels and birds, neither of which she is ever likely to catch!!!

At the side of the woods there is a field of rape seed, again in full sunlight it is stunning, this time it was not quite as bright but still pretty.

I find that when you go for a walk that you tend to look ahead and at more eye level stuff, well yesterday I was still looking for blossom, so I was looking up, that's when I noticed these beautiful horse chestnut leaves. I love this shade of green it just speaks of summer and hot weather. (I am ever hopeful!!)
So back to work today, this week is going to be one of those odd wrong day weeks, it always happens when there has been a bank holiday on the Monday, you spend the rest of the week a day behind. Mind you a four day week is always welcome!!!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Hertfordshire Puddinstone - My Town Monday!

This week I am going to tell a little about a very special rock that is only found in the county where I live, its called Hertfordshire Puddinstone. When I was growing up I didn't realise just what it was, to be honest it looks like some sort of concrete holding together a load of pebbles. Dad used to have a lump of it in the front garden of our old house, I am sure it was left there when they moved. (which is a shame!)
So what is Puddinstone??

The picture above is one variation found in the area and it DOES look like concrete with pebbles mixed in!!

So a potted history.....
The flints and pebbles were eroded from the surrounding chalk beds some 56 million years ago in the Eocene period and were transported by water action to beaches, where they were rounded by wave erosion and graded by size. A lowering of sea levels and general drying during a brief arid period drew out silica from surrounding rocks into the water immersing the flint pebbles. Further drying precipitated the silica which hardened around the pebbles, trapping them in the matrix. Puddinstone is commonly found in river beds, and is less frequently to be seen exposed to the surface.

Oxides of iron were also trapped in the silica, giving rise to many different hues when the puddinstone is examined closely. From a greater distance, puddinstone is generally brown or ginger in colour, although pink is possible. The silica is very hard, which led to use being made of puddinstone as a building material supplementing flintstone buildings such as at St Mary's Church, Stocking Pelham; as a decorative feature or waymark, or, during Roman times, for grinding corn.

The pebbles and surrounding silica have melded into one stone, it is so hard that it regularly breaks farm equipment when it is bought to the surface!

Hertfordshire puddinstone was credited in local folklore with several supernatural powers, including being a protective charm against witchcraft. Parish records from the village of Aldenham relate that in 1662 a woman suspected of having been a witch was buried with a piece of it laid on top of her coffin to prevent her from escaping after burial.

Other places in the world have their own types of puddinstone, but the make up of 'our' stone is exclusive to Hertfordshire!! I think I am going to have to go and see if I can find a lump for my garden!!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

May Bank Holiday Weekend

For once for a bank Holiday weekend the weather has been quite reasonable, which is a bit of a shock and surprise really!!
We collected dad from hospital 2pm yesterday. He was in pain from the op, mainly the trapped gas that they had pumped into him to enable them to do the operation! The gas will take sometime to be reabsorbed so his tummy is very swollen. We had fun getting everyone into the car. Dad was having trouble bending and mum could only sit in the rear on the passenger side!! Anyway we got him home. Dad went to bed and had a rest. This morning he is much better and more mobile.
Yesterday Megan came around for a sleepover, the girls have been really good, they watched TV last night and then had a film to watch in Beth's bedroom. They did a load of time on the trampoline with Phoebe from next door. This morning they were out there again in their PJ's, this time we attached notes to a couple of mums Golden Wedding balloons. Its quite windy so they got on the trampoline and waited for a big gust of wind to take the balloons to the other side of the world. Unfortunately When they were released they were swept upwards and then immediately down again into our next door neighbours garden, where they remain stuck on the washing line!!! They will get a surprise when they get back !!

Ready, Steady......


And they are off......... Soon to be back!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Beautiful Day.

This morning started early, I had to drop dad off in Hospital for 7.45am. It was a strange affair he had to go to Queens wing , which is the day case theatre. Once we got there we found that they weren't expecting him!! Finally a nurse turned up to do his observations and I left them to it. On the way home I collected Laura and dropped her off at Mums. She is staying with her today and overnight, so she is not alone so soon after coming home from hospital herself.

Dads op went well they have repaired the hernia with keyhole surgery, which is good news. We visited him tonight and he was in a bit of pain, mainly from the trapped gas from the operation, they expect him to be up and home tomorrow.

The weather today was fantastic, warm and balmy and just like a summers day. Hunny was happy to sit out the front on the grass munching her chew!

The flowers are really taking off so I snapped a few more shots of them, The red anemones are really stunning!!

The lilac tree has really taken off, we bought it years ago as a tiny little plant in the bargain bit of the garden centre. We didn't think it would survive, now its nearly as tall as the house!

Last year I had loads of these in my front garden this year they have all gone next door!! How very odd.