weekend 4/5/6 March 2011

A three day weekend as I wasn’t in our office on Friday, but instead left the house at 8 to get to a local hotel in order to start interviewing three candidates for deputy head at the school where I’m a governor. I can’t really say much about it, but it was a long and intense day, and I’m sure we made the right decision.

I was nearly late, though – I had a nicely worked out timetable for the early morning, which was slightly thrown by the arrival of the dishwasher at 7.30.I was in the bath, and Pete was still in bed and hadn’t heard the door, but we managed to get it indoors and I made it to the Pearson Park Hotel in time all the same!

On Saturday morning, the kitchen fitted arrived to do the final measuring before he makes the cabinets, so we feel things are moving on well there. Then we called into Merlin on Sculcoates Lane to look at beech and oak worktops, to decide which we might prefer, then we set off for Lincoln.

Lincoln involved sossidge innabun from the German stall on the continental market, good coffee and a cinnamon toasted teacake in Pimento, a hike down Steep Hill (which is), with a visit to The Bag Shop, where a handbag called to me so loudly I had to buy it. It’s an Owen Barry Tucket in grassy green, and just lovely.

Continued into town for a mooch, long walk along the river bank and bank, called into the Oxfam bookshop for a couple of books, had a cup of tea in a pub called the Witch and the Wardrobe (what? no lion?), then an early supper in the Laughing Buddha in Silver Street – all-you-can-eat Chinese, and cracking value at 8 quid each before 6 p.m.

Then we toiled back up Steep Hill (it really is) to head for the Drill Hall, where Mark Steel was gigging. The ticket receipt had no street name or postcode on it, but Google Maps showed us where it was. Except when we got there, the Drill Hall wasn’t. We asked a passer-by, who told us that it was down in town. Just along Silver Street in fact (aargh). My knees are bad at the moment, and thankfully I had a walking stick with me for the first time in months, so we set off once again down Steep Hill (it really is) and back to just pretty much exactly where we’d started out on Silver Street. I was in bits by this stage, and sitting still for what was an excellent gig, but still over 2.5 hours, didn’t help.

We decided to get a cab back to the car (you can guess where it was, can’t you?), but there was none to be had, so back up Steep Hill (did I mention .?) we climbed, into the car and home for about 12.30. I took a couple of ibuprofen and slept like a dead creature.

Today has been slumpage – apart from Pete chopping up more wood for the fire, and me nipping (or popping) up to the shop for some bits, we’ve done bugger all. Watched, and loved, Crazy Heart, caught up with online stuff, going to have an early night and possibly another soak in the bath before bed.

weekend 15/16 Jan 2011

Richard Thompson, Grand Opera House, York | Jan 2011

How did it get to be 2011, FFS?

A quiet Saturday, involving a trip to Morrisons (rock’n’roll, eh), and The Taking of Pelham 123 later on. This was the Denzil Washington/John Travolta version, and frankly I thought it not a patch on the Robert Shaw one. Still, that is on the Blockbuster list and will no doubt turn up in the fullness of time.

All the rather weary veg from the the fridge were diced up for soup, and cooked off in the slow cooker, a chickie! was roasted, and a pudding was concocted from the last two plums and a huuuuge Bramley, with an almond sponge topping. We also consumed a bottle of red wine between us, and two pots of coffee – this latter was a Mistake, as we both suffered from a severe caffeine overload overnight.

Sunday therefore dawned a tad grooish, but a brunch of bagels, scrambled egg, bacon, black pudding and mushrooms helped a bit; we kept away from the coffee, mind. Watched The Hurt Locker in the afternoon, which I will need to watch again, I think, and then set off for the wilds of York’s Grand Opera House, to see the wondrous Richard Thompson.

It’s something I miss about being in Bristol – we have to travel to see favourite people, and we’ve done Leeds, Sheffield, York, and have tickets for Mak Steel in Lincoln in March. The only music gig we’ve done in Hull was the Ukulele Orchestra early last year. Still, York is an easy run.

We had a swift, excellent pizza in Il Bertorelli (gorgonzola and mushroom for me – nom), then into the theatre; our tickets were about 300′ up at the back of the Grand Circle, and apart from the need for an oxygen mask, the view was terrific. As was the music – a four piece band of drummer, bass, violin, and a multi-instrumental chap on guitar, wind and brass (no, not all at the same time). Very tight combo.

First half was all new album stuff, which we didn’t know, second was some old favourites. Lovely acoustic version of Al Bowley’s in Heaven,  storming rocking version of Tear Stained Letter, with lots of instrumental solos, and just the teeniest hint of community singing, and closing with a stomping I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight.

Nice easy run home in 50 minutes, welcomed (if that’s the word) by sulking cats. And now it’s Monday again.

weekend 6/7 november 2010

On Saturday we set off for the wilds of West Yorkshire for my birthday Out; we chose this area for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that Show of Hands had obligingly scheduled a gig at Sheffield Cathedral.

We managed to leave the house by 11, by which time the postman had delivered my Merrell walking shoes bought from eBay, shop samples, at £8 – a bit of a result. One of the side effects of losing weight is that my feet have shrunk, and I like my walking shoes and boots to, you know, *fit*. And these do, which is nice.

We trundled first to Moortown, near Leeds, to visit BMF Fires, who are our nearest stockist of Jetmaster fires. Sadly, they didn’t have any Jetmasters in the showroom, but they did have this.

red! shiny!

Piazzetta E960 woodburning stove

I was instantly in love. Red! Shiny! Italian! Like the Ferrari of the woodburning stove world, and an absolute bargain at £1950. I asked for a quote to fit it, and it would come to about £3.5k all in, as we’d have to dig out some of the fireplace as well. We’re budgeting for a fire, and although this is  a tad (ahem) over what I’d costed, we didn’t care. Decision made.

They were short on brochures and staff as everyone was at a home renovation fair at Harrogate; only 12 miles to Harrogate, so we thought we’d go and have a look, as we’d never been. There was a smell there, a smell of serious money. Harrogate makes Bath look a bit low rent, to be honest. We had a croque monsieur for lunch in Debenmans, then mooched about the town. I managed to resist red! shiny! Fitflops, and even a pair of very nice flat brown leather boots much reduced. We poked about in some expensive shops, including a kitchen showroom.

We stuck our nose in the Aga shop; “Can I help you?” quoth the bloke. “No thanks”, said I – “I love them, but I wouldn’t have one, because they’re not very environmentally friendly”. So he asked what car I drove! Then I said I don’t have the room anyway, and he told me to move house. Not, perhaps, the ideal sales patter, really. They do lovely kitchenware in there, and I was very tempted by a springform loaf/terrine tin, but I felt £35 was a bit over the top, so resisted that too.

When we got to the exhibition, they wanted £8 each to go in, so we left it, and trundled over to Ikea at Batley. We examined sofas, and decided finally on the kitchen cabinetry range we want, and on the hobs. Still undecided on oven/dishwasher, and will be getting bamboo worktops. Then we had meatballs (oh, how I miss Ikea meatballs), purchased tea lights, a new trivet, a small baby plush rat (don’t ask), and set off for Sheffield.

A cracking gig, starting with Steve coming down the aisle with a mandolin, and ended with Steve, Phil and Miranda going back up the aisle. A lot of old favourites, stripped right back – Santiago, Crow on the Cradle, the Train, Dive; a glorious version of Keys of Cantebury, with just Steve and Jackie Oates (the support act). The audience were perhaps a little intimidated by the undeniably awe-inspiring venue, and there was little singing along, despite the band’s invitation to do so. But a wonderful evening, nonetheless.

We got home about 1, and thus had a fairly slumpish day on Sunday. Pete fitted another catflap, which I shall write about on the cats’ blog shortly, and we went to Scunthorpe last night to see Jeremy Hardy, who was most excellent, and just stood on the stage and rambled for about 90 minutes. The chap’s  bit of a leftie, mind :)

Lovely weekend, all in all. Now we must batten down the hatches for the rigours of the week ahead.

Oh, and sanity has prevailed, and we have ruled out the red! shiny! woodburner.

a day out to Leeds

Nostell Priory, courtesy of Wikipedia

Nostell Priory, courtesy of Wikipedia

‘Twas a beautiful spring day yesterday, and so we said “soddit”, looked at the map, and decided to visit Nostell Priory, near Wakefield, before our National Trust tickets stop working. It’s a beautiful house, crammed full of completely barking detailing, frieses, chinese hand painted wallpaper, architecture in part by Robert Adam, and most of the furniture custom made by Chippendale.  Enjoyed it enormously, and the couple of miles stroll around the beautiful parkland and lake too.  *And* we resisted the siren call of a National Trust Cream Tea!

From there we sallied forth to Ikea, and purchased two Hol side tables (the coffee table is just Too Big for this room, and the cats keep leaping on it, so it has to go), a Bekvam step stool for upstairs (we have one downstairs and it is the most solid and stable thing to climb on, even I feel safe on it), 100 tea lights and a new door mat. Quite restrained, really. Then we had meatballs, because really, one must, when in Ikea.

Then on to the Brudenell Social Club to see Show of Hands play a standing only gig – best sort they do.  They started with Country Life, ended with Roots, and encored with Cousin Jack, with plenty of favourites in between, including a new song from Steve, and a solo spot from the wonderful Miranda. A cracking evening, and one which we shall repeat in York on election night (we shall get home just as the results start coming in, I suspect).

A grand day out, Grommit, in all.