Friday, May 04, 2012
In true Womens Institute style (you'll know what the WI is if you've seen Calendar Girls) we had a tremendous evening at the Driffield Silver Band Concert along the theme of 'The Last Night of the Proms'.
People bring their own food and drink so you get ladies which end up a bit squiffy and others who just drink water but the atmosphere is terrific.
The Driffield Silver Band conducted by the young Andy Grace made it a night to remember, not only for their wonderful music and camararderie but for Andy's awful yet truly magnificent jokes.
In between tunes, to give the band a breather, he told some truly magnificent groan making jokes. Many we'd heard before but his way of telling them had us all in stitches.
He's a character, cheeky but lovable and he kept saying 'There's more.' and brandishing pages of A4 size paper in the air.
Here's an example:
A little green frog goes into a bank and asks the loans assistant if he can have a loan as he needs a new lilypad.
The assistant, a Miss Patty Black, looks at him and says 'Have you any collateral?'
The little green frog holds up a small ceramic ornament of an elephant and says ' I've got this... and my father's Mick Jagger.'
Still unsure what to do Miss Black says 'I'll have to ask the manager.'
So off she goes into his office and says to him 'There's a little green frog outside wanting a loan for a new lilypad, he's given me this small ceramic elephant as collateral and says his father is Mick Jagger. What shall I do?'
The manager takes the little elephant, examines it before looking up at Miss Black and saying...
'It's a knick knack Patty Black give the frog a loan, his old man's a rolling stone.'
See what I mean...lol...he had us in stitches even though we'd heard most of them before.
The band came on stage and took their places, they looked magnificent in their white shirts or blouses, bottle green skirts or trousers and waistcoats with silver buttons and the band logo embroidered in silver too.
The music stands were also draped with bottle green falls, suitably fringed and bearing the band's logo.
Young Tom on lighting, one of our member's seventeen year old grandson, did a magnificent job. He had it just right lighting up the stage with a silvery glow which made the musical instruments twinkle and reflect with every movement as they sat doused in the bright stage lights whilst we sat in semi darkness quiet and expectant with anticipation.
The music was a mixture to please everyone, from sad songs, toe tapping popular songs to the rumbustiuous songs of the Last Promenaders that the concert was named for.
The band donned suitably patriotic headgear for the final session while many of us in the audience did the same or waved our flags and streamers and joined in with the rousing words of 'Land of Hope & Glory' and 'Rule Brittania' before standing to sing the battle cry of the WI'...'Jerusalem' and finally the' National Anthem'
The band stood, the conductor bowed and to shouts of 'more' they finally left the stage and we began the clearing up. Everyone in our little team of eight worked together and it was soon accomplished
It had been a long night, because I'm on the committee I'd set off at six forty five to help set up the hall and by the time we'd finished I finally reached home at eleven fifteen...but it was worth it and even now when I've just written it down it didn't seem that long with the laughter and jokes that goes with the hard work.
It was definitely a good night...a night to remember.
Waiting in anticipation
Andy telling one of his jokes
The final bow before the WI battle cry 'Jerusalem' and the 'National Anthem'.
Two of our WI committee ladies setting up the raffle, Kathy & Gwyneth
Thursday, April 26, 2012
We all have an inner child, a little bit of us which hasn't grown up.
A little bit which delights in childish things...the wonder and awe of something new, the unselfconscious way of kicking through leaves on an autumn day, the singing of silly songs, rolling down a hill, paddling in the sea...these are all signs of our inner child, these and many more!
Well, around Christmas of 2010, my inner child prompted me to buy myself a little box of Mexican jumping beans...
I'd bought some for a grandchild as a Christmas present and witnessing his joy as they wobbled and twitched around in his hand I decided I had to have some myself.
We'd had some each Christmas for a few years many moons ago when my children were young and seeing them again brought back many happy memories so I contacted the 'Bean Daddy' and bought some more especially for me...and my thirty eight year old son who decided he wanted some too!
His excuse was he's a primary school teacher and he could use them in class!!
The beans have lived in a little tin next to my computer ever since then.
At first they bounced around incessantly, tinkling away, clattering against the sides of their little tin before gradually ceasing movement as they pupated.
I looked in the tin every day, held them in my hand where the warmth prompted them to jump and twitch even more, I was in wonderland!
Every day after movement ceased I looked into the little tin but the seed pod was still whole, no tell tale sign of the little round escape door stuffed with a soft silk so they could push it out easily when they'd changed to moths
I have to say in all the years my boys had them we never did get a moth or an escape hole for that matter.
Then yesterday, over a year later, I began hearing the little tinkling sounds again.
I cautiously removed the lid of the tin half expecting a moth to fly out but no...inside was a funny little gingery coloured bug with long hairs on his behind, not at all what I was expecting.
It was very still and I thought it was dead but when I put it on my hand the warmth revived it and it began crawling like a little caterpillar.
I googled jumping beans and according to all the blurb I should have a moth or at the very least a grub or a pupa but my little friend looks nothing like what these pictures say he should so I'm not sure what I've got...
Today he's very quiet, hardly a movement, which makes me sad 'cos I know he's going to eventually die...all the blurb tells you this as there are no special bushes for them to live on, they only grow in Mexico.
I knew this but it still makes me sad.
I took a couple of photos which aren't very good and a little video of him walking across a notepad, falling of the end and twitching himself back over. It's interesting especially to anyone who loves nature as I do.
I decided it was a 'he' and I call him Jose.
Here are a few pictures:
The bug and it's capsule
He has a lovely long hairs on his rear end.
The Mexican jumping bean is actually the larvae of the moth 'Lespeyrasia Saltitans' which lays it's eggs in the flower capsules of the 'Sebastiana' shrub.
These are native to the Chihuahua region of Mexico which is a hot place.
As the seedpods develop the eggs hatch and larvae grow, the seedpods eventually split into three sections which fall to the ground.
Each section contains one larvae.
If the pod become to hot for the larvae they twitch to move their bodies from the heat source which makes the pods jump.
Before they pupate they cut a perfectly round little hole in the pod which they cover over with a softened silk so that the adult moth can emerge easily.
As there is no food source here any moth which emerges will die within four days.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Around two years ago I managed to get back in touch with a cousin I hadn't seen for forty seven years. We'd corresponded now and again but hadn't met each other since I was fourteen and Alma was almost thirty when she'd moved away after her marriage.
We've met up fairly regularly since then, usually in a different town around midway between our homes, as we live a long way apart, to spend the day together.
The government incentive of free bus travel for pensioners has made it relatively easy to go long distances by bus with a saving on fares we couldn't usually afford. Once you've learned how to figure out the bus timetables it's a doddle!
Any way yesterday was a 'meet up' day and Alma said she'd have a surprise for me when she arrived.
The surprise intrigued me and I didn't sleep very well eventually drifting off early in the morning to the sound of rain against the window pane.
I awoke to rain, lots of rain and it didn't ease off as I began my long bus journey in fact it seemed to get heavier the further north I went.
I have to travel around half an hours drive to catch the bus and then the bus journey itself is an hour and a half so it's quite a long time sitting...luckily I managed to stayed dry so at least I wasn't sat in damp clothes.
My bus arrival time was about twenty minutes before Alma's and after alighting at the bus terminal in the pouring rain and very cold wind waiting those twenty minutes seemed like forever as there was no nice warm waiting room to sit in just a plastic covered walkway, with a few damp hard wooden seats, that the wind whistled up and chilled me to the marrow. The rain gregariously splashed down into large puddles and dripped monotonously from the canopy...even the bus station was deserted!
Then all of a sudden it became alive as buses began to arrive, five of them, all with steamed up windows, parking up and disgorging their bundled up passengers who invariably rushed off in the direction of the town, the only bright spot their different brightly coloured or patterned umbrellas bobbing in the rain.
It was hard spotting Alma as everyone either had brollys or hoods up so their faces were obscured but then I spotted her at almost the same instant she spotted me, her umbrella had blown inside out and she was struggling with it, eventually she righted it and crossed the wide wet bus bay to greet me cheerfully with 'What a day to pick'...she wasn't wrong!
And then suddenly I was grasped by the hands by another lady I hadn't noticed who proclaimed 'I'd have known you anywhere, you're the spit of your mother'...it was Alma's sister, Stella, who I hadn't seen since I was fourteen!
What a wonderful surprise!
By the time we'd hugged and said our hello's the bus station was once again deserted and Stella's next words were plaintive, 'A hot drink, I really need a hot drink' , it encompassed us all so we made our way down into town and found a lovely old pub called the King's Head which was serving morning coffee.
After finding a quiet, out of the way corner table we ordered hot drinks and toasted sandwiches and got down to the business of getting to know each other again.
The time seemed to pass very quickly as we reminisced and looked at photographs we'd brought with us and suddenly we'd been there almost two hours...lol...
Well, we braved the rain and wind and tried to appreciated the lovely old town we were in but eventually the weather defeated us and we retreated to an old church and looked around it. It seemed warm and welcoming at first but as our damp clothing began to steam we became aware it was actually cold in there so went outside and visited some of the tiny shops along the main street before making a very easy decision to appreciate an establishment with the welcoming name of The Cosy Cafe...and it was, very welcoming, very cosy and above all warm!
We enjoyed another hour of chat over toasted teacakes and a hot drink served in proper old fashioned china cups and saucers with matching plates, sugar bowl, milk jug and teapot...
The time was marching on and by now it was getting to bus departure time.
Alma and Stella's leaving time was twenty minutes before mine so after hugs, kisses, saying goodbyes and waving them off I sat in the same old bleak and windy covered walkway to await my bus.
The rain was still persisting down and the bus was warm and welcoming...well, it seemed like that at first but as the journey wore on it began to feel chilly and damp and as I reached my destination my feet were like little blocks of ice and even my nose was cold!
My DH was waiting to pick me up and, anticipating I'd be cold and wet had the car heater on full blast which was very much appreciated I can tell you.
My journey wasn't over as we were still half an hours drive from home so we stopped and bought fish & chips with mushy peas, which we ate with our fingers, in the car with the windows fogged up and the rain beating a tattoo on the roof...delicious and the best fish and chips we'd had for ages!
I never even thought about my Spark diet then...lol...
Eventually we reached home. I was warm, dryish, hunger sated and very happy.
I had a nice warm shower, got into my PJs while DH made me a cup of low calorie hot chocolate and I relaxed by the fire and reflected on a wonderful day...rain, wind and cold it didn't matter, I'd thoroughly enjoyed it!
One last footnote, it rained all night and today it's still raining as I type
The deserted (except for me) wet and windy bus station with it's covered walkway.
Stella and Alma inside the warm and welcoming Cosy Cafe.
Wonderful ladies, Stella is eighty four and Alma seventy nine.
I'm a spring chicken compared to them and I hope I'm still as sprightly at their age...somehow I doubt it!!
Friday, April 13, 2012
It's weird weather here, one minute it's sunny bright blue skies, the next cloudy or raining and with a chilly wind too.
The rain varies from a slight drizzle to a torrential downpour which only lasts a few minutes. Bearing this in mind we decided to walk in Lowthorpe Wood.
Lowthorpe is a small Yorkshire Wolds village, maybe twenty houses, and the wood which borders it is mainly beech trees with the occasional horse chestnut, it runs along side the Lowthorpe Beck which forms part of the river Hull. The beck meanders it's way through various small villages, across fields and through wooded areas, changing it's outlook and name along the way until it meets the the mighty Humber and flows into the North Sea.
The Yorkshire Wolds are chalk so Lowthorpe Beck is a wide chalk stream and crystal clear, the water level is low this year but the bank sides are studded with clumps of primroses and violets whilst the bluebells are beginning to make an appearance under the trees.
It was a bright clear blue sky when we set off, parking the car in a small layby we skirted two fields planted with oilseed rape which was just beginning to flower, watching rabbits and birds until we crossed a precarious one plank, moss covered little bridge into the cool dankness of the wood.
I love the smell, a sort of damp, dank yet pleasant odour with a hint of promise.
The track is covered in last year's leaves, still bearing their lovely gingery hue, and dark brown beech mast shells which crunched underfoot making a sharp conrtrast to the soft sounds of the trickling water as it runs along side the path.
We walked slowly, savouring the smells and the little finds among the trees.
Bright green leaves were emerging from the sticky buds of the horse chestnut trees, in various stages of their unfurling process they looked fresh and spring like against the autumn bare branches.
A lonely little bluebell poked it's head from amid the fallen leaves, it's bright blue countenance a welcome contrast to the earthy browns and greens of it's surroundings. It's head hung bashfully, flowers dangling like little bells in the typical English bluebell way. There were lots of other budded stalks which would soon be opening to keep it company.
A bit further on stood a lone daffodil, almost opalescent pale lemon petals with a brighter yellow trumpet, all on it's ownsome in a sea of fallen beech leaves...how did it arrive there?
Clumps of pretty yellow primroses, garlanded round with fresh green leaves to look like little posies, studded the steep bank sides. Glowing brightly against the white chalk and brown soil, their pretty flowers intermingled with bright purple violets and white wood sorrel.
It began to rain and the drops pitter-pattered above our heads filtering down through the canopy of bare branches their little splashes making the fallen leaves glisten.
The surface of the stream became a myriad of ever widening concentric circles as the raindrops plipped into the water.
It didn't rain long and little rays of sunshine shone down like tiny spotlights illuminating small patches on the tree trunks and the water surface, making them glow with an ethereal light.
It was calm and peaceful on the banks of that little trickling stream which seemed to sing it's way along, listening to the birds piping fluently and seeing the first signs of spring emerge but the day was growing old so we followed the track through an unusually dry boggy meadow back to the warmth of the car before heading off to a layby on the main road where a small white van and trailer parks daily to serve up delicious bacon butties, beefburgers and home made cake...all washed down with mugs of tea or coffee...to weary walkers and travellers alike.
You order from the van, eat in your car or the little picnic area provided.
I love the varied plates and mugs they serve everything up on, nothing matches and some of the slogans on the side of the mugs make me laugh....DH had 'I'm on a seafood diet...I see food, I eat it!'...lol...
Horse chestnut leaves emerging from their sticky buds
a clump of primroses
primroses on the bank sides
Looking back through the trees
Sunday, April 08, 2012
Snappy is an acronym for Special Needs Activities and Play Provision for York.
It's a York based voluntary organisation providing various activities, schemes and trips for young special needs people aged between five and twentyfive.
They rely on donations to run the organisation.
Kilham Wednesday Night Bikers are a group of local motorcycle lovers who meet regularly at The Bay Horse Inn, Kilham for rides out on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons through the summer months.
Every Easter Sunday they have an annual Easter Egg Run in memory of Stephen Cowton.
This years run is for eggs and donations to be given to Snappy...an egg-cellent idea!
I knew Stephen, he was an inspirational young man who battled a heart condition all of his life. He died aged eighteen years leaving a sad hole in the village community.
I went to Stephens funeral, All Saints is a large church but it was filled to capacity with as many again standing outside, young and old alike attended and there wasn't a dry eye as the haunting song 'You are the wind beneath my wings' sang by Celine Dion was played as they carried his coffin out.
I can't hear this song now that I think of Stephen.
Stephen was motor bike mad from a very young age, his dad Fran used to take him to compete in the road races on the Olivers Mount Circuit at Scarborough and together they started the Kilham Bikers with the intention for pleasant rides out through the summer months. When Stephen sadly died they started the annual bike run for charity in his memory, todays run was the sixteenth.
The weather was kind, no rain but a little dull.
By nine am the car park at the Bay Horse began to fill up with bikes and riders, they also lined the roadsides and filled the forecourt of a nearby garage.
Bikes of every description and colour, old, new, vintage, three wheeled and riders in colourful gear, painted helmets and fancy dress stood around gossiping and munching on bacon butties washed down with mugs of steaming hot tea...the smell was wonderful and DH and I succumbed to a bacon butty...it was deeelish!
Bikers armed with plastic buckets walked among the crowds collecting donations and selling raffle tickets for the draw to be held at the pub shindig this evening, yet others were gathering up the donated Easter eggs and loading them into a white van which would end the procession of bikes.
Then spot on eleven o'clock they all lined up three deep and led by a chicken, the Easter bunny and a black & white rabbit, complete with carrot, they roared off amid cheers and clapping.
Here are a few photos:
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