Friday, May 11, 2012
We've had a really weird mixture of weather over these last couple of months.
Lots of cold blustery winds, heavy showers, thundery downpours and even hailstones but Wednesday dawned dry, cloudless and even a little bit of sunshine showed it's face every now and again though there was a cold wind blowing.
But, the sky was blue, alright it was a greyish blue but it was blue nontheless and looked just right for a nice walk so we headed off to beautiful Flamborough on the East Yorkshire Coast.
Flamborough is a small fishing village.
Well! it used to be but that old way of life is disappearing fast and the only boats which remain now are a couple of crabbing cobles. They looked colourful and cheery in the greying light, painted bright orange and blue. You can buy the cooked crabs fresh from the back of the family's van right on the cliff top...and pretty delicious they are too but then I'm from a fishing family and love seafood anyway, my DH is not so keen and will only eat cod and then only if it's pan fried in butter...lol...men eh!
Anyway we set off in the car loaded up with binoculars, cameras, a flask of hot chocolate, gloves and scarves.
As we neared Flamborough the sky grew duller but it didn't rain and after the car disgorged us in the cliff top car park we stepped out into the cold and blustery air which almost took our breath away...the grass was blowing almost horizontal and the seabirds were hung on the air finding it difficult to fly!
Looking down into the tiny North Landing bay it seemed sheltered and windless, the sandy shore safe in the arms of steep chalk cliffs. Like minded people out in the nicer weather strolled the small shoreline or stood gazing out into the bay watching the birds as they swooped and wheeled to settle on the cliffs. There's a bird reserve just a few miles away famous for it's gannets and puffins but we usually have our visits there very early in the morning before the 'tourists' arrive.
We decided not to go down to the bay, I find steps difficult and very painful since I broke my knee, I'm alright coming back up it's the going down I don't like especially when there isn't a bannister and you don't fine those on a cliff side...lol...
So we chose the cliff top walk going north but stopped short of Thornwick Bay as I can't manage the steep cliffside steps there either.
We had to retrace our steps but it didn't matter there's always something you missed seeing on the way there!
Gannets wheeled and called their haunting cry as they sailed majestically on the wind like great yellow headed planes. The white chalk cliffs had a few nesting gulls but they're just the overspill from the massive cliffs at Bempton where the reserve is.
Looking inland we saw chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch, sparrows and swallows, the latter just in from their long trek from Africa. They swooped and wheeled, never landing but catching insects on the wing.
A stately pheasant strutted his stuff looking for all the world like royalty as he regally wandered the lush field edges.
There were greedy roe deer too, nibbling the young shoots off the hawthorn hedge between fields of yellow oilseed rape, their sulphur yellow flowers brightened the area but their perfume's not very nice!
The sea was delicately wind ruffled but almost flat and grey, just lifting gently to swell and fall again except around the cliff edges where it pounded the chalk making foamy white horses rear up the cliff edges. There were even a couple of young men swimming though they were wearing wet suits...rather them than me!
Arriving back at the car windblown but exhilarated we sat and relished a cup of piping hot chocolate, sipping gently at the steaming liquid which fogged my spectacles...lol...trying not to burn our tongues!
I'm paying a bit now for those spectacular views and the lovely bracing walk along the cliff top, my plantar fasciitis is playing me up something chronic!!
A few pictures for you to enjoy:
North Landing, Flamborough
The sea made foamy white horses paw at the cliff sides
Looking back from the cliff path towards the bay
Swimmers brave the cold...rather them than me!
Colourful crabbing cobles
A little family walking the water's edge
A stately, almost regal pheasant struts his stuff in the lush field edges
A greedy roe deer nibbling on the new young growth of the hawthorn hedge
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
On the 2nd December last year I licked a couple of Christmas card envelopes and had a severe allergic reaction to the latex used in the glue.
I'd licked envelopes before but I definitely never will again!
I ended up in hospital unable to breathe properly, bright maroon coloured, covered in big pus filled blisters, all swollen up, very sore and burning hot.
Today after five months and three weeks of treatment I've finally been told I don't need to attend the dermatology clinic any more...Yay!!
I've been going three times a week for photo therapy sessions which have worked wonders and made my skin look normal again. I still have patches of skin with a slight redness and three larger patches under my arms, and another on the back of my neck which can be quite sore and itchy but on the whole I look normal...though I'm not quite sure what 'normal' is for me mind...lol...
I'm showering daily with a special emollient cream which I will have to use forever and then rubbing it all over my body four times a day plus I have two different medicine creams for the sore patches, one to use in the morning and one to use at night. I'm still on a Telfast tablet and probably may never come of it but it's a small price to pay for the way I was.
Because latex is plant based its toxins can be linked to almost every fruit and vegetable there is and three weeks ago I had a slight flare-up again.
It mainly affected my eyes and face but didn't affect my breathing.
I can't pin down what it is that's doing it, could be more than one thing, but as it wasn't a bad reaction the dermatologist has decided that enough's enough and I'll just have to live with it.
I have been trying a different fruit or vegetable on a four day basis since the end of January but so far all the ones I like and eat the most of are fine but I do like to try different things so it'll be a gamble from now on, but I'm not going to let that stop me from enjoying my five a day.
Here are a few photos from the first week in January this year, bearing in mind this was a month after the envelopes were licked you can get an idea of the state I was in at the beginning.
The redness covered my whole body and was very hot and painful.
My left eye was badly infected and was actually shut for three weeks, the infection then went into my sinus cavities which was no joke I can tell you.
Altogether it was a good seven or eight weeks before I saw my skin beginning to return to a more normal hue.
Having it on my body was bad enough but having it on my face was horrible.
The old me...lol...
large scabs from the blisters
my eye as it was getting more open and less pus filled
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!!
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