Saving a bee!

This morning  Mr G brought a very wet and tired bee into the kitchen. He put it onto a piece of dry tissue to help it to dry out and I tried to encourage it to have some sugar and water.

1 Struggling

After about 20 minutes it realised I wasn’t trying to hurt it and grabbed hold of the cocktail stick with it’s legs and began to lick the sugar syrup.

3 Getting the hang of it

It very quickly got the idea and I moved it gently towards the spoonful of sugar syrup.

4 Still hungry

Sadly we saw that the poor bee was badly infested with mites, you might just be able to see them, they look like specks of dust on the bee.  It was absolutely fascinating to watch it feeding and I was surprised to see that the bee’s tongue was about 6mm long, you can see it very clearly in the pictures.

5 Having a sugar rush

It was obviously very hungry and seemed to grow as it fed and regained its strength. It decided to make a quick dash across the worktop towards the sink and got extremely cross when we tried to divert it from the danger. After a lot of buzzing and leg waving the bee climbed back onto Mr G’s finger.

6 Feeling better

He carried the bee back outside and after a few more minutes it started to buzz and try to fly; a couple more of practice take offs and it was away.  It buzzed around our heads for a second and then headed off over the garden to freedom. We were elated!!!

So now we have a Bank Holiday Weekend ……. what shall we do?

I know …….. we’ll indulge in that fine British Bank Holiday tradition of decorating …..

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……. such fun!!

We are now living with this new style until the wall dries out. Lovely isn’t it? Watching paint dry is a doddle compared to this. The next stage will be sanding the walls which will be even more delightful …. we know how to enjoy ourselves you know!!

Have a lovely weekend ….

Alison x

 

 

 

 

What a day!

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I knew today was going to be ‘one of those days’ when I put the bird feeders out this morning and found a pile of sparrow feathers on the grass. The local sparrowhawk had obviously had its breakfast in our garden….. I know it has to survive but the newly fledged sparrows were very cute! The rest of the sparrows were conspicuous by their absence, they’ve usually taken up all the perches on the feeder as soon as my back is turned, but today they stayed hidden in the nearby holly bush. FYI we take the feeders in at night because we have a marauding flock of rooks who have learned that if one of them sits on top of the feeder and bashes it with its beak the seed falls down and the rest of the wretched flock clean up. They take it in turns and can empty 2 feeders in less than 30 minutes!

So away we go! I had to do an electronic bank transaction yesterday on behalf of my Mum (more of her later). It was quite a sizeable amount and the bank screen told me that it might take up to 24 hours for them to do all the necessary checks. Fair enough, we expect them to get it right and keep our money safe don’t we? I signed in this morning and expected to see the authorisation accepted…. oh no no no! Nothing as simple as that. I continued to check and as it was obvious that nothing was changing I tootled off to the branch, thankfully only 5 miles down the road.

Next problem – I couldn’t get through the door! Not, I hasten to explain because of my ever expanding bum, but because the place was packed full of grumpy people wanting to be served. One brave soul had a go at the automated pay in and was soundly cheered when he managed to complete his transaction at the third attempt and with the assistance of another customer! Behind the counters where two assistants were doing sterling (sorry dreadful pun) service there was a young male member of staff who offered to make them both a cuppa – very commendable – until one girl asked for a glass of juice as well. “As well as tea” he said loudly and then even more loudly “you won’t wet the bed will you?” The onslaught from the now diminished but all female queue was awesome. He disappeared quickly, very red faced, to lick his wounds and contemplate his future career in banking!

My turn at last but I was told that they were sorry but because I’d already started the wretched transaction via internet banking I had to finish it the same way. So back home once more I bit the bullet and phoned the helpline. An automaton asked me for some details – all going well until we came to ‘date of birth’ the automaton didn’t like mine…. oh yes this is my mum’s account and the automaton seemed happy with her date of birth and decided I could be connected to ‘an advisor’. At last, a human being who assured me all could be sorted if I just gave her the 4th and 5th letters of my password, which of course I couldn’t because I couldn’t remember the flipping thing and it was written down in a file stored at Mum’s house 8 miles away. AAArgh!

Just to make the day worse I had to do a ‘big trolley shop’ at the supermarket – not the one where you dash in, buy a couple of bottles of wine and a pack of fish fingers, no it’s the one where you have a list and spend a fortune on things you can’t eat but that are essential – like washing up liquid, toilet rolls and soap.

I was already frayed at the edges but set off once again into battle, found the file at Mum’s and was gratified to see that had I dared to use the 4th and 5th letters of my password I would have been correct. On to stage 2 – The Big Shop. My spirits rose when I drove into the car park, there were spaces, plenty of spaces and not too far from the trolley park or the shop door, I had my list in my hand and I’d ‘remembered my bags’. Feeling just a bit pleased with myself I marched in with my ‘big trolley’ to be met an onslaught of children running amok. I swear that for every car that was in the car park there were 4 children in the store, cheap half term entertainment – ‘see how many flustered 60 something year old women you can annoy in 15 minutes’ being the game of choice!

Whilst pondering the best value but maximum comfort in toilet rolls, WP_20160603_001I heard a phone ring, the same ring tone as mine but by the time I’d got the damn thing out of my bag it had stopped! I put it in my pocket at which point it pinged at me – a message – from the Bank – would I please phone them…..?? Well no, not just now, I’m in Asda contemplating toilet rolls and it needs my full attention so I’ll ring you when I get home. Onto the most important items – down the wine aisle! Ah good, that nice red in the box is still on special offer, and the white, good….  ooh and the Grenache as well, lovely for a summer evening drink in the garden. So with three wine boxes, 24 rolls of lavatory paper, four bars of soap, healthy vegetables and the rest I arrive home.

Leaving the shopping in the car I go in to the house braced for another round of sparring with the bank automaton. Mr G took one look at me and made coffee. He also brought the emergency packet of M&S Belgian chocolate cookies – what a hero! With the experience of the previous call to the bank I managed to get past the automaton in double quick time and was connected with ‘an advisor’ almost immediately. Nice girl, listened to my query, said she could sort it out but ‘just give me a couple of minutes’ and then cut me off …….. I kid you not! B******s, B******s and thrice B******s! SO SORRY – I was getting a bit fraught but nevertheless this had to be done. I had to get it sorted out. I am Mum’s Trustee and if necessary I’ll jump through flaming hoops to get a result!

I decided to logon to internet banking to see if anything had changed. Oh Yes It Had. My login had been suspended and I must call the number on the screen immediately. Brrrr Brrrr Brrrr Brrrr ‘******Bank Fraud Line, how can I help?’ Gulp! Biscuit crumbs everywhere! I told my story – well not a story, it was the truth and the lovely lady had it sorted in a trice. Transfer done. Login reinstated. No handcuffs. No Fraud Office. Time for another biscuit. I have to do it again on Monday!!

As to the Mother – she’s been busy!IMG_0010

She decided that it would be good to go and say hello to the nice Longhorn cows, calves and bull in the field next to her residential home and the easiest way to do that was to climb over a three bar fence while no-one was looking. She’s fine – a grazed knee and elbow but completely unaware of the scare she gave everyone. They’ve put an electric wire round the top of the fence now to keep the cattle in and her out. The Mother will be shackled to her chair if she does anything like that again. That’s the third residential home she’s managed to escape from and she’ll be 85 in a few days!

I have put the shopping away, I have scrubbed the washing machine powder drawer until it sparkles, I have brought washing in from the line and put it to air and I have put the towels in for the next wash. I have poured and consumed wine, Mr G has replenished my glass, which is now empty. We need to eat.

Alison xx

Exciting news!

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I know that it’s all been a bit quiet from Shed HQ recently. I do tend to hibernate every year in January and February but 2016 has presented us with a selection of challenges which we’ve had to deal with as a matter of urgency; so to all my friends and followers who think I’ve forgotten about them – I’M SORRY!! I haven’t forgotten you and I will get back to you just as soon as I can xxx

You may remember back in the mists of time that Mr G’s knee had been causing him some problems and much frustration because he couldn’t  play with his new pole lathe! Thankfully he has had “the operation” and is now recuperating well. We decided that an outing and a bit of gentle exercise would be a good plan on a lovely sunny day so we trundled off to Beverley this afternoon for coffee and a bun – and to have a quick look at the East Riding Open Art Exhibition in the Treasure House where one of my pictures had been hanging since December.

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Rock Pool

 

 

I am utterly amazed and not a little excited to tell you that it has a red dot next to it! It’s been sold! You could say that I’m chuffed to little mint balls and hope the new owner enjoys having it as much as I enjoyed creating it!

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Detail of some of the tiny shells and beads

 

 

I’ll stop showing off now and go back into semi hibernation! The grey wet weather and lack of sunshine do me no favours mentally and the slowly lengthening days are finally starting to make a difference, thank goodness!

So tonight Mr G and I are going to have the bottle of fizz we were going to have on New Years’ Eve – until one or two things got in the way ……  Chink chink and a very Happy New Year to you all!

Alison xx

 

 

 

 

At last it’s done!

I really think I need a drum roll here because at last I’ve got the website looking a bit more respectable! Whoo hooo!

On a grey Saturday afternoon I had the choice – tackle the ironing mountain or tackle the website! Result – ironing mountain ignored, website sorted …. I think!?? You’ll be able to see any mistakes more clearly than I can so I trust you’ll let me know if I’ve made any or if things aren’t working properly!

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I’ve done my last two craft fairs for this year, this was at Ottringham with the South Holderness Textile Group where I caught the organisers plotting over a well deserved cuppa ….. it was lovely to see some long standing craft friends including Hayley who was showing me how to spin on a drop spindle (I need more practice), Kay who was borrowing safety pins, Hilary with me in the naughty corner again ……. giggling and eating cake like we do ……

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…….. and Debby and her lovely bears – you should take a look at her Facebook page Bearlescent ….. it’s gorgeous!

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Mr G has managed to keep the sprouts going (see previous blogs for the background to this!) while I’ve been out and about enjoying myself and although I say it myself – they are looking excellent, another 26 days and they’ll be perfect!

Mr G has been doing a bit of joinery in the kitchen and he hasn’t managed to cut himself yet! He’s having to move a few things around in order to make a big enough space for my new oven, which is to be delivered on Wednesday – I’m so excited!! A double oven indeed – with self cleaning liners in both ovens – oh bliss and joy! Our current oven has developed the habit of blowing the element, giving off a loud bang and blue flashes, we’ve changed three this year and decided that enough was enough and it would have to go! I’m living in hope that the new one will be installed and in operation for me to learn how to twiddle all the knobs and things well before the turkey is due to be cremated!

I’m off to create something spectacular for supper – if it’s not overdone or with black crunchy bits it will be spectacular – I must be the only person in the village who can burn an omelette and my skill at ash burgers is written into family history!!

Eeek! ….. the sprouts! …… must dash

Alison xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A busy week!

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It’s been a busy sort of a week! Last weekend I was at Waters’ Edge Visitor Centre Christmas Craft Fair; it was really well attended and it was lovely to see so many friends again. A young man called Benjamin came over to see me, he’s utterly charming and I first met him at the Artisans in Action event at Forest Pines last April. He reminded me that I had said I would try to develop a hat which would contain his Rasta dreadlocks but would also continue to expand as his locks grew! I’m on a mission now ….. first job for 2016 will be experimenting with expanding hats – in Rasta colours, so keep looking in to see how I get on!

I’ve also been busy in the kitchen ….. I’ve got the sprouts on the boil for Christmas lunch! I’m a day or too late this year as I usually have them going by Halloween but friends have reassured me that all should be well and that they should be at the peak of perfection by 25th December ….. I just have to remember to keep topping them up with some more water, don’t want them boiling dry!

On Wednesday evening I was at Bilton Village Hall for the first of a series of shopping evenings presented by Eden Hull and Prospect UPmarket and organised by the wonderful Eve Lomax.

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There she is smiling away! What an evening that was, only 3 hours but packed full for the first two and then a bit slower for the last hour. It was also the third anniversary of UPmarket starting so much catching up with others friends and traders went on. I was delighted to be next to Helen Davison, also known as Arty Aitch

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…… there she is – looking a bit wary about having her photo taken! On Helen’s right was Nichola Foster, another regular trader

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……. she managed to avoid the camera that time but I got her and Helen just before we started plotting the mugging of Eve the organiser! Eve was somehow managing to oversee 4 different stalls just behind us and was taking money at a phenomenal rate; we were a touch envious and there was a lot of giggling and teasing going on!  IMG_0090

To complete the mayhem and madness we also had the pleasure of Erica Jayne Wilson at our end of the room …….

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…… here she is setting up her jars of goodies. When the evening quietened down we took turns in going round and trying out some samples, it would have been a waste if we hadn’t!!!! They were very scrummy!

After all this excitement I was ready for a quiet day on Wednesday, which it was, until I turned the oven on to bake an egg and bacon pie for tea; there was a bang followed by lots of blue flashes and sparks!!! Good thing the pie wasn’t in there as it wouldn’t have been a good result! We’ve had this oven for about 16 years and it has blown elements since the day it was out of it’s guarantee period, so as you can imagine we are experts at replacing them. We always have at least 2 spares in Mr G’s shed and our fastest time for an element refit was 23 minutes; this time we were slightly handicapped by Mr G’s dodgy knee which slowed us down to a reasonably respectable 35 minutes!

Thankfully Mr G has agreed that the time has come for a new oven and although there will have to be a few minor adjustments in the kitchen (Mr G designed and built it, out of real wood, so he knows how it all fits together!) I’m looking forward to cooking Christmas dinner without the worry that we might have to change the element halfway through!

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This weekend, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th November, I’ll be at Ottringham Village Hall for the South Holderness Craft Group Christmas Fair. There’ll be lots of unusual and unique handmade gifts for you to choose from and we’ll all be there from 10am to 3pm both days. Some of the stalls are only there for one or other day so you could call in both days …. !! Homemade refreshments will be available both days so you can have a sit down and a cuppa while you decide what to buy. I really hope you can find time to call in to this friendly, well established and very good quality event, the organisers go to a great deal of trouble to ensure that there are no bought in goods on sale at these events.

Hope to see you soon, now I must go and check on those sprouts!

Alison xx

 

 

 

 

November already!

Goodness me, doesn’t time fly – it’s cobweb season again! I found some really dense ones this morning as well as the invisible one I walked into as I went out of the back door …… bleurgh …. all over my face and hair and with the addition of wet droplets from the damp and foggy air!

IMG_0057I’m not sure where the spiders have gone, I couldn’t see one anywhere but after weaving all this I suspect they’d crept off somewhere dry for a snooze!

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Last weekend I was at the Burton Agnes Michaelmas Fair, my first venture into such a big event. My space was in a marquee and I managed to get the car unloaded and moved to the car park before it rained. There was a matting surface down but as it had been put over wet grass it wasn’t long before the wet started to seep through. Thankfully I had a tarpaulin with me (it’s always good to be prepared) so that went down under the table and my feet but with the rain coming down and the wind blowing a hoolie outside and the rising damp inside I was nithered by closing time – at which point the sun came out!

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Sunday dawned bright and cold and I set forth wrapped in so many layers I could hardly move; thermal vest, tee shirt, winter fleece, fleece lined trousers, scarf, gloves and topped off with a felt hat! It certainly did the trick and I was toasty warm – and much happier all day!

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I met some lovely people and had a few sales but not enough for me to be sure about booking again next year ……….

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Next weekend, the 7th and 8th of November I’m heading over the Bridge to the Waters Edge Visitor Centre at Barton upon Humber for their Winter Craft Event. All the goods on sale will be handmade so there’ll be lots of interesting and unique things to see and buy; it’s not too early to get some of that Christmas shopping done!!

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The event is open from 10am to 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday and there’s no admission charge; there are two cafes, one at the visitor centre and another one at the Ropewalk Gallery which is a couple of hundred yards walk away. There’s an easy walk round the site and a lot of hungry ducks to feed, I’m amazed they can still float by the end of the weekend!!!

Mr G probably won’t be with me, he’s still resting his ‘malfunctioning’ knee; he’s had an MRI scan but at the time of writing we haven’t had any results. I think he’ll make good use of two days on his own to  get some of his scientific equipment out to examine a few of the many specimens he’s collected during the summer. There’s a spectacular number of small jars containing some very questionable material on the windowsill of our downstairs loo – or as we call it “The Lavoratory”! It’s not a place for the faint hearted – unless you’re really desperate or have dirty boots on!!

You’ll have noticed I’ve been tinkering with the layout of the blog, I think it’s an improvement but would be interested to know what you think, so if you’ve time to comment I’d really appreciate it! Once I’m happy with it I’ll try and get the other sections sorted out …..

Hope to see you soon

Alison x

 

 

Mr G …… again!

Mr G is a worried man … he’s concerned about his fans and that they might be wondering if he still exists because there was no mention of him in the last blog. I can assure you all that he does still exist and is sitting next to me at the table as I type.IMG_0169

To use his own words – he has a ‘malfunction’ – and it is preventing him from playing with his pole lathe and he is not a happy bunny! Mr G has had a rickety right knee for some time (something to do with his advancing years I think!) and has a support for it which we refer to as his ‘truss’ (he has a matching ‘truss’ for the other knee to support it when it has to take the extra strain). We had decided to visit Staithes for the Arts Festival and he mentioned that his knee was uncomfortable so would wear his ….. now what is the plural of truss – trusses or trice? – anyway with both knees suitably supported off we went to Staithes. We knew Staithes was a traditional fishing village with hills and cobbles and we meandered around for a couple of hours, making a brief stop for the knee trusses to be removed as “they aren’t doing any good”. Mr G was getting more and more quiet as the afternoon went on and I suspected all was not well but he’s a stubborn so and so and doesn’t like to admit to a problem.

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We slowly made our way back up the hill to the car and had a very pleasant drive home. That’s when the trouble started …. it took both of us to get him out of the car and into the house.

Now as you all know Mr G makes very good walking sticks so I retrieved one from the selection box and handed it to him …..

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Not much help really but we thought rest and a good sleep might improve things. It didn’t! Thankfully we still had the crutches I was issued with when I broke my ankle a while back so I rescued them from the loft and handed them to Mr G. I know I shouldn’t laugh but it was funny seeing him trying to manage with them and when he finally admitted it was more difficult than he thought I reminded him that he’d told me he didn’t know why I was having so much trouble when I was using them!!!!

It took four days of hopping around – making pirate jokes and searching the internet for wooden legs and wicker basket wheelchairs before I managed to persuade him to see the doctor and now he’s in the queue for an MRI scan on the knees! To provide him with some amusement during the wait for this ‘malfunction’ to be diagnosed he has bought a new laptop. You might know that it hasn’t all been plain sailing …… it arrived on Monday afternoon and by Tuesday evening was back in it’s packaging ready to be returned from whence it came.

He spent this morning researching what to get as a replacement and has now had the bright idea that he might just give it another go as all the on-line reviews are very good ….. I’m going to my shed!

I’ll keep you posted …..

Alison x

 

An Autumn walk

 

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I’ve always found working to a theme a bit of a challenge and in a couple of weeks I’m taking part in an exhibition called ‘Seasonal Shadows’. Back in the summer I didn’t really think I’d have any trouble with this one – but oh dear ho hum and all that …… my inspiration levels are at zero. I have four pieces ready so if the organisers are reading this – don’t panic!!!! I just feel I haven’t really done the subject justice. So I took myself and my trusty little cheap swag pocket camera out for a walk in the village this afternoon to see if I could raise the levels a bit.

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Our village isn’t renowned as a beauty spot but I did find one or two little gems to share with you; these are sycamore seed heads not yet ready to fly like little helicopters as they fall to the ground, I think the colours are just wonderful.

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There are lots of seed heads at the moment, this looks like thistledown but look at a bit more closely…….

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….. and a bit more

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Then there are these beautiful ivy seed heads ……

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A glorious mix of shades of green ……. and you’ll never guess what this next one is

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Close up of a nettle – no wonder they sting so much when they brush your skin, if you look closely on the right of the picture you can see the little hairs that do the damage!

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Then of course there were brambles but as the freezer is packed to the gunnels with brambles from the garden, I just took a picture and left them for someone else

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and the birds! Watch out for the tell tale signs on your car; what is now politely referred to as ‘bird lime’ but we all know to be ‘bird something else’ takes on a dramatic shade of purple when the birds have been feasting on the autumn bounty of berries!

You may have noticed that there are masses of cobwebs hanging outside from everything to anything, a morning visit to the garden means walking with my arms flailing wildly so as to bring the cobwebs down before I walk into them (the neighbours already know I’m bonkers so they just ignore me!) Cobwebs in the face are nearly as bad as cobwebs in your hair – you always think they might just have a passenger …….

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Sorry!! Hope you’re not screaming too loudly – it’s only a photograph, I had to get very close to this to get this shot. Mr G tells me that all spiders are venomous but reassures me that it would take an enormous amount of spider venom to even make me itch …… maybe so but I’d still rather not have cobwebs in my hair!!

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To finish my walk I had a quick visit to the churchyard where I stood by my grandparents’ grave and remembered happy times of childhood and saw these – fabulous autumn cyclamen flowering all around; then back home. On my way I saw an even bigger spider than the last one but it skittered off into the shelter of a tree before I could get a picture!

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Alison xx

 

 

Updates from the sheds!

It’s been a while since the last ‘proper’ blog, so as it’s a thoroughly vile, wet day I’ll be getting on with a new one ….. just to cheer you up and remind you that the crazy world of the sheds and their inhabitants continues apace!

Mr G and I have had an adventure; not a real, real adventure with lions and tigers and other wild animals, no – we’ve been to Cardiff …… even better we’ve been to the Millenium Stadium …. to watch Wales play Ireland in the Rugby Union World Cup warm up international series. Imagine that – getting Mr G to any kind of live sports event seemed improbable but we’re both keen supporters of the Welsh RFU and these two tickets were available – so off we went armed with our Welsh flag and rugby shirts – taking Yorkshire to Wales!

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Our first view of the inside of the stadium didn’t disappoint us, it was breathtaking even with the roof closed (I think because of the bright sunlight). The kick off was at 2.30pm but we took our places just after 1pm so we could see all the pre-match goings-on. There was a splendid marching band, a lot of male voice choirs all trying to out do each other and an absolutely tremendous atmosphere! Shortly before kick off a gentleman arrived in the row in front of us wearing the green shirt of a lone

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Irish supporter – now almost surrounded by a sea of red shirts. A few minutes later – just before the anthems he was joined by five of the biggest Welshmen you could wish to meet and they’d been sampling the local brew! To my complete amazement the Welshmen sang the Irish National Anthem with almost as much vigour and enthusiasm as they sang their own anthem! 76,000 people of all ages in the crowd and not one jot of bother either in the stadium or outside as we arrived or departed.

Wales lost! Deservedly so! I think all the Wales fans would agree that the best team won, Ireland played a blinder. Interestingly the match series is sponsored by Dove skincare and it would seem the Welsh boys had been using too much hand cream – they just couldn’t keep hold of the ball – butter fingers or what!?

We had plenty of time to enjoy the centre of Cardiff before and after the match

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and Mr G saw – and touched – the largest love spoon in the world made from the bough of a sycamore tree – I can’t remember the exact dimensions so have a look at these – apologies for the quality – I was sober I promise!!!!

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So after three days of adventure we arrived home – shattered but elated! Cardiff is a wonderful city with some superb architecture but it also has modern shopping and restaurants in the St David’s Centre and yet still keeps the old passageways and individual shops in arcades which run beneath some of the huge buildings. A very friendly multicultural city; the organisers of Hull’s City of Culture 2017 should visit – they could learn a very great deal, not least about the basic stuff like crowd control and the clearing up of litter …. and the service in the cafes and restaurants ….. and the provision of adequate loos!!!!

Just to finish – last Saturday I spent the day at the East Riding Artists exhibition in St. Mary’s Church in Beverley.

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Sorry – that looks like another dud photograph! Mabel (my mannequin) and I had an interesting day but felt – oh dear sorry for the pun!! – a bit outnumbered by painters! We were in a corner so only had one neighbour – a lady called Jackie Hardman, please “Google” her and see her work – she’s an outstanding artist and a very nice lady!

That’s about it for today, since getting back from Cardiff I’ve had a sniffly cold which I have successfully passed on to Mr G. He is enjoying it in a manly sort of way ….. shivering, sneezing and clutching a box of Kleenex (man size of course) He’s being taken fly fishing on Thursday – somehow I think he’ll pull through!

Alison xx

 

 

 

Life with three sheds