Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Tag Archives: Leeds

Where the wild things are…

Well, hello there, I’m back! I have so much to tell you I don’t know where to begin. The new haircut? The holiday plans? My meeting up with an old friend? The lovely walks?  No, it has to be my excuse for my absence. After #2 son’s graduation, he came back home with me and we have been hanging out together before he heads off again. It’s been a nice reminder of how life used to be, having a boy with a bottomless pit for a stomach in the house again, it’s been one long round of cooking, food shopping and laundry, movies, music and cooking. And more laundry.

The graduation ceremony was a great thrill for me and the rest of the family. I thought I would explode with pride. My son looked so handsome in his gown (minus cap, you will notice. Apparently, the graduates had been throwing them into the air for photographs after the ceremony and it was thought that was too dangerous – someone had hurt their eye a year or so ago, so political correctness prevailed and they were banned apart from in the official studio portraits – utter madness.)

My two sons and my ex and I, had a great few days in Leeds, it really is a fun city with lots of great shopping  (unless you are shopping with/for two very fussy sons – and I thought women were supposed to be bad!) and restaurants. We had one particularly wonderful dinner at a restaurant called Anthony’s which was a bit ‘Heston Blumenthal’ if you know what I mean! Every dish had at least one ingredient that made you say ‘What?!’ (risotto of white onion, parmesan air and espresso? Or poached quail, pea sorbet, cocoa, morels? Or how about my dessert of apple parfait, pork filo and sage ice cream?) We were all totally amazed at how delicious it all was, in fact we would go so far as to say it was one of the best (if not the best) dinner we had ever eaten.

Since we returned, #2 son has spent his days fishing in the river which runs through our garden – amazingly he actually managed to catch a fish yesterday (which he threw back). I don’t know who was more surprised #2 son, me or the fish! He saw an otter in the river while he was fishing but by the time he had shouted me to come and look, it had gone – probably terrified by the loud shouting coming from the river bank :-)

We did manage to spot a fox in the field next to my garden. Apparently, it has four fox cubs which we haven’t managed to see yet but the mother fox comes out every evening for a walk around the field. We managed to catch some shots of her including this one of the fox eyeing up a crow which seemed quite oblivious.

I love the view into the field, as do some others it seems…

We have had a really fun time since we got back from Leeds. I’m very conscious that these times together are going to be much rarer in the future. My nest will be well and truly empty. On the bright side I will have lots of time to make books and play tennis… (knee is finally better, by the way). I have been working on a photo album which I am making as a gift for a friend whose daughter is about to give birth to a little girl – my friend’s first grandchild. Here is a sneak preview.

By the way, an update on my garden furniture saga. PayPal finally decided in my favour and have refunded me £500 which is the most they can, the balance is still to come from the dodgy seller, (Gemma at Land of Sofas) so I’m not holding my breath. I was contacted by someone else who read about my problems here, she had also bought furniture from this wretched woman but had been too late to file a claim with PayPal, so she stands to lose all her money.

When I was searching for alternative garden furniture, I found a web site selling the same furniture, under a different name (Home Living Online) but I could tell from the telephone number that it was the same people. Please do not buy from this company. I have reported them to the Trading Standards people and I hope that they will stop them from swindling any more unsuspecting customers.

Well, it’s nice to be back blogging and I have missed my visits to my blogging friends – thank you for your concern at my absence, but fret not!  #2 son is off on holiday next week so the house will be quiet again and I can get back into a routine. Books and blogging here I come….

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I’m off – again!

I am exhausted, a wreck, wrung out, I am drained. I have just finished watching the Wimbledon Men’s Final complete with rain breaks, several complete turnaround of fortunes, complaints from Texas about the organisation and weather (you know who you are) and finally a stunning victory by Rafael Nadal after an awesome and tightly contested match. A classic, classic match. I was torn as to who I wanted to win, I like them both so much but there was a wonderful winner in Rafael Nadal. Spain is on a roll this year…

And very gracious in defeat, he so nearly won – and he will be back, my hero, Roger Federer.

I must also mention, a young lady who won the Wimbledon Girls’ Singles title, Laura Robson – A BRIT!! Who would have thought. 14 years old and already carrying the hopes of an entire nation….poor thing!

So Wimbledon is over – what shall I do? Make some books maybe? I am dying to get back to doing something creative – at least until the Olympics start…. However, my #2 son graduates from university this week so we are off to Leeds for a few days. Before I go, I thought that I would post a few bits and pieces I have come across while roaming around the internet. This first, is a cool music video. Those of you who are Mac users will recognise the OS X desktop and marvel at how they did this…

I am desperate to see the movie WALL.E which doesn’t come out in the UK until 18th July but here is the trailer I found on Youtube.

and this is a preview of the Pixar short which precedes the film

and finally for the mathematically inclined, some pie charts…

This one is a depiction of things Rick Astley wouldn’t do…

Bye for now. I am off to be the proudest mum in the country. Expect much boasting and fab photos when I get back…

It’s nice ‘Oop North’

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I’ve just returned from a visit ‘Oop North’ as they say. I went to visit Number 2 son in Leeds in Yorkshire. Being a Lancashire lass, I don’t know Yorkshire that well so it was fun getting to know Leeds.911351.jpg

It’s a vibrant city with great shopping (the best is in an area called the Victoria Quarter (above) – Victorian arcades which have been beautifully restored and which now house a great range of the best designer shops – including Harvey Nichols, for those of you in the know!) and an infinite number of museums, great restaurants and bars. I had a wonderful time, ate lots of lovely food and it was so nice to spend time with my son, who I don’t see so often now he is in his final year at Leeds University and working very hard. Apart from the fact it was noticeably much colder and windier when I arrived in Leeds, compared with the South coast, I had a great time.

We went to York for the afternoon yesterday. York is a beautiful city on so many levels. It is dominated by York Minster, the largest medieval gothic cathedral in Northern Europe which is stunningly beautiful. I took lots of photographs and here are some to give you an idea of the scale and beauty of the building.

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This last shot is taken looking straight up into the Central Tower, the white painted ceiling is 60m high. The stained glass windows are breathtaking.

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Surrounding the minster, is an area called the Shambles, a series of medieval streets and buildings, full of shops which is still a terrific shopping area.

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This is the Clifford Tower, all that remains of York Castle.

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I’ve had a fantastic three days, although as I didn’t take my laptop, I did get withdrawal symptoms…no blog, no emails – but I survived :-)

There has always been great rivalry between Lancashire, where I was born, and Yorkshire – at it’s worst it led to the War of the Roses (1455-1487) – a civil war between the House of Lancaster and the House of York – both claimed the throne of England. At best, it leads to great rivalry on the sports field – especially in cricket and football. Yorkshire folk are intensely proud of their county and culture and even call it ‘God’s Own County’. It has been suggested that they have a stronger allegiance to their county than their country and they pride themselves on their plain speaking :-)

To help you (and me) understand Yorkshire people here is a short video for Yorkshire Airlines.

Let’s just hope I haven’t started the second War of the Roses – I loved Yorkshire, honest! (Can you just turn the heater on before I visit again, please?)