Monday, April 30, 2007

No Broadand?

Pure class! (Sack the typist)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Northumberland Odyssey Part 2

For B's birthday, we travelled over to Wooler, and included some rock art and good eating. Perfect!

First stop was Prudhoe Castle to visit the prehistoric rock art, and to be honest the best things here are outdoors - the museum inside is fairly crap unless you have to entertain kids. The ruins are interesting, complete with staircases that go nowhere and wild flora outside. Some good pictures here.

After climbing Ros Castle we visited Chillingham Churchyard. Another interesting graveyard, Robert Jopson had a lovely headstone:

Here LYet hthe
Body of Robe
rtJopson of
Hebburn who
died the 4th of
august in the
year 1730
in the 64 year
of his life

I couldn't read the name of the owner of this beautifully innocent verse:

My friends go home
& ceace from tears I
Most ly hear til christ
A peares

We then headed to our favourite B&B West Weetwood Farmhouse. It's completely fab and lovely both inside and out. We went for dinner to the Tankerville, including banana and black pudding salad (gorgeous!) and half-a-sheep-on-a-plate (aka Blade of Lamb).

The gardens at the B&B are magical (in the Secret Garden sense), so we took a wander next moring before the grand breakfast. Then off to Routing Linn to see the rock art and waterfall. The hope was to see the bluebells but we were a bit early for the main event, although a few were peeping through. We saw lots of other wildflowers and B reckons he saw a large black cat...

Lunch at Milfield Tearoom was followed by a visit to Maelmin - the recontructed hut has been re-reconstructed after vandalism a couple of years ago, and a handsome new wooden building has been added.

On the way back west we went to Tod Crags - some wonderful scenery around there.

Prudhoe Castle:

<= Wild Garlic

Chillingham Churchyard:

<=cool swirly eyes

West Weetwood Farmhouse:

<= "Leeky roof? What leeky roof?"

Routing Linn:

<= wood sorrel and waterfall

<= opportunistic primrose

<=spot the cotyledon leaves

Maelmin Trail:

Finally, Tod Crags:

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Aldidl. How do you tell the difference?

Aldi, Lidl. As Harry Hill says, "you've gotta have a system".

But which is which? I visit both. They have spread like a rash throughout Britain, and on my travels I know where a few of them are; I often go to the one in Marton in Middlesbro, another on a road in Gateshead, the one on the road into Dumfries. There's two of them in Bishop Auckland now (but, that's probably one of each type!)

So which came first? Was the first one so successful that the second is a copycat? Did they simultaneously dream up similar names and logos?

Yeah I buy stuff there. I like the cheap chewing gum, the jars of salsa, the chocolate shampoos, the biscuits... it's different to things you'd find in other supermarkets but that doesn't mean it's rubbish. I'm certainly not a snob when it comes to getting a bargain! But don't buy the veg, it's shit.

If someone asks me where I got it from, I have no idea which one, so I will say Aldidl.

Surely it's in their interests to try and be different? But maybe not, if you are used to one and you visit the other, they look identical inside, and the goods are sometimes even the same but with different labels. So it's a ruse!

Anyway I've done some in depth research (ie consulted wiki). Aldi is German, so is Lidl, so that's no help. Apparently Lidl copied Aldi! Aha... and Lidl is actually a real name, whereas Aldi is from the name Albrecht (presumably).

Will this help me? Will I remember if the one on the Viaduct in Carlisle is the family-named copycat or the original?

So, Lidl = named copy. Aldi = Original.

OK! gawd... I have no idea why I care...!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Time Team on Newsbiscuit - Love it!

I've bought B some tickets to see Tony Robinson when he comes to the Sands in May. We are big Time Team fans and thanks to the Discovery Channel re-runs, I reckon we've seen most of them at least three times!

So I loved this story on Newsbiscuit, especially this bit :-

But he was able to confirm that the long thin metallic object was ‘a rusty nail’ and that the medium sized stony objects were ‘stones’.

Brilliant! Every time I find an old bit of brick in my garden, the thought crosses my mind that it might be Roman pottery... some chance!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Townhead Rock Art, Easter Lambs and Little Dalton Kirk

Easter Sunday found us at one of our favourite prehistoric rock art sites, Townhead near Kirkcudbright. Just before parking up, we were surprised by a doe deer jumping across the road in front of us and into the woods!

The route to the main rock art panel is now well-marked. The fields weren't full of scary-mary bright young calves like last time, but instead lots of ewes and young lambs. Thankfully the fields here are huge so there was plenty of space for them to keep their distance from us and feel safe.

B hunkered down and started investigating the outcrops, while I entertained myself watching the lambs and rolling turnips towards them as the main pile of fodder was right by us. They loved it!

There were lots of bleating and gamboling and loss and reunitings going on. I then had a little sleep (this is when I got my first sunburn of the year). It was sunny but the wind still chilly.

I also took some daft easter shots using some pasche eggs I made the other day and brought for lunch (is this a Cumbrian thing?)

On the way home we visited a place which we have passed the signpost to many times before - Little Dalton Kirk. We didn't know what to expect but presumed it must be one of the many local old kirkyards in the area, and weren't disappointed.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Race For Life - The Sequel!

Last year I did the Race For Life with some family, including my wonderful Auntie Kath who has subsequently sadly been beaten in her fight against cancer.

I've signed up for this year's event in Carlisle on 8th July.

Sponsor me if you can!

I'll try and look more sporty this year...


Friday, April 06, 2007

Barratt Homes should come with earplugs!

I've just written a letter of complaint to Barratt's.

The reason why I am narked?

Clack, clack.

It's the noisy drain covers on the roads in the estate. They are placed in exactly the right position to maximise as many cars as possible going over them, and one of the main junctions on the routes through the estate is right outside my window. Then there are the three access roads to the houses - they each have rattly covers.

Clack, clack.

The 2-year deadline has passed for me to talk to them directly about things wrong with the house. However, the reason that I wrote to them was not absolutely to do with the house itself... although the crappy cheap windows don't help at all, plus the floorboards which creak when the cat sneezes (this has got to be the noisiest, draughtiest house I've ever lived in, including when I lived on cliffs next to the North Sea).

It's an irony that the soundproofing of modern cars is far better than that of my Barratts house, so drivers don't hear what we do in here and have no qualms about smacking them as hard as possible.

Clack, clack.

It starts before 5.30am, when lots of people hereabouts are driving to start their early shift. It's the last thing I hear at night and the first thing I hear in the morning. When I am working at home, it punctuates my day and I can tell when it's time to stop work when the frequency increases due to people driving home from work.

Clack, clack.

I've phoned Barratts about it; partly to confirm that it is their responsibility (which it is). I am also going to be writing to the Cumberland News, because I'm sure that there are lots of locals (not just poor me living on the corner)who are affected by this; the sounds echoes right around the estate. It's about time this got sorted out.

Clack, clack.

In Barratt's honour, I've added a YouTube Link to the Little Boxes Song...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The sweet scent of death?

This story "Joan of Arc remains are fakes" on the BBC news website had me intrigued, in particular this segment:

Dr Charlier also recruited two smell experts, Sylvaine Delacourte and Jean-Michel Duriez, from the perfume industry. They were independently asked to sniff the relics as well as nine other samples of bone and hair from Dr Charlier's lab without being told what they were. Both smelled hints of "burnt plaster" and "vanilla" in the samples. The plaster smell backs up claims that Joan was burnt on a plaster stake, to make the spectacle last longer. But a vanilla smell is inconsistent with cremation. It comes from the compound vanillin, which is released during the decomposition of a body.

Blimey! I will add this to my short list of amazing facts! And just how good are their noses?!

I suppose it's just another aromatic compound based around the benzene ring...a comparitavely quite a simple one really, chemical name 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde. I studied organic chemistry once, and in the five minutes when I understood it I could have told you how to make it. But my knowledge has fizzled out now; you could say it was a result of someone pissing on my bonfire... but that's a whole other aroma...

vanillin molecule

Monday, April 02, 2007

This weekend I have been mostly....

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