Wednesday, 31 October 2018

The Long Non-Event.......

Ladies that lunch! This time six of us, three are my first cousins, two are my sisters who of course are also their cousins. We all live so far apart but try to get together once a year usually around springtime however last year life got in the way for a few of us and it never happened and this year it took till October, so I was really looking forward to it.

Ipswich to Liverpool Street by train takes just over an hour, meeting the others in the station 11:45am and the pub we are going to is a very short walk away. I decided the train would be more relaxing than driving to Newbury Park and taking the underground the rest of the way which would take about two hours.

Hubby drove me to Ipswich station at 9:45am and I bought my off-peak return ticket for £42.20. Online it said my train to Liverpool Street was 10:06 on the information board it said "10:09 - expected 10:12" so already running a little late, it actually left at 10:15 but still plenty of time.

First stop Manningtree, second stop Colchester, then it didn't move. We were all asked to leave the train as it was terminating here because someone had been hit by a train a little further up the line. So we all left platform 2 as told next train to London will leave from platform 4. It had turned bitterly cold so I stood inside the now packed coffee shop but with my poor hearing and tannoy announcements being what they are I found it difficult to hear and didn't want to miss something important so instead I walked up and down the platform to keep a bit warmer.

I had WiFi so messaged my sisters to tell them and was just about to message hubby when he phoned me. He'd heard there was a rail problem and was checking on me. Told him I'd wait till 11:30 and if I wasn't on my way by then I'd come home.

No reply from my sisters so did it all again by text. Told them to go on without me and if I can I'll meet them at the pub.

The tannoy was keeping us very well informed and by 11:30 they were saying the London line will remain closed for at least another hour. So I made my way to platform 3 for the next Norwich train stopping at Manningtree then ipswich. They announced this would now be the scheduled 11:47 service. Text my sisters and everyone sent sad regrets and I was sad too. Text hubby who said he'd meet me at Ipswich 12:15. Then the driver announced "change of plan we're leaving in four minutes" so another text to Hubby as this was nearly 10mins earlier and he said he'd be at Ipswich for 12.

Well first stop Manningtree where it sat for a while, then the driver said "Passengers I'm so sorry to say that I've a bit more bad news for you....." turns out a freight train had broken down on the line just ahead of us and we were going nowhere.

Another text to Hubby who by now was at Ipswich station. So checking with station staff that yes indeed this was going to be a long delay I left the train and the station to wait outside for Hubby to come in the car for me.

The latest we were told was no London service for at least another two hours, so I was right to head home and now nothing moving toward Norwich either, glad I was sitting outside waiting for my lift, so when a few cars pulled up outside and a passenger was getting out I rushed forward to warn them before their lift drove away and they were very grateful, one even offered me a lift to anywhere I needed to be, so kind of them, but Hubby was nearly there.

Much later in the day when I  checked the rail situation it was still in chaos,  had I gone I would probably have been struggling to get home again. Then I wrote the sorry story on facebook, later still I thought it odd there had been no comments made, well that was because it wasn't there! ! !

So I wrote....
"Hahaha Well that's typical for today, I wrote a long post which has now disappeared!"
By then I just wrote the shorter to-the-point version 😉

I've claimed my ticket price back on the Delay Repay Claim form online but there's nowhere on the form to ask about compensation for not actually getting to where I wanted to be or if I'd incurred further costs because of it. Automatic emails now saying it's being processed.

OK not the outcome I wanted, two hours away from home getting nowhere, but actually I talked to quite a few lovely people during mutual commiserations. Yes Colchester station was freezing but sitting outside Manningtree waiting for Clive I was on a bench in a suntrap 😎 And walking through Manningtree station to the exit I discovered the tunnels are displaying artwork done by the residents of Acorn Village that I would never have seen otherwise.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Peak District Holiday with friends........

Going on holiday with friendsN&T is always lovely, this one started on Saturday 13th and Hubby was driving, so they parked their car in our garage and with Hubby's car fully loaded we set off to Derbyshire making a lunch stop en route

We are staying in Granary Cottage, Biggin. Cosy little upside down place where the bedrooms are down and the open plan kitchen/lounge upstairs. With no other properties around us these buildings have been made into six holiday lets but we barely saw any others although a few cars did come and go. Cows and sheep in the fields very near so we didn't get lonely.
Most evenings we walked to the local pub, The Waterloo Inn, about 15 minutes away, and walked back in the dark, needing a torch and a phone light so we could avoid the few pot-holes and any traffic could avoid us. One night we ate then played darts, not sure Hubby was too pleased at me beating him! Thursday night we even joined their quiz night and we didn't win but had great fun and did win a bottle of wine in the after quiz raffle yaay!

We had a real mix of weather with wet days needing indoor activities and dry-sunny-chilly days to enjoy long walks and great scenery, some very misty starts that brightened into the warmest days but coldest evenings. Interesting to see the changes and the start of beautiful autumn colours but weather certainly didn't stop us getting out and about.

Sunday we headed to Sudbury Hall which was closed, T found it very funny that access was denied because they were improving access 😉 Also there and open is the Museum of Childhood and the cafe and a lovely walk around the grounds (don't seem to have any photos).

Monday we went into Bakewell, had a mooch around the shops and market, and had to sample bakewell pudding, but in an Austrian cafe and amusingly one of the customers kept yodelling hahaha

Later we found a Stable Bar

Tuesday was Buxton
and their very little market, art gallery/museum

Anglers Rest pub at Miller's Dale then walk along Monsal Trail which was a disused railway line so nice and flat

We'd had a meal lunchtime and bought snack food for an evening in playing scrabble and I won again!

Wednesday lovely sunny start although still quite a chill in the air. Time for the Blue John mine and I coped with the million wet steps going down but oh boy going back up nearly killed me. So worth doing though as beautiful caves, rocks, flow-stone, mineral deposits of various colours and of course seams of Blue John gems.

From there we drove into Castleton and a pub lunch big enough to see us through for another games night in. We had to have a walk around the shops and friendN bought a necklace with the Blue John stone which also included her other love of horses.

Thursday - now this is where it gets tricky as the whole area has little or no phone reception or 4G reception so we relied on WiFi and of course no time to put notes on the blog when we are out and about and the WiFi at the cottage was so flaky that it was frustrating and by Thursday we'd all pretty much given up with it. Hilarious when one phone pinged we all picked up ours to check if a moment of WiFi brought us any news from the rest of the world 😂

So checking photos..... Thursday was the Heights of Abraham, using the cable car and getting great views.

Friday was keeping it local and another disused railway line turned into a flat cycle/pedestrian path. Fantastic views and we reached the point of coffee/tea/bacon/sausage rolls then walked back again. About six miles total.

And all too soon it was Saturday and heading home. We had a really good run and only one comfort break stop, then almost home it was a late lunch carvery in a new local to us pub to save us cooking tonight and paid for by friendsN&T as it's our 45th wedding anniversary.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Theatre: Dread Zeppelin.......

Red Rose Chain youth theatre presents an explosive new show packed with local WW1 history, drama, terror, espionage and romance… Bet you never knew so much had gone on in sleepy old Ipswich!

Researched by our young people with historian Mandy Rawlins, Dread Zeppelin is a brand new history play written by Joanna Carrick to mark the Centenary. Supported by Heritage Lottery Fund and starring a 26-strong cast!


I cannot praise this performance enough, yes I'm a little biased as my granddaughter R had one of the lead roles!
A large cast of wonderful individual characters, singing, dancing, accordion playing and a script all based on real life local events in WWII. They totally deserved the standing ovation.

This is the review they got in our local newspaper.......

Friday, 5 October 2018

Theatre: Return of a Soldier.......

The Return of the Soldier, by Charles Miller and Tim Sanders, is a musical adaptation of Rebecca West’s remarkable novella written at the end of World War One.

Set in Harrow during the summer of 1916, The Return of the Soldier is an intensely bitter-sweet tale, dissecting the very different love of three women for one man. When Christopher returns from the front, shell-shocked and with memory loss, there are profound consequences for all three women and their love. In the end, only an extraordinary sacrifice will restore the fragile status quo.

Composer Charles Miller puts a unique and contemporary twist on several English music styles from the period in his evocative score. Tim Sanders’ script aims to capture West’s sardonic and contemporary humour as well as her painfully accurate insights into human folly. This exciting new musical adaptation will bring a compelling story of war to a whole new generation.


The four of us all agreed that we really enjoyed this. Acting was brilliant, story was brilliant, laugh out loud moments and quiet tearful moments too, however it was a musical and although all the cast have great voices and wonderful harmonies the main song was repeated too often to be relevant and just felt like stretching things out and I also hate "sung" dialogue which often had nothing tuneful about it, there were even some sentences that were spoken with the last few words sung out. Why?

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

The Red Jeans Challenge........

I think I've said this before but just to remind you, one day a month a large group of us get together and have a craft day. Our venue is within a residential community supporting adults with learning disabilities and more severe problems.

The charity were donated hundreds of these brand new capri length hipster ladies jeans in various sizes but all bright red. They have tried selling to anyone and everyone they know,  in their local charity shop, in bulk on ebay and singly on ebay, only asking £1 a pair but the huge pile is going down very very slowly.

I mentioned some time ago that for such a small cost it was worth buying for the fabric as so many upcycle ideas for denim are possible. So now T(our beloved leader and devoted fundraiser for the charity) has decided to run a competition on the lines of The Great British Sewing Bee invention test to make items to donate back to the charity for them to sell. I've bought six pairs (one of each size) to play with (I did try a pair on but think they are too red for me).

First item I made was this bag (see how I managed to use up a few ties which are still hanging about too).

Next I tackled a wallet which turned out to be a lot trickier than I thought it would so plenty of sewing, unpicking and resewing. I'd seen a picture of something similar but no pattern or instructions. Those ties came in handy again as I used the inner stiffening to give the wallet structure. I'm sure when I make the next one it will be easier.

Also using the little jean zip I made a little coin purse 

An apron came next with ties for tying. 

Here's a pot for putting stuff in or plants etc. Inside two small plastic bottles so watering a plant isn't a problem, you could also use empty milk containers or cans so even less going out with the rubbish. 

Another little cross body bag

And a plastic lined bag to carry your water bottles

Small pouch for headphones or charger cables or whatever
For the Christmas rag-wreaths we are making for the charity to sell I've made three poinsettia flowers to tie on

And even small scraps and belt loops get used, bows with clips on the back so they can be broaches or hair ornaments

Just from the discarded seams a fabric statement necklace

Plus a bit of forward planning for Valentine's day 

It now turns out that the sewing bee challenge never actually got going with anyone else so my makes will be for sale on the handicraft stall at their Christmas Fair.......and I've still got three pairs of jeans I've not cut into yet.