Sunday, 28 July 2013

Come to Kinver

Greetings my lovelies - thanks for visiting my little corner of blogland once again.

We've had a little erm...  I think 'stay-cation' is the new fangled term for holidaying at home ... this week but we ventured out on Friday just a few miles out of Stourbridge to the little village of Kinver. Its a sweet little place. There literally just the High Street which houses a few shops, and then the road leads out of the village and up onto Kinver Edge, which was declared an area of outstanding natural beauty and has wonderful places to walk.  Kinver has a good deal of history to it - better described  HERE, which also includes details on the Rock Houses and has a wonderful little video showing the area in more detail. 

Rather than me blathering on - I'll just share some photographs with you if I may.....
Was a spoiled brat and was treated to something from this shop - will show you later!

"Kinver has, at various times in the past, been spelt on maps and documents as: Kinfare, Kynfare, Chenfare, Chenevare and Cynefare. It is thought likely that it is a corruption of Cefn Fawr - a Welsh phrase meaning Big Ridge, featuring, as it does, a big sandstone ridge" (Source Wikipedia)

There are some sweet little shops down this short Mews -
Including a little antique shop called Granny's Attic - I loved this sign which was hanging outside but I don't think it was for sale.

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As smoking areas go, this is as quirky as it should be!
As it was time for lunch, we retired to Dunsley Tea Rooms (remember my outing to Dunsley Hall a few weeks back? well this is their little offshoot village cafe).  The grown ups had lattes..........

and I had a raspberry milkshake because nothing else would do!

For lunch, Mum and LM had pulled pork burgers which they both declared delicious.  I had a lamb and mint burger and it was bloody 'orrible.  Blurgh!  I love lamb and mint anything and was really looking forward to this, thinking it would be a nice thick home made burger - but truth be told it was extremely disappointing.  It was overcooked and the edges were hard.  Pah!  LM finished it and reckoned it was okay, but I was sulking by then!  

I went 'sploring in the little garden.  

Ooh look - there be a dragon!
Little gargoyles and grotesques everywhere - 
This was what I looked like after that burger!

Ooh another one - he looks proper fed up doesn't he!

After redeeming themselves by serving me a rather wondrous piece of apple pie, we bid goodbye and wended our way along the High Street, admiring the huge and ubiquitious hanging baskets as we went along.  
I stopped at a little craft shop (because I'm a nosey sod and couldn't pass it without investigating!and purchased three metres of bias binding for the princely sum of £1.30.  Last of the big spenders me!

We then decided to pay a visit to a recently reopened hostelry around the corner which sits adjacent to a stretch of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, which in turn runs alongside a stretch of the River Stour. The Vine dates back to 1780 and is a very popular pub with locals and out of town visitors alike.  Its a great place to sit and watch the barges go by.  We partook of some nice cold shandies and sat close to the canal lock, watching the comings and goings of the bargees as they manoeuvred their way through.

LM and I took ourselves for a little saunter along the towpath where these beauties were moored....
This was a floating cafe! 

Rosie & Jim had already popped in for a cuppa!

A sweet little sitting area created and dedicated to a loved one.

Such a lovely thing to do and obviously a favourite spot for both of them.

Cool reflections in the water

We had a lovely, meandering day just a bus ride away from where we live.   Oh - and this is what I was treated to!  

A counterbalance means that he's articulated - I love him! 

See you soon! 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

It was a good Wednesday ...

Hello bloglies!

I'm on leave for the next three days and today has been one of those wonderful, relaxed days that come along once in a while and restore your equilibrium.

First of all, after an early rise, the man and I took ourselves off to a boot sale at the local Rugby Club.  After an overcast beginning to the morning, the sun burned through and good lawdy was it HOT!!  Phew!  There wasn't much to be had in the way of bargains though, really, despite the field being full with rows and rows of cars, but we did treat ourselves to two of these little impish faces who have now taken up residence as gatekeepers on either side of the archway....

And a new addition to our Green Man family.

From there we made our way into town where we had an early lunch in Subway using one of their meal deals to keep the costs down.

We had a look in the plethora of charity shops and I found a sweet little top and a dress for DD who needed cheering up as she has recently split from her boyfriend of two years.  It was a mutual decision, and probably more her decision than his, but of course as is usual in any long term relationship split, she's having a bit of an uppy downy time right now as she comes to terms with it all.  She was very pleased with them and its good to see her smiling.  I don't like it when my babes are blue.

Lovely Mammy had given us a couple of vouchers that she wasn't going to use.  First of all we had £5.00 to spend in the local Hospice charity shop which had been won in the Hospice's weekly lottery.  We chose to 'spend' the voucher in their book shop and came away with seven novels (six for him as he reads at a rate of knots - in bed, in the bath, on the loo.......... actually what IS it about men reading on the loo?  I've never understood it!!) and one for me.  I chose Sue Townsend's 'The woman who went to bed for a year" as I'd seen it a few times in Smiths but baulk at paying full cost for reading material when by waiting for a couple of weeks they'll turn up in the charries for about a quid each!  I wanted something lightweight as I am hopeless at finishing a book these days - this is particularly annoying because I used to read a couple of novels per week - now I'm lucky if I finish two every year!.  So, anyway, for the seven books we only paid £1.50  as they also had a three for two offer on!  Double bonus!

We then went to Costa and sat on the squashy sofas with a tropical cooler drink as it was mega-hot and we were both melting, and read our books for a while.  I loved doing this - very therapeutic indeed. Particularly as at a similar time yesterday I had been running around like a headless chicken and feeling more stressed than Mrs Stressed of Stressland.

Next on the agenda was some 'posh' shopping in Waitrose as Mum had also given us £10.00 in vouchers which she had tried to spend on several occasions in there but couldn't find anything she wanted!  We had no such difficulties, and scored a ready made Thai meal for him indoors, and some goats cheese, vegetable crisps and a garlic dip for moi!    (I had a massive and unbidden craving for goats cheese and caramelised onion tart for tea - we couldn't find one and so Man went on a mission to make one instead!  It was gorgeous but so rich I could only manage a little of it - a little of what you fancy tho eh?!).

Have you seen the ad on the tv for Heston's new salted caramel popcorn icecream? There's a big thing about it in the adverts at the moment and it sounded quite nice.  Well.  It's usually around £4.50ish for a tub but as it was on offer at half of that price today and 'free' to us with our voucher, we indulged.  I so wish we hadn't bothered.  What a bloody waste of time.  It just tastes like bland vanilla ice cream mixed with some flaccid popcorn bits and some shards of salted caramel.  I'm not impressed at all

I've mentioned before that there is a cut price greengrocer  in the High Street which sells some splendid plants very cheaply - this came home with us today  - isn't it fabulous?!  I love its madness and the explosion in a paint factory colours!  It smells gorgeous too.  The name on the tag says:  Floribunda "Crazy for You" and it has some vicious thornage but I shall forgive it nearly ripping my thumb open because it makes me smile!

In other garden news - remember the tomato and pepper plants I rescued from the supermarket a few weeks back?  Well it looks like they'll be rewarding me very shortly!

Today was a good day.   Hope yours was too xxxx

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Stormy Tuesday

At 7.30am this morning, during the height of a  very bangy, crashy, flashy storm - the workmen arrived to fit our new windows and front and back doors!  They did it too!  I was very impressed to come home this evening and see the front of house totally transformed!  The work has been needed for a long time.  None of the windows were double glazed and were so ill-fitting they rattled in any more that a light breeze, and one could actually see through the gaps around the doors. This proved to be a real problem in winter as no matter how high we had the heating and in spite of door curtains and door roly poly thingies, thick window curtains and draft excluder tape around the windows, the house was always like an icebox in winter. I shall be interested to find out how much difference having had the work done makes to our heating bills this year.

I'm also wondering how long it will take for the scaffolding to be taken down!

The terrific storm we had this morning has done little to cool the air.  It has remained sultry and  muggy all day - definitely headache weather.  There was lots of flooding on the roads on the way into work, thankfully most of it had dried away by lunchtime.

On a plus point I now have five days away from the dark and gloomy place.  We're planning a staycation, but hopefully if the weather stays calm, a visit to a car boot sale tomorrow and on for some lunch at a local pub, and later in the week a visit to Kinver for the afternoon.  They say the best laid plans though........ so I'm not holding my breath!

I really don't care - I shall be here with lovely man and (if he feels like communicating) Kevin the teenager!  Just the thought of not being ruled by the alarm in the morning makes me smile!

Tonight is the first night in about 7 that we have eaten indoors.  We had friends around for bbq supper on Saturday, then Mum on Sunday.  We do enjoy having people around and the new secret garden really is a joy to sit in and chat over a glass of something cool on these balmy midsummer evenings.  Its so peaceful and private - and when the light grows dim, the little £ shop solar lights flicker into life.  The pathway to the field has now been finished and all that remains is for more plants to be planted in the last bare section of border and a small area of unused border next to the shed to be transformed with a little mosaic artwork I have in mind.

How was your Tuesday?

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Simple Suppers,

Hello darlinks!

This week, I think we have eaten bbq food outside in the garden for 5 days out of 7!  Its something that we seemingly never get bored of and have had lots of different combinations of barbecued food so that keeps it interesting too. Its a delight being able to cook and eat outside and, as we usually eat off our laps due to not having a dining table as such, we have the added bonus of being able to sit around the table as a family.  Tis most civilised - until a fight breaks out over the last sausage that is.

Our favourite from the bbq this week have to be simple grilled corn on the cob - so sweet and absolutely delicious; also the home made pork skewers with peppers and chunks of onion have been high on the list too.

To accompany the meat and/or vegetables, we've been sharing huge bowls of mixed salad and for those needing a carb fix, either rice, baby potatoes or couscous.

I find the pre-prepared couscous very salty and tasting of chemicals, and so try to make my own when I can.  It makes a fairly cheap, very simple but filling dish.

Here's my 'how to' ...


Dried plain couscous - widely available in supermarkets or health food shops.
A stock cube or one of those little liquid stock pots - vegetable or chicken is best.
A handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn
Cucumber, onion and a couple of tomatoes
Handful of sultanas
Handful of pumpkin seeds/sunflower seeds
Fresh parsley, coriander and mint
2 Teaspoons garam masala or curry powder (or ras el hanout)
Seasoning to taste.

Dissolve the stock cube in some boiling water and stir, add to this the spice of your choice and give it a good mix together.

Place dry couscous in a bowl and then cover with the stock liquid making sure that you have around 1/2 inch of water above your grains.  Cover with a plate and set to one side.

Place the frozen peas, sweetcorn and sultanas into a bowl/jug/whatever and cover with boiling water  Leave to one side.

Finely chop the onion, de-seed and chop the tomato, and chop the cucumber into tiny cubes.

Check your couscous.  If the liquid has absorbed squeeze a couple of the grains between your fingernails to make sure they've softened.  Add a little more hot water if required and cover again.  If the grain is to your liking then fluff it up with a fork (not a spoon as this will pack the grains together).

Drain the peas/sweetcorn/sultanas and mix them through the couscous along with the onion, tomatoes, cucumber and seeds.

Finely chop your parsley, coriander and mint, and then stir this through the grains.  Taste and add seasoning if required. Sprinkle with a few more seeds and top with a frond of parsley if you're entertaining.

A few pomegranate seeds are a nice addition to this colourful dish if you like them.  I tend to make a big bowl full and then we can take any leftovers to work for lunch the next day.

The hot weather is certainly very quickly ripening the crops in the field this year.  

Come with me and I'll show you ............

Path under construction - mind your step!

Through the back gate

And on to the rather golden looking field!

Leia will be partaking of some of these when they're fully ripened

She can't wait!

Tree Beard will just settle for a plate of that couscous!

See you soon!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Large Melons and Small Jubblies


S'Ot innit?!

Time to get the melons and jubblies out I reckon!

Ooh MAY-tron!!
Ooh You lot ARE awful.  

But I laike you!

Tee hee.
 In this heat I could quite happily live off watermelon.  I love it!  Trouble is I always get into such a mess, take half my make-up off and have juice running down both arms in the process!
Watermelon Smile!

Did you ever have jubblies when you were little? They were triangular shaped flavoured ice lollies which you ate out of the packaging.  I remember going to our little local shop for them in the long hot summer holidays of the 70s.   I think they were around 5p each at the time.  Sheila the shop lady would have to go out back into her living room and delve deep into the chest freezer to retrieve them.  They were always orange flavour! Never any deviation into such exotic flavours as cola or lemon and lime in her shop thank you very much!

Now I don't know about you, but back in the day they seemed to be HUGE!  They lasted for ages and you needed two hands to hold them.  (stop it!).  You could never open the top properly  so when you tipped it up to get the melted juice out it always ended up running down your face and into your ears. Sometimes you squeezed a little bit too hard and the pyramid of ice jettisoned skywards and then landed on the tarmac to melt into a sticky pool, leaving one feeling completely bereft.  I thought they'd stopped making them years ago but I found boxes of them in the  supermarket. I rushed home (oh yes I did!) to freeze them into submission and relive my childhood.

Disappointingly, they appear to have shrunk!  They're teeny!  One was most disappointed.  One can now hold them between thumb and fore finger.  See below for size comparison.

Teeny Tiny Jubbly.  
PAH!! to small jubblies, for they have gone the same way as Wagon Wheels.  You could dine all week off a Wagon Wheel at one time, now they're shadows of their former selves. 

So have they really downsized, people, or is their diminutive size simply relative to the size of our now grown up hands?  Discuss.

See you soon! 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Afternoon Tea

Hello lovely people, and a very warm welcome to my new followers, Louise and Mumasu **waves a delicate lacy hanky in your general direction**

One was ver' posh on Saturday afternoon.  A group of us visited Dunsley Hall near Kinver to partake in afternoon tea don't you know.

It was a stunning afternoon, with clear, brilliant blue skies and temperatures approaching 80 degrees.   We decided, therefore,  to eat inside for fear of the clotted cream melting on our scones and running down our arms.  Cos that wouldn't be ver' posh at all really now  would it?

We had a lovely time, ate lots, laughed lots and then partook of a long cool drink on the terrace in the sunshine.

The tea itself comprised an assortment of sandwiches, scones, jam and cream, fruit tartlets, and a small selection of cakes accompanied by endless tea and coffee.  At £15.00 per head, it was a little extravagant, and yes you could have done it at home for a couple of quid per head - but by way of justification it was nice treat for one of our number's birthdays and so no-one minded too much.

A selection of photographs follows -

Yummy scones, jam, cream and lots of cups of (in my case) coffee!

Sarnies and fruit tarts - they looked like little faces with two blueberry eyes and strawberry mouths!

At the far end of the table were a selection of chocolate brownies and frangipan sponge squares 

I adore sea holly but have never been very successful in growing my own!

I had to send my daughter on a photography mission as the steep steps down to the terraced area/lack of hand rail/dodgy knee/crooked back combo was an accident waiting to happen - she didn't do too badly though! 

I loved this little fella!

Can you see that little white gazebo tucked up in the corner?  That's where we were sitting!

It was Pimms o'clock!

The house itself is quite historic - check out their website at HERE to have a nosey around their lovely bedrooms and rooms.

Ooh! I nearly forgot - they have alpacas too - four of them which were lying on the patio outside the ladies loos in the sun!
They'd all been shorn in time for the hot weather. 

  This one's name is Gary, though - not Shorn. Cough.  

See you soon!!


Working from home

I've taken a precious day of annual leave today.  I've really struggled this week with feeling so yuk and I needed the restorative ...