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Sunday, 30 May 2021

Swans, weeds and litter

 What a beautiful weekend at last. Yesterday I met my friend for a walk and a spot of wombling. It is the start of the Great British Spring Clean but we do it anyway. Since the womble group has been set up in the town there is a great improvement so we only picked half a sack on our little walk then sat on a bench by the lock watching the boats. To our joy the swan family swam up into the lock. It is the first time I've seen them since the eggs hatched. Mum, dad and 8 little ones was such a happy sight.

Then we saw a coot with her two little ones. 

Today I was waiting for a friend to let me know she was home but it was too nice to stay in so I started to walk but got as far as the little park and was horrified at all the litter there so I came back for my litter picker and the half full rubbish bag and ended up clearing from my house all round the park, up the cycle track to the hospital then up to the top of the road to the bus garage. The bag was full but I couldn't have carried any more any way. I do usually pick up a few masks but I was amazed at how many were discarded outside the hospital. We are able to leave the bags next to bins then report the location on the council site and they pick them up the next day. 

As I walked through the park I was pleased to see the mass of cow parsley which appears every year. Only a weed but how beautiful. 

It seems such a shame that in view of such beauty people have to chuck all their rubbish down. I suppose the warm weather has brought them all out. 

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Tim Horton and charity shops

 A Tim Horton coffee shop has opened in the retail park. DDIL was very happy as she is Canadian and so are Tim Hortons. It is 7 years since she has been in one. So I had my first experience of a drive through and I treated us all to a breakfast meal deal with the famous TH coffee and a box of Timbits. I didn't know what they were either. They are the middle of doughnuts! Not my usual diet and I am not a fan of doughnuts. I was impressed with the children's meal as the toy was a packet of crayons and a poster to colour in with Canadian images such as polar bears. No plastic. Also most of the packaging of our meal was recyclable. The coffee was very good too. 

After splurging, its been more frugal with the delivery of a large cube storage unit for the bedroom from a charity shop. When I moved here 18 months ago, I had to leave all my fitted bedroom furniture behind and there was none here so DS who lived here before, left one old wardrobe as they didn't need it. I did get a really nice huge pine wardrobe from a charity shop but was still using the old wardrobe for storage. Then with lockdown all the charity shops closed. So once the new piece was delivered, I dismantled the old wardrobe, including sawing the two long sides in half to get into my little fiesta to take to the dump. I also took a bedside cabinet to the charity shop. Of course while I was there I had to have a little browse. I was looking for jeans and books for our upcoming week away. I found a pair of next jeans that fit so beautifully, 3 books and a game of rapidough. I already had that game bought from a boot sale but there were bits missing so this one is much better. The books look interesting too. I have read Back home before by the same author as goodnight mister Tom. It is a children's book but I find it very interesting about a family reuniting after the war. 

Here are the charity shop buys. £3 the lot.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Bluebell wood

 I suddenly realized I needed to see the bluebells before it was too late.  My friend and her dog met me there and we walked the footpath beside the flowers. On the other side were masses of celandines. We go every year and it always takes my breath away. I'm sure this year is the best ever but that might be the result of being shut in so much for a year.

We sat on a bench for a few hours catching up until we both decided we were cold and needed to warm up.

I think I will try and get there again later this week before they go. 

Monday, 19 April 2021


I have been saying for ages I would like to check my DNA at the company which has a huge data base of other people's DNA. The results came back a couple of weeks ago and the biggest surprise was that I am 81% Scottish. My dad is Scots and my half brother who has the same father as me is 49% Scottish which is what I expected to be. My mum was English but she never knew her father except his name and that he was American. Unless you are native American the ethnicity could be anything so it seems likely my grandfather had Scottish roots. The other possibility of the Scot's background could be my mum's maternal grandfather. After fathering 19 children including triplets and two sets of twins he died before my mum was born. All we know is his surname and the possibility he was called Alfred as the eldest boy and my uncle were named Alfred. 

The only close match which came up was my brother so no surprises there. The most exciting match although not close was a 2nd or 3rd cousin who only shares 2% DNA but has the same surname as my maternal grandfather. I have messaged him but no reply. I have looked on the free site but am thinking I will pay to see all the information. 

My dad was an only child and his mum died when he was 10 years old in 1916 and 2 months later his dad went off to fight in the 1st world war so he was passed around for a couple of years. His dad remarried a younger woman. I never knew them as my granddad died when I was about 3. We lived in Essex and he was in Glasgow. My half sister knew them and during the second world war she was sent to stay with them for safety and that night Glasgow got bombed. Thankfully they survived. The thing is my two sisters are in their 80's so I am getting what information I can now. 

I wish I had asked my parents and my nan for more information when I was younger but I don't think it occured to me.  I think I will need some help finding things on line so will wait until my friend is allowed to come round to help me before I pay to join. Although with the better weather coming and fewer restrictions I probably wont want to be stuck on the laptop for hours. Ah well I will have to consider it.

Monday, 5 April 2021


 I noticed that there is more litter than ever around since covid began. Mainly because so many people who don't usually walk the local footpaths are now doing so as they have nowhere else to go. Particularly it is annoying to see the face masks and plastic gloves everywhere as they are so dangerous to wildlife. Anyway 2 weeks ago my litter picker stick was delivered from Amazon and I started clearing up on my daily walks using old carrier bags and taking it home to put in the bin shed. One day a couple with a dog came along and after thanking me asked if I was a womble. I knew there are groups litter picking who call themselves wombles but didn't know there were any around my area. When I got home I did a search on Facebook and found the local group who are actually subdivided into even more local groups. 

I joined then read the announcements and found I could get official bin bags from one of the co-ordinators. Also I could register on-line as a volunteer with the local council which I did. Then I received my registration number so when I have filled a bag, I don't have to lug it home but can leave it by a bin then report it to the council website. If we find any large pieces of rubbish dumped like a trolley or a mattress that can also be reported as can overflowing bins. It is very satisfying to see the area is so much tidier. My friend is waiting for her litter picker then she is joining me. 

Most people are very pleasant and tell me well done and thank you but others seem embarassed and avoid eye contact. Some of us wonder if they think we are criminals doing community service as pay-back. As I am a grey haired old lady they might wonder what anti social behaviour I performed. Then again I think they wear hi-vis jackets advertising what they are doing and I would have thought they would be supervised. 

A sad picture was posted on the group site of a poor little hedgehog with his head wedged in a pringles carton. Sadly it did not survive. Hedgehogs are declining due to lots of problems without litter adding to it. I come home tired and satisfied. 

Monday, 22 March 2021

The library and sculpture town

The library has been closed for months but now we are allowed to reserve on-line and collect in person so as one of my books was available I decided my walk today would include collecting it. I took my camera and thought I would take a few photos of the town. We have many sculptures which can be seen on the sculpture trails. I just picked a few out in the town centre. 

 This boar is in the water gardens along with the Heron. I'm not sure if the Heron is also by Elisabeth Frink. It is not on the trail map. There are also lots of Koi carp in the water and another sculpture nearby.

Asda is at the end and all along side are places to eat. I don't ever use them but it's a pleasant place to sit. The other side has seats where I would rather have a picnic. 

This is the famous Henry Moore family group inside the civic centre where it was moved after vandals knocked off the baby's head! Below is Meat porters in the market place.

Sadly the once thriving market now consists of a few stalls and has been moved further into town. 

As I walked home I took a few more photos of the colourful bushes near the fire station. 

64 sculptures are named on the map and I think I have seen most of them. I will have to walk the trails and take more photos. It is amazing really to think of all these works of art dotted about the town and mainly left alone. It was mainly due to Lady Pat Gibberd the wife of Freddie master architect of the town. 

Friday, 19 March 2021

Not much happening.

 But Spring is coming in spite of the wet windy weather. I haven't had much to blog about although I always seem busy and the days speed past. I have only taken my phone with me on walks and have not been able to load into laptop so I had a go at writing a post on my phone but couldn't work out how to insert the photos so I gave up on that one and took my camera out with me today.

I was busy indoors and had to wait in for a parcel so I finally went out about 3pm. I needed to put a prescription request into the doctor's for DB so decided to walk rather than take the car. It probably takes about 20 minutes to walk straight along the main road but I chose to go through the park so about half an hour. It took a little longer walking back as I sat in the sensory garden, had some water and enjoyed being out in the sunshine. So here is our park in the spring. 

The Azaleas and rhododendrons are always beautiful and mainly looked after by an army of volunteers. 

There was a beautiful sunset too to finish off a lovely day. 

This was taken from my patio. Hope it means another nice day tomorrow after the wet windy stuff we have had all week.