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Sunday, 10 September 2017


with the woodfest at Hatfield Forest.  When I mentioned to DB that the woodfest was on last weekend he wanted to go as we both remember going years ago and really enjoying it.  There were all the traditional rural crafts such as pole lathe turning and bodgers. It was relaxing and low key. So we were quite shocked when we arrived about 10.30 which was half hour after it started, and found so many people milling about. As DB has a blue badge we were able to drive right up to the event but then were told no more disabled places. A very nice lady said she could squeeze my little car in and helped with unloading the disability scooter.

Then we looked for the rural crafts amongst all the stalls selling crafts.  The only demonstrators we saw was a lady knitting, 2 men turning wood on modern lathes and an axe hewer. The last one was enclosed in a cage in a dark corner so no photos there. I suppose it was health and safety!

This was one of the turners.

This was not a craft but a display to advertise the wildlife and particularly the badger group so that was very interesting. I took the phone number so perhaps next year I can go on a badger watch. I did do it once years ago with another group and it was amazing.

As I sit here writing this, Countryfile is on and they are highlighting an endangered species which is the heritage crafts people. I suppose that is why the woodfest was so disappointing.

I couldn't help noting the contrast between this event and one I went to 2 years ago in rural New York State. It was an applefest  full of demonstrators of old crafts and the axe hewer was out in the open. The other difference was the catering. At the applefest all the food was based on local products and recipes and very reasonably priced. At the woodfest we bought a cup of tea and a coffee which cost nearly £5. The food was not local and was expensive.  I usually take my own flask but we didn't this time as we wanted to support the event and it was part of our day out. Needless to say we left after an hour and ate at home. The live music looked good but did not start until the afternoon and DB was really set on the woodworking which was the main thing we went for.

Still it was a beautiful drive out on a sunny day and a pleasure to enjoy the countryside.

Sunday, 3 September 2017


A blogger mentioned her disappointment after a night in an Airbnb so I thought I would write about my experiences with them.

The first time was 2 years ago when I visited a friend in the US and we wanted to stay in New York. A colleague advised my friend to try Airbnb so we booked 3 nights in Park Slope, Brooklyn in a beautiful Brownstone House. We didn't see much of our hosts except on the first night but they were so hospitable and told us to help ourselves to anything including wine, bottles of water etc. My friend made use of the jacuzzi whilst enjoying a glass of wine. Our hosts also printed information and maps for us and told us the best places to eat. We think they stayed in the basement so we pretty much had the house to ourselves.

The 2nd experience was a farmhouse in rural upstate New York. We wanted to visit myfriend's son who was at college in Ithaca and also tour the Finger Lakes area.

Again we more or less had the place to ourselves apart from seeing the farmer briefly each evening then he kindly gave us a tour of the farm and told us the history of the place and then we were left to wander about on our own.  We had a big bedroom with our own bathroom and a dining room. This area we could lock so totally to ourselves. Then the kitchen/sitting room we shared but he must have been out very early as we didn't see him. It was wonderful sitting in that huge farmhouse kitchen watching the birds on the feeder.

Our 3rd Airbnb was in Amsterdam when my friend came over to the UK last year and we flew from Stansted for a 2 night break. We were on the 4th floor of an apartment so plenty of exercise as no lift! Our host was a very friendly young man who we saw very little of but the first evening he was very surprised to see 2 "old ladies" in an airbnb so patiently explained that it didn't include breakfast in spite of the name. We told him we knew that and didn't expect it. He then went out shopping and brought back bacon and eggs for our breakfast as he was so amazed by our intrepid spirit. We did laugh and felt quite ancient. The apartment had been cleaned by his sister as we arrived but he obviously didn't do any cooking as although everything was clean, food was out of date in the fridge but that didn't worry us as we didn't eat it.

This is the entrance to the apartment and above the view from the bedroom.

I had one more experience and that was last month when db wanted to have a week in Clacton so we could also visit his family.  I found a caravan on Airbnb on a holiday park. It was clean and well equipped and in a good position not far from a Holland on sea and the beach.  We didn't see our host but collected our key from the office but a lady came from the next caravan and introduced herself as the friend of the host and if we needed anything to ask her. It was good we had the place to ourselves but also knowing there was somebody nearby if necessary.

 So altogether very satisfied with our experiences.  I would definitely look at Airbnb first when planning a holiday.


I'm not a twitcher but I do love watching birds, just the everyday birds in my garden although I do get excited when I see something unusual.

This year I have had a large amount of young long-tailed tits on the feeders. They are so beautiful and acrobatic. I could have got photos as they seem quite fearless and feed nearby but I'm so busy watching them I forget to have the camera ready.

Goldfinches are plentiful too and lots of young ones too so must have nested nearby. Even the pigeons make me laugh as they waddle about.

This is the blackbird which cheekily came into my kitchen calling for sultanas and even brought his youngsters.

Not a brilliant picture as you can't see the full colouring of red head of this goldfinch.

I was amazed to see this parakeet in the garden about 3 years ago although I have seen many in London. This summer I heard them in the elderberry tree and then they were in a nearby garden and suddenly they flew low into my garden just in front of me being chased by a magpie.

Last week I went to visit a friend who lives 5 miles away in a village. I met her at her son's house as he lives on a farm and they get lots of wildlife. The main thing I wanted to see were the Red Kites as they are daily visitors there. Sadly they didn't turn up but we did sit and watch the buzzards floating on the thermals so effortlessly. We could hear their mewing and the incessant calling of a youngster. In spite of the lack of Kites, it was a beautiful day and so peaceful walking about the farm land. At least I have watched Kites on other occasions. We also heard and saw the green woodpecker.  We get those in the woods nearby and I love hearing their laugh - hence the country name of Yaffle.