Saturday 13 April 2024

Saturday evening, 13-04-24

Evening, all.  Hasn't it been a beautiful day?  It has here, for sure.  Wall to wall sunshine and warm enough to eat lunch in the garden.

I seem to have got a lot done for an 'easy' day.  That's often the way, isn't it?
After putting some washing on, I decided that I would make some granola for next week's breakfast after remembering that the nicest breakfasts I had on the cruise was yogurt, fresh fruit and granola.  I didn't have everything needed (it is not safe to keep nuts in the house - they don't last very long) so I walked along the road to Morrisons.  The trees were in blossom, the birds were singing their little hearts out and it was beautiful.

So I made granola, had breakfast (not granola but I did nibble the nuts, oops), hung out the first load of washing, put in another and it was so nice and warm, I got out the gardening things and pretty much did everything that needed doing.  It's lovely to see everything coming up and looking good, especially things that got disturbed during all the building work last year.

I took some photos:

Strawberries in waiting!  And a ladybird, basking in the sunshine.

Not a great photos - but I moved the blueberry into a pot (it was just in a black poly thing after the pot it was in had rotted) and was so pleased to see a number of flowers.  I think I need to get another one though; they don't self pollinate.

Now I have a water butt, I can water it properly.

The geranium wasn't great last year and it did get rather disturbed during the rebuilding of the wall so it's nice to see strong growth.
Out the front, one of the tubs looking really pretty.
The lily of the valley was a work in progress for so many years.  Mum gave me some roots a very long time ago and they stayed in a pot for ages before I split then and put some round the front.  Last year they showed signs of being a bit happier and this year they have spread and are going to look lovely.  There will be enough to pick a few to scent the living room.  One of Mum's favourite flowers and scents and one of mine too.
The English bluebells were also a work in progress for ages but seem happy now.  I split them and that worked.
And finally - by the front door and looking very attractive.

I weeded, cleared around paving slabs, moved pots around, swept up stuff, did more weeding round the front, emptied some old stuff into the brown bin and mowed the 'lawn' - for want of another polite term.

And then I went over to Beth's for coffee and a good chat, came home, did all the ironing and - phew.  All very satisfying but I'm glad I had planned an easy dinner.

Tomorrow is also a busy day, busy enough for me to want to make a Little List to ensure I get everything done.  I can have a good chill when everything's completed, can't I?

Have you had great weather your way too?  

Time to log off so I will wish you a very good night with sweet dreams and a good lie in tomorrow.  Take care.  xx

Friday 12 April 2024

Friday evening, 12-04-24

Evening all (Remember Dixon of Dock Green, anyone?).  How has your Friday gone?  The weekend has pretty much started now and I know Beth will be glad - she's getting used to a new role at work and is getting really weary.

The weather has been really nice today.  Maybe not quite warm enough for real comfort but it's been bright and cheering.  No complaints.

These are three of the Poole Pottery ornaments I inherited.  The smallest one I gave to Mum a long time ago so it was nice to give him a bit of space.

The day started, as does almost every Friday, with Slimming World group.  It was a bit quiet today - a number of the ladies with school age children didn't come.  Schools restart for the summer term on Monday so I guess we'll see them back again.  It was a good meeting though, lots of laughs and jokes.

Oddly, I felt super tired and, when I sat down after breakfast to finish my coffee, I nodded off.  Must've needed it.  So I had a gentle day and did just a bit of this and that, nothing particularly exciting or interesting really.
The table is looking more laden now with things like tea towels, salt, jars I want to take, loo rolls . . . you know the sort of thing.  I could get all that from the Parc Market but . . .
it costs a lot more than Morrisons and
I don't want to buy, for example, a whole bag of salt for just four days!
It's not too much of a hassle, I just get things onto the table as I think of them.

I think tomorrow is going to be quite like today - a bits and bobs sort of day.  Sunday will be busy!
I hope your day has been great - good night, all.  xx

Thursday 11 April 2024

Thursday evening, 12-04-24

Hello, everyone!  
After a really dull start, the clouds rolled away, the sun shone and it has really been quite a pleasant day.  
I caught the half past nine bus into town and had a nice time wandering around sundry shops.  The Range had the not-feather duster I was looking for; I wanted something that would safely dust some of my more fragile things such as my little cottages and what I found was perfect.
I also found a mini whisk (been looking for one of them for a while) and two small, glass bowls, not pyrex but OK for microwave and dishwasher and cheap!!
I also got what I needed in Lakeland and was sorely tempted by some air fryer recipe books but I resisted 😇😇

After lunch, I did a bit of garden work and then set myself to dealing with a couple of glass fronted cupboards.  They don't get very dusty because of the doors but goodness knows when they were last cleaned out.  It was rather emotional because when I came home from sorting Mum and Dad's stuff, I brought quite a lot of stuff with me - Poole Pottery ornaments, David WInter cottages - that sort of thing - and I just shoved it all in cupboards.
I gave it all a good clear out, got rid of some stuff that was damaged and put back what I was keeping much more neatly and better organised.

I also tackled some of the kitchen gadgets that I haven't used for ages.  A few things were old and battered so the ended up in the bin but others went into the garden room storage and I have made a note in my diary at the beginning of November to hand on anything I haven't used from now until then.  I'm so bad at decluttering but at least half way is better than no way at all.

The end result is that those particular cupboards are much neater, tidier and the bits that show look much more attractive (and dust free).

I've also started getting stuff ready for Monday.  The table will look cluttered but there's method in my mess, honest!

Tomorrow starts with Slimming World followed by more garden, more cupboard sorting and more getting ready for Monday.  Probably quite busy but pleasantly busy!  How do you get ready for a holiday?

Good night, everyone, sleep well and pleasant dreams.  xx

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Wednesday evening, 10-04-24

Evening, everyone.
It's been another mixed day today as far as the weather is concerned.  We've had a slight frost, sunshine, some wind, some rain, it felt really cold, then it warmed up.  Very mixed.

Plans changed a bit.
I heard from Sharon who had to cancel - her husband is quite poorly at present and she was needed elsewhere.  I totally understood and I know she will reschedule as soon as she is able.

However, I got those drawers sorted out, did some cooking, some housework, sorted some things out for my holiday, did a bit of gardening but not much because it came over cloudy and started raining slightly.  I'd just washed my hair and didn't want to get it wet again so that was that!
I did knitting, reading and generally chilled.
A very quiet day.  It does feel odd without Lindsey's exercise classes.

Tomorrow is usually a pretty busy morning what with SET and then Chris.  Not tomorrow though so I thought I'd get the bus into town.  I need to go to Lakeland for some poly bags and I also want to look for some things in The Range.  And the market is usually worth a look round too.
Then, in the afternoon, weather permitting, guess what - yup, more gardening.  It's getting done, slowly and steadily.

How has your day been, busy or laid back.  Hoping it was good, whichever it was.
Sleep well, everyone.  xx

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Tuesday evening, 09-04-24

Evening, everyone!
Well, what a different from yesterday.  Yesterday was sunny, still and warm; today has been rainy, windy and chilly with a bit of sunshine now and again.

I decided that I would take a drive over to Lathcoats.  They have frozen fruit and veg that you can scoop into bags and I really like their fruit and also the broad beans so over I went and had an enjoyable twenty minutes or so, looking round and scooping!  Now I am well stocked up with frozen fruit again.  And eggs - I was right out of eggs and that would never do!!

Once home and after breakfast, I warmed myself up by doing the upstairs housework and after lunch I did some more gardening.  Not an awful lot as it was very blustery by then so not all that pleasant, but I did some.  Better than nothing!

And I have turned the heating up to 20 for the evening.  See how quickly my resolutions can crumble when feeling cold!  😈

I've just checked the diary and it tells me that the lovely Sharon is coming round to do my hair.  I'd forgotten about that but three cheers - it really does need a bit of a tidy up.
Apart from that, I guess I need to tackle that cupboard I didn't do today and, weather permitting, some more gardening.  It is all starting to look a bit nicer now which is added motivation.

Has your day been good?  I do hope so.  Good night, sweet dreams and all the best for a good day tomorrow.  xx

Monday 8 April 2024

Monday evening, 08-04-24

Hi, everyone!   Monday evening and it's been quite a busy day for me.

I've 'done' downstairs' fairly thoroughly.
Chris came around and we had a great old yatter together.
I've done three loads of washing, it all dried outside on the line (last load was a bit damp but will air) and even done all the ironing.
And I did my stint in the back garden too.  The middle bed is looking so much tidier now.  If I can do the same time every day this week, it will make such a difference.

We've had lovely weather round here.  It's really warming up now, enough for the ants to make their presence felt so I've zapped them (sorry, but - ants.  Urgh) and there were a few flies buzzing around so I've dug out my plug in fly zapper in the kitchen.  It just looks like a big plug really but it kept the flies down very well last summer.
The war isn't over but I've won the first skirmish!

There's absolutely nothing whatsoever in the diary for tomorrow so I'll get upstairs done out and there's a kitchen cupboard I really want to sort out and declutter.  And, of course, there's the garden too, weather permitting.

Right now, I feel very satisfied with how everything's gone.  I'm having an online chat with friends later on so I'll get this send a bit earlier and get the other blog sorted as well.
Have a restful evening, a good night and a lovely day tomorrow.  xx

Sunday 7 April 2024

Sunday evening, 07-04-24

Evening, everyone.  The weekend is over now, pretty much, and I hope it was a good one for you.

My third 'word' for 2024 was Enjoyment. I don't think I need to elaborate on this very much, do I? I said 
then that I wanted . . .
to look for the many good things in my life, to live in the present and - well - to enjoy it!
. . . and I think I'm doing that without having to work too hard at it.

In the next couple of months I have two short holidays, lunches out with friends, all my exercise classes, my birthday, Alex's birthday (and being taken out for a joint meal celebration, probably) as well as all those small but very important pleasures that build into a big old happy life, despite the inevitable blips that everyone experiences occasionally.
This goal is going fine too.

It's been a blowy weekend round here.  Never anything too bad but it kept the bushes moving, and it was nice to have a bit of relief from rainy weather too.  I think I've already said that, because there's no fitness classes this coming week, I'd like to spend a good old time out in the garden to get it into better order.  It's not bad, just not good either.  That's my big plan for the coming week.  The other is to get things ready for Center Parcs although I pretty much know what I'm going to take with me really.

Today has been another gentle day.  I did just a little bit of weeding, not as much as I should have but that's OK.  I sorted out the kitchen a bit and generally just chilled.  It has been quite nice and sunny but pretty windy so it didn't feel as warm as it was, if that makes sense.  

Tomorrow, Chris is coming over for coffee.  She can't do this Thursday, I can't do the following Thursday and we're having lunch out the following Thursday so we decided to slot a chat in tomorrow morning.  There's no exercise/fitness classes this week as Lindsey is away so it works out fine.

How has your Sunday been?  I think we've been quite lucky with the weather here today, the whole weekend, in fact.  I hope you've had a lovely day anyway.
Wishing you a good night's sleep with pleasant dreams.  xx

Saturday 6 April 2024

Saturday evening, 06-04-24

Hello, everyone.   

On the coach into London yesterday, I was sat next to a lady around my age, maybe a little older, called Pamela.  She was very pleasant and the more we talked, the more we realised that we had a number of mutual friends.   My friend, Val, for a start, and an ex colleague who also happened to be on the same trip.  And her grandchildren went to my' school although after my time.

We spent the morning at the Battersea Power Station.  

By the time we got there just before ten, the rain had stopped and she sun was shining.My ticket for lift 109 was at 10:50 so I had a good wander around beforehand.  

Here's the Wiki page for the station.  Worth a read; it has an interesting history.

As well as the lift experience and the shops, there are apartments and, I believe, a hotel.  With all the surrounding developments, it's a pretty posh place to live - must cost an absolute fortune!
I'd have loved to stroll around the area a bit but there was no time.
There were three levels of shops (I think it was three) and the basic 'shell' of the power station had been retained so it was all very massive in feel.

The shops were pretty posh.  Clothes, jewellery, all sorts of 'nick-nack stuff, not a Poundland or Primark in sight.  It was fun to look in the windows but there were very few shoppers and I wasn't tempted in the least bit.

There were several info-boards scattered around which were interesting and some 'experience' rooms that needed booking and paying for so I didn't.

There were various games, climby things and activity rooms for children, some of which looked really good.

They kept a lot of the original structure showing, unadorned.  It was all very industrial and sort of steampunk-ish.

When it was time for the lift experience, we had to go through security before waiting in an area for the previous group to come back down. 

There were more info boards and displays to look at and read while we were waiting and even a little bar in one corner.

Of course, there were 'photo opportunities' - in other words, have one taken and pay for it.  I didn't!

Then we went into a room for a sort of sound and light experience with music - an 'interactive multimedia experience.  It was really impressive but quite short.
This was taken while we were going up to the top.  it was all very smooth and slick and exciting as the light at the top got bigger and brighter.

And then we were there.  The lift was the top as well, we didn't have to step out onto any kind of 'balcony' and it all felt very safe and secure.  
The next photos were taken through the glass sides so apologies for shadows, reflections and marks.

Spot the famous landmarks.

And just look at the roof gardens in this one.  Trees, swimming pools, gardens . . . it looked absolutely fantastic!

Then we set off for the Royal Albert Hall.

Our guide, Maria.  She was very, very good and extremely proud of the place.  The hour passed in a flash.  Again, here's a link to some history.
It's a very lavish and luxurious place, absolutely huge, and it's been home to many different events - ice skating, water garden for opera (they flooded the centre of the hall), tennis competitions, a marathon (they just went round and round) and concerts of all sorts including the world famous Promenade Concerts.  

Yesterday, it was set up for a blues/jazz/rock thing.

We saw the Royal Box and went into the room where royalty goes in the intervals for drinks and a chance to relax.  Not as posh as you might think but we weren't allowed to sit in the chairs.    Shame!
One of the original gas lights, now electric, of course.

I had to take a photo of the Albert Memorial, didn't I.

There was one hiccup.  The day before, the Hall contacted Ray and Jan to say they could no longer provide us with an afternoon tea.  Very short notice and we were not impressed.

After phoning around, they found a place that they have used before, Kennedy's, who were happy to accommodate a group of 52 for fish and chips with one day's notice.

It was lovely.  Such friendly staff, not at all fazed by so many people descending on them and filling the place, the food was fresh cooked and delicious, not huge portions so absolutely prefect.  They were licenced so some of the group shared bottles (we didn't!!).
They gave us fish and chips or chicken and chips, cheesecake or apple pie and a very nice mug of coffee or tea.  I reckon it was better, much better, than an afternoon tea.

And then we set off home and were back at the community centre just after six o'clock.  
I was shattered and I've been sleepy today too.   Not too sleepy to enjoy a walk with some Slimming World friends this morning, mind you.

Tomorrow is a quiet day with nothing in the diary.  I'll probably go out for a walk, weather permitting, and I want to devote time each day in the coming week to sorting out the garden so the weather had better play ball.

Oh, and the mystery of the gas credit has been solved.  As I knew, I was in no way that much in credit.  It is all as it should be, I have a smaller buffer of credit than in January but the heavy use time is over now so that should build up again over the summer.
I am relieved, to be honest.  I'd have really worried if I'd been that much in credit - worried about why!

Yesterday was lovely and now I have about nine days before the next jolly, to Center Parcs.  I'm looking forward to that very much indeed.
Good night, everyone.  Have a great evening and sleepwell.  xx

Saturday morning - quick post

Morning.  Just like the olden days, this!

When I got home yesterday, I was just too weary to put anything together to post, let alone do anything with the photos.
I'll work on getting some of the photos into a post for this evening.

Lovely day - it started like this . . .

But by the time we got to London, it was like this . . .

More later.  Have a great day.  xx

Thursday 4 April 2024

Thursday evening, 04-04-24

Evening, everyone.  

 I set my three goals/aims/words for the year/whatever you want to call them but, please, not targets - I had enough of targets when teaching to last me several centuries - with the aim of lightly revisiting them from time to time and, as we are a quarter of the way through 2024, here I am - revisiting them.  Lightly!

The second word was Energy.  Quite broad based but it seemed like a good idea at the time!
Have I been energetic?  Yes, I think I probably have.

I've tried to keep my mind active with Sudoku and other thinking quizzes, I've knitted and crocheted (which is supposed to be very good for the brain), I've kept up my exercise classes and I've been involved in Beat the Street; I do think my physical energy levels are pretty reasonable for a person of my age who had never been an energetic adult until after retirement.  I have two breaks this month, both will be activity based to a certain degree and I'm really looking forward to them both, genuinely anticipating them with pleasure.  A big mental shift in my 'old age'!

And I think I'm better at accepting when resting would be a good idea without feeling I have let myself down, recognising when/if an ache or mental listlessness needs rest or working through.  

So I think I am happy with how this one is going.

Today  I enjoyed online SET (ankle behaved itself), had a great chat with Chris and managed to dry a load of washing outside between downpours.  Happy day!!

I'm excited for tomorrow as it's into London to the Battersea Power Station (including the Chimney Lift) in the morning and the Royal Albert Hall behind the scenes tour and afternoon tea in the afternoon.  It's all inside, pretty much, so the weather can do its worst.  I've looked up what to do in the morning - there are shops (yay), the lift, exhibitions and we don't have all that long really.  
So it's an early night for me, remember to set the alarm and fingers crossed for a good night's sleep. 

Night, everyone, sleep well and pleasant dreams.  xx

Wednesday 3 April 2024

Wednesday evening, 03-04-24

Good evening, everyone.  How has your day gone?  It's been another damp old day today, on and off, although with short spells of glorious sunshine, more inside drying and nothing done in the garden.

I was thinking back to the beginning of the year because, ridiculous as it sounds, we are now a quarter of the way through 2024 -  how?????

Anyway, time for a bit of a review, I thought, having seen several other bloggers/vloggers doing a mini review of their aims for the year.  It's not such a bad idea, thought I, it makes me sound and feel more organised and on top of things than I really am.

I had three areas  that I wanted to focus on a bit more.  They were Economy, Energy and Enjoyment (definitely with capital letters!).

So I started thinking about the first one, economy.
To be honest, that's not going too badly.  I wanted to keep a very close eye on where the money was going, I wanted to be less mindlessly spendy and, as a consequence, build up my shorter term savings which took a fair old battering last year, one way and another.

I'm now in the habit of checking my bank account almost every morning, to see what's been taken out and getting it recorded on my spreadsheet.  I'm finding that very useful and it is comforting to know that if my financial adviser (that sounds posher than it really is) ever wants a more up-to-date view, I have it at the click of a mouse, unlike the first time which was highly embarrassing because I had not a clue.

As a result of a general aim to be less spendy, I've been able to move across amounts from current account to savings account at the end of every month except for March when I was able to cover my car insurance without taking anything out of savings.  
That's the sort of thing my short term savings are for.  Some people call them sinking funds and have specific labels for various funds.  I just bung it all in together and take it out when necessary, if the usual monthly income doesn't quite cover it or if there's something more unexpected - which there usually is at some point.

I've been tempted to spend on 'stuff' - but it's been OK.  I'm not ever going to be a super-frugal person.  I enjoy being able to buy nice food, eat out with friends now and again, going on coach trips, etc.  I'm trying to aim for making the best of what I have to give me a happy, generous and productive life, however much there is left of it, and to have something to leave my family.

Enough for now - I'll waffle about the other areas tomorrow.

It's been a productive day today.  It started when I realised I was out of bread in the freezer so I made a couple of loaves which I have now sliced and frozen.
I did some of the housework I should have done yesterday but didn't. I did some washing, drying and ironing.  And I had personal training with Lindsey.  All in all, a satisfying day.

As for tomorrow, it starts with SET online and then that's it for a couple of weeks.  Then I'm off to Chris' for coffee and chat and then I must get ready for Friday's jolly to London as well as finishing off the housework.

Next week, Lindsey is away and the week after that I am away. 
I think I need to make the best of the extra time I will have next week by blocking in some garden time.  I really do need to spend more than the odd half an hour here and there to get it summer-ready and next week is an ideal time - providing the weather plays ball.

Right, better stop waffling.  I hope your day has been lovely and that you enjoy a great night's sleep. Sweet dreams.  xx

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Tuesday evening, 02-04-24

Good evening, everyone.  

The weather has been so variable today.  It rained early morning but by the time Chris and I set off for Groove it had stopped and looked hopeful.  We got that very wrong though.  The heavens opened and we arrived at the hall feeling and, probably, looking a bit like drowned rats.
Then the sun came out so we had a dry walk home, apart from feeling very damp.
And that set the pattern for the rest of the day really.  We had some lovely sunshine and we had some heavy rain and - well, I never got round to hanging out my washing.

Never mind.

I chilled in the afternoon which was very lazy of me but my ankle was giving me a bit of trouble after the walks and class so it was sensible to rest it really (trying to convince myself here!!).  It's fine, just a bit vulnerable.

Tomorrow is Gas Bill Day.  It's also Premium Bond day.  Well - I can wish, can't I?  :-)
Rather more realistically, I have washing, drying, ironing, plenty of housework and a personal training class so that's enough to keep me busy and active, isn't it?  Just normal, everyday life.  The next coach trip is Friday so I need to get things done tomorrow and Thursday.

OK, time to stop and send.  Have you had a good day and was the weather better for you than it was here?
Goodnight, everyone, and sleep well.  xx

Monday 1 April 2024

Monday evening, 01-04-24

Good evening, everyone.  Have you had a lovely first day of April?  It's been a right mix of weather here - sunny, windy, a bit of rain, sun again . . . and I've been thinking it is Sunday all day.  Weird.

There's not much to say about today.  I stayed at home and I have just chilled.  I've done a lot of knitting, I got a load in the washing machine and washed but no further so I will freshen it up tomorrow and hang it out, hopefully.
And the gas bill still says I am in credit.  More weird.

Tomorrow is back to normal.  It starts with a walk down to Groove with Chris and then back again, tapping boxes for the last time as Beat the Street finishes this week.  I have housework, washing - all that usual stuff.  Nothing unusual and nothing too difficult or strenuous (apart from Groove and that's different).

Later on, I have an online chat with some friends which should be a lot of fun and keep me awake until bedtime.  I'll say 'Goodnight' to you all now and get this sent.    I do hope you have enjoyed your Bank Holiday and have another pleasant day planned tomorrow.
Sleep well.  xx

Sunday 31 March 2024

Sunday evening, 31-03-24

Five years ago, early on Sunday morning, also Mothering Sunday, my dear Mum passed away in hospital after a stroke.  She was 92.  Today I have been remembering her with the greatest affection.

RIP, Mum.  I miss you greatly.

Good evening, everyone.  Just a very quick post as I've just posted the one about Norwich which is pretty long.
It's been a nice day.  Beth and Alex came over and we had lunch together and a really nice chat through the afternoon.  Just a quiet family time.
The sinuses are still twinging a bit, not bad enough for tablets but I think I will dose up before going to bed, just in case.  I can get some decongestant tomorrow if it's really necessary.

As for tomorrow, I have absolutely no plans whatsoever.  No fitness sessions, nothing.  I'll probably do some washing and some housework and then chill.  If it is nice and sunny, a walk might be good.  I haven't checked what the forecast is and, to be honest, it really doesn't matter anyway.
What are your plans for Bank Holiday Monday?

Sleep tight, everyone.  xx

Visit to Norwich, 30-03-24: very long post alert!

On Saturday, March 30th I went on a Broomfield Coach Trips jolly to Norwich.  Alex was at UEA, Norwich and, had lockdown not been a thing, I'd probably have spent more than a few weekends there but, as it was, I'd never been so it was all new to me.

It didn't start that well.  Over Friday evening it seemed as if I was getting some dental pain (brilliant for a long weekend/bank holiday) and I slept very badly overnight, despite taking the meds.  In the end, I bit the bullet (metaphorically) and took some co-codamol which helped a bit.
By the morning, it was obviously not dental but my sinuses playing up as they occasionally do and it was all just bad timing.  So that did cast a bit of a shadow on the whole day but it was manageable and I kept taking the tablets.
And by this morning (Sunday), after dealing with a threatened associated migraine, it's all fine again. although I'm continuing to apply hot flannels now and again.

Anyway, enough whinging.  
The coach turned up, we all piled on, I sat with Helen, the friend I made when we went to the Cursed Child shows, and off we set.  I managed to sleep quite a bit on the way which was brilliant.
At the other end, we all piled off again outside the theatre and there was a really nice lady with leaflets, maps and information for anyone who asked.  She oriented me with the map and off we all set in our various directions.

I'll post some photos, some with comments and some just photos when it is obvious.

First, we headed to the Forum.  This is a public building, open to all, an inside space that can be hired, and containing the big library, a coffee shop, tourist centre and some very decent loos - which is what we were heading for!

There was a small art display in the centre of the space but through the year there are all sorts of things going on.  For example, next week there's a Spring Craft Fair there.

It's a lovely space.

Helen met up with her friend and I set off to explore.

My idea was to go through the market and head up to the castle and on to the Anglican Cathedral (there are two cathedrals in Norwich).  At around ten, the market had hardly started so it was a bit of a dead space, sadly, but you could see it would be interesting when all the little covered stalls were open.  There were some stalls I was interested in - herbs and spices, a cheese stall, yarn, fabric, that sort of thing and there were also an awful lot of fast/street food stalls too.  If I'd lived locally, I'd have spent at the fruit and veg and the meat and cheese stalls but, as it was, I just looked!

I found it a bit difficult to get my bearings.  As you go up the map you go down hill which confused me at the start and, also, some streets were not obviously named and the map was a very basic one, but people were happy to help and point me in the right direction.

The morning was rather dull so the photos aren't brilliant but you'll get the idea,

This is the castle - shame about the crane!
Norwich is a very old city - the Cathedral and Castle are both Norman - but there was a startling mix of old and modern in places

Can't avoid the crane!

Parts of the Castle are closed for refurbishment at present thanks to a National Lottery Heritage Find project .  It's due to open again in August this year so, seeing as there's the castle, a museum and an art gallery, I decided that I would defer a visit until another time.

Here's the Wiki entry for the castle and its history, if you're interested.

So I walked further on to the Cathedral (getting a bit - er, let's call it 'confused - on the way and being put right by a lovely, friendly lady) and spent most of the time I had there.  There's a lot to see.

The entrance is through a new-ish build, a really nice reception space with some very helpful people there to welcome, explain and direct.  From there you can enter the cathedral, the cloisters and the refectory.

Every hour, on the hour, they run guided tours of the cathedral (free) so I attached myself to one.  It was really very good indeed, very informative and interesting.
There were some lovely wall paintings around the cloisters

I think church organs look as majestic as they sound.  It's not my favourite instrument by a long shot but there's no doubt they are perfect for big church buildings.
Budge, the Cathedral Cat.  He's waiting at the door when it opens each day and prowls around surveying his domain.
Our guide said she has an 'ambivalent' relationship with Budge.  As soon as anyone it the group spots him, everyone stops listening to her - and that's exactly what happened.  
He looked very at home in the pulpit, that's for sure.

The misericords, literally 'act of mercy'.
These fold down to make seating but, in the Middle Ages, monks were expected to stand during service times and, as these could be very long and wearisome, these were shaped to give the monkly bottoms something to rest against.
Aaaaw, bless!
A modern sculpture of Mary.  I just thought it was lovely.
The pelican lectern has an interesting history.  

It is a14th century Flemish bronze lectern and escaped the fate of many religious artefacts during the Reformation (when many items were destroyed) by being buried in the Bishop’s garden. It was uncovered many years later when they were digging some foundations, I believe!

I'm so glad it escaped.
The copper baptismal font, standing on a moveable base in the nave, was fashioned from bowls previously used for making chocolate in the Norwich Rowntree's factory, and was given to the cathedral after the factory closed in 1994.
Osbert Parsley's memorial (he's not buried here).
He must have been quite something, both as a human and as a musician, to survive so many religious changes of direction at a very volatile time.
A bit about him.

I dearly love English Renaissance music, I think it can be hauntingly lovely.
There's some performances of his music on YouTube.

Coincidentally, Lindsey and husband are staying at the Maids Head Hotel this weekend to celebrate their wedding anniversary.  It's just outside the Cathedral grounds.
Also just outside is a memorial to Edith Cavell, a nurse who worked in German occupied Belgium during WWI, nursing soldiers from both sides.
She was quite a character by all accounts and her pioneering work led her to be considered the founder of modern nursing education in that country.

She also helped British soldiers, trapped behind German lines and often wounded, to safety.  She was arrested, tried at Court Martial, sentenced to execution and was shot at dawn on October 7th, 1915, alongside others who had been engaged in the same work.
Her execution was legal but cause outrage in the UK - well, it would really.  After the war, her body was returned to the UK and is buried just outside the cathedral building.

Her words are well knows but always bear repeating, especially that last bit - many would do well to take them on board, I think.

I spend ages in the Cathedral.  There was so much to see and so much to think about as I went round.  I found the museum on the way back but decided I just didn't have time to do it justice - another reason to go back again.

There are some lovely, quirky little roads and corners in Norwich - I could have explored loads more if I'd had time.

Just one of many interesting little shops.  It was packed from floor to ceiling with teddies of all shapes and sizes, none of them cheap and some eye-wateringly expensive.  But cute, very cute.

(and I loved the cobbled streets, even if they were a bit ankle-risky!)

By the time I got back to the area around the market, everything had woken up, the market was a-buzzing, the sun was shining and there was a vibrant street cafe feel to everything.  It was lovely but very busy.  

I spend a short quiet time back in the Forum in the library as I was a bit early for the coach.  It came, we all piled on and after a very easy journiny, we were home again - and I was absolutely shattered.  In bed by eight and fast asleep soon afterwards.

I fell in love with Norwich.  There's so much to see and do there and I would love to spend several days exploring.  Maybe I will - maybe, once the castle is fully open again.  Beth had told me Stranger's Hall is well worth a visit but it was closed and, anyway . . . no time.  There's a lovely walk along the river too and I believe they do river cruises.
Watch this space.