Thursday, 21 April 2016

I love the seaside!

                                                 Me, aged about seven, Fleetwood beach    

I grew up in Lancashire, in a small coastal town, living across the road from the beach. As a small child I could sit on the huge window seat of the bay window in the front room and watch coach loads of visitors arriving, the colour and movement kept me occupied for hours. (Even now I love to watch the world go by from a window, I shall become known as 'that nosey old bag down the road' soon!)
In my twenties I married and moved inland, and it took me another twenty odd years to get near the sea.

Now the nearest bit of beach is a few miles down the road, not near enough really, but it will do. Hunstanton is a little further away, but still only fifteen minutes or so in the car - except in the holiday season when it can take longer - and I love driving along the Promenade, seeing all the visitors, all that colour and movement again. All the amusement arcades are open, there's the noise of music and laughter, the smell of fish and chips is almost inescapable, a real old fashioned holiday resort. Nothing fancy like a Big Wheel or permanent fairground attraction, and sadly no longer even a pier.

The original Hunstanton Pier was 830 feet long, and opened in 1870 and twelve years later a paddle steamer service came into operation sailing from the pier to that at good old Skeggie, Skegness, across the Wash. As the years went by, there was a pavilion, a skating rink, a small zoo and until the 1950s, and a miniature steam railway ran down the length of the pier. In January 1978 a storm destroyed a lot of the pier, leaving an amusement arcade and one set of piles, a reminder of what had been there. But then tragedy struck again in the 70s with a fire destroying what was left, and in its place what I consider an ugly monstrosity and which met with some local opposition. It went ahead though, and although it is on the same spot as the original pier, there is absolutely nothing left to show what had once been a very fine pier indeed. Sadly.

I remember these old promenade shelters from my childhood/youth. Not this one, this is on the cliff tops at Hunstanton. As a child, they were somewhere to sit with my mother, sheltering from the occasional showers or just sitting sheltered from the winds, the two of us watching the world go by I remember when she and I used to have picnics on the beach, she would light up one of her Balkan Sobranie cigarettes, 'just to keep the flies away darling' she'd say. She looked so glamorous with these cigarettes in their gorgeously coloured wrappers of deep jade green, blue and deep pink, and with gold tips I think. Of course,she would be frowned upon now for smoking in public and in front of a child, but she wasn't the only one back in the fifties. As a teenager these shelters were places groups of teenagers gathered to smoke illicit cigarettes, you could buy packs of five Players for pennies then. And if you didn't have the spends, then the cigarettes would have been taken stealthily from your parents packets while their backs were turned. Or the shelter was a place you went with your boyfriend, to be alone. After which many a teenage girl, myself included, would go home, lock herself in her room, put some vinyl on the Dansette, unlock the tiny padlock on her diary, and write down her most private, secret thoughts - in my case about a tall blonde-haired, suntanned boy called John, who told me I had 'lovely legs', who went away to be a farmer, never to be seen or heard of again after the first flurry of love letters, all signed SWALK of course, on the back!

See what memories a stroll along the seafront can evoke?

Some of my other favourite things this month have been ....

... this large heather on the edge of the terrace, it smells wonderfully of almonds when the sun shines.

And its always good to finish one crochet project, so you can plan the next. This is a change for me, monochrome, three shades of grey, black and white

And that's it for now.  except to say it was very sad news about Victoria Wood, one of the funniest women ever, if not the funniest. Her humour made us all laugh, and she will be sadly missed.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Back in blogland.

Not the best view to see on a Spring morning, but this is the weather scene in my corner of Norfolk this morning, misty, wet, grey. So I think I'll brighten up proceedings with a view of part of the garden on a sunny day over the weekend. Full of Spring colour which has inspired my next crochet blanket, but more of that another time. Out in the garden, we've planted the first of the broad beans, including some plants I grew on from seeds germinated in a plastic bag of compost on the kitchen windowsill. The raised beds have been prepped ready for seed planting, my cut flower beds. And this week we'll buy the large pots for my carrots - I grow them this way, in succession, small amounts as there are only two of us, in pots with herbs on the patio.

Another cheery picture....

... my new summer clogs, probably a bit daft for a woman of my age, but at my age, who cares?

I've been away from blogland for a while, got a bit fed up with it to be honest, sitting here writing and knowing that only a handful of folk would bother to read, made me wonder 'Why bother?' But then the urge to write about nothing much came upon me, and so here I am..... for now. Maybe if I read more blogs, I'd get more readers myself, do you think? But then, I don't seem to have much in common with so many bloggers, all of whom seem younger than me, with busy lives of family and children, work, outings and holidays, meeting up with friends and so on. Some blogs are inspirational like Attic 24, some are an interesting read like cozymadethings, and, but so many just don't relate to my age, my lifestyle, which is laidback, filled with crafts and books and gardening and cooking, afternoon snoozes, meditational moments, art journalling.... speaking of which......

... my latest page.

On the needles at the moment, a large knitted blanket in a pretty sage green, 144 stitches, knit 12, purl 12 for twelve rows, then change to purl 12, knit twelve, a large basket stitch pattern. I've done it before, in Stylecraft Special DK which I use for all my blanket knitting and crochet, and it is so easy to do while watching television, or listening to the Archers Omnibus on Sunday mornings. And on the hook, well, just finished recently in fact, my 'leftovers' blanket, using leftover balls of wool, just tossed in a basket and picked out at random. Worked out well I thought.

Books play a big part in my life, so occasionally I will maybe recommend one or two from the five plus that I read each month. Recently there has been some dross I have to admit. Everyone I knew was praising The Rosie Project, so I bought a secondhand copy. I tried to read it.... on the third attempt I actually finished, but it was with gritted teeth that I got to the end. I didn't enjoy it much at all but had to see what all the fuss was about. And I am still no wiser. So I turned to a writer whose books I always enjoy, Jenny Colgan and thoroughly enjoyed this one, as well as in contrast, the book by B.A. Paris

'Behind Closed Doors' is the debut novel of B.A.Paris, and is a story that is very topical at the moment as it's about domestic abuse, not necessarily of the physical kind, but the mental, controlling kind as has been the focus of The Archers this last week, with the dramatic turn of events in the Rob and Helen storyline. The novel was a real gripping read, you hoped the wife would be able to find a way out of the relationship, and that alone kept you reading to the end. Extremely well-written and well worth reading.

So, that's about it for this time, though I would just like to talk briefly about clothes and diet, two unusual subjects for me to want to discuss as I am not a woman obsessed with clothes, shopping, lunching with 'the girls' and so on. It all leaves me cold to be honest. Diet? A four letter word baned from this house - finally. Oh yes, in the past I've been one of these women who seem to constantly be about to start another diet, not faddy ones you understand, just portion/calorie control and all that. But not any more.*

For reasons I won't bore you with I have been on strong meds for most of my adult life, and two of them are notorious for gaining weight. I am a stone overweight, and at best I can control it. I am not going to lose it; I have now finally accepted that the only way that will happen is if I have another bout of serious ill-health, not a way to lose weight I'd recommend. So I take a size 22, but the manufacturers/designers of clothes for the larger (busted) woman, seem to assume that we are all about 5' 8". I am five foot and a whisper, and clothes I order tend to have sleeves at least eight inches longer than I need them, and whereas on a model they reach knees or just below in length, on me they can be maxi length. It is so very hard to find clothes that fit well on the top half, but also have sleeves and garment length appropriate for my height.

*As a side note, I was reading up about losing calories the other day, following a discussion with a like-minded friend (like-minded in that we have both given up hope of ever being sylph-like again), and I read that a fart can burn off 57 calories... can you imagine the slimming group meetings for that particular way of losing calories?!!!

And that really is all. I shall  be back next month, if I find anyone has dropped by to say 'Hello'.

Thanks for reading, and please do leave a comment if you are able, I like hearing from other bloggers.