Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Store By Any Other Name ...

Whether you name them charity shops or thrift stores, to me they are equally nice.  And I have had the pleasure these last two Saturdays of enjoying several.

I have been able to play grandma to the children of a friend and enjoy the expressions of pleasure on their faces when given thrifted items purchased with them in mind.

Both the environment and they benefited by keeping these items out of the landfill.

I was also able to purchase several skeins of yarn for a future project as yet unknown.

All and all, a pleasurable and productive two days.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Black Eyed Susan

Yesterday, thanks to a birthday gift from my kids, Mike and I enjoyed a luncheon cruise of Baltimore's harbour.

We were lucky enough to be seated with a couple who know the harbour and who were willing to be our tour guides.

We saw Ft. McHenry

of Star Spangled Banner fame; Federal Hill where Union troops kept track of the harbour and the southern sympathisers during the Civil War; a huge Domino Sugar plant dating from the days when the harbour's water was still clean; a submarine and ships open to public tours; beautiful condos and restaurants overlooking the water; the city's aquarium; and so much more. It would take a lot longer than an afternoon to do the area justice.

We will have to return someday.

PS: the paddle boat we were on was The Black Eyed Susan

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It Calls To Me,LOUDLY

I am speaking of junk food.

Since we have been here I have given in to burritos,pizza, fried chicken, hamburgers, soft pretzels and chips and dip.

Wow, it sounds even worse when I list them all at once.

Thank heaven my cholesterol came in at 168 with my LDL over 100!

I should live to eat another day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I could eat a horse!

Due to mundane medical tests standard for us old folks, I have not eaten in two days and can't eat until tomorrow afternoon. I am already willing to eat just about anything.

If I were Mike, I might be nervous about falling asleep tonight. He could wake up missing an important limb or two.

But, I have had some enjoyable visits with friends with more to come. We also have a kitty visit planned for tomorrow. Yeah!

I also got to attend the wedding of a best friend's son and that meant  a lot.

Tonight Mike is off sailing with friends and that makes him a happy man.

That just about catches you up.

I am off to drink another gallon of liquid in an attempt to save Mike a limb or two.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Trains, Planes and Taxies

Tomorrow we will take a train to Manchester, a taxi to our hotel and then back to the airport the next morning for our plane to the U.S.

We will be back there just over a month and, in our usual manner, we have filled it with appointments, visits and such.  There just never seems to be enough time to do everything and see everybody as much as we would like.  Time literally does seem to fly.

All this is my way of saying that I will probably only be posting once or twice a week for the next month.  But, when we return I will try to get back to a more frequent schedule.

Until then let us hope for good weather so we can all enjoy it.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Bus Trip to Ormskirk, Lancashire

Ormskirk is and has been since 1286, a market town.  These days the market is held every Thursday, the traditional market day since the market charter was granted by King Edward I, and Saturday in the pedestrian town center. 

We took a bus there terday to browse the market and the charity shops.  The market was a bit cramped and disorganized due to major repairs being made to the pedestrian area of the town center around the clock tower.  But suffice it to say that there was still plenty to browse and see.

Mike focused more on the market and scoping out a place for lunch while I did the charity shops.  I did not find much on my formal list but I did find some reading material including a cookbook from the post WWII era that I began reading last night and find interesting.  When the war ended in 1945 British rationing did not end.  In fact, rationing in 1946-47 was quite severe due to multiple factors including bad weather.  It was not until 1954 that rationing completely stopped.  Nine years after the end of the war!  WOW.  That says a lot for the British stiff upper lip.

The church of St. Peter and St. Paul, the oldest building in Ormskirk, is unusual in that it has both a steeple and a church spire.  It is one of only three English churches to boast both and is unique in the fact that both are at the same end of the church.  The seventh Earl of Derby, a Royalist during the Civil War, is buried in the church in a rather unusual manner:  his body is buried in one coffin and his head, separated from his body in 1651 by beheading, is buried in a separate casket.

Another interesting structure is Ormskirk's Clock tower, found in the center of the town, that was built in 1876, a late comer by European standards. :-)

We had limited time so could not fit in a visit to Chapel Gallery, a public art gallery, or to the beautiful gardens of Victoria Park and Coronation Park (commemorating the coronation of Victoria's son, Edward VII).  Hopefully something for another day.

                                        Image result for ormskirk images                 Image result for ormskirk images 

    Image result for ormskirk images        Image result for ormskirk images          Image result for ormskirk clock tower

    Friday, June 5, 2015

    Hey Diddle Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle

    When I was a little girl, on the wall of my bedroom were what I assume to be wooden cut outs of the Cat and The Fiddle, the Cow, the Moon, the laughing dog and the hand holding Dish and the Spoon. 

    Little did I realize I was being subversive. 

    Hey diddle diddle,
    The cat and the fiddle,
    The cow jumped over the moon:
    The little dog laughed to see such fun,
    And the dish ran away with the spoon.

    It seems this nonsense nursery rhyme may have been anything but.

    In April of 1483 Edward IV of England died.  His brother Richard became regent on behalf of his  nephew, Edward V, aged 13.  But, Richard had other plans.  Edward V and his younger brother disappeared into the Tower of London, were declared illegitimate, and therefore ineligible to rule, by Parliament and were never seen again.  Kindly Uncle Richard became King Richard III on July 6, 1483. 

    To say that his citizens were suspicious may be an understatement.  But to declare themselves openly suspicious was to shorten one's lifespan.  Therefore, the creation of the nonsense verse.  One of Richard III's supporters and a great help in the securing of the throne, was Sir William Catesby, known to the public as the Catte.  The Catte was supposed to have thought up the fiddle that made Richard king, the murder of Edward  VI's two sons.  Thereby, Richard could run away with the crown and the country.

    Subversive finger pointing at the King ,who was just  recently found buried under a parking lot.  Who would have thought.

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

    Burscough Bridge

    We are in the cute little hamlet of Burscough Bridge, 23 miles outside of Liverpool.

    Just before mooring here we passed the lovely old bridge

     that designates the junction of the Leeds-Liverpool with the Rufford Branch, eleven miles in length, which we will explore at the end of July (we are booked in to do so) and we will also cross the Ribble Link.  Before that we will spend a week in Liverpool (we are also booked in for that).

    We cruised the picturesque Rufford Branch in the wet summer of 2007
    Image result for rufford branch on a mapImage result for ribble link on map
    Today is another blue sky, white clouds and sunny day so we are off to explore the charity shops (2) and coffee shops (2) and maybe even stop in at a pub.  It should be a fun and relaxing day and since it is all close to where we are moored my knees may even stay happy with me.  If they get upset that stop into the pub will get more and more likely. :-) 

    Oh, and here is the obligatory mama and babies photo from along our route.  So cute.

    Tuesday, June 2, 2015

    Busy Ripping It Out

    I have been lucky enough to find quite a stock of yarn at various charity shops over the months which fits in quite well with my Compact vow for this year of only buying used items (with certain exceptions).

    When you put that together with the tummy bug I have had recently, that has meant more time on the boat and less time exploring, well the mind just went to crocheting.

    Keep Calm and Craft  On.

    Since I had a large vista of time before me I decided to try some new patterns that were a little more complicated than my old favorite granny square.

    Maybe there is a reason I have stuck with the granny square for all these years.  I can crochet them almost automatically, rarely goof it up, and actually end up with a final product for all my hours of crafting.

    Those new patterns.  They say they are super easy for the beginner, and I believe them.  Really I do.  But this beginner seems to have a distinct learning curve.

    I read the instructions.  I believe I understand the instructions.  I follow the instructions.  My items looks like a mutant of some unknown source.  So I rip it out and try again.

    It seems that for every item I manage to complete I have done enough stitches to make the item three or four times over.  No exaggeration.

    Then there are the stitches that were ripped out when I discovered a mistake eight or ten rows back (I swear they hide from me until I am at my most vulnerable and then just show up in the row.) 

    Or,  I get something nicely on its way and then decide I did not like the colors of yarn being used so out came all those perfectly good stitches and we began anew.

    Or, sometimes I am almost done and decide I just don't like it.  No good reason why.  I just don't.  So rip it out and try something else, right?  Right.

    I can tell you that it has made my stock of yarn go much further, at least time wise if not project wise.

    Oh, and I have become so fond of ripping things out that I have actually purchased a couple of hand crocheted items from the charity shops that I like the yarn of  and brought them home to, you guessed it, rip them  apart so that I could use the yarn to crochet something new.

    I may need a support group soon.

    Monday, June 1, 2015

    A Less Taxing Way to Save

    You pay taxes on the money you earn but NOT on the money you save = More money in your pocket for your effort.

    Let us say you need to find an extra $400 this month to meet an unplanned for and unexpected expense.  At first glance the best idea may seem to be to work extra and earn the needed money.  Or, if you are retired, withdraw extra from the retirement pot to cover the expense.

    But lets think about this from another point of view.

    For the purposes of not overly taxing my math midget mind, let us say you are lucky or unlucky enough to be paid $20 per hour for your extra hours at work.  Once you consider taxes, again to save my midget mind say you are in the 25% tax bracket, you would need to earn just over $533 to clear that $400 after taxes.  That means you would need to work almost 27 extra hours to earn the money you need and of those 27 hours you will have worked almost 7 of them just to pay Uncle Sam . 

    But, if you were to find ways to save, you don't need $533 but only the $400 that is actually needed to pay the bill.

    If you shop the sales at the grocery store each week and use up some of the food lurking in your cupboards and freezer, you could save $25 a week or $100 for the month.

    If you pack your lunch for work (think leftovers, soup, and sandwiches) you can easily save $25 per week or another $100 over the course of the month.

    If you eat at home one more day a week rather than ordering pizza or takeout or going out to your favorite restaurant you can easily save another $40 per week  or another $160 per month per adult.

    And, if you bring your own coffee from home and skip the daily latte (my weakness)  for 3 days a week you could save another $42 per month.

     There is your needed $400 with $2 extra.  And, you still have those27 hours of time with your friends and familyyou would otherwise loose. Plus, you have and less taxes to pay.

    If you are retired you will have the satisfaction of knowing you did not need to take extra out of that finite pot of money that has to last you from now until you are pushing up daisies. I don't want to think about having to face a future where part of my daily social interaction is asking "Do you want fries with that?" I routinely  work to make my money stretche further.

     I stress less, and the future looks brighter. 

    s sale
    c oupon use incl kohl's and jc penney and target and such