Oops.. I’d forgotten the anniversary

With Ophelia hurting her leg and everything I’d forgotten to post photos of our day in St Albans. We drove up to Bletchley Park for our anniversary and then stayed overnight in St Albans so we could enjoy the market and explore charity shops before heading home again.

These loaves looked very tempting but we managed to resist.

The fruit also looked wonderful too but we had a huge load of stalls to look at. There were all sorts of things for sale – from clothing to fruit and flowers. We mooched round the town a bit before we decided to look at the remains of a Roman theatre.

We had to walk through St Michael’s Village, a posh part of St Albans, to get to the theatre. There were lots of Rolls Royces and sports cars parked by the roadside and we were bowled over by this pretty house.

We were quite thirsty when we got to the river so we were glad to see the Waffle House and stopped for some tasty lunch.

This little blackbird was begging for scraps.

I can’t say I’m surprised. The waffles were very tasty.

The Roman theatre was in quite a peaceful spot. We were the only visitors when we arrived so there was a chance to sit and enjoy the view for a bit.

We stopped at the church in St Michael’s for a while and enjoyed looking around before we walked through the park back into central St Albans for a look round the cathedral and heading home.

pao and I have been married 8 years and twenty-something days! 🙂 Happy days.

I put my back out

and couldn’t find it or alternatively: The “Oh, no, my knitting is missing” or “Better turn the house upside down” Post.

On Friday night last week when I got home, I opened my knitting bag to find the back of my Trapeze jacket was missing.

No big deal I thought, I’d probably dropped it in my office at work so I merrily continued with the front. So on Monday, I arrived back at work but no sign of the back. Curious, thought I, perhaps it is at home after all. We had friends round for dinner on Monday night so I couldn’t hunt then so I hunted high and low on Tuesday. No front. Suddenly it dawned on me that I was knitting in a College Common Room on Friday and I must have left it in there. Visions of uncaring, misunderstanding cleaning staff throwing away my careful creation flitted through my head. I had to wait until lunch today to find out my back’s fate. Would it be in a dumpster somewhere or would someone realise what it was as it was still with a copy of the pattern and put it somewhere safe.

With trepidation, I approached the porter’s lodge and asked a bemused porter if she’d received any knitting to no avail but suggested I see the Housekeeper. I bumped into my old cleaner and told her my problem to her amusement and figured I’d go back to the Common Room and see if Wendy the nice lady who serves drinks had seen it. Yes! She had! I’ve never been so happy to see my knitting before that I had to have a celebratory orange juice and finish the front.

Now I’m starting the arms but I’m a bit handicapped. I was trying to cut some bread this morning and the knife slipped and I cut my finger in two places. If I take the plaster (Band Aid) off, it bleeds so I’m having to compensate with my other fingers!

pao did kindly offer to take me to my office at the weekend to get my missing knitting but I declined. He did take me cherry picking on Sunday and made me a super yummy cherry pie 🙂 Lucky me.

Dancing Down by the River

We heard that pao’s cousin Nikki was dancing at the River Festival in Maidstone so early Saturday morning we decided to go over and see her dance. We walked past many



until we got to Whatman Park to see Nikki dancing. We figured it might be our last chance before she goes to uni to see her dance as we’d never seen her dance before. She is really good! (Nikki is the girl with the yellow midriff)

Beans and carrots and beetroot from the potted garden

These are the first french beans I have harvested. They are a lovely shade of purple which makes them easy to distinguish amongst the green leaves. They don’t stay purple when you cook them – they go green. I’ve been picking a small handful every day from the three containers of containing 12 plants in total. pao unhelpfully pulled this carrot that I was letting grow bigger but we’ll let him off as it was very tasty.

The most interesting experiment in potted gardening has been growing beetroot in a pot. I harvested nine and left 4 or 5 plants in the soil to see what would happen. We thinned the seedlings out early on and planted those directly in our raised bed thinking that they would probably not survive but they have and flourished somewhat. We haven’t seen any of the telltale beetroot tops poking out of the soil and I don’t want to dig them just yet.

I’d never grown or cooked beetroot before so I took advice from pao’s nan as to what to do as well as finding a pickling recipe on the web. I left out the coriander seeds as I don’t have any in the cupboard and put in a teaspoon of onion seeds instead.

I heeded all the warnings about beetroot staining my fingers and surfaces so I covered my chopping board with a plastic bag and used a couple of freezer bags to protect my hands when I peeled them. A little leaked beetroot juice did leak through to the chopping but no there wasn’t a permanent stain.

I think I might makes some Beetroot and Onion chutney with the second lot or possibly with a few of the first lot – if there are any left after we’ve been dipping in and eating them. They look so tempting.

Our first tomato was amongst ripened but I spotted mould underneath which means that the plant has blossom end rot due to a calcium deficiency. One of the cures for this is adding some crushed Tums to the soil so I’d nipped down town for some this afternoon as I don’t want all my tomatoes to go that way.

I think I’m going to have a look at the potatoes soon as they are probably about ready for new potatoes. pao’s grandmother thought that they might be ready now they’ve flowered.

Prisoner in the Tower

Well, ok, we do have a prisoner in Ophelia at the moment but I’m sure she is glad she isn’t in the Tower of London which was the destination of our riverside walk.

The entrance

was guarded by a beefeater.

This archway is so pretty but who knows what horrors lie behind those windows.

The main part of the Tower of London from the outside. We haven’t been inside this bit yet but will do on a return visit soon.

This is where Guy Fawkes was detained after he was caught hatching the Gunpowder Plot. There was a sentry on guard and every so often he’d march up and down before going back to stand still in his sentry box.

The ravens are an important feature of the Tower. The legend is that if the six ravens ever leave the Tower then the kingdom will fall. This raven scared a small family who were picnicking by leaping onto the bench with them and forcing them to get off so he could nip in and grab a bit of sandwich that had fallen under the bench.

It started raining soon after that so we decided to get under cover and start our walk back to the hotel as we had to get back to Kent later. Deb’s husband Jon visited London last year and I really enjoyed seeing his photos. I wonder if between us we’ve managed to persuade Deb to come along next time? 🙂

This is our little prisoner. I don’t think she’d enjoy the Tower much.

I was amused as I went to a staff development session on blogging today. I don’t think I learnt anything new about how to write blog posts in Word Press. It’s not like I’ve got any experience of blogs, is it? 🙂 Got to get to bed now as I have a banging headache and am hoping I’m not coming down with pao’s lurgy of earlier this week (just a virus not the dreaded we-shall-not-be-named-but-everyone-is-panicking-about).

Towering up the Embankment

Our hotel was very close to London Bridge so it was perfect for a walk up the Embankment. Our destination was the Tower of London and we saw some lovely sights on the way.

I always enjoy being on holiday all the more when I think that I’m out free when loads of people are busy at work. I loved this building and how the the other buildings are reflected in it.

These benches looked so inviting but we didn’t stop and sit as we wanted to get to the Tower before it started raining. We didn’t have an umbrella with us.

We weren’t sure what the spire in the middle of the picture is but it looked beguiling.

I had to laugh at this sign. I couldn’t find one that said Woman though.
I need to stop Ophelia from doing lots of jumping so will show Tower photos tomorrow!!

An unexpected holiday

We were supposed to be taking Auntie H for her op in London last Thursday but just before the NHS cancelled it. We already had a hotel room in London booked and paid for so pao said we should just go anyway and have an explore. It was great fun. We were staying just near London Bridge and were able to walk over the Millennium Bridge which is the one in the picture.

St Paul’s Cathedral looked very inviting but we decided we didn’t want to pay £11 to get in particularly when they said you couldn’t take photos. We didn’t have time to go to evensong as we had already booked tickets for the Globe Theatre that night on our way.

The Globe Theatre was an amazing experience. We saw Troilus and Cressida (future cat names if I ever heard them :)) but the real fun was watching heavens open and the standing audience getting soaked. We’d booked some seats so were under cover.

More on London tomorrow as I’m tired today. Ophelia seems to be a bit better – still treating the foot a bit gingerly but she isn’t collapsing quite as quickly as she had been so I think the rest is helping it a lot.

Send healing thoughts

Ophelia has busted a ligament in her right hind leg so lots of healing thoughts would be appreciated. The vet gave her a shot tonight which he said would hurt a lot and she was absolutely fine with it. She’s in solitary confinement in the kitten pen so she can’t jump or run on it and we have to go back in a week. If it doesn’t heal up on it’s own, he said she would have to have a ligament transplant. So healing thoughts would be deeply appreciated right now.

From Hut Six to the Knitting Hut

We stopped at Woburn Sands after we left Bletchley to call in at the Knitting Hut which I’d seen on the web and wondered what it was like.

It was a great place 🙂 Sue is a really nice lady.

pao was offered somewhere to sit and something to read straight away.

The knitted samples were really tempting.

So tempting that pao bought me the yarn for this lovely sweater as an anniversary present 🙂

Florence the knitted cow was definitely a talking point. Sue was inviting people to knit a splodge to raise funds for the Willan House charity.

Anniversary trip to Bletchley

We celebrated our wedding anniversary with a trip to Bletchley Park. pao really enjoys code-breaking stories and was really taken with the story of the code-breakers at Bletchley Park so it was nice to visit again and see him looking so happy. I love reading about the history of the place and seeing the exhibits about the period.

Reading some of the explanations of how they broke the codes is mind blowing. It is interesting to see how they came up with the cribs.

These old radios are so beautiful. We were amused to see a modern hi fi sitting on the floor near them playing 40s music.

I love seeing what people have donated – these bicycles are superb.

I finally got to see the Colussus replica. Every time we’ve visited the room has been full of people so it was nice to go during a quieter time and marvel at this parent of modern computing.

I was a bit sad to see the terrible state that Hut 6 is in. It is such a shame that part of our history is wasting away like that but we are glad to see that Bletchley Park is still open to visitors despite the threats of closure stemming from lack of funding.

pao really enjoyed the replica Enigma machine I got him for an anniversary present. 8 years 🙂