Summer at my sister’s farm in Norway.

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The driveway, with the heifers grazing.
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They have wheat growing this year; previously they have had PYO sweetcorn but last summer the crop was so poor due to bad weather they decided to do something else this year.
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A very inquisitive heifer. My sister’s family have Norwegian Red dairy cows and breed their own animals. They have never bought livestock.
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The heifers out grazing and enjoying the sun.
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Enjoying the silence out here. Norway is the secondly least densely populated country in Europe; sometimes it is nice to come home and sit outside and hear nothing.
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The entrance to the farm, and our bags. Off to see my mother.
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Our visit to Green’s Windmill and Science Centre in Nottingham.

Despite having lived in Nottingham since 2009, I hadn’t visited the Windmill here until last Sunday when husband and I went.

It’s free to visit (donations encouraged) and there is also a community garden next door you can go and look around. There is free car parking, or you can take the red 43 bus there.

Green’s Windmill is a working windmill; it grinds grain and you can buy flour made at the mill on the souvenir shop. The Science Centre has some cool activities which deal with magnets, power and illusions.

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The Windmill
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One of the sails. We were lucky enough to see the windmill in action; they can slow down the speed the sails are turning at, by opening the shutters on them.
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The view from the top of the windmill.
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This is the chute where the grain sacks come up. The sacks have to be hauled to the top floor so the power of the wind is used to pull the sacks up to the top floor. How clever is that?
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Millstone, grinding grain.
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The finished product.
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The community garden next door. Hard to believe this is in the centre of Nottingham.
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The community garden next door.

Fly by, July!

Whew, where did July go?

July has been a good-ish month for us.

  • We came in at £133 for groceries which, while it’s good, is not £130! Must get this together for August!
  • Travelling to Wales to see husband’s sister and husband for the weekend was lovely. Very relaxing which is just what husband needed.
  • Our anniversary is on the 31st of July so we went out for breakfast and dinner as my mother sent us some money.
  • We were gifted a lovely garden seat!
  • College finished in the start of the month and as the uni job is largely finished for the summer I’ve had this month off. I’ve been doing self employed work, caught up on eBaying, doing surveys, and jobs around the house I’ve had to put off as I just haven’t had the time to do it until now.
  • We enjoyed going to the foodshare event in our local community.

Things that have not been good about July include:

  • Husband had a cold which he gave to me. It hit me much harder and I spent a little over a week in the house feeling really rubbish and drained of energy.
  • Husband’s workplace are still being mean. Manager has left now and since then Deputy has been running the show; Husband was not given any hours at all last week. When he went by with the time sheet for July so it could be processed, they had two new members of staff in. Looks like the meeting regarding the grievance will be held in August. Husband is very anxious about this and doesn’t want to talk about it, and alternates between being cross and sad about the whole thing.
  • Husband’s younger sister who has a learning disability has been exploited by someone she trusted by asking her for money under all kinds of pretexts. She was not supposed to be able to access her account but can transfer money out via the banking app and she’s been defrauded of £4000, her savings account is now empty. Bank have said they can’t help but we have contacted the police who are considering it to be fraud. Will challenge the bank via the Financial Ombudsman Service – how was she able to transfer the money out of her account if there are two people named on the account (her and her mother who is her financial guardian), without the other person’s authorization?

To end on a more positive note, here are some pictures from the garden.

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Our lovely garden seat. Just need the weather to warm up now that I’m better to actually sit out there and enjoy it.
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The nasturtiums are really growing well now and we’ve used their leaves in our salad for dinner on several nights. If I can grow this, maybe I can grow salad next year?
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Aaaah! We have a solitary tomato! Just hoping it’ll grow now!
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The Cat enjoys Husband’s lap.

Our trip to Wales.

We visited husband’s sister and husband this weekend. They live in Newtown Powys, Wales.

During our weekend away we visited the Corris craft centre and also drove along Dinas Mawddwy and Lake Vyrnwy.

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Up in the mountains. Could not believe how quiet it was. We expected birdsong etc. but it was very still.

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Wales is probably the place in the UK I have visited that reminds me most of home (Norway) because it’s so wooded and hilly.
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Juvenile Robin.
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A piece of Bakewell cake.

Sunday we visited the Mid Wales Arts Centre; they have several pieces there and is a gallery, cafe and B & B owned and run by Cathy Knapp, widow of Stefan Knapp.

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Our welcoming committee. Insisted on fetching several sticks and a ball but to never surrender them. Maybe that was part of the game after all, having the silly humans chase after him to get him to give us the things?
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One of Stefan Knapp’s works. We spent a while looking at this, husband said they were dancing and enjoying themselves, but I looked at the man standing on the woman in the right corner. To me that looks like subjugation
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Several of the sculptures are outside in and around the main building.
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Piece # 24 ‘Sharktooth’.
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We initially thought these were penguins, but according to the programme, they are elephants.
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A lot of the sculptures are placed in the back garden, where I found this enormous thistle plant. One bulb easily filled my hand.
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This piece is aptly named ‘Life study.’

 

Our trip to York.

Here are some of the things we saw while we were in York:

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Micklegate Bar, just by our hotel. You could get onto the walls from here and there is a museum inside.
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We took a guided 45 minute boat trip with the YorkBoat. We really enjoyed it but think it’s best for when the weather is nice.
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A part of the Wall that you can walk along.
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The entrance to the York Minster cathedral. Absolutely stunning.
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One of the towers of the Minster in York.
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The West window of the York Minster, constructed in 1338 with its famous Heart of Yorkshire

 

Greetings from my sister’s farmhouse.

I hope you are all having a lovely Easter. I am currently visiting family and friends back home and really enjoying it.

I travelled home to see my family on Sunday evening from Manchester Airport this time (a lot of football supporters on this one can’t imagine why!) and I’ll be travelling home again on Friday afternoon, to start work on Saturday at the uni. Sunday and Monday I’m off due to Easter and Tuesday is my day off so will be back at work on Wednesday.

Husband I spent last week in York, just him and me, for five days. We really needed it now as it did not feel like I had a break at all in February so that meant going from Christmas to now without reprieve.

We stayed in a hotel we really liked within the city walls so everything was close by and we could walk everywhere to everything we wanted to see. The hotel had a all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet with hot and cold food and a waffle press, so we had a good filling breakfast before setting off in the morning to look around the city.

My mother very generously gave us £100 towards food and drink so we had lovely dinners every night were there; husband even expanded his horizons and tried and enjoyed Indian food.

While in York we:

  • Visited the York Castle Museum and Clifford’s Tower, the remaining structure of the castle that stood there.
  • Walked through the Shambles and the market.
  • Visited the York Minster.
  • Walked along the walls that used to fortify the city.
  • Visited the Transport Museum (only place outside Asia that has a Shinkansen train on display you can go into, and it’s FREE to visit!).
  • Visited the York Museum and gardens.
  • Went to the cinema to see Ghost in a Shell (Reel Cinemas has a Saver Wednesday deal where we got our tickets for £5 each).
  • Took a guided trip on the river.

The only thing we were not able to do and that I’m quite disappointed with, was to visit the Jorvik Viking Centre. Two years ago the river Ouse that runs through York burst its banks and it was flooded. They were going to have a lovely opening ceremony with people in costume and all kinds of things…on Saturday. We travelled home on FRIDAY. Nevermind, maybe we will go for the day sometime and visit it?

I spent some of Thursday afternoon as husband was resting at the hotel, wandering the streets and having a look in the shops as I never really feel I can justify spending the time to do this back home. Ended up in Primark and bought two tops and four packs of briefs as they were reduced to £2 a pop (each had four pairs in) for myself, and then while in the Tesco getting some stuff for the train ride home, I spied some reduced Christmas wrap, costing 25p a roll! So yes I bought some.

What is the strangest thing you have bought while on holiday?

EDIT: Forgot to say : before I travelled home I swung by Sainsbury’s to get some cheese for my nephew. I have read on different sites that yes, you can freeze shop bought birthday cakes provided you defrost them in the fridge to avoid condensation. So I saw a birthday cake that had been reduced from £11 to £5.50, an R2D2 cake, that would be perfect for my husband’s 30th in May. So I bought it and bunged it in the freezer (hoping he won’t look for it!); I will let you know how it goes when we defrost it!

Trying assisted travel on the train.

My husband’s oldest sister and her husband live in Wales and husband has decided that he will go and visit them for four days during half term this year, as I will be visiting my family in Norway and celebrating my mother’s 70th birthday there.

He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2015, but before that one of this fears was and still is travelling alone in places he has not been before or is not familiar with.

To travel to his sister’s town in Wales, he has to catch the train from here and change at Birmingham New Street to get his connection. He was really not relishing this because Birmingham New Street is a big station and he was getting more and more worried about how he would find his way and know he was on the right train, and all in all finding such a busy place with lots of people and sounds overwhelming. It was making him very anxious and he was contemplating not going at all. Previously if there have been journeys he’s had to make, such as for job interviews, and nobody  were able to to a trial run with him then he would simply not go. Once when he was travelling to work his bus was diverted and he ended up at the end of the line very distressed and it took him a long time to find his way back and calm down about it happening.

I had already booked the tickets for his train journey but I suddenly had a brainwave on Friday. Now that he has a diagnosis, surely he would be eligible for assistance from the train company?

I had a look on Arrive Trains Wales’ website and there is a number you ring (you have to book 24 hours in advance) and the process was very straightforward. You give them the time and date and where you are going and what kind of assistance is required, and they get the assistance booked for you. And the lady I spoke to was very nice and nothing was a bother at all it seemed. We asked that he was met at the platform in Birmingham and taken to his connecting train to Wales, and I asked if they could please stay with him until he is on the train in case there are any platform alterations.

You get an email receipt with everything that has been booked and you print this and take it with you together with your tickets. They do ask that you make yourself known to a member of staff at least 20 minutes before departure so we will make sure we are there in good time.

For my husband who does not have a mobility impairment but who does have Asperger’s and epilepsy, this means that he will be met at the train station where he is leaving from. They will then phone ahead to Birmingham New Street to let him know what carriage he is on so someone can meet him on the platform there. They will then take him to his connecting train and stay there until he gets on and the train leaves (in case there is a platform alteration, something he might not register in a busy station). The station he is travelling to in Wales is not manned but the conductor will be told where he is and when they get to the station, they will ensure he leaves the train and his sister will meet him there.

He will then have the same assistance coming back again.

I’m so pleased I thought of this and hopefully it sets his mind at ease a bit. When he has made the journey a few times he will more familiar with it and know what to do but for now it helps him see his sister, something we can’t normally do as I work so much. He is looking forward to his trip now and looking forward to having a break from work, something I think he needs at the moment.

I’ll let you know how it went!