Finding work for idle hands: making, baking and more.

Visiting Lincoln April 3, 2012

Filed under: Places to go — lauravw @ 5:38 pm

Last week we were both lucky enough to have a day off work on one of the warmest and sunniest days of the year so far.

We’d made no plans for for how we would spend our day, but the day before I took the train up to York to visit my grandfather. The first train I caught was bound for Lincoln, which reminded me that it was a good place for a day trip – it’s an hour by train from Nottingham.

My day in York was mostly spent with my grandfather, but when I left his house I caught the bus into the city and walked through some of my favourite streets. The sun was out, and York’s bar walls were covered in daffodils. I can never really get over the fact that you can go to York and look at something that was built by the Romans, it just seems so crazy. (Most of the Roman walls were replaced by the Danes, but they are still around 800 years old or more, which is still just as impressive.)

And then the next day we found ourselves in Lincoln, with yet more Roman ruins to explore. We arrived at around 10.30 in the morning, and quickly headed up the hill to the older part of the town. The bottom picture here shows the pretty cobbled streets that await you when you get nearer the top of the hill. There was plenty of blossom out, and tulips and daffodiles were visible in many people’s front gardens.We were also lucky to be there mid-week, so all the children were at school, and most of the tourists were absent.

I enjoyed exploring the little shops – once you reach the older part of the city there are no chain stores, just small independent retailers. I visited an old chemist, a fabric shop, a few gift shops, and the tea shop that my mother has been going to on and off for years. We treated ourselves to the admission fee to look inside the cathedral, which is an astonishing piece of work – according to the website, it was once the tallest building in the world. It’s not cheap to get in, but there is so much to see, and you can appreciate that they need to raise a lot of money just to take care of the building.

There’s a nice Thai restaurant not far from the cathedral, and plenty of places to stop for ice cream at as you make your way back down the hill. I had a scoop of amaretto ice cream, and I could easily have managed a second one.

I took a whole load of photos during the day, which I’ve uploaded to Flickr if you want a peek.


A loveliness of ladybirds April 1, 2012

Filed under: Flowers and plants,Nature and wildlife — lauravw @ 2:27 pm

We’ve had a lot of ladybirds in the garden so far this Spring.

The pictures here show three different kinds, which I found this afternoon – all pottering around in the same plant.

The one at the top is a black harlequin – and the one at the bottom right is a red version of the species. They are persona non grata at the moment, having arrived on our shores and swiftly started to take over from one of the more beloved varieties – the seven spot, pictured bottom left.

“The harlequin is an Asian species brought in for pest control, but which has now become a pest itself.” BBC News.

In our garden, I think the native species is winning at the moment – I’ve seen far greater numbers of the seven spot than I have of the harlequins.

If you’re feeling brave, you might like to watch this video on the BBC, which shows some trees absolutely covered in ladybirds – to the point where the trees look like they have red bark. Yikes. This video was where I learnt that the collection noun for ladybirds is a loveliness – a fact I will try to remember in case I ever end up on Mastermind…