29 December 2005

Time for a re-cap I think!

Christmas day went pretty much as planned... stayed in bed 'til around 9:00am, got up and had breakfast, then opened our presents, with a bottle of Bucks Fizz! Not bad going, 10:00am and the first real drink of the day!

The rest of the morning was spent in front of the TV before we started to prepare Christmas dinner. Time to open the whisky bottle for me, and the sherry for Lynda. Just a small taste to help with the cooking that's all! Very soon Lynda had dinner ready and out on the table - and what a dinner! I love my Christmas dinner! So much so that I have mine on a serving platter rather than a normal plate! Makes it easier to fit everything on that way!

A superb meal was helped along with a rather nice bottle of wine but, I must admit, the Christmas pudding did have to wait until we had cleared the dishes away before we could face eating that as well!

We had planned to watch Shrek on TV in the afternoon, followed by Shrek 2 at night. Luckily I'd seen the first film before, as I fell asleep in the afternoon. I did see the second one though!

Monday and Tuesday were both very quiet days. We walked to fetch the newspapers on Monday and chose to go to the shop at the far end of the estate, then walked back the long way around so that in the end we had walked about 2 miles or so. Not a long way but it burnt off a little of the food we'd been eating. Lynda went into Derby on Tuesday, for the sales, and a "quick" trip turned into more than 4 hours! Later on Tuesday afternoon it snowed!!! A little late for Christmas but nice all the same.

Yesterday Lynda was back at work so it left me with no excuse to stay at home when Mel suggested we did a walk. So, with a rather good covering of snow now on the ground, we did a walk of around 4 hours through the fields and lanes of Lower Hartshay, Fritchley and Crich. I've no idea how far we walked but it was far enough! The walk was much easier going than I'd expected with the snow being about 3 inches deep at most. The only slight down point was that the sky was heavy with snow cloud for a lot of the time so one or two of the photos I took came out a little dull. Having said that the views from the Crich Memorial were still pretty good!

There we have it, the week so far! Not done a lot but it's been great and sure beats being at work! New Year's Eve next! Another quiet evening of food and drink for us.... until the fireworks start all around us!

Walk in the snow photos

24 December 2005


So, it's Christmas Eve! Work is now over, as far as I'm concerned until 2006, all my shopping is finished, presents are wrapped and under the tree and the car is safely locked in the garage and won't be coming out again until at least the 27th! It's time to start eating and drinking!!! Pity we don't have any snow though, feels like late summer outside not the end of December!

Very soon Lynda & I will be opening a bottle of mulled wine and getting settled in front of the TV for the evening. No doubt snacks of various types will be consumed in more than adequate amounts, as will the drink!

Tomorow will start with a light breakfast of hot bread rolls covered with butter - it's something we always had on Christmas morning when I lived at home, and we carried on with it when Lynda & I bought our house. This will be washed down with a bottle of Bucks Fizz! After breakfast we will open our presents before starting to prepare dinner. A small whisky or two will help with the fetching and carrying I'll do for Lynda who will, I'm sure, sample a sherry whilst cooking!

Christmas dinner has got to be the best meal of the year without doubt! Loads of turkey, stuffing, bread sauce, vegetables and potatoes. Oh, and not forgetting the "pigs-in-blankets". Small sausages wrapped in bacon for those that don't know!!! I love 'em! That little lot will be helped along by a bottle of wine and then followed by a good old fashioned Christmas pudding covered with brandy sauce!

Needless to say we won't be moving far for the rest of the day. However, by early evening we will start on the cold meats, pork pie and turkey again! I love Christmas!

19 December 2005

The past few days.

Right, a quick update of the weekend whilst I have time!

Friday's Bluehorses gig was a great one! The venue was a little slow filling up with people but, by the time the band came on stage, the place was packed out. The band chose Friday as one of their "Christmas party" gigs so it was fancy dress - only a few of the crowd joined in but the band had gone to town with the Harry Potter theme! There's always one of the guys that uses these gigs as an excuse to put on a skirt! This time it was Jay!!! Liz's interpretation of Hogwarts uniform was, erm, rather nice shall we say! :-)


Saturday I was at work, all very straight forward apart from KIA sending me a console/ashtray unit all the way from Korea - pity we had ordered a wiring loom! Someone is going to be waiting a little while longer for their car being repaired! In the evening it was the work's Christmas meal. All went off fine with that! The place was quite nice, if a little hard to find, the food was good (and spicy!!) and there was plenty of it, the drinks were all paid for by the boss and everyone behaved! All rather good for a motor trade night out! We left at just after midnight and arrived home around 12:45am.

Sunday morning dawned dry, bright and very frosty. The temperature was -4C at breakfast time, just the same as 4 weeks ago when we did the BHF walk - I did another long walk yesterday, but just for the fun of it this time! Then after I'd finished, it didn't feel like fun! More trouble with my knee!

I met Mel at the gym at 9:00am before we headed off into the Derbyshire Peak District. We parked in Ilam before walking back around Thorpe Cloud, along Dove Dale, Mill Dale, Wolfscote Dale, Beresford Dale and then up into Hartington. This took us around 3 hours, we then had to get back again! After a short stop for tea and coffee we headed back out of Hartington over the higher farm land before dropping back down into Wolfscote Dale again. We then retraced our steps, many, many of them, back to the car! In total I think we walked around 16 or so miles! Hence the bad knee again!

For the most part the day was dry, bright and cold, but for the last four or five miles we walked in a light rain as the cloud cover increased. Mel got to see her first "live" Kingfisher as we followed the river, then saw another later on in the afternoon! All in all not a bad day - I just wish I could shake off this problem with my knees.

15 December 2005

Just too busy!

Hey, I'm still alive - just very busy at work and home at the moment, hence no updates!

Monday, I did finish up playing Twister with Chloe again. She still cheats! Plus, this time their new dog tried joining in - what chance did I have? Right foot on green, left foot on blue, both hands on yellow..... then the dog starts licking my face!
Tuesday, we went to the gym and again my knee gave me trouble! Didn't do much of a workout but it was better than not going at all!

Tomorrow is the BLUEHORSES Christmas gig here in Derby, should be a cracking night, just a pity I have work the following morning! Then Saturday evening is my works Christmas meal at an Indian restaurant over in Nottingham.

Sunday I should be doing another big walk with Mel, if the weather is OK. Forecast at the moment is for it being dry and clear but very cold, we'll see!

12 December 2005

Frankie & Benny's

Last night we went to Frankie & Benny's - not people we know but an Italian restaurant and bar on the edge of Derby. It was the first time we'd been in here and I must say it was very good. Even better, it didn't cost us a penny as it was all being paid for by Lynda's work!

There were around 20 of us there for the evening, staff from the sales dept. at Lynda's work plus their partners, and it turned out to be a real fun night. We all met in the bar at around 7:30pm and got some drinks before being shown to our table. There was a fair choice on the menu, around 20 starters and the best part of 50 main course meals, most being either pasta or pizza dishes. So far so good!

After changing my mind each time I looked at the menu, I finally settled on the Crispy Coated Chicken Strips as a starter, followed by Meatballs on Penne Pasta as my main course. Lynda went for Potato Skins filled with cheese and chives and then Mushroom Ravioli.

The starters were very good, the honey and mustard dressing on the salad that came with the Chicken Strips was absolutely delicious! The meatballs, well, what a plate full! A huge bowl full of pasta topped with 5 equally large and very tasty meatballs in a gorgeous ragu sauce! One of the guys with us had the same as me but was beaten by the amount of food and couldn't finish it- me, I could have eaten the lot again! It really was that good. Lynda tells me that her meal was equally as nice; the small amount of Mushroom Ravioli I was allowed to try certainly tasted OK!

So onto the sweets.... the waitress had the cheek to ask if we wanted to see the menu! OF COURSE WE DID!!! Lynda went for the East Coast Sundae - a huge glass full of toffee and chocolate ice cream layered with chocolate covered honeycomb, mini marshmallows and topped with chocolate sauce and cream! Me, I had a cinnamon waffle topped with ice cream, toffee sauce and toffee crunch pieces! Both very nice!

Next time I may just try the sweet chosen by one of our party - the Chocolate Cookie Sandwich! It's two giant cookies, loads of ice cream, cream and then topped with chocolate, butterscotch and strawberry sauce! It's meant to be shared by two people, he had one to himself!!!

11 December 2005

The weekend, so far...

So, it's Sunday morning and we've eaten our way through the first part of the weekend OK! Friday evening's buffet at Mark & Sheila's was great - we all ate way too much food but hey it was good! There was so much choice I can't even start to remember all of what we ate. I do know that we kept on going back to the table for more! The pizza was good, as was the spicy chicken, the salmon, the beef, the ham, the sausage..... The home made ice-cream, with apple pie, was absolutely gorgeous! I was full to bursting by the time I'd finished eating!

Saturday was the Derby RSPB Group's December coach trip. There hasn't been a December trip for some years now because the interest in it had dropped off due to people having Christmas shopping and such things on their minds at this time of year. So, to try and get some of the interest back a slightly different format was tried this year. We were to have a mornings birdwatching, followed by a Christmas lunch! More food!

The venue was Far Ings Nature Reserve in Lincolnshire. The site is an old clay and tile works that dates back to around 1850. Since it was abandoned the clay workings have filled with water to form a series of fresh water lakes. Now, the area is home to a variety of wildfowl, waders and also common woodland and garden birds. Lynda and I saw a total of 46 species between 10:00am and 12:30pm. If we hadn't needed to stop for the much more important business of eating, then I'm sure we could have added more birds to the list.

Wildfowl numbers were a little low but we did come across Gadwall, Pochard, Tufted Duck and a pair of Goldeneye. Waders of note included, 60 Dunlin, 49 Redshank, around 40 Golden Plover in flight, 5 Snipe and a single Curlew. Most of the waders were roosting under the Humber Bridge - which, Lynda was sure, was moving in the breeze!

A feeding flock of around 40 Siskin was the best find in the wooded area of the reserve, along with numerous Goldcrest, Redwing and a single Willow Tit. By around 12:30pm our thoughts turned to food and we headed to the hotel that backs onto the reserve and, after changing out of our muddy walking boots, we headed for the bar! Lunch was due at 1:30pm so plenty of time for a pint!

Our group of around 50 were seated in a really nice dining area that overlooked one of the lakes - should have kept our binoculars with us - and the food was great! I had soup to start, followed by a good old Christmas dinner of turkey, new and roast potatoes, vegetables and plenty of gravy! By the time I'd cleared my plate I was getting pretty full again, still made space for the Christmas pudding that followed though! Plus another pint and a rather nice cup of coffee at the end! Oh, and a mint chocolate! All in all a great day out, enjoyed by everyone. With luck this will become an annual event for the group.

So, now we have Lynda's works "do" this evening - more food and more drink! Tomorrow we are going over to see Lynda's brother and his family which will not doubt see us eating even more! That and probably playing Twister or Jenga with my 5 year old niece! And she usually wins!

Far Ings trip photos

08 December 2005

The chaos starts tomorrow!

Friday sees the run up to Christmas move up another gear! Over the next four days we are out for three evening "do's", one lunch time meal (as part of a days birdwatching trip), plus a visit to see my mum before her birthday!

Then the following week Lynda is out for a meal on the Wednesday evening, with some ex work mates, on the Friday it's the Bluehorses Christmas gig here in Derby (can't wait for that one!) and then on the Saturday night it's my "works do" over in Nottingham.

If we survive all that extra food and drink then we have a clear week, so far, leading up to Christmas Day! Will have to hit the gym extra hard that week so I can then put all the weight back on again! Last year I managed a highly respectable weight gain of 14 pounds over Christmas and New Year! Gives me something to aim at this year!

05 December 2005

Buxton Goes Tribal!!!

OK, time for an update! Yes it's a day or two late but I've been kinda busy this past few days......

It all started on Thursday around 1:05pm. I checked out the Albannach forum and found a post from Nikki about a "private gig" in Buxton - damn, just up the road and it's behind closed doors! Oh well, can't be helped! Then things changed, very quickly! By 1:15pm Jamesie, from the band, had posted an invite on the forum for us to join them at the gig! What a result!!!

Over the next few hours, and into Friday, messages passed back and forth and it was all sorted. Not only were Lynda and I going but also Nikki, Gila and Meg, who is over here from the States. This could turn into a fun night!

Saturday evening arrived and so did the rain! When we set off from Derby it was pretty bad, what would it be like up in the Derbyshire Peak District? Well, it was wet, very wet! We passed through low cloud and mist and along roads with about an inch of standing water in places! In Buxton we parked the car then decided against getting out for a while - it was throwing it down outside! I took the opportunity to send a text message to Nikki to find out where they all where. The answer that came back.... LOST! Oops, not good news, then to make things worse I lost all phone signal so we were out of touch! Time for a beer!

Once inside the hotel things started to run a lot more to plan - we found the bar, then the beer, then the band, then Nikki, Gila and Meg found us! We spent around an hour or so in the bar, just chatting and taking photos of everyone so that they could be posted on the Albannach forum for everyone over in the US to see, before it was time for the gig. And what a gig it was! Jamesie and his troops just blew the place apart!

The drums and pipes echoed off the walls of the hotel like thunder! This was pure tribal energy at it's best, the place just didn't know what had hit it! I could go on for pages about the gig but it's easier just looking at the photo links at the end of this - you'll get more of a feel for it that way!

So, that's why I've been a little slow with the update - I've been in recovery mode, that and sorting through all the photos Lynda and I took!

The night ended for us in Buxton at around 12:30am on Sunday morning, then we had the hour or so drive back to Derby. Even that wasn't enough time for me to come back down to earth, I was straight onto the Albannach forum to chat with the people over in America! I think I eventually went to bed at around 3:30 in the morning - tired but very happy!

Sunday, I started my Christmas shopping! Strange how things soon bring you back to earth with a bang! I hate shopping!

Buxton gig photos

More Buxton gig photos