Monday, 17 October 2016

London Larks!

This weekend Jemma and I were kindly gifted the use of a fabulous London flat in Greycoat Street, Westminster, SW1. The street is very central indeed but also surprisingly quiet. We made the absolute most of our proximity to so much interest and exploration and notched up 16 miles on foot across Saturday and Sunday! Here is a brief recap of our adventures.

Saturday - all the way up The Shard, which was the one firm plan of the weekend, and the lark around which we based the whole adventure.  The Shard was spectacular and the lift hoofed up to floor 68 in two spurts - I did the same at The Jin Mao in Shanghai in 2001 and this was just as quick.
After The Shard, it was over to The O2 ad a hop across the Thames via The Emirates Airline - slower, lower but still massively spoddy. From there we took the DLR to Bank and then a long, idle walk along the South Bank, back to Westminster Bridge and a big old circuit back to Greycoat Street. Between the bridge and Westminster Abbey we looked in on WSC too.

Saturday night saw my first experience of Teppen Yaki at Matsuri, St James - a first for me and a spectacle of theatre, sharp knives, hot  grills , fast ingredients and lobster & steak!  We were in bed by ten pm with 11 miles covered on foot.

Sunday was a little more touristy; Buckingham Palace, Oxford St and John Lewis ahead of a train out of Paddington  - a delightful weekend in delightful company with a ton of fun things achieved. I am grateful.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Gathering wood for the woodburner

Today after some admin' tasks, breakfast and house tidying, I ventured to the Bristol Wood Recycling Project, a venue that is always good for a bit of a poke about. Everyone there is friendly and positive and it is also overlooked by platform 15 of Bristol Temple Meads , where the 125s often leave for London Paddington, so it's a double winner every visit.

With a solstice tomorrow (at 14.21 GMT), thoughts as well as evenings are becoming just that little bit crisper and I am starting to slowly take from the woodpile that has sat minding its own business all across spring and summer. To eke that fuel out, I thought I would visit BWRP and take advantage of the free wood pile. You can go along and dismantle pallets and some decently hefty offcuts for yourself and they politely ask you to consider making a donation or volunteering some time - it is no more obligatory than that.  I thought an hour spent at lunchtime would be fun, to see what I could gather as kindling and top-up wood for the deployment of my own labour and a donation. The selection was great with some serious woodburner potential!

A burn movie to follow but easily a week's evenings of heat for my lunchtime labour.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Isaiah 2:4 - on a Thursday!

Last week I had a very grand day indeed. It took place  on a weekday when I had the opportunity to visit Goodrich and stay with mum and dad. Boris dog was along too, as his mummy was in London for the day - too long to be left on his own.  I was already pencilled in for sitting duties but in a magic coming together, I combined my hound duties with this:

Hosted by a farm in Goodrich, this was the epic and exciting 2016 ploughing match of the Llanwarne Agricultural Improvement Society and their Ploughing Society! It was on a Thursday in mid September and the day totally lucked out to be more like July. Entry was £4 and worth every penny.

I loved it!

I thought I knew what the match would entail but there was so much more than I had anticipated.

The programme was full of interesting detail about all the different ploughing styles to be judged. At the most basic, each ploughman (or woman) has five hours to plough the allotted strip as slowly or as quickly as desired. No help is allowed beyond setting out the three copping sticks.  The results are judged on neatness and agricultural merit. There were horse-drawn classes and classes for tractors pre-1974 and pre-1959.

Attendees came from all over the UK - it's a really tight little scene and everyone knows everyone else. I watched the current UK champion and a chap who had been champion a hatful of times. Horses, ploughs, tractors old and new, harvesters, threshers, old tools and all manner of interesting stuff and people.  A very fine Summer day, and I found out all about Oat Seed Furrows which are very specific indeed.

Pictures and videos are below: