Friday, 30 August 2013

seaside regeneration?

So the government are thinking of putting money into the regeneration of seaside towns
I might be wrong, but wasn't it the previous government, of the same coat, who contributed to the degeneration of most seaside towns.  In the 1990s the government relocated unemployed persons to bed and breakfast establishments in seaside towns. 
As I see it, the relocation of unemployed persons to seaside towns was counter-productive.  Seaside towns are usually "kept alive" by small businesses....these small businesses only employ a small number of people, seaside towns tend not to be bases for large businesses or industries, therefore there aren't a huge amount of jobs, there aren't now, and weren't back in the 1990s.  So why were the unemployed of the 1990s rehoused in an area where they had less chance of finding a job, than the place they were from?  Surely saving short term on housing has been more than outbalanced by them being longer term unemployed?  I might be missing something, but the reason this seaside town went into decline was for several reasons, and I don't think housing unemployed here long term helped in the least.  It did make the small job market even more competitive.
I am all for the regeneration of seaside towns, but suspect that Morecambe was not the only seaside town to suffer in the way I have argued, so think that the regeneration help is well deserved.

Goodbye to Seamus Heaney

Today we have lost a brilliant poet.
You can read his obituary here
I studied some of his poetry during my degree, and found it very accessible
I would like to offer my condolences to his family.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Is it just me?

I have a book blog.  On this blog I say what I think of books that I have read.  On the whole I read fiction, but occasionally I will read a factual book.  When I do there is one thing that annoys me about them, above all else.
What's that I hear you ask?
Simple really, when you take into consideration factual or non fiction books are based on truth/real life/basic facts, and it's the fact that some authors put erroneous information in their book. If your book is intended to be non fiction, get your facts right!
I have recently read a book in which the author meets several unusual people around the British Isles, one of which is a female hermit, living in Yorkshire, but the author starts by talking about the Pendle Witches, which is correct, (also know as the Lancashire Witches,) but goes on to say they were executed at Pendle, which he also moves into Yorkshire. It's very close to the border, but it is still in Lancashire. 
I probably shouldn't have, but I did e-mail him to tell him where the Pendle/Lancashire Witches were executed. 
Just as an additional piece of information, my sister-in-law has researched her husband's side of the family, (my brother's and mine.)   It turns out that there is a link to the Nutter family from the Pendle area.
Does it annoy anyone else when non fiction writers get their facts wrong?

Friday, 23 August 2013


After three afternoons painting gloss paint, (both Edwin and myself,) the dreaded gloss painting is complete.  I took Michael Gradwell's advice and put some music on and just absorbed myself in the painting.  Between us it took a total of 22 hours, there's an awful lot of woodwork in my stairs and landings.  But it looks great now, all white and shiny.
My next stage in decorating the landing and stairs, will be emulsioning the ceilings then putting up new light fittings and putting the smoke alarms back.  I hope to get that finished before I return to work.  The walls can then be done.
The butchered spindles don't look as bad painted white, mind you I did smooth parts of them down with the sander, but I had to leave the newel posts covered, as the person who boxed them in took 3/4 inch square chunks out of them in order to box them in, and sanding them down wouldn't make them look any better.
My list of jobs I hoped to do over the holiday is dwindling, and I am still managing to try at least one new recipe per week, which is good.  This weeks recipe is pain au chocolat.  The dough is currently rising and has to for a further two hours, before I have to start to shape it by rolling it out, dotting with butter, folding, and repeating twice.  I'm sure Edwin will appreciate them.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

I'll get the end

If you follow this blog, you will know that I am in the process of decorating my stairs and landings.  In a three storey Victorian terrace house, it entails a lot of wood work.
I finally got everything sanded down and ready to paint and on Wednesday intended to start the painting.....only to find that I only had very narrow paint brushes.  Good for fiddly bits but no good for a huge cupboard , three more cupboard doors and four more doors.  So on Thursday I bought wider paint brushes, but as Mum had been here for the day, no work done. Friday, after a doctor's appointment and I was thinking of starting, Oliver let me know that he was going to be home for the weekend.
Which brought me around to today.  I decided I would make a start, and stop wasting time.  Guess what?  The undercoat has gone solid in the tin, so now I need to buy paint.  I am debating buying some of the one-coat gloss, so that I will only have to paint each surface the once.  This job has gone on long enough, and it's about time I put paid to the delays and got stuck in.
Next time I blog, I will most probably have white streaks in my hair, as I seem incapable of painting without getting it in my hair.
After the gloss is done I can then emulsion all the ceilings, and strip the remainder of the paper, prior to painting the walls with emulsion.  A warm sunny colour above the dado rail and Victorian red below.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

An achievement! Well, it is for me.

On Sunday, I switched my oven on in order to bake some part baked baguettes. Around half an hour later I remembered and went to put them in, only the oven appeared to be off.  It had in fact tripped the circuit breaker.  So I flicked the switch and left the oven for a few minutes to warm up.  Nothing.  The element had gone.  I hunted out the oven handbook and left it where it would remind me in the morning.
Yesterday, Monday, I looked online for a replacement part, and after a discussion with a very helpful man at I found the right replacement part. I ordered it & it had arrived before 10am.
It wasn't that difficult to fit, & after watching a You Tube video I set about the task.  I did have to do it twice though, as the first time I didn't push the spade connector on properly and it came off as I fastened it in place.

That was yesterday.  Today I intended to get stuck into the undercoating, but found that I only have extremely narrow brushes, so I will buy some broader ones and get stuck in on Friday.
I have been baking/cooking things though, and so far this week have made butternut squash and tomato soup, cauliflower cheese soup, ciabatta bread and a pork pie.

By the way, the achievement?  Fixing the oven myself of course!  :)

Monday, 12 August 2013

good for tourism?

I know these posters need to be displays, of the most prominent posters in most shop windows here at the moment are A5 posters showing a hand grasping for purchase.  There is semi-liquid sand around the wrist.
The writing on the poster says
"If the quicksands don't get you, the tide will!" in large red letters.
This is produced by the RLNI and Coastguards, and I whilst I can see the need for them, and the need to make people aware of the dangers of the sands around here, I just can't help thinking it can't be very encouraging to visitors to the town.
Coupled with that, there was a dead body found on the central beach early on Saturday morning....all in all, absolutely brilliant for the tourists.

Then again, the Coastguard helicopter and the lifeboat have been out pretty regularly over the last couple of weeks.  (You can hear the lifeboat warnings go off, and both hear and see the helicopter flying low.)  The problem is the sea goes out such a long way, people walk down to the sea to paddle, and not notice the tide coming in around the back of them.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Sanding done

Well, I've sanded down everything that needed to be sanded down prior to gloss painting.
It's all wiped down as well.
Besides that I have also made some banana wine, done some knitting and crochet alongside all the normal jobs that need doing.
On Thursday I went swimming again, but only did 16 lengths, (that's 1/4 of a mile,) as I was aching everywhere.
I was supposed to go out for Afternoon Tea with some colleagues on Thursday, but as I have been suffering from reflux for over a week now I cancelled.  (Sometimes I am actually being sick as well.)  I wouldn't have enjoyed the Afternoon Tea knowing I would feel bad after eating. We were going to the Clarendon Hotel who do a very good afternoon tea.
It has been a cooler week here, but most of the rain that has fallen has been during the hours of darkness.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Making a start

I've made a start on the decorating that I have been threatening to do for a long time now. 
I've sanded down some of the paint work, only to find on close inspection some of the gloss painting has been done.  It was a cream colour, you know the one that was everywhere in the 70s and 80s, and I am painting it brilliant white, and in other places undercoating has been done, so all need to do in those places is the top coat. (I remember the name of the paint colour now.  It was called magnolia, but I've never seen any magnolias that colour.)
I really hate painting woodwork, which is why the stairs have remained unfinished for so long, also, there's an awful lot of gloss paint in the stairs as my house is a three storey Victorian terrace, and the stair case rails were boarded in, but I have ripped the ugly boarding off.  Eventually the rails, the spindles, and the newel posts will have to be replaced.  Reason one, the person who boxed them in flattened some of the spindles to make the hardboard lie flatter, and reason two, the banister at the top landing is below the specified height of modern day banisters.  (Although it was the correct height when originally put in.  It could also do with a newel post where the banister takes a right angled turn and a half newel against the wall for the banister to be fastened to. 
But as you can probably guess all that will cost money to buy, and then it all has to be fitted.
Originally I was leaving the stairs until all the rooms were done, which they are now, and I would have liked to put a Velux window in place of the small pane of glass that serves as a skylight onto the stairs.  Again, the cost is prompting me to try to finish the decorating and do the other jobs as I scrape together the money for them.
In a perfect world I would take out the large cupboard at the top of the stairs and replace it with a tidier one, or maybe utilise the space for something else.  This again is a bigger job than I feel can approach by myself at the moment.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

This day in....

This day in 1980 my second eldest niece was due, she didn't put in an appearance until two days later on the 6th.
This day in 1900 Elizabeth Bowes Lyon was born.  Mother to our Queen, but sadly no longer with us.
This day in 1983 I should have taken my driving test, but it was cancelled.
This day in 1984 I should have married by finance, who I would have been with for almost 8 years, however we split up earlier on in the year.
So on the whole, I have always looked on this day as one on which things are meant to happen, but don't for one reason or another, apart from the Queen Mother being born, but then again, she was born before I was, so perhaps that doesn't count, and all the things that should have happened but didn't were whilst I was in my early 20s, so maybe I have grown past that point.  Perhaps it's time for me to look upon this day as any other in the year.   Who know?
(I know this is quite introspective, but that's what August 4th does to me)

Thursday, 1 August 2013

An observation

I am no longer eligible for a tax credit prescription exemption certificate.  So I have been looking into other ways of sorting out my prescription.  I am on several different medications so have decided to get a prepayment certificate, but I did check out if I was eligible on low income grounds, after all, I do get tax credits because of low income, but no apparently my income isn't low enough.
What annoys me about this is that I am working, and I pay all the normal deductions from my wage, I then pay for all the utilities, and council tax.  Yet if I wasn't working, I would get my council tax paid, housing benefit, (if I didn't own my own house,) and all NHS services would be free, including prescriptions, (in certain cases, but not all.)
I have worked out that I am probably worse off than people who are out of work....surely this isn't right?
I know the government is looking to put a cap on benefits, but surely they would do better to make sure that it made economic sense to find a job? After all, where is the incentive when you are better off not working in some circumstances?
It is time this government, or any future one did something about wages, and got rid of the minimum wage and replaced it by the Living wage.