Saturday, August 16, 2008

My ancient medieval village

I was visiting Bridgette over at the Not-So-Blog Blog where she was inviting her readers to tell her about the places they lived. I am afraid I got quite carried away in her comments section and filled up more than several inches all about the lovely medieval village I am lucky enough to live in. I added the throw away line that I might even do a post about it, and then thought 'Why not?' so......

I love living in a medieval village called Kings Norton just south of Birmingham, Englands second city. On the ancient Green stands one of the oldest grammar schools in the Midlands, a 12th-century church and a large 15th-century timber-framed house. The Old Grammar School and the medieval house, known as the Saracen's Head, are buildings of considerable historical and architectural importance and were the winners of BBC Restoration 2004.

The Old Grammar School is a wonderful-looking, timber-framed structure. Tree analysis of its huge timbers have revealed a construction date of between 1434 and 1460.

The nearby Saracen's Head was quite possibly the largest house of the royal manor during the 15th century, home of a wealthy and successful wool merchant, later becoming an Inn. The house boasts highly decorative medieval workmanship. It was here that the wife of Charles I, Queen Henrietta Maria, stayed on her way back from Yorkshire where she had gathered troops for the English Civil War. The devoutly Catholic Queen arrived at King's Norton in July 1643 with around 5,500 men and spent the night in what is known as the Queen's Room, while her troops slept on land behind the church.

Every year there is a 'Mop Fair' held on the village Green where in ancient times the hiring of agricultural workers and domestic servants happened, and the origin of the name is said to be that house- maids who attended the fair in the hope of being hired carried mops and pails. The hiring took place in conjunction with a country fair at which the roasting of an ox was a great feature. Although the hiring has stopped we still have an ox roast and country fair, and entertainers such as Morris Men & Clog Dancers and fun fair and every month a Farmers Market on the Green.

Lots more pics HERE

I hope you have found it interesting. I can never resist telling people about the villages history as I find it so interesting myself.

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Scrapbook Saturday 16/8: Calendulas and Candy

This week I have used a couple of photos of my daughter Sammy when she was little, with a calendulas and candy theme. I also have a selection of nice scrapbooking blogs for you this week. You will find lots of goodies including freebies, kits, ideas, templates and just some really nice scrapbook blogging on these sites. See you next week and Happy Blogging!

Dont forget to hop over to MammaDawg and have a look at the Scrapbooking Saturday blogroll, or even better join us.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Our lovely olde worlde English Pubs

Its been exactly 3 years since we moved up to Kings Norton in Warwickshire from Bournemouth in Hampshire, on the south coast. From being within a few minutes of the sea and beaches we are now as far from them as you can get in this country! The move was necessitated due to the takeover of the company Hubby works for. They were bought out by an American company based in Houston, Texas who no longer wanted their employees working out of home. Hubby had been with the company 7 years and had always done this, so it was something of a shock when he was told we either move up here or take redundancy. Apart from the fact we are both over 50 and it would have been hard to go back into the employment market Hubby loved his job. So the decision was reluctantly made, we sold our house in Bournemouth and bought one up here.

More of this story later :-) Anyway tonight we went out for a drink at our favourite watering hole to celebrate the anniversary. The Red Lion at Alvechurch is only 10 minutes away from here and is in a beautiful olde worlde village. It has recently been given a spruce up since the smoking ban came into force and is now even better than before with lovely big armchairs and new seating, It has loads of character with old beams and woodwork, candles in sconces on the walls & tables and in the winter months two huge log fires in its original big old fireplaces. So you can see why we like it so much.

We are lucky in that we have several really great pubs within a 10 minute drive, all with the lovely olde worlde character we love.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Council gets the wrong Birmingham!

Last week we received a smart shiny leaflet all about Birmingham City councils recycling efforts and what we could and could not recycle and the recycling facilities available. On the back is a picture of the city with the words 'Thank You Birmingham'.

It has now been revealed that the numpties in charge of producing the leaflet put a picture of the WRONG Birmingham on it. It's actually a picture of Birmingham, Alabama, USA!! Apparently they just Googled for a picture of Birmingham and picked the first one that they liked the look of. What's amazing is that 720,000 of the leaflet has been sent out to every household in the city for at least a week now and it's only today that anyone noticed! I think this is just so funny and hooted with laughter whenI heard about it on tonights news. Apparently the story was also featured on the website of the Alabama Birmingham News, whose readers were quick to poke fun.

One wrote: 'It looks like Birmingham, England's recycling effort is working. They are even recycling photographs!'

You couldn't make it up!!!

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They're digging us up again!

We have this monstrosity parked outside this morning! They are replacing all the water mains around here at the moment, so I suppose it will be a good thing in the long run! It's just that for now all the pavements are being dug up so the roadworks are horrendous and everytime they finish one road they just move to a new one so you never know when you are going to be held up! At least we had advance warning so left the car off the drive last night and didn't wake up to find ourselves penned in!

I got sent one of those funny emails today with amusing pictures and this one really caught my eye. Its an office with fish tanks as desk dividers! Now thats really cool - I wish my office was like that, but sadly it's not! Our desk dividers are 5' high and grey, so we all exist in our little pods, each about 6' x 6' with an L shaped grey desk, a grey chair and a grey pc & monitor in the corner. There are also some grey overhead storage lockers and a drawer unit under the desk. Not exactly a stimulating environment you'll agree :-)

The one advantage it has is access to the internet when I am not busy, together with a large amount of privacy - a winning combination!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: A Devon Sunset!

Sunset in Newton Abbot, Devon with unusual cloud formations

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Ruby Tuesday: My red retreat

This week for Ruby Tuesday I thought I'd post a pic of where I do all my blogging from. As you can see it certainly meets the criteria of redness required! The coffee table I have my laptop on is quite clever, it has a cantilevered top so I can pull it up to working height, which as you can imagine is much more comfortable than having to hunch over it at such a low level.

Why not join in and post a picture yourself, the rules are simple. Just post a picture with red in it, but it must be one of your own and it can be of anything you like. For more details hop over to the Teach at Work of the Poet and check out the blogroll.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Personalise your bath or shower curtain!

I came across this great product on Everything Under the Sun. It's from a company called Photo Shower Curtains and it makes personalised shower or bath curtains. They will print up a full size curtain with your own photo which is washable and non fade in 2 to 4 weeks. Prices at the moment are $220 for the bathtub size and $150 for shower stall size with free delivery within the USA.

They will export internationally if you let them know when placing your order to arrange a delivery price, and they will accept payment through Google Checkout or Paypal. Check them out if you fancy something a bit different for your bathroom.

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Family Shenannigans!

Whew! I'm glad it's Monday! We've had a hectic weekend and a full house, as my stepdaughter, aka Katiebug came to stay with her partner and baby Jonah (we used to call her The Whale when she was pregnant with him!) on Friday. Also my stepson, the Boy Wonder arrived on Saturday. (we now call him the Boy Wanderer for reasons I'll explain later).

Anyway, we had a lovely time, Jonah is such a good baby, he sleeps all night now and spends a lot of time gurgling and babbling away to himself, hardly cried at all apart from when he got hungry. He is 4 months old now and I can't believe how the time has flown. It only seems like yesterday we went to see him when he was a day old.

Hubby does all the cooking in our house (aren't I a lucky girl?!) and made a great steak and mushroom pie for dinner on Friday, the most wonderful spaghetti bolognese on Saturday and a big roast chicken Sunday lunch with all the trimmings yesterday. I think he was quite relieved to be able to relax yesterday afternoon once Katiebug & co had left after lunch. The Boy Wonder had gone into Birmingham to meet friends so he was away most of the day which gave us the house back.

About 7 o'clock the BW rang to say he was going to the cinema to see The Mummy 3, so would be back later. About 9.45 we got another call! He was stuck at Bournville station (about 3 stops away) as the train had been full and he had stepped off to let a crowd of Japanese tourists off with their luggage. By the time they had all cleared out of the way, the train had started pulling out of the station and he had missed it! (Yeah, I know! Sounds like a tall story to me too, but there you go!)Well, as you may imagine Hubby was not best pleased having to dash out and go to his rescue, as the next train wasn't for another half hour and he had settled down for a nice rest.

This is not the first escapade the BW has had on trains. A couple of months ago he came up to stay from Salisbury and had to change at Birmingham New Street for the local stopping train down to us. We had arranged to meet him at our local station after work. So we duly drove to the station and parked up. We could see the trains stopping and letting off the passengers. We rang him on the mobile to check he had arrived at Birmingham OK. Where are you we asked "I'm on the train, should be there in 10 minutes" he replied.

10 minutes later a train arrived and the passengers got off, but no sign of the BW. He must be on the next one we said, so we waited, and waited! Half an hour and 3 trains later there was stil no sign of him. We rang him again "Where are you?" "On the train" "what was the last station you went through?" "I don't know" "Well ****** find out!, ask someone!". We can hear him asking someone across from him and a voice saying Bristol. This is not the answer we wanted. He is only on the Express back down south! "Whats the next station?" we ask. He consults the other passengers and we hear the reply Gloucester! OMG! This means he is going to be stuck over 50 miles from here.

We go home and await developments. Katiebug rings from Manchester. The BW has rung her and not us! so we ring the BW for an update. He has arrived in Gloucester and fortunately there is a return train in 10 minutes, so he'll go back to Birmingham and change there to come to us. So 4 hours later than expected he finally turns up!

We just hope he's not going to make a habit of this!!

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

Wow! wasn't it just amazing? I was lucky and remembered to set it to record before I went to work on Friday, and I'm so pleased I did. The 'highlights' shows simply didn't do it justice. I have watched it 3 times since then and I'm still amazed by it! There were so many stunning sections to it, but the massed drummers, printing press & massed oars were my favourites, although I loved the colour & spectacle and the 4 (or was it 5!) firework displays as well. I wanted to put some videos from YouTube on my other blog, News, Views, Thrills & Spills! for anyone who had missed it. but they are deleting any actual videos because of copyright.But I did manage to find a really good slide show. so drop in HERE if you would like to see it. Another great slide show is HERE.

These are just some of the amazing statistics about the Olympics

100 million - $US spent on the opening and closing ceremonies by Beijing officials.
15,000 - singers, musicians, dancers and other performers used during the three-hour spectacular.
5,000 - of whom were drawn from the Chinese Liberation Army.
1 - electric fan placed in each flag pole, thus circumventing the still conditions inside the Bird's Nest.
29,000 - rounds of fireworks.
230 - Australian athletes who marched at the National Stadium from a squad of 433.
90,000 - spectators, the stadium's capacity, attended the opening of the Games.
205 - nations attending the 29th Olympic games.
08/08/08 - the date chosen for the opening ceremony. Eight is considered a lucky number to the Chinese. The production began at 8.08 pm, local time.
4 billion - viewers worldwide who took in the ceremony.

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